Area History for 2010's
Please note that this is a work in process. Contact us for corrections, additions and etc.
Dec 31 - Zone New Year's Eve Bash The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA, welcomed 2020 at their New Year's Eve Bash. There was a buffet and a champagne toast at midnight. See related article. See photos.
Dec 5 - GEAE End of Year Celebration The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality hosted their annual year end celebration. The celebration is an evening spent with member of the LGBTQ community, allies, and supporters for good food, music and friendship. This year the celebration was held at Room 33 Speakeasy & Cafe. Approximately 70 guests enjoyed the night together with entertainment by Max Schang's Jazz Trio. GEAE President, Leah Manino, made brief remarks to thank supporters, the Board of Directors and Advisory Council for their dedication and the community's combined efforts to advance equality in our region. Donations of warm socks and blankets were also collected from guests that go to support the Ryan White Program in Erie County. See related article. See photos.
Dec 2 - World AIDS Day Recognition Program The Erie County HIV Task Force presented a program for World AIDS Day at Blasco Public Library, 160 East Front Str, Erie PA. Joy Henry, Disease Intervention Specialist Chair for Erie County Department of Health served as moderator. Erie City Mayor Joe Schember spoke about HIV effects. Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper gave an overview on HIV, and pointed out that the HIV cases per capita were lower in Erie County than the state and national averages, crediting the work of Erie County HIV Task Force partners. Sonny Concepcion, High Impact HIV Prevention Specialist at Northwest Alliance, gave a history of the AIDS Quilt. Panels from the AIDS Quilt have been displayed in Erie as far back as the late 90's. Andi Fair, nurse practitioner at Adagio Health, presented info about PrEP and HIV risk. PrEP is available at Adagio Health and Community Health Net, and there is also an online PrEP locator linked at https://echiv.org/prep-locator/. Preston gave a personal story about living with HIV. The event concluded with a candlelight service in front of the library in honor of those living with HIV and remembering those who had died of HIV/AIDS. See related article. See photos.
Dec 1 - First Congregational United Church of Christ, Jefferson Ohio becomes Open and Affirming Congregation The First Congregational United Church of Christ, 41 E Jefferson St, Jefferson OH celebrated the adoption of their open and affirmation covenant (a loving welcome of LGBT+ persons and allies). The event included a guest speaker and live music. In addition, Signature Healthoffered free confidential HIV and Hep C testing in observance of World AIDS Day. See related article.
Nov 23 - Sixth Annual TransGiving TransFamily of NW PA held their sixth annual TransGiving potluck dinner at Crime Victim Center, 125 W 18th St. In addition to great food and friends, there was also a Trans Pride flag signed by members and allies, as well as a display of the recent proclamations recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance by Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and Erie City Mayor Joe Schember. See related article. See photos.
Nov 20 - Transgender Day of Remembance Vigil Over 50 people attended the Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil organized by TransFamily of NW PA held on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA. The names and stories of 37 people who had died in the U.S. due to violence or suicide as a result of transphobia were read by vigil participants, as well as a death that occurred in 2016 but was only positively identified in September 2019.This was the seventh consecutive year that there has been a local observance. After the vigil, TransFamily of NWPA and the Crime Victim Center of Erie County hosted a reception with light snacks to give attendees an opportunity to socialize and process their emotions. There was local media coverage promoting the event, and the Erie Reader sent a journalist to interview participants. Mayor Joe Schember prepresented a proclamation recognizing Transgender Awareness Week to Caitlyn Strohmeyer at his press conference the previous week. Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper also issued a proclamation recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was presented at the vigil by Alex Whipple of the Erie County Department of Health. See related article. See photos.
Nov 16 - Intersections of Equality Symposium Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) presented the Intersections of Equality Symposium at the Black Conference Center, Penn State the Behrend College. Attendees included regional advocates, allies, and LGBTQ community members from the tri state region. The theme of the day was LGBTQ Advocacy and Equality through Education. Rich McCarty facilitated the symposium and guided attendees through broad range of diverse topics for discussion that included a health care panel, LGBTQ and the Arts and Art Therapy, the state of LGBTQ Affairs, Alliances and Partnerships: State, City, Corporate and Cultural. See related article. See photos.
Nov 7 - 13th Annual Behrend Drag Show Behrend's Gender and Sexuality Club presented their 13th Annual Drag Show at Penn State Behrend in McGarvey Commons. Performers included Lola Lecroix, Anna Steezia, Danyel Vasquez, Alora Chateau, and Dixie Surewood. See related article. See photos.
Nov 7 - 13th Annual Behrend Drag Show Behrend's Gender and Sexuality Club presented their 13th Annual Drag Show at Penn State Behrend in McGarvey Commons. Performers included Lola Lecroix, Anna Steezia, Danyel Vasquez, Alora Chateau, and Dixie Surewood. See related article. See photos.
Oct 12 - Edinboro Homecoming Parade Members of NW PA Pride Alliance and Identity, Edinboro University's LGBTQIA+ student organization marched together again in Edinboro's Homecoming Parade. The theme for 2019 was art, and members of Identity costumes included LGBT artists including Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring. See related article. See photos.
Oct 11 - 13 - 14th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend The 14th Annual Breast Cancer Weekend was held at The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA, October 11th-13th. What started as Michelle Michaels' idea to bring together the local drag community to raise money for a cause near and dear to heart has since grown into an entire weekend of fundraising. See related article. See photos.
Sep 16 - 3rd Annual HIV Awareness Walk About 45 people attended the 3rd Annual HIV Awareness Walk in Frontier Park, including Erie City Mayor Joe Schember. The event was organized by Erie County HIV Task Force. There was coverage by both local TV news crews. See related article. See photos.
Aug 10 - 27th Annual Erie Pride Picnic NW PA Pride Alliance held the 27th Annual Erie Pride Picnic at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle. About 300 people attended. There was a delicious potluck buffet, a raffle, the annual Family Portrait, and great times! As the PA Commission on LGBTQ Affairs had met in Erie the previous day, some members of the commission stayed in town to go to the picnic and presented Erie's LGBTQ community with a proclamation from Governor Tom Wolf recognizing Pride. See related article. See photos.
Aug 9 - GEAE Welcome Reception for PA Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, Mayor's LGBTQ Advisory Council Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) hosted a Welcome Reception at Room 33 Speakeasy Cafe, 1033 State St. Erie PA for the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, which held their quarterly meeting in Erie that day, as well as for the Mayor's LGBTQ+ Advisory Council. The event was also open to the greater community. There were appetizers and a cash bar, as well as a great chance for advocates from across the state to meet local community members. See related article. See photos.
Aug 9 - PA Commission on LGBTQ Affairs meets in Erie The Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs held their quarterly meeting at the Crime Victim Center, 125 W 18th St, Erie PA. Among the topics discussed were strategies to pass non-discrimination legislation at the state level. Pennsylvania is currently the only state in the North East part of the US that does not include sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression as protected classes for statewide non-discrimination laws. However, in August 2018, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission - the government agency that enforces the commonwealth's nondiscrimination law - announced that it will accept and hear complaints of discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and public accommodations as a form of sex discrimination. Legislation is currently in committee in both the state house and senate that would make that explicit. Legislation covering sexual orientation and gender identity/expression has never made it to the floor of either chamber for a vote. Over 50 municipalities across the commonwealth have passed local non-discrimination ordinances. Erie County passed anti-discrimination that included sexual orientation in 2002, and added legislation making gender identity protection explicit in 2018. See related article.
Aug - LGBTQIA+ History Exhibits at Blasco Public Library Two LGBTQ+ history exhibits were on display at Erie County Public Library. Blasco Memorial Library, 160 E Front St, Erie PA 16507. This included both the local LGBTQ+ history exhibit previously shown at 419 Artifacts in June, and also the LGBT Center of Central PA's "The Long Road to LGBTQ+ Equality in Pennsylvania", a traveling history exhibit that chronicles the efforts that activists have undertaken in Pennsylvania to achieve full equality for LGBTQ+ people. The exhibit debuted in February on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Blasco Memorial Library's display marked the exhibit's first stop in Erie County. See related article. See photos.
Jul 20 - 3rd Annual TransFamily Picnic TransFamily of NW PA held their third annual picnic at the Wilson Picnic Grove at Penn State Behrend. The event included a yummy potluck, great friends, and a raffle. See related article. See photos.
Jul 14 - 9th Annual Afternoon for Equality Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held their 9th Annual Afternoon for Equality at the Erie Yacht Club, 1 Ravine Drive, Erie PA. The event featured great good, great fellowship, and the presentation of scholarships to 2 area students. See related article. See photos.
Jul 13 - Gay Day in Crawford County Organizers held Gay Day in Crawford County in Diamond Park in Meadville PA. It is believed that this was possibly the first Pride event in Crawford County. The day included info tables, voter registration, chalk drawings on the sidewalk, reading of a children's book by the author, and lots of great friends. See related article. See photos.
Jul 4 - LGBT FLoat in 2019 Millcreek 4th of July Parade NW PA Pride Alliance and friends had a float in the Millcreek 4th of July Parade. The float was well-received. There has been an LGBT presence in the Millcreek 4th of July parade every year since 2006. See related article. See photos.
Jun 29 - 2019 Pride Fest - Parade NW PA Pride Alliance held a very successful Pridefest. It is estimated that at least 2,500 people attended the event, an all-time record for a local Pride event, and even larger than the record set last year. Pride Fest exapnded to include the East side of Perry Square as well. See related article. See photos.
Jun 25 - Erie VA Medical Center LGBT+ Pride Event The Erie VA Medical Center hosted an LGBT+ Pride Event. All Veterans, their families and the community were invited to attend in the second floor conference rooms of the main facility located at 135 E 38th St., Erie, PA. The event celebrated the achievements of LGBT+ Veterans and their perseverance that led to the ability for Veterans to openly serve! There was a brief program that included very moving presentations by LGBT veterans Beth and Frank, which was followed by a resource fair of both VA and local programs/organizations. See related article. See photos.
Jun 21 - Miss Erie Pageant 2019 NW PA Pride Alliance sponsored the 2019 Miss Erie Pageant at The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. Rebecca Mae was crowned Miss Erie 2019, and Alysin Wonderland was First Runner Up. Other performers at the pageant were Rhiannon Angelina, Valerie Valentino, Misty Michaels Kall, Lovin Heart, Danyel Vasquez, Veronica Lace, Michelle Michaels, and Buffy Lynn Hayes. Additionally Michelle Michaels was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for 25 years of fabulousness. Also, NW PA Pride Alliance is pleased to announce that going forward, the winner of the talent portion of the pageant will receive the Michelle Micheals Talent Award. See related article. See photos.
Jun 5 - Erie City Council passes conversion therapy ban 7-0 Erie City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting mental health practitioners from conducting conversion therapy on a minor to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. This was the final step for passing the ordinance. See related article.
Jun 1 - 30 - A Look Back: A History of the LGBTQ+ Community in Erie exhibit Erie LGBTQIA+ History Project held an opening reception for their A Look Back: A History of the LGBTQ+ Community in Erie exhibit at 419 Artifacts, 419 State St, Erie PA. The exhibit ran for the month of June 30. See related article. See photos.
Jun 1 - 30 - GEAE Art Show On Saturday, June 1, 2019, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held an opening reception for their juried regional LGBTQ art show at Erie Art Gallery, 24 W 8th St, Erie PA. Jurors were Sharon Louden, Artistic Director of Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, and Hrag Vartanian, art critic, editor-in-chief, and co-founder of the online art magazine, "Hyperallergic." The exhibit ran through June 30. Therewas also a closing reception on June 30. See related article. See photos.
Jun - Pride Flag Display by over 100 local businesses Greater Erie Alliance for Equality's Steve Huefner was able to distribute over 100 Pride flags that Erie area businesses and organizations displayed during June for Pride month, which more than tripled last year's inaugural initiative that had around 30 businesses. See related article. See photos.
May 15 - Erie City Council conversion therapy ban first reading unanimous vote Erie City Council had a first reading of a proposed conversion therapy ban for attempts to change sexual orientation or gender identity for minors. Speaking in favor of the conversion therapy ban were Rose Surma and Michele Tome. The first reading’s vote was seven in favor of enacting the ban with zero opposed, and all public commment was in favor of the ban. See related article.
About May - Southern Tier Peer Queers begins meeting in MHA of Chautauqua County The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County started a new community support group called Southern Tier Queer Peers (STQP), Tuesdays from 5:30-7PM at the Gateway Center, 31 Water St, Suite 7, Door 14, Jamestown NY. This group is open to all, and will focus on the particular struggles that face the LGBTQIA+ community. See related article.
Apr 12 - 13 - E3 Youth Summit The E3 Youth LGBTQA Summit took place at Strong Vincent Middle School. The event was possible because of the two prime sponsors Community Care Behavioral Health and Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, as well as several other local donors (Systems of Care, Erie Education Association, Giant Eagle, and State Farm). The focus of the Summit was to strengthen the supports for LGBTQA Youth in the community through engagement and education. The event kicked off with a free concert on Friday evening with opening act DreamStates, a duo based in Akron, Ohio taking the stage before the headliner, award-winning Ryan Casatta, a California-based musician. See related article.
Apr 11 - 15 - Drenched Fur 15 Erie hosted Drenched Fur 15. DF-15 is a regional bear weekend, and celebrated its 15th year with the theme of WOOFstock- a goof on the cultural phenom Woodstock Music Festival from 1969. DF15 put together a weekend vacation where hundreds of men came from across North America stayed at the Clarion Lake Erie and Bel-Aire Conference Center. Guests traveled from coast-to-coast, as far as Canada, California, Rhode Island, Florida, and in-between plus around the tri-state area. Erie has been annually hosting Drenched Fur for over a decade and a half as a weekend of activities where men who appreciate each other and their natural masculinity can let off some winter doldrums. See related article.
Apr 2 - Keira DeSantis passed away Local transgender community member and activist Keira Kristine DeSantis passed away due to complications from gender confirmation surgery. She was a gift to the Erie transgender community, and in fact, the transgender community across the globe. She accepted herself as a transgender woman two years before and began a full sprint towards transition, with the goal of making it happen as quickly as possible. During that time, she became a member to board of directors of Transfamily of NWPA and served on the Transgender Task Force at UPMC, both of which she was immensely proud to do. See related article.
Mar 29 - 31 - Pride Weekend at the Peak Peek'n Peak held the 1st Annual Pride Weekend at the Peak. The weekend included parties, a pride parade at the tubing hill and a Drag Show with Michelle Michaels and the FACE Show cast, See related article.
Feb 14 - Mercyhurst Flaming Hearts Dance Mercyhurst SAGA Club held its annual Valentine's Day celebrationat the Mercyhust Student Union. Every year the club invites LGBTQIA+ clubs from other area universities to celebrate with them. See related article. See photos.
Nov 24 - 5th Annual Transgiving TransFamily of NW PA held their fifth Annual Transgiving potluck dinner at Crime Victim Center of Erie, 125 W 18th St, Erie PA. About 50 people attended and enjoyed delicious food and great times together. See related article. See photos.
Nov 21 - Erie VA Medical Center LGBT Veteran care discussion panel The Erie VA Medical Center held an LGBT Care and Services Veteran Discussion Panel. The discussion panel, hosted by the facility's Veteran Experience Officers, featured an introduction to Erie VAMC's new LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator, presentations on services available from the prosthetics department and speech rehabilitation, and a guided discussion forum on care. See related article.
Nov 20 - Transgender Day of Remembance Vigil TransFamily of NWPA held a candlelight vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) commemorates the lives of people lost to hate crimes against trans and gender-diverse people. Attendees took turns reading the names of the 28 people who had been murdered in the U.S. alone during the past year. According to the Trans Murder monitoring Project, there were 369 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people between 1st of October 2017 and 30th of September 2018. About 25 people attended the event, including Erie City Mayor Joe Schember and Erie City School Board member Tyler Titus. The week kicked off with the County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper proclaiming 11/12 -11/19 Transgender Awareness Week. There was coverage by local news station JET24/FOX66. After the vigil, the Crime Victim Center of Erie County held a reception for attendees to connect and discuss their feelings in a safe space. TDOR has been observed since 1999, and this was the sixth local observance for Erie. See related article. See photos.
Nov 12 - Proclamation for Transgender Awareness Week by Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper issued a proclamation for Transgender Awarness Week. It read in part: "NOW THEREFORE, I, Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive, do hereby proclaim November 12 - 19 as Transgender Awareness Week and call upon our citizens to educate themselves regarding the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender people face and encourage our community to be allies of the transgender community." See related article.
Nov 8 - 12th Annual Behrend Drag Show The Gender and Sexuality Equality Club (GASE) at Penn State Behrend held their 12th annual Behrend Drag Show. The event has hosted by Pittsbugh-based Lola LeCroix, and other performers included Anna Steezia, Sasha Nolan, Danyel Vasquez, and Dixie Shurwood. The room was packed with students from Behrend and area universities, as well as other local community members. There were six entrants for the amateur drag contest, with the winner being 13 year old Club Diamond (aka Jewels), who was there with her mother. The room was packed and there was also coverage by the Erie Times News. See related article. See photos.
Nov 2 - Inaugural Meeting of PA Commission on LGBTQ Affairs The inaugural meeting of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs was held at Harrisburg University, There are about 40 commissioners from across the Commonwealth from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, including co-vice-chair Tyler Titus (Erie City School Board director) and Michael Mahler (Erie Gay News co-editor). See related article. See photos.
Oct 27 - LGBTQ Unit in Meadville Halloween Parade Crawford Area LGBT+ (@crawfordarealgbt) along with Showing Up for Racial Justice Crawford County (@SURJCrawfordCounty) participated for the second time in Meadville's 52nd Annual Halloween Parade on Saturday, October 26, 2018. As was the case last year, we were welcomed warmly among the community with periodic cheers from those watching the parade as we walked the route. A special thanks to all those who made it possible for us to participate! This truly has been a huge step in building bridges in the community. See related article. See photos.
Oct 20 - Prism LGBTQ Youth Halloween Party Prism LGBTQ Youth held a very fun and successful Halloween Party at Basement Transmissions, 145 W 11th in Erie. About 20+ youth attended and enjoyed friendship and snacks. There was also a costume contest. Thank you to the event's sponsors: Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, NWPA Pride Alliance, Lake Erie Counseling, SafeNet, Taradoodles, and anonymous families. See related article. See photos.
Oct 12 - 14 - 13th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend raises over $4,000 The 13th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend held at The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. What started as Michelle Micheals' idea to bring together the local drag community to raise money for a cause near and dear to her heart has since grown into an entire weekend of raising funds. Michelle Micheals mother Gracie is a 18 year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer has always been her biggest supporter and is the inspiration for the weekend. Over the years of doing this event it has grown thanks to the overwhelming support of Erie LGBT+ community, the dance community many other supporters of the cause. See related article. See photos.
Oct 9 - 10 - PA's Inaugural LGBTQ Aging Summit The Pennsylvania Department of Aging held the Pennsylvania's Inaugural LGBTQ Aging Summit at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, in Harrisburg, PA. The event drew around 300 participants. See related article.
Oct 5 - 21 - NW PA Pride Alliance sponsors The Laramie Project production at Dramashop Dramashop's 2018-2019 season opened with The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman and the members of the Techtonic Theatre Project. This was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's brutal murder in Laramie, Wyoming. NW PA Pride Alliance was the title sponsor for the production, and Dramashop presented a special performance on the eve of the 20th anniverary of Mathew's death that was well-attended and deeply moving. See related article.
Oct 1 - Pennsylvania State Senate Unanimously Confirms Adrian Shanker to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission The Pennsylvania State Senate voted 49-0 to confirm Adrian Shanker, Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, to serve as a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Governor Tom Wolf nominated Shanker in June. See related article.
About Oct - Behrend group changes name The Penn State Behrend LGBTQIA organization, formerly known as Trigon became Gender and Sexuality Club (GASE).Find them on Facebook at Gender and Sexuality Equality Club - Penn State Behrend See related article.
