As we inch toward a new year, and away from what has arguably been one of the most challenging years of our lives, we reflect on the accomplishments and milestones of 2021 to be acknowledged and even celebrated.
Lesbian and queer women slayed in 2021 in the realms of social justice, music, film, sports, and more and helped provide hope for more change and achievement in the coming year. Here are 100 lesbian, bi, queer, and just plain human moments that had extra special meaning for our entire community.
‘Tell Me More About Law And Order” Rachel Maddow Tweets After Capitol Is Stormed On January 6 — January 6, 2021
Supporters of former president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6 as members of Congress were certifying the election. During the insurrection, MSNBC journalist and lesbian icon Rachel Maddow tweeted, “Tell me more about law and order,” a reference to the former President’s frequent calls to protect “law and order” with regards to Black Lives Matter protests. Congress impeached Trump for incitement to insurrection for his role in the sparking the riot, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. He was acquitted by a partisan vote in the Senate in February.
Torrey Peters’ ‘Detransition, Baby’ Tells Witty, Innovative Trans Story — January 7, 2021
Barely a week into the new year, author Torrey Peters burst onto the LGBTQ+ literary scene with her highly-anticipated debut novel ‘Detransition, Baby,’ about three women (trans and cis) whose lives intersect thanks to an unplanned pregnancy. Carmen Maria Machado called this book “so good I want to scream”–so how can you not read it?
Queer Series ‘Dickinson’ Debuts Seasons 2 And 3 — January 8, 2021 And November 5, 2021
Though we can’t say for sure, genre-defining poet Emily Dickinson prooooobably wasn’t straight. The Apple+ TV series ‘Dickinson’ envisions a queer teenage Emily (played by Hailee Steinfeld) with a sensibility both of its time and very contemporary. With two new seasons dropping in 2021, Apple now has 30 episodes ripe for the binging.
Nats Getty Opens Up About Their Gender Identity — January 16, 2021
Nats Getty opened up about their gender identity in an emotional social media post, and appeared alongside their wife Gigi in a YouTube video. The artist and activist shared their struggles of not feeling “in-sync” with the body they were born with, and came out as transgender non-binary, and later went on to share their top surgery journey with the world.
Javicia Leslie Makes Her ‘Batwoman’ Debut — January 17, 2021
Yes, we were on board for Ruby Rose as Kate Kane in Season 1 of the CW’s “Batwoman,” but this year, we only fell deeper in love with the series. Javicia Leslie made her debut in the second season in January as Ryan Wilder, and now, halfway through her third season, is bringing something special to a show which is firing on all cylinders with its casting, writing, and exciting superheroine punch.
President Biden And Vice President Harris Sworn Into Office — January 20, 2021
Following the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, and President Trump’s unsuccessful bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States. Also sworn in on Inauguration Day: history-making Kamala Harris, who became the first woman, the first Black person, and the first person of Asian descent to become Vice President.
Award-Winning Author Malinda Lo Releases Lesbian Historical ‘Last Night At The Telegraph Club’ — January 19, 2021
Malinda Lo redefined queer literature with her acclaimed first novel “Ash,” a lesbian-driven retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. Lo’s latest, “Last Night at the Telegraph Club,” is an interracial romance between two teen girls set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare of the 1950s. Though it’s a young adult novel, the setting and characters are just as powerful for older readers.
Jojo Siwa Comes Out As Queer — January 20, 2021
Former Nickelodeon star Jojo Siwa recorded a viral TikTok to Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way,” hinting at the fact she’s part of the LGBTQ+ community. Two days after posting the viral video, Siwa tweeted a photo of herself wearing a “Best Gay Cousin” t-shirt, confirming the internet’s speculation.
Stonewall Youth Awards Honor Diverse Queer Books — January 25, 2021
The American Library Association recognizes the best in LGBTQ+ representation in literature with its annual Stonewall Awards. This year, picture book “We Are Little Feminists: Families” took the top prize in the youth category. “You Should See Me in a Crown”–featuring a Black lesbian teen protagonist–by Leah Johnson, who GO interviewed in 2020, was also honored.
President Biden Overturns Military Transgender Ban — January 25, 2021
Within weeks of taking office, President Biden overturned former President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. While less than 1% of military service members openly identify as transgender, this move ensures the military will be more inclusive, allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country regardless of their gender identity.
Rebecca Black Drops ‘Girlfriend’ — January 29, 2021
Once known for her cringe hit “Friday,” Rebecca Black now is a significant player in the queer music scene and works on embracing her authentic self in her new music. She told Paper, “‘Girlfriend’ represents a new chapter for me, both in its sound and in the fact that since coming out, there is now a whole new layer of myself I’m sharing openly with my audience.”
Stop AAPI Hate Campaign — February, 2021
In the first few months of 2021, following a resurgence of hate crimes against Asian Americans across the country, the Stop AAPI Hate campaign rallied to bring communities together. Protesters took to the streets against white supremacy. Fundraisers were established and circulated via social media platforms for local Asian American businesses and families across the country. Safety patrol groups were created in several cities, including New York City and California’s Bay Area. Celebrities and brands also lent their voices and platforms to the movement, admonishing the recent attacks and encouraging people to report these hate crimes.
Biden Issues Memorandum To Protect LGBTQ+ People Around The World — February 4, 2021
President Biden’s memorandum aimed to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community worldwide. The memorandum calls for the protection of LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers, addresses human rights abuses the community faces around the world, and aims to combat the criminalization of LGBTQ+ identity around the world. To date, same-sex relations are criminalized in 69 countries, and same-sex “conduct” is punishable by death in nine countries.
