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June 01, 2016 News » Cover Story

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The year in gay from A-Z
A look at the people and milestones that helped shape the LGBTQ movement in the last 365 days
By Enrique Limón

A is for allies. The LGBTQ community has won many battles, thanks to those nongay voices that have lent their heft to the cause—from the Senate floor to the classrooms of St. George's Snow Canyon High School. We wholeheartedly thank you.

B is for Jackie Biskupski, elected on Nov. 17, 2015. The jury might still be out on what the legacy of her term might be, but the fact remains that as Salt Lake City's first openly gay mayor and only the second woman ever to hold that post, she's broken new ground.

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C is for criminalization. Homosexuality is still criminalized in 79 countries around the globe including Egypt, India, Singapore and Jamaica. Stateside, though anti-sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional in 2003 by the U.S. Supreme Court, 13 states (including Utah) still have 'em in the books.

D is for dracarys and those Mama Dragons that stand by their children no matter what.

E is for elders. Those of the non-Mormon kind. Respect them. Acknowledge them. Talk to them. Bow down to them. Without those fearless badasses that paved the way (many of whom succumbed at the height of the AIDS crisis), your reality would be less fabulous.

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F is for forty-one. Utah Pride might be middle-aged now, but trust me, it's never looked better (in that hot, salt-and-pepper daddy kind of way.)

G is for the gender nonconforming and trans* brothers and sisters. There's still a long way to go, but you give this vibrant community its diversity and transgressive might. #Masc4Masc be damned.

H is for heels. Damn them! Now in its 13th year, the Damn These Heels film festival continues to be a beacon for LGBTQ representation. Check it out from July 15-17 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

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I is for inclusion. As Pride festivities have gotten larger—from L.A. to our fair city—some grassroots organizations are starting to feel abandoned in the towering shadow of corporate sponsors. Remember who your original marchers were and what their message was.

J is for Jenner. One year ago this week, Caitlyn Jenner made her vampy debut on the cover of Vanity Fair. There's a lot to be said about her political views, but one thing is for sure: The Olympian made transgender a household word, and continues to be a pop culture lightning rod.

K is for Kansas. In March, the Sunflower State became the first one this year to successfully enact a so-called religious freedom legislation that some critics say targets LGBTQ communities at college and university campuses. Step it up, JayHawkers! Kansas is, after all, Dorothy's home state.

L is for lips; they're sealed. We're glad that this year's Pride headliner Belinda Carlisle's weren't, though, when she schooled Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in an open letter that called the state's discriminatory HB-1523 "a weapon against others."

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M is for Milk. Salt Lake City's got it in the form of the newly named Harvey Milk Boulevard, aka 900 South. We've been officially recruited.

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N is for North Carolina. The state's move to require people use public building and school bathrooms in accordance to the sex stated in their birth certificate instead of their gender identity brought out the worst in people. It also brought out the best.

O is for Obama. From repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell and ending the Defense of Marriage Act early on in his presidency, to his recent affirmation of trans* student rights, the president has gone down in history as the most outspoken one in regards to equal rights.

P is for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). A once-daily medication that has proven to be almost 100 percent effective in preventing the spread of HIV. Get informed and get on it.

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Q is for queer. What was once a violent pejorative has now been reclaimed and is a thing of beauty. In a bold move last February, the Huffington Post's "Gay Voices" vertical was renamed Queer Voices, saying the term is "the most inclusive and empowering word to speak to and about the community."

R is for the Red Cross. In December, the Food and Drug Administration lifted a ban that prohibited gay and bisexual men from donating blood (with a 12-month deferral). As early as 2006, the American Association of Blood Banks, America's Blood Centers and the American Red Cross issued a joint statement calling the lifetime ban "medically and scientifically unwarranted."

S is for Stonewall. The genesis of Pride celebrations across the globe can be traced to what happened at the Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn during the early hours of June 28, 1969. Before hitting the bars this weekend, brush up on your history and bow down to the defiant courageousness of people like Stormé DeLarverie, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

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T is for Tyler Glenn. Last month, the Neon Trees frontman released the video for "Trash," an affront on the LDS Church's stance on the LGBTQ community.

U is for Utah, duh. Not just because I couldn't think of anything else with U, but because, even though the Beehive State has a ways to go, steps forged in the last 365 days—including banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing—have left a sizable equality footprint.

V is for Vermont. This July, the state's decision to introduce same-sex civil unions turns Sweet 16.

W is for wedding bells. On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, finally giving LGBTQ couples the right to legit wedding registry (oh, and those pesky 1,138 federal protections and rights allotted to opposite-sex couples.)

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XXX is for porn. In April, Gov. Gary Herbert deemed porn to be a "public health crisis." Now that he's tackled the big issue, perhaps he can move on to homelessness, rampant opioid addiction and nonexistent sexual education for our youth. Now, let's all take a breath of fresh air. Oh, never mind, that needs work as well.

Y is for youth. Using data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys gathered between 2001-2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that along with heightened bullying, teasing, harassment and physical assault, LGBTQ youth is more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Have a LGBTQ kid in your class, church, family? Tell 'em you accept and stand with them. It'll make a world of difference.

Z is for Zion. Here's hoping this weekend's festivities and the ongoing struggle for equal rights in the year to come represent a "utopian association of the righteous." Rise up. Continue pushing buttons. Be proud.

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About The Authors

Carolyn Campbell

Carolyn Campbell

Campbell has been writing for City Weekly since the 1980s. Her insightful pieces have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists chapters in Utah and Colorado.
Enrique Limón

Enrique Limón

Editor at Salt Lake City Weekly. Lover of sour candies.

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