QUEER VOICES

13 Moments That Made Us Proud To Be Queer In 2015

Whoo hoo!

We love being queer ― it’s one of the things that makes us unique both in the world and our understanding of it.

And throughout 2015, there were quite a number of moments that made us especially proud of this aspect of our rich, diverse identities.

From children bravely standing up of hate to corporations taking steps to break down gendered advertising, here are 11 moments from the past year that made us proud to be queer people in 2015 and give us hope for many more in 2016.

  • Target Ditches Gender-Based Signage
    Target made a bold move in 2015 -- and angered a lot of customers -- by <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/target-gender
    shutterstock
    Target made a bold move in 2015 -- and angered a lot of customers -- by moving towards a gender-neutral approach with its in-store signage. The main change involved removing "boys" and "girls" as identifiers in certain sections like toys and bedding. "We know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary," Target said on its blog. "Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance."
  • Kim Davis Gets A Big Surprise In Her Hometown
    Kim Davis, the anti-gay marriage clerk who opted to go to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was a
    Planting Peace
    Kim Davis, the anti-gay marriage clerk who opted to go to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was an extremely polarizing figure in 2015.

    One of our favorite moments from 2015 came when a billboard went up in Davis' hometown calling out the lack of logic in her use of Biblical rhetoric to justify her opposition to same-sex marriage.

    Big thanks to Planting Peace for making this happen.
  • Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide
    While not all queer people agree that the institution of marriage is a wholly good thing, there are queer people that want to
    Chicago Tribune via Getty Images
    While not all queer people agree that the institution of marriage is a wholly good thing, there are queer people that want to be married -- and in 2015 they finally won the right to do so in every state in the nation.

    On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court Justices historically ruled 5-4 that it is legal for all Americans, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, to marry the people that they love.
  • 7-Year-Old Stands Strong In The Face Of Hate
    YouTube
    Following the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, there were, of course, backlash and protests. Anti-LGBT bigots reared their heads at a celebration of the ruling, and one seven-year-old named Zea in Ohio was not taking the hate lightly.

    She marched right up to a preacher ranting at her through a microphone, and stood strong while waving a rainbow flag in his face.

    "Zea didn't just flash the flag at that hatemonger, and bail. They went toe to toe, for several minutes, while he bellowed all of his fire and brimstone right in her face," her father wrote on Facebook. "Grown man vs first grader. She told me afterward that she did feel scared. The one thing the people of ‪#‎comfest2015‬ never let her feel though? Alone."

    Your courage is so special and amazing, Zea!
  • Elementary School Teacher Delivers A Lesson About Tolerance
    A third grade teacher made a bold move this spring after he heard a number of his students calling another classmate "gay." <
    Harry Lynch/TNS/Landov
    A third grade teacher made a bold move this spring after he heard a number of his students calling another classmate "gay."

    Omar Currie handled the situation by reading his students King & King, a children's book that features a same-sex romance. 

    "One student said that it made them uncomfortable, saying, ‘Well, I’ve never seen two men marry each other,’" Currie told HuffPost. "I said: 'Well, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable when you feel something new, but what is the moral? The moral is to treat people well, no matter who they are.'"
  • Congress Launches First-Ever Transgender Equality Task Force
    In November,&nbsp;House lawmakers launched a task force dedicated to issues of transgender equality, accompanied by Congress'
    AMANDA TERKEL/HUFFPOST
    In November, House lawmakers launched a task force dedicated to issues of transgender equality, accompanied by Congress' first-ever forum on violence against transgender people.

    Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) will chair the new task force, the first launched by the LGBT Equality Caucus. It will be composed of seven Democratic members and one Republican -- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), whose son is transgender.

    Honda is the self-described "proud grandpa" of Malisa, his 8-year-old transgender granddaughter whom he tweeted about in February.
  • Westboro Baptist Messes With The Wrong Group Of Students
    YouTube
    An amazing group of students came together in October to drive Westboro Baptist Church away from their campus after they gathered to protest the recent election of a transgender girl, Landon, as homecoming queen.

    "This isn't just about supporting Landon, this is about supporting all our students," said Christina Palermo, an organizer for the rally. "Landon is just their scapegoat. They're attacking everyone in the LGBT community."

    The students continued chanting "long live the queen!" after Westboro ran off with their tail between their legs.
  • Conchita Wurst At The Golden Globes
    The bearded drag queen, who became world-famous after <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/05/11/conchita_wurst_wins_eurovision
    Gisela Schober via Getty Images
    The bearded drag queen, who became world-famous after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 with her performance of "Rise Like a Phoenix," stunned on the Golden Globes red carpet in January.Seeing a gender-nonconforming beauty like Wurst shining at such a public event was nothing short of radical.
  • Subway Passenger Disrupts Homophobic Preacher With 'Willy Wonka' Song
    YouTube
    An unidentified subway rider in New York City shut down a homophobic preacher in January by drowning out his hate with a beautiful rendition of "I've Got A Golden Ticket" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

    The subway hero's actions were applauded by his fellow mass transit passengers -- and us too!
  • Kids React To Photos Of Caitlyn Jenner
    Shortly following the coming out of Caitlyn Jenner, a group of kids were shown photos of the celebrity during her days as an Olympic athlete when the world knew her by a different name, as well as one of the images released in conjunction with Jenner's famed Vanity Fair cover.

    The reactions made us hopeful for both the future and the way that transgender people will hopefully be treated by the next generation. One young girl stated, "who she wants to be is who she should be" while another wondered aloud "what if this were happening to me? What if I was the one coming through this?"

    Check out the video above to hear the reactions for yourself.
  • Little Girl Tells One Million Moms What We've All Been Thinking
    In October, the hate group One Million Moms launched an attack on toy company Mattel for an LGBT-inclusive representation of family in their American Girl magazine with a girl named Amaya and two adoptive gay dads.

    In response, Amaya and her dads conducted an interview with The Washington Post where they fired back at One Million Moms. "This is our family and it works for us," one of the fathers told the station. "And you know what? We have four amazing kids that we adopted out of foster care. These are four kids that have fulfilled our life more than we ever thought. And so, the Million Moms, I say to them, 'You know what? Go to your local foster care agency. Those kids could really use your help. And not worry about the Scheer family.'" 

    But the best -- and simplest response -- came from Amaya herself: "I would say, 'This is none of your business.'"

    Love really is what defines family.
  • Miley Cyrus Comes Out As Pansexual
    One of our favorite musicians did <i>amazing</i> things for queer visibility this year, just one of which was openly discussi
    Jemal Countess via Getty Images
    One of our favorite musicians did amazing things for queer visibility this year, just one of which was openly discussing her pansexual identity.

    Miley Cyrus came out as pansexual in an interview with Elle UK, after she previously discussed the fluid nature of her sexuality with Paper, saying, "I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age."

    Us too, girl!
  • Kate Brown Becomes America's First Openly Bisexual Governor
    Kate Brown became the United States' first openly bisexual governor when <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kate-brown-o
    Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Kate Brown became the United States' first openly bisexual governor when she took office in Oregon in 2015.