Equality Pennsylvania (52 Articles with 113,648 total views)
Equality Pennsylvania is the commonwealth’s leading organization advancing equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Pennsylvanians. As the only equality organization based in Harrisburg — we advocate for policy change at the municipal, state, and federal level; we organize grassroots supporters to engage in the political process; we educate the public about the experiences, values, and needs of LGBT people; and we endorse candidates who are committed to being champions for equality.
ALLENTOWN, PA – On February 14, 2018, Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong signed two administrative notifications enhancing LGBT non-discrimination protections in the county. The first notification clarified the county's own employment policy and the second mandates that county contractors and grantees also comply with the non-discrimination requirement.
HARRISBURG - January 10, 2018 – Pennsylvania has scored in the top half of states in the 2017 State Equality Index report, moving into the "Building Equality
" category for the first time.
READING, PA –
On Monday, December 18, 2017, Reading (Pennsylvania) City Council unanimously voted to approve a ban on 'conversion' therapy in the city. The ordinance was introduced by Councilman John Slifko and proposed by Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Reading.
HARRISBURG - December 5, 2017 -- On Tuesday, House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe went on a homophobic rant against minority Chairman Matt Bradford, who briefly touched Metcalfe's arm during a committee meeting. Among other things, Metcalfe said, "Representative Bradford, I'm a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife. I don't like men, as you might. But stop touching me all the time." Later, he said, "It's like, keep your hands to yourself. Like, if you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it. I don't."
HARRISBURG, Pa. - At its board of directors meeting on June 4, 2017, the Board of Directors of Equality Pennsylvania
accepted the resignation of Executive Director Ted Martin. Martin's last day with the organization will be June 30, 2017.
- May 22, 2017 – Equality Pennsylvania
submitted a letter to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission this week to show support for their new proposed guidance to treat discrimination against LGBTQ people as sex discrimination. This guidance mirrors the state of current law: that federal courts and agencies increasingly conclude that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
- May 18, 2017 – Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
and Equality Pennsylvania
released the Pennsylvania specific data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS). The data reveal disturbing discrimination trends and a range of disparities between transgender people and the general population of the United States in all areas of life.
– Today, Rep. Dan Frankel (D)
introduced the PA Fairness Act (HR-1410). The Senate bill, SB-613, was introduced by Senators Pat Browne (R) and Larry Farnese (D).
– Reacting to reports that the president plans to sign an Indiana-style religious exemption executive order on Thursday, May 4, Executive Director of Equality Pennsylvania
Ted Martin released the following statement: "We are highly concerned that this Executive Order, like previous failed Executive Orders from the Trump administration, will serve only to promote government-approved discrimination against women, LGBTQ people, and vulnerable populations. We simply can't afford another half-baked, ill-conceived Executive Order that does real damage to Americans in every community across the country. In Pennsylvania, protecting people from discrimination is a popular idea—and this Executive Order would do the opposite. Under the guise of ‘religious freedom,' this action would grant a license to discriminate that flies in the face of American values of equality and fairness."
Save the date for the Erie Town Hall
, one in a series of meetings across Pennsylvania being organized by Equality PA
about issues facing the LGBT community in 2017. Find out ways to get involved so that you can support LGBT people and take action locally and statewide The event will be at the Crime Victim Center of Erie County, 125 W 18th St, Erie PA on Monday, March 27th at 6:30pm.
Harrisburg - March 29, 2017
- Ted Martin, Executive Director, Equality Pennsylvania
spoke out today against the Trump Administration's new executive order that removes the existing requirement for federal contractors to have nondiscrimination policies that cover LGBTQ employees: "Gutting discrimination protections to LGBTQ federal contract employees is the wrong direction for America. Thankfully, Equality Pennsylvania has been able to work with Gov. Wolf to keep us on the right track here in Pennsylvania by protecting state employees and employees who work for state contractors. If jobs are what makes America great, then let's make sure that everyone has equal opportunity to get one, including gay and transgender people."
Harrisburg - February 23, 2017
– Equality Pennsylvania
Executive Director, Ted Martin, spoke out against the Trump administration after the administration rescinded the guidance for the Department of Education that Title IX protections cover transgender students: "With the statement from the Justice Department, the Trump administration is sending a message to transgender kids that the President of the United States doesn't have their backs. Every student should be treated fairly and equally under the law, and protecting transgender students helps ensure that they have the same opportunity as their classmates to fully participate in school.
