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These moments from 2009 prove it’s the gayest year ever

Today, March 25, 2024, is the 15th anniversary of an earth-shattering moment in queer culture: the founding of Grindr. Since 2009, the infamous hookup app has shaped the gay dating scene and created the modern equivalent of cruising.

The anniversary has the gays reflecting: is Grindr even the queerest thing to come out of 2009? The year was truly a revolution for gay culture from top to bottom — no pun intended.

Music-wise, 2009 saw the meteoric rise of one Lady Gaga. Though she debuted the year prior, 2009 was her true breakthrough, thanks in no small part to her truly iconic VMAs performance of “Paparazzi.” The blood? The alternate melody? The haunting final image? An entire generation of gays was born that day.

It was also the year that Lady Gaga became a music video legend, releasing the videos for “Bad Romance,” “Paparazzi,” and “LoveGame” throughout the year, just to name a few. She also dropped “Telephone,” her collab with Beyoncé — which will hopefully be getting a follow-up this week on Beyoncé’s new album Cowboy Carter

The year saw the birth of a few other gay icons, too, including Miley Cyrus, who went from Disney star to radio hitmaker with the release of “Party in the U.S.A.,” and Adam Lambert competed on the eighth season of American Idol, coming out as gay after the season finale (where he was robbed of a first-place finish).

Speaking of television, 2009 gave rise to some of the gayest shows in TV history. That includes RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has become a cornerstone of queer culture and made drag a global phenomenon. It’s still going strong 15 years later with franchises around the world, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

2009 also saw the premieres of Glee, a problematic yet undeniably influential mess that dared to feature queer teenagers in away TV of the time rarely did, and Modern Family, which gave us the standard for gay suburban life in the form of Cam and Mitchell. (Cam’s actor Eric Stonestreet not being gay in real life will forever be the gag to end all gays. His two Emmys for the role are well deserved.)

And of course, there’s the behemoth that sparked this conversation: Grindr, which changed day-to-day life for gay and trans people everywhere, for better or worse. If 2009 had never happened, where would queer folks be today? Who’s to say — but we’d be a down a few icons, to say the least.

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