This post was written by Erik Larson, Deputy Director for the Office of LGBT Affairs and co-authored by Parker Eyster

As 2022 comes to a close, The Office of LGBT is looking back at all the moments this past year has had to offer us, through our hardships and our triumphs. We will continue to work with the community to find strength in one another in our positive moments as well as our challenges. Our office will continue to do the work of uplifting the voices of all LGBTQ+ community members and continue to foster an inclusive environment for all LGBTQ+ Philadelphians in 2023 and beyond.


  • Opened applications for the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs.
    • To kick off 2022, The Office inquired for interested community members to join a dedicated group of volunteers working to make Philadelphia a better place for our community, the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs. We were thrilled to receive nearly a hundred applications to join the Commission. With their submission, each applicant was thanked for their time and thoughtful responses while the review committee carefully reviewed their application. The final candidates to join the commission were announced in Spring 2022.
  • Attended Pride night at the 76ers
    • The Office attended the 76ers annual Pride Night this January. The event was used as an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQ+ history and connect with the community, local and nationwide, in an engaging way. The event started with the More Color More Pride flag being flown as a cape by Sixer mascot Franklin and a halftime celebration on center court showed a video on LGBTQ+ history and also recognized Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal for their important work.


  • Began collecting Workforce SO/GI Data
    • In February, The Office of LGBT Affairs worked with Employee Relations, Human Resources, and the Law Department to design the Employee Self-Identification Census in the City’s internal HR system, OnePhilly, to provide expanded sexual orientation and gender identity (SO/GI) options. This will allow employees to voluntarily report their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The Office of LGBT Affairs participated in the Interfaith Inclusive Affirming Program MLK Day Celebration, an in-person celebration of Dr. King and Black History Month. The celebration honored three community leaders by presenting them with the Bayard Rustin Award.


  • In honor of Women’s History Month, The Office presented to the Engaging Women of Color Initiative on our mission, vision, accomplishments, and current efforts and strategies.
  • Transgender Day of Visibility
    • The Office hosted a Trans Day of Visibility Rally at City Hall. The Rally was well attended (at least 100 people). The event was in person, streamed on social media and covered by several media platforms. The event was covered by Pennsylvania Capital Star, Philadelphia Gay News, ABC Channel 6 News, and other news sources.


  • The Office of LGBT Affairs celebrated Philadelphia Black Pride for their 23rd year this April. This event lasted four days and was their first in-person event since 2019. Philadelphia Black Pride hosted a myriad of events, festivities, and live performances, and succeeded in their aim to focus on building community.
  • The Office participated in Voices of Pride, an event hosted by Temple University’s Fox School of Business during their LGBTQ+ conference. The goal was to bring together leaders in industry, government, and academia to focus on building and harnessing diverse workforces and creating ethical and healthy workplace cultures. The conference wrapped up with a concluding talk from our own Executive Director Celena Morrison and provided an opportunity for students to connect with local LGBTQIA+ friendly employers.
  • The Office participated in the Drexel University Department of Sport Business: Catalyst for the Cause Conference. Deputy Director Erik Larson discussed the resources that are available for individuals that identify as LGBTQ+, and best practices for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports.


  • The Office participated in the annual Business Leaders’ Luncheon, hosted by the Independence Business Alliance, the region’s LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. Deputy Director Erik Larson delivered the welcome address and shared about how businesses can be more accommodating to LGBTQ+ communities.
  • The Office partnered with the Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center, the Attic Youth Center, and community partners to make More Color More Pride rainbow graduation tassels for graduating LGBTQ+ students. The tassels were distributed at the Big Brothers Big Sisters and School District of Philadelphia end-of-year GSA event.
  • The Office participated in a Foster Parent Information Session in partnership with DHS and Philadelphia Family Pride. Deputy Director Erik Larson delivered welcome remarks and shared about the importance of providing affirming homes to LGBTQ+ youth.
  • The Office participated in the Allies for Gender Justice event in partnership with Commissions and Offices from the Office of Public Engagement. Deputy Director Erik Larson served as a panelist discussing gender justice issues from an LGBTQ-inclusive perspective.


  • Observed Pride Month: Every year, June marks an important opportunity to honor the resilience of the many intersections of our LGBTQ family, to celebrate our right to love who we love and to be who we are as our true, authentic selves. This year, the Office of LGBT Affairs had the honor of hosting and partnering several Pride-related events, including:
    • “Celebrating our Communities” flag raising and kickoff, with special guests the new members of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs.
    • The lighting of City landmarks in rainbow colors.
    • And Disability Pride Philadelphia Event.
  • Juneteenth
    • To celebrate Juneteenth this year, the Office of LGBT affairs supported Philadelphia Family Pride’s Juneteenth Picnic, a family-friendly event for all ages to come together and celebrate with great company and great food.


