imageComedian targets Willow Palin, aircraft carrier commander sails hot water for onboard video taunts, trans writer Jenny Boylan revisits childhood home, gay teen TV characters on the rise, Ugandan court bans media outings, and more LGBT headlines.

More gay characters popping up on teen TV. As it becomes more common for teenagers to tell others that they are gay or lesbian, there is also a growing number of characters on shows geared toward teens (top photos) going through the same thing.

North Carolina council member makes it worse. When hearing that colleagues might censure him for calling gay people “predators” then refusing to apologize, Mecklenberg County Commissioner Bill James went further, likening gays to “pedophiles,” too.

image Kathy Griffin going after Willow Palin. The comedian avoided cursing on Anderson Cooper’s New Year’s Eve show (second photo), but she vowed to take down Willow Palin for her use of gay slurs on Facebook. “You don’t throw around the [“faggot”] word without hearing from me about it,” Griffin said.

Ugandans win damages over newspaper’s gay outing article. Three plaintiffs identified among 100 people as gay in the “Hang Them” cover story were awarded about $600 each and a court injunction against similar stories in the future when a high court judge ruled that the story, which printed addresses and photographs of some, violated their constitutional rights to privacy and safety.

image Navy investigates commander for gay-bashing video. While serving as executive officer of the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, Capt. Owen Honors (third photo) broadcast a video on the ship’s closed circuit television system of himself taunting suspected gay crew members, using gay slurs, simulating sex acts, and discussing shower sex. He was later promoted to Commanding Officer, considered a pathway to Admiral ranking, before the videos were leaked.

Pope Benedict blesses anti-gay marriage mass in Spain. Tens of thousands attended the Sunday Mass in Madrid conducted by the local archbishop and cardinal, who attacked the government’s liberal policies that include legalized same-sex unions. The pope sent a message of support.

image Transgender writer Jennifer Finney Boylan returns to childhood home. The celebrated writer (fourth photo) of the memoir “She’s Not There” among other books recalled her days doing homework at the estate as a boy wearing a bra and skirt behind locked doors.

Indiana court throws out gay teen license plate challenge. The ACLU was suing the state because a group was twice denied permission for the fundraising plates. Despite the lawsuit denial, the youth group plans to apply for a third time.

image Hopes for gay rights gains shift to courts. With the new Republican-led Congress taking its seats this week, the economy should push social change into the legislative background. Challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act by plaintiffs like Betty Jo Green and Jo Ann Whitehead (bottom photo), as well as efforts to overturn the ban on gay men giving blood, will take place in the courts.

Banner gay year in the Americas. The Americas quarterly counts down the 20 biggest shifts toward gay rights, from HIV tourism changes and DADT repeal in the U.S., to Castro’s neice marching in a Cuban Pride parade, to gay marriage in South America and Mexico, and more.