10 Things About 2016 That Would Make Harvey Milk Beam From Ear To Ear


Happy Birthday, Harvey — which also means happy Harvey Milk Day! The civil rights hero would have been 86 this year, and though he helped fan the flames of the fight for civil rights, he couldn’t possibly have imagined how much progress we would have made by now.

It’s been an incredible year for LGBTQ rights, both in the US and around the world. Of course, there’s still lots of progress remaining to be made — particularly in the area of trans freedoms — but even just halfway through 2016, there’s a ton to feel great about.

1. Marriage Legalized in Colombia

Congrats to our queer friends to the south! This past April, the Colombian high court ruled 6-3 that the constitution requires marriage equality. They’ve had limited civil unions in the country since 2007, but now they can look forward to full federal equality. It’s the fourth South American country to legalize the freedom to marry, and it won’t be the last.

2. Charlotte Passes Nondiscrimination Ordinance

What could go wrong? The Charlotte City Council passed a bill in February that protected LGBT people from discrimination in the context of public accommodations, contracting, and other areas. (In other words, no more refusing to make cakes for gay weddings.) Despite having widespread support on the council, passing 7-4, state Republicans sprang into action to oppose the measure and passed HB2, which rolled back protections and created new ways to harm queer people.

3. National Outrage Over North Carolina

Fortunately, the days when politicians could demonize LGBTs without fear of repercussions are over. After North Carolina passed its draconian HB2, which made life miserable for everyone, but particularly trans people seeking bathroom access, the country flew into an outrage. The governor backpedaled a bit, but in general held firm on the bill — a stance that will likely hurt him in the upcoming election. Jerk presidential candidate Ted Cruz defended the bill as well, and before long he was out of the running.

4. The World’s First Endowed Academic Chair of Transgender Studies

You might not have heard, because it didn’t generate the kind of outrage that draws clicks, but the University of Victoria in British Columbia now has an endowed academic chair of transgender studies. We’re looking forward to the scholarship that this makes possible, thanks in large part to a donation of $2 million. That cash came from Jennifer Pritzker, a trans woman and former Army Colonel.

5. Salt Lake City’s First Openly Gay Mayor

Who’d have thunk it? A queer mayor in the home of the Mormons. Jackie Biskupski is the first openly gay mayor for Salt Lake City, although there have doubtlessly been lots of closeted mayors in the past. She’s also the city’s second female mayor, and a longtime advocate for civil rights.

6. Italy and Estonia Drag Their Feet Toward Marriage Equality

Ugh, come on Italy, hurry up. The country recently became the last in western Europe to offer relationship recognition to same-sex couples with the adoption of civil unions. And those limited protections are better than nothing, but come on — it has to be marriage. Similarly, Estonia recently legalized civil unions and adoption, but that’s still not good enough. Those countries’ slow progress is probably due to the influence of the Catholic Church, which has clung to power and wealth while oppressing people for centuries.

7. Montana Bans Discrimination — Sometimes

Governor Steve Bullock has taken a few incremental steps towards protections with the issuing of an executive order that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity. That’s nice, but it doesn’t go far enough, failing to cover housing and public accommodations and education and finance. (You can be denied a loan in some states because you’re gay.)

8: Greenland Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Now that’s more like it. Take a lesson, Italy and Estonia. By a wide margin, Greenland’s parliament legalized marriage equality back in April. Couples were allowed to marry on the very same day. This had been in the works for a year, but was delayed by elections, so it’s nice to see how quickly the bill moved from concept to execution.

9. Canada’s Ceremonial First Kiss Goes Gay

Master Seaman Francis Legare and his partner, Corey Vautour, made history this year when they made out. Traditionally, the Canadian Navy selects one lucky sailor to be greeted by his or her partner upon return home, and for the first time ever the honor was shared by two men. Congrats to the happy couple! This is one area in which the United States was slightly more progressive: the first queer Navy kiss in America was back in 2011, between Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and her girlfriend.

10. The First Trans Pride Flag

Hard to believe it took this long, but Santa Clara County became the first in the nation to raise the transgender pride flag. Pink, blue, and white, it flew over City Hall for Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. Kudos to the Bay Area town that made it possible. Harvey would have been beaming.

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  • joeyty

    Maybe, maybe not (on all of this). Matt Baume also wrote that Northern Ireland was Catholic.

  • GC1985

    Yes this news was good in Colombia. With continued economic growth, a rapid response to the Zika issue (infections are on a sharp decline now), modernization and the continued clamp down on crime and cartels, we are doing better. No longer a failed state.

    At any rate, he wouldn’t be all cheers after seeing a complete homophobic bigot take the republican nomination in the US. Fortunately, Hillary is already commanding major support despite Bernie. 15 million votes isn’t an accident and is about the same as Obama had in 2008 at this point. Hillary is the most capable and technocratic nominee in this race. She is also the most understanding and accepting. So we have a lot of work to do and we need to do everything to stop Trump. The GOP failed pathetically, but Hillary won’t. She addresses issues which the people want to hear. Not hand or p3nis size.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: These issues and accomplishments are too complicated for you to grasp please post elsewhere.

