Peacock Panache’s Top Stories of 2016

2016 Year in review - Peacock Panache

With 2016 coming to a close it’s time to take a look back at what made Peacock Panache relevant over the past 12 months. Here are our top five stories of the year:

#5 Story of 2016:

High profile civil rights incidents & the public’s misunderstanding of individual rights

civil rights equalityOur #5 story of 2015 centers around a group of stories we published throughout the year highlighting two issues surrounding civil rights:

  1. Actual violations thereof
  2. The public’s misconceptions of what the Constitution does and does not protect

More often than not the rights those believed were being violated don’t actually exist in the form they believe – most frequently in the wording, interpretation and precedents laid out in the First Amendment.

Here’s a selection of our most popular civil rights articles of the year:

 

#4 Story of 2016:

The Target transgender bathroom controversy

Target Rainbow LogoOur #4 story of 2016 involves the conservative-invented controversy following Target retail stores announcing their bathrooms (both for customers and employees) are trans-friendly. Immediately following that announcement the not-so-family-friendly American Family Association (AFA) launched a national boycott of the chain which led in turn to nasty protesters shouting in people’s faces in Target stores.

The announcement also led to the criminalization of trans bathroom use in more regressive portions of the country.

Just when the controversy couldn’t become more ridiculous, AFA admitted to sending men into women’s bathrooms to “prove” women and girls were in danger from men that could legally walk into bathrooms to assault women using trans protection laws. The only problem with that? A man walking into a bathroom to assault anyone is still illegal even with trans protections. It was also a sad reminder that conservatives had to literally manufacture incidents to make their fear mongering come true.

All the while, at least one of those expressing outrage over Target’s policies was an actual sexual predator himself – and was caught not long after berating Target and transgender women on his Facebook page.

Ultimately the boycott failed spectacularly and conservatives brushed their feigned outrage under the rug as they moved on to another ‘target.’

Here’s a selection of the most popular Target bathroom controversy stories we published this year:

 

#3 Story of 2016:

The Pulse Orlando massacre

Pulse Nightclub the site of the deadliest mass shooting in historyOur #3 story of 2016 documented the largest attack on the LGBTQ community in modern history: the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that took the lives of 49 people.

Besides demonstrating a need for sensible national gun regulation laws, the Pulse massacre additionally served as a wake up call to many in the LGBTQ community accustomed to viewing gay bars as safe spaces.

The event also called into question the ongoing conservative narrative attacking LGBTQ people for their fight for equal rights. In particular, Florida AG Pam Bondi found herself in a hostile interview with openly gay Anderson Cooper over her earlier anti-gay record he contrasted with her generic platitudes about helping the families of those LGBTQ slain earlier this year.

Along those same lines, congressional Republicans demonstrated that not even mass murder inspired in part by conservative attacks on the LGBTQ community could dissuade them from issuing political attacks against LGBTQ rights. Some conservative politicians even went so far as to attempt to erase LGBTQ identity from the massacre completely.

The worst among those Republicans was House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who literally held new hearings on the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) – a bill that would basically be Jim Crow for LGBTQ people – on the one month anniversary of the massacre.

You can read all of our Pulse Orlando-related stories here.

 

#2 Story of 2016:

Craig Jungwirth & the Beach Bear Weekend Scam

Craig JungwirthOur #2 story of 2016 is actually unique in that we broke most of the news on this story nationally. In a nutshell, a man named Craig Jungwirth took over a bear event in Florida (Beach Bear Weekend) and then uninvited (or, as he called it, “trespassed”) segments of the LGBTQ community he didn’t want attending.

Specifically, he targeted the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Out reporting on this unraveled a tapestry of lies and deceptions that eventually led to the revelation the entire event was a scam meant to steal money from unsuspecting members of the LGBTQ community who’d attended the event in the past when it was under different ownership.

That, unfortunately, is only half the story. Nearly six months later Jungwirth threatened an Orlando-style massacre on Facebook following a campaign to take down all of his scams and call him out for the scam artist he was. As a part of that we wrote an in depth profile of Jungwirth detailing his misdeeds in detail thanks to a handful of those who fell victim to his lawless practices.

The FBI eventually intervened and arrested Jungwirth after our story made local Florida and then national news. Though the case against him is still pending trial, the FBI has admitted to the public they haven’t actually completed their due diligence in ferreting out the one account her used (out of the dozens, if not hundreds) of Facebook accounts he kept to harass and scam others. We will be publishing an update on this story in 2017.

Until then, you can catch up on our #2 story of the year here.

 

#1 Story of 2016:

Donald Trump and the mess that was the 2016 presidential election

Donald TrumpOur #1 story of 2016 was clear early on as each article we wrote about the election gained a lot of traction. In particular, one article went viral that’s still one of our most-cited articles of all time:

Russian Hackers Altered Emails Before Release to Wikileaks

That article actually examined a buried lede in the Vice reporting on Guccifer – the Russian hacker who stole and then disseminated DNC emails to Wikileaks. At the heart of the story is the realization that the Wikileaks email dumps aren’t completely trustworthy as they have Russian fingerprints all over them as well as replacement/dummy documents where the hackers couldn’t piece together original attachments or emails.

Although that was our top article of the year, the overarching story of the election really #1. Here are a handful or our most-read election/Trump-related articles from 2016:

As most of our readers will probably agree, 2016 is thankfully ending as we mourn the loss of beloved LGBTQ icons, public figures and celebrities (many of whom fought ardently for civil rights). Whether 2017 will be any better – especially given the election of Donald Trump and the appointment of a cabinet that meets the very definition of cronyism – is yet to be seen.

Regardless of the outlook, we’ll be there throughout the year to call out anti-LGBTQ legislation, violations of church and state, attacks on women’s rights and more.

Thanks for sticking with us through 2016.

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.

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