Ali Krieger And Ashlyn Harris Welcome Baby Girl — February 12, 2021
U.S. Women’s National Team stars and sports power-couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger announced the arrival of baby girl Sloane Phillips just before Valentine’s Day. “We promise Sloane will be loved every single day by us, our friends and our family,” the couple said in a post on Instagram addressed to Sloane’s birth mother. They also promised “to give her the tools to live a happy, successful life of inclusivity and support” and to “encourage her to follow her dreams no matter how big or small.”
Queer Actor Sasha Lane To Star In ‘Conversations With Friends’ TV Adaptation — February 18, 2021
Think “Normal People”…but gayer. Another of Sally Rooney’s books has been picked up for a TV series. This time it’s “Conversations With Friends,” where almost every central character is queer. Sasha Lane, who dazzled in the conversion therapy film “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” and who is queer herself, will star.
U.S. House Passes Equality Act — February 25, 2021
The House passed the Equality Act in February, which prohibits discrimination in public spaces based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. If passed into law, the bill will ensure anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community when accessing education, housing, and employment. The bill would also expand anti-discrimination laws to prohibit any individual from being denied access to a shared facility (e.g., bathrooms, locker rooms) in accordance with their gender identity.
Christian Adoption Agency Begins Placing Children In Same-Sex Households — March 3, 2021
One of the country’s largest Christian adoption agencies, Bethany Christian Services, announced that it would begin placing children in same-sex households. Prior to the change in policy, the agency would refer same-sex couples looking to adopt to other organizations. However, some branches remain tied to other religious organizations that still refuse to adopt to LGBTQ+ parents. In October, a Tennessee lesbian filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after Bethany’s East Tennessee office, which receives both federal support and financial aid from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) refused her application.
The Fight For Trans Rights Continues — March 12, 2021
Across the country, conservative lawmakers introduced legislation that would limit trans minors’ access to healthcare and scholastic sports teams. In March, Mississippi became the first state in the nation to enact a law that prevents trans students from playing on school sports teams in accordance with their gender identity. However, trans kids are speaking up for themselves, including 10-year-old Kai Shappley, who spoke out in favor of inclusion before a Texas Senate committee in April.
Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes First Transgender Senate-Confirmed Appointee — March 24, 2021
Dr. Rachel Levine made history as the first transgender appointee when she was confirmed as U.S. Assistant Secretary For Health. Her confirmation is a groundbreaking victory for our community’s continued fight for equality. Dr. Levine is now the highest-ranking trans person to serve in the federal government. She is also the first openly transgender four-star officer in the U.S. military, and the first female four-star admiral in the commissioned corps.
Queer Georgia Lawmaker Arrested After Protesting Voting Restriction Bill — March 26, 2021
On March 26, 2021, Georgia state representative Park Cannon, the state’s youngest lawmaker and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, was arrested after knocking on governor Brian Kemp’s office door as he was signing a controversial voting bill into law. Cannon was arrested and charged with “obstruction of law enforcement” and “preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members.” However, she remained defiant on Twitter, where she wrote that the restrictive voting law sprung from the same ideology of white supremacy that sparked the previous week’s massacre at an Atlanta spa, which left eight dead.
Kehlani Confirms They’re A Lesbian — April 5, 2021
Previously, queer singer Kehlani identified as bisexual and has been a staple in queer music for years, even collaborating with Hayley Kiyoko in 2018. In an April Instagram live, they casually revealed they’re gay. “I finally know I’m a lesbian!” she said. More recently, Kehlani shared that she uses she/they pronouns and feels validated when people refer to them with they pronouns.
Lesbian (And Queer) Bars Are Back! — April 8, 2021, May 15, 2021, and October 28, 2021
After over a year of being shuttered during the Covid pandemic, New York City’s lesbian bars finally reopened in 2021. First, Cubbyhole opened on April 8. Then, on May 15, Henrietta Hudson returned with a new and revamped look – complete with charcuterie boards – just in time for Memorial Day. Finally, Brooklyn’s Ginger’s bar launched its “soft” reopening on October 28. However, in December, amid a new Covid wave, Ginger’s announced that it is now “staying closed until it’s safe for the team to comfortably come back to work.”
Gigi Gorgeous Comes Out As Pansexual — April 10, 2021
Social media star Gigi Gorgeous came out for the ‘fourth time’ this year. She credited spouse Nats Getty for helping her discover that she’s pansexual. “It took a long time for me to get here but I truly feel happy within myself and proud” she said in her video, sharing words of wisdom to all of her fans who might find themselves on similar journeys of self discovery.
Samira Wiley And Lauren Morelli Welcome Baby George — April 11, 2021
Krieger and Harris weren’t the only lesbian celebrity couple to welcome a new addition to the family this year. On April 11, screenwriter Lauren Morelli gave birth to baby George, the first child for her and wife Samira Wiley. Wiley, who has starred in “Orange is the New Black” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” announced George’s arrival in May, in a congratulatory Mothers’ Day post to Morelli: “Happy 1st Mother’s Day to my beautiful wife, who four weeks ago today after laboring for almost 3 days gave birth to our first child – our gorgeous daughter, George.”
Rina Sawayama And Elton John Team Up On ‘Chosen Family’ Remix — April 15, 2021
Initially, Rina released “Chosen Family,” a song highlighting the importance of friendships in the queer community, in 2020. She belts in the chorus, “We don’t need to be related to relate/ We don’t need to share genes or a surname,” a concept many members of the LGBTQ+ understand. Once the legendary Elton John heard her heartfelt track, the duo collaborated on a re-release in which they duet as a tribute to the LGBTQ+ community.
‘We Usually Never Get Justice,’ Says George Floyd’s Brother Following Chauvin Verdict — April 20, 2021
A Minnesota jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty for the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed while being restrained by Chauvin and three other officers following a minor infraction. Floyd was one of numerous Black individuals killed at the hands of police whose deaths sparked a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests across the country last year. “I was just praying they would find him guilty,” Floyd’s brother, Philonise, said following the verdict. “As an African American, we usually never get justice.”
