Faced with ongoing criticism from several activist groups, Helen L. "Nellie" Fitzpatrick, head of the city's Office of LGBT Affairs, is planning to resign, according to two sources, one with the city and one who works closely with it on LGBT issues.
Fitzpatrick has led the office since Mayor Michael A. Nutter appointed her in December 2014. She became the target of frustrations over issues of racism in the Gayborhood, the Center City neighborhood.
City spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the administration had no comment. Fitzpatrick could not be reached for comment.
Fitzpatrick's planned resignation was first reported by Philadelphia Magazine's G Philly blog.
Several groups, specifically the Black and Brown Workers Collective, have been calling for Fitzpatrick's departure since October, when the owner of the bar iCandy was caught on video using the N-word. The incident sparked more widespread reports of dress codes and bar policies that discriminated against black and transgender people.
The collective, along with Black Lives Matter and the Philly Coalition for Real Justice, has said Fitzpatrick's one-person office did not do enough to respond to concerns over discrimination at bars and nonprofit organizations even before the video made the issue more well-known.
Mayor Kenney has consistently defended Fitzpatrick and called the attacks against her misplaced.
Last month, in response to a question about whether she would remain in her position, Kenney said: "Nellie's here. She works very hard. Not one person is responsible for racism in the Gayborhood or for fixing racism in the Gayborhood, or fixing racism in society. That's a pretty heavy load for one person to do, so we're all in this together."
The city source said Fitzpatrick was choosing to resign from her $90,000-a-year job and had not been asked to step down.
Fitzpatrick previously worked as an assistant district attorney, prosecuting sex crimes and domestic-violence cases and at times serving as a liaison between law enforcement and the city on LGBT issues.
Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, a cofounder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective, said the changing of the guard was a victory for his organization.
"This has been a long road," he said. "This is coming up on two years since incidents of racial bias have been elevated, community members have spoken out. ... Nellie's response to all of this has been slow and steady. That was her rallying cry, slow and steady progress, and we kept saying, 'No, we don't have time for slow and steady.' "
The city has responded to reports of discrimination with the creation of a Commission on LGBT Affairs, the members of which have not been announced.
The city's Human Relations Commission last month mandated sensitivity training for bars and two nonprofits in the Gayborhood after hearings in October.
Muhammad said sources with the city told him the new director would likely be announced in coming weeks to coincide with the unveiling of the LGBT commission.
"I've been told over the next few weeks they're going to try to solidify the commission," Muhammad said. "I think they want to roll out the commission with the new director."