Kenney Expands City-Funded Travel Ban to Places With Anti-LBGT Legislation

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Last month, Mayor Jim Kenney placed a ban on non-essential city-funded travel to Mississippi and North Carolina, in response to legislation enacted in those states that limit the protections LGBT persons. Late Monday, Kenney announced that the ban will be extended to include Tennessee and the city of Oxford, Alabama.  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 »

No Jail for Gay Bashers?

gay bashing suspects

Two of the people connected to the brutal assault against two gay men in Center City just accepted plea deals where they won’t serve any jail time. Instead, they’re going to be on probation, suffer exile from Center City during this period, and have to volunteer at an LGBT organization.

The idea is that mercy and dialogue is better than prison. That idea isn’t just spiritually sound: It’s also endorsed by the victims of the crime.

To be perfectly frank, the sentence doesn’t satisfy my personal desire to see the homophobes in physical or emotional pain. That’s OK, though. Resentment is a crummy fuel to run society’s engine. And, I guess we don’t torture people anymore.

It’s hard to stomach, though. I mean, I’ve been punched for being gay before, too. And, I’ve dealt with casual homophobia on Philly streets my entire life. I want it to stop. But, it’s never going to stop. Bigotry and ignorance can only be mitigated with free speech and dialogue – not eradicated by stomping “enlightened” boots on people’s faces. Read more »

Our Favorite Instagrams From OutFest 2015

The City’s annual OutFest, a celebration of just about everything LGBTQ, rocked the Gayborhood almost all day Sunday. Besides from the vendors and plenty of music (and drink), there were a few sobering moments to the festivities: A new Philadelphia rainbow flag was unveiled at a ceremony at City Hall (see our coverage of that event here) and a special mural was dedicated to the late Gloria Casarez at 12th Street Gym.

However, the day was mostly uninhibited fun, and Instagram was the perfect place to get a taste of all of those who celebrated. We rounded up some of our favorite shots from yesterday’s festivities.

love these men! #outfest2015 A photo posted by @elicia_g on

#couchesdontcount #valleyyouthhouse #phillyouthfest2015 #outfest

A photo posted by Kolby Nelson (@kolbykent) on

Read more »

PHOTOS: Mayor Nutter Helps Raise New Philadelphia LGBT Rainbow Flag This Morning

flag raising

There were a variety of emotions this morning as members from Philadelphia government and the LGBT community met outside of City Hall to raise the City’s brand new LGBT rainbow flag for the first time.

In some regard, it was an event of remembrance for the late Gloria Casarez, the City’s first Director of LGBT Affairs, who was extremely passionate about the flag raising ceremony and carried out the tradition for five years. This year is the first year Ms. Casarez is not present for the celebration of the LGBT community after her untimely death due to cancer. Read more »

Mark Segal’s Book-Signing

John J. "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, Business Manager of Local 98, Chris Bartlett Executive Director of William Way, and David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. When Cohen took the podium to pay tribute to Segal, he stated that the only person who bought more books for his "workers' was Dougherty. His two biggest fans.

Wednesday night a room full of movers and shakers gathered at the Independence Visitor Center to pay tribute to a national LGBT trailblazer, Mark Segal, who was celebrating the publication of his long-awaited memoir, And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality. The night began for most of us crossing the NBC10 picket line of striking photographers; John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty was a few steps behind me, shaking hands with a few of the protestors — members of his union — and giving them his support. In comes David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, NBC10’s parent company. No problem. Cohen and Dougherty exchanged a handshake, and the two talked for a long time, even posing for a photo for me. Both then joined the long line of other guests waiting their turn for the man of the hour Mark Segal to sign their books.

Photos after the jump »

North Philly Killing Draws National Attention

Kiesha Jenkins | Facebook

Kiesha Jenkins | Facebook

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today.

The killing of Kiesha Jenkins has quickly become a national story.

Jenkins, a 22-year-old trans woman, was shot and killed early Tuesday in North Philadelphia. Police have said they don’t know if her identity was the reason for her killing, but news outlets like BuzzFeed, Heavy, and the Advocate note her death comes during a year that has seen what they call an “epidemic” of killings of trans people.

“Jenkins becomes the 20th transgender woman confirmed murdered in the U.S. in 2015, highlighting why trans advocates continue to decry an ‘epidemic’ of transphobic violence,” the Advocate reports. “The vast majority of the women killed this year have been transgender women of color. By comparison, 12 transgender women were murdered in all of 2014.” Read more »

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