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See, that’s what the app is perfect for.

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!

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in 1997, i found myself at my first philly pride event when a tall handsome and bearded white man approached me with a pen and clipboard. i remember rolling my eyes; i didn’t want to sign another petition for some cause that did not directly impact my life as teen. i was polite though and entertained him by letting him give me his spiel about gay marriage, which is what it was called in the 90’s. when he was done, i immediately responded with, “well, i don’t believe in marriage”. he didn’t flinch. he nodded his head and replied, “well do you believe in choice?” i paused then signed the petition. of course i believe in choice, i did then i do now. it was that one interaction however that would challenge me to explore my thoughts and beliefs about marriage. it was that moment, with that handsome, bearded white man i asked myself, were my beliefs independently mine or those influenced by systematic homophobia?

growing up no one ever directly told me i would never be “allowed” to get married. i assumed by just existing and breathing that the kind of love i dreamt about could only be expressed through sharing monthly utility bills and other such grown up type responsibilities. i unconsciously surrendered to that notion. loving myself and loving another brown man was political enough for me and my mother, who up until her last breath, taught me, told me and reminded me that my kind of love always mattered. so marriage was not something i reached for. 


twenty years later, on june 26th, 2015, the supreme court of the united states of america ruled that i now have the right to marry. this is a historically huge step forward for the community i have identified with since childhood. this is worth celebrating and we should, i will, i am. young queer kids can now grow up dreaming of expressing their love and commitment to other queers the same way my straight peers can. no longer will law stop this life altering expression of love.  this ruling will serve as yet another reminder of our existence in this society. how we love and who we love matters because we are citizens of this country and deserve equal rights.

as i celebrate this historic ruling, and I DO because it now provides my son an other youth with new possibilities of what love can do. however, i caution myself with the words of gran varòn orlando gonzalez, “… if we have money to paint rainbows on cross walks, then we can certainly find money to house queer youth who sleep on those crosswalks.” i would add, “the will”, to house all the black and brown queer youth who sleep on those crosswalks. the mainstream lgbtq civil rights community must do more with regards to lgbtq communities who continue to be crushed by systematic oppression. some of us do not have the luxury of celebrating this historic moment because they are being held in immigrant detention centers. some of us are not celebrating because we’re worrying about we’re to sleep on the night of such a monumental decision by the supreme court of the united states of america; and some of us will never be welcomed to celebratory parties because of the shade of their skin and/or their gender expression.

all those who worked so tirelessly for a chance at being recognized by our government through the institution of marriage must now prove black lives matter, trans lives matter, poz lives matter, all lgbtq lives matter.

we have not reached the end of the rainbow, not yet, but it still shines, stands  and glimmers with hope.

louie a. ortiz-fonseca

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