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

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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.



SEXx Philly to Demystify The Stigma of Blowjobs, Hookup Culture, More

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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.

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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LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With TIP Project Co-Founder Madelyn Morrison-Summers

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.

Morrison-Summers (center) out-reaching at OutFest with Chasity Moore and GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales.

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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6 Gay Things to Do in Philly This Week:
The Debut of Mondo Trasho,
BalletX’s Winter Series and More

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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

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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TONIGHT: Mr. SEXO Competition at Woody’s [UPDATED]

Mr. SEXOIf you can believe it, Latin Night at Woody’s this evening is going to be a little sexier than usual, when GALAEI and PhillyGayCalendar team up to present the first annual Mr. SEXO competition. The pageant, GALAEI Executive Director — and our 2013 Hero honoree — Elicia Gonzales says, doubles “as a way to do a winter event comparable to Boys of Summer” and continue promoting SEXO, a 1992 sex-positive campaign that GALAEI revamped in April.

Men are asked to sign up for the event on-site, so Gonzales doesn’t know how many will participate. “I feel like we’ll have a good number, because there are a lot of guys in the community who like to show off their bodies and who are kind of hams anyway,” she laughs. But those who sign up shouldn’t rest on their muscles alone. “It’s a hot-body contest plus the [Q&A] round of Miss America.” She is hoping for a man who can embody what GALAEI represents, which, in a nutshell, is that everybody — gay, lesbian, trans, HIV-positive — deserves to have a healthy sex life.

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BEST OF THE GAYBORHOOD AND BEYOND: Hero Elicia Gonzales

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HERO: GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales
As the matriatch of the only organization for Philly (and all of Pennsylvania)’s gay and lesbian Latino community, GALAEI’s executive director has worked this year to spearhead a host of educational campaigns that offer a unique, often provocative perspective on vital sexual issues, while also shining a light on a demographic that’s often overlooked. This year, she revived the 1992 campaign “SEXO,” an exhibit that promoted safe-sex via lusty images of men grabbing their junk with rubber gloves; she kicked of Philly’s first “Masturbate-a-Thon,” encouraging self-pleasure over risky sexual encounters; and an inspiring collection of personal stories in “Positivo” showed Philly’s poz Latino community that it’s okay to embrace your HIV status. She’s the sex-ed teacher we all wish we had (and should have had) in high school. GALAEI, 1207 Chestnut St., 215-851-1822, galaei.org