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Sounds perfect Wahhhh, I don’t wanna

for the past few months, several community members and groups, including gran varones, have been demanding that the philly queer community and those in leadership positions address the gayborhood’s covert racism and pervasive anti-blackness. but we have been met with not just resistance but with more anti-blackness.

just a week ago the philadelphia’s director of lgbtq affairs was quoted saying “I believe that Gayborhood business owners genuinely want to address the community’s concerns and to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome.” the foundation of this statement was violent because it communicated that we were making shit up and that if we somehow believe - just believe in the “goodwill” of gay business owners - things will get “better.”

she also mentioned that the office of lgbtq affairs was working with philly black pride on a four point action plan. i have to note that a member of philly pride stated that gran varones and black & brown led efforts were not doing work that is “transformative” in addressing the systematic anti-blackness in the gayboyhood. this was stated when we, along with other folks stated they we were not interested in working with or centering white allies. we experience the statement as an attack. for an established and funded project like philly black pride to minimize the work of grassroots and non-funded efforts like gran varones and the Black & Brown Workers Collective it hella violent. especially when icandy and their shady “no-timbs” policy. but i digress. back to the reason i started this post.

early this morning, a lovely angel posted a video of the owner of icandy, a gay club frequented by black and brown queer folks, repeating the “n” word and laughing. stating at all we want are free drink tickets. chyle! even the person he was talking to in the video gagged. at the end of the video, you hear the person say “oh my god.” i imagined he clutched his pearls.

so after being told that we were creating trouble, we now have receipts! and this receipt is one that comes with coupons, honey! while a sex tape can jumpstart a career - a racist tape still has the power to destroy one.

the owner has posted an “apology” confirming that it is his voice. read below.


the response has been swift with the black & brown workers collective protesting in front of iCandy earlier this evening calling for a boycott as well as demanding the LGBTQ community and leaders address this issue and the anti-blackness that continues to erode philly’s queer community. during the protest, the BBWC passed out “free drink” tickets to people walking into iCandy. 

to all black and brown queers challenging the anti-blackness and transphobia in gayborhood all around the country - we salute you and we believe you!

thegranvarones granvarones liberation racism queer gay lgbtq philadelphia gayborhood anti-blackness latino latnix



I write this to all varones involved in and impacted by the two violent fights that took place in Philly’sGayborhood on March 11th and March 12th.

I wanted to address this issue because I understand that our silence means more violence. We may not hang out or even be friends on Facebook but our mere existence, the community we are inherently a part of, is what connects us. We have all walked the streets of North Philly either ready to fight or purposely falling deaf whenever we heard the word faggot. We have all had to become harder to protect our hearts, our mental health, our humanity and ourselves. This is what binds us. This is what now threatens to tear us a part.

It would be dishonest for me to say that I was anything less than horrified by the details of the violence that occurred. I would be lying if I said that I did not immediately and involuntarily choose a side by making someone right and someone wrong, a coping mechanism to explain the continued cycle of violence. But then I remember what my aunt Janet once told me, “People find power in the strangest places.” Her words echo through me, making sense of something senseless. On last Wednesday and Thursday night, a few found power in creating physical pain and watching rivers of blood flow.  

Choosing sides does a disservice to the process of revealing the truth behind heartbreaking events like this. I am committed to not choosing sides because I know it is a set up. We, Latino gay/queer* men are set up to hate those who look and sound like us. We are socialized to be angry all of the time.  I get it, survival of the fittest. You can cry, but fists must fly either before or after the massacre. I get it. We are sending a message.

No one will ever make us feel dumb again. No one will ever make us look stupid and if they do, then they must pay for every time someone made you feel less than human. I know, I have been there and even now I sometimes just want to rage and set the world ablaze when someone attempts to make it even more difficult to be a Latino gay man. But I don’t and Lord knows it requires so much faith in the beauty of the world that prevents me from starting that fire.

I wish we had as much courage to fight oppression, as we have to fight each other. I wish we knew that the presence of another gran varones’ magic is not the absence of our own. I wish we could remember that the pain of feeling ugly, dumb, fat and invisible is not an isolated feeling. I wish we knew that we are all fighting our own battles daily. I wish we knew that we are all enough and beautiful as we are.

I hope these recent or any violent event does not make you even harder. I hope that this does not dim any of the light that you provide the universe. It is our duty to stand with, by and for each other. Violence and anger will not sustain us. It cannot. It will not protect us from all that is working against us.

With this letter I am asking you to summon the courage to love yourself and each other harder. We must occupy this void. We must be willing to build a castle TOGETHER with all the bricks that society alone throws at us. Our survival requires no less. Until we recognize the beauty and wonder in each other as gran varones, we will always struggle with finding it in ourselves.

In love, community and solidarity,

Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca

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