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.
8 Gay Things to Do in Philly This Week: Giovanni’s Room Re-Opens, Summer Kamp Comes to An End, OurNightOut, and More
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:
- American Civil Liberties Union of PA: LGBT Equality and African American Communities Project
- Attic Youth Center: Mental Health Program for LGBT Youth and their Families
- College of Physicians of Philadelphia: Out4Stem Program
- GO! Athletes: Strategic Plan for Pilot Mentorship Program
- Kimmel Center, Inc: It Gets Better Project
- LGBT Elder Initiative: LGBTEI Conversation Series
- Mazzoni Center: Sisterly L.O.V.E
- Valley Youth House: Pride Housing
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.)
The Mazzoni Center received an unexpected gift recently when it was notified that it would receive $100,000 from the estate of a Conshohocken native who later moved to San Francisco.
Thomas M. Dross passed away in San Francisco on January 7, 2012. He was born and raised in Conshohocken, educated at Widener in Chester, Pa., and later moved to San Francisco where he worked in marketing and advertising, and founded a popular restaurant, Upstairs, Downstairs. Upon his death he requested that his $2.1 million estate go to support HIV/AIDS charities, so when passed his co-executors set out to choose the organizations that would receive gifts. Most of the beneficiaries are located on the West Coast, but knowing Dross wanted to make a difference in his hometown, the co-executors decided to send money to Philly’s own Mazzoni Center. The donation marks one of the largest single contribution in the organization’s history.
Mondo Trasho: This new twice-monthly party in Fishtown promises “sex-dreamy jamz,” a performance by Pretty Girl and curious-sounding kombucha cocktail specials. Hear a preview of the evening’s soundtrack, recorded live in Serato by CNNR & Skull†Kid, here. Stay tuned to G Philly for a Q&A with party host Corey Griffith. Wed., Feb. 12, 10 p.m., free, The Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave.