News Briefings

Jonathan Lax Scholarship for Gay Men accepting applications

The Bread and Roses Community fund is accepting applications for the Jonathan Lax Scholarship for Gay Men until Nov. 1. The scholarship was founded in 1994 by AIDS activist Jonathan Lax, who passed away the following year, leaving the scholarship behind to benefit gay men seeking to help their communities. Applicants must be living or studying in the Philadelphia region or Camden County. Scholarships range from $5,000-10,000. Previous winners include OUTPour executive producer Antar Bush and local medical and legal professionals.

32nd Annual AIDS Walk Philly

AIDS Walk Philly will hold its 32nd annual AIDS Walk Oct. 21 on Martin Luther King Drive with an anticipated 5,000 participants. The total distance of the walk is 5 kilometers, beginning at Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The walk was created by AIDS Fund, a charity to end both stigma and new infections while providing financial support for those currently infected. Proceeds benefit HIV/AIDS services in the Philadelphia area. There will also be 25 squares from the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display, which is an ongoing project that memorializes the lives of those lost to AIDS.

Memorial for photographer Joe Bowman

The William Way LGBT Community Center will host a memorial cocktail party to honor the recent death of gay photographer and artist Joe Bowman, who died last December at the age 72. In lieu of a somber affair, Bowman’s friend Jennifer Lynne said he would have preferred the festive celebration organizers have planned. Bowman’s photography captured the Philadelphia gay scene in the 1980s, and he later became a sought-after fitness photographer a decade later. Known for being daring and risqué, Bowman’s work was featured in numerous city art galleries. In accordance with his wishes, most of Bowman’s portfolio has been donated to the archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center. Memorial host Bill Geftman said Bowman “wanted to be sure his life’s work would be a snapshot of Philadelphia’s gay history.”

CCP opens LGBTQ center

The Community College of Philadelphia held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the MarcDavid LGBTQ Center on Oct. 5. Students and staff filled the center located in the Winnet Student Life Building on CCP’s main campus as the president and vice president of the newly reinstated LGBTQ+ Club performed the official opening honors.

Oak Triose, the LGBTQ+ Club president who identifies as nonbinary, said the center is a welcome addition.

“I think it’s amazing the campus now has an LGBT center. We have a safe space for LGBTQ-identified students to come start the process of creating changes in policies that will benefit students,” Triose said.

CCP President Dr. Donald Generals expressed support for LGBTQ students at the ceremony. “We’re coming out full blast and letting the community know that we’re very serious about supporting our LGBTQ students,” he said. “I think it’s really important that we support unrepresented, marginalized students so that they feel empowered and, in turn, that empowerment will help them to become better students and better citizens.”

9th annual Family Matters LGBTQ conference

More than 150 LGBTQ families and prospective parents participated in the 9th annual Family Matters Conference, hosted by Philadelphia Family Pride Oct. 6 at the McNeil Science and Technology Center at the University of the Sciences.

The event featured breakout workshops throughout the day such as “Finding and Maintaining Safe Spaces for Our Families,” “Talking to Kids About Sexuality and Gender” and a “Trans and Genderqueer Parent Conversation Hour.” Naomi Washington-Leapheart, faith-work director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, delivered a keynote speech on religion and spirituality in the LGBTQ community.

Malcolm Kenyatta, the Democratic candidate running for state representative in the 181st District, urged parents to run for office during the “Political Advocacy for the LGBTQ Parent” workshop session.

“To have people with a variety of different experiences in the room and apart of conversation when decisions are being made has a more direct impact on what policy should look like,” he said.

Ruby Augustus, PFP’s board secretary, said the conference helps parents like her to learn more about LGBTQ parenting.

“Spaces like this are needed for LGBTQ families and prospective parents to know that there’s a community of likeminded people out there ,” Augustus said.

Dickinson College reception for LGBT history exhibit

Dickinson College in Carlisle will be hosting an opening reception for its exhibit “History Comes Out” in the Waidner-Spahr Library Oct. 14 from 1:30-5 p.m. The exhibit will include displays, tours of the archives, and oral histories of LGBT individuals who lived in central Pennsylvania, provided by LGBT Center of Central PA in Harrisburg.

A demonstration of the center’s Google mapping system will allow guests to look at the geographic locations of historically significant LGBT events in central Pennsylvania.

Attendees can also contribute their own oral histories to the archives, which may either be posted to the website of the LGBT Center of Central PA or made into themed story compilations to be accessed by the public. 

— compiled by Adriana Fraser and Miranda Lankas

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.

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