Thursday, January 05, 2017

2016: Gay America's Harrowing, Heartening Year

Written by Daniel Wenger
In November 2016, President Obama presented actress/TV host, Ellen DeGeneres the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work in helping to “push our country in the direction of justice.”

In March 2016, the North Carolina house passed H.B. 2, the infamous bill mandating that people with XX chromosomes and people with XY ones do their business in separate public bathrooms. Three months later, forty-nine people, most of them young Latinos, were killed by a gunman at Pulse, a gay night club in downtown Orlando, Florida. A record number of trans murders were recorded this year. This past November, in Denver, Leslie Herod became the first gay African-American to be elected to Colorado’s House of Representatives. All six openly gay members of Congress were returned to Washington, and Oregon’s Kate Brown became the first L.G.B.T. person to be elected governor of any state.

And yet, before 2016 was out, trans Americans had been incorporated into the military; the North Carolina bathroom bill’s great champion, Governor Pat McCrory, had been unseated; and Carlos Guillermo Smith, a gay-rights activist of Peruvian descent, had been elected to the Florida House, representing a part of eastern Orlando where many Pulse victims lived. So goes this year’s entry in the annals of American gay life—by turns harrowing and heartening, and often both in close succession. READ MORE