Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the appointment of Helen “Nellie” L. Fitzpatrick as the Director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affairs effective January 20, 2015.
“I am proud that Nellie has agreed to join our team and serve the City as Director LGBT Affairs. Nellie brings to this role a deep understanding of and commitment to the LGBT community and diversity. Her experience as the LGBT Liaison at the District Attorney’s Office, paired with her work in the community, makes her an ideal addition to our team,” said Mayor Nutter. “Nellie has a proven track record of coalition building and getting stuff done. We are eager for the energy and enthusiasm that she will infuse into our diverse City, including prioritizing inclusiveness.”
Nellie Fitzpatrick said, “I am honored to join this Administration. I promise to work tirelessly to ensure the legacy of Gloria Casarez and work of the entire Administration is carried out and set as the foundation for future Administrations to come. By forging relationships built on trust, transparency, and service, I have witnessed firsthand the many and layered challenges faced by members of the LGBT community whose experiences are shaped not only by sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, but by race, color, national origin, disability, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and the varied intersections of these identities. Only when we organize and build community around these differences are we truly able to foster safety, demand accountability, and create a more equal and inclusive Philadelphia. It is my goal that each and every member of our LGBTQ community feels welcome, represented, heard, recognized, respected and appreciated within our city’s government. As an out and proud lesbian and Philadelphian – I am here to serve, protect and share in the joy that is our citizenship in the great City of Philadelphia.”
Ms. Fitzpatrick joins the Administration from the City of Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney where she has worked for the past six years as an Assistant District Attorney. During her tenure with the DA’s Office, Helen served as a prosecutor in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit and most recently, as a prosecutor in the Southwest Bureau where she covered armed robbery and weapons offences.
For the last two years, Ms. Fitzpatrick has served as the LGBT Liaison to the District Attorney’s Office. In that role, she worked closely with the Philadelphia Police Department to strengthen ties between the PPD and the LGBT community, promoting mutual respect and understanding. Ms. Fitzpatrick also revised policies, procedures and forms to be law-conforming and LGBT-inclusive; served as the point-person on police investigations of crimes affecting LGBT victims; advocated for state-wide, inclusive hate and bias legislation; conducted and organized trainings for victim services personnel; advised community-based organizations on LGBT issues and facilitated coordination between groups; and more.
Ms. Fitzpatrick joined the District Attorney’s Office directly after receiving her Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Political Science from the University of Florida.
Ms. Fitzpatrick was a 2012 OutProud Award recipient, a 2013 Pillar of the Community Award recipient, and a 2014 Voice of Protection and Advocacy recipient, which was awarded by the I Am Human campaign for exemplary achievements in leadership, commitment to equality and the groundbreaking and impactful pursuit of justice.
This position was first created within the Mayor’s Office in April 2008 to serve as a liaison between Philadelphia’s LGBT communities and City government to ensure that the interests of this diverse population were represented across policy areas and initiatives. The position was previously held by Gloria Casarez, the City’s first Director of LGBT Affairs, who passed away in October 2014.
“We were all deeply saddened by Gloria’s passing earlier this year. She was more than just a member of this Administration, she was a friend. She was a consummate professional, deeply committed advocate and wonderful person,” added Mayor Nutter. “We miss Gloria’s vibrancy, but I know that she would, above anything else, want the good work that she championed to continue.”