News Briefing
Mar 06, 2014 | 1188 views | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Youth group supports Morris probe

The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, a social-justice organization representing thousands of LGBTQ youth, has endorsed a state probe of the Nizah Morris case.

Morris was a transgender woman who became a homicide victim in 2002, shortly after entering a Philadelphia police vehicle. The case remains unsolved, and advocates want Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane to intervene.

On March 3, PennSEC’s board issued this statement:

“Nizah’s memory is dishonored each day her murder goes unsolved and insulted with every unanswered call for action. The past 11 years have sent a stinging message to minority groups that murders can take place in Pennsylvania against them without the urgency or professionalism of full due process. The young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians we represent will not stand for the murder of a cherished community leader to be perpetually neglected.”

Other groups calling for a state probe include the city’s Police Advisory Commission, GALAEI, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Equality Pennsylvania, Keystone Progress, the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Organization for Women, Project SAFE, Jewish Social Policy Action Network and the American Civil Liberties Union of Greater Philadelphia.

In related news, the Justice for Nizah committee will meet 6 p.m. March 10 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. The public is invited to attend.

Inmate settles case

David H. Chapman, a state inmate who was sexually assaulted by a prison guard, has settled his federal lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections.

Marlin Freeman, 55, repeatedly orally raped Chapman inside the chapel of a state prison between 2010-12, according to court papers.

In June, Centre County Common Pleas Judge Pamela A. Ruest sentenced Freeman to 11-and-a-half to 23-and-a-half months in the Centre County Correctional Facility. Freeman’s employment with the state Department of Corrections ended July 2, 2013, said Susan McNaughton, a DOC spokesperson.

McNaughton had no comment on the settlement of Chapman’s lawsuit.

PGN has requested a copy of the settlement, citing the state Right-to-Know Law.

At presstime, the request was pending with the DOC’s open-records office.

Chapman, 29, remains incarcerated at a state prison in Frackville.

Barry H. Dyller, an attorney for Chapman, declined to comment.

Vacancies on Montco advisory panel

The state Human Relations Commission has appointed seven new members to its 14-member Montgomery County Advisory Council.

But the panel has four additional vacancies, and applications to serve are being solicited.

One of six advisory councils statewide, the Montco panel advises the state HRC on bias issues and barriers to equal opportunity in Montgomery County.

The panel also works with the state HRC to raise public awareness about civil-rights issues.

Its members serve on a volunteer basis and have three-year terms.

Past actions of the panel include holding forums on public education and bias against Muslims.

None of its 14 members is publicly known to be an advocate for the LGBT community.

“We welcome and encourage diverse representation on our advisory councils, regardless of the current state of Pennsylvania’s antibias law, which unfortunately doesn’t protect the LGBT community,” said Shannon Powers, a spokesperson for the state HRC.

Powers added: “There are four vacancies on the Montgomery County Advisory Council. If someone wants to serve, they should submit a resume to our executive director, JoAnn Edwards.”

Resumes can be sent to Edwards at 333 Market St., eighth floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126 or emailed to

— Timothy Cwiek PGMC celebrates Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus is gearing up for “When I Knew,” a celebration of diversity through song and story.

The show will run from March 14-15 at Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St.

PGMC will take the audience through several decades of the LGBT community, with tunes such as Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way” to Stephen Schwartz’s “Testimony” to selected pieces from “Kinky Boots.”

Tickets are $30-$55. For more information, visit

Annual IBA contest launched

The Independence Business Alliance and PNC Bank, along with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, recently announced their annual PNC Bank LGBT Business Alliance Award.

One LGBT-owned business will have the chance to earn $5,000 towards their business. The owner must be an IBA member and have a sustainable and innovative business plan.

The application process will end April 11 and the winner will be announced May 12 at the IBA’s Annual Business Leaders Luncheon from 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. at Hotel Sofitel Philadelphia, 120 S. 17th St.

For more information, visit

— Angela Thomas Planning meeting for travel group

A new group focused on gay men’s travel is organizing and looking for input from the community.

Join the group for dinner at 7 p.m. March 10 at Rotten Ralph’s Pub, Second and Chestnut streets, to learn about upcoming trips and contribute your ideas. Dinner is at your own expense.

RSVP by 3 p.m. March 10 to or call 215-877-4087.

— Jen Colletta

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