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 Founded on antidiscrimination ideals, cooperatives have a storied history as LGBTQ havens.

“It’s pretty ingrained in the culture. [Co-ops] have been known as safe spaces for queer folks since probably the ’70s,” said Aj Hess, who’s worked in cooperatives since the early aughts.

Mariposa Food Co-op, the 48-year-old West Philadelphia staple, is no different.

Hess, the Co-op’s general manager, estimates Mariposa’s staff is about 30-percent queer, themselves included.

 Philadelphia Councilman-at-Large Bill Greenlee announced that he will not seek reelection, paving the way for another new City Council member.

“After giving it much thought, I have decided this will be my final year serving on City Council,” Greenlee said on Feb. 11. “It has been my honor to have served so long and to have worked with all its members, past and present.”

 As social media has proliferated in recent years, more and more gay men are turning to dating apps like Grindr and Scruff for personal connections, be they casual sexual encounters or more serious romantic possibilities.

But is a reliance on these apps helpful or hurtful to gay men’s long-term sexual and emotional health? This subject was the topic for vigorous discussion at a community meeting held last Sunday, Feb. 10 at Mixxia, a prominent salon in the Gayborhood.

CHECK, PLEASE!: LBGT-specific HIV agencies across the area were recently awarded thousands of dollars from two different contributors. Coca-Cola (left) presented Action Wellness PHL Executive Director Kevin Burns with a $25,000 check Feb. 7 at its Arch Street location. Later that day, Philly AIDS Thrift handed out 23 checks totaling $246,000 to organizations across the tristate area. As the 20th check was presented, there was a pause to announce that total PAT distributions since the organization’s inception hit the $2.5-million mark. More information on the nonprofits can be found at and

Photos: Scott A. Drake


Three student filmmakers last week presented their award-winning documentary at William Way LGBT Community Center. In the short film, entitled “The Gayborhood,” they illustrated Philadelphia’s LGBT-rights movement — from the Dewey’s Lunch Counter sit-in to overall visibility in the neighborhood known as Washington Square West.

The film begins with a voiceover from Finn Giddings, noting the strides made in that neighborhood.

A portrait of the future for LGBTQ elder adults indicates that by 2030 there will be seven million LGBTQ senior citizens living in the United States, according to the results of a Feb. 12 Family Equality Council survey.

The survey also predicts that it is more than likely true that many elder LGBTQ folk will resist or avoid senior living/care homes facilities due to discrimination or concerns of abuse. That’s based on the statistic that 43 percent of LGBTQ elders at present have seen or experienced refusal of admittance due to sexual orientation, separation from a same-sex spouse or homophobic residents.


More than two years after fatally shooting a man in the face during a home-invasion robbery of a trans woman in West Philadelphia, Matthew J. White was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted murder and robbery and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

White was called “a predator” by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara A. McDermott, who handed down the sentence on Feb. 7.

Philadelphia was inching closer to becoming the first city in the United States to open a safe-injection site to address the city’s opioid crisis. But the project has hit a roadblock — the U.S. Department of Justice.   

Pennsylvania’s top federal prosecutor last week announced he was suing the nonprofit facility called Safehouse — with timing that coincided with an executive director being named and the start of fundraising.  

Trans teacher sues DC-area district, citing discrimination

A transgender English teacher is suing a Maryland school district claiming that she was repeatedly harassed by students, parents and colleagues at three schools in the district, and when she complained to Prince George’s County school officials, they retaliated, according to The Washington Post.

Attorneys for the teacher, Jennifer Eller, said the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined her claims had merit.

The 41-year-old’s complaint said she was called a pedophile, told to present as male, referred to by male pronouns and threatened with rape by a student, among other offenses. She said that after filing formal complaints, she lost her Advanced Placement classes and was brought to a disciplinary hearing. She was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following the ordeal.

School officials declined to comment on the specific case, but spokeswoman Raven Hill said they follow state guidance on youth gender identity nondiscrimination.

North Carolina updates gender-change process for licenses

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is issuing a new application form making it easier for some transgender people to list their gender on their driver’s licenses and identification cards, according to a report on

The left-leaning news outlet NC Policy Watch first reported the change, saying the new form replaces a requirement for a surgeon’s letter when changing the gender marker on the cards. The release said while it still requires authorization from medical providers, it allows for a broader range of providers.

The new form still calls for “male” or “female,” which doesn’t acknowledge people who identify as neither, but LGBTQ advocates call the new form a step in the right direction.

N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Jamie Kritzer said the policy is similar to policies in 13 other states.

Transgender Illinois inmate feels safer after transfer

A transgender inmate who received rare approval from Illinois prison authorities to move from a men’s to a women’s prison said she feels safe in the new accommodations, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Strawberry Hampton, 27, said she no longer worries about being attacked for being a woman.

