News Briefings

Race-equality group looks for new members

Men of All Colors Together-Philadelphia will be hosting its first monthly meeting to introduce its 37th year.

The racial-equality advocacy group will hold its first monthly meeting of the season 7:30 p.m.  Sept. 21 at the William Way LGBT Community Center. The grassroots organization is reintroducing itself to the community after leaning more toward social events and away from political activity for nearly a decade. The event is free and open to the public.

Gary Hines, MACT-Philadelphia’s membership chair, said that the meeting is the first step in engaging new members.

“This meeting will help kick off our fall-membership drive. We’re trying to engage young people and people in the community who want to get politically involved. We’ve reshaped our mission and vision and we’re looking to strengthen our membership as well,” Hines said.

GayBINGO launches a new season

The AIDS Fund’s GayBINGO returns this month at a new location for its 23rd season of raising emergency funds for those living with HIV in the Greater Philadelphia region.

The first GayBINGO of the season — with this month’s theme being “Dynasty”— takes place at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St. The event is hosted by the Bingo Verifying Divas, a group of drag queens who entertain the crowd.

Along with GayBINGO, AIDS Fund produces a variety of fundraising and awareness programs throughout the year, including AIDS Walk Philly, Black-Tie GayBINGO and Workplace Giving Campaigns.

Robb Reichard, the executive director of AIDS Fund, said the bingo event is a chance for the community to have fun while supporting a good cause.

“GayBINGO has always been a crowd favorite and this year we’re taking it to another level. Participants will still be in store for a fun night of drag queens, laughs and bingo all in an effort that continue to raise awareness and funds for those trying to live a long life with HIV,” said Reichard.

For more information on the new season of GayBINGO and to purchase tickets, visit www.aidsfundphilly.org/gaybingo.

Scholarship fund honors George Michael

Local fans of the late performer George Michael are commemorating his legacy with a fundraising event that will fund a scholarship in honor of the musician.

Roseann Tiralli-Giannone and Diane Kastner will host a meet-and-greet 12:30-4 p.m. Sept. 23 at Dave and Buster’s, 325 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd. Deon Estus, bass player for Michael and WHAM!, will be the event’s special guest. Proceeds from a silent auction will go to the Freedom Scholarship Fund at the Settlement Music School.

The school is one of the country’s largest and oldest community schools of the arts, having taught more than 300,000 students since it was founded in 1908.

Tiralli-Giannone, chairwomen of the event, has been a longtime supporter of the music school. She said that the scholarship is her way of keeping Michael’s legacy alive.

“As a longtime George Michael fan, I knew of his love of music and children and I thought it would be a great idea to start a scholarship fund in his memory. We wanted to reflect [Michael’s] giving nature and support an institution that truly values music education.”

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.reviewsandmorebyrosey.com/deon-estus-meet-greet-philadelphia/. 

— Compiled by Adriana Fraser

LGBT open mic returns to Philly

A local spoken-word poet will host an open mic specifically for LGBTQ musicians, artists, poets and comedians of color.

The OUTSpoken open mic will be held 8-11 p.m. Oct. 6, at the Life Do Grow Farm, 231 N. 11th St. Rienne Scott, creator of OUTSpoken, is reintroducing the open mic to the city after taking the event to Baltimore, where she lived for four years.

Scott created the open mic in 2012 to fill a need for LGBTQ-affirming spaces for spoken-word artists in the city.

“I wanted to create a queer-based performance space as well as a stronger queer network within the city, especially for queer performers of color. We’re lacking spaces that are for us.”

Local bar hosts queer bazaar

Tattooed Mom is hosting the third installment of the Philly queer bazaar in support of local small-business owners.

The bazaar will take place 1-5 p.m. Sept. 29 on the second level of Tattooed Mom, 530 South St. It will feature 13 merchants selling jewelry, crafts, clothing and other handmade products. Tattooed Mom will provide brunch to guests until 4:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public. 

This will be the first time the bazaar will have nonprofit organizations — the Starfruit Project and For Brown Bleeders — as featured vendors.

Kisha Robinson, the bazaar’s organizer, created the event because she couldn’t find any specifically for the queer community.

“I attended a few vending events and felt out of place. I wanted to provide a space where people felt comfortable to be themselves and share their products and services with other community members.”

Anderson Apartments snag

gardening award

The John C. Anderson Apartments, an LGBTQ-friendly apartment complex, won the blue ribbon for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s 2018 Gardening and Greening contest, edging out more than 300 applicants.

This is the third win for the “Garden Gang,” the residents who maintain the garden throughout the year. Elizabeth Coffey Williams, a resident of Anderson Apartments, was recognized for her gardening work by the society in the award letter, which thanked her for the “positive impact your efforts have on your community.” 

