#Philadelphia

Man Who Murdered 3 Philly Gay Men in the 1980s Was Found Dead In Prison

A man who killed gay men in Philadelphia during the 1980s has been found dead in prison.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, 50-year-old Arnold Mulholland’s unresponsive body was found in his cell at the State Correctional Institution-Mahanoy in Frackville, Pennsylvania around 6:17 Friday morning.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections later announced that Mulholland was pronounced dead around 7am, but they would not disclose the cause of death.

In 1990, Mulholland pleaded guilty to killing three gay men, Alexander Munchweiler, Tracy Griffin, and David Johnson. Each man differed in age with ages ranging from 24 to 61. This led to Mulholland being sentenced to three consecutive life sentences.

During this time, five other gay men were murdered in Philadelphia, which caused a frenzy in the gay community. Around 250 people marched around Center City for a “Save Our Streets” rally.

Investigators say that Mulholland, who was 22 at the time, targeted gay men because he thought of them as “sick.” He chose to rob them and stab them in their apartments after being invited in for sex.

That said, Mulholland later told the Inquirer in a previously published article from 1993, “I feel for the people. I regret it.” But he admitted to not remembering the men’s names, faces, or the fact that they had families.

A Married Gay Man From Philadelphia Has Been Detained By Ice Since January

The American Civil Liberties Union is trying to get an undocumented gay man from Pennsylvania freed from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s clutches.

Back in January, Jose “Ivan” Nuñez was captured by ICE officials while he was in a meeting with his husband, who’s a U.S. citizen, to talk to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) about obtaining a visa.

Ice officials apparently, “stormed into the room” and detained Nuñez. He’s been in their custody ever since.

Last Week, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a legal complaint in federal district court. That complaint asked that Nuñez be released from the York County Prison, about 90 miles west of Philadelphia.

“I am very worried for his wellbeing,” Nuñez’s husband Paul Frame said in the ACLU’s release. “The level of anxiety and sadness that I feel when I think about him at the detention center or when I visit him is unreal, so I can only imagine the toll it has taken on him personally. No human being should be torn apart from their loved ones in this manner.”

Part of ICE’s argument against Nuñez is that he has illegally entered the U.S. three times now. First, he initially entered the country. He then left to return to Mexico in 2010 to see to his sick mother. Afterwards, he was apprehended by border patrol agents and ordered to leave the country. Though he did at the time, he then later unlawfully re-entered and had stayed until his arrest earlier this year.

Despite this, Nuñez and ACLU lawyers are looking for him to be released because of the ICE’s “withholding of removal.”

This is because in February, an asylum officer interviewed Nuñez with USCIS. Together, they approved Nuñez’s “fear of return” credibility, which then sent his case to immigration court.

At that point, Nuñez’s lawyer filed to have ICE release Nuñez while his case was going through the motions… She never heard back from ICE.

The next hearing for Nuñez’s case is in August. The ACLU is adamant in getting Nuñez released before that saying that “he poses no danger to the community and is not a flight risk.”

h/t: HuffPost

Black And Gay Politician Malcolm Kenyatta Won The Democratic Primary For Pennsylvania's House of Reps.

Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are celebrating after the first openly gay man of color won the state house primary.

27-year-old Malcolm Kenyatta is a North Philadelphia native who’s been a part of politics for 15 years now. At the age of 12, he ran for junior block captain.

Then after graduating from Temple University, Kenyatta worked as the campaign manager for lesbian community advocate Sherrie Cohen. He’s also served as a DNC delegate, served on the boards of Equality Pennsylvania, Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club, and more.

Now, its time for Kenyatta to move on up as he’s won the Democratic primary bid for state House representative for the 181th District in Pennsylvania. He’s actually trying to win the seat that used to belong to his cousin W. Curtis Thomas who announced his retirement in the spring.

Many people and organizations have been endorsing Kenyatta such as Philly for Change, the Victory Fund, and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

That said, not everyone was in support of Malcolm Kenyatta as someone put up anti-gay posters of Kenyatta and his ex-husband around the district during election time.

