JUNE 2016

A Note From The Editor

Jason Peno, Development Associate

I am very excited to present the first edition of The Center’s new Quarterly Review, The
Little Blue. Paying homage to the Center’s earlier existence as Penguin Place, the quarterly review takes on the name of the world’s smallest penguin, the little blue, also known
as the fairy penguin.
The Little Blue presents us with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the good
work that the Center is creating every day of the year. The William Way LGBT Community
Center offers a safe and life-affirming space for Philadelphia’s LGBTQI+ communities and
our hope is that this periodical will serve as a voice for both the Center and the people
who call it home. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in writing for The Little Blue,
or contributing other artistic elements, please do contact me with your ideas.
We look forward to providing you with insights into life at the Center and supporting our
community’s many wonderful and varied voices.
PS: The Artwork for the cover of our first edition was designed by Linus Curci. You can
find his artwork here:, and the new layout and design for The Little Blue
was done by Tolani Lawrence-Lightfoot.

Greetings From The Executive Director
Chris Bartlett
Greetings, friends, and welcome
to Pride month at the Center.
We are living in transformative
times for our LGBTQI+ communities. Last year brought marriage
equality nationwide, and Philadelphia has pioneered efforts
to better serve and keep safe
its LGBTQI+ citizens. Still, we
face a nasty backlash in places
like North Carolina and Mississippi. In spite of that, our trajectory is towards justice. It is when
we strengthen and celebrate
our communities that our fellow
citizens take note of the huge
contributions of LGBTQI+ people
to our nation. In doing so, we’ll
win over many more hearts.
In that spirit, I was pleased
to travel to Harrisburg in April
with seven other executive
directors of Pennsylvania L
GBTQI+Centers. I spent the day
advocating to state legislators
and officials and along with my
colleagues from across PA, we
strategized ways to bring more
resources to LGBTQI+ centers
statewide. With the support of

our friends in Harrisburg and the
advocacy of Adrian Shanker, we
have received a grant to research
tobacco use among LGBTQI+
Speaking of Adrian Shanker, I
want to congratulate him and
his colleagues at the BradburySullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown for successfully
inaugurating their new building.
Even as we gain civil rights and
our communities evolve, the
need for safe space for LGBTQI+
youth, adults and elders remains.
New centers like theirs, as well
as ours with our four decades
of proud history, are vital to the
social and cultural fabric of our
communities. We do so with the
generous support and contributions of our members. I extend
my sincere thanks to all who contributed to our Spring campaign.
If you have not made your gift
yet, or if you would like to make
an additional gift, you can give
online at


It was also a pleasure to attend
the 40th Anniversary celebration
of the Philadelphia Gay News
earlier this Spring. The PGN
was the first gay paper I ever
read and as a teen, it was the
first place I learned about our
communities’ history, its arts and
culture, and the diversity of programs and services being created
by burgeoning LGBT organizations.
At the onset of the AIDS epidemic, it was the place I went
to read about HIV prevention,
treatments, and ways to get
involved. When I began working
professionally on LGBT issues,
the PGN was where I went to find
out what people were thinking
and and how they took action. I
read many inspiring writers who
helped me see all the possibilities for building a powerful LGBT
community in Philadelphia.

I’m proud to say that our John J.
Wilcox Archives at the Center has
a nearly complete collection of
PGN’s run. (If you have a collection at home that may be able
to help us complete ours, please
email and
let us know!) More than that, our
archives are also the home to the
photography of the PGN’s first
photographer, Harry Eberlin. It’s
always an incredible joy to see
people make an appointment to
visit our archives.
Whether they are graduate students writing a research paper or
a former Philadelphian back for
a visit and looking to reconnect
with the newspapers, t-shirts,
event posters, rally placards, and
bar signs that defined their life
in the Gayborhood, it is deeply
satisfying to see people connect
with the rich history of LGBT
Philadelphia that lives here at the

chris jpg

Whether it is visiting our archives, perusing our art gallery, taking a book
out of our library, or joining us for a program, I hope to see you at the
Center soon. If you are looking for a great way to kick off your Pride
weekend, please join us for Homecoming, at the Center on Saturday,
June 11th from 11AM to 2PM. We will be enjoying brunch and live entertainment, as well as showing off improvements and updates we have
made at the Center.
With appreciation,
Chris Bartlett
Executive Director

Do We Need
The Center?
“Do we still need LGBT community centers?” Whenever I speak
to college classes on behalf of the
Center I always start off with the
same question. “I’m not being
rhetorical,” I say. “I want you to
really ask yourself. After all of this
advancement, in a city with its
own Gayborhood, have we really
moved beyond LGBTQI+ community centers?” Most students
are on to my game and rarely offer
arguments against the Center.
Nevertheless, after asking the
question I always spend the next
hour (or two) making the case for
this building, this organization,
and my job. I argue both points,
not as a rhetorical exercise or a
self-conscious defense, but as a
way of creating. More often than
not, the students I’m talking to
haven’t ever asked themselves
those questions. Why would they?
I’ve found, however, that I learn
the most about the Center—our
past, our future—by justifying our
existence. Do we still need LGBT
community centers? Of course.
But why?


The Making of
a Queer Space
R. Eric Thomas
Director of Programs

In January, I received an email
from Aidan, a doctoral student,
who wanted to spend a prolonged amount of time observing
and taking notes on the Center
and the ways that people interact
with it. Originally, he was going
to limit his observation to the Library, but after a conversation we
decided that the lobby might be
a more fruitful space. As his notes
would be confidential, anonymous and not part of a larger
study, I also felt that this wouldn’t
be a violation of the implicit
privacy Center constituents can
enjoy. Over the last four months,
I’ve really enjoyed checking in
with Aidan, hearing about how
he perceives our space and what
goes on in it and finding new
answers to the question “Do we

eric speaking to class

still need centers?”
In March, he e-mailed to ask if
we could have a formal interview,
so that he could also record my
thoughts and theories about the
space. “I have been in total awe
during my observations,” he wrote.
“The sheer amount of programs,
services, support offered by the
WWCC is amazing.” He wanted to
get a sense of the organizational
priorities and the vision for the
future. I am always interested in
giving my opinion on anything, so
naturally I said yes. We ended up
spending over an hour in the Living Room on the first floor, talking
about where I’d like to see the Cen-

Opening for Linus

ter go, where we’ve come from and
all the different ways that people
experience the organization. More
than anything, however, we talked
about the environment. We both
shared a fascination with the building itself, the position in the city
ecosystem and the transformative
nature of this space.
I suggested that the Center is a
queer space. Even though we have
a marked lack of disco balls and
confetti cannons, this is a space
where being LGBTQ or an active
ally is the default, the norm. It’s a
space where I can kiss my fiancé
and not think twice, where when I
hear someone talking about a date

they went on the night before, I
automatically assume that said
date was not heteronormative.
There’s very few spaces like that.
Most spaces are actually straight
spaces. Your average bar is definably straight—not just in what
goes on there but in the way
the space functions in the world.
Straight is the norm. “Do you
think that a space like a supermarket is a neutral space or a
straight space,” I asked Aidan,
rhetorically. (Perhaps all my
questions are rhetorical? What
do you think?)
We both agreed that we’d
categorize most markets as
straight spaces. Not, necessarily, because one assumes that
Uncle Ben is married to an aunt
but because our world defaults
to straight. So unless the supermarket makes a concerted effort
to queer the norm, it will always
be straight, overtly or subtly, in
large ways or small.
Perhaps one day we will achieve
a world where there are neutral
spaces. Maybe you have access
to some in your life. If you do,
I’d love to hear about them.
Send me an e-mail; I find this
topic endlessly fascinating. But,
until we escape the binary, we
will have to continue to construct our own spaces that are
objectively queer. And

that’s the answer that I give to
my own question when I speak
to colleges. I ask them to look
around their classroom, to be
passive observers. “If you didn’t
know anything about this room
or the people in it, would you
think it was straight or queer?”
By that time they’ve wised up
to my game. “Straight,” they
answer. “Very good,” I reply.
We spend a few minutes talking
about why this classroom, with
its whiteboard and nondescript
desks could be considered
straight. Sometimes they argue;
I like that. In the end, I always
invite them to do two things—
and I invite you to do the same:
I invite them to ask themselves
to define the nature of the
spaces they find themselves in,
as an observational exercise,
and then I invite them to come
into the Center to find out what
a queer space feels like.
“I warn you,” I say. “It is not like
the set of that Liberace movie.
It’s an old building with a lot
of old furniture. But it’s also
a place where LGBTQ selfexpression is not only accepted,
but encouraged. It’s the norm.
And that’s important. You may
not feel it explicitly; it may not
hit you over the head. But it’s
in every wall, every floorboard,
every minute of every program.
We will always need that.”





Jasmine Morell,
Owner of Spirited Tattooing Coalition
One of the first questions I ask
people is: “What do you want?”
Obviously this isn’t literally the first
thing because that would be weird,
but usually following the “Hey, how
are yous?” and all of the introductory business it’s,”How can I help
you?” “What are you wanting to get
Essentially, “What do you want?”
And whether that person knows it or
not, they’re not just describing their
tattoo goals, they’re telling me how
they want to be represented in the
A cool thing about tattoos is that
they can help bridge that gap between one’s internal dialogue and
their external identity- you can show
your emotions or display messages



and mementos. You can get in
touch with yourself in a way that
cannot compare to most or any
other experience, and the experience of this process is just as large
as the keepsake. People walk
away with the experience of what’s
being done to them above all,
and for some it’s more important
than the work itself; it’s important
to have people you trust or share
common ground with permanently
embellish you.
I myself need this as a queer trans
person of color, a person who feels
that their body doesn’t fully belong to myself at times and is up
for public idea or trend. Who feels
that their body is up for scrutiny.
The constant notion that everyone
is entitled to your body’s story,
from what’s exposed to what’s under your clothes. I’ve had people
ask me about my tattoos then try
to take my name away from me.
This in fact happened just the other day, as I was at the cell phone
store- I was trying to replace my
broken phone and after the person that worked there and I had
gotten past the first set of niceties,

she began questioning me about
my tattoos and wanted to further
inspect. I politely accepted her
comments but brushed off the
idea of revealing more skin. Once
that was over she then told me I’d
have to come back because obviously I wasn’t Jasmine and could
therefore not handle anything on
the account personally.
“Nope, that’s me. I am Jasmine.

Right here.”
Of course an amplified wave of
awkwardness crashed over me
and her well-meaning intentions
only got blurrier once she then
had to ask to see my governmentissued identification. It’s standard
procedure to do this when dealing with phone accounts, but
the timing really didn’t help the
situation. I am who I say I am and

jasmine photo

“Nope, that’s me. I am Jasmine. Right here.”

I would hope no one can take that away from
The thing is, similar to revealing parts of your
identity, you don’t ever have to answer or
respond to people when they “ask” or seemingly demand to see more of your body. More
of your tattoos. And you shouldn’t feel guilty
about it. Claiming your body is for you and you
alone and it’s one of the most freeing acts. You
can send a message out into the world that
you never have to talk about if you don’t want
This is for you.
Conversely, there is freedom in getting tattooed and the tattoo doesn’t have to have a
deep meaning. Adorning yourself with whatever the hell you want is fully and actively taking
control of your body which in itself is a message. Which in itself is a political statement. It’s
social justice, it’s women’s rights, it’s fighting
against anti-black and brown racism. It’s body
positive and negative ableism. It’s trans rights.
Feeling respected and empowered is done
through the vessel that carries you throughout
So, what do you want?

Your Works are Wonderful
Ricky Cintron
I was born and raised as a Roman
Catholic, and I loved Jesus. Still
do. I was really into church when I
was younger. I memorized all the
prayers during Mass and would
recite them under my breath
while the priest was saying them.
I’m Puerto Rican, so you know I
learned all of that in English and
I was educated in Catholic schools
for most of my life, so I had to
go through abstinence-only sex
education, and let me tell you,
that worked out really well for me.
Abstinence-only sex ed was a trip.
I remember the instructor telling
my class that our bodies are like
pieces of ‘beautiful white fabric’,
and if we had sex before marriage,
it would be like tearing a hole in
that fabric.
And then he told us, “Now who
wants something with holes in it?”
This left quite the impression on
me. Every time I had a sexual
or even romantic thought, I felt
unclean. As you can imagine, realizing that I liked dudes didn’t help.

Now, I personally felt like Jesus
didn’t really care that I was gay,
but everyone else around me certainly did. My pastor, my teachers,
my classmates all went out of their
way to tell me about the “proper
use” of sexuality and evidently me
being gay was not “proper.”
Some time later I decided to look
for another spiritual path that I felt
would affirm who I was, because
I’ve always felt that God can’t be
encapsulated by one religion.
After a lot of searching I eventually
converted to Hinduism, and I was
a practicing Hindu for 8 years of
my life. During that time I became
a priest and started a community
for queer Hindus.
But I also struggled a lot with
some of the theology. There was a
lot of negativity around sex, like I
had encountered with my Catholic
upbringing. There was also this
belief that we’re not these bodies.
Many of the Hindu scriptures state
that our true identity is the soul,
not the body or the other aspects
of ourselves that go with it, like

our sexuality, ethnicity, gender,
and so on.
This teaching is supposed to be
liberating – because if we’re all
made of the same spiritual essence, then it means everyone
is equal, right? But this teaching
also gets misused. Because when I
would try to talk about queerness,
or race, or gender with folks in my
religious community, a lot of times
I would get shut down. People
would tell me, “You shouldn’t talk
about these body things so much.
It’s divisive.”
As a queer person of color, being
told that sharing your experiences
is ‘divisive’ is hurtful and frustrating. This teaching that was meant
to liberate is used as a tool to
silence and oppress.
So as you can see, I was still being
confronted with this tension, this
division between the body and
spirit. And it really sucked, because with both of these religious
traditions I was in, I was being told
to affirm my spirit at the expense
of my body.
Recently I had a bit of a crisis of
faith, and if you haven’t had one
before, they’re a lot of fun, I assure
you. I actually ended up opening
the New Testament again for the
first time in years. I found myself
being drawn to Jesus Christ again.
I’ve been going to Mass at LG-

BTQI+ affirming Churches, praying the rosary, and reading a lot of
theological works by queer-identified as well as affirming Christians
about the body and sexuality.
They’ve been really helpful in
helping me to reclaim my faith.
One of the most healing things for
me during this time has been remembering and meditating on the
fact that Jesus had a body just like
ours. A favorite writer of mine, Father James Martin, wrote an article
reminding people that Jesus was
both fully human and fully divine,
even if we don’t always emphasize the human part as much. He
“Jesus had a human body. Like
you and me. That means he ate
like us, drank like us and slept like
us. He went through puberty. As
a human being, he would have
experienced sexual longings and
urges. We know he was unmarried
and celibate, but he would have,
as a human being, felt the normal
sexual attractions. Those are not
sinful, after all. Far from it.”
Let me tell you, reading those
words – especially that part about
sexual desires – and realizing
they were coming from a Catholic
priest blew my mind. I thought to
myself, you know, if Jesus did it,
maybe this whole having a body
thing isn’t so bad after all.
So how do we begin to heal this

division between body and spirit?
I don’t have an easy answer for
that. But I think for those of us
who are religious or spiritual,
we need to go deeper with our
theologies. We need to really
sit with and question how our
teachings can be misused and
become harmful. We really need
to stop seeing the body and spirit
as irreconcilable. The body is the
vehicle through which the spirit
operates. We need the body. We
need to honor and love the body.

