Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looking back on 2008: LGBT “real world” stuff

It has been an interesting year for us queers. Unfortunately, I cannot say it has all been great or even positive. Of course, the one thing that stands out most in the negative category is the passing of Prop 8.

I already said a lot about it in previous blog entries (like here and here), so I won’t repeat myself. Ok I am going to do just that by saying what I have been saying all along. I think it is totally retarded that people get to have a say in who gets to marry their soul mate and who doesn’t.

I really don’t get it. I especially don’t understand why so many Americans cared so much about this issue that they actively decided to take people’s rights away. That’s what she said illustrate my point very well with their song “Why is my right wrong?”

Even though this all sucks big time, the good thing that came out of all of this is that people in California and around the world stood up and declared how they felt about this injustice. Some pessimists like to say it’s too little too late, but I like to think it is never too late.

Seeing all those protesters in the streets of Los Angeles or watching straight allies publically announce how wrong Prop 8 is, made me feel all warm and proud and it gives me hope. It is just a matter of time until people will come around.

Look at us over here in Europe. To date, thirteen European countries already have same-sex civil unions and some also have same-sex marriage (i.e. the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain). Most other European countries are in the middle of the discussion if and when they, too, will have civil unions with varying degrees of success.

Norway will also have same-sex marriage starting in January 2009 and Sweden starting from May 2009.

The main issue this year in many European countries had to do with gay adoption rights (this is already allowed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. In addition, France, Denmark and Germany allow for stepchild adoption, i.e. that the same-sex partner can legally adopt their partners biological child).

A handful of countries are in the middle of creating or passing bills that will allow for same sex partners to adopt. The circumstances under which this is allowed and how much resistance there is against it differs from country to country.

Right at this moment the European Parliament is working on a declaration to have same-sex marriages and civil unions recognized in all countries in the European Union. In the summer they already published a report on how to prevent homophobia.

Of course, we too have our problems with ever continuing incidents of discrimination or even hate crimes, but in other ways some European countries are years ahead of the United States.

I am hopeful and optimistic that in 2009 we will get another step closer to being able to live our lives the way we want to live them.

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