Pa. Senate Committee Approves LGBT Discrimination Protections Bill

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

Photo courtesy of Philly Bricks.

The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee voted 7-4 Wednesday to pass legislation that would prohibit discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in Pennsylvania.

The bill, Senate Bill 1307, was one of three bills Republican Senator Pat Browne introduced recently to update the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

Browne’s original legislation had sat dormant in committee until he split the bill to encourage more Republicans to support it. Some legislators did not support a section of the original legislation that would’ve allowed transgender men and women the right to access public restrooms that do not identify with their birth sex.

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Why Pennsylvania’s Hate Crime Laws Still Lack LGBT Protections

hate crime laws

In the wake of the country’s worst-ever mass shooting, the nation’s cry for change is hard to ignore.

In the early morning of June 12th, a gunman opened fire at a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, killing 49, wounding 53, and leaving a horrific mark on the nation.

The massacre has brought discussions of hate crimes to the forefront of the country. Was the rampage fueled by terrorism and the killer’s professed ties to the Islamic State, or was it a hate crime against the LGBTQ and Latinx communities? President Barack Obama said it was both “an act of terror and an act of hate,” but federal investigators aren’t yet sure what to call it.

In Pennsylvania, members of the LGBTQ community are not covered by the state’s hate crime legislation, meaning crimes committed in the state based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be charged as hate crimes.  Read more »

The Ben Franklin Bridge Will Glow Rainbow for Orlando Victims

The Ben Franklin Bridge will light up in honor of the victims of the Orlando shooting, the Delaware River Port Authority announced Tuesday.

You can expect to see the suspension bridge, which connects Camden to Philly, illuminated in rainbow colors Wednesday night through Saturday night.

The bridge will join structures and monuments around the world that will glow in remembrance of the 49 lives claimed and the 53 wounded by a gunman who opened fire early June 12th in Pulse, a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. It was the country’s deadliest mass shooting.

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TOP PICKS: 5 Unique LGBTQ Events This Weekend

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FRIDAY EVENTS

COLOURS’ 25th Anniversary Opening Reception
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street; all ages.

To kick off its 25th anniversary, LGBTQ advocacy organization COLOURS is hosting a free reception at the William Way Center. Guests can visit a special exhibit spotlighting the stories, art, and culture behind the work the group has been doing in the community over the years. Read more »

Q&A: Malcolm Kenyatta on Being Openly LGBTQ in Local Politics

Malcolm Kenyatta, 25, is known as "North Philly's Biggest Fan."

Malcolm Kenyatta, 25, is known as “North Philly’s biggest fan.”

How would you best describe your career?
At my core, I’m just a kid from North Philly who refuses to leave. I was born and raised in the neighborhood, went to college here, left for a year or so, and then came back first chance I got. I’m also a believer in the power of words to make change – politically or artistically. My passion in the arts goes back to college, when I founded a performance group, Babel (Temple’s poetry collective). For the past two years I’ve been one of the producers for a play, You Gotta Eat Dirt Before You Die, and used it as a platform to discuss and raise awareness around HIV/AIDS. Politically, at 25 I’m the youngest member of the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club board of directors, a Point Foundation mentor, was recently elected to the board of directors of Smith Playground and appointed president of the Philadelphia NOW (National Organization for Women) Education Fund, which raises awareness about issues involving women and families. Read more »

Philadelphia to Get LGBTQ Victim Advocate

Via Shutterstock

Via Shutterstock

This is huge news for LGBTQ Philadelphians and visitors to our city: Center City Crime Victim Services (CCCVS) has announced that they are creating a full-time Victim Advocate position that will serve LGBTQ crime victims within Philadelphia.

According to press materials from CCCVS:

“Understanding the varied concerns facing LGBT crime victims, the LGBTQ Victim Advocate will serve to foster a sense of safety and support for victims that face complex barriers to reporting crime and participating in the criminal justice process. In addition to serving individual victims, the LGBTQ Victim Advocate will work to establish greater awareness and education surrounding the rights of all crime victims in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania…We are critically aware of the impact crime has on the LGBT community…Through community outreach and education in conjunction with individual services, we are seeking to educate and empower LGBT victims of crime.”

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43% of Philly’s Homeless Youth Identify as LGBTQ

Via Shutterstock

Via Shutterstock

It’s a staggering statistic that can’t be ignored: A January 2015 survey conducted by Valley Youth House, Covenant House, Project HOME, the Attic Youth Center, the Mazzoni Center, and more, found that 43% of homeless youth in Philadelphia identify as LGBTQ. The data has become a call to action, so to speak, for many youth service organizations in the region. Read more »

Faces of Philly Pride 2015: An Instagram Photo Essay

One of the most beautiful things about Pride is that, no matter where in Philly you celebrate, it’s an annual reminder that it really is a full community of so many different types: Every gender, sexuality, color, and social status come together for the same reason. Sure, at first glance, there’s a heck of a lot of half-naked dudes strutting on stages, but when you pull back the layers, you can see the faces of Pride are so varied and so beautiful, that it’s hard to ignore. We were keeping a close eye on your Instagram pictures today and selected a collection to share with you that we think captures that essence of variety, and what Pride is all about. Read more »

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