10.14.16 / v.10 – i.22 It’s On The Qt!
In Support of Nellie Fitzpatrick
This week I take a moment to add my name to this community letter of support for the Office of LGBT Affairs.
Following the untimely death of Gloria Casarez, Mayor Michael Nutter appointed Nellie Fitzpatrick as the Director of The Office of LGBT Affairs to provide services and information to LGBTQ people through outreach and public education. As the only member of that office, Nellie Fitzpatrick was charged to advise Mayor Nutter and Philadelphia City government on the needs of LGBTQ residents and support LGBT policy development and implementation, community outreach, public education, and capacity building. The office aimed to further develop deep and meaningful relationships with a diverse representation of the LGBTQ community and allies throughout the city. The office has focused on the intersections of LGBTQ identity and race, color, national origin, immigration status, ability, socioeconomic status, age, and/or religion. The office has organized, grown, and helped to build communities, fought for those who were marginalized and/or stigmatized, fostered safety, demanded accountability, and pushed for true equality.
In November 2015, the electorate of Philadelphia voted to make the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs a permanent part of the city government. This was a groundbreaking step in the United States as no other city has such an office. This event was characteristic of how Philadelphia has been leading the field of LGBTQ equality. The first individual to hold the position of permanent Director of LGBT Affairs was Nellie Fitzpatrick, who came from the Philadelphia DA’s office. There, she earned a reputation for being a tenacious prosecutor in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit and the department’s LGBT liaison. She prosecuted rape, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and child abuse (physical and sexual) cases. After taking over The Office of LGBT Affairs from the much-loved Gloria Casarez, Ms. Fitzpatrick’s achievements have been nothing short of extraordinary.
Philadelphia has emerged as a national leader for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender law and policy. Recognizing that institutionalizing the work of the Office of LGBT Affairs was critical to the progress of LGBTQ civil rights throughout the city of Philadelphia, Ms. Fitzpatrick has led the effort to amend the City of Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter through a ballot question designed to make the Office of LGBT Affairs permanent.Arguably,
this bold leadership and effective advocacy under the guidance of Mayor Nutter and Fitzpatrick has further led to recognizing and cementing Philadelphia’s historic leadership in advancing the rights and expanding the legitimate role of the LGBTQ Community. The Office of LGBT Affairs has thoughtfully challenged the status quo to tackle the real issues of equality, respect and community problem solving for its members.
Let us examine Ms. Fitzpatrick’s leadership in the Office of LGBT Affairs. Voters and taxpayers have a right to know what has been accomplished:
- Ms. Fitzpatrick has advocated for funding for The LGBTQ Home for Hope, which provides the City’s first safe and secure living space for the homeless LGBT community.
- At a time when nationally, we have witnessed a break down in community/police communications, Ms. Fitzpatrick has defied that trend by working closely with the Philadelphia Police Department to foster mutual respect and understanding between police and the LGBT community.
- Together with Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, Ms. Fitzpatrick was the driving force in the development of Directive 152, which provides guidelines for appropriate police interactions with trans* individuals, as has been publicly documented in myriad media accounts and stories.
- Ms. Fitzpatrick, together with the LGBT liaison committee, has supplemented new cadet training at the Police Academy on Directive 152, hate and bias crime, and LGBTQ issues and awareness.
- In recognition of her pioneering work in police training, Ms. Fitzpatrick was approved as a civilian trainer for the Department of Justice to improve transgender competency among law enforcement professionals.
- Ms. Fitzpatrick was responsible for the first ever transgender pride flag flying at City Hall.
- Ms. Fitzpatrick acts as an LGBT Victims Advocate of the Center City Crime Victim Services of Philadelphia which prohibits discriminatory conduct
- Ms. Fitzpatrick helped create and author the International Transgender Day of Visibility Proclamation and speaks each year at the City’s Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial.
- Ms. Fitzpatrick worked with her city colleagues in issuing a City ban on travel for city employees on official business to North Carolina and Mississippi due to those states’ anti-LGBT legislation.
