In 2011, We Won Some Things: 10 Triumphant Moments In LGBT Rights

by riese & rachel

Well, I think just about everyone in the US can agree that 2011 more or less sucked hard States, which I blame on a lot of things including the Republicans in Congress. But anyhow! There’s one group for whom 2011 was not  just an endless adventure in suckdom: THE GAYS!

New Yorkers celebrate same-sex marriage (photograph by robin roemer on June 24th, 2011)

I mean, don’t get me wrong, we suffered through some extreme suckage this year. But right now let’s celebrate all the ways in which we won!

Top Ten Things The Gays Won in 2011

10. Prop 8 Is Probably Going to the Supreme Court

Judge Walker was ruled to be fit to make a decision on Prop 8 despite being gay (revolutionary, I know!) and probably will be again; while weddings still aren’t legal in California, the fact that Prop 8 is likely headed to the Supreme Court could mean that a precedent could soon be set that it’s unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage anywhere in the US. Combined with the myriad lawsuits against DOMA, and the fact that the Department of Justice has decided to stop defending DOMA against those lawsuits (see below!), 2011 has been full of good developments for marriage equality, and 2012 is looking even better.

9. Gay People Are Everywhere, More Popular

Thanks to census updates, we now have an idea of how many of us there really are: it is a lot, and we are everywhere. The world is changing accordingly; the majority of Republican voters no longer want gay marriage to be an issue. Even Focus on the Family admits they’ve lost the fight on gay marriage. 2011, thy name is progress.

8. Better Healthcare for LGBTQs

2011 was the year in which we saw a future where your doctor might stop assuming you have a boyfriend, and the medical community sort of figured out that your sexual orientation is relevant to your health. The Department of Health and Human Services realized they had to get their act together in regards to the queer community, and the standards of care that inform medical treatment for trans people got a major overhaul.

7. United States Decides “Gay Rights Are Human Rights”

In December, President Obama announced that the US will begin taking into account the experiences and treatment of gays and lesbians in foreign countries when making decisions regarding aid for those nations. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech accompanying the announcement, in which she noted (among other things) that “gay rights are human rights.”

6. United Nations Decides LGBT People Deserve Human Rights

The United Nations, probably totally inspired by Hillary Clinton, released its first formal report on international LGBT human rights. It was 25 entire pages long and is the first-ever UN commissioned study documenting  discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.


5. Obama Suggests Leaving Binational Gay & Lesbian Couples Alone For Now

In an attempt to more efficiently deport people, the Obama Administration orders the Deportation People to not stress about the gay couples right now.


4. FAIR SB48 Act Passes in California

California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB-48, the controversial bill which will require California’s public school textbooks to include the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Efforts to repeal the bill failed, which means we’re that much closer to a world where American children know more about LGBT history than just what they learned from watching Milk.


3. Obama Administration Announces They Are Totally Over DOMA 

When the Obama Administration declared, kind of out of nowhere, they would no longer defend the Defense Of Marriage Act in court, I actually thought it was April Fools Day.


2. Same-sex marriage in New York

After all kinds of deliberation, the New York State Senate approved same-sex marriage with a vote of 33-29. We were so excited and happy that we partied in the streets, took pictures, cried a lot and listened to that Jay-Z song on repeat for days. We did not, however, forget about pre-nups.


1. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed


This year we charged John McCain’s giant asshole blocking our path to freedom and successfully overturned “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which required gay soliders to keep their gayness a secret. The end of DADT meant that this adorable lesbian couple were able to have the first homecoming kiss in front of literally the entire world.

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  1. I don’t think I can say the words to express how happy I am about these developments. And to think, back in 2004, I thought I was all alone with this “strange” attraction with women.

    HORRAY for a good year and to another one :)

    • yes, when i was selecting photos i said to myself, “i must find the most flattering photo of this woman because after all, she’s a woman, and what matters most is what she looks like.”


  2. Australia also made steps towards same-sex marriage. Labor now has same-sex marriage as part of Labor’s national platform and we will have a conscience vote (that hopefully the conservatives can participate in) on same sex marriage in early 2012. AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE!!!

    • Also! SA *just* brought in legislation allowing the non-bio mother to be named on birth certs… under certain conditions, but still, steps!

      And thanks, Labor Party. They’ve made a lot of huge changes in the last couple of years (even though the conscience vote is doomed)

      • Rather than having to vote along party lines, Members of Parliament are allowed special freedom to vote ‘with their conscience’ (please do not get me started on the conscience of old rich men determining rights). Usually in regular Parliament, members of each party is required to vote along whatever the party line is.

        *IF* it won, it would be passed like any other bill. The opposition party looks very unlikely to allow their members a conscience vote though, so they vote as a block and several Labor members vote against it = automatic fail.

      • It should also be added that the conscience vote is actually kind of a step back, because with the change to the party platform, otherwise the Labor Party would all have to vote for same-sex marriage. (I’m not sure that would give a hypothetical bill enough votes anyway, but…)

  3. too bad the “t” in “lgbt” is still remaining relatively silent. the only trans related thing that made your list was the revised transgender standard of care. maybe next year we will see more transgender related triumphs on your list.

    • ^This. And I really wish writers on this site wouldn’t use ‘gay’ to equal LGBTQ. Not the same. Did “the gays” win things or did LGBTQ people win them?

    • Those are my feelings too. :/ While I am queer and many of these triumphs (potentially) apply to me, trans rights are pretty set back… And as I am amidst my transition, those rights end up affecting me a lot more.

    • I hate how cissexist so many queers are.

      (Yeah, I want to get married one day, but I also care about other shit. Like, important shit.)

      (But I’m a polysexual who calls herself as a lesbian, so I’m a douche.)

  4. We won things! Holy shit I LOVE WINNING THINGS! Lets douse each other in Gatorade while Eye of the Tiger plays!

    Also, the top and bottom pics are my favorites. The last one is squee worth but the top photo wins because of the guy’s expression.

  5. To be fair, with the way many people see transgender people, a victory for any part of the LGBTQ group is a victory for the whole group, plus its always good to have publicity, making sure less and less children grow up wondering why they don’t fancy the opposite sex or why they dream of being the opposite sex.

    Also, the changes to the standards of care were pretty huge!

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