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January 31 - February 6, 2020 V ol. 44 N o. 5 pgn

O U R H I S T O R Y, O U R F U T U R E How PGN got its vending boxes PAG E 4

NEW ARCH- Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT

BISHOP Affairs names new executive director
OFFERS JESS BRYANT the city workforce on queer compe-
HOPE FOR jess@epgn.com tency.
“As a longtime advocate for the

Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT LGBTQ+ community, I am thrilled
Affairs is at long last no longer to have the opportunity to contin-
vacant. Celena Morrison has been ue that work from within our local
VICTORIA A. named executive director and will government,” said Morrison in a
BROWNWORTH begin her tenure on March 2. statement. “As a Black trans wom-
PGN Contributor Morrison, a Black trans woman, an, I have experienced first-hand the
is a known force. She comes from transphobia, workplace discrimi-
“The diversity of the church is its William Way LGBT Community nation and many other challenges
greatest strength,” so says Nelson Center, where she led the charge to that face our community. All of this
Perez. open the Arcila-Adams Trans Re- motivates me to fight relentlessly for
Those words signal that Phila- source Center, among other initia- my fellow LGBTQ+ siblings.”
delphia Catholics are about to turn tives, in her position as director of Morrison also said her past expe-
the page in local church history. On programs. She has also been on the rience and intersectional approach
Jan. 23, Pope Francis appointed Pe- Philadelphia Commission of Hu- will help to build on the “impressive
rez, 58, currently bishop of Cleve- man Relations (PCHR) since 2018 accomplishments” of her predeces-
land, to be the next archbishop of and is a support specialist for Maz- sors.
Philadelphia, leading the area’s 1.4 zoni Center’s Pediatric and Adoles- Amber Hikes, the city’s former
million Catholics — the largest sin- cent Comprehensive Transgender executive director of the Office of
gle religious denomination in the Services program (PACTS). LGBT Affairs, publicly announced
region. Working for the city, Morrison her departure from her position in
Perez will be the first Latinx arch- will lead the Office of LGBT Af- July 2019. Shortly thereafter, she
bishop in the city and is — politi- fairs’ policy work and community finished her last day on Aug. 1 and
cally and socially — diametrically C E L E N A M O R R I S O N S P E A K I N G AT T H E L E E W AY F O U N D AT I O N ’ S engagement and advise the Mayor’s went on to become American Civ-
opposed to his predecessor, Arch- “ L E E W AY @ 2 5 : T R A N S F O R M I N G I N C L U S I O N ” E V E N T I N 2 0 1 8 Office and Philadelphia City gov- il Liberties Union’s (ACLU) first
Photo by Kelly Burkhardt
bishop Charles Chaput. Chaput was P h o t o c r e d i t : K E N Z I C R A S H / L E E W AY F O U N D AT I O N ernment on the needs of LGBTQ+ Chief Diversity Offi-
the first Native American archbish- people. She will also help educate cer. Evan Thornburg, page 17
op in the U.S., but unlike Perez,
Chaput is a staunch traditionalist.
He was appointed in 2011 by Fran-
cis’ predecessor, the arch-conserva-
Philly area companies receive top
tive Pope Benedict XVI.
Philadelphia’s archbishops have scores in HRC’s equality index
nearly always been promoted to
cardinal, giving them voting pow- MICHELE ZIPKIN ers. As part of its 2020 Cor- gramming, networking events,
er in the church hierarchy. Fran- michele@epgn.com porate Equality Index (CEI), training sessions and overall
cis’ refusal to promote Chaput or the Human Rights Campaign support systems for minority
to elevate him to cardinal has been More and more corporate (HRC) scored dozens of employees, including LGBTQ
viewed as a statement about his dis- companies have been step- Pennsylvania companies with people.
approval of Chaput’s politics and ping up their LGBTQ+ diver- strong LGBTQ-inclusive pol- Philadelphia companies that
style and a virtual firing of Chaput. sity and inclusion resources, icies and employee resource received a score of 100 per-
Perez was made bishop of making for healthier, happier groups. Employee Resource cent include Aramark Corp.,
Cleveland in 2017 work environments for em- Groups, or ERGs, are in- Ballard Spahr MEMBERS OF LINCOLN FINANCIAL GROUP ERG
by Francis. Carol page 17 ployees, clients and consum- house groups that provide pro- LLC, Blank page 16 I N T H E P H I L A D E L P H I A P R I D E PA R A D E

PA G E 2 PA G E 7 PA G E 6


COLOURS continues its outreach to some of the most On Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed Philadelphia public-school officials recently allocated
vulnerable members of the Philadelphia LGBTQ community. legislation that will streamline the adoption process for $850,000 from the district’s operating budget to settle the
The organization’s most recent event was a success. LGBTQ+ families. lawsuit filed by Amanda Wible.
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

Local LGBTQ organization
celebrates success, looks ahead
LEGAL RESOURCES AIDS CARE GROUP VICTORIA A. BROWNWORTH drive for clothing people can wear for job in-
www.aidscaregroup.org PGN Contributor terviews. Dress clothes and shoes are integral
PHILADELPHIA COMMISSION ON 610-583-1177 to finding a job.
Rue Landau PrEP DELCO COLOURS continues its outreach to some But Tomo said the issues that need ad-
215-686-4670 www.prepdelco.com of the most vulnerable members of the Phil- dressing are not just for LGBTQ people, but
610-872-9101 adelphia LGBTQ community. The organiza- cishet job purveyors as well.
PHILADELPHIA POLICE tion’s most recent event was a success, and He explained that there is “not much cul-
LIAISON COMMITTEE BEBASHI-TRANSITION TO HOPE the group hopes its upcoming Soulful Friday tural competence” in hiring practices in the
215-760-3686 1235 Spring Garden St
ppd.lgbt@gmail.com 215-769-3561; bebashi.org event on Feb. 7 will
be equally effective.
PENNSYLVANIA RIGHTS COALITION coloursorganization.org LOURS held a
717-920-9537 215-832-0100 Winter Necessities
215-592-1513; aclupa.org 216 W. Somerset St Way LGBT Com-
215-763-8870 munity Center.
215-587-9377; aidslawpa.org GALAEI Jr., an HIV preven-
149 W. Susquehanna Ave
AIDS LAW PROJECT OF 267-457-3912, galaei.org tion specialist at
SOUTH JERSEY Spanish/English COLOURS who
856-784-8532; aidslawsnj.org organized the drive,
HEALTH CENTER NO. 2 which was spon-
EQUALITY PA 1720 S. Broad St sored by Subaru,
equalitypa.org; 215-731-1447 215-685-1821
said it was a huge
EVAN THORNBURG 1315 Spruce Street, 4th Floor ing his expectations.
215-686-0330 lgbtelderintiative.org “We collected
evan.thornburg@phila.gov 215.720.9414 nearly 1,000 items
MAZZONI CENTER through all our ef-
COMMUNITY CENTERS 1348 Bainbridge St forts,” Tomo said.
215-563-0652 The event was a
THE ATTIC YOUTH CENTER mazzonicenter.org donation and exchange, where people could city, and he would like to hold seminars both
255 S. 16th St.; 215-545-4331 come and take what they needed or do- for people who need jobs and for business
atticyouthcenter.org NOVUS ACS
For LGBT and questioning youth MEDICAL SERVICES nate clothes, coats and toiletries — or both. owners to discuss how they can best include
and their friends and allies. 11 DUANE RD, STE A “Many of the coats we received were brand LGBTQ people when making hires.
DOYLESTOWN, PA new, tags still on them,” Tomo said. Tomo said this is particularly important for
LGBT CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY 267-454-7086 Attic Youth Center participated, providing trans people who are frequently discriminat-
OF PENNSYLVANIA NOVUSACS.COM toiletry kits. The local Shoprite supermarket ed against by both fellow employees and the
3907 Spruce St.; 215-898-5044
center@dolphin.upenn.edu PHILADELPHIA FIGHT chain, which is known for its philanthropy, public. Statistics from HRC show that trans
1233 Locust St.; 215-985-4448 donated the food for the drive “which every- and gender-nonconforming people face the
RAINBOW ROOM: BUCKS fight.org one loved,” Tomo said. Shoprite also provid- highest rates of poverty and joblessness.
COUNTY’S LGBTQ AND ALLIES ed space for storing donated goods. Free HIV “A lot has to happen in this area,” Tomo
YOUTH CENTER WASHINGTON WEST PROJECT OF testing was also offered. said, explaining how the confluence of sexual
Salem UCC Education Building MAZZONI CENTER
181 E. Cour t St., Doylestown 1201 Locust St.; 215-985-9206 “All in all,” Tomo said, “I’m so proud of orientation, gender identity, racism and sex-
215-957-7981 ext. 9065 how everything turned out.” ism all blend to make it difficult and some-
rainbowroom@ppbucks.org TRANSGENDER HEALTH ACTION COLOURS’ next event will be held at times impossible for LGBTQ people to get
COALITION the Mazzoni Center in honor of Black HIV/ out of homelessness and poverty.
WILLIAM WAY 215-732-1207 AIDS Awareness Day. said Tomo. He said that this is a cycle that is hard to
1315 Spruce St.; 215-732-2220 He said the event “is centered on queer break, and it can lead to substance abuse and
www.waygay.org OTHER Black youth, with storytelling, dancing and survival sex, which in turn can lead to HIV
other performances that focus on the experi- infection. Tomo said he is always shocked
INDEPENDENCE BRANCH LIBRARY ences of queer Black youth.” at how many LGBTQ people are “virtual-
H E A LT H A N D H I V T E S T I N G BARBARA GITTINGS GAY AND Philadelphia is majority Black and, ac- ly homeless. They may not be on the actual
ACTION WELLNESS 215-685-1633 cording to the U.S. Census, 28 percent of street, but they do not have a place of their
1216 Arch St.; 215-981-0088 ac- Philadelphians live at or below the poverty own to live. They are sleeping on other peo-
tionwellness.org INDEPENDENCE BUSINESS level. The national average is 13 percent. ple’s sofas and floors. It’s no way to live.”
ALLIANCE Tomo said Soulful Friday is dedicated to COLOURS is a social justice organization
AIDS TREATMENT FACT LINE 215-557-0190, independence- “engendering an urgent need for compassion established in 1991 by and for Black LGBTQ
800-662-6080 businessalliance.com
and connection for a marginalized group of people.
AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION LGBT PEER COUNSELING people encumbered by socioeconomic bar- Tomo said the organization’s stated mis-
1211 Chestnut St. #405 SERVICES riers like lack of access to food, housing, sion is to “positively affect the decision-mak-
215-971-2804; HIVcare.org 215-732-TALK healthcare, education and more than most ing process of LGBTQ people of color
people could ever imagine.” through the development of activities, train-
1233 Locust St, aidslibrar y.org FRIENDS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS Tomo is focused on expanding the work ings, programs and reading materials aimed
(PHILADELPHIA) of COLOURS beyond HIV prevention to ad- at attacking the underpinnings of disempow-
MOSAIC MEDICAL CENTER FOR 215-572-1833 dress the poverty and homelessness among erment in our community.” n
LGBTQ+ HEALTH AND WELLNESS LGBTQ people of color, particularly young
www.mosaicmedicalcenter.org PHILLY PRIDE PRESENTS people and trans people. Resume building Soulfoul Friday will be Friday, Feb. 7 from 5
610-583-1177 215-875-9288
toward job acquisition is something Tomo p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mazzoni Center, 1348 Bain-
wants to tackle next, and he is planning a new bridge St in Center City.
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

O U R H I S T O R Y, O U R F U T U R E
How PGN got its vending boxes
JASON VILLEMEZ more cumbersome to
Mark Segal (ext. 204) PGN Contributor clean and maintain,
the funds brought in
Those familiar purple vending boxes dot- were used for every-
Office Manager/ ting the streets of Center City weren’t al- thing from building
Distribution ways there. In the first nine months of its supplies to food for
Don Pignolet (ext. 200) existence, the Philadelphia Gay News was the staff.
don@epgn.com limited to a few local distributors and a sub- “The office we
scription service. It was difficult to inadver- had on 13th street
Editor tently stumble upon the paper as so many was renovated with
Jess Bryant (ext. 206) people do today. In 1976, like a lot of things those quarters,” said
editor@epgn.com in the gay community, one had to know Pignolet, who is cele-
where to find the PGN to get it. brating 44 years with
Staff Writers “From the beginning, I wanted every- the paper. “I’d go to a
Michele Zipkin (ext. 215) thing that any other newspaper had,” Pub- place like 84 Lumber,
michele@epgn.com lisher Mark Segal said. “I just didn’t think and I’d pay with not
Larry Nichols (ext. 213) vending boxes were a reality until the offer even rolls, but loose
larry@epgn.com from the Bulletin came along. We had no quarters. I’d put them
money. in stacks of four and
Timothy Cwiek (ext. 208)
timothy@epgn.com When the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin rows of ten.”
retired an aging fleet of their vending boxes, Philadelphia’s pro-
Mark Segal and Don Pignolet, PGN’s long- fessional gay news-
Editorial Designer/
Illustrator time distribution manager, made a deal to paper, thanks to the
Ash Cheshire (ext. 210) receive them for free. Pignolet fit five box- quarters brought in
ash@epgn.com es at a time into his truck and took them to from readers, could
Earl Shibe Auto for painting. When asked if finally afford some
Web Designer they would be willing to donate the paint, office repairs (early
Sean Dorn (ext. 211) the workers said sure, but only one color: PGN offices were of-
sean@epgn.com ten in cramped spac-
fresh plumb.
“No one else had that color,” Pignolet es without heat or
Photographer said, “and it just seemed so gay.” plumbing). However, insides still have the scars of the fire on the
Kelly Burkhardt The first batch of boxes numbered around beyond serving as a revenue source for the bottom, but as long as I got the smell out, it
burkhardtkelly@gmail.com 30. When they were ready to be deployed, staff, the vending boxes also became a pub- didn’t much matter.”
an announcement was made in the Septem- licity tool for the paper and, more impor- The constant destruction forced the staff
ber 1976 issue of the paper: “In order to tantly, for the entire community. to get creative and adapt. Pignolet repaired
Advertising Sales “We wanted them to be in high-profile the boxes where he could find space us-
ensure speedy and convenient local distri-
Joe Bean (ext. 219) bution of the Philadelphia Gay News, lav- places,” Segal said. “We realized they would ing all manner of tools. (The staff, having
ender vending machines for the paper are be the first gay billboards in the city of Phil- heard the continual banging, nicknamed
Prab Sandhu (ext. 212) being purchased and placed in locations adelphia. Here they are, purple, with a huge him “Bam-Bam.”) To remove glue from the
prab@epgn.com throughout Center City. The first area to re- GAY splashed across them. We knew what coin mechanisms, a tungsten carbide rod
ceive the machines is Spruce St.” that was going to mean. We were prepared saw was deployed. And to prevent the clear
National Advertising Initially, the paper cost 50 cents per is- for any backlash. We expected it.” screens from being destroyed, PGN boxes
sue. Pignolet and his father attached the As recently as the 2000s, PGN vending were some of the first to feature Lexan ther-
Rivendell Media:
212-242-6863 coin mechanisms to the boxes, and while boxes had been used as trash cans, vandal- moplastic, a polycarbonate 250 times stron-
they were extremely difficult to set up and ized with graffiti, destroyed by fire. The ger than glass.
differences between then and Such herculean efforts are, fortunate-
1976 were volume and inten- ly, not as necessary today. The PGN now
Phone: 215-625-8501 PGN gets vending boxes from a steel manufac-
Fax: 215-925-6437 505 S. Fourth St. sity. Back then, people glued
E-mail: pgn@epgn.com Philadelphia, PA the boxes shut and scrawled turer. The paint, RAL-0007, is found easily
Web: www.epgn.com 19147-1506 homophobic graffiti such as enough. The garage at the PGN offices pro-
“Gay=Got AIDS Yet?” On vides ample space for repairs without worry
Philadelphia Gay News
is a member of: several occasions, the boxes of a leaky roof or frigid cold. The paper is
The Associated Press were blown up with home- free, eliminating the constant maintenance
Pennsylvania Newspaper of the coin mechanisms. It’s a far cry from
Association made bombs consisting of
Suburban Newspapers M-80 fireworks and a fuse lit 1976.
of America
by a burning cigarette. Twice When asked where he found the strength
the bombs failed to detonate, to handle the constant repairs and harass-
The views of PGN are expressed only in the unsigned
“Editorial” col­umn. Opinions expressed in bylined col- and Pignolet disposed of them ment in the early days, Pignolet said: “Per-
umns, stories and letters to the editor are those of the
writer, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of carefully. Repairing the boxes severance kept me going. What guided
PGN. The appearance of names or pictorial represen- became, for the most part, his me was a slogan from the early gay rights
tations in PGN does not necessarily indicate the sexual movement, ‘Never let them have the benefit
orientation of that named or pictured person or persons. full-time job.
“Fire was the hardest to re- of our silence again.’ I used that as a motto.”
Copyright © 1976 - 2019 Copyright(s) in all materials
in these pages are either owned or licensed by Masco pair. People would open the For the people today who see the purple
Communications Inc. or its subsidiaries or affiliate compa-
boxes up and set the paper on boxes on the street and feel embraced by
nies (Philadelphia Gay News, PGN, and its WWW sites.)
All other reproduction, distribution, retransmission, mod- fire. Most of them I was able the community, for those in the old days
ification, public display, and public performance of our
to strip off the burnt paint from who snuck around the corner and snatched
materials is prohibited without the prior written consent
of Masco Communications. To obtain such consent, email the outside, hose it all down a paper while nobody was looking, it’s easy
pgn@epgn.com. Published by Masco Communications Inc.
and repaint it. Sometimes the to see: Purple is perseverance. Purple is
© 1976-2019 Masco Communications Inc. ISSN-0742-515
PGN. n
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