About Oct - E3 (Empowerment through Education and Engagement) Summit announced Tyler Titus announced that on April 12 & 13, 2019, Erie, PA would be hosting the region's first summit focused solely on engaging and empowering LGBTQA youth. The summit was organized by the local advocates and is open to all young LGBTQA youth, their families, and those who work with LGBTQA youth. This summit was designed to connect and engage LGBTQA youth, and those in their world, so that we can create a more supportive, safe, and empowered community. See related article.
Sep 29 - Edinboro Homecoming Parade Edinboro University held their annual Homecoming Parade. The theme was Boro at the Beach. Identity, Edinboro's LGBTQIA+ student group marched in the parade with a group costume of "Dad's Hawaiian Vacation" with a contingent from NW PA Pride Alliance. See related article. See photos.
Sep 22 - Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) Hosts Promoting LGBTQ Heath with Dr. Capriotti Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) hosted a presentation at Calamari's Squid Row, 1317 State St, Erie PA, by Dr. Matthew Capriotti on promoting LGBTQ health: "Out of the Bars and Into the Data." The event included an informative presentation on blending community action and science to promote LGBTQ health, appetizers, and socializing See related article. See photos.
Sep 19 - Erie City Council votes 7-0 to send conversion therapy ban to Mayor's LGBTQ Advisory Council On September 19, 2018, Erie City Council passed a resolution introduced by Councilmember Kathy Schaaf to have the Mayor's LGBTQ Advisory Council research and report back on potential city ordinance to ban conversion therapy. The Mayor's LGBTQ Advisory Council is expected to meet in October, and the City of Erie Solicitor has already seen a draft of the potential ordinance. If the solicitor and the advisory council approve a review, the ordinance would still need to be voted on by Erie City Council and signed by the Mayor. See related article.
Sep 17 - Erie Dems LGBT Caucus Formed At the request of Erie County Democratic Party Chair Jim Wertz, the Erie Dems have formed an LGBT Caucus. The purpose of the caucus is to represent the interests of the LGBT community in the local party and to also engage with the local LGBT community. (There are also causcuses in the local party for veterans, women, progressives, black voters, younger voters, etc.) See related article.
Aug 14 - GEAE Showtune Sing-A-Long Charity Challenge Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) thanked everyone who supported their Charity Challenge with Room 33, 1033 State St, Erie PA. A ridiculous number of people showed up, sang, and bought raffle and 50/50 tickets, winning glorious entertainment packages and treats from local businesses. Talented and energetic celebrity bartenders, including Mayor Schember, rounded out the evening. See related article. See photos.
Aug 11 - 26th Annual Pride Picnic NW PA Pride Alliance held the 26th Annual Erie Pride Picnic at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle. About 200 people attended. There was a delicious potluck buffet, a raffle, and great times! See related article. See photos.
Aug 6 - Governor Wolf establishes First PA Statewide LGBTQ Affairs Commission Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order creating the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, the only one in the nation. Among the founding members of the commission were Erie City School Director Tyler Titus, serving as co-Vice-Chair, and Erie Gay News co-editor Michael Mahler. See related article.
Aug - PA Human Relations Commission begins accepting LGBT discrimination complaint Members of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus welcomed a state agency's decision to interpret existing law on sex discrimination to protect LGBT people from discrimination, as several courts and agencies have already done. Members of the caucus provided public comment last year in support of the change. See related article.
Jul 23 - 5th Annual Pride Night at the Erie Seawolves NW PA Pride Alliance held their fifth annual Pride Night at the Erie Seawolves in UPMC Park, 110 E 10th St. Everyone had a great time hanging out! See related article. See photos.
Jul 21 - 2nd Annual TransFamily of NW PA Picnic TransFamily of NW PA held their second annual picnic at the Glenwood Park picnic. About 50 people attended. There was great food, a raffle, and everyone had a wonderful time! See related article. See photos.
Jul 17 - First-ever meeting of Mayor's LGBTQ+ Advisory Council Mayor's LGBTQ+ Advisory Council started quarterly meetings in City Hall. This Council was formed to help raise Erie's score on the Municipal Equality Index maintained by the Human Rights Campaign, but more importantly, to helps the City of Erie foster a welcoming, accepting culture in an Erie that values diversity. Founding members of the Council were Pam Anthony, Marshall Blount, Tania Bogatova, Natalie Braddock, Kim Conti, Season Crannell, Emily Crofoot, Kathy Czarnecki-Smith, Michael Grasso, Marcy Hall, Caitlin Handerhan, Kyle Hannon, Melina Harden, Tammie Johnson, Paul Lukach, Michael Mahler, Leah Manino, Reverend Richard McCarty, Leroy Oglesby, Lucy Reyes, Alison Scarpitti, Kevin Seeker, Gary Snyder, Alex Sphon, Caitlyn Strohmeyer, Rose Marie Surma, Jackson Surma, Linda Thomas, Jewels Frantz, Tyler Titus, Erin Wincek See related article. See photos.
Jul 4 - LGBT Float in Millcreek 4th of July Parade NW PA Pride Alliance and friends once again had a float in the Millcreek 4th of July Parade. The float was very well-received. There as been an LGBT presence in the annual Millcreek parade since 2006. See related article. See photos.
Jun 30 - 2018 Pridefest and March NW PA Pride Alliance held a very successful Pridefest. It is estimated that at least 1,500 people attended the event, an all-time record for a local Pride event, and even larger than the record set last year. Among the speakers at Pride Fest was Erie City Mayor Joe Schember, who announced the formation of the Mayor's LGBTQ+ Advisory Council. See related article. See photos.
Jun 30 - Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) Pride Day Rainbow Flags along Pride Parade route Rainbow flags were flying high during the Pride Celebration, organized by NW PA Pride Alliance. Greater Erie Alliance for Equality was happy to support by encouraging over 30 businesses along the parade route to display the rainbow flag. See related article.
Jun 10 - 8th Annual GEAE Afternoon for Equality Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) thanked their generous supporters and the 80 guests that attended the 8th Annual Afternoon for Equality, held at 21 La Rue Dix, 21 W 10th St, Erie PA. Afternoon for Equality (AFE) is their largest annual fundraiser and it was a great success! Record attendance from the LGBT community and allies signifies strong support from the Erie community. Support raised at AFE provides funds to continue GEAE’s mission in Erie which is to support the LGBT community and its straight allies through educational programs, social events and opportunities for service. $3,000 in scholarship money was awarded to LGBT high school students for continuing their educations. In addition to the regular award, an additional scholarship was added, named the Tanner-Cipolla Award for an LGBTQ student focusing their studies in social services, education, art, music, or social studies. This was the 2nd year GEAE offered a scholarship. See related article. See photos.
Jun - Governor Tom Wolf Proclamation for June 2018 as Pride Month Gov. Tom Wolf issued a proclamation declaring June 2018 as Pride Month. You can see a video here from Gov. Wolf and you can also see a PDF of the proclamation here. See the related article for the text of the proclamation. See related article.
May 29 - Erie County Council unanimously votes to explicitly include gender identity for Human Relations Commission Erie County Council voted 7-0 to amend the Erie County Human Relations Commission ordinance to include gender identity, as well as criminal background and source of income. Sexual orientation has been included since March 8, 2002, but the wording had been confusing as to whether gender identity was explicility protected. The new policy went into effect immediately. This covered discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. See related article.
Apr 21 - Local LGBTQ Youth Group Prism begins meeting TransFamily of NWPA formed a new LGBTQ Youth Group for the northwest PA region, later named Prism Through a partnership the YMCA of Greater Erie, TransFamily developed a group for all LGBTQ youth that began meeting at the YMCA Teen Center at the Downtown YMCA. See related article.
Apr 12 - 15 - Drenched Fur 14 held at Bel-Aire Clarion The Erie community was host for the exclusive Bear Weekend known as Drenched Fur (DF). It was the fourteenth time the 'Best Little Run for Fun' created a weekend vacation where hundreds of men came from places like Canada, California, Iowa, and around the tri-state area. See related article. See photos.
Apr 5 - Psychology Colloquium Series on The Diverse Experiences of Gay Fathers held at Behrend Samantha Tornello, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Penn State's University Park campus, presented a public discussion on "The Diverse Experiences of Gay Fathers" as part of the Colloquium Series in Psychological Sciences and Human Behavior at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. The event was co-hosted by Penn State Behrend's Gender Conference. See related article.
About Apr - Mercer County school district new restroom policy Lakeview School District in Mercer County began permitting students to use restrooms of their gender identity. See related article.
Mar 27 - TransFamily of NW PA Community Discussion on Gender TransFamily of NWPA held a community discussion on gender at the Blasco library. To recognize International Transgender Day of Visibility, the library also had a display filled with books with trans topics and memoirs available to patrons. Openly transgender Erie City School Board director Tyler Titus shared his personal experiences, including poetry. Two youth, Jewels and Eli also moved the audience with their stories. About 25 people were in attendance. See related article. See photos.
Mar 27 - TransFamily of NW PA founder Caitlyn Strohmeyer among honorees for Mercy Center for Women of the Year March is Women's History Month, and the Mercy Center for Women celebrated by honoring 11 women this year. The presentation was at Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center at Mercyhurst University. Founder and president of TransFamily of NWPA Caitlyn Strohmeyer was among those being recognized. Honorees in alphabetical order: Sister Mary Paul Carioty; Amy Danzer; Asia Horton Dickerson; Jodie Farbotnik; Jenny Weigold Geerston; Barbara Lewis, RN; Luchetta Manus; Victoria Merski; Reganne O'Brien; Juanita Smith; Caitlyn Strohmeyer. See related article.
Mar 20 - Rachel Levine appointed to Gov. Wolf's cabinet as Secretary of Health Rachel Levine was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate as Governor Tom Wolf's Secretary of Health. She will remain the state Physician General. Three other women were approved: Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller, Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jennifer Smith and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. The appointment made Rachel Levine the highest ranking transgender government official in Pennsylvania. See related article.
Feb 25 - Rebecca Mae's Drag Brunch begins Local drag performer Rebecca Mae begins holding occasional drag brunches, a first for the area.. See related article.
Feb 14 - Flaming Hearts Valentines Dance at Mercyhurst Mercyhurst LGBTQIA Equality Club held another Flaming Hearts Dance at Mercyhurst University. Students from Edinboiro Unviersity also attended. See related article. See photos.
Month Unknown - PFLAG Butler chapter closes Joshua Sean Crawford reported the closure of the Butler chapter of PFLAG Butler. The chapter had been meeting for several years. See related article.
Dec 16 - Pennsylvania Equality Project 2017 Equality Award Winners And Lifetime Achievement Award Winner The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Equality Project (PEP) proudly announced the winners of 2017's Equality Awards. Jason Landau Goodman, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress; Caitlyn Strohmeyer, Facilitator, Transfamily of NW PA; David Moore, President and Founder of the Pennsylvania Equality Project. Furthermore, the Board proudly announces that Janice Rael is the winner of this year's PEP Lifetime Achievement Award for her advocacy and activism in the LGBTQ community in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1992. See related article.
Dec 11 - Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) End of Year Celebration Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held their annual end-of-year celebration at the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center. Will Koehler, Ph.D. thanked supporters, board members, advisory council members, and sponsors for this past year. He also spoke of their accomplishments including Progress Toward Equality, an awareness event on the courthouse steps, the development of a GSA for area high school and college-aged students, improvements in their communication, an educational symposium to talk about the needs of the LGBT older population, and many outreach events. All of these action steps are to help increase Erie's Municipal Equality Index by providing more education and services for the LGBTQ community. Dr. Koehler also welcomed two new officers to the board: Leah Manino as President and Dale Allgeier as Vice President. Anyone interested in volunteering or wanting more information can contact the secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for their newsletter on the website: greatereriealliance.org See related article. See photos.
Dec 1 - World AIDS Day Program at Blasco Public Library by Erie County HIV Task Force Erie County HIV Task Force had a presentation for World AIDS Day at the Blasco Public Library, 160 E Front St, Erie PA. The event included a display of AIDS quilt panels and HIV display cases created by a LECOM intern. Speakers included Erie County Department of Health CHES/Disease Investigation Specialist Laura Beckes, Erie County Department of Health Director Melissa C Lyon, Sonny Concepcion of NW PA Rural AIDS Alliance, and Miriam Pastor, a woman living with HIV. There was local media coverage by both TV news crews. There was also a group portrait taken of Erie County HIV Task Force members and supporters. The event was well-attended and well received. See related article. See photos.
Dec - Erie Gay News 25th Anniversary recognized by US Senator Bob Casey and PA Governor Tom Wolf Erie Gay News received congratulatory letters from Sen. Bob Casey and Gov. Tom Wolf celebrating the 25th anniversary of the local LGBT publication. See related article.
Nov 25 - 4th Annual Transgiving Dinner TransFamily of NW PA held their 4th annual Transgiving potluck dinner at Crime Victim Center of Erie, 125 W 18th St, Erie PA. As always, there was great food and even more wonderful company, See related article. See photos.
Nov 19 - TransFamily of NW PA Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil TransFamily of NW PA held a Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA. The event was attended by transgender people, as well as their families, friends and supporters. Local TV covered the event. This was the fifth year that there had been a local observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance. See related article. See photos.
Nov 15 - 19 - Lake Erie Gala The 2017 Lake Erie Gala was held at the Clarion Hotel, 2800 W 8th St, Erie PA. The annual event, sponsored by the Lake Erie Group and Erie Sisters and Brothers (ES&B), included many activiies for the transgender community and their supporters, familes, and friends. See related article. See photos.
Nov 14 - Crawford Area LGBT+ Thanksgiving Dinner Members of Crawford Area LGBT+ and friends gathered at Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville, 346 Chestnut Street, Meadville PA, for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. There was great food and wonderful company. See related article. See photos.
Nov 8 - Conneaut Area High School GSA approved by school district The Conneaut School District School Board voted at its monthly meeting to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance Club to be formed. Mr. David Moore and Mrs. Melissa Flinchbaugh were named as co-advisers to the club. At the meeting, Mr. Moore addressed the school board and said that such a club "would allow the LGBT students of the school to have a safe space to discuss issues relevant to them." He stressed that the LGBT students of the high school are the most underserved segment of the student population. See related article.
Nov 7 - Tyler Titus Is First Trans Person Ever Elected in Pennsylvania Tyler Titus won his race for the Erie City School Board, becoming the first out trans person ever elected in the state of Pennsylvania. Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement about his win: "Tyler Titus shattered a lavender ceiling in Pennsylvania today – and his victory will resonate well-beyond state boundaries. Trans people remain severely underrepresented in our politics and government, and now more than ever we need trans voices like Tyler's in the halls of power. This is a historic night for trans candidates across the country – and Tyler is part of a vanguard of leaders who are determined to be part of the conversation on issues that affect their lives." See related article.
Nov 2 - 11th Annual Trigon Drag Show Trigon, Penn State Behrend's LGBTQIA student group held their 11th annual Drag Show in McGarvey Commons in Reed Student Union Building. The event's theme was Dungeons and Drag Queens and was headlined by Lola Lecroix, and performers also included Sasha Nolan, Anna Steezia, Blade Matthews, and Danyel Vasquez. There was also an amateur drag performer contest. See related article. See photos.
Nov 1 - Local group Aging With Pride changes to Over 40?... So What! The social support group Aging With Pride was renamed. The group is now known as Over 40?...So What! Meetings continued to be held the 2nd Sunday of the month from 4pm to 6pm. The location remained at Lake Erie Counseling Inc. 301 West 10 th Street, Erie The group strives to be a warm, welcoming space for LGBT individuals age 40 and over to socialize, meet friends, finds support and discuss issues of importance to those of us in the prime of our lives. See related article.
Oct 28 - LGBT Walking Unit in Meadville Halloween Parade There was an LGBT contingent in the 51st Meadville Halloween Parade, a first for that event. Groups participating included Crawford Area LGBT+, Why Not Us? (Allegheny College camp group to stand up to and bring an end to rape culture), Allegheny College Gender Sexuality Alliance. Showing Up for Racial Justice Crawford County,, and members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville. The contingent was well-received. Meadville’s Halloween Parade is the largest night-time parade in Pennsylvania. See related article. See photos.
Oct 14 - LGBT Walking Unit in Edinboro Homecoming Parade Board members of NW PA Pride Alliance marched with members of Identity, Edinboro University's LGBTQIA+ student group in Edinboro University's annual Homecoming Parade. The theme was Superheroes. See related article. See photos.
Oct 13 - 15 - 12th Annual Zone Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend The 12th Annual Breast Cancer Weekend was held at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA The event was organized by Michelle Michaels. The beneficiary was again the StringsforaCURE charity. The event directly raised total over weekend $2,112.00, grant money $1,500 and check donations of $280.00 for a grand total of $3,802.00. There was a record number of 32 baskets donated for a Chinese auction. Basket donors included Chris Temple, Grace Watson, Sandy Hodas, Brenda Dugan, Elaine Crandall, Denise Kubiak, Brenda Crolli, Denise Kubiak, Dale Allgeier, Robert Eckendorf, Anelle Dugan, Jessica DeVita, Nancy Krumpe, Erie Gay News, Matthew Blake Steger, Glenn David Meyer, Sean Weary, NW PA Pride Alliance, Smiths family, Rose Palombi, and Schafer family. Financial donors included Pat & Tom Matson, Little Dance Studio, and Chris and Stacy G. (Also thanks for James Sayers for getting the grant from Sam's Club.) Thanks also to Zone owners Bob & Lou. See related article. See photos.
Oct 12 - 13 - GEAE Intersections of Equality Symposium The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) hosted the 2017 Intersections of Equality professional development Symposium: Increasing LGBT Competency in Care for Seniors. The event brought together health professionals and allies whose work seeks to improve the lives of older adults in our communities. Through the professional development portion of the symposium on Friday, GEAE educated professionals on the unique perspectives needed when working with older adults with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations as they approach retirement, enjoy their golden years, and prepare for estate planning, long-term care, and end of life decisions. The Thursday evening segment of the symposium was a community-orientated event that included a screening of the documentary Major! and a panel discussion of area professionals. The symposium was held at the Manufacturers Association Conference Center 2171 W 38th St, Erie, PA. See related article.
Sep 1 - Dr Ashley Sullivan interview about LGBT children Ashley Lauren Sullivan, Ph.D., MSW was interviewed on Ask the Expert - Quality Early Learning Radio Show Program #76 9-1-17. Dr. Ashley Sullivan, professor of Early Childhood Education at Penn State-Erie, the Behrend campus. In the interview she discussed her research on social justice and equity, as it relates to working with LGBT children as well as her soon to be released book, Voices of Transgender Children in Early Childhood Education: Reflections on Resistance and Resiliency. Dr. Sullivan was also included in Erie Reader's 2017 edition of the top 40 professionals in the Erie area having an impact under the age of 40. See related article.
Aug 26 - 25th Annual Pride Picnic About 250 people attended the 25th Annual Erie Pride Picnic held at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. The family-friendly event was organized by NW PA Pride Alliance Elected officials attending included Erie County Councilmember Kathy Fatica. Local TV news crew WICU/WSEE covered the event. Organizations represented at info tables at the event included ACLU of PA, Children’s Aid Society of Mercer County, Crime Victim Center of Erie County, Drenched Fur, Erie County HIV Task Force/Erie County Department of Health, Erie County Suicide Prevention Task Force, Families United Network, Inc., Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE), Lake Erie Counseling Associates, LBT Women of Erie, Pennsylvania Equality Project, Persad Center, PNC Bank, Safe Kids Erie, SafeNet Center, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, The Cocoa Exchange, TransFamily of NWPA Transgender Support Group, and Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Erie. See related article. See photos.
Aug 15 - Daily Beast Does feature on Tyler Titus National news and opinion site Daily Beast did a feature article on Tyler Titus, entitled "How Tyler Titus Became a Transgender Hero. Tyler became the first openly transgender elected offical in the Commonwelath of Pennsylvania when he was successful in his run for Erie City School Board in November. Tyler is a native of Titusville, PA and a licensed professional counselor in Erie PA. See related article.
