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 17 of the best LGBT stories from the past week and then let us know what your favorite moment was in the comments section below.
Anderson Cooper Comes Out
Anderson Cooper has, at long last, publicly said he is gay. Cooper made the <a href="http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/07/anderson-cooper-the-fact-is-im-gay.html" target="_hplink">announcement</a> in an email to writer Andrew Sullivan. "The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud," he wrote. Cooper's sexuality has long been the <a href="http://www.out.com/2012/04/17/power-list-anderson-cooper" target="_hplink">subject of ample media speculation</a>, but he has never publicly confirmed it. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/anderson-cooper-comes-out-gay_n_1643276.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Facebook Co-Founder Marries Longtime Boyfriend In New York
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes can now officially change his status to "married." <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2012/07/02/facebook-co-founder-chris-hughes-marries-longtime-boyfriend/" target="_hplink">As <em>Forbes</em> is reporting</a>, the openly gay Hughes, 28, tied the knot with his longtime boyfriend Sean Eldridge at their home in Garrison, N.Y. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/chris-hughes-sean-eldridge-facebook-wedding-_n_1643888.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Connor Ferguson, Transgender Prom Queen, Takes The Crown In Ontario, Canada
It's not many schools that can say they struck a blow against discrimination by naming its prom queen, but for Trenton High School in Ontario, their end-of-year party ended up meaning much more. Connor Ferguson, an 18-year-old transwoman who was born male, <a href="http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/04/transgender-student-named-prom-queen-at-ontario-high-school/" target="_hplink">received the crown at her high school on June 22</a>, reports the National Post. "<a href="http://www.trentonian.ca/2012/07/03/tolerance-is-the-reigning-queen-at-trenton-high-school" target="_hplink">I was really surprised</a>," she told The Trentonian. "It was pretty surreal actually. If I remember correctly my jaw hit the floor and we all started laughing because it was so crazy. I walked up and the crown didn't fit my hair, so I had to hold it." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/05/transgender-prom-queen_n_1650627.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&just_reloaded=1&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
10 Gay American History Secrets
In honor of The Fourth of July, we took a look at 10 gay American history secrets. From Abraham Lincoln's male bed companions to a marine man-love, check out a few moments from our country's past that they probably didn't teach you in history class. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/gay-american-history_n_1648083.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
R&B Singer Frank Ocean Comes Out
Frank Ocean, an R&B singer who is part of the hip hop collective Odd Future and who has also written songs for Justin Bieber, John Legend and Beyoncé, came out on <a href="http://www.frankocean.com/" target="_hplink">his blog Tuesday night</a>. Ocean <a href="http://www.frankocean.com/" target="_hplink">writes in part</a>: <blockquote>In the last year or 3 I've screamed at my creator, screamed at the clouds in the sky, for some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow. 4 summer ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost... Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping.</blockquote> He continues "I don't know what happens now, and that's alrite. I don't have any secrets I need kept anymore... Thanks to my first love, I'm grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn't what I hoped for and even though it was never enough, it was... I feel like a free man. If I listen closely... I can hear the sky falling too." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/04/frank-ocean-rb-singer-comes-out_n_1649079.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Reggae And '90s Pop Star Diana King Comes Out
Anderson Cooper isn't the only celebrity to recently come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Diana King, the Jamaican "<a href="http://www.glaad.org/blog/jamaican-reggae-fusion-singer-diana-king-comes-out-lesbian" target="_hplink">reggae-fusion</a>" singer-songwriter, revealed that she was a lesbian<a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/dianaking/yes-i-am-a-lesbian/10151076275753885" target="_hplink"> in a lengthy Facebook posting late last month</a>. Declared King on her blog: "I AM A LESBIAN ... the answer to my most asked INDIRECT question. I welcome the "WHO CARES" right now LOL." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/05/diana-king-comes-out-jama_n_1652189.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
U.S. Olympic Soccer Player: 'For The Record: I Am Gay'