For my own part, I’ve started
to realize that my body and my
sexuality are not these dirty, sinful
things. The different parts of my
identity are not inconsequential,
rather they are holy. God made
them and imbued them with purpose and potential. I’ve definitely
grown beyond seeing myself as a
flimsy piece of fabric.
I am so much more than that. We
are all so much more than that.
And we need to seek out and
lift up theologies that embrace
everything that we are.


I’ll leave you with one of my
favorite quotes from scripture,
from Psalm 139.

If you’re ever feeling ashamed
of your body, for any reason,
think of these words:

Ricky picture

For you created my inmost
being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well
(Psalm 139:13-14)

book image

Lust and Love in a Bleak World
Scott A. Drake

A Review of What Belongs to You, Garth Greenwell

Garth Greenwell has crafted an
award-worthy tale that embraces
those conflicts of passion and reason that every person encounters
during life’s journeys. Sometimes
reason wins, sometimes we suppress it, believing that eventually
love will be returned, and, sometimes, life is about compromise.
The compromise being that we
understand things will never be the
way we wish, but we remain content
to surrender to the struggle between mind and heart.

In one of the most enthralling
pieces of writing I’ve encountered
in recent years, Greenwall manages
to write the second chapter of this
modern day Greek tragedy as a
single paragraph, moving between
our protagonist’s travels through
Bulgaria, toward a dying and estranged father, and flashbacks to
rural America, and conflicts of the

In the end, the process comes to
an understandable result: He terminates his travels without seeing his
father and returns to his day-to-day
Mitko, his singular obsession, is the
young hustler who disappears for
long periods of time only to return
to covertly seek money for various needs, some practical, others
contrived. Mitko declares at one
point that they are friends—a point
not missed by one who desires
more than a friend with benefits—
and perhaps that is one of the more
poignant moments in the story. The
otherwise unlikely social pairing of
the two men is punctuated by the
long-established pattern of support and comfort that binds them

As a debut novel, Greenwell has
struck literary gold. He has taken
familiar tales—Part Romeo and Juliet, part Beauty and the Beast—and
passionately and compassionately
brought two destitute souls into a
relationship of longing and resolve
that will never flourish in the sun,
and they both know it.
What Belongs to You will belong to
you for a long time after you have
read the last paragraph and closed
the book. And that is what good
reading and great writing are supposed to do.

3rd Annual
SAGEWorks Career Fair
Ed Miller,
Senior Services Coordinator

Our SAGEWorks Community
Partners came together making
this our most successful careerfocused event to date. The
Center’s Mark Segal Ballroom
was transformed into a hub of
activity throughout the day with
terrific allies and LGBT recruiters
and company representatives
greeting job seekers.

Fargo. Also of note, SAGEWorks
is generously funded by the
Walmart Foundation.

We know that one-in-four LGBT
older adults are looking for a
job and many individuals lose
jobs that they have held for
years. People are unemployed,
and finding themselves without
the skills they need to compete
in today’s job market. During
This year’s SAGEWorks Career
the career fair we provided skills
Fair partners included: AARP,
building workshops where job
Campbell Soup, City of Philaseekers joined Wells Fargo for
delphia, Comcast, Indepena LinkedIn presentation where
dence Blue Cross, Jefferson
University Hospital, PECO, Phil- they learned; how to create
adelphia Police Department, TD standout profiles, how to exBank, University of Pennsylvania, pand their network connections,
Vanguard, Walgreens and Wells and why many recruiters use

LinkedIn to find candidates.
Further, Job seekers filled the
Comcast Career Chat workshop
where the Director of Diversity
and Human Resources representatives discussed the company
culture and made tangible suggestions to move towards that
face-to-face interview. A meditation and relaxation workshop
offered participants calming
techniques to use before a job
interview and tips to focus their
thoughts during the interview.

and encouragement through
the difficult process of finding
employment while our participants and volunteers make the
program vibrant and unique.
We are always looking to engage volunteers to help with
critiquing resumes, provide
practice interviews, informational interviews or to participate in
an employer panel discussion.

The program and the Center
provides a welcoming space

If you are interested in becoming a community partner
please email If you are a job
seeker 40 + and would like to register for this free program, use the following link and click on the Basic
Registration Form.

IT Came from the Archives!
History would never be the same!
A Bicentennial Without Gay Oppression
John Anderies, John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives, Archivist
In each issue of the newsletter, archivist John Anderies will highlight a different document or object from the Center’s John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives.

