Over at BuzzFeed this morning, you’ll find a very heartwarming post: 40 Reasons Why 2011 Was the Best Year for Gays Ever, including such very cool items as:
- On February 1, the State Department began issuing passport applications that asks applicants for Mother or parent one andFather or parent two instead of for Father andMother - “in recognition of different types of families.” (I didn’t even know this was a thing!)
- On February 23, the Justice Department announced that it will no longer defend the constitutionality the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
- In May, for the first time, a Gallup poll found that most Americans support legalizing same sex marriage.
- On September 20, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was officially repealed.
- On December 6, the Obama Administration issued a memorandum directing US agencies abroad to use foreign aid to assist LGBT people facing human rights violations, and to protect LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. In a related speech to the UN in Geneva, Secretary of State Clinton declared that LGBT rights are universal human rights.
I often joke that the only reliable source for good news these days is the LGBTQ community, and it’s the ding-dang truth — but the deeper truth is that all of these advances also serve to show how far we’ve had to come, and still have to go, in recognizing the essential humanity of millions of our fellow Americans. Furthermore, it’s very important to note that while it was the best year ever for gays in the US and a few other places, it wasn’t particularly rosy elsewhere — such as those countries where a person can quite literally be put to death for being gay.
Yet these facts do not detract from the good news for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and I cannot help but think that as things improve in the west, they will also begin to improve elsewhere.
And this brings me to Vaclav Havel and Jack Layton.