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Twitter Crowdsources Manhunt for Philadelphia Hate-Crime Attackers, Suspects Turn Themselves In: VIDEO

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Yesterday, we told you about a brutal hate crime that took place in Philadelphia's City Center. Last night, Philadelphia Police released a surveillance video that appeared to show a group of up to 12 people they identified as suspects in the assault. Shortly thereafter, the video spread like wildfire on social media and resulted in the suspects being identified. Philadelphia Magazine reports: 

PhillyWithin hours, former Real Housewives of New Jersey castmate Greg Bennett tweeted this photo [pictured right] that he claims — because of similarities in clothing — includes some of the alleged suspects in the hate crime that happened on Thursday in Center City. 

Not long after, police were contacted by lawyers for the suspects. 6ABC reports: "Late Tuesday night, Action News has learned attorneys for some members of the group have called police. They are making arrangements to bring their clients in for questioning on Wednesday."

Twitter user @FanSince09 also played a pivotal role in identifying the suspects. He was able to identify the restaurant shown in the background of the photo tweeted by Bennett and also used Facebook check-ins to help identify the attackers. 

No arrests have been made, but Philadelphia police are crediting Twitter and social media users with helping to solve this case.

Philadelphia native and NPR social media guru Melody Kramer documented how the crowdsourced Twitter sleuthing went down using Storify. Check out her excellent timeline along with a news report that shows the surveillance video in question and includes an interview with @FanSince09, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Twitter Crowdsources Manhunt for Philadelphia Hate-Crime Attackers, Suspects Turn Themselves In: VIDEO" »


Philadelphia Gay Couple Beaten In Possible Hate Crime - VIDEO

Philadelphia hate crime friend of victims

Philadelphia police are investigating a possible hate crime in which two gay men were attacked, beaten and robbed last Thursday night.

According to NBC10, the 27-year-old and 28-year-old victims were walking from a restaurant at around 10:45 p.m. when they were approached by a visibly intoxicated group of two men and six women.

When one of the men replied “Yes, do you have a problem?” when asked “Is this your fucking boyfriend?”, the group allegedly attacked the men, punching and kicking them in the face, head and chest. One of the suspects also snatched a bag containing a cell phone, wallet and credit cards.

One of the men underwent surgery last Sunday morning and has since been released from hospital.

Police, who have not confirmed that the attack was a hate crime, say the two male suspects had a "husky" build, brown hair and were wearing brown shirts and shorts.

Watch a Fox 29 report on the attack, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Out PA Lawmaker Brian Sims Rappels Down Building In Philadelphia: VIDEO

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Brian Sims, the out Pennsylvania lawmaker who has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community, looked more like an adrenaline junkie than a state representative today as he was seen rappelling down the side of Philadelphia's Commerce Center Building in City Center. As Philly Magazine reports, Sims was practicing for an upcoming charity event on October 24 where he will rappel down Brandywine Realty Trust’s One Logan Square: "He, along with a team of local LGBTers lead by Angela Giampolo, are taking on the task to raise money for The Philadelphia Outward Bound School."

Watch a video of Sims' adventure, AFTER THE JUMP...

And ICYMI, be sure to peep Sims striking a pose (in a Towleroad tee no less!) in Emil Cohen's Provincetown portraits

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Continue reading "Out PA Lawmaker Brian Sims Rappels Down Building In Philadelphia: VIDEO" »


Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO

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Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh, the 2014 winner of Irish international beauty pageant The Rose of Tralee, has revealed that she is gay, reports The Independent.

Now in its 55th year, the Rose of Tralee includes young women of Irish descent from Ireland and around the world. 

In an interview with the Irish Sun, Walsh, who was crowned the new Rose in County Kerry on Saturday night, said:

"I'm confident in who I am as a person. The Rose of Tralee is about celebrating women's intelligence, careers, their volunteer work. The question of sexuality never came up. To me, being gay is normal. It's natural."

Walsh is a Boston native who moved to County Mayo with her family 20 years ago. Following her graduation, she moved to New York and later to Philadelphia.

Last week, reigning Miss Spain Patricia Yurena became the first openly gay national pageant queen.

Watch an interview with Walsh, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO" »


Giovanni's Room, Nation's Oldest LGBT Bookstore, To Reopen

The U.S.’s oldest gay bookstore, Giovanni’s Room, is officially reopening for business under new management after months of speculation that the store would be closing for good Publisher’s Weekly reports. Last fall current owner Ed Hermance announced that after 40 years of operation, he was looking to sell.

Screenshot 2014-07-24 13.25.21“I’ve been looking for a successor for 25 years,” Hermance told Publisher’s Weekly in 2013. “It just can’t go on like this.”

Hermance, who did not collect a paycheck as proprietor of Giovanni’s Room, ran the business at a loss and ultimately opted for retirement. Hermance alluded to being involved in talks to sell the bookstore late last year, but details and a timeline as to the store’s future were few and far between.

The name of the LGBT organization responsible for the purchase of Giovanni’s Room has yet to be released, pending the signing of agreements transferring ownership of the organization, but the store is scheduled to reopen this fall.

1973 Tom Weinberg, Dan Sherbo, Bern Boylethe founded Giovanni’s Room in the heart of Philadelphia. In the years since its opening the bookstore has become a cultural mainstay both for Philadelphia’s gay community, but also for those visiting the city and looking for a jumping off point. The 3,000 sq. ft. store is staffed entirely by community volunteers, and Hermance has expressed his desire to remain similarly involved after the lease is signed over August 1.


'Ex-Gay' Pittsburgh Pastor Duane Youngblood Accused Of Molesting Teenage Boy

Duane Youngblood, author of Freedom From Homosexuality: No Longer Living The Lie and owner of the Higher Call World Outreach Church in Homestead, Pennsylvania, has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager.

YoungbloodThe boy, now aged 21, told police that the pastor sexually abused him between 2009 and 2001 while Youngblood was supposed to be counseling him, reports CBS Pittsburgh. Youngblood is also accused of showing the teen an adult movie on his computer.

The pastor reportedly asked his victim not to tell his mother “because he didn’t want to get into trouble.”

In his 2006 book, Youngblood "shares insights and truth to help anyone struggling with perversions find a place of forgiveness and deliverance in God."

Neighbors say the pastor, who is a registered sex offender, is married with multiple children.

In 2006, Youngblood was sentenced to one year of intermediate punishment and seven years’ probation after he was found guilty of molesting a 15-year-old boy whom he was also counseling.


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