2020: Milestones for the LGBTQ community this year

By Sofia Pham

As 2020 draws to a close, it doesn’t take much scrutiny to realize the toll this year has taken on the LGBTQ community. From the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the loss of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September, activists and communities across the world became eager for the end of a difficult year. But in the midst of widespread struggle, hope came each month in the form of new legislation, ongoing support for LGBTQ people of color, and much more. Here’s a look back at the biggest victories for the community so far, month-by-month:

January 13 – Same-sex marriage became legal in Northern Ireland.

February 9 – Voters in Switzerland supported an LGBT protection bill that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation.

March 3 – Virginia was the first state in the South to ban conversion therapy, becoming the 20th state in the US to do so.

April 2 – The US Food and Drug Administration relaxed restrictions on blood donations from gay men following supply shortages across the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 26 – Alexandra Quiros and Dunia Araya became the first same-sex couple to marry in Costa Rica following its legalization of marriage equality. 

June 15 – Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against gay and transgender workers. Additionally, on June 28, LGBT+ activists celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first ever Pride march.

July 13 – Colorado became the 11th US state to ban the “gay panic” defense, which protects defendants who claim they committed violent acts as a defense against same-sex advances. 

August 17 – Over 70 authors, actors, and filmmakers, including Margaret Atwood and James Norton, signed an open letter supporting the LGBT community in Poland.

September 16 – Barbados pledged to hold same-sex marriage to a public vote, although many doubted the possibility of major reform. 

October 1 – Belgium swore in Petra De Sutter as its first trans Deputy Prime Minister. 

November 3 – Sarah McBride won the Delaware state Senate election, becoming the first openly transgender senator in United States history.

December 1 – Actor Elliot Page came out as transgender, garnering support from fans across the world. Just over two weeks later, Joe Biden nominated Pete Buttigieg as his secretary of transportation, making Buttigieg the first openly gay cabinet nominee in US history and the youngest member of Biden’s cabinet.

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