As we reflect on the rollercoaster that has been 2021, we can’t help remember the major headlines that resonated most with the LGBTQ+ community. From advances in medicine to coming out stories and popular culture, here are some of the stories that kept us on our toes all year long and makes us here at Instinct hopeful for what 2022 has in store.
Lil Nas X has had the best year ever with the long-awaited release of his album MONTERO. His video for MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) caused much controversy as the rapper slid down an infinite pole that takes him to the deep parts of hell where he proceeds to give the devil a lap dance. The 22-year-old artist who made history with his single Old Town Road that shattered records and made him the first queer artist to reach such popularity and the first record in history to go 15x platinum. In 2021, Lil Nas X continued his momentum.
This year media mogul Jojo Siwa made headlines when she came out and shook the millions of Jojo Bow-wearing fans to the core. Soon after Siwa’s coming out, fans learned that she had a girlfriend who inspired her to come out. Since her coming out, Siwa has become a major advocate for LGBTQ+ visibility in the media and even competed and was runner-up on Dancing With the Stars’ 30th season. Siwa competed with partner Jenna Johnson as the first same-sex partnership in the show’s history.
It was the scene heard ‘round the world when HBO Max released the fourth episode in its miniseries The White Lotus. The scene includes Murray Bartlett and Lukas Gage going on a drug and alcohol bender and leads to Bartlett’s nose buried deep in Gage’s behind. You’ve seen the clips! The show follows “the vacations of various hotel guests over the span of a week as they relax and rejuvenate in paradise. But with each passing day, a darker complexity emerges in these picture-perfect travelers, the hotel’s cheerful employees and the idyllic locale itself.” The White Lotus has been picked up for a second season so let’s hope for some more shocking and gratuitous scenes.
The world has made major strides in the development of HIV treatment and prevention. 2021 was pivotal in major announcements surrounding PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), the medication taken by people at risk for HIV. In July, The Department of Labor and the Department of Treasury released new guidance alongside the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandating that almost all insurance companies within the United States of America must make PrEP, crucial clinical visits, and lab tests free with no cost-sharing.
In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Apretude (cabotegravir extended-release injectable suspension) for use in at-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kilograms (77 pounds) for PrEP. Apretude is given first as two initiation injections administered one month apart, and then every two months thereafter.
One of the biggest headlines of the year came from former The Bachelor star Colton Underwood. The reality star’s coming out became a topic of debate as many feel that he quickly became a poster child for the LGBTQ+ community where people have fought for inclusion and equity for generations. Soon after, it was announced the Underwood would be starring in his own docuseries on Netflix with olympian Gus Kenworthy as his “gay guide”.
The next chapter of the Sex and the City franchise And Just Like That…created buzz from the moment production was announced. The return of Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte was hollow for many SATC fans since they would be returning without illustrious Samantha. Contention around casting for Kim Cattrall’s replacement skyrocketed the new series into the mediaverse. Shooting the series during a global pandemic also became something fans were talking about as leaked footage made its way through social media. The series premiered in December with a shocking opening episode and just like that…HBO has another hit.
Some of the biggest news of the year comes from Britney Spears’ 13-year battle with her conservatorship. The pop star struggled with the confines of her conservator that was controlled by her dad, Jamie Spears. With overwhelming support from #FreeBritney activists, Spears was removed from her conservatorship on November 12, 2022.
Queer icon, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, released her autobiography Yours Cruelly, Elvira. The book became an instant bestseller with details from the actress’ life. Not only does the book chronicle Peterson’s journey to becoming the world’s most famous horror hostess, but she also drops some juicy bombshells about her personal life, including her 19-year relationship with a woman. The news spread like wildfire and brought the 70-year-old fox back into the limelight and reminded us all that it’s never too late to speak your truth.