News-wise it's been a massive year for glbt folk. Here's our run-down of the stories that reflected and changed our glbt communities over the last twelve months.
Later in the month, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson exchanged vows with his long-term partner, the editor of HIV+ people's magazine Collective Thinking Aaron McDonald died, a Christchurch cafe offered up a 'slightly gay-sounding pie' while the city's gay-run Flamingo Bar closed.
March got underway with Wellington's Out in the Square day of LGBT fun in the centre of the capital. Air New Zealand went "away with the fairies" again to Sydney Mardi Gras, where an estimated over 300,000 people watched the biggest Mardi Gras Parade ever. Back home, Urge bar's Mr. NZ Bear winner was a "grizzly", and a community meeting decided unanimously to end Auckland's long-running Hero Festival.
The NZ Blood Service specified that men who have had sex with a man anytime the last five years still cannot donate blood (a reduction from the previous ten years), a few days before the New Zealand AIDS Foundation acknowledged that the number of people diagnosed with HIV in 2008 had been the highest ever recorded in New Zealand.
Elsewhere, Sweden and the US state of Vermont approved same-sex marriages, Australia rejected civil unions, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill passed in the USA, Miss California was booed for her anti- gay marriage stance, and six gay men were confirmed killed in Iraq.
May was the month GayNZ.com first went public with community concerns over an HIV positive man who was suspected to have deliberately engaged in unsafe sex, leading to several new infections in his young partners. The police launched an investigation into the man when a formal complaint was lodged, and he was arrested after several more complainants came forward.
New Zealand's OUT! magazine folded after 34 years in print, and Christchurch's Pride Week included a controversial artwork. In global news, a Top Gun star came out, and several gay pride marchers were arrested in Moscow.
The man accused of knowingly exposing his young sex partners to HIV was revealed to be 40-year-old train driver Glenn Mills. Earlier that week, Radio Live host John Tamihere stirred up trouble with an error-ridden commentary on the Mills case, leading to BSA complaints and at least one business owner pulling their advertising.
The three-week jury trial of Ferdinand Ambach began in the Auckland High Court. He was accused of murdering gay Onehunga man Ron Brown, but sought a reduced sentence of manslaughter using the Partial Defence of Provocation, claiming that Brown had made sexual advances towards him leading Ambach to a fit of uncontrollable rage.
Auckland's lesbian museum went public with its cash crisis, Miss Barby Prawne was crowned Queen of the Whole Universe in Wellington, and a gay Auckland couple raced around the country dressed as chickens.
The jury in the Ambach trial decided on a manslaughter verdict, upsetting Ron Brown's family and the MP who wanted the law changed urgently. The government agreed, and the bill to abolish the Provocation Defence, fronted by Labour's Lianne Dalziel, was drawn from the ballot.
Radio Live's John Tamihere and his off-sider Leo Molloy were dealt with by station management over their offensive broadcast about gay men.
In August, LGBT phone counselling service OUTLine NZ revealed that it was struggling financially, Labour MP Chris Carter got little sympathy when he claimed a media fuss over his travel expenses was simply because he was gay, and TVNZ announced Rainbow Youth would get almost $260,000 as a result of Tamati Coffey's victory on Dancing with the Stars.
An eagle-eyed GayNZ.com reader spotted a homophobic stationery product in his local Foodtown - and it was promptly taken off the shelves once we confronted the supermarket giant about it.
Things had gotten worse for OUTLine NZ - its manager was let go as its money ran out, so the community rallied to support the valued service.
Following the devastation of a tsunami in Samoa, K' Road's favourite drag divas also fundraised successfully to help rebuild stricken villages there.
Also in the news: 170 gathered in Auckland for a Takataapui HIV hui, Kiwi trans icon Carmen was controversially left with very little money following her Wellington birthday party fundraiser, and a glitter artist paid tribute to Coronation Street's battle-axes.
When the promoters of Auckland's Big Day Out music festival invited Jamaican reggae star Beenie Man, the artist's history of violently anti-gay lyrics led to a wave of protest against the singer's visit. The Big Day Out quickly cancelled Beenie Man's invitation to Auckland and several cities across Australia.
In other news, a newly-available HIV home-testing kit worried the NZ AIDS Foundation, a young gay ex-Exclusive Brethren member told us about leaving the isolationist church, and Parliament abolished the Partial Defence of Provocation - aka the 'Gay Panic Defence'.
As the year drew to a close, Rainbow Youth revealed its new-look drop-in centre, a free sexual health clinic opened in Wellington, and it was HIV+ support network Body Positive's turn to reveal its financial woes.
Elsewhere in the world, Wales rugby legend Gareth Thomas came out as gay, Houston, Texas, elected a lesbian mayor, and a McDonald's manager in Florida was fired after he told a transgender jobseeker "we do not hire faggots".
Lastly, we're hoping that two female albatrosses who are together waiting for their egg to hatch will start 2010 with a healthy chick. You go girls!