11 Reasons We're Thankful This Year from Marriage Equality to Lesbians on TV!

11 Reasons We're Thankful This Year from Marriage Equality to Lesbians on TV!

Across the country, around the world, in fashion, and on our screens, LGBT people have made great strides. Looking back at the news and trends that dominated 2013, our staff and contributors  have a lot to be thankful for. From the serious to the sublime to the silly, here are the things that left impressions on us. What are you thankful for this year? 

Blue

Lesbian-Themed Films Getting Good Play in Theaters! 

Television has made leaps and bounds in terms of representation of lesbian and bisexual women over the past few years, but mainstream cinema has grossly lagged behind. I am thankful however for the three excellent lesbian-themed films that were released in theaters this fall. This October Stacie Passon’s Concussion, starring Robin Weigert as a 40-something lesbian bored in her marriage who embarks on an erotic odyssey of having sex for money with female clients, was released in theaters. And just a few weeks later the Palme D’Or winning French film Blue is the Warmest Color hit the Cineplex running a hefty three hours and boasting the most graphic sex scenes of just about any art house film to date. It’s more than a month later and Blue is still playing in theaters. November saw the release of the film fest darling Reaching for the Moon, about the epic love affair between poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Let’s hope that these three films mark the beginning of a trend in Hollywood toward telling more and more diverse narratives about queer women. - Tracy E. Gilchrist 

2013thankful Trudy

Marriage Equality in Illinois and the State-by-State Fight

My heart swelled as Gov. Pat Quinn signed marriage equality into law last week in my native state of Illinois. It swelled even more this week, when I learned that an old Chicago pal, Vernita Gray, and her partner, Patricia Ewert, would be allowed to marry immediately, even though the law doesn’t go into effect until June. The reason is a sad one — Vernita has terminal cancer, which led to an emergency court ruling letting her and Patricia get their marriage license — but I am grateful that they will be able to marry. And the Illinois law caps a banner year for marriage equality: 2013 has seen the freedom to marry extend to same-sex couples in Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Hawaii, the last state being the one that put the issue into the public consciousness with a court battle in the 1990s. With these states’ actions, plus the return of marriage equality to my adopted state of California thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, 37.7 percent of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction with marriage equality enshrined in law (16 states and the District of Columbia), up from 15.8 percent at the end of last year, more than a twofold increase, according to Freedom to Marry. That’s something for which I’m very thankful, and I’ll be even more so when we get to 100 percent!—Trudy Ring

Pll

ABC Family's Pioneering Representation of Lesbians and Bisexual Women 

I'm thankful for ABC Family, which for some beautiful reason managed to dominate the market of TV's queer women and will continue to come January with the return of The Fosters and Pretty Little Liars. Such a positive portrayal of any kind of family is hard to find, and that the family on The Fosters is helmed by two lesbians is incredibly important. - Rebekah Allen 

2013thankful Sunni

Landmark Marriage Equality Victories

June 26 of this year was an exciting day to be inside our Los Angeles offices. We'd been holding our collective breaths, waiting for the Supreme Court to issue rulings on two landmark cases relating to the freedom to marry — and the results were better than we dared to hope for. Not only did SCOTUS strike down California's Proposition 8 on a legal technicality — hey, whatever it takes so our colleagues can start marrying their partners — but Justice Anthony Kennedy's sweeping, unapologetic language in the majority opinion in Windsor v. U.S., also struck down a key segment of the Defense of Marriage Act. By finding a central tenet of that federal law unconstitutional, the Supreme Court paved the way for an avalanche of pro-marriage equality litigation, taking aim at state-level DOMAs around the country. And from Ohio, all the way down to Missouri andOklahoma, the Windsor ruling has added the weight of legal precedent set at the nation's highest court behind arguments that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is patently unconstitutional. In New Jersey, the Windsor case directly contributed to that state enacting marriage equality in October. At this point, it's really just a question of which — not whether any — state will be the next to join the growing ranks embracing the freedom to marry. —Sunnivie Brydum

Tv

The Summer of Lesbian TV

Nearly 10 years after The L Word permanently altered the landscape for lesbians on television, the Great Big Lesbian Summer of Love of 2013 (as I’ve dubbed it) offered the most diverse array of lesbian and bisexual women on the small screen to date. Well-rounded, thoughtful, witty, and sexy queer female characters popped up on networks across the spectrum including CBS, AMC, ABC Family, HBO, Syfy, BBC America, and the groundbreaking Netflix (which is technically not a network, but I don’t know what to call it). From executive producer Jennifer Lopez’s The Fosters, about lesbian moms raising biological, adopted, and foster kids on a series with so much heart to Orange Is the New Black, Netflix’s summer darling of a prison show with Sapphic tendencies, gay ladies have never been better represented on television. I am thankful to TV for helping to illustrate myriad of queer women out there, because every person randomly flipping channels this summer was bound to run into and become invested in some lesbian character’s storyline — and that’s progress. —Tracy E. Gilchrist

