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World villains: Newsmakers 2014

The people who shaped our year for the worse

Uganda’s Parliament

In February of 2014, members of the Parliament of Uganda signed their infamous “Kill the Gays” bill into law, which was subsequently struck down by the Constitutional Court in August. Victory, right? Not quite. In refusing to comment on the content of the bill, the Constitutional Court left the option open for another anti-gay bill to surface, which it did — a harsher bill that seeks to punish not only homosexuals, but landlords of gay tenants and LGBT civil rights groups. One step forward, two giant leaps back.

Pastor James David Manning

The passing of Reverend Fred Phelps left a career opening for crazy religious bigots everywhere, and so we now have Pastor James David Manning of Harlem advocating stoning homosexuals to hell, accusing President Obama of destroying the black community and claiming that Starbucks flavours its coffees with the “semen of sodomites.” Well, I guess that explains the drag queens.

The Duggars

For two people whose sole talent is successfully reproducing, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sure have lots of opinions on things that have nothing to do with them. The TLC stars got in hot water in 2014 for successfully helping to overturn an anti-discrimination law that protected the rights of queer and trans people in their community and for having affiliations with the anti-gay Family Research Council. Between this and the Mama June debacle, maybe it’s time we stop providing jerks with platforms to spread their hatred?

NBC and the showrunners of Constantine

Adapting a comic to television involves a certain amount of creative licence, but the decision to alter a lead character’s sexuality is a bit more suspect, which is why the creators of NBC’s Constantine have had to go on the defensive over their version, in which Constantine is straight. Lots of waffling, lots of talk of series chronology and lots of insulting back-and-forth with the fandom, but the bottom line is this: the network didn’t have the balls to build a show around a bisexual hero. Period.

The Catholic bishops against Pope Francis

So, that Pope Francis is kinda cool, right? Fairly progressive, at least as far as popes go. Making strides to welcome gay people and divorcees into the fold and helping to bring the church into the 21st century, but then having to deal with a bunch of buzzkill bishops going against him out of the fear that it would “undermine the traditional family.” Well, stay strong, Pope Francis — something tells me that you’re on the right side of history.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Need we say more?