Hampton, whose legal first name is Deon, was recently transferred to Logan Correctional Center, a women’s prison in Central Illinois. She’s serving a 10-year sentence for burglary.

The move comes after a yearlong legal battle. Hampton requested the transfer arguing that she’d be less vulnerable to sexual assault, taunting and beatings. Hampton alleged she experienced abuse and sexual assault by inmates and staff at multiple men’s facilities in the state.

Hampton has pending lawsuits against corrections officers at various prisons she said abused or failed to protect her.

Los Angeles group buys gay resort in Oklahoma City

An Oklahoma City hotel that bills itself as the largest gay resort in the Southwest has new out-of-state owners, The Journal Record reported.

Los Angeles-based Alternatives Resorts has bought the 170-room Habana Inn. Oklahoma County property records show the property sold for $2.4 million.

Alternatives Resorts spokesman Arnold Greenspan said the property will be renamed Hotel Habana and that a first phase of renovations will start in the fall.

The resort has two nightclubs, a novelty store and a closed restaurant space.

The hotel recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and is a centerpiece of a string of businesses catering to LGBTQ clientele along a stretch of road that was part of historic Route 66 that connected travelers from Chicago to Los Angeles. 

Compiled by Larry Nichols

Hong Kong court denies male status to three transgender men

Hong Kong’s High Court has refused to allow three transgender men to be recognized as males on their official identity cards because they have not undergone full sex-change operations.

The Feb. 1 ruling was seen as a blow to the fledgling LGBT movement in the semiautonomous Chinese city of 7.4 million people, which is preparing to host the 2022 Gay Games.

The three, identified as Henry Tse, Q and R, are shown on their ID cards as having been born female, but are undergoing hormone therapy. A full sex change would require the removal of female sexual organs.
The decision follows a recent ruling by Japan’s Supreme Court upholding a law that effectively requires transgender people to be sterilized before they can have their gender changed on official documents.

Greek bishop convicted over comments attacking gays

A Greek court has convicted a prominent Orthodox Church official of violating laws against racism and abusing his office over an anti-gay blog posting.

Amvrossios, Bishop of Kalavryta and Aigialeia in the southern Peloponnese region, received a seven-month sentence, suspended for three years.

Amvrossios urged readers in his 2015 posting to “spit upon” homosexuals, adding: “They are not human beings, they are rejects of nature.”

The three-judge court in the southern town of Aigio unanimously found against the bishop, who is one of the most conservative in the powerful Church of Greece. A lower court had acquitted him, but the case was appealed.

Lawyer Kleio Papandoleon, representing a group of citizens seeking legal action against the bishop, hailed the Jan. 28 ruling, saying it set limits to “inflammatory and racist speech.”

Cuban evangelicals push back against gay marriage

A Cuban government push to legalize gay marriage has set off an unprecedented reaction from the island’s rapidly growing evangelical churches, whose members are expected to widely reject a state-proposed constitutional reform in a nationwide referendum this month.

The reform is almost certain to pass by a broad margin of Cuba’s seven million voters — language opening the door to gay marriage is only one element of the reform — but the evangelical vote could shave hundreds of thousands of votes from its victory.

With many pastors promoting “no” votes from the pulpit, the swelling evangelical rejection of the constitution is a novel development for a state that prides itself on projecting an image of ideological unanimity. Cuban government-endorsed candidates and proposals typically receive “yes” votes well above 90 percent.

Noted Indian transgender activist shakes up Hindu festival

Indian transgender activist and Bollywood TV star Laxmi Narayan Tripathi has shaken up the male-dominated monastic orders that run the Hindu Kumbh Mela festival — held from January through March in northern India and is expected to draw as many as 150 million pilgrims.

The Kumbh takes place every three years at one of four sites Hindus consider sacred. It’s a series of ritual bathings led by 13 all-male Hindu monastic orders.

Though Hinduism’s ancient Vedas scriptures describe transgender people as integral, for centuries they have been marginalized, forced to leave their family homes as children and often sold into sex trafficking.

Tripathi is capitalizing on the ruling Hindu nationalist party’s emphasis on India’s Hindu roots to claim a place for transgender people among the nation’s religious elite.

Former landscaper pleads guilty to eight murders in Canada

A former landscaper charged with killing eight men with ties to Toronto’s gay village is said to be pleading guilty.

The former landscaper, Bruce McArthur, said Jan. 29 that no one is pressuring him to enter the guilty plea to eight counts of first-degree murder.

The police last year found the remains of seven of the men in large planters at a property where McArthur had worked. The remains of the eighth victim were found in a ravine behind the same property in midtown Toronto.

The 67-year-old McArthur was arrested after an investigation into several disappearances in a gay neighborhood of Toronto.

Compiled by Larry Nichols

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