2018’s been a real rollercoaster ride for the LGBTQ+ community.
In January, I wrote an article listing 17 things that queer people had to look forward to this year, so as 2018 draws to a close, I felt it was important to look back and reflect on how we’ve fared this year.
It’d been a real mixed bag, to be honest with you. There’s been a lot to smile about, but there’s also been a fair bit to cry over. However, I still remain hopeful that good will win out over evil and that LGBTQ+ people will one day be equal all over the world.
Please note: I don’t pretend that this article is a comprehensive one. I can only read so many articles, watch so many shows, and write so many words. If there’s something that I’ve missed, I’m sorry. All facts were correct at time of writing.
Too often, we focus on the bad stuff in the world and don’t celebrate when something great happens. We should change this. Sure, we need to counteract the crappier things in the world, but if we aren’t taking a moment to be happy when we win, then we’ll just burn out.
The US Congress saw a rainbow wave: US voters saw record numbers of queer candidates on their ballot form, which is important in its own right, and there are now 10 openly LGBTQ+ people serving in Congress. Kyrsten Sinema became the first openly bisexual person elected to the Senate, while Chris Pappas, Sharice Davids, Angie Craig, and Katie Hill became first-time members of the House. They join incumbents Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representatives David Cicilline, Sean Patrick Maloney, Mark Pocan, and Mark Takano.
Progress on the decriminalization of homosexuality: In April, Trinidad and Tobago decriminalized same-sex relations, followed by India in September. Botswana and Kenya saw legal challenges and Tunisia has banned anal tests for homosexuality, which are steps in the right direction.
Trans/nonbinary rights got a boost in several countries: In May, Canada became the first country to issue a non-binary birth certificate, while in October, Uruguay massively extended trans rights, even declaring that gender confirmation surgeries should be paid for by the government as they are a right for trans-Uruguayans. In November, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ended an anti-trans law in Guyana that banned “cross-dressing”.
Compulsory LGBTQ+ education introduced: As part of an effort to reduce homophobia/transphobia and improve the education system for queer students, Scotland has ordered its schools to create a more inclusive curriculum that incorporates LGBTQ+ issues and people.
I’m going to be honest. This was not an easy section to research or write, so I doubt it’ll be easy to read. However, I believe it’s important for us to know about the bad things that are happening so that we can fight back.
Trigger warnings for transphobia, homophobia, and violence.
The Trump administration attacked trans people: As I write this, the White House is deciding whether to erase trans people from existence by changing the definition of gender to a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth”. Back in May, they put trans prisoners at risk by ordering that they be housed by assigned sex rather than gender identity.
Several countries cracked down on LGBTQ+ rights: In August, Malaysia began a state-sponsored anti-gay crackdown, followed by Russia in September and Tanzania in October. Also in October, Brazil elected the homophobic Jair Bolsonaro as President.
How can we fight back?
Learn more about the issues: If an issue doesn’t directly affect you, then you’ll first need to educate yourself. Speak to other queer people, read reports from LGBTQ+ rights groups, and seek out news relating to our community.
Contact your officials: We have tons of representatives from the local to the national level, so no matter what the issue is, there is an elected official that you can contact. Let them know about the issue and encourage other people to do the same.
Vote: If your elected officials aren’t helping the LGBTQ+ community, then they don’t deserve to be in office.
Thanks for staying with me everyone, I promise it gets better now. We’re going to look at how queer people are changing the entertainment industry for the better. Oh yeah, we’re killing it.
Record levels of LGBTQ+ representation on TV: GLAAD’s annual “Where We Are on TV” report found that 8.8% of regular television characters identify as LGBTQ+; something that will hopefully increase in the coming years. Some of these characters were on existing shows like OITNB, Empire, Star, and Supergirl, but some were in brand new shows like 9-1-1, For the People, Instinct, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
New music came out from these queer artists: Billie Joe Armstrong, Bebe Rexha, Brendon Urie, Chely Wright, Janelle Monae, Jason Mraz, Rita Ora, and Troye Sivan.
These LGBTQ+-focused films were released: 1985, A Kid Like Jake, Alex Strangelove, Bohemian Rhapsody, Boy Erased, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Colette, The Death & Life of John F. Donovan, Disobedience, Duck Butter, The Happy Prince, Hearts Beat Loud, Ideal Home, Love Simon, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Rafiki, Tell It to the Bees, and Vita and Virginia.
Well, that’s it from me in 2018’s Queer in Review. Now, I’m looking forward to 2019, which I hope can be much more positive for LGBTQ+ people around the world. If we work together, then I’m sure it will be.
Now, I’m excited to hear from you. What positive things for the LGBTQ+ community have you seen this year? What terrible things did I miss off? And what queer entertainment should I be checking out? Let me know in the comments.