With the year about to end, it’s safe to say that 2016 spared no one. From international relations to the entertainment industry, everyone had their share of misgivings and misfortune. The LGBTQ community was no exception — from all the anti-LGBT bills introduced to the sobering Orlando mass-shooting — the past year has certainly been an eventful, and they have come through it that much stronger.
To wrap up the year, here are some instances of the LGBTQ community’s resilience in the face of adversity as well as how its supporters have stayed strong in spite of everything.
The Mass Shooting at Orlando
In an event that drew the whole world’s attention, American citizen Omar Mateen caused the worst mass shooting in U.S. history last June. He went into Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, where he shot 102 people and killed 49 before the police took control of the situation.
Although it left the community devastated, the incident also serves as a driving force behind the current fight for equality and freedom of expression.
The Introduction of Over 200 Anti-LGBT Bills
The American Civil Liberties Union said lawmakers across the country presented “more anti-LGBT bills this year than in any other time.” In fact, the year saw more than 200 of them introduced.
Among these bills is North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which bans transgender people from using a public restroom for the gender they identify as. It quickly garnered national interest and received a powerful backlash. Numerous corporations and major sporting events expressed their withdrawal from the state — a message to anti-LGBT legislators that the community and its supporters will not sit idly by.
The 2016 Presidential Election
The Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer pointed out that the laws involving LGBT relationships are constantly changing. State and federal government officials who are supportive of the community are crucial to the relative stability of those laws.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was popular with the LGBT community throughout the presidential campaign. She had an openly gay campaign manager and frequently spoke out for equality in her speeches. Despite the support, however, Republican bet Donald Trump won the election, leaving the community stunned. The possibility of having extreme conservatives on the Supreme Court come his term is high.
The past year threw one challenge after another at the LGBT community. It remains resilient and steadfast in the face of oppression, however. As stated by the Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, in fact, this is not the time to step down. Rather, it is a time to double down for 2017.