2014 A Year to Remember

12 local headlines that made 2014 a year to remember

Feb. 26

Open For Business to Everyone

Following approval by Arizona Legislature Senate Bill 1062, a measure that would allow businesses and individuals to use religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT individuals or others, was vetoed by Gov. Jan. Brewer.

May 8-11

Gay Days

The Arizona Grand Resort played host to the first-ever Gay Days Arizona event, a weekend filled with pool parties, evening festivities, a community expo and a golf tournament. Arizona marked the latest addition to the Ian Joseph brand that boasts parties in such cities as Orlando and Las Vegas. It’s not too soon to mark your calendars for 2015, because the event will be back in Arizona June 19-21 at the Saguaro in Scottsdale.

June 14

The Loss of a Leader

Community members mourn the passing of the Rev. Brad Wishon, a minister dedicated to serving the Valley’s LGBT community. Wishon is remembered as a force for activism, a constant presence at rallies and demonstrations on the issues of our time, from promoting marriage equality to protesting conversion therapy.

July 31

When One Door Closes

After more than 25 years, Wingspan officially closed its doors due to financial difficulties. Effective Aug. 1, the remaining components of Tucson’s nonprofit LGBT community center began the process merging with the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF). However, the annual Wingspan dinner is set for Feb. 14, 2015, at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Aug. 5

Laverne Cox Stands with Monica

With support from Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox, the American Civil Liberties Union, her attorneys and her family, Monica Jones filed an appeal of her conviction under Phoenix’s “manifesting” intent to engage in prostitution ordinance Aug. 5. That evening Cox and Jones sat down with Chase Strangio for a public discussion followed by a question-and-answer session at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix.

 Aug. 13

Welcome to the Team

Arizona State University offensive lineman Edward “Chip” Sarafin made college football history – and national headlines – after publically coming out ahead of Sun Devils preseason practice at Camp Tontozona. In the interview with Compete magazine’s Joshua Wyrick, the graduate of Gilbert’s Highland High School said that he began telling teammates of his sexual orientation last spring, making him the only known publicly out player in Division 1 college football.

 Sept. 5

A Place for Community

Following Phoenix Pride’s acquisition of the 1 Voice Community Center, the two entities converged in a new location at 801 N. Second Ave. in Phoenix. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton shared a few words before cutting the ribbon to kick off the Phoenix Pride LGBT Center’s grand opening.

Sept. 12

Mighty Mercury

The Phoenix Mercury brought home their third WNBA championship title following a three-game sweep of the Chicago Sky. The Mighty Mercury finished the regular season with a WNBA-best 29-5, went 7-1 in the postseason and won the first two games against the Sky by an average of 25 points. Diana Taurasi was named Finals MVP for the second time. She also won the award in 2009, when the Mercury last won the title.

Sept. 25

Happy Birthday

Throughout 2014, and especially the month of September, we’ve celebrated 25 years of Echo – from a tribute to our history to a glimpse into our future. This milestone is important to us for so many reasons, and it means something different to each one of us. We wouldn’t be concluding the year properly without one more thank you to Echo’s owner and publisher Bill Orovan and all the many individuals – readers, writers, advertisers, family, community leaders and organizations – who have been a party of the Echo family at any point of the past quarter century.

Oct. 17

Love is Love

U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick struck down Arizona’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne would not appeal the ruling and marriage licenses were available to same-sex immediately, making Arizona the 31st state to achieve marriage equality.

Nov. 23

The Wedding of the Year

After nearly 58 years together, Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey – the couple served as lead plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage – extended a wedding invitation to the entire community and legally wed at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. “We’ve been together longer than we were been apart,” Majors said, to which Bailey added, “We’ve always been the very best of friends.”

Dec. 9

New Year, New Youth

one n ten announced plans to open a fifth satellite location Jan. 7. The new South Phoenix program, which will be held Wednesdays at Mountain Park Health Center (635 E. Baseline Road) from 6:30 to 8 p.m., joins the existing Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe and West Valley South Phoenix satellite programs. For more information, visit onenten.org.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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