Gloria Casarez, Philadelphia’s first director of the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs, passed away over this weekend after losing her battle with cancer. She had been appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter and was in position since 2008.
Casarez was a longtime activist and organizer within her community and served many different roles during her career. She was also the Executive Director of GALAEI, the Gay and Lesbian Latin@ AIDS Education Initiative, a founding member of Philly Dyke March, a founding member of Empty the Shelters, and served as Grand Marshal of the Philadelphia Pride Parade.
During her tenure as director of LGBT Affairs, her policies that she implemented helped elevate Philadelphia’s ranking within Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Municipal Equality Index to second in the nation.
Casarez meant a lot to her community, and will be missed dearly by many within the city of Philadelphia and beyond.
“Our prayers are with her, her wife Trish, and their families,” Mayor Nutter said. “I am deeply, personally saddened by our Administrations’ loss of such a valued colleague, but our entire Administration team has benefitted from having had the opportunity to serve our City and citizens with the support of her leadership and wisdom.”