Au revoir, 2016! From the the drawn out presidential election to the long list of celebrity deaths, we’re ready to bid this year farewell. But before we do, here’s a look at some of our favorite LGBTQ entertainment moments of the year.
Barry Jenkins worked for years to turn Tarell Alvin McCraney's story into his latest film, "Moonlight," and it is by all accounts a massive success. The film follows a young, gay African American male named Chiron from childhood through young adulthood, and it has been a critical hit. Garnering numerous nominations and awards, this LGBTQ film could make its way straight to an Oscar in 2017.
Laverne Cox Nabs Major Broadcast Role
Laverne Cox has been entertaining audiences for years on Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black," but in 2016 she added a few roles to her resume. This year, the actress played Dr. Frank-N-Furter on Fox's "Rocky Horror Picture Show," was part of HBO documentary "The Trans List" and appeared on “Lip Sync Battle,” but it was news of her 2017 TV role that made waves in 2016. Cox is joining CBS legal drama "Doubt," making her the first actress to play a transgender series regular on broadcast television.
Chris Kelly Takes Charge at "Saturday Night Live"
Chris Kelly has been writing “Saturday Night Live” sketches since 2011, but 2016 was a big year for the talented out writer. Kelly made his directorial debut in the semi-autobiographical film “Other People" and was shortly thereafter named one of SNL’s head writers.
Same-Sex Relationship Blossoms on “Supergirl”
Earlier this year, The CW's Andrew Kreisberg said a character on one of the network's four superhero drams would be coming out of the closet. During the fall season of “Supergirl,” viewers discovered that character was Chyler Leigh’s Alex Danvers. What followed was a beautiful, complex and ultimately positive portrayal of coming out. Fans even saw the beginning of her relationship with Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) before the show went on hiatus for the holidays.
Ricky Martin Gets Engagement
On November 16, Ricky Martin announced his engagement to Jwan Yosef on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The singer and his artist fiancé met after Martin expressed interested in one of Yosef’s art pieces. The two have been dating since January 2016.
LGBTQ Olympians Shine in Rio
The 2016 Rio Olympics saw the largest number of openly LGBTQ Olympic athletes ever. More than 50 LGBTQ competitors from around the globe went to Rio to compete in events ranging from judo to javelin. In the end, 25 out Olympians medaled at the Games.
Frank Ocean Releases “Blonde”
Frank Ocean released his latest album, “Blonde,” in 2016. Fans of the artist had been anticipating this release for years, as the artist’s previous album was released in 2012. The album debuted at number 1 in various countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. “Blonde” would go on to appear on year-end best of 2016 lists, a testament to the acclaim it received.
Ellen Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
Comedian and LGBTQ icon Ellen DeGeneres was one of 21 individuals chosen by President Obama to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the ceremony, Obama discussed the hurdles the out entertainer overcame along her rise to stardom and all of those she inspired all the way. DeGeneres joins past openly LGBTQ Medal of Freedom recipients Alvin Ailey, Harvey Milk and Tennessee Williams.
John Cho’s Sulu Comes Out
Earlier this year it was announced that John Cho’s “Star Trek” character Sulu would be revealed to be gay in the latest installment "Star Trek Beyond." While Geroge Takei, who originally played the character, was not happy about the choice, it was a positive portrayal of an LGBTQ person of color in a Hollywood studio blockbuster. Moreover, the upcoming CBS All Access series "Star Trek Discovery" has cast Anthony Rapp in the role of a new gay character.
Samira Wiley's Career Takes Off
Fans of “Orange is the New Black” were dismayed earlier this year when Samira Wiley’s character exited in a tragic manner. The exit garnered a lot of attention, including interviews with Wiley and analysis of where the series will go from here. Fortunately for Wiley, her career has flourished since. Recently, she recurred on comedy “You’re The Worst,” and she is set to star opposite Elizabeth Moss in upcoming Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Kate McKinnon Slays on "SNL"
While the presidential election was turbulent, one consistent source of humor was out actress Kate McKinnon on “Saturday Night Live.” Through her portrayal of political figures, including Kellyanne Conway and Hillary Clinton, McKinnon was front and center for the show’s most talked about sketches.
RuPaul Wins an Emmy
For years RuPaul has been entertaining the masses with reality television's "RuPaul's Drag Race." The show has cultivated a massive following and has consistently sparked conversations on social media. Finally this year, seven years after its 20009 debut, RuPaul has received well-deserved recognition by winning an Emmy Award for Best Reality Host.