THE LGBTQ+ EQUALITY CAUCUS 


LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus denounces Mastriano bill to ban drag shows

(Jan 26, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, are denouncing state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s, R-Adams/Franklin, proposed bill to ban drag shows in Pennsylvania public places. This bill would place drag shows under the “adult-oriented business” classification. “The LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus recognizes that this legislation – which has no chance of becoming law – is a sad stunt by Mastriano and shows Republicans’ lack of addressing important issues facing our families. “When all a politician or party can offer you is a list of who to hate, what to ban, and what marginalized group to blame — it’s because they have no serious ideas to help solve your actual problems. This fact-free legislation has zero chance of becoming law or making communities safer, but has a very serious chance of increasing violence against performers, venues and guests.” Kenyatta said. Benham stated that this bill could lead to further attacks on LGBTQ+ individuals. “Drag shows are a celebration of identity,” Benham said. “This bill has no basis in any actual threat to the safety of young people and provides the foundation for attacks against the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to exist in public.” Many Republican legislators across the country have introduced similar legislation to ban or put restrictions on Read more

 

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus urges Central Bucks SD to reconsider wrong-headed policy

(Jan 11, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 11 – The PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus issued the following statement on Central Bucks School District’s new policy that limits what teachers can discuss and display in the classroom. “Last night, the Central Bucks School Board voted 6-3 to adopt a wrongheaded policy to ban teachers from displaying any number of items in the classroom in the name of ‘neutrality.’ But we see this policy for exactly what it is -- another attempt to muzzle free expression, effectively ‘disappear’ members of our communities and silence the exchange of ideas that we should all want in our classrooms. The existence of LGBTQ people is not salacious. But let us be clear: turning our classrooms into a political proxy war is wrong. “At best -- and giving a large benefit of a doubt that this policy comes from the best intentions -- this will have a chilling effect on the lives of LGBTQ youth in the district. At worst, this represents an Orwellian erasure of the truth that these students are living, one that will shame and isolate young people at a critical time in their lives. “At a time when policies like these are being pushed across our nation by far-right extremist interests who seek political gain regardless of the costs, we are calling on the district to do the right thing, to re-consider this wrongheaded policy, and to help send a message that our communities will not tolerate these kinds of attacks on individual Read more

 

PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus celebrates step forward in state’s nondiscrimination policies

(Dec 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 8 – In celebration of an affirmative vote today by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that will enable the PA Human Relations Commission to investigate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement: “LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians now have a legitimate avenue for recourse when they face discrimination from a landlord, employer or in public accommodations. This, along with today’s passage of the landmark Respect for Marriage Act at the federal level, makes today a truly momentous day for LGBTQ+ individuals in our state and across the nation. “While these hard-won victories warrant celebration, it’s important for us to recognize that the fight for true equality is far from over. Members and allies of this community have given blood, sweat, tears and, in some cases, their own lives to get us this far. We can’t quit now. “Pursuing legislation to make these important protections permanent remains one of our top priorities in the General Assembly, and it will be until they are enshrined in our state law. We look forward to championing the PA Fairness Act among other bills to make Pennsylvania equitable for all.” Read more

 

PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus applauds move to adopt nondiscrimination protections

(Dec 07, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – After nearly a decade of stonewalling by Republicans in the state legislature, the PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, today offered their full support for a move by Gov. Tom Wolf and the PA Human Relations Commission ahead of a PHRC vote tomorrow that could solidify nondiscrimination protections in the state: “It’s 2022 and Pennsylvania still has no law on the books to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, a situation which is completely unacceptable and, quite frankly, embarrassing. “In the realms of employment, education, and housing, it’s currently legal in our commonwealth to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While our caucus fought tooth-and-nail for more comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, like the PA Fairness Act , in previous legislative sessions, the Republican majority at the time did everything they could to obstruct and prevent progress. “That is why we are offering our full support to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to secure these basic, long overdue protections for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians; something that the General Assembly failed to do for decades under a Republican majority. Additionally, we look forward to re-introducing the PA Fairness Act to enshrine these protections into our state law.” The PHRC is scheduled tomorrow to vote on Regulation Read more

