Life

2013: The Year in VQ Review

2013

PHOTO CREDIT: POLLY PAGENHART

A person can get pretty stumped trying to sum up an entire year. Hell, James Joyce used up well over 600 pages just trying to depict one day in a guy’s life. Still, one must try.

This year has been a really big one for us VillageQ people, and a really big one for folks in the community of LGBTQ families and allies for whom we seek to provide a platform for reflection and self-portaiture. You can get generalized all-purpose LGBTQ Year in Review  like this one at AMERICAblog Gay.  And our friend Dana at Mombian has just today published a great year-end news round-up of interest to LGBT parents. What we have here are highlights of the year as we saw it (and wrote about it) at VillageQ.

We have way too many great posts from way too many great regular and guest contributors to winnow those down to any top ten list, so that kind of thing is out. Over the course of the whole year, we’ve been treated to portraits from the community in Instagram thanks to VQ’s Instagram community manager Casey Carey-Brown, and heard news of the world, from Albania to the EU to Mexico, thanks largely to VQ Associate Editor Clare Masson, with assists from Julieta Bonazza. Yet at the same time, each month, some post or another popped up to help define what was happening in our world here, and often, by extension, the LGBTQ family world around VillageQ.

January

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailWe began the year as the blog formerly known as Lesbian Family, just two months into its revived life as a group-authored project (the November 2012 welcome back post here). I had managed to convince ten fantastic folks to join together and make something greater than the sum of our parts, and we had been well on our way churning out content here and gradually growing our community. Prime example: fare such as “Poster Parent Fatigue,” in which VQ Contributing Editor Sandra Telep gave a word to what so many of us feel, alt-parenting under scrutiny.

February

In February we cast our thoughts to love, in its many splendored forms, including unconditional and sincere. And VQ contributor Shannon LC Cate shared with us “Something Old,” about her several marriages, helping inspire a series about legal relationship recognition (aka marriage) that would kick into gear the following month.  

March

LawfullyWeddedLifebuttonOn the eve of the Supreme Court hearing arguments in the marriage cases, we launched our first series: Lawfully Wedded Life. We published a baker’s dozen posts (twelve stories, plus a round-up of some crazy-adorable videotaped proposals)  in the series, finishing up just after the SCOTUS decisions were handed down.

April

We LGBTQ families are everywhere, and so national issues and events affect us all. Many of our posts this month reflected the range of ways in which they do. Guest contributor Carol Rood described the impact of the sequester on her family, which relies on income from a parent in civil service.  VQ Managing Editor Deborah Goldstein took on the Boy Scouts, and life-long Bostonian Casey  reflected on the impact of the Boston Marathon Bombings, as did Guest contributor Jen Bauer in a very personal post about healing from it.

May

This month saw the first three in what would, by the end of the year, become eight new states to pass marriage equality. Just our luck, first up was Minnesota, and VQ Managing Editor Vikki Reich was there. We tossed on-the-scene text message after text message from her into a live-blog of the events of the historic day in the MN State Legislature, followed the next day by her post about it: “At Last: Marriage Equality Comes to Minnesota.”  Relationship/family recognition also came to Rhode Island and Delaware this month, but we didn’t have anyone live-blogging it there. We’re working on that for the umpity-ump states that remain.

June

June, 2013 saw the momentous Supreme Court marriage equality decisions striking down DOMA and Prop 8, and making this LGBTQ Pride month one of the proudest in recent memory. It was certainly one of the most tactically consequential. Even if this is but one of a litany of critical civil rights battles – employment rights and immigration reform still loomed large and unaddressed as of June – the decisions signaled a turning point from the highest level. VQ contributor Cheryl Dumesnil put us there in San Francisco City Hall as the decisions were handed down, while contributor  Shannon LC Cate described the “whiplash” effect of the court’s eviscerating the Voting Rights Act.

July

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailIn early July we began to hint that some change was going to be coming to Lesbian Family (which, remember, we still were at the time). That’s because we were feverishly working backstage to put the finishing touches on a transformation that had been months and months in the making, with huge vision and enthusiasm from Vikki and Deborah leading the whole team: the site’s rebirth as VillageQ, home for stories and content from and for all LGBTQ families.  With the site’s relaunch, we introduced several new regular contributors to our roster: Dylan Flunker, Levi Sable, and C.J.Prince.

