Gayborhood Racism: A 30-Day Progress Report

Part of the overflow crowd that attended the October 25th Human Relations Commission hearing. | Photo: Sandy Smith

Part of the overflow crowd that attended the October 25th Commission on Human Relations hearing. | Photo: Sandy Smith

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) has not yet released any preliminary findings from its October 25th community hearing on Gayborhood racism. PCHR has up to 90 days to present formal recommendations on how the community and government agencies (such as City Council, the Mayor’s Office, and/or Office of LGBT Affairs) should respond to complaints of discrimination and other civil rights violations.

Since the hearing, however, leaders within City Council and the Gayborhood have already begun to attempt to directly address complaints within the community. In early November, Councilman Derek Green proposed legislation that would tie a business’s ability to retain its commercial activity license to its compliance with the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance. And last week, Woody’s held a public Q&A to amend management policies that patrons might find discriminatory or racially insensitive. As a result, Woody’s now has publicly clarified on its official website that the club does not have a dress code policy and has provided direct contact information for patrons who experience any form of discrimination at the establishment.

Given the swift reactions from other government agencies and Gayborhood entities, some community members are not satisfied with the pace of response from PCHR.

“I think the silence of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations shows that anti-blackness is not and has never been a priority in our city,” said Christian Lovehall, a black trans activist who attended the public hearing. “I feel that people believe that forums, talks and discussions fix these problems — but it’s actually where the fixing begins. I think the hearing was not an attempt to solve real issues, but just another photo-op for city politicians and a ploy to keep us protestors at bay.”

G Philly checked in about the commission’s progress with PCHR executive director Rue Landau, who sent the following statement:

We are actively reviewing hundreds of pages of testimony, notes, documents, employee handbooks and dress codes that will form the basis of our report on racism and discrimination in the LGBTQ community, which will be released within 90 days of our October 25 hearing. We are thankful to everyone who has provided testimony and information throughout this process and appreciate your patience as we complete our report with due diligence. The transcript from the hearing will be available on our website by next week.

In addition, based on our review, we are working to create new tools and strategies for members of the LGBTQ community to identify and report acts of discrimination, hate crimes and bias incidents. As always, people are welcome to file complaints or report bias incidents to our office at or by calling 215-686-4670.

G Philly will follow up with a 60-day report, or sooner if events warrant.

Yes, You Can Still Support Valley Youth House’s Holiday Giving for LGBTQ Youth

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Never underestimate the power of a touching article.

Last year, G Philly ran a story about Valley Youth House, a nonprofit working to combat youth homelessness, and its quest to find 250 “Secret Santas” for LGBTQ youth.

Within days of the story’s original release, the organization surpassed its goal. Before G Philly could release a new call for Secret Santas for this year’s holiday seasonal event, a viral re-sharing of last year’s article garnered enough buzz to match the nonprofit’s goal within 48 hours.

“I first saw last year’s G Philly article on Facebook last Monday being shared by one of our supporters … 48 hours later we had over 200 inquiries through our website and matched 250 youth,” said Valerie Johnson, Assistant Director of Development for VYH. “I am certain the article was shared at least 25 times based on how many times I saw it pop up … we had to turn the registration off once we had everyone matched last Tuesday. We were seeing about 10 inquiries an hour when we shut it down … we’re so grateful for the support of the G Philly community.” Read more »

Woody’s Is Hosting a Q&A to Amend Allegedly Discriminatory Policies

Woody's on 202 S. 13th St.

Woody’s on 202 S. 13th St.

On Tuesday, November 22nd, popular Gayborhood bar Woody’s will be hosting a public Q&A to address current concerns pertaining to its dress code policies and overall diversity initiatives. Unlike previous community-led town halls throughout the city that were centered around dialogue, this event is the first of its kind that will be specifically geared toward directly changing internal policies at a Gayborhood establishment.

“I feel like clear-cut explanations on our policies is an important step to dispel any misconceptions,” said Woody’s co-owner Billy Weiss. “Patrons will have a chance to express their feelings and to get answers about the issues that are important to them.” Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Founded in 1999, Transgender Day of Awareness has been a notable symbol of advocacy within the community.

Founded in 1999, Transgender Day of Awareness has been a notable symbol of advocacy within the community.

For its significance and inclusive execution, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman, the event was created to “memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.” Trans community leaders Sharron L. Cooks, Deja Lynn Alvarez, Candice Thompson, and many others will be present to help spearhead the festivities throughout the evening. This important event will be taking place at 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 20th, at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street. Read more »

It’s Trans Awareness Week: Here Are 5 Major Issues the Community Faces


November 14th through 20th marks National Trans Awareness Week in America. Since 1998, members of the trans community and their allies have gathered annually to raise consciousness and advocacy in light of the disproportionate systemic barriers they face nationwide and within the LGBTQ community. The week leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th), which reflects on the transphobic deaths countless members of the community have suffered.

And while there has been an increase in trans advocacy work and visibility across political, social, and media platforms, states like Pennsylvania still have more work to do toward ensuring the equal protection and security of trans individuals. Here are five major issues that are still affecting the trans community. Read more »

Gay Man Reports Attack in South Philadelphia

Peter Andrew Danzig is a popular actor and choreographer in Philadelphia. He resides in South Philadelphia with his boyfriend, and he’s routinely walked the streets at night without any problems. But that all changed on Thursday. Read more »

LGBTQ Event of the Week: DTF: Darryl and Timaree Fun Hour

Dr. Timaree Leigh and real life comedian, Darryl Charles.

Comedian Darryl Charles and Dr. Timaree Leigh.

For its comical spin and diverse perspective, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is DTF: Darryl and Timaree Fun Hour. Billed as “the greatest sex ed/comedy/game show in the known universe,” hosts Dr. Timaree Leigh and comedian Darryl Charles discuss sex, love, “and the weird noises that both make.” The hilarious and informal hosts will be accompanied by a panel that includes G Philly editor Ernest Owens and comedian Kristen Schier. The event kicks off at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, November 12th, at Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor St. Tickets Read more »

The G Philly LGBTQ Voting Guide for 2016

Election Day is finally here! We hope you stay informed and exercise your right to vote.

Resources for LGBTQ Voters on Election Day

Voter Guides

Lists of Endorsements

Gayborhood Watch Party

LGBT Community Election Results Watch Party: 7 p.m. at John C. Anderson Apartments, 251 South 13th Street.

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