2012 Was an Amazing Big Gay News Year

I was born in 1960. 

There. I said it. 
I am 52! 
 I am not sure how old YOU are, our readers.  But I remember a time, BEFORE the internet. When gay men had to sneak around in bookstores trying to meet up. Or place ads in local magazine classifieds, to make a date. Then came phone sex. and phone personals. Times have changed kids!

I don’t remember Stonewall, I was only 9, but  I certainly know my LGBT history and know what  it meant. One night in 1969. WOW. And look where we are today. I did not think I would EVER see gay marriage in my lifetime. But look how many states have embraced us!!
OUR president supports marriage equality! that is SO BIG! 
ABC News and the Washington Post showed in May that 53% of Americans believe gay marriage should be legal, with 39% of those people saying they feel “strongly” about that endorsement.
 Another survey found that a steady majority of Americans — 54-56% —  reject the once dominant notion that homosexuality is “morally unacceptable,” up about 18 points since 2002.
FOUR STATES – voted against hate in November 2012. Over 50% of  Minnesotans voted against Amendment 1, a constitutional definition of marriage as “one man, one woman”.

Washington  gave the green light to gay nuptials, the first time in American history marriage equality has been approved by popular vote, forever changing the face of marriage in this country. NINE STATES now have Marriage Equality – and Illinois plans to be 10th!
 Corporate America stood up FOR US! Microsoft;  Bill and Melinda Gates donated a total of $600,000 to the successful marriage equality fight in Washington, while  Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife gave almost five times that: $2.5 million. Is that amazing, or what??? These are truly amazing times we are witnessing. + Already an outspoken advocate for equality, actor  Brad Pitt stepped it up by again donating $100,000 to same-sex marriage fights in four states, even as his mother argued against equality.

LEGALIZE LOVE with Google.
Always at the forefront of progressive battles,   their employees recorded a pro-marriage equality video earlier this year. Then  tech giant Google took its show of support on the road by  launching an international “Legalize Love” campaign in Poland and Singapore with sights on expanding into all the countries where it has offices. “We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office,” said Google diversity chief Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe at the company’s LGBT summit in London this summer.

Pop Music Gay Love – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, are blowing up after coming out and fighting for equality: the vocally pro-marriage artists’ track “Same Love” became a gay marriage anthem months before their appearance with on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Oreo celebrated its 100th birthday as one of the most recognizable and beloved treats in the nation. It also celebrated gay pride by posting a picture of a rainbow-filled cookie with the caption “proudly support love,” a quiet show of solidarity that hastily went viral on social media platforms.

Expedia and AmTrak courted gay travelers;  The Gap took a stand for marriage equality with their  clever “Be One” campaign.  J. Crew continued to feature same-sex couples in its catalogue.  Chevy and  Lexus both showed their pride, and  Red Hook Beer toasted its local marriage equality law in Washington State. Incredible stuff we are witnessing!

But one of the biggest shows of love for LGBT communities came from the 110-year old department store chain. JC Penney. WHO KNEW, Pennys would support LGBT people?!

One Million Moms, a numerically misleading conservative group of maybe a few thousand, boycotted the retailer after it hired out entertainer Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson.

DeGeneres naturally spoke about it on her show, but JC Penney itself wanted to make clear where it stood. “We stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson and that’s a great thing,” CEO Ron Johnson told CBS News. “She shares the same values that we do in our company. Our company was founded 110 years ago on the golden rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share.” After a few other flair ups about Ellen, OMM finally called it quits. “We’re moving on,” they said. – OMM actually have had a very sad year. They have lost steam. Same as American Family Association (AFA). They used to call for boycotts, now no one really pays attention to them!  HA!

Speaking of bad years!  The century-old  Boy Scouts of America has little time to make a decision: apologize for and reverse discriminatory policies or find themselves passe.
For decades the Boy Scouts of America’s policy prohibiting gay or lesbian leaders has been a stubborn and seemingly permanent piece of traditional discrimination. This year, cracks began to show and the organization is finally finding itself on the defensive, from both within and outside its own ranks. They seem to be a sinking ship!

They have been shamed  by Zach Wahls and other pro-equality scouts, were again publicly humiliated when celebrities and politicians alike,  rallied around Ryan Andresen, an 18-year old Scout denied Eagle status, the BSA was  criticized by the White House and has lost local chapters as well as funding from  high-profile backers Intel, the  Merck Foundation and  UPS.

And more shame – Two other  “institutions”  from very different genres, fast food chain  Chick-fil-A and  the Salvation Army, are also feeling the heat of our more inclusive culture. Chick-fil-A was “exposed” for donating millions of dollars to anti-gay causes. Much like Cracker Barrell in the 80’s, straight and gay people now boycott the chicken chain.

 The Salvation Army has taken heat for a number of years now,  and  finding itself increasingly criticized for its anti-gay sentiment:  the UC Berkeley student government recently demanded the school give the charity the boot, and  Current TV’s Stephanie Miller issued an apology after giving allowing a Salvation Army official to misrepresent his organization’s views on air.

And I salute the straight allies who supported this year. How cool was that?! Brendon-Ayanbadejo. Gotta love that guy.  Since 2009, Ayanbedejo has advocated for legalizing same-sex marriage. His advocacy rather suddenly became a cause célèbre in September 2012, after Maryland State Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr. wrote an August 29, 2012 letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, on official Maryland State letterhead, demanding that Bisciotti “take the necessary action … to inhibit such expressions from your employee.” Burns’ letter went on to state that, “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.” Burns’ letter was widely criticized, not least because of its obvious disregard for Ayanbadejo’s right to free speech. According to The Washington Post, the Ravens acknowledged receiving the letter but had no further comment.

Shortly after the Burns letter was delivered, Ayanbedejo publicly announced that he had no intention of remaining silent on an issue of conscience and public importance. Ayanbadejo has since said that he has received widespread support in the world of football.

 Among others, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wrote a scathing response to Burns, while the Ravens also publicly sided with Ayanbadejo.

Minnesota Vikings football player Chris Kluwe  charted his own course, becoming an instant legend, when he wrote a letter to anti-gay Maryland lawmaker Emmett C. Burns that equality “won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster” after Burns criticized fellow football player Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens for supporting love. Kluwe reiterated that “lustful cockmonster” message in an ad for Minnesotans for Equality.  GQ magazine named both men “honorary gays of the year,” which in and of itself speaks volumes about the men’s magazine’s evolution.

And then there was  Zach Wahls. Wahls technically hit the scene in 2011, when the then-19-year old made an impassioned speech defending his two moms before the Iowa State House, but 2012 was the year Wahls grew into his own, regularly appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and David Letterman’s Late Night, campaigning for President Obama’s reelection effort, speaking before the Democratic National Committee.

What a year, right?  It’s like a huge wave and it’s going to hit shore soon. And I believe WE WILL SEE our EQUAL RIGHTS, very soon. It’s a great time to be gay. But remember, there will always be haters. So be safe. I don’t care where you live. Remember we have haters.