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12/31/2016 10:16 am ET Updated Jan 03, 2017

These 16 Great Videos Remind Us What It Meant To Be LGBTQ In 2016

It was a year on the move, in more ways than one.

2016 will be remembered as a particularly challenging year for many people, including those in the LGBTQ community.

The June 12 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida and the controversy surrounding transgender “bathroom bills” in states like North Carolina left many queer people feeling vulnerable. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s surprise election victory in November cast a grim shadow on the future of LGBTQ rights after a series of progressive strides under President Barack Obama

The year’s uncertainty was, of course, reflected on countless social media outlets. These 16 incredible videos ― which made a splash on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets over the past year ― represent 12 months of LGBTQ trials and tribulations, as well as the community’s cheeky sense of humor. 

A few same-sex couples gave us life (and fitness) goals by organizing heartfelt proposals at the gym. An iconic “Mean Girls” scene got a hilarious, all-male redux in support of Hillary Clinton, and the bisexual community got the rock anthem it didn’t know it needed. LGBTQ allies got in on the action, too: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Bieber and Judy Garland’s daughter, Lorna Luft, helped us mourn the 49 Orlando victims in poignant ways.

Take a look back at 2016 with these 16 great videos. 

  • Kodak’s Short Film About ‘Understanding’ Captured The Terror Of Coming Out
    On Dec. 19, Kodak quietly released a short film (seemingly to promote its Kodak Vision3 500T 5219 film) that is nothing short of stunning. 

    In the film, which is titled “Understanding” and runs just under three minutes, a teen is caught by his little sister kissing his high school baseball teammate. What happens next involves the terror of coming out, the strength of family and the beauty of love. 

    Read more here
  • YouTube Star Alexis G. Zall Celebrates Her 18th Birthday By Coming Out
    The YouTube star has a tradition of creating a video each year featuring tips she’s learned and she always includes the same number of tips as years she’s lived.

    For her 18th birthday, which she celebrated on June 6, Zall offered her more than 1 million subscribers 18 tips, including “the less time I’m on my phone, the happier I am” and “always, always, always invest in nice bras and name-brand tampons.” When it came time to reveal her eighth tip, she prefaced it by telling someone off camera, “I’m about to get gay.”

    She then took a deep breath and announced, “It is totally OK to be a girl who likes girl or a boy who likes boy and me personally, I am a girl who likes girls.” 

    Read more here
  • This Couple’s Spin Class Proposal Takes Flash Mobs To The Next Level
    In February, two Connecticut indoor cycling instructors became viral stars after video footage of their incredible, in-studio proposal hit the internet. 

    Jared Marinelli said he had no idea what was in store when he began teaching a Valentine’s Day class at JoyRide Cycling Studio in Ridgefield, Connecticut. But boyfriend Adam Keller, who is also a spinning instructor, had secretly choreographed a flash mob in order to pop the question.

    Although it’s not mentioned in the video, Keller and Marinelli are also very proud of being a serodiscordant, or mixed HIV-status, couple

    Read more here
  • Judy Garland’s Daughter Honors Orlando With ‘Over The Rainbow’
    Lorna Luft surprised fans at a June concert in New York with her first-ever live performance of “Over the Rainbow,” a song made famous by her mother, Judy Garland, in "The Wizard of Oz." 

    The singer-actress, 63, told the crowd at Feinstein’s/54 Below that she’d never performed the song “not because it was too hard for me emotionally, but because I always felt you can’t improve on perfection.”

    Pointing to the June 12 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Luft added, “I thought to myself, if I’m ever going to sing this, now is the time.” 

    Read more here.
  • Iconic ‘90s Band Helped This Couple Open Up About Their Sexuality
    A Polish gay couple repurposed Roxette’s “Some Other Summer” as their coming out anthem and we can’t get enough of it.

    Jacob Kwiecinski posted the clip on YouTube July 16, showing him lip-syncing the song with his longtime boyfriend, David, while vacationing in the Baltic Sea. Kwiecinski told The Huffington Post he’d only intended to share the video with friends, but it soon caught the eye of Roxette, who shared it to their official Facebook page

    Read more here.
  • Hot Dudes Spoof ‘Mean Girls’ In Support Of Hillary Clinton
    In October, the iconic four-way phone call scene from “Mean Girls” got a cheeky, all-male redux in support of Hillary Clinton

    Members of the pro-Clinton advocacy group, Bros4Hillary, teamed up with director Marc Saltarelli to create the “Mean Bros” clip, which was released on Halloween.

    Mean Girls” fans will note specific nods to the dialogue from the original 2004 film ― really, though, who doesn’t know this movie by heart?

    Read more here
  • This Couple’s Beyoncé Flash Mob Proposal Will Give You Life Goals
    When Nico Martina decided to propose to his boyfriend, Michael Sinclair, he opted to make the occasion a full-circle moment. 

    Martina says he met Sinclair one year ago at the Fitness First Gym in Sydney, Australia, so he gathered a group of fitness fans to organize a surprise flash mob set to the Beyoncé hits, “Love On Top” and “End of Time,” at the gym before popping the question. 

    Given that same-sex marriage is not legal in Australia, Martina hopes the Dec. 2 clip, which has been viewed over 220,000 times at the time of this writing, has a more longterm impact, too. 

