TOP PICKS: The Best LGBTQ Events This Weekend

Best known for her Bounce music , Big Freedia will be headlining the Slay Ball this Friday.

Best known for her bounce music, Big Freedia will be headlining the Slay Ball this Friday.

FRIDAY EVENTS

Power 99 Presents: The Slay Ball Featuring Big Freedia
9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
2300 Arena, 2300 South Swanson Street; over 21.

Billed as “the Ultimate pride party,” bounce music artist Big Freedia will headlining a show hosted by popular gay
Power 99 FM and morning show host Mutha Knows. TICKETS Read more »

Philly LGBTQ Community Turns Out En Masse to Thwart Tiny Group of Westboro Baptist Church Protesters



What was expected to be a large demonstration by the Westboro Baptist Church protesting LGBTQ members entering the Mazzoni Center instead became a huge pride block party. As previously reported, local LGBTQ organizers planned to host a Great Wall of Love demonstration intended to peacefully guard people from the potential insults hurled by the controversial Westboro Baptist Church. At roughly 1 p.m. outside of the Mazzoni Center at 801 Locust street, fewer than 10 Westboro Baptist Church protesters were met by a crowd of around 2,000 LGBTQ members and allies who carried various signs calling for equality and love.

“They were not ready for all the love we slayed them with,” said Joan Carson. Carson, 29, is a DNC visitor who heard about the event on social media. “I’m not from here, but it’s clear that Westboro Baptist Church’s hate for queer people is nationwide.” Read more »

DNC NEWS: HRC Staffer Will Be First Openly Transgender Convention Speaker

Photo by Jared Brey

Photo by Jared Brey

On Thursday, Sarah McBride will be the first openly transgender person to speak at a Democratic or Republican national convention.

Sarah McBride, the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, will be the first transgender convention speaker for a major American political party. “I’m honored for this opportunity to share my story and to be the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention,” McBride said in a press statement. “People must understand that even as we face daily harassment, tragic violence, and an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ political attacks across the country, we are real people merely seeking to be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves.” McBride — also a Trans United for Hillary steering committee member — will speak on Thursday, the last day of the DNC, on issues pertaining to the recent triumph, obstacles, and policies affecting the transgender community. The DNC has seen the highest number of openly transgender delegates — 27 — it has ever had. This increased visibility of transgender representation at the DNC is in stark contrast to what’s been called the GOP’s most anti-LGBTQ party platform in history at last week’s Republican National Convention. The current DNC proposed platform calls for comprehensive nondiscrimination laws, active opposition of anti-LGBTQ bills, combatting anti-transgender violence, and a more global call to action for LGBTQ equality.

Today, members of the community will peacefully block Westboro Baptist Church protesters from picketing the Mazzoni Center.

Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial anti-LGBTQ group, plans to protest transgender individuals who frequent the Mazzoni Center. As word began to spread that they were making an appearance in Philly during the DNC, local organizers banded together to plan a “Great Wall of Love” to peacefully shield the protesters from disturbing the LGBTQ individuals who seek mental, clinical, and social support at the facility. “We plan to shut down hate with love,” said Deja Lynn Alvarez, a trans activist who helped to organize the event. “We the organizers of the Great Wall of Love want to show the world our community is made up of love that isn’t what every community church and family is made up of.”

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. outside Mazzoni, at 809 Locust Street. Organizers are informing those who plan to participate that this isn’t a counter-protest to Westboro Baptist Church, and therefore they do not encourage participants to directly engage with the insensitive remarks that are likely to be made. Mazzoni Center, local city officials, and the Philadelphia Police Department has been informed of the event, but are not actively involved with the operations of it.

LGBTQ&A: Sharron Cooks

Sharron Cooks

Sharron Cooks

Sharron Cooks is a trans woman activist of color and the founder and CEO of Making Our Lives Easier LLC. We chatted with her about her community-building and being the only trans woman of color delegate participating in the Democratic National Convention.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have a B.A in philosophy from Arcadia University, with a focus on ethics. I’m the founder and CEO of Making Our Lives Easier LLC, which is a consulting firm that provides quality resources and information to underrepresented communities through activism, advocacy, community organizing, and political advising. I work in community relations at the Educational Justice Charter School, which is an initiative that aims to provide an accepting, safe educational environment for students and an interdisciplinary learning experience in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, math, and community service. It was my years of volunteerism at the William Way LGBT Community Center that helped me realize and understand the strong impact that giving back to the community has on both the giver and the receiver. Read more »

The Ultimate LGBTQ DNC Guide

Democratic National Convention is from Monday, July 25 thru Thursday, July 29.

