News Briefing: April 19-25, 2019

    U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to conversion-therapy ban

    On April 15, the Supreme Court decided not to hear a challenge against New Jersey’s ban on gay and transgender conversion therapy for minors. This decision sets a precedent protecting bans in 15 other states across the country. Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ group based in Florida, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, brought the legal challenge.

    Former Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) signed the ban into law in 2013 after approval from a supermajority in the house and senate.  Supporters of the ban expressed alarm about the case going to hearing. Executive director of  Garden State Equality, a respondent in the case, said, “It’s alarming that this bigotry-driven and legally case even got to the Justices for consideration.”


    AIDS nurses and coauthors interviewed at Jefferson University

    Jefferson University’s East Falls Campus will be holding an event exploring life at the genesis of the AIDS outbreak in New York City. Ellen Matzer and Valery Hughes, two nurses working in the city during the 1980s have coauthored a book on their experiences, called Nurses on the Inside, to be published soon. They will be interviewed by the Arlen Spector Center’s director, Evan Laine, in the DEC Forum on Henry Ave. Lunch will be served at 12:30 with the event. The interview will be streamed through Facebook for anyone unable to attend.


    Trans Wellness Conference announces keynote speaker

    The Mazzoni Center’s Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference has announced this year’s keynote speech will be “Trans Liberation is for Everybody: Moving from Affirmative to Liberatory Counseling with All Genders,” delivered by Anneliese A. Singh. Singh is the University of Georgia’s Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and has introduced resources for LGBTQ activism and counseling during her tenure. The wellness conference is held to educate trans and gender-nonconforming individuals on healthcare as well as healthcare providers, and will be in the Pennsylvania Convention Center this year from July 25-27.


    Foundation awards Mazzoni Center $10,000 grant

    The Philadelphia Foundation has awarded the Mazzoni Center $10,000 for their upcoming Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference. The conference, which focuses on increasing and providing access for trans and gender-related healthcare, is the largest conference in the world focused on transgender issues. Thanks in part to the grant, the conference will be free for general attendees. Chelsea M. Switzer, Mazzoni’s Corporate and Foundations Relations Officer, expressed thanks to the Philadelphia Foundation: “We are thrilled to receive this grant which will support the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference’s mission to provide information and valuable resources, free of charge, to the to the trans, nonbinary and gender non-conforming communities.”


    Sober LGBTQ social in Fishtown

    The Fishtown Wellness Center on Belgrade St. will be hosting a sober social event on Friday, April 19 from 6 to 8 pm. The event will focus on building ties within the LGBTQ+ community and discussing self-care with free snacks provided. This event is slated to be the first in a series of many events catering to the LGBTQ community, so anyone unable to attend is encouraged to look into future Fishtown Wellness Center functions.


    Queer poet coming to Filmore

    Queer poet Andrea Gibson has announced new tour dates which include an appearance at the Filmore on April 29 at 8pm. Gibson has published four books of poetry and released seven spoken-word albums that have received widespread acclaim from queer fans and critics alike. The award-winning poet’s tour will stop here and continue on to New York, then abroad to the United Kingdom. Tickets are currently available for purchase online.

    — compiled by Scott A. Drake and Gary L. Day