Because everyone seems to love top ten lists, whether they be about movies or books or world events, I've done some thinking about the top LGBT events of 2009. For years I've compiled lists like these in my mind. Now that I have the chance to actually write one of these lists out, here it is!
It was a big year for LGBT rights. It wasn't necessarily the best of times and the worst of times, but it most definitely was a mixed bag. But a mixed bag is certainly better than a bag filled with coal. Here, then, are what I consider the events that most affected the LGBT community in no particular order. I'll do five today and five tomorrow.
1. Barack Obama is sworn in as President of the United States. Nothing seemed to epitomize the state of LGBT rights better than the inauguration. We finally had a gay friendly president in the White House. But opening the ceremony was Rick Warren, a minister who did not allow LGBT people into his church and who compared LGBT relationships with incest. Then again, openly gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson gave the invocation to the inaugural week. But his prayer wasn't televised.
2. Marriage equality comes to New Hampshire, Vermont, and Iowa. Both New Hampshire and Vermont had civil union laws on the book and both states expanded LGBT rights to marriages with a modicum of opposition. These two victories should serve as a reminder that there are many ways to get to same-sex marriage rights, and civil unions may be oneof them. Same-sex marriage in Iowa was legalized through the Supreme Court. And let's not forget Washington, DC, which will offer same-sex marriage in 2010 unless the US Congress steps in, something they are unlikely to do. Remember this when we are lamenting about Maine, New York, and California. And let's no forget international progress, including the passage of a same-sex marriage bill in Mexico City.
3. Ted Kennedy dies. It would be hard to find a politician who understood the nature of oppression and the difficulty in acquiring one's civil rights than Ted Kennedy. He will be sorely missed.
4. Sean Penn wins the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk. Not only was his characterization of Harvey Milk brilliant, in his speech at the Oscars in February he explained to millions of people why proposition 8 was deeply immoral.
5. Annise Parker is elected Mayor of Houston. When the fourth largest city in th country -- and a Southern City at that -- elects an openly gay mayor, despite vicious attacks against her because of she is a lesbian, then it is time to celebrate.
Tomorrow: five more to add to the list. Most likely written on the New York Thruway on our trip to Toronto. I received a mobile modum for Christmas. Will it lead to convenience or obsession? I'm afraid I already know the answer.