With so much hate continually aimed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, we like to take a moment every once in a while to highlight some of the good news featured on The Huffington Post.
Every other weekend HuffPost Gay Voices offers its Something To Celebrate feature, a round up of the best LGBT moments from the week before.
It's a great way to catch up on the stories that you might have missed during the last seven days -- not to mention a much needed reminder that though the LGBT community still faces many enemies and it must continue to fight, it's making gains and beautiful things happen in and to the LGBT community every day.
Have a look at 20 of the best LGBT stories from the past week and then let us know what your favorite moment was in the comments section below.
Nine-Year-Old Counter-Protest Against Westboro Baptist Church Protesters
A mother was filled with pride when her young son mounted a quiet counter-protest against picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church over the weekend, <a href="http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/national/2012-05-14/boy-9-stages-own-protest-westboro-baptist-protesters" target="_hplink">the <em>Augusta Chronicle</em> reports. </a> Nine-year-old Josef Miles and his mother, Patty Akrouche, were walking around the Washburn University campus in Topeka, Kan., on Saturday when they saw a group of Westboro Baptist Church protesters armed with signs. The Church is infamous for using pickets with phrases like "God hates fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers." After reading some of the signs on display, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/FeverDreams" target="_hplink">Akrouche said</a> that Miles asked her if he could create one of his own. Using a small sketch pad, he wrote out his message in pencil and held it out while he stood across from the picket line. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/westboro-baptist-church_n_1518901.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Rhode Island Governor Declares State Will Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages
Rhode Island's governor on Monday declared that the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, giving gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones when it comes to health insurance and a slew of other benefits. The order signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee in a Statehouse ceremony directs state agencies to recognize marriages performed out of state as legal and treat same-sex married couples the same as heterosexual ones. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/ri-gay-marriage-lincoln-chafee_n_1515725.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Joyce Banda, Malawi President, Vows To Repeal Gay Ban
BLANTYRE, Malawi -- Malawi's new president has announced she will repeal her southern African country's ban on homosexual acts. President Joyce Banda's announcement during her first state of the nation address Friday is one of several steps she has taken that break with the administration of her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in April. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/malawi-president-joyce-banda-gay-ban_n_1527050.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Beenie Man Apologies To The Gay Community For His 'Homophobic' Lyrics
Beenie Man has been <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/beenie-man-offers-apology-for-his-homophobic-lyrics-6164319.html" target="_hplink">criticized for using homophobic lyrics</a> throughout much of his work, but now the Jamaican reggae star is offering the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community a poignant apology. In this newly-released video, Beenie says, "Let me make this clear and straight. I have nothing against no one. I respect each and every human being, regardless of which race or creed, regardless of which religious belief you believe in, and regardless of which sexual preference you are, including gay and lesbian people." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/beenie-man-jamaican-homophobia-apology_n_1527312.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Jon Stewart And Stephen Colbert's Best Gay Marriage Segments
After President Obama became the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html" target="_hplink">first-ever sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage</a> last week, the subject of gay marriage has reached the forefront of the national discourse. And like any major hot-button issue, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have weighed in at nearly every stage of the highly-charged debate. With that in mind, we decided to dig through the archives and find our favorite clips from "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" on the subject. Check out nearly 30 of the funniest ways that Stewart and Colbert (as well as "Daily Show" correspondents such as Wyatt Cenac, John Oliver and Jason Jones) have put various issues regarding same-sex marriage in perspective over the years by clicking on the link below and vote for your favorite segment. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/jon-stewart-stephen-colbert-best-gay-marriage-segments-video_n_1518165.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Click here to see videos.</a>
International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia Honored Around The World
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates in 95 countries around the world honored the <a href="http://www.dayagainsthomophobia.org/" target="_hplink">International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia</a> (or IDAHO) with special ceremonies, memorials and other events on Thursday. A number of politicians, media personalities and high-profile figures have also joined the chorus of supporters acknowledging the significance of the day, which aims to "celebrate human diversity and rededicate ourselves to a basic but essential truth--that human rights are universal and must be protected," according to Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Observed each year on May 17, IDAHO become an important day for millions of people around the world to pause and remember the victims of anti-gay violence and discrimination. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/international-day-against-homophobia-transphobia_n_1525047.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Ellen DeGeneres To Receive Nation's Top Humor Prize
Ellen DeGeneres, who broke ground in 1997 as the first lead character on prime-time TV to reveal she was gay, is winning the nation's top humor prize. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Tuesday that DeGeneres will receive the 15th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. She will be honored Oct. 22 with a lineup of star performers in a tribute show that will be recorded for broadcast at a later date. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/ellen-degeneres-mark-twain-prize-for-american-humor_n_1518124.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Gay Donor Pulls Support From Mitt Romney Over Gay Marriage, Asks For Money Back
