With over 200 people attending the first ever Gender Reel in September 2011, it became immediately clear to Organizers that the festival needed a larger venue. After looking at multiple spaces, Gender Reel Organizers decided to use the William Way Center.
The William Way Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center was formed in 1996, when a group of community leaders came together with the goal of creating a stronger, more stable community center out of Penguin Place, the community center at the time.
After an extensive search, the Community Center purchased the former Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia in March 1997. Soon after, renovations began, and the building opened to the public in July 1997. Since then, the Center has developed an array of programming and services that target LGBT groups, and community organizations have moved permanent offices into the Community Center. In addition, over 70 groups meet at the Community Center on a regular basis, and many more use the facility for special events. The building is open seven days a week and is currently used by over 2,500 people each month.
Over the next 7 months, Gender Reel Organizers will work with various William Way Center staff, volunteers and committee members to make Gender Reel 2012 bigger and better. Highlights to come include, but are not limited to: Additional film screenings, more art workshops, more performance art pieces and a free art gallery installation, which will be on display after the festival ends.
Gender Reel Organizers are very excited to work with the William Way Center in an effort to bring more visibility and inclusion to the LGBTQ community here in Philadelphia.