2014, like pretty much every year, has been crazy on the queer fight front. There’s a hell of a long way to go, but we’ve inched slightly closer to equality. The list below is in order of importance, in my (probably myopic) view.
- The Suicide of Leelah Alcorn – End of December 2014
If you haven’t just been woken from a cryogenic slumber, chances are you’ve heard about the tragic death and moving suicide note of 17-year-old Ohioan Leelah Alcorn. A young trans girl raised by evangelical Christian parents, Leelah was not only not accepted by her parents, but brutally psychologically abused. Her suicide note and various other online postings describe conversion therapy doled out by “Christian” therapists and being totally isolated by her parents. Her parents continue to misgender their daughter and refuse to accept her death as a premeditated suicide. Through the droves of awful and survivor’s guilt this story has brought up in so many of us, it has also brought greater awareness to the continuing struggle trans people endure every day. No one should ever have to die for “awareness,” but so much of the world is dedicated to making this death mean something.
- Marriage Equality – All of 2014
As of mid-January, at least thirty-five states allow legal same-gender marriage. Not “civil unions” or “legal partnerships,” but true marriage. Many religious conservatives feel as though there is a “war” on religion, but the United States of America has a little something called Separation of Church and State implemented by our so-called ‘devout’ Jesus-loving founders (in reality, most of them were deists, the vague, somewhat more certain version of agnosticism). This little nugget of Constitutional wisdom forbids the comingling of theocracy while preserving every citizen’s right to believe and practice whatever they want so long as it doesn’t break any laws (i.e. virgin sacrifice). Gay marriage is something of an inevitability when considering the First Amendment. Let’s just hope Scalia and the Conservo-Dudes at the Supreme Court don’t fuck this up when they rule on Federal Gay Marriage in June.
- New York State Guidance on Insurance Companies and Trans Rights – December 2014
The Governor of the great state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, released a guidance stating that trans healthcare had to be covered by insurance in New York State. Medicaid was expanded to cover SRS and hormones. Private insurers were threatened of losing all consumers in New York if they didn’t comply. Things have become easier here, where surgery isn’t required to change gender markers on birth certificates, too. And if one state does it, others will too. Watch this space.
- FDA Blood Ban Modification – December 2014
In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration placed a ban on blood, organ, and tissue donations from all MSM (men who have sex with men). This was a reactionary move in the early, dark, and ignorant days of the AIDS pandemic. Every four years, the Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability convenes to reevaluate the ban. For over thirty years, the conclusion was the same: “it’s too risky,” and “we need more scientific evidence.” That sounds pretty familiar, I’m sure. In December, however, they decided to surprise us. They decided to change the ban from permanent and for life to a one year deferral after every sexual encounter. Only celibate MSM are really allowed to give blood now, not even those in safe, long-term monogamous relationships. This modification, I suppose can be seen as progress, but only marginally. It still perpetuates the same stereotype that gay = AIDS and that those who engage in gay sex are inherently diseased. This obviously has no basis in science and ignores two key facts. The group with the highest growth in HIV positive rates in America is African American heterosexual women. Also, there are no specific sex acts (i.e. blowjobs, rimming, anal sex, etc.) that MSM engage in that heterosexuals don’t. This is still the work of pseudo-liberal homophobes scared that gay is catching. Fuck that.
- AG Holder’s Guidance Letter – 2014
This year, Attorney General Eric Holder extended Title IX protections to LGBT people. Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 originally forbade the discrimination of women in educational institutions on the basis of sex. Now, Title IX protects individuals from discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Which is great in the education space!
So, that’s it for 2014 LGBT. Because I’m a dickhead and it’s already February, I’m canning the rest of the best-ofs. Maybe next year. Womp womp womp.