Each year QSaltLake honors someone who has made a difference in the community as the Person of the Year. Keeping in tradition with many other publications, we select someone who has had an impact, positive or negative, and often our selections are ironic, such as the year Thomas Monson was chosen.
But this year, we chose to honor 12 people who represent the philanthropic volunteerism that makes Utah a wonderful place to live. Without these people, we would not have as many clubs, organizations and activities to make the quality of life much better in a traditionally conservative state. The standard of living here is very high. And part of that is due to the hard work of these people who never receive payment and often are never thanked.
Among the groups that are represented this year are the Utah Gay Fathers Association, the Queer Utah Aquatics Club, Cheer Salt Lake, Transgender Education Advocates of Utah, Temple Squares, Utah Stonewall Democrats, Ogden OUTreach and many more. There are also some individuals represented who simply attend events, raise money and contribute to the activist and social groups in Salt Lake City.
Our biggest concern when selecting our honorees is that we would miss someone important who is behind the scenes orchestrating a better life for Utah’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We know there are so many people who donate their time and money to important groups and causes that help improve our daily lives. And to all of you, we salute you and thank you.
It’s the collective work of thousands of people that have helped make 2012 a great year for our queer community. While we didn’t see a statewide nondiscrimination bill pass, we did see our governor veto a sex education bill that would have done great damage to the LGBT community. We now have 16 municipalities that offer protections against bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We have an openly gay man representing Senate District 2 and many other allies holding office around the state. We had thousands of people gather in Salt Lake City for one of our largest Pride Festivals yet and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman spoke at the largest indoor gather for LGBT people this side of the Mississippi.
Nationally, we saw three states choose equality and legalize gay marriage. Minnesota also made history in becoming the first state to strike down a measure to constitutionally limit marriage to one man and one woman. Our president announced his support for gay marriage and the Supreme Court announced it will consider same-sex marriage for the first time.
None of these terrific accomplishments would have been achieved if it were not for volunteers and financial contributors like thousands of QSaltLake readers. Thank you.