— Adriana Fraser

Delaware LGBT group invites congresswoman, senator to summer fundraiser

The Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall PAC, an advocacy group for the LGBT community of Delaware, will feature Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and Senator Tom Carper at its annual summer fundraiser June, 16 1-4 p.m. in Rehoboth Beach at Rigby’s Bar and Grill.

The Delaware Stonewall PAC, founded in 2003, is the country’s only grassroots Democratic LGBT organization. Peter Schott, the PAC’s founder and president, said the event’s proceeds will go towards the continuing fight for equality, as the political-action committee will educate the public and state legislators on important issues to the community.

“The ability of our group to get national figures and state leaders to attend the event has made the group one which elected officials pay attention to,” Schott said.

Activist groups lead protest in City Council chambers

The HIV/AIDS activists of ACT UP and Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania led a “die-in” protest at last week’s City Council meeting.

The activists occupied the Council Chamber for 30 minutes June 7 to protest provisions to an affordable-housing package proposed by Council President Darrell Clarke. A handful of protesters got out of their wheelchairs and lay on the floor, chanting, “Stop Clarke, stop greed, money for housing is what we need!”

A 1-percent tax on new-construction developments was introduced to Council in April to fund affordable housing units in the city. Clarke’s proposed provisions included a new sub-fund that would be spent on housing for those who earn up to 120 percent of median income, or more than $100,000 for a family of four. 

The Housing Trust Fund, which currently gets $11 million a year, provides affordable housing throughout the city. Half the revenue in the trust fund must be spent on housing for those who make less than 30 percent of the area median income — roughly $26,000 for a family of four.

“[The] City Council president got our message that creating a fund twice the size of the Housing Trust Fund and not giving anything to people [in poverty] is an outrage,” said Nancy Salandra, a member of Disabled in Action.

LGBTQ sports team hosts Father’s Day block party

The Philadelphia Falcons Soccer Club will host a block-party fundraiser on Father’s Day, June 17, 1-6 p.m. at UBar.

The fundraiser will be in conjunction with UBar’s “Who’s U’r Daddy” party with drinks, music and a raffle fundraiser for the upcoming Gay Games — the world LGBT community’s largest sporting and cultural event — hosted in Paris. Special guest DJ Robert Drake of the Sex Dwarf Dance Party will spin. The event is free and participants are encouraged to buy a Falcons T-shirt. A total of $5 from every shirt sale will go to the team.

“We represent a vast array of gender identities, sexual orientations, nationalities and backgrounds. This event is to celebrate who we are and what we do, but it’s also to raise money for this year’s Gay Games, where we hope to represent the city proudly,” said Caitlin Daley, president of the Falcons.

Galaei hosts Alternative Prom

Galaei will host its 23rd annual Alternative Prom June 22 from 6-9 p.m. at the William Way LGBT Community Center.

The Alternative Prom is the longest-running event of its kind specifically for LGBTQ individuals ages 13-24. All participants are encouraged to buy a ticket for $10, but the fee is optional. The prom was created by humanitarian and activist David Acosta as a way to ensure that all LGBTQ youth who could not or did not attend their own proms would have an opportunity to do so “freely,” said Geraldo Oyola, HIV testing coordinator at Galaei. This year’s theme is Purple Rain, inspired by the late musician Prince.

“Our youth board decided the theme this year and we couldn’t be more excited,” Oyola said. “This is our biggest event of the year. It showcases the spirit of the young people in our community. We’re encouraging all young people to come out, LGBTQ-identified or not.” 

— compiled by Adriana Fraser

Free Library holds second Pride celebration

The Free Library is hosting its second Pride month with a series of programming running throughout the month. Neighborhood libraries throughout the city will host more than 30 LGBTQ-themed events including film screenings, “rainbow” story times — story time featuring children’s books read by drag queens about diversity and self-love — a pizza party with The Attic Youth Center and an all-ages drag show.

Three new transgender-rights bills to pass in New Jersey State

The New Jersey State Assembly gave final legislative approval last week for three transgender-rights bills. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the bills, which impact how gender identity appears on certain records.

qFLIX to host ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish & Gay’

The region’s LGBT film festival will host a St. Patrick’s Day event this weekend. qFLIX’s “Kiss Me I’m Irish & Gay” will include drink specials, food, music and free T-shirts, while supplies last. Additionally, five pairs of all-access badges to qFLIX, valued at $350, will be raffled off.

Community center announces grant funding for LGBT trainings

Officials from the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center recently announced the center would receive a new grant for training on LGBT issues for educators, health-care professionals and law-enforcement and social-service agencies.

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