5 times the LGBTQ+ community came together in defiant protest in 2022

A person wearing a rainbow LGBTQ+ pride flag leans in to kiss another person

Despite continuous attacks against the LGBTQ+ community, queer people and their allies stood defiant and proud in the face of hate this year.

The past 12 months have often felt like a particularly challenging time to be LGBTQ+. In the US, Republicans continued attacking the rights of trans people, hospitals received bomb threats over gender-affirming care for trans youth, and five people lost their lives in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ venue in Colorado Springs.

Russia passed an expansion of its vile ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’ law, banning the dissemination of information about queer identities in media for all citizens, while trans athletes around the world were made into targets. In the UK, anti-trans rhetoric continued to be perpetuated by politicians and the media, while attacks on drag events and Pride festivals crossed the pond from the US to home shores.

Yet, amid the hate, the LGBTQ+ community and allies stood strong and fought back.

Truly, there are too many instances of such brave rebellion – from moments that went viral to small gestures of kindness – to encapsulate in one list. But PinkNews has rounded up some of these moments to look back at how the community rallied together in 2022 and how it will transition into the new year with pride.

Heartstopper stars shut down anti-LGBTQ+ protesters at the London Pride parade, and it was everything

The Heartstopper cast attending London Pride. (Getty)
The Heartstopper cast attending London Pride. (Getty)

The stars of Netflix’s Heartstopper kept the party going at the Pride in London March, giving the middle finger to anti-LGBTQ+ protesters standing on the sidelines of the parade

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Actors Kit Connor, Joe Locke, Sebastian Croft, Kizzy Edgell, Corinna Brown and Tobie Donovan marched alongside thousands of members of the LGBTQ+ community in the celebrations. 

The group, at one point, moved in front of protesters gathered against a police barrier to dance in front of them as Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” played on speakers.

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The world campaigned for Brittney Griner’s freedom

People hold up signs reading 'Bring Brittney Home' advocating for the release of LGBTQ+ basketball star Brittney Griner from Russia
Countless fans, LGBTQ+ advocates, sports icons and politicians joined Cherelle Griner in campaigning for the release of Brittney Griner from Russia. (Getty)

The world celebrated the WNBA superstar’s release in December from a Russian penal colony. Griner had been detained in Russia since February when she was arrested at a Moscow airport, and a Russian court convicted her on drug charges. 

Over the 10 months Griner was imprisoned in Russia, her wife, Cherelle, led a tireless campaign to free her. The movement quickly gained traction as other basketball stars, sports icons, politicians and LGBTQ+ advocates came together to push for Griner’s release. 

Brittney and Cherelle Griner said the campaign to bring the Olympic gold medalist home will now pivot to cases of other Americans detained internationally, with athletes already putting their weight behind the continued activism

Hundreds of queer people staged a ‘kiss-a-thon’ in Colombia after a gay couple was attacked

Two people wearing rainbow colours kiss in a park in Bogota, Columbia during a LGBTQ+ protest
Crowds of LGBTQ+ people gathered in a park in Bogotá, Columbia for a “besatón” after a bigoted crowd harassed a gay couple. (YouTube/La Disidencia)

A community-organised kiss-a-thon took place in a park in Bogotá, Colombia – the location where a gay couple were threatened by a hateful group for kissing in public.

The peaceful protest saw hundreds locking lips while others chanted in support of the community, held up rainbow flags and proudly waved signs speaking out against anti-LGBTQ+ hate.

The beautiful event truly highlighted how the community and allies can quickly respond to hateful incidents and fight back with pure love and support.

LGBTQ+ supporters played ABBA to drown out ‘Nazi’ protestors at a kid-friendly drag event.

Speaking of joyful resistance, pro-LGBTQ+ protestors gathered en masse to overpower a group of bigots angry over a drag show in Texas

Queer people and allies blasted cheerful music from Swedish supergroup ABBA to drown out the smaller group’s hateful, homophobic chants. 

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The cheerful anthems kept going with the anti-LGBTQ+ protestors being overpowered by Boney M’s “Daddy Cool” as one person taunted: “We can’t hear you.”

Scotland rallied for gender reform legislation – and won

A group of people holding up the trans flags and signs in support of the trans community call on MSPs to pass the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill
Advocates called on Holyrood to pass the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill, which would streamline the process by which trans people can live as their authentic selves. (Scottish Trans/Equality Network)

Holyrood took a historic step forward after passing the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill on 22 December after lengthy days of ‘filibustering’, debating and chaos from protestors. Advocates gathered outside Holyrood ahead of the vote to counter protests by anti-trans demonstrators.

Scotland’s government promised for years to pass reform of the Gender Recognition Act and introduced legislation earlier this year that would expedite the process for trans people to have their gender legally recognised

Predictably, there was an immense anti-trans backlash, and JK Rowling even, at one point, labelled Nicola Sturgeon a “destroyer of women’s rights” because the first minister remained a fierce ally to the community. 

MSPs from across Scottish political groups passionately testified about why the legislation was necessary, and the measure was passed with massive support. 

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