Women Forward: Philadelphia director of LGBT affairs is making history

Celena Morrison

When Celena Morrison took office as the director of LGBT affairs in Philadelphia, she didn’t know she was making history.

“I had a ‘me’ moment. Like, me? These people are looking up to me?” said Morrison. “Growing up, I didn’t see anyone who represented me, who I was as a kid.”

She came out to her family as transgender at age 12. When she was 16, “I was told that I would be, my only option of making money would be sex work, and that is something that I’ve carried with me throughout this whole journey.”

In 2020, she became the first openly transgender person to ever lead an office in the city. Her appointment came days before the city shut down due to COVID-19.

“I had only been in the office maybe a week and a half at the most, I didn’t have anything to compare it to,” she said.

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