Despite that aggression, Kenyatta won the Democratic primary bid and will now go on to the general election in November. Due to Philadelphia being majority Democratic, Kenyatta and openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims (who also won his primary) are expected to win in the fall.

Actress Lena Waithe Stunned The Met Gala With Her Philadelphia Inspired Pride Cape

Actress and comedian Lena Waithe stunned at the Met Gala last night.

If you were on Twitter at any point last night, you probably saw a few tweets about the Met Gala. The annual event is like a fashion paradise where celebrities pay thousands or millions to look as amazing as possible in front of photographers.

The theme for this year was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” While many celebrities like Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, and Game of Thrones’s Emilia Clarke stunned in British themed gowns that emphasized the Catholic theme, Waithe decided on a more colorful option.

Just dressing in a tailored tuxedo would have been a nice choice for the actress, but she took it one step further. Waithe graced the floor, and our eyes, by wearing a grand silk rainbow cape.

Not only did Lena Waithe use the gown as a comment on the Catholic Church’s attitudes towards homosexuality and gay marriage, but she also included the additional colors introduced by the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affair.

Last year, LGBTQ people exploded after Philadelphia, a city that’s had several racial issues within its Gayborhood, proposed adding black and brown to the Pride flag as a symbol for racial inclusion.

Many people on Twitter celebrated Waithe’s choice of outfit, and colors, and felt proud by the her fashion statements.

Philadelphia's Pride Parade Is Honoring A Gay Politician Couple

Philadelphia Pride has announced the names for its Grand Marshal panel, and for the first year ever it’s introducing a couple to the mix.

Every year, Philadelphia Pride Presents releases a list of people who will carry the title of grand marshal. Philly likes to celebrate several grand marshals with different titles and categories including youth grand marshals. This years, they’re even including a Grand Marshal Couple.

The couple gaining the inaugural honor are Dante Austin and Robert “Tito” Valdez. Austin is the LGBT liaison to the Sherriff’s Office and Valdez is an assistant city solicitor in the Child Welfare Department.

The two met back in 2016 while participating at the “Future of the Movement” panel during the Democratic National Convention. As they talked about politics and criminal-justice reform, they realized there was a level of respect and understanding forming between them. They then exchanged numbers and became important parts of each other’s lives from that point on.

Speaking to Philadelphia Gay News, the two commented on juggling their relationship and their busy political careers.

“Being in a relationship is work,” said Valdez. “It requires the capacity to prioritize another person’s feelings and needs as a key component of your decision-making. It requires you to be compassionate, to understand that not every day will be sunshine and flowers, and be able to count on your partner to love you.”

“I like to think of it like most things in life — you get out of it what you put into it,” added Austin. “Tito and I live pretty busy lives but we make sure to always make time for one another. It may sound cliché, but he really is my best friend and so much more. Life certainly throws challenges our way, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we can tackle anything.”

The two stated that they were honored to be chosen for the new Grand Marshal category and will try to live up to the title.

Meanwhile, the two will be joined by many other grand marshalls including John James, a Philadelphia citizen who’s participated in the Annual Reminder Days march since the mid-1960s; Heshie Zinman, the co-founder of the AIDS Library;  David Fair, a member of the Elder Initiative; Barbara McLean, a dedicated LGBTQ health advocate who’s worked with Philadelphia FIGHT and the Philadelphia AIDS Consortium; and Deborah Johnson, the visitor-services director at the African-American Museum of Philadelphia.

All of these people and more, like comedian Margaret Cho who's headlining, will be honored and celebrated at Philadelphia’s 30th annual Pride Parade on June 10.

h/t: PGN

Local Philly Drag Queen Aloe Vera Recovering After Being Assaulted, Held At Knife Point

 

 

A local Philadelphia drag queen was attacked and had to go through surgery.

