Before ‘Philadelphia:’ Landmark TV movie ‘An Early Frost’ marks 30th anniversary

An Early FrostFirst airing 30 years ago this month, the made-for-television movie An Early Frost — a film about a young, closeted gay lawyer diagnosed with AIDS — was the first film ever to address the then-controversial subject matter. At the time, little was known about the disease and the virus which causes it. Gay men dying of AIDS were all too often considered little more than statistics. Many of those afflicted were outcast from their friends and families. The provocative landmark film dared to give the mysterious and frightening “gay” disease a human face.

As a made-for-television movie, the production faced certain challenges. For example, the film required the support of sponsors, many of whom did not want their products associated with the topic. And broadcasting the movie on NBC, a commercial rather than cable network, meant that network censors would scrutinize its content. When it aired, 34 million people watched the film, earning it the night’s no. 1 spot. More viewers watched An Early Frost than that evening’s installment of ABC’s Monday Night Football.

Gay Hollywood couple Ron Cowen and Dan Lipman, men who would later executive produce the NBC television series Sisters and the Showtime series Queer as Folk, wrote the teleplay. Censors demanded that they balance their presentation, meaning essentially that the movie should not condone homosexuality. It was a time when most gay characters in television and movies had been limited to comedic supporting roles. Cowen and Lipman rewrote the teleplay at least 13 times, carefully negotiating revisions with censors with every round, to preserve as much of their story as possible.

It was nominated for 14 Emmys, winning four, including for Lipman and Cowen’s teleplay. The film enlightened and educated the viewing community both to AIDS and to homosexuality. An Early Frost blazed a much-needed trail for similarly-themed movies which followed including 1990’s Longtime Companion and 1993’s Philadelphia. As the writers demanded, the movie ends with hopeful symbolism. Rather than dying, the main character, with his embracing parents watching, rides off into the night in a taxi cab.

 — Scott Huffman

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Suspect jailed in Philadelphia trans woman’s murder

Keishia Jenkins

Keisha Jenkins

One man is in jail and three others are being sought by police in connection with the murder last week of trans woman Keisha Jenkins in Philadelphia, according to NBC 10 in Philly.

Philly police are saying that Pedro Redding is one part of a neighborhood gang that has been robbing people in the Hunting Park neighborhood, where Jenkins was shot to death. Police say that Jenkins was a victim of convenience and not targeted for being transgender, so they are not investigating her death as a hate crime.

Police said that Jenkins had just been dropped off on Winghocking Street, near 13th Street, at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, when she was attacked by a gang of several men who began beating her. When she fell to the ground, one of the men pulled a gun and shot her twice in the back.

A judge this morning (Monday, Oct. 12) denied bail for Redding, 24, who has a lengthy criminal history, including having pled guilty to aggravated assault and weapons charges in 2014.

Screen shot 2015-10-12 at 2.58.20 PM

Pedro Redding

Jenkins, 22, is believed to have been the 21st trans woman murdered this year in the U.S. She is the second trans woman murdered this year in Philadelphia; Londyn Chanel was murdered May 18 by her roommate.

Thanks to Houston trans activist Monica Roberts and her TransGriot blog where we find this information.

—  Tammye Nash

Scenes from Philadelphia: LGBT Media Journalists Convening 2015: Friday and Saturday

Thanks to the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association and the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Foundation, I got to spend the weekend of March 13-15 in Philadelphia, attending the 2015 LGBT Media Journalists Convening, a gathering of LGBT editors, publishers, reporters and bloggers working specifically in the LGBT media.

I learned a great deal, had my eyes opened to some new perspectives and got to meet, in person for a change, a number of professional journalists I have long admired. I also had the chance to wander around downtown Philadelphia, a city I had never visited before. I was fascinated by that beautiful city filled with history and with — at least in my experience there — friendly, helpful people.

I wanted to share a little of my experience by sharing a few of the many photos I took there. This bunch were taken on Friday and Saturday. Watch for photos from my Sunday sojourn, which will include photos of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

—  Tammye Nash

SHOW CANCELED: Win tix to Free Energy on Tuesday at the Loft

UPDATE: I just received word that due to the weather, tonight’s Free Energy show has been canceled.

The peeps at The Loft offered us two pairs of tickets to give away for Philadelphia indie rockers Free Energy show on Tuesday night. Yes, we know, random. But it turns out the band is super gay friendly and even recorded the song “Hope Child”, below, for the “It Gets Better Project.” We like when those straight allies go above and beyond.

But the giveaway is a bit different. Instead of e-mailing, you gotta tweet in. They just wanna try something new and personally, more of you need to get on the Twitter bandwagon. Just saying. First follow @dallasvoice and then tweet to enter by 3 p.m. Tuesday for your tickets. Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

To Avoid $1 Million Legal Bill, Philadelphia Short Sells City-Owned Building to Boy Scouts of America

After failing to evict the Boy Scouts of America from a city-owned building it had been leasing to the anti-gay group for per year, the City of Philadelphia has reached an alternative agreement with the Scouts: Sell 'em the damn building they want so bad.


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—  admin

Afternoon View – Philadelphia City Hall

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Query • 10.01.10

Have you or your children been bullied in school?


Gary Shephard — “Yes. The school I attended in rural Florida put me through hell in 9th and 10th grade. I wound up back in Philadelphia the next year; it was such a relief.”

Latisha McDaniel — “Yeah, I think everyone got picked on in school but the difference now is that there is no escape like when I was a kid. The bullying stayed in the school.”

John S. Shore — “I was more than bullied my entire life. All the kids, bus drivers, coaches and teachers allowed and watched me get beat up. Let’s teach karate and peace.”

Ron Allen —  “The problem is the attitude that ‘It’s just part of growing up.’ When parents, teachers, school officials, bus drivers and others in authority have that attitude that’s what drives our gay and lesbian children to view suicide as the only solution to a daily existence that has become intolerable to them. Yes, I was bullied unmercifully as a child and a teenager in a small town in the South.”


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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 01, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens