Tennis legend Martina Navratilova will be honored as a role model, men and women of faith will gather at historic Christ Church, and gay choruses will celebrate 25 years of making music during this week's Equality Forum Symposium.
Equality Forum, which began locally 15 years ago to promote civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, has evolved into a national and international education-focused nonprofit that also produces documentary films (last year's "Saint of 9/ll") and sponsors GLBT History Month in October.
The weeklong 2007 symposium starts tonight when the Equality Forum presents its Distinquished Service Award to Mayor Street, and ends with SundayOUT, a massive street fair that takes over Old City. In the intervening days there will be more than 60 events - panels, lectures, and workshops as well as parties, concerts, films and exhibits.
Among the highlights:
* Philadelphia artist Gabriel Martinez and photographer Zoe Strauss will be featured in a GLBT art exhibit at the University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St. The gallery is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. all week.
* A religious colloquy titled "Responding to Anti-Gay Fundamentalism," moderated by Rabbi Linda Holtzman, associate professor at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, 7-8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St. Free.
* Transgender pioneer Dr. Renee Richards and author and commentator Andrew Sullivan (The Daily Dish blog) will lead "Conversations with GLBT Leaders" at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., on Sunday. Richards speaks at 1 p.m., Sullivan at 2:15 p.m. Free.
* International Equality Dinner at the National Constitution Center honors Navratilova with the International Role Model Award and MAC Cosmetics with the International Business Leadership Award.
Navratilova, one of the first major "out" sports stars, is being honored for her work in advancing GLBT causes. MAC Cosmetics, through the sale of VIVA GLAM lipsticks, has provided more than $85 million to combat AIDS. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $200.
* A screening of "Philadelphia," the 1993 Academy Award-winning film starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, will raise funds for ActionAIDS. Prince Music Theater, 8 p.m. Saturday, $5.
* Two documentaries will be screened. "Saving Marriage" has its Philly premiere at the Prince Music Theater at 8 p.m. Friday, with a Q&A following the movie. $5. And at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, "Why We Sing," about gay choruses and the role of music in the gay community, will be screened and director Bob Dillon will answer questions after the film. $5.
* SundayOUT, a street festival that extends from Independence Park to the waterfront at Penn's Landing, brings together artists, vendors, music and live entertainment from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There's even a Family Zone with activities for kids.