The promotional flyer included in
this article, comes from the Gay
Activists Alliance (GAA) files in
the papers of Philadelphia activist
Tommi Avicolli Mecca. Living and
organizing in San Francisco now,
Tommi’s vast collection helped form
the basis of today’s John J. Wilcox,
Jr. Archives.
The flyer takes the form of an
American flag of 13 red (or is that
magenta?) and white stripes, with
a clenched fist inside conjoining
double male and female signs in
the field traditionally reserved for
the fifty stars.
It proclaims that a demonstration
on July 4th, 1976—the nation’s
Bicentennial—will take place for
“jobs,” “equality,” and “indepen-

dence,” and against “200 years
of gay oppression.” The meeting
place for a march is listed as 8th
and Columbia Street, today’s Cecil
B. Moore Avenue.
Organizers of this event, which was
also called the “Bicentennial Without Gay Oppression,” were part
of a much larger demonstration of
over 130 radical, left-wing, pacifist,
and civil rights groups assembled in
Philadelphia during Independence
Day weekend under the auspices of
the July 4th Coalition.
The Coalition’s aim was to “reinvigorate 200 years of struggle by
Americans against the very forms
of racism, sexism, and exploitation
of working people that are trying to
use the Bicentennial to celebrate

and perpetuate the status quo.”
Among the groups represented
were the American Indian Movement, Philadelphia Friends Peace
Committee, Southern Christian
Leadership Conference, Vietnam
Veterans Against the War, the
Puerto Rican Socialists Party, and
the Black Panthers.
For its part, the Philadelphia GAA
distributed another righteously
indignant leaflet that stated:

On July 4th, [President] Ford and
[Mayor] Rizzo and their friends are
going to tell us about 200 years
of people like Ford and Rizzo
being in power. They are going
to celebrate their brand of freedom. Meanwhile... back in the real
world, the Post [Bar] and [Club]
Baths and other gay bars were
raided and people arrested this
year in Philadelphia, Lesbians were
beaten up and arrested in City
Hall, transvestites and transsexuals
are openly discriminated against
in employment and housing and
routinely harassed in the streets by
police, Lesbian mothers still lose
child custody and sodomy is still
illegal in this and most states.

deomonstrate image

Should we celebrate 200 years of
Months before the demonstration it
came out that the July 4th Coalition
was being investigated by the FBI
at the request of the Department
of Justice. Philadelphia Mayor Rizzo
went so far as to request 15,000
Federal troops, claiming the city
would be a “target for attempts
at disruption and violence by a
substantial coalition of leftists and
radicals.” His request was denied.
Organizers from the July 4th Coalition had hoped to host their march
and rally close to the official Bicentennial celebrations, which included
a parade down Market Street and
a speech by President Gerald Ford

at Independence Mall. But their
request for permits so close to the
official action was denied and they
were forced to hold their events in
North Philadelphia.
Still, the counter action proved to
be a success, perhaps more so than
the official Bicentennial events.
While the city had hoped for 20
to 45 million visitors in 1976, the
dire predictions of overwhelming crowds and an expectation of
violence and even terrorism caused
many Americans to stay away. The
New York Times reported that
only two million tourists turned
out for the official festivities while
over 30,000 attended the counterprotest and the event was peaceful
and orderly.

Your Body, Your Mind
Brian Swope is a Philadelphia-based sex and relationship therapist in private
practice as well a certified yoga instructor.

We live in a world of mixed messages for those of us in the LGBTQI+ community and anything
really that is outside of what is
considered dominant cultural perspective.
Be who you are, but only if it
doesn’t affect my view of you.
What do we take from that? That
we aren’t good enough; that being ourselves is wrong? If our true
self is not lovable, is it any wonder
that self esteem takes a hit or that
depression and anxiety lead so
many people into drug use and
denying themselves a deeper understanding just to be accepted by
another? It becomes a vicious cycle
because we cannot be all things to
all people all the time.

Your body’s a temple, and yet we
are not taught the details of our
body, so that we can take care of
it. The mystery of it is retained for
fear that knowing ourselves better
will lead us to promiscuity, a vague
term that denies us our sexuality
and our own ability to choose.
If the message is that sex (and our
body, in general) is not to be enjoyed too much, then we settle for
less than we are capable of, and for
some people, abuse and misuse.
Is it any wonder that sexual dysfunction so often relates to a basic
misunderstanding of our bodies?
Rather than shaming our “temple,”
we should be honoring and celebrating it and free to explore it.
From tattoos and piercings to

gender bending to gender affirmation surgery, a message of
acceptance over conforming frees
us from shame and provides space
for the histories that have led each
person to the place they are today.
And what better way to honor the
temple than to have it reflect our
true selves?
Even though we are told we are
sexual, sex in health class is at the
whim of politics, where “healthy
sex” is rarely explained or portrayed, and is lacking almost completely when it pertains to those
of us outside the heteronormative

