Mayor Nutter yesterday announced that Gloria Casarez - executive director of an AIDS education organization - will serve as the mayor's liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Casarez is the second LGBT liaison and the first to work in the mayor's office, reporting directly to Nutter's chief of staff, Clay Armbrister. Nutter said that he wanted the full weight of the mayor's office behind the position.

Speaking to a packed crowd in the Mayor's Reception Room, Nutter reminisced about his first political mentor, the late Councilman John Anderson, who he said was gay.

"Twenty-five years ago was not the easiest time to be a gay man [in public service]," Nutter said. He grew emotional as he added that Anderson "continues to be the inspiration for my time in public service."

Casarez thanked Nutter for the opportunity.

"I don't have all the answers," she told the crowd. "But I know that our lives as LGBT people are complex and inherently political by nature."

To Nutter she said, "We're going to do some really great things."

Casarez has served as executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative since 1999. Before that she was a program coordinator at the LGBT Center of the University of Pennsylvania. *