Aloe Vera, real name Anthony Veltre, was assaulted late last week. The attack by a 34-year-old man named Carmelo Villanueva was so serious that it prompted the need for jaw surgery.

As a police report states, Vera was attacked by Villanueva around 10:30 pm on April 29. Vera was walking around the 2000 block of Tasker Street when Villaneuva approached. He then punched her in the face multiple times and threatened to use a knife.

While Villanueva escaped from the scene of the crime, he was later found and apprehended by police the following night. Then Villanueva was charged with aggravated assault and lesser offenses in connection to the crime.

 

 

That said, Villanueva got released on bail later that day. Though, he still has to go to a preliminary hearing on May 15 at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.

Ben Waxman, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, said that Villanueva will be thoroughly tried for his crimes.

“Obviously, this is a serious crime and we’re going to pursue justice in this case as aggressively as possible,” Waxman told Philadelphia Gay News.

As for Aloe Vera, she underwent jaw surgery at Jefferson University Hospital on May 1. That said, Vera is in need of financial help to pay off that surgery. A fundraiser is being held for Vera at the ICandy Nightclub in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood later tonight (May 7).

If you can’t make that event, there’s also a GoFundMe page where you can donate to support Aloe Vera.

 

 

h/t: PGN

Philadelphia's Annual Black Pride Week Was Honored With A March At City Hall

Last week, Philadelphia celebrated Philly Black Pride and its first Black Pride March.

A group of 35 people gathered at Philadelphia’s City Hall to express the need for inclusion in the city in terms of race and LGBTQ acceptance.

Openly gay Philadelphia man Romaine Gibbs started the event by asking participants to join arms.

“When we bind and unite like this,” Gibbs said, “people cannot destroy us.”

Mayor Kenney also spoke at the event and shared the mentality that LGBTQ people of color deserve respect.

“You are my brothers and sisters,” Kenney told the crowd. “You are human beings who deserve dignity.”

From there, those who gathered marched around the building with a police escort.

In a time when two black men can be arrested for sitting in a Starbucks for less than 10 minutes (and later take the high road by settling with the city for $1 each and $200,000 for youth programs), Black people in the city are compelled to express their dissatisfaction with the current situation.

But what happens when you’re a minority within a minority? Even worse, what if you’re a minority within two different minorities?

Besides the race issues between Black people and the general populace, there is a specific concern for race problems within Philadelphia’s Gayborhood.

From the owner of a popular gay club being caught saying the N word to controversy over the inclusion of black and brown stripes to the Rainbow flag, racially charged conflict has been especially prevalent in the LGBTQ sections of the city.

Things have gotten so bad that the city legally stepped in to introduce inclusivity training in the Gayborhood.

Despite the government's involvement, Black LGBTQ people and LGBTQ people of color still feel the need for acknowledgement, protections, and a voice in the city. This exactly mirrors why Philadelphia Black Pride was founded back in August of 1999.

Each year since, Black people living in the city and living around it join together for a week of charity, protesting, and partying. Then last week, 35 people gathered to march the Center City streets, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“This is a chance to just have something of our own, even though we welcome our white brothers and sisters in solidarity,” said Antar Bush, an LGBT community organizer who planned the march with the help of the city’s LGBT Affairs Office. “It’s not about exclusively. It’s about being more inclusive.”

The Inquirer also asked March participants how much progress they thinik Philadelphia has made in terms of racism in the Gayborhood and the LGBTQ community at large. The responses varied.

h/t: The Philadelphia Inquirer

A Philly Drag Queen Is Being Criticized For A Nazi-Inspired Performance

A Jewish drag queen decked out in a Nazi uniform? Just more drama happening in Philadelphia (and, of course, in ICandy too).

The once-popular-now-scorned gay bar ICandy is still trying to recover after its owner was recorded using the N word two years ago.

Now, the bar is in a new controversy.

Drag queen Satine Harlow, otherwise known as Eric Ziker, is similarly facing backlash for something that happened in ICandy last week. This time, the controversy is over a satirical performance of “Springtime for Hitler” while dressed up in a pink Nazi uniform.

