“It’s Philly’s LGBTQ youth that are leading the change,” says 17-year-old Bella, a high school student from Kensington. She, along with a panel of other emerging leaders in the Philadelphia LGBTQ community, kicked off this week’s Kimmel Center It Gets Better Project residency, and if last evening’s performances and discussions were any indication, Bella (and Whitney) were right: Children really are our future.
The afternoon featured three distinct opportunities for local youth to participate in community building and performance. First, students from the Kimmel Center’s Show Stoppers and Wolf Performing Arts Center teamed up to film an outdoor performance of Sara Bareilles’s “Brave,” which will be screened at Saturday’s It Gets Better Project concert. Led by touring actors Mario Mosley and Tyler Houston, the triple threats danced their way down a picturesque Philly block, causing lots of local commuters to pause for the show.
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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.”)
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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It was a crisp autumn morning in Philadelphia, but thousands turned out for Sunday’s 28th annual AIDS Walk Philly. The event—which is put together by a dozen local nonprofits, including the Mazzoni Center, Action AIDS, and The Attic Youth Center—is a 5K walk that raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations in Philadelphia. As always, gay Philly came out in full force for the cause. I’ve rounded up some photos of all the troopers below:
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Dena Underwood will be playing at OutBeat, the nation’s first ever queer jazz festival.
Everybody’s working for the weekend, as the song does, but there’s some awesome events happening Monday through Thursday this week that will keep you engaged and excited: here are our best picks of what to do in gay Philly this week.
Coming Out: Storytelling on Being Queer and/or Undocumented
It can be hard "coming out" as gay to begin with, but what if you're also an undocumented immigrant? That's the focus of Juntos and GALAEI's "Coming Out: Storytelling on Being Queer and/or Undocumented" that takes place at PhillyCAM Studios this Monday evening. Expect some interesting conversation how to we can build better communities and empower each other with the "coming out" process. (Monday, September 15, 6PM. PhillyCAM Studios, 699 Ranstead St., Philadelphia)
Temple University LGBTQ Alumni Society Happy Hour
If you're a LGBTQ Temple University alumni, join in the fun at Pennsylvania 6 this Tuesday evening to meet and greet your fellow LGBTQ colleagues. You'll get to meet the Temple LGBTQ University Alumni Society Executive Board members and learn about upcoming projects, along with sipping some fabulous cocktails and nippling on some tasty bites. Guests must register here. (Tuesday, September 16, 5PM. Pennsylvania 6, 114 S. 12th St., Philadelphia)
Brian Sanders JUNK, "Suspended"
Any Fringe Fest performance that has a "locker room pre-show" is clearly worth checking out, as is always the case when Brian Sanders' JUNK is playing. The Fringe production, Suspended, takes a raw, erotic look at human consciousness. It's a great hump-day show that will set your mind free before the rest of the week! Tickets are available here. (Wednesday, September 17, pre-show at 8:30PM, show at 9PM. JUNK, 2040 Christian St., Philadelphia)
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.
Did you know May is National Masturbation Month? Although you won’t find any cards at Hallmark to commemorate the holiday, you can celebrate in a way that won’t leave a mess!
This evening, GALAEI, Sex With Timaree, and the William Way LGBT Community Center present the first annual SEXx Philly Conference from 6PM-9PM. It’s essentially a TEDx-style event that’s meant to break the stigma behind talking about sex in public places.
“We need to continue to have safe, accessible, and fun spaces to have honest conversations about sexuality,” said Elicia Gonzales, the event’s co-coordinator and Executive Director of GALAEI. “In a society that is plagued by sex-negativity, we wanted this event to bring communities together to have intentional sex-positive conversations.” Gonzales and her co-coordinator, Timaree Schmit, aim to build that type of safe space at the event.
Attendees can expect to hear renowned speakers from across the nation chat about everything from senior citizen sexuality, blowjobs, webcam models, and the “power of bottoming.”
All attendees who want to take part in the event at the William Way Community Center (1315 Spruce Street) must be over the age of 18. Tickets, which are on a sliding scale of $5 to $10, benefit GALAEI and William Way; snacks and beverages will be available.
For more information, visit the SEXx website.
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.
The 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 Latina, Queer 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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In partnership with Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, every day throughout the month of February we will spotlight an influential black mover and shaker in the city.
Madelyn Morrison-Summers (center) out-reaching at OutFest with Chasity Moore and GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales.
Today: Madelyn Morrison-Summers, who has dedicated over 10 years of her life working to provide visibility, advocacy and services to trans women in the city of Philadelphia. She is one of the visionaries behind GALAEI‘s TIP (Trans Information Project), a program dedicated to the empowerment and betterment of trans and gender non-conforming individuals in the tri-state area.
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Mondo Trasho: This new twice-monthly party in Fishtown promises “sex-dreamy jamz,” a performance by Pretty Girl and curious-sounding kombucha cocktail specials. Hear a preview of the evening’s soundtrack, recorded live in Serato by CNNR & Skull†Kid, here. Stay tuned to G Philly for a Q&A with party host Corey Griffith. Wed., Feb. 12, 10 p.m., free, The Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave.
5 more gay events after the jump