PGN Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

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pgn Philadelphia Gay News LGBT NEWS SINCE 1976

Vol. 42 No. 48 Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

Family Portrait: Racking up spices

Boyertown restroom dispute draws ire



World AIDS Day Supplement PAGE 6

PAGES 17-20

Gay men claim unlawful eviction

World AIDS Day: Know your status

By Timothy Cwiek

By Adriana Fraser

Two men claim they were rendered homeless after being evicted from their Port Richmond apartment because they were in a same-sex relationship. “John Doe” and “James Roe” filed suit last month in federal court alleging violations of their civil rights by their former landlord and his wife. From February to July, the men lived in an apartment on the 3400 block of North Lee Street prior to being evicted due to their sexual orientation, according to their 27-page lawsuit. Court records listed no attorney for the defendants. Because they could not be reached, PGN will refer to them as J.H. and his wife, C. On Feb. 23, J.H. allegedly told Roe that Doe couldn’t live with him in the apartment because other tenants and their children might complain about hearing the men having sex, according to the suit. The men claimed that before they vacated the premises in July, they were subjected to insults and slurs by J.H. and C., including “fucking fag” and “patos,” which is a Spanish slur for gay men. “C. physically assaulted and attacked [Doe] by calling [Doe] a ‘fucking fag’ and slapping him in the face,” wrote Doe’s attorneys. The plaintiffs’ utilities were shut off on two separate occasions even though J.H. didn’t obtain the permission of utility companies prior to doing so, according to the suit. The men alleged that heterosexual families who resided in the building weren’t treated that way. Doe and Roe are seeking an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and a requirement that the defendants adopt an LGBT-inclusive antibias policy, wrote their lawyers. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones. Justin F. Robinette, an attorney for the plaintiffs, had no comment for this story. n

On the 30th annual World AIDS Day, organizers want to make it clear: Despite advancements in treatment, the disease is still a formidable threat. Hence the theme for this year’s milestone commemoration, on Dec. 1, especially targeted to young people: “Know your status.” “We’re seeing that we have a new group of people growing up that think HIV isn’t as much of a risk as it was before. That’s not the case,” said Sarah DeLaurentis, director of development and communications at Action Wellness in Philadelphia. “Even though the younger generation may be removed from the devastation of the epidemic, it’s still a prevalent issue that we have to actively be in the know about.” Nearly 8,500 young people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States in 2016, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eighty percent of those diagnoses occurred in A list of local World AIDS those aged 20-24. Day events is “There are a lot of young on page 20 people who tend to think they’re immune to getting HIV,” said Jane Shull, CEO of Philadelphia FIGHT. “Some young people think they’re impenetrable and that’s not always the case. Condoms are as important as ever.” Heshie Zinman, cofounder of the AIDS Library of Philadelphia and chair of the LGBT Elder Initiative, said a significant part of self-care and care for sexual partners is being knowledgeable about prevention methods such as PrEP — a type of pre-exposure prophylaxis that, if used as directed, is 99-percent effective in preventing transmission of HIV to previously uninfected people. “If you’re engaging in risky activities, it’s your responsibility to get care and get tested,” he said. “Early access to care will lead to a longer life — a life where you can be resilient and thrive. “We should continue to educate people on being aware of prevention methods and what they mean,” added Zinman. “It’s a challenge to stay healthy without HIV. Now factor in HIV and it becomes an even greater challenge.” In 2017, according to the CDC, there were 1.8-million new cases of HIV in the United States. AIDSvu. org, which maps HIV rates across the country, reported that roughly 19,000 Philadelphians were living with HIV in 2016. PAGE 14

GIVING TUESDAY: Philly AIDS Thrift got into the holiday spirit by giving out checks of $1,500 to The Attic Youth Center and AIDS Law Project on Nov. 27 at their store. Alyssa Mutrin (third from left) from the Attic and Adrian Lowe from AIDS Law (right) were on hand to accept the donations. WKDU also got into the act by surprising and presenting PAT with a check for $1,500, which was raised at their recent dance party. The next collaborative dance party was also announced for Feb. 16, 2019, with a Valentine’s Day love theme. WKDU is also upgrading the store’s sound system and creating a listening booth for the music section. Photo: Scott A. Drake

Queer and trans-inclusive erotica event comes to Philly By Angela Burns PGN Contributor

If all you want for the holidays is a space to unleash your desires and fantasies, you needn’t wait for Santa. SEXx Interactive will host QT Erotica Literary Salon 6-8 p.m. Nov. 30 at Flow State Coffeebar in Kensington. The event will provide the chance — and the space — for participants to be their full erotic selves. The brainpower behind the event, Elicia Gonzales and Susan DiPronio, are aiming to create a space where erotica is more inclusive and to remind people “just how vital it is to our community.” They said queer erotica differs from the cis-hetero variety in that the physical acts and imagery play along with the tease. “Our aim is to create a platform of individuality and acceptance — a space for us

to be the full sexual beings we are,” said Gonzales. The pair became interested in hosting an erotica salon after DiPronio texted Gonzales a photo of the book “Strange Desires,” which features authors such as William Faulkner, Thomas Mann and Mark Van Doren. They expect to host up to 12 community members reading classic erotica and original writings, providing “a great opportunity to share their erotic fantasies.” Gonzales and DiPronio said it was important for SEXx Interactive, in its role as a collective dedicated to ensuring and preserving sexual freedom as a basic human right, to be inclusive of and accessible to everyone. “We know that fighting for sexual freedom must include all people,” said Gonzales, who created the initiative — PAGE 14 also known as SEXx



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

Resource listings Legal resources • ACLU of Pennsylvania: 215-592-1513; • AIDS Law Project of PA: 215-587-9377; • AIDS Law Project of South Jersey: 856-784-8532; • Equality PA: equalitypa. org; 215-731-1447

• Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations — Rue Landau: 215-686-4670 • Philadelphia Police Liaison Committee: 215-7603686; • SPARC — Statewide Pennsylvania Rights Coalition: 717-920-9537

If you live in south Philly or you’re hanging out on Passyunk Ave., you can find a copy of PGN at these convenient locations: Bethel Community Home, 933-935 S. Third St. • Black N Brew, 1523 E. Passyunk Ave. • Essene, 719 S. Fourth St. • Famous 4th St. Deli, Fourth & Bainbridge sts. • Fuel, 1917 E. Passyunk Ave. • Jackson Place, 501 Jackson St. • Philly Bagels, 613 S. Third St. • Rockerhead Salon, 607 S. Third St. • Tiffin Restaurant, 1100 Federal St. • Wedge Medical Center, 1939 S. Juniper St. •

Or from a news box at one of these convenient spots:

• Office of LGBT Affairs — Amber Hikes: 215-686-0330;

4th & Bainbridge sts. • 9th & Passyunk sts. • Broad & Ellsworth sts. • Broad & McKean sts. • Broad & Morris sts. • Broad & South sts. • Passyunk Ave & 10th & Reed sts. •

Community centers • The Attic Youth Center; 255 S. 16th St.; 215-545-4331, For LGBT and questioning youth and their friends and allies. • LGBT Center at the University of Pennsylvania; 3907 Spruce

St.; 215-898-5044,

• Rainbow Room: Bucks County’s LGBTQ and Allies Youth Center


You can also find copies at the local library branches.

Salem UCC Education Building, 181 E. Court St., Doylestown; 215-957-7981 ext. 9065,

• William Way LGBT Community Center 1315 Spruce St.; 215-732-2220,

Health and HIV testing • Action Wellness: 1216 Arch St.; 215981-0088, • AIDS Healthcare Foundation: 1211 Chestnut St. #405 215971-2804; • AIDS Library: 1233 Locust St.; • AIDS Treatment Fact line: 800-6626080 • Bebashi-Transition to Hope: 1235

Spring Garden St.; 215769-3561; • COLOURS:, 215832-0100 • Congreso de Latinos Unidos; 216 W. Somerset St.; 215-7638870 • GALAEI: 149 W. Susquehanna Ave.; 267-457-3912, galaei. org. Spanish/English • Health Center No. 2: 1720 S. Broad St.; 215-685-1821

• Mazzoni Center: 1348 Bainbridge St.; 215-563-0652, • Philadelphia FIGHT: 1233 Locust St.; 215-985-4448, • Washington West Project of Mazzoni Center: 1201 Locust St.; 215985-9206 • Transgender Health Action Coalition: 215-732-1207

If you live in west Philadelphia or you’re hanging out there, you can find a copy of PGN at these convenient locations: Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St. • Drexel University, 4001 Walnut St. • Fresh Grocer, 4001 Walnut St. • Goodman Hall, 710 S. 42nd St. • International House, 3701 Chestnut St. • LGBT Center at Penn, 3907 Spruce St. • Metropolitan Community Church, 3637 Chestnut St. • Old Quaker Condos lobby, 3514 Lancaster Ave. • Oslo Hall, 510 S. 42nd St. • Penn Bookstore, 3610 Walnut St. • Saturn Club, 3430 Sansom St. • Saxby’s Coffee, 40th & Locust sts. • Sheraton Hotel, 36th & Chestnut sts. • St. Mary’s Church, 3916 Locust Walk • University of the Sciences England Library, 4200 Woodland Ave. • Wilson Hall, 708 S. 42nd St. • World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. •


Or from a news box at one of these convenient spots:

• Independence Branch Library Barbara Gittings Gay and Lesbian Collection: 215-685-1633 • Independence Business Alliance; 215-557-0190,

• LGBT Peer Counseling Services: 215-732-TALK • PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (Philadelphia): 215-572-1833 • Philly Pride Presents: 215-875-9288


30th & Market sts. • 34th & Spruce sts. • 34th & Walnut sts. • 36th & Walnut sts. • 37th & Spruce sts. • 38th & Chestnut sts. • 38th & Spruce sts. • 38th & Walnut sts. • 40th & Walnut sts. • 40th & Spruce sts. • University City SEPTA Station •


Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018




Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

If you live in Bucks County or maybe just out doing things, you can find a copy of PGN at these convenient locations: Bristol • Bristol News World, 576B Bristol Pike • Doylestown • Doylestown Bookshop, 16 S. Main St. • Siren Records, 25 E. State St. Levittown • Levitt Books, 7406 Bristol Pike • New Hope • Cornerstone Gym, 322 W. Bridge St. • Havana, 105 S. Main St. • John & Peters Place, 96 S. Main St. • Karla’s Restaurant, 5 W. Mechanic St. • La Chateau Exotique, 31A W. Mechanic St.• New Hope Lodge, 400 W. Bridge St. • Raven, 385 W. Bridge St. • St. Philips Church, 10 Chapel Road • Triumph Brewing Co., 400 Union Square Drive • Wishing Well B&B, 114 Old York Road •Newtown • Bucks Co. Community College, 275 Swamp Road • Quakertown • Adult World, 880 S. West End Blvd. • Warminster • Planned Parenthood of Bucks Co., 610 Louis Dr

News & Opinion

10 — Creep of the Week Editorial 11 — Mark My Words Street Talk Transmissions

Arts & Culture

25 — Cover Story: “The Last Mile” 29 — Scene in Philly 30 — Out & About 32 — Comics 33 — Family Portrait 34 — Q Puzzle

“What’s distressing is that it’s just not the clients that don’t know about PrEP, but many medical providers themselves are appallingly ignorance about PrEP.” Keisha Gabbidon, prevention navigator at Bebashi Transition to Hope, page 17

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“The Last Mile” of battling HIV/ AIDS

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Alain Locke biography wins National Book Award

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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018



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Intensive Outpatient Services now available at Mazzoni Center


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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

Body U

Megan Niño


Out Law Advocates blast ‘meanAngela Giampolo spirited’ appeal in Boyertown restroom dispute By Timothy Cwiek

Looking to get in shape, shed a few pounds or just prioritize self-care? Body U answers your exercise questions to help you be your best you.

Only in Online and in print every first Friday.

What special challenges does the LGBT community face when it comes to the law? Whether it’s adoption, co-habitation agreements or a will, Angela Giampolo shares legal advice for our community each month.

Only in Online and in print every first Friday.