August

Opening up the month with a bang,  a bunch of us met up in Chicago to plot and plan VQ’s glorious future. Soon thereafter, thanks to heroic work from VQ Associate Editor Clare Masson, our backlog of blogs (new to our listings; not all of them new to the Internet) finally got uploaded, and we began to be able to deliver on our intention to provide the Internet’s most comprehensive, easily searchable listing of queer family blogs. Contributor Susan Goldberg posted a manifesto for queer parental mediocrity, “Defending my right to be a mediocre (queer) parent,” which struck a nerve, building on Sandra’s “Poster Parent Fatigue” from January.

September

For those of us with school-aged kids, Back-to-School time in fall is a big deal, and we dealt out some pointers, both comical and practical. Even for those for whom  school is home. But while school issues are very dear to us all, the issue that struck the hugest nerve – at least measured by reader comments – was our kids’ right to  safe gender self-determination and expression, as Vikki so poignantly conveyed in her post “Is that a boy?” Finally, September saw another new contributor to the VQ roster: Robert Shaffron, whose opening post tackled the ever-vexing “sleepover” questions (intervene? leave it to Lord of the Flies? sedate everyone, or perhaps just yourself?).

October

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailIn October, VillageQ had the honor of being media sponsor at Salon LGBTQ, the first national gathering for queer folk in social media, convened in Atlanta by Deb Rox, VQ’s Biz Dev guru and beloved sage.  The import of that coming together was palpable. Many of us VQers (regular contributors and readers alike) were on hand to network and learn, and we had a chance to meet up with other media makers and community members. On the website, we  saw the publication of another series, VQ Comes Out, in which we ran ten of our coming out stories.  New Jersey joined Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Delaware as a marriage equality state (during SalonLGBTQ, no less!), affording us the opportunity to get both a Salon debrief and a window on her legal hitching by Deborah.

November

Aside: I’m grateful for this year-end recap, since in order to gather it I have had the opportunity to refocus my vision on VQ. In November, I took a big step back from my online engagement and VQ as a result of a death in my family.  So it’s not in real time as an editor, but in retrospect that I know what Vikki and Deborah were working so hard to help keep coming these last two months of the year.

vqchatlogtightIn November, Vikki’s first VQ Sex Ed vlog went up (no! pun! intended!).  Contributor and media maven Nicole pondered kids’ TV fare, and Sandra reminded us that in spite of recent wins in marriage equality – Illinois and Hawaii were two more gains this month; Guest contributor Jerry Capell was there to tell us about the Illinois gain – the upcoming ENDA vote was far more consequential. After all, what help is it to get hitched if you can legally be fired in 30 states? (For those as far under a rock as I was at this time, ENDA passed with an historic bipartisan win in the Senate – transgender inclusive, at long last! And yet it has rolled to a stop in front of Speaker Boehner, who appears determined to halt its progress in its tracks.) C.J. reminded us of the work yet to be done in preventing anti-gay violence 15 years after Mathew Shepherd’s murder. And on a bright note, we launched the first of our monthly #VQChats on Twitter (the second happened just last night!).

December

Finishing off the stunning state-by-state marriage gains for the year, December saw both New Mexico and Utah (Utah??!! yes, Utah!) added to the equality column.  At VQ, we kicked off December with a Gift Guide series, launching appropriately on #GivingTuesday with a list of favorite charities, and moving onward from there to gifts for grown-ups, and last but of course not least, for kids.  Outrage over India’s criminalizing homosexuality and hunger for immigration reform were also on our minds, as were ways to manage grief during the holidays.

Wheew! Whadda year!

You might think that with all the links up there, we’d have covered all that VQ had to offer up in 2013. But no. Each one of the months above was jam-packed with yet more in the way of personal stories, vignettes, anecdotes, family selfies, found videos,  guest contributions, and more. Taken as a whole, and even in spite of the holes all over the place by way of demographics and geography, it’s still a tremendous self-portrait of LGBT families: what makes us worry, what makes us angry; what makes us laugh, what makes us cry. What makes us, in all our range, predictability and unexpectedness, queer families. Same and different both.

The year 2013 was really a tremendous one for all of us VillageQ people, and we are so, so grateful to be along this ride with you. And we haven’t even told you yet what’s coming next year! We have some new contributors to introduce, plus yet more expansion and improvement. We really can’t wait. Pretty sure that as great as 2013 was, 2014 is going to be the best year ever. Come back again soon and see for yourself.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Great recap, Polly. Glad to have been a part of it with you.

  2. Pretty awesome site thanks to our incredible village of Qs and Q-Allies! Fantastic recap, Polly!! I bow to our BabaQ.

  3. Congratulations. And thank you, for VQ’s partnership on SalonLGBTQ, and for being here for all of our queer families. Happy New Year!

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