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 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


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










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.


The way bail is set, cash bail and exorbitant bail have become part of the presidential primary conversation, thanks largely to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Harris’ highlighting of the issue as she campaigns holds particular resonance right now in Philadelphia, as the ACLU has filed a class-action complaint over bail.

Equality Forum has decided to give up its office space in Philadelphia.

The LGBTQ civil-rights organization, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1993, is selling the condo on the third floor of the Academy House that has served as its homebase since 2004.

Dr. Paul Zeitz has forever fought for justice — be it patients’ rights, human rights or global rights — striving for equal opportunity and egalitarianism for all.

Continuing with his mission, the Philadelphia-born activist and author has formed “Build a Movement 2020,” a set of initiatives aimed at achieving gender- and sexual-orientation equality and sustainability with a call to end child-sexual abuse and incest.

Don’t expect immediate gratification.

That could be the first thing foster parents should know, but it would be immediately followed by how rewarding it is to help raise needy local children and teenagers who number in the thousands.

Earlier this week, Philadelphia Family Pride hosted its 10th information session for potential LGBT-affirming foster parents at the Lovett Memorial Library in Mount Airy. A few dozen people attended.


Accusations came out last week against The Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia’s independent LGBTQ youth bastion, claiming an alleged sexual assault against a minor occurred on its premises and that racism was rampant among its staff.

The allegations were first posted March 4 on the Facebook page of the Black & Brown Workers Co-op.

Most people may not know this (or care), but I am not native to Philadelphia. In fact, I grew up on a farm 80 miles northwest of Amarillo, Texas. Yes, my adolescence was spent driving a tractor, dealing with cows, pigs and chickens — and doing my best to avoid getting beaten up by homophobic cowboys. Ah, childhood.

It also means that I was essentially suckled on chili and weaned on barbecue.

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