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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.

 LGBT advocates are praising a recent order by a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that allows trans students at Boyertown Area Senior High School to access restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.

“This case has always been about ensuring a fair and equal educational environment for transgender students,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, which was involved in defending the case. “We are grateful that the court understood that, and we are especially grateful to our clients who bravely stood up in defense of the school’s practice.”

City Council hearings on alleged anti-LGBT bias within foster-care agencies that contract with the city won’t take place before fall, said a spokesperson for the council member who introduced the resolution.

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.

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