While both the song, from the musical The Producers, and the performance were meant to be taken as jokes, many were offended when they either saw the show or saw Satine Harlow’s Instagram picture (seen below) with the caption, “Hail Hitler.”

Philadelphia Magazine reached out for interviews and fellow Philadelphia drag queen Ann Artist had a few words to share.

“I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Choosing to perform at ICandy is a political statement,” Artist wrote on social media, according to the magazine. “Given the fact that this is the stance these performers choose I’m never surprised when they do anything that’s tacky and in poor taste like this. This level of bad taste is reflected in the name of the establishment and mirrored through the irreverence the performers have for their fellow community members.”

That said, Satine Harlow, who is Jewish, says people need to calm down.

“Are people really freaking the fuck out about a Jewish gay man doing an iconic number from a musical? Jesus Christ. Lighten the fuck up. It’s drag,” Ziker wrote in an Instagram story. “We’re professional, some of us, pigs in wigs. Breathe. I stand by what I did…and if you disagree, unfollow me because you have no sense of humor.”

h/t: Philadelphia Magazine

Couple Devastated After Being Rejected By Foster Agency Because They're Gay

As gay marriage is now legal across all 50 states of America, it seems that the next issue that LGBTQ couples are fighting for is the right to parent.

We’ve already talked about the growing struggle between right wing politicians, LGBTQ couples, and adoption agencies in Georgia (with tv/movie creatives also getting involved), and now it seems a similar struggle is surfacing in Pennsylvania.

The trouble started when a lesbian couple went to an orientation meeting for a foster/adoption agency. Magan Paszko and her wife drove to Elkins Park in Philadelphia to participate, but were quickly told that they weren’t welcome.

“The trainer approached us, and she was really nice, but she told us, ‘I just want to be upfront. This organization has never placed a child with a same-sex couple,” Paszko told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “She told us she didn’t want to waste two hours of our time.”

It seems that Bethany Christian Services, the agency Paszko and her wife were applying to, and another agency called Catholic Social Services have a strict policy of rejecting LGBTQ parents.

While the Bethany Christian Services was “polite” in its rejection and gave the names of other agencies, their act does nothing but harm Philadelphia children desperately in need of a home.

Philadelphia is currently seeking out more people to become foster parents, yet Christian organizations like Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services are rejecting LGBTQ people who want nothing more than to help.

Outside of talk of discrimination and going against the needs of children, this act is also against government policy.

 

 

As Mary Catherine Roper, the deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, told the Inquirer:

 “A government doesn’t get to use a contractor to implement religious programs and when you start saying, ‘We’re running this as a religious program such that we won’t take you because you don’t fit our religious view,’ then the city is paying for a religious program, and that’s a problem under the First Amendment.”

On top of that, Bethany Christian Services collected $1.3 million from the government last year for operating foster homes covering 170 children. Thus, the government is financially backing this organization that’s used religion as its focus for the past 75 years.

On top of this, there seems to also be a layer of hypocrisy in Bethany’s actions.

Due to Pennsylvania’s state code, LGBTQ children can’t be discriminated against by foster/adoption agencies. This has led to Christian organizations like Bethany working with LGBTQ youth while later rejecting LGBTQ adults.

In response to all this, Currey Cook, the head of Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-home Care Project, said:

“How do you pretend you can simultaneously say we serve all youth and do a good job serving all youth while at the same time you’re saying same-sex couples are not real parents, are not good parents?” Cook said. “LGBT youth who have faced so much isolation, stigma, prejudice in the system are left wondering, ‘What’s going to happen if I come out, and I’m being served by parents or an agency that basically says trans parents, LGBT people, aren’t good parents?'”

As the Inquirer reports, Paszko and her wife are now in the process of becoming foster parents with the help of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, but they can't help feeling distraught by the earlier rejection.

h/t: The Philadelphia Inquirer