Community Picks for Alternative Pride Events: Part 2

Did you know that years before the first Pride Parades in Philadelphia there were several marches and rallies?

One of the organizers of the very first Pride March in Philly, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, was interviewed by the Inquirer earlier this month. When asked if he feels that Philadelphians have forgotten the activism that started pride, this was how Avicolli Mecca responded:

“When I’m out speaking, especially at colleges, people don’t realize how much we did. They might have some little sense of, ‘Oh yeah, those old folks got this whole thing started,’ but they don’t really understand that we were the ones who started Pride. There was no concept of Pride as a movement.”

This year the Pride Parade celebrated it’s 30th anniversary, but, like Tommi, I believe that the queer community in Philly has largely forgotten there was anything before the parades. In order to get deeper into the spirit of action, because there is certainly still work to be done, I have been collecting joyful, educational, and productive events to keep Pride going all month long. This is last week’s part one

Here is Part 2 of our Community Picks for Alternative Pride Events:

Author Talk | Heath Fogg Davis

Lovett Library, 6945 Germantown Avenue

Monday, June 11th @ 7:30pm


“Gender matters to many of us personally and socially. But, is gender something we should use in the policies that govern institutions such as government-issued ID documents, public restrooms, college admissions, and sports?  If so, why and how? In Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? Temple professor Davis explores these questions.”

Proud to Be You and Me! We Are Family!

Independence Library, 18 S. 7th Street

Tuesday, June 12th @ 10:30am


“Celebrate families and gender diversity with a “Rainbow” storytime filled with stories, songs, and a “make-and-take” unicorn craft!”

Buttons of Diversity

Thomas F. Donatucci, Sr. Library, 1935 Shunk Street

Tuesday, June 12th @ 2pm


“Discover the history of pride and celebrate diversity—yours and others’—by designing and making your own button that represents and celebrates you.”

Drag Queen Storytime

Family Library, 2437 South Broad Street

Tuesday, June 12th @ 4:30pm


“Hear Brittany Lynn read stories about tolerance and diversity.”

Imagining Justice

City Hall Courtyard, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.

Tuesday, June 12th, 4pm-7pm


“Join us from 4–7 p.m. for the exhibition, and listen to youth testimony about the juvenile justice system from 5–6:30 p.m. Imagining Justice looks to youth affected by the system as the experts that our city needs most, using art, storytelling, and dialogue to educate the public and to advocate for programs and policies to make our communities safe, whole, and just.”

Film Screening | The Watermelon Woman

Fumo Family Library, 2437 South Broad Street

Wednesday, June 13th @ 12:30pm


“A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character in a 1930s movie.”

Movie Matinees | How to Survive a Plague

Philadelphia City Institute, 1905 Locust Street

Wednesday, June 13th @ 2pm


Philly Trans March Planning Meeting

William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.

Wednesday, June 13th, 5pm-8pm


“Philly Trans March is not simply an annual march, it is a revolutionary movement. Open to people of all gender identities, expressions, and experiences, Philly Trans March welcomes EVERYONE to join in the planning for the 8th annual Philly Trans March, a community organized march, demonstration and protest against the hate, social injustice, and inequity faced by trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals and communities.”

Queer Discoveries Film Series | Philadelphia

Lovett Library, 6945 Germantown Ave

Wednesday, June 13th, 5:30pm-8:00pm


“Join us for a screening of Philadelphia, a drama based on a true story.  Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm.  But his secret is exposed when a colleague spots the illnesses telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the only lawyer willing to help.  In court, they face one of his ex-employer’s top litigators, Belinda Conine (Mary Steenburgen).

This is the 25th anniversary of this film, which was shot entirely in Philadelphia. A talk-back with members of Philly AIDS Law Project will follow the screening.”

LGBTQ+ Book Discussion Group

Ramonita G. de Rodriguez Library, 600 West Girard Avenue

Wednesday, June 13th @ 5:30pm


“The June meeting of the Rodriguez book discussion group for adults and teens will feature a title by an author from the LGBTQ+ community.

Contact the library to borrow a copy of each month’s selection. For more information, please call Library Manager Lisa Chianese-Lopez or email her at”

Rainbow Storytime

Lovett Library, 6945 Germantown Ave

Wednesday, June 13th @ 6pm


Join us for Rainbow Storytime!  We’ll read, dance, sing, and play, all while exploring LGBTQ+ themes!”

Pride Month Book Discussion

Tacony Library, 6742 Torresdale Avenue

Wednesday, June 13th @ 6:30pm


“No book has been used to such controversial effect as the Bible. Are you or someone you care about confused about what the Bible does or does not have to say about being LGBTQ? Are you tired of people misquoting and misapplying Scripture just to support their own point of view? Have you often wondered what the authors of the Bible really had in mind when they wrote those often infamous passages?

