2016: A YEAR IN RE­VIEW Few bright spots in a year dom­i­nated by LGBT set­backs na­tion­ally

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

2016 will go down in the LGBT his­tory books as a year of sober­ing push­back against the many gains won in the years prior. In the space of 12 months, the com­mu­nity has gone from hav­ing the most pro-LGBT pres­i­dent in his­tory to brac­ing for a new pres­i­dent who has, so far, nom­i­nated a line of cab­i­net sec­re­taries who are mostly hos­tile to equal rights for LGBT peo­ple. It has seen the largest mass shoot­ing in U.S. his­tory tar­get an LGBT night­club and an un­prece­dented num­ber of anti-LGBT bills in state leg­is­la­tures. Here’s a look back at the most mo­men­tous events in LGBT his­tory for 2016:

1. Don­ald Trump was elected pres­i­dent.

De­spite be­ing called the most pro-gay Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in his­tory and even em­brac­ing the LGBT com­mu­nity in front of a hos­tile Repub­li­can con­ven­tion, Trump’s elec­tion has left the com­mu­nity stunned with trep­i­da­tion. At stake are not only myr­iad reg­u­la­tions that have sought to curb dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple in fed­eral work­places, hospi­tals, and the mil­i­tary, but also the like­li­hood of one or more ex­treme con­ser­va­tives on the U.S. Supreme Court.

2. LGBT sup­port was largely be­hind Clin­ton.

From the be­gin­ning of the 2016 cam­paign, all signs pointed to most LGBT sup­port mar­shal­ing be­hind Demo­cratic hope­ful Hil­lary Clin­ton. And she made clear she val­ued that sup­port, ap­point­ing an openly gay cam­paign man­ager and li­ai­son to the com­mu­nity and by speak­ing out for LGBT equal­ity in many, if not most, of the speeches she gave.

3. 49 killed in Or­lando mass shoot­ing.

In what has been called the worst mass shoot­ing in U.S. his­tory, Amer­i­can cit­i­zen Omar Ma­teen, 29, en­tered an LGBT night­club in Or­lando at 2 a.m. Sun­day, June 10 and shot 102 peo­ple, killing 49 be­fore po­lice killed him. While Ma­teen called 911 dur­ing the

De­cem­ber 23, 2016

Don­ald Trump’s win and the Pulse shoot­ing shook the na­tion’s LGBT com­mu­nity, and Eric Fan­ning broke a bar­rier by be­com­ing the first openly LGBT per­son to serve as the head of a U.S. mil­i­tary branch. (File pho­tos) at­tack and de­clared his al­le­giance with the Is­lamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL), Pres­i­dent Obama said there was no “clear ev­i­dence” that the shooter was “di­rected ex­ter­nally” by any ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

4. Jus­tice An­tonin Scalia died.

An­tonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court jus­tice most hos­tile to equal rights for LGBT peo­ple, died sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly, giv­ing Pres­i­dent Obama an op­por­tu­nity to nom­i­nate a more mod­er­ate re­place­ment. But even though Obama still had 11 months left in of­fice, the Repub­li­can-dom­i­nated Se­nate took the po­si­tion that the next pres­i­dent –not the cur­rent one— should get to choose Scalia’s re­place­ment.

5. Supreme Court agrees to take up trans­gen­der case.

With only eight jus­tices on the bench, the U.S. Supreme Court an­nounced it would re­view a fed­eral ap­peals court rul­ing that fa­vored al­low­ing a trans­gen­der stu­dent who was de­nied ac­cess to a school bath­room con­sis­tent with his gen­der iden­tity. The case, Glouces­ter v. Grimm, asks the court to de­cide the va­lid­ity of a U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ti­tle IX, a fed­eral law pro­hibit­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion based on sex in ed­u­ca­tion. The De­part­ment says the law also pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion based on gen­der iden­tity.

6. Un­prece­dented num­ber of anti-LGBT bills.

Al­most 200 anti-LGBT bills were in­tro­duced into state leg­is­la­tures around the coun­try, a num­ber the ACLU said was “more anti-LGBT bills this year than in any other time.” One that passed into law in North Carolina, HB 2, gar­nered na­tional at­ten­tion, largely be­cause of its scope. The law pro­hib­ited trans­gen­der peo­ple from us­ing a pub­lic re­stroom for the gen­der they are liv­ing and barred any lo­cal gov­ern­ment from hav­ing an or­di­nance that pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity.

7. Back­lash against HB 2 was swift and pow­er­ful.

Re­ac­tion to North Carolina’s boldly dis­crim­i­na­tory new law HB 2 quickly turned against the leg­is­la­tors who ush­ered it into be­ing, in­clud­ing North Carolina Gover­nor Pat McCrory. McCrory helped get the law passed and vig­or­ously de­fended it in the me­dia once it passed. But many cor­po­ra­tions and ma­jor sport­ing events an­nounced they would move out of the state be­cause of the dis­crim­i­na­tory law. The U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral filed suit against the law. And by year’s end, McCrory found him­self los­ing his re-elec­tion bid to a chal­lenger who op­posed the law. It was, over­all, a mes­sage to leg­is­la­tors push­ing anti-LGBT leg­is­la­tion in the fu­ture that they could not count on the pub­lic in gen­eral to stand by and let them.

8. Jeff Ses­sions nom­i­nated At­tor­ney Gen­eral.

While the cur­rent U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Loretta Lynch, jumped in quickly to stop anti-LGBT dis­crim­i­na­tion, in North Carolina and else­where, Pres­i­dent-elect Trump’s nom­i­nee to re­place her rep­re­sents her an­tithe­sis. Ses­sions has spent years op­pos­ing equal rights for LGBT peo­ple, in­clud­ing his time as U.S. Sen­a­tor. He voted for ev­ery anti-LGBT mea­sure and against ev­ery pro-LGBT mea­sure. He also once claimed, “Gays and les­bians have not been de­nied ba­sic ac­cess to things such as health or school­ing or to the bal­lot box.”


9. Se­nate con­firms gay man as Sec­re­tary of the Army.

In May, the U.S. Se­nate con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of an openly gay man to serve as Sec­re­tary of the U.S. Army — the first openly gay per­son to serve as the head of any mil­i­tary branch. The con­fir­ma­tion of Eric Fan­ning, by voice vote, came very quickly af­ter U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) lifted a hold he had put on the nom­i­na­tion.

10. Tammy Bald­win wins lead­er­ship role.

The U.S. Se­nate’s only openly LGBT mem­ber, Tammy Bald­win (D-Wisc.), was se­lected for one of the Demo­cratic Party’s top lead­er­ship po­si­tions in the Se­nate, fol­low­ing the Novem­ber 8 elec­tions. The Se­nate’s new Mi­nor­ity Leader, Charles Schumer of New York, chose Bald­win to serve as Sec­re­tary of the Se­nate Demo­cratic Con­fer­ence (aka Se­nate Demo­cratic Cau­cus). The po­si­tion is the fourth rank­ing po­si­tion among the Democrats. Be­yond that, how­ever, the po­si­tion en­sures that Bald­win will have a strong in­flu­ence in Demo­cratic ac­tions in the Se­nate and, per­haps, po­si­tions her to seek even more im­por­tant roles in the fu­ture.

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