Johnson House,
Underground Railroad
stop in Philadelphia

Start your journey at
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020



TIMOTHY CWIEK work, spat on her, threw food at her, placed a

timothy@epgn.com trash can on her head, pushed her into a locker
and ripped off some of her clothing.
Philadelphia public-school officials re- Wible and her mother repeatedly com-
cently allocated $850,000 from the district’s plained about the abuse, but school authori-
operating budget to settle the lawsuit filed by ties failed to implement corrective measures,
Amanda Wible, a former student who claimed according to Wible’s lawsuit. In 10th grade,
she suffered severe bullying because she’s Wible transferred out of the district to a cy-
gender nonconforming. ber-charter school.
On Jan. 27, in response to a Right-to-Know In court papers, defense attorneys denied
Law request, the district emailed to PGN min- that school officials were aware of Wible be-
utes from the school board’s Nov. 21 meeting ing subjected to systemic harassment and bul-
showing that the board agreed to pay $850,000 lying. They also argued that a school district
to settle the case. can’t be held liable for student-on-student
The school-board minutes don’t specify bullying under the Pennsylvania Human Re-
how much of the money goes to Wible and lations Act.
how much goes to her attorneys. But in May 2018, Philadelphia Common
David J. Berney, an attorney for Wible, is- Pleas Judge Gene D. Cohen ruled that Wible
sued this statement: “We are pleased that we was subjected to unlawful harassment and
were able to vindicate Amanda's legal rights bullying. He wrote that the district was re-
and to bring this matter to a successful conclu- sponsible for sex discrimination in a public
sion. Amanda took a brave stand against bul- accommodation, which is prohibited by the
lying, held the School District of Philadelphia PHRA. It’s believed to be the first time a court
accountable for its role in it, and as a result, held a school district liable for student-on-stu-
she can now finally move on with her life. We dent bullying under the act.
owe Amanda a debt of gratitude for her cour- In his 11-page ruling, Cohen wrote: “The
age in shining a light on this issue.” school district acted with deliberate indiffer-
Wible attended public schools in the city ence to the discrimination and bullying suf-
between September 2003-13 and said she suf- fered by [Wible].” The judge added that Wible
fered unlawful bullying by several classmates suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, for
beginning in 2008, according to court records. which she receives psychiatric care.
In April 2015, Wible filed suit against the Philadelphia Public-School Spokesperson
district, citing numerous slurs and acts of vi- Imahni Moise said, "The [school] district
olence directed at her due to her gender-non- takes reports of bullying and/or harassment
conformity. Those slurs included “lesbo,” “f-- very seriously, and does not tolerate bullying
-ot,” “it,” “b---h,” “d--e,” “she-he,” “homo,” or harassment of any type. Students identified
“freak,” “tr---y,” “she-male,” and “weirdo.” as aggravators in such situations will be disci-
“From elementary school to ninth grade, plined according to district policy."
Amanda had to endure violent, severe, and Cohen awarded Wible $500,000 in damages
pervasive sexual harassment to access an ed- and $578,000 to her attorneys for their legal
ucation,” Wible’s attorneys wrote in a court fees and costs, to be paid by the school dis-
filing. “Because she did not conform to ste- trict. The district filed an appeal in Common-
reotypes about how girls should act and dress, wealth Court, claiming the district is immune
peers terrorized her” from lawsuits such as Wible’s. Oral arguments
Wible’s suit alleged that bullies punched were scheduled for November 13, but they
her, pulled her hair, broke her were canceled. The case was officially dis-
glasses, vandalized her school supplies, continued on Dec. 4, according to Common-
stabbed her with a pencil, ripped up her class- wealth Court records. n
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

Fundraiser commemorates
deceased gay deputy sheriff

new year,
Tabu Lounge and Bar will host a fund-
raising event to honor the legacy of be-
loved Philadelphia deputy sheriff and
LGBTQ+ leader Dante Austin, who died

new job
by suicide last June. Austin’s close friends
Julian Domanico, Anthony Sanchez, Ed
Callahan and Gay Officer Action League
(GOAL) members Nicholas Tees and Ra-
sheed Darnell, co-organized the event —
Out of the Darkness and Into the Light:
In Honor of Dante Austin. The fundraiser
Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) currently has immediate opening for advertising
will take place on Feb. 15.
sales position available for an energetic, self-motivated individual with outstand-
Domanico underscored Austin’s pas-
ing communication skills.
sion, dedication to the community and
ability to forge relationships as some of Our ideal candidate must have polished sales skills with experience in lead genera-
his best qualities. DANTE AUSTIN tion and cold calling, combined with a track record of closing the sale.
“This was our way of sharing [Dante’s]
Qualifications: * Two years minimum of successful sales experience, former print
legacy and doing something that pushes
body and was really an inspiring person and/or advertising sales are a plus * Strong verbal and writing skills * Excellent at
his memory forward by invigorating oth-
all around. I think that’s why it shocked so relationship building * Ability to work independently and part of a team * Knowl-
ers to continue the work that he believed
many people — you just never know what edge of local media market and LGBT community a plus * Computer literacy a
in,” Domanico said.
internal demons people are facing.” must
In light of Austin’s love of Philadelphia
drag culture, the evening will encompass Officials believe that Austin died by a Salary/Benefits: Competitive Salary based on your past experience, plus commis-
performances by drag performers Asia self-inflicted gunshot. sion. Our benefits package includes medical and dental insurance, paid holidays,
Monroe, Volkie Versace, Paula Deen- According to the suicide prevention or- vacation and a casual work environment.
White and Yari. Sasha Mala and Iris Spec- ganization Suicide Awareness Voices of
Education, lesbian, gay or bisexual people Qualified individuals interested in applying are encouraged to send their résumé.
tre will host the evening, the proceeds of
who are African-American, Latino, Na- to mark@epgn.com
which will benefit the Delaware Valley
Legacy Fund (DVLF). tive American or Asian American attempt
Amber Hikes, former executive director suicide at notably high rates.
of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, A 2019 study from the Williams Insti-
will be guest bartending. The Dr. Magnus tute reported that just over half of death
Hirschfeld Fund gave Domanico and his by suicides in the United States occur by
co-organizers the initial money to create firearm, and such attempts result in death
the event. President of dmh Fund is PGN 85 percent of the time. It also reported that
publisher Mark Segal. 10-20 percent of LGB people said that
In addition to being a loving partner, they tried to commit suicide at least once.

son, brother, uncle and friend, Austin was Ultimately, Domanico wants the public
known as a leader in the LGBTQ com- to focus on what Austin left behind.
munity. He was the first openly gay dep- “He shouldn’t be defined by the last
uty sheriff of Philadephia and the depart- decision he made in his life,” Domanico
ment’s first LGBTQ community liaison. said.
He served as vice president of GOAL and Gonzalez and the team at DVLF plan to Exciting job opportunities are available
was on the board for numerous Philadel- have conversations with GOAL and Aus-
phia organizations, including DVLF. He tin’s family as to how to allocate the pro- at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the
had also aspired to become sheriff of Phil- ceeds from the event. The funds may be
adelphia. given to a community member via schol- East Coast’s premier destination.
DVLF serves as a prominent fundrais- arship, provide direct assistance to those
ing body for LGBTQ communities in the experiencing family crises or assist com-
Philadelphia area. As a board member of munity members seeking criminal justice, Explore current job openings at
the organization, Austin helped the team Gonzalez said.
look at projects from a 360-degree angle, The fundraiser will take place at Tabu borgatajobs.com.
including identifying the large-scale com- at 7 p.m. VIP tickets, which cost $65 in
munity impact of the organization’s work. advance and $75 at the door, include the
“He had a big picture kind of outlook drag performances, an open bar and a buf-
that he brought to the table,” said DVLF fet. General admission tickets cost $15
Board President Fernando Gonzalez. and include only the performances.
“Even while living, he was one of the “So many people just walk through
most inspirational people I’d ever met, life,” Gonzalez said. “[Dante] ran through
and aspirational.” life while shaking hands and hugging peo-
Domanico pointed out how the sudden- ple along the way.”
ness of Austin’s death deeply affected his If you or someone you know has suicid-
family, friends and the general LGBTQ al thoughts, call the National Suicide Pre-
vention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or the 1 BORGATA WAY, ATLANTIC CITY, NJ 08401
“Suicide is a really scary and misun- Trevor Project hotline: 1-866-488-7386. Borgata is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Subject to the rules and regulations of the NJCCC.
Trans teens can call the Trans Lifeline: Drug-free workplace. ©2020 Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. All rights reserved.
derstood thing,” Domanico said. “[Dante]
was kind of omnipresent and knew every- 1-877-565-8860. n
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Philadelphia Bar Association
Proven track record of recovering millions of dollars for wrongfully treated employees!* partners with CCP to host
name-change clinic
Experience litigating:
• Partnership & business disputes
• Non-competes
• Executive compensation MICHELE ZIPKIN — some are from the AIDS Law Project of
• Employment discrimination michele@epgn.com Pennsylvania, some hale from larger firms
• Real Estate Litigation such as Blank Rome, and others practice law
The Philadelphia Bar Association’s LGBT privately.
Jeffrey E. Goldman, Esq. Also handle: Rights Committee is collaborating with the “It’s really good to have this diversity of ex-
100 S. Broad St. • Wills, Living Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney Community College of Philadelphia to hold perience because the clients that we anticipate
Suite 1330 a free name-change clinic for members of the have a large diversity of experience and possi-
Philadelphia, PA 19110 Put 18 years of experience to work for you! Philadelphia community who are transgender, ble needs,” Evans said.
Jeff.Goldman@verizon.net gender nonbinary or gender nonconforming Because the CLE is open to all attorneys
*Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. regardless of whether they have previously
and wish to have their name legally changed.
The committee will also hold a continu- worked with LGBTQ+ clients, Evans empha-
ing legal education (CLE) training session to sized the importance of cultural competency.
teach attorneys how to litigate, on a pro bono It is integral “to make sure that no matter what
basis, the name change process for low-in- the lawyers’ backgrounds, they [have] the
come transgender or information necessary
gender-nonconforming to be able to deal with
people. The CLE is free transgender and gender
Repairs, Renovations and Remodeling only to those attorneys non-conforming clients
(215) 467-3335 who plan to volunteer in a sensitive and pro-
for the name-change ductive way,” he said.
Pa. HIC #026545 clinic. The ability to legally
Considering the com- change one’s name is
Phila. Lic. #17895 mittee’s partnership paramount for members
“Our” with CCP, the clinic
is partially geared to-
of the LGBTQ commu-
nity who wish to have
Family Plumber ward students as well
as members of the gen-
their names match their
chosen identities, Ev-
for over 30 years eral public, said Ian Ev-
ans, co-chair of the Bar
ans said. He also noted
the need to show iden-
Association’s LGBT tification for everyday
Rights Committee. things like registering
For the purposes of to vote or checking in
this clinic, attorneys for a flight, and how a
will be working with Illustration by Ash Cheshire discrepancy between
Philadelphia residents a person’s legal name
and are unable to take on clients who have a and their presentation could incite discrimina-
criminal record. However, participating attor- tion or violence.
neys can offer referrals to non-Philadelphia With the upcoming REAL ID requirements
residents or those with prior criminal offenses. going into effect Oct. 1, which establish min-
“For the terms of this clinic, we wanted to imum security standards for license issuance
make it as streamlined as possible so we can and production, as well as the acceptance
hopefully improve on the model as time goes of ID cards for boarding federally regulated
on,” Evans said. This is the first name-change commercial aircraft, this issue becomes even
clinic the committee has organized since he more critical. In 2019, the Pennsylvania De-
took on the role as co-chair. partment of Transportation said it will offer
Evans also pointed out that the legal name- the gender marker X as an option on drivers
change process in Philadelphia is fairly acces- licenses and that these ID cards will meet
sible. REAL ID requirements.
“The judges in the Philadelphia Court of “Beyond the basics, the legal necessity of
Common Pleas that handle name changes are having identification documents that match
really adapted to the process and really sensi- your identity and presentation, it’s just an
tive to the needs of the transgender and gen- affirming quality that you are recognized for
der-nonconforming community,” Evans said. who you are by your government,” he said. “If
According to weighted data from the Phil- we are working toward making a better and
adelphia 2019-20 Resident Survey, 103 re- fairer more open society where the closet is
spondents said they identified as transgender, not really a thing that people need to hide in,
216 preferred not to say, 107 identified as non- it helps to be able to have something like that,
binary or a third gender and 32 preferred to to be able to officially say, this is who I am
self-describe. A 2016 study by the Williams by law.” n
Institute indicated that 0.44 percent of adults
living in Pennsylvania identify as transgender The CLE training will take place at 10 a.m.,
and 0.6 percent of adults living in the U.S. followed by the name change clinic at 1 p.m.
identify as transgender, which equates to at CCP’s Center for Business and Industry at
roughly 1.4 million people. 1751 Callowhill Street. Those who seek name-
Lawyers participating in the CLE and vol- change services from the clinic must register
unteering for the Philadelphia LGBT Bar by Thursday, Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. via https://
Association come from diverse backgrounds forms.gle/aaTZaPvkNBpGbNzp7
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

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136187_NPA229988-0001 xFi Super 79.99_PhiladelphiaGayNews_9.75x10.5.indd 1 1/16/20 5:38 PM

Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020


In a letter to Newsom on Jan. incredibly difficult to be one. all know the risks continue.
LOOKING FOR JUSTICE 21, Weiner and Weber wrote, His fight for equality is one that The City of Philadelphia
“Mr. Rustin’s conviction and still resonates with the LGBTQ+ just named Celena Morrison, a
registered sex offender status community and folks of color, Black trans woman, executive
Last week’s PGN editorial his 1953 conviction of “sex per- haunted him for the rest of his certainly when those communi- director of LGBT Affairs. Mor-
mentioned Bayard Rustin as part version,” many pressured King to life, and it continues to tarnish ties intersect. rison has long worked on the
of an acknowledgment of Rev. oust Rustin from his inner circle, his name, despite his death 33 Now, more than ever, we need ground for our community, and
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight though Rustin remained working years ago.” The letter also said, heroes to admire. We need to her appointment is resonating
for equality. with King. Rustin’s arrest was “Despite Mr. Rustin’s heroic find our strength in the strength with many in our community
Rustin was an out gay adviser the result of having sex in a vehi- contributions to the civil rights of those who came before us who know the extent to which
to King in the 1950s-60s and an cle with at least one man, and his movement, he fell victim to Cal- amid a Trump Administration transphobia and racism still ex-
organizer for the March on Wash- case was made public when Sen. ifornia’s homophobic criminal that has repeatedly attacked our ist from outside our community
ington and the 1955 Montgom- Strom Thurmond of South Caro- justice system.” human rights, along with the and from within it. But we still
ery Bus boycotts. He also helped lina read Rustin’s arrest file into Newsom said he would con- rights of many others. Rustin, have justice to address locally,
King create the Southern Chris- the Congressional Record. sider the letter in a statement: and anyone charged with sod- in the name of Rustin and our
tian Leadership Conference. But now, over 50 years later, “History is clear. In California omy, sexual perversion, lewd other LGBTQ+ heroes. Nizah
A Quaker, Rustin is thought to California State Sen. Scott Weiner and across the country, sodomy behavior, etc. for being queer, Morris’ 2002 death in the hands
have been highly influential for and Assemblymember Shirley laws were used as legal tools of deserves to have a clean record. of or very near to the hands of
King’s pacifist ideologies and in- Weber are asking California Gov. oppression.” For those brave people, being police, according to statements
troduced him to Mahatma Gand- Gavin Newsom to expunge Rust- Rustin was an out gay Black LGBTQ+ was much more of a and timelines provided on pub-
hi’s principles. But because of in’s record. man during a time when it was risk than we face now, and we lic record, is one of them. n


