Getting to know your Heroes: Ian Morrison

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Annually, The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund puts together a fantastic brunch at Hotel Monaco to honor individuals whose work and leadership advance the rights of the LGBT community. Through the nomination process the DVLF seeks to identify youth, adults, non-profits, straight-allies & businesses who have bold ideas, act with selfless intention, are admired for their integrity, and are regarded as courageous in advancing the equality of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender community in the Delaware Valley and beyond. HEROES started 8 years ago as a way to honor these individuals annually in celebration of their character & in encouragement of others to act heroically.

This year the nominees are Gloria Casarez, Ian Morrison, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, Micah Rodriquez, ACLU-PA, West Laurel Hill. I wanted to know more about the nominees, and tried to reach out to the ones I could make connections with. I was fortunate enough to speak with Ian Morrison last week!

Did you know about the Heroes event before your nomination?

I knew about the Heroes Award and the DVLF, but I never thought I would be the Community Hero. I was cited by City council and given my own day (March 15), and I consider the Heroes Award to be an even higher honor!

Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself / your organization?

I’m just your typical actor/singer/model/bartender/Pisces. I am the founder of that started in 1996, when I gathered a group of drag queens to start a movement to ensure that the community queens received fair pay for their services at the bars and nightclubs. I guess that was my first taste of activism. When I’m not in my drag persona, I am the Tabu Events Manager, which is a full time job on top of donating my time for several charities here in Philly. I like to stay busy, and take on any challenge given to me, which gives me no social life-but at the end of the day, it really has given me the most rewarding experiences.

Are nominees made aware of why they were nominated prior to the event?

We were notified when we won the award. I got a call letting me know I received the most nomination in DVLF history – that gives me major bragging rights haha. A dear friend, Perry Monastero, told me he was rallying troops to nominate me, and boy did he ever!

How does it feel to be a part of such a momentous decision for lgbtq people.

It is pretty overwhelming. I’m at that age now where my persona has become something that I can use to help my community. Brittany Lynn has been around the tri-state area since 1996, when most of my current friends were busy being born haha. To be named Community Hero gives me the greatest sense of being a part of the Philadelphia LGBT community that I have ever felt in my almost 20 years of working in Philly.

What inspires you to be a “Hero?”

My friends and my community inspire me. I have friends (and have made friends) at every charity I work for. Perry Monastero at Mazzoni – the go to place for all health and community services in Philly. Harry Giordano at City of Hope – these guys are on the brink of curing 12 types of cancer and in clinical trials to cure type 2 diabetes. Susan Duaghtery, Rob Nonemacker, and Rob Saxon at MANNA – these guys are providing nourishing meals for those battling illness three times a day on a business based on volunteer work. My friends at PAWS helping animals – I’m like the Betty White of drag queens with how much I love animals and the work that PAWS does. Then there’s Thom Cardwell at Qflix, making sure that Philly continues it’s tradition of showing LGBT media and films. My point is – these people are the true heroes. They are fighting to do wonders for our community and beyond with little or no budget and they put their whole heart into their work. How can someone like me, who has made a living from my community my whole adult life, sit idly by and not help to fight for these causes that my friends and colleagues struggle for everyday? That is what inspires me – my friends and their work. I want and need to help make a difference in the community that I live in, as should everyone else.

Anything else you want to use this article to say / announce?

I have a new talk show coming to Tabu on Tuesdays starting March 17 that will have a lot of community members coming to speak about their work here in Philly plus drag queens, kings, comics, singers etc. Anyone who wants to promote their upcoming events or charity work can contact me on facebook or on my website


Sun, April 12, 2015
11:30am – 2:00pm
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia [117 S. 17th St, Philadelphia, PA]
Sponsored by: Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF)

Read Related Posts...