- Ms. Fitzpatrick co-authored the City’s first Bisexual Visibility Proclamation
- Ms. Fitzpatrick created The Gotta Go! Guide, an interactive, Google Maps-based guide to gender-neutral bathrooms across the city. The Gotta Go! Guide helps trans and gender non-conforming folk locate a bathroom they can use without fear or anxiety of gender policing or violence.
- Ms. Fitzpatrick, with others, shepherded legislation requiring all single-stall bathrooms in Philadelphia to be gender-neutral, through Philadelphia’s City Council.
- Ms. Fitzpatrick has been a champion of The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium’s Transgender Support Group, the first and only support group of its kind throughout Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. She has been supportive in TPAC’s efforts to continue to expand services to the trans community, with particular focus on Transgender women of color and including immigrant trans communities.
The above list is by no means an exhaustive one. It just provides some of many highlights of accomplishments the Office of LGBT Affairs has achieved since Nellie Fitzpatrick has held the office.
It is hard to think of an agency that Nellie has not personally visited to gain a professional understanding and insight into the needs of the LGBT community. Ms. Fitzpatrick is not only professionally competent but personally filled with care and concern. Her active advocacy has extended her effective work outward from Philadelphia to State agencies, Federal entities and to neighboring states. Nellie has effectively brought change on behalf of the transgender community, who often remain an afterthought even among the “activists” in the LGBT community. She has maintained vigilance over the police and the press and extended her condolences to members of the community touched by violence and discrimination. She has been present at the memorial services of every trans woman of color lost in the city and available to lend much needed support to family, friends and caregivers.
During the controversial and contentious time, we are experiencing recently in the LGBT communities, it is important that we as members of the General Community speak up and speak out, loud and clear to thank you and bear witness of our unified support on behalf of Ms. Fitzpatrick and The Office of LGBT Affairs. Nellie, all of us thank you for your unwavering advocacy, accountability and accessibility to our community.
In closing, this is not about one person or one government office. It is clear that there is a lot of hard work ahead for all of us. Hopefully, we can dialogue together so that we can help to galvanize and mobilize the community to work to end racism in our midst as well as continuing our fight against transphobia, homophobia, sexism, classism, ableism and xenophobia.
What It Looks Like From Here
Gay men being friends with straight men. Straight men being friends with gay men.
Maybe the mixed duo even live together-as roommates-with their separate beds and bedrooms. If they’re into sports, maybe they play on the same team, athletic, that is. Or they knock down a few drinks at a bar, sometimes actually a gay bar, where even many heterosexual women hang out. You think it’s possible?
Well, leave it to the venerable The New York Times, a keen observer of cultural trends, recently published an article, “The Rise of the ‘Bromosexual’ Friendship” by Jim Farber discussing perhaps “one of the most exciting new cultural phenomenon” as already easily detected as “represented in the arts” and “as demonstrated in life.”
Farber’s newspaper articles literally created quite a buzz in countless media outlets and, putting it mildly, a tailspin among social media, both gay and heterosexual.
“That kind of easy relationship would not be credible to a broad audience 10 years ago,” said Irish author Jarlath Gregory, 38, who is gay. discussing a “brotherly friendship” at the center of his new novel The Organised Criminal.
“That kind of easy relationship would not be credible to a broad audience 10 years ago,” said Mr. Gregory, 38, who is gay.
“One of the things my publisher liked about my book was that this friendship was something we haven’t seen much before,” he told Farber.
“Obviously, there have always been friendships between gay men and straight men,” wrote Farber, “but only recently have they become more prominently, and comfortably, represented in TV shows, movies, books, and blogs.”
To strengthen his argument, Farber cites, as the perfect example of “bromosexual friendship,” as he interprets it, the first season of Scream Queens in which Nick Jonas played a gay frat boy whose best friends with a heterosexual fraternity brother.
Other such examples of “bromosexual friendship” that Farber makes reference to the overtly out friendship between Reza Farahan and Mike Shouhed in Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset.
A recent promotional ad for the show “finds two of its male stars lazing on lounge chairs at the beach. Amid a scene of scantily clad sun worshipers, the best friends Reza Farahan and Mike Shouhed gaze at different objects of desire: Mr. Farahan at musclebound guys, Mr. Shouhed at voluptuous women,” described Farber, “Their distinct lusts, which may have alienated gay and straight men from each other in the past, inspire the ultimate gesture of fraternal connection: a fist bump.”