 

PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus issues statement on World AIDS Day

(Dec 01, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 1 – PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement on World AIDS Day: “On this World Aids Day, we recognize the effect this disease and the stigma of it has had on the LGBTQ+ community across the world. “While medical improvements have been made to address this disease, there is still much more we can be doing. According to the CDC, over half of people living with HIV in the US are gay and bisexual men. “We cannot allow this horrible disease to continue to disproportionately affect our communities. Our caucus is committed to working with medical professionals, LGBTQ+ advocates, elected officials and anyone who cares about AIDS to keep LGBTQ+ individuals safe from this horrible disease.” Read more

 

Frankel, Muth to hand off LGBTQ+ Caucus Leadership

(Nov 29, 2022)

Kenyatta, Benham will lead the caucus in 2023-24 session Read more

 

Celebrate sport, embrace competition, practice empathy and stop attacking transgender athletes

(Apr 29, 2022)

If a kid wants to compete, let them. If that kid happens to be an excellent athlete and outstanding person, celebrate them. That’s it. Please stop these unnecessary and hateful attempts to target certain populations just because you’ve been led to believe some lie about fairness. Read more

 

State lawmakers demand action on PA Fertility Act

(Apr 26, 2022)

“Just to give you an idea of what many aspiring families are facing, one day my insurance had not been loaded and our bill for that day came to $15,000,” said State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, who has undergone needed fertility treatments in the wake of her husband suffering injuries as a result of his work as a combat veteran. “This is the sad reality for too many hardworking people across Pennsylvania attempting to start a family.” Read more

 

Lawmakers to seek easier name-change process for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians

(Jan 20, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 20 – Members of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus are introducing legislation that would destigmatize and create a safer and easier name-change process for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians, especially transgender, non-binary and gender expansive people in the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus is a bipartisan and bicameral caucus made up of members of the General Assembly whose mission is to advocate for equality for LGBTQ+ communities across Pennsylvania. Reps. Brian Sims, D-Phila., Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Sen. Katie Muth, D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery, are co-chairs of the caucus. Spurred by a Pennsylvania Senate Policy Committee hearing on the barriers in Pennsylvania for the transgender community in June 2021, members of the caucus worked with stakeholders to draft six key pieces of legislation to update Pennsylvania’s antiquated name change process and provide funding and safeguards for those seeking to change their name. The legislative package is being co-authored by Frankel and Muth, Reps. Nancy Guenst, D-Montgomery/Phila., Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny, Ben Sanchez, D-Montgomery, Melissa Shusterman, D-Montgomery, and Joe Webster, D-Montgomery; and state Sens. Amanda Cappelletti, D-Delaware/Montgomery, Tim Kearney, D-Chester/Delaware, and Lindsey Williams, D-Allegheny. Co-sponsorship memorandums have been circulated and the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus is calling on their colleagues in both chambers to sign onto these important Read more

 

As trans individuals are targeted, coalition calls for action on hate crime bills

(Jun 19, 2020)

In the aftermath of the recent murder of members of the LGBTQ community, the recent historic Supreme Court ruling, and ongoing conversations about equality and justice in our society, the Pa Coalition Against Hate today issued the following statement: Read more

 

Lawmakers call for vote on PA LGBTQ+ civil rights bill

(Jun 16, 2020)

In the wake of Monday’s historic Supreme Court ruling affirming workplace discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, members of the Pennsylvania House LGBTQ Equality Caucus today requested that H.B. 1404 – the Pennsylvania Fairness Act – be immediately voted upon by the House State Government Committee, where it has languished since being introduced. Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus letter to committee

(Jun 16, 2020)

Members of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus sent a letter requesting a committee vote for HB1404 Read more