Philly Ranked Sixth Most LGBT-Friendly City in the Country

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

In anticipation of Pride month, consumer advocacy site NerdWallet has pulled together a variety of statistics and data to come up with their third annual list of America’s most LGBT-friendly cities. To get their results, they collected data from recent Gallup polls on LGBT population, FBI hate crime statistics, the Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 Municipal Equality Index, and HRC rankings on hospitals leading the way in LGBT health care equality.

After everything was tallied and crunched, Philadelphia found itself at No. 6 on the list, just behind Baltimore and ahead of Seattle and Salt Lake City. The top 10 are represented in this nifty infographic:

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Philadelphia scored particularly high in the municipal equality index part, with a score of 116. That number, NerdWallet says, tied San Francisco for the highest in its study. “Philadelphia scored high for its nondiscrimination and relationship recognition policies, LGBT services and relationship with the community.” More on their Philadelphia findings:

In the Philadelphia metro area, nearly 4% of the population identifies as LGBT. The FBI didn’t receive any reports of hate crimes related to gender identity or sexual orientation in the city for 2013. Philadelphia also tied for the highest score in the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index. In Philadelphia, the heart of LGBT nightlife is centered in what is nicknamed “The Gayborhood.” This year, Philadelphia is marking the 50th anniversary of the LGBT civil rights movement with a four-day celebration beginning July 2. The city is home to several civil rights, advocacy and LGBT youth organizations including the Bread & Roses Community Fund, the Spruce Foundation and the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI).

What do you think? Did we get a fair score? Explore more data from the study, which details Philly and other cities, here.

Top LGBT HIV/AIDS Resources in Philadelphia

The Attic Youth Center

255 South 16th Street
215-545-4331, atticyouthcenter.org
The Attic creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society. It “offers various support and educational groups that promote safer sex messages and practices. The Attic also offers free, confidential, HIV testing and access to safer sex supplies.”

AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania

1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 600
215-587-9377, aidslawpa.org
Founded in 1988, this nonprofit law firm provides free legal help to those with HIV/AIDS and those affected by the epidemic. AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania provides legal assistance with HIV/AIDS discrimination, health confidentiality, HIV testing protocols, housing, and more, with an emphasis on “breaking the physical and linguistic barriers that often impede access to legal services.”

ActionAIDS

1216 Arch Street, 6th Floor
215-981-0088, actionaids.org
ActionAIDS provides medical case management, HIV testing, prevention education, supportive housing, HIV treatment as prevention, and volunteer services so that no one in the Philadelphia region has to face AIDS alone.

Bebashi-Transition of Hope

1217 Spring Garden Street
215-769-3561, bebashi.org
Bebashi-Transition of Hope works to provide healthcare information, direct services, education, research and technical assistance to reduce and eliminate HIV/AIDS and other health disparities within the urban community of Philadelphia and its vicinity.

Read more »

Top Resources for Transgender People in Philadelphia

Attic Youth Center

255 South 16th Street
215-545-4331, atticyouthcenter.org
The Attic creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society. It provides myriad creative outlets for local youth, such as poetry, print screening, drag, art and more.

GALAEI

1207 Chestnut Street
215-851-1822, galaei.org
GALAEI (Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative) is unwavering in its commitment to promote queer Latin@ social justice in the Philadelphia area. It’s outreach projects include everything from promoting sexual health in the Philadelphia Latin@ community to stumping for equal rights. It also fosters a program for trans folks in Philadelphia called the Trans-Health Information Project (TIP).

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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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LAST CHANCE: Early Bird Registration for SEXx Interactive Conference Ends March 31

SexX Header

It’s your last chance to purchase early bird tickets for this year’s Philadelphia SEXx Interactive Conference, which runs May 7 through 10. The event, which is a collaboration between GALAEI, Wicked Gay Ways, Sex with Timaree, Katelyn Regan, and Freedom G Photography, has drastically-reduced admission costs if you purchase one of the early bird passes. Read more »

Top LGBT Health and Wellness Resources in Philadelphia

Group from AccessMatters.

Group from AccessMatters.

AccessMatters

1700 Market Street, 18th Floor
215-985-2600, accessmatters.org
AccessMatters, which works to promote sexual health resources in Philadelphia’s underserved communities, maintains an LGBT health resource center called SafeGuards.

The Attic Youth Center

255 South 16th Street
215-545-4331, atticyouthcenter.org
The Attic creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults. The Attic offers myriad wellness benefits—from meditation classes and safe-sex workshops to being a resource for finding out about other LGBT-specific health and wellness organizations in Philadelphia.

Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI)

1207 Chestnut Street
215-851-1822, galaei.org
GALAEI is unwavering in its commitment to promote queer Latin@ social justice in the Philadelphia area. It’s outreach projects include everything from promoting sexual health in the Philadelphia Latin@ community to stumping for equal rights.

Linda Creed: Rainbow Circle

P.O. Box 40607
215-564-3700, lindacreed.org/rainbow_circle.php
Linda Creed’s Rainbow Circle provides breast health information for lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender persons.

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Top LGBT Civil Rights Organizations in and Around Philadelphia

aclulACLU of Pennsylvania

P.O. Box 40008
215-592-1513, aclupa.org
ACLU of Pennsylvania works to secure total rights for LGBT people by working to defend and expand the individual rights and personal freedoms afforded to us all by the state and federal constitutions and the Bill of Rights.

Bread & Roses Community Fund

1315 Walnut Street
215-731-1107, breadrosesfund.org
Bread & Roses provides grants and technical assistance to communities in the Philadelphia region that are taking collective action to bring about racial and economic justice. Bread and Roses Fund offer scholarships for Philadelphia LGBT students, giving young minds the opportunity to expand their education.

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GALAEI Issues Response and Apology Over Mr. SEXO Event

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year's winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year’s winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

In December, we reported on the controversy surrounding the crowning of a white male at this year’s Mr. SEXO competition, a self-proclaimed search for a “gay/queer Latino who is the epitome of sexy,” co-sponsored by GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar. An open letter from The Gran Varones, which essentially slammed the competition, calling it “a reduction and objectification of brown bodies in a community that does not even acknowledge us as whole people,” added quite a bit of fuel to the fire as to why the contest seemed to have gone astray. Read more »

Questions Raised After White Guy Wins Mr. SEXO, GALAEI Responds

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year's winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year’s winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

Last week I told you about the 2015 Mr. SEXO winner, Marcous Marchese, who was crowned (or, err, sashed) at Woody’s on Thursday night. I was a little surprised by the  news, considering Marchese is white and the competition was billed as a search for a “gay/queer Latino who is the epitome of sexy.”

The event, now in its second year, is sponsored by PhillyGayCalendar and Philly queer Latin social justice organization GALAEI, so I reached out to Executive Director Elicia Gonzales to see why a white dude took the prize. She told me that, “GALAEI is a queer Latin@ social justice organization. Latinadad is not who we serve but how we serve, so we treat everyone like familia. And we feel the new Mr. SEXO embodies this.”

When I shared the post on Facebook, however, a few readers voiced their opinions about the win. One commenter said, “Not to be rude … but why was a white guy even allowed to enter this competition designed specifically for the Queer Latino community? I’m confused … ”

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Meet Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year's winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

Mr. SEXO 2015 Marcous Marchese with last year’s winner Syfr Gavriel, Elicia Gonzales and host Cyannie Famouz. Photo by Freedom G Photography

Last night, Philly queer Latin social justice organization GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar hosted the 2015 Mr. SEXO competition at Woody’s. The contest, now in its second year, seeks to find men in Philly who use their sexuality in positive ways—like promoting body-positivity and safe-sex.

Mr. SEXO 2014 Marcous Marchese

Mr. SEXO 2014 Marcous Marchese

There were 10 contestants taking part. They each had a moment to share their talent with the audience, and of course strip down to their skivvies. Last year’s winner, Syfr Gavriel, also did a dance number, and gave the hopefuls tips on how to represent the Mr. SEXO title.

In the end the winner was Marcous Marchese, who you may recognize as a bartender at The Raven. He was also one of PhillyGayCalendar’s 2014 Boys of Summer lifeguards. I tried reaching out to Marchese for a statement, but have yet to hear from him. I’m told that he is currently working on getting his PhD in social psychology in the hopes of becoming a professor. When asked why she thought he won, GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales told me that “he won over the crowd with his nice smile, and his commitment to spreading sex-positivity throughout the LGBT community and volunteering with GALAEI—and his dance moves certainly helped too.”

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