Advocates for LGBT equality are blasting an appeal recently filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to prevent transgender students at Boyertown Area Senior High School from using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The high court is expected to announce within the next six weeks whether it will hear the appeal. The vast majority of appeals filed with the court aren’t accepted for consideration. Alliance Defending Freedom, a D.C.-based anti-LGBT group, filed the appeal Nov. 19 on behalf of six current and former Boyertown High students. Plaintiffs are appealing a Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upholds a trans-friendly policy implemented at Boyertown High two years ago. The appeal “is a mean-spirited attempt by the plaintiffs to overturn the very reasonable analysis and conclusions of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Mark-Allen Taylor, a Philadelphia-based family-law attorney. “Plaintiffs are acting in concert with President Trump’s anti-trans-animus agenda and probably hoping that the new configuration of the Supreme Court will work in their favor.” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equity, echoed Taylor’s sentiments. “[Plaintiffs] claim the mere existence of transgender youth is somehow a violation of privacy for other students, which is untrue and profoundly harmful to hundreds of thousands of families across the country,” Keisling said. “This petition to the Supreme Court is a ludicrous attempt to justify blatant prejudice. But the ADF clearly believe they’ll have a friendly audience for their hateful arguments in a Supreme Court with two Trump nominees joining the bench.” Ria Tabacco Mar, an ACLU senior staff attorney, called the appeal an “attack” on the trans community. “Boyertown schools chose to be inclusive and welcoming of transgender students two years ago,” Mar said in a statement. “Now anti-LGBTQ extremists are asking the Supreme Court to rule that local school districts like Boyertown are not only wrong, but prohibited by the constitution from doing the right thing.

“We will continue to fight for transgender students with everything that we have — including at the U.S. Supreme Court,” she added. Boyertown is a borough in Berks County with a population of about 4,000, located 37 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The high school has 1,650 students from grades 10-12. In August 2017, U.S. District Judge Edward G. Smith ruled that trans students could access restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity and not violate the privacy rights of cisgender students. Ten months later, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Smith’s ruling. The plaintiffs hope the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse the Third Circuit’s ruling. “It is untenable that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals made students’ right to bodily privacy contingent on what others believe about their own gender. This court’s immediate intervention is sorely needed,” attorneys stated in the 32-page appeal. Cisgender students testified during a lower-court proceeding in 2017 “about how uncomfortable they were finding themselves with members of the opposite sex when undressed in the locker room or when in the restroom, all because of Boyertown’s policy,” the appeal states. John J. Bursch, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement: “There are sound reasons why schools have always separated male and female teenagers in showers, restrooms and locker rooms. No student’s recognized right to bodily privacy should be made contingent on what other students believe about their own gender.” Randall L. Wenger, another attorney for the plaintiffs, wrote in a Nov. 21 email: “The evidence is that students change [clothes] in the locker rooms and the restrooms, sometimes completely removing their clothes. It’s this context, where bodily anatomy is exposed, that bodily privacy matters. If anatomical differences didn’t matter, there would be no need for separate spaces.” Michael I. Levin, an attorney for the Boyertown Area School District, told PGN he expects to file a response to the appeal within 30 days. “The school district believes the lower-court decisions were well-reasoned and will be able to be defended,” Levin said. n

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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

DEAR HIV, ’ WE DIDN T GIVE UP. XOXO, SCIENCE There is no cure, but science is still in the battle against HIV. Today’s HIV treatments may help you get to undetectable. That means the amount of virus is so low it can’t be measured in lab tests. Ask your healthcare provider about HIV and treatment options.

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XOXOSCIENCE.COM, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. © 2018 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. UNBC5735 06/18




Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

Sales Representative at PGN


Thinking Philadelphia Fins celebrate 30 years Queerly

Kristina Furia

Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) currently has immediate opening for advertising sales position available for an energetic, self-motivated individual with outstanding communication skills. Our ideal candidate must have polished sales skills with experience in lead generation and cold calling, combined with a track record of closing the sale. Qualifications: * Two years minimum of successful sales experience, former print and/or advertising sales are a plus * Strong verbal and writing skills * Excellent at relationship building * Ability to work independently and part of a team * Knowledge of local media market and LGBT community a plus * Computer literacy a must Salary/Benefits: Competitive Salary based on your past experience, plus commission. Our benefits package includes medical and dental insurance, paid holidays, vacation and a casual work environment.

Thinking Queerly explores the psychological and social experiences of being LGBT in America and sheds light on the importance of LGBT community members prioritizing their mental health.

Qualified individuals interested in applying are encouraged to send their résumé. to

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Online and in print every second Friday.

By Adriana Fraser

As the Philadelphia Fins Aquatic Club celebrates its 30th anniversary as a welcoming and inclusive place for LGBTQ swimmers, it continues to try to bridge the gap between LGBTQ athletes and the wider community, said Arthur Zeng, Fins president. “When we started in 1988, it was during a time when a lot of gay athletes weren’t allowed to practice or be a part of sports teams. Things have changed over the years and now we’re celebrating 30 years of the LGBT community’s progression in sports,” Zeng said. The Fins, a masters swim team specifically for LGBTQ swimmers and allies, will mark its anniversary with a party Nov. 30 at the William Way LGBT Community Center. For three decades, the club has been “a safe place for gay athletes to practice, work out and encourage each other,” Zeng added. The Fins currently have more than 190 registered members and 90 active members. The team, which consists of nonprofessional competitive swimmers, welcomes swimmers at all levels from those who have never competed to national

record holders. The Fins is affiliated with the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics, an international organization that promotes LGBT swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming and United States Masters Swimming, a national membership-operated nonprofit that provides membership benefits to masters swimmers nationwide. Zeng noted that the team’s demographic has changed over the years to include nonLGBTQ swimmers. Currently, about half of the Fins’ roster consists of members who do not self-identify as LGBTQ. “We’re here for anyone who is interested in swimming and supporters of the LGBT community,” he said. The club also acts as a social space for swimmers in the community. The 30th anniversary celebration will highlight the achievements of former and current Fins members. An exhibit of Fins medals and plaques will be on display. The Philadelphia Fins 30th Anniversary celebration will be held 6-9 p.m. Nov. 30. at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. Tickets are $30. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit n


Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018


Mazzoni Center’s new production highlights local stories of HIV By Adriana Fraser In recognition of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Mazzoni Center will put on a show that includes performances of real stories written by local residents living with HIV/AIDS. The 40-minute production, entitled “Living: Untold Stories of People Living With HIV/AIDS,” will include two drag-queen performances by Omyra Lynn and Goddis Isis, entertainment by local emcee J E Tha Rapper and a lyrical-dance segment in addition to the three local stories. “The idea stemmed from wanting to see people act out the stories of people who are currently living with HIV — whether it’s their current story or how they contracted HIV,” said Christiawn Wilson, coordinator of the center’s Trip Project — a social movement for men of color who have sex with men. “We want to show what it means to be living as a person with HIV and what that looks like,” Wilson said. The performance is a collaborative effort between Mazzoni Center’s Trip Project, the care-services department and OUR Way, a transgender health and wellness program. Mazzoni Center put out a call to community members to anonymously submit their stories for the production. Local actors will perform the three “raw and authentic” stories that were selected. “We’re telling the perspective of living with HIV at three different ages,” said

Tatyana Woodard, community-engagement specialist of OUR Way. “The goal is to take away the stigma that’s attached to people who have contracted HIV. This could be something that’s an inspiration to others who have the disease because they’re hearing stories that may be similar to their own that’s portrayed in a way that isn’t shameful or misleading.” Woodard will also be one of the lyrical-dance performers included in the show along with Roberto RodriguezGarcia. Woodard will dance to “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. Wilson said that he hopes the overall show will enlighten audience members about the barriers that people living with HIV face on a daily basis. “I’ve developed friendships with people who are positive and they thought that I would treat them differently as soon as they disclosed their status. That’s a reality they have to face having HIV. They don’t want to be treated differently because of that label,” he said. The performance will be part of a larger day of events that will include educational workshops led by GILEAD Sciences — a researched-based biopharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes antiviral drugs — on sexual health, living with HIV and PrEP and PEP. The event is free and open to the public. n

“The goal is to take away the stigma that’s attached to people who have contracted HIV.”

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“Living: Untold Stories of People Living With HIV/ AIDS,” will be held Dec. 1 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Mazzoni Center, 1348 Bainbridge St. For more information, visit

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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018


Creep of the Week

D’Anne Witkowski

Bob Vander Plaats


When will public health trump profit? The 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day takes place Dec. 1 with the slogan “Know your status.” In Philadelphia, several organizations are already working to ensure everyone has access to that information, even if unable to pay for a test. GALAEI, Philadelphia FIGHT, Bebashi Transition to Hope, COLOURS, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Mazzoni Center are just a few organizations providing free HIV testing. If you don’t want to go into the offices, mobile-testing units frequent different parts of the city, offering confidential tests and some with immediate on-the-spot counseling services available in the event of a positive result. This week, we provide a supplement full of journalism, storytelling and resources to inform the public about HIV and prevention measures. While HIV is not the imminent death sentence it once was, there are a couple of points to take away: access to PrEP is not as widespread as it should be, and is often not covered by health insurance. An estimated 200,000 HIV-positive people are on PrEP therapy, and 75 percent of them are in the United States. As of last year, UNAIDS estimates nearly 37 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. PrEP, under the name Truvada, has been available since 2012. It is 99 percent effective in preventing transmission of HIV to previously uninfected people. We have the solution, but it’s not being implemented, mostly because of cost. A forprofit healthcare system, not surprisingly, puts profit first. This isn’t the Middle Ages, when a combination of zealous religious beliefs and the four humors (blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile) determined a patient’s diagnosis. But in some ways, it might as well be, because at least then, it was impossible to prove the existence of viruses, germs or bacteria, much less mitigate them. Instead, we have the answer to a global scourge and no political will to prioritize public health over profit. We as human beings deserve better. n

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conversion-therapy When I was in high school, it was common to hear kids say, “That’s so gay,” ususummer camp for ally to deride something that was thought to gay teens, is but be extremely corny or nerdy. Or, well, lame. a bit player in the And I have to admit, I suspect that 4-H Register’s investigagot more than its fair share of that’s-so-gays. tion. But I’ve choHonestly, I only had a passing undersen to focus on him standing of what 4-H was while growing because comments up. I knew that some kids went to the state like his get people fair to eat and then throw up cotton candy killed. It paints an on carnival rides, while other kids went to already-vulnerable the state fair because they had, like, a pig population as predin the pig contest or something. I didn’t fit ators, which pretty much gives a blank into either of those categories, which helps check to those who wish to do violence to explain why my 4-H knowledge base is against transgender people. shaky at best. The vast majority of transgender people Oh, and the name 4-H “represents four are not predators. But they are all people. personal-development areas of focus for Vander Plaats would like you to forget the organization: head, heart, hands and that part, and dehumanize a group of peohealth” (thanks, Wikipedia! Send them ple who, like all of us, just want to live $3). The 4-H website has no farm animals their lives in a way that makes the most on its front page and kind of looks like sense to them. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Big Brothers I should note that Vander Plaats’ comBig Sisters all rolled into one. Millions of ments are not a surprise. The Family kids are involved in one way or another — Leader is staunchly anti-LGBT. The even some LGBTQ kids. very first thing on their “issues we are And here’s the great thing: 4-H wants to focused on” page is marriage — as in, “We believe marriage is a permanent, include and protect its LGBTQ youth. lifelong commitment between a man and The not-so-great thing, however, is that a woman.” This is followed closely by the Trump administration does not want sexuality — as in, “The Family Leader them to do that. According to a detailed affirms sexual relations within the bond investigation in the Des Moines Register, of marriage and opposes distortions of the administration “pushed the national sexuality or special rights to those practic4-H youth organization to withdraw” the ing distorted sexual LGBTQ-inclusive Vander Plaats, whose behavior.” policy. Thankfully, the The biggest stickphoto in the Register looks LGBTQ kids of ing point appears like a headshot for an 4-H had someone to have been letting in their corner: 4-H transgender youth actor playing a B-movie Youth Development use the bathrooms that matched their role as the head of a con- Program leader John-Paul Chaissongender identity. version-therapy summer It is a familCárdenas. iar story, one that According to the camp for gay teens, is Trump’s adminisRegister, Chaissonbut a bit player in the tration really enjoys Cárdenas wrote in telling, and believing, Register’s investigation an email referring even though there is to WorldNetDaily, a no evidence to justify right-wing website the right wing’s anti-trans focus. that has an extreme anti-LGBTQ bias and So when 4-H in Iowa published the had been covering the 4-H controversy: “I inclusive guidelines to their website, some guess I am not sure why we are valuing people freaked the eff out. the propaganda machine of a recognized One of those freakers was Bob Vander hate group over the existing rights of Plaats, president of the conservative LGBTQ youth?” Christian organization The Family Leader An excellent question — and one that in Des Moines. According to the Register, we’ll probably never have an answer for he wanted his supporters to reject the polbecause Chaisson-Cárdenas was canned. icy’s “radical” approach. He claimed that He’s not the first and won’t be the last this policy allows “a man who claims the person pushed out by Trump for supportfemale gender (without any medical proing transgender people. The question is cedure or legal verification) to sleep in the only, how many more will there be? n girls’ hotel rooms.” D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian Vander Plaats, whose photo in the living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been Register looks like a headshot for an actor writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow playing a B-movie role as the head of a her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.


Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

OK, Hallmark, where’s the LGBT romance movie? The other night, Jason and I were cheaply produced, D-list actors with the attempting to relax after a same sets and poor writing — long few days organizing a all of which makes them fun Thanksgiving dinner for famto watch. Guilty-pleasure TV ily and friends. But it was is something we all do to get to no avail, since Zola, our our minds off the stress of the almost one-year-old French day. It takes a lot of imaginabulldog, just wanted to play. tion to watch and accept as In our house, she seems to reality what these movies are always get her way. She is just about. And that, I’m sure, is too damn cute. How cute? We what the producers want — to take pictures of her each night give you a chance to sit back and send them to each other. and just enjoy the romance. She’s the love of our lives, but They really are a throwback that is not what this column is to the 1960s in some way. But about. I always wonder with over 60 Our real guilty pleasure for of these movies produced thus the holiday season is to watch, when they’ll finally get Mark Segal far, oh please forgive me for to a feel-good LGBT holiday admitting this, the Hallmark romance movie. So Hallmark, Channel holiday romance movies. Those you’re on notice: You already have a

Mark My Words

Positive Thoughts

series of LGBT greeting cards https:// — so why not go for the movie? So if you haven’t seen them, and if you’re anywhere near a 10 on the politically correct meter, like the Lifetime Channel movies you should not watch, but on the other hand, if you want sheer escapism and fantasy with a 1960s Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie beamed to 2018, you’ll love. OK, Hallmark, we leave it to you to put us in that same boat. Hey, if Lifetime Channel and Bravo can find a gay audience, not to mention RuPaul’s Drag Race — isn’t it your time? n Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s mostaward-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at PhilaGayNews.

Jeff Berry

The Hidden Survivors: Why people living and aging with HIV will lead the way Long-term survivors of HIV face unique challenges – they are the “hidden” survivors of the epidemic. When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1989, I wasn’t sure I’d be here in 2018 to talk about it. At the time, there was no effective treatment for people living with HIV; it was basically a death sentence. For those of us who did have access to healthcare and treatment, we were given what we now know is suboptimal therapy that not only rendered us resistant to more effective medications that were being developed, but also had life-altering side effects that remain with some of us to this day. These side effects from those earlier, more-toxic treatments have added to the stigma of aging with HIV and have disfigured us, made us frailer, and caused our hearts to literally skip a beat. Don’t get me wrong — I am grateful to be here. As a white, gay, cis man living with HIV who turns 60 this year, I also recognize and acknowledge my privilege. I have access today to a one-pill, once-aday therapy that keeps my virus fully suppressed so that I’m unable to pass on HIV to others, and I experience virtually no side effects. But I also know that when I walk into a room, I have “the look” — the sunken cheeks, the veiny arms and legs, the extended belly. “You should be grate-

ful to be here,” we’ve been told, “thankful to be alive!” But to what end? Grateful to be here to suddenly be rolled off of disability after being out of work for 20-30 years, expected to join the ranks of the work force without any specialized training or support? Grateful to be here only to fall into addiction or isolation because our support networks, friends and former lovers no longer exist? Grateful to be here while there is scant culturally competent care for aging LGBTQ+ seniors who are living with HIV? We as a society in general do not value our elders – how does the LGBTQ+ community regard those of us aging, let alone aging with HIV? There is much work to be done, but if anyone can lead the way, it’s people living with HIV and our allies. We were the ones who took care of each other back at the start of the epidemic, and we will come to the forefront of the battle once again. The lesbian community was there for many gay men back in the 1980s when we were dropping like flies and no one else would touch us; thank heavens for these unsung heroes. Communitybased organizations like TPAN were founded by people living with HIV so that we could survive and thrive. Informational resources like “Positively Aware” delivered the information we

needed to live healthy, happy lives. Earlier this year, The Reunion Project convened a community-led, diverse coalition of survivor advocates to discuss the needs and priorities of survivors and issued a report in June. Go to reunion-project for more info. As someone living with HIV for 29 years, I am excited to be part of a national network of survivors that is giving voice to those who don’t have one and who have in many respects been left behind. Currently, 50 percent of people living with HIV are over age 50, and by 2020 it will be 70 percent. But we knew this was coming. Where is the sense of urgency? Where is the crisis task force taking up our agenda? Do we matter? I believe we do. As the saying goes, with age comes wisdom. Long-term survivors have an opportunity to come together and join forces, mentor those coming up behind us on how to age and live with HIV gracefully and to advocate for those who have no voice. An entire generation was lost, so who now is going to step up and advocate for us? Those of us who have survived. n Jeff Berry is the editor in chief of Positively Aware magazine, and director of Publications at Test Positive Aware Network in Chicago. Find him on Twitter @PAEditor.

Tell us what you think Send letters and opinion column submissions to:; PGN, 505 S. Fourth St., Philadelphia, PA 19147; fax: 215-925-6437.

Please include a daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, style and space con­sid­er­ations.

Street Talk Should tampons or sanitary pads be provided in all public restrooms? “Of course. Toilet paper is readily available. Why shouldn’t tampons be? If women had more power in Roman Broberg society, we dog walker wouldn’t be Northern Liberties having this conversation. If men menstruated, tampons would have been in restrooms 50 years ago. True, they’ll be an added expense for a business owner. But everything costs money.” "Yes, why not? Obviously I don't use them. But it's a necessity for women and should be provided. As Ray Caldwell a precaution, musician women Lexington, Kentucky should still carry them. But they should also be available in restrooms if you run out." “Yes. It should be mandated by law. As a trans man, I’d also like to see them in men’s rooms and single-user Reed Gillen restrooms. editor They’re Northern Liberties expensive products, not always accessible, and used for a bodily function that you can’t avoid. And they help create a sanitary environment.”



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018




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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

News Briefing Mayor’s inaugural leadership-training program reception


pete, in various categories for trophies and cash prizes up to $500. One category will include a cross promotion with the More Color, More Pride campaign, which represents the inclusion of people of color in the LGBTQ community. For team face — a category in which pairs compete on skin clarity, symmetry and bone structure — contestants are asked for one member to dress in all brown and one in all black while using the More Color, More Pride flag (the rainbow flag with the

addition of a black and brown color stripe) as a prop to “sell” their faces. For more information on the next Philly Vogue Nights 2.0, visit

Historic Trenton house tour Mill Hill, a historic neighborhood in Trenton that is becoming increasingly LGBT friendly, will host its 52nd Holiday House Tour, with this year’s theme “Our Home, Our Stories.”

Mayor Jim Kenney welcomed 20 people into the inaugural class of the LGBTQ Community Leadership Pipeline Initiative on Nov. 27. The initiative, developed by the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, is a six-month training program for LGBTQ people of color, youth, seniors and trans people for leadership positions in the city’s LGBTQ nonprofit organizations. Participants will sit in on monthly three-hour training sessions led by LGBTQ community members. At the reception, Kenney said the “leadership initiative will become a model for future organizations, nonprofits and government entities. May we all invest intentionally in our own communities with a critical eye on who is and is not represented amongst us.”

Gay men’s chorus holiday concert The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus will host its annual “Rejoice” holiday concert in celebration of the cultural backgrounds of the group’s members. The concert will be held Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. at Prince Theater,1412 Chestnut St., with an extra performance Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. The holiday song-selections will highlight the different cultures and “roots” of PGMC members. Ticket prices range from $22 to $62. Students can get free tickets through the group’s outreach program. For more information on “Rejoice” and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.pgmc. org/event/rejoice/.

Woody’s new monthly vogue night Woody’s bar is now hosting a monthly series of vogue nights for Philadelphia’s ballroom scene. Philly Vogue Nights 2.0 will highlight the ballroom community — an underground subculture created by queer and trans people of color. Participants can walk, or comWAD from page 1

Shull noted that although new infections have been dropping nationally, there has been a significant “uptick in truly new infections among people who are using IV drugs as part of this latest epidemic. If you’re sharing needles and having unprotected sex, PrEP should be seriously considered.” “We need to start sounding alarm bells now about this,” she added. “The numbers are low but it’s double than what was expected.” The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS reported in 2017 that 9.4-million people worldwide are living with HIV but don’t know their status. Christiawn Wilson, coordinator of the Trip Project at Mazzoni Center — a social movement for men of color who have sex with men — said the young people he has worked with are “more receptive to receiving services, getting tested and asking questions about HIV/AIDS. Access to education makes all the difference in people wanting to be informed of their status.” The CDC reported in 2016 that African-

The tour, which will take place from noon-5 p.m. Dec. 1, begins at Artworks in Everett Alley in Trenton. A part of the tour will showcase restored row houses with diverse interiors and styles within a unified façade, ranging from period-accurate restorations to modern layouts, said Jennifer Williams, the tour’s publicist. “This event is designed to show the historic homes of Mill Hill and the intricate details of each home, such as architectural nuances on roofs, windows and stonework,” she said. Tickets for the tour can be purchased online for $15 or $20 on the day of the event. Proceeds will go to funding the Old Mill Hill Society Neighborhood Restoration Grant program. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

— Compiled by Adriana Fraser and Miranda Lankas

Americans are by far the most affected demographic, with a lifetime HIV risk of one in 20 for men, one in 48 for women and, more alarmingly, half of the black MSM population in the United States. In 2016, Latinos accounted for 26 percent of new HIV diagnoses, including one in four Latino MSM, according to the CDC. “HIV/AIDS is affecting people of color at alarming rates,” said Damon Humes, executive director of COLOURS Organization, which provides community-building programs and HIV/ AIDS-related services to LGBTQ people of color. “Education isn’t enough. Awareness won’t be the sole reason that stops someone from having unprotected sex or engaging in risky behavior. We need to make sure that those vulnerable populations are able to have access to those services.” Francisco Cortes, executive director of GALAEI, a Latinx social-justice organization, said the current state of HIVAIDS remains a crisis. “We think the HIV field has gone so far since the ’80s and ’90s, but there’s still work that needs to be done.” n

EROTICA from page 1

— with Dr. Timaree Schmit, inspired by TEDx. The first event took place in 2014 in honor of National Masturbation Month. Since then, the organization has expanded to bring in more members and now hosts a variety of events including conferences, workshops, art exhibits and dance parties. Mainstream erotica isn’t usually centered around queer/trans stories, noted Gonzales and DiPronio, adding they’re intent on creating a space

for queer/trans erotica to be more accepted within many different sexual identities and expressions. “Especially in this toxic sociopolitical climate, with attacks in the form of political and actual violence, it’s so important to create intentional spaces where people can commune, explore, be vulnerable, connect — and maybe even get some ass,” said Gonzales. n For more information, visit



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018



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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

17 17

Why is PrEP not as accessible as it should be? By Gary L. Day PGN Contributor In 2012, a potentially revolutionary medical treatment was introduced that held the promise of wiping out HIV in America. Now, more than six years later, that promise remains unfulfilled. The reason why is a matter of significant dispute among AIDS advocates and medical practitioners. It’s not as though the treatment doesn’t live up to its promise — it does. The treatment, centering around a drug brandnamed Truvada, is not a cure, but a type of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) which, if used as directed, is 99 percent effective in preventing transmission of HIV to previously uninfected people. Trouble is, PrEP therapy is nowhere near as accessible as AIDS workers say it needs to be. While millions of people around the world would benefit from PrEP therapy, only about 200,000 are currently being prescribed the treatment, and 75 percent of them are in the United States, according to a report in the journal Science. Yet PrEP works. Its effectiveness in several clinical trials led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve preventive use of anti-retrovirals in 2012. The World Health Organization in 2015 recommended PrEP for everyone at “substantial risk” of becoming infected — a total of tens of millions of people, to judge from the nearly

