Best (and worst) of gay 2009

And what we're looking forward to in 2010.

New Yorkers protest for marriage equality in vain

Photograph: Beth Greenfield


Marriage woes
Without a doubt the biggest downer of the year has been the spate of gay-marriage setbacks—not only in California and Maine, but right here in our own backyard, thanks to the state senate's cowardly vote against the marriage-equality bill that had languished for years in the legislature. Activists were fearful of this very outcome when Governor Paterson pushed for a vote on the issue, but no one really anticipated just how far from approval (24--38) it would be. Stay tuned for the next disappointment, which may happen just across the river, as New Jersey's governor-elect Chris Christie has vowed to veto a gay-marriage bill.

Hate crimes
First came the July report from the Anti-Violence Project showing an increase in the severity of gay-motivated bias crimes; then, as if we needed proof, came the horrifying spate of local gay bashings. First, a May epithet-laced attack in the West Village left a 50-year-old man in a coma. Then a young man was hospitalized after being whacked in the head by homophobes on the Upper East Side on Gay Pride weekend. And at the end of a weekend marked by the hopeful Equality March in D.C., Jack Price of Queens was beaten into a coma after two goons in College Point attacked him for being a "stupid fag."

Bad news
The newspaper death knell sounded loudly for gays, as we lost some vital queer publications this year, including the pioneering Washington Blade and the Southern Voice. But things really hit home when our local party rag HX closed up shop, soon followed by the New York Blade. This time, no news was bad news.

The last word
When the Oscar Wilde Bookshop—which was the oldest gay bookstore in the country—closed for good in March, it wasn't a total surprise; the rise of big chains and online buying, coupled with the weak economy, certainly spelled trouble for this indie pioneer. But seeing the place empty of all literature at the send-off party, hosted by owner Kim Brinster, was still a sad shock. The OW will be missed for years to come.

Report card

Civil-rights losses and violent attacks overshadow parties and protests, no matter how inspiring. Final grade: C


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