Penn Employee Asks University to Reconsider Hosting Anti-Gay Red Cross Blood Drive

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University of Pennsylvania Administrative Coordinator Joseph Hallman was taken back when he received an email from the Penn Professional Staff Assembly (PPSA) announcing that Red Cross would be holding a blood drive on campus. The reason? The Red Cross excludes gay men from donating blood, a touchy topic as the FDA recently endorsed a lifetime gay blood ban. In response to the University’s announcement, Hallman composed an email to the chair of PPSA, expressing his concerns regarding the discriminatory practices of the Red Cross: Read more »

Philanthropy Friday: Nurit Shein On the Mazzoni Center

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Nurit Shein on the Mazzoni Center, the hard-working local organization that aims to “provide quality comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBT-focused environment.”

Nurit Shein, CEO of Mazzoni Center.

Nurit Shein, CEO of Mazzoni Center.

Who are you? I’m Mazzoni Center CEO Nurit Shein, and I’ve been with the organization since 1995. We are Philadelphia’s home for LGBT health, legal, and wellness services. After nearly 20 years I am still excited to get up and go to work every day, because there’s always something new and interesting to dive into. I’m proud of my dynamic and talented staff, who provide caring, quality services and programs to our clients and patients, and have an impact on 35,000 people each year.

When was Mazzoni founded? 1979

What’s Mazzoni’s shining moment, to date? There are so many individual moments that stand out over my tenure here, many of them simple but powerful interactions between staff and clients. But in terms of major milestones, something I am especially proud of was the opportunity we had in February 2012 to partner with The White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in presenting the first White House LGBT Conference on Health. The daylong symposium featured remarks by Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management John Berry, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, among others. It was the inaugural event in a series of conferences around the country specifically focused on LGBT Americans. It was truly a watershed moment, in terms of recognizing the importance of LGBT health. More than 300 health care professionals, community organizers, medical students, and community members from at least 22 states traveled to Philadelphia to attend the conference.

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NJ Transgender Teen Wins Battle to Use Boys Bathroom at His School

New Jersey transgender teen Rubin Smyers is celebrating a battle he won to use the boys bathroom at his school. More from the Asbury Park Press:

smyersRubin Smyers, a junior at Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s Performing Arts Academy, said he was granted access to the boys bathroom this month after school officials previously forced him to use a unisex facility.

Smyers protested the school’s decision by creating a petition that spread through social media and gained the support of nearly 2,000 people.

Smyers [came out as transgender in] 2013 and began using the boys bathroom at school that same year.

It wasn’t until this past May that school officials raised an issue with the bathroom Smyers used. He said the staff was torn over whether he should use the girls or boys dressing room during the school’s Spring Vocal Showcase at Ocean County Community College. …

Smyers said he complied, but decided in October to start the petition and urge the school’s administration to grant him access to the boys bathroom.

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Kemar Jewel Wins First-Ever Mr. Everything Competition

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The 10-week Mr. Everything pageant came to a close last night at Tabu, and the Attic Youth Center‘s Kemar Jewel was crowned winner.

The competition, helmed by Josh Schonewolf, sought to find Philly’s best male-identified performer. Fifteen contestants competed, performing everything from pole-dancing to comedy to testosterone-forward drag in the hopes of becoming the winner. In the end, though, it was Jewel who woo’d judges with his energetic performances and gravity-defying ballroom-dancing skills.

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PHOTOS: IBA’s Annual Holiday Fete

Local LGBT-owned business-championing organization Independence Business Alliance (IBA)  and its Board of Directors hosted its annual holiday celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia last night. Many in our community and our allies of business owners, professionals, corporate and community partners were on hand to toast Greater Philadelphia’s vibrant and successful LGBT business community and chat about what the future holds for them.

The festively dressed guests enjoyed an abundant—and delicious—selection of hors d’oeuvres and light bites at food stations and the cash bar on the 10th floor of the hotel, where guests got a killer view of Philly’s twinkling lights.



Questions Raised After White Guy Wins Mr. SEXO, GALAEI Responds

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year's winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year’s winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

Last week I told you about the 2015 Mr. SEXO winner, Marcous Marchese, who was crowned (or, err, sashed) at Woody’s on Thursday night. I was a little surprised by the  news, considering Marchese is white and the competition was billed as a search for a “gay/queer Latino who is the epitome of sexy.”

The event, now in its second year, is sponsored by PhillyGayCalendar and Philly queer Latin social justice organization GALAEI, so I reached out to Executive Director Elicia Gonzales to see why a white dude took the prize. She told me that, “GALAEI is a queer Latin@ social justice organization. Latinadad is not who we serve but how we serve, so we treat everyone like familia. And we feel the new Mr. SEXO embodies this.”

When I shared the post on Facebook, however, a few readers voiced their opinions about the win. One commenter said, “Not to be rude … but why was a white guy even allowed to enter this competition designed specifically for the Queer Latino community? I’m confused … ”

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WATCH: Gunnar Montana’s Resurrection Room

Philly dancer/choreographer/Instinct model (but we had him first!) Gunnar Montana has released his 2014 FringeArts hit Resurrection Room online. It’s a shame if you didn’t see it in person. The electric, at times unsettling performance was, in my opinion, Montana’s best work yet. It follows a young woman (played by dancer Stephi Lyniece) as she stumbles upon “a world with no rules, no life, no death.” Along the way she meets a series of characters, like robots, demon geishas and a mohawked, hot pink-bearded Montana doing one of the most deliciously twisted pieces of choreography I’ve ever seen. (That starts at around 29:20.)

While the video, made by Nicole Patriarca, doesn’t compare to seeing all this unfold directly in front of you, it’s a worthy next-best option. Check it out above. Revel in the sexy nightmares later.

WATCH: Warwick Rowers Leave Nothing to the Imagine In NSFW Calendar Bonus Video

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Every year, the Warwick Rowers release a racy calendar that benefits Sport Allies, an organization that fights homophobia in sports. Filled with pages of the athletes doing various things in the nude, the page-turner is obviously a big hit in the gay world, and this year they’re doing their gay fans a solid with the release of a new behind-the-scenes video that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.

It’s 6-plus minutes of the guys talking about what it’s like to make the calendar—from doing naked headstands on a dock to carrying their birthday suited teammates on their shoulders. Check out the NSFW video here, then get your good-karma fix by purchasing it, here.

Woman Crush Wednesday: Tara Lessard

Every hump day a Philly person shares their local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today, Tara Lessard, active volunteer in the LGBT community and owner of Freedom G Photography.



Our Last Five Woman Crush Wednesdays:

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