The owner of the gay bar ICandy in Philadelphia made headlines last month after he was caught on camera using racial slurs.
Since the footage of Darryl DePiano, from 2013, was released racial tensions in the gay neighbourhoods in Philadelphia have boiled over and LGBT residents are calling for action.
Black LGBT patrons in the city say they have been carded at clubs, have to wait for drinks for longer, and have to meet strict dress codes that ban athletic wear, timberland boots and hooded sweatshirts.
These residents say the video provides evidence of their concern, and are now calling for safer spaces for the black LGBT community.
“The minute you walk into the Gayborhood as a black or brown person, you feel it,” said Shani Akilah Robin, creator of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, which held the protests.
“They play our music and target us for the very blackness they’re making money off of. This is the reality of being black and queer in America.”
The collective protested outside ICandy to draw attention to the racist policies the bar supports.
Rickey Peterson, who worked briefly at ICandy in 2010 and was mentioned in the video with a racial slur, said he is happy the video came out.
“You hear stuff being voiced, or people assuming racism in the Gayborhood, I think it’s important that people can actually see proof of how the community is.”
Ernest Owens, an editor for Philadelphia Magazine’s G Philly section, has written frequently about racism in the Gayborhood, which he said he also experienced.
“When hip-hop songs came on, people slapped my butt or called me ‘Hot Chocolate’. Very quickly, I was reminded that, even in that space, no matter the fact that I was gay, I was also black.”
The Black and Brown Workers Collective have issued a list of demands to the city. Primarily, the group have called for Nellie Fitzpatrick, the department’s director, to be replaced with a black transgender woman who many believe would be a better representative of the LGBT black community.
Fitzpatrick, a white lesbian who was appointed in 2015, said she is committed to resolving the issues highlighted by the video.
“The video is every bit as repulsive as the practices we are seeing and the experiences people are having.”
“Whether happening at the front door, at the bar, or behind closed doors, none of it is acceptable. If there’s one place that should be a sanctuary, it’s the Gayborhood, and it isn’t right now.”