Meet the Millennial Behind Philly’s LGBT Equality Bill

millenials chris goy closeLast spring when I was covering Jim Kenney’s LGBT Equality Bill, I visited the councilman’s office in City Hall to learn more about it. During our conversation, I noticed he kept deferring to his young assistant in the corner, particularly when I asked about the many components extending rights to Philly’s transgender community. The assistant’s name was Chris Goy, 26, and what I later found out is that he was the driving force behind creating the bill, the person who hit the streets to talk to locals about ways to make Philadelphia better when it comes to offering all-inclusive LGBT rights, the person who wrote the entire thing — all 35 pages of it.

When the bill ultimately passed council, I noticed that Goy’s work in the process was barely mentioned in media outlets. That’s why I was excited when I had the chance to profile him in the current issue of Philadelphia magazine, in a package that highlights the city’s millennial population. Though he says he is totally fine doing his work in the background (“I think of myself as a conduit for other people’s good ideas”), he opened up to me about the Equality Bill-making process, and why he thinks Philly will continue to be a magnet for young queer people for years to come. Here’s an excerpt:

Goy moved to University City in January to pursue his master’s in public administration at Penn … In his short time here, he’s become such a believer in Philly’s support for the community that he and his partner have decided to stay when he graduates next spring. … Philadelphia, he trusts, will not only keep fighting for all the rights we deserve, but continue to beckon young, intrepid queer folk for years to come. “You can go far in Philadelphia. You can make a name for yourself,” he says. “I think that’s really appealing to gay millennials. They’ve got talent, and they just need a place where people are receptive enough to give them a chance. Philadelphia is definitely that place.”

I was impressed by his enthusiasm for policy creation, but above all thankful that there are folks like him out there working hard to ensure that Philadelphia is one of the LGBT-friendliest cities in the country, a feat that’s especially tough — and imperative — in a state with some of the most backward LGBT laws in the country. Goy tells me that when he graduates from Penn, he wants to continue working in policy, and one day become a Philadelphia city manager, where he’ll not only work for LGBT rights, but other issues that will make the city run better — from public transportation to poverty.


To read the rest of my profile, go here.

 

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  • Chris Goy

    Thanks, Josh! All the real credit goes to the decades of fighting that came before us Millennials even learned our multiplication tables. Beyond Councilman Kenney’s team, much of the hard work on the bill also should be credited to: Philly’s terrific Trans* activists (and their allies); a willing City Council; and brilliant people at the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs and Commission on Human Relations. Without them, none of this year’s successes would have been possible.