Many highs and lows for queer and trans* communities in the past year
I don’t know about you, but my feelings about 2017 ending can best be described as sitting in a burning runaway dumpster, careening towards the edge of a cliff. Wheee!
Though I cannot wait for this year to end (but let’s be honest—2018 is not looking much better), I don’t want to write it all off as being entirely terrible. Some really fantastic things happened for queer and trans* communities this year and I think it’s important not to lose sight of them. So, in no particular order, please find the best of 2017:
A whole slew of places legalized same-sex marriage, including Ascension Island (January), Finland (March), Faroe Islands (March), Guernsey (May), Tristan da Cunha (August), Malta (September), Germany (October), and Australia (December).
A lot of people came out as queer, trans* or intersex this year. Sadly, I didn’t recognize most of the names—the internet assures me that folks like Brandon Flynn, Jake Zyrus, and Hanne Gaby Odiele are famous, which I suppose officially makes me old. About the only names I did recognize were Barry Manilow (finally) and Kevin Spacey (fawck).
In June, the federal government passed Bill C-16, which adds gender identity and expression as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Code as well as the Criminal Code, finally catching up to a number of provinces that had already added similar protections to their provincial human rights bills. The effects of this bill were felt quite quickly: in August, a third gender designation was made available for Canadian passports. On top of ‘M’ and ‘F’ genders, Canadian passport holders can now request ‘X’ for unspecified.
Of course, we can’t talk about the federal government without mentioning the apology. In November, Trudeau issued a tearful apology to LGBTQ+ civil servants, military members, and criminalized Canadians who suffered decades of “state-sponsored, systematic oppression and rejection.” The apology was accompanied by $110 million in compensation for civil servants whose careers were ended or sidelined as well as $15 million for education and memorialization.
In November, Danica Roem became the first openly trans* person to be elected to Virginia’s State Legislature. What made her election particularly sweet was who she unseated: Bob Marshall. Marshall was a real sweetheart who pushed a bathroom bill that would have made people use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their original birth certificate (it failed) and another bill that sought to ban openly gay people from serving in his state’s national guard (also failed).
He believes that queer sex cuts your life span by 20 years. Roem ran an above-board campaign that focused on local issues and all signs point to her being a decent person and able legislator.
Closer to home, Fruit Loop continues to be one of the best parties in town, winning this magazine’s ‘Best Pop-Up Event’ in September.
The Grand Marshall at this year’s pride parade was Edmonton’s Two-Spirit Indigenous community, who were represented by Lloyd Gauthier, Roxann Roan, Boyd Whiskeyjack, and Michael Ciboci. Pride fest organizers decided to allow police and military to participate in the parade, but without sirens, tactical vehicles, and weapons. It was a controversial decision and one that will no doubt continue for years to come.
And finally, the seemingly unending battle over GSAs came to an end (for now) in November, when the provincial government passed Bill 24, which prevents schools from outing students who participate in GSAs.
Best wishes for 2018 Queermonton. May it be full of hot sex, good company, and lots of dancing.