An openly gay Mitt Romney donor has decided to <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/14/romney-donor-pulls-support-backs-obama-over-same-sex-marriage/" target="_hplink">pull his support</a> for the presumptive GOP nominee and instead support President Obama's reelection bid, citing the former Massachusetts governor's opposition to same-sex marriage as a dealbreaker. "I feel that I no longer wish to support your presidential campaign and ask you that you please return the maximum contribution that I gave to you last year," Bill White wrote in a letter to Romney, <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/14/romney-donor-pulls-support-backs-obama-over-same-sex-marriage/" target="_hplink">according to a report by CNN</a>. "You have chosen to be on the wrong side of history and I do not support your run for president any longer." White, a registered independent who runs a New York-based consulting firm, had given $2,500 to the Romney campaign. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/mitt-romney-gay-marriage_n_1516200.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
The Best Place In Europe To Be Gay Is The UK
The United Kingdom's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has an extra special reason to feel patriotic today, as their state has been named the "best place in Europe" to be gay. <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-is-best-place-in-europe-to-be-gay-7742348.html" target="_hplink">As <em>The Independent</em> is reporting</a>, the UK's ranking in the <a href="http://www.ilga-europe.org/home/publications/annual_review/2011" target="_hplink">International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Europe index </a>was largely determined by its recognition of civil partnerships for same-sex couples, and its solid anti-discrimination laws. The ILGA Europe's index rated a total of 49 countries on more than 40 categories. With a total of 21 points, the UK narrowly edged out both Germany and Spain, which earned a total of 20 points each, respectively. An ILGA-Europe spokesperson is quoted by <em>The Independent </em>as saying Scotland played a "leading role" in the UK's success, as hate crimes "aggravated" by gender identity are explicitly recognized under Scottish laws. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/uk-best-place-in-europe-gay_n_1518683.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009#s=977807" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Matthew McConaughey In 'The Advocate': 'I'm For Gay Power'
Matthew McConaughey's gay fans are no doubt looking forward to "Magic Mike," which will feature scenes of the star stripping down to a thong <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/magic-mike-trailer-channing-tatum_n_1437000.html" target="_hplink">alongside fellow heartthrobs Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello</a>. But the 42-year-old hunk has always enjoyed a sizable gay fanbase, which he discusses at length<a href="http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/current-issue/2012/05/16/matthew-mcconaughey-no-shirt-no-problem" target="_hplink"> in a new interview with <em>The Advocate</em></a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/matthew-mcconaughey-magic-mike-gay-fans-advocate-interview_n_1521965.html?ref=topbar&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Same-Sex Couples Allowed To Hold Ceremonies At Tokyo Disney
Same-sex couples in Japan <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/gay-marriage-legal-world_n_1504054.html" target="_hplink">may not be able to tie the knot legally</a>, but they now can hold a commitment ceremony at one of the happiest places on earth -- Tokyo Disney. It all started when 27-year-old bride Koyuki Higashi contacted Tokyo Disney Resort and inquired about marrying her partner, Hiroko, there. According <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hzdpuhsStLsh3W7qP2Yl6oaFCxig?docId=CNG.a43e1c7494a00df0179192c4bf246bb0.771" target="_hplink">to a report from AFP</a>, a member of the resort staff told Higashi that she could absolutely marry her girlfriend at Disney. The couple visited the resort on May 5 to deliver thanks Mickey Mouse himself for welcoming them, <a href="http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120514p2a00m0na003000c.html" target="_hplink"> Japanese newspaper</a> <em>Mainichi Daily</em> reports. "We are a couple. We came to express our gratitude," the pair told Mickey. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/disney-gay-weddings_n_1519542.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Ben & Jerry's Send UK Politician Gay Marriage Ice Cream
ib Dem equalities minister Lynne Featherstone, who is in charge of government plans to introduce gay marriage, has received a special supportive gift from ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's. In March the company re-named their 'Oh! My! Apple Pie!' flavour 'Apple-y ever after' in support of coalition's proposals to allow same-sex couples to marry. And in recognition of Featherstone's role in pushing forward the plans, they produced a special 'Lynne Honeycomb' tub for the minister. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/18/ben-and-jerrys-send-lynne_n_1527062.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&just_reloaded=1&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. Supports Gay Marriage
One day after Manny Pacquiao sparked controversy with his outspoken opposition to gay marriage, a rival boxing superstar is offering a different take on the matter. As <em>USA Today</em> and other media outlets are reporting, U.S. fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2012/05/floyd-mayweather-supports-same-sex-marriage/1#.T7UYWnlYtvc" target="_hplink">tweeted his support for President Obama's endorsement</a> of marriage equality yesterday yesterday. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/floyd-mayweather-jr-gay-marriage-tweet_n_1524379.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
New Study Reveals Gaydar May Be Real
By: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer People can judge with surprising accuracy whether someone is gay or straight -- even when they're looking at a black-and-white photograph, cropped of hair and identifying marks, and presented upside down. The findings from a University of Washington study suggest people use a combination of clues from individual facial features and from the way those features fit together to make snap judgments about <a href="http://www.livescience.com/4678-sexual-orientation-hard-wired-worms-brains.html">sexual orientation</a>, said researcher Joshua Tabak, a graduate student in psychology. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/gaydar-study-face-holds-clues_n_1522455.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Obama's Gay Marriage Support Sparks Line Of LGBT-Friendly Campaign Merchandise