2 million new HIV infections in 2016. In some countries, including the United States, the targeted groups are “key populations” such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers. There seem to be two camps concerning the reasons why PrEP is not in widespread use: One focuses on financial factors, the other on social issues. Last summer, The New York Times published an op-ed by James Krellenstein, Peter Staley and Aaron Lord M.D., where they blamed exorbitant costs as a major factor in the slow expansion of PrEP use. According to Krellenstein and his colleagues, “With a list price over $20,000 a year, Truvada, the only PrEP drug available in the United States, is simply too expensive to become the public-health tool it should be.” Gilead Sciences, the company that makes Truvada, holds a monopoly on the drug in the United States. As health advocates are painfully aware, drugs that are held in monopoly in the United States are usually vastly more expensive than what’s available in other countries, where a one-month supply of generic Truvada costs less than $6. Gilead charges Americans, on average, more than $1,600. According to Krellenstein et al, the excessive cost of Truvada is especially burdensome to women and minorities: PrEP use “in black and Hispanic populations is a

small fraction of that among whites. In the South, where a majority of H.I.V. infections occur, use is half what it is in the northeast. Women use PrEP at drastically lower rates than men. The issue of PrEP access has become an issue of privilege.” Gilead, of course, defends its pricing policy, pointing out its various company programs to assist patients who qualify for PrEP, but can’t afford the cost. But PrEP therapy remains in very limited use. Why? “Cost is a major factor,” said Dr. Marcus Sandling of Mazzoni Center. “Even though they may have insurance, they may have a very high deductible, and so PrEP may not be available to them — even if you add in the patients’-assistance program through Gilead.” Keisha Gabbidon, prevention navigator at Bebashi, Transition to Hope, a local AIDS services agency for the AfricanAmerican community, agrees about the value of PrEP therapy — with a caveat. “It’s very valuable as a means of prevention. I feel it is helping with the reduction of cases. However, it’s not as out there as it could be, as it should be, as it needs to be. It’s just not being utilized effectively in the community.” Local AIDS service providers tend to agree that finances can be a major obstacle in accessing PrEP therapy, especially for minorities and other economically disad-

vantaged people. However, their experience tells them that’s only part of the problem. Francisco Cortes, interim executive director of GALAEI, says that Philadelphia is actually fortunate to have a fairly good series of programs to help minorities access PrEP. GALAEI, an AIDS service organization for the Hispanic community, works with local healthcare providers to help people navigate the process to access PrEP. “Of course there are financial barriers,” Cortes said. “There is often help for that. And there is much work to be done to improve and expand the availability of that help. But we have to also prioritize the dissemination of information. That is crucial.” Gabbidon said that obstacles to accessing PrEp are formidable, particularly for the poor minority community. “The poor face a host of obstacles, even to the point of getting to a doctor’s visit or getting an address or ID. We have health-insurance issues every other day. There are ways to navigate the system — that’s why we’re here. But even for us sometimes, it’s incredibly hard.” The need for expanded education about PrEP is borne out by a study of 201 transgender black and Latina women — a population that has one of the highest new-infection rates in the country — in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, which found that 86 percent of transgender black and Latina women knew about PrEP. But only 39 percent had tried it, in part PAGE 19

Aging with HIV By Heshie Zinman and David Griffith Those in our communities who were diagnosed in the 1980s and early 1990s were essentially given a terminal diagnosis and told that their HIV would kill them. Many in our LGBTQ communities, whether HIV-positive or negative, suffered severe losses and tremendous grief as friends and loved ones lost their lives to AIDS. Yet, many of the people given those terminal diagnoses many decades ago are still alive today and leading long and successful lives. Major medical and scientific advancements have made HIV a manageable chronic condition, far from the terminal illness it once was. As long as you stay in care and adhere to your medications, you can age healthfully with HIV. In fact, most people living with HIV are now over the age of 50. According to the most recent surveillance data from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, 52 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia are age 50 and over, with an additional 21 percent between the ages of 40-49. Aging with HIV does still come with the challenges of increased health concerns, shrinking support networks, elevated rates of isolation and mental health issues, and difficul-

ties navigating a complex healthcare and aging-services system. Additionally, older adults who are long-term survivors — those who were diagnosed before the advent of Protease Inhibitors — are often still dealing with the long-term effects of the trauma and losses that they experienced during the height of the AIDS crisis. Professionals in the mental-health field have begun to look at the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s as an environment with the persistent stress and trauma through which someone could develop complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), a form of PTSD arising from ongoing and repetitive exposure to trauma. The experience of being given a terminal diagnosis, the extreme losses of friends and loved ones and the intense stigma against HIV cause many longterm survivors to encounter these traumas and experiences with grief. These lifetime experiences have caused significant challenges that still face long-term survivors today. Social isolation of older adults living with HIV is extremely high. This isolation can directly lead to several negative consequences on a person’s physical and mental health. We also know that the long-term survivors who made it out of the AIDS crisis are encountering a new wave of losing friends and loved ones to age-related illnesses.

Despite the challenges, there is also great resilience in our communities. LGBT people fought back against government inaction toward HIV, formed organizations to educate our communities, contributed to clinical research, scored legislative changes to better protect people living with HIV and created social and educational groups to take care of our own. Now, our communities face the new challenge of helping a generation of people living with HIV to age successfully and to thrive. In 2018, the LGBT Elder Initiative has prioritized expanding programming to better meet the needs of long-term survivors and older adults living with HIV. Through meetings with clinical researchers, medical professionals, mental-health providers and of course, our communities of older adults living with HIV, we have been working to gain a better understanding of the physical- and mental-health issues facing elders living with HIV. In the new year, the Elder Initiative will be debuting discussion groups focused on thriving for older adults living with HIV. There is great knowledge and lived experience within our communities of people living with HIV. Our communities came together in the ’80s and ’90s to start the fight against the AIDS epidemic. We can do it again now to ensure that people living with HIV are able to thrive throughout older adulthood. n

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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018


DEC. 1, 2018

World AIDS Day: A reporter looks back By Victoria A. Brownworth When I became the first female journalist writing about HIV/AIDS 35 years ago, that phrase was unimaginable. Now, on World AIDS Day 2018, the disease that once decimated my generation of gay men has become, for most in the West, a chronic illness. Yet in 2018, AIDS is not over. AIDS still takes an extraordinary number of lives and remains a threat across sexual identities, races and genders. As we mark World AIDS Day 2018, we must remember the long, terrible history of the disease in America. We must ensure we do not replicate what happened in the ’80s and ’90s. We must continue to sound the alarm of precaution so that we never lose another generation to a preventable disease that attacks indiscriminately, but with deadly force. When I began writing about HIV/AIDS, little was known about the disease. It was the early years of discovery. And in that time, AIDS was a death sentence that took the lives of close friends, acquaintances and colleagues as well as the rich and famous. Among the latter, men in their ’40s and ’50s who were prominent in a plethora of fields from politics to the arts were dying. Their obituaries listed pneumonia or cancer as the cause of death, but from the front lines of reporting on the epidemic, we learned to read the code: a Philadelphia City councilman; a well-known Philadelphia journalist; a news anchor, a restaurateur. The door of the gay closet was still tightly closed, but the door to the AIDS closet was bolted. These were the years of media referencing “innocent victims” of AIDS — the hemophiliacs and babies and those who got AIDS from transfusions, while villainous descriptions of gay men as predatory purveyors of a fatal disease many saw as one they “chose,” were rampant. As a woman writing about a disease that overwhelmingly took the lives of men, I had access that others did not. Doctors and scientists confided in me, a member of the least-impacted demographic. People with AIDS wanted me to tell their stories. The line between journalistic distance and full-blown activism had never been so blurred. I would report on events that I had participated in — a die-in in Boston while covering an AIDS conference. I was arrested outside the White House because police ignored my press pass as, wearing the protective blue gloves to ensure no person with AIDS touched their flesh, they herded everyone into vans. I was a member of ACT UP and Queer Nation. I’d laid down in the streets of Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco in civil-disobedience actions. As a journalist, I covered the disease that had killed two of my closest gay male friends and wiped out a whole generation of black gay writers I knew and loved. In the ’80s and ’90s, there were names who created headlines about AIDS, and they were among my interviewees: two U.S. Surgeons General; Dr. Mathilde Krim, founder of AmFar; Ryan White, a young hemophiliac

who had contracted AIDS through transfusions; and every American doctor and scientist in the forefront of AIDS science. I wrote a book about Rock Hudson, the first celebrity known to have AIDS. My AIDS writing appeared in the Village Voice, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Advocate, OutWeek and this newspaper, among many others. I was the AIDS columnist for SPIN magazine in the days when that was needed, as well as a reporter and editor at POZ. In 2018, there are perky ads for Truvada for PrEP with cute gay men, black women of indeterminate sexual orientation and beautiful trans women. But in the 1980s, when I covered the press conference by Dr. Sam Broder, director of the National Cancer Institute, announcing the development AZT, the first treatment for AIDS, it was a monumental moment in the history of the epidemic. Still, in the 1980s and ’90s, the deaths came fast and furious. The Bay Area Reporter, the San Francisco gay weekly, published hundreds of obituaries. The front page of the Aug. 13, 1998 issue of the newspaper was so historic that it was reported on by other mainstream newspapers throughout California. It read: “No obituaries were filed with the paper for this issue, a first since the AIDS epidemic exploded in San Francisco’s gay community.” The author of the article, Timothy Rodrigues, wrote, “After more than 17 years of struggle and death, and some weeks with as many as 31 obituaries printed in the B.A.R., it seems a new reality may be taking hold, and the community may be on the verge of a new era of the epidemic. Perhaps.” Those days did come. And now, 35 years since AZT, 20 years since that issue of no obits, we mark World AIDS Day in the United States with solemnity, but not with the activism and rage that we were living when I was a very young reporter watching people my own age, men who should be living today, dying. It was a time of urgency and fear. The ostracization of people with AIDS was a concomitant horror to the disease itself. Families shut their doors on their children, siblings and parents with the disease. Friends distanced themselves, fearful of transmission, even as we had learned it was only transmitted through bodily fluids. The fear was irrational. But with so many dying, it was almost understandable. My dentist refused to treat people with AIDS, as did many doctors. There was endless talk from politicians of quarantines. The Red Cross banned blood donations from gay and bisexual men — a ban which has yet to be lifted. At every gay event, baskets of condoms were evident like party favors. For a long time, we looked for other sources of the disease. One New York gay publication indicted swine flu. Then hepatitis B. They were the first phalanx of anti-vaxxers, blaming AIDS on vaccines instead of HIV. There were alternative theories of AIDS from people like Dr. Peter Duesberg, who led the HIV-denialism movement and cost countless lives in the process. I traveled to a tiny city in Florida, Belle Glade, which

Save the date:

