Report on Mayor's LGBTQ+ Advisory Council Meeting

by Mike Mahler

The Mayor's Advisory LGBTQ+ Advisory Council held their second meeting on Friday, November 16. Michael Mahler and Tyler Titus recapped important points from the first meeting of the Governor's Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, held on November 2 in Harrisburg. Leah Manino reviewed highlights from the LGBT Health Needs Assessment Stakeholder Meeting that Greater Erie Alliance for Equality had presented earlier in the fall. This was the results of a statewide survey by the PA Department of Health of LGBTQ+ individuals that is conducted online every three years.

Local upcoming events were also discussed, and Erie City Mayor Schember was asked about speaking at the World AIDS Day observance organized by Erie County HIV Task Force. Erie City Hall also flew a World AIDS Day flag on December 1.

Also discussed was the upcoming E3 LGBTQ Youth Summit, to be held at Strong Vincent Middle School April 12-13, 2019.

The proposed ordinance for the City of Erie to ban "conversion therapy." was discussed. National Center for Lesbian Rights will be contacted about adaptations that can be made from a proposed ordinance from Bethlehem PA.

The Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index for Erie was raised to 50 out of a possible 100 from last year's score of 39, and it is believed that there may still be points that Erie should be getting and there are also points that could be easily added to raise our rating.

The City of Erie will also be participating in The People's Supper, a national program that aims to repair the breach in our interpersonal relationships across political, ideological, and identity differences, leading to more civil discourse. The City of Erie has planned a series of dinners for the first half of 2019, and some members of the LGBTQ Advisory Council will be serving as facilitators at upcoming dinners, after receiving training. Other demographic groups are also going to be involved.


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