Reporting Discrimination and Homophobic Incidents

from Ann van Dyke

PA Human Relations Commission

Erie Gay News readers are encouraged to regularly report homophobic incidents to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC.) Although sexual orientation and gender identity are not currently protected classes under the PA Human Relations Act (the state’s civil rights law) or under Ethnic Intimidation (the state’s hate crimes law), documenting the nature and frequency of homophobic incidents is key in efforts to amend these laws. Please also contact your state legislators about amending these laws. If you have been the target of a homophobic incident, please call the PHRC’s Pittsburgh Regional Office at 412/565-7560 or PHRC’s Central Office at 717/783-8438.

Please note! Erie County does indeed cover discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations for sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. If this applies, then please contact:

Erie County Human Relations Commission
1001 State Street
Suite #812
Erie, PA 16501
(814) 451-7021
[email protected]

Please also be aware of federal hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity when the crime occurs on federal property or in a way that interferes with interstate commerce

Beyond sexual orientation/identity issues, you may have a need to be protected from discrimination for other reasons. The PA Human Relations Act addresses discrimination that occurs in employment, housing, education or public accommodations if the discrimination occurs because of the person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age (over 40), gender, handicap or disability, having a GED, familial status (in housing), use of a guide animal, or retaliation. It is their job to conduct thorough and neutral investigations and, when appropriate, to remedy the harm that occurred. PHRC’s website provides details about how to file complaints of discrimination - www.phrc.state.pa.us.

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