April 18, 2019

had the highest occurrence of AIDS in the country among its mostly heterosexual, mostly black population. The Belle Glade story led some to believe that AIDS was transmitted by mosquito. That was how the search for answers went in those years. The first news story was July 3, 1981 in The New York Times, headlined: “Rare Cancer Seen In 41 Homosexuals.” By 1985, there were 100,000 cases. The story of how we got from 41 cases of men with Kaposi’s sarcoma to 35.4 million people worldwide having died from the disease as of 2017 is the story of our own very personal epidemic. There are 36.9 million people living with HIV, as noted by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, which reported that 21.7 million are receiving anti-retroviral therapy as of 2017. In the ’80s and ’90s, we were in a constant state of emergency. Every day felt like a war against time and microbes and we never knew who would be taken next. I sat at the bedsides of so many friends — noted Philadelphia writers Joe Beam and Essex Hemphill among them. I held the hands of men in hospice whose stories I was writing, men who were covered in Kaposi’s lesions. I held AIDS babies in Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, babies whose mothers had abandoned them at birth, knowing they couldn’t care for them and hoping someone else would. I talked to HIV+ teens and juvenile prostitutes who were living on the streets, at risk through the only work they could find. A few years ago, I wrote a series for PGN on homeless LGBT teens and three of the teens I interviewed were HIV-positive. AIDS reporting hasn’t been a journalistic beat for 20 years. But HIV/AIDS still stalks millions, including in the U.S. and in Philadelphia, where the rate of new cases remains higher than the national average. The CDC reports that young men of color of all sexual orientations have the highest incidence of new HIV cases. And among LGBTQ people, trans women appear to be most at risk, with a much higher rate of new cases. These facts mean the epidemic is far from over for our community. And the most vulnerable members of that community, like young trans women of color, are at greatest risk. In the 1980s and ’90s, the focus was on white gay men, while within communities of color, people were dying at alarming and under-reported rates. Our fight going forward is to focus on the communities that continue to be under-served and where HIV/ AIDS remains a constant threat. No black or Latinx gay or trans teen should be at risk for AIDS in 2018. As we commemorate World AIDS Day, it’s essential we not lose track of our history because, as we know all too well, it repeats itself. The AIDS epidemic we witnessed decades ago killed a generation. We cannot allow that to ever happen again. UNAIDS cites 9.4 million with HIV who do not know their status. That is a signal: We must protect a new generation from what my generation faced, and with the same urgency. n

DEC. 1, 2018 PREP from page 17

because of unfounded concerns about interactions with hormones they were taking. “What’s distressing is that it’s just not the clients that don’t know about PrEP, but many medical providers themselves are appallingly ignorant about PrEP,” Gabbidon said. “Even with our physicians, a lot of our providers don’t know what PrEP is. They’ve got to know what that is or I don’t think my population is ever going to get the therapy they need.” Bebashi communications specialist Brenda Alexander pointed to the stigma around AIDS as another social barrier to PrEP access. “There is still a stigma associated with AIDS, and with PrEP that makes many healthcare providers reluctant to even broach the subject with their clients. There is the attitude that their clients are not ‘those kind of people’— that is, those who would benefit from PrEP therapy. My feeling is, everyone who is sexually active needs to be on PrEP, even those in relationships. But that attitude isn’t shared by all healthcare providers.” Gabbidon agrees. “Some doctors feel that ‘my patients aren’t going to need it. They’re not part of that population.’” Dr. Sandling of Mazzoni Centernconcurred. “I would add that most insurance providers have difficulty talking about sexual-health issues with their clients. And their discomfort in turn makes the patients uncomfortable and reluctant to talk about sexual-health issues. In my opinion, it’s something that’s not taught very well in medical school. There’s a lot of puritanical shame surrounding sexual activity.” Alexander said the issue is especially crucial for women. Doctors may be reluctant to talk about women’s sexual health in any comprehensive way, with some doctors restricting talk on women’s sexual health to birth control, with no follow-up questions. “Many doctors feel that the only thing we need to worry about in terms of women’s sexual health is whether or not we’re pregnant — and nothing could be further from the truth.” Sandling of Mazzoni Center pointed out that African-American women are currently facing the highest rate of new HIV infections. “The communication just isn’t there. The right questions aren’t being asked.” Those who work in the AIDS-services trenches, meanwhile, say that it’s just as important to remove the social stigma around sex education in general and AIDS education in particular. “Sexual health is considered a specialty field, which some primary-care doctors consider outside their purview. They think that ‘I don’t deal with that specialty population.’ Sure, it may be new and exotic, but a doctor has a responsibility to do due diligence around a patient’s whole health,” Gabiddon said. The goal, then, is to “mainstream” sexual health issues and practices along with bringing down the cost of PrEP. Until then, access to PrEP therapy remains a difficult proposition especially for minorities and poor people. Until all the relevant parties hash out a solution, a large part of the population who would benefit from PrEP therapy will remain at risk to the continuing threat of AIDS. n


Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

19 19

The top 4 things to know about HIV prevention By Terri Clark, Tyrik Dean and Erik Soto Action Wellness, along with community providers including COLOURS, Bebashi, Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia FIGHT, Health Center #1, Kensington Hospital and Ambulatory Health Services have been working to get the word out about Philly’s HIV prevention-navigation services, called Club 1509. Services are available to people at highest risk of acquiring HIV, including male-identified people having sex with other men (MSM) and transgender individuals. Here are the top four things you need to know about services that can make a difference to you and your community: 1. People are being newly diagnosed with HIV. Many of us in Philadelphia know that HIV has evolved into a manageable chronic condition, yet in the city, there are nearly 19,000 people already living with HIV and nearly 500 people contracted it in 2016 ( These new infections include an astonishingly disparate rate among men of color. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the lifetime risk of HIV as 1 in 2 for black and African American MSM and 1 in 4 for Latinx MSM. During outreach and education efforts, Action Wellness’ staff regularly meets people who are looking for more information and resources. Tyrik Dean, assistant prevention navigator, believes in the meaningful impact outreach and education can have within communities. 2. Many options exist to reduce HIV risk. The newest tools in the HIV-prevention tool box include: PrEP, condoms/lube, U=U, positioning, reduce number of partners and sex behavior. PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and it is the use of anti-HIV medications that keep HIV-negative people from becoming infected. Other options include engaging in oral sex (less risky than anal penetration); positioning; bottoms are at a higher risk than tops; remember

condoms with lots of lube; or if condoms are not your style, still use the lube; U=U: undetectable equals untransmittable. So if your sex partner(s) are HIV+, but have an undetectable viral load, there is no risk of transmission. For more ideas, check out the HIV Risk Reduction Tool at: https://wwwn. 3. Philly’s new Bottom Line Sexual Health Education Group has started. Join the conversation, led by community members Erik Soto and Anthony Fluellen the last Wednesday of each month at 6pm at COLOURS, 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 910. This is an open discussion group for male-identified people. Topics range from ways to enhance sexual pleasure, disclosure/communication, relationships and hook-up culture.

4. Club 1509 prevention services are free and readily available. Club 1509 opens the door to PrEP and other services such as HIV testing, job-readiness training, food assistance, housing information, drug- and alcohol- treatment services, health insurance and more. Action Wellness can provide PrEP on site at our Annex West Health Center at 3990 Filbert Street (in the Action Wellness West office). The health center is open to anyone for primary care, HIV care and PrEP. “Our program is designed to meet people where they are personally and in the community,” said Soto. n For more information about the 1509 program at Action Wellness, check out our website:

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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018


DEC. 1, 2018

World AIDS Day Events 2018 15th Annual Red Ribbon Awards Nov. 30, 4-7 p.m. The School District of Philadelphia, 440 N. Broad St. The University of Pennsylvania Center for AIDS Research Community Advisory Board will host the 15th Red Ribbon Awards. The annual event recognizes the achievements of researchers, caregivers, activists and “everyday heroes” in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia and around the world. This year’s Red Ribbon honorees are: Hazel Edwards, Youth Leader Mark Segal, Pioneer Teresa Sullivan, Community Leader Pablo Tebas, M.D., Researcher Stacey Trooskin, M.D., Policymaker Philadelphia FIGHT’s Prayer Breakfast Dec. 1, 8-10:30 a.m. Doubletree By Hilton Philadelphia, Broad and Locust Streets Philadelphia FIGHT will host its annual World AIDS Day prayer breakfast. Members of the faith community are encouraged to join in a prayer ceremony with the goal of renewing the commitment to combating HIV locally. Bishop Audrey F. Bronson will be the guest speaker. World AIDS Day/Day With(Out) Art Film Screening Dec. 1, 12:30-4:30 p.m. William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. The hour-long film “Alternate Endings, Activist Risings” will be on a continuous loop at the William Way LGBT Community Center on World AIDS Day. The film highlights the impact of art in contemporary AIDS activism and advocacy. The program will also feature short videos from community organizations and collectives such as ACT UP New York, Positive Women’s Network, Sero Project, The SPOT, Tacoma Action Collective and

Vocal New York. World AIDS Day Dinner Dec. 1, 7 p.m. Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St. Congregation Rodeph Shalom will honor its members who lost their lives to AIDS-related causes with its inaugural World AIDS Day dinner. The evening will be dedicated to the 13 AIDS victims of Congregation Beth Ahavah — a congregation that merged with Rodeph Shalom in 2013. Guests will hear remarks from Jerry Silverman, Beth Ahavah’s founder and first president and Heshie Zinman, the president of pRism —Rodeph Shalom’s LGBTQ group — and the founder of the AIDS Library. The dinner is open to the public and the entry fee is $25/person. To register for the dinner, visit www.rodephshalom. org/world-aids-day-dinner. Candlelight Walk and Service of Remembrance and Hope Dec. 1, 6:30-8 p.m. Rehoboth Beach Avenue CAMP Rehoboth, a nonprofit LGBT-service organization in Rehoboth Beach, will observe World AIDS Day with its annual Candlelight Walk and Service of Remembrance and Hope. The walk will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand. The pre-walk gathering and candle lighting will start at 6:15 p.m. Participants will proceed down Rehoboth Avenue, ending at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 18 Olive Ave. Walkers can take part in All Saints’ Service of Remembrance and Hope at 7 p.m. The service will include a reading of the names of friends and family who passed away from the disease. To have the name of a loved one added to the list of names to be read at the Service of Remembrance and Hope, email

AIDS Memorial Quilt Discussion Dec. 2, 12 p.m. Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St. Congregation Rodeph Shalom will host an AIDS Memorial Quilt presentation and discussion at noon Dec. 2 entitled “World AIDS Day & AIDS Memorial Quilt: History and Future Directions” in collaboration with AIDS Fund Philly. The discussion will focus on the history of The NAMES Project Foundation’s AIDS Memorial Quilt, a 54-ton quilt that commemorates the lives of people who have died of AIDS-related causes. The discussion will take place in Rodeph Shalom’s community room and is open to the public with free admission. Participants can also take part in viewing a panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt with the names of the former Beth Ahavah members, which will be on display in the community room until Dec. 2. To RSVP for “World AIDS Day & AIDS Memorial Quilt: History and Future Directions,” email Alicia Broudy at Temple’s World AIDS Day Panel Dec. 4, 6-7:30 p.m. Howard Gittis Student Center, Room 200AB, 1755 N. 13 St. The panel will highlight the work that Temple University’s faculty, physicians, students and researchers have done on HIV/AIDS. Panelists will discuss their work and ways to reduce stigma how to be supportive to those living with HIV and AIDS. The event is free and open to the public. — Compiled by Adriana Fraser

Rehoboth’s candlelight walk for World AIDS Day By Fay Jacobs It’s been 30 years since World AIDS Day was founded at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health for AIDS Prevention. For 2018 World AIDS Day, the educational theme is “Know your status.” In Rehoboth Beach, 1994 marked the first World AIDS Day event. The tradition continues this year with a Candlelight Walk and Service of Remembrance and Hope on Dec. 1. Residents and visitors are invited to take part, beginning with a pre-walk gathering and candle lighting at 6:15 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand on Rehoboth Avenue at the boardwalk. The Candlelight Walk heads out at 6:30 p.m. and will proceed down Rehoboth Avenue, ending at All Saints’ Episcopal Church. The service there will begin at

7 pm. That service includes the reading of the names of family and friends lost to AIDS. The commemoration, organized by CAMP Rehoboth, a local nonprofit LGBT service organization, is also a show of solidarity and a vow to continue the fight against the disease. Between 175 and 200 people show up every year, no matter what, said Murray Archibald, former president of CAMP Rehoboth and now acting executive director. AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s and more than 35 million people have died from it this far. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, AIDS struck hard in gay-friendly Rehoboth Beach and the surrounding areas, leaving lives cut tragically short and the community grieving. “It was such a life-changing event,”

says Archibald, “cutting down young people and touching many families.” The part of the service with the reading of the names, often spoken by siblings or friends, is a solemn and moving experience. “It’s an honor for me to read some of the names. I always think of how many hearts were broken with each name read,” says Rehoboth resident Kathy Wiz. “I cry every year when I hear my brother Peter’s name read — even now, more than 30 years later.” Along with the annual candlelight walk and service at a local church, the event includes a display of panels from the famed AIDS Quilt along with other remembrances. “One year we had gigantic red ribbons strung through the entire walk,” says Archibald. “They were big, thick ribbons, and as we walked into the church

you could hear the sound the ribbons made coming up the aisle. It made a huge impact,” he says. One of the goals of World AIDS Day is to draw attention to the need for testing and early treatment for HIV. HIV testing, something that CAMP Rehoboth provides locally as well as throughout Delaware’s Sussex County, is essential for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people living with HIV can lead healthy and productive lives. “In our remembrance, we celebrate those who passed away by recalling who they were as individuals,” says Glen Pruitt, event co-chair. “But remembering them also reminds us how far we have come in dealing with HIV/AIDS. It challenges us to work even harder until we live in a world with no new HIV infections and a world with a cure for AIDS.” n


Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018


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International Police: Hate crime committed against gay man from Cameroon

jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail. It wasn’t immediately known if they had attorneys. Charging papers say the house guest who stole the victim’s cellphone and posted photos of him and his husband to social-media sites remains at large.

