Good news to end the year
Tragedy struck last week, but we can’t forget the triumphs of 2012
It has been a somber week for the country. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut left us all feeling overwhelmed by grief and frustration and anger.
In the coming weeks, discussions of gun control, mental illness and violence will consume the media. But I have chosen to use this space to remind you of the achievements our country has made in the past year instead of our tragedies.
Indeed, 2012 has been a banner year for LGBT rights, both locally and nationally.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced last week his support for same-sex marriage. He signed a City Council resolution backing gay marriage which was drafted by openly gay Councilmember Alex Wan.
The Atlanta Police Department debuted its “It Gets Better” video. It showcases LGBT personnel from many ranks, including a deputy chief, a captain, several lieutenants, sergeants, and officers. They talk about coming out, the difficulties of growing up “different,” and how they overcame their personal challenge and are living their dream.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a California law that bans same-sex marriage.
Gabrielle Ludwig became the first transsexual to play intercollegiate ball as both a man and a woman, after being cleared this month to play with the Lady Saints at Mission College.
The Merck Foundation issued a press release saying it had suspended funding to the Boy Scouts of America due to the organization’s discrimination against gays and lesbians. The foundation gave around $30,000 to the Boy Scouts last year.
The University of California Hastings College of Law announced the appointment of lesbian Elizabeth Hillman as the school’s new academic dean. Hillman is an experienced legal and military scholar, a veteran of the Air Force, and a mother to five children with her wife.
Last week marked the first day same-sex couples in Washington could marry. Hundreds of well-wishers braved the cold and wet weather to celebrate 140 weddings that day at Seattle City Hall. Last month, Washington, Maine, and Maryland became the first U.S. states to extend marriage rights to samesex couples by a popular vote.
The University of Iowa has become the nation’s first public university to include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on its admissions application. It simply asks students whether they identify with the gay, bisexual, or transgender communities.
Goat farmers and stars of TV’s “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge won the 21st season of CBS’s “The Amazing Race.” It’s the second time a gay duo has won the competition.
Bad news still gets more air time than good news. Maybe it is because bad news causes more emotion or we have a need to know about what is not working so we can try to fix it.
But we do ourselves — and those who fought for change before us — a disservice if we don’t take a moment to celebrate the things going right.
By letting ourselves indulge in life’s joys, we can find the strength to make it through all of life’s sorrows.
Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter