13 #GayPhilly Instagrams You Should See This Week: Who Went Purple for #SpiritDay

Yesterday, GLAAD hosted a nationwide campaign called #SpiritDay, where it asked people to “go purple” as way to stand up against bullying and to show support for LGBT youth. Millions took part, including a nice spattering of folks right here in Philly. Locally, we had everyone from politicians to community leaders to entire kickball teams donning purple for the cause. I round up some of the ones who crossed my radar below:

Throwback Thursday: Early Transgender Activist and Co-Founder of William Way Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Every week I take a trip down memory lane in William Way Community Center’s John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives, a veritable treasure trove of relics from gay Philadelphia’s past. This week, archivist—and author of The Gayborhood Guru—Bob Skiba shares photos of Tommi Avicolli Mecca taken in the 1970s and 1980s. Skiba tells me that “Tommi was an early activist here, one of the founders of the Gay Community Center (which later became William Way) and the Archives, and a trans activist.”

Out in Theaters: Matthew Warchus’s Pride is the Most Enjoyable LGBT Film of the Year

pride movie gay

While many of us were gaga over Meryl Streep’s performance of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, that film did little to shine a critical light on the real-life Maggie. Her conservative clutches kept much of Great Britain in a state of crisis for years, something that came to a head during the U.K. miners strike of 1984 and 1985. For almost an entire year, hard-working British miners held strong with their union as they went on strike to protest the closing of twenty coal mines—and the doubling of the U.K.’s unemployment rate.

What’s so gay about that, you ask? Keep reading …

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Four Penn Medicine Hospitals Named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality


Ever wonder where you’d go if you came down with a sudden case of the ills?

Four hospitals in the Penn Medicine network—Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and Chester County Hospital—were named 2014 Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

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INTERVIEW: Melissa Etheridge On Becoming a Gay Icon, Defeating Breast Cancer, and Why You Should Bring an Extra T-Shirt to Her Concert

Melissa Etheridge

“There’s an exchange of energy and spirit between the audience and myself,” says Melissa Etheridge, the iconic singer/songwriter who is bringing her “This Is M.E.” tour to Philadelphia in November. “For some people, it’s the only spiritual thing they do: go to a concert to move, to feel.” Read more »

Woman Crush Wednesday: The Mazzoni Center’s Samantha Jo-Dato

Every hump day a Philly person shares their local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today, local mover and shaker Samantha Jo Dato, who works at the Mazzoni Center to organize the annual Philadelphia Trans-Health ConferenceShe will soon publish a testimonial journal called Sami Jo Shattered Perfect, which she “hopes will reach trans* people near and far and inspire them to transform their narratives of struggle into stories of major success.”

Our Last Five Woman Crush Wednesdays:

9 Gay Things to Do in Philly This Week: A Celebration of Gay Black Art and Culture, QOTA at Noir, the Dumpsta Players Latest, and More

Philly Artist Paints Only Authorized Portrait of Chelsea Manning

chelsea manning

You’ve likely seen the above image of Chelsea Manning that’s accompanied nearly every story of her since it was announced that she was transitioning. Manning was never happy with the image and the way it portrayed her, so she and supporters set out to find an alternative, something to send to the media that reflects her in a better, more realistic light.

The answer? A portrait by a relatively unknown Philadelphia artist and UArts grad named Alicia Neal. But it wasn’t going to be an easy job. A detailed article on theverge.com explains:

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Tie-the-Knot Tuesday: Melissa Cooper and Lauren Schmucker


Every Tuesday, we are featuring a recently wed Philadelphia-area LGBT couple. Today: Melissa Cooper and Lauren Schmucker, who took over The Franklin Institute for their special day. 

Lauren and Melissa dancing under a statue of Benjamin Franklin. | Photo fro Facebook

Lauren and Melissa dancing under a statue of Benjamin Franklin. | Photo from Facebook

Names: Melissa Cooper and Lauren Schmucker

How long have you been together as a couple before you got married?: Our wedding took place on our ninth anniversary.

When did you get married?: October 4, 2014

Describe the experience of your wedding. Where did you get married? Who was there? What was the most memorable part?: Our wedding was a dream come true. We were married at The Franklin Institute, which perfectly reflected our individual interests in science and architecture. Our family and friends were there with us to celebrate our day. There were many memorable moments, from our ceremony under the stars in Fels Planetarium, to the cocktail hour in the new Brain Exhibit, followed by dinner and dancing in front of Ben Franklin himself. Our bridal party ended the night with a rousing rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin”” which we will never forget.

Were there any local businesses that were helpful when you prepared your wedding?:

Want to be featured in a future Tie-the-Knot Tuesday? If you’re a gay or lesbian couple married in Pennsylvania, we want to hear from you. Take our brief survey!

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