We saw the number of states with marriage equality balloon to 35. We saw the CEO of one of the world’s most powerful corporations come out of the closet and give his support to an anti-discrimination bill in one of the country’s most conservative states. We saw the first openly gay NBA and NFL players out on the field following their dreams. We saw that this was a year when the floodgates opened, and that love would finally win the day.
There were also a few tragedies as well, as bigotry reared its ugly head and took its dying breaths in this country. But we were gifted this year with more happy stories than sad ones, and for that we are grateful.
Here is a sampling of noteworthy events that occurred this year involving LGBT people, LGBT allies, and the LGBT rights movement.
January 2 – Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe goes public with his allegations that he was fired for his stance on marriage equality, that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer in particular had said anti-gay comments to him, and that coach Leslie Frazier had condoned this behavior. The case was eventually settled out of court.
January 3 – CBS News reporter Itay Hod courts controversy when he outs Republican Illinois congressman Aaron Schock. For his part, Schock denied the allegations.
January 10 – The U.S. State Department warns American travelers who plan to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, with a special section dedicated to LGBT travelers regarding the unsafe climate for LGBT people in Russia.
January 10 – Attorney General Eric Holder announces that the federal government will recognize 1300 same-sex marriages performed in Utah even though Governor Gary Herbert will not.
January 11 – Immediately after being sworn in, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia signs an executive order protecting LGBT state employees from discrimination.
January 14 – A federal judge strikes down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling is stayed while appeals play out.
January 17 – Shreveport, Louisiana City Councilman Ron Webb drops his attempt to repeal an LGBT-inclusive human rights ordinance after he quotes Scripture and a transgender woman, Pamela Raintree, dares him to act on that Scripture by stoning her.
January 17 – Houston, Texas Mayor Annise Parker marries her partner, Kathy Hubbard, in Palm Springs, California.
January 23 – Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announces he and the state will not defend the law banning same-sex marriages in federal court.
February 6 – Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, outs one of his characters, the Indian intern Asok, so Adams could make a statement about India’s recriminalization of homosexuality. A number of newspapers across the country refused to run the strips in question.
February 6 – After the Stolichnaya vodka brand donates nearly half a million dollars to LGBT causes in the United States and in Russia, the bar Sidetracks in Chicago announces it will restock their bar with the vodka brand, officially ending a national call for a boycott.
February 7 – Dozens of LGBT activists are arrested across Russia for protesting the country’s current discriminatory laws, the same day as the Winter Olympics opened in Sochi.
February 9 – Michael Sam, a former player for the University of Missouri, comes out of the closet in an interview on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. He would later become the first openly gay player in the NFL.
February 13 – A federal judge strikes down the ban on gay marriage in Virginia. The ruling is stayed; couples are eventually allowed to marry in October.
February 14 – Actress Ellen Page, best known for her role in the movie Juno, comes out publicly at an LGBT youth conference in Las Vegas.
February 14 – Twenty members of Congress, including Florida’s Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, pose for NOH8 Campaign photographs in solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia.
February 14 – The social media site Facebook adds fifty different gender options to the previous “male” and “female” options, such as “transgender,” “cisgender,” “intersex” and “gender fluid.”
February 14 – Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis announces her support of marriage equality and calls on her opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, to stop defending Texas’s same-sex marriage ban in court.
February 20 – Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announces that she will not defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in court.
February 23 – Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the NBA, signs with the Brooklyn Nets, who start him that night. He plays for them for the rest of the season.
February 26 – Republican Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, vetoes SB 1062, which would have allowed business owners to turn away LGBT people from businesses due to the owner’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
February 27 – Openly gay singer Clay Aiken, an American Idol alum, files papers to run for Congress in North Carolina’s 2nd District, challenging incumbent Renee Ellmers. Aiken would go on to lose to Ellmers in the November election.
February 27 – The state of Kentucky is ordered to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
February 28 – A New York Times and CBS News poll notes that support for marriage equality nationwide sits at 56%, with 39% opposing.
March 1 – The United States strongly condemns Russia after its parliament unanimously votes to allow military action in Ukraine.
March 14 – A federal judge orders the state of Tennessee to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples who married in other states.
