There has been a lot of dark LGBTQIA news this year, like 2021 being the deadliest year on record for violence against gender-diverse people. Sometimes it feels like there is no hope for progress and we are continually being exposed to injustices for the LGBTQIA community.
However, there have been some milestones and wins for the queer community this year. We wanted to shine a light on all the top LGBTQIA moments of 2021 and hope that this trend continues in the new year.
More LGBTQIA Olympians Than Ever Before
There’s a good reason why some referred to the Tokyo Summer Games as the “Rainbow Olympics.” At least 186 “out” athletes globally participated at this year’s Olympics. These numbers were more than triple compared to the 2016 Rio Summer Games, as reported by LGBTQ sports site Outsports.
In addition, these LGBTQIA athletes received 32 individual and team medals. One historic moment was when Canadian soccer star Quinn came out as the first “out” transgender athlete to ever compete in the Olympics.
Many Celebrities Came Out in 2021
Celebrities have an enormous influence on our culture and representation matters. This year, many stars came out. For example, actor and singer Demi Lovato came out as non-binary and said they use the pronouns they/them.
Other public figures that came out include NFL player Carl Nassib, Brothers Osborne singer-guitarist TJ Osborne, dancer, singer, and YouTuber JoJo Siwa, and actor Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson.
Iconic Celebrity Moments
In May, pose star and singer Billy Porter came out about being HIV-positive during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He shared that he felt shame about his diagnosis since he grew up in the Pentecostal Church.
However, after therapy and with support from his husband, Adam Smith, Porter was able to open up about his diagnosis.
In addition, on February 6, in an episode of “Saturday Night Live,” singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers smashed her guitar at the end of an epic guitar solo. What was left of the guitar was sold at auction for $101,500 and raised funds for GLAAD, an organization that fights for the rights and acceptance of LGBTQIA people everywhere, and especially in the media.
Queer Representation in Comic Books
Many people in our culture enjoy comic books, and many characters came out. There were already popular comic characters whose identities were reinvented and are now part of the LGBTQIA community, like Robin, Batwoman, and the Flash.
An unforgettable moment that broke the internet was when D.C. Comics announced that the next-generation Superman, Jonathan Kent (the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane), is bisexual. This announcement came from D.C. Comics on National Coming Out Day in October.
In Marvels’ “Eternals” movie, fans also got to see the first openly queer superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phastos.
LGBTQIA Cover Models
Makeup legend Bretman Rock made history this past October when he became the first gay man to land the cover of Playboy magazine.
Model Ariel Nicholson was also the first transgender person to be on the cover of U.S. Vogue Magazine. As one of eight models, Nicholson was featured in the magazine’s “Generation America”-themed September issue.
The Pulse Nightclub Memorial
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation this past June, making the site of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a national memorial. The Pulse nightclub massacre occurred on June 12, 2016, with 49 patrons killed and many more injured.
President Joe Biden signed this legislation into law just days after the massacre’s fifth anniversary. This recognition from the House and Senate was momentous for the LGBTQIA community in the U.S.
Queer Artists Nominated for Grammy’s and Emmy’s
Rapper Lil Nas X has been an iconic figure for the LGBTQIA community. His hit song about gay sex, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” was nominated for three Grammy Awards, making it one of the highest achievements for the LGBTQIA community in the music industry.
At the 64th annual Grammy Awards coming up on January 31, this song is up for song of the year. In addition, Lil Nas X is nominated for record of the year and best music video.
Other LGBTQIA artists nominated for Grammy’s include singer-songwriters Brandi Carlile and Arlo Parks and pop star Halsey.
Even though she did not win in September, Mj Rodriguez was the first transgender performer that receives an Emmy nomination for a major acting category. Rodriguez was nominated as the lead drama actress for her role as Blanca Rodriguez on the popular F.X. show “Pose.”