Aug 5 - 6 - NW PA Pride table at Blues and Jazz Fest NW PA Pride Alliance once again had an LGBT info table at the Erie Art Museum's Blues and Jazz Fest, which was held in Frontier Park, Erie PA. This year was the 25th for the popular festival, which draws thousands. NW PA Pride Allliance board members and volunteers had a great time talking with people stopping by. See related article. See photos.
Jul 31 - HIV Awareness Walk Erie County HIV Task Force hosted an HIV Awareness Walk. The event was attended by about 30 people and stepped off from the parking lot of the Erie Bayfront Convention Center, 2 Sassafras Pier, Erie PA, to the Bicentennial Tower at the foot of Dobbins Landing and back. The event included kids and people with their dogs. Everyone had a great time! See related article. See photos.
Jul 30 - PFLAG Butler Rainbow Community Picnic PFLAG Butler held their annual Rainbow Community Picnic at Alameda Park Pavilion #3, Butler PA, Friends enjoyed a delicious potluck buffe, great times, a pinata for the kids, and wonderful friends. The chapter meets the second Thursday of the month at Butler Area Public Library from 5 to 7 PM. See related article. See photos.
Jul 29 - TransFamily of NW PA 5th Anniversary Picnic TransFamily of NW PA celebrated their five year anniversary with a picnic at the Erie Zoo, 423 W 38th St, Erie PA. The event featured a potluck picnic and great times with members and allies. Local TV News stopped out to cover the event. See related article. See photos.
Jul 26 - Right Rev V. Gene Robinson speaks at Chautauqua Institution Retired Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson spoke at Chautauqua Institution Hall of Philosophy. The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson was elected Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, becoming the first openly-gay and partnered priest to be elected Bishop in historic Christendom. Robinson was consecrated bishop and served as IX Bishop of New Hampshire until his retirement in early 2013. See related article.
Jul 21 - Family of trans man sues Sharon Police Department over shooting death A federal judge ordered mediation in the civil rights lawsuit over the officer-involved shooting death of Sean Hake, 23. The suit, filed by Sean's family, alleged assault, battery and violation of Sean's civil rights when he was shot and killed during an encounter with officers from the Sharon Police Department. The officers were responding to a 911 call from Sean's mother, Cynthia Loya, who claimed Sean had held a razor to her (the mother's) neck. See related article.
Jul 17 - 4th Annual Pride Night at the Erie Seawolves NW PA Pride Alliance held their 4th Annual Pride Night at the Erie Seawolves at UPMC Park (formerly known as Jerry Uht Park) 110 E 10th St, Erie PA. See related article. See photos.
Jul 13 - Fire at Sneakers - Jamestown NY bar A fire set in the early morning hours otemporarily closed Sneakers, located at 100 Harrison Street in Jamestown NY. The fire was confined to the first floor and did not affect the apartments on the second floor. The fire was not regarded as a hate crime by the Jamestown Police Department. The bar's owner, Mary Green, also made it clear that she didn'tthink it is a hate crime. "I have never stated I thought it was a hate crime," she wrote on her Facebook account . "I stated it is more likely to be someone who knows me/Sneakers because of their knowledge in gaining entry." See related article.
Jul 10 - Painting with Pride NW PA Pride Alliance held another Painting with Pride fundraiser. The venue was The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. Participants led by instructor Angela Howell had a great time painting a beach scene. See related article. See photos.
Jul - PFLAG Meadville bcecomes Crawford Area LGBT+ The group previously informally known as PFLAG Meadville finalized the decision to not pursue becoming an official PFLAG charter and instead decided to remain a local independent group. With that decision made, they changed the name of the group to 'Crawford Area LGBT+'. Theyl continued to meet on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7pm at Unitarian Universalist Church Universalist Church of Meadville, 346 Chestnut. Find on Facebook: Crawford Area LGBT+ See related article.
Jun 25 - Miss Erie Pageant The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA hosted the Miss Erie Pageant. Brionna Brooks was crowned Miss Erie 2017, with Britney Shea as runner up. Performers at the pageant included former Miss Erie title holders Misty Michaels Kall (2011), Michelle Michaels (2002), Mistress Vanitay (2009), Veronica Lace (2014), Buffy Lynne Hayes (2010), Danyel Vasquez (2016 - the outgoing title holder), Valerie Valentino (2015), Angelica Redd (2003) and Rhiannon Angelina (2008). Judges were Rhiannon Angelina, Thomas J, and Ashley Lauria See related article. See photos.
Jun 24 - Erie Pride Parade and Fest Erie celebrated 25 years of Pride events with the 2017 Erie Pride March and Fest. It is estimated that about 750 people attended the festivities, which was a record for a local Pride event. Both local TV crews as well as the Erie Times News covered the event. MIC.com was back again to cover Erie Pride as part of the "Small City, Big Pride" series for Google. See related article. See photos.
Jun 18 - US Senator Bob Casey congratulates Erie on 25 years of Pride From US Senator Bob Casey, Jr: I'd like to congratulate the NW PA Pride Alliance and the broader Northwestern Pennsylvania LGBTQ community on 25 successful years of Pride events I want you to know that you have a voice and an ally in Washington. I am here and I am fighting for you. From equality to safety, I'll continue to make sure that every Pennsylvanian, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or race, is represented. We must not leave anyone behind. See related article.
Jun 16 - Jul 16 - VisitErie LGBT YouTube Video Airs on TV in Buffalo Region VisitErie produced a YouTube video promoting Erie as an LGBTQ-friendly desitination. It is performed so well in their targeted markets that they decided to buy TV air time in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area. The video during RuPaul's Drag Race, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Pretty Little Liars and a few other shows. Not only will VisitErie reach the LGBT market digitally, they will also reach them on TV! Several area LGBT community members were featured in the video. See related article.
Jun 11 - 7th Annual GEAE Afternoon for Equality Greater Erie Alliance for Equality held its 7th annual Afternoon for Equality at 21 La Rue Dix in downtown Erie. The fundraiser featured great foods, local wine and music, and a celebration of GEAE's accomplishments over the past year. President Will Koehler thanked their many sponsors and presented scholarships to five area high school graduates who will be furthering their education, most at local universities. GEAE's next two major projects were the development of the Regional GSA and the Intersections of Equality in October, highlighting services for LGBT seniors. See related article. See photos.
Jun 11 - GEAE Progress Towards Equality Rally Greater Erie Alliance for Equality held a Progress Towards Equality Rally on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA. About 50-60 people attended, and there was local TV coverage. This was organized in conjuction with similar events in Washington DC and across the US. The event featured a presention of a timeline on local, state and national progress on LGBT Equality starting with the Stonewall riot of June 29, 1969. There was also a large banner with the slogan "This is what Equality looks like" that people could write their name, a message, or leave a colorful handprint. This banner was displayed and added to at other area events. See related article. See photos.
May 13 - Edinboro welcomes Dr. Rachel Levine as spring commencement speaker Dr. Rachel Levine, Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, delivered the commencement address at Edinboro University's undergraduate ceremony. Dr. Levine was appointed by Gov TOm Wolf, and was the first openly transgender state cabinet level official in the US. See related article.
Apr 27 - NW PA Pride HeART Show NW PA Pride Alliance held their HeArt Show fundraiser at Scotty's Martini Lounge, 301 German St, Erie PA. The art auction consisted entirely of original works from the Erie region's LGBTQIA comunity. The event raised just under $700. See related article. See photos.
Mar 30 - Apr 2 - Drenched Fur 13 The Erie community was home once again for the Exclusive Bear Weekend known as Drenched Fur. It was the thirteenth time the ‘Best Little Run for Fun' created a space where hundreds of men coming from the likes of Canada, California, Florida, Texas, and around the tri-state area. Erie has been annually hosting Drenched Fur for over a decade as a weekend where men who appreciate each other and their natural masculinity can let off some winter doldrums. The theme did a twist on the 'unlucky number 13' and revolved around the cult classic film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. See related article. See photos.
Mar - Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) announces new scholarship program for LGBT high school seniors Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) began offering scholarships for graduating high school seniors. LGBT students in Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties were eligible that were enrolled in an accredited university, college, vocational, or technical school for the 2017-2018 academic year full-time or part-time. See related article.
Mar - Greenville School District adds unisex bathroom The Greenville Area School District included a unisex bathroom in the $17.8 million expansion of Hemfield Elementary School. Sperintendent Mark Ferrara said Greenville wants to be supportive of transgender students and in compliance with state and federal guidelines. But for now they will be "low key." Ferrara said most transgender students prefer that. "They don't want to be a spectacle," he said Info from article in Sharon Herald, 3/3/2017 See related article.
Mar - LBT Women of Erie Leader Kim Conti Nominated for Woman of the Year Kim Conti, one of the current leaders of LBT Women of Erie, was one of five finalists for the Women's Roundtable of Northwest PA Woman of the Year Award. The Women's Roundtable is a networking organization that helps women grow personally and professionally. The annual award recognizes women who go above and beyond to make a positive impact in the Erie community-especially to help other women. Kim was nominated in recognition of her tireless advocacy, activism, mentoring, and volunteer work in the Erie and Erie LGBT Community. See related article.
Feb 18 - GEAE Erie Otters Hockey Fun Night and Buffet Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held their annual GEAE Hockey Night at Erie Insurance Arena There was a yummy buffet and good times with friends and supporters. See related article. See photos.
Feb - VisitErie includes LGBT section in Hello Erie App VisitErie added an LGBT section to our Hello Erie mobile app (available on Android and iTune)! It has the same content as the LGBT web page on VisitErie.com. VisitErie has over 21,000 downloads of this app and they promote it heavily throughout the year. See related article.
Jan 8 - LBT Women Annual Holiday Dinner LBT Women of Erie held their annual Holiday Dinner at The Colony Pub & Grille, 2670 W 8th St, Erie PA. In addition to great times and great company, there was also a gift exchange and donations were collected for the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA. See related article. See photos.
About Jan - GEAE releases LGBT community needs survey results In 2015, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) developed a needs assessment survey for the LGBT community to determine what perceptions were regarding services available in the Erie area. 184 people participated in this survey. Around January of 2017, GEAE released the results of the survey, See related article.
Jan - VisitErie has LGBT page VisitErie now has a page at http://www.visiterie.com/explore/lgbt/ targeting LGBT visitors to our region that includes a listing of friendly resources, as well as major events. This is part of a long term collaboration effort between VisitErie and area LGBT organizations. See related article.
Dec 21 - Youngstown passes historic LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections At 2016 Youngstown Pride, Mayor John McNally struck up a conversation with Equality Ohio's Gwen Stembridge. The topic was a recent law change in Newark that made the city's laws more inclusive of LGBTQ people. The Mayor was curious about what Youngstown could do to be more inclusive of all citizens. This ultimately led to Youngstown OH becoming the 16th city in Ohio to enact anti-discrimination protections. See related article.
Dec 12 - GEAE End of Year Celebration Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held their annual end-of-year celebrationat the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center, 7794 Peach St, Erie PA, to thank partners, sponsors, donors, and volunteers for their work this past year. GEAE president Will Koehler spoke of the organization’s accomplishments and events for 2016, including several awareness fundraisers, continuing education and trainings, a new office location, Intersection of Equality held at Penn State Behrend, and an improved website. In 2017, GEAE plans to continue their focus on raising the Municipal Equality Index for the Erie city and surrounding areas, and provide more services for LGBT seniors and youth. See related article. See photos.
Dec 1 - Erie County HIV TASK Force World AIDS Day presentation at Blasco Public Library Erie County HIV Task Force had a presentation for World AIDS Day at the Blasco Public Library, 160 E Front St, Erie PA. The event included a display of AIDS quilt panels and other HIV-related art work. Speakers included Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, Laura Beckes and Sylvia Holland of Erie County Department of Health, and Maria, a woman living with HIV. There was local media coverage by both TV news crews and Erie Times-News. Other elected officials attending included PA State Senator Elect Dan Laughlin and Erie County Councilmember Jay Breneman. The event was well-attended and well received. See related article. See photos.
Dec 1 - Wold AIDS Day event at Zone Dance Club Erie Awareness Outreach organized a World AIDS Day event at The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. The event included performances by Michelle Michaels, Misty Michaels Kall, Jill Jamison, Twerkzilla, and Shun. Special guest DJ was BlackCat from Toronto. There was also a twerking competition. In addition, Erie County Department of Health provided free, rapid HIV and syphilis testing, and Community Health Net also had testing information. See related article. See photos.
Nov 20 - Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil Members of Erie's Transgender community and allies gathered at the Bel Aire Hotel and Conference Center, 2800 W 8th St, Erie PA to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance with a candlelit vigil. This was the 18th annual observance nationally. The event was organized by Caitlyn Strohmeyer, president of TransFamily of NW PA. See related article. See photos.
Nov 16 - 20 - 17th Annual Lake Erie Gala The Erie Sisters and Brothers Transgender Support Group held their 17th Annual Lake Erie Gala at the Bel Aire/Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 2800 W 8th St, Erie PA. About 70 people attended the event. See related article. See photos.
Nov 2 - Trigon Annual Drag Show Trigon, Penn State University-Behrend's LGBTQ student group, again held their annual Drag Show in the Reed Union Building. The event was very well attended and there was also an amateur drag competition. See related article. See photos.
Oct 8 - NW PA Pride Alliance, Identity in Edinboro Homecoming Parade Members of NW PA Pride Alliance and Identity, Edinboro University's LGBTQIA student group, marched in the Edinboro Homecoming Parade. The theme this year as Level Up - Classic Video Games. Season Crannell made themed decorations for the contingent to carry. The parade went through the campus of the university and the streets of Edinboro and was well-received. See related article. See photos.
Sep 30 - Oct 2 - 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend The 11th Annual Breast Cancer Weekend was held at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA The event was organized by Michelle Michaels. The beneficiary was again local charity StringsforaCURE. The event directly raised $2,739, and Sam's Club additionally donated a grant of $2,500, making for a total of $5,239. See related article. See photos.
Sep 4 - Sneakers 30th Anniversary Sneakers, 100 Harrison St, Jamestown NY, celebrated 30 years. Sneakers is currently the only LGBT bar in Jamestown. The well-attended celebration included a buffet and live music with Claire Stuczynski. See related article. See photos.
About Sep - Erie County HIV Task Force begins FREE condom distribution sites The Erie County HIV HIV Task Force began an initiative to have FREE condom distribution sites across Erie County. Organizations and business are offering free condoms provided by the Task Force. For more info, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter! See related article.
Aug 27 - 28 - Pride Weekend The weekend began with a Pride Kick-Off Drag Show held at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. Saturday began with the March to Pridefest organized by NW PA Pride Alliance. The step off was at the Zone Dance Club. There were 152 people in the parade. This led to Pride FEst in Griswold Plaza. Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held an After Pride Party at Bourbon Barrel after Pride Fest, and there was also a Pride Day at Waldameer the following day. See related article. See photos.
Aug 17 - Sen. Bob Casey meeting with local LGBT community membersâ€© U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and his Regional Manager for Northwest Pennsylvania Kyle Hannon, met with members and allies of the LGBT community to talk about legislation, issues, and concerns. Attending the meeting were Tammie Johnson (SafeNet, ACLU NW PA), Rich McCarty (Greater Erie Alliance for Equality) Caitlyn Strohmeyer (TransFamily of NW PA), Tyler J Titus (GEAE. TransFamily of NW PA), Michael Mahler (Erie Gay News, NW PA Pride Alliance), Will Koehler (Greater Erie Alliance for Equality), Ciah Koehler (daughter of Will Koehler), Finu Lukose (NW PA Pride Alliance), Paul Lukach (Crime Victim Center of Erie County) and Kim Conti (LBT Women of Erie). See related article. See photos.
Aug 6 - 7 - LGBTQ Info Table at Blues and Jazz Fest Members of NW PA Pride Alliance, LBT Women, TransFamily of NW PA, Erie Sisters and Brothers Transgender Support Group, Erie Gay News, as well as individuals staffed an LGBTQ info table at the Erie Art Museum's Blues and Jazz Fest in Frontier Park at W 8th St and Bayfront Highway in Erie PA. The purpose was to help infrm the general community about LGBTQ resources anmd events and part of NW PA Pride Alliance's mission to increase visibility and awareness. People stoppig by the table were friendly and this was a great opportunity to engage with people on a direct, personal level. There has been an LGBTQ table for several years now. The Erie Art Museum has been kind enough to allow us to have a table at the event for several years now. See related article. See photos.
Jul 22 - GEAE Love for Orlando Benefit at Bourbon Barrel Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and the Bourbon Barrel jointly held a Love for Orlando Benefit for the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting. The fundraiser was held at Bourbon Barrel, 1213, State St., Erie PA. Over 200 people attended and over $2,500 was raised that night. The event featured a silent auction. Donors for the silent auction included gift baskets from a wide variety of area businesses and organizations, which raised $1,000+ for the victims. There were also celebrity bartenders including PA-2 State Rep Flo Fabrizio, PA-3 State Rep Ryan Bizzarro (Rep. Harkins was out of state, but contributed financially). Other celebrity bartenders included representatives from the Erie Playhouse, local corporate leaders, event planners, LGBT community members, and board and advisory council members of GEAE. 100% of the donations are going to a verified fund in Orlando for victims of the shooting. See related article. See photos.
Jul 4 - LGBT Float in 51st Annual Millcreek 4th of July Parade NW PA Pride Alliance had a float in the 51st Annual Millcreek 4th of July Parade, held along W 12th St in Erie, PA. Friends from TransFamily of NW PA and other members and supporters of the LGBT community also rode on and walked in the contingent. About 20,000+ people typically show up to watch the parade. There has been representation from the LGBT community in every Millcreek 4th of July parade since 2006. The response from spectators was overwhelmingly positive. See related article. See photos.
Jun 26 - GEAE 6th Annual Afternoon for Equality Over 100 people gathered for the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality's 6th Annual Afternoon for Equality. The signature fundraiser for equality in Erie was held at the beautiful Sunset Inn, 1990 Lakeside Drive, Erie PA, with a special focus on celebrating pioneers in the local equality movement. LGBT Community Progress Awards and personalized letters of commendation from U.S. Senator Bob Casey were presented to community advocates Doris Cipolla and Harry Miller. Participants celebrated the work of GEAE over the past year and listened to a compelling talk from Peter Steward about growing up as a gay man in England in the '60s. An announcement was made regarding the up-coming opening of GEAE's center for equality, a place to conduct the organizations activities. GEAE's events coming up in the next few months were also announced. See related article. See photos.
Jun 26 - Miss Erie Pageant The Miss Erie Pageant was held at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. The two contests were Danyel Vasquez and Jill Valentine Jamison. Miss Erie 2016/17 is Danyel Vasquez and 1st runner up is Jill Jamison. Performers were pageant director Misty Michaels Kall, Michelle Michaels, Buffy Lynn Hayes, Mistress Vanitay, Rhiannon Angelina, Brionna Brooks, and now former Miss Erie Valerie Valentino. Also, the drag performers and NW PA Pride Alliance held a bake sale during the pageant to raise money for Orlando's Pulse Nightclub shooting victims. A total of $248 was raised. See related article. See photos.
Jun 15 - Arts and Prayers for Orlando by The Table 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." See related article. See photos.
Jun 14 - Bayfront Convention Center Rainbow Lights for Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting victims Erie's Bayfront Convention Center displayed rainbow lights in honor of the victims of the Orlando shooter. â€© See related article. See photos.
Jun 12 - Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Orlando Pulse Club Shooting 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. See related article. See photos.
Jun 4 - 24th Annual Erie Pride Picnic 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.â€© 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 Groveâ€©. See related article. See photos.
