2020 Year In Review
By: Kristen Pinchbeck
We all had big hopes for what 2020 would bring. We all were thinking we could get to capture some of the excitement and fun from the Roaring 20’s, but what we didn’t realize was that it was going to be a virus roaring through our world instead of all of us out dancing in flapper dresses.
While we were all sheltered in place Marie Kondoing our closets, baking bread, standing in line for toilet paper, or more realistically binge watching our favorite shows (shout out to the Office and Schitt’s Creek) there were some notable developments in our little corner of the world.
In the midst of the social unrest of the summer, Duarte announced they would now start recognizing Pride month with a Pride parade when it is safe to do so.
We also all learned new ways of connecting with friends and family throughout the year. The SGV LGBTQ center moved our group meetings to zoom, or successfully had small meet ups that complied with social distancing regulations. We also got some new volunteers, myself included, and are looking for ways that we can continue to grow the center in new and necessary ways so that it is a welcoming space for our community.
In November after a very tense election season, America elected herself a new president! President Elect, Joe Biden, has a proven record of caring for the LGBTQIA+ community and has already committed to passing legislation to help our community. He has also already named Pete Buttigege to a cabinet position as his cabinet secretary. Also in November, a record number of LGBT candidates were elected across the country from local mayors, all the way up to Sarah McBride being elected as a trans-woman to the Senate.
December had some big events too in 2020. The American Red Cross limited deferral for the Men who have Sex with Men clause to 3 months rather than 1 year. This was huge, and in many other countries this clause was abolished this year. This gives us some hope that this homophobic clause will be reformed permanently in the US. Also in December, at the UK Faith conference, almost 400 global religious leaders from 35 countries called for end to conversion therapy and an end to the ban on same sex relationships. The leaders at this conference acknowledged the ways in which the church has hurt the LGBTQ community and hopes to move forward in a more lovinging and accepting direction. This is huge for the future of the LGBTQ community because we don’t even realize how many laws and how much hatred is handed to our communities at the hands of some harmful religious zealots.
This year also saw the first openly gay couple in a Hallmark movie. Hallmark is a historically extremely conservative channel, so it was huge that they featured their first openly gay couple, even if it was only in a supporting role. Hulu also debuted a lesbian centered holiday movie, although it was not the best.
On The Other Side of the Coin
On the other side of the coin, 2020 was one of the worst years many of us have ever experienced in our lifetime.
2020 saw record unemployment rates;
Over 20 million people tested positive for COVID-19, and over 350,000 have died in the US alone;
Hospitals were completely overrun with sick people which led to massive amounts of deaths as well as severe trauma to the medical staff that we haven’t even begun to see the results of;
Grocery store shortages as people started hoarding;
Depression and anxiety rates soared;
We saw a rise in Fascist, anti-semetic, and other hate groups in our nation;
Russia and other countries voted for constitutional bans on same sex marriage continuing the discrimination and danger for LGBTQ individuals worldwide;
The Trump administration rolled back healthcare protections for transgender americans;
Due to supposed election fraud and election insecurity, Georgia is in a runoff and can hopefully change the Senate majority;
and in our own backyard, Montclair elected themselves a new, very anti-LGBTQ mayor.
It has been hard to remember the good things that have happened this year, when we have been sitting under the crushing weight of all the bad. 2020 brought such a deep, bone tired exhaustion to pretty much everyone as we all faced fear, uncertainty, and hardships of our own. But, even with all the bad, we all learned enough in 2020 to help us see a better way through 2021.
I don’t know about you but, after doing some of my own personal reflection for the dumpster fire that was 2020, I realized that it was a personally huge year for me. It was the year I got to know myself, the year I learned how to set boundaries (this is still a work in progress), and the year I started living into my own truth rather than what I thought I had to be to fit everyone else’s expectations.
If you want to move through 2021 in a mindful way with other people who are trying to effect change in their community, connect with other LGBTQ+ friends in your area, and want to help make the world a better place as we move forward as more aware individuals, reach out to us here at the SGV LGBTQ center!
Join our volunteer group, sign up for a peer group, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, or dip your toe in the water by reaching out. There is a place here for you, and you are welcome! Be kind to yourself :)