PA Commission on LGBTQ Affairs meeting on August 21

On August 21, the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs held their quarterly meeting at the Governor's Regional Office in Pittsburgh. Executive Director Rafael Alvarez Febo reported on essential policies and executive orders that included the Department of Transportation changing gender markers on driver's licenses, supporting trans youth, and working with the Pennsylvania Human Relation Commission to update the definition of sexual discrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. State departments and agencies are working on collecting sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data with other types of demographic data because knowing who we serve tell us how to serve.  Executive orders are expected to support equal access to fertility therapy and cross-agency cooperation for name changes.

The Commission is helping to support the passage of the Equality Act in the US Senate by actively seeking op-eds from business & faith leaders. We have partners who can help with drafting letters.

While Black and Brown commissioners caucused, ally commissions dissed how to support communities of color effectively.

Legislation and Policy committee is working on passage of the Equality Act at the federal level, as well as recognition by state agencies of LGBTQ as a community of interest. They are also exploring educational opportunities with both caucuses in the state legislature.

Youth and Youth Services committee is working on fighting so-called conversion therapy through multiple angles, including working with insurance providers, board and agencies that provide licensing of providers, and municipal legislation.

The Housing committee is developing events and planning a trown hall to gather info.

Health committee is working on fertility treatments to those assigned female at birth and looking at booster shots for COVID-19 for HIV+ people whose HIV is not controlled.

Aging committee has signed a letter to the acting PA Health secretary on nursing home rights. They have also been working with the PA Department of Aging on gathering SOGI data. The Aging committee also presented at the June meeting of the PA Association of Area Aging Agencies. Aging secretary Torres has passed a policy recognizing LGBTQ as a community of greatest need. The Aging committee has also helped the PA Department of Aging develop a page on their site for HIV and seniors, similar to a page dealing with diabetes as a chronic disease.

The Commission scheduled its quarterly meetings through the end of 2022. On November 12, 2021, they will meet in Allentown, on February 12 in Harrisburg, on May 21 in Philadelphia at the William Way Center, on August 12 in Erie, and on November 18 in Harrisburg.

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