  • Uplifting Trans Wellness Conference
    • The Office uplifted Mazzoni Center’s Trans Wellness Conference, the largest transgender health conference in the world, whose aim is to educate and empower trans individuals on issues of health and wellness, recognizing the need for expertise surrounding trans health & wellness to rise from within the community.
  • Summer Vibes: A Celebration of Trans Joy
    • The Office of LGBT Affairs partnered with William Way, Free People, and other community partner organizations for their inaugural Summer Vibes event: a celebration of Trans Joy. The event had a great turnout with amazing activities, food, vendors, and live entertainment for all ages.


  • Gloria Casarez Elementary School, first day of school flag raising
    • To kick off the 2022 school year, the Office joined Gloria Casarez Elementary’s first day of school with their new name. The U.S. and Pride flags were raised to honor a Gloria Casarez tradition and her message of inclusion and belonging. Families and community members came together to support as well, by ringing bells to officially open the new year.
  • Passing of Michael Hinson Jr.
    • In August of this year, The Office of LGBT Affairs joined our community in mourning the passing of beloved community leader Michael Hinson, Jr. Michael was Philadelphia’s first mayoral-appointed liaison for LGBT Affairs under Mayor John F. Street’s administration in 2000. In addition to his role as a policy advisor on LGBTQ+ issues, he was instrumental in supporting the expansion of the Fair Practices Ordinance to protect gender identity. Prior to his time within the Street administration, he served as the founder of the COLOURS organization and co-founder of Philadelphia Black Pride. He will be remembered for his work with other prominent community organizations like Bebashi, Mazzoni Center, SELF Inc, and many others. “Mike was a true champion for marginalized communities. We will grieve his passing but he left behind an inspirational legacy of advocacy, leadership, and dignity,” said Celena Morrison, Executive Director of LGBT Affairs.


  • The Office of LGBT Affairs partnered with Bearded Ladies Cabaret to produce the Late Night Snacks series this September as they put on a range of various pay-what-you-wish live performances throughout the month. From opera singers to drag queens, cabaret stars to art clowns, and everything in between, the Late Night Snacks event had something for everyone.
  • The Office participated in Civic Saturday in the courtyard of City Hall in partnership with the Mayor’s Commission for Women, in addition to other Offices and Commissions from the Mayor’s Office.
  • This September, The Office of LGBT Affairs had the opportunity to present on LGBTQ+ Inclusion to Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment, operating partner of the 76ers. Deputy Director Larson shared information on supporting LGBTQ+ employees, non-discrimination laws, building affirming environments, and more.


  • LGBTQ+ History Month
    • Flag Raising
      • The Office of LGBT Affairs, in partnership with the William Way LGBT Community Center, hosted a Flag Raising Event honoring LGBTQ+ History Month at the Municipal Services Building. In addition to raising the iconic More Color, More Pride flag; this year’s program theme, “Making History”, included speakers from across our LGBTQ+ community honoring our queer ancestors, and how we are making history in our community every day. Speakers honored our recently-departed ancestors, and also stressed the importance of looking forward with civic engagement as we make history in our community for future generations. Following the speakers’ portion of the program, the More Color, More Pride flag was raised accompanied by a live vocalist in an inspiring musical performance.
  • LGBTQ+ Voter Engagement Event
    • The Office of LGBT Affairs and the William Way LGBT Community Center joined together in October for an event to reach out to LGBTQ+ Philadelphians to make sure that they are registered to vote and are making a plan to vote for the November midterm election, raising general awareness about voting rights in Pennsylvania.
  • Attended LGBTQ+ History Month Reception at the PA Governor’s Residence
    • This October to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, the Office attended an LGBTQ+ History Month Reception at the PA Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg. Awards were given to individuals from across the Commonwealth for their groundbreaking work and support of the LGBTQ+ community in Pennsylvania.


  • In Memory: Transgender Day of Remembrance Event with William Way
    • City Hall raised the transgender flag to half-mast for Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day dedicated to honor those lives lost due to anti-trans violence. This November, The Office of LGBT Affairs also partnered with William Way for their “In Memory” event for TDOR to honor those lives lost within the past year.
  • Community Thanksgiving Holiday Meal at William Way
    • This Thanksgiving season, the Office partnered with William Way for their annual Thanksgiving Holiday Meal to-go. This event is a tradition at William Way to provide warm meals to those in need of them during the holiday season.
  • Club Q Community Vigil at William Way
    • In honor of the recent tragedy at Club Q in Colorado Springs this November, William Way held a healing space for community members to process their thoughts and feelings. The event was filled with friendly faces, mental health professionals, and many lovely words from community members,


  • LGBTQ+ Elder Roundtable Event in collaboration with Sage USA
    • This December, the Office of LGBT Affairs and SAGE USA come together for Creating Home: A Roundtable Conversation to Discuss LGBTQ+ Elder Housing in Pennsylvania. There the need for affirming and inclusive housing was discussed amongst community member and together we explored innovative solutions to housing insecurity experienced by LGBTQ+ elders.
  • Community Christmas Holiday Meal at William Way
    • For the holiday season, the Office of LGBT Affairs and William Way come together once again this year to provide warm holiday meals.