Judge Strikes Down Anti-LGBT Bill in Mississippi Hours Before It Becomes Law

JACKSON, Miss. - July 1, 2016  – In the early hours of the morning, a federal judge struck down the entirety of an anti-LGBT measure that was slated to become law today. The law would have allowed public officials and businesses to refuse to serve LGBT individuals. The ACLU and the ACLU of Mississippi challenged the constitutionality of HB1523 in a separate lawsuit, Alford v. Moulder.
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Equality California-Supported Gun Safety Bills Clear California Legislature

Sacramento - June 30, 2016 – California legislators today passed 13 bills, part of a body of legislation supported by Equality California's "Safe and Equal" campaign, that would strengthen the state's gun safety laws. Equality California launched the campaign two weeks ago, following the shootings in Orlando, to advocate for tougher, commonsense gun safety laws at the federal and state levels, among other things. Equality California is making adoption of laws to reduce gun violence and mass shootings one of its highest organizational priorities.
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ACLU Statement on Pentagon Lifting Its Transgender Service Ban

WASHINGTON - June 30, 2016 - The Department of Defense announced today the lifting of its ban on transgender people openly serving in the military.
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NCLR Responds to Historic Pentagon Announcement that It Is Lifting Its Ban on Transgender Servicemembers

(Washington, D.C., June 30, 2016)—Today, the Pentagon made a historic announcement that it is lifting its ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the U.S. military. The announcement, made by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, comes five years after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" that allowed lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to openly serve the country as members of the military. The ban is lifted effective immediately.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds the Lifting of the Ban on Transgender Military Service

June 30, 2016 - Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Pentagon announced that it will lift its ban on transgender military service: "Today's victory is a tremendous one for a nation that once denied women, African Americans, and gay and lesbian individuals the opportunity to serve. An integrated military, now inclusive of all LGBT service members, is not only a sound military approach but a moral imperative for our nation. This was true in 1948, when this country first allowed women and African-Americans to serve in the military; in 2011, when the ban was lifted on gay and lesbian service members; and remains true today.
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Reform Jewish Movement Hails End of Ban on Transgender Service Members

Washington, D.C., June 30, 2016 – In response to the announcement that the Pentagon will lift the ban on transgender troops, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement: "Today's announcement that the Pentagon will lift the ban on transgender troops is an affirmation of what has always been true: transgender service members are committed to serving and protecting the nation and are best able to do so when they are free from fear of harassment for being who they are.
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Palm Center Commends New Pentagon Policy on Transgender Service as 'Historic Decision'

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - June 30, 2016 – The Palm Center, an independent research center publishing state-of-the-art scholarship on transgender personnel in the military, lauded Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter's announcement today that the Pentagon will allow transgender Americans to serve openly and honestly.
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OutServe-SLDN applauds long overdue announcement on lifting the ban on open transgender service

(WASHINGTON) June 30, 2016 – Today Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the recommendations from the working group formed last summer on the lifting of the ban on open transgender service. This announcement includes recommendations, plans and timeline to when transgender service members will fully be able to serve openly and authentically.
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HISTORIC: Secretary Carter Announces End To Transgender Military Service Ban

WASHINGTON - June 30, 2016 -- Today at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a much anticipated end to the ban on open service by transgender service members. The announcement comes more than a year after Secretary Carter promised that the Department of Defense (DoD) would update the outdated regulations which prevent open service by transgender service members and the launch of a working group to assess the impact of the change and work out the details.
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WATCH: 49 Celebrities Honor 49 Victims of Orlando Tragedy in New Ryan Murphy-Produced Tribute Released by HRC

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released a special tribute to the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub on Latin night. The 18-minute tribute -- directed by Emmy Award-winning Ryan Murphy and Ned Martel, with the support of their colleagues at Ryan Murphy Television -- features a diverse cast of 49 actors, directors and other entertainment leaders recounting individual stories of the people killed in our nation's deadliest mass shooting. Viewers are asked to visit http://stopthehate.hrc.org/ and take action by supporting victims' families and survivors through healorlando.org, as well as contacting legislators to demand passage of LGBTQ protections and common-sense gun violence prevention measures.
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LGBTQ Students Face Unfair School Discipline, Pushing Many Out of School

NEW YORK (June 29, 2016) – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students face high rates of school discipline, including detention, suspension and expulsion from school, according to a report released today by GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. Compared to non-LGBTQ students, LGBTQ students were much more likely to have experienced each kind of discipline, often due to the harassment and discrimination that LGBTQ students face in school.
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Erie PrideFest on August 27

NW PA Pride Alliance will be presenting Erie Pridefest on Saturday, August 27th. The day's events will begin with the Pride March. As always, assembly for the march begins at noon at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, and step off is at 1 PM with the march ending down at the Festival in Griswold Park. Pridefest will begin at 2 PM and will feature performers, speakers and entertainers; as well as vendors and information tables. The Facebook event page is here.
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Over 100 Members of Congress Urge Court to Bar Employment Discrimination Against LGBT People

