It’s hard to believe that 2023 is coming to a close in just a few short weeks. While the world seems to continue to be in a state of flux and even turmoil (just look at recent headlines), some good has come out of the last 365 days. Strides have been made in mental health awareness, sexual health awareness, LBGTQ representation, and more. Here’s a look back at all the good things that happened this year so we can remind ourselves there is always something to be grateful for.
LBGTQ+ Victories at the Polls
Election results from the November 2023 vote recorded many LBGTQ+ winning candidates. One hundred twenty-eight LBGTQ+ candidates won their contests, shattering the previous election’s record. This is huge news considering the recent anti-gay rhetoric and legislation coming from many parts of the country. Most notably, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person elected to the Virginia state legislature. In addition, Fabian Nelson became Mississippi’s first openly LGBTQ+ legislator.
LBGTQ+ Representation in the Media Is Up
We are seeing more and more LBGTQ+ representation in our favorite shows and movies. According to the recent Accelerating Acceptance study from GLAAD, 75% of non-LGBTQ adults feel comfortable seeing LGBTQ people in advertisements. And that’s a good thing. When people see representation, they are more likely to open their hearts and minds, which shifts the culture into a more accepting place.
Pro-Choice Wins in Recent Elections
It’s been one year since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, but people turned to the polls to make their voices heard. In the most recent general election, Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care. This is a crucial follow-up from the 2022 general election, where six states supported measures that protect reproductive rights.
Medicare Expands Mental Healthcare
Medicare is set to up its mental health offerings in 2024 by expanding coverage to include marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors. For decades, Medicare has limited mental health coverage to psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurses. The change means that 400,000 marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors (40 percent of the licensed mental health workforce) will now be available to Medicare patients.