OPINION: Black Politicians Are Going to Have to Earn My Vote From Now On

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The most open forum in which to hear the unfiltered thoughts of black men in Philly is arguably the barbershop. No matter what our wealth, age, religion, and/or sexual orientation, the need for a fine hair cut is the factor that unites us all. Heated conversations on social issues and personal anecdotes flow freely during long waits for shape-ups and fades. The barbershop has even become an obligatory stop for politicians to stump for undecided votes — during any election season, one can expect buttons and placards to be left on seats.

Such was the case last week with Tariq El-Shabazz, the only black candidate running for district attorney. Someone at my barbershop in West Philly wearing one of his campaign buttons prompted a conversation about the highly contested race. Now, per the barbershop code, what was said in the shop stays in the shop — but let’s just say the conversation was heated and divided. Read more »

OPINION: Crowded District Attorney Race Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

There is an adage that goes: “To speak without thinking is to shoot without aiming.”

Someone should have told that to former federal prosecutor Joe Khan during a event featuring district attorney candidates at Philly for Change on South Street earlier this month. I was there to get a personal glimpse at three-fifths of the field that was at that point running against Seth Williams for the role of top prosecutor. In attendance were former city managing director Richard Negrin, former Municipal Court judge Teresa Carr Deni, and Khan. (Not present were Democrat Michael Untermeyer and Republican Beth Grossman, and the event was held before civil rights attorney Larry Krasner threw his hat in.) Read more »

The G Philly LGBTQ Voting Guide for 2016

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

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.

Philly, These Three Questions Could Be on Your May Ballot

Philadelphia City Council  | Photo Credit: City Council's Flickr page

Philadelphia City Council | Photo Credit: City Council’s Flickr page

The Philadelphia City Council passed legislation this week that would put three questions on the ballot in the May 19th primary. These are the pesky little queries that you may or may not have heard a damn thing about in past years until the moment you stepped into the voting booth on Election Day.

Here are the questions Council approved this week in separate measures. They all seek to amend the city charter:

Read more »

Equality PA Releases Endorsements 2014 Primary Election

vote gayEquality PA just released its list of endorsed candidates for the 2014 primary election, taking place on May 20th. Thirty-three lawmakers made the list, which is comprised of pro-gay candidates, many of whom identify as LGBT. Equality PA declined to endorse a gubernatorial or lieutenant governor hopeful, because “there are so many candidates in those races who support LGBT equality,” says Executive Director Ted Martin. There is, however, one clear exception. Martin writes:

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State LGBT Groups Get Behind Philly Lt. Governor Candidate Mike Stack

mike stack lt gov

A host of state LGBT organizations this week have endorsed Philadelphia State Senator Mike Stack‘s run for Lieutenant Governor. Among them is Philly’s Liberty City Democrats (LCDC), Pittsburgh’s Steel City Stonewall Democrats, and the Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Philadelphia (GSPC), which released a statement saying Stack, “has a strong organization, strong ties to our community, and has been instrumental to moving bits of progressive legislation through a government largely controlled by people who demonize our community.”

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Big LGBT Wins Last Night

As President Obama delivered his acceptance speech late last night (well, technically this morning), championing equality for everyone – including the LGBT community – there were other important wins by those who have also been either openly gay or openly progressive about everything from marriage equality to workplace protection and repealing DOMA.

Here in Pennsylvania, Brian Sims become the state’s first openly gay legislator. He’ll be in Harrisburg starting early next year. We knew this was coming since he faced no opposition after winning the primary against longtime Democrat Babette Josephs.

The attack ads against Kathleen Kane didn’t seem to work either. She’ll become Pennsylvania’s first female (and democratic) attorney general. Bob Casey also won a second senate term, beating the Tea Party’s Tom Smith who spent millions on ads blasting the incumbent.

Read more »

When I Enter the Voting Booth, I Won’t Be Alone

WXPN's Robert Drake

As a member of media, I try my best (publicly at least) to remain impartial in regards to politics. Those who know me, know me. So, as we count down the hours to America’s next Election Day – all I can say is that when I enter that voting booth today, I won’t be alone.

With me is the love of my partner that I have had for several years, a love that is as pure and sincere as two people can have, regardless of sexual orientation. With me is the hope that someday we can be recognized as a couple just as easily as my straight friends.

With me is the thankfulness that my partner and several of my close friends – all with various pre-existing health conditions – may finally have a chance to receive healthcare without incurring a massive debt.

With me is the personal passion that so many of my friends have when it comes to simply accepting another without judgement – and the hope that our leaders, and our country, will follow suit in the years ahead. 

Finally, with me are the hundreds of friends that I’ve lost in the past three decades to AIDS – from casual friends to a lover. Those men never got the chance to see how far America has grown in understanding and acceptance – I keep them in my thoughts every time I cast a vote.

Be sure to vote. If not for you, for those you love.

Robert Drake works at WXPN and regularly DJs at events around town, including Bottoms Up at the Bike Stop every Friday and the monthly Sex Dwarf at Fluid Nightclub.
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