2016 has been a mixed bag in terms of news for the LGBTQ community, we've some great news (check out July and August!), and some tragic, and deeply saddening news.
Take a look at our key story for each month below:
The year started off with a big move for LGBTQ Christians, with more than 100 senior Anglicans demanding in a letter for the Church of England to repent for "discriminating" against lesbian and gay Christians. They said the Church must acknowledge members around the world have been treated as "second-class citizens" and to "apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs".
Jayne Ozanne, who organised the letter and was the former director of the Accepting Evangelicals said "It was time to stand tall and actually call the Church back to its roots to reminding them about the fact that we are there to welcome and serve all."
Filipino Boxer Manny Pacquiao provoked worldwide controversy after he said people in same-sex relationships “are worse than animals”. He said “Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”
People across the world took to social media to share their outrage at his comments, and Pacquiao later apologised “for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals". One of our favourite responses to his comments were the articles about animals who are known to have same-sex relationships, proving his initial point wrong anyway!
Image via boxingnewsonline.net
On March 23, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, commonly known as HB2. The law meant that Government agencies of all kinds must require people who use multi-stall public restrooms to use the one that corresponds with their sex as identified at birth.
Over the following weeks, performers like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Maroon 5, Nick Jonas and Demo Lovato cancelled concerts in the state in protest. Bruce Springsteen wrote in his official statement "Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them."
Colombia became the fourth country in South America to legalise same-sex marriage (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are the other three). A 6-3 ruling of the Constitutional Court of Colombia on 28 April found that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional under the Colombian Constitution. The first same-sex marriage to be performed in the country occurred on 24 May 2016.
The United Nation’s first LGBT gala took place in May, marking a pinnacle point in the U.N.’s acknowledgement of the LGBT community. It was only in August 2015 that the U.N. held the first Security Council meeting spotlighting violence and discrimination against LGBT people. The event was organised by Outright Action International, and honoured LGBT rights pioneers, such as Yuli Rustinawati (pictured below).
Alan Cumming, who hosted the event, said “I think it’s sort of like a little chink in the armour of bigotry on a worldwide level because it is symbolic that this is happening in this institution and also kind of ridiculous at the same time that this is the first time anything like this has happened at the U.N.”
On June 12th, the tragic shooting at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, killed 49 people and left 53 more wounded. The attack was both the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in United States history.
Vigils were held across the world and millions of dollars were raised to aid the families of deceased victims, as well as the surviving victims and their families.
A Nickelodeon cartoon introduced the first animated same-sex married couple to its channel in July. A gay married couple with a son were featured on the popular animated series ‘The Loud House’. Subtly hinting to the inclusive moment, one of the children in the scene says to the other "Time to make history..." over a walkie-talkie. Great work Nickelodeon!
A record number of out LGBT athletes competed in the Olympics this year and Team GB saw some great success from their LGBT athletes! Nicola Adams won a gold medal in the women's flyweight boxing, Tom Daley won a bronze medal in the 10m synchronised dive with his diving partner Daniel Goodfellow, and the Team GB Women's Field Hockey Team, which included two married players, won a gold medal!
This moving photo of a 12-year-old boy standing up to a protest march by thousands of anti-LGBT protesters went viral in September. According to Mexican news site, Regeneracion, the boy said: "I have an uncle that is gay, and I don’t like people hating him."
Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in the capital Mexico City and nine of the 31 Mexican states. However, in May 2016, the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, signed an initiative to change the country's Constitution, which would legalise same-sex marriage throughout Mexico pending congressional approval.
A CBBC TV show premiered showing the realities of what it means to be a young transgender person in the UK. The show, 'Just A Girl', followed 11 year old Amy as she documented the struggles that come with being trans, including gender dysphoria and bullying. There was controversy following the show, with the Daily Mail claiming that parents were angry about the topic, and MP Peter Bone saying “It’s completely inappropriate for such material to be on the CBBC website and I shall be writing to BBC bosses to demand they take it down.”
A BBC spokesperson hit back, saying, “Just A Girl is about a fictional transgender character trying to make sense of the world, deal with bullying and work out how to keep her friends, which are universal themes that many children relate to, and which has had a positive response from our audience. CBBC aims to reflect true life, providing content that mirrors the lives of as many UK children as possible."
Stephen Port was convicted of murder of 4 gay men and multiple rapes. Port met his victims on gay social networking sites and apps and used added GHB, a date rape drug, to his victims' drinks before raping them. He murdered four of them in his flat in Barking, with the cause of death being a drug overdose.
Port was given a full life prison term for his crimes, which the judge described as 'wicked and monstrous'.
In Hong Kong, replicas of an iconic pair of lions guarding the HSBC building were painted with rainbow colours as part of the bank's "Celebrate Pride, Celebrate Unity" campaign for LGBT rights. HSBC Group general manager said "Understanding and embracing everyone's unique perspectives, beliefs and experiences is core to HSBC's values. This campaign demonstrates our commitment to achieving a truly open and diverse working environment."
Despite support across the globe from many people living in Hong Kong, the lions' makeover angered some campaign groups, who started a petition against the rainbow lions. One of the groups said they were unhappy with pro-LGBT policies of HSBC, saying the policies are "not fair to the shareholders because it essentially forces every shareholder to endorse the homosexual lifestyle".