New Queer And Lesbian Bars Are On The Horizon — April 28, 2021 and June 29, 2021
The world might soon be getting two new queer bars! First, in April, Jo McDaniel and Rachel Pike, who formerly worked at A League of Her Own, announced plans to open As You Are Bar in the D.C. area. Then, in June, Queens resident Kristin Dausch announced their plans to start Dave’s Lesbian Bar in Astoria. Dausch is currently running Dave’s Lesbian Bar monthly pop-ups in Queens to raise interest in the project, while McDaniel and Pike have found a permanent location for As You Are Bar in the Barracks Row neighborhood in Southeastern D.C.
Lesbian Icon Madeline Davis Passes Away At 81 — April 29, 2021
LGBTQ+ rights pioneer Madeline Davis died at home the evening of April 29. Throughout her life, Davis had been a Renaissance woman of the LGBTQ+ community. The lifelong Buffalo resident taught and designed “Lesbianism 101” at the University of Buffalo — the first course on lesbianism taught in the United States — and co-wrote “Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold,” a history of lesbian life in Buffalo in the mid-20th century. She founded the Buffalo Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Archives in 2001, which is considered one of the top LGBTQ+ archives in the country.
Girl In Red Releases Debut Album — April 30, 2021
Indie singer Girl in Red dropped her highly anticipated debut album after receiving success with “girls,” which went viral on lesbian TikTok in 2020. With her debut album, Girl in Red stayed true to her bedroom-pop genre while attempting to branch out and solidify her sound.
Ellen DeGeneres Announces The End Of ‘Ellen’ — May 12, 2021
After a massive exposé and investigation into the alleged toxic work environment at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” DeGeneres wrapped up 2020 by doing a lot of damage control. The host, who has been on air since 2003, announced she would end the talk show following the end of its 19th season in 2022.
U.S. Expands Birthright Citizenship To Babies Of Same-Sex Couples Born Abroad — May 19, 2021
The State Department will now recognize babies born abroad to same-sex couples as U.S. citizens, regardless of whether or not the American parent(s) is biologically related to the child. Under this policy, children born to same-sex couples through surrogacy or in-vitro fertilization will be recognized as U.S. citizens at birth, providing at least one of the parents is American. Excellent news for queers who are building their families abroad!
Demi Lovato Comes Out As Non-binary — May 19, 2021
Demi Lovato, who’s never been one to shy away from their identity and trauma, announced in May that they are non-binary and feel most comfortable with they/them pronouns. In an Instagram post, they shared that their pronoun change came after much self reflection and encouraged everyone to live their authentic truth.
Reaction To Texas Heartbeat Act — May 19, 2021
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the Heartbeat Act, which bans abortions in Texas after six weeks, and which allows private individuals to sue anyone suspected of helping an individual procure an abortion. Abortion proponents and providers challenged the bill, appealing to the Supreme Court to prevent it from taking effect while its fate is decided in the federal court system. The Supreme Court refused to hear arguments to halt the bill, which went into effect on September 1.
Chicago’s Nobody’s Darling Becomes Latest Addition To Lesbian Bar Scene — May 20, 2021
Renauda Riddle and Angela Barnes proved that there is, indeed, a place for new lesbian bars. In May, they opened Nobody’s Darling in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The name was inspired by Alice Walker’s poem, “Be Nobody’s Darling” and the bar’s cocktail menu features homages to Black activists, writers, and artists, including the J. Kincaid Daiquiri, the Jos Baker Manhattan, and the A. Walker Summer Martini.
‘Rugrats’ Reboot Confirms Phil And Lil’s Mom Betty Is An Out Lesbian — May 27, 2021
We all had a feeling that this was the case when “Rugrats” first premiered, but the voice actress playing Betty in the reboot recently teased that “anyone who watched the original show may have had an inkling Betty was a member of the alphabet mafia,” in an exclusive statement to the A.V. Club. Then, Nickelodeon made it official in May that Phil and Lil’s Mom is indeed queer, letting us know she’d be cracking jokes about ex-girlfriends in the show. With her Venus symbol sweatshirt and women-and-women-first attitude, she was already a queer-coded icon. Her Venus symbol has been swapped for a Gemini symbol (probably because lesbians love astrology), but her sweatband and feminist attitude are both here to stay.
Survivors Gather On 100-Year Anniversary of Tulsa Massacre — May 31, 2021
May 31 marked the centennial anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre in which an estimated 300 Black Americans were killed, thousands were displaced and left homeless, and an entire community was devastated. The last three survivors were joined by members of the Tulsa community as well as faith, political and social justice leaders to commemorate the anniversary. Most notably, a Prayer Wall of Racial Healing was dedicated at Vernon AME Church with religious leaders of all denominations joining together in solidarity and a prayer for peace and healing. “This wall behind me endured the flames of hate,” said Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. “It stood strong and resilient. And today we gather to dedicate it as a place of prayer, of hope, of gathering and of renewal. … Thank you for what you’re doing by being here, and let us all put our hearts and hands and spirit to the work that remains undone.”
Alexandra Shipp Comes Out — June 1, 2021
Alexandra Shipp, best known for playing Storm in the “X-Men” franchise and for appearing in “Love, Simon” came out on the first day of Pride Month with a heartfelt Instagram post. She wrote, “though I don’t believe in regrets, this would definitely be no. 1 for myself. I denied denied denied.” We are so glad she is denying no longer! Welcome to the LGBTQ+ family, Alexandra – we’re so happy you’re here!
