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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The L Wire's Review of the Year: February

February is traditionally the month we associate with one of the best l-words, LOVE. For me, it’s one of the times of year that really proves that us LGBT+ folk aren’t any different from anyone else at all. We too stress out about buying our beaus expensive gifts and overpriced cards as a gesture of our undying love for them (spoken like a true single person).

Without further ado, here’s a look at some of the things that happened in LGBT+ rights and visibility in February; a month in which Westminster seemed to be feeling the love, but in which the Russian and Ugandan governments certainly were not…

UK Parliament votes with its heart

February 5th saw the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in Westminster and MPs’ first opportunity to vote on it. MPs were given a ‘free vote’, meaning that they did not have to vote in line with their party’s stance on the matter, with many calling it a ‘vote of conscience’.

House of Commons (

It might just have been me, but I found that term difficult to understand. I struggled to comprehend exactly what part of me falling in love and wanting to commit to someone could possibly affect anyone else's conscience. Perhaps I'm just over-sensitive or maybe I read into things too much, but there is still so much terminology used to set same-sex couples apart that society really needs to work on.

Love, right and reason prevailed and a large majority—400 to 175—voted in favour of the Bill, allowing it to pass on to the next stage.

The progress of Bill will no doubt be visited again in the days to come.

A little less love overseas

Sadly, as many people in the UK celebrated taking a step closer to equality, there was bad news coming in from elsewhere.

Word began to spread that anti-gay laws drafted in early 2012 by Russia’s State Duma, prohibiting what it deemed “homosexual propaganda”, had begun to gain momentum. Although LGBT and human rights media outlets had been reporting on the issue for months, it wasn’t until the Bill passed its first reading and the United Nations issued a strong statement against it that the story began to gain wider and more mainstream attention.

UN flag (

But with the world’s gaze beginning to turn towards Russia, there was a reminder, if one were needed, that numerous other countries still persecute people on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity too.

On the same day as the UK Parliament progressed equality for England and Wales, the Ugandan Parliament reconvened for the year. That would be the same Parliament that in late 2012 promised to pass its “kill the gays” Bill as a Christmas present to the country. I’d have thought socks or, you know, equal rights might have been a better choice, but what do I know?

Ugandan Parliamentary Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga (

A list published by the government confirmed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was eighth on the order of Parliamentary business for the year and, according to Pink News, still included a clause pertaining to the death penalty.

Clearly, while February highlighted progress in some countries, it also showed that there is still a lot more work to be done in others.

Robbie Rogers comes out and retires on the same day

US international footballer (of the soccer-playing variety), Robbie Rogers, made the headlines later that month when he came out as gay via a heartfelt post on his blog.

Robbie Rogers playing for US national team (

As beautiful as his statement was, I found reading it to be bittersweet. Here was a young man who had finally come to terms with his sexuality and who seemed full of optimism, yet who felt unable to equate his two identities, those of ‘footballer’ and ‘gay man’, into one.

His coming out announcement also highlighted his intention to leave professional sport, stating, “Now is my time to step away. It’s time to discover myself away from football.”

Although Rogers’ blog didn’t mention any intention of returning to the beautiful game, don't be surprised if his name crops up again before our review of 2013 is through.

Duff’s sweet gesture

And finally… cake!

Duff Goldman, owner of Charm City Cakes and star of everyone’s favourite sponge-based show, ‘Ace of Cakes’, saved the day when he offered to make a wedding cake free of charge for a same-sex couple who were denied service from another bakery for, well, for no good reason at all.

Duff Goldman hugs a cake (

He read on twitter that the owner of a bakery in Oregon had refused to make a lesbian couple’s cake on religious grounds. When questioned about his refusal, baker Aaron Klein said, “They made a choice to do what they’re doing and I’m making a choice not to be part of it.”

The couple in question had already organised a new cake from a different bakery before they knew of Duff's offer, resulting in the lucky pair having not one but two cakes on their big day. Now that’s my kind of wedding!

I’m sure some people will see Goldman’s gesture as a good way of gaining free publicity but, having watched his show, Duff seems like a genuinely good guy and this seems like exactly the kind of thing he would do. Like he said in his HuffPo interview, there are plenty of times that he’s seen injustices that he can’t do anything about, "but when there’s injustice involving a cake, I can fix this!

And that’s the message from this story that I loved most…

There are plenty of bad things happening in the world that we as individuals can’t fix, but if we all help out with the things we can, the world will undoubtedly be a better place.

That philosophical note marks the end of February’s review. Head back here tomorrow for a peak at what March held in store for us and in the meantime, catch up with January if you haven't already…

What were your favourite LGBT+ moments of 2013? And what were your personal highlights? Did you come out? Get married? Do something life-changing? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow Julie Price on Twitter, @JuliePee