Genna Gazelka, a 31-year-old who iden- “I think the best place to land is let the your mom?” that,” Gen-
tifies as bi-gender, knows firsthand the pain church have the total freedom to do as they “Because a lot of times [with] same-sex na Gazelka
of conversation therapy, calling it “harass- please,” he continued. attraction there’s not a good connection to told the Tri-
ment” and “torture.” Ah, yes. Let the church have “total free- the biological parent of the opposite sex,” bune of her
According to a May 2019 interview with dom to do as they please” with adolescents Gazelka continued, then corrected himself. father. “Be-
the Star Tribune, as a teen, they were sent and LGBTQ people. What could go wrong? “Of the same sex, I’m sorry. And he said, cause I’m
to the counseling center of Marcus Bach- Gazelka then mentioned suicide rates for ‘It’s funny you say that because my mom like, ‘How
mann, the husband of former U.S. Rep. Mi- LGBTQ youth, as if the harmful practice of and my grandma raised me.’ And the point can you say you love me and still do this?
chele Bachmann, an outspoken opponent conversion therapy doesn’t contribute. I’m trying to make is we actually had a con- And do this at the governmental level, ex-
of LGBTQ rights, and also to Janet Boynes “Some people never shake a sexual attrac- versation that we could talk about the issues ercise your governmental authority because
Ministries, which claims to “help those who tion that the Bible would say is sin,” Gazelka around the why and the what.” you can’t stop me in my individual life?’”
are trapped in the sin of homosexuality and said. “They never shake it. You know, that What? Gazelka’s belief that homosexuali- Really hoping that Paul Gazelka finds it
yearn to be set free.” doesn’t mean they have to give into it. Oth- ty is caused by a lack of both a mom and dad within himself to take this to heart. n
In November, Minnesota Senate Majori- ers find a way to have total freedom. But my isn’t how sexual orientation works.
ty Leader Paul Gazelka was interviewed by job is to walk alongside them speaking the Gazelka’s thoughts on sexuality and con- D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and
Truth & Liberty Coalition’s Andrew Wom- truth and love. I want them to know that I version therapy are backwards and harmful comedian living in Michigan with her wife
mack and Richard Harris on their Truth and care for them and I’ll help them any way I for all LGBTQ people, but especially for and son. She has been writing about LGBT
Liberty live stream. They had quite the con- can.” Genna Gazelka, his child. politics for over a decade. Follow her on
versation about conversion therapy, some- Like by championing their dehumaniza- “He says that he loves me, and I question Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.
thing Gazelka stopped a ban of last year. He tion and furthering the stigma against
was also the author of Minnesota’s anti-gay them? By convincing them that the love
marriage amendment, which failed. they feel for another person is sinful and
The Truth and Liberty stream doesn’t have gross? Gosh, with love like that, who
the widest audience. So it took until Jan. 16 needs hate?
of this year for the Minnesota Reformer to Gazelka then told a story about hearing
uncover and report on Gazelka’s interview. a speaker talk about “a lady who was les-
A live stream viewer submitted a question bian, and he said before you judge her let
about how to prevent conversation therapy me just tell you her backstory. He was a
bans, particularly in Minnesota, “and help counselor and he said she was chained to
the youth live godly lives.” a toilet as a like 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-year-old girl
“There’s a policy sweeping across the and raped by her dad, for years and years.
country that says a counselor or pastor can- How do you think she’s gonna feel?” he
not talk to a youth, an adolescent, about their asked. “I really took that one to heart.”
sexual, uh, feelings of identity,” Gazelka Being chained to a toilet is horrific. Be-
replied. “For example, if a gay boy or girl ing raped by your dad is horrific. But nei-
came into a counselor’s office or a pastor’s ther of these things, alone or combined,
office, under that law they wouldn’t be able turn someone into a lesbian. It’s telling,
to help them if those were unwanted same- though, that Gazelka believes something
sex attractions. Think about that: don’t offer really truly heinous must’ve happened
any help, you know, wing it.” to someone in order for them to be gay
That’s not the most accurate portrayal of or lesbian. He says he “took that one to
conversion therapy. Also, Gazelka apparent- heart.” I wonder if he has one.
ly assumes that the only way to help a gay Gazelka recalled a time he asked a gay
adolescent would be to de-gay them, not man who’d come to his office, “Were you
help them accept themselves. raised by your mom and dad or was it just
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

Welcome Archbishop Nelson Perez

We l c o m e ing to engage dialogue, something his pre- into Catholic teachings. That’s a long pro- lawsuits. He continues to further victimize
to Philadel- decessor, Archbishop Chaput, was always cess and one that Pope Francis has started. those abused by his priests.
phia, Arch- against. I learned all this in telephone calls Chaput has been an agitator to the Pope on Hopefully, much of that will be in the
bishop Nel- between myself and the executive directors this issue, going to the extreme at times. past, and the church under the leadership
son Perez. of both DignityUSA, the national LGBT He was unwilling to look beyond his ho- of Archbishop Perez will be more like
You are the Catholic organization, and New Ways mophobia. 2020 than 1950. With the appointment of
breath of Ministry, which educates and advocates Unfortunately, because of that issue, Archbishop Perez, Pope Francis has made
fresh air that for justice and equality for LGBT Catho- Archbishop Perez inherits Chaput’s legacy it clear that he wants a church that is di-
the Arch- lics. It seems to be a reconciliation within which includes: a policy of firing openly verse and inclusive.
diocese of the larger church and civil communities. gay or married Catholics from archdio- One last point that highlights the dif-
Philadelphia We all felt a certain optimism with Perez’s cese schools, financially supporting what ference between Perez and Chaput. While
needed. appointment. is a Catholic conversion-therapy training Chaput supported his own type of conver-
I say that Between us, we discovered that he has class for priests, not recognizing LGBT sion therapy, a practice banned in 19 states,
after spending a great deal of time last a very limited record on LGBT issues. families, fighting adoption by LGBT par- Perez and the Cleveland Archdiocese has
week researching Perez. He’s quite im- That’s exactly what it should be unless you ents. And, maybe the worst one, Chaput an LGBT family ministry outreach. It’s
pressive. He has a pastoral background, were an outspoken homophobe like Cha- fought against changes in statute of limita- easy to see who is better for our commu-
and more importantly, for Philadelphia’s put. Perez seems to be patient in trying tion laws in Pennsylvania in order to keep nity and for the Catholic Church.
Catholic LGBT Community, seems will- to understand our issues and how that fits his abuser priests from being charged with Welcome to Philly, Archbishop Perez. n


A hair-raising talk of race, sex and gender

While I typically write about trans issues, he has nevertheless been threatened with in- ones that seek to criminalize care for trans fects people who are not transgender. Bias
this particular piece will not start with a school suspension and told he may not be al- and nonbinary students altogether. against people of color, especially folks of
story about a transgender or nonbinary per- lowed to walk during graduation ceremonies The same sort of gender bias routinely af- color, often goes hand in hand with gender
son. Rather, it begins with a story about hair. later this year. fects transgender people, but DeAndre Ar- biases. All of these things intersect in differ-
Specifically, DeAndre Arnold’s hair. School Superintendent Greg Poole, via nold didn’t have to be trans to face regula- ent ways, much as Kimberlé Williams Cren-
Arnold is a senior at Barbers Hill High CNN, claimed that the policy has been as is tions about the length of his hair. He faced shaw, a Black feminist scholar discussed
Scholl in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The irony for 30 years. In its defense, Poole claims that them over his race and nationality, with the when she coined the term “intersectional-
of the school’s name is not lost on me, nor the code was an “expectation of the commu- policies of the school violating his beliefs ity” in 1989.
will it be on you. Arnold has found himself nity,” and that such expectations lead to suc- over an otherwise harmless thing: the length This is why anti-trans violence predom-
afoul of the school’s dress code because he cess. and style of his hair. inately affects trans women of color, and
has lengthy dreadlocks. Arnold’s mother, Sandy Arnold, disagrees I often talk about issues where forms of why caricatures of Black and other mi-
For him and his family, his dreadlocks are wholeheartedly, noting that the only issues bias cross, and this is one of those times. nority women often focus on “masculine”
a large part of Arnold’s identity: Arnold’s her son has had in school have been because While Arnold is not being discriminated characteristics. Consider stereotypes of
dad hails from Trinidad and wearing dread- of the length of his hair. She feels that the against as a trans person, we can certainly Serena Williams, who in addition to being
locks is a part of the culture. It is a sense of policy is racist and violates her family’s be- see echoes of what we face in his story. This subject to racist cartoons and other forms
pride. liefs. is why, to me, we need to be there to stand of anti-Black, anti-woman bigotry, has
The school, however, disagrees. “This is his belief,” Sandy Arnold told up against gender-based injustice whenever been labeled and mocked as masculine.
“Male students’ hair will not extend, at KPRC-TV. “This is a part of who he is. This it rears its head. She was even accused of being trans.
any time, below the eyebrows, or below the is his culture. This is what we believe.” Consider what Caster Semenya has had to Or consider Michelle Obama — a whole
ear lobes,” reads the school’s current hand- As I mentioned, DeAndre Arnold is not go through. Semenya, a South African mid- branch of conspiracy theorists claim she is
book, according to USA Today. “Male stu- transgender nor nonbinary. His issue is not dle-distance runner, had a long fight over transgender and others consider her phy-
dents’ hair must not extend below the top specifically a trans issue — but there remains being able to compete. After some success, sique to be masculine.
of a T-shirt collar or be gathered or worn in a large double standard when it comes to his the International Association of Athletics The discrimination faced by Obama,
a style that would allow the hair to extend hair. If he was a girl rather than a boy, the Federations (IAAF) changed their rules, de- Williams, Semenya, and yes, Arnold, is
below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the length of his hair would be moot. manding that Semenya chemically alter her something we should be aware of. When
eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let Now I’m not saying that Arnold should body to reduce the natural testosterone in we see the actions that this administration
down.” transition. Far from it. If anything, he needs her system, else she will not be allowed to is undertaking against transgender people,
Similar policies on hair length are not in far less people in his life right now telling compete. or the legislation being pushed by so-called
place for female students. him what to do. In that way, he has a lot in Semenya is not transgender. Nevertheless, religious conservatives against trans rights,
Even though Arnold has taken pains to common with every trans student who is it is Semenya’s name that comes up fre- understand that these bills are not solely
wear his dreadlocks up, keeping them off his right now facing bills that will restrict trans quently when people speak of trans athletes. going to affect transgender people. They
shoulder and out of his eyes as stipulated by athletes from participating in school sports in She is also Black. will be used against anyone who doesn’t fit
the school dress code, their preferred gender, as well as far worse Bias against transgender people af- into a perfect box labeled “male” or “fe-
male,” and they will most likely focus
we most of their ire on anyone who belongs
know Are you part of any faith-based community?
to other so-called minority groups.
The hair of a non-trans boy in Texas is a
trans issue, and those of us who are trans
need to be there to stand up for him. n

25% yes 75% no Gwen Smith’s was never allowed long

hair before transition. You’ll find her at
Follow us on Instagram to be a part of our social polls and questions: @phillygaynews gwensmith.com.
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

Assailant in gay robbery seeks

new trial
TIMOTHY CWIEK arm. Moments later, the victim regained his
timothy@epgn.com composure and began chasing after Drum-
mond again and was able to see him run into
Rasheem J. Drummond, convicted of hit- a house. Once Drummond ran inside of the
ting a gay man over the head with a gun in house, the victim began calling out for help.
Harrisburg after they met through the dat- Eventually, someone saw the victim on the
ing app Grindr, has filed a petition with the sidewalk and called police. When police ar-
State Supreme Court for a new trial. rived on the scene, the victim told them what
PGN is withholding the name of the vic- occurred. Then police brought people out of
tim, who couldn’t be reached for comment. the home that Drummond ran into, and the
According to court records, Drummond victim identified Drummond as his assailant.
and the victim established contact through Drummond was arrested by police and
Grindr and agreed to meet to see if they charged with one count of robbery and one
were sexually count of carrying
compatible. On a firearm with-
Jan. 15, 2017, the out a license. On
victim met Drum- April 24, 2018,
mond at a Rite- Drummond’s jury
Aid store, and trial began and he
they both decided was subsequently
to go to the Hilton convicted of both
Hotel in down- charges. Dauphin
to have sex —
County Common
Pleas Judge Deb-
with Drummond orah E. Curcillo
directing the vic- sentenced Drum-

pgn HONESTY . INTEGRITY . PROFESSIONALISM tim on how to get mond to a min-

there. imum of seven
since 1976 When they ar- years in a state
rived at the Hil- prison.
ton, Drummond Drummond
asked the victim filed a 57-page
for $60 before appeal for a new
they went inside trial with the
— and the victim Pennsylvania Su-

complied. Once perior Court in
inside, Drum- April 2019. The
mond decided RASHEEM J. DRUMMOND Dauphin County
the hotel was too District Attor-
expensive and the ney’s Office filed
two men left the premises. a 29-page response in May 2019, opposing
The men got back into the victim’s car a new trial for Drummond.

and drove to the Radisson Hotel in Camp In November 2019, the state Superior
Hill, to see if it was less expensive. They Court sided with DA’s office and said there
entered the Radisson, but Drummond told was no reason to have a new trial for Drum-
the victim that the hotel was too expensive. mond.
At that point, the victim asked that his $60 In December 2019, Drummond filed a
be returned, but Drummond only returned 72-page petition with the Pennsylvania Su-

$30. Then the victim gave Drummond a ride preme Court, asking the court to hear the
home, to see if Drummond’s housemates case. Drummond’s petition claims there was
were asleep and they could have sex there. insufficient evidence to convict him of the
Once Drummond and the victim arrived, crimes he was charged with. Drummond’s
Drummond promised to return the victim’s petition refers to the evidence as “incon-
remaining $30. Then he walked to his resi- clusive” and “fraught with discrepancy.”
dence while the victim sat in his car. When The petition also claims that Drummond
Drummond returned and reentered the vic- was denied proper legal representation and
One pill. Once a day. Prevents HIV. tim’s vehicle, he pulled out a firearm and that the victim’s testimony was unreliable.
pointed it to the victim’s chest, demanding For example, the victim said Drummond
that the victim give him all of his money and threatened him with a gun yet he still chased
his cell phone. The victim complied with Drummond for his cell phone, according to
Drummond’s command and gave him $100 the petition.

PrEPdelco.com plus his cell phone. As of presstime, Drummond’s petition re-

Drummond then exited the car and began mained pending with the high court.
running. The victim also exited the car, in an According to state Department of Cor-
Chester: 610.872.9101 attempt to retrieve his cell phone, which he rections information, Drummond, 35, re-
believed was necessary in order to make it mains incarcerated at a state prison in La-
home and call for help. At some point Belle, Pennsylvania. His appellate attorney
Sharon Hill: 610.583.1177 during the victim’s chase of Drummond, couldn’t be reached for comment. A repre-
he was able to reach him, and Drummond sentative of the DA’s office declined to com-
smacked the victim in the head with his fire- ment for this story. n
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

Out State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta endorsed by

local Service Employees International Union
MICHELE ZIPKIN initiatives for the Chamber of Commerce of
michele@epgn.com Greater Philadelphia and has worked as a
member for organizations including Equali-
In his reelection campaign for Pennsyl- ty PA and Liberty City Democratic Club.
vania House of Representatives, Malcolm As of late last year, Kenyatta is facing
Kenyatta received an endorsement from Democratic rival Charlotte Greer-Brown,
the Service Employees International Union former aid to state Rep. Curtis Thomas, Ken-
Pennsylvania State Council. The SEIU an- yatta’s forerunner.
nounced its first round of endorsements on A Facebook video captured Greer-Brown
Jan. 22 of this year. Kenyatta has had the lauding her first endorsement from Sher-
support of the SEIU state council since he iff-elect Rochelle Bilal, and asking for do-
initially ran in the primary. nations from a small crowd. However, when
The SEIU is an organization that values asked if she created a campaign account,
the worth of workers and their services, and Greer-Brown neglected to answer. Pennsyl-
is devoted to ameliorating the lives of work- vania election code dictates that candidates
ers and their families. must register their election committee with-
“I am so proud to have this distinction in 20 days of amassing $250.
from SEIU PA State Council,” Kenyatta In deciding who to endorse, the SEIU
said in an email. “I will continue fighting state council members interview new candi-
for poor and working people, and the right dates and administer surveys to keep track of
for workers to receive a living wage while Kenyatta’s work fighting to increase the Morgan, president of the SEIU Pennsylva- their values and voting habits, Morgan said.
standing up against harmful policy ideas like Pennsylvania minimum wage to $15 an hour nia State Council and vice president of SEIU “Representative Kenyatta has a great re-
Pay-Check Protection and Right-to-Work.” and improve education as well as his advo- Local 32BJ. “Supporting him, to us, is just cord on all the progressive and worker is-
Kenyatta said that working to protect cacy for immigrants’ rights are some of the as obvious and easy thing to do as it could sues that our union focuses on,” Morgan
these rights is a keystone in his reelection values that garnered him the endorsement possibly be.” added. “Our members see him all the time
campaign. from the SEIU. Kenyatta is also the first openly LGBTQ+ at schools, they see him when they’re out
“My district is comprised largely of hard- “He’s really time and again been there person of color to be elected to the Pennsyl- working demonstrations to raise their wages
working union men and women and it is with our members as they’ve been fighting vania General Assembly, and as such advo- and benefits – he’s there all the time. In his
my honor to go to Harrisburg and fight for every place [for] workers who are trying cates for cultures of equality and inclusion. case, he’s a very active legislator. He works
them,” he said. to fight their way out of poverty, said Gabe He spearheaded the diversity and inclusion very hard.” n

