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There’s lots to be proud of during the month of Gay Pride

This month, people all over the world are celebrating Gay Pride. With so many monumental steps forward for the LGBTQ community this year, there’s plenty to be proud of and more than enough cause to celebrate!

President Barack Obama

June is a big month. Not only does it contain the day that marks the official start to summer and the highest number of weddings in the year, it is also the month during which many metropolises celebrate Gay Pride. New York, San Francisco, Vancouver — even Tel Aviv — all proudly celebrate their LGBTQ communities this month. This weekend, the Toronto Pride Parade — one of the city’s most attended events of the year and the climax to one of the largest organized Gay Pride festivals in the world — will make its way through the downtown core in a haze of neon thongs, water guns and rainbows. We’ve got our whistles and body paint ready.

And while much of Pride’s endless partying often leads to some shameless behaviour, we think there’s a great deal to be proud of during this celebratory month. This year in particular, we have seen some truly momentous progress in regard to LGBTQ equality; we can only imagine what great steps forward the coming years have in store. So while you’re getting squirted by the gay firemen who are dancing to Rihanna on their parade float, take a moment to reflect upon this year’s many things to be proudly celebrating:

The people vs. Kirk Cameron

Back in March, Kirk Cameron came out of the closet… as a total homophobe. During an interview with Piers Morgan, the staunchly Christian former star of Growing Pains said some pretty nasty things about homosexuality, including that he believed it was “unnatural.” The backlash was instantaneous. Celebrities and regular folk alike, gay and straight, clogged social media sites with expressions of pure disgust. Kirk Cameron soon became the most hated man in show business. His homophobia sparked numerous public responses, including one particularly memorable video featuring Kirk’s fellow child stars from the ’80s proudly stating they were CCOKCs — pronounced the way you think — which stands for “Child Celebrities Opposing Kirk Cameron.” Obviously it is not Kirk’s hateful and ignorant remarks that deserve to be celebrated, but the overwhelming defence of the LGBTQ community they ignited, which was nothing short of inspiring.

Miss Universe’s first transsexual contestant

Earlier this year, Jenna Talakova was disqualified from being able to participate in the Miss Universe Canada pageant due to the fact that she was born a man. Despite the fact that she was legally a (stunningly beautiful) woman at the time of the pageant, after having gender reassignment surgery that would offer physical accordance with her female self-identity, Jenna was told she would no longer be able to compete. Cue the enraged public. Jenna’s story made headlines around the world, and the Miss Universe organzation, which is helmed by Donald Trump, received scathing criticism. Eventually the outrage created enough pressure that Jenna was granted permission to return to the competition. For a pageant that so many people criticize as being degrading and anti-feminist, Miss Universe sure stepped up to the plate in the end. We hope this incident leads to the inclusion of more trans contestants, not just in Miss Universe pageants, but in all major (and minor) ones.

All the cool kids are gay

As the years pass, telling the world you’re gay becomes less and less of a big deal, meaning more and more celebrities feel comfortable coming out of the closet. This year, we saw the outings of some of Hollywood’s coolest stars. On the list are Queen Latifah, The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons (who it also turns out is 39! How?), The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels and Magic Mike star Matthew Bomer. With company like that, who wouldn’t be proud to be gay?

Obama supports same-sex marriage

Perhaps the most monumental pro-gay milestone this year was President Barack Obama’s public declaration that he supports same-sex marriage. The historic statement made him the first-ever president to openly stand in support of gay marriage, which is a very huge deal. Obama’s words gave countless people hope for the future of marriage equality, not to mention a place for Obama on Gay Mount Rushmore, next to the heads of Liza Minelli, Judy Garland and Cher.

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