In 2012, gay people and their rights have made international headlines like never before.
From Obama becoming the first US president to back marriage equality to Pope Benedict XVI saying gays are not fully developed humans, gay rights issues have come to the forefront.
We have had a look at the year and found the most important, shocking, hilarious and weird stories, and this is the best of the best from the first third of the year.
Where best to begin? Let’s start with…
2012 did not start well as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the ever vocal Pope Benedict XVI, began his year with saying gay marriage threatens the future of humanity.
And in America a Republican presidential nominee Rick Santorum, with a particular Google problem, was booed for comparing gay marriage to polygamy.
In the UK, over 100 Conservative members of parliament threated to rebel against Prime Minister David Cameron and his cabinet for supporting gay marriage.
But in the entertainment world, the first ever gay wedding took place in the mainstream comic book world. Life With Archie’s wedding between two of its prominent male characters sparked controversy but ultimately became one of the most successful issues in its history.
Gay actor Neil Patrick Harris also got more than he bargained for when he appeared on game show The Price Is Right. A video went viral of a very excited female fan jumping him, humping him and knocking him over.
And in news closer to home, a 24/7 LGBT worldwide news website launched on 16 January called Gay Star News.
Gay marriage advocates had the first of several big wins for the cause in February when California’s appeals court ruled Prop 8 was unconstitutional.
Responding to the news Oscar-winning scriptwriter Dustin Lance Black told GSN how ‘incredibly pleased’ he was, saying he finally had the feeling the country had embraced gay people.
Not in Russia, as several people were arrested in St Petersburg for the ‘promotion of homosexuality’.
ComingOut, an LGBT-organization based in St Petersburg said Russia is sliding towards a new totalitarianism, adding: ‘The history of Europe shows that all totalitarian regimes here began with similar repression of LGBT people.’
Gay British broadcaster Stephen Fry, who has Jewish ancestry, likened St Petersburg leaders to Nazis.
In happier news, White Collar and Magic Mike actor Matt Bomer came out as gay and acknowledged his partner and kids in public for the first time.
As a symbol for the post-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era, a kiss between a US marine and his boyfriend went viral around the world.
And in Thailand, a gay couple broke the world record for the longest kiss, locking lips for over 50 hours.
In March, Nepal made several steps to becoming one of the most trans-friendly nations by allowing citizens describe their gender as ‘other’. It was announced they would host Asia’s first ‘gay Olympics’.
Lady Gaga launched her Born This Way foundation, aiming to empower young gay teens and celebrate individuality.
Former child actor Kirk Cameron revealed his stance against homosexuality and gay marriage, describing it as ‘ultimately destructive to so many foundations of civilisation.’
On the other hand Hollywood stars, like George Clooney and Brad Pitt, fought for marriage equality by performing in the play ‘8′ about the Prop 8 fight in California.
In weird extremist right-wing thinking, Santorum made the news once again after he stopped a boy from using a pink bowling bowl. He said: ‘Friends don’t let friends use pink balls.’
China announced an action plan to drastically decrease HIV and AIDS by 25% in three years, aiming to heavily promote condom usage.
In one of the most shocking stories of the year, it was revealed nearly 100 gays and people with alternate dress styles had been killed by the militia in Iraq. According to reports, some had been kidnapped, tortured, and others stoned with concrete blocks or even pushed off buildings.
As Canadians were sipping their morning coffee in April, their news was switched to gay hardcore pornography for a staggeringly long three minutes.
In Northern Ireland, a Catholic priest was set to begin his Powerpoint presentation at a meeting with parents at a local school. He said he had no idea why when he began the talk, images of gay porn flashed up on the screen.
In non-gay porn related news, a Christian group booked a homophobic advert promoting ‘gay cure’ therapy on London iconic red buses.
Mayor Boris Johnson pulled the ad, saying he did it to prevent a backlash against Christians.
The father of ‘gay cure’ therapy, psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, said in April he now wants to retract his 2001 study which said homosexuals could be cured.
He said: ‘I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy.
‘I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals.’
Come back on 30 December for the second part of GSN’s countdown of the best gay news of 2012.