Portraits

She was born in Chester and now lives in L.A., but we claim her as our own. Before moving to the City of Angels, actor Jessica Graham was a staple of the Philadelphia-area scene. Graham co-founded both Theater Catalyst’s Eternal Spiral Project and Stonegraham Productions (producers of girL, Philadelphia’s longest-running lesbian party). She has also worked with a number of Philadelphia filmmakers and has not one, but two films in next week’s QFest (formerly the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival). The multi-talented Graham has done stage, screen and television, including commercials for Southwest Airlines, AOL and PETA; various stage productions and the lead role in the sexy thriller “2 Minutes Later.” PGN had a chance to chat with her about her time in Philadelphia, her thoughts as an out actor and what’s next on the agenda.

The Bike Stop has been the “heart of the leather community for over 18 years.” At one time I found the place a little intimidating, but now if I want to stop by and have a quick beer or get a bear hug from Rick upstairs, I no longer feel like I’m invading the boys’ club. It’s still a male-centric, non-frilly spot (The Pit Stop in the basement has a sign that reads “No Sneakers — No Cologne”), as it should be, but now it feels like a place where I could hang with my big brothers and feel safe. (Not that my actual big brother is into leather ... at least not that I know of.)

According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, nearly 13,000 servicemembers have been discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — the military’s ban on openly gay members — since 1993, and strong evidence suggests that countless others have made the choice not to join the military or have left military service rather than serve under the discriminatory law.

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