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Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Parenting on ‘The L Word: Generation Q’

DANA RUDOLPH parenting in the same way as, say, “Modern
PGN Contributor Family” or “The Fosters,” Freeform’s 2013-
18 drama about a two-mom couple and their
“The L Word: Generation Q,” the sequel five kids, it feels natural that several of the
to the groundbreaking queer television dra- “LW:GQ” characters have or want kids or
ma “The L Word,” just ended its first sea- are trying to decide if they do. Advances in
son on Showtime. There is much to praise acceptance, legal protections and reproduc-
about the new show, including more varied tive technologies have made it increasingly
representation in many dimensions of identi- easy for queer people to become parents
ty. Here, I want to explore the parenting sto- (even as we recognize that out LGBTQ par-
rylines of both series to see what they might ents have existed for decades and our full
tell us about the changing representation of history goes back, arguably, to Sappho).
LGBTQ parents. And a 2019 study by Family Equality has
The main parenting storyline of the orig- shown that 63 percent of LGBTQ millen-
inal series, which ran from 2004 to 2009, nials — the “Generation Q” of the show’s
centered on characters Bette (Jennifer Beals) title — are considering starting or growing
and Tina (Laurel Holloman). In season 1, their families.
they go through various antics while search- The show’s writers recognize this shift. In
ing for a sperm donor — an overused trope the season finale, real-life writer and profes-
among shows that depicted two-woman cou- sor Roxane Gay guest stars as herself, being
ples in the mid-2000s. Fast forward through interviewed by Alice on her talk show. Alice
some break-ups and reunions, and they have asks her, “Can you be a bad queer?” refer-
baby Angie in season 2. encing Gay’s book “Bad Feminist,” which
We see only a few storylines related to ( L - R ) L A U R E L H O L L O M A N A S T I N A K E N N A R D, J E N N I F E R B E A L S A S B E T T E P O R T E R A N D calls for broadening what “feminist” means
J O R D A N H U L L A S A N G I E I N “ T H E L W O R D : G E N E R AT I O N Q : L O O S E E N D S .”
Angie, however, notably one in which her to include those who may not adhere to
Photo Credit: Hilar y Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.
moms try to get her into an elite preschool by some perfect ideal. Gay answers, “Histori-
showing that they’re the most diverse fam- cally, in the queer community, we’ve tried to
ily vying for the spot. That same storyline more fully into characters’ lives, as all of sibilities with the freedom she wanted in resist heteronormative ideas. And, so, these
was used by ABC’s “Modern Family” two the returning cast members are now dealing her life, is facing the same struggle again days, to be a bad queer is probably to want a
years later for gay dads Mitchell and Camer- with children in some fashion. (Minor spoil- because her ex-wife Quiara, who wants wife and two kids and a picket fence.”
on and their daughter Lily. In a later season, ers for the season follow.) The new cast also to reunite, is pregnant. Shane must decide We see the tension of that in Shane, the
too, Bette and Tina try to adopt, but this falls includes Angie (Jordan Hull), now 16, with whether to help her parent. least conformist of the three original char-
through. storylines of her own. Bette and Tina, though Shane is hesitant, but after advising An- acters, as she grapples with whether she can
Character Helena Peabody (Rachel Shel- no longer together, are both very involved in gie on her relationship with Jordi, sees that be a parent and still be herself. Yet Bette
ley) also had children, but they didn’t live her life. We find out, too, that Angie has a there’s something rewarding about parent- and Alice are also parents. Are they “bad
with her and played a minimal part in the crush on her best friend Jordi — a sign that ing. She says she’ll do it. After Quiara’s first queers”? Hardly.
show. we’re moving beyond fear of perpetuating ultrasound, however, Shane is afraid that she But the definition of “queer” now in-
About transgender character Max’s (Dan- the myth that LGBTQ parents will create isn’t feeling the deep emotions a prospec- cludes parents as well as those who aren’t,
iela Sea) pregnancy, the less said, the better. LGBTQ kids. Statistically, some of us will tive parent should. Quiara wisely advises, by choice or circumstance. It makes sense,
While a trans man being pregnant could have them, though, and that’s just fine. “You’ll feel exactly what you’re supposed then, that even on a queer show that’s not
make a fine storyline, this one was handled We also see Alice (Leisha Hailey), from to feel on your own time.” That’s as good a “about” parenting, we’re seeing more par-
clunkily and only served to underscore the the original series, now in a relationship piece of parenting advice as I’ve ever heard. ents and more “every day” parenting mo-
character’s otherness. The original “L Word’ with Nat (Stephanie Allynne, a real-life Parenting wisdom among the show’s ments. Yes, some of us may want a picket
did not handle trans issues well. queer mom), who is sharing custody of her melodrama shouldn’t surprise viewers. fence — but we can paint it in rainbow col-
Shane (Katherine Moennig) also acts for two kids with her ex. Alice tries to learn par- New showrunner and co-executive pro- ors. n
several episodes as guardian of her 9-year- enting skills like dealing with a sick child or ducer Marja-Lewis Ryan and her wife had
old half-brother Shay. We see Shane struggle packing snacks for a swim meet, while also a baby last year, and original showrunner Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher
with that responsibility, though, and Shay figuring out how she fits into the family. and “LW:GQ” co-executive producer Ilene of Mombian (mombian.com), a GLAAD Me-
eventually goes back to live with their father. And Shane, who struggled in the original Chaiken is a mom as well. dia Award-winning blog and resource direc-
The new show has brought parenting even show to balance her guardianship respon- While “LW:GQ” will never be focused on tory for LGBTQ parents.

NEWS First trans person elected to public office in Penn.

BRIEF endorses Warren
JESS BRYANT “As a transgender male from a small rural and left behind. Being a public servant re- why he chose to endorse Warren. “She has
jess@epgn.com town in Pennsylvania, I know the value of quires commitment, humility, vulnerability shown up, she has listened, and she fights
representation in a democracy,” Titus said in and tenacity. It means you show up, you lis- like hell for equity,” he said.
Erie School Board Director Tyler Titus, statement. “I know how vital it is to have ten, and you fight like hell for equity for all Aside from his position with the school
the first trans person elected to public office a voice and the impact of not being heard. constituents.” board, Titus is vice chair of Gov. Wolf’s
in Pennsylvania, endorsed Sen. Elizbeth I ran for public office in 2017 to elevate Titus said he expects the same commit- LGBTQ Affairs Commission and the Erie
Warren for president on Jan. 28. those who had been silenced, overlooked ment from a candidate he supports which is Mayor’s LGBT Council. n
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

Because life
Arizona bill would ban trans-
gender girls, women from teams
a parent.
The three-judge panel appeals court rejected
the state’s appeal, upholding U.S. District Court
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt’s 2016 ruling.
is more
10TV.com reports transgender girls and wom- “The district court’s order requiring Indiana to
en would be barred from participating in sports recognize the children of these plaintiffs as legit-
on the team that aligns with their gender identity imate children, born in wedlock, and to identify
under a proposed Arizona law.
The proposal announced by GOP Rep. Nancy
Barto on Jan. 24 is co-sponsored by 22 other Re-
both wives in each union as parents, is affirmed,”
the appeals court wrote in its 10-page ruling.
Ashlee Henderson said that she was surprised
publican House members and is the latest on a when she heard about the decision, which she has
growing list of more than a dozen states with bills
that focus on transgender young people.
The Arizona legislation allows only biological
been waiting on since the case was argued in May
2017. art
“My first reaction was such relief and shock,’’

women or girls to play on female teams and re- said Henderson, who now also has a daughter.
quires a doctor’s note to prove a person is female “After such a long wait, it was such an indescrib-
if their birth sex is disputed. It allows lawsuits by able feeling to finally have answers. Good an-
students who believe they’ve missed opportuni- swers at that.”
ties because a transgender person is on a school
The Indiana attorney general’s office is “dis-
appointed” in the ruling and will consider next
The measure is intended to prevent female ath- steps, spokeswoman Melissa Gustafson said.
letes from being forced to compete against bio-
logical males, Barto said in a statement. It would
apply to K-12 schools, community colleges and
The state could seek to appeal to the U.S. Su-
preme Court.
Karen Celestino-Horseman, Indianapolis at-
state universities but only to female teams. torney representing the Hendersons, praised the
“When this is allowed, it discourages female
participation in athletics and, worse, it can result
“This one is just further affirmation of these
in women and girls being denied crucial educa- families,” Celestino-Horseman said. “You’d
tional and financial opportunities,” Barto’s state-
ment said.
Republicans make up the majority in the state
think this would be settled. ... But we’ll wait to
see what the state does. Wait, again.” film
House and Senate.
Similar legislation has been proposed in Ala-
bama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Hamp-
Hallmark media CEO leaves
a month after same-sex ad
shire, Tennessee and Washington state, according
to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Several national women’s rights and sports or-
ganizations are pushing back, saying in a letter ABC News reports the head of Hallmark’s me-
dia business is leaving the company after 11 years,
distributed by the American Civil Liberties Union
that barring transgender people from sports teams just a month after its flagship Hallmark Channel
aligning with their gender identity often means faced an outcry over a decision to pull an ad with
they are “excluded from participating altogether.” a lesbian couple kissing.
No reason was given for Bill Abbott’s departure,
and no replacement was immediately named.
Court rules for gay couple in In a statement, Mike Perry, president and CEO

than just gay

Indiana birth certificate suit of Hallmark Cards Inc., said that with immense
competition from TV networks and streaming ser-
The Journal & Courier reported a federal ap- vices, it is important for the company to find “rel-

peals court sided with a gay married couple who evant new ways to grow our business.”
challenged Indiana’s birth records law, arguing Abbott was CEO of Crown Media Family Net-
that it discriminates against them and their chil- works, a company controlled by Hallmark Cards.
dren because birth certificates don’t account for Crown Media’s flagship cable channel is The
same-sex spouses as parents. Hallmark Channel, known for family-friendly
The decision from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court programming, particularly made-for-TV Christ-
of Appeals on Jan. 17 reaffirmed a lower court’s mas-themed movies.
ruling in a 2015 case filed by Ashlee and Ruby In December, the Hallmark Channel’s decision
Henderson that required the state to recognize the to pull an ad featuring the same-sex couple led to
couple’s children as their own. an outcry online. The company later reversed the
The Hendersons, of Lafayette, alleged that lo- decision.
cal and state health officials discriminated against Crown Media also operates the Hallmark Movies


them when the Tippecanoe County Health De- & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama networks, subscrip-
partment declined to put both of their names as tion streaming service Hallmark Movies Now and
parents on their son’s birth certificate in Decem- e-book publishing division Hallmark Publishing. n
ber 2014. The county at the time allowed only
Ruby Henderson, the birth mother, to be listed as Reporting via Associated Press
16 I N T E R N AT I O N A L
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

Jan. 22 that precludes LGBTQ parents from Russian children. State representatives prom-
adopting Russian children. While the agree- ised to ensure that the Russian family model,
ment does not spell this out, it notes that adop- which excludes same-sex parents, would be
tions will be done in line with the laws of both abided by after the adopted children reached

I N T E R N AT I O N A L countries. Since in Russia, LGBT parents are

barred from adopting children, this will now
apply to Israelis seeking to adopt in Russia.
Israel. At the request of nonprofit groups that
regulate overseas adoptions, representatives
of the ministries of justice and social affairs
Before the signing of this agreement, Rus- signed documents that were presented to
sia was the only country allowing Israelis Russian courts, committing to obey Russian
to adopt children, with the procedure being laws that prohibit same-sex couples from
managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs. adopting.
South Korean military The staff sergeant has since been hospitalized
In practice, members of the LGBTQ commu- Oz Parvin, chairman of the group Gay Fa-
at a military-run facility and expressed a de-
decides to discharge sire to continue serving as a woman soldier, nity could not adopt Russian children even thers, said in response to the signing: “We’re
before this was formalized. Sources familiar disappointed by and protest the state’s de-
transgender soldier according to the army.
with these issues said that in the past, Israel cision to sign this discriminatory adoption
South Korea’s state-run human rights
watchdog recommended Jan, 21 the army rejected a demand by Russia that this prohibi- agreement with Russia, knowing that it
South Korea’s military decided Jan. 22 to tion be anchored in a formal document. This would deepen the inequality of LGBT com-
discharge a soldier who recently undertook postpone its decision. The National Human
Rights Commission said in a statement that re- would have implied that if the law in Russia munity rights in Israel. It’s inconceivable that
gender- affirmation surgery, a ruling expected changed, LGBTQ parents from Israel could in 2020 we are not able to benefit from the
to draw strong criticism from human rights ferring the soldier to the military panel would
be an act of discrimination over sexual identity have started adopting in Russia. option of adoption, in addition to the discrim-
groups. The signing of the agreement between the ination we face in the surrogacy law, as well
It was the first time in South Korea that and affect the soldier’s basic human rights.
Public views on gender issues in South Ko- two countries after 10 years of negotiations as in the overall attitude of the state to parents
an active-duty member has been referred to is expected to make it easier and faster for in the LBGT community. It’s high time that
a military panel to determine whether to end rea have gradually changed in recent years.
Several gay-themed movies and TV dramas straight couples in Israel to adopt in Russia. the rights to parenthood apply equally to all
her service due to her operation. South Korea It will probably also increase the number of Israelis, from all groups and sectors.”
prohibits transgender people from joining the have become hits and some transgender en-
tertainers have risen to stardom. However, a adoptions, according to knowledgeable sourc- In February 2014, then-Prime Minister
military but has no specific laws on what to do es. The new agreement was signed by the Dmitry Medvedev signed an ordinance pro-
with those who have gender-affirmation sur- strong bias against sexual minorities still runs
deep through South Korean society. Minister for Environmental Protection and hibiting homosexual and lesbian couples,
gery during their time in service. Jerusalem Affairs, Zeev Elkin, who also heads or single people from countries allowing
The army said in a statement that it conclud- Activists say transgender people are like-
ly to face harassment, abuse and insults, and an inter-governmental Israel-Russia commit- same-sex marriage, from adopting Russian
ed that the soldier’s surgery can be considered tee, and senior Russian officials, including children. The ordinance was meant to pre-
as a reason for discharge. many suffer from depression and have at-
tempted suicide. several deputy ministers — for foreign affairs, vent people in a same-sex relationship from
The statement said the decision went economy, education, labor and welfare — and posing as single to adopt a child. This pre-
through due process and was based on a relat- the deputy heads of Russia’s pension fund and cluded citizens of France, Canada and Spain
ed military law on personnel changes. Army Israel signs pact to bar customs. The signature took place on the eve from adopting Russian children. Citizens of
officials cited the law’s provision that allows
the military to discharge a member with phys- gay couples from adopting of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arrival the United States, in which many states allow
in Israel on Jan. 16 for the World Holocaust same-sex marriage, had been excluded a year
ical and mental disabilities. Russian babies Forum. earlier. n
The non-commissioned officer had a gen- In 2017, Israel made a commitment to
der-affirmation surgery abroad late last year. Israel signed an agreement with Russia on Russia not to allow same-sex couples to adopt Reporting via Associated Press