Join us for this open exploration and discussion, led by Tacony Branch Librarian, Suzin Weber.”

Philly Poetry Workshop

A-space Community Center, 4722 Baltimore Ave.

Wednesday, June 13th, 7pm-9pm


“The Philly Poetry Workshop was started out of a need for a free poetry workshop in Philadelphia, accessible to all. Bring your poetry! Your feedback! But mostly yourself- we’re excited to meet you!”

Friday Night Pride Celebration

Germantown Jewish Center, 400 W Ellet St. 

Friday, June 15th, 6pm-9pm


“Join us for the kickoff event to GJC’s first Pride Shabbat, and celebrate the vibrant queer thread that runs through this beautiful tapestry of our community! Advance RSVP is greatly appreciated so we know what we need for the grill! Bring your blankets and chairs. We can’t wait to see you there!”

Disability Pride

National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St

Saturday, June 16th, 10am-4pm


“The Office of People with Disabilities and Disability Pride have collaborated to include an LGBTQIA+ section in the Disability Pride Parade on June 16th. Come out and support our LGBTQIA+ siblings and neighbors with disabilities as they proudly march to City Hall and celebrate their intersecting identities!”

Pride Month Film Series | The Watermelon Woman

Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library, 125 South 52nd Street

Saturday, June 16th @ 2pm


“A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character in a 1930s movie”

Queer Meet-Cute and Picnic!

Clark Park, 4300 Baltimore Ave

Saturday, June 16th, 6pm-9:30pm


“Come meet queer cuties of all ages (18+) looking for dates and relationships. Lawn Games, Cute getting-to-know-you activities, + Chill hang times”

Raspberry Royale Presents: Church Burlesque and Brunch

2nd floor of the Front St. Dive, 10 S Front St.

Sunday, June 17th, 12pm-3:30pm


“Sunday is the Lord’s day, and with that we take a step away from our busy lives of sin to reconnect to our heavenly Father. Come commune and drink the blood and body of Christ as we celebrate our Holy Father in a praise dance called Burlesque. It’s time to do the Lord’s work. This Fathers day we praise the names of all the Holy Fathers. The Sugar Daddies, Daddy Doms, Femme Daddies, Leather Daddies, Daddy Dykes, and those dealing with Daddy issues. Catch the Holy Spirit, Drink a few Bloody Marys, and come get your knees to pray at Raspberry Royale Presents: CHURCH a Burlesque Brunch.”

Queer Sundays at the Saint

Saint Lazarus Bar, 102 W Girard Ave.

Sunday, June 17th @ 10pm


#saintqueer sundays at Saint Lazarus Bar, a weekly LGBQTA+ function

safer space to move and mingle for those seeking an alternative queer option for dancing, drinks, djs, dinner.”

There you have it! As promised I will continue posting weekly roundups of LGBTQ+ events for this month, so keep your eyes peeled next Monday for Part 3!


I’ve been doing some research to create list of people, places, and things that are inspirational, educational, or just fun, so that we can tap into the true meaning of pride; remembrance, celebration, and meaningful action. Let me know if there’s an event coming up that can’t be missed OR if you have educational resources to highlight in my growing list:


(The images on this page were found in this collection of pictures from the first Pride march and rally in Philadelphia in 1972)

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Community Picks for Alternative Pride Events: Part 1

Being queer, I look forward to this month every year.

Not just for the joyful celebration, but also the commemoration of the Stone Wall Riots and the radical activism of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. The anniversary serves as reminder to be grateful for how far we have come, to celebrate those fearless TWOC who started it all, and to show our respect by continuing their work in the fight for justice for LGBTQIA peoples around the world.

Unfortunately, the Philly Pride Parade, arguably the main attraction of the month, has many people feeling dissatisfied, pissed, or even disgusted. (Personally, I’m in the “disgusted” boat).

One of my favorite local journalists, Ernst Owens, summed up my feelings in an op-ed he wrote for Philly Mag last year:

“I cannot continue to waste my time forcing myself to attend an event that clearly isn’t striving to include me. Instead, I will connect with other like-minded individuals who are interested in taking Pride back. The movement for LGBTQ rights was championed by intersectional pioneers who were of color, transgender, non-binary, poor, and in-between. Now more than ever, these most vulnerable marginalized voices should be centered in Pride.”

(Owens also wrote a statement on facebook this week addressing his 2nd annual boycott of pride this year)

The parade has evolved from a just your average gross capitalist display, to a gross capitalist display that disrespects the spirit and purpose of its own revolutionary birth. It’s disappointing, to say the least.

