Good news to end the year

Tragedy struck last week, but we can’t for­get the tri­umphs of 2012

GA Voice - - Events -

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

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