FDA Endorses Lifetime Gay Blood Ban



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Blood Products Advisory Panel met last week to discuss lifting the government’s 31-year-old ban on blood donations from men who have had sexual contact with other men. The current rule, initiated in 1983 in the height of the AIDS epidemic, says that men who have had sex with another man since 1977—even if they were wearing a condom—are restricted from donating blood in the United States.

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REMINDER: Gay-Bashing Suspects Due In Court Tuesday for Preliminary Hearing


Suspects Kevin J. Harrigan, Kathryn G. Knott, and Philip R. Williams

UPDATE: A judge held the defendants for trial on all charges, with victim Zachary Hesse testifying in open court. Read the full story here.


Attorneys for Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott, and Phillip Williams, the three suspects in the attack on two gay men in Center City on September 11th, will attend a preliminary hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, December 16th, at 9 a.m. with Judge Charles Hayden.

Here’s what we can expect to happen: The case will be brought before a municipal court judge to determine if there was probable cause to arrest the suspects in September. Attorney for Kevin Harrigan, Josh Scarpello, tells me, “we won’t decide the truth of the matter in that first hearing. It is a probable-cause hearing to establish if the case should go to trial.”

Scarpello confirms that all three defendants have pleaded not guilty.

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Local Queens Break Guinness World Record For “Largest Drag Queen Stage Show”

All 82 drag queens after the finale number Friday night at the Trocadero. | Photo by Alexander John

All 82 drag queens after the finale number Friday night at the Trocadero. | Photo by Alexander John

Eighty-two drag performers in enough wigs, lashes and fake boobs to circle the planet eight times gathered at the Trocadero last night to break the Guinness World Record for Largest Drag Queen Show. And they did it! The current record stands at 55, which was achieved this July at Axis Nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. But our gals blew that one out of the water.

Organizer Brittany Lynn says getting that many drag queens together was no easy feat. She started with over 100, but that number whittled down throughout the rehearsal process. “I got some of the craziest excuses,” she tells me. “Two queens called the night of the show to say they were in South Philly and couldn’t make it because it would take them two hours to walk to the Troc.”

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14 #GayPhilly Instagrams You Should See This Week: Nailing Solange’s Wedding Pose, Andy Cohen and How to Walk in Heels

Weekend Roundup: LGBT Night at Nutcracker Market, Night of 100 Queens, Gay Ice Skating and More


  • Get your drag queen fix at the Trocadero in Night of 100 Queens. | Shutterstock.com

    Get your drag queen fix at the Trocadero in Night of 100 Queens. | Shutterstock.com

    Night of 100 Queens is upon us: Watch as drag queens from every nook and cranny of the city (I think the number is actually 82 now) will gather at the Trocadero in the attempt to beat the Guinness Book of World Record for “Largest Drag Queen Show.”

  • PA Ballet hosts its first-ever LGBT Night at Nutcracker Market on Friday. Besides shopping, there will be a special performance by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (no doubt singing some of the numbers from their recent holiday hoedown), a meet-and-greet with Pennsylvania Ballet dancers, and food and cocktails from the Garces group. Should be a fun, festive night—and something a little outside the box. We hope to see you there!
  • Jonathan Hernandez, Mary Vice and Mister E join Philly burlesque queen Lascivious Jane for Mama’s House: “Philly’s tastiest all-female cabaret.”
  • DJ Robert Drake spins at the final Sex Dwarf of 2014, an evening that celebrates new wave one-hit wonders.

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ABC Family Making Docu-Series About a Transgender Parent

Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent.

Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent.

If you’re a fan of Amazon’s Transparent, the series starring the phenomenal Jeffrey Tambor as a father transitioning to become a woman, you’ll be very excited to hear that a real-life version of the tale is coming to TV.

ABC Family has ordered My Transparent Life, a reality show that follows a teenage boy named Ben who is dealing with his parents’ divorce and the realization that his father is transgender. ABC Family released this statement with the announcement.

ABC Family is best known for its complex, loving and relatable family programming, and we are so proud … to share Ben’s incredible real-life story. … While Ben’s family situation is unusual, the themes and coming-of-age issues are universal, and we think our viewers will find a real connection to them.”

The series will be produced by Ryan Seacrest’s production company. Air date is TBA.

Meet Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese

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 night, Philly queer Latin social justice organization GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar hosted the 2015 Mr. SEXO competition at Woody’s. The contest, now in its second year, seeks to find men in Philly who use their sexuality in positive ways—like promoting body-positivity and safe-sex.

Mr. SEXO 2014 Marcous Marchese

Mr. SEXO 2014 Marcous Marchese

There were 10 contestants taking part. They each had a moment to share their talent with the audience, and of course strip down to their skivvies. Last year’s winner, Syfr Gavriel, also did a dance number, and gave the hopefuls tips on how to represent the Mr. SEXO title.

In the end the winner was Marcous Marchese, who you may recognize as a bartender at The Raven. He was also one of PhillyGayCalendar’s 2014 Boys of Summer lifeguards. I tried reaching out to Marchese for a statement, but have yet to hear from him. I’m told that he is currently working on getting his PhD in social psychology in the hopes of becoming a professor. When asked why she thought he won, GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales told me that “he won over the crowd with his nice smile, and his commitment to spreading sex-positivity throughout the LGBT community and volunteering with GALAEI—and his dance moves certainly helped too.”

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Philanthropy Friday: Therapy Center of Philadelphia

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Alison Gerig talks about Therapy Center of Philadelphia, a local organization that provides affordable psychotherapy on a sliding fee scale to working and low-income women and transgender communities in Philadelphia.

alisongerigWho are you? I am Alison Gerig, the executive director of Therapy Center of Philadelphia (TCP), formerly known as Women’s Therapy Center (WTC). Serving 350 clients a year, our services include individual, couples, family, and group psychotherapy as well as music therapy, yoga, and psychological testing. All our services are queer and transgender-affirming and we have queer and trans-identified therapists on staff. We have a unique, low-cost program for those struggling with trauma. All of our services are offered through a feminist lens, attending to how our multiple identities shape our lives and impact the therapeutic relationship. Our services are collaborative, focus on connection, a de-emphasis on diagnosis, and have no treatment limit. Our clients are able to change their lives – they get better and stay better. To make an appointment, simply call 215-567-1111, extension 12.

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Gloria Casarez to Be Honored at the Lift Every Voice Awards and Black Tie Gala

gloria casarez

Tonight, the I Am Human Campaign is hosting its first-ever Lift Every Voice Awards and Black Tie Gala, an event done in collaboration with Bebashi‘s LGBT-focused SOULS of BEBASHI initiative.

The I Am Human Campaign is a project that aims to bring together people from different communities, backgrounds and cultures in the hopes of encouraging individuals from all walks of life to fight discrimination. With that in mind, the Lift Every Voice Awards and Gala is an evening to not only celebrate the season, but to highlight those who are advocating for the rights of Philly’s LGBT community, “to honor the exemplary achievements of leadership who are pushing for mainstream acceptance and equality.”

It goes without being said, then, that they’ve chosen to honor Gloria Casarez, the recently deceased first director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, with one of their first awards.

Bebashi Prevention Education Specialist Richard LaBoy tells me Casarez will be presented the Governmental Liaison Award, the first award she will receive posthumously—and one that touches him personally. “I worked at GALAEI for five years while she was the executive director. She is part of the reason why I do this work and has been a mentor of mine since the age of 17.”

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