2013thankful Michelle

That We Don't Live In Uganda or Russia

Not that the United States is this perfect melting pot of acceptance and equality, but I’m thankful that we don’t live in Uganda. The LGBT people of Uganda have been living in fear of being publicly outed, persecuted, and put to death by vigilantes and government authorities for years. Even with international pressure on the Ugandan government, people like Sam Ganafa, the head of the LGBT advocate organization Spectrum Uganda, was arrested and charged with sodomy for seemingly no reason. Then on top of it, so much has happened to suppress LGBT people in Russia, through intimidation, criminal punishment, raids, and denying permits to public events. And sadly, we know that Russia and Uganda aren't the only places where LGBT people (and women, and minorities) are persecuted. More than 70 countries criminalize homosexuality in some form. So while the United States isn’t Utopia, I'm glad it isn’t Russia or Uganda. —Michelle Garcia

TATIANA 0

Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany 

I am also thankful for Tatiana Maslany, who has set a new bar for the entire career of being an actor. Her performance in Orphan Black's 30-second Season 2 teaser alone was worthy of the Emmy she will most definitely be nominated for next year because this year's Emmy snub could only be a one-time-only glaring mistake. In the mean time, her guest spot on Parks and Recreation brightened TV for the better and deserved to trigger a campaign to get her playing all roles on all TV shows. (I'm thinking American Horror Story: Maslany). - Rebekah Allen 

Brittney

Brittney Griner Kicking Ass! 
Baylor alum Brittney Griner ended up not only being one of the best college hoops players ever, but now she's in the WNBA, kicking ass and taking names. It seems like her class of rookies, including Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky, and the Tulsa Shock's Skylar Diggins are among a new crop of players who are reinvigorating interest in the WNBA. As a sports fan and a proponent of gender equality in sport (and, in the past, a wannabe Olympian), it makes me happy that women are playing basketball professionally, and respecting each other's lives on and off the court. Griner is an example of all those things. Plus she is fly as hell! - Michelle Garcia 

2013thankful Diane 0

Idaho Pleasantly Surprises Me 

I left Idaho, my home, in 1986, fleeing with all the other queer and trans kids to cities where being different was OK. But like many of them, I’ve always looked back, a longing for the state I love and the people I left behind, always hoping they’d get on board with LGBT rights, or at least acceptance. So I was über thankful this year when numerous things shook up the LGBT world in Idaho. Four lesbian couples sued the state for the right to marry with the help of NCLR, several cities (not all areas you'd expect) passed anti-discrimination ordinances, and the Add the Words campaign—a polite yet fierce 8-year battle to get the state legislature to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to our state’s Human Rights Act—got a huge boost when one of our most beloved political leaders threw his support our way. When former Republican Governor Phil Batt, one of the state’s most popular politicians in the last century, became the first recipient of the Idaho Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award (given by the Human Rights Commission in Caldwell, Idaho), he told the crowd, “A homosexual who can’t rent a room or get a job because of his orientation doesn’t make any sense to anybody. Why some of the politicians are not more sensitive than that — more sensible, I should say than that — beats me.” He added that the legislature’s refusal to amend the Human Rights Act, which Batt originally authored, “accomplished absolutely nothing… except to be made to look like fools.” You go Phil, and all my Gem State friends for fighting the good fight.—Diane Anderson-Minshall

The Resurgance of the Power Brow

LILY

Being a preteen with Frida Kahlo-esque eyebrows in the early 2000’s was traumatizing.  It was the decade where overly tweezed eyebrows adorned the covers of magazines and walked the red carpet.  Unfortunately teenage girls at the time did not appreciate surrealist art and my unibrow went teased on a daily basis.  So in desperation to fit in I went to the drug store and bought an at home waxing kit which led to bigger problems – accidentally losing half my left brow.  Flash-forward a decade later and thousands of dollars spent at beauty parlors for hair removal and a miracle happened, the return of the bold and beautiful power brow.  Thanks to actresses like Lily Collins, Emma Watson, and super model Cara Delevigne I can finally forgo my monthly threading sessions and let my brows grow to their true glory. I never thought that brow growth serums would be top sellers at Sephora, but I am so thankful that Audrey Hepburn’s bushy brows have made a comeback.  Now millions of hairy women across the country and I can let go of a major insecurity and proudly dawn eyebrows au natural. - Tiara Chiaramonte 

KM

Kate McKinnon Taking Her Rightful Place as SNL's MVP

I'm thankful that out Kate McKinnon is kicking ass and taking names on Saturday Night Live. The amazing thing about Kate McKinnon is how she took off running. There was no awkward "getting to know you" moment for the audience. She was just there. From her first episode in 2012, you just knew she was perfect on that cast. Her insane voices, and her willingness to push her self into a range of characters (I mean come on -- she does Ellen, Penelope Cruz, Effie Trinket, the lady who ruined the Ecce Homo painting, and a bunch of other crazies) prove that we’re only going to see more phenomenal things from Lady McKinnon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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