  • NateOcean

    What sloppy report reporting. Item #10: where did the flag fly? City Hall of Santa Clara County?

  • GC1985

    @NateOcean: Um that is what it says. Has an issue with what happened there?

  • GC1985

    To correct this article it actually was raised at a county government building, and not a city hall building.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: They’re all good things as far as I’m concerned, but consider the source of the article. Next let’s list (probably easier) what Milk would despise : ISIS ; what the UN just did as far as barring gays from the AIDS conference ; druggy Colombian drag queens..


    Free range chickens. Allegedly.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: Douche bag response. Can you come up with something that makes sense and actually addresses the topic at hand or do you have to resort to the same infantile crap nobody cares about anymore?

    ISIS? Republican invention. Blowback for invading Iraq. The UN? Too bad Hillary wasn’t there to kick them again like she did in 2011. You’re just a fool in every sense. The only druggy here is you… stupid moron.

  • Pete

    People who think Harvey Milk would have been pro ‘Marriage Equality’ really don’t understand him or the nature of the early Gay Liberation movement. Gay Liberation grew out of the sixties Sexual Revolution, and the last thing these pioneers wanted was the white-picket fence middle-class normality epitomized by monogamous unions. Gay Liberation was, first and foremost, about the right to be different, not ‘just like straights’.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Colombian drag queeens. Ugh. Harvey only liked young white guys.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Yes. All. Lily-white gentile dudes as young as 16. Which I have no problem with (all through history straight and gay men have sought 16 year olds for sex) but……….let’s be honest here.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: He was dating Latinos. You really have no clue with reality. You’re historical revisionism is disgusting… and shows how ignorant you are. You don’t even know anything about the city you claim to live in (New York). You base your knowledge off wikipedia and movies. You’re living in Kentucky. Admit it right now.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: I have the entire list of his boyfriends right here. One was a Latino. The rest were white from late teens to early 20s.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Nothing wrong with Kentucky. Believe me, the Lexington horse folk wouldn’t even notice you. If you were from Argentina you might…count as human…but..

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: You live in fantasy. Your entire life is based on bullshit… Like Trump.

    @joeyty: you finally admit where you come from. The whole New York story was always a lie.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Yes, but I’m elite Kentucky. And my blood is blue.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Sadly, the Latino one was a loon who hanged himself in the apartment they shared. Not to put him down (serious drug problems).

  • b2rocketfan

    @AtticusBennett: I love that!!! Makes me want to drink a toast to gay pride with some orange juice. Lol.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: You have extreme drug problems too. Time to get back on the legal meds they give you. It might help with your delusions of grandeur.

    By the way, keep your historical revisionism and delusions to yourself.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: I called him a “loon” but didn’t mean that as a put-down. He’d have probably agreed with me. Milk went for a lot of waif-types, some with drug problems.

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  • AtticusBennett

    @GC1985: who is joeyty? is this the same closeted troll who used to give out his phone number and dare people to call him, even though the number is reported on the internet as being used by someone who has uttered death threats?

    anyway, while a fan of polyamoury, Harvey was also a staunch advocate for lGBT people to have the freedom to make their own choices in life, and that included choices in their relationships.

    years ago i met one of Harvey’s best friends in DC. He invited my pals and i to join him for dinner. he shared stories and it made me feel a real connection to my hero.

  • joeyty

    @AtticusBennett: I already said I don’t criticize Harvey Milk for doing it with a fifteen-year-old when he was in his 30s. The teenager wasn’t some innocent.

  • joeyty

    @AtticusBennett: “who is joeyty? is this the same closeted troll who used to give out his phone number and dare people to call him, even though the number is reported on the internet as being used by someone who has uttered death threats?” That was when you said you’d come meet me at the Stonewall which of course you didn’t, since you never even leave Canada.

  • joeyty

    @AtticusBennett: Yet YOU, who goes off on how disgusting adults who do it with teenagers are, excuse it when it comes to Harey Milk ??

  • AtticusBennett

    @joeyty: what’s up, you worthless closeted head case? :D

    changed names, eh? still railing against the world from your place of cowardly anonymity because you’re an unloved troll? must be monday :D

    btw, NYC is gorgeous this time of year. was just enjoying happy hour at Julius’ two weeks ago.

    btw, are you able to show yourself yet or is your homely self still too damn wimpy? :P

  • joeyty

    @AtticusBennett: LOL. Oh my…I’m so corrected. That absolutely proves you were here in NYC. And…you didn’t call ME ? I guess you were too busy getting the “Hello Dolly” treatment from the Fatty Joe Jervis crowd.

