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 12 of the best LGBT stories from the past week and then let us know what your favorite moment was in the comments section below.
Gay Marriage Backed By Democratic Party Platform Group For First Time
The national Democratic Party's platform committee endorsed gay marriage Saturday for the first time and called for the repeal of a federal law that recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman. The committee, meeting in downtown Detroit, let stand the work of a separate group that drafted the platform two weeks ago in Minneapolis. The platform is a broad statement of the party's priorities on the economy, social issues and national defense and next goes to the national convention in North Carolina in September. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/11/gay-marriage-democrats_n_1768117.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Is This The First Pansexual Politician In The U.S.?
<a href="http://www.votemarygonzalez.com/" target="_hplink">Mary Gonzalez</a> broke barriers when she became her state's only openly lesbian lawmaker when she was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. Now, however, Gonzalez is going even further, <a href="http://www.dallasvoice.com/mary-gonzalez-pansexual-10123439.html" target="_hplink">telling the <em>Dallas Voice</em></a> that she instead identifies herself as "pansexual." <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/08/10/671361/texas-pansexual/" target="_hplink">As ThinkProgress notes</a>, Gonzalez's admission makes her perhaps the only openly pansexual elected U.S. official. Though many might describe Gonzalez's orientation as bisexual, pansexuals don't believe in a "gender binary," and hence can be attracted to all gender identities. Gonzalez specified to the <em>Voice</em> that she doesn't believe in a gender binary because "gender identity isn't the defining part of my attraction," and that she never fully embraced the term "lesbian." Although she came out as bisexual at age 21, Gonzalez said she has also dated transgender and "gender-queer" people, in addition to women. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/mary-gonzalez-texas-state-representative-pansexual-_n_1764824.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Father Writes Beautiful Letter To Hypothetically Gay Son
On Tuesday morning I ran across <a href="http://imgur.com/pCrHU" target="_hplink">this letter</a> on Reddit, from a father disowning his gay son. It broke my heart. It's not the first time that I've seen something like this; here in Utah it's a pretty common story. In fact, I had friends in high school who experienced it firsthand. But Tuesday was the first time I'd run across such a story since becoming a dad. My son is living in his mom's belly right now, so obviously we don't know his sexual orientation. Still, the letter I read Tuesday morning made me wonder what my letter would say if the news that my son was gay ended up being a surprise. So here it is: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-kinnear/dear-hypothetically-gay-son_b_1757663.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full letter here.</a>
Madonna Supports Gay Rights In Anti-Gay St. Petersburg, Russia
Pop star Madonna spoke out for gay rights at a concert on Thursday in St Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin's home town, where activists say a law adopted this year to curb homosexual "propaganda" is discriminatory.</br> <br>Performing in black lingerie with the words "No Fear" scrawled on her bare back, Madonna urged the audience - most wearing pink wrist bands distributed at the door - to "show your love and appreciation to the gay community".</br> <br>"We want to fight for the right to be free," she said.</br> <br>The American singer has turned a two-concert tour into a platform for comment on Putin's Russia.</br> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/madonna-st-petersburg-russia-gay-rights_n_1762135.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Anti-Gay Protest Goes Hilariously Wrong
Video footage of a gay rights opponent's protest gone awry is going viral in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) blogosphere. <a href="http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2012/08/video-man-vandalizes-general-mills-lawn-prob-not-the-kind-of-grassroots-fire-nom-wanted.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GoodAsYou+%28Good+As+You%29" target="_hplink">Originally reported by Good as You blogger Jeremy Hooper</a>, the clip shows an unidentified man attempting to light a box of Cheerios cereal on fire in protest of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/general-mills-minnesota-gay-marriage-ban_n_1600791.html" target="_hplink">General Mills' proclaimed pro-marriage equality stance</a>. "One out of every eight boxes of cereal in this country is Cheerios," the man states. "This is really the treat now for the homosexuals! And this is our protest of General Mills, because they're advocating same-sex marriages. So we are gonna torch some cereal!" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/general-mills-anti-gay-protest-cheerios-fire-_n_1747736.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices?11&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Gay Man Pleads With GOP Father To Not Vote For Romney, Father Agrees
<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/xyag8/letter_from_gay_son_to_romneysupporting_dad_my/" target="_hplink">A gay man's poignant letter</a>, written in hopes of swaying his conservative father from voting for Mitt Romney, is circulating through the blogosphere. At the core of the author's argument is, of course, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/mitt-romney-reaffirms-opposition-gay-marriage/story?id=16314461" target="_hplink">Romney's conservative stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights</a>, including marriage equality. Reddit user Francophile, who uploaded the letter in its entirety to the site, writes: <blockquote>"Since coming out to you and mom nineteen years ago, I've watched you vote for the Republican candidates in every major race. Save for the occasional mealtime argument or sarcastic Fox News barb, I've held my tongue, despite the hurt and anger that came from watching you vote for a party that has made a sport out of demonizing gay and lesbian people, like me, for political gain. I did so because I never had a solid enough argument that the Democratic Party was wholly different. They often stopped short of institutionalizing discrimination of gays, but were sadly lax on standing on principle and advocating for its eradication. Until now."</blockquote> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/gay-mans-plea-for-conserv_n_1762142.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Lebanon's Invasive Anal 'Homosexuality' Exams Come Under Fire
