By Nancy Ford

As years go, it’s fair to say that many of us view 2016 as a major stinker. We should have known that any year that began with the deaths of Prince and David Bowie would likely unfold as one that we’d want to get through as soon as possible.
It’s been a year of terror, tragedy and too much disappointment. But because every coin has two sides, I’ve chosen bid farewell to this crap bag of a year by remembering some of its shining moments.
So good-bye and good riddance, 2016. And welcome, 2017. Please be gentle with us.

“The parents of Drake are pleased to announce that their son has come out. Drake is currently a senior in High School where he is captain of he tennis team, Associated Student Body vice president, and a National Honor Society member. He is a church deacon and enjoys film making and baking. And yes, he adores Barbra Streisand.”
—Drake’s mother, Joan Wilson, supporting her son’s decision to come out in a Houston Chronicle ad. Via

“The love you take is equal to the love you make.
—Caption to a photograph posted on social media on Valentine’s Day by the Adidas sportswear brand. The post featured two women, facing each other closely, wearing matching shoes. Via

“We have a unisex bathroom because sometimes gender specific toilets put others into uncomfortable situations. And since we have a lot of friends coming to see us, we want provide a place for our friends who are dads with daughters, moms with sons, parents with disabled children, those in the LGBTQ community and adults with aging parents who may be mentally or physically disabled. Thank you for helping us to provide a safe environment for everyone.”
—Restroom signage in a Kroger in Athens, Georgia. Via

“I’m not a political person, I’m really not, but this is not politics, this is human rights. And when I see something wrong I have to talk about it. It’s the same thing I do when I see men wearing spandex in line at Starbucks.”
—Ellen DeGeneres on Mississippi’s DzReligious Libertydz bill, which was signed into law by the state’s governor. The law allows people with religious objections to deny LGBT people marriage, adoption and foster care services, fire or refuse to employ them, and decline to rent or sell them property. Via

Captain America’s sexuality and gender identity have nothing to do with his ability to protect mankind, so why should a gay or trans superhero be any different?
—Blogger Erin Whitney, bemoaning the lack of diversity among superheroes in film. Via

“If your aim was to leave us in terror, you lose. We are wounded. But as we mourn, we’ll honor those with the courage to celebrate their lives openly while you and your kind live in the dark like cockroaches. We’ve seen much worse than you. We don’t do fear anymore.”
—Blogger KG MacGregor, in response to the massacre of 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Via

“I’m not sure what Freddie Mercury would think of his music being played at the RNC convention, but I do know that if he weren’t a famous rock star, he would have probably been greeted by a wall, a really high wall, because he represented everything that Mike Pence and Donald Trump are scared of.”
—California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome, in response to the 2016 Republican National Committee’s convention ending with Mercury’s song, DzWe Are the Championsdz. Via

“Having the words ‘gay and lesbian’ over my butt is my way of announcing my queerness for the swimming world to see…. I also believe there’s real strength to be derived from the power of openly LGBT athletes, so to all the others in Rio, I say this: just by being here and being queer and present, you’re making a difference.
—Openly gay swimmer Amini Fonua, who wore a swimsuit emblazoned with the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s logo during practice sessions at the Summer Olympics in Rio, representing Tonga. Via

“Resolute action is required to stop the violence and discrimination affecting not only LGBT communities but also the human rights defenders working with them. This mandate will cover every country under the sun and under the moon. There can never be a political or legal vacuum in terms of protecting people.”
—Vitit Muntarbhorn, the United Nation’s first independent investigator appointed to examine abuses against LGBT people. Via

“We want to walk down any street in America without being assaulted. We want to serve our country open and honorably. We want to pay taxes to the country that doesnǯt always acknowledge. And we want to adopt children and raise them with love. That is the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender agenda.”
—Former Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker, speaking to University of Texas’ Pride Policy Alliance, Queer Graduate Student Alliance and Gender and Sexuality Center. Via

“It’s not who you know but who knows you! Don’t despair and compare. If you feel it in your soul—it’s right. You must learn to play the piano. Listen to your father and buy some land.”
—Iconic Marilyn Monroe illusionist, Jimmy James, sharing what he would tell his younger self. Via

“The right for same-sex couples to legally marry was decided by the United States Supreme Court and is based on the U.S. Constitution. Trump cannot undo marriages or take the right away. Even if he appoints an anti-marriage Supreme Court Justice, the majority of justices that ruled twice in favor of marriage equality will remain on the Court.”
—Glenn Magpantay, executive director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. Via