LGBT news roundup: February 15, 2014

It was a big week in LGBT news! This week, several people came out (including a big name in Hollywood!), we saw historic firsts and made progress in terms of gender and marriage equality. Check out some of our favorite stories below.

NFL hopeful comes out as gay

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Michael Sam, star football player at the University of Missouri and National Football League (NFL) hopeful, recently came out as gay. The announcement comes just weeks before the NFL will start scouting for new players. He’s already made history as the first Division I college football player to come out, but if he’s drafted, which is highly likely, he’ll be the first active, openly gay NFL player.

“I just want to own my truth,” Michael recently said in an interview with ESPN. “I am an openly, proud gay man.”

First transgender homecoming king crowned in North Carolina

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Blake Brockington, a student at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, N.C., recently made history as the first transgender homecoming king in the state. By raising more than $2,300 for Mothering Across Continents, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering future leaders, Blake won the crown. In spite of rejection from his family, Blake has a bright future ahead of him. He plans to study math, music and education at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, after graduating from East Mecklenburg.

He hopes his success can empower other trans* youth. “Anything is possible,” Blake said in an interview. “You can do anything you set your heart to.”

Maryland teen becomes first openly gay Eagle scout

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Seventeen year-old Pascal Tessier became one of the first openly-gay Boy Scouts to earn the “Eagle” rank on Monday, Feb. 10. This achievement comes less than a month after the Boy Scouts’ new LGBT-inclusion policy went into effect. While Pascal will likely be kicked out of the Scouts when he turns 18, since the Boy Scouts still have a ban on LGBT adults, he hopes to remain involved and will continue to push for inclusion in the organization. “On my 18th birthday, I’m planning on applying to be an adult leader for the Boy Scouts so that we push the issue,” Pascal said in an interview.

First openly gay American Idol Contestant makes Top 30

First openly gay American Idol contestant

While “American Idol” has previously had gay contestants, they either never addressed their sexuality on-air or came out post-Idol. After almost 12 years on the air, the show finally has it’s first openly gay contestant. Twenty year-old M.K. Nobilette advanced into the show’s Top 30 on the episode airing on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

“I’m very obviously gay, and there are always gonna’ be people in America and everywhere else who are definitely going to hate,’ M’.K. said on the show. “But I think that in the last two years there have been a lot of things that have really changed that, and have really made it a positive thing.” The judges seemed to agree.

As pop diva and “Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez put it, “The world is changing, I think. We think that you could be an American Idol.”

Check out the emotional clip on YouTube.

Facebook introduces new trans* inclusive gender options

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After 10 years, Facebook is finally offering more inclusive gender options. This week, they announced the addition of more than 50 new gender options for users to identify as, including “Trans*,” “Genderqueer,” “Neither” and “Other.” Additionally, users can select who of their friends can view their gender identity. Facebook collaborated with several LGBT organizations to ensure their list of identities was as inclusive as possible.

“Facebook users from across the country have been asking for the ability to reflect their gender accurately, and today Facebook showed they have been listening,” said Allison Palmer, a former GLAAD staff member who worked on the project. “Facebook’s new gender options will make a difference to many transgender and gender nonconforming users, who are now empowered to accurately describe their own identities on the platform.”

Other big stories this week included transgender activist Janet Mock becoming a New York Times best-selling author, Kentucky and Virginia striking down gay marriage bans and actress Ellen Page coming out as gay.

What was your favorite LGBT news story this week? Let us know in the comments!

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