March 19 – Fred Phelps, founder of the notoriously anti-gay hate group the Westboro Baptist Church, dies in Topeka, Kansas at the age of 84.
March 20 – Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith attends a National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association fundraiser in New York City. When asked about his sexual orientation, Smith responded to the Washington Blade, “I’m going to walk over here,” removing himself from the situation.
March 22 – The first same-sex marriages are conducted in Michigan after a judge ruled the ban on such marriages was unconstitutional. The state would later invalidate these marriages; the state’s case against marriage equality is currently on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
March 26 – Giving the keynote address in front of delegates from all the European Union and NATO member nations in Brussels, President Barack Obama slammed Russia on its LGBT rights record.
March 27 – Attorney General Eric Holder announces that the federal government will recognize the 300 same-sex marriages that occurred the previous week in Michigan, after Governor Rick Snyder will not.
March 28 – A San Francisco man creates a T-shirt Kickstarter campaign, aimed at combating negative perceptions against people who take the antiretroviral medication Truvada. Proceeds from sales of the shirt, which have the hashtag “#TruvadaWhore” emblazoned on the front, were donated to the AIDS Lifecycle event.
March 31 – Wedding bells ring for Will (Guy Wilson) and Sonny (Freddie Smith) on the soap opera Days of our Lives as Salem psychiatrist and town sage Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) officiates the show’s first gay marriage.
April 3 – Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla, makers of the Internet browser Firefox, steps down from his post after it was revealed that he donated $1,000 in support of California’s Proposition 8.
April 3 – Iowans celebrate the fifth anniversary of marriage equality in their state.
April 4 – Republican Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi signs a “religious liberty” bill into law which gives business owners the right to discriminate against LGBT people due to their religious beliefs. This comes five weeks after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill in her state.
April 5 – The NBA announces it will auction autographed Jason Collins Brooklyn Nets jerseys. The proceeds from the popular jerseys will go directly to the Matthew Shepard Foundation and GLSEN.
April 14 – A federal judge rules that the state of Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The decision is stayed pending appeals.
April 15 – In the small town of Latta, South Carolina, the police chief, Crystal Moore, is fired by the anti-gay mayor, Earl Bullard, because Moore is a lesbian. The town rallies around Moore and she is given her job back by the town council in June.
April 15 – A large-scale boycott begins against the Beverly Hills Hotel. The hotel is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who introduced Sharia laws in his country which would sentence gay people to death by stoning.
April 19 – Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster marries her partner, actress and photographer Alexandra Hedison, in a low-key ceremony.
April 19 – Playbill announces that for LGBT pride month, the iconic black-and-yellow cover will be rainbow-colored. This is the first change to the Playbill cover, temporary or otherwise, in 150 years.
April 21 – The Boy Scouts of America revokes the charter of a troop in Seattle, Washington, when they find out their scoutmaster is openly gay. As of January 1, 2014, the ban on gay scouts was rescinded, but the ban on gay scoutmasters persists.
April 24 – Dan Haseltine, Grammy Award-winner and vocalist for the Christian pop group Jars of Clay, endorses marriage equality. This announcement earned him both supporters and detractors.
April 24 – Jason Collins is named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and is featured in the issue’s inside cover.
April 26 – The Human Rights Campaign unveils Project One America, an initiative that will bring HRC staff and funds to work on the ground in three specific Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. This intiative was spearheaded by HRC President Chad Griffin, an Arkansas native.
May 3 – An anti-gay state senate candidate from North Carolina, Steve Wiles, is revealed to have had a past performing as a drag queen, Miss Mona Sinclair. Wiles acknowledges the link between himself and Miss Mona Sinclair. He loses his primary election later that week.
May 9 – A circuit court judge in Arkansas strikes down the state’s ban on gay marriage. Hundreds of couples marry in the following week, becoming the first couples to do so in the South. The state Supreme Court eventually stays the ruling.
May 10 – Michael Sam is drafted by the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first openly gay player in the National Football League.
May 10 – Bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst becomes a worldwide sensation after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Her song “Rise Like a Phoenix” goes viral and earns the queen compliments from RuPaul himself.
May 13 – The Pentagon approves Pvt. Chelsea Manning’s request for gender reassignment treatment. Chelsea Manning was previously known as Bradley Manning until a Kansas judge granted her name change in April.
