Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Gay History – July 4, 1965: Philadelphia’s Independence Hall Annual Reminder Protest

Annual Reminder 2On July 4th. 1965, gay rights activists gathered outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, carrying picket signs and demanding legislation that would codify the rights of homosexuals as a minority group. Referencing the Constitution’s inalienable right to the “Pursuit of Happiness” and its foundational belief that “all men are created equal,” the activists called for legislative changes that would improve the lives of American homosexuals.  (Which at that time included the lesbian, trans and bi community.  Compartmentalization and isolation was not part of the movement yet and all groups were together as one and fought as such) 

New York City gay activist Craig Rodwell conceived of the event following the April 17, 1965 picket at the White House led by Frank Kameny.  Rodwell along with  members of the New York City and Washington, D.C. chapters of the Mattachine Society, Philadelphia’s Janus Society and the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis would get together and picket in front of Liberty Hall on July 4th.  

The protest would be called “Reminder Day” and would continue for the next five years in a row

The name of the event was selected to remind the American people that a substantial number of American citizens were denied the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” enumerated in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Thirty-nine people attended the first picket, including veteran activists Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin.  As with the Washington, D.C. picket Kameny insisted on a strict dress code for participants, including jackets and ties for the men and dresses for the women. Kameny’s goal was to represent homosexuals as “presentable and ’employable'”.  Picketers carried signs with such slogans as “HOMOSEXUAL BILL OF RIGHTS” and “15 MILLION HOMOSEXUAL AMERICANS ASK FOR EQUALITY, OPPORTUNITY, DIGNITY”.

The picket ran from 3:30-5:00 PM. and press coverage was sparse, although Confidential magazine ran a large feature about the Reminder and other gay pickets in its October 1965 issue under the headline “Homos On The March”.

The annual Reminder continued through July 4, 1969.  The final Annual Reminder took place less than a week after the June 28th. Stonewall riots,

At the last Annual Reminder Rodwell received several telephone calls threatening him and the other New York participant’s lives, but he was able to arrange for police protection for the chartered bus all the way to Philadelphia. About 45 people participated, including the deputy mayor of Philadelphia and his wife. The dress code and behavior code was still in effect at the Reminder, but two women from the New York contingent broke from the single-file picket line and held hands. When Frank Kameny tried to break them apart, Rodwell furiously denounced him to onlooking members of the press.

The annual Reminders were commemorated in 2005 by the placement of a Pennsylvania state historical marker by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at 6th and Chestnut Streets where it is viewed by thousands of visitors daily.

In 2015 the city of Philadelphia celebrated the 50th. Anniversary of the reminders. Unfortunately. the event did not draw the crowds it had hoped and the city itself tried to re-write LGBT history by wrongly claiming that it was the “birthplace of the LGBT rights movement.”  The organizers dropped that false claim before the event after much pressure from this website and other LGBT historians.

Convicted Philadelphia Gay Basher Kathryn Knott Claims Self-Defense In Civil Suit

Like her two co-defendants, Kathryn Knott is contending she acted in self-defense during a high-profile attack on a gay couple in Center City. Knott made the claim in a June 23 court filing in a civil case brought by plaintiffs Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse, who are seeking at least $500,000 in damages.

The couple is also suing Phillip Williams and Kevin Harrigan for the September 2014 attack at 16th and Chancellor streets; witnesses said the trio used antigay slurs during the incident, which began as a verbal altercation and escalated to a physical attack that left Haught with extensive facial fractures.

In last month’s filing, Wayne Maynard, an attorney for Knott, wrote that she “asserts the affirmative defense of self-defense, and to the extent plaintiffs sustained the injuries and damages as alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint, said injuries and/or damages were sustained while [Knott] was in the process of defending herself from the real and perceived threat of bodily injury arising from the actions of plaintiffs and their friends.” Both Williams and Harrigan raised the self-defense claim in their own filing last year. – PGN

Knott claims to have been in fear of the gay couple and “their friends” Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse were im fact alone during the attack.

According to the original “Affidavit of Cause”  “words were exchanged” between the two groups of people, with suspect Kevin Harrigan allegedly calling the victims “faggots” several times before a “heated argument developed.” The affidavit also alleges that Knott screamed “faggots” at them and hit one of them in the face.