– During Transgender Awareness Week, Equality PA staff, supporters and volunteers will be participating in visibility and awareness events to support and uplift transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Harrisburg - November 9. 2016
– Ted Martin, Executive Director, Equality Pennsylvania
gave this statement today in response to the presidential election results "Today's election result is a difficult blow to many in the LGBT community, women, and people of color. Many will see this as a backlash against the progress that we have made in the past decades. We know that LGBT Pennsylvanians are now fearful for their futures and their physical safety. Given the intense and often hateful rhetoric of the past several months we cannot blame them. However, the freedom to be who you are or to love whom you love is a fundamental American value and we will continue to work to protect that freedom. We know that we have bipartisan support for that fundamental value. Now is the time for unity, not fear and division.
Harrisburg - November 22, 2016
– Today groups representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and allies released a unity pledge to fight against any rollbacks of LGBT rights in the coming years. After a hard fought election cycle, many groups are concerned that LGBT rights may be on the chopping block in the new administration. These groups are pledging to fight to protect LGBT rights that have been so difficult to gain in recent decades.
- October 27, 2016 – Today the Pennsylvania legislature will close another session without moving legislation to end legal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in spite of two years of intense grassroots lobbying, serious negotiation, and support from both sides of the aisle.
– Equality PA
adds to the list of Equality Champions they endorsed in the Spring and announces more state legislative endorsements.
Under Pennsylvania's new policy, which is similar to the process for updating gender markers on US passports, proof of sex reassignment surgery is no longer a requirement in changing one's gender on their birth certificate. Individuals with a Pennsylvania birth certificate can update the gender by having their physician submit a letter stating that they have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. Information about specific treatment is not required, but it can include counseling related to gender identity or living in accordance with their gender identity. For those that are not yet 18 years of age, a parent can request a correction to the gender field on their child's birth certificate.
WASHINGTON -- A groundbreaking ad
depicting the challenges faced by transgender people in accessing public restrooms—and highlighting the lack of state and federal nondiscrimination protections for transgender people—will have its national television debut on FOX News Channel next Thursday, July 21, during the final night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The ad will air nationwide again on MSNBC during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia one week later.
– Earlier this week Sen. Pat Browne (R- 16) introduced three new bills that will update the PA Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in discrimination protections in the areas of employment, housing and business and government services.
- June 22, 2016 - Today the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing committee passed a bill that would update the Human Relations Act to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in housing and employment.
- May 13, 2016 - Earlier this month, Pennsylvania became the 17th state to ban discrimination against gender identity in health insurance practices. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took an important step forward by issuing Affordable Care Act regulations banning anti-trans discrimination in health care and insurance coverage. By issuing the Section 1557
of the ACA final rule, HHS is advancing health equity and reducing healthcare disparities for a number of minority communities. Under the rule, individuals are "protected from discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping."
- June 2, 2016 – Equality PA
Executive Director, Ted Martin, thanked Sen. Bob Casey today for signing on to co-sponsor the Equality Act (S 1858).
The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.
Eighteen congregations with faith leaders and people of faith from over 10 denominations including Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Jewish and Episcopalian faith traditions took action this past weekend to run petition drives, share sermons, and celebrate diversity while encouraging law makers in Harrisburg to ban discrimination against gay and transgender Pennsylvanians. Equality PA and Faith Leaders had this to say:
On Thursday, March 31, 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.
-With sharp divides between presidential candidates in the historic 2016 election, the stakes couldn’t be higher for LGBT people in Pennsylvania and across the country. Faced with the historic gains made toward equality under the Obama administration, it is crucial that the next president protect and advance the fight for equality across all areas of government. With proposals across the country to roll back hard-won protections, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Pennsylvanians need champions fighting for them at the state and federal level. Today, Equality PA
is proud to announce its full-fledged support for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.
- March 30, 2016 - With proposals across the country to roll back hard-won protections, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Pennsylvanians need champions fighting for them at the state and federal level. Today, Equality PA
is proud to announce its support for two important champions for equality: Josh Shapiro for Pennsylvania Attorney General and Katie McGinty for United States Senate. Both candidates have a strong track record of fighting for LGBT Pennsylvanians in the past, and both of them will be much-needed advocates in the state and national Capitols in the future.
- Equality PA
is proud to announce the endorsement of 15 outstanding candidates for the Pennsylvania State Assembly. Each endorsed candidate has a strong record of supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and will fight for equal rights for gay and transgender people from seats in the state legislature.
