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:
GALAEI's Elicia Gonzales looks great in purple, but then again what doesn't she look great in?
@jerseyboydallas's #SpiritDay proclamation came with a message: "I've been bullied since grade school, because my voice was not deep like the other guys in my class, and I was called all sorts of names. But today I stand up to those bullies to say I'm different. We are not all the same, so there is no need for all this. It's immature so grow up!!!"
GALAEI's @thefeverview is repping all kinds of causes: #SpiritDay, transgender issues, and the freedom to wear beanies!
@njrugger45 wore purple for #SpiritDay and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. "I think both observances invite us to ask what experiences of trauma, violence, and/or oppression we can work to heal from so that we do not reenact that violence upon ourselves, our families, and our communities."
"It's always spirit day on the purple team." (Photo by @jabaiocco01)
I don't think this was intentional, but @thatjimkid got his hair died purple on #SpiritDay. And he's rockin' it.
Awww. How could bullying exist in a world with cute puppies like this? (Photo by @edwardbenner)
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.”
Tommi Avicolli Mecca in drag at a Radical Queens drag party held in an apartment on 15th and Spruce. (1972)
Mecca playing with the Masturbatters softball team in 1972.
Mecca (right) with folk singer Anthony Lewis, who was performing at Independence Mall at the 1973 Pride march.
Mecca speaking at a Gay Activists Alliance meeting, pictured also is Marc Monro. (1973)
Gay Activists Alliance forum on drag by Radical Queens, the first transgender group in Philly. (1973)
First gay liberation conference at University of Pennsylvania. (1974)
Mecca in a Sissy T-shirt at the 1974 gay-liberation conference at UPenn. He made a impassioned plea for acceptance of transgender folks in the movement and denounced their exclusion.
Shot of an array of activists who fought for the passage of a gay-rights bill in 1974. (It didn't pass.) Standing inside City Hall. (Standing, L-R) Tom Wilson Weinberg, Dennis Rubini, Sheldon Rizen, Philip' Mara, Berna Aaronson, Mark Segal, Barbara Gittings. (Sitting) Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Harry Langhorne.
Gay Pagans and Atheists at a protest of the Catholic Church in New York City for its part in the defeat of a gay rights bill. Pictures: Philip' Marra and Tommi. (1975 or ’76)
Gay Pagans and Atheists party at Gay Community Center on Kater Street in 1975. Tommi Avicolli Mecca in nun drag.
Philip' Mara in pope drag and Tommi in nun drag at Gay Pagans and Atheist party 1975.
Shot of Mecca as a major gay-rights bill passed at City Council in 1982.
One of the most recent gay-themed thrillers on the list, director Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger By the Lake follows young Franck, who picks up Michel at a popular gay-cruising spot. Sparks fly, but there’s one problem: Michel just might be a murderer. Netflix streaming link here.
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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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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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“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 »
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 Conference. She 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.”
Samantha Jo Dato
My name is Samantha, and these are my local picks for #WCW:
Dawn is and elder in the community who moves through the world without prejudices. She has been knocking on doors for her sisters and brothers for over 2o years, and has been a humble, stern fixture in the trans movement of Philadelphia for many people.
Tatyana Ali Woodard
Tatyana is the next generation of activism that moves with intent and purpose while being fashionable at the same time. She started her own fashion house, Xistence, in 2010, and joined Mazzoni Center's Trans* Wellness Project (TWP) in 2014 . Tatyana is a trans women of color to keep an eye on. She has only just begun.
This California transplant delivers real and straight-to-the-point facts to everyone she comes in contact with. Starting with TWP, she has quickly moved up the ladder at Mazzoni Center, where she recently began a new, amazing position in the Legal Department. This is the go-to girl for support and direction in legal matters.
With her enough-is-enough attitude, Deja will get to the bottom of whatever she puts her mind to. As a recent member of the LGBT Police Liaison, she continues to speak on behalf of trans women, dedicated to letting people know that their lives matter.
This GALAEI Trans* Health Information Project (TIP) co-coordinator is one trans women who has—and continues—to give her all, including the shirt off her back to help her sisters make it. With countless years in the field, she has become a safety net to local women in need of service and care.
Cashmere is a writer and peace-maker who is full of laughter, knowledge and compassion. She is telling her story in a book called Thoughts of a Tainted Heart, which will be published by 2015. Check her out on Facebook at Author Cashmere.
Share your Woman Crush Wednesday!
Here are the rules: (1) Name five to 10 ladies you’re crushing on (2) You and all women involved must be from Philadelphia (3) Email your crushes to email@example.com.
Our Last Five Woman Crush Wednesdays:
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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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 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!