LGBTQ&A: Elicia Gonzales

Elicia Gonzales

Elicia Gonzales is a long-time queer Latinx activist and nonprofit leader in the community. We spoke with the executive director of the Women’s Medical Fund on her new role, advice for GALAEI, and the current state of LGBTQ people of color. Read more »

GALAEI Gets a New Home in North Philly

GALAEI's new home at 149 West Susquehanna Avenue.

GALAEI’s new home at 149 West Susquehanna Avenue. | Photo from Google Street View.

Later this spring, GALAEI, the only organization for Philly (and all of Pennsylvania)’s gay and lesbian Latino community, will move from its digs on Chestnut Street in the Gayborhood to a new space in North Philadelphia. The new location was the former home of the Norris Square Civic Association and, according to Executive Director Elicia Gonzales, it will situate them in an area that will allow them to reach more of the nonprofit’s constituents.

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Every Friday Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) Executive Director Samantha Giusti introduces you to a local LGBT non-profit in Philadelphia. This week, the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative more affectionately known as  GALAEI. (Pronounced “gal-āy.”)

Elicia Gonzales

Elicia Gonzales

Who are you? Elicia Gonzales, executive director of GALAEI. We are a queer Latin@ social justice organization. “Queer” acknowledges and represents the mosaic of sexual and gender identities within our communities. “Latin@” represents the multiracial, multicultural experience of Latinidad. GALAEI embodies the common history of resistance and resilience of Latin@ and queer people. We are unwavering in our commitment to the advancement de nuestra familia through  leadership and economic development, sexual empowerment, and grassroots organizing.

When was GALAEI founded? GALAEI was founded in 1989 by David Acosta and other queer, Latin@ activists to respond to the lack of support and resources for our Queer Latin@ community during the HIV epidemic.

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LGBT Philadelphia Remembers Gloria Casarez

The untimely death of Gloria Casarez, Philadelphia’s first director of the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs, has sent shockwaves through the city as her friends, family, and colleagues mourn her passing. At only 42, Ms. Casarez left a legacy that will continue to impact the community for years to come. We reached out to Philadelphians who were impacted by Gloria’s unwavering dedication to the city and the LGBTQ community to share their thoughts, memories, and pictures of the local legend.

PHOTOS: 300 Show Up to Attend Brian Sims’ Rally for Gay-Bashing Victims

LOVE Park was a veritable sea of supporters this afternoon, when more than 300 (!) local lawmakers, LGBT leaders and community members showed up in the rain to attend a rally for the two gay men attacked on September 11th in Center City.

The event was hosted by State Representative Brian Sims, who used the opportunity to draw attention HB 177 and SB 42, two pieces of legislation that would add sexual orientation to Pennsylvania’s current hate crime laws.

Photographer HughE Dillon was there to capture some snapshots, which you can seen below. Check some of the captions for remarks made by those who took part.


Woman Crush Wednesday: Stimulus Co-Founder Morgan Levine

Every hump day, a Philly woman shares her local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today,  Stimulus Philly Co-Founder Morgan Levine. Miss Levine wears many hats day to day: She is currently completing her Masters of Social Work degree at the University of Pennsylvania; working as the project manager for Dubois’ The Ward Oral History Project; and completing her MSW fieldwork with Representative Brian Sims’ office. 

Our Last Five Woman Crush Wednesdays:

PHOTOS: GALAEI’s 19th Annual Alternative Prom Was Better Than Your Prom

galaei prom

On Friday night — at Fire and Ice in Old City — GALAEI hosted its 19th annual Alternative Prom. The event invites LGBT youth and allies for an evening of all-inclusive prom festivities for area youth aged 13 to 21. Young people filtered in—wearing everything from sequined gowns and tuxedos to halter tops and even workout attire—to the welcoming environment, not waiting a second before hitting the dancefloor. (I told you it was better than your prom.)

The sense of acceptance in the air was undeniable. Kids were cheering each other on in dance circles, and compliments were flying left and right: “I love your dress.” “I’m so glad you came.” “Girl, you gotta tell me where you got that wing. I want one just like it!” It was heart-warming, and fabulous, and it brought a tear to my eye just thinking about all the stuffy proms around the world where boys aren’t allowed to wear dresses, or a transgender male can’t run for prom king. GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales explains the history and importance behind the event here:

Check out some more of our photos of the Alternative Prom here.

GALAEI Honors Philly Revolutionary Leaders at 25th Anniversary Celebration

Philly queer Latin social justice organization GALAEI is gearing up to host its 25th anniversary celebration, an evening that will see the doling out of three David Acosta Revolutionary Leader Awards (DARLA). The trophies will go to Philly go-getters who have worked to improve the lives of queer Latino communities.

louie ortizThe night’s highest honor, simply called The DARLA, will go to Louis “Louie” Ortiz (right), a photographer who has worked on campaigns for the Mazzoni Center and GALAEI. Most recently he has taken on the ambitious personal task of photographing every Latino gay man in Philly in a series he calls “El Gran Varónes.” The project aims to “tell our own history, document our own realities, and chronicle a history that is rarely told – a history that should be told by us.”

Diana Estefania Estrada Alamo will receive the Youth DARLA award. She’s being recognized for her involvement with Penn’s Center for Hispanic Excellence: La Casa LatinaQueer People of Color (QPOC), and for her work to establish the university’s Inclusivity and Support for Queer People of Color Task Force.

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Elicia Gonzales

Philly ladies share their local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday (#wcw). Today, hot-as-a-firecracker GALAEI Executive Director — and our 2013 HERO honoree — Elicia Gonzales. 

Recent Woman Crush Wednesdays

Share your Woman Crush Wednesday! Here are the rules: (1) Name three to five ladies you’re crushing on (2) You and all women involved must be from Philadelphia (3) Email your crushes to

Meet Mr. SEXO 2013 Gabriel Martino

syfr gavriel mr sexo 2013 galaeiLast night was supposed to be a regular evening for Gabriel Martino (aka Syfr Gavriel). He and some friends went to Woody’s Latin Night, where GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar just so happened to be hosting the first-ever Mr. SEXO contest. Martino’s friends talked him into competing and a few hours later he walked away with the title. “I’m still in some shock about last night,” he wrote on his Facebook wall, explaining to friends that he was chosen out of a crop of 10 contestants.

The contest was seeking a man who could represent GALAEI‘s sex-positive message, and Executive Director Elicia Gonzales says Martino hit the nail on the head. “I think the crowd chose him as winner, because he is hot, outgoing, fun, confident and not cocky,” she says.

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