LGBTQ&A: Anthony Leon

Anthony Leon

Anthony Leon

Anthony Leon is the youth education manager at Mazzoni Center and a member of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs. We chatted with the queer Latinx community leader on improving LGBTQ issues within government institutions and what he’s looking forward to after the recent leadership changes at Mazzoni.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I moved to Philadelphia in 2013 after lip-syncing for my life in front of my best friend (and former boss) Louie Ortiz and a few others at Mazzoni Center. I was born in NYC and grew up there as a kid. My family moved to Lancaster shortly before I started high school. When I’m not working as the youth education manager at Mazzoni, I can be found hanging out with friends in North Philly or inboxing Louie a funny GIF. Louie and I also work on the Gran Varones (a project that highlights the experiences and stories of Latino gay and queer men) whenever he is in town. Currently, I’m wrapping things up at work and getting ready to start law school in August. Read more »

OPINION: Brian Sims, Stop Chasing the National Spotlight and Focus on the Gayborhood

State Rep. Brian Sims

State Rep. Brian Sims

If you frequent the Gayborhood, by now you’re aware of the ongoing conversations surrounding racial discrimination in the community. You’re most likely also familiar with the recent turmoil at the community’s leading LGBTQ nonprofit, Mazzoni Center. Regardless of your personal thoughts on these issues, you can’t ignore the impact both have had on the Gayborhood.

But oddly enough, it doesn’t appear as though our only openly gay state legislator finds these issues worthy of urgent concern. State Rep. Brian Sims, whose legislative district encompasses the Gayborhood, has been curiously hands-off when it comes to engaging in these public disputes in his own backyard. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: Queer Performances of Color

Queer Performances of Color is Friday, April 28th.

Queer Performances of Color is Friday, April 28th.

For its diverse lineup of entertainment and intersectional inclusion, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is Queer Performances of Color. This edition’s theme is “This Is Us,” as your favorite queer performers show “unity and solidarity against the racism and discrimination happening in the Gayborhood.” Guests can expect performances from Kitty Devereaux, Zsa Zsa St. James, WORDZ The Poet Emcee, and many more. Special guest speaker is G Philly’s Ernest Owens. The event kicks off at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28th, at CiBo Ristorante Italiano, 1227 Walnut Street. Free admission with option to donate to the performers. Read more »

OPINION: Trump’s First 100 Days Weren’t a Damn Comedy

trump, syria

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, April 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This Saturday, Donald Trump will be celebrating his 100th day as the 45th president of the United States.

So far, there’s been no action on impeachment, Congress continues to operate per usual, and the country hasn’t exactly turned itself upside down. And while we still haven’t seen Trump’s tax returns, got to the bottom of his suspicious ties with Russia, or figured out his health-care plan, it appears as though he would have been our top pick regardless. Read more »

Meet the Activist Who Protested Mazzoni With an HIV Meds Strike

Abdul-Aliy Muhammad. Photography by Louie Ortiz-Fonseca.

Abdul-Aliy Muhammad. Photography by Louie Ortiz-Fonseca.

Last Friday afternoon, after Mazzoni Center’s board of directors publicly reaffirmed its support of CEO/executive director Nurit Shein following a walkout by half of the nonprofit’s 138 full-time staffer members over concerns with her leadership, former Mazzoni employee and patient Abdul-Aliy Muhammad publicly vowed to refuse their HIV medication until she stepped down.

Just three days later, on Monday morning, Mazzoni announced a huge leadership shakeup — both Shein and board president Dr. Jimmy Ruiz had resigned. The organization has not commented on the reasons behind the board’s decision, but it would be hard to believe that Muhammad’s stance — which had already begun to gain national attention — had no part to play in the outcome. Read more »

Bill Prompted by Gayborhood Racism Complaints Passes Out of Committee

Councilman at Large, Derek S. Green, Esq.

Councilman at Large Derek S. Green

On Monday, an anti-discrimination bill introduced by Councilman Derek Green that would strengthen penalties against Philadelphia businesses that discriminate against their employees, tenants, or customers passed unanimously out of Council’s Health and Human Services committee.

In a public statement, Green said that he was prompted to introduce the bill by “public outcry about discrimination in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood and release of a video showing a business owner employing racial slurs.” Read more »

More Than 60 Mazzoni Staffers Walk Out, Call on CEO Nurit Shein to Resign

Mazzoni Center staff members during a walkout. Photo by Ernest Owens

Mazzoni Center staff members during a walkout. Photo by Ernest Owens

A week after Dr. Robert Winn resigned as Mazzoni Center’s medical director following reports that he was the subject of an investigation, more than 60 full-time staffers of the nonprofit are now calling for executive director/CEO Nurit Shein to step down.

“Nurit Shein, resign!” said Anthony Leon, a youth education manager at Mazzoni, at the conclusion of a PCHR-mandated organization-wide training session on racial bias on Thursday morning. Staff members began to confront Shein over what they claimed was her lack of transparency surrounding the allegations against Dr. Winn and other internal issues. Former Mazzoni staff members were also present during the confrontation. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: 2017 Transgender HIV Awareness Day

Wednesday is National Transgender HIV Awareness Day.

Wednesday is National Transgender HIV Awareness Day.

For its civic timeliness and community-building vibe, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is 2017 Transgender HIV Awareness Day. Recognize this significant day of advocacy with a full lineup of tributes, receptions, and live performances. There is a cash bar with snacks, and proceeds from the entire event go to the Philly AIDS Fund. Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs Sharron Cooks will give a keynote address and serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19th, at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. This event is free and open to the public. Read more »

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