June 15, 2015 |
Before the Affordable Care Act, it wasn't unusual for people in the LGBT community to be locked out of health insurance. Insurers could legally deny coverage based on a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or pre-existing health condition. "It was everything from trans men and women being denied health coverage because their health history was confusing to a hospital or an insurance company, to young LGBT people not being able to afford coverage," said Brian Sims, a Pennsylvania state representative, lawyer, and LGBT civil rights activist.
April 6, 2015 |
GEORGE WAS the first openly gay man I knew. But over the years, I often wondered if the George I knew as a kid was the same man others did, the ones at the other end of a morning cab ride he'd take from my aunt's neighborhood in the Bronx to his job - in banking, I think - somewhere in Manhattan. I'd watch him as he got into the cab, always in a suit, serious and reserved as he folded his huge frame into the back seat and told the driver where to go. At the end of the workday, another cab would drop him off and I'd watch again as he'd disappear into his apartment only to emerge shortly after in the outfit he favored in the summer: jean shorts, a colorful tank top, and chancletas - sandals that punctuated every step as he made his way to my aunt's apartment.
March 15, 2015 |
At an iconic Center City gay bar, mayoral candidate James F. Kenney greeted some of the leading LGBT advocates in the city, calling them his family and pledging to continue to protect their rights, in life and love, at a fund-raiser for his campaign. A drag queen manned the DJ station at Woody's, rainbow flags flew, and a slide show of Kenney through the years played on the TVs. Twenty years ago, such a campaign event likely would not have happened. Today, LGBT voters are seen as a key bloc of politically minded, progressive supporters who are expected to turn out - particularly this year, when two openly gay candidates are running for City Council.
April 3, 2014 |
District Attorney Seth Williams on Tuesday led the first of a series of forums to improve relations between law enforcement and the lesbian and gay community in Philadelphia. The focus of the forum, held at the District Attorney's Office, was safety and crime prevention, but it reflected a trend in law enforcement to better serve and be sensitive to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. The Police Department recently established a policy to be more respectful to people who are transgendered.
October 3, 2014
I MAKE NO secret of the fact that I'm (an imperfect) Catholic. That makes for interesting conversations with strangers who know me only by what I've written, particularly former Catholics who still can't believe I go to Mass. So many of them wonder why I don't speak out against the horrible scourge of child abuse that became one of the preferred media obsessions over the past decade and a half. I understand why they ask, because to people whose only knowledge of the church was gleaned from the Baltimore Catechism back in the 1960s - before they abandoned the pews (and the Colts abandoned Baltimore)
April 15, 2012 |
Mark Segal had been biting his nails, waiting for the call. Thursday morning, he was drinking a mug of sweet vanilla coffee in his den above the offices of the Philadelphia Gay News, when the phone finally rang. His dream project, an affordable housing complex welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors, had won a competitive bid for an $11 million state tax credit. "I've been trying not to cry," Segal said Sunday, barely succeeding in holding back the kvell . For more than three years, the 61-year-old founder and publisher of PGN has been planning, lobbying, negotiating, collaborating and cajoling every social service agency, activist group and political leader he knows to make Philadelphia one of the first cities in the nation to meet the needs of the aging LGBT community.
February 2, 2012 |
With Center City's "Gayborhood" and such community institutions as the Giovanni's Room bookstore, Philadelphia Gay News and the Equality Forum that annually draws tens of thousands to issue-events affecting sexual minorities, some might feel crimes based on sexual orientation are part of the past. Helen "Nellie" Fitzpatrick says otherwise. "It hasn't been my whole lifetime that it's been OK to be gay," said Fitzpatrick, 31, a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office named last month as liaison to the city's LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender - community.
January 26, 2015 |
Rachel Levine stood tall in the doorway, offered a polite handshake, and took a seat at the L-shaped desk in her drab, blank slate of an office. The room, with its empty bookshelves, dual computer screens, and not much else, seemed appropriately open to possibility as the headquarters for a woman about to chart new territory. Levine, who has just been named Pennsylvania's physician general, spent most of her 57 years - at least outwardly - as a man. If the state Senate confirms her appointment, the doctor, who until a few years ago was known as Richard Levine, will become one of the nation's very few, openly transgender people in public office.
June 29, 2012 |
ON JUNE 28, 1969, a series of protests by gays and lesbians following a police raid took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The "Stonewall Riots" were the first organized, public resistance to the persecution of gays and lesbians in the United States. More importantly, the rioting helped to organize and mobilize what is now known as the gay-rights movement. Now, 43 years later, much work remains to be done. We must continue to protect the LGBT community from violence.