PCHR Gayborhood Racism Report Recommends Bias Training for Bars, Nonprofits

The commission’s findings confirm that racism in the city's LGBTQ community is “a disturbing reality for many.”
Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

On Monday, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) released its long-awaited report on racism in the Gayborhood. In the report — “Inform, Monitor, Enforce: Addressing Racism and Discrimination in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ Community” — PCHR confirms that racial discrimination in the community has been prevalent for decades.

Inform, Monitor, Enforce: Addressing Racism and Discrimination in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ Community by PhiladelphiaMagazine on Scribd

Here are PCHR’s key findings:

  1. Inclusion in the Gayborhood — LGBTQ people of color, women, and transgender people often feel unwelcome and unsafe in Gayborhood spaces.
  2. Ongoing issues of racism — Racism and discrimination have been ongoing problems within Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community for decades.
  3. Ad hoc policies support discrimination — The business practices of many of the bars in the Gayborhood are the source of numerous reports of racism and discrimination.
  4. Questionable employment policies — Current and past employees of certain LGBTQ social service agencies report patterns of discrimination relating to the agencies’ employment practices.

Here were PCHR’s key recommendations:

  1. Bar owners and staff must receive training on the City of Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance and implicit bias.
  2. Board members, directors, management and staff of the Mazzoni Center and Philadelphia FIGHT must receive training on the Fair Practices Ordinance and implicit bias.
  3. The Independent Business Alliance (IBA), Greater Philadelphia’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, should create a training that provides leadership development for prospective and/or new board members.
  4. Nonprofits that receive city funding to provide services to the LGBTQ community must conform to the non-discrimination provisions of the Fair Practices Ordinance and the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) requirements included in their professional service contracts with the City of Philadelphia.

Notable highlights from the report include a direct call for the Mazzoni Center and Philadelphia FIGHT, two major local HIV/AIDS nonprofits, to receive training on the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance and implicit bias. Neither the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs nor its director, Nellie Fitzpatrick, was referenced in the report.

PCHR commissioners, Mayor Jim Kenney, and PCHR executive director Rue Landau made remarks at the press conference, which was held in the Mayor’s reception room at City Hall. Fitzpatrick did not speak during the conference and was not available for comment afterwards.

G Philly filmed the entire press conference:

Members of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, who protested adamantly for an official city response to Gayborhood racism, gave remarks to the press following the conference:

UPDATE: Independence Business Alliance (IBA) released a formal statement via their Facebook page on cooperating with PCHR’s recommendations: