Local News

Diversity, inclusion and community involvement were the hot-button topics at Philadelphia’s first-ever LGBT State of the Union, hosted by the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs at the Kimmel Center.

The SOTU brought together the executive directors of 10 organizations to address the public with TED Talk-style presentations. Those organizations included the William Way LGBT Community Center, The Attic Youth Center, Mazzoni Center, COLOURS Organization, Galaei, Philly Pride, Philly Black Pride, Independence Business Alliance, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund and LGBT Elder Initiative.

When it was announced that Amber Hikes, a black queer woman, would take the reins of the Office of LGBTQ Affairs in December, 2017, a collective cheer went up in Philadelphia’s LGBT community. It wasn’t just because Hikes was young, witty, ambitious and forceful when it came to dealing with racism within the gay community, or that she came with the sort of connections and experience that made her ideal for the job.

 The Pennsylvania Bar Association awarded Philadelphia lawyer Lawrence L. Felzer with the David M. Rosenblum GLBT Public Policy Award in recognition of Felzer’s advocacy for and volunteer work in the LGBT community.

An attorney for the man accused of assaulting drag performer Aloe Vera last month said the two lived together and that the incident was not a hate crime.

S. Philip Steinberg told PGN that Carmelo Villanueva and Vera were “close friends” at the time of the assault April 29 in South Philadelphia.

Hundreds of LGBT business owners gathered along with local and community leaders at the Down Town Club May 8 for the Independence Business Alliance’s Business Leader’s Luncheon, during which honoree Mitchell Gold warned of the current administration: “They’re trying to roll back our rights.”

IBA Executive Director Zach Wilcha and Amber Hikes, executive director of the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs, opened the event.

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