Philly’s Independence Business Alliance Wins Chamber of the Year

independence business allianceGreater Philadelphia’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Independence Business Alliance (IBA), got some big news today. Only moments ago, at the Business & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) awarded it the coveted 2014 Chamber of the Year Award. 

Reps from NGLCC say they chose IBA as this year’s recipient because it “is developing innovative ways to engage with their community … the dedicated board and staff truly embody the spirit of national-local partnership. Their work partnering with major corporations, their extensive educational and outreach programming, and their engagement with the local business community is consistent and impressive.”

IBA does a lot of work in the city and region to provide resources and encourage economic development for local LGBT-owned business. Among other things, every year, it hands out a $5,000 grant to a Philly-area LGBT entrepreneur, money that is used to promote innovative ideas, and expand business. Some prior benefactors include Metro Men’s Clothing, and, most recently, West Philly’s Gold Standard. They’ve also recently kicked off a monthly networking mixer, ConnX, that encourages local business folks to mingle and exchange ideas. (The next one is coming up on August 19th at Tavern On Camac.)

“The IBA is excited to share this honor with the local LGBT and allied business community we serve,” IBA Executive Administrator Tom Cavanaugh said after receiving the award. “It is an honor to be recognized for our hard work, and we hope to inspire Philadelphia for years to come.”

Many congrats.

HEADS UP: Terry Gross Chats With George Takei

The latest episode of Philly-produced radio talk show Fresh Air finds host Terry Gross chatting with legendary gay advocate George Takei. It’s a good listen. The Star Trek alum delves into his reasons for not coming out until he was 68 years old, his years in a Japanese internment camp, and how he transitioned into becoming one of our most outspoken celebrity champions for gay rights. A blip about his coming out:

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IndiGoGo a Huge Success, Please Make it a Regular Thing

indigogo william way

William Way Community Center‘s IndiGoGo party was everything I hoped it would be. For the first time, the annual fundraiser brought together 11 Philly party producers who put on a hell of a shindig Saturday night at Underground Arts. The affair took up five (Six? I lost count) rooms within the Loft District venue—each featuring DJs, circus performers, go-go dancers, and there was even one where you could get spanked by porn star Colby Keller.

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11 #GayPhilly Instagrams You Need to See This Week: It Takes Two to Tango

Equality PA Touring the State for LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

State Representative Mike Sturla at Equality PA's stop in Lancaster. Photo by Alexander Gell

State Representative Mike Sturla at Equality PA’s stop in Lancaster. Photo by Alexander Gell

This week Equality Pennsylvania kicked off a six-week tour across the state—from Lancaster to State College to Springfield—to drum up support for house and senate bills 300, legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or identity.

The tour launch comes during an important week in LGBT history. On Monday, President Obama signed  a kickass executive order that protects LGBT federal workers across the country against discrimination. It’s high time we do the same thing to all workers in Pennsylvania.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: LGBT Winners


Gay Bar: U Bar

There isn’t a dance floor in the whole place, and drag-queen sightings are rare. But that’s exactly what’s so great about the bar formerly known as Uncles. (Well, that and the studly bartenders.) U Bar stands apart from other Gayborhood watering holes as a no-fuss, no-’tude, unpretentious spot to grab a strong drink or two and gab with friends. 1220 Locust Street, Midtown Village, 215-546-6660.

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Trans Activist Andrea Bowen Named Executive Director of Garden State Equality

andrea andy bowen

Garden State Equality’s new Executive Director Andrea “Andy” Bowen.

New Jersey’s Equality PA equivalent Garden State Equality (GSE) made history this week when it named Andrea “Andy” Bowen executive director. The position makes Bowen the nation’s first openly transgender executive director of a statewide organization for LGBT civil rights.

Bowen comes to GSE from Washington D.C., where she worked as the social policy organizer with the D.C. Trans Coalition, and policy expert for the National Center for Transgender Equality. In these roles she played an integral part in getting key legislation passed for the LGBT community, including a bill that allows transgender people to change their birth certificates and names, and she helped spearhead a movement that ensured D.C. health insurance policies covered many trans-specific health care needs.

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Superhero Series The Flash To Feature Not One But Two Gay Characters

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen (aka The Flash.)

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen (aka The Flash.)

American Horror Story: Freak Show aside, there’s a whole other reason to get excited about TV this fall. The Huffington Post reports that CW Arrow spin-off series The Flash will feature two gay characters. More from out writer/producer (and current boyfriend of soccer star Robbie Rogers) Grant Berlanti:

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Eastern University President Bashed Over Letter to Obama

Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.

It didn’t contain an exemption for religious-based organizations. Before the order was signed, religious groups asked Obama to give them an exemption. One of the people who signed the letter was Robert Duffett, president of Eastern University. And now some alumni are pissed.

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