This November's elections were a mixed bag of good and bad. First was the controversy of Target and Best Buy Corporations Donations to a Campaign fund that supported "pro business" candidates including very anti-gay Tom Emmer. Target apologized and promised more oversight into their campaign contribution process...then continued to do it again.
Not much to fit into this category as much of what was promised, failed to materialize.Doma was a complete non-starter while the Employment Non-Discrimination Act(ENDA) failed again this year because anti-gay/trans legislators succeeded again in scaring people into thinking that including Transgendered people will mean that the workplace bathroom will become the sight predatory men using women's bathrooms for nefarious purpouses. Transphobia strikes again!
Even our Allies seemed to be more "frenemies" than "fierce advocates". The president put very little effort into lobbying the repeal and communiqueswere leaked from the white house urging lawmakers not to force this to a vote. Messages were mixed with impugnity. One White house official would deem the repeal a "no-brainer" and "inevitable" while another congressman would claim with 100% certainty that it would never happen. No one knew who to trust, let alone what the hell was going on in the White House. Democrats attempted to attach the repeal effort to a bill they believed would never fail, the Defense Authorization Act...a bill that funds the U.S. military. Republicans scoffed and for the first time in 62 years sunk the Defense bill rather than pass it with DADT attached...much due to the filibustering efforts of John McCain. At that point we all thought the repeal effort was dead.
2010 was a litigious year with the courts putting tremendous pressure on law makers. Three court cases wound their way up the judicial ladder challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. First, in Maine Federal Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in two separate cases that DOMA was unconstitutional. This was the first blow to Doma and a ruling which the Obama administration's Department of Justice has chosen to appose on appeal. Thanks fierce advocates!
The role call of young gay people who took their own lives this year due to bullying is staggering and heart breaking. Even though all of us have been aware of bullying and the fact that gay teens have a higher ratio of suicide, it still came as a shock each time a new name was announced. Justin Aaberg, Tyler Clementi, and Seth Walsh were just a handful of the many we lost this year. Their loss helped launch "safe schools" campaigns across the nation as well as Dan Savages, "It Gets Better" Project which featured videos of encouragement from LGBT people who survived bullying as well as prominent celebrities and politicians offering practical advice and encouragement to help curb the spate of suicides. What began small as just everyday people sharing their stories grew to mammoth proportions with videos offered by many straight celebrities as well as the President and members of his administration.
Also this year with the tale of so much death and loss and the attention it brought to bullying, were the stories of awesome parents who supported and encouraged their kids in the face of an intolerant and insecure society. Sara blogged about her son's Halloween costume choice in her blog "Nerdy Apple Bottom" after she and her son received a healthy dose of scorn from other preschool mom's because she honored her son Boo's request to dress up as Daphne(from Scooby Doo). Sara's response was to tell the other moms to back the hell off and to stand proudly by her son. Also this year was Katie the Star Wars girl, who was harassed at school because she was a girl who loves all things Star Wars. Katie also had an awesome and supportive mom who happens to blog and took her story to the Internet where Katie received an overwhelming outpouring of love from other fans and Lucasfilm sources. Finally we read about Dyson Kilodavis, who loves to wear dresses and all things pink and sparkly. He also received the complete support and acceptance of his family. His mother Cheryl even wrote a book by the name of "My Princess Boy" to help educate kids about those like her son...a book which brought Cheryl a lot of controversy. However, despite the backlash all these parents received, they all went down in my book as the heroes of 2010.