Woman Crush Wednesday: The Mazzoni Center’s Samantha Jo-Dato

Every hump day a Philly person shares their local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today, local mover and shaker Samantha Jo Dato, who works at the Mazzoni Center to organize the annual Philadelphia Trans-Health ConferenceShe will soon publish a testimonial journal called Sami Jo Shattered Perfect, which she “hopes will reach trans* people near and far and inspire them to transform their narratives of struggle into stories of major success.”



Our Last Five Woman Crush Wednesdays:

Mazzoni Center Publishes Student Guide How to Build a FIERCE GSA

FIERCE cover picMazzoni Center‘s Ally Safe Schools program has distilled its wealth of knowledge into a book, so educators and students alike can learn how to create or strengthen a Gay/Queer-Straight Alliance at their schools. These student-run clubs help raise awareness of LGBTQ issues, organize activities, provide support for each other, and/or create a safe space for LGBTQ students.

How to Build a FIERCE GSA is 22-pages in length, and filled with all kinds of tips that the Center hopes will help inspire healthy, vibrant GSAs across the region and nation. The small 4-by-6 guide is portable, so readers can keep it on hand for meetings and events. It’s so tiny—and adorable—it will fit in your pocket.

You may have seen Mazzoni handing out some of these at OutFest yesterday, but you can still get a free copy by downloading it here as a PDF or requesting a hard copy.

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Suddenly Fem Donates $5K Worth of Male-to-Female Trans Fashions to Mazzoni Center

Catalog-cover-2014Suddenly Fem, a fashion and lifestyle catalog that sells clothes and accessories to the cross-dresser and male-to-female transgender community, is all up in Philly this weekend. Not only will it be participating in tomorrow’s fourth annual Philly Trans* March, but the retailer has donated $5,000 worth of clothing to the Mazzoni Center—everything from dresses and heels to jackets and lingerie that are made to fit the male-to-female figure. 

The donation will go to the Center’s Sisterly Love Trans* Wellness Project, which, among other things, seeks to help trans women succeed in the workforce. The trans community has a high rate of unemployed people and many struggle to find the right professional outfit,” says the Mazzoni Center’s Samantha Jo-Dato. “We will make the clothing accessible to women in the trans community who are looking for jobs. We welcome them to stop by and pick out a couple amazing things for their wardrobes.”

That’s one of the goals of Suddenly Fem, too.

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DO THIS: Don Your Amateur Drag at The Beauty Ball

Photo by Alexander John.

Photo by Alexander John.

Five years ago Dr. Patrick Barrett began hosting a soiree in his apartment, where he’d ask guests to come in drag. He dubbed the party The Philly Beauty Ball, and it was apparently such a riot that it’s become become one of the year’s most-anticipated events. It’s a chance for those among us who are curious about drag but don’t want to glue on lashes and tuck our junk on a regular basis to see what we look like in a wig and a little rouge. But most importantly it’s a fun way to take part in the community and raise money for a good, local LGBT cause.

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8 Gay Things to Do in Philly This Week: Giovanni’s Room Re-Opens, Summer Kamp Comes to An End, OurNightOut, and More



Delaware Valley Legacy Fund Divvies Out $32,000 to Philly LGBT Organizations

It truly is Christmas in July for eight local LGBT non-profits who will benefit from a $32,000 grant from Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF.) The money will be divided between each organization, and used to fund a specific program within each group. DVLF Executive Director Samantha Giusti tells me the money comes from the organization’s 2014 LGBTQ Emerging Needs Grant. Benefactors are chosen by a panel of community members “who have a diverse array of lived experience and professional knowledge in a variety areas” based on best practices, benchmarks, outcomes, and financials, she says.

This year’s recipients are:

“Every year I am more impressed by the ingenuity displayed by our community members at creating innovative programming to meet emerging needs faced by LGBTQ people in our region,” says Giusti. “Less than .3 percent of the over 50 billion given annually by U.S. foundations goes to LGBTQ issues. It’s a grave statistic as it is neither representative of the size of our community nor it’s need. With these grants we hope that we can be responsive to the the emerging needs in our community.”

Janet Mock Speaking at This Year’s Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference

Mazzoni Center  just released details about its 13th annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference (PTHC), which kicks off on June 12. The three-day gathering will play host to no less than 250 workshops, speaking engagements and activities meant to promote “the health and well-being of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, as well as their families, friends, allies and providers.”

Organizers have attracted some big names this year, including Director of Policy at the National Center for Transgender Equality Harper Jean Tobin, Esq., who will lead a keynote address on Friday, June 13th, at 1 p.m., but one that will likely draw even more attention is Janet Mock. The fired-up activist and New York Times best-selling author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More made headlines recently when she sparred with Piers Morgan on his now-defunct talk show on CNN. She took the host to task for a litany of insensitive mentions he made about Mock’s identity on Twitter, proving that she is one cookie you don’t cross.

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572 Ways Marriage Counts in Pennsylvania

Ahead of its town hall meeting on same-sex marriage tonight, the Mazzoni Center has released a sizable report laying out all the benefits marriage equality brings to us here in Pennsylvania — all 572 of them. The report, “How Marriage Counts: 572 Ways Marriage Counts in Pennslyvania, “summarizes the legal benefits and obligations conveyed by state-recognized marriage, identifying 572 individual statutory provisions that afford rights or create obligations based on marital status or otherwise pertain to an individual’s marital status.”

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PHOTOS: Mazzoni Center’s 2014 Elixir Gala

On Saturday, members and supporters of the Mazzoni Center took over the Wells Fargo Bank and Museum for its fourth-annual Elixir Gala. The sold-out party, with the theme “Out Is the New In,” included a well-stocked open bar, delicious food, and a silent auction with prizes ranging from laser hair removal to GayBINGO tickets to a seven-night luxury trip to the Caribbean. When the mingling portion of the evening subsided, Master of Ceremonies Jim Donovan took the stage to announce this year’s 2014 Elixir Honorees. (But first a few photos from the evening, from Freedom G Photography’s Tara Lessard.)



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