May 1 - Erie LGBTQIA Team in March for Babies Representatives from various LGBTQ & affiliated groups, including NW PA Pride Alliance, LBT Women of Erie and The Table participated in the March of Dimes fundraiser, March for Babies, which was held at Penn State Behrend. In addition to walking in the march, members of the community donated over $300. Everyone had a good time and was glad to help out a worthy cause! See related article. See photos.
Apr 30 - Intersections of Equality Symposium The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Inc. (GEAE) held highly successful Intersections of Equality Symposium on April 30, 2016 at Penn State Behrend. Special thanks to our major sponsor, Erie Insurance! Additional generous donors were; Penn State Erie, Highmark, Northwest Savings, UPMC Health, and Sunset Inn. Table sponsors included Lake Erie Counseling, the Cultured Purl, Safe Net, Safe Harbor, Erie Gay News, and NWPA Pride Alliance. This biannual symposium consisted of four diverse plenary sessions designed to advance GEAE's mission in a variety of sectors in the greater Erie community. Dr. William Koehler and Dr. Hilary Copp from the Edinboro University Social Work Department presented a trauma-informed approach to working with LGBT youth. Pennsylvania Physician General, Dr. Rachael Levine informed participants of the state of transgender health care and rights throughout Pennsylvania. Dr. Andrew Caswell from the Gannon University Psychology Department discussed rebellion and conformity in gender roles. The final session consisted of a panel of four different artists facilitated by Allegheny College faculty, Darren Miller, MFA. Additionally, information tables from 8 different agencies and organizations were available throughout the day for participants to gain an understanding of the variety of services available to the LGBT individuals and families in the region. See related article. See photos.
Apr 10 - Matthew Robison passes on Matthew Robison of Erie, passed away while camping in Idaho. He was 42. Matthew was a strong advocate for human rights. One way that he demonstrated this was his concern for LGBT rights, serving on the Board of NW PA Pride Alliance.â€© He was a photographer and artist, and contributed his creative talents to NW PA Pride Alliance and elsewhere.â€© He loved nature and the environment, and was kind and compassionate to people and animals alike. The world lost a gentle and beautiful soul. See related article. See photos.
Apr 7 - 10 - Drenched Fur 12 Once again the Erie community hosted Erie's exclusive Bear Weekend known as Drenched Fur. This time the 'Best Little Run for Fun' brought together hundreds of men hailing from around the tri-state area and as far away as Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and Toronto. The theme was Sports. In addition to the main event of an after hours party at Splash Lagoon, the weekend included Bear-e-oke, BEAR Bingo, a Winery Tour to North East, PA, and game show spoof, Furry Feud. Sunday morning the weekend wrapped up with the charity silent auction which raised over $1,000 for the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA. See related article. See photos.
Apr - CVC's Martine Barclay Holquist wins Sexual Assault Awareness Month national contest FORGE is a national organization based out of Wisconsin whose mission is to support, educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies). In honor of April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), FORGE held a contest to design an adult coloring page to be used for both trans survivors of sexual violence and victim serving agencies to assist trans survivors, in conjunction with the prompt, "how do you help transgender survivors weather the storms?" Local Crime Victim Center of Erie employee Martine Barclay Holquist, won the contest. See related article.
Mar 31 - Erie Transgender Day of Visibility Erie observed the International Transgender Day of Visibility for the first time. Transgender community members and their friends and family came together to talk about the discrimination and difficulties faced by transgender people, but also their strength and growth, and to advocate for Pennsylvania to pass the Fairness Act. Currently, there is nothing at the state level that protects people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations on the bases of gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Those categories have been covered by the Erie County Human Relations Commission since March 8, 2002. See related article. See photos.
Mar 10 - LGBT Roundtable meeting Members of the LGBT Roundtable met Thursday, March 10, 2016 at the Maennerchor Club, 1607 State St, Erie PA. A major goal of the Roundtable is to unite the various organizations serving different members of our LGBT community in order to provide a platform for communication and collaboration. See related article. See photos.
Mar 9 - First Painting with Pride NW PA Pride Alliance partnered with Dramashop for their first-ever Painting with Pride fundraiser. Dramashop is located at Renaissance Centre, 2nd Fl., 1001 State Street, Erie PA 16501 See related article. See photos.
Mar 2 - Judy Shepard at SUNY Fredonia Judy Shepard spoke on "The Legacy of Matthew Shepard" at King Concert Hall in the Rockefeller Arts Center on the SUNY Fredonia Campus, Fredonia NY. See related article.
Mar - Southern Tier Trans Network suspends operations The Southern Tier Trans Network announced that regular support meetings and other activities were suspended. At the time that the group formed, there were no active transgender resources in the Jamestown NY area. See related article.
Feb 14 - Aging with Pride forms Lake Erie Counseling formed a new group, Aging with Pride, focusing on the needs of LGBT individuals 55 years of age and older. This monthly group offers a safe, comfortable space for the older LBGT individual to seek support, friendship, social opportunities and discussion of issues of importance such as medical/health needs, housing, legal/ financial concerns, discrimination, disabilities and social isolation. See related article.
Feb 13 - Erie LGBT Rainbow Alliance forms Erie's LGBT Rainbow Alliance is a support group that provides a safe, confidential space for LGBT community members to come together and share stories, struggles and resources about the LGBT experience especially those involving the medical and legal system. This support group meets the second Saturday of each month from 1pm to 3pm at the office of Lake Erie Counseling Inc. 301 West 10th Street, Erie, PA 16502.The group is co-facilitated by Chelsea Nicole and Dale Allgeier, LCSW. See related article.
Jan 10 - LBT Women Holiday Dinner The LBT Women of Erie (AKA The Beans) held their annual holiday dinner at Calamari's Squid Row, 1317 State St, Erie PA. About 30 people attended and there was great food, great friends and a delightful gift exchange See related article. See photos.
Dec 15 - PFLAG Meadville forms Members of Meadville PA's community decided to form a local PFLAG chapter. There have been support meetings at Stone United Methodist Church, 956 S Main St. in Meadville for a little over a year. The group will continue to meet at Stone United Methodist Church. Meetings will be held the third Tuesday of the month at 7 PM. Randy Herbert-Weed is the chapter president, Sarah Roncolato is secretary, and Mariana Silva is treasurer. For information contact Sarah at email@example.com or (814) 724-6736, Find PFLAG Meadville on Facebook: PFLAG Meadville . PFLAG Erie/Crawford County voted to dissolve in July due to low attendance, so PFLAG Meadville will now be the only chapter in northwestern Pennsylvania. See related article. See photos.
Dec 14 - GEAE End of Year Celebration Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held an End of Year Celebrationat the Hemingway Ballroom at the Ambassador Conference Center, 7794 Peach St, Erie PA, to thank their partners, supporters and board. GEAE President Will Koehler spoke of the organization's accomplishments and events for 2015, and also the plans for the future, including raising Erie PA's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Municipal Equality Index (MEI) from its present and first time rating of 57 to 100 by the year 2020. See related article. See photos.
Nov 10 - Hate speech incident at Behrend Eric W. Corty, Ph.D wrote a "Guest Voice" column for the Erie Times-News, "How Behrend responded to hate speech" (December 11, 2015).) You can read the article here. Dr. Corty-a professor at Penn State Behrend-explained with much admiration the manner in which the Behrend community responded when a homophobic message was placed next to his friend's office door on November 10. A custodial staffperson informed his supervisor, and the campus police were called. An officer explained the situation to the friend ("with much care," wrote Corty) and an investigation had begun. The interim chancellor asked all faculty and staff to work toward maintaining an inclusive community. Corty organized an effort to wear rainbow ribbons and buttons in solidarity with the targeted person and in support of inclusiveness. See related article.
Oct 28 - Nov 1 - Lake Erie Gala The annual Lake Erie Gala, moved up this year from its traditional date, was held at the Avalon Hotel with 78 attendees. Events began Wednesday evening with dinner at Molly Brannigan's, followed by a night of bowling at Green Garden Lanes. Tours began Thursday morning. First stop on the tour was Fuhrman's Cider Mill. After leaving Fuhrman's, the tour proceeded to The Brewerie, where we had lunch and a guided tour of the spooky catacombs beneath Union Station. We were the very first group several years back on a Gala tour to be able to see what was under Union Station, and it's every bit as spooky now as it was then. Among other things, still in storage there from the Cold War era were canisters of crackers from when the building was designated as a fallout shelter. Paranormal investigators have frequented the site over the years, and it doesn't disappoint. We then continued the tours with stops at Arundel Cellars & Brewing, and Arrowhead Winery before returning to the Avalon. Thursday Evening saw our only scheduled entertainer at the Avalon, Cliff Hopkins, who amazed the audience with his talents. See related article. See photos.
Oct 24 - 2nd Annual Jamestown Pride Conference The Jamestown Pride Society presented the Second Annual Jamestown Pride Conference on October 24 at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, 319 W 3rd St, Jamestown, NY which included speakers, performers, vendors, free luncheon, cash bar, over $2,000 in prizes. Performances where byomedian Aidan Park, Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus, Laura Cimino, Nat Shafer and the James Miller Band! Speakers on topics like GENDA, bullying, health and human services, plus community leaders and government officials. There were over 30 local vendors. Following conference was the Miss Gay Chautauqua County Pageant in affiliation with Imperial Court of Buffalo, and the Masquerade Ball with DJ, costume contest, and a 50/50. See related article.
Oct 14 - GEAE Gives Back to PACA The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality hosted their last GEAE Gives Back! event of 2015. About 35 people came out to give back to PACA - the Performing Artists Collective Alliance at 1501 State Street. PACA will soon be opening a performing arts program for youth. To help out with this, those who attended were able to donate about $600 and a ton of art supplies. GEAE provided some great food from the Zodiac Diner, and PACA staff and volunteers opened the facility to the public, gave a tour of the amazing space they've created, and provided some special performances of Rocky Horror numbers. See related article. See photos.
Oct 4 - TransFamily of Erie Support Group add trans youth meeting TransFamily of Erie Support Group added a new support group for transgender youth. The group meets from 2pm to 5pm the first Sunday of each month at Lake Erie Counseling (301 West 10th St., Erie PA). All trans youth are welcome! See related article.
Oct 2 - 4 - 10th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend The 10th Annual Breast Cancer Weekend raised $2,588 for StringsforaCURE® the weekend of October 2-4 at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. See related article. See photos.
Aug 30 - North by Northwest Progressive Summit hosted by Keystone Progress Keystone Progress hosted the North by Northwest Progressive Summit in Erie at the Avalon Hotel, 16 W 10th St, Erie PA. This event wasl be an opportunity for leaders, activists and community members to learn, speak and share ways to make real improvements in our community. See related article.
Aug 29 - Erie Pride Parade and Fest Downtown Erie blazed rainbows, as over 300 members of the LGBT community and their allies celebrated at the Pride Fest and Parade organized by NW PA Pride Alliance. The keynote speaker was Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's Physician General and the first openly transgender state level cabinet official in the nation. Also featured was the 20th anniversary Family Portrait and performer Billy Wynn. See related article. See photos.
Jul 19 - 5th Annual Afternoon for Equality The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Inc. (GEAE) held its fifth annual Afternoon for Equality social and fundraiser, which was the most successful one to date. Erie community members gathered at 21 La Rue Dix to celebrate this year's advances and advocates for the LGBTQ community from the historic SCOTUS decision on marriage equality in June to the local trans-youth that have emerged as their own advocates in area schools. This year, GEAE was proud to present the first local LGBT Community Progress Awards to two long-standing corporate allies: GE Transportation and Erie Insurance. At the event, GEAE Board President, Will Koehler, presented GEAE's 5-year vision to work with local allies in order to increase Erie's Municipal Equality Index (MEI) from its current rating of 57/100 to 100/100 by 2020 (Human Rights Campaign, 2014). His address highlighted the first phase of this vision which is to conduct a multi-phase LGBT community needs assessment. This assessment includes working with NWPA Pride Alliance to form a community roundtable discussion group and working with Edinboro University's Social Work Department to conduct a needs assessment survey. Over 80 people participated in the Afternoon including State Representative Ryan Bizzaro, City Council Member Bob Merski, and founding Board member, Bob Howden. We are grateful to this year's Hosts, Friends, Partners, and Equality Advocates that enabled us to raise over $10,000 towards our efforts to improve Erie's MEI! We look forward to working with these resources to complete our needs assessment, offer quality educational programing such as the 2nd Biennial Intersections of Equality on November 7th, and other service opportunities and social events throughout the remainder of 2015 and beyond. Please visit our website GreaterErieAlliance.org to take our survey, learn more about us, and to donate to our 2020 vision. See related article. See photos.
Jul 17 - Grrl Power, Gender Power, Trans Power exhibit at Urrarro Gallery Erie, Pa – Urraro Gallery, 135 W 14th St, Erie PA, held a public closing reception for GGT: Grrl Power, Gender Power, Trans Power art exhibit. This group exhibition of local emerging and established artists tackles the theme of gender discrimination and states of transgender. Gender oppression, like the undetectable chemical DDT, only comes to light after obvious sickness that results from its perpetuation. This show is designed to fight the blight of ignorance, bias and discrimination. The exhibit will run through July 18, 2015. Representatives from area LGBT organizations spoke at the closing reception. See related article.
Jul 11 - PFLAG Erie/Crawford Counties votes to dissolve as a chapter Because of low attendance for an extended period, the officers of PFLAG Erie & Crawford Counties vote to dissolves as a chapter. TransFamily Support Group of Erie continued to meet and expanded, and in December, PFLAG Meadville voted to become an official PFLAG chapter.
About Jul - New name: Erie Sisters becomes Erie Sisters and Brothers The Erie Sisters Transgender Support Group, established in 1991, has undergone a formal change of name. Recognizing the need to welcome and serve the entire transgender community, the name has been changed to the Erie Sisters and Brothers. See related article.
Jun 26 - Love Wins Celebration for Marriage Equality Ruling The US Supreme Court issued their opinion in Obergefell v Hodges, which resulted in marriage equality becoming the law of the land. Several organizations held a celebration called Love Wins on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Erie PA on this night. Organizations represented included NW PA Pride Alliance, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE), ACLU NW PA, NW PA National Organization for Women (NOW), Pennsylvania Equality Project, Community United Church, Keystone Progress, The Table, LBT Women of Erie, and Erie Gay News. Both local TV news crews as well as Erie Times News covered the event for local media. At least 90 people attended the event. See related article. See photos.
Jun 13 - Plaintiffs of Supreme Court marriage equality case featured in a Program at the Jackson Center The Robert H. Jackson Center hosted a program titled "A Discussion of Bourke, et al. v. Beshear: A Conversation with Paul Campion & Randell Johnson," plaintiffs in one of the pending U.S. Supreme Court cases on marriage". See related article.
Jun 6 - 23rd Annual Pride Picnic NW PA Pride Alliance held the 23rd Annual Erie Pride Picnic at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. About 230 people total attended and enjoyed a day in the sun with great food and friends old and new. There was a tragic auto accident at about 8 AM that morning near Beach 5. The 17 year old passenger was killed and the 21 year old driver was seriously injured. Access to the park was restricted/unavailable for several hours and the start of the picnic had to be delayed until 3 PM. Staff and volunteers worked very hard to make this a great event for all in probably the most challenging set of circumstances that a local Pride event has faced yet. People who made the Pride Picnic happen include Season Crannell, Chris Dye, Daniel Thomas, Alex Sphon, Kelly Kidd, Melanie Shubitowski, Julie, Collis Allen, Kim and Andrea, Jodi, Gary Snyder, Jeremy Snyder, Jeff Hill, Audrey, Johauna, the group of women who helped free the U-Haul when it got stuck in sand, Matthew Robison, and Deb Spilko. See related article. See photos.
Jun - Cochranton trans teen's grad robe accurately reflects gender Cochranton Area Junior Senior High School graduate Tanner Hunter accespted his high school diploma wearing the gown that represented his gender. The school originally denied Tanner's request to wear red, as the other male students would be wearing. See related article.
Jun - Needs Assessment Survey for the Greater Erie LGBT Community begins In conjunction with the Edinboro University Social Work Department, GEAE began conducting a Needs Assessment Survey for the greater Erie LGBT community. Both those who identifed as LGBT or were a valued ally were sought to help us have an accurate understanding of what it is really like for the LGBT community in the greater Erie area. See related article.
May 30 - NW PA Pride Alliance becomes 501 (C)(3) NW PA Pride Alliance was determined by the Internal Revenue Service to have 501(C)(3) status. The effective date of exemption was May 30, 2015. Donations made to NW PA Pride then became tax deductible. NW PA Pride wishes to thank our treasurer, Alex Sphon, for completing the forms and handling the submission for this. See related article.
May 30 - Stop The Violence Film Festival in Jamestown NY As a community we not only have the ability, but also the responsibility to make a difference in the lives of our children and the well-being of students in our schools. This can be achieved through education and inspiration, which is why the Jamestown Pride Society held a FREE community event; The "STOP THE VIOLENCE" Film Festival at the Jamestown Community College Hamilton Collegiate Center (Student Union).The goal of the event was to educate on the continued issue of bullying within our schools and community and provide resources that exist to battle this problem. See related article.
May 15 - Conference on cyberbulling at Penn State Behrend There was a conference on cyberbullying at the Jack Burke Research and Economic Development Center, Penn State Behrend, 4701 College Drv, Erie PA as part of Penn State BEHREND, Prevention of Aggression Resource Center Annual Conference for 2015. For more information, please visit our website. See related article.
May 3 - Ben Heggy dies Those of you who saw Erie's Perry 200 Parade or have been to the Millcreek 4th of July parade or the NWPA Pride Alliance's annual Pride Parade the last few years have probably noticed that we had a pretty good sized float rolling down the street behind a big, grey truck. What you may not know is that we had that float because NWPA Pride put out a call for trucks or trailers or pretty much anything that could be decorated and trotted out. The universe answered that call with a message from a man from Seven Springs, PA named Ben Heggy. Sadly Ben Heggy passed away on May 3. See related article.
May - Transgender student chosen as Prom King in Tidioute Transgender student Oliver Morgan. 15, was chosen prom king at Tidioute Community Charter School. The administration initially stripped Oliver of the title, but after they learned of his transgender status, they reinstated him, giving Oliver and his girlfriend, Hannah a reason to celebrate and a night to remember. Read more about this story on Daily KOS, Planet Transgender or check out the Allyvia for Prom King! Facebook group. See related article.
Apr 26 - Pennsylvania Equality Project Candlelight Vigil In its first event eve , the Pennsylvania Equality Project held a small candlelight vigil across from the Federal Courthouse at 6th and State St. in Erie, PA. Although only 12 people braved the cold weather to attend this event, the vigil was the first of many related events throughout the United States. On Tuesday, April 28, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments stemming from various cases in the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld bans against marriage for same-sex couples. The purpose of the evening was to draw attention to the upcoming cases, and to press the issue that marriage for same-sex couples is not legal across the US. See related article. See photos.
Apr 16 - Primary Election Candidate Forum NW PA Pride Alliance Inc and the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA (MHA) jointly held a candidate forum at MHA's office, 1101 Peach St, Erie PA. The forum addressed both LGBT and mental health related issues. Candidates attending included Elvage Murphy for Erie County Court of Common Pleas, John Morgan for Millcreek Supervisor, and Nathaniel Strasser for Magistrate, 5th Ward, as well as Erie City Council candidates Sonya Arrington, Gary Grack, Bob Merski, Rebecca Styn, Richard Wagner, and Jon Whaley. Trish Catalano, candidate for Erie County Council District 5, also participated. About 30 voters attended. See related article. See photos.
Apr 15 - Inaugural GEAE Celebrates The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held the first of four GEAE Celebrate Nights for 2015, honoring LGBT Icons and Allies of Erie, at Calamari's Squid Row, 1317 State St, Erie PA. At the inaugural Celebrate Night, Michael Mahler was honored for his many years of activism. See related article. See photos.