A basic misunderstanding – whether lack of knowledge or outright
falsehoods – makes sex an anxious
and unpleasant experience for people. And words such as “healthy,”
“normal,” and “love” that are part
of the discussion become concepts
that create outsiders, a more insidious concept that pushes too many
people down the path to suicide or
facing hate crimes.
Each of these points is riddled with
shame for so many people, a particularly nasty and difficult feeling
because it prefers isolation, it needs
isolation to exist. Community is just
one strong antidote to shame; it is
about finding acceptance and support.
We have gayborhoods around the
world and the web brings them to
places where such havens are not
safe. Shaming from within our own
community can be even more dan-


gerous and being vigilant against it
a role we all need to play.
Body image can change one of two
ways – you can find acceptance or
you can make changes – but both
of these options require us to be in
the right state of mind to be successful. And they require a good
support group of friends. Another

method of finding acceptance with
ourselves while also making changes includes yoga and mindfulness.
Study after study has shown the
benefits of these practices on the
mind as well as building self esteem and a positive body image.
It is a personal practice, but one
that is done in a community of likeminded people.

1972 - 2016
Bob Skiba, Curator, John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives

In 1970 and 1971, Philadelphia
activists were much too involved
with the first New York Christopher Street Liberation Day
Parades that commemorated the
Stonewall Riots to produce their
own local parade.
In 1972, however, several Philadelphia political activist organizations including the Gay Activists
Alliance, the Homophile Action
League, Radicalesbians and
groups from Penn State and
Temple University came together
to produce their own event.
Philadelphia’s first Gay Pride Parade assembled at Rittenhouse
Square on June 11, 1972, with
rousing speeches by community
leaders Barbara Gittings and

Jerry Curtis. Participants marched
east up Chestnut Street and ended
at Independence Mall with an
open air dance and celebration. In
1973, the parade began with the
rally in Rittenhouse Square, then
headed down Chestnut Street,
wound around City Hall, headed
up the Parkway and ended with a
fair at Eakins Oval in front of the
Art Museum.
For the next few years, the city’s
gay pride parades assembled each
June at Rittenhouse Square and
marched to Independence Mall,
until the last one in 1976, which
only circled down Locust Street as
far as 13th Street and then back to
Rittenhouse Square via Spruce. On
June 17, 1978, the last large Pride
event of the decade would only
include a Gay Pride picnic at the
Belmont Plateau.
For most of the 1980s, Philadelphia’s LGBT community celebrated
each year with programs, talks
and community events, but no

1973 Pride Float

1973 Pride

The Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay
Pride parade was revived on June
18th, 1989, to honor the twentieth
anniversary of Stonewall. Organized
with the Lesbian and Gay Task
Force, the crowd of about 1,000 began at 10th and Spruce Streets and
proceeded west to end in a rally at
JFK Plaza.
City Councilmen Francis W. Rafferty and W. Thatcher Longstreth
expressed disapproval, wondering what those “fairies” had to
be proud of. PLGTF Director Rita
Adessa took the podium to exclaim
“Only we can affirm our beings.

We are here to show them what we
have to be proud of. And it’s us.”
Later that year, encouraged by the
success of the event, community
members formed Lesbian and Gay
Pride of the Delaware Valley. In
1990, they’d produce the first Outfest in the Gayborhood to celebrate
National Coming Out Day.
Through most of the 90s, the parade marched all the way from Rittenhouse Square to Penn’s Landing.

By 1999, the parade route was shortened, beginning at 13th and Locust
in the heart of the Gayborhood and
ending at Penn’s Landing, the route
it takes today.

Lesbian and Gay Pride of the Delaware Valley continues today as Philly
Pride Presents, led by amazing
Executive Director Franny Price and
organizes both Pride Day in June
and Outfest in October.

1994 Pride Day at Penn’s Landing

1972 Pride

Peer Counseling:
We’re Here
Nicholas Chuva Plagge, WWCC Volunteer

Peer Counseling honors the confidentiality of those who come to the Center
to receive a kind and open ear. For that reason, we have removed the names
from the two referenced stories.

There are a lot of reasons someone in
need decides to take the important
step of reaching out for help. At the
Center’s Peer Counseling program,
our dedicated and caring counselors
help people almost every day of the
week. We like to say “We’re Here”
– and we are, assisting clients with
issues ranging all the way from how
to get more involved in the community to more delicate concerns about
suicide and domestic abuse.
For many Peer Counseling clients,
our hotline or office at The Center
is the first call or visit they make on
their journey toward seeking help.
We’re proud as counselors to be

the touchstone for clients who,
for either themselves or often for
people they care about, come to a
peer counselor to take that sometimes difficult first step. No issue
or concern is too big or too small.
Some clients just need a sympathetic ear, like Client S, who called
to speak to a counselor about
what they thought to be fraying
relationships with their friends.
Client S talked through, with their
counselor, some ways to help
mend those relationships, and was
given by their counselor helpful resources in Philadelphia that
might help Client S develop some
new friendships with like-minded
people sharing activities and interests.

