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04/19/2007


Man Says He Was Assaulted, Robbed and Raped at Gunpoint by Man He Met on Grindr: VIDEO

Philly

A Canadian man says he was raped, assaulted, and robbed by a man he met on Grindr while at a conference in Philadelphia, NBC10 reports:

SuspectThe 34-year-old victim, whose identity we are withholding, tells NBC10.com exclusively that he invited the suspect to his hotel room inside the Hilton Home 2 Suites at 12th and Arch Streets around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday after talking with him over Grindr.

When the suspect arrived, the man says he was held up at gunpoint and sexually assaulted.

“The whole thing was just a giant blur. I was scared and I kept thinking if i just do what he says, then he'll just go away," the man said.

Following the assault, the victim said he was forced to buy four $500 Visa gift cards. He was then walked to five nearby ATMs and told to withdraw $200 from each cash machine.

A struggle during which the man says he was able to escape was captured on surveillance video.

Watch NBC's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Philadelphia Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect. The man is described as 20-years-old, standing 5 foot 11-inches tall with wavy hair and star tattoos on the back of his right hand. He was wearing a dark colored jacket, dark blue jeans and tan boots.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the tipline at 215.686.TIPS.

2_philly

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MLK Day of Service in Philly's Gayborhood

Here's an event that might interest you if you're in Philadelphia today.

PGN reports:

DosTo honor the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, LGBTs and allies will gather in the Gayborhood next week for a day of volunteer activities benefiting a number of area organizations. William Way LGBT Community Center will serve as home base for the Team Bayard event, noon-5 p.m. Jan. 20, which will pay tribute to out civil-rights activist Bayard Rustin, an associated of King.

The event will begin at the center, 1315 Spruce St., with registration from noon-12:30 p.m., where volunteers can sign up for various service projects.

The event was cultivated by several community leaders, including GO!Athletes executive director Anna Aagenes and community activist Anthony Fluellen. According to Aagenes, organizers reached out to Global Citizen 365, the host of the Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service, to generate ideas on what the LGBT community could do to contribute to the day.

Aagenes said the service projects will involve everything from writing letters to inmates with Hearts on A Wire to helping GALAEI organize its hygiene-kit donations to a clothing drive for Philly AIDS Thrift to cleaning up the streets in the Gayborhood.

The Facebook page is HERE.


Philadelphia Mayor Signs into Law Sweeping LGBT-Inclusive Legislation

NutterOn Thursday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (pictured right) signed into law legislation that he hopes will make The City of Brotherly Love "the most LGBT-friendly" city in the world. NBC 10 reports:

Nutter, city and state lawmakers and gay rights advocates said the legislation makes Philadelphia the first city in the U.S. to offer tax credits to companies that extend the same health care coverage to LGBT employees' domestic partners and their children as they provide to heterosexual spouses and their children.

Officials said the legislation also makes Philadelphia the first city to offer businesses tax credits as a way to encourage providing transgender-specific health benefits.

"My goal is for Philadelphia to be one of, if not the most, LGBT-friendly cities in the world and a leader on equality issues," said Nutter, adding that the signing struck a personal note because his friend, the late City Councilman John Anderson, was a gay man and a mentor who inspired him 30 years ago to pursue a life of public service. 

In addition to the business tax incentives, which were backed by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as well as LGBT advocacy groups, and the gender-neutral restrooms (required in all new or renovated city-owned buildings), the legislation revises Philadelphia's anti-discrimination law to include transgender people, extends decision-making rights to life partners on medical and other issues, and changes city forms and websites to offer options for same-sex couples and transgender people. 

SimsState Rep. Brian Sims (pictured right), Pennsylvania's first openly gay lawmaker, helped draft the law's language. In a statement, Sims applauded the bills passage: "This is a city that is truly respecting all its citizens...It is because of that respect that we are indeed a first-class city and we will continue to shine."

Earlier this month, Sims introduced marriage equality legislation for the Keystone State. Pennsylvania remains the only northeastern state without same-sex marriage.  