Read the affidavit below:

 

Affidavit of Probable Cause, Harrigan/Williams/Knott, 9/23/14

Philly Pride Defiantly Rufuses To Change It's Date For National March: We're Not Canceling for D.C. March

Philly Pride Defiantly Rufuses To Change It’s Date For National March: We’re Not Canceling for D.C. March

Philly Pride Defiantly Rufuses To Change It's Date For National March: We're Not Canceling for D.C. March

The organizers of Philadelphia’s LGBT Pride weekend have stated that they have no intention of canceling their annual  LGBT Pride event because of a planned march mass LGBT March on Washington, D.C. rights that falls on the same date.

In a statement on its website and a follow-up post on Facebook, Philly Pride Presents said that there was no way to change the date of its June festivities, which run from Friday, June 9, to Sunday, June 11th.

Philly Pride said in a statement Wednesday that the march threatens to significantly cut the attendance of its festivities that weekend, the proceeds of which are used to fund other events, like OutFest in October.

“This event was proposed by a single individual without consultation with local Pride organizations, many of which have their events that weekend,” the statement read, claiming that the D.C. pride group has a clear incentive to join forces with the recently planned march since it is likely to increase attendance at its weekend activities.

“Make no mistake about it, this event was spontaneously scheduled without any due consideration of those of us who work so hard to keep our local voices heard,” the statement read.

PhillyVoice columnist Natalie Hope McDonald wrote that Frannie Price, operator of Philly Pride Presents, has already put out a call to action on Facebook asking Philly’s LGBT community to petition Capital Pride (the main organizer of the June march in D.C.) to consider holding the National March on a different date (May, July or September, Price suggests).

Thursday, Philly Pride reiterated on Facebook that it would not alter its plans, despite many people contacting organizers about that possibility.

“Yes, all Pride groups support the concept of a National Pride March, and we have suggested a variety of alternate dates for same wherein we can partner to make the National March much more successful,” the post read. “No, it is simply impossible for us (and other gay pride organizations) to change long existing dates.”

Philadelphia is  2-3  hours from the Nation’s Capital.

 

 

 

Trump’s AmeriKKKa – Gay Man Injured After Package Bomb Explodes, Police Cite Possible Hate Crime – Video

gay-man-philly-package-bomb

CBS News reports:

City police are investigating some type of an explosion in Center City that left a man injured on Tuesday morning. Police confirm they were investigating a suspicious package on Pine Street when the explosion occurred, reports CBS Philadelphia. Philly police officials tell CBS News the explosion was caused by some kind of device that the victim activated, and it came in a manila envelope. Police are talking to the victim and his partner and looking at everything, including the possibility of this being a hate crime. Officials tell CBS News they do not believe this is related to terrorism.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the victim appeared to be the intended target. Ross said the bomb squad described the explosive as a “victim activated device” that was sent specifically to the 60-year-old man, who triggered it when he opened the package in his home

Neighbors and a law enforcement source identified the victim as Jim Alden, who lives in the front, ground floor apartment in the building. Ross did not know specifically what the explosive was made from, but said it caused injuries to the victim’s face, chest, and hands, and is reported to be in stable condition at Jefferson University Hospital.

Police believe the package was not sent through the mail because the bar code on it was old, they believe the package could have been delivered over the weekend, but the victim did not open it until overnight Tuesday.

Hours after the explosion, investigators remained at the townhouse, which has a rainbow “Love Trumps Hate” sign in the front window.

Excuse me Philadelphia P.D. Hate crimes ARE terrorism.

 

BLM/QPOC Activists Crash Philadelphia OutFest Opening With Demands From LGBT People of Color (VIDEO)

BLM/QPOC Activists Crash Philadelphia OutFest Opening With Demands From LGBT People of Color (VIDEO)

A crowd of about 50 LGBT citizens and their supporters gathered in the mayor’s reception room at Philadelphia’s City Hall last on Sunday morning to attend a ceremony celebrating the seventh year city officials have raised the LGBT Pride flag outside City Hall  as a kickoff to OutFest, Philadelphia’s celebration of National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11).  Shortly after it began QPOC activists — from the Black and Brown Workers’ Collective, Black Lives Matter, and other groups marched in disrupting the ceremony with signs bearing slogans stating “Anti Blackness Anywhere Is Anti Blackness Everywhere!” and “#GetOutfest” and began shouting over D’Ontace Keyes, the newly appointed commissioner on the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, who was speaking at the podium.

The QPOC activist angry about nightclub dress codes they see as racist and a three-year-old viral video of a club-owner using the N-word (which the owner apologized for) had harsh words for Mayor Kenney. They argued his ties to the Mummers (oft-criticized for racism and homophobia) and Democratic Committeeman Michael Weiss, a Kenney donor who owns Woody’s, one of the bars with an allegedly racist dress code, show the mayor is insincere about fighting racism in the Gayborhood. They also complained Kenney hasn’t done enough to end police stop-and-frisk practices.