Apr 9 - 12 - Drenched Fur 11 The second weekend of April was the 11th where the Erie community hosted Erie's Exclusive Bear Weekend known as Drenched Fur. This year's theme was ‘Pop Goes the 80s' where the ‘Best Little Run for Fun' had a record turnout for the main event; an exclusive night time private event at Splash Lagoon, our local indoor water park resort. In addition to enjoying the fun wet times there, the weekend this year also included karaoke, daytime tours to local beer, food, and wine locations, as well as a comedy game show version of Jeopardy. See related article.
Apr 2 - 3 - Sexuality and Gender Studies Conference at Penn State Faculty, staff and students gathered together for "Telling Our Stories."at the Reed Union Building at Penn State Behrend. Panels and workshops were free and open to the public. See related article.
Mar 21 - GEAE Gives Back! to the MHA The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) held their first quarterly "GEAE Gives Back!" event of 2015 at the Erie Maennerchor Club, 1607 State St, Erie PA. This family-friendly event was held in order to benefit the Mental Health Association of NWPA's warming center and second-chance computers programs. Participants were encouraged to make donations of new underwear, all-weather boots, and used laptops. More than 50 people stopped by to share pizza, play duck-pin bowling, meet people from the MHA and GEAE, and have a lot of fun. Donations filled five large "lawn and leaf" bags with hundreds of pairs of underwear, about two dozen pair of boots, and five laptops. See related article. See photos.
About Mar - LGBT AA group 'Live and Let Live' began meeting weekly "Live and Let Live" an LGBT AA meeting began every Sunday at 7 PM at Community United Church, 1011 W 38th St, Erie PA. See related article.
Feb 27 - Dr. Pamela Lightsey of Boston University speaks at 'Justice for All' workshop at Allegheny Dr. Pamela Lightsey of Boston University was at Allegheny College for a day long workshop entitled "Justice for All". Sponsored by our United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network, the Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the WPA Anti-Racism team and the Board of Church and Society. Dr. Pamela Lightsey guided our work with a United Methodist theological frame based on the doctrine of creation and the Biblical affirmation of inclusivity. She rooted the conversation in her recent experiences on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri and how that relates to questions around inclusion of and advocacy for people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Western Pennsylvania congregations and communities. See related article.
Feb 24 - Erie Gay News publishes LGBT Wedding Officiant Directory Marriage equality became the law in Pennsylvania in May 2014. But same-sex couples who wish to wed may still may face prejudice. The number of churches that will allow their clergy to conduct same-sex weddings is still small. And a judge may refuse to perform a ceremony. This listing was inspired in large part by an incident last fall, when an Erie district justice turned away a same-sex couple on their wedding day. We wanted to provide a resource where couples did not have to risk feeling the sting of prejudice on their special day. All of the officiants in this listing have contacted us and specifically stated that they want to be included. See related article.
Feb 21 - LGBT Roundtable meeting Over a two month time period, a steering committee from the Northwest PA Pride Alliance (NWPAPA) and the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) organized and held two LGBT Roundtable discussions. The committee invited leaders from various LGBT organizations from Erie and the surrounding counties. See related article. See photos.
Jan 11 - LBT Women Holiday Dinner The LBT Women of Erie (AKA The Beans) held their annual holiday dinner at Calamari's Squid Row, 1317 State St, Erie PA. Almost 30 people attended and had a wonderful tme with great friends and yummy food. In addition to a gift exchange, Stacie called former coordinator Laurie Finch in Florida, and the entire room sang Happy Birthday to her, as Laurie's birthday was the next day. See related article. See photos.
Jan - Erie included in Advocate list of Queerest Cities in America National magazine The Advocate included Erie PA in a list of the Queerest Cities in America, and mentioned not only ErieGayNews.com, but also the recent Lake Erie Gala by the Erie Sisters, The Zone Dance Club and Lone Shark Seafood. See related article.
About Jan - Erie Maennerchor Club begins allowing same-sex couples to join as a complete couple The Erie Maennerchor Club is one of Erie's oldest and most prestigious social clubs in Erie County. Located in the heart of downtown Erie. Founded in 1871 as a German singing and social club with a rich history of tradition and a reputation for great food, entertainment and fellowship. It changed its bylaws to allow same-sex maried couples to join as "complete couples." See related article.
Dec 13 - Rev. Steve Aschmann of UUCE Announces Retirement Rev. Steve Aschmann of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie (UUCE) has announced that he will be retiring. Rev. Steve is retiring from the UUCE, where he has served since 2005. His last Sunday at the UUCE will be Jan. 18. Steve has been an ardent and loving supporter of the Erie area's LGBTQ comnunity. He was one of the speakers at this year's celebration of the marriage equality ruling in Perry Square. See related article. See photos.
Nov 19 - 23 - 2014 Lake Erie Gala The Erie Sisters annual Lake Erie Gala took place at the Avalon Hotel in Erie. The event had a better than average attendance, despite a heavy snowstorm in nearby Buffalo, and many said that it was the best Lake Erie Gala yet! See related article. See photos.
Oct 2 - General Election Candidate Night About 30 people attended the General Election "Meet the Candidates" night organized by NW PA Pride Alliance. Candidates attended included Patrick Harkins (PA State House District 1 D-Incumbent), Juanita Shutsa (PA State House District 6 - D) and Chris Mitchell, representing Curt Smith (PA State House District 4 - D.) See related article. See photos.
Sep 14 - Diversity speaker Andrew Solomon at Mercyhurst The Tanner Speaker Series will be sponsoring a campus talk by Andrew Solomon, author of the best-selling book "Far from the Tree" in the Performing Arts Center at Mercyhurst University in Erie. See related article.
Aug 23 - Erie Pride Fest NW PA Pride Alliance held a well-attended Erie Pride Fest. The day began with the Pride parade from the zone down to Perry square. About 150 people participated in the parade. Parade units included Erie Gay News, NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc., ACLU NW PA, Amisha Tribal Belly Dance, Marriage Equality for PA, Erie Sisters & Transgender Alliance of Western NY, Glass Growers Gallery, PFLAG Erie and Crawford Counties, PFLAG Butler, M & J's Lounge, Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Erie, Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville, LBT Women of Erie, Jamestown Pride Society, and Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition. See related article. See photos.
Aug 22 - REUNITED Show at Dramashop Lovin Heart & DJ Tony G-Spot produced a joint fundraiser for Dramashop and NW PA Pride Alliance at Dramashop. REUNITED was the first time in a while Lovin & DJ Tony G-Spot hosted a show together or that the performers had shared a stage. The show featured performances by Erie and Buffalo favorites Sasha Alexander, Jill Jamison, Britney Shea-Lace, Keeghan Getit, Cece Deshawn, Spike Flor, Diva D'Vyne-Island, Buffy Lynn Hayes, Fly Guy Shawn, Derion D'Vyne-Island, Mr. Manny, and Miss Erie 2014 Veronica Lace. Over $200 was raised for the two organizations. The evening also featured Lovin Heart, Veronica Lace, and Stephen Wells accepting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and issuing challenges of their own. See related article. See photos.
Aug 2 - LGBT table at Blues and Jazz Fest NW PA Pride Alliance was proud to once again staff an LGBT info table at the Annual Blues and Jazz Fest in Frontier Park. The Blues and Jazz Fest is organized by Erie Art Museum and other organizations and is attended by over 20,000 people. The table also had info from Erie Sisters and Mental Health Association of NW PA, as well as cards from Equality PA in support of HB 300/SB 300 for Equality PAs campaign to pass anti-discrimination legislation at the state level. Thanks go out to Brian Davies, Johauna, Melanie Shubitowski, Julie Flagella, Alex Sphon, Daniel Thomas, Will Koehler and Rex Apps. See related article. See photos.
About Aug - Bob Howden appointed to Erie County HRC by Kathy Dahlkemper Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper appointed Bob Howden to a 4-year team on the Erie County Human Relations Commission. His term will expire on June 30, 2018. Bob is a past president and Board member of the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE). See related article.
About Aug - Erie Transgender Community Included in Trans Across America Documentary Erie Sisters President, Melanie Shubitowski, and Erie Sisters member, Chelsea Jones, were recently honored to be selected for an upcoming documentary entitled "Trans Across America". Trans Family of Erie founder, Caitlyn Strohmeyer, and Melanie's fiancé, Julie Flagella, were also appearing in this segment of the upcoming film which was filmed at Melanie's home in Conneaut, Ohio. The documentary is headed by Chloe Prince, founder of the PinkEssence Transgender network, and her friend, April Wilks, and is to include multiple stops across America showing selected transgenders throughout the country. The film is being produced by Hollywood producer, T. Smith III, and should be out for viewing in film festivals around the country in late Summer or early Fall. At each filming location along the journey, Chloe and April are doing a bigger, better trade up with participants, where the participants are trading an item acquired for something bigger, better and of more value. At the end of the tour, Chloe and April will donate the final item collected to charity. See related article.
Jul 27 - 4th Annual Afternoon for Equality The Greater Erie Alliance for Equality held its 4th Annual Afternoon for Equality at 21 la rue dix, 21 W 10th St, Erie PA. This is the major fundraising event for the group. About 70 people attended. Major donors ($1,000+) included Erie Insurance, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the McCain Foundation. In addition to the major donor gifts, approximately $9,000 more was donated through sponsorships and individual ticket sales for the fundraiser itself. Plans announced for the remainder of 2014 include a national speaker for the fall (November 30), Cleve Jones, who is the founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and was an associate of Harvey Milk before his assassination. GEAE also announced that they will be hosting a health workshop this fall with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield; they will also provide a national LGBT youth specialist for an Erie Public School District teacher/administrator in-service (November 4); continue their monthly third Wednesday service project at Calamari's; and pending final fundraising for the year, make a $10,000 LGBT educational gift back to the larger Erie community. See related article. See photos.
Jul 26 - Jamestown Pride Picnic and Celebration The Jamestown Pride Picnic and Celebration was held at Allen Park, 200 W. Virginia Blvd., Jamestown, NY. Food and beverages were provided, but donations accepted and very much appreciated. The event was organized by Rainbow Pride Connection, and about 50-60 people attended, including a contingent from Erie, PA. See related article.
Jul 20 - 5th Annual PFLAG Butler Rainbow Picnic PFLAG Butler had their 5th Annual Rainbow Picnic at Alameda Park. Attendees enjoyed a delicious potluck, fun games, and great friends! See related article. See photos.
Jul 4 - NW PA Pride Alliance float in Millcreek 4th of July Parade About 17 people rode on NW PA Pride Alliance's float in Millcreek's 4th of July parade. There were about 110 units in the parade and about 20,000 people saw the parade. See related article. See photos.
Jul 1 - 14 - Kathy Dahlkemper signature on letter asking for broad religious exemption on Obama executive order On Tuesday July 1, a letter written and circulated by Michael Wehr, head of faith outreach in President Obama's re-election campain, was sent to President Obama asking him to provide an exemption for religious organizations in a planned executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Among the 14 signatures on the letter was Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper. Dahlkemper's signature was puzzling to many in the LGBT community as she has been supportive of LGBT rights. When she was a US Congressmember, she voted to overturn the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell " policy and also supported the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA). Her first meeting as a congressmember was with a group of LGBT activists. When running for Erie County Executive in 2013, she talked publicly about being the proud mother of a gay son. More recently, she attended the Decision Day Rally on May 20 when marriage equality became the law of the land in Pennsylvania. She happily informed the crowd that one couple had already registered that afternoon. On July 10, Dahlkemper publicly apologized for an error in judgment and asked that her name be removed from the letter. Wehr agreed. See related article.
Jun 18 - Meadville City Council considers non-discrimination ordinance Meadville City Council decided 3-2 to research and review a proposed nondiscrimination ordinance for that city. At present, Meadville does not have an ordinance against discrimination in housing, employment, or public accommodations. The proposed Meadville ordinance would provide protections on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, genetic information, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, marital status, age, mental or physical disability, use of guide or support animals and/or mechanical aids Some social conservatives have aggressively organized against the proposed ordinance because of the (continued on page 3) inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected category. The June 18 meeting drew a couple hundred people. See related article.
Jun 14 - 22nd Annual Erie Pride Picnic NW PA Pride Alliance organized the 22nd Annual Erie Pride Picnic at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. Members of the LGBT community and their friends, family and supporters enjoyed a fun day with a great potluck. See related article. See photos.
Jun 7 - 6th Annual Youngstown Pride Festival Board members of NW PA Pride Alliance traveled to Youngstown OH to join our Ohio friends for the 6th Annual Youngstown Pride Festival. It was a wonderful parade and street fair. Other organizations present included West Side Cats Rescue and Adoption No-Kill Cat Shelter, Brandy Rosine Memorial Page, Youngstown Mineshaft, Equality Ohio, The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown OH, YSUnity LGBTQIA, Blazing River Freedom Band and many more! See related article. See photos.
May 20 - Decision Day Rally in Erie With less than 24 hours' notice, almost 200 people turned out in Perry Square on Tuesday, May 20 to celebrate Judge John E Jones III striking down Pennsylvania's so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Marriage equality is now the rule of the land in Pennsylvania, and Governor Corbett has said that Pennsylvania will NOT appeal the federal ruling. Speakers included Mike Mahler of Erie Gay News and NW PA Pride Alliance; Atty. Richard Ruth, legal director for ACLU NW PA; Kathy and Christina Czarnecki-Smith, who married in New York state; Rich McCarty, senior pastor at Community United Church and president of Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and who also read a supportive statement from State Sen. Sean Wiley; Rev. Steve Aschmann of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie; David Moore, founder and president of Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania; Doris Cipolla, who had lost her partner Char to cancer 9 years and 1 month before and who was glad that other PA couples will not have to have similar experiences; Susan Woodland, President of NW PA NOW, and Joshua Szczesny, secretary and co-founder of Marriage Equality for PA. Also in attendance were Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, proud mother of a gay son and also Erie County Councilmember Jay Breneman. Erie Sisters Transgender Support Group also turned out in support. Kathy Dahlkemper announced that a same sex couple had already applied for a marriage license that day. The couple was Michael Tkach, board member of Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and Bill Lechner, who have been together for 29 years. Also in the crowd were attorneys Jason Owen and Alison Scarpitti. Alison is legal counsel for Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and also served as attorney for Wendy and TJ Titus, who drove to Montgomery County to obtain a marriage license when that county was allowing same sex couples to get licenses earlier this year. See related article. See photos.
Apr 16 - Primary Candidate Forum W PA Pride Alliance and other co-sponsoring groups presented a Candidate Forum at First Niagara Bank Community Room, 27 people attended, including candidates Thomas Tarantella (US Congress PA-3 - D), Michael T Muha (PA State Senate 50 - D), Flo Fabrizio (P State House 2 D-Incumbent), Curt Smith (PA State House 4 - D), Juanita Shutsa (PA State House 6 - D) and Wayne Hanson (PA State House 17 - D,) Additionally, Rob McCord (PA Governor - D) sent Jordan and Graham and Ryan Bizzarro (PA State House 3 - D-Incumbent) sent Linda McCabe. There was also coverage by both local TV news crews. See related article. See photos.
Apr 14 - Mercyhurst Theatre Program presented The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Projec The Mercyhurst Theatre Program presented The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project. See related article.
Apr 11 - 12 - PSU Behrend LGBTQ conference Representatives from thirteen campuses from across the Pennsylvania State University gathered together for an unprecedented conference on LGBTQ issues. Topics included: LGBTQ Youth and Family, Queering Penn State History, Achieving A More Welcoming Community At Penn State Workshop, Student Discussions of Faith and LGBTQ issues, Queer Representations in Television, from Downton Abbey to Starz' Spartacus, Assessing Queer and Trans Climate Studies (special guest Susan Rankin), HIV/AIDS in Research and Memory, ENDA and Workplace Issues, Address by the PSU Commission on LGBTQ Equity, and much, much more! . See related article.
Apr 10 - Drenched Fur 10 Drenched Fur 10 was held April 10-13 at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center in Erie PA. About 250 guys attended. The sub theme this year was Pirates. The charity selected was the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation. This year’s events included karaoke, a poolside fashion show, a Bear Bar Night at the Zone, foodie tours, a beer tour, a wine tour, a comedy roast of event coordinator Gary Snyder, and a private after hours event at Splash Lagoon. Drenched Fur 11 will be held April 9-12. More info about current and past events is at www.drenchedfur.com See related article. See photos.
Mar 26 - ME4PA Candlelight Vigil for Equality About 20 people braved the cold to take part in a vigil for Marriage Equality inPerry Square in Erie. Similar actions took place around the state. (Ed. Note: Marriage Equality for PA became Pennsylvania Equality Project in late 2014.) See related article. See photos.
Mar 23 - Craze Night Club closes Craze Night Club closed its doors for the final time. For six years, Craze provided a fun and safe place for all of the LGBT community. We provided the only true college night in the area, allowing all adult members of the LGBT community a safe place to freely express themselves without fear of persecution or judgment. Craze has been a part of the LGBT community and the greater Erie area as a whole since our inception. We have hosted and sponsored events throughout Erie, including Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania and the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and co-sponsoring Dramashop's staged reading of Dustin Lance Black's 8. See related article.
Mar 13 - Erie Area for Equality Kickoff meeting Over 20 people gathered to learn more about PA HB 300/SB300. This proposed legislation would amend Pennsylvania's Human Relations Commission to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The event was organized by Shanea Leonard, Western Regional Organizer for Equality PA. See related article. See photos.
Feb 21 - Protest at Post Journal in Jamestown, NY About 50 people weathered cold and high winds to take a stand outside The Post-Journal, protesting what they say is bigotry and bias in that publication. The event was called "Raise Awareness, Community Outcry for Fair and Balanced Reporting." According to the group's mission statement, they demand that The Post-Journal "refrain from publishing editorial and reader-submitted content that includes slurs or insults based upon a person's or group's race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political views, religious views or physical, mental or socio-economic status." They also demand "that The Post-Journal give equal space to syndicated and reader-submitted editorial content that reflects more moderate- and left-leaning views that may not reflect the views held by The Post-Journal." See related article. See photos.
Feb 14 - Erie County couple applies for marriage license on Valentine's Day On the morning of Valentine's Day, Kathy Czarnecki-Smith and Christina Czarnecki-Smith walked into the Erie County marriage bureau and asked to apply for a license. Tammi Elkin, the Erie County deputy register of wills, apologized but indicated she was bound by state law regarding who could obtain a marriage license. Kathy promised "We'll be back!" and wished them a happy Valentine's Day, as the couple left the office. They knew they would be turned down. The event was part of Marriage Equality for PA's efforts to raise awareness about marriage equality. But even though the couple knew what would happen, it still affected them deeply. [Ed. Note: Marriage Equality for PA became Pennsylvania Equality Project in late 2014.] See related article. See photos.
Feb 3 - PA HB 300/SB300 meeting About a dozen Erie area people met with Shanea Leonard from Equality PA. Shanea is the new western Pennsylvania coordinator for Equality PA, which is a statewide organization focused on LGBT equality. The meeting focused on working for the passage of House Bill 300 and Senate Bill 300, two pieces of legislation that would finally "ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression statewide in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations." Shanea introduced herself and explained some of her own background. Each person attending introduced themselves, and participants were asked to tell a little about themselves and what motivates them to work for LGBT equality. See related article. See photos.
Jan 30 - Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco speaks at Allegheny College Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco will read his work at Allegheny College on January 30. Blanco is America's fifth inaugural poet, writing for President Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration ceremony. He's also the first Latino, first immigrant, first openly-gay and youngest person to be the inaugural poet for the United States. See related article.
Jan 6 - Greg Rabb re-elected to Jamestown City Council President By a 9 to 0 vote, the Jamestown City Council selected Greg Rabb to be City Council President again. This is Rabb’s fourth term on the council. He has served as council president since first being elected to office. as Jamestown City Councilman at large. Rabb is the only openly gay elected official in the eight counties of western New York. See related article.