HRC EQUALITY INDEX SCORES man-Walker Health and The Trevor Project. friends and family who tout themselves as part “That’s a signal to us to say, ‘This is really
from page 1 BR Pride also serves to let LGBTQ-identified of the transgender community.” critical for us as a community and this is a way
Blank Rome employees know of each other’s Lincoln also instituted an updated transgen- that you, Amarmark, can show that diversity
Rome LLP, Chubb Ltd., Comcast NBCUni- existence, said Brady Craig, intellectual prop- der inclusion policy, which is comprised of isn’t something you preach about in theory,
versal, Cozen O’Connor, Dechert LLP, Drink- erty and technology associate and co-chair of guidelines for transition, educational resourc- it’s something that you’re actually going to put
er Biddle and Reath LLP, Duane Morris LLP, BR Pride. es and gender-inclusive restrooms. your name and your power and the organiza-
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, FMC “To be able to have your personal life not to “We’re trying to make sure that everyone tion behind,’” Rush said.
Corp., Fox Rothschild LLP, Montgomery Mc- be completely separate from your office life — feels part of the organization, and included Another locally-headquartered law firm,
Cracken Walker and Rhoads LLP, Morgan, that’s something very important to me, to be and engaged,” Truelove said. “We have train- Cozen O’Connor, bumped up its last CEI
Lewis and Bockius LLP, Pepper Hamilton able to be open about who I am and talk about ing for our managers so they can learn a little score from 75 to 100 by making its employee
LLP and Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr LLP. my partner,” he said. bit about what it takes to manage someone benefits information more readily accessible
The highest number of companies in the 18 Blank Rome is also proudly a Mans- who’s transgender and understand all the lan- and clearly defining a benefit partner.
years the CEI has existed earned scores of 100 field-certified firm, in reference to Diversity guage and the idea of pronouns.” The firm has two LGBTQ ERGs, one for
percent in this year’s survey, an increase of Lab’s Mansfield Rule. The rule dictates that a Aramark’s ERG, PRIDE has been facilitat- attorneys, which focuses more on business de-
over 100 companies from last year. firm should strive to have women, people of ing inclusivity, allyship and support of career velopment and one for staff members.
The law firm Blank Rome was founded by color, LGBTQ people and people with dis- development for the last seven years or so. The Shakema Appleton, the firm’s diversity data
a group of attorneys who had trouble finding abilities comprise at least 50 percent of their ERG has between 600 and 700 members na- analyst, said two ERGs help to “provide more
work due to their religious affiliation, ex- candidate pool while considering leadership tionwide as well as in Canada, according to education for employees not just throughout
plained Partner and Chief Diversity and Inclu- positions and outside counsel. Blank Rome Assistant Vice President and Chief Diversity that group but throughout the firm as a whole.”
sion Officer Sophia Lee. was one of the pilot firms for the first version Officer Jameel Rush. She added, “[People] really came out and said
“From our perspective, diversity and inclu- of the Mansfield Rule, Lee said. “One of the great things we’ve had from our ‘Hey, this is what we need to see within Cozen
sion has been a foundation of our core values Though not in Philadelphia and in neigh- ERG is going into and creating safe spaces for O’Connor.’”
since our founding,” she said. “We wanted to boring Delaware County, Lincoln Financial our employees to talk about their unique expe- In 2019, Appleton was named Philadelphia
create a place where people of diverse back- Group instituted its ERGs in 2011 — the riences,” Rush said. Business Journal’s Women of Distinction Ris-
grounds can bring their whole selves to work. LGBTQ group was among the first, said Brian In addition to providing training sessions ing Star for her work in diversity analytics and
I like to say diversity and inclusion is in our Truelove, the company’s assistant vice presi- and facilitating diversity within their sup- her initiatives in support of Cozen O’Connor’s
DNA.” dent of diversity and inclusion. ply chain, the team at Aramark vies to take LGBTQ employees.
Blank Rome’s LGBTQ employee resource According to Truelove, one of the social “real” action to better the lives of its LGBTQ “We’ve seen a shift in the culture, as far as
group, BR Pride, facilitates educational, net- media comments Lincoln received in response employees. Members of PRIDE came to the people coming forward and saying ‘What can
working and recruiting events throughout to its LGBTQ resources reads: “I can’t tell diversity and inclusion team in search of sig- I do to help,’” Appleton said. “Especially in
the year. During last year’s pride month, the you how happy it makes me to see a company natures on the amicus brief asking the federal the legal field, it can be a little tough. People
group organized a panel with representatives [moving] to make the lives of transgender peo- legislature to include sexual orientation and are feeling comfortable coming forward, even
from LGBTQ organizations including Whit- ple a little easier. It gives me great hope for my gender identity in its nondiscrimination laws. myself. I’m an ally.” n
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com
OFFICE OF LGBT AFFAIRS her lived experience, will help inform a smart, is how some of the initiatives that I have sion for justice. She was the first trans person
from page 1 strategic approach to our work that elevates worked on or am presently working on — appointed to the commission. She quickly
the most marginalized individuals with the how can I support those initiatives from this jumped into her role; she actively participated
former deputy director of the office, took over LGBTQ+ community.” standpoint and continue to work along the in meetings, discussed cases recommended
Hikes’ duties on an interim basis while simul- Mirroring Kenney’s words, Morrison told folks that I built these positive relationships for closing and served on a hearing panel to
taneously working on training and program PGN, she “will continue the work of the with over the years.” decide an employment discrimination case
development initiatives. As of Dec. 17, ac- office and focus on the most marginalized Thinking big picture, “I would love to based on sex. She takes her responsibilities
cording to the City of Philadelphia and an au- members of our community. As many of us see more unity and support from within our seriously.”
tomated email response from Thornburg, she do, I am going to have a particular focus on community — a more solid unit,” Morrison Additionally, Landau noted the loss for
was no longer the deputy director of the Of- trans women of color.” told PGN. “We have so many entities that are PCHR with Morrison’s new position but
fice of LGBT Affairs, leaving top positions in Originally from North Carolina, Morri- fighting against all of us, things that we’re up pointed to a project that will involve further
the office vacant. Now, the LGBTQ commu- son has lived in Philadelphia for more than against every day. Some of us can’t meet our collaboration.
nity has leadership again in city government. a decade. Before her position at William basic needs. ...I mean we’ve come a long way, “At the PCHR, we know we’re going to
Mayor Jim Kenney told PGN, “Leading Way, Morrison was a community engage- we’ve made a lot of accomplishments, but I continue working closely with her, especially
the Office of LGBT Affairs is by no means ment specialist at the Mazzoni Center, where believe we can do so much more if we were because, among other projects, PCHR will be
an easy job. Even in a progressive city like she provided support services to members just more united.” partnering with the Mayor’s Office of LGBT
Philadelphia, there are a number of challeng- of the transgender community. She contin- She added that it takes the willingness of Affairs and Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs
es still facing the LGBTQ+ community, and ues to work with Sisterly LOVE and OUR the entire spectrum of identities to stand to- to write regulations for the new law requiring
we’ve also seen that this position brings an Way at Mazzoni and recently partnered with gether. institutions and organizations serving youth
unmatched level of visibility. It can be hard the group TMAN, whose mission is to uplift Rue Landau, executive director of PCHR to adopt nondiscrimination policy guidelines
to execute important work when you are in transmasculine folks of color. Additionally, and an out lesbian, said, “One of Celena’s to better serve transgender and gender-non-
the public eye, but Celena is joining a long Morrison has been involved with TransWork, main strengths is that she sees the world conforming youth. “
line of strong, amazing women who have led “since its birth,” she said. TransWork, found- through an intersectional lens and knows that Landau’s excitement on future work with
the Office of LGBT Affairs — Gloria, Nellie, ed by Marcus Iannozzi, connects transgender people bring many parts of their life experi- the Office of LGBT Affairs pairs with what
Amber and now her.” and nonbinary job seekers and entrepreneurs ences to any situation. She is compassion- Morrison said in a release from the Mayor’s
He added, “At a time when trans women — to supportive employers and business part- ate but strong, and I think she’s going to do Office — “I want Philadelphians to know that
particularly trans women of color — are fac- ners. a fantastic job in this role.” Landau said, “I I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to
ing an epidemic of violence across this coun- In her new role as executive director, Mor- was not part of the hiring committee, but I am work from the moment I step into my new
try, I am proud to have a leader like Celena rison said she wants to continue working with thrilled by her appointment. In my experience office, and I plan to do so with a focus on en-
at the helm. Her vast experience in program these community efforts and organizations. working with Celena on the commission, gaging the most marginalized members of our
development and service delivery, paired with “One thing that I have really thought about she’s smart, kind, caring, and she has a pas- community.” n

NEW ARCHBISHOP know [the appointment of Perez] will disseminated, and in it, he urged the church
from page 1 be a step forward for us as LGBTQ to cease making references to LGBTQ
Catholics because Pope Francis could Catholics in published materials.
Kovach, who heads communications for the have chosen someone else, someone This stance is at odds with Pope Fran-
Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, said of Perez older, more conservative. But he chose cis, who has been more open to embracing
in a statement to PGN, “A kind, joyous and a Latinx bishop who cares about sex LGBTQ Catholics and even gay priests.
hard-working person, Bishop Perez is best de- abuse victims, cares about immigrants, The Cleveland Diocese has an LGBT Min-
scribed as proactive, involved and supportive cares about poor people and cares about istry, but it has not been active since 2018.
in his leadership style.” opening the church to everyone.” Perez had no involvement with the ministry,
Of his work in Cleveland, she said, “In the She added, “Perez’s opening state- which is largely one of pastoral counseling
Diocese of Cleveland, he made the visitation ment to us was one of warmth and and events for parents.
of parishes, schools and many other Catholic humility. He immediately spoke to Church analysts view Perez’s appoint-
sex abuse victims, spoke in Spanish to PHILADELPHIA ARCHBISHOP-ELECT ment as yet another sign that Francis is con-
and community organizations a top priority. NELSON PEREZ Credit: AP / The Philadelphia
He was tireless in his desire to get to know the our large Latinx community. I feel so Inquirer / Michael Br yant
tinuing to move away from conservatism
people and places of the diocese.” hopeful.” to shift the ideological tone of the Catholic
Perez comes to Philadelphia — a renowned Out Rev. Naomi Washington doctrine. While archbishop of Denver and church in the U.S. to one that is more pro-
sanctuary city — with a track record of stand- Leapheart is an adjunct professor of theol- before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gressive and inclusive.
ing for immigrants and working in Cleveland ogy and religious studies at Villanova Uni- the issue, Chaput worked to defeat legisla- In Cleveland, Perez doggedly routed
to prevent deportations. Unlike Chaput, who is versity and served as the faith work director tion that would have granted same-sex cou- priests accused of sexual abuse — nearly
a supporter of President Trump, Perez has said for the National LGBTQ Task Force. She ples civil unions in Colorado. two dozen in his brief stint as bishop there.
of Trump’s immigration policies and treatment was hired as director for Faith-Based and Chaput also pushed for a parochial In his opening statement in Philadelphia,
of the poor, “We’ve lost our moral compass.” Interfaith Affairs for Philadelphia in Octo- school student to be expelled because les- Perez spoke directly to victims, apologizing
As a part of the U.S. Conference of Cath- ber. bian mothers were raising him. Chaput said to them. Philadelphia has been the locus of
olic Bishops, Perez serves as chair of the Washington Leapheart expressed her ex- of his decision, “Sexual intimacy outside a massive cover-up of priest sex abuse.
Bishops’ Standing Committee on Cultural citement over Perez. “This is an important marriage is wrong ... and marriage can only “Perez couldn’t be more different from
Diversity in the Church. In November 2018, appointment,” she said. “It’s exciting to occur between a man and a woman.” The Chaput,” said Michael Sean Winters, author
Perez began a three-year term as the bishop welcome the first Hispanic person to lead preschooler was banned from entering any of the “Distinctly Catholic” blog for the Na-
liaison for the National Federation for Catho- the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Archbish- Catholic kindergarten. Chaput said the child tional Catholic Reporter. Winters, a visiting
lic Youth Ministry. op-Elect Perez has a track record of strong would present a problem in classrooms. fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for
Cuban-American Perez was born in Miami, engagement with everyday people, particu- Chaput also said recently that mass Policy Research and Catholic Studies and
raised in New Jersey and ordained in Philadel- larly immigrant communities, both here in shootings are caused by a “culture of sexual the author of several books on Catholicism,
phia. Perez spent 23 years in Philadelphia as a the city and on the national stage.” anarchy” and “perverted freedoms.” said that “Perez is Francis’ first legacy ap-
priest and as a teacher at LaSalle University. She added, “I’m hopeful that this transi- In October 2018, Chaput gave a speech at pointment” in the U.S. Winters cited Pe-
Perez also did pastoral counseling while in tion will signal a continued commitment to the Youth Synod in Rome. He said, “There rez’s relative youth and the prominence of
Philadelphia. diversity, compassion and justice within the is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ the Philadelphia Archdiocese, which is the
For LGBTQ Catholics, Perez’s appointment local Catholic community.” or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosex- fifth-largest in the country.
is a momentous change. Chaput is widely re- Many Philadelphians found such com- ual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites de- Winters said, “Philadelphia is the
garded both in and out of church circles as one mitment lacking under the conservative fined who we are; as if these designations high-water mark for clericalism in the U.S.,”
of the most virulently homophobic and trans- Chaput. He is known for anti-LGBTQ described discrete communities of differing and Francis wants to break that down.
phobic members of the Church hierarchy. stances. He has led what many have termed but equal integrity within the real ecclesial Perez will be installed at a Mass at Ca-
Ann Reilly, a longtime member of the a campaign against LGBTQ Catholics, who community, the body of Jesus Christ.” thedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on
LGBT Catholic group DignityUSA, said, “We he has stated do not exist in terms of church The text of Chaput’s speech was widely Feb. 18. n
18 PGN
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020



F A M I LY P O R T R A I T Derrick Smith: Making music and riding high PAG E 2 5

Philly art-house theater Ritz at the Bourse closes

GARY M. KRAMER of the Bourse is pending;
PGN Contributor there are whispers it may re-
Earlier this month, Ritz at the Bourse However, the closing of a
management delivered this statement to cinema in general, and an art
moviegoers: “We regret to inform you that house in particular, is cause
the Ritz at the Bourse is closing. Thank you for alarm. In this day and
for your continued patronage and we look age of streaming and “dine-
forward to serving you at the Ritz East and in” theaters, with IMAX and
the Ritz Five.” The message relayed the last heated seats, the art house
showings would be on Jan. 26, and the the- holds a special status. The
atre officially would close on Jan. 31. Bourse has long been a place
It was a disheartening loss for cinephiles, where queer films thrived.
who saw LGBT films, documentaries and Documentaries, like the
independent features at the venue for three classic “Paris Is Burning,”
decades. screened back in 1990 to
The art-house cinema opened Sept. 19, packed houses. “Boys Life,”
1990, under the aegis of Posel Manage- a collection of three short
ment, which owned the Ritz Theater. Four gay films, played at the the-
films unspooled — yes, back in 1990, cel- atre in 1994. Queer Film Fes-
luloid was projected — on five screens: tivals at the Bourse screened
“Metropolitan,” “White Hunter, Black the films of out gay direc-
Heart,” “Jesus of Montreal,” and out gay tors Todd Verow and Marco
filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli’s 1982 screen Berger, among many others; Photo by Kjerstin Rossi
adaptation of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” their work would never play
Landmark bought the three Ritz Theatres Philadelphia otherwise.
in 2007. In December 2018, Landmark sold Out gay filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s Robert Drake, the out gay host and pro- Filmmaker talkbacks were essential to
the Ritz chain to Cohen Media. The future “Pain and Glory” will have the distinction ducer at WXPN-FM and longtime art film the Bourse’s mission.
of being the last fan, said that, “The amazing TNP - Philly’s Trans writer and director Kimberly
image to flicker Own Rocky Horror Cast were just about Reed, who did Q&As at the Bourse when
on the theater’s to mark their seventh anniversary at the her documentary “Dark Money,” played in
screens. Bourse location. It offered a community of Philadelphia in 2018, acknowledged, “Our
Film critic fans a gathering spot week after week.” The screenings became organizing rallies for
Carrie Rickey, Midnight Program moves over to the Ritz campaign finance reform, and showings
observed, “For East starting Jan. 31; the next “Rocky Hor- of ‘Prodigal Sons’ became something like
LGBT as well ror” screening will be Feb. 21. group therapy sessions for LGBTQ folks.
as straight mov- The idea of community that Drake men- Art-house theaters become centers of the
iegoers, theaters tions is essential to seeing films on a big local community, especially in cities like
like the Bourse screen in a theater. Out gay filmmaker Lu- Philadelphia that have a rich history of
offered films cio Castro, whose queer romance, “End of LGBTQ culture.”
off the beaten the Century,” played at the Bourse last year, Out gay filmmaker Rodney Evans, con-
track. Now we’ll acknowledged, “Watching movies has his- curred, “The Bourse gave us the oppor-
have five fewer torically been a communal experience. The tunity to have a weeklong run of ‘Vision
screens — and film’s soul is suspended in the darkness of Portraits’ and engage with Philadelphia au-
opportunities — the room and sensed by the strangers that diences in person for Q&As moderated by
to see Almodó- have physically convened to witness these knowledgeable critics and filmmakers. This
var and Céline lights flickering. Any threat to this experi- probably wouldn’t have happened without
Sciamma films.” ence is sad news.” the Ritz on the Bourse available to us as a
One of the Jesse Cute, a longtime film publicist at venue.”
highlights of the Allied Global Marketing, echoed the idea Out gay writer and director Ira Sachs,
Bourse’s pro- of community, “It is such an important part whose film “Frankie” screened at the
gramming was of the moviegoing experience for everyone Bourse a few months ago, added, “Without
its Midnight — and that includes LGBTQ audiences the exhibitor, it becomes harder and harder
Madness pro- who find comfort in the ‘it’s OK to be me’ for queer films, foreign films, avant-garde
gram, which, of environment places like the Bourse pro- and truly independent cinema to find au-
course, included vide. Queer content has had a home at Ritz diences — or income. As filmmakers, we
regular screen- Theatres, so losing some of our art houses are part of an ecosystem that relies on the
ings of camp is troublesome.” art-house movie theater, and so when we
classic, “The Last year, Cute brought out gay film- lose a cinema like the Bourse, the impact is
Rocky Horror maker Michael Engler to the Bourse for a immediate and devastating.”
Photo by Rui Xavier Picture Show.” screening of “Downtown Abbey.” While filmmakers suffer,
page 28
20 E N T E R TA I N M E N T
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020


