Equality PA Kicks Off #DiscriminationExists to Put a Stop to LGBT Discrimination in PA

This afternoon, state LGBT advocacy group Equality PA along with 30 other statewide equality groups kicked off a new campaign that seeks to end LGBT discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.

#DiscriminationExists is a weeklong education campaign that spotlights the fact that, despite recent victories in marriage equality, many states are still way behind when it comes to protecting its LGBT citizens from discrimination. This was made even more glaringly obvious last week when the Human Rights Campaign released its State Equality Index, showing Pennsylvania at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to offering basic rights to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The campaign asks everyday people to share their stories about discrimination in their states via social media using the hashtag #DiscriminationExists. The stories, like this one that details numerous instances of discrimination in Pennsylvania, are shared at discriminationexists.org and, thanks to the power of social media, on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram feeds across the world.

“Discrimination does exist in Pennsylvania, but we know that we can take steps to make sure that all people are protected so they will have the opportunity to earn a living for themselves and their families and build a better life,” says Equality PA Executive Director Ted Martin when asked to sum up the campaign. Several local leaders have signed up to initiate participation in Philadelphia, including rumored mayoral candidate Jim Kenney, GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales, Rev. Jeffrey Jordan-Pickett of Whosoever Metropolitan Community Church, and transgender advocating powerhouse Sharron Cooks.

The campaign, which was supposed to kick off with an announcement in Philadelphia that was cancelled due to the snow storm, is happening now through January 30th. Join the conversation using the hashtag #DiscriminationExists on all your social media accounts, and read what others have to say at discriminationexists.org. Let’s push our stories out there so hard that naysayers won’t be able to help but sit up, pay attention and initiate change.

You can also take part in this handful of events taking place throughout the state:

Small Business Press Event in Scranton
Tues. Jan. 27 at 1:00 PM, Scranton Hilton – Small business owners and community members will gather to rededicate their efforts to nondiscrimination this year.

Business Networking Breakfast in Harrisburg
Wed. Jan. 28 at 8:30 AM, 39 East Wing, Capitol Building, Harrisburg – This event in Harrisburg will highlight the support of businesses large and small to update our laws in PA to stay competitive with our neighboring states when it comes to retaining and attracting the best workforce for our state.

Prayer Breakfast for Nondiscrimination in Pittsburgh
Mon., Feb. 2 from 8:00-10:00 AM – St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1965 Ferguson Rd., Allison Park, PA – The focus of our breakfast will be on raising awareness that discrimination is still a legal reality in this state. We are imploring the faith community to have a voice on this issue, as discrimination of any kind is very much a moral and spiritual issue.