It’s been almost a year since I started blogging for G Philly, and what a mind-blowing 12 months it’s been. In that time I’ve been fortunate enough to report on all kinds of game-changing events in the LGBT community — from the downfall of DOMA to marriage equality passing in six more U.S. states, including two that border us. But besides all the stuff that’s happening in the world at large, it’s been a pretty exciting year in Philly, too. In April Councilman Jim Kenney and his team passed the LGBT Equality Bill that pretty much did everything but legalize marriage in our City of Brotherly Love. Local State Rep Brian Sims has gone into his first year on the House of Representatives with guns a blazing, introducing a same-sex marriage act and fighting for the state’s much-needed LGBT non-discrimination bill.
There have been some rough patches, too (hello, Michael Griffin and Martha Graham Cracker), but it’s all made for a year that’s generated important conversation about where we’re headed as a community. And if you ask me, the inevitable answer is up, up, up. I feel blessed to have been part of all the hoopla this year, and I’m thrilled to be returning for what will hopefully be an even-more-exciting 2014.
Below, for the sake of reflection, I've listed the year's 10 most popular Philly-centric posts on G Philly. Feel free to click around, reminisce and share some of your favorite moments in the comments section below. Thanks so much for stopping by. Your support means the world to all of us involved here at G Philly.
10. GAYBORHOOD BATHHOUSE READIES FOR ITS GRAND RE-OPENING
Bathhouse mogul Chris Srnicek took G Philly reporter Brandon Baker inside Club Philadelphia prior to its grand opening in May. For the first time, we were made aware of all the new renovations, including updated bathrooms, a new dungeon and a suspiciously named "slurp ramp." “I’m trying to build porn sex — shit you can’t do at home," Srnicek told us. "That’s what I’ve learned in 10 years [in the business]. If someone wanted to just go out for hotel sex, they wouldn’t need to come here.”
9. WHAT STRAIGHT GUYS REALLY THINK ABOUT US
In this piece from the Summer 2014 issue of G Philly, straight writer Joseph van Dusen attempts to answer a question that's undoubtedly crossed all of our minds: What do straight guys really think about gay guys? Are they paranoid we’re trying to seduce them? Are they jealous of our relationships with their girlfriends? Do they ever secretly wonder … what if? It's a riveting, somewhat sexy read.
8. SISTERS NIGHTCLUB CLOSES
Manager Denise Cohen broke the unfortunate news on her Facebook wall that the Gayborhood's only lesbian bar, Sisters, was shuttered after 17 years.
7. PHILLY GUY MAKES LIST OF BEST NSFW HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
Philly rapper Steve Cizzle was included in a roundup of NSFW Halloween costumes for his skimpy, ultra-sexy Captain America getup. I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw this one made the list, but our male readers (and maybe a few straight allies and bi ladies) love a good skin shot.
6. PA SCHOOL TEACHER SAYS HE WAS FIRED, BECAUSE "I'M GAY"
The most recent story to make it on our Top 10 list is the one about Michael Griffin, the gay teacher who was fired from Holy Ghost Prep for getting a license to marry his partner Vin. The story spread all over the place after it was posted, and spawned all kinds of commentary from bloggers around the globe. In the end, Griffin never got his job back but I'm happy to report that he and his partner went ahead with their wedding plans on Dec. 19.
5. 10 PHOTOS FROM NAKED BIKE RIDE 2013
Local photographer Rob Lybeck shared 10 of his favorite shots from Philly's fifth-annual Naked Bike Ride.
4. PHILLY'S FIRST MASTURBATE-A-THON KICKS OFF TOMORROW
Screwsmart and GALAEI teamed up for this amaze-balls charity event that asked people to pleasure themselves as much as they can through the month of May. The story spread like wildfire and made us take notice of the outside-the-box work Executive Director Elicia Gonzales and team are doing at GALAEI. The event ended up raising $1,600-plus, and we gave Gonzales the 2013 Hero award in our Best of the Gayborhood and Beyond issue.
3. THE TRAGIC STORY OF LOCAL PORN STAR JOEY STEFANO
Writer Brandon Baker wrote this juicy read in our Summer 2013 issue, chronicling the rise and spiraling fall of power-bottom porn icon Joey Stefano. In it he chats with Hollywood director Chad Darnell (Spider-Man, Lost), who's been working to turn Stefano's story into a two-hour indie biopic that's slated (fingers crossed) to be released in February.
2. BRIAN SIMS TO INTRODUCE PENNSYLVANIA MARRIAGE EQUALITY BILL IN HOUSE
Philly State Rep. Brian Sims struck while the iron was hot, announcing that he would introduce a marriage equality bill in the PA House only a day after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. He eventually made good on his promise when he and State Rep. Steve McCarter introduced the measure live from Philly's Love Park (aw.)
1. THE PLAYER: THE NFL'S (ALMOST) FIRST OUT PLAYER
The gay Internet went nuts (here, here, and here to name a few) for our story (written by Malcolm Burnley and published in the Winter 2013 issue) about Dorien Bryant, the cocky Purdue footballer who barely missed his chance to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and become the world's first openly gay pro-sports player.