T H E AT E R & A R T S story of four Korean-American teenage SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA

girls on a Christian mission in Bangkok The Latin jazz group performs 8 p.m.
BLUE HEAVEN COMEDY FESTIVAL who discover a hidden camera in their Jan. 31 at Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Wal-
FringeArts hosts two nights of provoc- hotel bathroom and decide they are go- nut St.; 215-898-3900.
ative performances, multimedia stand- ing to do something about it, through
up, dynamic sketches and more, Feb. Feb. 16 at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks St.; THERE, THERE
7-8, 140 N. Columbus Blvd.; 215-413- 215-568-8079. The Radiohead tribute band performs and
1318. celebrates the 20th anniversary of “Kid
MARISA MERZ A.” 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at World Cafe Live,
CHRIS HARDWICK Philadelphia Museum of Art presents 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400.
The comedian and TV host performs an exhibition of sculptures and draw-
through Feb. 1 at Helium Comedy Club, ings celebrating the life and legacy of ABBA: THE CONCERT: A TRIBUTE TO
2031 Sansom St.; 215-496-9001. the pioneering Italian artist, through ABBA
Summer, 26th Street and the Parkway; The music of the pop group is celebrated,
CROSSING BORDERS: PAINTING IN 215-763-8100. 8 p.m. Feb. 6 at The Tower Theater, 69th
THE CROWN OF ARAGON, 1400–1500 and Ludlow streets; 610-352-2887.
Philadelphia Museum of Art presents OFF THE WALL: AMERICAN ART TO
an exhibition exploring a vast Medi- WEAR TANYA TUCKER
terranean region encompassing much Philadelphia Museum of Art presents The country singer performs 8 p.m. Feb.
of present-day Spain and Italy, through an exhibition of works by mixed-media 6 at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.;
Feb. 23, 26th Street and the Parkway; artists exploring nontraditional materi- 215-222-1400.
215-763-8100. als and methods to create adventurous, OUT LAUGHING
deeply imaginative works, through May
Philadelphia Museum of Art presents 215-763-8100. Comedians Emily Sans, Sol-
an exhibition exploring visionary and ange Azor, Gara Lonning, Kate DEVIL DRAG
sometimes controversial designs that SECOND NATURE Sisk and Dylan Adler join forces The alternative drag show goes horns-up,
promise to transform how we live, eat, The William Way LGBT Community for the Sophomore LGBTQ+ 9 p.m. Jan. 31 at Tabu, 254 S. 12th St.;
heal, travel and even love, in any num- Center presents a solo exhibition from Comedy Tour, which makes two 215-964-9675.
ber of possible futures, through March 8, photographic collage artist Briana She- stops in Philly 7 p.m. Feb. 3
26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763- wan, through Feb. 28, 1315 Spruce St.; at Tattooed Mom, 530 South BEV’S BITCHFEST
8100. 215-732-2220. BEV’s monthly drag showcase returns,
St. and 8 p.m. and Feb. 4 at
Connie’s Ric Rac, 1132 S.
10 p.m. Feb. 1 at Tabu, 254 S. 12th St.;
Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an Opera Philadelphia presents the classic Ninth St. For more information,
exhibition of murals the revered Mexican opera, 8 p.m. Jan. 31 and 2 p.m. Feb. 2 call 215-238-9880. LIZARD OF OZ
artist created in New York for display in at Kimmel’s Academy of Music, 240 S. The Wizard of Oz gets the drag treatment,
an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Broad St.; 215-893-1999. 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Painted Bride Art Center,
Art in 1931, through spring, 26th Street 230 Vine St.; 215-925-9914.
and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. WELCOME TO THE IRONSIDE PLAY- lnut St.; 215-898-3900.
HOUSE Penny Tration from Season 5 of
Center presents an exhibition of photos, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” makes a
Mimi Imfurst and special guests perform film and ephemera from the Jack Van guest appearance at Paula’s Drag
a tribute to the classic family comedy, Alstyne Collection, through April 24, Kitchen when she performs, 7:30
noon Jan. 25 at Punch Line Philly, 33 E. 1315 Spruce St.; 215-732-2220. p.m. Feb. 6 at L’Etage, 624 S. VOYAGE
Laurel St.; 215-606-6555. Sixth St. For more information or The music of Journey is celebrated and
WHIRLPOOL tickets call 215-592-0656. performed 8 p.m. Jan. 31 at Keswick
GREY ROCK Strides Collective presents an original Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside;
The Kimmel Center presents the sto- queer play written by Jonathan Ed- 215-572-7650.
ry of a young Palestinian so enamored mondson examining key elements of
with the 1969 American moon landing adolescent friendship and exploration GROUNDHOG DAY
that he sets out to build his own space of sexuality, Feb. 7-15 at The Iron Fac- The comedy is screened, 1:30 p.m. Feb. 1
shuttle, Feb. 6-8 at SEI Innovation Stu- tory, 118Fontain St.; 267-702-8709. at The Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St.,
dio, 300 S. Broad St.; 215-893-1999. Phoenixville; 610-917-1228.
KOGEI: ART CRAFT JAPAN Walnut Street Theatre presents Os- KAL PENN
Philadelphia Museum of Art presents car Wilde’s classic comedy of errors, The actor and political activist hosts a
an exhibition celebrating Japanese through March 1, 825 Walnut St.; 215- speaking engagement 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at
kogei — one-of-a-kind, handcrafted ob- 574-3550. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave.,
jects made with traditional techniques Glenside; 215-572-7650.
and natural materials, through summer HORROR BOWL
2020, 26th Street and the Parkway; MUSIC
215-763-8100. The classic John Carpenter films, “Prince
COLD WAR KIDS of Darkness,” “In The Mouth of Mad-
THE LUCAS BROTHERS The indie rock band performs 8 p.m. ness” and “The Thing” are screened, 1
The comedians perform 8:30 and 10 Jan. 31 at The Fillmore Philadelphia, p.m. Feb. 2 at The Colonial Theatre, 227
p.m. Feb. 1 at Good Good Comedy The- 29 E. Allen St.; 215-625-3681. Bridge St., Phoenixville; 610-917-1228.
ater, 215 N. 11th St.; https://goodgood- CHOPPING MALL
comedy.com. LITTLE BIG TOWN
The country band performs 8 p.m. Jan. The B-Horror film is screened, 9:45
MAN OF GOD 31 at The Met, 858 N. Broad St.; info@ p.m. Feb. 7 at The Colonial Theatre, 227
InterAct Theatre Company presents the TheMetPhilly.com. SOMEONE’S IN THE KITCHEN WITH PAULA Bridge St., Phoenixville; 610-917-1228.

NOTICES: Send notices at least one week in advance to: Out & About Listings, PGN, 505 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, PA 19147 fax: 215-925-6437 or e-mail: listings@epgn.com. Notices cannot be taken over the phone.
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com



C a i t l y n , C r o s s l ey, M a n d a , Au b r ey a n d M a u r e e n

Mar tin, Efrain and Jane Juan, Eva and Krissy Gregor y

G a b by w i n s R o o k i e o f t h e Ye a r S c o t t D r a ke w i n s t h e D r e w A d a i r A wa r d E m w i n s M o s t I m p r o v e d P l ay e r
22 A RT S
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

talks creative
debut at
William Way

LARRY NICHOLS prints that were in my closet, and I just took person is having to read past a lot of initial therapist, artist and writer, and these past
larry@epgn.com it out and started going through it, thinking barriers and stereotypes and the heteronor- few years have been huge in terms of me
what kind of collages I could make with mativity that gets put on me. My work and more fully coming into myself, including
William Way LGBT Community Center the imagery itself. Then I got this idea in art is an extension of that experience. I coming into my femme identity. So this
is presenting “Second Nature,” the first solo my head about working with the color from like being a queer artist and being at the work is a reflection of the boldness and
exhibition by artist Briana Shewan. The them, and that’s when I had this vision of William Way because people need to look joy of this time of my life, while being
artwork explores the artist’s methodical pro- the first collage I made with this style. I was at it in a queer context and ask themselves made up of the past that’s made me who I
cess of deconstruction and reconstruction, able to execute it from cutting out the color about the work not being as explicitly am now. n
creating works composed of “scales” made from the prints that I had in a way that was queer itself. I really look at this work as a
from strips of her film photography. PGN really close to what I imagined in my mind, culmination of my formative years, when “Second Nature” is on view through Feb.
talked to Shewan about her creative process which was exciting. After the fact, I realized I moved to San Francisco, came out and 28 at The William Way LGBT Community
and how it relates to the community gallery I made an abstract landscape, and there was fell in love. [This] new, original work I Center, 1315 Spruce St. For more infor-
that is hosting her exhibition. nature coming through that. started in 2019 represents who I am today. mation on Briana Shewan, visit www.
I started Mophead Femme in 2017 as a mopheadfemme.com.
What is the significance of the title, What makes the William Way
“Second Nature?” It’s a play on the Center the ideal space to pres-
phrase. The idea is that this art is second ent these works? It’s a queer
nature to me. It’s a visual extension of my gallery and a queer community
self-expression and my inner self. It’s also space. I like to be really explicit
a play on that the work itself is inspired by about being a queer artist. It means
nature, which is my primary inspiration. a lot to me to have my first solo
Additionally is the other layer in terms of show at a queer gallery and to have
the second — this art is photographic col- it rooted in the queer communi-
lages made from repurposing my original ty. I’m excited for the opening
film photography into new work. as a chance to bring community
together in a shared physical space
Did you have collage in mind when because of my art.
you were taking these pictures, or is
the resulting artwork unrelated to the Are these works intended for
inspiration for the original photos? I an LGBTQ audience? I think
did film photography for the better part of there’s a more universal message
a decade in my 20s and up and stopped to it. My experience as a bisexual
doing photography in 2015 when all of femme, my lived queer experience
my equipment broke, and my housing involves a lot of femme invisibility
wasn’t stable. It wasn’t practical enough to and bi-erasure. The work being
continue. So it wasn’t until four years later abstract, there is a lot that is rep-
that I decided to revisit the photography resented that is queer in the work
and see what I could do to use it and make without being explicitly queer.
something different out of it. I had a box of My lived experience as a queer ‘GREEN AND ORANGE’ & ‘LUSCIOUS LANDSCAPE’
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com


(Mar. 21 - Apr. 20) (Jul. 23 - Aug. 22) (Nov. 23 - Dec. 21)
Your headstrong nature, honesty The sun in your sister sign (or Some bitter souls may try to
and good intentions will take you opposite sign) of Aquarius turns make you regret your outspo-
places. Never give up your child- you upside down, in a good way! ken-ness and enthusiasm, but
like wonder of the world and the A dreamy, free-flowing mood can don’t let them extinguish your
people in it. Lightheartedness and take hold. Mercury and Mars also flame. True souls will recognize
playfulness could be the mood form positive, energetic aspects and appreciate this in you. This
this week. Venus preparing to en- with your sun sign during the week there is a light at the end
ter Aries by Friday, brings about the courage to be your- week. There is no need to try to cram things into the of the tunnel for your discontent, as you have had a lot
self, go for what you desire and seek transparency and places you think they should be. By taking a step back of questions lately. There is a bit of static on Sunday,
simplicity in your relationships. You have the right stuff. instead of focusing on one aspect, you may find the larg- Feb. 2, due to a Saturn conflict, but the rest of the week
er picture more pleasant. A crunchy granola feeling of serves you well for work, creative projects and social-
peace and love can be obtained, even if just for a few izing. Still, romance seems to be on hold.
minutes a day.

(Apr. 21 - May 21) (Aug. 23 - Sep. 23) (Dec. 22 - Jan. 20)
Romance, communication and This week is a mixed bag full of Companionship, mutual sup-
self-worth are some recent themes seemingly conflicting emotions. port, romance and relationships
for you. Your mind has been active Tense moments of misunderstand- of all types are highlighted for
and alert. Dreams or ideas feel ing, bursts of motivation, spacey you this week. Pay special at-
vivid and emotionally charged. daydreams, doom ‘n’ gloom, and tention to the types of conver-
Before Mercury goes retrograde party mode may seem to come sations you are having and how
next week and Venus shifts out of on quite suddenly and leave just you feel around certain people. Comfort and familiarity
its comfortable seat in Pisces, you should take advantage as abruptly as when they showed up. Don’t let it take take precedence for you. Words and actions seem to
of the current astrological climate to get some of your sil- you for a ride. Staying in the present will help you play mean more than they used to. Simplify your routine,
lies out. Do something spontaneous, be more social than it by ear and cross bridges only when you get to them. and don’t overload yourself with demanding tasks.
usual or plan a small gathering. Shake things up because Self-awareness and a bit of vulnerability may lead you to With Mars in your 12th house, you feel the need to
next week will have to be a bit more mellow. the truth of certain personal matters with some help from streamline, and perhaps not every battle that you have
Mercury entering Pisces on Feb. 3. decided to fight is worthwhile.


(May 22 - Jun. 21) (Sep. 24 - Oct. 23) (Jan. 21 - Feb. 19)
You oscillate between your ide- The forecast for you is overall This week feels spiritually pen-
alism and pessimism during this shiny and sparkly. The sun, Mars sive. With Mars transiting your
Aquarius season and have been and Mercury all seem to have 11th house, the house of society
spending a lot of time thinking something good to say about Li- and community, you may find
about the future. It piques your bra. While the week feels fun and yourself wondering how to feel
curiosity but may also be quite easygoing, Chiron and the moon’s more connected in meaningful
anxiety-inducing. It can be hard to tell what is true for interaction may also help you to reveal the roots of ways to the things that you val-
you and comes from your heart versus what has been cre- deep and otherwise quiet emotions. It can feel difficult ue. You wish to live with greater freedom. The midweek
ated by outside forces that may be negative or unhelpful to synch up with people this week. When you have free brings many positive alignments for such thoughts and
influences. You may find this quandary intriguing to pick time, they are busy; when they are down, you are up, and feelings. Mars and Venus bring you out of your shell
apart. Feelings, more than logic, will provide you with vice versa. Don’t let that keep you from trying. Don’t and can have you feeling confident and more outgoing
clarity. forget that people are happy to hear from you. than usual.


(Jun. 22 - Jul. 22) (Oct. 24 - Nov. 22) (Feb. 20 - Mar. 20)

Good feels abound this week. Emotional and mental energy run There is a sweet spot around
Venus, Mercury and the moon hot this week with a boost from Ve- Feb. 3 this week when both
transit positively in your sun sign. nus and Mercury. Your words and Venus and Mercury will be
Compassion and self-compassion imagination seem to flow freely. in your sun sign of Pisces. A
are thematic this week, starting Keep literal actions to a minimum, much-needed boost in confident
with one will make the other fol- however, because they can be more communication occurs. Seize
low. When we can forgive our- drastic than you think. People are very curious about you this opportunity to speak your mind, shoot your shot or
selves, we learn to forgive others. When we can celebrate and particularly drawn to you. Don’t feel pressured to have get a bit experimental with your sense of fashion. Your
the accomplishments of others, we are teaching ourselves all of the answers for those around you, but don’t snub them aura seems to expand around you.
also to acknowledge our own efforts. Affection, romance either. You feel focused on motivation and productivity. Just
and creativity flow this week. More structured, material don’t be too hasty.
matters like business and planning may not feel so ap-
pealing during this cycle.
24 A RT S
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

