Sims on Ethics Investigation: “My Appearances Are Consistent With State Law”

State Rep Brian Sims

State Rep. Brian Sims

The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission has launched an investigation of state Rep. Brian Sims after a complaint was filed late last year alleging that he might have committed “potential Ethics Acts violations” by accepting honoraria for certain speaking engagements. The existence of the investigation was first reported by PGN. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: Dame Luz’s “Summertime: Outdoor ’90s Dance Party”

Dame Luz's "Summertime: Outdoor 90s Dance Party" is on Friday, May 5th.

Dame Luz’s “Summertime: Outdoor 90s Dance Party” is on Friday, May 5th.

For its seasonal vibes and throwback thrills, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is Dame Luz’s “Summertime: Outdoor ’90s Dance Party”. Enjoy a late-night free dance party featuring the sounds of one of the city’s favorite queer DJs. It’s a ’90s-themed rave, so don’t hesitate to rock out your wide-leg pants, tie a hoodie around your waist, and flip that baseball cap backwards. The event kicks off at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5th, at La Peg Brasserie at Fringe Arts. Free admission. Read more »

GALAEI Announces Its 2017 DARLA Awardees

DARLA Awards ceremony is Friday, May 12th.

The DARLA Awards ceremony is Friday, May 12th.

GALAEI, a queer Latin@ social justice organization, will celebrate influential LGBTQ leaders at the eighth annual David Acosta Revolutionary Leadership Awards (DARLA). This year’s theme — “Celebrating Queer Latinx Resistance” — highlights how the local queer Latinx community has shown resistance in this adverse political climate.

“With a resurgence of new activists and social justice supporters focused on addressing racist and discriminatory policies from local, state, and federal institutions that have arisen, GALAEI has remained committed to ensuring our work focuses on advocating for our community,” said GALAEI executive director Nikki Lopez. “DARLA honorees exemplify those who have cultivated revolutionary change in the LGBTQ and Latinx communities through activism, education, or a continued commitment to empowering GALAEI.” Read more »

LGBTQ&A: Anthony Leon

Anthony Leon

Anthony Leon

Anthony Leon is the youth education manager at Mazzoni Center and a member of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs. We chatted with the queer Latinx community leader on improving LGBTQ issues within government institutions and what he’s looking forward to after the recent leadership changes at Mazzoni.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I moved to Philadelphia in 2013 after lip-syncing for my life in front of my best friend (and former boss) Louie Ortiz and a few others at Mazzoni Center. I was born in NYC and grew up there as a kid. My family moved to Lancaster shortly before I started high school. When I’m not working as the youth education manager at Mazzoni, I can be found hanging out with friends in North Philly or inboxing Louie a funny GIF. Louie and I also work on the Gran Varones (a project that highlights the experiences and stories of Latino gay and queer men) whenever he is in town. Currently, I’m wrapping things up at work and getting ready to start law school in August. Read more »

OPINION: Brian Sims, Stop Chasing the National Spotlight and Focus on the Gayborhood

State Rep. Brian Sims

State Rep. Brian Sims

If you frequent the Gayborhood, by now you’re aware of the ongoing conversations surrounding racial discrimination in the community. You’re most likely also familiar with the recent turmoil at the community’s leading LGBTQ nonprofit, Mazzoni Center. Regardless of your personal thoughts on these issues, you can’t ignore the impact both have had on the Gayborhood.

But oddly enough, it doesn’t appear as though our only openly gay state legislator finds these issues worthy of urgent concern. State Rep. Brian Sims, whose legislative district encompasses the Gayborhood, has been curiously hands-off when it comes to engaging in these public disputes in his own backyard. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: Queer Performances of Color

Queer Performances of Color is Friday, April 28th.

Queer Performances of Color is Friday, April 28th.

For its diverse lineup of entertainment and intersectional inclusion, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is Queer Performances of Color. This edition’s theme is “This Is Us,” as your favorite queer performers show “unity and solidarity against the racism and discrimination happening in the Gayborhood.” Guests can expect performances from Kitty Devereaux, Zsa Zsa St. James, WORDZ The Poet Emcee, and many more. Special guest speaker is G Philly’s Ernest Owens. The event kicks off at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28th, at CiBo Ristorante Italiano, 1227 Walnut Street. Free admission with option to donate to the performers. Read more »

Meet the Activist Who Protested Mazzoni With an HIV Meds Strike

Abdul-Aliy Muhammad. Photography by Louie Ortiz-Fonseca.

Abdul-Aliy Muhammad. Photography by Louie Ortiz-Fonseca.

Last Friday afternoon, after Mazzoni Center’s board of directors publicly reaffirmed its support of CEO/executive director Nurit Shein following a walkout by half of the nonprofit’s 138 full-time staffer members over concerns with her leadership, former Mazzoni employee and patient Abdul-Aliy Muhammad publicly vowed to refuse their HIV medication until she stepped down.

Just three days later, on Monday morning, Mazzoni announced a huge leadership shakeup — both Shein and board president Dr. Jimmy Ruiz had resigned. The organization has not commented on the reasons behind the board’s decision, but it would be hard to believe that Muhammad’s stance — which had already begun to gain national attention — had no part to play in the outcome. Read more »

Bill Prompted by Gayborhood Racism Complaints Passes Out of Committee

Councilman at Large, Derek S. Green, Esq.

Councilman at Large Derek S. Green

On Monday, an anti-discrimination bill introduced by Councilman Derek Green that would strengthen penalties against Philadelphia businesses that discriminate against their employees, tenants, or customers passed unanimously out of Council’s Health and Human Services committee.

In a public statement, Green said that he was prompted to introduce the bill by “public outcry about discrimination in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood and release of a video showing a business owner employing racial slurs.” Read more »

More Than 60 Mazzoni Staffers Walk Out, Call on CEO Nurit Shein to Resign

Mazzoni Center staff members during a walkout. Photo by Ernest Owens

Mazzoni Center staff members during a walkout. Photo by Ernest Owens

A week after Dr. Robert Winn resigned as Mazzoni Center’s medical director following reports that he was the subject of an investigation, more than 60 full-time staffers of the nonprofit are now calling for executive director/CEO Nurit Shein to step down.

“Nurit Shein, resign!” said Anthony Leon, a youth education manager at Mazzoni, at the conclusion of a PCHR-mandated organization-wide training session on racial bias on Thursday morning. Staff members began to confront Shein over what they claimed was her lack of transparency surrounding the allegations against Dr. Winn and other internal issues. Former Mazzoni staff members were also present during the confrontation. Read more »

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