“Mike and I are so similar,” Mr. Farahan said. “He has been a womanizer and I’ve been a player. In the ad, we’re having a moment, and it’s the same moment. The only difference is that I’m looking at men and he’s looking at women.”
Even, in real life, Farber mentions talk show host out Andy Cohen‘s “buddyship” with “ladies’ man” entertainer John Mayer.
“Friendships with straight men can be very healing,” said Michael LaSala, author of Coming Out, Coming Home: Helping Families Adjust to a Gay or Lesbian Child.
For that reason, gay men have traditionally not felt comfortable in these relationships. When you experience a close friendship with a heterosexual guy and that person is very accepting, it’s a balm for some old wounds.”
“I’m happy that I get to live around people who have a different life experience than I do, and I’m happy that they get to be around me,” says Ben Moss, a 25-year-old heterosexual man. “A homogeneous experience in friendships isn’t good for anyone.”
I have one question about “bromosexual friendship.” Is this just a trendy phrase that we all know about the age-old “male bonding” we all know, experience and love? Or has the world changed that much?
Fashion on the Qt!
Now that W has been reformatted, the magazine has really enhanced the publication in a variety of ways from graphic design to content, and that they would literally outdo themselves with a special double issue this month with a separate M devoted exclusively to men’s fashion.
There’s a debate about the influence of celebrities and who, during this election cycle, they are endorsing as their candidate, makes any significant impact about the American consciousness, discussion, and, ultimately, who the American public vote because of this or that “name” endorsement.
In turning to the fashion world, there’s a similar trend lately, greater than ever, it seems to us, of branding celebrities, actors, artists, musicians, writers, athletes, with men’s clothing lines. But, again, we wonder how much influence their endorsement of a particular brand motivates consumers to purchase items for their personal wardrobe.
It’s a marketing ploy. Whether it works or not is for the company executives to be concerned. Still, it’s certainly interesting and entertaining.
Let’s start with a short list but there’s Eddie Redmayne looking good wearing PRADA; Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, Frank Ocean, Keith Ape, Bella Hadid, James Rodriguez and Kate Moss, showing off for, “in #mycalvins” Calvin Klein Collection for his new campaign; James Jagger for Jimmy Choo’s debut into designing men’s wear; Jack Hudson introducing TOD’S; Matthew Beard for PRAVA; Andrew Lauren for Ralph Lauren, unusual for the brand; Kirk Hammett of Metallica for Brioni; Boyd Holbrook introducing The Modern Icons Collection for FRYE; David Hart for his own designs for Hart, Schaffner, Mark; A$AP Rocky for DIOR, featured in a stunning fire engine red full-length wool overcoat; Michael Straahan “M” Collection for JCPenney; Howie Long introducing Skechers Wide Fit.
What’s trending in men’s fashion for fall and winter?
PRADA is featuring an overt military-inspired collection with an upgraded fashion twist, with the “seaworthy peacoat” as it’s slate to the US Navy, complete with “cropped sailor shorts” and “formidable admiral coats.”
Easy but still dressed up, and inspired by Richard Gere in the cult classic film, American Gigolo, is what fashion editors in M observed: “The ongoing influence of casual dressing has led to a looser fit in suits. Yet designers proved there is a way to look elegant and relaxed at the same time. Try a monochromatic double-breasted suit with classic sneakers.”
Just the opposite, they suggest, is “The counterpoint to relaxed tailoring is a ’60s-inspired look that’s guaranteed to turn heads. The key to pulling off boldly patterned trim suits is to exercise restraint everywhere else: Pair them with a simple black turtleneck and classic monk-strapped oxfords.”
While we’ve lost David Bowie, one of his fashion statements and periods was Glam. It’s back. The M editors write: “Among rocker styles’ many incarnations, the best were arguably in the late ’60s and early 70s, when musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger flaunted glamorous, androgynous flair. Thankfully, Saint Laurent and Roberto Cavalli are keeping that spirit alive.”
