Community organizations expand, evolve

Community organizations expand, evolve

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PGN has undergone many changes in its 40 years, but has always remained committed to being a community-focused publication. The local LGBT community — which itself has undergone innumerable evolutions in the last four decades — is largely driven by the many organizations that offer information and resources, bring us together for community-building events and advocate for our rights.

Here are some history highlights of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations serving our community today.

1976

Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Philadelphia, founded in 1974, receives nonprofit status from the state and leases its first home at 326 Kater St.

1979

LGBT health facility Lavender Health Project is founded.

1981

A group of gay men sing Christmas carols in local bars as the first performance of Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus.

The Lavender Health Project becomes incorporated as the Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives.

Men of All Colors Together, the local chapter of the National Association of Black and White Men Together, holds its first meeting.

The Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia officially becomes the first East Coast church in the denomination to own its own building, at 1706 Fairmount Ave.

1984

The Masterbatters, a league of predominantly gay softball players, adopts the name City of Brotherly Love Softball League.

1985

BEBASHI: Transition to Hope is founded as an HIV/AIDS service organization focusing on low-income people of color.

Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Philadelphia changes its name to Penguin Place.

1986

Several-dozen HIV/AIDS advocates launch ActionAIDS to provide care services for people with the disease.

Philadelphia Attorneys for Human Rights forms as a professional association for LGBT legal professionals.

1987

Mother Teresa’s Missionary Brothers of Charity creates Calcutta House to provide housing and other services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

1988

David W. Webber forms AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania to address cases of AIDS-related discrimination.

The second chapter of ACT UP is created in Philadelphia to mobilize activists in support of the HIV/AIDS community.

1989

Two years after the first Philadelphia AIDS Walk, organizers launch AIDS Fund to head up the event and raise money for regional HIV/AIDS causes.

David Acosta founds GALAEI to address the needs of Latino sexual minorities. 

1990

Seven members of the First Presbyterian Church begin delivering meals to people living with HIV/AIDS under the auspices of Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutritional Alliance.

AIDS specialist Dr. John Turner forms Philadelphia FIGHT, a volunteer-driven HIV/AIDS research organization, in a tiny office at Graduate Hospital.

1991

The COLOURS Organization is founded by Michael Hinson to address the needs of LGBT people of color.

A syringe-exchange program begins through an underground, grassroots operation called Prevention Point Philadelphia.

1993

The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund is founded through a partnership with The Philadelphia Foundation to promote philanthropy and grantmaking for LGBT causes.

While pursuing her doctoral degree, Carrie Jacobs and a master’s student from the University of Pennsylvania collaborate to form an after-school pilot program for LGBT youth, The Attic Youth Center, in the attic of youth shelter Voyage House.

1994

To leverage LGBT power in the Democratic Party, a group of local LGBT activists forms the Liberty City Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club.

The Youth-Health Empowerment Project forms as a pilot project to reduce the spread of HIV and STDs among young adults.

1995

Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives launches the Mazzoni Clinic, an HIV-testing site named after Dr. Peter Mazzoni, an early volunteer and board member.

1996

Attorney Andrew Park opens the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights to provide legal assistance to LGBT people and advocate for LGBT rights.

Penguin Place buys 1315 Spruce St. and changes its name to William Way Community Center.

1997

With funding provided from the estate of activist and former board president Jonathan Lax, FIGHT opens the Jonathan Lax Treatment Center, one of the first facilities in Philadelphia to provide HIV primary care regardless of patients’ ability to pay.

2000

The Attic becomes incorporated as a nonprofit and receives an anonymous gift to purchase its own building.

2003

After several years of renovations, The Attic moves into 255 S. 16th St.

Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives is renamed Mazzoni Center.

GALAEI creates the Trans-Health Information Project, by and for the trans community, offering advocacy and resources.

2004

Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, in existence as an event since 1999, is incorporated as an organization and expands programming to year-round.

2005

Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou, Tom Brennan, Peter Hiler and Kevin Wilson open the doors of Philly AIDS Thrift to sell donated items and raise funds for HIV/AIDS organizations.

The Center for Lesbian & Gay Civil Rights changes its name to Equality Advocates.

2006

MANNA expands its outreach beyond HIV/AIDS clients to include people with other critical illnesses like cancer, cardiac disease and diabetes.

2007

The Independence Business Alliance becomes the Philadelphia region’s first-ever LGBT chamber of commerce.

2009

Mazzoni Center opens a legal-services department, previously under the auspices of Equality Advocates.

Prevention Point Philadelphia becomes an official partner on GALAEI’s Trans-Health Information Project.

2010

After the LGBT Senior Summit, local seniors and supporters form the LGBT Elder Initiative to provide services and advocacy for the aging LGBT community.

Equality Advocates Pennsylvania rebrands itself as Equality Pennsylvania, an umbrella group to include an education fund and political action committee.

2011

LGBT and ally college students launch Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, the first statewide LGBT-youth agency run by youth in the nation.

2014

Philadelphia AIDS Thrift announces it will take over the defunct Giovanni’s Room, the longest-running LGBT bookstore in the nation, and reopen it as Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room, a retail outpost to raise funds for HIV/AIDS causes.

After more than 40 years in operation, LGBT-affirming congregation Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia changes its name to Whosoever Metropolitan Community Church.

2015

The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition changes its name to Pennsylvania Youth Congress and refocuses its mission on advancing state-level public policy.

Mazzoni Center announces it has inked a contract to consolidate its locations, move and considerably expand its operations by 2017. 


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