NEW YORK - June 29, 2016 - More than 100 members of Congress Tuesday night urged a federal appeals court to hold that employers cannot discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.
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ACLU and Lambda Legal Condemn Failure to Repeal North Carolina's Anti-LGBT H.B. 2

RALEIGH - June 28, 2016 - Today, after draft legislation with proposed changes to the sweeping anti-LGBT measure, North Carolina House Bill 2, was released, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal—who are challenging House Bill 2 in federal court on behalf of six LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina—released the following statement "These proposed changes are no fix.  After rushing to enact H.B. 2 in a span of hours, this is the second attempt—the first was the governor's executive order—to clean up the extreme and discriminatory mess of H.B. 2. The only real solution is the full repeal of the law.
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Equality Forum Sends Letter to Trump Seeking His Position on the Equality Act

PHILADELPHIA, PA - June 27, 2016 – Equality Forum 2016,  the nation's premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights summit, released a letter sent to the Donald Trump campaign requesting the candidate's position on the Equality Act. The Trump campaign was requested to respond by Monday, June 27th.
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GLAD Applauds SCOTUS Decision in Whole Women's Health v. Cole

June 27, 2016 - GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) applauded today's 5-3 decision by the United States Supreme Court striking down draconian restrictions that the state of Texas imposed on abortion providers in 2013. 
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NCLR Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholding Abortion Rights

(Washington D.C., June 27, 2016)—Today the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two restrictions on abortion enacted by the State of Texas in 2013 that would have shut down three quarters of the clinics in the nation's second-largest state. The 5-3 decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, upholding the constitutional rights of Texas women, will allow the remaining clinics in the state to keep their doors open and clear a path for other clinics to open or reopen to meet the needs of those who need abortion care across the state.
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Orlando, They didn't die in vain

When you used to say the word "Orlando," it brought up the image of Harry Potter, Disney World castles and waterparks - but it now conjures a different image: that of mass murder at the Pulse nightclub. In time, that image will cease to exist for most of America; the city of Orlando will want that imagery to be lost, as will the many tourist attractions that call it home. Families will again visit in droves, and they should; it is not the fault of the city or its attractions, it's the fault of one lone, possibly unstable, man.
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AHF: New Meningitis Outbreak Hits Gay Men in Los Angeles & OC

LOS ANGELES (June 24, 2016) Three years after a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis killed two Los Angeles gay men and a San Diego student, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials today issued a Department of Public Health (DPH) 'Health Alert' warning that a new outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease is once again hitting gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM) particularly hard. According to the Associated Press, "… nine meningococcal disease cases have been identified in men living in Los Angeles and Orange counties. One patient died as a result of the infection. Six of the cases are known to have been caused by a particular strain of meningococcal bacteria." Four of these nine meningitis cases were found in MSM, and according to the L.A. County Health alert, three of the four MSM cases occurred within the past 6 weeks.
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BREAKING: Pentagon To Announce End to Transgender Military Ban on July 1st

WASHINGTON, DC - June 24, 2016 – Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, praised the news that the Pentagon is expected to make history on July 1st by announcing the much anticipated end to the military's ban on open service by transgender people.
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Obama Administration Declares Gay Rights Landmark a National Monument

Obama Administration Declares Gay Rights Landmark a National Monument
WASHINGTON (June 24, 2016) – The Department of Interior today expanded the scope and definition of America's national parks by devoting the first-ever national monument to the LGBTQ community at the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village.  The monument commemorates the Stonewall uprising, a conflict between police and the gay community in New York City that garnered national attention and inspired the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement.
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Offering Vital Community Resources and Innovative Programs, LGBT Community Centers Serve Over 40,000 People Each Week

Denver, CO & Ft. Lauderdale, FL; June 24, 2016 - Often the only resource serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in a region, LGBT community centers provide vital services to more than 40,000 people each week. According to a report released today, both large and small centers reported increased revenue, for combined 2015 revenue of $176 million, and smaller centers, often operating in locations and communities that are least accepting of LGBT people, experienced a 17% increase in revenue over the course of 2014 to 2015 compared to a 6% increase for large centers.
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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene Resolution Makes June 26 'LGBT Equality Day'

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene Resolution Makes June 26 'LGBT Equality Day'
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced a resolution to designate June 26, as "LGBT Equality Day," honoring the anniversary of three significant victories won at the U.S. Supreme Court for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
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Staging Secrets - Make Your Home Irresistible During Showings

Selling your home is a process, and one vital part of that is making the home look warm, cozy, and inviting. If you're going to continue living in the home while it's up for sale, one important part of the selling process is what's known as staging. Many sellers think of staging as simply cleaning up their home and making sure it always looks nice for potential buyers, but it's much more than that. Listings that are properly staged will be much more appealing to buyers and are more likely to receive serious bids.
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South Africa Seeks to End Epidemics among Women and Girls

PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa - June 24 2016 South Africa's deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa today launched a national campaign to transform the health of young women and girls in the country. The new program led by the government and supported by global health partners will go beyond biomedical approaches that seek to prevent young women and girls from HIV and treat those infected with the virus. It will encompass long-term measures that address structural barriers, which predispose young women and girls to diseases
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National and NC Leaders Discuss Importance of LGBT Elected Officials Post-HB2 and Orlando

Charlotte, NC - June 23, 2016 – Today, LGBT leaders and public officials in North Carolina discussed the political environment and the critical importance of LGBT lawmakers in the wake of HB2 and the recent mass hate crime in Orlando. The discussion – moderated by Victory Institute President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills – emphasized the indispensable role LGBT elected leaders play in preventing measures like HB2. The panel kicked-off an intensive, four-day training that prepares LGBT people to run for office.
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Court Orders School Board to Let Transgender Student Gavin Grimm Use Same Restrooms as Other Boys

RICHMOND, Va. - June 23, 2016 - A federal district court in Virginia today ordered the Gloucester County School Board to let Gavin Grimm use the same restrooms as other boys at his school. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia brought the lawsuit on behalf of Grimm, arguing that the school board’s policy, which segregates transgender students from their peers by requiring them to use “alternative, private” restroom facilities, violates the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.
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The Knot LGBTQ Wedding Study Shows Spending, Family Acceptance Soar

NEW YORK, NY (June 23, 2016) – The Knot, the #1 wedding brand and marketplace, and Logo, a leading entertainment brand inspired by the LGBT community, today released the results from the fourth annual The Knot LGBTQ Weddings Study. The study surveyed 979 LGBTQ respondents in the US who were married or are engaged to be married to reveal the average cost of a wedding for LGBTQ couples, how couples are proposing, wedding spends, family acceptance and support, traditions, and other key statistics related to LGBTQ weddings in America. 
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Equality California Disappointed by Split Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

Los Angeles - June 23 - Today, in a 4-4 split decision in United States v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the question of whether President Barack Obama's use of executive action to suspend deportations and grant work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants was constitutional. The deadlock lets stand an order by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the actions, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), from takng effect.
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New scholarships help LGBTQ students overcome challenges

LOS ANGELES, JUNE 23, 2016 Point Foundation (Point), the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students, today announced its 2016 class of 22 Point Foundation Scholars, as well as the launch of its new Community College Scholarship Program, which awarded scholarships to its first class of 11 students. [Lists of names appears at the end of this release].

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24th Annual Pride Picnic Recap


On Saturday, June 4, 2016, over 230 people attended the 24th Annual Erie Pride Picnic held at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. The event was put on by NW PA Pride Alliance.
 Organizations with tables at the event included Canine Partners for Life, Community United Church, Crime Victim Center of Erie County, Erie Sisters & Brothers Transgender Support Group, French Creek Counseling Services, Iadeluca Chiropractic Center, Lake Erie Counseling Associates, LBT Women, Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Monacella Massage & Kinesiology, Peace Corps, Persad Center, Sam's Club, TransFamily of Erie Transgender Support Group, Whispering Lake Grove
. Photos are by Andrea and Erie Gay News photographer Deb Spilko.
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Bayfront Convention Center Rainbow Lights for Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting victims

Bayfront Convention Center Rainbow Lights for Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting victims
On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, Erie's Bayfront Convention Center displayed rainbow lights in honor of the victims of the Orlando shooter. Photos are by Erie Gay News co-editor Deb Spilko.
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Arts and Prayers for Orlando by The Table

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, The Table, a local spirituality group held Arts and Prayers for Orlando at Presque Isle. The event was a way for people to express their feeling about the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting that happened the previous weekend. Photos are by Jodi Shay, organizer for The Table. "Work created in the wake of the Orlando tragedy at Pulse as an expression of our hearts and a show of our solidarity. "
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Flowers left at Zone Dance Club

A day or two after the candlelight vigil for the Pulse Orlando Nightclub shooting that was held at the Zone Dance Club, someone left flowers at the door. Said bartender Glenn: These beautiful flowers and sign were left at the front door when I went to go in to paint today. THANK YOU ERIE for the ongoing support of our local LGBT community. It's hard to read the note at the bottom. It says, "LET LOVE SHINE TODAY! To those who are devastated, angry, forever changed: we are all connected, we are all witnesses to hate, we all work together to transform our communities." -unsigned. Photos are by Erie Gay News co-editor Michael Mahler.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Congressional Sit-In to Address Gun Violence

WASHINGTON - June 22, 2016 – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on today's sit-in on the House Floor led by Congressman John Lewis and Democratic leadership to demand action to prevent gun violence: "Today's extraordinary sit-in on the House Floor demonstrates to the country that the movement to protect people from gun violence has strong advocates in Congress who understand the gravity of this issue. The communities represented by the Leadership Conference coalition, including people of color, the LGBT community, people of faith, and women, know intimately what's stake.
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Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill

Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill
HARRISBURG, June 22 - State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila., praised today's bipartisan, historic state Senate committee vote that sent a nondiscrimination bill to the full Senate.
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Senate Committee Votes On Discrimination Protections, Important Step Forward for the LGBT Community

Harrisburg - June 22, 2016 - Today the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing committee passed a bill that would update the Human Relations Act to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in housing and employment.
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Opinion: We stand by our vote for statute of limitations reform

Opinion: We stand by our vote for statute of limitations reform
As members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and as Catholics, we voted in favor of H.B. 1947. We stand by that vote. And we are disappointed by Archbishop Charles Chaput and seven other Pennsylvania bishops' June 6th letter to all parishes – including our own – arguing for the protection of church assets and dollars over justice for the victims of child sexual abuse – and for attempting to cast our vote as an attack on the church.
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Equality California Applauds Court Refusal to Hear Assault Weapons Ban Cases

Los Angeles - June 21, 2016 – In response to the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York, allowing a ruling from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to stand, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Assault weapons are the weapon of choice for attacks on law enforcement and in mass shootings, including the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  On the same day the U.S. Senate lacked the courage to pass two tough, commonsense gun safety measures, it was heartening that the Supreme Court has again declined to hear challenges to bans on assault weapons that represent a threat to the basic safety of every American.
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LGBTQ Protestors Disrupt Donald Trump at Press Conference, Saying 'Lies Equal Violence'

New York, NY - June 21, 2016 --  Just moments ago, LGBTQ grassroots network GetEQUAL disrupted a press conference that followed a day-long meeting between Donald Trump and several hundred evangelical leaders. The disruption called attention to hate-mongering by both right-wing leaders and Trump -- creating the atmosphere that led to last week's massacre in Orlando -- as well as the systemic violence that queer and trans people of color face every day.
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Equality California Endorses Tobacco Tax Initiative

Los Angeles - June 20, 2016 Equality California has endorsed the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, an initiative to raise California's cigarette tax by $2 on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, which are taking a disproportionately large toll on lesbian, gay and bisexual communities.
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Equality California Condemns Senate Gun Safety Vote, Calls for Reforms

Los Angeles = June 20, 2016 – In response to today's defeat in the U.S. Senate of four gun control measures addressing gun violence, two of which were supported by Equality California, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Slightly more than a week has elapsed since the worst mass shooting in history, in a country where the regularity of mass shootings horrifies the world.  The U.S. Senate has followed the now-predictable pattern of proclaiming that their "thoughts and prayers" are with the victims, while denying those same victims any meaningful action on their behalf.  They did not act on behalf of the six year olds gunned downed in Newtown.  They did not act on behalf of social workers gunned down in San Bernardino.  And once again, they have refused to act when 102 young, mostly Latino mostly LGBT people were gunned down in Orlando.
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Reform Movement Leader Condemns Senate's Failure to Pass Common Sense Measures to Prevent Gun Violence

Washington, D.C., June 20, 2016 – In response today's Senate votes on expanding mandatory background checks and closing the terror gap, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement: "Today, the Senate again failed to take a necessary step toward addressing the horrifying epidemic of gun violence that grips this nation.  The recent massacre in Orlando was only the latest in a ceaseless string of gun deaths that have claimed the lives of Americans young and old, in every state. By failing to vote to close the background check loophole and to make sure that those who are deemed unsafe to fly cannot legally purchase a gun, some Senators have made clear that they are willing to let the country continue down the terrible path we have been on. We are deeply troubled, that in the wake of last week's immeasurable tragedy, the 60-vote threshold needed to advance these amendments was not met.
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Moving on from a High-Level Failure

(Oakland, CA June 20, 2016)--As MSMGF reported last week with NSWP, IRGT, GATE, and the Global Platform to Fast-Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses Among Gay and Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (The Platform), United Nations member states adopted a very weak political declaration at the UN High-Level Meeting to End AIDS (HLM) in New York City. While the Political Declaration sets ambitious goals to accelerate HIV prevention and treatment targets to deliver treatment to 30 million people by 2020 and end AIDS by 2030, the document's failure to adequately include, define, and commit to progra
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Youngest Orlando victim would have started at 'Hurst this fall


Youngest Orlando victim would have started at 'Hurst this fall

On June 11, Akyra Murray, 18, was visiting Florida to celebrate, having just graduated third in her class at Philadelphia's West Catholic High School. She was a star basketball player, and had earned a full scholarship at Mercyhurst University in Erie.
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Tables at Pride Fest on August 27


NW PA Pride Alliance invites you to participate as a table at this year's Pride Fest, to be held on Saturday, August 27 from 2 to 4 PM in Griswold Park at W. 14th and Peach, Erie PA. Set-up will begin at noon. All tables are expected to remain set up until the end of the festival. The cost to participate is $15 per table and must be paid in full by Saturday, August 20, the week before the event. The cost includes one 8-foot table and two chairs. Checks should be made payable to: NW PA Pride Alliance and mailed to PO Box 11448, Erie PA 16514. The festival will be held outdoors and will take place rain or shine. You may bring a canopy up to 10 x 10 for shade. Electricity is unavailable to tables for this event.
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Parade units for March to Pride Fest on August 27


Pride Fest will be held on Saturday, August 27. PrideFest and the Pride March are organized by NW PA Pride Alliance. We will begin assembling at noon in the parking lot of the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie. Step off is promptly at 1 PM. We will go over 18th Street to State Street, down State Street to 13th Street and then into Griswold Park (14th & Peach If you are not marching with a contingent, please feel free to join our NW PA Pride Alliance contingent as we march to Pride Fest We also invite you to be part of the Family Portrait that will be taken in Griswold Park at the end of the march. There is no cost to participate in the March, but contingents are requested to notify us by Saturday, August 20, the week before the event. If you want to be a unit in the March to Pride Fest, please email tables@nwpapride.org.
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Open Call for Pride Fest 2016 Entertainment


NWPA Pride Alliance is currently seeking entertainment acts for our 2016 PrideFest, being held Saturday August 27th at Griswold Park.
 Anyone interested should contact Tony, Entertainment Coordinator, by emailing entertainment@nwpapride.org.
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How to Grieve

As the tragedy in Orlando continues to unfold, I find myself asking: How do you grieve for someone you don't know? How do you grieve when the situation keeps changing? How do you grieve when it's all so confusing? I have written this column to answer these questions and to offer you some suggestions on what to do with your grief.
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Statement from Meadville City Councilmember Bob Langley on Orlando Mass Shooting

Statement from Meadville City Councilmember Bob Langley on Orlando Mass Shooting
After the horrific tragedy in Orlando, what do I do? Light a candle, stand up and march, talk to reporters, or volunteer for another LGBT group? And I think, wait, you have done it all in the past and are doing these things now. 
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Equality California Statement on Orlando Shootings and Federal LGBT Blood Ban

Los Angeles - June 18, 2016 – In response to reports nationwide of gay and bisexual men being turned away from donating blood in response to the more than 50 injured in last weekend's shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "It should not have taken the tragedy in Orlando to spotlight the idiocy of FDA regulations that bar all gay and bisexual men from donating blood.  Thousands turned out to help members of our own community, but were told that their blood donations were not needed, thanks to archaic and unnecessary rules that do not reflect modern detection methods of HIV.
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Logo Announces the Cast of RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race Season 2

NEW YORK, NY – June 17, 2015 – Hot off the heels of one of the most electrifying seasons of "RuPaul's Drag Race, " Mama Ru will return to the runway for "RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race " Season 2, premiering Thursday, August 25th at 8:00 PM ET/PT on Logo with a supersized 90-minute episode. YouTube sensation Todrick Hall joins Carson Kressley and Michelle Visage on the judging panel alongside RuPaul for a season packed with more eleganza, wigtastic challenges and twists than Drag Race has ever seen.  
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Dreams of Hope is searching for a new Office Manager

After doing an incredible job as Office Manger for two years, Cavanaugh Quick is going off to graduate school out of the area. We are all really excited for Cav, and we also now need someone else to be the glue that holds things together at Dreams of Hope.
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Equality California Announces Initiative to End Gun Violence, Calls for Comprehensive Gun Safety Legislation

Los Angeles- June 17, 2016 – At a news conference today at Los Angeles City Hall together with state and local leaders, Equality California announced the launch of "Safe and Equal, " a campaign to end gun violence by advocating for tougher common sense gun safety laws at the federal and state levels, among other things. Equality California is making adoption of laws to reduce gun violence and mass shootings one of its highest organizational priorities.
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Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joe Walsh Pledges to Fight North Carolina Anti-LGBT Law

RALEIGH, N.C. - June 15, 2016 -American singer-songwriter and former Eagles' guitarist Joe Walsh announced he will give a portion of the proceeds from two upcoming shows in North Carolina to the American Civil Liberties Union to support its lawsuit fighting the state's anti-LGBT law. The law, House Bill 2, removes protections for LGBT people and prohibits transgender people from using facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
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ACLU Statement on Orlando Tragedy

NEW YORK - June 14, 2016 - ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said the following in response to the Orlando tragedy "The Orlando tragedy has shaken us all. At times like this, we must hold close to our core values. Only by doing so can we resist efforts to turn us against one another.
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PA Legislators Move New Legislation to Secure Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT Pennsylvanians

Harrisburg – Earlier this week Sen. Pat Browne (R- 16) introduced three new bills that will update the PA Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in discrimination protections in the areas of employment, housing and business and government services.
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State physicians want a statewide law to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination

State physicians want a statewide law to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination
The following is a statement from Scott Shapiro MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and a practicing cardiologist in Montgomery County. Dr. Shapiro announces PAMED's support for the Pennsylvania Fairness Act (HB 1510 / SB 974), which would update the Human Relations Act to ensure that no one can be fired from a job, turned away from a business, or evicted from a home just for being gay or transgender.
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Beyond ISIS - In the Aftermath of Orlando...

(New York - June 13, 2016) -- OutRight Action International is shocked and saddened by the deadly massacre at Latin Night at Pulse nightclub on 12 June 2016 in Orlando, Florida. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 49 people whose lives were taken and the more than 50 people injured. These events were not only a tragedy for the LGBTIQ community in Orlando but for all humanity. Our way forward must emphasize community building from a global perspective.
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We're out and proud. Especially after Orlando.

I woke up Sunday morning to the horrible, alarmingly common news of an incident of gun violence and terrorism. But this one was different: The shooter's target was the LGBT community. I learned about the incident as I was getting ready to march in Philadelphia's Gay Pride Parade. I never questioned whether I would march, but it took me hours to realize why.
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MSMGF Mourns

Receiving news of the mass shooting that took place at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. was unnerving and heartbreaking. The news came just after MSMGF and its partners spent the prior week educating governments, including the U.S., at the United Nations' High-Level Meeting about why relegating gay men, sex workers, transgender people, and people who use drugs to one problematic paragraph in this year's Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS is shortsighted, dangerous, and wrong. Governments worldwide expect our communities to stay quiet and satisfied with tokenism in support of some greater good, revealing the underlying belief that "queers, hookers, trannies, and junkies" are expendable. This idea gives governments and its citizens continued license to behave badly and violently.
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Senator Casey Statement on Orlando Shooting

Washington, DC - June 12, 2016 - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a statement following the shooting in Orlando: "Today, I'm praying for all those impacted by last night's horrific attack on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando. Our nation stands in solidarity with the victims, their families and the City of Orlando. While we are still learning about the shooter's motivation, this is an act of terror and yet another mass shooting in our nation. It is also an attack on the LGBT community.  We must take every step to keep America safe, which means targeting and taking out terrorists while keeping guns out of the wrong hands. It's time for Congress to finally act on gun violence and ban military-style weapons, put limits on clips and magazine sizes, ban those on the terrorist watchlist from purchasing firearms and require background checks on all gun sales. We know that the shooter in Orlando used a high-powered weapon that allowed him to fire a large number of bullets in rapid succession. This shooting is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  I will continue to closely monitor developments in the investigation and be briefed by security officials. Earlier this year I met with local law enforcement in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg to discuss the work law enforcement is undertaking to prevent and respond to terror attacks."
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Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Orlando Pulse Club Shooting Held at Zone

On Sunday, June 12, about 75-100 members of Erie's LGBT community and their supporters gathered at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA, to mourn the tragic deaths of 50 people killed in the Orlando Pulse Night Club shooting, considered to be the worst mass shooting in US history. The event was organized by NW PA Pride Alliance. Speakers included Alex Sphon, president of NW PA Pride Alliance; Rev. Dr. Rich McCarty, senior pastor of Community United Church; Michael Mahler, co-editor of Erie Gay News; and Bob Merski, Erie City Councilmember. Other elected officials attending included Erie County Councilmembers Andre Horton and Jay Breneman.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Condemns Orlando Mass Shooting, Stands in Solidarity with LGBT Community

WASHINGTON - June 13, 2016 – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to Sunday's mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando: "Our prayers today are with the victims of this horrific mass shooting in Orlando and with their families and friends. We also extend our love and support to the entire LGBT community, which is grappling with the coldblooded violence inflicted upon those who were targeted in this attack. The 50 young people who were killed came from diverse backgrounds and had entire lives ahead of them. And, even worse, this not an isolated incident in a nation where the LGBT community is targeted in more than 21 percent of all hate crimes
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NCLR Calls For Accountability After Anti-LGBT Attack

(San Francisco, CA, June 13, 2016)-The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) responds to the mass shooting at a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead and more than 50 others seriously injured early June 12, 2016.
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In Wake of Orlando Shooting, Sen. Bob Casey Unveils Legislation Banning Those Convicted of Hate Crimes From Owning a Gun

Pittsburgh, PA - June 13, 2016 - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he is introducing legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of those who commit criminal acts based on hate. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act would prohibit the purchase, possession or shipment of a firearm by anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime or who received a hate crime sentence enhancement, and prohibit the sale of firearms to anyone reasonably suspected to be guilty of a misdemeanor hate crime. Casey also called for other actions to prevent gun violence, including a ban on military-style weapons, limits on clips and magazine sizes, a ban on those on the terrorist watchlist from purchasing firearms and universal background checks.
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GLSEN Orlando Statement on Tragedy at Pulse Nightclub

ORLANDO (June 12, 2016) – In response to last night's tragic events at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) nightclub Pulse, where the largest mass shooting in recent United States history took place, GLSEN Orlando Chair Ginger Malcom issued the following statement:  "GLSEN Orlando is heartbroken by the senseless attack on the LGBT community that took place last night. We offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those affected by what has been characterized as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime. It is with heavy hearts but also a renewed energy that we continue our work in schools to eliminate anti-LGBT bias and violence. We will not stop until our young people learn that all people deserve respect and that hate and violence have no place in Orlando and in our world."
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Immigrant Youth Heartbroken By Tragedy

