December 3, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA likes to tout itself as among the nation's gay-friendliest places. And in fact, Philly this year aced a "municipal-equality index" compiled by the LGBT-advocacy group Human Rights Campaign on almost 300 cities nationwide, a study that examined everything from hate-crime statistics to employee benefits for same-sex couples to the number of openly gay municipal leaders. Come next month, Philly will mark another LGBT milestone when the John C. Anderson Apartments open on 13th Street between Spruce and Locust.
July 26, 2013 |
MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE there have been so many rallies lately - for Trayvon Martin, for victims of urban violence. But there was a familiar attitude among those who stood vigil for a transgender woman allegedly butchered by a john in Strawberry Mansion: The media ignore us, and when they don't, they disrespect and misrepresent us. Society views us as disposable, expendable. I didn't totally disagree. But, as I stood in the crowd listening to friends and advocates mourn Diamond Woods, I wondered: If we can't even manage to care about the deaths of people we should be able to relate to - children - what chance do people often viewed as spectacles and freaks have at getting our attention, let alone our sympathy?
July 22, 2013
With the legal rights of gay couples in limbo in many states despite fast-growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, many LGBT patients want to know what their hospital experience will be like. Will same-sex partners have the same visitation rights as family, for example? At Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, they will. Jefferson was the only general hospital in Philadelphia to win top marks in an annual survey by the Human Rights Campaign, the educational arm of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender group in the country.
July 1, 2013 |
This year's Gay Pride Month was capped off with a present on marriage equality from the Supreme Court. For me, a marshal at the first gay pride march in New York 44 years ago, this was an amazing moment. Back then, we didn't know if the city would give us a permit for a march. We didn't know if we'd make it through the day without violence. Then, there were no openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) characters on TV. No politicians supported gay rights; no elected gay officials were out. Churches called us sinners; police harassed us. Showing affection in public might result in arrest, the loss of your job, or physical violence.
June 28, 2013 |
FOR THE FIRST time in decades, SEPTA TransPasses and TrailPasses will lack a controversial element: those "M" and "F" stickers identifying the gender of the person who bought them. Much attention has been given to the transit agency's fare increase that begins Monday - which includes the first increase to the system's base fare (from $2 to $2.25) in 12 years. SEPTA also is consolidating Regional Rail zones and eliminating those gender-identifying stickers in the agency's most recent preparation for its massive New Payment Technology overhaul.
June 28, 2013 |
Rae Theodore learned of Wednesday's Supreme Court decisions by refreshing a legal-news blog on her computer, over and over. She had read predictions that the justices would send the cases back, so when the announcements flashed, she had to read the words several times before they sank in. "I was shocked. I wasn't prepared for it," said Theodore, 46, a business writer from Royersford, Montgomery County, who had a commitment ceremony with her partner in 2011. "Honestly, I didn't think it would affect me that much, because it doesn't change the fact that I can't be legally married here.
May 2, 2013 |
After previously being denied U.S. State Department clearance to travel from New York City to Philadelphia, Fidel Castro's niece Mariela Castro will come to town for the Equality Forum summit to address issues surrounding the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Cuba. The State Department initially balked at allowing Mariela Castro, in New York attending meetings at the United Nations, to travel to the summit, at which a panel will focus on Cuba. In a statement, Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum, expressed delight that the State Department "has affirmed democratic values by authorizing Mariela Castro to speak.
May 1, 2013 |
THE DAUGHTER OF Cuban President Raul Castro will be allowed to travel to Philadelphia to accept an award for her gay-rights advocacy, officials said yesterday, reversing a previous decision to reject her visa request. Mariela Castro will attend the Equality Forum's annual conference on civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, according to Malcolm Lazin, the advocacy group's executive director. Lazin, who had blasted the State Department's travel denial last week, said organizers are "delighted" at the change of heart.
April 30, 2013
BEING GAY used to be a hush-hush thing. Meeting someone at a gay bar one night, you might not speak if you happened to see one another on the street the next day, for fear of being outed. That's the way it was when the Equality Forum began in Philadelphia as PrideFest, back in 1993. Fast-forward to the 21st annual forum, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, and it's safe to say that the forum has come of age right along with the gay-rights movement. At those early PrideFest gatherings, the biggest issues on the Philadelphia-based gay-advocacy mission's radar were workplace and housing discrimination, along with AIDS research.
April 27, 2013 |
Philadelphia City Council passed a pioneering equal-rights bill Thursday offering tax incentives to businesses that expand health coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees - a measure hailed as the first of its kind in the nation. The bill extends rights to "life partners" throughout the city code in a wide range of matters, such as medical decision-making; provides gender neutrality on certain city forms; and requires health insurance offered to city employees to cover the needs of transgender individuals, including sex-change surgeries.