Top Moments in LGBT Politics and Activism 2013: The Girl Power Edition

2013 was the year the gay rights movement snowballed into an avalanche, and anything that got in the way was socked with a mouthful of ice chunks or was swept away entirely. I mean, what are you gonna do? Mess with gravity? Stand in the way of justice? Tell a bunch of cantankerous gays and lesbians who have been waiting for their rights for way too damn long to wait even longer? Here are some iconic moments in gay politics and activism in 2013, with a nod to the ladies of course.

1) When Tammy Baldwin was sworn in, becoming the first openly gay U.S. Senator

On January 3, Tammy Baldwin was sworn in as a U.S. Senator of Wisconsin, becoming the first openly gay member of the Senate.

In her victory speech she said, “Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor of being Wisconsin’s first woman senator. And I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member, but I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.”

2) That time Tilda Swinton waved the rainbow flag in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square


After the Russian Parliament banned the adoption of Russian babies by foreign same sex couples and the promotion of “non traditional” relationships to minors, Tilda Swinton showed her support for the LGBT community by posing with a rainbow flag in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Through her representative, Swinton urged people to share the image and sent the following message: “In Solidarity. From Russia, with love.”

3) When the Supreme Court struck down DOMA

11 a.m. June 26, 2013. The phone rings. Edie Windsor’s attorney picks it up and hands it to Windsor.

Hello. Who am I talking to?”

Then the caller identified himself.

“Oh, Barack Obama? I wanted to thank you. I think your coming out for us made such a difference throughout the country.”

No, Edie. Thank you.

gracechuPhoto credit: Grace Chu

And then Windsor got her hair did and went to Disneyworld Stonewall. Actually, scratch that. I think she woke up like that. Flawless.

4) When Kris Perry and Sandy Stier tied the knot in California’s first same sex marriage in over 4 years

After the Supreme Court brushed the Prop 8 case off their shoulders, Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier exchanged vows at San Francisco City Hall in California’s first same sex marriage in more than  four years. The Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris, presided. California, since the beginning of the suit, felt that spreading love was more productive that defending lawsuits. So who actually defended Prop 8? Who knows – so bye, Felicia. Wait, who’s Felicia? Exactly. The Supreme Court thought so too.

Sandy Stier and Kris Perry

California Same-Sex Marriages to Resume as Court Lifts BanPhoto credit: Getty Images

5) All pink everything. All pink everywhere.

Here is a list of jurisdictions that turned pink, recognizing the right of same sex couples to marry. Meanwhile, all other regions turned green with envy or red with shame.

States: First Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota! Then California (again)! Then New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, and then Utah!

Tribal jurisdictions in the U.S.: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (Michigan), Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (Michigan), Santa Ysabel Tribe (California), Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes (Oklahoma), Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Minnesota).

Worldwide: Brazil, France, New Zealand, England & Wales and Uruguay. Hay!

6) Then the U.S. Winter Olympics Delegation was appointed, and it was uber gay

After a year of chipping away at the rights of its LGBT citizens, leading to increased violence, Russia stood firm that new – and vague – law prohibiting gay “propaganda” would apply to anyone traveling to Russia, causing international an international uproar over the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. President Obama sent a message to Russia by not including any current high ranking U.S. officials in the U.S. Olympic delegation, but he did include several world class athletes who just happen to be gay. Among the delegates named were tennis legend and out lesbian Billie Jean King, holder of 39 grand slam tennis titles, and out lesbian hockey player Caitlin Cahow, a two time Olympic medalist. A third delegate, former World Champion and Olympics gold medalist Brian Boitano, was named and came out immediately thereafter. That’s right. You can’t win in sports without gays and lesbians. Take that, Putin.

Billie Jean King

Annual Charity Day Hosted By Cantor Fitzgerald And BGC - Cantor Fitzgerald Office

Photo credit: Getty Images

What were your favorite LGBT political/activist moments this year?