January 1, 2016 at 12:16 pm EST | by Kevin Naff
Top 10 Blade stories online
2015 LGBT web

(Photo of Ortega courtesy of the ACLU; photo of Messerschmidt corutesy of Facebook; photo of Gutierrez by Melissa Sklarz)

The year 2015 brought an avalanche of LGBT-related news, but the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling wasn’t the most popular story online. Below are the top 10 stories by web traffic at washingtonblade.com of 2015.

#10 “Gays boycott Urban Outfitters”

Urban Outfitters, gay news, Washington Blade

Urban Outfitters is selling this tapestry for $69, appropriating an image from the Holocaust.

The retailer was assailed for selling a T-shirt that included an image of a pink triangle, similar to the insignia gays were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps.

#9 “Army soldier becomes first openly trans person in U.S. military”

Shane Ortega, gay news, Washington Blade

Sgt. Shane Ortega is considered the first openly transgender person to serve in the U.S. military. (Photo courtesy ACLU)

An Army helicopter crew chief became the first person considered to serve in the U.S. military while being openly transgender after coming out in April. Sgt. Shane Ortega, 28, who was stationed at Wheeler Airfield in Hawaii, talked about his commitment to the U.S. military in a statement to media outlets despite the ban on allowing openly trans people to serve.

#8 “Transgender man’s private audience with Pope Francis”

A transgender man from Spain had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican in January. Hoy, a Spanish newspaper, reported that Diego Neria Lejárraga and his fiancée had a private audience with the pontiff that took place at his official residence.

#7 “Court strikes down Alabama ban on same-sex marriage”

A federal judge in Alabama struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage in January, ruling against a prohibition on gay nuptials on the basis that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

#6 “Murder of lawyer in D.C. hotel prompts concern among activists”

David Messerschmitt, gay news, Washington Blade

David Messerschmitt was found stabbed to death at the Donovan Hotel on Feb. 10. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

The mystery surrounding the murder of 30-year-old D.C. attorney David Messerschmitt, who was found stabbed to death on Feb. 10 in a downtown hotel room hours after his wife reported him missing, captured the attention of activists who monitor anti-LGBT violence.

#5 “Most-eligible LGBT singles”

In February, the Blade produced its first-ever “most-eligible singles” issue along with a party at Town where patrons could meet the winners. It proved a popular issue and the story ranked #5 for the year in terms of traffic. You know what that means: Watch for it again next month.

#4 “Rand Paul says same-sex marriage ‘offends’ him and others”

Rand Paul, American Conservative Union, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, Republican Party, libertarian, Kentucky, United States Senate, U.S. Congress, gay news, Washington Blade

Rand Paul opposes marriage equality.(Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

Rand Paul said in March that affording the distinction of marriage to same-sex couples “offends myself and a lot of other people.”
“I’m for traditional marriage,” Paul said. “I think marriage is between a man and a woman. Ultimately, we could have fixed this a long time ago if we just allowed contracts between adults. We didn’t have to call it marriage, which offends myself and a lot of people.”

#3 “How much do LGBT organization leaders make?”

The Blade’s occasional special project on the salaries of LGBT movement leaders is always a popular read and never fails to generate controversy. The project takes months to research and assemble, as some groups aren’t forthcoming with their figures, while others find creative ways to pay their executives from multiple funding sources, making it tricky to arrive at a correct number. The highest-paid leader of an LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS service organization was once again Craig Shniderman of D.C.’s Food & Friends. He made $433,896 in 2013.

#2 “Gay activists unhappy with Clinton remarks on DOMA”

A number of LGBT rights activists criticized Hillary Clinton in October, claiming she engaged in historic revisionism during an appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show” when she said DOMA was a means to stop the enactment of a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The Blade story exploded after Matt Drudge linked to it prominently from the top of his popular site.

#1 “Exclusive: I interrupted Obama because we need to be heard”

Jennicet Gutiérrez, gay news, Washington Blade`

Jennicet Gutiérrez (Photo by Melissa Sklarz)

President Obama admonished a protester, Jennicet Gutierrez, for interrupting him at a White House Pride event in June. She was criticized by some in the LGBT community for attacking a pro-LGBT president and responded in an op-ed published exclusively by the Blade.

“I was fortunate to be invited to the White House to listen to President Obama’s speech recognizing the LGBTQ community and the progress being made. But while he spoke of ‘trans women of color being targeted,’ his administration holds LGBTQ and trans immigrants in detention. I spoke out because our issues and struggles can no longer be ignored,” she wrote.

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

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