2014 provided some significant milestones in LGBT rights and visibility, both here in the United States and internationally. Each and every one of these stories deserves to win the category on its own merit; but sadly, gentle readers, you must vote for only one. Here are the nominees for the NS4W 2014 LGBT Moment of the Year:
1. Michael Sam drafted by the NFL
Openly-gay football star Michael Sam made major headlines earlier this year when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first “out” athlete in the NFL. Immediately after getting the call with the news, he promptly kissed his adorable boyfriend – a moment captured on video that was replayed repeatedly on virtually every television news outlet for days on end. His courage and integrity while being in the public eye was inspiring, and he would go on to win the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPY Awards; would be named one of GQ’s Men of the Year; and would be a finalist for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. He was eventually cut from the St. Louis Rams’ roster, but remains a role model for young gay athletes across the country.
2. Marriage Equality Momentum – 35 States with Freedom to Marry
The graphic speaks for itself (via freedomtomarry.org)
3. “Transparent” Critical Acclaim
Following the daily life of a family in Los Angeles dealing with having a transgender father (brilliantly played by Jeffrey Tambor), Transparent became a critical favorite with its honest, touching, and hilarious storyline – the first of its kind on television. Kudos to Amazon Studios and writer/director Jill Soloway for creating such a wonderful series – one that garnered a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, who said about the series – “As much about a change in television as it is about personal change, Transparent raises the bar for programming with sophistication and sincere dedication to the human journey, warts and all.” Most recently, it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Comedy. Transparent will return for a second season in 2015, and friend of NS4W, Our Lady J, was recently announced as one of the writers for season 2. Congratulations!
4. US Government Expands Benefits and Services for Same-Sex Marriages
In a move that impacted how millions of Americans interact with the government – the United States expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters, including survivor benefits, bankruptcy cases, and prison visitation rights, among others. The Human Rights Campaign called it a “landmark announcement” that would “change the lives of countless committed gay and lesbian couples for the better.” Progress for our community usually comes in small steps, but this was a giant leap.
5. Indian Government Officially Recognizes “Third Gender” Status for Trans Individuals
In April 2014, India’s Supreme Court recognized transgender people as a third gender, in a landmark ruling. It ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities. This was a major step forward; however, homosexuality remains a crime in India.
YOU MAY VOTE ONCE A DAY IN EACH CATEGORY! VOTING RUNS THROUGH DECEMBER 24TH!