In honor of both National Lesbian and Gay History Month and National Coming Out Day, both observed and celebrated each year in October, this weekly column in Qt for the past 10 years will look back at what some now out celebrities and our allies had to say in 2001, about themselves, their sexual orientation, AIDS, civil rights, the LGBTQ community in USA that appeared in print in Celebrity: The Advocate Interviews, mostly conducted and edited by Judy Wieder.
Popular, out, sexy, multi-talented but at times scandal-ridden British entertainer George Michael is a strong advocate of monogamy but he’s the first to honestly admit that he enjoys casual sex, too, and therefore, “I’ve failed dismally” at it. Recalling the AIDS pandemic, Michael said: “It was when Andrew and I first did personal appearances, and we’d go to five and six clubs a night. We went to straight and gay clubs. Andrew and I didn’t realize how homoerotic our image was. We had leather jackets; we had these cuffed jeans. We just thought it was cool. Andrew was the stylist-ironic that it was the straight one that was doing the styling! We did a benefit when the producer for Sylvester died. He was one of the first music industry cases. I remember everyone saying, ‘It’s like a cancer thing that started in New York, and people say only gay people die of it.’ When I remember conversations like that, it makes my blood turn cold. . .Immediately, AIDS helped along my self-discovery. The occasional times that I’d invite a man home. I was very careful. There was no way I was having sex without a condom, and there were only certain things I would do. Then I got it to the stage where AIDS became common enough that I thought I could no longer with good conscience-condom or not-have sex with a woman if she didn’t know that I was bisexual. . .But gay and straight people look at me with suspicion when I say, ‘I’m bisexual.’ They want me to be one or the another. I still have the impression when I’m talking to gay men about my earlier life that they want to believe it was bullshit, that I was always gay.”
Canadian international entertainer Rufus Wainwright has come a long way in his career, his incredible, original talent, and bettering himself, after various problems with addictions, as a good human being. That also means Wainwright can assume the responsibility of role model, something that’s become exceedingly of personal importance to him as he genuinely cares about queer youth, homelessness, addictions and suicide. Back in 2001, the then-27-year-old spoke frankly to Dallas Voice about his coming out, and feeling that for him it really wasn’t a choice: “I’m very gay and outward about my emotions and feelings towards people. And I’m a terrible liar. When I do lie, I just turn beet-red. I don’t really have the energy to support some sort of fake life. I think there’s a responsibility in being some sort of role model, in being honest.” But he admits that the actual act of “coming out” was initially difficult and took some doing on Wainwright’s part. “When I was around 11, my dad [Loudon Wainwright III] and I were driving in the car, and he turned to me and said, ‘So, are you gay or what?’ I told him that I wasn’t, But, at that point. I knew I was. It certainly was a loaded question. He was always very easy with it.”
Michelangelo Signorile, has had a career spanning several decades and has gone way beyond the topic of outing and coming out, now editor-at-large for Queer Voices at Huffington Post and now an author of a pile of books on various subjects related to the LGBTQ community. As far back as 1997( , Signorile wrote in “Life Outside” about the whole gender issue of masculinity. It’s interesting to grab a bit of our history while also noting how much of what was then is still relevant and true today. “The modern gay ghettos served in the 1970s as refuges for gay people, places where gay men could explore their new found sexual liberation shortly after Stonewall and create the kinds of bonds with other men that were previously denied them. For a great many gay men during that time, gay life centered around bar and nightlife culture, including baths, sex clubs, and all-night dance palaces, many of which-though not all-catered to primarily white, middle-class gay men with money to spend. Recreational drug use was for many the norm, considered part of the new liberating climate and a way of overthrowing the repression of previous years. After many years of being stigmatized and stereotyped as effeminate and as less than manly, many of these white, middle-class gay men also proudly and enthusiastically conformed to an idealized version of physical manhood-muscles, mustaches, and tight jeans-that had rapidly evolved within these urban gay circles. The cultural influence of this decidedly hypermasculine “clone” aesthetic went out to the far reaches of the gay male world, beyond the urban ghetto and beyond the cities themselves.”
James Duggan Thom Cardwell
John Adam Di Pietro Michael Feighan
David Schellenberg Matthew Paterno
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