U.S. Olympic soccer player Megan Rapinoe is speaking frankly about her sexuality <a href="http://www.out.com/entertainment/sports/2012/07/02/megan-rapinoe-womens-soccer-lesbian-girlfriend" target="_hplink">in a new interview with <em>Out</em></a>, telling the magazine that she is a lesbian and in a committed relationship with a woman. While her statement may seem bold, the 27-year-old Rapinoe told <em>Out</em>'s Jerry Portwood that she'd just never been asked directly. "I think they were trying to be respectful and that it's my job to say, 'I'm gay,' she said. "Which I am. For the record: I am gay." Rapinoe, who's been dating her girlfriend -- identified in the magazine only as an Australian soccer player -- for three years, also took time to chat about homophobia in sports and, more specifically, female athletes' perspective on the subject. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/megan-rapinoe-comes-out-olympic-soccer-player-_n_1646700.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Poll Finds Ohio's Black Voters Support Same-Sex Marriage After Obama's Endorsement
African-American voters in Ohio are shifting their stance to favor same-sex marriage, according to a new poll released on Tuesday by Public Policy Polling. The findings of the new survey, conducted among voters in the swing state of Ohio, are consistent with an emerging national trend of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/black-shift-on-gay-marriage_n_1540160.html" target="_hplink">black voters changing their opinion</a> since President Barack Obama's May same-sex marriage announcement -- from opposing marriage equality to supporting it. Among the black voters in Ohio polled, 42 percent said they supported the legalization of same-sex marriage while 35 percent said they opposed it. This represents a change of 54 percentage points since October when a poll of black voters showed 63 percent against it and 16 percent in support. A full 76 percent of those surveyed in the new poll support same-sex couples being allowed to either marry or form civil unions. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/ohio-black-voters-same-sex-marriage-obama_n_1646189.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Adam Levine Would Legalize Gay Marriage If He Were President For A Day
Adam Levine has little doubt about what he'd do if he were president of the United States for a day. "First I'd make gay marriage legal, because that's just archaic and ridiculous," the Maroon 5 hunk <a href="http://www.mtv.com/videos/interview/809058/mtv-act-if-maroon-5-were-president-for-a-day.jhtml" target="_hplink">told MTV during an appearance with bandmate James Valentine</a>. The singer, whose chiseled looks and smash songs like "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" have made him a favorite of the gay community, also has family ties -- his brother, Michael, is openly gay. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/adam-levine-maroon-5-gay-marriage-president_n_1645975.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Bill Gates & Steve Ballmer Write Huge Checks For Marriage Equality
Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are coughing up a bit of cash for marriage equality. According to the Associated Press, Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, and Ballmer, the company's CEO, <a href="http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/bc4f84602e774ece91e5897dab328323/WA--Gay-Marriage" target="_hplink">have each written $100,000 checks</a> to <a href="http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org/" target="_hplink">Washington United for Marriage</a>, a same-sex marriage advocacy group based in Seattle. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/bill-gates-steve-ballmer-microsoft-marriage-washington_n_1644532.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Procter & Gamble Hires Wanda Sykes For Gain Detergent Campaign
Cue the protests. Another mainstream company has hired an openly gay celebrity as a spokesperson. Procter & Gamble announced Monday that comedian and actress Wanda Sykes (<a href="http://www.cbs.com/primetime/old_christine/cast/wanda-sykes/" target="_hplink">"The New Adventures of Old Christine"</a>) has become its "Gain Scent Matchmaker" to promote Gain detergents. The interactive <a href="http://www.youtube.com/Gain" target="_hplink">YouTube spot</a> features Sykes helping visitors to choose their scent among such options as Apple Mango Tango, Icy Fresh Fizz and Butterfly Kiss. Sykes was already doing voiceover work for Gain. "Gain understands, like me, that it's all about finding the things that make us happy, like scent, and having a little fun," Sykes said in a <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120702005204/en/Gain%C2%AE-Teams-Comedian-Actress-Wanda-Sykes-Match" target="_hplink">press release</a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/proctor--gamble-hires-wan_n_1644240.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Massachusetts' Transgender Equal Rights Bill Takes Effect
Having been hailed as "a much needed update," Massachusetts' new anti-discrimination law protecting transgender residents has arrived. <a href="http://articles.boston.com/2012-06-30/news/32485803_1_transgender-individuals-gender-identity-law" target="_hplink">As the Associated Press is reporting</a>, the Transgender Equal Rights Bill took effect July 1, about seven months after Gov. Deval Patrick signed it into law. The bill bars discrimination in employment, housing, education, and lending, while also enables prosecutors to bring hate crime charges in attacks that target someone for being transgender, <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/02/transgender_rights_law_takes_effect/?page=1" target="_hplink">according to the <em>Boston Globe</em></a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/massachusetts-transgender-equal-rights-bill-_n_1644277.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Facebook Adds Gay Marriage Timeline Icons For Same-Sex Couples
