This is my favorite weekend in Philadelphia. For at least the last 60 years, Black LGBT men and women would travel to our great City for the annual Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania (which have been celebrated since 1895). Even at turbulent times when it wasn’t safe to be Black or gay in America, our elders would gather in private homes and at the City’s finest ballrooms (in West Philadelphia) for the best parties, dinners, award shows and other happenings.
We continue that tradition today. During this weekend, the local family will come out–the weekly bar hoppers and socialites, as well as those who make an appearance once or twice a year. Many will visit Philadelphia for the Relays, and enjoy the host of parties planned by the Philadelphia black gay pride organization. Even the ancestors will gather–remembering when they were “there” and bidding wishes of fun, laughter, safety, responsibility and love to all of us .
If you’re in Philadelphia this weekend, there are plenty of opportunities to learn our history, while taking in the sights of Penn Relays and Black Gay Pride. Take lots of photographs. Make new friends. Meet your new lover. Network. Create new opportunities. Continue the tradition.
Philadelphia’s Social Scene for Black LGBTs: 1950s to the present, photography exhibit, FREE, now till 5/19, click here.
Philadelphia Black Gay Pride weekend events, click here.