The Top 10 of 2012: The Agenda Looks Back (Part 1)
December 30, 2012 1 Comment
Much to the dismay of the Mayans, a handful of tin foil conspirators and several anti-gay religious types, the world didn’t end. For anyone taking notes, however, there was certainly a shift in the American conscience regarding LGBTQIA equality in 2012.
Not even the great red state of Idaho was totally immune from the feeling that,”Hey, maybe ‘the gays’ are people after all.”
So with that in mind, we take a look back at the top ten stories that impacted our community over the past year:
Number 10: The Stars Come Out
Remember when it was cool to be coy about your sexuality, show up with your mom at award shows and join the Church of Scientology? Yeah, o.k., we don’t either but things certainly have changed since Ellen DeGeneres forever “destroyed” the traditional American family by using her top rated sitcom to announce to the world that she kisses girls and she likes it way back in 1997.
2012′s class of “I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it” closet kickers includes CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons, “Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion, Boxer Orlando Cruz, “White Collar’s” Matt Bomer, Hip-hop artist Frank Ocean, Former “X-Files” star Gillian Anderson, Former NFL player Wade Davis, McClatchy newspaper heir Kevin McClatchy, 70′s and 80′s star Kristy McNichol, “The New Normal’s” Andrew Rannells, Olympic gold medalist soccer player Megan Rapinoe
Number 9: The LDS Church calls for Gay Compassion
LDS LGBTQIA members still can’t have sex and expect to be admitted into the temple but you’ve got to give the church credit, it has come a long way since the days of “reparative therapy”, using the scriptures as justification to “smear the queers” and good old fashioned ex-communication.
In April, an openly gay BYU professor made headlines after he released videos, not only telling the LGBTQIA community that,”it gets better”, but also demonstrating that it’s possible for Mormon families to love and accept their relatives for who they are, no matter what their sexual orientation.
Earlier this month the church also unveiled a new website that,”reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”
Only time will tell if the church is simply trying to clean up its image after its much publicized, disastrous, involvement in California’s prop 8 or if it’s truly repentant but as we all know Rome, or in this case, Zion, wasn’t built in a day.
Number 8: “Wanna Grab an Anti-Gay Sandwich?” Chick-fil-A Comes to Idaho.
In a board room somewhere in College Park, Georgia, there is an executive face palming himself, “Why didn’t the fast food chain think of expanding its operations into Idaho earlier?”
Judging from the crowds that filled its three new restaurants in the Gem state during 2012, Idahoans have an appetite for hate laden greasy chicken served up on a toasted homophobic bun.
Never mind the fact that last July,Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy spoke favorably of the company’s donations to anti-gay groups.
Who cares, it’s just fast food, right?
Apparently, the company also believes its answering God’s call.
“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about,” Cathy told the “The Ken Coleman Show,” during an interview.
It looked like there was a little hope in September when Chicago Alderman Proco Joe Moreno met with Chik-fil-A executives and announced that the company would end its donations to anti-equality organizations.
The news was to good to be true.
As The Dallas Voice points out,”Chick-fil-A later clarified that the contributions were misconstrued and they would continue to donate to current beneficiaries, some of which fund campaigns against marriage equality. The company released a statement that all customers are valued at its restaurants, but ultimately the company’s views didn’t appear to change.”
MMMMM…nothing like a chicken sandwich served up with a side of support for intolerance. Yummy!
Number Seven: Discrimination of Transgender Employees is against the law!
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that such action violates Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, told the Metro Weekly that,”it would be hard to overstate the significance of the EEOC decision.”
“Transgender people already face tremendous rates of discrimination and unemployment,” Davis said. “The decision today ensures that every transgender person in the United States will have legal recourse to employment discrimination and with it a way to safeguard their access to vital employment benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings plans.”
Number 6: Hate returns to North Idaho
Just when you thought Idaho was “too great for hate”, 33-year-old Shaun Patrick Winkler, reportedly a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and links to the Aryan Nations and Church of Jesus Christ-Christian made headlines around the world when announced his candidacy for Bonner County Sheriff in March.
Luckily, Winkler, who stood proudly with members of the Westboro Baptist Church when they protested a production of “The Laramie Project,” at North Idaho College in 2010, lost the election.
But, in this case, a loser never quits. Not only did Winkler go on a crusade against Mexican restaurants and a Martin Luther King Day event in Coeur d’Alene,The Spokesman-Reivew reported in November, the now 34-year-old,”is building a new compound in North Idaho where he hosts Ku Klux Klan cross burnings and anti-Semitic Christian Identity church services.”
It sounds like maybe Chik-fil-A should consider building another on-campus restaurant, it would, no doubt, feel right at home.
Number Five: State Lawmaker Finds Anti-Bullying Measures and Broke Back Mountain Offensive
If the majority of individuals that make up Idaho’s LGBTQIA community didn’t know who House Education Committee Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, was before this year, we certainly do now.
When State Senator Nicole LeFavour mailed out copies of Ang Lee’s Academy Award winning film, “Brokeback Mountain,” last December, she did so in hopes of helping to educate her fellow lawmakers about the struggles of Idaho’s gay and lesbian community.
Nonini, who is catholic and who has a record of supporting anti-equality measures, wasn’t in the mood to learn about such topics as hate, discrimination, and gay bashing,”"We drove home to Coeur d’Alene and in the mailbox was this copy of “Brokeback Mountain,’” Nonini told The Idaho Statesman in March. “Just the timing of receiving it after Christmas Mass was offensive to both my wife and I. We opened it and my wife just immediately resealed it and asked me if I’d just deliver it back to Nicole.”
He was, apparently, just as equally offended when an anti-bullying bill came before his committee during the last legislative session, as well. Despite overwhelming evidence of a high rate of bullying in schools around Idaho as well as an increase in reported suicide attempts, Nonini held the measure hostage telling Coeur d’Alene Press, “There is no need for lawmakers to impose additional anti-bullying policies on schools.”
The anti-bullying bill, which passed the Senate 25 to 8 last session, would have directed Idaho’s 115 school districts to develop clear anti-bullying policies and procedures.