Events Not to Miss at Equality Forum, the World’s Largest LGBT Summit

By Nicole Finkbiner
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 2, 2012

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This year, Equality Forum celebrates its 20th anniversary and, as always, will be hosting six straight days of events throughout the city that will focus on educating and inspiring members of the international LGBT community. Listen as experts dissect a variety of civil-rights issues during one of 25 panel discussions and lectures. At night, get a taste of Israeli arts and culture during one of the summit’s six parties and entertainment events.

13th Annual Gay and Lesbian Art Exhibit

On view throughout the summit, celebrated Israeli photographer David Adika’s exhibit EQUATOR explores the imaginary lines that divide people and places. The photographic installation includes a series of black-and-white and color archival inkjet prints representing four geographically diverse regions in Israel, projecting profound imagery of the Israeli landscape and its people. Adika, whose photographs have been displayed at prominent museums and exhibitions worldwide, will discuss his work during a lecture on Wednesday at the University of the Arts as well as during the exhibit’s public reception on Thursday at 6 p.m. Tues.-Sun., 9am-7pm. Free. Gershman Y, Open Lens Gallery, 401 S. Broad St. 215.545.4400. gershmany.org

GLBT Travel Expo

Whether you’re a novice or experienced traveler, a slew of LGBT-friendly travel providers—from airlines, cruise lines and resorts—will be on hand, dishing out all the information you need to plan your perfect getaway. Attendees will also have access to special travel packages and deals in addition to being automatically entered into a free raffle to win amazing prizes. Thurs/3, 4pm. Free. William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. 215.732.2220. waygay.org

The Twentieth-Century Way

After making its Philly premiere last August to critical acclaim, this award-winning thriller by prolific playwright Tom Jacobson returns for a four-night run with local actors Peter Andrew Danzig and Thomas Raniszewski reprising the lead roles. Set in Los Angeles during the early 1900s, the sexually charged drama tells the true—yet intelligently enhanced tale—of two actors hired by police to entrap homosexuals in public restrooms for “social vagrancy.” Audience discretion is advised as the production contains sexual situations, nudity and a shocking twist. Thurs/3-Sat/5, 7:30pm. $15. Plays & Players Theater, 1714 Delancey St. 215.735.0630. playsandplayers.org

Featured Nation: Israel

Learn why Israel was chosen this year as Equality Forum’s featured nation as its Israeli delegation discusses the victories and struggles for LGBT people in one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East. Panelists include Shai Doitsh, the Chairperson of Israel’s National LGBT Task Force and head of the successful Tel Aviv gay tourism campaign, Tel Aviv Gay Vibe; and Yaniv Weizman, a Tel Aviv City Council Member and one of the leading advocates for equal surrogacy rights in Israel. Thurs/3, 8:30pm. Free. Doubletree Hotel, 237 S. Broad St. 215.893.1600. doubletree.hilton.com

National Religious Colloquy

While changing the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality may seem like a hopeless battle, there are individuals and organizations out there fighting for LGBT inclusiveness in Roman Catholicism. Listen as a panel explores these activist efforts as well as the pushback from the Vatican. Featured speakers include Eileen McCafferty DiFranco, the first female priest to reside at Dignity Philadelphia, and Dr. Elizabeth Linehan, an associate professor of philosophy at Saint Joseph’s University. Thurs/3, 7pm. Free. Doubletree Hotel, 237 S. Broad St. 215.893.1600. doubletree.hilton.com

Drag Show & Party

Israeli drag queen Osher Sabag will be joined by several of Philly’s finest and most fabulous queens for a blowout performance. A popular drag figure in Tel Aviv gay nightlife, Sabag is best known for his live vocal shows, which take an entirely unique approach to the style of drag. The event will be hosted by the Wired 96.5 crew and guests score a free Smirnoff cocktail with admission. Fri/4, 8pm. $5-$10. Tabu, 200 S. 12th St. 215.964.9675. tabuphilly.com

National Politics Panel

During two compelling, back-to-back conversations, an esteemed panel of political experts examine the most pressing legal and political issues at stake for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in the upcoming federal and state elections. The panel will discuss the fate and possible impact of three key pieces of civil-rights legislation: Proposition 8; the Defense of Marriage Act; and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Moderated by Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the conversation will then focus on identifying the key races and candidates to watch and whether or not LGBT rights will divide our political parties in the future. Fri/4, 5:30pm. Free. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. 215.409.6600. constitutioncenter.org

Think Globally, Win Locally

Learn successful strategies for expanding LGBT equality during this candid discussion and training session with Equality Pennsylvania President Adrian Shanker and Executive Director Ted Martin. Founded 15 years ago as the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, EP is the only organization in the state advocating in Harrisburg exclusively for the rights of LGBT Pennsylvanians. Some of their landmark achievements include securing same-sex adoption rights across the state, repeatedly defeating a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages and aiding in the breakthrough agreement with the PA Department of Transportation to allow transgender citizens to change the designated gender on their driver’s licenses. Sat/5, 3:30pm. University of the Arts, 211 S. Broad St. 800.616.2787. uarts.edu

National Sports Panel

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