India’s LGBTQ community holds first Pride since end of gay sex ban

Police say a man was attacked outside his Seattle apartment and that his mother was also assaulted in Cameroon after the man’s house guest released intimate photos of him and his husband to members of the Cameroon community. Christian Djoko of Bothell and Rodrigue Fodjo-Kamden of Lynnwood were charged last week with the state’s hate-crime statute, malicious harassment, for allegedly assaulting the victim because of his sexual orientation. Both men are members of the local Cameroon community. Homosexuality is illegal in the Central African county. Jail records say Fodjo-Kamden was arrested and has posted bail. Djoko was arrested Nov. 17 and remains

LBGTQ people in India have held their first Pride parade since the end of a gay sex ban. The streets of capital city Delhi turned all the colors of the rainbow on Nov. 25, as India held its first Pride parade since the historic decriminalization of homosexuality in September this year. Thousands of LGBTQ people and their allies joined in the Delhi Queer Pride Parade celebrations, with many holding signs reading “Love wins” and “Adios 377.” Parade organizers said it was the largest march since 2007, when the parade began. “It’s the first time we are not marching as criminals,” said Deepti, one of the organizers from the Delhi Queer Pride Group. “People are marching with freedom and zero burden.”

Media Trail

ing at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Boston Police say the teen us being held as a “fugitive from justice” because he’s wanted on other outstanding warrants. He’ll be arraigned in Boston later.

Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2018

The successful Pride parade comes after India’s Supreme Court overturned a colonial-era law, Section 377 on the Indian penal code, which penalized intercourse “against the order of nature” with a sentence of life imprisonment. Section 377 was rarely enforced in full on LGBTQ citizens, but lawyers had argued that it contributed to a culture of repression and fear amongst India’s LGBTQ community.

Taiwan Votes Against Same-Sex Marriage in Referendum Voters in Taiwan passed a referendum asking that marriage be restricted to one man and one woman, a setback to LGBT couples hoping their island will be the first place in Asia to let same-sex couples share child custody and insurance benefits. The vote on Nov. 24, organized by Christian groups that make up about 5 percent of Taiwan’s population and advocates of the traditional Chinese family structure, goes against a May 2017 Constitutional Court ruling. Justices told legislators then to make same-sex marriage legal within two years, a first for Asia where religion and conservative governments normally keep the bans in place. team at the Buffalo college, says her parents cut off contact in August after her mother found a picture of Scheck and a girlfriend.

Utah group seeks ban on Gay athlete in dispute gay conversion therapy for with parents stops taking minors Teen arrested after gay bars donations The Herald Journal reports Utah’s most receive threatening calls The Olean Times Herald reports a col- powerful LGBTQ support organization is The Boston Herald reports a New Hampshire teen has been arrested for allegedly making threatening calls to gay bars in Boston. Boston Police say the 16-year-old Hampton, New Hampshire resident was arrested by police in New Hampshire Nov. 23. The teen, who isn’t being named by authorities because he’s a minor, allegedly made “threatening” and “bigoted” calls to dbar in Dorchester and The Alley in downtown Boston. The station reports the bars received similar calls earlier this month in which the caller also threatened to shoot up the establishments. Those calls came days after a mass shoot-

lege athlete who says she was cut off by her parents when they found out she is gay has stopped accepting online donations, saying she’s received more than anyone expected. Emily Scheck, of Webster, New York, announced the decision and thanked her supporters in a statement released through Canisius College on Nov. 20. GoFundMe donors pledged $100,000 for the 19-yearold after reported Scheck’s financial struggles since losing her parents’ support. Scheck’s father told The Buffalo News there’s more to the story. Timothy Scheck says the family was only trying to get Scheck to return home. He says he accepts her sexual orientation. Scheck, who is on the cross-country

planning to propose legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy for minors. Equality Utah has drafted legislation seeking for Utah to join more than a dozen states in outlawing efforts to change a minor’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Executive director Troy Williams says a legislative sponsor has not yet been secured, but he is optimistic about the chances of the bill passing. He says he believes the time is ripe for the measure. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has disavowed past therapies aimed at changing orientation and has launched efforts to prevent suicide. The independent Mormon Mental Health Association opposes therapies “which have


Although the ballot initiative is advisory only, it is expected to frustrate lawmakers mindful of public opinion as they face the court deadline next year. Many legislators will stand for re-election in 2020. “The legislature has lots of choices on how to make this court order take effect,” said referendum proponent Chen Ke, a Catholic pastor in Taiwan and an opponent of same-sex marriage. Ruling party lawmakers backed by President Tsai Ing-wen had proposed legalizing same-sex marriage in late 2016, but put their ideas aside to await the court hearing. Opposition to same-sex marriage crested after the court ruling. Opponents have held rallies and mobilized votes online. Courts will still consider local marriage licensing offices in violation of the law by May 2019, if they refuse same-sex couples, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said recently. “The referendum is a general survey, it doesn’t have very strong legal implications,” said Shiau Hong-chi, professor of gender studies and communications management at Shih-Hsin University in Taiwan. “One way or another it has to go back to the court.” n — Compiled by Larry Nichols been developed to change, alter or reduce sexual orientation.”

Ousted gay Texas council member sues over recall defeat The Longview News Journal reports an openly gay former councilman in a small Southeast Texas town is suing after he was defeated in a recall election, an effort that surfaced after nude photos of him were anonymously sent to city hall. Cross Coburn was ousted as a councilmember in Groves, Texas, which is 92 miles east of Houston, during a recall election earlier this month. The lawsuit filed Nov. 14 in a state court says three residents have reported their signatures were forgeries on a recall petition. It came after screenshots of nude photos from Coburn on a dating application were sent to city hall. The litigation asks the court to declare the election invalid due to fraud and forgery in the petition. Coburn says the recall targeted him because of his sexuality. Groves is a small town located southeast of Beaumont. n — Compiled by Larry Nichols

2018 Year In Review Issue 12/21


Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018

NOVEMBER 30, 2018 Community Advisory Board to the Penn Center for AIDS Research to host its Fifteenth Annual Red Ribbon Award Ceremony WHAT:


Who has impacted the local LGBT community most in 2018?

The Fifteenth Annual Red Ribbon Award- The highest recognition for policy makers, researchers, community leaders, & youth who have made significant contributions to the fight against AIDS and to the health of citizens in our community.


Friday, November 30, 2018 4pm- 5pm Art Contest judging, resource tables and reception 5pm-7pm Awards ceremony In conjunction with World AIDS Day

WHERE: The School District of Philadelphia 440 N. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19130

HONOREES: Hazel Edwards, Youth Leader Mark Segal, Pioneer Teresa Sullivan, Community Leader Pablo Tebas, MD, Researcher Stacey Trooskin, MD, PhD Policymaker


Marsha Martin, DSW MASTER OF CEREMONY: John Barber, III


The Community Advisory Board is a group of Philadelphia citizens representing HIV prevention and treatment service providers, social services, community leaders, local schools and faith-based organizations who work with the Penn Center for AIDS Research.


Person of the Year Coming in the 12/28/18 issue

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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018


entertainment “The Last Mile” and “Philadelphia” commemorate World AIDS Day “Philadelphia” 25th anniversary

TOM HANKS AND DENZEL WASHINGTON IN “PHILADELPHIA” Photo: Courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Photo: Courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company

On World AIDS Day this year, the same questions are still being asked: Can we have an AIDSfree generation? Can there be zero AIDS cases and zero AIDSrelated deaths? The answer, according to several partici-

pants in a recent film screening and panel, is yes — if we raise enough awareness and funds. The overwhelming message that came out of a panel discussion this week moderated by out queer actor Keiynan Lonsdale (“Love, Simon”) is this: We cannot be complacent and think that the disease is under control.


Photo: Courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company

AIDS is still a battle that is being fought daily. Although 22 million people are receiving treatment today, 1 million people died of AIDS last year — 70 percent of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. A short documentary entitled “The Last Mile,” made in partnership with (RED) and the Coca-Cola Company, is now available online at Director Kim Snyder weaves together stories about the current HIV epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa and the impact Jonathan Demme’s landmark 1993 film, “Philadelphia” — the first Hollywood film about AIDS — has had over the past twenty-five years. The short and the feature, “Philadelphia,” were screened earlier this week, with Snyder, Kevin Burns, executive director at Philadelphia’s Action Wellness (formerly Action AIDS), and Meaghan Condon, Director of Partnerships, (RED), in attendance. They spoke about where we have been since the start of the AIDS crisis and how far we have come, but also that we still have one “last mile” to go to end this global pandemic. PAGE 32

Gary M. Kramer PGN Contributor

Comics Family Portrait Out & About

Page 32 Page 33 Page 30

Q Puzzle Scene in Philly

Page 34 Page 29

Hollywood’s first feature film about AIDS, “Philadelphia,”is being released in a 25th anniversary DVD edition with screenings at the AMC Neshaminy on Dec. 1 in honor of World AIDS Day. Today, the film plays like a quaint period piece — the characters’ cell phones and computers are as outdated as the pre-Comcast skyline. But “Philadelphia” still generates goosebumps — from the stirring songs by Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young to gay Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) first declaring “I have AIDS.” Director Jonathan Demme, working from Ron Nyswaner’s screenplay, takes viewers through discussions of the disease with talk about platelets, T-cells, AZT and shameful, sinister KS legions. (PrEP is years off in the future). Homophobia abounds. Andrew’s boss (Jason Robards) fires him for “bringing AIDS into their offices.” Andrew’s lawyer, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), disdains gays and fears the disease. A librarian (Tracey Walter) suggests the infected Andrew might be more comfortable elsewhere, and Andrew’s partner, Miguel (Antonio Banderas), encounters rights issues in the hospital for not being “immediate family.” These are important (albeit heavy-handed) teaching moments. But even with the passing of laws to protect LGBTQ rights and judicial decisions that confirm marriage equality since the film’s release, fear, hatred, and stigmas very much remain today. “Philadelphia” is also deliberate in how it presents its queer characters. Andrew is a stereotypical opera-loving gay man, but a moving scene has him swooning to “Andrea Chénier.” More significantly, Andrew and Miguel never fully kiss, which rankled queer viewers upon release. While flawed, “Philadelphia” is a well-intentioned product of its time — one designed to educate viewers about AIDS and social justice. In that regard, it remains timeless. n — Gary M. Kramer

Brit comic brings funny here PAGE 31



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018


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2018 Year In Review Issue - 12/21 Person of the Year - 12/28 Favorite Photos - 12/28



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018


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North Carolina native grows an R&B/hip-hop hybrid in Philly

