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A decade of working in city government and volunteering for community groups and nonprofits has given Lauren Vidas a valuable piece of insight that’s fueling her run for City Council: A lot of good can happen in communities when government is working properly.

And right now, she said, it’s just not.

 A national organization that promotes openly LGBTQ candidates for elected office just announced three additional endorsements in Philadelphia’s upcoming primaries.

The Victory Fund previously endorsed three candidates for the city’s judiciary and now is promoting Council candidates as well, citing a chance to make history.

A Philadelphia nonprofit that helps thousands of people deal with chronic illnesses just got a big reward so it can help even more.

Action Wellness received a Penn Medicine CAREs grant for $1,800 that executive director Kevin Burns said would be used to cover some “transportation expenses for clients who are unable to use public transportation to get to urgent or emergency medical and social service appointments.”

With survey evidence that the LGBT population has grown, New York-based advocacy organization Family Equality Council has joined forces with Reproductive Medicine Associates to expand parenting opportunities for the community.

“As the only national LGBTQ organization focused specifically on supporting LGBTQ families and those who seek to form them, Family Equality Council is uniquely positioned to assist RMA in its care of LGBTQ patients,” said The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality Council, in a press statement.

It was supposed to be a celebration of the annual Trans Day of Visibility. Philadelphians were to gather at City Hall at midday Tuesday to raise the Trans Pride Flag and hear speakers from the trans community.

But the ceremony took a different turn when an audience member verbally attacked one of two out transgender candidates running in the May 21 primary election, Deja Lynn Alvarez.

If a recently inaugurated crowd-funding effort doesn’t succeed in raising adequate capital, a local HIV-services agency will be forced to close its doors within two months.

The board of Siloam Wellness has initiated a GoFundMe campaign in an attempt to raise $500,000, which would give the agency enough money to continue operations for the next two years. The group is also trying to buy time to pursue plans aimed at stabilizing the beleaguered agency’s finances in the long term.

Julie Chovanes, a Philadelphia-based transgender attorney, this week continued her year-long quest for records relating to the Nizah Morris case at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office by filing an appeal in Common Pleas Court.

Morris was a transgender woman of color found with a fatal head injury during the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 22, 2002, minutes after she received a “courtesy ride” in the Gayborhood from Philadelphia police. She died 64 hours later, after her attending physician had her removed from life support at Jefferson University Hospital.

Her homicide remains unsolved.

 Emma Rittman pauses and takes a breath as she enters her new home March 20 at the Gloria Casarez Residences. Rittman was one of seven young people to move in that day, bringing the total number of residents to 21. Youth moving in are greeted with “Welcome home” from staff members and Project HOME representatives. An official grand-opening housewarming party is being planned for some time in mid-May.  Photo: Scott A. Drake

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Emma Rittman (left), and program manager Kate Gormley inspect the nooks and cranies of Rittman’s new home. Part of the entry process included the inspecion, safety protocols, house rules and responsIbilities. Each tenant received housewarming gifts of linens, hangers, ice cube trays, cookware and other everyday items courtesy of Project HOME. Flatscreen televisions for each of the 30 rooms were donated by Mel Heifitz, a long-time supporter of the project. The final nine residents are expected to move in by the end of the month as final touches are applied to the building. The grand-opening celebration will be held in mid-May. Photos: Scott A. Drake

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MIKAL WOODS SITS IN ONE OF THE BUILDING’S COMMON AREAS. WOODS MOVED IN EARLIER THIS MONTH.

 

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THE GLORIA CASAREZ RESIDENCES GROUNDBREAKING IN DECEMBER 2017

 

 

Benny C. Chan is no stranger to pushing the envelope. The College of New Jersey chemistry professor said he will sometimes play with gender stereotypes to get his students to think.

“Sometimes, I’ll just put nail polish on and just wear it to class and the students will ask me, ‘Why do you have nail polish on?’ [I’ll respond], ‘Since when is nail polish gendered? Why are you asking this question, first of all? Where did this concept come that nail polish or makeup in general is just feminine?’ It’s a construct and we can deconstruct that if we want. So I do those things particularly to spark some conversations. I kind of like the controversy,” the professor laughed.

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