(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Lil Nas X’s Instagram Account)

As we prepare to bid goodbye to 2019, we reflect on the year that it’s been—the challenges that the LGBTQ community continues to face, the LGBTQ rights setbacks and milestones, and the queer people who made headlines this year. Here’s a look back at some of the biggest story makers and the biggest LGBTQ stories this 2019:

1.      Pete Buttigieg – Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg is the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana who is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the upcoming 2020 election. If elected, Buttigieg will not only be the first openly gay American president but also the youngest.

2.      Jussie Smollett – perhaps one of the biggest controversies this 2019 is the curious case of Empire actor and singer Jussie Smollett who told Chicago police way back in January that he was attacked by two men who, at the same time, yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. The incident was dubbed as an attempted modern-day lynching but the case turned into what seemed like an episode from Empire when the police investigation took a turn and Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct instead. Since then, unravelling the many twists and turns of this case had proven to be too difficult to follow. 

3.      Sam Smith – This year, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sam Smith came out as non-binary and, in a separate interview, had opened up about their struggle with body image.

4.      Billy Porter – September 22, 2019—Billy Porter made history when he took home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, making him the first openly gay black man to do so. Porter won for his portrayal of the emcee Pray Tell on the hit FX show, Pose.

5.      LGBT Rights – This year, conversion therapy for minors has been banned in New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Maine. And did you know that the so-called gay and trans panic legal defense strategy has been banned in New York, Nevada, Connecticut, Maine, and Hawaii this year? These states followed the steps of California, Illinois, and Rhode Island which banned gay and trans panic legal defense strategy years before (2014, 2017, and 2018 respectively).

But, US took a step back when the Trump administration filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court saying that employment discrimination, including firing of workers based on sexual orientation, is legal under the federal civil rights law. A similar brief was filed on August 16, 2019 for gender identity saying that transgender workers are not protected by law. Meanwhile, homophobia and transphobia was declared illegal in Brazil while World Health Organization (WHO) removed transgender from the list of mental disorders. 

6.      Same-sex Marriage – The world had seen a few wins when it comes to gay marriage this 2019. While Hong Kong and Kenya had turned down gay marriage, same-sex marriage is now legal in countries such as Austria, Northern IrelandEcuador, and Taiwan.

7.      Stonewall 50 – The Pride celebration this year was extra special because it commemorated the 50th year of the Stonewall uprising, the event that had “served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.” The World Pride 2019 was held in New York, and it was attended by stars like Madonna, Whoopi Goldberg, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, and Chaka Khan to name a few.

For its part, Adam4Adam had participated in the Pride celebrations in Montréal. We joined the 36th Pride Parade, held photoshoots, had meet and greet with fans, and attended various activities with our A4A models: Manila LuzonMatthew CampAlam WernikArad Winwin,  Cory KaneRiver WilsonAlexa Abraxas and Stevo Trann

8.      Jonathan Van Ness – Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary last June and as HIV positive this September. 

9.      Lil Nas X – We’ve seen a lot of Lil Nas X this year. He came out as gay last July and we’ve been hearing about him since then because his song Old Town Roadfeaturing Billy Ray Cyrus has been breaking one record after another. But you know what they say… you ain’t no popstar unless ladies throw their thongs and panties at ya onstage!