Adrian Shanker Steps Down as President of Equality PA

Shanker speaking at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Photo courtesy of Washington Blade / Michael Key

Next month, Adrian Shanker will step down as president of Equality Pennsylvania, and discontinue his services on the organization’s Board of Directors. In a resignation email he sent out yesterday, he reflected on his time holding the position:

“I am very proud of the work we have accomplished during my tenure. We have doubled our operating budget and staffing levels and public opinion in Pennsylvania for LGBT equality is at an all-time high. We are on the verge of equality, and I am proud to have been a part of this organization at such a crucial time in history.”

But that begs the question: Why leave when Pennsylvania is in the midst of one of the most exciting LGBT battles in its history?

The answer is pretty simple: His two-year term is up, and he believes moving on is the right thing to do: “Organizations run better when leaders change every few years,” he tells me. “That’s why we have that in our bylaws. When that’s actually stuck to it does a lot of justice to the organization, it prevents personalities from getting in the way of the important work being done.”

Shanker was elected in 2011, succeeding Brian Sims, who, as we all know went on to win a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. During his tenure, Shanker played an instrumental role in passing a non-discrimination bill in Bethlehem, an ordinance that provided benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees in Allentown and Easton, and he was front and center for the enactment of Philly’s Equal Benefits Bill in 2011, and this year’s LGBT Equality Bill. In August, he represented queer folks across the nation as one of six LGBT delegates to speak at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

“The work I’ve done for the last two years has been incredibly meaningful, and I look forward to doing these types of things moving forward, but now I get to do it on my own terms.” Plus,” he laughs, “I look forward to spending more time with my husband.”

His replacement will be named following an election at the Equality PA Board of Directors meeting in November. Does he have any idea who it will be? “I can say that I wouldn’t be stepping down from my position if I didn’t feel confident in the leadership of the organization, and that one of my colleagues on the Board could step up and serve in this role.”