Out gay entertainer talks Great TV teens breaking ground

American Songbook Sabongui (14) were realistic and deeply
GARY M. KRAMER lot of songs that have resonance. There’s a NBC’s Emmy-winning drama “This Is
PGN Contributor medley I just put together, “Don’t Let Me Be Us” has a lot in common with “A Million
Lonely Tonight”/“One Less Bell to Answer.” Little Things.” The ensemble drama set
Out gay entertainer Michael Feinstein is Thematically, they worked. I love singing in Philadelphia and Los Angeles is now in
known for his work archiving and chroni- that; it’s very challenging and not easy to its fourth season and has had two complex
cling the Great American Songbook. Over sing because of the acting — you have to go queer storylines, both in the same family.
the course of his illustrious career, he has so deep into it. The other thing is that songs Tess Pearson (Eris Baker) is the 14-year-
won five Grammy Awards, and has per- themselves mean different things in different old daughter of one of the series main char-
formed all over the world with a who’s who times. acters, Randall (Sterling K. Brown). We have
of singers. For his latest concert, “Michael seen her grow up over four seasons, from a
Feinstein: ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ From Ger- What makes a great arrangement? Any small child to an adolescent with a cool hair-
shwin to Carole King and Beyond,” he teams song I choose is one that has been thought- F R O M “A M I L L I O N L I T T L E T H I N G S ” cut and hip attitude. It was Tess who figured
up with “American Idol” contestant Haley fully approached — in that I have to not only out that Randall’s birth father was gay, and
Reinhart. They will be at the Keswick The- make sure I have something fresh to say with VICTORIA A. BROWNWORTH his “friend” was actually his partner.
ater in Glenside on Feb. 7. it, but it is something I can adapt to my mu- PGN Contributor In the show’s Thanksgiving episode in
PGN spoke with Feinstein on the phone sical style. I love reinventing songs. I try to 2018, Tess comes out to her family in one of
from New York about his upcoming perfor- bring through the essence of what the writers It was just a kiss. Or was it? the most realistic coming out scenes in TV
mance. intended, but I might have a different musi- The premiere episode of the new season of history. Like all real-life coming out scenes,
cal approach, use different tempos, rhythms, ABC’s “A Million Little Things” on Jan. 23 it happens in stages.
You have made a career out of chroni- beats or instrumental forces. All of those was titled “The Kiss.” Danny (Chance Hurst- Tess is riding in a car with her aunt Kate
cling the Great American Songbook. components give an artist a big sandbox to field) was nervous because he was about to (Chrissy Metz), who is chatting away. Kate
This performance expands on your play in. It’s living with something for a while have his first kiss live in front of everyone in says, “Pretty soon you’re gonna have your
work to include songs by Carole King and seeing what comes up from the creative his school’s production of “Grease.” first kiss. And your first boyfriend.”
and others, from James Taylor to Ste- well and winnowing it. But that isn’t his only concern. His first Tess blurts out, “Or… girlfriend.” To her
vie Wonder. What can you say about kiss is going to be with a girl and Danny likes credit, Kate barely takes a shaky breath be-
branching out in this way? I think as an You have dedicated your life to archiving boys. He wants his first kiss to be with Elliot fore she repeats, “Or girlfriend.” There it
artist, it is important to continue to grow. I researching cataloging and preserving (Bodhi Sabongui), the boy he has had a crush is: Tess says it, Kate accepts it. The door is
have great joy and stimulation from music, the American songbook, and the works on since last season. The two went on a date in opened, and Tess is relieved, even if we can
and to expand the palette is exciting. There’s of Gershwin, in particular. What can an episode last season, but nothing advanced see that a lot is happening for Kate.
so much music out there. I don’t feel I’ve you say about the itch that that perform- because Elliot felt uncomfortable with Dan- When the two get back to Tess’ house,
mined all of the classic American songbook, ing scratches? I have the blessing — or ny’s mom, Delilah (Stéphanie Szostak), say- Tess asks Kate not to tell her parents, Ran-
but people want to hear the songs of Carole the curse — of knowing the original version ing they “looked cute together.” dall and Beth. Kate agrees, but assures
King, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Webb and Paul of a song. I say it that way because it can be a Although Danny has been working with El- Tess that Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and
Williams. We now have years of perspective straitjacket. I adore the way the song “Fasci- liot on the musical, they have barely talked, Randall will love her no matter whom she
from that time and the incredible craft and natin’ Rhythm” was written. There’s a 1926 which upset Danny. chooses to love.
the lasting resonance of those songs. recording, which is one of the most perfect Before the big kiss scene on stage, the at- When the episode first aired, Issac Ap-
Gershwin performances I’ve heard. But if I mosphere between them is tense as they wait taker, executive producer of “This Is Us”
What was your criteria for the songs you performed it in that style, audiences would in the wings. Then Danny finally confronts and screenwriter for the gay teen rom-com
chose to perform in this concert? Some not find it as resonant as if I played it with a Elliot about their relationship. “Love, Simon,” said in an interview, “That
of the songs, it’s looking at the lyrics from a different beat and made it a little more jazzy. After Danny said to Elliot, “All I did was wasn’t a premeditated decision to tell Kate,
new perspective. “You and Me Against the So, while I often prefer the original versions like you. You barely talked to me all rehears- [Tess] kind of got swept up in this conver-
World,” I liked the Helen Reddy recording of the songs I sing, I find I have to do mod- al… I’m just so sick of people hiding their sation, so then [she had] a second to think
when I was a kid, but now when I sing it, I ern interpretations to have mass audiences feelings. I’m about to have my first kiss with about it and go, ‘Uh oh, I’m not ready yet.’
sing it gently, and with great investment. And appreciate them. In many instances, I prefer Skyler Burns, and I kinda wish it was She needed to make sure that Kate got that.”
I see people crying. So, it’s finding a song I with --,” Elliot leaned in to kiss him. At the end of the episode, Tess decides
to sing the original versions. It depends on
can bring something to and add something That first kiss for Danny and Elliot wasn’t to tell her parents. They handle it well, but
the context.
to or interpret in a way that makes it fresh just meaningful for them, it was part of a new after she goes upstairs to bed, they look at
or brings out the depth that people might not trend of showing kids coming of age queer on each other — it’s not as easy as with Aunt
How did you come to work with Haley
have recognized. TV. Kate.
Reinhart, and collaborating with her on Danny and Eliot are 13-year-old junior high In the current season, the family moves
the songs? I found Haley online and was school kids — the age when crushes begin in
Is there a particular number that has to Philadelphia. Tess wants to start at her
very impressed with her approach to music earnest. But TV has been slow to acknowl-
special resonance for you? There are a new school authentic and open and out. But
because she is much younger than I am, yet edge that she finds it is more complicated than she
she has a deep connection with tell- happens much younger than high school. expected. With the help of her uncle Kevin,
ing a story with a song. She has a In the ‘90s, “Dawson’s Creek” broke ground she figures it out, and the support she gets
gorgeous voice, and that attracted with a gay high school coupling. But having from her new classmates is affirming and
me to collaborate with her. She is kids come out in the context of their families positive.
very different from who I am, and and in real adolescent time is new. These depictions of young teens finding
it makes it exciting when we sing Danny came out to his family last season, their sexual identities at the same time as
together. We don’t know what to and it was a complicated experience for him. their straight peers are critically important
expect. It’s spontaneity. When we So when he comes home post-after-party to the
do “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” and tells his mother about his first kiss, it’s a TV landscape. Danny, Tess and Elliot
she’s doing Nina Simone, and I’m breakthrough for him and her. are realistic teens coming of age in what
doing 1930 Eddie Cantor. We come Danny jumped on his mother’s bed, where their respective series show us is real-time.
to a hybrid of that, and that makes she is holding his new baby sister and said, “I It makes the storylines more believable as
it a lot of fun. n had my first kiss!” well as more moving.
She smiled and said she knew; she was at But in addition to being good drama,
For tickets and more information, the performance. Then Danny said no, not these storylines offer queer kids role models
visit: www.keswicktheatre.com/ that and told her all about Elliot. for their own coming out, as well as messag-
events/detail/385672 The performances by Hurstfield (13) and ing that it’s OK to be LGBTQ. n
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com


Derrick Smith: Making music and riding high

SUZI NASH just didn’t take it to the next level and go to consider language to be a living and chang- theater performance group. I was also in a
PGN Contributor med school. ing entity, and because I don’t live in Spain, hip-hop dance group, and I was in a couple
I can’t be fluent with the new nuances. But of student societies for leadership and vol-
Music’s the medicine of the mind. Oh, I could never. I see a paper cut, yes, I can speak it. unteer work.
— John A. Logan and I’m like, blah! [Laughing] See, I’m
OK with blood and gore, it just wasn’t the Do you have siblings? I’m number two of So you kept a little busy when not
If John Logan is correct, then call this lifestyle I wanted for myself. As I grew up six kids. There are four boys and two girls. getting frostbitten. Ha! I’m used to an
week’s portrait Dr. Smith. Derrick Smith and progressed and went to college, I still We’re a blended family. over-programmed life. I’ve always been
is a renaissance man — a singer, performer wanted to find a way to help people, but I that way. I like having a really busy sched-
and cyclist, who helps keep the music flow- realized that I could do it in other ways, and Like the Brady Bunch.Yes! We’re the ule. I like having things to look forward to.
ing as the senior director of development at I’d be happier. Latino and Black Bradys. My older brother
Curtis Institute of Music. and younger sister and I have the same bi- Tell me about your main occupation
You casually mention college, but I ological mother and father. From my step- now. I’m the senior director of develop-
Tell me a little about yourself. I’m looked at your LinkedIn and saw Dart- mother, I have two stepbrothers, and from ment at the Curtis Institute of Music. I
originally from New York. I was born in mouth and Harvard listed. Not too my father and stepmother, I have a half-sis- oversee all of the fundraising operations —
Queens, and then we moved around quite shabby, mister! [Laughing] And I went to ter, and we had a dog to complete the group. donations from individuals, corporations,
a bit throughout my childhood. So I lived the University of Salamanca in Spain! I did governmental programs, foundations, etc.
in Queens and then the Bronx, and then in a semester there that was great. What was the family dynamic like? It’s great. I never thought that fundraising
middle school, we moved to Maplewood, Truthfully, we were a little crazy. I don’t is something I’d do professionally, but it’s
which is a suburb in New Jersey. I went to What was one of the high points of know how we didn’t end up more bonkers the perfect fit for me. I get to participate in
public school for middle school and then your Spain adventures? Oof, maybe we than we are! We were all very strong-willed events and meet people, do monetary trans-
went to a private all-boys high school for actions at a high level. I’ve always been
high school. a connector, and now I connect donors to
philanthropic strategies that make them feel
What did the folks do? A combination of good and help us meet our needs as an or-
things, so my father did business operations ganization. Whether it’s to directly fund a
for Pitney-Bowes management services.
My stepmother was an educational consul-
“I’VE ALWAYS LIKED MEN, AND production or set up a scholarship or fund
health and wellness programs on campus,
tant in our school district. My biological
mother passed away when I was young, but
I’VE ALWAYS OPERATED WITH I help them find what fits with what their
interests are best.
she was a conductor for the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority (MTA). She actu-
THE UNDERSTANDING THAT Do you get to see a lot of performanc-
ally drove the A Train. GAY WAS A THING, AND THAT es? Yes, all of our performances are student
only, and we have some amazing artists!
Wow! From the Duke Ellington song IS WHAT I WAS.” Sometimes you go to a recital and think,
“Take the A Train”? Yes! The one and the wow, this student has something special —
same. that extra factor that makes them stand out,
and you can’t wait to see them soar in the
My grandmother was a conductor too, music world.
but of music, though she probably con- should keep those off the record! Let’s talk people living together under one roof.
ducted that song since she worked with about the culture shock of a city boy going There was a lot of competition between the And in your spare time? I sing in the Or-
a lot of the greats from Harlem. That to school in New Hampshire! siblings, [laughing] but I always won! I was pheus Club, which is an all-men’s choir,
must have been cool to have a conduc- “that” child. I was not very close to my fa- the longest-running all-men’s
tor mom. Yeah, it was. Sometimes when Dartmouth? Yes, it was a very rural envi- ther growing up, but now my father is one master choral group in the
I’d be on my way home from school, I’d ronment, and I absolutely fell in love with of my best friends. country. It’s almost
catch the train my mom driving, and that it. There was always something new for me 150 years
was pretty special. I love New York City to discover. The thrill of being outside in What were some of the extracurricu- old. We
trains to this day because of that. the winter and seeing your breath frozen lar things you were into in college? Oh
in the air and your scarf actually freeze to gosh, I sang in an a cappella group called
What’s a trait that you think you got your face was wild. I’d never been in a cli- the Dartmouth Aires; I was in a fra-
from your parents? I think I got my pos- mate like that before, ever. I actually got ternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. I
itive disposition from my parents and also frostbite my freshman year. was in the pre-med so-
my willingness and ability to work hard. ciety; I was in a
I’ve always been able to focus on the task at Yikes! Where? I was walking from a park- musical
hand, even with things swirling and spiral- ing lot to my dormitory carrying a box, and
ing around me. They taught me that people I wasn’t wearing gloves.
depend on you, so you have to make sure to
get things done. I’ve always felt that that re- Wow, do you still have all your dig-
silience and focus and dedication to my job its? Yes, technically what I had what was
— whatever the job was — is something called “frostnip.” I did some damage to the
they instilled in me. nerves in the tips of my fingers, but I didn’t
lose any fingers, thank God.
What did you want to be when you grew
up? I actually wanted to be a physician. That would have put a damper on your
nonexistent medical career! You spent
Really? That or a pop star! And I’m nei- time in Europe, do you speak any oth-
ther a physician nor a pop star, though I still er languages? Yes, I speak Spanish. I
sing, and I did all of my pre-med work. I don’t like the phrase “fluent in” because I page 30
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

church of dyke
prayer cards

Q Puzzle Mummy”
42 Tinkerbell por-
13 Hoover hookup
41 Math degree
42 Second draft
trayer Julia that sucks 45 Meat on a bun
DOLLY WOULD! 43 “___ small world” 18 Suffix with proj- 47 Fran Drescher
44 “Now and ___ “ ect show, with “The”
46 Verb ending 19 “___ be my plea- 48 “Cat ___ Hot Tin
47 Gomer’s “not at sure!” Roof”
1 Untouchable
all” 24 Hrs. in P-town 49 Egg head?
49 HRC, e.g. 25 Disney deer 50 Composer Ned
5 Gomer Pyle’s
51 Kidron of Wong 26 Say without 51 Kid needing a
Foo fame thinking butt-whipping
9 Thomas who
55 “Hairspray” actor 27 Iwo ___ 52 BrontÎ woman
wrote “334”
59 Venue for The 28 Put in a position 53 Respondents to
14 Beginning of
Grande Ole Opry 29 Lube brand 911
61 “... who ___ 30 Historic Stone- 54 Tease
15 Cause of Pinoc-
heaven” wall disturbances 56 Not much, to a
chio’s 8-incher
62 Chance begin- 31 Saint-Saens “___ Lincoln kid?
16 Sound of a facial
ning Macabre” 57 Harbor pushers
63 Beat, but barely 33 TV actress Diet- 58 “My Cup Run-
17 With 38-Across,
64 Like Albert, in rich neth Over” singer
with “The,” venue
“The Birdcage” 34 Lemon that isn’t Ed
for Dolly memora-
65 Getting on in a fruit 60 Poet Dorothy ___
years 36 Second word of a Ratcliffe
20 Superman’s
66 Manhandle, with fairy tale
“with” 37 Snatch
21 Part of the head
22 Seed spilled on Down
the farm 1 Chemist’s condi-
23 Gay ski weekends ment
rides 2 Rubber stamp
25 “Lip Service” 3 Lots of people go
network down on them
27 Sources of de- 4 Pantywaist
light 5 Bone in a limp
28 Like an erect wrist
nipple 6 Joins the team
32 Disney lamp 7 No more than
rubber 8 Tennessee’s coun-
35 Barbary Coast try, once (abbr.)
country 9 Ophelia and
38 See 17-Across Hamlet or Claire
39 Dolly of this puz-
zle’s theme
40 Fraser of “The
10 SALT subject
11 Visit Barneys, e.g. COLLECT THEM ALL!
12 Part of Batman’s
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

Out actor talks new role, Philly career

CAMERON KELSALL year and I thought, “Why not?” I found that which is a very phys-
PGN Contributor I really enjoyed being on the stage. I thought ical practice. From
that even if I did want to continue pursuing that, because we were
Out actor Keith J. Conallen didn’t have to writing, I could move that into playwriting in- focusing so much
travel far to build a successful career as an en- stead of novels or journalism. Acting then sort on the voice and the
tertainer. The Philadelphia native and Temple of took over all my focus. body without relying
graduate has been a fixture on local stages for just on predetermined
two decades, picking up several Barrymore Did you know from the beginning that choices, that drew me
nominations and earning acclaim from crit- you wanted to build your career in Phil- into a real organic
ics and audiences alike. Conallen’s career has adelphia? Yes. I’m definitely a hometown way of thinking about
encompassed everything from world premiere boy. I really didn’t have any intention of theater. It connects to
plays to the classical canon, with no end in moving to New York or pursuing that angle the reason why I was
sight. of the acting business — especially because, never really interest-
Although Conallen has appeared with most as part of my training at Temple, I had to go ed in TV or film — it
of the major theater companies in the city, in around to different theaters in the city and didn’t live for me in
recent years he has found success as a mem- view the shows that were being produced. I the way that I needed KEITH J. CONALLEN
Photo by Bill D’Agostino
ber of Wilma HotHouse, the Wilma Theater’s got to look around and see there was work art to live.
resident acting company. He will next be here. When I left Temple, and after taking
seen onstage at the Wilma in Rajiv Joseph’s some time off to have a job and put some Can you talk a lit-
“Describe the Night” (running Jan. 28-Feb. money in the bank, I started auditioning. It tle about “Describe
16), playing a character with a curious con- became very clear to me that if you did the the Night” and the character you’re As an actor, what do you look for in
temporary cultural significance. Other recent work and put your face out there, that you playing? “Describe the Night” spans about a role? For the most part, when I’m cast
credits with the HotHouse include “Dance could have a very strong career here without 90 years, going from 1920 to 2010. My char- in a play, I try to find my personal con-
Nation,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “When the having to do the New York or Los Angeles acter, Vova, is introduced in 1989. We’re not nection to it and find the humanity in that
Rain Stops Falling,” for which he shared the scene. doing a complete mimic, but he is Vladimir person. Even playing Putin, there still has
Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble. Putin very specifically. But I’m not doing an to be something inside of him, because he
PGN spoke with Conallen about his ap- You’re now a core member of Wilma accent or wearing a hairpiece or anything is a human being. There has to be some-
proach to acting, the kinds of roles he’s drawn HotHouse. What prompted you to join like that. It’s essentially about Russian pow- thing that’s me walking into the role and
to and why he prefers the stage to other me- the company? Before the company was of- ers and the concept of truth and lies. How saying, what is it about me that can live
diums. Some responses have been condensed ficially formed, Blanka [Zizka, the Wilma’s are lies masked as truth, or how does saying here. I’ve been able to do that a number of
and edited for clarity. artistic director] was inviting certain actors something make it true, even if it’s false? Es- times, luckily. I always try and find some-
from around town to be part of larger work- pecially with our era of fake news right now, thing in the character to connect to and
What drew you to a career on stage? I shop training sessions with gurus she would to consider all of that, and the way Russian hold onto. n
suppose it started back in high school. I find and do her research on. I was invited politics have buried truths over the years, it’s
thought when I was younger that I was go- to a couple of those early workshops. One a great allegory for the time. “Describe the For tickets and information about “De-
ing to be a writer, and I also enjoyed singing. was very specifically about primitive voice Night” is basically about truth and lies, and scribe the Night,” visit wilmatheater.
Somehow the musical came around my senior and another focused on your core training, how we tell what’s real and what’s not. org.