“Why haven’t you made a formal statement about Gayborhood racism?” shouted Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, a collective organizer.

Kenney did address the racism controversy just before the activists arrived, talking about his upbringing in a neighborhood that “wasn’t always open-minded,” dealing with Mummer racism last year and getting emotional as he implored everyone to “be decent human beings.”

“We need to change our hearts if our hearts are cold, we need to change them, we need to look at each other in each other’s eyes … and love your fellow human beings,”

When Kenney then tried speaking with the activists and offered his hand for handshakes, the activists ignored the gesture and shouted chants such as “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”with one “activist” giving the Mayor the middle finger.  Kenney and others at that point left the room and the QPOC activists took over the podium to outline their demands.

The activists’ demands, as collective organizer Shani Akilah outlined at City Hall, are:

Funds allocated to support the development of “black and brown spaces” in and out of the Gayborhood, as most of the city’s LGBT people of color don’t live in the Gayborhood.

That homeless LGBT youth be part of conversations about Gayborhood racism.

That anyone guilty of racial discrimination “be fined, reprimanded and relieved of duties, according to public hearings.”

 That Kenney, Fitzpatrick, Philadelphia Fight executive director Jane Shull and Mazzoni Center CEO Nurit Shein be subpoenaed to the human relations commission’s Oct. 25 public hearing.

Outside oversight to ensure transparency of the human relations commission’s investigations and hearing follow-up.

Trauma therapists of color be present at the Oct. 25 public hearing to counsel, at city expense, anyone upset by the proceedings or the recent viral video of club owner Darryl DePiano using a racial slur.

Dionne Stallworth, who has been an activist for 30 years in the LGBT community, confronted the activists, urging them to resolve their complaints without confrontation.

“What I have not seen is the willingness to come to a table without antagonism,” Stallworth said. “I know personally that your issues have merit … I congratulate you for holding them accountable here, but there is a process.”

Activist Erica Mines responded: “We do not sit at the table with our oppressors!”

JUSTICE! – Philadelphia Gay-Basher Kathryn Knott Sentenced To Five-To-Ten Months In Jail

Knott Guilty

Convicted Philadelphia gay basher Kathryn Knott has been sentenced to 5 – 10 months in jail for her role in the attack of two gay men late last year.  Knott rejected a plea deal which allowed two of her co-bashers to get off with community service.

Via Philly.com

A Philadelphia Common Pleas judge on Monday sentenced Kathryn Knott, 25, of Bucks County, to 5-10 months in jail for participating in an attack on a gay couple in Center City in 2014. Knott, of Southampton, wept heavily when Judge Roxanne Covington announced her sentence. Her parents rose to console her.

She was convicted by a Philadelphia jury in December of four misdemeanor counts – simple assault, conspiracy to commit simple assault, and two counts of reckless endangerment. The panel of eight women and four men acquitted her of more serious felony aggravated-assault charges. Knott was taken into custody immediately and ordered to 2 years probation after her time in.

Knott’s father, Karl Knott, is the police chief in Chalfont Borough, Bucks County.

She should have been sentenced to more.

 

Gay Bashing, Homophobia and Transphobia Takes Place At Philadelphia’s 2016 Mummers Parade – Video

Mummers Fruit Loops

The Mummers Parade is held each New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The costumed celebrants loudly parading through the city in satirical costumes traces back to mid-17th-century roots it is believed to be the oldest folk festival in the United States.

But this year the parade was not without controversy this year with a gay-bashing incident and critics leveling accusations of racism and homophobia over some of the acts.

John Holtz says he was walking his dog when two mummers in red, white, and blue outfits began shouting homophobic slurs.  “I turned over to the guy just to kind of say, ‘cool your jets, buddy.’ His buddy jumped in and clocks me in the face,” Holtz said.

Another controversial act during the march was Finnegan’s NYB’s ‘Finnegan Goes for the Gold’ featuring Bruce Jenner turning into Caitlyn Jenner as a Wheaties box was held side by side with a Froot Loops box. And a costumed Caitlyn Jenner marching alongside. While a marcher yelled, “Fuck the gays, Fuck the gays.”

Finnegans released a tweet saying it cannot be responsible for the actions of a few members

Rich Porco, the President of the Comics Division, tells Action News there was “no intent to harm or degrade anyone with the performances. This sort of satire has been around for 116 years.”

