You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
We are an open and affirming, multi-racial and multi-cultural, assessable to all, peace and justice oriented body of faith. We go into the community and God's disciples. Grounded by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we uplift Christ's goodness, create spiritual community, and care for God's people and God's world. Dynamic hope, incredible compassion, extravagant hospitality, and radical love are our core values.
Daniel Pillai’s He/She Project Growing up in a traditional south Asian community in Canada, Daniel Pillai didn’t quite fit in. “There was an inherent non-acceptance to who I was and how I acted,” he says. “I stuck out like a sore thumb.” Pillai spent his childhood in what he calls a “conservative atmosphere,” surrounded by […]
Addiction Treatment and the Recovery Process By Matt Gonzales, writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com Drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects your physical and mental health, job status and relationships. Once you’re hooked on a drug, your whole life revolves around it. Substance use disorders are common in the United States. Heroin use in […]
Who pays after the devastating Orlando shooting? After a tragedy, who pays the bill? There has been a lot of talk lately about medical costs and medical debt, even as the Affordable Care Act helps more Americans get the treatment they need without taking on crippling debt. Even with more people covered, medical treatment is […]
Making a Legal Case for Bisexuality Bisexuality is widely misunderstood. Bisexuals are often dismissed or used as a punchline by the straight community and sidelined in conversations about LGBT rights and equality, often while experiencing many of the same struggles and setbacks as the rest of the queer community. And for some–like Ray Fuller, a […]
Olympic Coverage Criticized as Homophobic? One of the most memorable moments of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio didn’t occur during an event. Instead, just after the women’s rugby event on Monday night, Brazil’s Isadora Cerullo’s partner, Marjorie Enya, surprised her with a proposal. As reported by CNN, Enya said in her emotional speech “I […]
2015 LGBT Triumphs, LGBT Concerns for 2016
How will you remember 2015? For many members of the LGBT community, this was a landmark year, with the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage changing the lives of LGBT couples and families across the United States. It’s hard to overstate the impact of this decision, which may be one of the most significant advancements to LGBT rights in decades, but it was hardly the only news to impact the LGBT community in 2015.
Greater visibility and understanding leads to LGBT triumphs. 2015 was the year more people began to take notice of transgender issues, whether through increased visibility in television and movies or through the ever-present Caitlyn Jenner. However, it was also a year that brought vehement opposition to increased rights for the LGBT community, both in the United States and across the globe. 2015 brought both significant progress or LGBT triumphs for the community while setting the stage for the conversations and struggles that will define the coming years.
LGBT Triumphs: Increased Visibility & Rights
The LGBT community was often at the forefront of news in 2015, with marriage equality dominating much of the national conversation following the Supreme Court’s decision in June. LGBT visibility was at an all-time high throughout the year, however, with increased media coverage of LGBT issues and a growing awareness of the ongoing struggles of the LGBT community:
- LGBT Media – From Orange is the New Black on Netflix to Fun Home on Broadway, this year was huge for LGBT media. The biggest victory, however, may be that shows, movies, and plays centered around LGBT experiences and characters were able to gain such large audiences outside of the community, raising visibility and awareness of LGBT issues. Greater media coverage could certainly be viewed in the list of LGBT triumphs.
- LGBTI Human Rights – While we’re on the subject of raising visibility and awareness of LGBT issues, 2015 was also the year the United States created a new post specifically concerned with LGBT rights across the globe: in February, Randy Berry was appointed as the first-ever special envoy for LGBTI human rights.
- Global Progress – The United States was hardly alone in advancing LGBT equality in 2015. One of the most notable victories occurred in Ireland, where gay marriage won legalization in a national election; Mexico, also declared that same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional paving the way for gay marriage nationwide.
Do the 2015 LGBT triumphs lead to further challenges? There seems to be a ton of momentum for advancing LGBT rights across the country and across the world, but 2015 wasn’t just a year of victory and visibility for the LGBT community. Based on the vocal and public pushback against equal rights, it seems like the opponents of LGBT freedoms realize that the public sentiment is shifting away from bigotry and oppression and toward equality.
2015’s Setbacks & 2016’s Challenges
Even as LGBT people achieved huge victories in securing rights and ensuring equality in 2015, there were plenty of instances where opponents of equal rights either refused to follow pro-LGBT laws or viciously opposed measures that would grant LGBT people protections from discrimination. Additionally, there are many ongoing issues that the LGBT community will have to take on in the coming years:
- Marriage Equality -Not everybody was celebrating when “love won” in 2015. Most notably, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis managed to parlay her refusal to comply with the law into fifteen minutes of fame, rallying conservatives around her religious objections to authorizing same-sex marriages.
- Anti-Discrimination Bill – November saw the defeat of HERO, Houston’s anti-discrimination bill that would have protected LGBT people from being barred from housing, jobs, or public accommodation. Unfortunately, a well-organized minority managed to sway voters, shifting the conversation to present the bill as a threat to public safety.
- Targeted Crimes – Violence against trans people continues to be an issue facing the LGBT community: although we are seeing more trans people in prominent publications and television shows, little progress has been made in raising awareness and finding solutions for the disproportionate violence experienced by trans people.
These setbacks are not defeats for the LGBT community. If anything, they show us the battles we still need to fight and the methods opponents will use to oppress and deny rights to the LGBT community. By learning from these setbacks and forging solutions, the LGBT community can continue advancing its rights in 2016.
What Will Next Year Bring?
2016 may be another huge year for the LGBT community, especially with a national election on the horizon. While LGBT issues have largely taken a backseat to terrorist concerns and gun rights in the presidential campaign, the freedom and security of LGBT people, both in the United States and around the world, will definitely be affected by the outcome of November’s elections.
There’s still a lot of work to do, both within our communities and nationally, to ensure that LGBT people have the rights they deserve. Victories like increased visibility and wider awareness of LGBT issues will be essential in shaping public perception and carving a place for LGBT people in the next year. While 2015 saw a landmark victory for equality, it doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for LGBT rights as we begin 2016.