But Philly never lets me down! There are countless events happening citywide all month long that are refreshingly inclusive and conscientious in their versions of Pride celebrations. From protests to art shows to comedy workshops to happy hour, organizations big and small are pulling out all the stops for this wonderful time of year.

Here are here are some exciting events I found that are happening this week (that don’t have a Trump supporter as a senior advisor):

L’amour: Trans Immigrant Lives Matter

The Trans Equity Project, GALAEI, 149 W. Susquehanna Ave

Wednesday, June 6th @ 5pm-8pm


“Roxana Hernandez died Friday May 25th in ICE custody due to medical negligence by immigration officials. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for Black and Brown Trans, Non-binary and Gender non-conforming immigrants. Join us as we take a look at the struggles faced by Trans Immigrants and ways we can support as community.”

PDM Karaoke Happy Hour Fundraiser PRIDE Edition

Stir Lounge, 1705 Chancellor Street

Wednesday, June 6th @ 7pm


“Come SING ????????your heart out with your favorite PDM organizers and supporters to celebrate PRIDE! ????We are doing it big this year at Stir Lounge located off of 17th and Chancellor St. No other than???? DJ Leo Gonzales will be playing all of your favorites. If you want it…he’s got it. There will be a ????️ 50/50 Raffel announced at 930pm and free give aways to some brave enough to rock the mic. We get started at 7pm and the cover is $7 or $5 with PDM T-shirt. See you there!!! Happy Pride!!!”

Bi+ Viz Burlesque

Tabu, 200 S 12th Street

Wednesday, June 6th @ 9pm


Catch @Allie Ilagan as Hattie Harlowe in Philly Pride’s only bi-centric event! “What’s it like being the B in LGBT? Find out at this visibility-raising variety show, featuring burlesque, drag and more from performers within the Bi+ community.”

LGBTQ+ Jeopardy for Children and Teens!

Ramonita G. de Rodriguez Library, 600 West Girard Avenue

Thursday, June 7th @ 4pm


“Join our after school staff for a lively round of Jeopardy focused on LGBTQ+ trivia.”

Producers’ Forum – Chavela

Roxy Theater, 2023 Sansom Street

Thursday, June 7th @ 7pm


Scribe is thrilled to present Chavela directed by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi (USA, 2017, 93 min) DARESHA KYI IN PERSON

Through its lyrical structure, Chavela takes viewers on an evocative, thought provoking journey through the iconoclastic life of game-changing ranchera singer Chavela Vargas. Although she didn’t officially identify as a lesbian until she was 81 years old, Chavela carefully crafted a public persona as a powerful, rebellious, free spirited outsider who blazed her own unique trail. Centered around exclusive interview and performance footage of Chavela Vargas shot in 1991 and guided by her unique voice, Chavela weaves a compelling and moving portrait of a woman who dared to dress, speak, sing, and dream her unique life into being.”

Sarah McBride | Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street

Thursday, June 7th @ 7:30


“Tomorrow Will Be Different takes a deep dive into her tale of love, loss, and accomplishment as a doorway to a larger discussion of identity and LGBTQ rights. See author Sarah McBride in conversation with with State Representative Brian K. Sims”

“What Does Pride Mean to You?” Exhibit Opening

Philadelphia City Hall, 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd

Friday, June 8th, All day


“See the phenomenal works of local LGBTQIA+ artists answer the question “What Does Pride Mean to You?” in a dynamic art exhibit at multiple locations throughout the city including the 1st floor of City Hall, the Bahdeebahdu Gallery, and the Imperfect Gallery starting on June 8th!”

Homecoming 2018

William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street.

Friday, June 8th @ 5:30pm-7:30pm


Kick off Pride weekend at the William Way LGBT Community Center. This Friday, June 8th from 5:30 – 7:30, is the Center’s annual Homecoming event. The event will be cocktail reception featuring light fare, an open bar, live performances from V. Shayne Frederick and John Jarboe, and a silent auction. You will also be able to enjoy the recently installed gallery exhibition and archival exhibit. The Center is open every day of the year, and if you’ve never visited, this is the perfect chance to do so!

GLOW: A Qunify Pride Party

Ulana’s, 205 Bainbridge Street

Friday, June 8th @ 10pm-2am

Pay What You Can

“Step out of them dim vibes you’ve been messin’ with and step into your summer GLOW! Walk in, show up, Friday, GLOW up. After the Philly Pride Kick-off Block Party, we are taking our QTPOC centered party outside of the Gayborhood with just as much Pride and even more GLOW! Showstopper outfits are encouraged. It’s time to GLOW up!”

