Image Credit: Briana White, Prathi Srinivasan and Christy Choi who play the lead characters on Wasted, courtesy of wastedTVshow.com
2018 is a year that will be remembered for its high levels of hate, with the rights of LGBTIQ people and other minorities under attack across the globe. But love fought back and gave us plenty of reasons to smile. 2018 saw a record number of LGBTIQ characters on TV - many of whom are LGBTIQ characters of color - and a brilliant range of mainstream LGBT-themed movies on the big screen. Realising that representation matters, allies and community members stepped up, whilst many LGBTIQ performers came out.
Here is a look back at some of the stories that brought the hope and the heart to #20GayTeen.
Screenshot of Hannah Gadsby on the Emmys, courtesy of The Guardian YouTube
Ryan Murphy’s ground-breaking new show Pose, which airs on FX, brings to life New York's queer ballroom culture, the literary social scene and the greed-is-good corporate world. It features many gay and trans characters of color and the largest cast of LGBTQ actors ever assembled. The show has received rave reviews from critics and viewers alike and has been renewed for a second series.
Trans activist Nicole Maines joined the cast of the CW TV show Supergirl, playing a trans superhero – the first trans superhero on TV.
Also on the CW, the very polarising Ruby Rose rode a wave of criticism to make a successful debut as lesbian Batwoman.
Ellen’s Netflix special Relatable has been released just in time for Christmas. It's her first stand-up comedy special in 15 years.
Image Credit: Denise Gough as Missy and Keira Knightely as Colette courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Bleeker Street
It’s been a fabulous year for queer film, with many LGBT-themed stories making it to mainstream movie theatres.
Some of the highlights include Love, Simon, which features the first gay lead character in a big studio rom com, lesbian love stories Disobedience and Rafiki, conversion therapy movies The Miseducation Of Cameron Post and Boy Erased, and period lesbian-themes movies Colette, The Favourite and Lizzie. The superheroes represented on the big screen too, with Deadpool 2’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead getting herself a girlfriend.
Screenshot What I Need Hayley Kiyoko YouTube
Queer artists made their mark in their own way this year. Out lesbian singer/songwriter Hayley Kiyoko broke through into mainstream music with her first studio album Expectations and support from Taylor Swift. Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer album and accompanying emotion movie were stunning displays of musical activism and out lesbian folk/rock singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has received a massive six Grammy nominations, including Record and Song of the Year. If you haven’t watched it already, the music video for her single Party Of One from 2018 album By The Way, I Forgive You, is an absolute stunner.
Allyship And Closet Exits
Image: screenshot from Secrets video, PinkVideoVault YouTube
LGBTIQ allies Pink, Carly Rae Jepsen and Little Mix waved the rainbow flag by releasing LGBTIQ themes music videos, while singers Janelle Monae, Kehlani and Jason Mraz, actresses Tessa Thompson and Amandla Stenberg, actor Lucas Hedges from Boy Erased and Keiynan Lonsdale from Love, Simon are just some of the brave artists who came out.
LGBTIQ Rights Around The World
Whilst there have been some profound low points for LGBTIQ rights in 2018 – the Trump Administration in general and Indonesia and Tanzania’s oppression of LGBTIQ people to name a few, there have been some important steps towards equality too.
In January, the Inter-American Court Of Human Rights ruled that all states who are signatories to the American Convention On Human Rights 1969 must legislate for marriage equality. The 20 countries who have ratified the American Convention On Human Rights are Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Suriname, and Uruguay.
El from The Rainbow Cards Project courtesy of The Rainbow Cards Project
2018 saw LGBTIQ community members crowd funding and fighting to get their own stories made, including Aussie Lauren Augarten, who released her long-awaited web series Same Same The Series. The very talented Matt Zook has finished his Sad Femme web series, which will be released early next year and the super-exciting new lesbian TV show Wasted has wildly exceeded crowdfunding goals and is about to shoot its pilot.
Scottish artist Sean Lìonadh produced a powerful short film called Time For Love, which confronts casual homophobia and Jake Graf did the same with the very emotional short film Listen, which gives us an insight into the daily struggles faced by trans kids.
And a special mention to the young woman who se bravery moved me intensly – El from The Rainbow Cards Project. The BBC has just done a profile on her and for good reason. Despite the devastating health battle she fights on a daily basis, El supports LGBTIQ people whose families have rejected them by sending out birthday and Christmas cards. She does it all from her bed and says that helping others gives her a sense of purpose and a reason to wake up each day.