Houston, TX - June 12, 2016 - Last night, fifty people were murdered and fifty three injured in a horrific act of violence which has shocked the world.
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Pride at Work Statement on Today's Attack in Orlando

Washington, DC - June 12, 2016 - The following can be attributed to Jerame Davis, Executive Director of Pride at Work on behalf of the entire National Executive Board and our membership throughout organized labor: "Our thoughts and condolences go out to the victims and their families. Hatred and violence have no place in a civilized society. Our hearts break for the families of the Orlando massacre as we wait for more information about this horrific attack. Until then, we can only honor the victims and their families by working to make sure this never happens again."
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Reform Leader Condemns Horrific Attack on Orlando Nightclub

Washington, D.C., June 12, 2016 – In response to the tragic violence in Orlando, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:&nbsp "The horrific violence in Orlando shakes us to our very core.  The staggering loss of life, yet again facilitated by a military-style weapon that has no place on the street, causes us deep pain. We pray for those who were murdered, for healing of body and soul for the injured, and for comfort to the families of all who were present in Pulse nightclub.
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Equality PA Mourns with Orlando After Horrific Mass Shooting

Harrisburg -  June 12, 2016Equality PA responded to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history that took place at a night club that serves the LGBT community in Orlando.
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AHF Mourns with Orlando Community; Will Set Up Fund to Assist Victims

FT. LAUDERDALE (June 12, 2016) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today mourn the senseless, brutal, murderous attack on the LGBTQ community in Orlando, a city where AHF provides HIV/AIDS care and services including free HIV testing. The AHF-supported Impulse Group has one of its largest chapters in Orlando, and the Pulse nightclub is one of its major community partners.
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Equality California Statement on Orlando LGBT Nightclub Shooting

Los Angeles - June 12, 2016 – In response to last night's shooting which killed an estimated 50 people at Pulse, a popular Orlando LGBT nightclub, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "There will be much to say as we all learn more about last night's horrible events in the hours and days to come, and whether last night's victims were targeted because they were LGBT, because they were American or because they were concentrated in one place.  For now, our hearts are with the victims, their families and Orlando's LGBT community.  Whatever the motive, this is a terrible tragedy for LGBT people in Orlando and nationwide, especially as our community celebrates LGBT Pride Month."
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MCC Global Moderator Grieves the Mass Shooting at a Gay Club

June 12, 2016 - "We condemn this terrorist attack on LGBTQ people that injured or killed more than 60 people in Orlando, Florida, at a popular gay club earlier today. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims," said Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. "We urge all police and authorities to investigate this attack as fervently as an airplane going down in deep water. This was an intentional mass murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the middle of Pride month at the most popular bar in Orlando. It was meant to send a message and we need to know who else may have been a part of this horrific action."
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North Carolina Asks Court to Keep Anti-Transgender Provisions of HB2 in Effect

RALEIGH, N.C. - June 10, 2016 - In court documents filed yesterday, North Carolina and the University of North Carolina system argued that the state’s law banning transgender people from public restrooms matching their gender identity should remain in effect while a legal challenge proceeds in federal court. The law, House Bill 2, also removes legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and others.
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Sen Bob Casey Backs Major LGBT Civil Rights Bill

Washington, DC- June 2, 2016 - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he is cosponsoring a major LGBT civil rights bill, the Equality Act. The Equality Act expands current civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, education, federal financial assistance, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service. The Equality Act accomplishes this by amending current law, primarily the Civil Rights Act (CRA), to expand existing protections.
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MCC Global Leader Demands that New UN AIDS Declaration Recognize Marginalized and Criminalized People

As the UN High Level Meeting on HIV prepares to issue a new UN Declaration on HIV/AIDS, advocacy organization and faith leaders speak out. "For over 35 years, MCC has been on the frontlines caring for people with AIDS," said global MCC Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. "We have advocated with governments at the same time as we have taught about prevention, cared for the sick, and buried the dead. People are still dying from AIDS today. It is beyond time for every government to show that all of its people matter."
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Small Wins Amidst A High-Level Failure

New York, New York - June 9, 2016 -- As we reported yesterday with our partners NSWP, IRGT, GATE, and the Global Platform to Fast-Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses Among Gay and Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men, the United Nations High-Level Meeting to End AIDS (HLM) opened Wednesday amidst a storm of controversy with UN member states approving a very weak political declaration to set global HIV policy priorities for the next 5 years. While the political declaration claims to commit UN member states to "fast-track targets" to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the document's repeated omissions, exclusions, and misrepresentations of gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, and transgender people as key populations affected by HIV worldwide, lack of commitments to key populations programming, and failure to address legal and policy frameworks that stigmatize and criminalize key populations all raise new barriers and obstacles to achieving targets to end AIDS.
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109 Equality California-Endorsed Candidates Celebrate Primary Election Victories