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By Larry Nichols Ivy Sole is sure to grow on you, like her name implies. The queer R&B singer is turning heads from the south to the north with her debut fulllength album “OVERGROWN,” deftly walking the sometimes-blurry lines between smoldering modern soul music and the assured lyrical swagger of hip hop. The cross-pollinating fusion of R&B with hip-hop has been around for a minute or two and Sole sings the praises of the earliest pioneers of that musical marriage for inspiring her style. “Obviously, Lauryn Hill,” Sole said of her musical influences. “I do credit her along with Queen Latifah and Lil’ Kim for piquing my interest and seeing myself as a hip-hop artist.” Sole currently resides in Philadelphia while attending the University of Pennsylvania, but she grew up in Charlotte. Sole said both regions have had a profound and indelible impact on her style, even if she sometimes seems to favors her new home over the region she grew up in. “I think that my music reflects growing up in a household that put a premium on gospel and soul music,” she said. “But I also think that the neo-soul movement of Philly influenced me even before I moved to Philadelphia. I would probably say [I identify more with] Philly because of the Jill Scotts and the Musiq Soulchilds and The Roots of the world. I’m a direct descendant of that path. Any time you hear gospel chords, heavy bass lines and soul samples, that’s Charlotte, North Carolina. That’s my bloodline — the musical and oral tradition I was born into. When you hear neo soul elements, glittery strings and anything a bit more aggressive and gritty, that’s Philly.” “OVERGROWN,” is an impressive effort detailing a black queer artist’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance while trying to navigate love, trauma and heartbreak. “It represents growth from my past self,” Sole said of the significance of the album title. With R&B and hip-hop often charging in a more synthesized and electronic direction these days, “OVERGROWN” feels like a welcome breath of fresh air. Whether other artists will follow in the same direction remains to be seen, but Sole thinks there is room for organic and digital exploration on the charts, minds and the playlists of hip-hop and R&B fans out there. “I hope that musicianship will come back,” she said. “It creates a different experience for the audience. I think that there are some boundaries to be pushed on the digital side of things. I’m hoping to see a marriage of the two to merge the digital and the analog of hip-hop and R&B.” For now, Sole is focused on the live execution of her new music and taking her songs to the people before she can think about writing new music. “We are planning to hit a couple of cities and bigger markets this spring,” she said. “With the album coming out, we have videos and live versions of the songs [to work on]. Those are the priority. My music is very personal and I can’t really write about what I haven’t experienced. So I’ve got to live some life before I think about making a new album.” n Ivy Sole performs 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St. For more information or tickets, call 215-925-6455.


Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018


Gay leader of Harlem Renaissance subject of National Book Award By Victoria A. Brownworth PGN Contributor Alain Leroy Locke was born in Philadelphia in 1885. He died in New York City in 1954, the architect of the Harlem Renaissance and a figure so massive in black history that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in a speech in 1968, “We’re going to let our children know that the only philosophers that lived were not Plato and Aristotle, but W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke came through the universe.” Locke was the first black Rhodes scholar and the progenitor of the concept of “the New Negro.” He was also gay. Locke is the subject of “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke,” the masterful and definitive biography by Dr. Jeffrey C. Stewart, chair of the Black Studies Department at the University of California at Santa Barbara and author of several major works. At 1,000 pages and published by Oxford University Press, Stewart’s tome has won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. In its description of Stewart’s book for the award ceremony, the National Book Awards wrote of “a tiny, fastidiously dressed man [who] emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro — the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke’s professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends and his white patrons as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man.” Locke’s “search for love as a gay man”

Little Ladies: Victorian Fashion Dolls and the Feminine Ideal Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition exploring the influence of Miss Fanchon, the ultimate toy for privileged girls in the 1860s-’70s, through March 3, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100.

has not been detailed prior to Stewart’s exhaustive research and it is one of the most fascinating aspects — and contradictions — of Locke’s life. Philadelphia imprinted Locke’s early life. His parents were both descendants

SANTA ‘KOZ’ IS COMING TO TOWN: Out Grammy-winning saxophonist Dave Koz brings his annual holiday concert to the area, performing alongside jazz superstars Mindi Abair, Jonathan Butler and Japanese keyboardist Keiko Matsui, 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, N.J. For more information or tickets, call 856-858-1000.

AUTHOR DR. JEFFREY C. STEWART of prominent free blacks. His father, Pliny, was the first black employee of the U.S. Postal Service. His mother, Mary, was a teacher. Locke credited her with his love of literature and his passionate interest in education — particularly of other black people. Locke’s love for his mother was the single most important influence in his life. Locke was a graduate of Philadelphia’s Central High School, where he was second in his class. He also attended the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy, designed for Central High graduates who wanted to become teachers. From there, Locke attended Harvard University, graduating in 1907 with degrees in English and philosophy. He was the first black graduate chosen as a Rhodes scholar — and the last black person to be chosen until 1960. But upon arriving in ALAIN LOCKE Oxford, Locke struggled to find admittance to a college due to the racism of both Oxonians and fellow Rhodes scholars from the American South who refused to study with him or even be in the same room. From Oxford, Locke began his long career as a professor at the historically black Howard University, and it was there Locke began his most important work on race and philosophy. n

Theater & Arts Alexander Chee The out author of “Edinburgh, The Queen of the Night” and “How To Write An Autobiographical Novel” hosts a reading 7-9 p.m. Nov. 30 at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.; 215557-0455. Arte Povera: Homage to Amalfi ’68 Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition recreating one artist’s reaction against minimalism and pop art, through July, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215763-8100. Between Nature and Abstraction: Edwin Dickinson and Friends Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition exploring the works of the modern American painter through Feb. 10, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215763-8100.

A Christmas Carol Walnut Street Theatre presents Charles Dickens’ holiday tale, Dec. 1-23, at WST for Kids, 825 Walnut St.; 215-574-3550. Dana Gould The comedian and executive producer of “The Simpsons” performs through Dec. 1 at Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St.; 215-496-9001. Gina Yashere The out comedian and actor performs, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Punch Line Philly, 33 E. Laurel St.; 215-606-6555. Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition exploring the drama and glamour of some of the most creative feminine fashions ever designed, through March 3, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215763-8100.

Jessica Lang Dance Dance Affiliates and the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts present the dance troupe founded by the Bucks County native and superstar in the dance world, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St.; 215898-3900. Larry Fink: The Boxing Photographs Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition of photographs highlighting the athletic world of boxing through Jan. 1, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100.

Mimi Imfurst Presents Drag Diva Brunch Mimi Imfurst, Bev, Vinchelle, Sutton Fearce and special guests perform, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 1 at Punch Line Philly, 33 E. Laurel St.; 215-606-6555. Neal Brennan The co-creator of “Chappelle’s Show” performs 7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at TLA, 334 South St.; 215922-1011. Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical Walnut Street Theatre presents the musical based on the beloved children’s book, through Jan. 6, 825 Walnut St.; 215574-3550. This Is The Week That Is 1812 Productions presents its annual politically charged and satirical comedy show, through Jan. 6 at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey St.; 215592-9560. WINTER WONDERETTES The throwback

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: Notices cannot be taken over the phone.


Tom Orr & Meagan Hill: “It’s a Fruitcake” The entertaining duo performs 8 p.m. Nov. 30 at The RRazz Room, 385 W. Bridge St., New Hope; 888596-1027.

STRIKING A ‘POSE’: Rufus Wainwright celebrates the 20th anniversary of his eponymous debut album and subsequent album, 2001’s “Poses,” with his All The Poses Tour, 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave. For more information or tickets, call 215572-7650.

holiday show takes the audience back to the 1968 Harper’s Hardware Christmas Party for an evening of songs and humor, through Dec. 30 at Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut St.; 215-574-3550. Wizard of Oz Media Theatre presents the musical about Dorothy and her adventures in a strange land, through Jan. 13, 104 E. State St., Media; 610-891-0100. Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition blurring fact and fiction, with the artist reimagining historical narratives to spur a dialogue about urgent social and geopolitical issues of our time, through Jan. 1, 26th Street and the Parkway; 215-763-8100. Yannick and Manny The Philadelphia Orchestra performs Dvorák’s Seventh Symphony, inspired by Brahms, through Dec. 1 at Kimmel’s Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St.; 215893-1999.

Music J Mascis The alternativerock guitarist and songwriter performs 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400. Mavis Staples The classic R&B singer performs 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400. Get the Led Out The Led Zeppelin tribute band performs 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Franklin Music Hall, 421 N. Seventh St.; 215-627-1332.

Nightlife Philadelphia Fins 30th Anniversary Party The gay and lesbian swim club celebrates its anniversary, 6-9 p.m. Nov. 30 at William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.; 215-732-2220. 2018 Philadelphia Drag Awards Find out who the drag performer of the year will be, 8 p.m.-

midnight Nov. 30 at Voyeur Nightclub, 1221 Saint James St.; 215-735-5772. A Very BEV Holiday Special Drag star BEV hosts a night of holiday-themed comedy, music and drag featuring Satine Harlow, Sutton Fearce, VinChelle and Zsa Zsa St. James, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Dec. 1 at Tabu, 200 S. 12th St.; 215-964-9675. Drag Brunch Brittany Lynn hosts a drag show and breakfast buffet, 12:30-3 p.m. Dec. 2 at Tabu, 200 S. 12th St.; 215-964-9675.

Outta Town The Wonder Years The pop-punk band performs 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at The Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del.; 202-730-3331. Bobby Collins The comedian performs 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville; 215257-5808.

Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018

Funny Brit to bring the wit to Philly

Donny & Marie Holiday Tour The classic bubblegum pop/rock and country singers perform holiday favorites 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Event Center, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-317-1000. Lindsey Buckingham The Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer performs 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, NJ; 856-858-1000. Nellie McKay The cabaret singer performs 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at The RRazz Room, 385 W. Bridge St., New Hope; 888596-1027. Drag Diva Brunch Drag queens and mimosas get it going at noon Dec. 2 at The Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del.; 202-730-3331. Craig Ferguson The comedian and talk-show host performs 9 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa Music Box, 1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, N.J.; 609-317-1000. The Changeling The classic horror thriller film is screened 9:45 p.m. Dec. 7 at The Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville; 610917-1228. n


Photo: Courtesy of Gina Yashere

By Larry Nichols Out British comedian and actress Gina Yashere is making quite the splash internationally. Born and raised in London by Nigerian parents, Yashere was already a rising star overseas before breaking into the American comedy scene with her successful appearance on “Last Comic Standing” in 2007. A year later, she became the first British comedian to appear on “Def Comedy Jam.” Since then, she has become a regular contributor and performer on comedy-TV institutions like “The Daily Show” and has starred in comedy specials on Showtime and Netflix. Stateside success means that Yashere has seen her fair share of the cultural nooks and crannies of the United States. Her insights as a non-American performer are equally hilarious and kind of sad when you think too much about it. So we thought it would be interesting to pick her brain about how the United States looks through her worldly tinted lenses. PGN: You started out doing comedy in the U.K., but have been performing in the United States for years now. What would you say were the biggest adjustments you had to make, if any, to your style when you perform in America? GY: A lot of it is fish-out-of-water stuff. I talk a lot about the fact that I’m not from here. I didn’t have to change much. Definitely one of the changes I had to make was explaining who I am. People didn’t really get that I’m black and British. It’s only in the last couple of years with people like Idris Elba that

