Meet Our Galactic MC, Chi Chi Mizrahi!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 10, 2023

Chi Chi Mizrahi

Francisco Gonzalez Jr., better known as “Mother Chi Chi Unbothered West” is a stakeholder and community advocate for the House and Ballroom community. He has been an active member of the Kiki scene and Ballroom scene for over 15 years. Entering the HIV Prevention Field at the age of 19, his work advocating for youth affected by HIV has provided him with many opportunities such as appearing in an Adidas campaign, Paper Magazine’s “Night Life” issue, the AMFAR Gala opening act, and as a principal dancer in Icona Pops’ “All Night” music video. He travels around the world introducing the House and Ballroom culture to the LGBTQ community.

After getting his professional start as a community health specialist at FACES NY Inc, he is currently a Director OF LGBTQ Service for SCAN-Harbor located in Harlem, NY. Chi Chi’s work for the House and Ballroom community, the Kiki Scene and his dedication to youth hasn’t gone unnoticed. He is the Founding Mother and creator of the House of Unbothered-Cartier and Legendary Overseer of the Captivating House of WEST.

He is looked at as a mentor to many in the Ballroom Community. Chi Chi’s ballroom category is Vogue Fem and his Kiki scene category is Runway. He has dominated the Voguing category from state to state, as one of the most popular voguers. His playful personality, endless love, and nurturing ways are a representation of how he keeps the youth of his community safe. His personal motto: “Live In Your Truth”.

Get tickets now for STARDUST RHAPSODY to see Chi Chi MC a night to remember!

Awardee Spotlight: Ismail Smith Wade-El

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 10, 2023

Ismail “Izzy” Smith-Wade-El was born and raised in Lancaster, PA. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Izzy returned to his hometown and began working in Lancaster’s nonprofit sector to deliver relief to vulnerable people, first in behavioral health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation, then as a grant writer and researcher.

Prior to his election to the PA Legislature, Izzy was the President of Lancaster City Council on which he had served since 2017. During his four years on Council, Izzy helped secure the largest investments in affordable housing and lead removal for the City of Lancaster in its history.

Get tickets now for STARDUST RHAPSODY to see Izzy presented with our Starfield award; awarded to a local advocate committed to improving the lives of the Lancaster LGBTQIA+ community!

Awardee Spotlight: Evita Colon & Solise White, A Concrete Rose Bookbar

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 10, 2023

Evita Colon & Solise White

A Concrete Rose merges a bookstore, micro-winery and live entertainment venue under one
roof; a book bar but so much more! The bookstore will feature books and art created by authors
and artists of the African diaspora providing the community with the opportunity to learn about
different cultures through the immersion of literature and art.

Evita and Solise aim to provide the community with a place to freely express themselves and showcase their work on a regular basis. The inclusion of wine intersects a sophisticated experience with a casual experience giving our space an unpretentious vibe for all to enjoy.

Get tickets now for STARDUST RHAPSODY to see Evita & Solise presented with our Aurora award; awarded to artists or storytellers who illuminate the experiences of our LGBTQIA+ community!

Awardee Spotlight: Kearasten Jordan

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 10, 2023

Kearasten Jordan

Kearasten Jordan (they/them) is a Black and Queer Artist and Activist from Lancaster Pa. They enjoy art, music and being a problem.

Get tickets now for STARDUST RHAPSODY to see Kearasten presented with our Incandescent Protostar award; awarded to an ascending star with a bright future in LGBTQIA+ advocacy!

Awardee Spotlight: Corinne Goodwin & Naiymah Sanchez

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 10, 2023

Corinne Goodwin

Naiymah Sanchez (she/her) joined the ACLU-PA in January 2017 as the trans justice coordinator. She is
a proud woman of transgender experience and previously worked as the coordinator of the
Trans-Health information project for five years providing education and advocacy services for
transgender individuals in Philadelphia.

Naiymah has worked to help the Philadelphia prison
system become more PREA (Prison Rape elimination act) compliant since 2015. Part of
Naiymah’s initiative is to build coalitions to better serve transgender individuals and the injustice
they face.

Corinne Goodwin (She/They) is the Executive Director and founder of Eastern PA Trans Equity Project which has a mission of empowering transgender individuals throughout a 26-County area of Eastern Pennsylvania. 

An award-winning community leader and in-demand speaker, Corinne actively works on issues impacting the lives of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians ranging from legislative action to advocating for safe housing and food access alongside organizations such as Keystone Equality, the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, the United Way, the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and more. 

After a career as a senior executive in the retail and telecommunications sectors, Corinne now works as a self-employed business consultant. 

A parent to one son who works in New York’s theater industry, she lives in Orefield PA with her wife Debbie, a grumpy cat named April, and a model railroad that takes up way too much space in her basement.

Get tickets now for STARDUST RHAPSODY to see Corinne & Naiymah presented with our Legendary Supernova award; awarded to unstoppable forces with a long and luminous history of dedication to LGBTQIA+ causes!

Visit The Loop Today for an Exhibition of Artwork by Dorrin Gingerich!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 3, 2023

Dorrin Gingerich is a 34-year-old artist who lives with Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions and spasms. He was diagnosed with Dystonia in his senior year of high school, after noticing that his right arm would clench and curl whenever he held something. Over the years, his condition worsened and spread to his neck, back, and tongue, forcing him to quit his full-time job.

Dorrin faced many challenges and struggles as he tried to cope with his condition. He felt depressed, isolated, and hopeless. He wondered what his purpose in life was and how he could contribute to society. He also faced discrimination and stigma from others who did not understand his condition or his identity as a gay man.

However, Dorrin did not give up, though he wanted to. He found meaning and joy in expressing himself through art. He started with comic book collages and then experimented with painting discovering his signature crisscross technique. He realized he could create beautiful images by filling in pixel-like squares with different colors and shades. He also found that this technique helped him overcome the difficulties of painting with a curled arm, as he did not have to worry about being precise or accurate. He feels that his style added character and texture to his paintings.

Dorrin draws inspiration from the world and enjoys seeing how others interpret his expressions. He believes that his Christian faith and coming out of the closet have helped him heal and accept himself. He also credits his recovery to getting plenty of rest, working out with a trainer, and getting Botox injections. While stress is still a trigger for his Dystonia, he has regained more control over his body and his life.

He has overcome many obstacles and challenges to pursue his passion and purpose. He hopes he can become an inspiration to others, especially those who are LGBTQ+, disabled, or people of faith. Eventually, he wants to write a memoir with a ghostwriter one day. He currently lives near Lancaster, PA, and will be moving to Macon GA in September.

You can learn more about Dorrin and see some of his paintings on his website and socials:

Website: www.dorringingerichart.com

Instagram: @dorringingerich

Facebook: DorrinGingerichsArt

TikTok: @dorringingerich

You can also see and buy some of his work at The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition & The Loop; 117 E Chestnut St, Lancaster, PA 17602

Mark Your Calendar: Join Us for a Pride Poetry Event on June 15th with Lancaster Changemakers!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

April 28, 2023

Pride Poetry is an all-ages poetry open-mic community event featuring BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists. Join Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition and Lancaster Changemakers on June 15th for an evening of poetry with 3 featured poets, including Poet Laureate of Lancaster Evita Colon!

Pictured: Participants at a Pride Poetry event earlier this month

Keep an eye out on our blog and socials for more information closer to the event date! Find more resources and see how you can get involved at the Lancaster Changemakers Website!

Parents of Trans Kids: Join Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Center April 5th!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

April 4, 2023

Great news! The Parents Of Trans Kids Group at Bradbury-Sullivan is holding their next session on April 5th, and it’ll be a great opportunity for parents to learn more about supporting transgender children in today’s world. If you haven’t already registered your interest with the Bradbury-Sullivan team, please fill out their intake form as soon as possible! The meeting will take place via Zoom at 6pm on April 5th and is open to all parents who have a child or children going through this transition.

Fill out Bradbury-Sullivan’s intake form here!

Editorial: Trans Day of Visibility

K Foley

March 31, 2023

Today on Transgender Day of Visibility, there are 455 known anti-human rights legislative bills in 27 states targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The biggest target of these bills are our transgender and non-binary children. 

As a non-binary trauma therapist for the LGBTQ+ community I promise you this: no amount of conversion therapy, no denial of sports inclusion or lack of access to gender affirming care will “change anyone’s minds.

It will, however, succeed in killing us.

To every politician, health care provider, or hospital leader who feels like “playing both sides” by making deals with politicians who propose/support anti-LGBT legislation is acceptable: it is not. 

To every parent, guardian, or pastor who believes that Queer identity is – generously speaking –  “just confusion” or “the devil”: it is not. To every school administrator or board that thinks our childrens’ identities and basic rights are fair game for a school board to debate: they really are not. 

I guarantee: If you do not step it up and enact swift policy changes, you will be responsible for our statistics:

  • More than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth in the U.S. seriously consider suicide each year 
  • At least one LGBTQ+ child attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the U.S. 
  • Over 51% of transgender people have attempted suicide

As the Executive Director of Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, Trans Day of Visibility is even more important than ever because nobody seems to want to collect data and statistics about trans people while we are still alive. I struggle to prove the need for access to healthcare and housing because people aren’t asking. You know what stats we have plenty of statistics about? Our deaths: hate crimes, suicides, mass shootings. 

Let’s change that. On May 1, 2023 We are launching an LGBTQ+ behavioral health and wellness program, an expansion of our subsidized housing program and an emergency overnight shelter. We are also seeking to include intergenerational communal housing because of the definite lack of affirming shelters or retirement communities in Lancaster.

We have been delayed long enough. We need funding for an accessibility ramp and a sprinkler system for our space. More than anything we need to own our building to have autonomy and ability to expand. 

I am sure we can all agree that ALL children deserve a loving home, to play sports, to be called by their name, loved for who they are, and to not be shot in schools. Right?

The time of hiding hate behind so-called faith is over. Religious freedom can no longer be used as a veil for blatant discrimination. We deserve to love ourselves, our lives, and our partners without fear. We demand better from our society.

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition Signs Letter Supporting GLSEN Rise Up Resolution

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

March 31, 2023

This week, the Rise Up for LGBTQI+ Youth in Schools resolution was introduced; a call to demand equal educational opportunity, basic civil rights protections, and freedom from erasure for all students, including LGBTQI+ young people in K-12 schools. The National Education Association, American School Counselor Association, and National Association of School Psychologists join GLSEN in supporting this resolution. Learn more at GLSEN’s website!