    Read more here
  • This Stunning Dance Tribute To Orlando Will Give You The Chills
    Released June 29 as part of the DanceOn Network‘s “Artist Request” series, the “Love is Love” video shows two male dancers (Kent Boyd and Will Johnston) coming together in frenzied passion to the tune of X Ambassador’s “Unsteady” before they ambiguously return to their original positions at the conclusion. 

    The clip begins with “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda’s now-iconic “love is love is love is love...” quote, and concludes with the names of the 49 victims of the Orlando massacre. Whether the two men resolved their relationship or decided to split by the end of the video is open to interpretation. 

    Read more here
  • Here’s The Bisexual Rock Anthem You Didn’t Know You Needed
    In September, California-based singer-songwriter Alicia Champion released an “unapologetic” rocking ode to bisexuality that was the perfect anthem for Bi Visibility Day

    The music video for “Bi” saw Champion cavorting with men, women and other performers from all over the gender spectrum, including transgender activist and adult film producer Buck Angel

    The song’s lyrics were a cheeky take on Champion’s bisexuality. “This isn’t a game for some boyfriend/I love them all the same, this is my problem,” she sang. “My, my, my, I’m so bi/I can’t stop my wandering eye.” 

    Read more here
  • Comedian Destroys Trans Bathroom Bills With PB&J
    In August, Los Angeles-based comedian Justin Willman used peanut butter and jelly to effectively smash the arguments made by those who support laws like North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which prohibit trans people from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

    Willman, who hosts the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and “Win, Lose or Draw” on the Disney Channel, humorously explained that even if a jelly jar is filled with peanut butter, it’s still peanut butter even if the label on the outside of the jar doesn’t match the contents inside. 

    Read more here
  • You’ve Never Seen A Christina Aguilera Tribute Like This Before
    In September, French dancer-choreographer Yanis Marshall put a pretty fierce spin on Christina Aguilera’s “Telepathy” that you just had to see to believe. 

    Marshall, who is openly gay, was a finalist on the eighth season of “Britain’s Got Talent,” where he performed slick routines in stiletto heels. He lent his signature style to the above dance video for the song, which Aguilera recorded for the 1970s-themed Netflix series, “The Get Down.” 

    The clip, which also showcases the moves of Danielle Polanco and Aisha Francis, is a collaboration between Marshall and choreographers Rich + Tone, who also directed the video. The men have worked with A-list stars like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez over the years.

    Read more here
  • Broadway Superstars Sing Stirring Tribute To Orlando Shooting Victims
    In June, Broadway’s biggest names came together to sing an emotional tribute to the victims of the Orlando shootings.

    A veritable who’s who of stage stars united to cover “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” in honor of the 49 people shot dead at the Pulse nightclub on June 12. Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Bell, Matthew Broderick, Gloria Estefan, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rosie O’Donnell and Sarah Jessica Parker were among the 60-plus artists to take part.

    Read more here
  • We’re Still Holding Out Hope For An LGBTQ Superhero On The Big Screen
    Twitter was abuzz May 24 when a hashtag asking Marvel Comics to give Captain America a boyfriend began trending. On the heels of that viral effort, a new campaign calling for more LGBTQ representation in superhero blockbusters was launched.

    Created by Shape History, a London-based advocacy group focused on social change, the #LGBTSuperheroes effort wants to inspire Hollywood to portray Iceman, Catwoman and Mystique, who have all been depicted as LGBTQ at varying points since their inception, as queer when their stories hit the big screen. 

    Read more here
  • With ‘Color,’ Todrick Hall Gave Us The Song We Needed
    In July, singer-songwriter Todrick Hall came back with a charming new love song, and its all-inclusive message couldn’t feel more pertinent in the wake of recent tragedies

    The stunning video for “Color” depicted a biracial, same-sex relationship, showing Hall canoodling amidst flowers and waterfalls with “Quantico” and Broadway actor Jay Armstrong Johnson, who also lends his vocals to the track. 

    “Maybe the world will never understand our kinda love,” Hall sings. “I’d like to be the kinda man you’d like to love/We’ve got a right to love.” 

    Read more here
  • Justin Bieber Performs A Heartfelt Tribute To Orlando Victims
    During his June 29 concert in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday night, Justin Bieber offered a solemn tribute to the June 12 mass shooting at the city’s Pulse nightclub.

    As seen in the video above, the 22-year-old performed an emotional version of “Purpose,” the title track of his hit 2015 album, as the names of the 49 victims appeared on a massive screen behind him. 

    Included among the names was that of “The Voice” singer Christina Grimmie, who died just one day before the Pulse nightclub shooting after being shot, allegedly by a deranged fan, after an Orlando performance. Grimmie, 22, was reportedly a close friend of Bieber’s ex-girlfriend, Selena Gomez. 

    Read more here
  • Here's A Great Way To Explain What Transgender Means To Kids
    The “Queer Kid Stuff” series takes different queer experiences and identities and puts them into terms that are easily digestible ― and entertaining ― for children. Transgender is a more difficult idea to put into easily translatable terms for kids, since it can mean so many different things to different people. But “Queer Kid Stuff” creator Lindsay Amer did a brilliant job of breaking it down in the Nov. 23 episode of the series.

    “Explaining what trans is to kids can be incredibly intimidating, but it is exceedingly necessary today with people like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Caitlyn Jenner telling their stories and coming into the limelight,” Amer told The Huffington Post. “Kids are coming out as trans at very young ages, taking hormone blockers, and transitioning before puberty. I want to make sure kids are informed about trans topics so those struggling with their assignment early on can better understand, particularly when it involved gender dysphoria.”

    Read more here
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