No matter what kinds of websites you normally peruse, most are inundated with “Best of…” lists in honor of the new year during the months of December and January. At One Equal World, we too couldn’t resist looking back on the moments where a more equal world seemed possible in 2014. Here are some of the topics we were proud to report on last year.
Image of Gay, Black Fatherhood Goes Viral. Who could ever forget the image of two black fathers – Kordale and Kaleb – helping two of their daughters getting ready in the morning? This image, originally posted on Instagram, quickly went viral, and many conversations about fatherhood, race, and sexuality erupted around the world. “We do what is necessary for them to succeed in this ever-changing world but it’s sad that we’re discriminated against because of our sexuality,” said Kordale and Kaleb in response to the reactions their family photo inspired. “Being gay is the new normal for a lot of people and judgment isn’t needed, just equality!”
Ellen Page Comes Out. On Valentine’s Day, 2014, Ellen Page made the courageous public announcement that she is gay during the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conference, an event that benefitted LGBT youth. “I’m here today because I am gay,” the acclaimed young actress said. “And maybe because I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time.” Indeed, Page’s coming out encouraged many young LGBT people to share their stories; her announcement lent vital visibility to the LGBT community.
Marriage Equality Tips the Scale in the US. We write about marriage equality all the time on this site, and in 2014 we wrote about it repeatedly, as more progress was made than ever before. As of this past October, the states in which same-sex marriage is legal account for 59.1% of the American population, which means that the majority of Americans can now wed, regardless of sexual orientation. As Florida’s stance on marriage equality recently shifted, this number is even higher. Finally, the battle for the freedom to marry seems to finally be coming to an end.
Laverne Cox Covers TIME Magazine. On May 29th, Laverne Cox made history by becoming the first transgender woman to cover TIME magazine. It was a great year for Cox, who has become one of the most influential and visible transgender advocates of our time. “I realize this is way bigger than me and about a tipping point in our nation’s history where it is no longer acceptable for trans lives to be stigmatized, ridiculed, criminalized, and disregarded,” said Cox of her cover story. This was truly indicative of a shift toward a more equal world.
Maryam Mirzakhani Wins the Fields Medal. The Fields Medal, which is officially known as the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, is an incredibly prestigious honor and is widely regarded as the “Nobel Prize of mathematics.” Up until 2014 it had only been awarded to male mathematicians, until Mirzakhani made history by becoming the first female to win the Fields Medal this past August. In doing so, Mirzakhani became a true role model for girls and women in STEM fields, and proved that female mathematicians are just formidable as their male counterparts.
California Passes Groundbreaking Sexual Consent Law. In October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that makes his state the first in the nation to have a clear definition of sexual consent. SB-967, also known as the “Yes Means Yes” law, is groundbreaking for both its intention and its progressive definition of consent. A law that will serve to protect women mostly, SB-967 is a definite indicator of a world where women’s bodies are valued equally to men’s.
Yes, there were many disparaging moments of injustice and discrimination in 2014, but it’s important to acknowledge the equal rights victories for women, people of color, the LGBT community, disabled persons, and other marginalized groups of people. What were some of your favorite moments of equality in 2014?