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November 04, 2016

Councilman introduces bill to address racism in Gayborhood

Proposed law would allow punishment of businesses for discrimination

LGBT City Council
04012016_TheGayborhood_VP J. Smith/for Visit Philadelphia™

The “Gayborhood” is easily identifiable thanks to the rainbow markers on 36 street signs in the neighborhood, which runs from Chestnut to Pine streets between 11th and Broad streets.

Philadelphia City Councilman-at-Large Derek Green introduced legislation Thursday that will attempt to address reports of racism in the city's Gayborhood.

Green's proposed law, according to a statement, would attempt to force businesses (in this case, bars) to comply with the city's Fair Practices Ordinance by allowing the Department of Licenses and Inspections to deny a business its commercial activity license for noncompliance.

The Fair Practices Ordinance prohibits businesses from discriminating against customers based on things like race and sexual orientation. A commercial activity license is required to conduct business in the city.

“Although laws alone cannot foster a culture of inclusion, we must come together to protect and celebrate our fellow citizens and challenge those who seek to discriminate," Green said.

Allegations of racism against some Gayborhood bars created tensions in the city's LGBTQ community that boiled over after a video was released of iCandy nightclub owner Darryl DePiano using the n-word while talking about black patrons.

The tipping-point incident led to a well-attended and heated hearing with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations in late October to address the issue.

Some have said bars' dress codes and ID policies unfairly target minority members of the LGBTQ community.