Watch the Action News 6 video report by CLICKING HERE.

 

Philadelphia Gay Basher Katherine Knott Found GUILTY! – Jurors “Disgusted” By Her Anti-Gay Behavior

Knott Guilty

After only  three days of deliberations a Philadelphia jury today found Kathryn Knott guilty in the brutal September 2014 attack on a gay couple.  Knott was found guilty of simple assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, and conspiracy.

Philly.com reports:

A Philadelphia jury Friday found Kathryn Knott guilty of simple assault and conspiracy but acquitted her of a more serious count of aggravated assault an attack on a gay couple in Center City last year. Knott, 25, bit her lips when the jury forewoman announced the guilty verdicts. The panel convicted her of simple assault against one victim and conspiracy. Kathryn Knott, 25, of Southampton, Bucks County, was accused of punching one of the gay men and yelling anti-gay slurs. The defense contended she did not hit anyone or yell anything derogatory.

Philly.com also reports that in the end the jurors were “disgusted” with Knott’s lies and anti-gay behavior.

Three jurors spoke to reporters outside the courthouse. They all expressed sympathy for the victims — Zachary Hesse, 29, and his boyfriend, Andrew Haught, 28. Joan Bellinger, 67, the jury forewoman, said the jurors all believed Knott punched Hesse and yelled anti-gay slurs.

But she said jurors had to compromise on certain things. Another juror, Aristeo Duenas, 33, of Brewerytown, said: “The conspiracy was what was tripping us up.” He and juror Gina Cook, 36, of Roxborough, said jurors had to examine what the law said on the various charges Knott faced.

“If the decisions went the way that I wanted them to go, she would have been guilty on everything, but when you read the actual law,” and apply it to what happened, it can be different, said Duenas, a public-school teacher.

Asked about her tweets, Duenas said: “We were pretty disgusted. It was pretty embarrassing to watch her testify. She was trying to explain away these tweets. … She would have become a better character to me if she would have been like, ‘You know what, I messed up. I said those things. It was stupid. “

Knott’s sentencing will take place on February 8th. 2016.

 

Margaret Cho Tweets Against Philly Police Over Light Sentences In Recent Gay Bashing Case, Brian Sims Remains Silent

Margret Cho vs. Philly PD

Margaret Cho has launched a  Twitter tirade against the Philadelphia police department over the light sentences handed down this week for two of the three gay-bashers charged last year in a brutal street attack against a gay couple.  Philly police responded that they don’t handle prosecutions. The exchange continued, with Cho complaining that there were no hate crimes charges and the police then informed her that no such law exists in Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately while Philly PD was right that they don;t handle prosecutions they were very wrong when they said that no Hate Crime laws exist in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA is a member of this union & since hate crimes against LGBT people are illegal in the United States of America as of October 2009 therefore federal law hate crimes legislation applies.

Federal law banning hate crimes against LGBT people needs to be enforced in every state of this union in order to get federal funding and unless it it enforced it is useless.

And as for gay politico Brian Sims. there has been no word of his reaction to the very light pleas bargain deal.  But there has been a lot of posts on his Facebook page about fundraising his upcoming run for Congress.

Anti-Gay Day Students At Pennsylvania High School EXPOSED! Do You Know These Bigots In Training?

 

Anti-Day day revealed

 

McGuffey High School in Claysville, Pennsylvania made headlines over the weekend when a group of students organized an “Anti-Gay Day’ in direct retaliation to the LGBT youth-supportive National Day of Silence (NDOS) on Friday.

Via GPhilly:

A student named Ashley, wrote to G Philly saying that organizers of the anti-gay movement asked students to wear flannel shirts and write “anti-gay” on their hands if they opposed the LGBT community. “Stickers and flyers are also being placed around the school and on queer kids’ lockers that read ‘ANTI-GAY,’ she wrote. “This movement is a retaliation of the Day Of Silence that was set in place to remember people whose lives have ended due to LQBTIA bullying. The ‘Anti-Gay’ club, to begin with, is an obvious sign of bullying and discrimination.

All across the internet this weekend a picture of the male students who organized the hatefest  was published with their faces digitized out.

We at Back2Stonewall think that these not-so-brave homophobic miscreants should get the full attention that they deserve, so we have decided to publish the un-doctored photo’s of the boys for all the world to see.

Their parents must be so proud.

 

*Many thanks to the awesome Ken Kidd for help with this post