Philly’s LGBTQ community taking pride, making strides

 Amber Hikes is the executive director of Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Amber Hikes is the executive director of Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

June is Pride Month in Philadelphia including the annual Pride Parade and Pride Festival taking place Sunday — otherwise known as Pride Day.  

That’s a lot of pride in a city where the LGBTQ community has recently been at odds with one another.  The city’s new head of the Office of LGBT Affairs, Amber Hikes, said she’s not deterred by the big issues the city is working through.  

Hikes took over the office this year after months of agitation in the Gayborhood, brought on by accusations of racism in clubs and other establishments.  The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which Hikes’ office works closely with, has finished conducting trainings at all bars and organizations in the Gayborhood over the past few months, she said.

In January, bar owners and nonprofits were told by the city to attend training sessions on fair business practices and implicit bias.  The move followed the release of a commission report that documented widespread racial tension and discrimination in the neighborhood

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

HIkes attended one of the largest trainings on implicit bias, held at Woody’s, a longtime gay hotspot.

“I saw conversations happen in that room that I have never seen before,” she said.

“We saw bar owners and bar managers and bartenders really talking about their experiences with night life, admitting to some implicit biases that they do have, and really challenging themselves to move past these ideas we aren’t born with but we are indoctrinated with over time.

“We have a long road to go, but we are on the right path,” Hikes said.

To listen to Morning Edition host Jennifer Lynn speak with Amber Hikes about some of the challenges her office has addressed, click on the audio button above.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal