LGBTQ Event of the Week: Philly Bi Visibility Rally

Philly Bi Visibility Rally and Health Fair is Saturday, September 23rd, at Board Game Art Park

This week’s LGBTQ event of the week is the Philly Bi Visibility Rally. Enjoy an afternoon meant to honor bisexual individuals through a health fair, a bi flag-raising, and more. This community-wide event features guest speakers Mayor Jim Kenney, Office of LGBT Affairs executive director Amber Hikes, and several bisexual activists. The event kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 23rd, at Board Game Art Park (N. 15th St. & John F. Kennedy Blvd). Free admission. Read more »

Mazzoni Center Staff Vote to Unionize

Mazzoni Center staff and union organizers immediately after unionization vote results.

After weeks of internal turmoil over the decision to consider unionization, Mazzoni Center front-line staff voted 51-34 on Wednesday evening in favor of a petition to organize filed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The vote follows months of management woes and staff protests at the controversial Gayborhood nonprofit and recent concerns over the organization’s hiring of an alt-right, anti-union consulting firm.

“It happened, it really happened,” a staff member said as a group of them rejoiced outside of Mazzoni Center headquarters at Broad and Bainbridge. “Change is really coming.” Read more »

“It Was an Ambush”: Behind the Vote That Ousted Sharron Cooks as LGBT Commission Chair

Sharron Cooks | Photo taken by Kelly Burkhardt

The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs, a 23-member advisory board announced in October 2016 after several intense months of revelations about racial discrimination in the Gayborhood, convened its first meeting on March 16th at City Hall. This inaugural gathering served as the formal introduction of Amber Hikes, a black queer woman newly appointed as the executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, to the diverse body of volunteers who would help her advise Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration on the pressing needs of Philadelphia’s LGBT community.

It was during this meeting, which kicked off with commission members taking the floor for two minutes apiece to present overviews of their lives and work, that Sharron Cooks, a black transgender advocate and new member herself, noticed something potentially troubling. She felt that another member, a white cisgender woman, was “taking up too much space” — essentially framing discussion of diversity and inclusion around her own experience rather than that of people of color. Cooks said nothing, but noted that, unlike other members, the woman eventually spoke for five minutes longer than the allotted time. Read more »

Sharron Cooks Announces Resignation From LGBT Commission After Being Voted Out as Chair

Sharron Cooks | Photo taken by Kelly Burkhardt

After having made history as the first transgender person ever to chair a city commission, Sharron Cooks was removed as head of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs on Tuesday night in a 13-3 (with 3 abstentions) vote during an emergency meeting. G Philly was sent documentation from the meeting that raised concerns surrounding Cooks’s social media interactions with members of one of the commission’s committees.

Read more »

“Pop-Up Love Party” Counters Anti-Trans Bus’s Philly Stop

Sharron Cooks guiding people away from the anti-trans bus | Photo by Jennifer Bryant

Sharron Cooks guiding people away from the anti-trans bus | Photo by Jennifer Bryant

On Saturday, the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, in collaboration with GALAEI, Trans-health Information Project (TIP), Attic Youth Center, William Way, ACLU, Mazzoni Center, and other community organizations, held a “Pop-Up Love Party” to protest the anti-trans “Free Speech Bus Tour” that was scheduled to appear. The National Organization on Marriage (NOM) has been driving across the East Coast for several weeks in a striking bright orange bus with transphobic messages and images, which has been met with protestors and vandalism. Read more »

Sharron Cooks Becomes the First-Ever Transgender Person to Chair a City Commission

Sharron Cooks | Photo taken by Kelly Burkhardt

Sharron Cooks | Photo taken by Kelly Burkhardt

The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs finished its internal election for board leaders this week, and G Philly was notified on Thursday that transgender advocate Sharron Cooks was elected as chair, along with out rowing coach Libby Peters as secretary and community activist Jason Evans as treasurer. In this role, Cooks becomes the first transgender person ever to chair a citywide commission in Philadelphia. Read more »

Office of LGBT Affairs to Host “Pop-Up Love Party” to Counter Anti-Trans Bus

Philling Our Streets With Love at Hate Speech Bus Tour! is this Wednesday, March 29th.

Philling Our Streets With Love at Hate Speech Bus Tour! is this Wednesday, March 29th.

The Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, in collaboration with GALAEI, Trans-health Information Project (TIP), Attic Youth Center, William Way, ACLU, Mazzoni Center, and other community organizations, are planning to host a Pop-Up Love Party to peacefully counteract the anti-trans “Free Speech Bus Tour” coming to Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Over the past month, the National Organization on Marriage (NOM) has been driving across the East Coast in a bright orange bus with transphobic messages such as “It’s Biology: Boys are boys … and always will be. Girls are girls … and always will be. You can’t change sex. Respect all.” Read more »

« Older Posts