10 Best and 10 Worst Gay Happenings of 2009

What a year we’ve had, ladies & gentlemen! It’s time to look back on some of the most defining moments of 2009 in the U-S-of-A, which is now popularly considered one of the worst years ever. Howevs, because the gays really have nowhere to go but up, several sparkles shone upon our homosexual horizon this year. Ready? These are in no particular order, FYI. No order. Just random. Like swine flu.


BEST: Dan Choi comes out on The Rachel Maddow Show (March 23)

If you were ever wondering what it would take to become America’s most beloved gay Arabic linguist (and Autostraddle’s #1 BFF forever!), this is it. Howevs, this announcement led to ….

WORST: Dan Choi gets fired (March 23)

Since Obama took office, 265 service members, including a disproportionate number of gay women, have been discharged under DADT, and one of them is our BFF Dan Choi. However we’ve  really enjoyed covering his rising activist star this year!



BEST: Ellen and Portia voted most trusted with America’s kids (May 9) and then in November, they went on Oprah and said a bunch of adorable things.

There is a theory that Oprah actually only had them on the show so that later, backstage, she could ask them to babysit. (JK does Oprah even have kids? Probs not, maybe she needs them to babysit Dr. Phil)ellenportiababy

Ellen’s biggest success this year, however, was on her own show, when Portia’s new sitcom Better Off Ted provided the couple with an opportunity to be totally adorable on television.


“The whole episode was another one of those quietly revolutionary moments. You just have to read all the gushing tweets about the interview from people across America to see how many people, gay and straight, were charmed by their appearance on the show together today. For many straight people, Ellen and Portia are the only same-sex couple they know, and that’s why this episode, and Friday’s “rehearsal” episode, will arguably do more for improving the visibility of same-sex marriage than all the Prop. 8 PSAs put together.”

WORST: Lilo & Samro, Cherry Jones & Sarah Paulson AND Rosie & Kelli call it quits

Lindsay and Sam more or less officially separated this year, which breaks all of our little bisexual hearts. If a DJ and an actress/model with substance abuse problems can’t find true love, WHO CAN? Lindsay, of course, entertained us all year long with her pining @ replies to Sam. We’re still pretty sure that they’ll get back together soon though, and we’ve had just about enough of the entire mass media trying to prove Lindsay’s going back to men. lilosamro

In other breakup news, Rosie & Kelli confirmed rumors that the couple was having trouble, though we were assured that the split would have no affect on the children or their togetherness as a family. Meanwhile, Cherry Jones & Sarah Paulson quietly broke up, sans drama and @-replies.dotted-divider2


BEST: Spring Fever! Iowa (April 3) & Vermont (April 7) legalize same-sex marriage

The heartland finally got on the equality bandwagon and Vermont soon followed, becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislative, not judicial, action. Massachusetts says WELCOME TO THE PARTY, Y’ALL.iowavermont

WORST: California Supreme Court upholds Prop 8 (May 26)

What is there to say? We made clever signs and cried and tried to talk reasonably to all the crazies that we didn’t the first time, and ultimately, that still didn’t change America so that a majority couldn’t vote on the rights of a minority. Just ask Maine.



BEST: Hot Fun in the Summertime! New Hampshire legalizes gay marriage (June 3)

Gay MarriageJust a little late — Iowa and Vermont are all “Where have you been, bro?” –and New Hampshire is like, “Right here, let’s go take a bridal shower!”

WORST: NOM’s existence (all year long)

The National Organization for Marriage is pretty much everything we are against. We dream that one day we’ll wake up to find Maggie Gallagher embroiled in a tax fraud or embezzlement scandal or even better, a sex scandal. Anyhoo, here’s a parody that will make you feel better, though!



BEST: Obama makes big promises to the HRC/opens for Lady Gaga (Oct. 10)

mp_main_wide_ObamaHRC09_452Obama spoke to the HRC the night before the National Equality March and repromised a lot of things, including ending DADT and fighting DOMA. And then Lady Gaga sang, which was obvs the best part of the night!

Also speaking of great speechmaking, Wanda Sykes became the first out lesbo to address the White House Correspondents Dinner. She did a good job!

WORST: DADT continues/Obama doesn’t deliver on campaign promises (all year long)

Despite more and more people coming out against DADT (including the American Medical Association, military higher-ups, and Obama himself), the policy still stands and continues to make gay soldiers’ lives difficult. And though Obama has backtracked from offensive statements made from his administration about gay marriage, Obama has yet to take action on DOMA.


Maine, the untimely death of Jennifer Schecter,
and where’s our equal rights, bitches!?!

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Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 127 articles for us.


  1. In fear of causing some kind of uproar, I don’t want to strike the chords really…

    But, can we please lay off of Obama. I know he hasn’t come through, but I mean in all honesty, healthcare and war, are kind of important, and would be on the top of my list as well.

    • I kinda agree, he definitely has a lot on his plate and only 4 years to deal with everything (well 3 now). But also, if we don’t push him to make changes, he might never make them at all.

