This week I focused on following advice I received from Amanda Casper last week, wrapping up previous projects before continuing with current and newer projects. I also spoke with Dr. Lowe to discuss next steps for my role on the NPS LGBTQ+ Heritage Initiative from a graduate student perspective and set up a tentative meeting with Bonnie along similar lines next week. I performed some cursory research on sites I received in the feedback from Susan Ferentinos and Megan Springate. I also began drafting a new scope of work for my continued role on this project, as the previous document will become outdated soon. I began work on a project summary for the new digital memory mapping project I have planned for additional community outreach, and I also updated myself on current events in Philadephia's LGBTQ+ community.
When I met with Amanda Casper last week she suggested that, because the end date for my scope of work is coming up, I should write up reflections and summaries of my work on the site assessment list and the PhillyPride memory mapping project. This involved me analyzing and documenting my methodologies behind these projects, what my results were, what I learned from my experiences with these thus far, and how that experience will shape later iterations of these projects. Regarding reflections on the site assessment list, I wrote about learning how to apply NHL criteria to sites, and about the great feedback and suggestions I received from Susan Ferentinos and Megan Springate, who not only proposed additions to the list, but also advised me on reorganizing some sites and adding information to others. I appreciate their corrections greatly, and they will be visible when I ultimately send this list out for external review in the near future. Regarding the memory mapping project I discussed my awareness ahead of time of issues regarding representation of the full LGBTQ+ community and of the likelihood that pins would be centered around Center City. These came true, but these are lessons that will shape the next, larger mapping project which will include participants from throughout the city of various ages, races and ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and sexual and gender identities. A pleasant surprise I reflected on for this project was the thematic diversity of the sites I received (religious, educational, and health institutions, bars and restaurants, and shops). I look forward to taking what I learned from both of these projects and implementing it in my continued work on them.
Earlier this week I spoke with Dr. Lowe about where things might go for me regarding my continued participation in this initiative, and she advised me to begin drafting a new scope of work that reflects the new goals that my supervisors and I have for the next six months or so on the project. Along those lines I contacted Bonnie about setting up a meeting to discuss her goals for the site assessment list, and any other goals she might have for me. I have also contacted Helen to hopefully set up a phone call or meeting to discuss her goals for the next memory mapping/community outreach project, and possibly even the exhibit project with William Way and Independence. Once I speak with both Bonnie and Helen I will draft up a new scope of work for the next few months of the project and send it out for review by all parties. Dr. Lowe also encouraged me to begin drafting a brief project summary for the new memory mapping project I have proposed. This is partially because I anticipate this project to become my Thesis Project. I am still working on this summary, but I aim to have at least a draft completed by next Friday.
Following the suggestions from Megan Springate and Susan Ferentinos for additional sites to the site assessment list, I conducted some cursory research for these new additions, which included Temple University, John Fryer, Gloria Casarez. Between 1965-1988, Dr. Joseph Wolpe, the creator of aversion therapy which claimed to "cure" homosexuality, had an office at Temple University. Considering the ongoing debate around aversion therapy, finding out that its creator once had an office at Temple University was an interesting development. Temple University also deserves to be included in this list because of John Fryer. John Fryer, a psychiatrist also known as Doctor Anonymous, the masked and vocally obscured presenter at the 1972 American Psychiatric Association conference in Dallas who, in conjunction with Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny, contributed to the 1973 decision by the APA declassify homosexuality as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fryer spoke as a gay man and a psychiatrist and encouraged this declassification. Fryer would later become a professor at Temple University, an interesting historical foil to Wolpe's concurrent presence. Each of these men are nationally significant, as one was responsible for the creation of a "treatment" for homosexuality that has historically existed nationwide, while the other was responsible for the national declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by a national institution of mental health. Gloria Casarez, from my preliminary research, appears to be a locally significant figure. A prominent lesbian activist, Casarez is noted for her activism and for being appointed the first director of the Office of LGBT Affairs in Philadelphia City Hall, the office which Amber Hikes now holds. Casarez passed in 2014 after a battle with breast cancer, but she remains an inspiring figure within Philadelphia's LGBTQ+ community. One testament to this legacy is the mural with Casarez's face on it at 204 S. 12th Street.
There were two overarching stories I found particularly interesting, regarding current events in Philadelphia's LGBTQ+ community. The first was renewed controversy and intrigue at the iCandy gay bar, which is now infamous for its owner's usage of racial slurs aimed at customers of color last fall. Several Black organizations in the city, including COLOURS, Social Life Entertainment LLC, and Black Pride Philly, are partnering with iCandy to host an event catered towards people of color. While in theory this seems like a positive step forward for iCandy, many activists in Philadelphia see this simply as a means for the gay bar to increase its profit margins from people of color. One frequent response is that this partnership does not directly address the trauma and bigotry that Darryl DePiano's, iCandy's owner, words and business practices have caused, particularly because no community members were consulted prior to this partnership's establishment. Interestingly, Amber Hikes and the Office of LGBT Affairs in City Hall also disapproved of the partnership, saying that the Office was approached but refused to support it publicly (they are frequently solicited to support such partnerships but seldom do), and said that if the Office had supported it, there would have been community engagement first.
On a more positive note, Philadelphia came together to support its trans* siblings who serve in the armed forces, and condemning the recent statements from the President who proposed a ban on transgender folks in the military. Amber Hikes asserted that "government sanctioned discrimination has absolutely no place" in Philadelphia or anywhere else in the country. This show of support from the Office and from Mayor Kenney himself, is an inspiring show of leadership in Philadelphia that I hope will continue elsewhere.
 Ernest Owens, “Petition Calling on Milan Christopher to Boycott iCandy Booking Gains Traction,” G Philly, July 31, 2017.
 Jeremy Rodriguez, “Community Shows Support for LGBT Veterans,” Philadelphia Gay News, August 3, 2017.