Hulu Releases ‘Changing the Game,’ A New Documentary Centering Trans Athletes — June 1, 2021
On June 1, streaming service Hulu released “Changing the Game,” a documentary that centers the lives of three transgender high school athletes who’ve been fighting in their home communities for trans kids’ right to compete on sports teams of their gender identity. “Changing The Game” gave them the opportunity to control their narratives, at a time when trans bodies and desires have become a battleground for public debate, especially this past year. The film was released on Hulu just in time for Pride Month.
Queer Romance ‘One Last Stop’ Becomes Instant New York Times Bestseller — June 1, 2021
Ladies in love, New York City, waffles and…time travel? Absolutely. Author Casey McQuiston’s debut “Red, White and Royal Blue” was a smash success, and their follow-up, “One Last Stop,” became an instant New York Times bestseller upon release. This female/female romance is a whimsical delight and an absolute must-read.
‘The 2000s Made Me Gay’ Captures Millennial Queer Coming-Of-Age — June 1, 2021
As the 2000s are resurging on TikTok, a current pastime of the Millennial queer is visiting the deep recesses of their brain to discover all the insane media they consumed as a child and how all of it shaped them into who they are today. Queer culture writer Grace Perry saw into our souls with her hilarious and heartfelt memoir-essay collection, “The 2000s Made Me Gay.” From Taylor Swift to “Glee” to “The L Word”–which she calls “‘Star Wars’ for millennial queer women”–Perry puts it all out there in her unique, chatty voice. This book funnels the experience into 256 hysterical home-hitting pages and makes a great gift.
The Lesbian Bar Project Documentary Premieres, LBP Launches Fundraising Campaign — June 3, 2021
The Lesbian Bar Project documentary came out on www.lesbianbarproject.com and their pool-fund campaign opened. LBP set the goal to raise 200K for the remaining 21 bars in the U.S.
‘Feel Good’ Concludes Its Two-Season Run — June 4, 2021
Mae Martin’s short-lived Netflix and Channel 4 series may have flown under your radar, but they wrote some of the best television of 2021. In the semi-autobiographical romantic comedy, Martin plays a comedian and recovering addict who falls in love with a repressed, middle-class English woman. Its final six-episode season was released on Netflix in June.
‘Pose’ Wraps Its Historic Run — June 6, 2021
We will be giving “Pose” its flowers for years to come. The historic FX series, led by a cast of Black trans and queer actors, ended its run after its third season. With Michaela Jae Rodriguez becoming the first ever trans lead nominated for an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama this past season, as well as many other accolades, “Pose” has made an indelible mark on television history.
Kamala Harris Becomes First Sitting VP To March In Pride Parade — June 12, 2021
Vice President Kamala Harris surprised attendees at the Capitol Pride Walk and Rally in D.C., walking in the Pride parade for a block and speaking to people along the route. As the first sitting VP to attend a Pride march, Harris wore a t-shirt with the words, “LOVE is LOVE.” She called for approval of the Equality Act and spoke of the work that still needs to be done to protect the LGBTQ+ community in the United States.
Brooklyn Liberation March For Trans Youth — June 13, 2021
In response to an onslaught of state laws targeting trans and gender-nonconforming youth, as well as continued violence against the trans community, demonstrators took to the streets for the Brooklyn Liberation March. The march and rally was organized as an “emergency action in response to the more than 100 pieces of [anti-trans] legislation that have been filed in over 34 states,” according to the Brooklyn Liberation website. “Everyone deserves agency, bodily autonomy, health care and self determination. Trans health care saves lives. Let kids speak. Trans youth know who they say they are. Trans youth know their truth.”
Biden Designates Pulse A National Monument — June 25, 2021
President Biden signed a law designating Pulse Nightclub in Orlando a national memorial. The designation came at the fifth-year anniversary of the 2015 massacre, which left 49 dead after a gunman opened fire at the crowded gay nightclub. Both chambers of Congress had previously passed legislation to declare Pulse a national monument earlier in the year.
Honduras Held Responsible For Death Of Vicky Hernandez — June 29, 2021
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the country of Honduras was responsible for the death of Vicky Hernandez, a trans sex worker and rights advocate who was found shot to death during a 2009 military coup. The landmark ruling marked the first time that the Central American country has been held accountable in a case of transfemicide. The court ruled that Honduras must do more to enforce measures that protect LGBTQ+ individuals.
State Department Will Allow ‘X’ Gender Markers On Passports — June 30, 2021
The State Department announced that it will allow “X” gender markers on passports for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming applicants. Although the Department has stated it’s working on the change now, it has yet to provide a timeline for when the new markers will officially be available. In a statement released to the press, Lambda Legal called the change a victory for plaintiff Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy Veteran and intersex advocate who has been fighting for over six years to obtain a U.S. passport. Zzyym, who is currently the associate director for the Intersex Campaign for Equality, was born with ambiguous sex traits and identifies as non-binary.
Chantale Wong Makes History As First Lesbian Ambassador — July 2, 2021
Chantale Wong made history as the first out lesbian and the first out queer person of color to serve in an ambassador-level role in the United States. President Biden nominated her to the role of director for the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which promotes economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. While chosen for her expertise, Wong’s presence in the ADB may help change perspectives of representatives from other countries who still criminalize LGBTQ+ people. This nomination makes Wong one of at least 200 LGBTQ+ community members Biden has appointed since taking office.
‘Fear Street’ Is A Pre-Halloween Hit On Netflix — July 2, 2021
It’s not very often you get a queer slasher movie, let alone three, but Netflix’s “Fear Street” trilogy, based on R.L. Stine’s YA horror novels of the same name, gave us just that with Deena and Sam, whose love story is the center of Leigh Janiak’s film series.