Marriage Equality Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania by Gay Rep. Brian Sims: VIDEO

Lovepark

Making good on their previously announced plans to make same-sex marriage legal in Pennsylvania, out gay state representative Brian Sims and fellow representative Steve McCarter today announced the introduction of H.B. 1686, the Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act. The announcement was made, quite fittingly, at Love Park in Philadelphia:

Brian“The majority of Pennsylvanians now support marriage equality, and that support continues to grow,” Sims said. “Neighboring states, including New York, Maryland and Delaware, have all decided to be on the right side of history and have granted equal rights to their LGBT citizens. The time has come for Pennsylvania’s legislature to stand up and let our citizens know we see them as truly equal members of society and they have the right to choose whom they marry.

“With the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, it became apparent that Pennsylvania cannot continue to be stuck in the past. This is a civil rights issue facing our LGBT community. Furthermore, this issue is holding back Pennsylvania’s economy. People and businesses are seeing states that have true marriage equality as more attractive to them, and they’re spending their money in those states. This lack of equality is holding us back. Where are we at in our government where you lose rights by crossing a border?”

Sims and McCarter have been gathering co-sponsors and have received bipartisan support for H.B. 1686.

“This goes beyond simply legalizing gay marriage,” McCarter said. “This is about ensuring all Pennsylvanians have equal benefits and protections before the law. Marriage equality and the benefits associated with it need to be afforded to all of our citizens, and the people of Pennsylvania support that idea. The issue is getting our fellow legislators to listen to their constituents and the voice of Pennsylvanians who are calling for this bill to proceed.”

“An ever-growing majority of Pennsylvanians now agree that all consenting adults should be able to make life-long commitments to the ones they love,” said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the legislature’s LGBT Equality Caucus. “I believe the institution is strengthened when families – gay and straight – can choose the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.”

McCarter“We’re in a situation now where we’re galvanized,” McCarter added. “The ruling on DOMA made it apparent that marriage equality is the correct direction for Pennsylvania to follow. With a companion bill in the Senate, there is no better time for Pennsylvanians to contact their legislators and tell them now is the time to act. We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and watch as the rest of the country evolves to accept what should already be state law.”

Rep. Sims also recently introduced legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy for minors in Pennsylvania.

The introduction of The Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act comes amidst a legal battle over same-sex marriage in the Keystone State, stemming from Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes's decision to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted section 3 of DOMA in United States v. Windsor. Though a judge ruled that Hanes must stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples given the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Democratic county officials are appealing the decision.

Watch a video of Reps. Sims and McCarter making their historic announcement
AFTER THE JUMP...

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'Serial Predator' Catholic Priest Arrested in Rape of Altar Boy in Philadelphia: VIDEO

Brennan

The Rev. Robert L. Brennan, a serial rapist priest, has finally been arrested, CBS Philadelphia reports:

Brennan also figured prominently in Philadelphia grand jury reports in 2005 and 2011. In last year's trial of a church official for covering up clergy sex abuse, witnesses detailed allegations that Brennan sexually abused about 20 boys while being transferred from parish to parish over a span of 15 years.

Brennan, however, was never charged because the allegations happened too far back to be prosecuted.
Until Thursday, when District Attorney Seth Williams announced the arrest of Brennan, 75, for allegedly raping an altar boy between 1998 and 2001, while he was assistant pastor at Resurrection of Our Lord parish in Rhawnhurst.

The arrest came after the victim, now 26, came forward.

Watch (autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Giovanni's Room, Nation's Oldest LGBT Bookstore, for Sale

GiovannisroomThe Philadelphia LGBT bookstore Giovanni's Room, the oldest in the nation, is up for sale, its fate unknown, Philadelphia Gay News reports:

[Ed] Hermance, 73, has owned the independently run LGBT bookstore, nestled on the corner of Pine and 12th streets, since 1976.

The Powelton resident plans to step down this winter and is exploring options for keeping the business running under a new owner, but will have to sell to a different buyer if there is not sufficient support for continuing Giovanni’s Room.

“I know it’s possible for independent bookstores to thrive in the current environment. I don’t know if someone has the resources and the passion to continue the store,” he said. “If someone wanted to rent the space for a different kind of bookstore and no one wanted to continue Giovanni’s Room, I’d be pleased to rent it to them, thinking that it would be in their interest to help all the people who have depended on us.”

Hermance is handling the sale personally and said he will have asking prices determined later this month.

More at PGN...


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