2010 has been some kind of trip on the Equality Roller Coaster, huh? “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been overturned and under-turned and sideways-turned and flipped and flopped and hammered and puffed up and knocked down and rolled over so may times we don’t even know which way is up anymore. President Obama has remained mostly silent on gay rights. More gay and lesbian teenagers than we can bare to count took their own lives this year. And a majority of Americans still don’t support same-sex marriage.
And yet, 2010 was also full of bright moments that made us feel warm and fuzzy and tearful in the very best way. If this year had an equality slogan, it would surely be “It Gets Better,” and we believe that! It is getting better! And so just in time for (American) Thanksgiving, we’ve compiled a list of ten reasons we’re thankful this year.
Despite the fact that it is positively inundated with lesbian and bisexual woman, the sports world is still a shockingly homophobic place. And with the fleeting nature of fame and the small window of marketability, no one could blame Olympic athletes for not going public with their sexuality. These women train their entire lives for a single moment on the international stage. But in February in Vancouver, Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, Sarah Vaillancourt of Canada, Erika Holst from Sweden and Vibeke Skofterud from Norway competed in the 21st Winter Olympic games as openly gay athletes. They even took home four medals between them!
Jennifer Knapp is a former contemporary Christian artist and Chely Wright is a country music star, and if you’re thinking those are the two most conservative music industries on earth, you are correct. Wright and Knapp both came out this year, and each took a turn on Larry King, speaking candidly about their sexuality. And Chely took it a step further, becoming a willing torchbearer for equality after releasing her profoundly moving memoir Like Me. At the risk of being ostracized from the country music community, she became a vocal advocate for the repeal of DADT, for marriage equality all over the world, and for various campaigns aimed at educating young people on the dangers of homophobic bullying. Every time a celebrity comes out of the closet, it leaves the door open a little wider for those who will come behind them. But we think it’s fair to say Chely and Jennifer busted the door wide open in their respective communities.