Harrisburg, PA. (March 31st, 2016) - In honor of the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) on March 31st, community members came together across Pennsylvania to raise awareness about the discrimination transgender people face. The TDOV was started in 2009 as a way to acknowledge and celebrate transgender people by Rachel Crandall, a transgender advocate in Michigan. Since then, it has been observed in a number of states and countries worldwide.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (April 4th, 2016)
- Anti-LGBT attacks by the Pennsylvania Family Institute were leveled this weekend to spread disinformation about the Pennsylvania Fairness Act-a bill that would bring jobs to Pennsylvania and expand economic opportunity for all Pennsylvanians. Equality PA
and fair-minded people across the state had this to say:
- April 6, 2016 – Below is a statement from Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality Pennsylvania on Governor Tom Wolf's two executive orders on non-discrimination:
International Transgender Day of Visibility
is an annual holiday occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. Please join us at the Mental Health Association of NW PA, 1101 Peach St, Erie PA (PLEASE NOTE! Location changed because of weather reports predicting thurnderstorms!)
on March 31 at 6:30 PM for this year's theme of #MoreThanVisibility. Visibility is important and it is not enough. We must take action to ensure that all transgender people can live fair, dignified lives. Come with your poems, your stories of discrimination, and any other experiences you want to share with the group as we #ShineALightOn discrimination towards our community. Also, if you're comfortable, come visible with TRANSPRIDE signs, stickers, posters, whatever!
This past weekend, another transgender woman was murdered in Philadelphia.
Her name was Maya Young. Maya was 25 years old. She grew up in Vineland, NJ and lived in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. Maya is the third transgender woman in Philadelphia murdered within a year.
New York, NY
– As part of the Pennsylvania Society celebrations, Equality PA hosted an awards reception to present the Bayard Rustin Award & the Pioneering Advocacy award. The reception was hosted at the residence of author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt.
The budget isn't the only thing that the legislature didn't get done this year. Because of the never-ending budget impasse, almost every other issue that Pennsylvanians care about was not addressed. One of those key issues is discrimination. Most Pennsylvanian's are shocked to learn that it is still legal in the commonwealth to be fired from your job, turned away from a business, or denied an apartment just for being gay or transgender.
– Equality PA
Executive Director, Ted Martin, released this statement today to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day set aside each year to remember those transgender people who were murdered simply because of who they are and to fight for justice for all transgender people.
– Earlier this week, it was reported that Keisha Jenkins, 22, is the 18th transgender woman of color to be killed in the United States in 2015. Earlier this year, in May, London Kiki Channel, 21, was also murdered in Philadelphia.
- October 20, 2015 – Today at Persad Center, Equality PA
, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) and the Center for American Progress released a new series of videos telling the stories of how the lack of discrimination protections in Pennsylvania affects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families in Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg - August 26, 2015
– Today the PA Fairness Act was introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to update the Human Relations Act to ensure that no one can be fired from a job, turned away from a business, or evicted from a home just for being gay or transgender.
April 28, 2015: Statement
from Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA
: "Today's oral argument at the Supreme Court is an historic moment that caps a collective decades-long movement for the freedom to marry. The question at issue is whether all people, including same-sex couples, are given the freedom to marry under the constitution. We believe that all loving and committed couples should have the freedom to marry—and we are very hopeful that the court will agree.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 2, 2015 –
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced today the appointment by the U.S. Army War College of Ted Martin to the War College's National Security Seminar (NSS). The NSS, which will take place this spring, is a capstone event for all War College students and faculty.
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people (206+ million) and their families live in a state that still needs to update or clarify its laws to include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
On Thursday, March 13th, 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
About a dozen Erie area people met with Shanea Leonard from Equality PA
on February 3. 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.
On January 26, Equality Pennsylvania
, ACLU P
A 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. All photos are by Allyson Diane Hamm, Statewide Organizer for Equality Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg, Pa., March 17, 2009— From start to finish this was a really exciting and educational experience.
On Sunday, February 8, about 30 people attended a meeting in Erie about passing GLBT equality legislation at the state level in Pennsylvania. The meeting had been convened by Steve Glassman, Chair of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission; Andy Hoover of the American Civil Liberties Union
and Jake Kaskey, outreach coordinator for Equality Advocates of Pennsylvania
. Much of the publicity for the meeting was via the GLBT Voter/Activist email list.
In an effort to help the LGBT community become a more effective voice for change, Equality Advocates Pennsylvania and the Value All Families Coalition, will be holding a Lobbyist Training Workshop at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Erie on Sunday, Aug. 26, from 1-3 PM.