Happy New Year.
2013 was a great year for LGBTicons.com. Over the past twelve months, we’ve gone from having two hundred loyal followers to over 28,000. Not bad for a project run entirely on free time and goodwill.
We’ve celebrated people of achievement drawn from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, addressed issues of inequality globally, shared news stories pertinent to our readership, indulged in a great big slice of the pop culture pie and orchestrated #LGBTearth, a digital pride march with an estimated online reach of 2.4million.
As is customary at this time of year, we’re about to take a look back to celebrate our successes and make plans for the future.
Politically, 2013 was a mixed bag. There were some great gains, but also some terrible blows to LGBT equality. We’re not going to go into that too deeply, the Advocate is much better positioned for that summary. Instead, we’ll focus on our own successes.
January started big.
Jodie Foster accepted a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. That night, Josef Church-Woods wrote the article Silence of the Gays – why celebrities should come out and speak up. He then boarded a flight to New York, and by the time he landed, it had been Freshly Pressed and read by over four thousand people. And that’s when we started to grow. If you have time, read it. It’s brilliant.
Politically, hundreds of thousands of bigots marched through Paris protesting equal marriage, Tammy Baldwin was sworn in as U.S. Senator for Wisconsin and Barack Obama made Richard Blanco the first out gay poet to deliver the inaugural poem with the beautiful ‘One Day’.
February brought the first guest blog from the wonderful Michael Burge with Michael Burge’s Fight for Equality Down Under, an incredible open letter to Archbishop Vincent Nichols from an anonymous source, Matt Dallas and Robbie Rogers’ coming out parties and A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self. We also featured a much read love letter to Larry Kramer and a much viewed outtake from Madonna’s legendary Vogue video.
March saw the publication of our second most read article ever; Barry Church-Woods’ Why We Should Thank Our Lucky Stars for Madonna. It also witnessed the demise of the former head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal O’Brien where he admitted inappropriate sexual conduct amid accusations of abuse. Staying with Catholicism, we also published Dashed Hopes for the New Pope. Barry also explored the phenomenon of Screaming Out of the Closet.
Margaret Thatcher died in April. We tried to find something good to say in Margaret Thatcher; Her Most Important Legacy.
June was an alarming month for LGBT equality with an escalation of hate crimes under Russia’s watch. We supported All Out’s call to action: Act Now for Russia’s Gay Community.
July moved us to tears with Richard Fry’s heart breaking yet inspiring My Suicide Keeps Me Alive, originally written for the Huffington Post and shared on LGBTicons.
In August we started our diary pieces originally titled A Gay in the Life. The purpose, is to profile everyday people from the LGBT community that our reader might not ordinarily come into contact with. So far they’ve been great fun to read (and we’re still looking for entries)…oh and Wentworth Miller protested Russia’s anti LGBT laws by declining an invite to a Russian film festival and coming out in the same statement, making sure that the gesture was covered in the worlds media. Classy and gorgeous.
Yahya Jammeh the Gambian President attacked the LGBT community in his shocking UN address in September. Barry addressed the issue of why there is no need for a straight pride. Madonna launched Art for Freedom and we introduced you to our very own gay fireman, Neil Pearson.
It seems like only a few weeks ago that Sinead O’Conner wrote her open letter to Miley Cyrus, though it was in fact at the start of October, a month that brought us our greatest readership day (41,000), a guest blog from the lovely Kevin Kimber, the announcement that Gulf States intend on introducing a ‘gay test’ at airports, while in the UK, LGBT asylum seekers were asked to prove their homosexuality. The month was rounded off perfectly with a special feature from Dandy Darkly for Halloween.
November for us was all about the power of the guest blog. Josef wrote A gay in the life … Them sweet, Indian suede moccasins from the perspective of his toddler self, and we had our first guest writer from Mumbai, the lovely Dhruv Ambegaokar, with Coming Out Saved My Life and Fawzi Comic wrote about being LGBT in Lebanon.
It was also a great month for pop culture, Barry got naked with Lady Gaga, we profiled the gorgeous Steve Grand, Alanis announced Jagged Little Pill the musical, and Neil Patrick Harris announced he’s to return to the stage as Hedwig.
Oh. And we also did this:
December heralded the return of more controversial opinion pieces with Why We Need to Celebrate Our Icons, Is It Time to Forgive James Arthur? and the Miley Mandela Dilema. We had our first author interview with the incredible VNDavies, We also stumbled upon a crazy cute Orlando Bartender Bobby DeSormier while simultaneously rolling our eyes as India’s top court reinstated a ban on homosexuality. Michael Burge made a very welcome return to our pages with I’m Starting to Lose It with Australia and we put our money where our mouth is by aligning with Andre Banks, Executive Director of All Out to raised funds for the continues great work they do. If you are thinking of making a monthly charitable donation this year, please do think seriously about All Out. The work they do is incredible. And effective.
So what does 2014 hold for us? We’re thinking there’s a definite call to action to make a better future for everyone, not just the LGBT community. February 7th brings the opening ceremony of one of the most controversial winter games in recent history. While the whole world is watching, Russia’s government officials need to be sent a clear and concise message. Hate is not ok.
We’ll be joining the Human Rights Campaign’s online protest by making sure that #LoveConquersHate is trending every second of every day the games are happening and continuing to draw focus on Russia’s extreme anti LGBT laws.
We’ll also be profiling more and more brilliant LGBT people of significant achievement and will use our growing online collateral to snag interviews with people you want to hear from.
Until then, thanks for joining us on this journey. We’re having a blast.
LGBTicons.com is run entirely by volunteers and makes no money from blog advertising. If you like what we do, please help us grow by sharing our material on your social media channels, following us on Twitter @LGBTicons and retweeting articles you enjoy, or like us on Facebook for exclusive content, including our New Year Honours List on Friday 3 January.
And as ever, if you’d like to write something for us… we’d love to have you.
Shine on…we’ll leave you with our mantra for the coming year.
- LGBTicons Winter Party (lgbticons.com)
- #LGBTearth – A Digital Pride March – Friday 29 November (lgbticons.com)
- The Ugly Collusion Between ‘Religious Faith’ and Bigotry (justiceforall.firedoglake.com)