During a raid on a porn cinema in Beirut's Bourj Hammoud district on July 28, police arrested dozens of men who were then subjected to <a href="http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Aug-08/183813-doctors-ban-anal-exam-used-to-charge-men-with-homosexuality.ashx#axzz2340pAoEG" target="_hplink">invasive anal exams</a> to provide evidence of homosexuality, Lebanon's The <em>Daily Star</em> writes. The raid sparked fierce criticism from physicians, politicians and in the media. "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOqMhTfutjY&feature=plcp" target="_hplink">It's the republic of shame</a>," an anchor of the of the privately-owned Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) said during the network's nightly broadcast on July 31. According to the BBC, the anchor's protest was <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19166156" target="_hplink">picked up and quickly echoed</a> via social networking sites. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/lebanon-homosexuality-exams_n_1760691.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
CDC Announces Unprecedented New HIV Survey For Gay And Bisexual Men
HIV among gay and bisexual men is increasing and a new study -- unprecedented in its comprehensiveness and scope -- is underway to find out why. "Sex is the Question," an entirely confidential survey, will explore the sexual practices of gay and bisexual men who are at least 18 years of age. Sponsored by the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/" target="_hplink">Center for Disease Control</a> in partnership with the <a href="http://www.sph.emory.edu/cms/index.html" target="_hplink">Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University</a>, it will be used by state and local health departments to better understand the HIV epidemic among gay and bisexual men and potentially create new techniques to reverse the trend. Though many studies have been done with these populations, they often look at very specific issues and very specific subsections of the community. "Sex is the Question," which is the largest survey for gay and bisexual men ever attempted by a U.S. federal agency, is designed to be as inclusive as possible. For example, it aims to include a wide variety of men, including guys who are politically active, in monogamous relationships and those who spend time online looking for sexual partners. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/cdc-sex-is-the-question-hiv-study_n_1757237.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Obama Opposes Boy Scout Ban On Gay Scouts
President Barack Obama expressed his opposition to the Boy Scouts of America's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/boy-scouts-gay-ban_n_1679854.html" target="_hplink">reaffirmation</a> of its policy of excluding gays on Wednesday. The president called the rule, which was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/boy-scouts-gay-ban_n_1679854.html" target="_hplink">renewed in July</a> after a two-year review, "discrimination" <a href="http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/08/08/obama-opposes-boy-scouts-ban-on-gays/" target="_hplink">in a statement</a> to the <em>Washington Blade</em>. "The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century," White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said. "He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/obama-boy-scouts_n_1757549.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Governor Expects Delaware To Take Up Marriage Equality In 2013
WASHINGTON -- Delaware could legalize marriage equality next year, according to Gov. Jack Markell. Markell, a Democrat, supports legalizing same-sex marriage, and he has said in the past that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/gay-marriage-delaware-jack-markell_n_1316859.html" target="_hplink">he believes marriage equality is "inevitable"</a> in his state. He previously predicted the Delaware legislature would take up the issue "probably within the next few years." But in an interview at The Huffington Post's offices on Monday, Markell said he expected the legislature to work on it as soon as the next session. "I think it probably will," he said. Same-sex marriage is <a href="http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/" target="_hplink">legal</a> in six states and the District of Columbia. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/jack-markell-delaware-marriage-equality_n_1748826.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay+Voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Malaysian Pastor Celebrates Gay Wedding Reception In Home Country
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A gay pastor who married his musical producer boyfriend in New York last year has fulfilled a vow to hold a wedding banquet in his native Malaysia in what they believe is the first such event in the Muslim-majority country. Malaysian-born Ngeo Boon Lin and African-American husband Phineas Newborn III, quietly held the closed reception Saturday - complete with public kisses and karaoke ballad performances - with about 200 guests, including a handful of Chinese-language journalists who were asked not to report on the event until afterward. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/gay-couple-married-in-us-_0_n_1747395.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>
Pop Star Mika Comes Out As Gay
He's avoided questions about his personal life for years, but now, British pop singer Mika is going public about his sexuality in a new interview. Mika, whose 2007 album "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Life-Cartoon-Motion-Mika/dp/B000NA2776/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344261812&sr=8-1&keywords=Life+in+Cartoon+motion" target="_hplink">Life in Cartoon Motion</a>" spawned the hits "Grace Kelly" and "Relax (Take It Easy)," reportedly confirms he's gay in the <a href="http://instinctmagazine.com/blogs/blog/exclusive-sneak-peek-mika-tells-instinct-%E2%80%9Cyeah-i%E2%80%99m-gay-%E2%80%9D?directory=100011" target="_hplink">September issue of <em>Instinct</em> magazine</a>. "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," the Lebanese-born star, 28, told the magazine. "Are these songs about my relationship with a man? I say yeah. And it's only through my music that I've found the strength to come to terms with my sexuality beyond the context of just my lyrics. This is my real life." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/mika-comes-out-gay_n_1746965.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>