With New Year’s Eve on the horizon, we’re getting ever closer to closing the door on the trashfire that was 2020. But in between all the pandemic, recession, and elections, a few important queer things happened as well.
Conversion Practices on The Out
Conversation practices is slowly becoming a thing of the past, with Queensland and ACT banning procedures that seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity this year. Victoria is looking to follow in their footsteps. A 2018 report from La Trobe University, the Human Rights Law Centre, and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria found that there were at least 10 organisations in Australia and New Zealand offering the so called conversion therapy. While the bill is still being debated among the Victorian Liberal Party, it’ll hopefully pass next year, with fines and up to 10 years in prison proposed for those carrying out the service.
LGBTQI+ People on Our Screens
There was a wide range of queer movies and TV shows for us to binge in lockdown, ranging from the great (The Haunting of Bly Manor, the last seasons of SheRa and Schitt’s Creek) to the… not so great (Happiest Season, James Corden in The Prom, Destiel in Supernatural). As usual, we were inundated with Drag Race content, with Jaida Essence Hall, Shea Coule, Priyanka and Envy Peru winning Season 12, All Stars 5, Drag Race Canada, and Drag Race Holland respectively, making this the best year of Drag Race Ever.
The “Gay Panic” Defence Is Now Illegal in Every State
South Australia became the very last Australian state to abolish the “gay panic” only a few weeks ago, and I’m pleased to welcome them to the 21 st century. The defence was used to downgrade a charge of murder to manslaughter, in the case that the defendant could prove they were defending themselves against a homosexual advance. I’m sure we’re all very pleased to be leaving that behind in 2020.
Trans People Are Still Out and Proud
This was a big year for trans people. Elliot Page came out for the second time and was met with a wave of support, as was Eddie Izzard only a week ago when she switched her pronouns. Of course, JK Rowling’s words against trans people caused significant controversy and great hurt when it was debated publicly, but this was met with over 1,500 members of the literary community signing an open letter of support to the trans and non-binary communities, including Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Roxane Gay.
Changes to Blood Donation Laws Across the Globe
The ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood leftover from the AIDS crisis is beginning to be lifted in various countries and states around the world, with its discriminatory nature acknowledged. The United Kingdom, America, Uruguay, and New Zealand all changed their deferral periods for men who have sex with men, meaning sorely needed blood donations will be more freely available.