The latest episode of Philly-produced radio talk show Fresh Air finds host Terry Gross chatting with legendary gay advocate George Takei. It’s a good listen. The Star Trek alum delves into his reasons for not coming out until he was 68 years old, his years in a Japanese internment camp, and how he transitioned into becoming one of our most outspoken celebrity champions for gay rights. A blip about his coming out:
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia characters Mac, Charlie, Sweet Dee, Dennis, and Frank have concocted a get-rich-quick scheme: a self-help book, and it’s getting published in real life. According to the Amazon page‚ The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today finds “The Gang” sharing advice on everything from relationships, career, fashion, and financial success. Here’s a description explaining the background.
Left alone to close down Paddy’s Pub one night, Charlie Kelly inadvertently scored himself, and his friends, the opportunity of a lifetime—a book deal with a real publishing company, real advance money, and a real(ly confused) editor. While his actual ability to read and write remains unclear, Charlie sealed the deal with some off-the-cuff commentary on bird law and the nuances of killing rats (and maybe with the help of some glue fumes in the basement with an unstable editor on a bender). While The Gang is stunned by the news, and the legally binding, irrevocable contract left on the bar, they are also ready to rise to the task and become millionaires—and of course, help Charlie actually write the book.
In their own inimitable voices, Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Sweet Dee, and Frank weigh in on important topics like Relationships, Financial Success and Career, Fashion and Personal Grooming, Health and Diet, and Survival Skills, providing insane advice, tips, tricks, and recipes (Rum Ham anyone?) as only they can.
It’s not due to hit shelves till January 6th, but you can pre-order it on Amazon here.
It only takes a scroll down your Instagram feed to realize that Philly is rife with LGBT sports. Whether it be kickball, dodgeball, or flag football, leagues are abounding, but, with little support from the City, many are struggling to find reliable playing venues and resources to keep them running efficiently.
Enter the next evolution of Philly LGBT sports: William Way’s newly formed Out Philadelphia Athletic League (OPAL)
Last week board members of the William Way voted to take on OPAL, an initiative created by six local sports enthusiasts that aims to establish a 501c3-eligible umbrella organization for all Philly LGBT sports teams.
William Way Community Center‘s IndiGoGo party was everything I hoped it would be. For the first time, the annual fundraiser brought together 11 Philly party producers who put on a hell of a shindig Saturday night at Underground Arts. The affair took up five (Six? I lost count) rooms within the Loft District venue—each featuring DJs, circus performers, go-go dancers, and there was even one where you could get spanked by porn star Colby Keller.
It truly is Christmas in July for eight local LGBT non-profits who will benefit from a $32,000 grant from Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF.) The money will be divided between each organization, and used to fund a specific program within each group. DVLF Executive Director Samantha Giusti tells me the money comes from the organization’s 2014 LGBTQ Emerging Needs Grant. Benefactors are chosen by a panel of community members “who have a diverse array of lived experience and professional knowledge in a variety areas” based on best practices, benchmarks, outcomes, and financials, she says.
This year’s recipients are:
- American Civil Liberties Union of PA: LGBT Equality and African American Communities Project
- Attic Youth Center: Mental Health Program for LGBT Youth and their Families
- College of Physicians of Philadelphia: Out4Stem Program
- GO! Athletes: Strategic Plan for Pilot Mentorship Program
- Kimmel Center, Inc: It Gets Better Project
- LGBT Elder Initiative: LGBTEI Conversation Series
- Mazzoni Center: Sisterly L.O.V.E
- Valley Youth House: Pride Housing
“Every year I am more impressed by the ingenuity displayed by our community members at creating innovative programming to meet emerging needs faced by LGBTQ people in our region,” says Giusti. “Less than .3 percent of the over 50 billion given annually by U.S. foundations goes to LGBTQ issues. It’s a grave statistic as it is neither representative of the size of our community nor it’s need. With these grants we hope that we can be responsive to the the emerging needs in our community.”
This week Equality Pennsylvania kicked off a six-week tour across the state—from Lancaster to State College to Springfield—to drum up support for house and senate bills 300, legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or identity.
The tour launch comes during an important week in LGBT history. On Monday, President Obama signed a kickass executive order that protects LGBT federal workers across the country against discrimination. It’s high time we do the same thing to all workers in Pennsylvania.
Former G Philly editor-in-chief and burgeoning local painter Natalie Hope McDonald is in a bit of a pickle this morning. It seems one of her paintings—a 12×12 abstract piece titled We Only Had Silence—was stolen from the William Way’s Homecoming auction. She donated it to the Center’s Homecoming auction in June.
This morning she posted a message on her Facebook wall asking, “if you know someone who has it, or if you know anything about what may have happened, please let me know. And if you do have the piece, please don’t destroy it. I ask that you drop it off at the center—no questions asked.”
If you have leads, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Jersey’s Equality PA equivalent Garden State Equality (GSE) made history this week when it named Andrea “Andy” Bowen executive director. The position makes Bowen the nation’s first openly transgender executive director of a statewide organization for LGBT civil rights.
Bowen comes to GSE from Washington D.C., where she worked as the social policy organizer with the D.C. Trans Coalition, and policy expert for the National Center for Transgender Equality. In these roles she played an integral part in getting key legislation passed for the LGBT community, including a bill that allows transgender people to change their birth certificates and names, and she helped spearhead a movement that ensured D.C. health insurance policies covered many trans-specific health care needs.
It’s been too long since we’ve had a Philadelphia queen on RuPaul’s Drag Race, but chances are high our dry spell will end next season. I chatted up a blogger from Drag Official at Tabu last night, who has it on good authority that local-bred drag diva Misty Maven (aka Josh Plock) will be on season seven of the show.
It’s hard to verify such things, since all the contestants are sworn to secrecy. There is one tell-tale sign, however: Facebook. Maven’s page might as well have tumbleweeds blowing across it. Besides the occasional “Kween text me,” or “Just dropping by to say I missed you, girl” messages from friends, the queen in question hasn’t posted a thing since March 14th. Her alter ego, Josh Plock, has been silent, too. Maybe she’s just a terrible Facebooker? It’s possible, but my guess is that girl’s busy filming a reality show.