I never have placed much stock in cataclysmic, end-of-world predictions. So my kitchen cupboards remained bare on Dec 21, roughly the day it was all supposed to go belly-up.
No, the ending I hope for is one that jumpstarts new beginnings, of the variety we saw in 2012.
In May, Barack Obama said he personally supports gay marriage — the first sitting American president to take that leap, in a reelection year no less.
“Like President Obama, I believe that all people should have the right to marry whoever they want,” said New York fifth grader Kameron Slade in June, reading the pro-gay marriage speech he was initially barred from giving at school.
Voters in three states echoed Kameron and said yes to gay marriage while refusing to confine marriage to opposite-sex couples in a fourth.
Post-election Illinois is already making noises about passing a gay marriage bill, with a vote potentially in the cards as early as January.
“The climate in Illinois and across the United States has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, with rapid-fire changes in just the last 12 months,” the Chicago Sun-Times
New beginnings were also being hatched elsewhere.
In Uganda, the renewed focus on the “Kill the Gays” bill sidelined breakthrough news that the queer community had pulled off a weekend of Pride events.
“Can you imagine the worst place in the world to be gay is having gay pride?” lesbian activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera half-sarcastically asked the crowd gathered Aug 4 on the shores of Lake Victoria.
In South America, Argentina’s senate voted unanimously to allow people to change their names and sexes on official documents without first having to undergo sex reassignment surgery or get prior approval from the courts.
Not to be left out of the international year of queer, sports figures and organizations went to bat for our community.
Unforgettably, mouthy Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe had conniptions over anti-gay pronouncements. His first outburst was a memorable one — a blistering rebuttal of a Maryland politician’s condemnation of Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo’s endorsement of gay marriage.
“As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have no place in a sport?”
Kluwe is among several sports figures and organizations that threw open their locker rooms and fields of play in 2012 to give homophobia a hearing. Of course, these progressive statements and actions met their counterpoints full on.
Increasingly confronted with changes signalling the end of their world order — and unable to muster the logic to analyze the shift in social norms — the folks who are so far to the right that they can’t see centre resorted to hyperbole and hijinks.
As expected, at least one preacher blamed Hurricane Sandy’s wrath on gays. “What a sign from the holy God of Israel that American politics is an abomination to Him,” chaplain John McTernan intoned. “A pro-homosexual Mormon along with a pro-abortion/homosexual, Muslim Brotherhood promoter, Hard Left Fascist are running for president.”
Eventually forced to face their Armageddon — Obama’s reelection — there was talk of secession, a sophomoric but clear signal that change and new realities are not easy pills to swallow.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark her country’s passage of the trans-friendly law, Argentina’s president might as well have been speaking to the Tea Partiers, NOM-ers, FRC-ers and others who cling to a limited view of the world they want to know. One that is, in turns, slowly and rapidly advancing to its end game.
“It’s time for us to accept that reality is not how we’d like it to be . . . but that reality is what it is.”
Here’s to more reality checks in 2013 and beyond.