Americans realized, “Oh, right, there are a lot of black people in Britain.” Before that, it was just me and I was constantly explaining it on stage. I have to slow down my speech a lot because my London accent is quite strong and when I talk at full speed, sometimes people can’t understand me. I had to slow down and enunciate when I moved here. PGN: Do you feel like American audiences are somewhat less informed about the world than other nationalities? GY: Yes, most definitely. Americans are a lot more insular. I travel a lot and talk about getting the shits in Malaysia, so there’s a lot of explanation of where Malaysia is and their culture before I can get into the joke. So Americans are not as well traveled and knowledgeable about other cultures, but I can understand that because you’ve got everything here. You can go within America to ski. You can go within America to the beach. PGN: In the world of American entertainment, things like a performer’s race, sexuality and social politics can be somewhat of a big deal here. Are Britons as hung up on those issues as Americans are? GY: We have the same issues [with race and sexuality] in the U.K. as America does. The Internet has made the world a very small place. There are aspects of political comedy that might be slightly different elsewhere than in America, but overall there isn’t a huge difference. n Gina Yashere performs Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Punch Line Philly, 33 E. Laurel St. For more information or tickets, call 215-606-6555, or visit or

pgn Philadelphia Gay News LGBT NEWS SINCE 1976



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018

LAST MILE from page 25

The documentary’s title, “The Last Mile,” refers to the literal journey of Veronica, a healthcare worker in Africa, who travels to deliver medicine and consult with her HIV-positive patients. Veronica’s “house calls” are her efforts to urge clients — such as Luisa, a pregnant woman — to get tested. Veronica is part of the effort to end mother-to-child transmissions of HIV in Africa. “An AIDS-free generation is well within our reach,” Anne Carelli, senior manager of content and partnerships at Coca-Cola, told PGN at the event. “It’s an achievable goal, but we’re at a point where it would be dangerous to stop the funding and the awareness.” Project Last Mile works to get AIDS medication to areas in Sub-Saharan Africa where NGOs and governments aren’t able to make inroads. Coca-Cola will donate $2 million (as it has for the past three years) to help with programs such as empowering women to talk about AIDS and create films like “The Last Mile.” Snyder acknowledged the importance of making a documentary about Veronica. “I like to tell self-empowered stories, not white-savior stories. Veronica is on the ground, doing the work and representing rural communities where these drugs don’t often get to.” But Snyder was also moved by “Philadelphia” and recounted where she was when that film was released. “I lived


in Manhattan in 1993 and you couldn’t go anywhere without being affected. I had many friends in the throes of the crisis. It was terrifying. Demme’s vision reached mainstream people who didn’t know a lot about AIDS or thought they might not care. He did that by framing ‘Philadelphia’ as a film of social justice,” Synder said. “It had a big impact on me.” “The Last Mile” aims to bring that same advocacy and awareness to the AIDS crises in Sub-Saharan Africa. (RED)’s Condon cited a need for compassion. “‘The Last Mile’ brings that out. You see it in ‘Philadelphia.’ It shows the sameness of people — gay or straight, positive or negative, living in Philadelphia or Mozambique. We’re all in this human experience together. I see that in this generation with people rising up and speaking out and using their voice on issues that they care about. ‘The Last Mile’ tells real human stories of how people are battling HIV in their communities today, and that human connection that can really spur [action].” For Burns, who started as a volunteer at Action AIDS 30 years ago, the progress is visible. He said, “We changed our name from Action AIDS to Action Wellness to reflect the progress of care and treatment of people with HIV. If there were enough political will and resources, we could get to zero deaths.” Burns and Action AIDS were integral to the making of “Philadelphia” 25 years ago. Scenes were shot in the organiza-

LEFT TO RIGHT: KEVIN BURNS, KIM SNYDER, MEAGHAN CONDON, KEIYNAN LONSDALE Photo: Michael Perez/The Coca-Cola Company/AP Images tion’s offices and many of the clients in the film were extras. (One, Suellen Kehler, still survives today). Burns and others provided technical assistance to issues around the disease to Demme and Hanks. Burns looks back on the experience and the film with fondness. “It was an opportunity to be involved and make a difference and have these voices heard. I think the film is a snapshot of a point and time in the pandemic. Hanks’ character was not the norm — he came from privilege and had the support of his family. A lot of our clients have been abandoned by their families. I think there’s less of that today.” He also recalls seeing “Philadelphia” at the local premiere at the now-gone SamEric Theater. “It was very emotional. We came as a group from Action AIDS, and a lot of the clients who were extras were there that night. They felt ‘Philadelphia’ captured their lived experience, which hadn’t been seen on film before. We thought it rang true about the early days of the epidemic. It encapsu-

lated why I do this work. When I look at where we are today, it feels good to contribute to that progress.” But for someone like Lonsdale, who was born in 1991, just two years before “Philadelphia” was made, seeing the film as a young kid elicited “mostly confusion and fear. Deep down, I was still struggling with my sexuality. I wanted to avoid it. It was scary.” Lonsdale told PGN he watched the film again recently and was “moved and inspired by the characters and the work the filmmakers did to push the barriers in a sensitive and beautiful way to create change that we get to benefit from today.” As a queer advocate-activist, and a member of the younger generation, Lonsdale said promoting “The Last Mile” provides him with the opportunity to “learn about our history and our stories and be an example. It comes back to art. Art becomes timeless. When you are moved in a way you can’t explain, there is truth to it, and it connects us to our humanity.” n

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Family Portrait

Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018


Suzi Nash

Andrea and Aisha Nash: Spice of life suggests that you throw away your spices after one to four years, depending on the type, which means I’m probably about eight years behind. Luckily there’s a place that can help me restock with the freshest herbs and spices around: The Spice Rack in Chestnut Hill. Co-owners and partners Andrea and Aisha Nash (no relation to me — that we can find) have been making their own spice blends for more than 10 years. They have their own brand in the shop along with high-quality, organic products from other merchandisers. PGN: How did you two meet? Aisha: We both went to North Carolina A&T State University. I studied business administration. I went to school thinking I’d become a veterinarian but I quickly discovered that I’m too much of a wuss for that. When we finished school, we decided to book it up north. Andrea wanted to go to New York City, but that scared me. I mean, I was literally frightened. I wanted to go to D.C., but she was over it, so Philadelphia was a good compromise. PGN: What did you study? Andrea: I went for criminal justice — I was going to go into law. She’s always saying I would have been a fierce judge. No holds barred! But as soon as we got here, we started an event-planning business. We did everything from weddings to big corporate events and everything in between. When we had our son, we decided we wanted something with more stable hours and we came up with this idea. We’re both phenomenal cooks and have been mixing our own blends for years. Making it into a business was a natural choice. At first it was going to be just spices but it’s grown into so much more: spreads and chutneys, oils, homemade granola, etc. Aisha: The whole farm-to-table movement has helped us because people have really started to educate themselves on where their food is coming from and what’s going into their bodies. With our spices, there are no fillers like salts or other chemical components. They’re all natural. With our other curated products, we try to be the go-to place for any of your culinary needs. Andrea: We like to think of ourselves as a community pantry. We have spices and pancake mix, loose teas and coffees — we painstakingly took a year to research the products we sell. With the exception of some of the spices, every item in our store is domestically sourced. And they are all made in small batches and come from small businesses like ours. In a world of plastic, you’ll notice that everything here is in a glass jar. There’s something about the care put into the products when they’re your own that makes them that much more

special. For example, our granola is made in Germantown. She brings it on Tuesdays and we can’t keep it on the shelves. One of our hot sauces is made in Coatesville. It’s all organic ingredients and people love that. Aisha: We’re also becoming a resource for artisans from Vermont to Florida who send us samples to see if they fit our standards to be in our store. The word is spreading and the Spice Rack its becoming her own thing. PGN: What was your craziest moment when you were doing event planning? Andrea: A caterer bailed on us at the last moment when we were doing a wedding with 300 guests. Thank God we’re decent in the kitchen. We called in everyone: parents, siblings, friends, aunties, neighbors — you name it. Aisha: We were like, “I don’t care if you can’t cook — you can chop carrots.” I’d like to think we managed to pull it off. We’d told the clients and refunded their money because it wasn’t the menu they ordered, but after it was over they mailed us a check saying that the guests loved the food! PGN: That’s amazing. Aisha: But it’s a prime example of the benefit of working with a small business. Just last week, we got a call from someone who said, “I ordered something online and I’ve been waiting for two weeks for it.” I didn’t have any order on the books, but we went into Shopify and found that the order had never been forwarded to us. The address was local, so I called her and said, “We close tonight at 6:30. I’ll swing by and personally drop it off to you.” And I added a little something extra to thank her for her patience. As a small business, we have the luxury of giving that extra customer service. PGN: Agreed. Once I’d forgotten to refill a prescription right before going out of town. I go to a small pharmacy, and realizing I wasn’t going to make it before closing, I called them. The owner said, “Take your time, I’ll wait for you.” When I got there, the place was locked, but he was waiting for me outside and said, “Just pay the copay the next time you come in.” That wouldn’t happen at a CVS. Andrea: Exactly. When you own a small business, you can go that extra mile. PGN: What has been the most difficult and most rewarding part of the business? Aisha: For me, the most difficult part was being patient at the beginning when no one knew we were here … watching the paint dry and hoping someone would come in, knowing you’re not making enough to make ends meet. The most rewarding part was when we were in D.C. My brother was at a hotel bar and mentioned he was there for his sister’s birthday and that she

owned a spice shop in Philly. The guy said, “The Spice Rack? I love that place!” It was fun being in a different town and hearing someone talk about us. Andrea: The hardest part for me? When I was seven months pregnant, I stopped working and didn’t come back until after we opened the store. It was hard to separate from our son. Most rewarding for me was also hearing people talk about the store outside this area. I was at the hospital once for an asthma attack and the pulmonologist was someone who’d been in the store. PGN: How do you make your spice mixes? Aisha: Initially, at home in my kitchen. I’m always coming up with different mix profiles. Sometimes I’ll wake up and have an idea for a new chicken rub. We rent a commercial space where I mix them. A lot of times, the ideas are sparked by the customers. Lately, people have been asking for things with a little heat, so I created a

years of high school is a lot to endure, but try to blend in. Society sometimes puts pressure on people to come out before they’re ready. Sometimes the consequences are not worth it if you’re not able to handle them, especially if you don’t have support at home. It’s hard, but for me it was the right path. Andrea: Ha — once again, I’m the total opposite. For me, I’d say as hard as it can be and as much as you’re going to have to endure, do it anyway. It’s a lot harder to try to live your life and not be free to be yourself. If you lose people, you will find replacements. Blood makes you a relative; it doesn’t make you family. And you can always find family, but you have to live your truth. Aisha: I can see that, but for me, it’s nice to say that in theory, but in real-world context, it’s hard for a 16-year-old to come out and then have to live for another few years under someone else’s roof, if they let you stay. I’m not saying you have to hide, but take it case by case and think of all the ramifications.

PGN: You two are a perfect yin and yang. What’s in store for the store? Andrea: We’re in a brandnew space: the little yellow house next to Weaver’s Way, which is exciting. We want to continue to be a place where people learn and share culinary knowledge. I do a lot of posting on Instagram of things I’m cooking at home. Eventually we’d like to do podcasts, but right now we don’t have the technical expertise. Aisha: We’re also going to have a YouTube channel with everything from, “This is how we pick our meats at the grocer’s, this is how we prepare our vegetables,” to the struggles of figuring out what to eat each day: “What do you ANDREA NASH (LEFT) AND AISHA NASH Photo: Suzi Nash want to eat? I don’t know, what do you want?” Andrea: For me, the hardhabanero mango rub that people have been est thing is when people ask me for the recipe for something I’ve made. I don’t going crazy over. use recipes — I cook the way an artist PGN: What was your coming out experience? paints. They just do it. I don’t measure, I Aisha: I grew up in the Bible Belt in a flavor as I go along. So if you could watch Christian family, so in high school I had me, you can follow along and hopefully boyfriends, but they were more like friends figure it out. Either way, we’ll have fun — nothing sexual. When I got to college, while we do it. n I came out and was able to blossom. If I could give advice to any kid contemplatCall The Spice Rack at 215-274-0100, or visit online at ing coming out, I’d say, wait. I know four



Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018

Classifieds All real-estate advertising is subject to Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability). PGN will not knowingly accept any realestate advertising that is in violation of any applicable law.

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hammock 34 Role for Madonna or LuPone 36 Sharice Davids, first LGBTQ ___ elected to congress 40 _Hollywood Squares_ choice 41 Church sections 42 Saint, in Rio 43 Daly of _ Judging Amy_ 44 Home of the Bruins 48 _Claire of the Moon_ actor Todd 51 Greet with loud laughter 53 Kim Davis, who lost the race for this office 56 Blue bottoms 59 “Houston, we have a problem” 60 Reagan’s Star Wars letters 61 Like an eagle in flight 62 Pride of lions? 63 Half a score 64 First gay man elected

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PGN Friends Men WM, NE Phila. If you’re looking for hot action, call 215-934-5309. No calls after 11 PM. ________________________________________42-47 Nicks BUTTNAked Christmas party sat DEC 15th 9 pm Cherry Hill nj Nudity required thong or jockstrap expecting a big turnout come help me spread some holiday cheer! Guys! Looking for those nasty boys into GRP play all are welcomed to join in on the fun contact me nick for further details!!! Nick 609 254 1398 Anything goes guys spread the word bring friends! ________________________________________42-47

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Getting married?

Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018

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If you are celebrating an anniversary, engagement, wedding, adoption or other life event, we would be happy to help you announce it to the community. Send your contact information and a brief description of the event to



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Philadelphia Gay News Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2018