There's no denying 2017 has been a bitch of a year. But as it draws to a close, it's worth acknowledging all the forward momentum we gained. Here are 11 wins the global LGBT community chalked up in 2017.
Australia, Germany, and Malta legalized marriage equality.
Germany, Malta, and Australia all legalized same-sex marriage in 2017. That means a total of 26 countries have passed marriage equality laws in the last 18 years. This year, Taiwan also set the stage to legalize same-sex marriage beginning in 2019.
More out LGBT people won U.S. elections than ever before.
More than half of the 71 openly LGBT candidates who ran for office this year won their races in November. Among the victors were many history-making trans candidates, including Lisa Middleton in Palm Springs, California, Danica Roem in Virginia, Andrea Jenkins in Minneapolis, and Tyler Titus in Erie, Pennsylvania
The international LGBT community also saw some big political wins in 2017: Ana Brnabić was elected as the first openly gay (and first female) Prime Minister of Serbia; Leo Varadkar became the first openly gay Prime Minister of Ireland; and Tomoya Hosoda became the Japan's first out trans elected official.
Several nations passed passed major anti-discrimination laws.
India's Supreme Court ruled that sexual orientation is protected under the constitution's right to privacy provisions, which experts believe will eventually lead to the repeal of Section 377 which criminalizes homosexuality. Though the reforms haven't yet been made official, Sri Lanka also vowed to decriminalize homosexuality and enact policies aimed at protecting LGBT citizens.
Many U.S. municipalities stepped up their LGBT protections, too.
This year, while enacting LGBT anti-discrimination protections at the federal level seemed virtually impossible, non-discrimination ordinances were passed in municipalities across the nation—including unexpected locations like Morgantown, West Virginia; Birmingham, Alabama; and De Pere, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, school boards across the country enacted protections for LGBT students and staff, and California approved LGBT-inclusive textbooks for public elementary school students.
The trans community saw some major wins.
Donald Trump tried to ban trans people from serving in the military this year, but in the end his transphobic efforts were blocked. Denmark became the first country in the world to remove trans identities from its list of mental health disorders in 2017, and the community saw some advances in visibility, too: International supermodel Teddy Quinlivan came out as trans, and National Geographic featured an openly trans person on its cover for the first time, just to name a few.
This year for the first time, more than half of Americans also reported that they'd support their kids' transition if they came out as trans.
Intersex people gained much-needed visibility.
2017 was a big year for the intersex community: America's first intersex birth certificate was issued in New York, supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele came out as intersex, and former U.S. Surgeons General joined international human rights organizations in calling for an end to involuntary surgery on intersex babies.
A ton of famous people came out.
Greater visibility leads to greater equality, so famous people coming out should almost always be counted as a win (with the notable exception of Kevin Spacey). Among those to publicly announce that they're part of the LGBT community this year: San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers (the first openly gay coach in men's pro sports), Barry Manilow, Shannon Purser (a.k.a Barb from Stranger Things), and Tyler the Creator, among many others.
Lots of straight celebrities also spoke out as allies for the first time this year.
We had some major moments in pop culture.
From Moonlight's Oscar wins to the ground-breaking gay sex scene in American Gods, a lesbian romance on Super Girl, and the introduction of a queer Muslim character on The Bold Type, 2017 was a big year for LGBT visibility in pop culture.
We saw big advancements in HIV prevention and treatment.
The world’s first two-drug regimen designed to treat HIV was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, while the Centers for Disease Control acknowledged for the first time this year that people whose HIV loads are undetectable can’t transmit the virus.
A study released this fall also found that PrEP is safe for gay and bi teens, who are among those most at risk of contracting HIV, and new advancements were made in the fight to end new HIV infections among women. This year also saw the year-long ban on gay men donating blood lifted in the U.K. thanks to quicker testing methods.
We stayed strong in the wake of tragedy.
Members of the LGBT community came together to not only offer solidarity, but also helm fundraising efforts and even provide physical support in the wake of 2017's many tragedies, including the Central Mexico earthquake and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
We took to the streets to demand change.
In January, members of the LGBT community helped turn the Women's March into what's believed to be the largest day of protest in U.S. history, and our momentum only built from there. Pride parades in cities across the country were replaced with resistance marches; Members of Gays Against Guns took to the streets to protest American gun violence following mass shootings; and hundreds marched in New York to protest the anti-gay purge in Chechnya.
Of all the things worth griping about in 2017, we can also say this: It was not a year of complacency. Onward and upward.