NOH8 Open Photo Shoot

Penn LGBT Center, 3907 Spruce Street

Saturday, June 9th @ Noon

Cost varies

“Join the #NOH8Worldwide movement in Philadelphia, PA and add your face to the fight for equal human rights!”

Film Screening | Beach Rats

Katharine Drexel Library, 11099 Knights Road

Saturday, June 9th @ 1pm


“A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet. (Rated R)”


Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom Street

Saturday, June 9th, 1pm-3pm


“This is intended for theater actors, stand up comics, improvisers, sketch performers, speakers, teachers et al. Utilizing physical comedy exercises, work shop attendees will home their inner joy and get real on stage. Playing with the concept of ‘acknowledge everything’ attendees will break the 4th wall, connect and engage and listen… then they will find the joy! You can’t follow the fun until you uncover it!

PS : This is a great workshop for stand-ups wanting to strengthen their crowd work!”

20th Annual Philly Dyke March

Kahn Park, 11th and Pine Streets

Saturday, June 9th @ 3pm-6pm


“CALLING ALL DYKES AND ALLIES!! ALL femmes, butches, queers, studs, AGs, lesbians, tops, bottoms, tomboys, womxn of color, bi-dykes, boi-dykes, UHaul-ers, Potluck-ers, bulldaggers, transgender and gender non-conforming folx of all flavors, and all of those who love and support us…you get the idea: we mean YOU!”


Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom Street

Saturday, June 9th @ 5:00pm – 7:00pm


“Have you wanted to be able to get free on the dance floor? Understand how your body moves? This workshop seeks to help individuals access their body and enjoy the rhythms of their own movement. I will be centering the workshop on the identities/perspectives of Queer/Trans People of Color and Black folk. We will use exercises of play, group improvisation, and contact improv (only if comfortable). Our time together will be filled with laughter, discussion about the joys we experience despite our trauma, and collective healing through dance/movement.”

Over The Rainbow: A Queer Comedy Jawn

Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom Street

Saturday, June 9th

Various times and events


“In celebration of Pride Month, PHIT will be hosting a day-long comedy jawn on Saturday, June 9th! The day will be filled with workshops and performances, all featuring LGBTQIA comedians and performance artists.”

Juice: A Summer Fest for Queer and Trans Womxn of Color

Life Do Grow Farm, 2315 N. 11th St.

Saturday, June 9th @ 6pm-11pm


“JUICE, curated by her philly moves, is a vision of a more inclusive and more intersectional Philadelphia Pride Festival. Featuring an all-queer and trans womxn of color lineup of performers, photographers, vendors, artists, and (new for 2018) filmmakers, JUICE is a safer space that elevates and celebrates the diverse voices of womxn in Philadelphia.”

PROUD AF: The B2B Pre-Pride Party and Drag King Show!

Tabu, 200 s 12th Street

Saturday, June 9th @ 9pm-2am


“Before the party, don’t miss “Out Staged- A Comedy & Drag Show,” featuring Atlanta’s Kia Comedy, and some of Philly’s dopest Drag Kings, including Molasses Jones, Mo’ Betta, Manny T. Lovett, Dutch Carpenter, Gavin Danger, and Rough RydeHer!”

Sunday TEA: The Pride Edition

CiBo Ristorante Italiano, 1227 Walnut Street

Sunday, June 10th @ 4pm

$9.45 on eventbrite or $10 at the door

“Your PRIDE plans have arrived. Introducing THE Sunday Funday party you can’t miss. Philly’s HOTTEST Day party for LGBTQ folx and those who love us is back for a special PRIDE edition of Sunday Tea!”

Drakaoke: 2018 Pride After Party

The Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave.

June 10th, 10pm-2am


“Join us after Pride 2018 for a very special edition of DRAGAOKE featuring Regina Gorj and Sakura Allure !!!
+ Performances from Mercury Parris
+ Viva La Shea
Karaoke all night before, after, and inbetween drag performances !!!”

That’s all for now folks! 

Stay tuned for weekly updates on excellent events happening in Philly this month.

(Thanks to @Neil Bardhan @Embry Owen @Allie Ilagan @Kati Sipp and @J. Rudy Flesher for some recommendations!)

I’ve been doing some research to create list of people, places, and things that are inspirational, educational, or just fun, so that we can tap into the true meaning of pride; remembrance, celebration, and meaningful action. Let me know if there’s an event coming up that can’t be missed OR if you have educational resources to highlight in my growing list:

Some further reading on #problematicpride:

Single-Identity Social Justice Is No Justice at All

Taking Back Pride: Philly Report Back

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