LGBT Students Pay a High Price Over a Lifetime

An  economy still plagued by stagnant wages, sluggish growth, and a tight job market has left millions of Americans struggling to make their financial ends meet.  But a new report says that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans feel the economic pain more acutely than others.  The reason?  Discriminatory state laws and hostile environments, which create obstacles  to economic opportunities, penalizing the LGBT population including students because of who they are.

The study pinpoints three “state failures” that bring financial harm toDownloadedFile those who are LGBT:

* failure to protect LGBT people from discrimination.

*failure to legally recognize LGBT families.

*failure to protect LGBT students.

For LGBT students, bullying and harassment can lead to poor grades, dropping out of school, and even homelessness. ( Not to mention suicide, but that’s an entire other issue).  LGBT students at the college level also report feeling unsafe and unwelcome.  Obtaining financial aid can also be difficult for LGBT students and for LGBT parents for several reasons, including often-strained relationships with parents and difficulties relating to identification documents for transgender students.

Most states have not stepped up with the laws prohibiting discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Only 13 states have such laws on the books.  And only 18 have enacted laws that prohibit bullying of LGBT students

Courtesy of NEA Today Winter 2015





The incomparable Gloria Casarez, the City’s first director of the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs has died at the age of 42 to Cancer.

Gloria Casarez has been a staple to the LGBTQ community of Philadelphia for over 20 years.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Kensington, Mexican descent Casarez graduated from West Chester University with degrees in criminal justice and political science. She was the founding member and community organizer of Empty the Shelters, a national housing rights and economic justice organization.

At the age of 27, Casarez became the Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI) in Philadelphia.  Casarez led GALAEI from 1999-2008, tripling the organization’s funding and developing nationally recognized programs serving men of color and transgender communities, including Philadelphia’s first mobile HIV testing centers and the Trans-health information project – the first multi-serve transgender health program.

Her work has shown a continuing interest in constituent led and community organizing efforts, starting with her early participation in social justice and political action movements.  An early advocate of harm reduction, Casarez co-chaired the board of directors for Prevention Point Philadelphia from 1999-2003.   She was a longtime board member and leader of the Bread and Roses Community Fund, a public foundation that supports grassroots organizations working for racial and economic justice.   She was a founder of the Philadelphia DKYE March, Drag King, and the House of (Manolo) Blahnik Board of Directors. Casarez’s work supporting LGBT ballroom communities was recognized with her receiving the Humanitarian Award at the House of Prestige’s 20th Anniversary Renaissance Ball and the Community Service Award at the House of Blahnik Ball.

In 2008, she was appointed to a public sector position as Director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia, leading the efforts of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs and the Mayor’s Advisory Board on LGBT Affairs.  She fought for many issues including public safety, education, economic development, health and city services and civil rights.  In 2011 she co-founded RAICES LATINO PRIDE,  an organization formed to enhance  LGBT latin pride and awareness throughout the city of Philadelphia.

In 2012, Philadelphia ranked number two nationwide for LGBT equality in the First Edition of the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index.  Because of Gloria’s hard work, Philadelphia was the highest scoring city in the nation (of the ten largest cities) and the highest scoring city without statewide legal protections for LGBT people.  During Casarez’s tenure, Philadelphia adopted the broadest LGBT rights protections in the nation.

GLORIA CASAREZ, a leader, a pioneer, an advocate, a humanitarian, a sister, a lover, a friend.  She will truly be missed by all.

Casarez is survived by her wife Tricia Dressel.



December 13, 1971 – October 19, 2014

The New Sista Site… “According to Candace Ray!”

“You’re welcome for the memo..”  That’s the feeling you’ll get after visiting Candace Ray’s new media site…  “


According to Candace Ray

The Philadephia based site, is an urban variety online magazine/media site with chic and contemporary information that will have you coming back for more.

In it you’ll find everything from health and fitness to technology and education, to fashion and beauty tutorials.  Plus the latest in mainstream and underground music, and dating horrors of the young adult kind.  You’ll also get to see what’s going on in and around the city of brotherly love.  It’s like local newspaper meets magazine!!

RAICES had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the founder and writers of at their ceremonial  launch party which was held on Saturday August 9, 2014 in Philadelphia.  Cocktails, music, and a light spread were the backdrop as guests networked, took pictures and socialized.  Candace and her crew were on hand discussing the new site’s details:

“We are extremely excited to finally launch the site.  Our publication is fun, trendy and reliable.  We also feature important, controversial issues and informative articles from the best Temple University student writers. There’s the “Ask Candace” section, where NO question is off limits, and we also hope to include a section that embraces the LGBTQ community of Philadelphia.  (Candace Ray)

It was an enjoyable  evening and a perfect start for Candace Ray.


CANDACE RAY (Rayshaan Miller) at the “accordingtocandaceray” launch party August 9, 2014.

RAICES LATINO PRIDE is proud to introduce  and recommend our friends at!  Pease do visit!

…and “You’re welcome for the memo!”

Phillies Gay Night


12th Annual Gay Community Night at the Phillies 

Tuesday Aug 5th 7:05pm CITIZENS BANK PARK,  Philadelphia!!

Join hundreds of LGBT friends, family and our straight allies and take in a baseball game at “GAY NIGHT” with the Phillies!
Sell 500 tickets and a representative from the LGBT community will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
take me out to the ball game!”