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SheWired's Top 10 Lesbian and Gay News Events That Made a Difference in 2009

SheWired's Top 10 Lesbian and Gay News Events That Made a Difference in 2009

 

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community made some significant gains and suffered some devastating losses. This year,  The L Word ended, openly gay and lesbian candidates took office, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed, 200,000+ came to the National Equality March, some states gained marriage equality, others lost it, out celebs like Ellen Degeneres and Wanda Sykes nabbed highly visible gigs despite gay media outlets closing.

 

2009 has been quite a year! The LGBT community made some significant gains and suffered some devastating losses. It was the first year of a gay-friendly president but we anguished about the slowness of his administration to effect real change.

It was a busy year and choosing the top 10 news events is difficult and subjective at best. Here are my choices for 10 events that made a difference:

1. Hate Crimes Bill – On October 28, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law gives the Justice Department authority to fully investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes.

2. National Equality March -- Some 250,000+ people attended the march on Washington in October to demand equal protection for all LGBT people.

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3. Gay Marriage, Part 1 -- The right of gays to marry expanded to more states including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, California and Iowa. But the news was not all good…

4. Gay Marriage, Part 2 – Voters in California and Maine took away the right to same sex marriage in those states.

5. Civil Rights – A growing number of cities and businesses, including most Fortune 500 companies, gave gays partner benefits … not marriage and the more than 1,400 rights that go with it, but something.

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6. End of TheL Word -- The groundbreaking lesbian TV series ended in March after six seasons, leaving a void in lesbian entertainment.

7. Election Victories -- Openly gay and lesbian candidates gained ground in local and state races across the US. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund endorsed more LGBT candidates and saw more winners than ever before.

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8. Entertainment – Several out lesbians nabbed highly visible gigs. Wanda Sykes got her own late night TV show. Jane Lynch captured audiences with her portrayal of the cheerleading coach on Glee. Cherry Jones won an Emmy for her portrayal of the President in 24. Portia De Rossi hung on to Better Off Ted and her wife Ellen DeGeneres made the cover of O Magazine.

9. Bad Economic News – The LGBT community was not immune. Window Media LLC shut down the Washington Blade and other publications, joining the long list of LGBT publications, web sites and bookstores killed by tough economic times.

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10. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – The news is that there is no news… lots of talk but no change. This policy has resulted in dismissal of more than 13,500 gay service members since 1994. Women, who make up 15% of the military, represent more than 33% of the discharges. 

Top Ten in 2009:

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Edie Stull