OPINION: Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs Should Seriously Address the Gayborhood’s Racial Insensitivity

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

A little more than a year ago I first shared publicly my experience of dealing with racial insensitivity in the Gayborhood. After that, I took the conversation national, telling the rest of the world that diversity issues do exist within our LGBTQ scene and that it’s time to address it. I soon realized that I wasn’t alone — other prominent members of the community also had notable thoughts on the issue.

At one point, things looked promising. There was a town hall last fall — spearheaded by Philly Black Pride after a summer of heated discussions and a petition I started calling for the Gayborhood to diversify — that included members and leaders of the community sharing their own uncomfortable experiences at Gayborhood bars. Unfortunately, no bar owners actually attended the event to hear what some patrons had to say about their alleged institutionalized racist practices, but they later pledged to event organizers to improve their efforts. Read more »

LGBT Black History Month Spotlight:
7 Questions With Philadelphia Black Gay Pride Co-Founder Michael Hinson

In partnership with Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, every day throughout the month of February we will spotlight an influential black mover and shaker in the city.

Today: Michael Hinson, DPA (ABD), the director of policy and programs for the Center for Black Equity in Washington, D.C. He is also an adjunct instructor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cheyney University, the oldest historically black college and university in the United States. He is a former assistant managing director for the City of Philadelphia, the first LGBT liaison for the City of Philadelphia, founder of the COLOURS Organization, a local non-profit social service organization serving LGBT people of color,” and co-founder of Philadelphia Black Gay Pride.

Micheal HinsonWhat’s your Philly connection?
I grew up in in Wilmington, Del. and Hemingway, S.C., where my parents still live. I came to Philadelphia originally to find my full self and to grow as a young man. Thanks to three great mentors, Dr. Rashidah Abdul Khabeer, Tyrone Smith and David Fair, I found my full self rather quickly.

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I wanted to be a lawyer. This dream continued until I earned my Masters in Public Administration, finally realizing why my now-deceased birth father always called me professor. His prophecy is now in full effect. [Laughs]

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Wow, it’s really difficult to name just one or two inspirations, as I am truly a “village”-raised kid. My grandparents, Benjamin and Frances Maddix provided me with my first glimpse of extraordinary opportunities. My parents, Michael, Ned and Vera, along with their amazing brothers and sisters, invested time, treasure and love in me. No matter what I achieved personally or professionally it will never rise to the opportunities they afforded me.

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