Wanda Sykes to Host 50th Anniversary Ceremony on July 4th



Out comedian Wanda Sykes will MC the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration on the Fourth of July at Independence Hall. The event is the grandmother of a slew of events throughout the city marking the anniversary of the nation’s first LGBT protests, which took place right here in Philadelphia.

Organizer Malcolm Lazin announced the news about Sykes in a press release this morning, saying “We are tremendously excited to have Wanda Sykes, an outspoken and committed LGBT advocate, as the Master of Ceremonies for the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony. This historic one-hour Ceremony, in front of Independence Hall, commemorates the Gay Pioneers, celebrates 50 years of LGBT civil rights progress, and addresses future challenges. Wanda is a perfect MC.”

Sykes is one of the most famous LGBT faces we have today. She came out publicly in 2008 at a Proposition 8 rally in Vegas. Since then she has been honored by GLAAD with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, a gesture recognizing her achievements in promoting LGBT rights in the media, and, in 2011, Equality Forum made her an LGBT History Month Icon. She’s a great get and, dare I say, much more exciting than our Philly Pride headliner.

The bulk of this summer’s 50th Anniversary Celebration takes place July 2nd to 5th, with a schedule full of panels, film screenings, fireworks, parties exhibits and concerts. The celebration on July 4th will include remarks by Ms. Sykes and a re-enactment of the first protest, originally led by Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny. But there’s so much more happening, including a few things going on right now, like exhibits at the Rosenbach Branch of the Free Library and the National Museum of American Jewish History. More on those and all the other ways Philly is celebrating the anniversary here.