• We take a look back at the LGBTIQ+ news stories that got our readers talking. (Supplied)
We take a look back at the LGBTIQ+ stories that got our readers talking.
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

30 Dec 2019 - 1:20 PM  UPDATED 30 Dec 2019 - 1:35 PM

Look, 2019 was what it was: a pretty bonkers year filled with some truly insane and disheartening news stories from around the world.

Still, in among all the doom and gloom were some nuggets of feel-good gold; the stories that made us laugh or smile or tweet or perhaps even start an important conversation.

So, why not take a little walk down memory lane?

For readers of SBS Pride, these were the top stories for 2019:

1. Twitter went wild at pics of Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson moving in together

When girlfriends Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson were snapped moving into their new West Hollywood apartment together it was their choice of, er, furniture that whipped LGBTIQ+ Twitter into a frenzy.

The photos, which were originally published by Daily Mail, appeared to show Delevingne and Benson carrying a $385 sex bench - and the pair seemed rightfully stoked with the whole situation.

Journalist Nicole Boyce shared the snaps on social media, signalling the beginning of Pride Month.

"Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson carrying a sex swing into their apartment is the official marker of the beginning of pride month," she tweeted.

2. Kylie Kwong got married and we all cried happy tears

Beloved Australian chef and cookbook author Kylie Kwong got married to her life partner Nell, an artist, sharing the happy news with followers on social media.

"Introducing you all to my beautiful, extraordinary, courageous, inspiring life-partner, Nell!" She tweeted.

"We got married on Sunday and we are SOOOOOOO HAPPY!"

Australian media personalities were quick to congratulate the couple, with Benjamin Law tweeting: "Massive congrats to you and Nell. Here's to what you've built together, and the rest of your lives."

Even Nigella Lawson gave her best wishes, writing: "Congratulations. So happy for you both."

3. People really, really wanted Sarah Paulson to play Miss Honey in 'Matilda'

A dedicated bunch of Sarah Paulson fans began campaigning for the popular actress to be cast as Miss Honey in the Netflix remake of Matilda.

To those on social media, it seemed like an obvious choice, with a clear resemblance between Paulson and Embeth Davidtz, who originally played Miss Honey in the 1996 children's classic. However, a problem arose in the fact that Netflix announced the remake would be an animation.

4. Everyone empathised with this gay teen's letter to his homophobic parents

A teenager in the US pulled at heartstrings when he shared the heartbreaking letter he left for his parents, who refused to accept him as gay, before fleeing home.

19-year-old Kent Mendez posted the letter, written in both English and Spanish, on Twitter, before starting a crowdfunding campaign to help him find his feet.

“There hasn’t been a day where I haven’t cried or struggled to find the energy to get out of bed,” Mendez wrote in the note. “This doesn’t feel like a home and I don’t think it ever will.”

“You have accused me of being a bad person, of being an embarrassment, and telling me I have a psychological disorder. I don’t think you guys will ever understand what it’s like to hear that from your own parents and how harmful and damaging it is to a child.”

The teen continued, recounting the time his parents attempted to “cure” him of homosexuality.

“The other day you asked me what parents were for,” he wrote. “Parents are supposed to love and accept their children unconditionally.”

“It took me a lifetime to get to a point where I’m happy and secure with who I am and it breaks my hear that the two people that have supported me my entire life do not accept me when I’m finally happy with who I am. It pains me that you both can’t put aside your personal opinions and views and just love and accept me for who I am.”

5. Readers loved Joan Westenberg's op-ed on transitioning

SBS Pride readers really responded to a powerful first-person article by writer Joan Westenberg, in which she reflected on the pride she takes in being trans.

Here's a snippet of it (click above title to read in full):

The nature of my specifically transgender womanhood is something that I am proud to own. There is a well known remark from the French writer and philosopher, Simone De Beauvoir, who said “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” In Beauvoir's meaning, a woman is the being that has grown from the beginnings of girlhood, and been shaped by age and by experience and by the blossoming of maturity. And when I examine myself as a woman, I can see that and I can feel it resonate, to my core.

I have grown into a woman, and learned more about myself and about gender through that growth than I could ever have imagined. In particularly, I have learned that one cannot pin gender down to biology or appearance. I recognise trans women as women, as I recognise trans men as men, as I recognise the validity of non-binary people living on a spectrum of or entirely between notions of rigid or fluid gender identity, and through that recognition of the varying shades of gender I am able to find truth in my own womanhood. It is a womanhood does not aspire to a cis nature.

6. TV fans were introduced to non-binary Aussie actor JayR Tinaco

We introduced readers to Australian non-binary actor JayR Tinaco, who landed their first big role on Netflix series Another Life in 2019.

On the subject of representation, Tinaco, who grew up in rural North Queensland and is of Filipinx descent, told SBS Pride: "I think in general it’s just important to see all walks of life on our screens."

"The media is such a huge influence on our lives and to see yourself on screen is so powerful, especially for young people," they continued. "I remember growing up and not having anyone that I could relate to. It alienates you and for a young kid in a small country town, that can end up being pretty dangerous."

They added: "I remember in my late high school years, I would watch Queers as Folk on SBS at like 1am on a school night - I loved seeing other LGBTIQ+ characters. I related to them and didn’t feel alone or like a freak or a weirdo. It gave me comfort to continue on through my life, I felt like I was going to be okay."

We can't wait to see what 2020 brings for the rising star.

7. Everyone was here for Lachy Wiggle's healthy stand on masculinity

Australian entertainer Emma Watkins, known by most two-to-four year olds as the Yellow Wiggle, sparked a firestorm of comments after sharing a photo subtly challenging gender norms.

On her Instagram account, which has over 100,000 followers, Watkins posted a photo of Lachlan Gillespie, the Purple Wiggle, wearing a yellow bow in his hair and holding a sign that reads "Boys can be Emma".

The star captioned the image with "Yes!"

Parents were quick to share their thoughts on the message, with one follower writing: "Girls can also be Lachie and Simon!"

"Yes they can!" Another wrote. "My son loves wearing his ‘bow bow’".

"The little two-year-old boy I nanny will not leave the house to go to ballet unless he has his Emma dress on," one woman revealed. "It’s his favourite thing in the whole world and he would wear it everyday if he could."

8. People were overjoyed for journalist Hamish Macdonald after he came out

When The Project co-host Hamish Macdonald made his first red carpet appearance with boyfriend Jacob Fitzroy this year, the reaction from social media users couldn't have been more positive. Lovely comments and well wishes flooded in from TV viewers and media personalities around the country, thanking him for his visibility, wishing the couple well.

However, while news of the relationship certainly got a lot of attention, it was also a complete and refreshing non-event. There was no 'coming out' exclusive interview, there was no long-winded caption about internalised fear and shame (not that long-winded captions about internalised fear and shame are a bad thing).

There was just a simple acknowledgement of new love, and those who were really happy to hear about it - our readers included.

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