This year's 15 must-read LGBTQ good news stories

From an engagement at NYC's Pride March to a professional athlete announcing "I'm gay," here are some of NBC Out's top good news stories of 2018.
Anti-Gay Marriage Proposition 8 Passes In California
Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images
By Tim Fitzsimons

She said, 'Yes!': FDNY first responders get engaged at NYC Pride

Tracy Bermudez, left, and Tayreen Bonilla kiss after Bermudez proposed during the Pride parade in New York on June 24, 2018.Kena Betancur / Getty Images

In the midst of the march— which included tens of thousands of participants and an estimated 2 million onlookers — Trudy Bermudez, an FDNY emergency medical technician, proposed to her girlfriend, FDNY paramedic Tayreen Bonilla.

Collin Martin, Major League Soccer player, says, 'I'm gay'

Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin controls the ball as Sporting Kansas City forward Diego Rubio chases during the first half of an MLS soccer game on Oct. 7, 2017.Anthony Souffle / Star Tribune via AP file

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Martin said his teammates already knew that he was gay before he came out publicly. “It was so comfortable for me to then let them know that I wanted to take another step,” he said.

Pelosi goes where no lawmaker has gone before: 'Drag Race'

RuPaul and Nancy Pelosi.Mary F. Calvert / RuPaul's Drag Race, for NBC News

Category is: Washington realness. Nancy Pelosi will be appearing as a guest judge in an upcoming episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars."

Miss America 2005 marries same-sex partner in Alabama

Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs, of Alabama, walks down the runway after being crowned at Boardwalk hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Sept. 18, 2004.Mary Godleski / AP file

When Deidre Downs was crowned Miss America more than a decade ago, the idea of legalized gay marriage and Miss America later marrying her same-sex partner in Alabama would have been an unimaginable future. Times have changed.

Rejected by parents, valedictorian heads to college with $50K from donors

Courtesy Seth Owen

With a 4.61 GPA and an acceptance letter from Georgetown University, it seemed like the high school valedictorian’s dream would become a reality. But when he received his financial aid package from the prestigious school, a different reality set in: The package had been determined based on the expected contribution of his family, a family he said drove him out of his home due to his sexuality.

In a first, trans woman competes in Miss Universe competition

Miss Spain Angela Ponce, the first transgender woman to take part in the Miss Universe contest, thanks the crowd on Monday.RUNGROJ YONGRIT / EPA

Miss Spain, 27-year-old Angela Ponce, broke barriers in the 66-year-old competition, which this year was held in Bangkok, Thailand.

Drag Queen Story Hour brings pride, glamor to libraries across U.S.

Drag Queen Angel Elektra leads children in a mermaid parade at the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library.NBC News

When Angel Elektra entered a Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library, the clamor of children faded. Dozens of little faces swiveled around to watch the 6-foot-tall drag queen clad in teal and black lace glide through the space. Everyone could see Elektra’s thrilled expression from across the room: After all, it was painted on her face.

Lesbian veteran, 90, finally gets her 'honorable discharge'

Helen James at the Helen G. James Physical Therapy facility in Clovis, California.Courtesy Helen Grace James

Helen Grace James had been subjected to intense scrutiny for weeks in the 1950s by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which was investigating service members suspected of being gay. They had even followed her into a lesbian dance club once.

Former Cowboys linebacker comes out as gay, announces wedding

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer in 1982.NFL / AP

“I’ve given at least five people heart attacks with this news,” Jeff Rohrer said. “But for the most part, many of my closest friends, including some of my former teammates with the Cowboys, could not have been more happy and supportive.”

Michelle Obama reveals she snuck out of White House to celebrate gay marriage ruling

Former first lady Michelle Obama kicks off her "Becoming" book tour with a signing at the Seminary Co-op bookstore on Nov. 13, 2018 in Chicago. Scott Olson / Getty Images

“It had taken us 10 minutes to get out of our own home, but we’d done it,” she continued. “We were outside, standing on a patch of lawn off to one side, out of sight of the public but with a beautiful, close-up view of the White House, lit up in pride. Malia and I leaned into each other, happy to have found our way there.”

Navy drag queen 'Harpy Daniels' is serving looks — and the country

Joshua J. Kelley performs during the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Lip Sync Battle on the Navy's aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan on Nov. 29, 2017.Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Charles J. Scudella III / U.S. Navy

Joshua Kelley, otherwise known by his drag name "Harpy Daniels," is serving looks while serving the country. Stationed on a ship in Yokosuka, Japan, the 24-year-old performs for his fellow Navy sailors while also fulfilling the role of his squadron’s administrative supervisor by day.

Royal family's first gay wedding: Lord Mountbatten to marry partner

Bridwell in Uffculme, Devon. Home of Lord Ivar Mountbatten.Alamy file

Just over a month after Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle, the extended British royal family will have its first same-sex wedding. Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, will marry his partner, James Coyle, this summer.

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree donated by lesbian Latina couple

Lissette Gutierrez, left, and Shirley Figueroa hug the trunk of their 72-foot tall Norway Spruce on Nov. 8, 2018, in Wallkill, New York.Diane Bondareff / AP Images for Tishman Speyer

Lissette Gutierrez did not want to part with the 72-foot-tall, 12-ton Norway spruce in front of her house in upstate New York, but her wife, Shirley Figueroa, convinced her to do so.“After we bought the house, the previous owner told us, 'Hey, by the way, the tree in the yard? Rockefeller Center has been scouting it,’" Figueroa told NBC New York. "I didn't believe it. Until they came knocking on the door."

'Mama Dragons': Mormon moms provide support to LGBTQ kids

Wendy Vonsosen marches with her family in the 2017 San Francisco Pride parade.Courtesy of Mama Dragons

Formed in January 2014 by Gina Crivello, Mama Dragons started as a small online community of Mormon mothers looking to support one another in their respective journeys with their LGBTQ children. While the group’s roots originate in Mormonism, Mama Dragons is open to mothers of all faiths and beliefs and has since grown to more than 1,700 members across the U.S. and 18 other countries.

25 years of coming out: From Melissa Etheridge to Janelle Monae

Melissa Etheridge and Janelle MonaeGetty Images

In honor of National Coming Out Day, which is celebrated on Oct. 11, here are just some of the countless public figures that have come out as LGBTQ over the past quarter century.