  • joeyty

    @AtticusBennett: Speaking of Strei$and, that’s why I changed my name. They wouldn’t let me post as SeeingAII after I dared to talk about the report that Barbra Strei$and (allegedly) homophobically shouted “Walk like a man!” at Jason G0uld.

  • AtticusBennett

    @joeyty: feel free to lurk my instagram and see exactly whom i was hanging out with and a wee taste of what i was doing. live vicariously through me. lord knows you don’t have a social life worth being happy about.

    and this, by the way, is the last time i’m ever acknowledging you. i’m gonna get back to doing what your father always did, and ignore you.

  • GC1985

    Joey still going on with this historical revisionism. He’s really full of crap. We all know that already. I don’t even bother with him anymore. He’s a nut. Nobody would call him and meet him in that dark alley behind a dumpster.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Which part do you think is untrue re. Milk ? I’ll give the links.

  • GC1985

    Joey is a Drumpz supporter… he believes lies. His whole existence is centered on a lie.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Donald Trump told me that when he wins, he’s going to let me personally escort you out of the country and back to Colombia.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: Which will never happen. Keep on dreaming clown! You’re a total loser like most right wingers.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: There’s a good chance it’s going to happen so you should probably just give me your address now. To speed things up. (you don’t have to start packing yet).

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: You are a fool if you think he would win. Just recently I saw a poll where Hillary has tied him in Georgia and Mississippi. Not only could he lose all the swing states, this could be the biggest GOP loss since Barry Goldwater’s crushing defeat. You should deport yourself though. Like on an abandoned island with lots of snakes.

  • GC1985

    And a good chance? Fat chance bonehead. Trump has pissed off every minority and also pissed off women (who are a majority). He is gonna lose big time.

  • joeyty

    @GC1985: Nope. You’re whistling in the graveyard. Trump is going to win (Hillary isn’t trusted by anyone) and you’re just going to have to go home by 2017. (And why you’d be upset about that is a mystery).

  • Karlis

    I’m not sure why Harvey Milk would grin about foot-dragging in Europe about LGBT issues, but give little Estonia a break, please! It is the first post-Soviet country to have done anything at all in this regard, and it is yet another area in which it has moved ahead of Latvia, where I live, and where politicians will not consider any type of co-habitation law at all, because that might make it possible for wicked gays to sneak in through the back door. That really is the “thinking” among Latvia’s parliamentarians. And to make a little fact check — Roman Catholicism was a factor in the debate in Italy, and Italy ended up approving civil unions because the European Court of Human Rights made it do it (it had civil unions for straight people, but not for gay people, and the ECHR called them out for it; it is important that this means that if you have civil unions for some people, you must have them for all people, it does not mean that if you have no civil unions for anyone, you must institute them), but it certainly was not in Estonia, where more than half of the residents are non-religious, and the rest are divided up among Orthodox and Lutheran. The Roman Catholic church is barely present in Estonia.

  • joeyty

    @Karlis: The author of this article, Matt Baume, gets a lot of stuff wrong about georgraphy and religion. In a past article he was actually saying Northern Ireland was Catholic ! Queerty isn’t known for hiring top journalists.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: Trump is less trusted and more hated. You are as ignorant as I thought. Stick to subject you know. Politics isn’t one of them. Trump is going to lose by a landslide. He is hated by women and women are the majority. They drove Obama to election victories twice.

    Be prepared for the loss of your candidate, loser. I will be sure to give you a tissue box so you can wipe away your tears. Trump is the most hated candidate in history. About 60-65% of Americans don’t trust him and can’t stand him.

    Only an ignoramus like you would claim Trump is going to win. It isn’t 1980. Open your f**king eyes.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: By the way, I am a US citizen. And be prepared to say President Hillary Clinton. You are so ignorant. Someone like you shouldn’t even be allowed to vote. Stupidly ignorant! Trump doesn’t even have leads in deeply republican states. Hillary is more trusted and better respected. Even in Georgia.

  • GC1985

    @joeyty: You say a lot of wrong things. Like saying how Hillary isn’t trusted by anyone. You are a hypocrite. Hillary has 4-5 million more votes than Trump in the primaries alone. You are just a total hypocrite. As I said stick to subjects you know. This isn’t one of them.

  • onthemark

    @joeyty: Why would Harvey Milk object to drag queens? (Colombian or otherwise?) He was pretty cool with drag queens.

    Why would GC1985 (a US citizen) have to go “home” if Drumpf wins?

    Really? – you were banned as SeeingEyeDog because of your anti- Barbra Streisand posts? That’s almost sad if true. Or maybe hilarious, I can’t decide. Well, just don’t do it again. :)

    I’ve been unconvinced that you live in NYC, ever since you claimed you saw gay men cheering 9/11 for no other reason than they hated Irish firemen! That is so absurd, so bizarre that it’s far more likely you DO live in Kentucky. You must be enjoying the meth there?

  • joeyty

    @onthemark: And you shush or I’ll be sending you along with him. Then you’ll have to be some drug lord’s toadey.

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