Court Ruling To Amend Surrogacy Law To Include Same Sex Couples In Israel — July 11, 2021
The Israeli Supreme Court gave the government six months to lift restrictions on a surrogacy law that excludes same-sex couples. The court had previously ruled in 2020 that the law, which had been expanded to grant single women access to surrogates previously reserved for heterosexual couples, was unlawful in its exclusion of same-sex parents. The government had one year to revise the law, but had failed to do so. The law will now go into effect in six months, by January 2022.
Tokyo Olympics: The Queerest Games Yet — July 23, 2021 – August 8, 2021
There were at least 168 publicly out gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender and gender non-conforming athletes in the Tokyo Summer Olympics this year. According to Outsports, that number is greater than the number of out athletes who have participated in all other previous Olympics games combined. When compared to the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Tokyo Olympics more than tripled the number of publicly out athletes. We’re well on our way!
Olympic Skateboarder And Queer Rights Activist Annie Guglia To Compete In Tokyo — July 25, 2021
Canadian skateboarder Annie Guglia was invited to compete in the Tokyo Olympics 36 hours before the Games began. The lesbian skater did not initially qualify for the Games, but she was invited to compete after a last-minute cancellation. That meant one more queer athlete was added to the list of athletes competing this year, and one who had previously spoken out on queer rights. In a 2020 interview Guglia stated, “I am openly lesbian, and I 100% support all initiatives aiming for equality for all.”
Self-Described ‘Flaming Gay’ Raven Sanders Finishes With A Silver Medal In Tokyo — July 31, 2021
Raven Sanders has been out and proud since 3rd grade. This year she channeled that pride into becoming a shot put Olympian – and she was ready to make herself known this summer in Tokyo. She competed with her hair dyed purple and green in honor of The Joker in order to spice up her USA uniform. After winning silver, she celebrated by dancing and using her platform to state, “I want to give a shout out to all the LGBTQ community.”
Rainbow Hair In The 1500-Meter Race – August 6, 2021
Canadian runner Gabriela Debues-Stafford showed up for a fight this summer in Tokyo. The 1500-meter runner was ready to compete and committed to embracing her queer identity despite Olympic bans on “political demonstrations.” Debues-Stafford finished fifth in her race, and did so with rainbow hair. She explained, “Hair is such a wonderful method of self-expression, and having the freedom to explore different styles and bright colours, I feel like my fully authentic self.”
‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Airs Its Second Season – August 8-October 11, 2021
From the sexy to the messy, “The L Word: Generation Q” continued to have all the things we want. (Especially or with the exception of Bette, depending on where you stand.) The second season brought us closer to Bette, Shane, Alice, Dani, Sophie, Sarah, Micah, and Gigi, and also to each other in the way that only a quintessentially Queer With a Capital Q show can. Now, we just wait for the season renewal news.
Federal Lawsuit Ends Title IX Live Cross-Examination Of Student Survivors — August 10, 2021
The U.S. Department of Education released an official statement confirming that it will no longer enforce the anti-survivor provision within Title IX. College survivors of sexual assault and their witnesses will no longer be subjected to mandatory live cross-examination at Title IX sexual assault/harassment hearings. The ruling in the Equal Rights Advocates’ lawsuit against the U.S. Department Of Education (ED) and former Secretary Betsy DeVos was clarified on August 10. The federal judge confirmed that the Title IX provision is unlawful as “it is harmful to student survivors of sexual violence, and that provision should no longer be enforced under Title IX.”
The Lesbian Bar Project Raises $151,553.42 — August 27, 2021
The Lesbian Bar Project announced on Instagram that they raised $151,553.42 during their 2021 Pride campaign! $58,563 of the total amount was thanks to the generosity of Hinge. The LBP wrote, “We could not have achieved this success without the support of you all. Our amazing community truly showed up for our bars, who will be receiving 100% of the pool fund. We’re here. We’re queer. And we’re demanding physical space to be in community.”
Kate O’Brien Wins Silver At The Paralympic Games — August 30, 2021
Kate O’Brien won silver in the Women’s C4-5 500 Meter Time Trial, with a time of 35.439 seconds. She finished behind Great Britain’s Kadeena Fox, who won gold with a time of 34.433 seconds. O’Brien had previously competed in the 2016 Rio Games, but in 2017 was involved in a cycling crash that left her comatose. Despite doctors telling her she would never ride, walk, or even speak properly again — and despite an epilepsy diagnosis in 2018 — O’Brien incorporated cycling into her recovery. In January 2020, she made her para-cycling debut at the Para-cycling Track World Championships, where she won two world titles and set two world records. “I never imagined that I would get to compete in the Paralympic Games,” O’Brien wrote on Instagram.
Muna And Phoebe Bridgers Collaborate On ‘Silk Chiffon’ — September 7, 2021
Arguably the most sapphic song of the year, “Silk Chiffon” eloquently describes early queer love and is Muna’s first song under Phoebe Bridgers Saddest Factory record label. The song’s quirky yet Gen Z ode to a queer crush, which depicts being stoned and seeing your crush inside of a CVS, pays homage to cult classic camp movie “But I’m A Cheerleader” in its music video. The only parts missing? Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall.
LGBTQ+ Celebs Pay Tribute To Gay/Trans Rights Trailblazers At Met Gala — September 13, 2021
The Met Gala is an experience that fashion and pop culture buffs look forward to. This year, the theme was American Fashion, and some attendees brought their heroes with them in spirit. Nikki Tutorials’ look was dedicated to Marsha P. Johnson, the queen of queer rights, Dan Levy wore a suit inspired by queer artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, and Elliot Page wore a green flower to pay tribute to Oscar Wilde, queer poet and playwright.