    • I get what you’re saying. He’s only 1/4 of the way through his term, and he’s been dealing with really important shit. But like Emily says, we won’t get on the agenda if we don’t keep talking about it. If DADT wasn’t so harmful, I wouldn’t be quite as sad.

    • The problem with Obama is that he made promises that have not been kept so it makes him look like he pandered to the LGBT community for our votes but has no real intention of delivering equality. I still think he is a good guy and has the potential to be a great president. I’m just disappointed.

    • Lay off Obama?

      From day one in introducing his BFF Rick Warren to give his opening blessing / speech, to instructing his DOJ to equate LGBT Equality to incest, molestation, and bestiality.

      To removing his promises from the white house website.

      Going from “removing DADT” to “Changing DADT”.

      Not speaking out about his voice being used in robocalls for prop 8.

      Not mentioning wins in Iowa, VT, NH.

      Not saying a damn thing for Maine / WA.

      Having the DNC encourage voters in Maine to vote in NJ, or help out call in NJ, but nothing about prop 1.

      throwing away his promises on heathcare, and becoming an industry lapdog.

      Increasing the military commitment in Iraq / Afghanistan.

      Changing his promises on release of photo’s detailing abuses by the military….

      It goes on and on.

      How dare you protect this liar, and bigot. He is not our ally. He is simply a better educated, more well spoken, pure power hungry politician.

    • Bush wasn’t afraid to push the Senate into voting on “a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America”. And he only had 55 Republican senators at most. Right now, Obama hasn’t done anything to show that we would or could fight for us, and he broke his promise on DADT.

    • Yeah I think in general we’ve gone easy on Obama. In most articles we give him the benefit of the doubt and time. But I think personally I’m getting to a point where i feel like he needs to step out and make radical left-wing choices. This health care debacle has brought to light the fact that he’ll always lose with the right, and he’s not having any luck convincing the middle that he’s on their side, and so he might as well just go left now — as Ken points out, there’ve been plenty of opportunities for him to do SOMETHING.

  2. I love that the L Word season 6 was the second worst thing to happen this year. Oh, Ilene. In other news, I still fucking hate NOM and wish Maggie Gallagher’s face would get off the internet/life. Also, I don’t know if that Dr. Phil picture is creepy or hilarious. A little bit of both I think. Good job Sarah and Rachel!

    • I concur. It was so sad to see the L Word decline into the cesspool of the sixth season. Terrible indeed.

      The Dr. Phil baby photo will give me nightmares.

      • I want to be suddenly be intelligent with both math and science, create the world’s first time machine, travel back to when and where season 6 of the L Word was being written, and burn those scripts. Somehow I think it would still be awesomely bad though.

  3. I would’ve stepped over my own mother for a beer at that DC gay march.

    Great post you guys! Autostraddle is totally my Person of the Year. Like, Autostraddle is really nice and looks pretty all the time, and passes fun notes and things. And when she gets a wonky font-job we just politely stay quiet and compliment her footer and winning personality. And then she tells us about her favourite books and movies and music and tv and things, and we think wow Autostraddle, you’re like the nicest, coolest friend ever. You’ve had a great year, Autostraddle. Here’s looking at you. Because you are a screen.

  4. It still baffles me that these referendums on gay marriage occur. I can’t see that the result will ever change while this happens! It’s the same deal in Australia too..it’s screwed up.

  5. Pingback: 10 Best and 10 Worst Gay Happenings of 2009 | MyGaySpot

  6. I refuse to believe that the members of NOM are real.. How do people like that get programmed to be so hateful? What kind of life-track do you have to be on to end up on the team of hate? Does not compute.

    • Maybe NOM will be revealed to just be a hilarious prank! In like2 2012, they’ll be all “Just kidding guys! Can we come to your weddings now?”

      • …and then that same year Ann Coulter said she was a secret liberal who just wanted to make conservatives look bad. If only.

        • I hate how NOM uses a cute, food-related word for its dastardly deeds. I also love/hate how I’m pretty much banned from the comments over there. But hey, I’m not above using my long-defunct middle school email address to virtually drop-kick some bitches. Hadouken!

  7. I’m getting a little sick of our side always calling it “progress” or “best” or a “good thing” just because a rich bigoted politician comes to a fundraiser held by a professional lobbyist organization with little real connection to the lgbt community and a way-too-cozy relationship with corporate America. So, Obama came, maybe ate some food, made some promises we’ve all heard a billion times before, then left. How is that qualify for a “Best of 2009?” So long as THIS is low standard for determining progress, we’ll be unequal for a LONG time.

    I would consider Obama’s HRC speech a WORST. Talk about adding insult to injury.

  8. @ Ken I agree with all of your points. I almost cried when Del Martin read highlights from the brief from the Department of Justics at the Dyke March in Weho last June. It was a complete slap in the face. Most of the crowd was stunned and teary eyed also. It was difficult to march in the face of defeat but it encouraged to fight harder.

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