Nellie Fitzpatrick, director of the Office of LGBT Affairs. (Screen capture from Philly 311 video)
Two weeks after the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) released its report on Gayborhood racism, two sources have told G Philly that Nellie Fitzpatrick will soon leave her position as the executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs.
“There has been a transitional phase for her to exit out of the role within the next few weeks,” said a city employee who works closely with the Office of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (which oversees the Office of LGBT Affairs) and who requested anonymity. “There has been a search for someone to fill the role, with a strong emphasis on diverse candidates. … I believe they have finally found that person, [and] she’s black.”
“The next LGBT Affairs liaison will be a black queer woman and will be there by the spring … I was told by this person of her selection not too long ago,” said a source who says they are a close friend of the new liaison and who also requested anonymity. The source described Fitzpatrick’s replacement as being in her 30s and local, and someone who has done community-based work. “Folks know her and will be very pleased,” they added.
On Friday, G Philly paid a visit to the Mayor’s Office for the city’s reaction to the sources’ information. A spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the reports, and simply said, “I have nothing to say on that matter.” During the same visit, a staff member at the front desk of the Office of LGBT Affairs told me Fitzpatrick was not in for the day. Reached again on Monday, the Mayor’s Office had no further comment. Fitzpatrick has not returned a request for comment.
Fitzpatrick has been the target of frequent criticism from community activists of color over the past year due to her alleged failure to proactively address Gayborhood racism. In October 2016, LGBTQ protesters disrupted an award reception in her honor at the Hard Rock Cafe shortly after the Black and Brown Workers Collective (BBWC) called for her resignation. Later that month, Fitzpatrick, along with Mayor Jim Kenney, was called out by protesters during the Outfest flag-raising ceremony for being politically connected to Gayborhood bars accused of racial discrimination. In November 2016, a Change.org petition circulated with more than 200 signatories calling for the Mayor to replace her with a person of color.