May 13 – A magistrate in the state of Ohio strikes down the state’s gay marriage ban. The ruling is stayed pending the state’s appeal.
May 15 – Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland signs a bill into law extending anti-discrimination protections to transgender people.
May 17 – The Massachusetts LGBT community celebrates ten years of marriage equality in their state.
May 19 – Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage is struck down, and the governor and attorney general decline to appeal. Couples begin to marry in Oregon immediately.
May 20 – Pennsylvania also welcomes marriage equality after a court decision strikes down the same-sex marriage ban there. Like in Oregon, the governor and the attorney general decline to appeal.
May 21 – The WNBA becomes the first major sports league in the United States to actively market themselves to LGBT fans, introducing the “WNBA Pride” marketing initiative.
May 22 – A postage stamp honoring the memory of Harvey Milk was dedicated in a special ceremony at the White House.
May 28 – Singer/songwriter Sam Smith, whose hit “Stay With Me” rose to the top ten of the Billboard charts this year, comes out as gay after months of media speculation.
June 6 – A federal judge strikes down the ban on gay marriage in Wisconsin. Couples are allowed to marry there for nearly a week, before a stay is issued. North Dakota becomes the final state in the country to be represented in a marriage equality lawsuit.
June 8 – Singer Demi Lovato headlines at the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade, where she recorded the music video to her single “Really Don’t Care.” Three weeks later, she would headline the Dance on the Pier at New York City’s Gay Pride.
June 17 – The Senate confirms the first openly gay black federal court judge in United States history. Darrin Gayles was approved by a 98-0 vote after serving for three years as a circuit court judge in Miami.
June 19 – The Presbyterian Church (USA) passes resolutions allowing same-sex marriage in their churches nationwide. This comes two years after a similar resolution narrowly failed in the governing body’s general assembly.
June 24 – The United Methodist Church announced that Reverend Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked for officiating at his son’s same-sex marriage in 2007, would be allowed to return to the church as a minister.
June 25 – The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agrees that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling is put on hold while the state appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. On the same day, a federal judge strikes down the same-sex marriage ban in Indiana and couples begin marrying that afternoon. The ruling is eventually stayed and same-sex marriages cease for the time being.
July 12 – Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Australian Ian Thorpe, comes out as gay in an interview with British talk show host Michael Parkinson.
July 15 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported their results from the first large-scale LGBT health survey in the United States. Among other findings, the CDC pegged the LGBT population in the United States at less than three percent.
July 21 – President Barack Obama signs Executive Order 13672, banning discrimination in hiring and employment against LGBT people in the civilian federal workforce. The bill also bans LGBT discrimination in the hiring process by federal contractors.
July 26 – Ultimate Fighter Kyle Kingsbury made a statement and pledged his solidarity with the LGBT community during an pre-fight weigh-in. By doing so, he showed the crowd that he was wearing pink “Legalize Gay” underpants.
July 31 – TIME Magazine announces the news that nine former leaders of ex-gay camps are banding together to ban gay conversion therapy.
August 1 – Gallup releases a worldwide poll asking respondents if they believe their city is a good place for gay people to live. 70% of Americans answered that they believed their city was good for gay people, as opposed to 22% who believed their city was not good.
August 13 – Chip Sarafin, an offensive lineman playing for Arizona State University, comes out as gay. Arizona State finishes the 2014 season 9-3, ranked #17 in the AP Poll.
August 27 – Facebook news feeds across the country erupt with a steady flow of excited comments as The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman hints that Norman Reedus’s character Daryl Dixon might be gay, and that the show might be introducing gay characters in the future.
August 29 – Daniel Pierce, a college student from Kennesaw, Georgia, tapes his coming out process to his family. They are abusive and kick him out of their house. The tape goes viral and he receives tens of thousands of dollars in donations so he can continue school and live on his own. Pierce donates the excess money to an Atlanta charity that helps homeless LGBT youth.
August 31 – The St. Louis Rams cut Michael Sam from their roster. He would be signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad three days later.
September 1 – The LGBT community in Vermont celebrates five years of marriage equality in their state.
September 2 – Boca Raton native Ariana Grande releases her second album, My Everything, which debuts at #1 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Her biggest fan, older brother Frankie, cheers her on from televisionland as he competes as the only openly gay contestant on this season of CBS’s reality show Big Brother.
September 3 – A federal judge in Louisiana becomes the first to rule against marriage equality. His decision is being appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
September 10 – Singer Nick Jonas attempts to erase his squeaky-clean image by showing off his six-pack abs at the New York City gay club BPM. He would continue to reach out to his gay fans by stating his support for them and then leaking some racy photographs of himself clad only in his underpants.
September 11 – Three people attack a gay couple in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood. While the three face criminal charges, Pennsylvania state law does not recognize anti-gay violence as a hate crime. The LGBT community calls for the passage of a new hate crime bill.
September 15 – Lauren Morelli, a writer of the popular series Orange is the New Black, files for divorce after working on the show made her realize that she is really a lesbian.
September 17 – Target is lauded for featuring a family with gay dads in its newest promotional campaign. Two weeks later, Cheerios also premiered advertising featuring gay parents.
September 23 – While being questioned by WITF radio regarding Pennsylvania’s hate crimes bill, at the time being debated in the legislature, Sen. Jim Ferlo abruptly told the station, “I’m gay. Get over it. I love it!”
October 6 – The United States Supreme Court denies to review five marriage cases, including rulings from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. In denying review, the Court allows the original court rulings to stand, clearing the way for permanent marriage equality in the states of Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. All of these states legalize same-sex marriage in the months of October and November.
October 6 – The musical I Am Harvey Milk, starring Andrew Lippa and Kristin Chenoweth, debuts at Lincoln Center in New York City.
October 9 – Nevada legalizes same-sex marriage after the state loses in the case of Sevcik v. Sandoval.
October 15 – Appeals are exhausted in the case of Latta v. Otter, and as a result, same-sex marriages begin in Idaho.
October 22 – Actress Lisa Kudrow, while being interviewed about her series The Comeback, complimented her gay fans by saying that “gay men are superior beings in [her] mind.”
October 30 – Apple CEO Tim Cook announces that he is “proud to be gay” in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek column. Before the announcement, Cook’s sexuality was already a well-known secret in many circles; he had acknowledged that his desire for privacy kept him from saying anything previously. He would go on to partner with Alabama legislator Patricia Todd in helping further an anti-discrimination bill aimed at benefiting LGBT people in that state.
November 4 – Midterm elections were held across the United States. In Florida and in many other states, Republicans won big over Democratic challengers. The Republicans took control of the Senate for the first time in eight years, and gained seats in the House of Representatives.
November 6 – The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The ruling is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, who will now be urged to settle the marriage equality question once and for all.
November 7 – A federal judge rules the ban on same-sex marriage in the state of Missouri is illegal. The ruling is stayed pending appeal.
November 13 – Out soccer star Robbie Rogers is signed to a multi-year contract extension with the LA Galaxy major league soccer team. Two weeks later, Rogers releases a book, called Coming Out to Play.
November 19 – Jason Collins of the Brooklyn Nets announces his retirement in Sports Illustrated. He played 13 seasons in the NBA (the final one as an out gay man).
November 20 – County singer Ty Herndon comes out publicly in an interview with People Magazine. On the same day, country singer Billy Gilman comes out via a video blog on YouTube.
November 25 – Federal judges in Arkansas and Mississippi both rule that the bans on same-sex marriage in their respective states are unconstitutional. Both rulings are stayed pending appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
December 2 – The Food and Drug Administration panel meets to discuss removing the lifelong ban on blood donations from sexually active gay men.
December 2 – The District of Columbia bans “gay conversion therapy” for minors.
December 3 – Michael Sam, who was released from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad on October 21, tells the media that he believes that he isn’t playing for a football team right now because he announced his sexuality in the press.
December 3 – A federal appeals court refuses to extend the stay in the Florida marriage equality cases, clearing the way for marriages to begin in the Sunshine State on January 6, 2015.
Be sure to check out our Florida Year in Review next week! You can read Hotspots every week in print, online via hotspotsmagazine.com, or on our app, available for free on iTunes and Google Play.