Dec 17 - Erie Participates in Buffalo LGBT Community Pride Tree In The Loop in Buffalo NY announced a first ever LGBT Community Pride Tree, which was open to individuals and organizations in not only Buffalo, NY, but also nearby areas. Several Erie PA area groups chose to participate. NW PA Pride Alliance Vice President Season Crannell made holiday ornaments for NW PA Pride Alliance, Erie Gay News and PFLAG Erie and Crawford Counties, which were included on Buffalo's tree. See related article. See photos.
Dec 8 - Noodles for Equality Marriage Equality for PA (which became Pennsylvania Equality Project in late 2014) held its first ever Noodles for Equality event at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 Perry Highway, Erie PA! Authentic Italian food, with homemade sauce was served to guests while a DJ played some classy tunes. Roughly twenty people showed up for the event, which ensured that there was plenty left over for seconds! ME4PA also collected toys for Toys for Tots during the event and received some generous donations at a time of year when they are needed the most. Photos are by Michael Mahler, co-editor for Erie Gay News. See related article. See photos.
Dec 7 - Mr. Steven and Dr. Jayson (Nadolny) Stoltz married Mr. Steven and Dr. Jayson (Nadolny) Stoltz were married at the Chautauqua Lake in Mayville, New York. The Rev. Kayla Branham officiated the ceremony. Rev. Branham is a personal friend of the family. Jayson, 30, holds a Doctor of Theology Degree from St. John’s Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri and serves the affirming congregation of The Upper Room of Ashtabula, Ohio as Senior Pastor. He also works for Signature Health in Ashtabula, Ohio and is employed as a Chemical Dependency/ Dual Diagnosis Case Manager. Steven, 32, is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Union Institute of University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is employed as a State Tested Nursing Assistant at Pine Grove Healthcare Center in Geneva, Ohio. See related article.
Dec 4 - Meadville City Council offers domestic partner benefits to Meadville city employees Progress toward fair and equal treatment for same-sex couples has arrived in the municipality of Meadville, Pennsylvania. Meadville City Council member, Robert Langley confirmed —as of January 1, 2014—same sex domestic partners not currently afforded healthcare benefits under labor contracts will now be provided dependent coverage. In a study session on December 4, 2013, it was unanimously decided that, although Pennsylvania does not currently allow same sex marriage; many same-sex couples do meet the commonwealth's criteria for domestic partnership. The council agreed allowing these couples dependent health coverage is in everyone's best interest. See related article.
Dec 1 - Erie Awareness Outreach Joy In The House FACE Drag Show for World AIDS Day Erie Awareness Outreach presented "Joy in the House" at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA featuring FACE Show cast members Michelle Michaels, Misty Kall, Lovin Heart with special guest appearance by Vernessa Mitchell, who performed live. This was part of the HIV/AIDS prevention & awareness for World AIDS Day. See related article. See photos.
Nov 24 - Erie's First Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil Erie Sisters, TransFamily of Erie Support Group and Persad Center held Erie's first official Transgender Day of Remembrance candle light vigil at the gazebo in Perry Square in Erie PA. Special thanks to Ted Hoover at Persad Center for getting the ball rolling! We had 11 people brave the cold and snow to commemorate the 238+ transgender people who lost thier lives over the past year in brutal attacks the world over. This year, we are also saddened that for the first time, an alarming number of deaths occurred in those 20 years and younger. In the first 10 months of the year, there were 22 kids ranging in age from 13 to 20 who were viciously murdered for being who they are. And there are only the ones that were reported. Please pray that these numbers are much smaller next year. Photos are by Deb Spilko, layout editor for Erie Gay News. See related article. See photos.
Nov 20 - 24 - 14th Annual Lake Erie Gala The 14th annual Lake Erie Gala, sponsored by the Erie Sisters Transgender Support Group, was held from November 20-24 at the Avalon Hotel in downtown Erie. See related article. See photos.
Nov 9 - 2013 Drag Queen Bingo NW PA Pride Alliance held Drag Queen Bingo at Erie Clown Hall, 512 Kelso Drive in Erie. Many thanks to the Erie Clowns for being so friendly and welcoming, particularly Doodles and Mr. Donut, who prepared yummies. Thanks also to our drag perfomers who gave 110 percent: Michelle Michaels, Velvet Lace, Lovin Heart, and Misty Kall. Thanks to our volunteers, Amy Terrizzi, Erin Moll Terrizzi, Chris Dye, Preston Blood and Christine H! See related article. See photos.
Nov 2 - GEAE Intersections of Equality Symposium Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE) sponsored "Intersections of Equality: An Educational Symposium" at the Black Conference Center on the campus of Penn State Behrend. The symposium was co-sponsored by Penn State Behrend and the D&I Department of Erie Insurance, and featured several presentations, including "Equality Legislation in PA," by The Honorable Brian Sims, PA House Representative (Pennsylvania's first openly gay state representative). See related article.
Nov 1 - Meet and Greet with Rep Ryan Bizzarro and Rep Brian Sims Rep. Ryan Bizzarro and his staff organized a very successful meet and greet with PA's first openly gay state legislator, Rep. Brian Sims, at the Bel Aire/Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 2800 W 8th St, Erie PA. There was a terrific turnout and folks had a great night! See related article. See photos.
Nov - ME4PA Thanks for the Giving Food Drive Erie County Chapter of ME4PA (Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania, which became Pennsylvania Equality Project in late 2014) first statewide "Thanks For The Giving" food drive, Nov 1-25 2013, had drop off locations at Starbucks in Erie and collected 205 pounds for the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA. The kick off campaign began in Erie. From left to right, Samantha Sherwin, Special Events Coordinator, Jason C Brendel and Hayley Borgia Co Regional Directors, Erie County Chapter of ME4PA. Please check out www.paequality.org for news, updates, how to volunteer and to donate. See related article. See photos.
Oct 17 - Bread Box Award for NW PA Pride Alliance NW PA Pride Alliance board members Season Crannell, Chris Dye and Michael Mahler attended the 25th Annual Bread Box Awards luncheon at the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA, 1507 Grimm Drive, Erie PA. The luncheon recgnizes schools, churches, organizations, individuals, small businesses and large businesses that donate to the food bank. NW PA Pride Alliance is glad to give back to our community! See related article. See photos.
Oct 4 - 6 - 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend The Zone Dance Club hosted the 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend, organized by Michelle Michaels. The event raised $2,008 for this year's charity, StringsforaCURE™. Performers at the drag show on Sunday, October 6 included Michelle Michaels, Jill Jameson, Celine Dashawn, Mr. Manny, Cammy Seoul, Lovin' Heart, Trista Towers, Velvet Lace, Damone Morris our Akirah Hurricane, Misty Kall & Taylor Morgan. See related article. See photos.
Oct 3 - General Election Candidate Night NW PA Pride Alliance and other co-sponsors held a Meet the Candidates Night at the Avalon Hotel and Conference Center, 16 W 10th St, Erie PA. The event was organized as an informal mixer, and about 50 people total attended. Campaigns and candidates attending included Kathy Dahlkemper (D) for County Executive, Andre Horton (D) and Ned Smith (R) for County Council District 1, Eddie Whiteman (R) for Erie County Sheriff, Joe Sinnott (D-Inc) for Erie City Mayor, David Brennan (D-Inc), John Evans (R-Inc) and Kaz Kwitowski (D) for Erie City Council, and Angela Euell-McNair (D) for Erie City School Director. Co-sponsoring groups included NW PA Pride Alliance, Drenched Fur, Erie Gay News, Erie Sisters, LBT Women of Erie, LGBT Erie, Marriage Equality for PA, Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, Persad Center, PFLAG Erie, TransFamily of Erie Support Group and Trigon. WICU TV 12/WJET TV 24 covered the story for the evening news. NW PA Pride Alliance wants to thanks the wonderful volunteers who made this possible and the people who turned out to support this event. See related article. See photos.
Sep 14 - Rainbow Pride Conference Featuring Workshops and Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus A concert by the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus, various workshops and a screening of the film Gen Silent were all part of the Rainbow Pride Connection Conference at the Chautauqua Institution. See related article.
Aug 29 - Chautauqua County vet Darren Manzella, who spoke out against Don't Ask, Don't Tell killed in crash A former U.S. Army Sergeant, who actively fought against the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was killed in a car crash. Sheriff's deputies said Darren Manzella, 36, was killed August 29 along Interstate 490 in Pittsford, NY, just outside Rochester. Manzella side-swiped another car, and while pushing his car towards the side of the road, he was hit by an SUV. Sergeant Manzella made national headlines for speaking out against DADT in a 2007 interview with "60 Minutes." He was discharged from the Army in 2008. Friends said Manzella had just married his partner in July. See related article.
Aug 24 - 2013 Pride Parade and Rally About 300 people attended the Pride Parade and Rally put on by NW PA Pride Alliance. Delta Foundation sent up a bus from Pittsburgh with about 40 people, who marched as a parade unit. Parade units included Erie Gay News, NW PA Pride Alliance, Erie Sisters, Community United Church, Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, Amisha Tribal Belly Dance, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE), Delta Foundation, Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania, PFLAG Erie and Crawford Counties, Persad Center and LBT Women. There were about 170 people in the parade. See related article. See photos.
Aug 23 - Erie Sisters Car Wash Benefit for Erie Humane Society The Erie Sisters Transgender Support group held a car wash to benefit the Erie Humane Society, 2407 Zimmerly Rd. The benefit was also an opportunity for the Erie Sisters to raise awareness about the transgender community. See related article.
Jul 4 - 2013 Millcreek 4th of July Parade About 15 people rode on the float that NW PA Pride Alliance had in the Millcreek 4th of July Parade, which drew around 20,000 people. Although there has been an LGBT contingent for a total now of 8 years, this is the first year that we were all on a float. Many thanks to Ben Heggy from Seven Springs for bringing up his truck and driving it, as well as for help in decorating. Many thanks to Season Crannell for float design and to Season, Chris, Alex, Preston, Melanie, Julie and others for setup and tear down. We had a wonderful time, and the crowd was incredibly supportive and friendly! See related article. See photos.
About Jul - LGBT Groups form in Jamestown The Mental Health Association (MHA) in Jamestown, New York-supported by The Pride Center of Western New York-began providing support for the local LGBT community. There were 2 groups formed. "RU12" helps with the experience of coming out and "GIST (Gender Identity Support and Talk)" provides support for the transgender community. In addition to providing support to individuals with the unique obstacles that we, as LGBT citizens come to face in our personal and professional lives, the volunteers at MHA hoped to hear from the community to find out what productive suggestions people have about the services and events you would like to see offered and planned here at MHA in Jamestown. See related article.
Jun 30 - Community Diversity Picnic in Westfield NY The event was held at 6469 Portage Rd., Westfield NY and inclued hiking trails, lawn bowling, horseshoes, volleyball, etc., swimming, pedal boating, fishing, BBQ with meat and vegetarian choices. Beer and soft drinks were also available. See related article.
Jun 26 - Supreme Court Victory Celebration in Perry Square The US Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a 5-4 decision, which prohibited same-sex couples legally married in their own state from reciving federal benefits. Also, Prop 8 in California was dismissed for lack of standing, effectively setting the stage for marriage equality to return to California. The Supreme Court did not rule on the substance of whether same-sex couples could be singled out by state law. These two landmark victories were celebrated by about 30-35 people, who assembled in Perry Square in Erie that evening. Both local news crews and also a photographer from the Erie Times News stopped by to cover the event. See related article. See photos.
Jun 15 - 21st Annual Erie Pride Picnic About 215 people got together for food, folks and fun at the 21st Annual Erie Pride Picnic Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park. New this year was ox roast to go with the traditional hot dogs. See related article. See photos.
May 25 - LGBT Float in Perry 200 Parade NW PA Pride Alliance participated in the historic Perry 200 Grand Patriotic Parade with an LGBT float. The parade marked the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, which was part of the War of 1812. There were about 10-12 people on the float, and the spectators were friendly and supportive! There were tens of thousands of spectators and 10,000 people participated in the parade. See related article. See photos.
Apr 28 - Jamestown NY City Council President Greg Rab recognized by Buffalo Brunch The work of openly gay Jamestown City Council president Greg Rabb was recognized at this year's annual Buffalo Brunch. The event was he;d at Salvatore's Italian Gardens, 6461 Transit Rd, Depew, NY 14043. Over 500 people are expected to attend this important event, celebrating Buffalo's Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community and its friends for 17 years. See related article.
Apr 28 - TransFamily of Erie walking team in March for Babies The TransFamily of Erie Transgender support group sponsored a walking team for the 2013 March for Babies at Presque Isle, beginning at Rainbow Gardens. See related article.
Apr 26 - Marriage Equality for PA Vigil at Gov. Tom Corbett's Erie Office A delegation from Marriage Equality for PA (which became Pennsylvania Equality Project in late 2014) delivered their three petitions to the Governor of Pennsylvania's office located in Erie, PA at 100 State Street. See related article. See photos.
Apr 18 - 2013 Primary Election Candidate Forum NW PA Pride Alliance held a candidate forum at the Avalon Hotel & Conference Center, 16 W 10th St, Erie PA for candidates for Erie County Executive, Erie County Council (Districts 2, 4 and 6), Erie City Mayor and Erie City Council. Candidates from both major party were invited. WICU TV 12 covered the event as part of their broadcast that night. About 70 people attended overall. See related article. See photos.
Apr 12 - 13 - 8 performance by Dramashop at PACA On Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, there was a performance of '8', by Dustin Lance Black at PACA, 1505 State Street, Erie PA.The staged reading was put on by Dramashop as part of their Erie Reader Staged Reading Series. The performance was directed by Tony Gressley, and the cast included Ted Hallowell, Stephen Wells, Cristin Manion, Casey Conrad-Medvis, Jason Owen, Stephen Salchli, Jerry Brace, JJ Theisen, Matt Crays, Jenn Highfill, Kathleen Cahill, Sarah Sgro, Pat Washington, BJ Waide, Keefer Kopco, Jasse Camacho Vera, Brian Goldenn, Steve Sullivan and Morgan Gore. See related article. See photos.
Apr 4 - Apr 5 - 6th Annual Penn State Behrend Gender Conference featuring Push author Sapphire Penn State Behrend's Sixth Annual Gender Conference took place at Reed Union Building. The theme of the event was "Voice and Visibility," and featuresd a presentation by Sapphire, the author of the acclaimed 1996 novel "Push," (later adapted as the Academy Award winning 2009 film Precious). See related article.
Apr 4 - 7 - Drenched Fur 9 During the first weekend of April, the Erie community hosted once again to Erie's Exclusive Bear Weekend known as Drenched Fur. This time the ‘Best Little Run for Fun' brought together a record 250+ men from around the tri-state area and as far away as Chicago, Houston, DC, and Toronto. Erie has been hosting Drenched Fur for nine years allowing men to appreciate themselves and each other in their natural masculinity. See related article. See photos.
Apr 4 - John Waters at Edinboro University EDINBORO, PA – The Edinboro Film Series, in cooperation with Identity and Edinboro University Student Government Association, for their Spotlight Filmmaker for spring had acclaimed writer and director John Waters. Mr. Waters performed an all-new version of his solo stand-up performance, This Filthy World. See related article.
Mar 26 - Marriage Equality for PA Light the Way to Justice Vigil Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania held a vigil in front of the Federal Courthouse at 6th and State, Erie PA in response to the US Supreme Court hearing arguments about the California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). See related article. See photos.
Mar 16 - Bill Stanley passes away William David Stanley, age 59, of Erie, died at Saint Vincent Healthcare Center. He was born July 17, 1953 in Erie, son of the late William and Rita Haraczy Stanley. Bill attended Westminster College and graduated from Gannon University. He received his Master's in Clinical Social Work from West Virginia University. Bill worked in various positions as a clincal social worker in Pittsburgh, until starting his own counseling service in 1993 at Lake Erie Counseling with his best friend and loving companion, Dale Allgeier. Bill and Dale met in Erie in 1985. They opened Lake Erie Counseling in 1993. Bill and Dale worked together for the past 28 years. Bill developed his reputation as a skilled psychotherapist, and will be greatly missed by his clients, friends, and family. Bill and Dale were also known in the world of antiques, often advertising "Big Red Tent" sales. See related article.
About Mar - Persad Center Friends for Life Program begins meeting In 2009, studies found that suicide was the third leading cause of death for individuals age 10-24. Numerous studies report that LGBT youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Persad Center took a stand to prevent youth suicide. T. Youth got an opportunity to impact their community with a youth lead community service projects that will be centered on suicide prevention. Persad Center, through the implementation of the Safe Spaces project, offered counseling, mental health screenings, referrals, peer leadership, and many opportunities for suicide prevention to individuals ages 14 - 21. The Safe Spaces project provided suicide prevention training and empowered youth to lead activities for other youth within the community. Youth were educated on LGBTQ specific concerns and issues, including but not limited to suicide prevention. Meetings were held at the Community United Church. population alike. Trainings included, but were not limited to to youth programs and agencies, creating inclusive programs, taking steps to cultural fairness, addressing harassment, meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth of color, meeting the needs of transgender youth, and addressing the challenges that face transgender youth. The project was implemented in Erie County as well as Allegheny County Pennsylvania. The group was active for a year or so. See related article.
About Feb - Live and Let Live LGBT AA Chapter begins meeting "Live and Let Live" an LGBT AA meeting began meeting every Sunday at 7 PM at Community United Church, 1011 W 38th St, Erie PA. Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. See related article.
Jan 22 - Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse closes Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse, located at 35 Peninsula Drv, Erie PA, permanently closed. It had been the meeting place for LBT Women of Erie and a gay-friendly space. See related article.
Dec 12 - Episcopal Diocese of NW PA approves blessing of same-sex unions The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania has announced his approval to allow priests in the diocese to conduct blessings of same-sex couples. The Right Rev. Sean Rowe gave the approval for this diocese on Dec. 12. The move was approved by the church's general convention in July, and took effect Dec. 2. Priests and congregations who do not favor the measure will not be forced to offer blessings. See related article.
Dec - Erie Gay News 20th Anniversary In December of 2012, Erie Gay News celebrated its 20th anniversary of serving the LGBT community. EGN also received a congratulatory letter from US Senator Bob Casey (PA-D)! See related article. See photos.
Nov 14 - 18 - 2012 Lake Erie Gala The 2012 Lake Erie Gala was held at the Avalon Hotel November 14th through November 18th. The Gala kicked off Wednesday with the opening of registration, dinner at the BrewErie and a private shopping experience at the Sassy Peacock. The annual event this year included tours of the Dunkirk lighthouse and the Erie Brewing Company with lunch at the Kelley Hotel on Thursday. The lighthouse and Kelley Hotel are both reported to be haunted, and the hotel has been a frequent stop for ghost hunters, as well as a paranormal studies class from the University of Buffalo. Friday's tours included the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Arrowhead Winery and lunch at the Colony Pub and Grill. Themed dinners were also held with prizes for best themed dress. The event is organized by the Erie Sisters Transgender Support Group. See related article. See photos.
Nov 11 - Richard J. LaPride passes away Richard J. LaPrice, age 70, of Millcreek Township, passed away at Saint Vincent Health Center surrounded by his partner, Gary, and his best friends: Tommy, Dafna, and Jean-Marc. He was born in Erie on December 18, 1941 to the late Chester H. and Mary D. LaPrice. See related article.
Nov 10 - LBT Women's Laurie Finch witness at bank robbery Laurie Finch, grand poobah of LBT Women, had the misfortune of walking into the Northwest Savings Bank on Pittsburgj Ave. behind the man who was about to rob it. As soon as the robbery occured, she began sending updates on Facebook, never losing her well-known sense of humor. See related article.