MONDAY EVENTS

National Legal Panel
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
National Museum of American Jewish History (Dell Theater)
101 South Independence Mall East (5th and Market streets)

The Equality Forum hosts a conversation around LGBTQ laws and policies with a panel of legal experts and activists fighting for equal rights. SCOTUS marriage equality plaintiff Jim Obergefell will be in the room to sign copies of his book, Love Wins. This event is free and open to the public. Read more »

Brian Sims: Mike Pence’s Anti-LGBT Views Would Further Divide Us

Brian Sims, Mike Pence

Brian Sims, Mike Pence

This is an opinion piece by Pennsylvania Representative Brian Sims.

No Gays Allowed.”

Governor Mike Pence proudly signed into law legislation that allowed business to refuse service or discriminated against LGBT Americans. Yes — the Mike Pence who is Donald Trump’s running mate and the most extreme pick for vice president in a generation.

As Governor, Mike Pence used his leadership to alienate businesses and divide communities with his spiteful actions against the LGBT community when he spearheaded this discriminatory legislation. The law allowed people to continue spreading hatred, deny services and discriminate against LGBT Americans.  Read more »

TOP PICKS: The Best LGBTQ Events This Weekend

The Tinder Show returns with a comedic take on the popular gay app, Grinder.

The Tinder Show returns with a comedic take on the popular gay app, Grindr.

FRIDAY EVENTS

FurFloat 2016!
11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Bucks County River Country, 2 Walters Lane, Point Pleasant, Pa.; over 21.

The Philly Regional Bears plan to meet at Bucks Country River Country and want you to spend the afternoon with them floating back! For those gays who love their men hairier than ever, this bear-filled event is up your ally. Read more »

Latinx Queer Community Leaders Air Concerns Over Philly4Pulse

Gayborhood sign

On Thursday, July 21st, the Gayborhood’s most popular bars are sponsoring a charity event to support the victims of the tragic Pulse Nightclub shootings in Orlando. Philly4Pulse promises to feature local celebrities tending bar, dance parties, drag, Quizzo, karaoke, and more as a way “to bring our community together.” However, some leaders from the Latinx queer community feel that their constituencies have been left out.

According to press releases and interviews, the Philly4Pulse organizing committee began working on the event as early as June 14th. But representatives of both GALAEI and the Gran Varones, two well-known local Latinx queer organizations, say they were invited to participate only a week ago. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: Trans Murder Victim Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds Remembered

Dee Dee Dodds, courtesy of Facebook.

Dee Dee Dodds, via Facebook.

Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds’s murder brings this year’s toll of reported trans women’s deaths to 15.

On Saturday, friends and family paid their respects to the life of black trans woman Deeiquia “Dee Dee” Dodds who was murdered in Washington, D.C. Dodds, 22, was shot on July 4th near her home and died after spending nine days on life support. “This is Dee Dee neighborhood … everyone knew her,” Janiyah Littman, one of Dodd’s friends, told the press during the vigil. “Like, she always went somewhere, like she didn’t go too far.” It was also made known during the vigil that Dodd was a sex worker, a common occupation for working-class trans women who face employment discrimination. It is currently unknown whether her profession was connected to her murder; no suspects have been announced. Police are still investigating what exactly happened and whether she was the victim of a hate crime. The rate of murders of trans women has risen alarmingly this year. Even more disturbing is that there seems to be a particular trend of them being of color, with many of the reported 15 murdered so far have been identified as either black or Latina. Read more »

LGBTQ&A: Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca

Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca

Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca

Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca is an afro-Latinx activist and creator of The Gran Varones storytelling project. We got to chat with him about founding the project, combatting racism in the Gayborhood, and once living with the legendary Gloria Casarez.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a huge Mariah fan. She reminds me not to take life too seriously. She gets a lot of flak for being “wacky,” but I love it. I guess my fandom for her is evident when I am asked to tell you about me but I start talking about Mariah.

So Mariah is definitely your fave … what about you?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and I grew up Mormon. When I was baptized at age 15, all my queer friends attended. The Elders loved them, though. They kept saying “Louie, this is the greatest baptism ever!” I quit the church after a friend of mine, who was also a young queer Mormon, overheard the leader’s daughter call us “faggots.” He begged me to keep quiet but I couldn’t. So in the middle of service, I stood up and said “Did you call me a faggot, bitch?” Lawd, everyone in that church clutched their pearls. I was reprimanded and no one ever addressed her calling us “faggots.” That was my last day at church. So yeah, I was pretty much always an outspoken queen. Of course, my tactics and style have changed — a little — but I was always that friend who you tell anything to because I’d go the hell off. Read more »

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