Other clients have a friend or loved
one who prompts a call. Client A is
the mother of a 16-year old son who
she recently found out was struggling with their gender identity. As
a loving parent, Client A wanted to
be sure that she was able, to the
best of her ability, to understand
what her son was feeling and experiencing.
Because Client A called, she
learned about resources for both
her son and herself, like PFLAG, and
she was given names of specialized therapists that are known to
the Center to be LGBTQI+ friendly.
Incidentally, many of our peer

counselor volunteers have studied
transgender issues extensively,
and counselors have seen a sharp
increase in calls relating to gender identity thanks to increasingly
more visible trans* activists and role
Sometimes, a client wants to share
good news, or an upswing in their
initial situations. For calls or visits
like these, Peer Counseling’s volunteers are here to provide support,
encouragement, and a real, caring
voice on the other end of the line.
Though different, each call or
visit to Peer Counseling, like those

above, have at least one thing in common. Each client finally decided to
trust another person to move closer to solving a problem in their lives.
And each time, our peer counselors have been there to make sure that the
initial spark of motivation for a client to get the help they need isn’t easily

If you or someone you know might
have an issue that they’re struggling
with, don’t let them or yourself struggle
alone. At the Peer Counseling program,
we’re here. Help us spread the word
and continue to help as many people as

Peer Counseling Services:
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM






I visited Copenhagen this past April
with my partner who was presenting at
a seminar about the care and conservation of manuscripts. She is infinitely
smarter than I am and fortunately
bends my ear about her work - she
coordinates digitization projects of
rare books and manuscripts. She is in
the business of duplicating materials
and in many cases, making them open
and available online to researchers,
students, scholars, artists, and the like.
She works at an institution that has a
budget much larger than the WWCC,
but still, when I hear her speak about
the work that she does and the questions that come up about the care and
vision for their collections, I can’t help
but reflect upon how far the Center’s
own archival collection of rare and precious materials has come this past year
and a half. We’ve laid a strong collections management foundation, are
creating a new and improved physical
repository, and will begin work on a
vision and strategy that will help guide
the collection for years to come.
In the Fall of 2014 with funding support from the William Penn Foundation, the Center welcomed two new
staff members, John Anderies, archivist, and Bob Skiba, curator, to be the

archives shelves

first paid staff members overseeing
the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives.
The impact they have had since that
time is tremendous. From re-housing the materials in the collection to
better preserving them, to creating
a new Center program called Archives in the Classroom which visits
local schools to talk about LGBTQI+
rights from the 1960s on, welcoming in new collections such as the
graphics collection from the AIDS
Library in Philadelphia, and so much
I cannot say it enough, we are so

very fortunate to have such dedicated, creative, and knowledgeable
staff overseeing the collections and
taking them to the next level of care
and accessibility.
This past year also welcomed another much needed addition to the
Center’s roster of thought partners:
the formation of a professional advisory committee, which makes recommendations to the Archives staff
on policy, management, visioning,
grants prospecting, and so much
more. Members of that committee
bring expertise in the areas of

collections management and care,
digitization, policy creation and archival standards, art collection, etc.
Since they have been meeting, the
Center has adopted a Collections
Management Policy, an Access
Policy, a Collections Development
Policy, and an Exhibition Policy all
of which create a truly strong foundation to continue to protect and
grow the collection and provide
open access.
None of this work could have happened without the Center’s primary partner for the William Penn
Foundation grant, The Conservation Center for Art and Historic
Artifacts. They are one of the largest and most prominent non-profit
conservation centers in the country
and they have been working handin-hand with the Center providing
much needed advisement and
conservation treatment for the collections.

The foundation of the collections
aren’t strictly about the management of the collection but also
about the physical condition of the
Center’s repository. Big changes
are coming to the Center’s third
floor! We are doubling the size of
the archives space and demolition
has already begun. In April we
welcomed volunteers from PECO
who tirelessly hauled so much of
the demolition material, that we
filled a 30 yard dumpster. Currently I am forming a team which
includes architects, designers, and
archives professionals to begin
phase two.
The collections will live in a more
environmentally stable room, we
will expand research and processing space, and we will create a
space specifically designed to
house the Center’s large permanent art collection. It will be a truly
exciting and long overdue renovation highlighting how much of a

priority the collections are to the
Center and its mission.
With these accomplishments and
goals in place, we are beginning
the exciting work of imaging both
short-term and long-term strategies to guide the collection into
the future and ensure we have the
resources to continue to grow.
We will install an archival management system that will help keep
better intellectual control of the collections, continue to create policies
and procedures for the collection,
build upon the dynamic programming opportunities to interpret the
collections in creative ways, and
this Spring, the archives staff will

archives demo

work with The Conservation Center
to survey the collections and develop a digitization plan.
We end the William Penn grant
work in the Fall of 2017, about a
year and a half from now. With all
that has been accomplished so far,
you can imagine the year to come
will be a busy one and exponentially exciting.
Questions or feedback about this
project can be made to Candice
Thompson, Chief Operating Officer

Our Community Partners
Thank you to all of the Philadelphia organizations that offer generous
discounts to members of the William Way LGBT Community Center.
You make the work of the Center possible 365 days a year.
Members of the Center receive discounts at the following venues
when they present a valid WWCC membership card. If you would like
to partner with the Center as a member, visit
membership/ or call the Center at 215/732.2220.
If you would like to become a community partner of the Center, please
email or call the Center.

