Video: In 2016, This Shit Still Happens to Gay People in Philly

South Philadelphia resident Donald Whitfield caught on video calling his gay neighbor a "faggot."

South Philadelphia resident Donald Whitfield caught on video calling his gay neighbor a “faggot.”

If you haven’t been to South Philadelphia since the 1990s, a lot has changed.

Yes, there are all sorts of trendy bars serving fancy beers, and you can get award-winning Norwegian and French fare on the same strip where you’ll still find old-school linguini and meatballs. But one of the most noticeable and dramatic differences that this historic neighborhood has seen is an incredible influx of gay residents.

Indeed, South Philadelphia has become its own gay mecca. And that’s why one gay couple was so shocked when their neighbor unleashed a homophobic tirade on Tuesday night. Read more »

A Jewish-Palestinian Lesbian Couple Walks Into a Bar

Eman El-Husseini and Jess Salomon.

Eman El-Husseini and Jess Salomon.

After a year of marriage, and some concern over whether one of them might actually be a spy, Jess Salomon and Eman El-Husseini have decided to stay together no matter what.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” Salomon says. “It doesn’t matter what either of us does, we aren’t going to break up. Mostly because we can’t let people be right.” Read more »

Pa. Senate Committee Approves LGBT Discrimination Protections Bill

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee voted 7-4 Wednesday to pass legislation that would prohibit discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in Pennsylvania.

The bill, Senate Bill 1307, was one of three bills Republican Senator Pat Browne introduced recently to update the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

Browne’s original legislation had sat dormant in committee until he split the bill to encourage more Republicans to support it. Some legislators did not support a section of the original legislation that would’ve allowed transgender men and women the right to access public restrooms that do not identify with their birth sex.

Read more »

Why Pennsylvania’s Hate Crime Laws Still Lack LGBT Protections

hate crime laws

In the wake of the country’s worst-ever mass shooting, the nation’s cry for change is hard to ignore.

In the early morning of June 12th, a gunman opened fire at a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, killing 49, wounding 53, and leaving a horrific mark on the nation.

The massacre has brought discussions of hate crimes to the forefront of the country. Was the rampage fueled by terrorism and the killer’s professed ties to the Islamic State, or was it a hate crime against the LGBTQ and Latinx communities? President Barack Obama said it was both “an act of terror and an act of hate,” but federal investigators aren’t yet sure what to call it.

In Pennsylvania, members of the LGBTQ community are not covered by the state’s hate crime legislation, meaning crimes committed in the state based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be charged as hate crimes.  Read more »

The Ben Franklin Bridge Will Glow Rainbow for Orlando Victims

The Ben Franklin Bridge will light up in honor of the victims of the Orlando shooting, the Delaware River Port Authority announced Tuesday.

You can expect to see the suspension bridge, which connects Camden to Philly, illuminated in rainbow colors Wednesday night through Saturday night.

The bridge will join structures and monuments around the world that will glow in remembrance of the 49 lives claimed and the 53 wounded by a gunman who opened fire early June 12th in Pulse, a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. It was the country’s deadliest mass shooting.

Read more »

Kenney Bans City-Funded Travel to North Carolina, Mississippi

Mayor Jim Kenney is placing a ban on non-essential city-funded travel to the states of North Carolina and Mississippi, Nellie Fitzpatrick, the city’s director of LGBT affairs, announced at a City Hall press conference Wednesday afternoon. The ban is in response to controversial new laws in those states — North Carolina’s H.B. 2 and Mississippi’s H.B. 1523 — that limit protections on LGBT persons.

Fitzpatrick made the announcement flanked by Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine, who was in the city to discuss the importance of passing statewide non-discrimination legislation in the wake of Governor Wolf’s executive orders, and Rue Landau, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. Read more »

Wolf to Sign LGBT Non-Discrimination Orders Tomorrow


Governor Tom Wolf plans to sign a pair of far-reaching anti-discrimination executive orders tomorrow, according to a statement released by his office.

The orders — one pertains to commonwealth employees, while the other covers state grants and the procurement process — forbid any agency under the governor’s jurisdiction from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, among other areas.

The aim, Wolf’s office said, to “make clear that Pennsylvania is inclusive, welcoming, and open for business for everyone.” Read more »

Photos: Punk Bands Rock Out With Their Food Cans Out at Electric Factory

On Thursday night, Punk Out, a local nonprofit with a mission to empower the lives of LGBT musicians and fans, held a food drive at Electric Factory. The event was a benefit for the Attic Youth Center, a fantastic organization that provides safe space, learning tools and more to Philly queer and transgender young people. The drive generated two boxes of non-perishable good for the Center and some cash collected through a raffle.

That was all well and good, but the centerpiece of the evening was a concert featuring five punk bands from across North America: SilversteinSenses Fail, Boysetsfire, Capsize and Hundredth

Local photographer Colleen Stepanian was capture the event. Check out her shots below:

For more information on how to support Punk Out and the Attic Youth Center, go here and here.

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Philadelphia FIGHT 25th Anniversary

Rep. Dwight Evans, Greg Louganis, Olympic diver, LGBT-rights activist and author, Jane Shullm Philadelphia FIGHT's Executive Director and Mayor elect Jim Kenney.

Rep. Dwight Evans, Greg Louganis, Olympic diver, LGBT-rights activist and author, Jane Shullm Philadelphia FIGHT’s Executive Director and Mayor elect Jim Kenney.

Philadelphia FIGHT’s 25th anniversary celebration was held Thursday night at the Loews Hotel. Founded in 1990 as a small HIV research project, FIGHT is now the largest and most comprehensive AIDS Service Organization in Philadelphia. The evening marked a quarter-century of providing vital programs and services to members of the community at need.

Lifetime Achievement Honoree Greg Louganis was on hand to greet the guests and pose for photos. Mayor-elect Jim Kenney stopped by to honor the organization for being a trailblazer in the field. Cherri Gregg, CBSRadio, emceed the event.

Photos after the jump »

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