The Daily Package
4 min

Year in review: the best international LGBT stories of 2015

Weddings, tragedies and a hermaphroditic cat

What a year 2015 was for the LGBT world!

And no, marriage equality in the United States wasn’t the only important story. We also got marriage equality in Ireland and Finland. Two great gay bloggers resigned, from opposite sides of the political spectrum. There was a hermaphroditic cat and a bisexual bull, weddings and terrorism, feuds, victories and affairs.

Here’s a rundown of this crazy year in LGBT news.  

The year began in January with horrific news from Iraq, where ISIS executed two men for alleged homosexuality, and a bloody attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo that may have been a response to a gay-tinged cover story. In the US, hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition to ban transgender conversion therapy, in memory of teenager Leelah Alcorn. Prolific conservative gay blogger Andrew Sullivan retired his blog, The Dish; Stephen Fry got married; and a hermaphroditic cat got surgery.

In February, Finland’s president signed same-sex marriage rights into law, and more Mexican states joined Quintana Roo in welcoming gay weddings. Scottish bisexual actor Alan Cumming poked fun at gay blood bans with his “celibacy challenge,” and an openly bisexual woman replaced the governor of Oregon. A beautiful portrait of a Russian gay couple won press photo of the year, while writers worried about the death of the American gay community.

In March, we lost another great gay blogger when John Aravosis quit at AmericaBlog. Opposition to gay families came from unexpected places when gay fashion icons Dolce & Gabbana raised gay ire when they spoke up for the “traditional family,” and the daughter of lesbian mothers argued against gay parenting. A Canadian knit a truly gay sweater out of gay people’s hair, and a Canadian trans woman took bathroom selfies to make the case for trans rights.

In April, Olympic athlete and reality star Bruce Jenner came out as trans, and changed her name to Caitlyn, while famously (and arguably) trans-exclusive women’s festival Michfest announced it would close its gates forever. South of the border, a Mexican pop group released a rousing ballad to lesbian love.

Gay news in May was dominated by Ireland’s historic vote for same-sex marriage. In India, a mother raised eyebrows for placing a matrimonial ad looking for a husband for her son, while the Prime Minister of Luxembourg became the second world leader to marry a person of the same sex. Sweden deployed a gay submarine defense system, Benjy the bull turned bisexual, and an anti-gay lawmaker was not only outed as gay, but happened to be named Randy Boehning.

In June, the US Supreme Court made the gay news story of the year by declaring equal marriage the law of the land across the country, and Pride parades shone extra bright to celebrate the news. Scientists also told us there’s no such thing as a “gay voice,” and lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel won a Tony for her musical Fun Home.

July was a reflective month for the LGBT community. We pondered whether gay people are really born this way or not, the ethics of publicly outing people in the media, and the disappearance of butch lesbians. We also smiled at the gay beards of Instagram, and were shocked by a stabbing spree at the Jerusalem Pride parade.

In August, LGBT politics took to the internet. Federal prosecutors shut down, to the anger of gay activists and the New York Times, and hackers spectacularly took down infidelity website Ashley Madison. India tried to shut down pornography online, and conservative lawmakers tried to disseminate false gay rumours by email to cover their straight extramarital affair. The Oxford English Dictionary also announced the inclusion of the gender neutral honorific “Mx.”

In September, the LGBT community largely turned on Roland Emmerich’s quasi-historical film Stonewall for whitewashing the riots, causing it to bomb at the box office. Tom Hardy shut down a question from Daily Xtra about his sexuality in a tense news conference, Elton John was pranked by Vladmir Putin impersonators, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of putting his penis in a pig’s mouth. In Kentucky, court clerk Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences.

In October, the American gay press skewered Hillary Clinton for excusing her and her husband’s support for the Defence of Marriage Act, and lusted after Canada’s “first edible Prime Minister.” A controversial study claimed to find an epigenetic link to homosexuality, Walmart accidentally stocked gun counters with “gun oil” personal lubricant, and Azealia Banks railed at the “gay white KKK.”

November started on a grim note in the Untied States as anti-trans activists won out against a civil rights ordinance in Houston, and presidential hopefuls gathered to discuss how and when to execute gay people. In Asia, however, popular support surged for same-sex marriage in Taiwan and Japan, and the struggle began to extend equal marriage to Native American tribes.

In December, Venezuela elected its first LGBT parliamentarian, Australia elected an openly gay MP to its highest Parliamentary body, and the FDA partially lifted its ban on gay blood donations in the US, while Romania and Slovenia turned their backs on equal marriage. We also got to look back at the era when AIDS was a laughing matter in the White House, and the history of the New York leather scene. As the year came to a close, Italy allowed same-sex couples to adopt, hinting at the possibility of equal marriage in 2016.

Want even more international LGBT news? Read the Daily Package here.