12th Street Gym
204 S. 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
1 Year Gym Membership for
$349 with No Initiation Fee
(normally $99) and 1 week Free

Almeida’s Floral Designs
1200 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
15% off total purcahse.

Baum’s Dancewear
1805 E. Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
10% total purchase. Excludes
previously discounted items.
Big Gay Ice Cream
1351 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
10%off purchase. Only Valid for
one purchase a day.
CultureWorks Greater
Philadelphia Co-working Space
The Philadelphia Buidling
1315 Walnut Street Suite 320
Philadelphia, PA 19107
10% off Flex, Light and Full Coworking membership for up to
three months. Months do not
need to be consecutive. WWCC
members receive another 3
months when they renew their
WWCC membership each year.

Danny’s Midnight Confessions
133 S. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
10% off total purcahse. Excludes
previously discounted items
Eye Candy Vision
218 S. 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
30% off eye exam and purchase.
Not combinable with insurance
or other discounts
Fat Jack’s Comicrypt
2006 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
15% off total purchase. Exludes
previously discounted items.


Jack Barry Group Keller Williams

1225 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

1619 Walnut St, 5th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

10% off total purchase. Cannot not
be combined with other discounts,
including Groupon and gfitcards.
Cannot be used for catering orders.

Up to $1,000 commission rebate
for each closed transaction. Rebate can be donated to the William Way Center, fully or in part, in
an amount of the member’s choosing. Contact Jack Barry for details;
Certain exclusions apply.

H.H. Tapper Associates, Inc.
118 S. 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
10% off of an interior design consultation.
Happily Ever After
1010 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
15% off total purcahse. Can not be
used on consignment works or gift
certificates. Cannot be combined
with other sales or specials.

Jake’s Sandwich Board
122 South 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
20% Total purchase and, $5 BuildYour-Own Pork Mondays
Keller Williams, Center City,
Bryan Byers Group
1619 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
WWCC Members will see their
broker service fee donated to the
Center, courtesy of Brian K. Byers.
Contact Brian for purchase. Only Valid for one purchase
a day.

Lion’s Mane Salon
1113 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
10% for all cosmetology services.
Not good for products, cannot
be combined with gift certificates.
M Restaurant and
the Morris House Hotel
231 S 8th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
10% off total purchase when
presenting a valid WWCC membership card
Metro Men’s Clothing
1600 E. Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
15% off total purchase

Millésimé & Ligne Roset
Old City Philadelphia
33 North 2nd Street Phila PA
Philadelphia, PA 19106
15% discount on purchases over
$500.00 Purchase
Optimal Gym
325 Bainbridge St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
No enrollment fee. Receive a
complete fitness assessment
and 4 weeks of unlimited group
personal training
Optimal Sport Health Club
1315 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
No enrollment fee. Receive a
complete fitness assessment
and 4 weeks of unlimited group
personal training

Square One Coffee

Pure Fare
119 S. 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

249 S. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
10% of total purchase. Valid for
one discount per visit, 7 days a purchase. Only Valid for
one purchase a day.

10% off total purchase.

Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar

Smokin’ Betty’s

200 S. 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

116 S. 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
10% off purcahse. Cannont be
combined with other specials.
Snapdragon Flowers
5015 Baltimore Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
5% of total purchase, and 10%
off Wedding and Event arrangements, excluding major holidays
and the November - February
slow season.

10% off food purchase. Not good
for any alcohol.
The Velvet Lily
1040 N. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
1.7 oz hypo-allergenic lube with a
$50 purchase.

1201 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
10% of total purchase. Valid
Monday through Friday for
Lunch and Dinner, Saturday
and Sunday for Dinner. Limit
one per visit. Can not be combined with other coupons or
West Philly Community
4636 Woodland Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143
$10 treatments for WWCC
Members with a valid WWCC
membership card

202 s. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
$5.00 off door cover, excluding special events. Must show
a valid WWCC membership
card to receive discount.
Yards Brewing Company
901 N. Delaware Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
20% off total purchase.

Chris Bartlett
Executive Director
Candice Thompson
Chief Operating Officer
Avis Abaladejo
Director of Facilities
R. Eric Thomas
Director of Programs
Will Jordan
John Anderies
Eric Bunting
Facilities Assistant
Jim Crouch
Maintenance Technician
Ed Miller
Senior Programs Coordinator
Jason Peno
Development Associate
Steve Serafin
Peer Counseling Coordinator
Marshall Siegel
Front Desk Coordinator
Bob Skiba,

Board of Directors

Laurien Ward, Co-Chair
Paul Steinke, Co-Chair
Steve Brando, Secretary
Anh Dang, Treasurer
Board Members
Chad Bundrock
Marc Coleman
Chris Durr
Anna Garrett
John Loesch
Robert Lenahan
Meg Rider
Jose Sabalbaro
Leona Thomas

1315 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107