Facebook is adding to its ever-growing list of gay accolades with the introduction of new marriage icons that depict same-sex couples. The <a href="http://www.glaad.org/blog/facebook-adds-new-timeline-icons-married-same-sex-couples" target="_hplink">Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) notes</a> that the new icons follow a number of notable lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion efforts put forth by the social media site. In 2011, Facebook added "In a Civil Union" and "In a Domestic Partnership" options to user profiles. In addition, the site has also taken significant steps towards preventing anti-LGBT bullying, creating the Network of Support with GLAAD and other LGBT organizations in 2010. One of the new icons depicts two brides, the other two grooms. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/facebook-gay-marriage-timeline-icons-couples_n_1643183.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Gay Military Groups Merge To Carry On Fight For Equality
A veteran advocacy organization that pioneered in pushing to repeal the military's ban on the service of openly gay soldiers is joining forces with a newer cadre of activists that began as an underground network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops. The boards of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (or SLDN), founded in 1993 to combat the "don't ask, don't tell" policy launched that year, and OutServe, an association of gay and lesbian service members who connected anonymously on Facebook, voted over the weekend to combine. The merger will become final in October when the two groups <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/outserve-gay-troops-disney-world_n_1279896.html" target="_hplink">meet in Orlando</a>; the new organization will be called OutServe-SLDN. "This is significant for both organizations united in their determination to finish the job for full LGBT equality in the military and committed to maximizing limited resources and the strengths and energy of both organizations," Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN's executive director, told The Huffington Post. "It is a logical progression for both organizations." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/gay-military-groups-merge_n_1641886.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Victory For Gay Dads And Son Turned Away At Swimming Pool
A Virginia-based fitness club has changed its membership policies after being slapped with a lawsuit by two gay men who were stripped of a family membership -- and whose two-year-old son was reportedly denied access to a swimming pool -- after management discovered they were a same-sex couple. As ABC reports, Roanoke Athletic Club and and its affiliate Carilion Clinic will now offer "household" memberships in lieu of "family" memberships. The policy change follows <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/virginia-gay-couple-roanoke-athletic-club-lawsuit-_n_1647476.html" target="_hplink">news of a lawsuit</a> filed by Will Trinkle and partner Juan Granados, who have been together for about eight years. In the suit, Trinkle claimed that a club employee told him that although their membership application had initially been accepted, the couple and their son Oliver were not recognized as a family under Virginia law, <a href="http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/310744" target="_hplink">according to <em>The Roanoke Times</em></a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/virginia-gay-couple-son-roanoke-athletic-club-victory_n_1654527.html" target="_hplink">You can read the full story here</a>.
Barney Frank Weds Longtime Partner
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/07/barney-frank-married_n_1656617.html" target="_hplink">As Reuters reports</a>, U.S. Democratic Representative Barney Frank wed his longtime partner, James Ready, on Saturday, becoming the first sitting congressman to enter into a same-sex marriage. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick officiated the ceremony and added some levity by saying Frank, 72, and Ready, 42, had vowed to love each other through Democratic and Republican administrations alike, and even through appearances on Fox News, according to Al Green, a Democratic congressman from Texas. "Barney was beaming," said Green, who attended the ceremony. He added that Frank, a champion of gay rights and the sweeping reform of Wall Street, shed a tear during the ceremony. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/07/barney-frank-married_n_1656617.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Google Announces Worldwide Campaign For Same-Sex Marriage
oogle launched a new campaign on Saturday supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage around the world. <a href="http://dot429.com/articles/2012/07/06/google-wants-the-world-to-legalize-love" target="_hplink">Dot 429 reports that the initiative</a>, called "Legalize Love," debuted in Poland and Singapore, and "will focus on places with homophobic cultures, where anti-gay laws exist," though it will operate in every city in which Google has an office. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/07/google-announces-support-same-sex-marriage_n_1656680.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here</a>.