On Pride Weekend, 21 Reasons LGBT Americans and All Allies Should Be Proud

On Sunday, cities around the world will host parades in honor of Pride Week. And that’s fitting, because it’s been an historic last couple of years for LGBT rights and advancement. The Human Rights Campaign called 2013 “the year of greatest accomplishments for the LGBT movement,” and 2014 is shaping up to be just as momentous. Gay marriage bans have been getting knocked down left and right, more and more prominent public figures have been publicly identifying as LGBT, and the trans movement has gained visibility and rights that would have seem unthinkable even a year ago.

While there’s still a long way to go, LGBT Americans have had an unprecedentedly successful last few years in terms of both affecting public policy and changing public perceptions and attitudes. Let’s take a look at some of the movement’s greatest recent victories.

1. Harvey Milk now has his own postage stamp.

2. So does work of legendary gay artist Tom of Finland.

3. For the first time ever, a federal appeals court has upheld a ruling in favor of marriage equality. (And it was in Utah, of all places.)

4. In 2013, NBA player Jason Collins become the first professional athlete in one of the four major sports to come out.

5. And a year later, the NFL signed an openly-gay player, Michael Sam, for the first time.

6. Schools that discriminate against transgender students are no longer eligible for federal funds.

7. And companies that contract with the federal government can’t discriminate based on gender identity any more.

8. The President of the United States endorsed everybody’s right to get married, which has never happened before.

9. Equally importantly, so did “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the wrestler.

10. Even the Pope is cool with gay people.

11. Nineteen states now offer legal gay marriage. In 2013 alone, the number of states where gay marriage is legal doubled.

12. The Supreme Court has knocked down Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

13. And even the guy who signed DOMA turned against it.

14. This interview, and Laverne Cox in general, happened:

15. The majority of U.S. Senators (56) now support marriage equality — including four Republicans.

16. And same-sex spouses of military members are now eligible for marriage leave and other family benefits.

17. In fact, same-sex spouses of all government employees are eligible for federal benefits, even if they live in states where gay marriage isn’t legal.

18. There’s now an openly gay U.S. Senator, and she was elected with little to no controversy surrounding her sexual orientation.

19. The Medicare ban on gender confirmation surgery has been lifted.

20. Six states, plus the District of Columbia, now require insurance companies to cover surgery for trans people.

21. Trans Americans are now protected under federal hate crimes legislation, thanks to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Happy Pride!