Look, 2017 has been a bit of an ‘annus horribilis’ for the straight and queer worlds at large – mostly because of the orange fart who is the current President of the United States of America.
Remember that time there was a Nazi protest in Charlottesville and a woman was killed? Or the time an LGBT purge actively started in Chechnya and it kind of seems to be ignored? Or even the time 10,000 LGBT young people were made homeless?
In a nutshell: 2017 has been a shitshow.
But, and it’s a big but, 2017 has also been a win for queer women – so let’s look at the year that was in music, film, and culture.
St. Vincent releases one of the albums of the year
Many baby gays will know Annie Clark (nee St. Vincent) as the former gal pal (™) of Cara Delevingne and Kristen Stewart, but she’s also one hell of a musician.
And her fifth album, Masseducation, is her greatest tonal triumph yet. Alongside producer golden boy, Jack Antonoff, St. Vincent has crafted an album that’s a futuristic pastiche of electro rock and soft pop. Highlights include ‘Sugarboy’, ‘Pills’, and ‘Los Angeles’.
Indeed, it’s not just a sonic showcase: Masseducation is St. Vincent’s songwriting at its best with blistering lyrics like “I hold you like a weapon/Mass destruction/I don’t turn off what turns me on”, and the sacrosanct ode to a night out in a club:
“I sway in the place to a slow disco
And a glass for the saints
And a bar for the roadAm I thinking what everybody’s thinkin’?
I’m so glad I came, but I can’t wait to leave.”
Demi Lovato publicly acknowledges her queerness
Earlier this year, longtime-rumoured queer Demi Lovato was papped at Disneyland holding hands with DJ Lauren Abedini. On the back of queer anthem ‘Cool for the Summer’, many had questioned Lovato’s sexuality – but she’d never publicly acknowledged it.
That is, until the salient release of her YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, where Lovato touched on everything from her love of casual sex (with men and women) to her history of self-harm.
Lovato, for her sins, defines herself as “open to human connection, so whether that’s through a male or female, it doesn’t matter to me.”
As it should be, with Lovato dominating her narrative.
Queer acts light up the charts
The aforementioned Lovato and St. Vincent featured all over the charts, but they weren’t alone. The xx, Miley Cyrus, Halsey, Lauren Jauregui, Tegan and Sara, Fever Ray, and Hayley Kiyoko (to name a few) were prominent in a stellar year for queer muisicians.
The Doctor is a woman (and potentially queer)
When Doctor Who first aired, being gay was a criminal offense in the UK and Ireland. In the decades since, much has changed – not least of all queer representation aboard the Tardis.
River Song has a host of wives (as she should). Bill Potts, the current companion, is a queer black woman – and the new Doctor is a woman for the first time ever. Will sparks fly? It remains to be seen if the BBC would be willing to go there – but, at this point, it doesn’t even matter as the TV stalwart is now one of the most diverse shows in the broadcaster’s repertoire.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a smash hit
The Handmaid’s Tale arrived in the perfect storm of politics, peacocking, and an anti-women’s movement that’s being heralded by the American presidential fart himself.
Stripped of their rights and their names, The Handmaid’s Tale is a nascent television experience. It’s not the kind of TV show you enjoy; rather, it brings a guttural sting of anxiety. Try to watch June (formally Offred) attempt to engineer her freedom; be destroyed by Alexis Bledel’s Ofglen as she’s mutilated, raped, and forced to witness her lover (a fellow gay “gender traitor”) be hanged.
It’s devastating – an unending pastiche of sorrows.
But it’s so, so important. Viva la revolution!
Mainstream TV is gayer than ever
According to GLAAD’s annual ‘Where We Are on TV’, the 2016-2017 television year was the best in its report history with a 4.8 percent representation (43 characters) across 895 series regulars on mainstream TV.
That’s more queer characters than ever before. From the Emmy winners (‘San Junipero’ and Masters of None) to the guilty pleasures (Supergirl), mainstream TV has given us a plethora of queer characters to root for.
…And not that many LGBT characters were killed off this year
2016 was a brutal year for queer characters, with many being killed off for seemingly innocuous reasons. Commander Lexa was killed by a stray bullet meant for Clarke. Poussey was killed in a harrowing echo of the real-life Eric Gardner case. Tara’s girlfriend whose name we can’t remember was offed by an arrow to the eye.
The list goes on and on. Thankfully, with the exception of the newest iteration of American Horror Story, it’s been a good year for the queers, with minimum death. Long may it continue!
More countries introduce marriage equality
Let’s get this out of the way first: FUCK YES.
Finland, Germany, Malta, and Australia all made same-sex marriage legal, while Taiwan is on its way to becoming the first Asian country to allow queer couples to get married.
Finland’s marriage equality law actually passed in 2014, but only came into effect in March, while German lawmakers saw it through in June (despite Merkel voting against it ??). Malta, staunchly Catholic, introduced it in July, while Australia became nation #26 with a country-wide vote in December.
Austria and Taiwan should be next to tick it off the bucket list. Get on with it so, lads!
LGBT lawmakers make record gains in UK and US polls
In June, a record 40+ LGBT parliamentarians were elected into British politics. Likewise, the November US elections saw five transgender politicians win seats despite the orange fart’s rollback of transgender rights.
Our very own Ireland also has its first gay Taoiseach (that’s Prime Minister to the rest of the world) in the polarising Leo Varadkar.
It’s a bit pandering but oh well: many corporations jump on the brandwagon
Massive brands are finally starting to recognise the importance of LGBT equality by introducing gender-neutral bathrooms and titles. Indeed, HSBC introduced gender-neutral titles while Coca-Cola showcased a cheeky ad pitting a brother and sister against each other for the affections of the hot pool boy.
Equinox and Budweiser all brought out stomping LGBT-friendly ads for Pride, while Irish bank, Bank of Ireland, went above and beyond with the cheeky (and rather brilliant) introduction of gAyTMs for Pride.
— Patrick Mooney (@PatrickMooney) June 24, 2017
I mean…just look at them.
A Scottish church straight-up recognises gay weddings
A small move, but a big one all the same. In June, the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to allow gay marriage in its actual church.
A sound bunch of lads.
BuzzFeed’s queer prom
Hell, BuzzFeed in general – but the queer prom in particular.
Every year, headlines circulate about queer kids being kicked out of their school dances. BuzzFeed aimed to provide the balm: a queer extravaganza in the queer prom. Many teenagers requested to take part and the Queer Prom series was born. Check it out:
A second highlight is BuzzFeed’s Unfortunatly Ashly series, a relatively harmless and generally absurd rom-com about two next-door neighbours who just so happen to be queer ladies who are hardcore into each other. Would recommend.
The internet continues to be a queer showcase
Freshman to senior year, does this count as a glo up??? pic.twitter.com/zyH1GRE3hw
— Caitlin Crowley (@caitlincrowley_) October 23, 2017
It sooooooo real pic.twitter.com/KfnljNmKwI
— Manny (@mannysays_) October 26, 2017
— LOUDER™ (@louderthnu) October 28, 2017
— razzle dazzle (@Randiizzlee) December 9, 2017
— kaylin (@lilactonks) December 25, 2017
— OhDeerMe (@ThatKillianKid) December 5, 2017
— amyluettgen ??? (@amyluettgen) December 17, 2017
LGBT memes for all is what we’re saying.
In the Western world at least, it’s been a prolific year for queer women. We’re on TV, in films (kind of), creating art, and making the news.
We are a resistance and we won’t be beaten.