Nov 5 - 7 - 6th Annual Michelle Michaels Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend The 6th annual Breast Cancer Awareness weekend held at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA set an all time record of about $3,400, which is almost twice last year's total. Donors included David and Mama Reese, Jared, Grace Watson, Michelle Michaels, Annelle (Brenda's mom), Sherry Edkin, Lorie's Wildwood Restaurant, Shawn Coverdale, Brenda Dugan, NWPA Pride Alliance, Erie Gay News, Furhman's, Robert Eckendorf, Gene Seigworth, Mom Crandall (Elaine), Watson Family, Derek McCance/ Celine DaShawn, Josh and Marty, respectively), Melissa Irwin, Drenched Fur, Season Crannell, Karen from Cookie Lee, Rich Hayford, and Kevin Schultz. Volunteers included TJ Knight, Wendy, Rich, Chris Dye and Josh Atkinson, Josh Maleno and Timmy Crandall. Performers at the show on Sunday included Michelle Michaels, Celine Dashawn, Rhiannon Angelina, Taylor Morgan, Misty Kall, Damone, Velvet Lace, T J Knight + Bodyguard, Buffy Lynn Hayes, Jill Jameson, Destiny Divine and Jade Jette (in from Buffalo.) See related article.
Nov 1 - Dreams of Hope performs at Butler County Community College The creative and performing arts group "Dreams of Hope" performed their first performance in Butler County, Pennsylvania at the Butler County Community College in the Succop Theater. The group presented the season finale of their original program titled, "Being In, Being Out." This program is about the struggles of LGBTQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and allied) youth and the coming out process. Their message is one based on belonging with a message of acceptance and equality. See related article.
Oct 25 - Night of Life Vigil at Penn State Behrend Trigon members and supporters at Penn State Behrend held a Night of Life Vigil in remembrance of youth lost to suicide. This was part of a statewide observance by Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition. Participants read names written on balloons and a short biography. There was also a balloon for participants to write names of other people. It was a deeply moving and reverent event. See related article. See photos.
Oct 23 - Melissa Etheridge performs in Erie Legendary recording artist Melissa Etheridge appeared for the first time in Erie at the Warner Theater. See related article.
Oct 14 - 2012 General Election Candidate Forum About 40 people attended the candidate forum co-sponsored by Erie Gay News and NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. Joshua Atkinson moderated the presentation. Candidates present included Pat Harkins, PA State Rep - 3 (D); Sean Wiley, candidate for PA State Senate 49 (D); Missa Eaton, candidate for US Congress PA-3 (D); Jason Owen, candidate for PA State Rep District 3 (R) & Kathy Fatica, representing Ryan Bizzarro, candidate for PA State Rep District 3 (D); and Jason White, candidate for PA State Rep District 5 (D). Both local news crews covered the event. See related article. See photos.
Oct 6 - LGBT Unit in Edinboro Homecoming Parade There was an LGBT unit in the Edinboro Homecoming Parade. The unit was organized by NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc. and included members from Erie Sisters. The reaction from the spectators was positive and affirming. See related article. See photos.
Sep 14 - Gen Silent screening at Mercyhurst Gen Silent is the critically-acclaimed documentary from filmmaker Stu Maddux (Bob and Jack's 52-Year Adventure, Trip to Hell and Back) that asks six LGBT seniors if they will hide their friends, their spouses-their entire lives-in order to survive in the care system. Their surprising decisions are captured through intimate access to their day-to-day lives over the course of a year. It puts a face on what experts in the film call an epidemic: GLBT older people so afraid of discrimination by caregivers or bullying by other seniors, that many simply go back into the closet. Unlike any film before, Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now affects older GLBT people with fear and isolation. Many who won the first civil rights victories for future generations are now dying prematurely because they are reluctant to ask for help and have too few friends or family to care for them. Mercyhurst University offered a screening of this important documentary with a discussion following. See related article.
Aug 25 - 2012 Pride Parade and Rally Over 250 people attended the Pride Parade and Rally. The day’s events were organized by NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc. There were three floats and about 14 units in the parade, which stepped off from the Zone Dance Club, went down State Street to Perry Square. The rally in Perry Square had 23 info tables and vendors. Speakers and performers included Rhiannon Angelina, current reigning Miss Erie; Laurie Finch of LBT Women of Erie, who was also celebrating her 11th anniversary with her wife Janice Hanusik that day, Michelle Michaels, local drag icon; singer Collis Allen; Melanie Shubitowski, President of Erie Sisters; Misty Kall, 2011 Miss Erie; Ebony Davis, board member of Greater Erie Alliance for Equality; Lake Erie Belly Dance; Michael Mahler, for NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc. and Erie Gay News; singer/guitarist Bob Bearfield; Rich McCarty, board member of Equality PA; and singer/guitarist Jay Bones. Once again, the Dunk a Drag booth was a crowd favorite. NW PA Pride Alliance thanks all of the donors and volunteers who made the event such a success! A special thanks to Ben from Seven Springs, PA for providing and driving the lead float in the Parade! See related article. See photos.
Aug 24 - Pre-Pride Parade Performance Party at PACA Several drag performers put on a well-received show to a packed house at the Performing Arts Center & Theater, 1505 State St, Erie PA. Performers included Destiny Divine, Rhiannon Angelina, Michelle Michaels, Nicolai Chase featuring Aiden, and Buffy Lynn Hayes. The event was a wonderful kickoff for the Pride Parade and Rally the next day, which was organized by NW PA Pride Alliance. See related article. See photos.
Aug 8 - LGBT Night at the Erie Seawolves Greater Erie Alliance for Equality organized an LGBT Night at the Erie Seawolves. Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and Erie Seawolves organized the event. In addition to the opening pitch being thrown by and the national anthem being sung by members of the LGBT community, several organizations had info tables, including Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Persad Center, PFLAG of Erie/Crawford Counties, Erie Gay News and NW PA Pride Alliance. Photos are by Laurie Finch, coordinator for LBT Women of Erie. See related article. See photos.
Jul 28 - TransFamily of Erie Support Group begins meeting TransFamily of Erie is a support group created to serve the transgender community in western PA and eastern OH and their loved ones. It provides a safe space for all who fit somewhere in the gender spectrum, or are searching. This includes all transgender subcategories (e.g. FTM, MTF, cross dresser, genderqueer, questioning, etc.). Family members of all ages, friends, parents and spouses are welcome at the meetings. Please share this invite with everyone you feel may be interested! Caitlyn Strohmeyer was the initial organizer. See related article.
Jul 15 - 3rd Annual Butler PFLAG Rainbow Community Picnic PFLAG Butler and Persad Center held the 3rd Annual Rainbow Community Picnic in Alameda Park in Butler PA. Everyone had a wonderful time. Approximately 60 people attended. See related article. See photos.
Jul 4 - LGBT contingent in Millcreek 4th of July Parade For the 7th year in a row, there was an LGBT contingent in the Millcreek 4th of July parade. The parade typically draws around 20,000 spectators and is one of the largest in the region. NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc was the principal organizer. Other groups participating included Erie Gay News, Erie Sisters, Greater Erie Alliance for Equality and PFLAG -Erie/Crawford County. There were also a number of individuals who marched with us who weren't particularly affiliated with a group, including openly gay Jamestown NY City Council President Greg Rabb, Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus co-founder Michael Bardo, Mike & Merideth Paff, a young straight couple who brought their 2 sons in a stroller, and LGBT friends from Oil City. About 25 people marched in the LGBT contingent, and the response was quite positive. Special thanks to Michael Coleman for taking photos. See related article. See photos.
Jun 18 - 20th Annual Erie Pride Picnic NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc. presented the 20th Annual Erie Pride Picnic at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle, The event drew over 400 attendees, which sets an all-time record. WICU/WSEE news covered the event. The weather was wonderful and it was a great time for visiting with friends old and new. Thanks to everyone who made the day such a success! See related article. See photos.
May 19 - 2012 Drag Queen Bingo NW PA Pride Alliance held a very successful Drag Queen Bingo at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie to raise money for Pride events. About 72 people attended, and everyone had a great time! Over $1,000 was raised. Our drag performers included Michelle Michaels, Rhiannon Angelina, Misty Kall and Velvet Lace. Thanks go out to our volunteers: Jeff, JR Snyder, Ryan McKane, Eric Linster, Ivy for kitchen duty; Erin Moll, Amy Terrizzi, Mark Hoovler, Preston Blood, Eric Rogers, Shakira Nakelle, DJ Lunchbox, Season Crannell, Chris Dye, Ernie Staaf and Kristen for running the event. See related article. See photos.
May 9 - Leukemia/Lymphoma Benefit at the Zone The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA helped raise money for the fight against leukemia and lymphoma and Kristen Bailey was behind it. We raised over $1,700 and within 10 weeks Kristen raised 22,000 and became Woman of the Year. Thanks go out to Alaska Thunderfuck, Michelle Michaels, Celine Dashawn, Misty Kall, Velvet Lace, Buffy Lynn Hayes, and the Erie crowd for making this happen! Alaska, the headline performer, later went on to win RuPaul's Drag Race. See related article. See photos.
Apr 30 - Jamestown Rally Against Hate A large number of supporters turned out for a rally against hate and for Greg Rabb. The rally took place in front of Jamestown City Hall, just before the City Council meeting. About a hundred people showed up, as well as media from Buffalo and Erie. At the rally, Rabb told WICU/WSEE, "Am I frightened? You know what, no. Not with all these folks here. I feel like this is a good place to be and I have the people behind me." See related article.
Mar 29 - Drenched Fur 8 The bears of Drenched Fur 8 enjoyed a great weekend at the end of March for fun and good times. On Thursday, early arrivals for a bar night outing at The Zone Dance Club to kicked off the run events. Then on Friday run registrants gathered together for an indoor pool party at the Bel Aire Hotel followed by a musical performance with the return of vocal/guitarist Jeff RockCub. The fun continued the following night, on Saturday with a Gilligan's Island Themed Buffet Dinner and Comedy Game Show Combo at the Bel Aire Hotel. And of course, that night was the exclusive event at the Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort where over 200 guys from around the USA had the entire facility to themselves! The event weekend also included a winery tour, casino visits, charity auction, vendor mall, and other activities. The Drenched Fur 8 Committee hosted one of the biggest events for Erie's GLBTQA community and thanks all the individuals and businesses that helped make this year a success. To find out more about Drenched Fur and to review our photo gallery from over the years, you can visit our website at www.drenchedfur.com. See related article. See photos.
Feb 15 - Bob Langley sworn in to Meadville City Council Bob Langley was appointed to Meadville PA City Council in early 2012 to fill a vacancy. Bob applied for the position with a number of other candidates. Bob's partner, John Despo, was also at the swearing in ceremony on February 15. Bob joined openly gay Leroy Stearns on Meadville City Council. See related article. See photos.
Feb 8 - Donor Unknown Screening at Mercyhurst The Mercyhurst Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics & Society held a screening of Donor Unknown, a documentary about JoEllen Marsh-a native of Warren County with two moms- as she goes in search of the sperm donor father she only knows as Donor 150. JoEllen, now a senior at Mercyhurst, managed to track down a half-sister in New York. The New York Times picked up the story, and over time 13 more half-siblings and her sperm donor emerged across the U.S. The documentary tracks JoEllen's journey as she finds her biological connections, and gives audiences a unique perspective on a 21st century family. See related article. See photos.
Feb 8 - Worn This Way Fashion Show Benefit for It Gets Better Project at Mercyhurst The Mercyhurst Fashion Club put on a Fashion show benefiting the It Gets Better Project. Through attendance and donations they hoped to raise awareness and prevent bullying and suicide among the gay and lesbian community or anyone in general who is being bullied. See related article. See photos.
Nov 20 - Linda Bebko-Jones passes away Linda Bebko-Jones passed away November 20, 2011. She was 65. Linda served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1st District) from 1993 until 2006. While serving as a state representative, she was a strong advocate and sponsored many bills and resolutions in support of military and veteran benefits and health and human services.She supported GLBT equality, crime victims' rights, adoptee rights, substance abuse prevention, sexual harassment awareness, insurance reform, and women's rights. She served on many local and state boards and associations, and received numerous awards and accolades acknowledging her public service. During her run for state representative in 1992, her Republican opponent, Jerry Knight, engaged in strong attacks on Linda's supportive responses in the voters' guide of the League of Gay and Lesbian Voters. Linda won the race and held the office for 14 years. At the 2003 Erie Pride rally, she spoke about the need for acceptance and equality for GLBT people. See related article.
Nov 16 - 20 - 12th Annual Lake Erie Gala The 12th annual Lake Erie Gala, sponsored by the Erie Sisters Transgender Support Group, was held Nov.16-20 at the Avalon Hotel in Erie. Registration opened Wednesday, and the attendees present then had dinner together at the Plymouth on State Street. See related article. See photos.
Nov 5 - Out In The Silence Screening at Jamestown Community College Film makers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer presented a screening of their documentary, Out In The Silence, at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown NY. The primary organizer of the event was Richard Baer, through AIDS Community Services of Western NY, Southern Tier Services in Jamestown. About 125-150 people attended. There were groups and inidividuals from Jamestown, Buffalo NY, Erie PA, Bradford PA and other areas. Greg Rabb, openly gay Jamestown NY City Council President and Jamestown Community College faculty member, spoke after the film, and there was also a lively community discussion on working together to achive progress for the LGBT community. See related article. See photos.
Oct 26 - Bread Box Award from Erie Food Bank for Picnic donation Members of the Pride Planning Committee attended the 2011 Bread Box Awards at the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW Pennsylvania at 1507 Grimm Drive, Erie PA. Donations had been collected at the 19th annual Erie Pride Picnic held on June 11. This was the 8th year that donations had been collected at the Pride Picnic. See related article. See photos.
Oct 8 - Erie GLBT Contingent in Edinboro Homecoming Parade Several members of Erie's GLBT community marched as a unit in the Edinboro University Homecoming Parade. This was the first time for the LGBT community to participate, and we had been invited to march by the University. The parade went through the campus and also through the streets of Edinboro PA. The crowds were friendly, and we got quite a few smiles and waves. See related article. See photos.
Oct 2 - 5th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend at the Zone The weekend of September 30-October 2 was the 5th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit put on by Michelle Michaels at the Zone Dance Club. At the end of the week, we raised $1,530! See related article. See photos.
About Oct - Local Lesbian Appointed to Erie Co. Human Relations Commission Ebony Davis, of Erie PA has been confirmed for a four-year position on the Erie County Human Relations Commission. Erie County Executive Barry Grossman had contacted leaders in the local LGBT community in an effort to fill the position with an openly-LGBT citizen. Ebony is a mother of three and is a Volunteer Cultural Orientation Trainer at the International Institute. She is attending Mercyhurst College, where she is working towards a BA in Sociology. See related article.
About Sep - Persad Center opens offices in Erie Persad Center, the nation's second oldest licensed counseling and well being center serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities opened offices in Erie, Pa. Persad Center is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA and has served Western Pennsylvania's gay citizens for nearly 40 years. It is the only agency of its kind in western Pennsylvania. The agency's mission is to strengthen the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and the HIV/AIDS communities and their allies. This is done through counseling, prevention, education, and advocacy programs. The agency also has offices in Washington, PA and an advocacy program serving Washington, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler and Armstrong counties. The Erie office was licensed by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare, and is being opened in response to a demand for and lack of specialized services for LGBT people in the area. The new office brought access closer to home for LGBT individuals seeking counseling, and provided the county with a resource for improving the human service system response to LGBT needs. See related article.
Aug 27 - 2011 Pride Parade and Rally About 230 people participated in the Erie Pride Parade & Rally. This year’s Pride events were organized by the Pride Planning committee, which is an informal coalition of groups and individuals. The informal coalition later beame NW PA Pride Alliance, Inc. in March, 2012. See related article. See photos.
Aug 14 - Zone Diva Benefit for Erie Pride 2011 The divas of The Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA, put on a special benefit FACE drag show to support Erie Pride 2011 events. Over $250 was raised, and the Pride Planning Committee is very grateful to all of the performers and volunteers who gave of their time to help make Pride events in Erie possible! See related article. See photos.
Aug 6 - LGBT Table at Blues and Jazz Fest On August 6 & 7, Erie Gay News and LBT Women of Erie for the 3rd year staffed a local LGBT community info table at the 19th Annual Blues and Jazz Fest in Frontier Park in Erie PA. This was a great opportunity to reach out to those not aleady in touch with the community. The Blues and Jazz Fest is organized by the Erie Art Museum and other resources. See related article. See photos.
Aug 5 - 7 - Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition Holds First-ever Statewide LGBTQ Youth Convention The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) held its first convention August 5-7, 2011 in Harrisburg. The groundbreaking network of Pennsylvania LGBTQ youth met over three days to draft and adopt a constitution for statewide organizing as a youth-led LGBTQ movement. Over 30 Presidents and leaders of youth-led LGBTQ organizations from colleges, universities, and high schools across Pennsylvania were in attendance. See related article. See photos.
Jul 24 - Butler Rainbow Community Picnic The Butler Rainbow Picnic, hosted by PFLAG Butler County and Persad Center's Community Safe Zone project and lasted from 2pm to 6pm and hosted over 60 people. Also attending were representatives from PFLAG Erie and Crawford Counties and Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition. See related article. See photos.
Jul 16 - PFLAG Ashtabula Picnic PFLAG Ashtabula held their third annual family picnic at Geneva State Park. The event was attended by people from three states, and was the group's most successful picnic yet. DJ Nrr Radio's Greg Mack was on hand, there were several raffle items, including baskets from The Coupon Queen of Unionville, PFLAG's Crisis Coordinator, Steven Stoltz, and several donated paintings from a local artist. See related article. See photos.
Jul 4 - Millcreek 4th of July Parade About 20 people marched in the LGBT contingent of the Millcreek 4th of July Parade. The parade is one of the largest in Erie County, PA and the spectactors were overall friendly and supportive. This is the 6th year that there has been such a contingent, and it ties with previous year's record. Marchers included both individuals and groups including Erie Gay News, Erie Sisters. LBT Women of Erie, and PFLAG of Erie and Crawford Counties. See related article. See photos.
About Jul - Erie Gay Pride becomes Greater Erie Alliance for Equality With a new vision and a new direction, Erie Gay Pride, Inc. has a new name – Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE). Originally incorporated in 2006 GEAE is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the region's LGBT community and its straight allies through education, open dialogue and public visibility. As the organization evolved, the Board of Directors realized that the group needed to broaden its mission and its role in the community. To that end, this summer the Board voted to reincorporate Erie Gay Pride, Inc. under a new name – Greater Erie Alliance for Equality, Inc. See related article.
Jun 11 - 19th Annual Erie Pride Picnic The 19th Annual Erie Gay News Family Pride Picnic, held at the Rotary Pavilion was a great success! This year, Pride events are being coordinated by the Pride Planning committee, which is a coalition of groups and individuals. See related article. See photos.
May 22 - Stonewall Potluck Picnic Friends of John Daly Kin gathered for a celebratory Stonewall Potluck Picnic at Pleasant Ridge Manor in Girard PA. Many friends from the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Erie (UUCE) and PFLAG of Erie/Crawford Counties, as well as others, had a wonderful time celebrating LGBT history and community. Rev. Steve Aschmann of UUCE acted as the MC. The event was also a farewell for Reid McFarlane and AnnDrea Benson, who had helped with enacting the LGBT-inclusive Erie County Human Relations Commission ordinance in 2002. Reid and AnnDrea shortly afterward moved out of the area. See related article. See photos.
May 21 - Jeremy and Eric's Handfasting Jeremy Snyder and Eric Linster celebrated their Handfasting at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 New Perry Highway, Erie PA. Jeremy has been a volunteer chef for the annual Pride Picnic and is active with the Covenant of Brighid's Haven. Eric is originally from Aurora Illinois and is an avid Dagorhir fighter. The ceremony took place on the same day that Harold Camping had predicted as the date of the Rapture. Apparently, a gay Pagan wedding wasn't enough to trigger it. When marriage equality became legal in Pennsylvania on May 20, 2011, Jeremy and Eric applied for their legal marriage license on the 3rd anniversary of their handfasting and were the 3rd same-sex couple to apply in Erie County. They were subsequently legally married. See related article. See photos.
May 16 - Tim Dahle and Rex Young Wed Rex Young and Timothy Dahle were married in White River Junction, Vermont.. The couple lives in Edinboro PA. Tim was a subject in the documentary Out in the Silence. See related article. See photos.
