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Philadelphia Navigaytour

Philadelphia Navigaytour to give tourists history of gay Philly

Jen Colletta  Jun 10, 2010

While countless tourists flock to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection each year to visit the locales that helped solidify Philadelphia’s moniker as the “Birthplace of America,” LGBT tourists can now stray off the mainstream walking tours to take a peek at their own history.

The latest edition of the Philadelphia Navigaytour, a comprehensive travel guide to the city’s LGBT life, includes a Gay History Trail Map that will take readers on a walking tour of historical LGBT sites in the city, many of which have both local and national LGBT significance.

Published in May, the most recent version of the Navigaytour — which originated in Philadelphia in 2002 and has since been created for cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego — is the first in the nation to offer a walking gay-history map.

“No one else has done this and it’s important for Philadelphia to spotlight its history,” said Navigaytour editor Tami Sortman, who worked with William Way LGBT Community Center archivist Bob Skiba to research the spots included.

The trail map, sponsored by the Independence Visitors Center and the National Constitution Center, includes both a graphic depiction of the city with the 18 locales numbered and highlighted, along with a second page of descriptions about the spots, which stretch from Old City to the Art Museum.

The tour begins at the Visitors Center and takes walkers to such sites as the historical marker at Sixth and Chestnut that recognizes the LGBT-rights demonstrations of the 1960s; Giovanni’s Room, the oldest LGBT bookstore in the country; Tavern on Camac, the oldest gay bar in the city; the William Way LGBT Community Center and the Pride and Progress Mural outside the building; the Drake Apartments, formerly the Drake Hotel where New York City’s first Pride event was planned in 1970; and the Barbara Gittings Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is known for its history and that needs a parallel track of gay history,” said David Jeffreys, Navigaytour publisher. “History is a key attraction for people coming to this city, but gays and lesbians who come with their kids or with their partners may be thinking, ‘What about me?’ We have an abundance of gay history here and our city is generally historically focused, so it made perfect sense to combine both of those pieces.”

Jeffreys noted that the map is a good companion for out-of-towners on vacation in the city but also for those from the city and the surrounding regions in town for Pride or other events.

The Navigaytour will be available at Pride, OutFest, visitors’ bureaus throughout the region and many local hotels.

Philadelphia Navigaytour to give tourists history of gay Philly
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