Michael Weiss | Image via Mazzoni Center’s website
A week after it was revealed that Gayborhood bar owner and Democratic committeeman Michael Weiss was named — as “Business Owner #2” — in the 23-count federal indictment of District Attorney Seth Williams on corruption-related charges, Gayborhood nonprofit Mazzoni Center has confirmed to G Philly that he is no longer on the organization’s board.
A Mazzoni spokesperson sent the following statement: Read more »
Michael Weiss | Image via Mazzoni Center’s website
Michael Weiss is arguably one of the most powerful and politically connected men in the Gayborhood. He’s the co-owner of several popular bars (Woody’s, Rosewood Bar Lounge, and Voyeur), the board secretary of Mazzoni Center, a member of the Philadelphia LGBT Police Liaison Committee, an elected Democratic committeeman/treasurer for the city’s Eighth Ward, and a “special adviser” to District Attorney Seth Williams. Read more »
Screenshot of Abdul-Aliy Mohammad reading a list of demands to Nurit Shein and Michael Weiss.
“Nurit Shein, resign!” was the catchphrase a dozen members of the intersectional activist group Black & Brown Workers Collective (BBWC) chanted on Friday during the Mazzoni Center’s eighth-annual “Justice in Action” event at the Loews hotel in Center City.
After posting a Change.org petition calling for the Mazzoni CEO to resign amid controversy surrounding her remarks following the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations Gayborhood racism report, Friday’s protest was an in-person confrontation in which the BBWC handed Mazzoni board members a list of their demands and spoke to Shein in person. The demands included Shein stepping down, Mazzoni medical director Dr. Robert Winn resigning, and Mazzoni allocating nonrestricted funds to “support therapy and other infrastructure to help former and current staff that have had an increase in need for therapeutic care due to workplace violence.” Read more »
The Bike Stop and Philadelphians MC presents the Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest 2017 this Saturday.
For its competitive spirit and edgy dress code, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest 2017. This time around, the Bike Stop and Philadelphians MC are asking you to “strap on your hottest gear, grab all your friends, and don’t forget your cellphone so you can vote online and help decide the winner!” Guests can expect to compete and/or vote for the Bar Wear, Hot Wear, Formal Wear, and Audience Vote categories. There is a cash bar with snacks, with an afterparty following the crowning of the winners. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 7th, at the Bike Stop, 206 South Quince Street. Read more »
Mazzoni Center CEO Nurit Shein.
Two days after the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) released its findings and recommendations on Gayborhood racism, community activists have created a Change.org petition alleging various types of misconduct at HIV/AIDS advocacy organization Mazzoni Center, which is being required by PCHR to provide its board and staff with training on implicit bias and the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance. Read more »
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) has confirmed that two additional LGBT community leaders will attend its October 25th public hearing on Gayborhood racism.
As previously reported, PCHR has subpoenaed the owners of all 11 Gayborhood bars and already confirmed that both Mayor Jim Kenney and Office of LGBT Affairs director Nellie Fitzpatrick would be attending. Read more »
Now in its 18th year, Bi Visibility Day will now have a rally in Philly for the first time.
For its historical significance and attention to inclusion, this week’s LGBTQ event of the week is the Philly Bi Visibility Rally. International Bi Visibility Day has been celebrated nationally since 1999, but this will be the first time Philadelphia has thrown an official rally for it. Sponsored by the Office of LGBT Affairs, the event plans to unite bisexuals and LGBTQ allies together with rainbow flags and signs proving that being bi is “not just a phase.” Read more »
What was expected to be a large demonstration by the Westboro Baptist Church protesting LGBTQ members entering the Mazzoni Center instead became a huge pride block party. As previously reported, local LGBTQ organizers planned to host a Great Wall of Love demonstration intended to peacefully guard people from the potential insults hurled by the controversial Westboro Baptist Church. At roughly 1 p.m. outside of the Mazzoni Center at 801 Locust street, fewer than 10 Westboro Baptist Church protesters were met by a crowd of around 2,000 LGBTQ members and allies who carried various signs calling for equality and love.
“They were not ready for all the love we slayed them with,” said Joan Carson. Carson, 29, is a DNC visitor who heard about the event on social media. “I’m not from here, but it’s clear that Westboro Baptist Church’s hate for queer people is nationwide.” Read more »
Photo by Jared Brey
On Thursday, Sarah McBride will be the first openly transgender person to speak at a Democratic or Republican national convention.
Sarah McBride, the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, will be the first transgender convention speaker for a major American political party. “I’m honored for this opportunity to share my story and to be the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention,” McBride said in a press statement. “People must understand that even as we face daily harassment, tragic violence, and an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ political attacks across the country, we are real people merely seeking to be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves.” McBride — also a Trans United for Hillary steering committee member — will speak on Thursday, the last day of the DNC, on issues pertaining to the recent triumph, obstacles, and policies affecting the transgender community. The DNC has seen the highest number of openly transgender delegates — 27 — it has ever had. This increased visibility of transgender representation at the DNC is in stark contrast to what’s been called the GOP’s most anti-LGBTQ party platform in history at last week’s Republican National Convention. The current DNC proposed platform calls for comprehensive nondiscrimination laws, active opposition of anti-LGBTQ bills, combatting anti-transgender violence, and a more global call to action for LGBTQ equality.
Today, members of the community will peacefully block Westboro Baptist Church protesters from picketing the Mazzoni Center.
Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial anti-LGBTQ group, plans to protest transgender individuals who frequent the Mazzoni Center. As word began to spread that they were making an appearance in Philly during the DNC, local organizers banded together to plan a “Great Wall of Love” to peacefully shield the protesters from disturbing the LGBTQ individuals who seek mental, clinical, and social support at the facility. “We plan to shut down hate with love,” said Deja Lynn Alvarez, a trans activist who helped to organize the event. “We the organizers of the Great Wall of Love want to show the world our community is made up of love that isn’t what every community church and family is made up of.”
The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. outside Mazzoni, at 809 Locust Street. Organizers are informing those who plan to participate that this isn’t a counter-protest to Westboro Baptist Church, and therefore they do not encourage participants to directly engage with the insensitive remarks that are likely to be made. Mazzoni Center, local city officials, and the Philadelphia Police Department has been informed of the event, but are not actively involved with the operations of it.
National Legal Panel
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
National Museum of American Jewish History (Dell Theater)
101 South Independence Mall East (5th and Market streets)
The Equality Forum hosts a conversation around LGBTQ laws and policies with a panel of legal experts and activists fighting for equal rights. SCOTUS marriage equality plaintiff Jim Obergefell will be in the room to sign copies of his book, Love Wins. This event is free and open to the public. Read more »