Apr 26 - Lundi 'Lee' Verdoni passes on Lundy "Lee" Verdoni passed away after 14 years of illness due to HIV disease. He is survived by his partner of 19 years, Jack, and his four children, Lundy Jr., Dawn, Jennifer, and Joshua, a brother Dominic. See related article. See photos.
Apr 7 - 10 - Drenched Fur 7 Erie was once again the host for Erie's Exclusive Bear Weekend known as Drenched Fur. This time the run of incredible fun for over 200 men hailing from around the tri-state area and as far away as Texas, Indiana, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Toronto. See related article. See photos.
Apr 3 - Tom Goss and Jeremiah Clark at the Latonia On Sunday, April 3, musicians Tom Goss and Jeremiah Clark performed at the Latonia Ballroom and Event Center, 1 East First Street, Oil City PA. See related article. See photos.
Mar 4 - HIV/AIDS Benefit raises $1,000 for Ryan White Program at Community Health Net of Erie The Erie Divas of the Zone, the Imperial Court of Buffalo (ICOB) and friends from Jamestown put on an HIV/AIDS benefit for the Ryan White program at Community Health Net of Erie. Performers included Angelica Redd, Michelle Michaels, Celine Dashawn, Miss Erie 2010 Buffy Lynn Hayes, Empress XX Jade Jett of the ICOB, Mr Manny, Dana and Ciara Chaleen from Jamestown. Volunteers helping with the ticket raffle and ribbon sales included Misty Kal and Jimbo. Gene was a major help to all aspects of the event. Donors for the ticket raffle included Drew Riggs, Celine, Tommie and Brenda, Michelle Michaels, Tanglez Hair and Nail Studio, Emily Trejchel, and the door prize was a digital camera donated by Jade Jett. The Zone Dance Club also made a donation, bringing the amount raised to $1,000, which was twice the original goal. There was also a great turnout for the onsite HIV testing performed by Community Health Net. This was part of a weekend of fundraising by drag performers for HIV/AIDS taking place in Erie and Jamestown. See related article.
Feb 26 - Benefit for Presque Isle Gallery owner Laurie Edwards, owner of the Presque Isle Gallery and Coffeehouse (PIG), was receiving extensive treatments for cancer. A benefit for Laurie was held at the PIG with live music and a silent auction. See related article.
Jan 26 - Erie Town Hall Meeting & Equality on the Rocks Equality Pennsylvania, ACLU PA and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) organized an LGBT Town Hall meeting and social for about 65 area people. This was part of a statewide series of events. Representatives from area groups and individuals attended to learn more about being active in state and federal politics. The event was held at Matthew's Trattoria, 153 E 13th St, Erie. The organizers were pleased with the interest and excitement shown from by the local community and look forward to working more in Erie. They also were thankful to Rich McCarty, Equality PA Board Member & Mercyhurst Professor, for his help in making this event go so successfully. Also in attendance & helping to host was new Equality PA board member, Kevin Bennett. See related article. See photos.
Jan 16 - Johnny Weir Book Signing U.S. figure skating champion Johnny Weir had a book signing at the Erie Book Store. Some of the folks at the Pride planning meeting headed over after the meeting for autographs and browsing. Weir's book-a memoir- is entitled "Welcome to My World." See related article. See photos.
Jan 16 - Pride Planning Meeting About 16 people attended the first planning meeting for 2011 Pride events. The group was enthusiastic and a lot of groups and individuals were represented. In 2012, the Pride Planning committee incorporated as NW PA Pride Alliance. See related article. See photos.
About Jan - Erie Gay News assigned international library indexing number Erie Gay News has been assigned an ISSN (2159-1792) by the US ISSN Center at the Library of Congress. The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is an eight-digit number which identifies periodical publications as such, including electronic serials. This is a universal way of cataloging serials/periodicals. See related article.
Dec 19 - FACE Show: Toys for Tots Benefit Zone Night Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA devoted their monthly FACE Drag Show to benefiting Toys for Tots. $365 and about 20 toys were collected. Fundraising efforts included performers and support staff auctioning Barbie Dolls to look themselves. Performers included show organizer Michelle Michaels, Buffy Lynn Hayes, Mistress Vanitay, Celine Dashawn, Jill Jamison, Diva D'Vyne, Angelica Redd, and Siren, Lady of the Lake. In addition, stage manager Season auctioned a Barbie doll that included her signature clipboard with spikes and a riding crop. See related article. See photos.
Nov 21 - November FACE show at Zone and other activities benefit Food Bank The monthly Michelle Michaels' FACE drag show at the Zone Dance Club, 133 W 18th St, Erie PA, raised money and food for the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA. Between the drag show and other activities throughout November, $527 was raised to help provide food for the less fortunate. Drag performers included Jill Jamison, Trista Towers, Celine Dashawn, Mistress Vanitay, Glow Sorceror Buddy Dobson, and Michelle Michaels. See related article. See photos.
Nov 19 - Lake Erie Gala The 2010 Lake Erie Gala was held the week of November 14 at the Avalon Hotel. The event is organized by the Erie Sisters. Events began Wednesday the 17th with registration opening and dinner and game night at Calimari's. Tours began the following day, featuring excursions to Arrowhead winery, Peak n Peek resort for lunch, a tour of the Environmental center and a winery in Findlay Lake New York. A first time out to an such an event can be an ordeal for girls not having ventured out before, so first timer's to the Lake Erie Gala were welcomed each day with a meeting to help answer their questions and ensure their comfort. Thursday night saw a Moroccan themed dinner at the Avalon to coincide with Belly Dancing and instructions from the Fleming School of Dance. See related article. See photos.
Nov 11 - New Ashtabula group forms Initally called Let's Go Be Alive, the group later changes its name to Alive with Pride. See related article.
Oct 24 - Diversity Worship Service at Community United Church Community United Church, 1011 W 38th St, Erie PA, held a Diversity Worship Service to celebrate the worth and dignity of all of God's children, including LGBT. The service was led by Rich McCarty, assistant pastor and who also leads the Spirituality and Sexuality Discussion Group that meets at the church. You can read a member's experiences at the service here. See related article. See photos.
Oct 11 - Candlelight Vigil for Tyler Clementi and other GLBT suicide victims at EUP About 150 to 200 people gathered at the Edinboro University Pogue Student Center for a candlelight vigil in memory of nine victims of suicide that occurred in the month of September due to anti-gay bullying:Billy Lucas (15) September 9, 2010. Indiana; Cody J. Barker (17) September 13, 2010. Wisconsin; Seth Walsh (13) September 19, 2010. California; Tyler Clementi (18) September 22, 2010. New Jersey; Asher Brown (13) September 23, 2010. Texas; Harrison Chase Brown (15) September, 25 2010. Colorado; Raymond Chase (19) September 29, 2010. Rhode Island; Felix Sacco (17) September 29, 2010. Massachusetts; and Caleb Nolt (14) September 30, 2010. Indiana. These boys and young men were either gay or perceived to be gay. WICU TV 12 and WJET TV 24 both did stories. This was also for National Coming Out Day and part of the month long LGBTQIA Heritage Month events that Identity (Edinboro University's GSA) and the President's LGBTQIA Commission sponsored. Speakers/performers included Jamie Lutz, President, EUSGA, Inc.; Rev. Dr. Rich McCarty, Mercyhurst College; Elizabeth Meade, Vice-President, Identity (GSA) and Member of the President's Commission on the Status of Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgendered People and Allies; Dr. Philip Ginnetti, Provost of Edinboro University; Dr. Rhonda Matthews, Sociology/Honors College; Ondi Timoner, Two-Time Winner of Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival; Sue , Alumna, Edinboro University; Michael Mahler, co-editor and webmaster for Erie Gay News; Poem written and read by Edinboro Student Marc ; and Dr. Daniel Burdick, co-chair, PASSHE LGBTQIA Consortium, with comments and a solo tuba performance of, "Gabriel's Oboe," by Ennio Morricone. Representatives from all of Erie's LGBTQIA community organizations attended the event or sent their regards including the Erie Gay News, the LBT Women of Erie, Erie Gay Pride, Penn State - The Behrend College's GSA, and PFLAG Erie. See related article. See photos.
Oct 6 - Fran Reinsel dies Fran worked for Gaudenzia/SHOUT Outreach and before that, the Erie County Department of Health. She was a terrific advocate for the GLBT community and people living with HIV/AIDS. See related article.
Oct 2 - 2nd Annual GLBT Conference by Rainbow Pride Connection The Rainbow Pride Connection held their 2nd annual GLBT conference at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua NY. More than 70 people attended. A panel presentation/discussion was held before lunch discussing the unique points of view of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities while emphasizing the commonalities that unite us. After lunch, workshops were presented that included titles such as, "Gay & Lesbian History," "Increasing Intimacy with your Partner," "Trans 101 and Why did they stick the T to the LGB's?" and "Queer Eye for the Bible," presented by keynote speaker Rev. Rich McCarty. A full listing of the other workshops and workshop presenters can be found on the Rainbow Pride Connection's website. See related article. See photos.
Oct 2 - Zone Dance Club's Pink Weekend raises $1500 for Breast Cancer Awareness The 2010 Pink Weekend was phenomenally succesful and raised $1500 for Breast Cancer Awareness. The weekend included a Pink Party, featuring a Chinese auction and bake sale on Saturday, October 2, and a special edition of FACE on Sunday, October 3. The Zone is located at 133 W 18th St, Erie PA. Their web site is http://www.TheZoneDanceClub.com. See related article.
Sep 30 - LGBT Parent Support Group starts meeting Will Koehler and others from Family United Counseling, headquartered at Community United Church, begin a support group for LGBT parents. See related article.
Sep 13 - Oil City Council Proclaims Day of Recognition for 'Fair and Equal Treatment for All People' City council members signed a proclamation that designated September 13 as Joe Wilson Day. The tribute refers to former Oil City resident Joe Wilson who with his partner Dean Hamer, directed and produced the award winning film "Out in the Silence." See related article.
Aug 25 - So-called Bible Believing response to Out in the Silence at Coudersport Filmmakers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer attended a so-called "Bible Believing Response" to the earlier screening of Out in the Silence at the Coudersport Public Library. Diane Gramley sat peacefully behind Robert Wagner in the Coudersport Public Library as the retired physician shared his views on transgender individuals with the assembled audience. "I'm gonna put a ball bat in my car," he said, "and if I ever see a guy [Wagner refuses to use proper pronouns] coming out of a bathroom that my granddaughter's in, I'm gonna use the ball bat on him." See related article.
Aug 7 - GLBT Table at Blues and Jazz Festival For the second year, Erie's GLBT community had a table at the Erie Art Museum's Blues and Jazz Fest. Thanks go out to Ed for help with set up. Among the people helping to staff the table were Laurie Finch, Robert, Jerry McCumber, Paul, Mags, Will Koehler and Charlene Newport. Available at the table were copies of Erie Gay News, as well as info about LBT Women of Erie, Family United Counseling, and the new GLBT Parents group being started, A few people also stopped by to have face photos taken. Virtually all of the interaction was positive and friendly! See related article. See photos.
Jul 28 - Out in the Silence screening in Coudersport (Potter County) causes local controvery Although it turned out well, several groups, including the Potter County Tea Party, objected to the screening and threatened the funding for the local library. See related article.
Jul 25 - Gwyneth Henry and Tyreesha Richardson die in an early morning fire An early morning fire in their West 18th Street apartment claimed the lives of Gwyneth Henry, 44, and Tyreesha Richardson, 31. Gwyn and Tyreesha were a devoted couple, and left behind seven childen. A benefit was later held on July 30 for the children. See related article. See photos.
Jul 18 - Butler County PFLAG holds first LGBT picnic at Alameda Park About 80 people, including friends and organizations from Pittsburgh and Erie, enjoyed a very successful Rainbow Pride picnic. See related article. See photos.
Jul 17 - Ashtabula Pride Picnic The Ashtabula GLBT Outreach Alliance held a delightful and friendly picnic in Saybrook Township Park. The potluck picnic featured games, fun, prizes and good times for all. This was the second year that the group had a picnic. About 30-40 people attended the event. See related article. See photos.
Jul 8 - You Belong (in your legislator's office!): A Town Hall Forum and Training Session held at Craze Night Club Jason Crighton, Field Organizer for Eqaulity Partners of Western Pennsylvania, holds a foum and training session at Craze Night Club. See related article.
Jul 3 - 4th of July Parade sets record Over 20 people marched as a part of the GLBT community in the Millcreek 4th of July Parade, which was held on Saturday, July 3. Although this was the fifth year that there was a GLBT presence, previously, we had marched as part of the peace and justice contingent. The organizers for the parade were unfailingly gracious and supportive. Quite a few groups were represented, including Erie Gay News, LBT Women of Erie, PFLAG - Erie and Crawford Counties, Erie Gay Pride, and members, friends and supporters of the community. See related article. See photos.
Jun 12 - 18th Annual Pride Picnic The 18th Annual Erie Gay News Family Pride Picnic, held at the Rotary Pavilion was a great success! About 330 people, equal to last year's all time record, enjoyed a day of friends, food and fun. We also collected 127 pounds of food and $30 for the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA. See related article. See photos.
Jun 12 - Love Is Not A Crime: Project Mugshot In addition to the photos normally taken at the Pride Picnic, there was a special station for taking mugshots for the Love is Not a Crime project. See related article. See photos.
Jun 11 - 11th Annual Miss Erie Pageant The Zone Dance Club in Erie PA held the 11th Annual Miss Erie Pageant. The theme was Fairy Tales. The winner was Buffy Lynn Hayes and 1st runner up was Paris Mann. Other contestants included Rhiannon Angelina and Misty Kall. See related article. See photos.
Jun - Scholarship Recipient JoEllen Marsh, Daughter of first out lesbian mom in NW PA, Visits Rep. Dahlkemper in Washington JoEllen Marsh, a student at Mercyhurst College and a native of Russell, Pa. in Warren County, visited Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper in her office in Washington. Marsh was awarded the Boren Scholarship from the National Security Education Program to study Arabic in Amann, Jordan for one year. The Mercyhurst junior was in town for a formal award ceremony for the scholarship recipients and paid a visit to her congresswoman, Rep. Dahlkemper. In December 2002, JoEllen's mother, Lucinda Ann Marsh, became the first out lesbian and the first out GLBT parent in the region in a 3 part series that WSEE's Randy McIlwain did entitled "Erie's Gay 90's." Read the original article here. JoEllen and her sister, with their mother were also in the first ever Family Portrait taken on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse on October 28, 1995. You can see that photo and read more here. ] See related article.
May 23 - Stonewall Celebration at UU Erie The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 New Perry Highway, Erie PA held a Stonewall Celebration service in support of equality for LGBT people. Rev. Steve Aschmann led the service, which included performing and speaking by Pat Collins of Rainbow Pride Connection in Chautauqua County, NY, signing of a closet door, lighting of candles and a delightful coffeehour afterward. See related article. See photos.
May 17 - Delta Foundation starts Western Pennsylvania Advocacy Alliance (later known as Equality Partners of Western PA), hires J Delta Foundation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, forms a an advocacy alliance for LGBT issues in Western Pennsylvania and hires Jason Crighton as staff. This is a first for the region. See related article.
May 16 - Memorial for Abbey Atkinson at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie Friends and family gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 New Perry Highway, Erie PA to celebrate the life and memory of Abbey Atkinson, who died on April 19, 2010 at the age of 32. Abbey had been president of Trigon, the Penn State Behrend LGBT student group and had organized many events, including the hugely successful 2002 and 2003 Pride Weekends. She was preparing to take her bar exam in Florida after having graduated law school. She was unfailingly kind, cheerful and selfless. See related article. See photos.
Apr 19 - Abbey Atkinson dies In 2002, Abbey Atkinson organized Erie's first Pride Weekend as part of Trigon, the GLBT and ally student group at Penstate Behrend. She was a kind, cheerful and selfless woman who was always thinking of others.
Apr 11 - Tom Goss and Jeremiah Clark perform at Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse Openly gay singer/songwriters Tom Goss and Jeremiah Clark performed at the Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse as part of their spring tour. Many members of the community attended to enjoy the music, including members of the LBT Women of Erie. Be sure to check out Tom's new project, The Politics of Love, which deals with marriage equality. Photos are by Laurie Finch, coordinator for the LBT Women, with editing by Deb Spilko of Erie Gay News. See related article. See photos.
Apr 8 - 9 - Behrend Gender Conference Penn State Behrend, Erie PA, hosted its annual Gender Conference. This was a forum for educational exchange on issues of gender between students, staff, faculty and community members. See related article.
Mar 26 - Drenched Fur 6 Drenched Fur, Erie PA's Annual Bear event, held yet another fun-filled run! About 200 guys attended. The weekend included performances by Bearapalooza at Craze Night Club, a night out at the Zone Dance Club, a trip to Presque Isle Downs Casino, a winery tour, a buffet dinner with a performance by comedian William Brown, a private party at Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park, after parties and great times with friends! See related article. See photos.
Mar 22 - Mercyhurst Birthday Party for Fatimaah Several people got together to celebrate Fatimaah's birthday. Fatimaah had been through some tough times, and a surprise birthday party that including skating, cake, Wii games and friends was very fun. Kudos to all who made this happen, especially Dr. Marnie Sullivan, coordinator for the Mercyhurst GSA. Fatimaah and her girlfriend, Nicole, had a fun time. (There was some horseplay with frosting at the end. ;) ) See related article. See photos.
Mar 16 - PA SB 707 tabled/voted down in Judiciary Committee PA SB 707, which would have amended Pennsylvania's consitution to ban same sex marriage was killed in the PA Senate Judiciary Committee. Voting to table it (position favorable to the LGBT community) were Sen. Jame Earll (R) and Mary Jo White (R). See related article.
Mar 16 - Spirituality and Sexuality Discussion Group begins meeting Rich McCarty, assistant pastor at Community United Church, begins holding meetings of a Spirituality and Sexuality discussion group. See related article.
Mar 15 - Mark M Pacheco dies as a result of injuries from an assault Local gay man Mark M Pacheco was assaulted in Jamestown and died a few days later at Hamot Medical Center in Erie PA. Benefits were held at Skybar in Jamestown and The Zone Dance Club in Erie PA See related article.
Feb 19 - Out in the Silence Screening in Westfield NY There was a screening of the documentary, Out in the Silence at Patterson Library in Westfield New York, and attended by about 65 people. During the discussion period after the film, Lynn Johnson thanked panel member and Jamestown NY City Council President Greg Rabb for providing a safe space for GLBT students 18 years ago when she was a student at Jamestown Community College. See related article. See photos.
Feb 18 - GLBT Legislation and Legislative Advocacy meet-up at Craze About 30 people attended a GLBT legislation and legislative advocacy meeting at Craze Night Club. Presenters included Jesse Salazar, who heads Senator Bob Casey's statewide LGBT and Latino affairs, Gary van Horn and Thomas C. Waters from Delta Foundation in Pittsburgh, Mary Styn the aide from Senator Arlen Specters's Erie office and Kyle Hannon from Senator Casey's Erie office. See related article. See photos.
Feb 6 - emma's revolution concert at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie There was a delightful concert by folk duo emma's revolution at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Erie, 7180 New Perry Highway, Erie PA. Many in the local peace activist and progressive communities, as well as members of the LGBT community, had a great time enjoying the wonderful music. See related article. See photos.
Jan 4 - Greg Rabb continues as Jamestown Council President The Democratic caucus in a 7 to 2 majority asked Greg Rabb to continue as President of the Jamestown NY City Council for the 2010-2011 City Council, with swearing in on January 4. Rabb is Jamestown’s first openly-gay councilmember. See related article.
About Jan - HIV Testing at Lucille's in Jamestown From Keystone Alliance/GayLife Newsletter: Recently in our community, a series of multisponsored, free and confidential HIV tests took place at Lucille's, 520 Washington St., Johnstown, on Wednesday evenings in January and early February.