Year-end magazines always leave me shaking my head and asking, Has it really been a year? and How could all that happen in just 12 months? This year—and this year-end issue—is no exception.
At the dawn of 2010 marriage inequality was the law of the land in California and Washington, D.C., “don’t ask, don’t tell” was firmly in place (blocking gays from open military service for the 17th year), and the words “it gets better” were little more than a promise after bad sex.
But as we head into 2011, California’s Proposition 8 has been declared unconstitutional in a federal court (in a case working its way to the Supreme Court); D.C. has joined Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa in embracing marriage equality; DADT has been declared unconstitutional and teeters on the edge of collapse; and columnist Dan Savage has launched a YouTube campaign that’s prompted thousands—straight and gay alike—to show millions of teenagers the kind of support they never knew was there.
We’re nowhere near where we need to be. Even with the advances, gay people still can’t get married in 45 states and (at press time) still can’t confidently serve openly in the military, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act can’t get its day in Congress, and Americans still can’t sponsor their same-sex foreign partners for residency. We can’t help but have high expectations for 2011. But if the previous 12 months are any indication, it really will get better.