Feature: The fifteen most inspiring LGBT stories of 2013

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Readers sometimes comment on how negative the realities of news about LGBT issues around the world can be, but this does not mean we can’t strive to bring you a dose of the inspiring and heartwarming too.

While we cannot claim a thoroughly scientific approach to the rankings, the stories below are selected through a combination of how widely read they were, how much debate they provoked and our own editorial judgement as to the effect they will have on LGBT life.

So without further ado, below are the most inspiring and uplifting stories of 2013 (in no particular order).

13-year-old boy uses his Bar Mitzvah speech to rally for equal marriage

This 13-year-old Jewish boy used his Bar Mitzvah speech to call for same-sex couples in his home state of Oregon to be granted the right to marry. The US state currently only recognises same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere.

Duncan McAlpine Sennett took his synagogue with him as he explained why the biblical definition of marriage is nothing like what those who oppose equality say it is, and by the end you’ll be cheering him on like his local Jewish community.

Swedish athlete at Moscow Athletics Championship paints nails in rainbow colours against anti-gay law

Rainbow Nails

Swedish High jumper Emma Green-Tregaro, at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, made a stand against anti-gay laws introduced in Russia in June, by painting her nails in rainbow colours.

She admitted she did it to support LGBT people in Russia and was later advised not to do so. She said: “It felt right”.

Stephen Fry warns David Cameron: Vladimir Putin is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews


Commenting on the June introduction of an anti-gay law in Russia, Stephen Fry sent a stark letter of warning to British PM David Cameron, and other officials responsible for the games. He also attended a rally in London in support of LGBT Russians.

The actor, author and television presenter Stephen Fry wrote the open letter to David Cameron, International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, urging them to ban the 2014 Winter Olympics due to take place in the Russian city of Sochi – because of Russia’s treatment and discrimination of LGBT people.

Also speaking openly about his bipolar disorder, he later said he has moved on from the “mad compulsion” which led to a suicide attempt last year and is now on effective medication for the first time “that really seems to be working”.

16-year-old writes for PinkNews about his experiences of being gay in a private all boys school


Olly Hudson wrote for PinkNews.co.uk about his experiences of being gay at a private all boys boarding school in the UK.

He despaired at the homophobic environment and the lack of acknowledgement by the school that homosexuality even exists.


A father’s heartwarming letter to his son after he overheard his plans to come out


In the letter, Nate’s father wrote that he had known for a long time that he was gay, and that all that mattered was that he bought orange juice and bread after school.

He went on to write a post script which reads that he and his boyfriend Mike, make a cute couple.

California: 95-year-old war veteran marries boyfriend of 20 years


Proving that it’s never too late, John Banvard, who served in the US military during the Second World War, married long time partner Gerard Nadea, 68, who is himself a veteran of Vietnam, back in September.

The couple tied the knot in a ceremony at the Chula Vista Veterans Home, where they have been living for the last three years.


Grandfather’s astonishing letter to homophobic daughter who disowned gay son goes viral


A letter in which a grandfather denounces his daughter’s decision to disown her son after he came out as gay went viral after being posted online.

The letter was posted on the Facebook page of pro-gay clothing brand FCKH8 on 1 Octber, and  accumulated over 10,000 ‘likes’ on the site.


World War II love letter professes love of one soldier for another


Okay, so this technically didn’t happen this year, but it’s too heart-wrenching to miss out.

Brian Keith wrote the letter to Dave, a fellow GI stationed in North Africa, on their anniversary, and the moving letter, which ends “sleep well my love”, reminisces about time spent together, and expresses regret that Dave never made it home after the war.

This bi guy jumped out of a plane completely naked to raise money for terminally ill kids


The skydiver has completed a jump wearing nothing but a parachute, and raised over £2,000 for terminally ill children.

Marking his 100th jump, Dan Cope successfully made the naked dive on 30 November from 10,000 ft, experiencing temperatures as low as -10°C.

‘This closet is suffocating’, the life story of a young gay Muslim in Pakistan


A young gay Muslim in Pakistan shares his experiences of life in the staunchly conservative country with PinkNews.co.uk.

We were honoured to have been able to publish this first-hand account of being gay in Pakistan.

Disney and CBBC characters come out as gay for the first time 

Wizards Vs Aliens

The character Mulan in hit Disney-ABC series Once Upon A Time, was revealed to be bisexual in a scene of unrequited love.

More recently, a lead character in a hit CBBC series came out as gay to his best friend in a touching scene. The character Benny comes out to his best friend Tom in the episode of the show Wizards vs Aliens.

Zachary Quinto says he has ‘only worked more’ as an actor since coming out as gay


Speaking to Jonathan Ross, in an interview, Quinto, who stars as Spock in the film Star Trek film ‘Into Darkness’, says he is glad to have opened up about being gay, and that he thought it had positively affected his career.

He said: “I haven’t stopped working, I’ve only worked more since I came out.”

Actress Tilda Swinton flies rainbow flag in Moscow in solidarity with LGBT community and donates over £1000 to LGBT activist’s funeral


Actress Tilda Swinton has posed for a photograph, posted on the internet by her representative, flying a rainbow flag in front of St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, in solidarity with the LGBT community.

The photograph, which was posted by Christian Hodell, who represents Swinton, features the actress holding the rainbow flag, commonly associated with the LGBT community, up with St Basil’s clearly featured in the background.

She later donated over £1000 to the funeral of Russian gay rights activist Alexey Davydov, who died aged 36.

Australian PM defends his support of same-sex marriage against a pastor’s challenge

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 15.50.20

In a Q&A appearance on Australian television, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defended his support of same-sex marriage after a local pastor challenged him to measure his views against the Biblical definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Responding to the comment, Keven Rudd said: “The Bible also says slavery is a natural condition – Saint Paul said in the New Testament, ‘slaves be obedient to your masters’.”

After applause from the audience, he added: “What is the fundamental condition of the New Testament? It is one of love.

“If we get obsessed of the definition through a form of sexuality, you are missing what the gospel is all about.”

The New Zealand Parliament erupted into song and dance when equal marriage legislation passed


As the Parliament of New Zealand passed a bill to allow equal marriage in the country back in April, those in attendance of the reading broke into song, once it was announced that it had passed.

The video posted by the Parliamentary TV service, sees the speaker of the house announce the results of the reading, which saw 70 votes for and 44 against, before cheers from the crowd.