8 Breakthroughs For LGBT Rights In 2015 7 years ago

8 Breakthroughs For LGBT Rights In 2015

2015 has seen the spotlight sit very firmly on the achievements of LGBT people and growing social acceptance of a myriad of different sexual preferences and gender identities.

I've done a roundup of some of the biggest achievements of the LGBT community this year, so get ready to cry!

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May 22nd, 2015 - Ireland Becomes The First Country To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage By Popular Vote.

This was a very emotional day for many people as we became the first country in the world to welcome a popular vote supporting same-sex marriage.

The referendum had been a very rough and stressful time for LGBT people and their families, but there was also a beautiful explosion of creativity, solidarity and kindness which united many of us like never before.

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This was a long fought battle over many decades, and it took the courage and tenacity of the older generations to help build the more tolerant Ireland we created this year.

July 2015 - The Gender Recognition Bill Is Signed Into Law 

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Ireland brought in some landmark legislation this year recognising the rights of trans people all over the country. People who wish to have their change of gender recognised by the state  in birth certs, passports, driving licences etc just have to make a formal declaration to do so.

There is, however, more work to be done in recognising intersex and non-binary individuals, and many activists believe that those under 18 should be able to make the decision without seeking parental permission.

June 25th, 2015 - The Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Legal Across All 50 US States

In June of this year, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage a reality across all 50 states of America, finding the ban previously upheld to be unconstitutional in a 5 to 4 ruling. Justice Anthony Kennedy stated:

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'Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of the civilisation's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.'

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 26: People celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. The Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide without regard to their state's laws. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) People celebrating the ruling in West Hollywood on June 26th (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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When director Roland Emmerich announced he would be making a film dealing with the Stonewall Riots in New York (which jump-started much of the LGBT rights movement we know of today) many were excited. However this soon morphed into heavy criticism as he made the protagonist a white man and erased many of the trans people, lesbians and bisexuals and people of colour who were instrumental parts of the pivotal event.

This outcry prompted a massive boycott of the film, which then proceeded to bomb completely at the box office. This is a victory because it shows that LGBT people don't want their history to be censored or altered to appeal to a mass audience.

April 2015 - Laverne Cox Is First Transgender Actress Be Nominated For An Emmy Award

Laverne Cox had a stellar 2015, and being nominated in the Emmy Awards in the 'Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series category for her work in Orange Is The New Black was just one highlight.

This nomination is just one example of how trans actors have become more and more mainstream and with that exposure, have drawn attention to issues that affect the trans community. Cox is consistently using her platform to remind us all of how far we still have to go in terms of discrimination against trans people.

Sept 2015 - Irish LGBT Group Allowed March In 2016 New York St Patrick's Day Parade

For years, it was strictly forbidden for LGBT rights groups to march in the New York Patrick's Day Parade because of the Catholic ethos of the organisers.

However, this September the Lavender and Green Alliance (an Irish LGBT group) successfully lobbied for permission to take part in the 2016 event. This follows Out@NBC who became the first LGBT organisation to march in the parade this year.

November 2015 - Trans Programmer Brielle Harrison Joins Apple

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Brielle Harrison - The Guardian

Harrison, a pioneer in terms of trans rights in the workplace has worked in Google and Facebook but has recently joined Apple's ranks to become a senior software engineer. She has done some amazing work in workplace diversity for tech companies and is a big factor in many of their excellent discrimination policies in place.

December 2015 - Irish LGBT Employees Will No Longer Face Religious Based Discrimination In The Workplace

The Employment Equality Bill came into effect this year, meaning institutions like schools and hospitals wth a religious ethos were no longer entitled to dismiss people because of their sexual orientation.

Teachers, doctors, and many others no longer have to conceal their true selves in order to keep their jobs in denominational institutions.

The emotional stress and turmoil caused by having to hide parts of your personal life from colleagues or students will no longer exist for those who would have previously feared for the safety of their job.