Jojo Siwa And Jenna Johnson Make Their Debut As First Same-Sex Couple On ‘Dancing With The Stars’ — September 20, 2021
When Jojo Siwa came out, she was the newest child-star-turned-queer to hit the scene. But she really made history when she danced into every home in America on “Dancing With the Stars” with her female partner, Jenna Johnson. The pair started with some fun, silly dances, but made sure to turn up the heat in later weeks. Even though they ended up in second place, they were the first in our hearts.
Elvira Reveals Her 19-Year Relationship With Girlfriend In New Memoir ‘Yours Cruelly, Elvira’ — September 21, 2021
Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, introduced the world to her girlfriend Teresa Wierson, who she met at the gym. She described her gym crush as “dark and brooding” with “intense” energy, but did not realize that Wierson was a woman until she saw her in the women’s bathroom. They trained together and were friends for years, but they ultimately couldn’t deny the chemistry between them. The Queen of Darkness really kept us in the dark– until now!
Zolita Drops Her ‘Somebody I F*cked Once’ Music Video — September 22, 2021
Paying ode to the 2000s lesbian cheerleader as Muna and Bridgers did, Zolita released a music video filled with nostalgic high school queerness. While “Silk Chiffon” was clearly a spoof on “But I’m a Cheerleader,” “Somebody I F*cked Once” combines the best of early 2000s media to create the queer representation Zolita yearned for growing up. “Brittana, from ‘Glee’, was my own sexual awakening and ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ is a forever favourite,” she told Gay Times.
Polish Regions Reverse “LGBT Free” Zone Designations — September 22, 2021
A handful of Polish provinces that had previously declared themselves “LGBT Free” zones reversed their designations after the European Union (EU) threatened to cut their funding. The provincial assembly of Swietokrzyskie was the first to reverse its “LGBT Free” status, followed a week later by similar reversals in the regions of Podkarpackie, Lubelskie, and Malopolskie. Under the ruling conservative government, which has been increasingly hostile to LGBTQ+ rights, over one-third of the Eastern European nation has declared itself “LGBT Free.”
Switzerland Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage — September 26, 2021
Switzerland became the latest European country to legalize same-sex marriage after a referendum vote on September 26. Nearly two-thirds of voters supported the measure, which will go into effect in July 2022. The landlocked country was one of the few remaining in Western Europe that had yet to legalize same-sex marriage.
‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Castmembers Crash ‘Dyking Out’ Podcast At Live Viewing — Fall 2021
I have never experienced FOMO as painful as when “L Word” characters Shane and Alice showed up IRL to “The L Word” watch party that I decided not to go to. That is until Gigi and Dani showed up together and KISSED ON THE MOUTH IN PUBLIC FOR FREE. The castmembers had popped in on a live watch party at Henrietta Hudson, a NYC lesbian bar, hosted by the hosts of “Dyking Out.” Could there be anything gayer on Planet Earth?
Taryn Manning And Anne Cline Break Up — October 2, 2021
“Orange is the New Black” alum Taryn Manning ended things with her fiancé Anne Cline just a few months after their engagement. In August, Manning posted a picture snuggling with her dog captioned, “I’m sticking with animals from here on out.” The cherry on top was that she hashtagged it #humanssucksometimes.
National Women’s Soccer League Players Protest Against Sexual Assault — October 6, 2021
Players in the Women’s National Soccer League paused play in the sixth minute of their games on October 6 in solidarity with two former players who made allegations of sexual misconduct against coach Paul Riley. In a statement released the following day, the players made a list of eight demands, calling on the league to conduct more thorough and transparent investigations into allegations of abuse. “The reckoning has already begun,” the statement concluded. “We will not be silent. We will be relentless in our pursuit of a league that deserves the players in it.”
Australia Premieres First Bisexual Season Of ‘The Bachelorette’ — October 20, 2021
“Bachelor Nation” has been a very straight and white franchise, but recently, they have made efforts to change that. Australia really stepped it up this year by choosing a bisexual bachelorette and letting both men and women compete on the show. One of the contestants was on the same season of “The Bachelor” as the bachelorette, and she came back to try to win her over. We’re here for the drama and keeping our fingers crossed the U.S. will try something similar. And nothing like “A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila.”
Brandi Carlile Makes Her ‘Saturday Night Live’ Debut — October 23, 2021
“Saturday Night Live” featured a musical performance by Brandi Carlile, marking the singer’s first appearance on the iconic NBC show. Carlile appeared as the musical guest in the episode, which was hosted by Jason Sudekis. She appeared with Sudekis and “SNL” players Chloe Fineman and Alex Moffat in a promo ad for the episode, telling Sudekis that he is “the best host ever” after he declared it’s “positive affirmation time.”
Activists Call Out Global Leaders at COP26 — October 31-November 12, 2021
Youth activists from around the world called out global leaders at the COP26, the UN’s climate summit, for failing to act on climate change. On November 5, thousands gathered for a Fridays for the Future demonstration, led by climate activist Greta Thurnberg, to demand substantive change to reduce carbon emissions and avoid environmental catastrophe. In her address to the crowd, Thurnberg called COP26 a “failure,” adding that “We need immediate, drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen.”
Wonder Woman Gets A Girlfriend In New DC Comic — November 2, 2021
It’s about damn time! This year, our favorite female superhero – raised on an island of powerful women – was given a queer romance storyline in “Dark Nights of Steel,” her latest DC Comics series. Wonder Woman gets sapphic with Superman’s gorgeous sister, Zala-El, a new addition to the canon. Talk about a power couple!
LGBTQ+ Political Candidates Make History — November 2, 2021
More than 400 members of the queer community ran for public office in 2021. Now, the United States has more than 1,000 LGBTQ+ people serving their communities and moving equality forward. Queer people running for office are more diverse than ever before, with more Black, non-binary, and trans candidates running in 2021 than in any other off-year election. In many states, queers made history as the first LGBTQ+ candidates to be elected in their communities.