Los Angeles - June 9, 2016 -- Equality California today announced that 109 of its 116 endorsed candidates won enough votes in their individual races in the California primary election to advance to the November 8 general election or to win their race outright.
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A High-Level Failure for the United Nations on Key Populations

New York, NY - June 8, 2016 – The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), The Global Network of Trans Women and HIV (IRGT), Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE),  and MSMGF (The Global Forum on MSM & HIV) together with the Global Platform to Fast-Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses Among Gay and Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (The Platform) are deeply disappointed by the adoption of a flawed Political Declaration today at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS (HLM).  The Political Declaration inexcusably fails to meaningfully address the HIV epidemic among key populations, including gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, and transgender people. The Final Declaration damagingly excludes and misrepresents key populations.  It also lacks an explicit commitment to support and finance key population-led and tailored prevention, care, and treatment services. Likewise, it is woefully misses the mark in highlighting legal and policy frameworks that stigmatize and criminalize our communities worldwide. While the document opens with a sweeping "commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030," our networks and many of its global civil society allies contend that today's Political Declaration is a significant set-back in our work to end AIDS, particularly among key populations.
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Mark My Words: Sugar high

The Philadelphia soda tax is a local story, but it's also one that is playing out nationally. And, if you haven't already begun to pay attention to it, you should.
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Civil Liberties Groups Celebrate Federal Court's Final Order Guaranteeing Freedom to Marry in Alabama

(Mobile, AL, June 8, 2016)— A federal court today entered a final order and judgment requiring Alabama officials to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, say four civil liberties organizations that are representing same-sex couples in the state.
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Palm Center Statement on Department of Defense LGBT Pride Ceremony

WASHINGTON, D.C. June 8, 2016 – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, released the following statement after attending today's Department of Defense Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride ceremony.  "It was quite awkward that at an event honoring LGBT Pride month, there was no mention of when or whether the ban on transgender service members will be lifted, or why the Secretary has allowed 77 transgender troops to remain in limbo for almost a year. The Pentagon can only expect more awkward moments if the situation is not resolved soon."
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Faith Groups Thank Obama Administration for Guidance on Transgender Students

Washington, D.C., June 10, 2016 – In response to the Obama administration's May 13 guidance, directing public schools to ensure transgender students can access facilities that align with their gender identity and expression, over 30 faith groups sent this letter commending this important step for equality and inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming people:
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Department of Defense Celebrates LGBT Pride Month at Pentagon

WASHINGTON, DC - June 8 – Today, the U.S. Department of Defense celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Pride Month at a DoDPride celebration held at the Pentagon. The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, issued the following statement in response: "Today's event was an incredibly important celebration of diversity and the strength that it brings to our nation's Armed Forces," said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack, who attended the event with other AMPA military families. "But while it was a time to celebrate the tremendous progress we've made within the Department of Defense, it was also a stark reminder of the work we still have to accomplish for full LGBT equality in the military. The continued delay in lifting the ban on open service for transgender service members is frustrating and deeply disappointing for so many of our families. It's been almost a year since Secretary Carter made the historic announcement that the Pentagon would lift the ban, yet transgender service members and their families are still in limbo. These heroes have earned the right to be able to serve as their authentic selves, and we must ensure that happens.
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Frankel, Sims ready House petition in hopes of freeing nondiscrimination bill

Frankel, Sims ready House petition in hopes of freeing nondiscrimination bill
HARRISBURG, June 9 – State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila., are planning to pry a bipartisan nondiscrimination bill out of a committee whose chairman has refused even to hold a hearing on it.
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Islamic States Block 22 Gay Rights Groups From UN Aids Summit

GENEVA, June 8, 2016 - UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental human rights organization, today called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft to "name and shame" the countries responsible for excluding 22 gay and transgender rights groups from the UNGA's High Level Meeting on Ending Aids, which opens today with heads of state, cabinet ministers, corporate executives, and people living with HIV. 
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Pride Night at the Erie Seawolves on July 18

NWPA Pride Alliance is excited to bring Pride at the Seawolves for its 3rd year! This year, it will be held on Monday July 18th at Jerry Uht Park, 110 E 10th St, Erie PA, Game starts at 7:05pm. It's Buck Night, so grab your friends and family and enjoy $1 hot dogs, popcorn, 12oz Pepsi products, and select draft beers while we cheer on our Seawolves as they take on the Harrisburg Senators. To get your voucher or if you have questions contact president@nwpapride.org or call (814) 314-9075. Check out the Facebook event page here. To get your tickets, just print the voucher here and take it to the box office!
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Exhibit at State Museum: PA's Pioneering role in LGBT rights

Exhibit at State Museum: PA's Pioneering role in LGBT rights
Open April 13 through October 30, 2016, this exhibit focuses on the equality movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the late 1960s and its progress in the Commonwealth during the 1970s. The show focuses on the partnership between dedicated LGBT activist coalitions and Governor Milton J. Shapp, leading to unprecedented executive action in Pennsylvania for LGBT equality and features photographs, documents and objects related to this movement.
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