Inqueery with Nellie Fitzpatrick
written by: Jack Kleiner, Damien Walker, Lanier Bradshaw & Adrianna Branin of the K.N.D. Squad in the WERQ/Radio Podcasting & Youth Making Media Internship at The Attic Youth Center
On March 30th, the Attic Youth Center W.E.R.Q/Radio Podcasting & Youth Making Media Interns gathered at City Hall to meet the Director of LGBTQ Affairs, Nellie Fitzpatrick. We had a private press conference with her and was given the chance to ask questions plus share concerns about the LGBTQ community. We settled in easily and quickly, immediately feeling comfortable in her presence; this was anything but a run-of-the-mill political interview. We had a blast picking her brain about different areas in the law and legal rights of the LGBTQ community. Additionally, Nellie shared apprehensions she has seen throughout the community and her future plans for the community.
As queer youth, we felt it was important to sit down with one of the queer representations we have in Philadelphian politics, and we were not disappointed. One of the questions brought up by fellow intern Lucas Borschell was, “I’ve noticed that a lot of your work is focused on the police force, and I wanted to know why?” In response, Nellie stated that she began working as a defense attorney for sexual assault victims, some even infants. This past motivated Nellie and helped her do her part in improving the judicial system. Nellie explained that she, along with Joe Mason, are in the works of collaborating with the police force to help LGBTQ officers find acceptance in G.O.A.L; the Gay Officers Action League, a national organization which brings together LGBTQ police officers.
Our interview with Nellie wasn't just about the hard hitting questions, she also took time to answer personal questions such as “when you were younger, did you have trouble coming to terms with your LGBT identity?” As honestly as she could, Nellie responded, “It was just kinda hard to express it.” We at The Rainbow Experience know all too well this feeling, and we commend Nellie for sharing that piece of information. This was significant for us because as queer youth, expression can be one of the hardest parts of life.
All in all, the interview with Nellie was one unlike any other. Consisting of thought provoking questions and comedic remarks by both the interviewee and W.E.R.Q. interns, it was one of the most interesting experiences for us. We gained valuable insight on what our voice means and how we should use it, as well as what specific ideas we want to communicate to people with said voices. Meeting Nellie was truly an honor and something invaluable to us all. Without a doubt, we would love to interview with her again; consume more of her insight and views as one of the few LGBTQ Philadelphia politicians who is currently working to help the community. She is truly one of the most unique advocates and politicians we have seen!