Hallmark And Lifetime Both Premiere Their First Lesbian Christmas Movies — November/December 2021
We’ve got to speculate that the success of Hulu’s ‘Happiest Season’ finally pushed Hallmark and Lifetime over the edge to include lesbian movies, but that doesn’t change our excitement. Hallmark’s ‘Every Time A Bell Rings’ (Nov 18) and Lifetime’s ‘Under the Christmas Tree’ (Dec 19) finally feature the cheesiest romantics (WLW) in the cheesiest genre of movies.
KStew Is Off The Market — November 2, 2021
Kristen Stewart announced her engagement to her partner of two years, Dylan Meyer. On “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Stewart boasted about Meyer’s proposal to her (and made every queer girl swoon) saying, “she knocked it out of park.” We can’t wait for the wedding pics!
Jojo Siwa And Kylie Prew Split — November 3, 2021
Jojo Siwa and Kylie Prew broke up in November after much public speculation. That’s a wrap, folks! Turns out love is dead and we can all go home. No, but seriously, the lesbians were heartbroken. However, Siwa confirms that they are still friends, and very happy individually.
A Big Year For Astrid Guyart — November 4, 2021
French fencer Astrid Guyart spent the year celebrating her queer identity. She was one of six high-level French athletes who came out this June during Pride Month. Guyart then spent her summer in Tokyo winning a silver medal in women’s team foil during the Summer Olympics. Following her big win, she got married in November and celebrated the marriage with a rainbow cake that was topped with Lego figurines depicting her and her now wife Julie Lavet.
Guy Fieri Offers To Officiate Kristen Stewart’s Wedding — November 4, 2021
America’s hearts simultaneously swelled with joy and also broke at the news of KStew’s engagement, but what really won us over was who would be potentially conducting the ceremony. Kristen Stewart told Howard Stern in an interview that she would love for “that sweet, sweet, spiky-headed man” Guy Fieri to officiate her wedding. Fieri, mayor of Flavortown, has officiated hundreds of gay and lesbian weddings in honor of his mom. When Stewart appeared on the “Today Show” days later, she was presented with a video of Fieri accepting her offer. Pop culture gold.
Kristen Stewart Becomes Princess Diana — November 5, 2021
Few had a bigger year than Kristen Stewart, who, in addition to announcing her engagement to Dylan Meyer in November, made major waves on the silver screen. Stewart took on the role of Princess Diana in “Spencer,” earning her critical acclaim and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama.
Remembering Trans Lives Lost To Violence — November 10, 2021
In November, the number of known transgender and gender non-conforming individuals killed by violence reached 45, making 2021 the deadliest year for transgender and gender non-conforming violence on record. By the end of the year, the number stood at 51. Among the latest victims were Marquiisha Lawrence, who was found shot to death in her home in Greenville, South Carolina; Air Force veteran Cris Blehar; and Nikai David, an Oakland woman killed just after celebrating her 33rd birthday. We continue to honor their lives on Trans Day Of Remembrance, and strive to make the world more safe, more loving, and inclusive year-round.
Illinois Students Defend ‘Gender Queer’ Book — November 17, 2021
Just a few weeks ago, students in Downers Grove, Illinois rallied to protect the inclusion of Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” a coming-of-age nonfiction book about sexuality and gender, in their school library. Texas governor Gregg Abbott has referred to the book as “pornography,” but the teens of Downers Grove aren’t having it. Lauren Pierrett, a 17-year-old senior, said, “Let’s not present getting rid of ‘Gender Queer’ as censoring our children from sex. It’s homophobia.” The kids are all right.
Ugandan Runner Annet Negesa Writes In Response To The International Olympic Committee’s New Non-Discrimination Policy — November 18, 2021
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) published new guidelines on fairness, inclusion, and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex variations. The IOC has previously targeted transgender athletes and athletes from the Global South questioning their gender and thus eligibility to compete. In 2012, Ugandan runner Annet Negesa was forced to undergo an irreversible surgery because her body was said to be too “masculine” to compete. In November, Negesa wrote about how her experience as an athlete met with these demands and reflected on the new Olympic policy that would have protected her from unnecessary surgery.
Protested Acquittal Of Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict — November 19, 2021
Thousands across the country protested the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old charged with killing two men and wounding a third during the Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Protesters gathered in Kenosha, Chicago, New York, Columbus, and other cities to denounce the acquittal. “While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” President Biden said in a statement following the verdict.
Arlo Parks Receives Multiple Grammys Nominations — November 24, 2021
After releasing her debut album “Collapsed in Sunbeams” in January 2021, musician and poet Arlo Parks won the Brit Award for Breakthrough Artist. The British Gen Z singer-songwriter has continued her rise, earning two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album.
Kim Petras Performs On The Coach Float — November 25, 2021
Kim Petras graced the Coach float during the return of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was modified last year due to Covid. Riding in style, she sang her hit song “I Don’t Want It At All,” her 2017 debut single. As a pop star who happens to be trans, Petras frequently breaks down barriers, and was the first out trans performer to headline a VMA performance earlier this year.
Bi Icon Josephine Baker Is The First Black Woman And American Inducted Into The Pantheon — December 1, 2021
Late entertainer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker became the first Black woman and the first American to be inducted into the French Pantheon, a national mausoleum and final resting place for numerous French heroes and dignitaries. “She broke down barriers. She became part of the hearts and minds of the French people” said French President Emmanuel Macron at the induction ceremony. “Josephine Baker,” he added, “you enter the Pantheon because while you were born American … deep down there was no one more French than you.”
Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Controversial Mississippi Abortion Law — December 1, 2021
The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving a Mississippi abortion law that bans the procedure after 15 weeks, or around two months earlier than the time frame established in Roe v. Wade. Along with the Texas Heartbeat Act, the Mississippi abortion law is among the most restrictive in the country. A ruling by the justices in favor of the state could potentially reverse Roe v. Wade.
Coming Out After Winning Bronze — December 2, 2021
This summer in the Tokyo Olympics, Italian boxer Irma Testa became the first Italian woman in history to medal in boxing. With a bronze in her hand, she concluded that it was time to publicly come out as queer. “Many athletes stay silent and hide away for fear of damaging their image,” she said in an interview with the Italian edition of Vanity Fair. “For me, too, it was like that up until a few months ago. But that medal in Tokyo has become my shield – now that Irma the athlete is secure, Irma the woman can be sincere.”
‘Benedetta’ Is Released in Theaters — December 3, 2021
Who would have thought 2021 would have wrapped up with all of us consumed by a French movie about a pair of lesbian nuns in the 17th century? After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in July, “Benedetta” made its way to the U.S. and was released in theaters to critical acclaim.
Chile Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage — December 7, 2021
Chile’s congress passed a law to legalize same-sex marriage in early December. This is a landmark victory that comes after a decade-long battle in the courts in this traditionally conservative South American country. Karla Rubilar, Chile’s Minister of Social Development, says this is “one more step forward in terms of justice, equality, and recognizing that love is love.”
Sam Kerr Slams Male Pitch Invader To The Ground — December 8, 2021
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr has been named the third best female footballer in the world by The Guardian’s 2021 ranking and after scoring two goals in a game this past summer she famously stated that, “My girlfriend is here – I had to put on a show!” Kerr’s fan base grew this past week as she shouldered a male pitch invader to the ground during the UEFA Women’s Champions League. The video is incredible and worth watching on loop.
Canada Bans Conversion Therapy — December 8, 2021
Canada is the latest country to ban conversion therapy after a bill outlawing the practice was signed into law by Royal Ascent in December. Prior to its signatory, both chambers of the country’s Parliament voted unanimously to approve the ban, after the Liberal bill was fast-tracked through the House of Commons by Conservative Rob Moore. Following the Royal Ascent, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the law on Twitter, calling conversion therapy “despicable and degrading.” He added, “LGBTQ2 Canadians, we’ll always stand up for you and your rights.”
bell hooks, Black, Queer, Feminist Icon Dies — December 15, 2021
Author, intellectual, and feminist scholar bell hooks died on December 15 at the age of 69. For decades, hooks remained a force at the intersection between scholarly theory and social activism. In her work, hooks, who was both Black and queer, focused on the intersections between race, class, sexuality, and gender, and cast a critical eye on dominant social structures. Throughout her career, she authored over 30 books, including “Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism.”
Fletcher And Hayley Kiyoko Drop ‘Cherry’ Music Video — December 16, 2021
After ample hinting on TikTok, queer popstar Fletcher and Lesbian Jesus Hayley Kiyoko teamed up on end-of-the-year queer bop, “Cherry.” Fletcher and Kiyoko embraced a light vintage aesthetic in the song’s accompanying music video, complementing the song’s airy, flirtatious sound. Fletcher told Out “It’s a moment for the girls, gays, and theys.”
‘The Real Housewives Of Miami’ Premieres With First Lesbian Featured In Main Cast — December 16, 2021
“The Real Housewives of Miami” returned after an 8-year hiatus, with this season featuring the first-ever openly gay woman who is married to a woman in the main cast. The year’s cast features Julia Lemigova, a former model and the wife of tennis star Martina Navratilova. The prolific “Housewives” franchise has featured lesbians before, including Robin Levy in “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and Braunwyn Windham-Brooke of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” who came out as lesbian in 2020. However, Lemigova will be the first “housewife” married to a woman at the time of her appearance on the show.
New Jersey Lawmakers Vote To Codify Same-Sex Marriage Into State Law — December 20, 2021
New Jersey lawmakers voted to codify same-sex marriage into state law, even though same-sex marriage has been legal in the state since 2013, and nationwide since 2015. Lawmakers approved the codification in the event a future Supreme Court decision overturns Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case that legalized same-sex marriage. “Basic equal rights should not be denied to any class of citizen, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation,” said State Senator Vin Gopal (D) in a statement following passage of New Jersey’s same-sex marriage codification bill, as reported by the New Jersey Globe. “The law must protect all civil rights and continue to honor the union between two people who love each other.”
Jury Finds Kim Potter Guilty On Two Counts Of Manslaughter In Shooting Death Of Daunte Wright — December 23, 2021
Former police officer Kim Potter was found guilty on two counts of manslaughter for the shooting death of Daunte Wright earlier this year. A Minneapolis jury found Potter guilty of both first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. The verdict carries a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
America Loses Literary Icon Joan Didion — December 23, 2021
Essayist, novelist, screenwriter, and political reporter Joan Didion died of complications of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 69. For decades, Didion was a leading voice of American literature, and a pioneer in New Journalism, which favored a narrative-driven approach to reporting of the world’s happenings. Among her most famous works are “Stumbling Toward Bethlehem,” a collection of essays about San Francisco’s hippy culture of the 1960s, and the memoir “The Year of Magical Thinking.”
Trans Contestant Amy Schnieder Breaks Multiple Records During Her Run On ‘Jeopardy!’ — December 29, 2021
Amy Schneider, an engineer manager and sketch comedy writer from the Bay Area, has been kicking butt and taking names on “Jeopardy!.” At the time of submission, Schneider has 21 consecutive wins under her belt, and is fourth in highest total earnings, with a cash pot of $806,000. For good luck, she wears a pearl necklace from her girlfriend who said that her mom’s motto was “Every woman deserves a string of pearls.” We can’t wait to see how far she goes!