For what my opinion is worth, I would not ask Brian Sims to resign. I would be surprised if he has enough believers to get re-elected, assuming he would consider running for re-election.
Personally, I have approached Brian Sims’ office, Val DiGiorgio’s office and Scott Perry’s office for a simple question-and-answer advice session. I could not get an appointment with any of them. I could hardly get attention from their staffers.
So, given the general expectation that politicians are to be expert showpeople, I myself would not point an accusatory finger at Brian Sims to demand his resignation. His voters will decide how much the public needs him anymore.
Ed Rendell has been a fixture in Philadelphia politics for my entire adult life. He’s been a strong LGBTQ ally. Neither of those things is reason for him to be a grand marshal in Philadelphia’s Pride parade.
Pride is for us — LGBTQ people. While we can and do appreciate our allies, we don’t need them to seek some kind of legitimacy from the straight community in 2019. We do not need old straight white men leading our diverse LGBTQ community on our most important day to affirm that it’s really OK we’re gay. We not only know it’s OK, we’re tired of having to give straight people credit for our accomplishments and for being our allies.
Rendell has a problematic history with women and people of color too. In this era of #MeToo, why would we choose a man who has spoken out dismissively against that movement and has himself been accused of sexual improprieties to represent us?
Many also see Rendell as the Philadelphia face of the 1994 Crime Bill that former VP Joe Biden wrote. That bill incarcerated thousands of people of color and exponentially increased the numbers in Pennsylvania’s prisons — most of whom are Philadelphians. Such laws have disproportionately impacted LGBTQ people of color.
Two queer people of color just ran for City Council, making us all proud. A lesbian just ran for a judgeship and won. Why aren’t we celebrating those people? Don’t they represent who we are as a queer community in Philadelphia? Why are we still looking to straight people to affirm our existence?
As a college professor, I see the changing face of LGBTQ Philadelphia every day on campus. I see young women, men, trans and nonbinary people speaking up and out for our place at the table of power. It’s an affront to those people — and to me, old enough to be their parent — to continue this back-patting of allies, when it’s our own who deserve the kudos.
The fact is, it’s the job of public officials to support all our communities. It was Rendell’s job to do that as D.A., as mayor, as governor and as head of the DNC. He’s not queer, he doesn’t represent our community and he doesn’t belong in a place of honor in our parade. We have a wealth of progressive activist LGBTQ people to lead us and represent us at Pride. It’s beyond disappointing that we would choose the past over our present and our future.