Wilde’s play two. (A personal favorite: “The happiness of

a married man depends on the people he has
rection of Walnut Street
Theatre’s president and

falls flat in
not married.”) producing artistic director
Perhaps inspired by his travels in Ameri- Bernard Havard, privileges
ca a decade before the play’s writing, Wilde style over substance. The
Philly probes class consciousness by considering
the clash between waning Eurocentrism and
crackle of the text rarely
translates to the perfor-
production the supposed egalitarianism of the new world.
This takes two forms: in the person of Hes-
mances or the static stag-
ing, which mostly finds the
ter Worsley (Audrey Ward), who scandaliz- actors arranged in symmet-
CAMERON KELSALL es British society by calling its virtues into rical tableaux, delivering
PGN Contributor question; and by the familial triangle involv- their lines directly to the
ing the caddish Lord Illingworth (Ian Merrill audience. Ward, a sopho-
What do you do when a play feels like a dis- Peakes), the pious Rachel Arbuthnot (Alicia more at Temple, doesn’t
covery, but the production of it comes across Roper) and their now-grown love child, Ger- yet possess the firebrand
as a hindrance? Oscar Wilde’s “A Woman of ald (Brandon O’Rourke). spark needed to commu- Photo by Mark Gar vin
No Importance,” on the Walnut Street The- Wilde bakes considerable humor into the in- nicate Hester’s rebellious
atre’s main stage through March 1, left me to teractions between Miss Worsley and her aris- nature. Similarly, O’Rourke’s performance as Veteran local actor Peter Schmitz takes
ponder that predicament. tocratic hosts, who boast ridiculous-sounding the status-minded Gerald is stylish but bland. on the relatively minor role of Archdeacon
History regards Wilde as one of the En- names like Lady Caroline Pontefract (Mary The action gains in importance whenever Daubeny and proves that there are no small
glish-speaking world’s most notable queer Martello) and Lady Strutfield (Jessica Bed- the woman of no importance herself takes parts. His every line is a master class of comic
artists — yet revivals of his plays beyond the ford). But these scenes exist for more than center stage. Roper locates a quiet dignity in understatement and Wildean élan. Mary Foli-
seminal “Importance of Being Earnest” are their comic potential. Rachel Arbuthnot’s determination to wrest no’s costumes look good enough to eat.
comparatively rare. “A Woman of No Impor- The American interloper holds a mirror up her child from the claws of the man who Yet the overall production resembles Ro-
tance,” which debuted in 1893 and first came to a dying breed of nobility, much as Wilde abandoned her to ignominy 20 years earlier. man Tatarowicz’s trompe l’oeil sets — hand-
to Philadelphia shortly thereafter, suggests himself forced his culture and class to ex- Although Wilde’s writing for this character some from a distance but shallow up close.
that lesser-known entries in the playwright’s amine their values (or lack thereof) by his can sometimes turn lugubrious — and his pol- Oscar Wilde, a queer playwright of great im-
canon deserve a second look. iconoclastic way of living. In many ways, “A itics surrounding childbirth outside marriage portance, deserves better. n
A drawing-room comedy of manners, the Woman of No Importance” anticipates the are surprisingly reactionary, even by Victorian
script contains the crackling wit that came politically charged plays of George Bernard standards — Roper commits to the part with “A Woman of No Importance” continues
to define Wilde’s literary style. Bon mots fly Shaw, who would taste his first solid success admirable restraint. It makes a welcome con- through March 1 at Walnut Street Theatre,
fast and loose, and there’s hardly a stretch that a year later with “Arms and the Man.” trast to the frenetic, and frankly distracting, 825 Walnut Street. For tickets and informa-
doesn’t include an eminently quotable line or But, the current production, under the di- antics of Peakes, her frequent scene partner. tion, visit walnutstreettheatre.org.
28 PGN
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020


from page 19
Health and Wellness Directory so too, do the passionate movie-
goers. Natalie Hope McDonald,
an out gay journalist and fine
artist, recalled the importance
a theatre like the Bourse had for
her, “One of the first perks of mov-
ing to Philly from a small town
20 years ago was being able to
see independent, foreign and art-
house films so easily. In fact, until
I physically moved to the city, it
wasn’t unusual for me to drive an
hour and half one way just to see a
movie, like ‘I Shot Andy Warhol,’
at the Ritz.”
Brad Windhauser, a queer pro-
fessor in the gender, sexuality
and women’s studies program at
Temple University, also had fond
memories of seeing key films at
the Bourse. He reminisced, “When
the buzz surrounds a queer film, I
have to see it. And in 2009, when
‘A Single Man’ finally debuted in
Philly, I was fortunate to be able to
walk a few blocks to see this lush
story on a big screen. An indie
film, the movie did not play in the
multiplexes, which is insulting, be-
cause the content then discouraged
larger chains from screening it.
But in that darkened Ritz theater,
the film unspooling was a light of
hope that our lives were breaking
through to the mainstream — and
so exquisitely rendered.”
Likewise, William Way Exec-
utive Director Chris Bartlett ef-
fused, “The Bourse has played
a key role as a venue for the
viewing of LGBTQ and other
outside-the-mainstream films.
I remember seeing “Milk,” the
Harvey Milk biopic, at that the-
ater in 2008. We were all lined
up on Ranstead Street waiting to
get in. It was such an experience
of community and excitement —
knowing we would get to see our
story, finally, told. The Bourse is
part of a legacy of queer-friendly
art-house theaters where we could
see films that might not show up
at other theaters. I’ll miss the cozy
feeling of descending that escala-
tor to enter into our dreams.”
But all may not be lost with the
closing of the Bourse. J. Andrew
Small businesses can afford special rev. dr. Nadine Rosechild Sullivan, ph.d. Greenblatt, executive director of
attention in our PGN directories. the Philadelphia Film Society,
emphasized the need to keep cin-
Spiritual Counseling emas alive.
drsullivan@rosechild.org “We love the Bourse and the-

Spaces this size are
aters in general — and we whole-
only $50 per week when 215.704.4264 heartedly believe in the theatrical
you run for a www.rosechild.org experience. We are committed to
preserving the theatrical experi-
minimum of 8 weeks. Spirituality • Sexuality • Relationships • Self-Esteem ence as we did with the Roxy and
expanding the Philadelphia Film
Center. We want more theaters in
Philadelphia, not less.” n
JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

1915 play

Photo by Linda Johnson

CAMERON KELSALL was pretty popular in the early 20th century. for us, and how do we make it ours. What How do you balance your life as a per-
PGN Contributor It was written specifically as an anti-lynching that has turned into is that the play in its cur- former, writer and director? I think the
play, actually in direct response to the film rent form, in our production, is really about a easiest way to answer that question is that
Contemporary theatergoers might not “Birth of a Nation.” Its early life was actually family. It’s about people who make choices. ultimately, what I love is storytelling. The role
recognize the 1915 play “Rachel” or the more literary, since Angelina Grimké actually It’s about people who are forced by their I play in storytelling changes based on the
name of its author, Angelina Weld Grimké. has more of a literary legacy. She was quite a society to make incredibly hard choices, but story. There are always logistical challenges.
The work, while obscure today, was revolu- prolific poet and essayist. The play was actu- who do so in a very human way. That’s been I try and pay attention to what I miss most
tionary in its time. At its premiere, it was the ally first published before it was produced in the biggest charge for me: I want this piece when I’m doing something else, and I try to
first piece of theater with an all-Black cast to “Crisis,” which was the NAACP’s newspa- to exist primarily for the people making it. follow my gut in that way. It’s still a puzzle
be performed before an integrated audience. per. The editor-in-chief of that newspaper and I’m trying to figure it out.
Grimké — a queer woman of color who also was W. E. B. Du Bois. In terms of its position Grimké was known to be queer in her
worked as a journalist and poet — was also historically, I think it’s just a really great personal life. Does that influence the How did you start out? I would say in the-
interested in crafting a work with political example of the intersection of art and politics play too? I am also queer, so for me, ater, I started out as a performer, but I’ve al-
dimensions, in line with the trend of agitprop at that moment. The other thing that’s true absolutely. And that was a really big draw ways been a writer. I actually came to theater
theater popular at the time. about the play in terms of its production to want to work on the piece. In a lot of as a career relatively late. I thought I would
“Rachel” receives a much-belated Phil- history is that it’s the first play produced with ways, she did a lot of hiding in plain sight. actually do human rights law or academics as
adelphia premiere this month at Mt. Airy’s an all-Black cast for an integrated audience. She [Grimké] was also someone who could a history specialist. It took me some time to
Quintessence Theatre, where it runs through Some of that shows in the way it was writ- have probably passed for white but did listen to what I actually wanted, but in all of
Feb. 16. At the helm of the production is ten. A lot of what I think Grimké is going for not. I think the structure of the piece in a the other iterations of what I was doing, I was
Alexandra Espinoza, an out theater artist who is an argument about humanity. lot of ways hides in plain sight, which is always writing. Writing has just always been a
has already found success in Philadelphia as exciting for me. I think maybe in someone part of what I do, but performing was always
a performer, playwright and dramaturg. As a director, what are some of the else’s hands, certain aspects of the piece my favorite hobby. I just streamlined things.
PGN recently spoke with Espinoza about things you’ve been considering as you might read differently. But just because of In terms of directing, I’ve done a lot of drama-
connecting the themes of “Rachel” to the prepare to present this play to a 2020 my personal experiences, I do see it as a turgy and directing readings and workshops.
present moment in history, as well as per- audience? I am also a performer, so know- queer story. And I think it’s actually queer In a lot of ways, this production is a first that
forming works about Black life and expe- ing the history of the play — being some- in a very contemporary way, just because doesn’t feel like a first as much as I thought it
rience for predominantly white audiences. thing that was written for a white audience of how the definition of queerness is was. Directing is so play-dependant. For me,
Some responses have been condensed and in a lot of ways — that was something I expanding in the 21st century. She’s really I think the best thing to direct is something I
edited for clarity. wasn’t super comfortable with at first. Even questioning institutions, including the in- have a lot of love for, but that I don’t think is
in working with new plays, it can sometimes stitution of marriage, in the face of a world perfect. Or something that I think hasn’t been
“Rachel” is probably not as familiar a feel like the Black experience is used as a that offers so few choices. In that way, it is seen from a certain perspective. In that way, I
title as some of the other plays Quintes- lesson or a parable for white audiences. That very queer and very refreshingly political think a play like “Rachel” is a perfect fit. n
sence has presented. Can you talk a little can feel pretty isolating for the people on- in its queerness. I think this play encom-
about the play’s background? The play stage. As a director, my top priority when we passes the political agency that queerness For tickets and information about “Rachel,”
is a propaganda play, which was a style that started was to figure out what this play does is part of. please visit quintessencetheatre.org.
30 PGN
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

FAMILY PORTRAIT A friend recently passed away, and I

from page 25 How did that work in the fraterni- took some time off from the choir as a
Wedding Services have a mid-winter concert coming up
ty? I grew up with a lot of male pres- result. A bunch of the men got together
Directory in March and a spring concert at the
ence, between my brothers and my dad
and my all-boys high school, so when
and sent me a card that had the choir’s
crest hand-drawn on the cover with ev-
Kimmel Center in May. I also perform I went to college, I wanted to join a eryone’s signature inside. It was nice to
in a few a cappella groups within the male-oriented organization. I value the know that even though I stepped away
choir. I’m also a big cyclist. You can sense of brotherhood that it brings. I for a minute, there were people who
usually find me riding my bike on didn’t think anything of it, but appar- cared for me and loved me and wanted
weekends, weather permitting. I do ently, I was the first openly gay guy to to express it. It got me to tear up for a
the New York City Five Boro Bike rush at my fraternity. There were other minute when I received the card.
Tour with my dad each year. It’s a guys who were gay, but they weren’t
40-mile ride through all five of New out. But after I joined, some began to Who would you want to be stuck
York’s boroughs and across five major come out, and down the line, we’ve on a deserted island with? Oh! My
bridges and draws over 30,000 riders. had some openly gay pledges. Later I immediate thought was Beyoncé be-
We’re doing it again this year, and I’m went back to Dartmouth and worked cause I want to meet her, but maybe I
bringing some friends from Philadel- as an administrator and was the house should pick someone with building or
phia. And I’m training for the AIDS/ advisor for Sigma Phi Epsilon for five trade skills to help me survive! Wait,
Life Cycle ride from San Francisco years. are there resources there? Is it a social
to Los Angeles. I did it last year for situation or a survival thing? OK, for
the first time, and I loved it so much Are you a packrat or purger? I’d say pleasure, in reality, I’d pick my dad.
I’m doing it again, and I’m putting to- I’m a hybrid. I like keeping things of If it was for survival, maybe one of
gether a Philadelphia-based team to sentimental value, but I keep them hid- those home-improvement people or
go. It’s a 545-mile ride to raise mon- den. My place is kept neat, but there good-at-architecture types who could
ey for two AIDS/HIV organizations. are drawers and closets filled with make plans to build a boat.
It’s pretty cool. My picture is on the memorabilia.
cover of their Facebook page ad! Oh, What was your craziest cycling mo-
and when I’m not on the bike trying Do you collect anything in partic- ment? I was in a ride, and all along
to dodge cars, I’m out trying to dodge ular? As a kid, I collected coins and the route, people are lined up, holding
hits on an LGBT dodgeball team. My rocks, but nothing as an adult, unless signs, cheering you on and handing out
still over-programmed life! 2-3 bikes are a collection. water and snacks. I was coming down
a hill, and there was a stoplight at the
When did you have time to come Your go-to karaoke song? It depends bottom. A kid was standing in the in-
out? [Laughing] I’ve always known on if I’m happy or sad! “She used to tersection giving out Twizzlers, and I
I liked men, and I’ve always operated be Mine” from the musical, “The Wait- remember thinking, “Aww, that’s so
with the understanding that gay was a ress” by Sara Bareilles. I also like to cute!” So I rode in to get a Twizzler
thing, and that is what I was. I didn’t sing, “All of Me” by John Legend and, from him, but as I grabbed the can-
talk to my family at first, because they on occasion, some good old Celine dy, the way I was riding in I couldn’t
were very religious. I knew that other Dion. stop, and my feet were clipped into the
people thought it was a bad thing, but pedals, so I ended up sideways on the
I never felt that way. I officially came What range do you sing? I’m a high ground in the middle of traffic with
out to my family after Dartmouth. My tenor. hundreds of people asking if I was OK.
stepmother asked me about my sexu- All I could do was laugh and say yeah.
ality in front of my father, and I, being Ever have any paranormal experi- I thought it was hysterical and fortu-
bold and brave, said, “Actually, I’m not ences? Like ghosts? No, but I’ve had nately, I really was OK. But I learned
questioning my sexuality at all. I know times when I’ve dreamt things that my lesson!
exactly who and what I am.” Surpris- have come true. It’s happened a few
ingly, the thing they were most upset times. Which was ...
about was the fact that other people Don’t take candy from children on the
knew before them. side of the road! n
The last good letter you received?

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JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020 . epgn.com

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32 PGN
Philadelphia Gay News . JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2020

December ‘63 Piano Men: Generations - The Music

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For more information or to purchase tickets, visit parxcasino.com

Street Road Exit off I-95 or PA Turnpike