Articles for the Month of October 2014

Gloria Casarez, Gone Too Soon.

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Gloria Casarez, appointed Philadelphia’s first director of the city’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs in 2008, passed away this weekend after a long hard battle with cancer. She was 42.

Following Casarez’s appointment as the head of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, she was the driving force in establishing the Mayor’s Advisory Board on LGBT Affairs.

Casarez’s helped to shape the future of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights and policy throughout the city. She worked tirelessly from inside the walls of City Hall and on the streets of Philadelphia. Casarez was a founding member of housing rights organization Empty the Shelters before becoming a coordinator for the LGBT Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before her time at City Hall, Casarez was executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI) in Philadelphia for nearly a decade, beginning in 1999.

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Monday afternoon, Mayor Michael Nutter on behalf of the Administration honored Casarez with an emotional flag-lowering ceremony at City Hall.

“Gloria was a fun, serious, strong and kind person who always wanted to do more for others and who fought for equality of rights for all people,” Nutter offered in the statement. “She was a clear, strong voice to the LGBTQcommunity in Philadelphia and across America.”

Philly OutFest 2014

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Philly OutFest 2014 is still one of the hottest rainbow tickets in town. And it’s Free!
Once a year during the ides of October, just as leaves begin to turn welcoming the fall season, Philly puts on a block party fit for kings and queens.

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The Gayborhood overflowed with music, glitter, rainbows and an abundance of pride as Philly OutFest 2014 pumped up the volume. DJ’s blasted music from every corner as people danced in the streets. However, there wasn’t just dancing. Performers sang and entertained the crowd and community organizations whose missions are to support the LGBTQI community such a the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF), The Attic a Youth a Center and COMHAR reached out to LGBTQI festival goers to provide information and support.

COMHAR employee

COMHAR Employee

Everyone was welcome and throughout the day the crowd grew thousands thick. It appeared everyone had come out to celebrate. Midway through the day, The party spilled out from Tabu along 12th street, between Locust and Walnut streets, just in time to remind the crowd dancing is essential to celebrating gay pride.

Dancing festival goers

Dancing festival goers

If nibbling on some tasty treats is more you speed, vendors lined the streets offering up rainbow trinkets and delights from classic festival foods hotdogs, burgers, falafel to food truck treasures.

Shane Rubin, Temple Student.

Shane Rubin, Temple Student.

Shane Rubin, a local Temple University student, was bursting with Pride when I spoke to her at OutFest. Rubin said,”It’s an amazing experience. It’s a place where you feel love and see people with awesome hair!”

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Last year, the 2013 Philly OutFest had a large turnout, and this year may have been even larger. If this year’s event is any indication of next year, 2015 will most likely be a blowout.

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The U.S. Military & Temple Students Fight Against Sexual Assault

Female Cadet & Temple Student reads empowering statements on t-shirts written by fellow students.

University and college campuses have served as purveyors of change & political progress for decades. Now, the American Armed Forces and University campuses combine forces in fighting a common enemy, a staggering rate of sexual assault standing at 18 percent to date. In response to the growing concern of sexual assault within the ranks of the United States Military, as well as on hundreds of college campuses across the country, Temple University’s Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) members, are working to provide resources to support victims of sexual assault by creating a network of platforms to ultimately stop the violence.

Alexander Lassoff, ROTC cadet and Temple Student says,”The Army and University entities are taking a stand against Rape, sexual harassment and assault,” by forming SHARP(Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention) and enacting a zero tolerance policy to work alongside University a Wellness Centers to increase support for students and cadets alike.

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As part of awareness, the Temple University ROTC, The Wellness Center and other university student agencies are out and about on campus for The Clothesline Project. On Wednesday, October 8th through October 10th they will be encouraging students to speak out against violence by painting t-shirts with statements of empowerment while offering information on how to prevent and seek help against abuse.

Male and female Temple ROTC cadets work together to fight sexual assault on campus and in the military.

Male and female Temple ROTC cadets work together to fight sexual assault on campus and in the military.

ROTC Cadet, Alexander Lassoff, added the U.S. Army is mandating that all commanding officers down to cadets be trained on how to “compassionately and appropriately deal with all types of assault in the Military from Rape, domestic violence to child abuse.” As thousands of complaints of the U.S. Military commanders neglecting assault victims mounted in the past, the Military vows to support all victims of violence within their ranks and to keep their fellow soldiers safe.

For more information please got to www.PreventSexualAssault.army.mil or call their hotline at 1-877-995-5247.