It might have divided Washington, but President Obama's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/obama-gay-marriage-strengthens-families_n_1516416.html" target="_hplink">endorsement of same-sex marriage</a> last week has drawn ample praise from many high-profile lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates. Accordingly, the Obama 2012 campaign has released a <a href="http://store.barackobama.com/collections/lgbt-for-obama.html" target="_hplink">colorful line of new merchandise</a> catering exclusively to the LGBT community and its allies. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/obama-gay-marriage-support-merchandise_n_1521133.html?ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009#s=982149" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Rapper Jay-Z Declares Support For Gay Marriage
Jay-Z has come out in support of President Obama's recent endorsement of gay marriage. In a recent interview with CNN, the rapper said <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/14/jay-z-still-has-obamas-back/" target="_hplink">he believed supporting gay marriage was "the right thing to do."</a> "I've always thought it as something that was still holding the country back," Jay-Z said, referencing the fact that same-sex marriage is not recognized nationwide. "What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business. It's no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination plain and simple." Though he was in Philadelphia to appear alongside Mayor Michael Nutter and announce a two-day music festival in early September, Jay-Z sat down with CNN's Poppy Harlow to chat about broader issues. When he was asked if he felt Obama's decision to come out in favor of the right of same-sex couples to marry would cost him votes (particularly with the African-American community), he shrugged. "It's really not about votes," he said. "It's about people." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/jay-z-gay-marriage-obama_n_1516614.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Illinois Governor Endorses Marriage Equality
Story by Kate Sosin, courtesy of the <em>Windy City Times</em>: Just three months after teetering on the issue, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has come out in favor of marriage equality. "Governor Quinn joins with President Obama in supporting marriage equality and looks forward to working on this issue in the future with the General Assembly," said Brooke Anderson, a spokesperson for the governor, in an email to <em>Windy City Times</em>. The <em>Chicago Tribune</em> first reported Quinn's announcement, which comes on the heels of President Obama's proclamation to ABC News that he supports marriage equality. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/pat-quinn-gay-marriage_n_1515448.html?ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
NYC Mayor Says North Carolina's Gay Marriage Vote Sets Back Civil Rights
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has told University of North Carolina graduates that last week's gay marriage vote shows there is still a lot of work to be done for civil rights in this country. Bloomberg spoke Sunday to thousands of graduates at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Bloomberg told them Americans have slowly understood since this country was founded that if the government can deny freedom to one person, it can deny freedom to everyone. The mayor says every generation has brought more freedom to this country, and he expects the latest generation to continue the work, especially after last Tuesday's vote approving a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in North Carolina.
Shorter University's 'Personal Lifestyle Statement' Which Bans Gay Employees Leads To Faculty Exodus
A Georgia college's controversial "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/01/shorter-university-bans-g_n_1069153.html" target="_hplink">personal lifestyle statement</a>" which includes rejecting homosexuality has led to an exodus of faculty members. <em>Inside Higher Ed</em> <a href="http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2012/04/02/survey-suggests-faculty-discontent-shorter" target="_hplink">cites an anonymous survey</a> which found that a mere 12 percent of the faculty said they planned to stay at Shorter University, a 139-year-old Baptist school located in Rome, Ga. In addition, more than two dozen staff members had already resigned before their new contracts -- which included the "pledge," condemning homosexuality, premarital sex and public drinking -- were even distributed. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/faculty-leave-baptist-school-shorter-university-over-lifestyle-statement/2012/05/18/gIQAX5f8YU_story.html" target="_hplink"> The Religion News Service</a> notes that the school usually has about 100 full-time faculty members. An online campaign called "<a href="http://saveourshorter.com/" target="_hplink">Save Our Shorter</a>" seems to blame the departure of many employees on the pledge, even though the university's president told the Religion News Service that some of those who resigned did not state their reason for leaving. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/shorter-university-personal-lifestyle-statement-faculty-exodus_n_1528588.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Zach Wahls, Iowa Activist With Two Moms, Lobbies Congress To Support Families Like His
WASHINGTON -- You may not recognize him by name, but Zach Wahls is known by millions as the teenager who gave powerful testimony to an Iowa House committee in January 2011 in support of his two moms. The <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSQQK2Vuf9Q" target="_hplink">video of his speech</a> became the top viral political video of 2011 and landed him TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres and David Letterman, among others. Now 20 years old, Wahls has <a href="http://www.zachwahls.com/?page_id=375" target="_hplink">written a book</a>, traveled the country talking about the struggle for LGBT equality and, this week, taken his cause to a new level: meeting with members of Congress to win their support for families like his. Wahls, who is also a Huffington Post blogger, said his goal wasn't so much to get lawmakers to sign on to specific pro-LGBT bills (though their support is encouraged) as it was to give them living proof that kids of same-sex parents are just like kids who are raised by a mom and a dad. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/zach-wahls-lobbies-congress_n_1527796.html?ir=Gay+Voices&ref=topbar" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>