Jason Maseko looks back at an eventful 2018 to bring you the gay news highlights you need for dinner parties!
1. India decriminalises gay sex.
On September 6, India’s Supreme Court ruled against a harsh colonial law that deemed gay sex an “unnatural offence”. According to The New York Times, Chief Justice Dipak Musra said that the law was “irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary.” In addition, the Supreme Court ruled that all queer citizens are now protected by the constitution. However, many other colonies, such as Trinidad and Tobago, still suffer under the weight of colonial law, and furthermore, the lack of laws in place to protect LGBT individuals.
2. FX’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
With Darren Criss, our favourite Glee cutie, and his chilling performance of serial killer Andrew Cunanan to Penelope Cruz’s brilliant depiction of Donatella Versace, this season checked every box I didn’t know I had. Gay characters? Check. Gorgeous cinematography? Check. Ricky Martin? Double check. And even better? Criss won an Emmy for the role!
3. Darren Criss is done with gay roles.
In a recent interview with Bustle, the actor, best known for his roles as Glee’s Blain Anderson and Andrew Cunanan of The Assassination of Gianni Versace, says his time playing gay characters is up, and with good reason. “I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role,” the actor says. His decision, though personally heartbreaking, is a big step towards ensuring that queer actors actually get hired (and, potentially, win awards) for queer roles.
4. Hayley Kiyoko’s much anticipated album, Expectations.
After years of EPs and singles, the Disney starlet turned Lesbian Jesus finally dropped her debut album, Expectations, on March 30. The day of release, I recall cleaning my room to her smooth, synth-pop tunes, and squealing at the gayness of it all. If we’re being honest, my year didn’t start until I first heard it.
5. Tanzania’s rigid anti-gay agenda continues.
According to a recent article from The Guardian, the administrative head of Dar es Salam, Paul Makonda, has rallied a team of officials and police hell-bent on targeting queer people in the country. The Tanzanian public is also involved, sending the names of over 100 queer individuals to the government. Tanzania is one of many African countries that have intensified already rigorous anti-LGBT laws, alongside Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
6. Queer athletes made history at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Last February, Eric Radford, a (super cute) figure skater, was the first openly gay athlete to receive a gold medal at a Winter Games. To add onto the queer cheer, Pyeongchang’s Olympics saw athletes more open about their sexuality than ever, including Adam Rippon, who won bronze, Gus Kenworthy, and Ireen Wüst.
7. Germany makes a ‘third gender’ legal.
In December, the German government ruled to include “various” as a third gender option. While this helps intersex individuals not have to choose between male and female, LGBT activists in Germany say that the ruling doesn’t go far enough, as it is still difficult for individuals to change their genders on official documents. Can we call it a step in the right direction?
8. Troye Sivan’s Bloom.
A warm, upbeat forty minutes of gay love and emotion, this album is pretty dope. For someone who has yet to feel what love really is, Bloom has to be the closest thing to it. Plus, the title track’s visuals are astounding—the drag, the dance, Sivan’s carefree spirit. The album, and everything that came from it, is a top-tier queer moment, for sure.
9. Jared Polis, America’s first openly gay governor.
After the official inauguration in January, Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor in US history. His partner Marlon Reis, charmingly known as “first gentleman”, and their children, were all in attendance.
10. Pastor preaches homophobia at Makhanda (Grahamstown) school.
In May, Theuns Pauw, a member of the African Enterprise international ministry, was invited to preach at St. Andrew’s College. The intended sermon, revolving around porn and social media, was completely derailed by Pauw’s homophobic teachings. From saying, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” to criticising parents and kids of divorce, the pastor reveled in his slanderous and hurtful statements. In a letter to the public, the headmaster Alan S Thompson, emphasised that the views of Pauw were in no way reflective of that of the school. “St. Andrew’s College stands for inclusion, tolerance, and respect, so that every boy may celebrate his own unique giftedness and flourish,” says Thompson.