World AIDS Day 2015

World AIDS Day has been held each year since 1988 for communities to come together in combating HIV. Events will be held throughout Pennsylvania to demonstrate support for those living with HIV and honor those who have died.

For World AIDS Day 2015, the following public LGBTQ-related community events will take place in Pennsylvania:

Pearls and Bow Ties Evening Social
Thursday, December 3rd – 7:00pm
Stage on Herr
Hosts: Alder Health Services, LGBT Center of Central PA, and Gaudenzia Inc.
More Information

Over 20 events the week of December 1st
Philly Magazine has a listing of 21 events here

World AIDS Day Commemoration
Tuesday, December 1st – 7:30pm
Heinz Memorial Chapel
Host: The Pitt Men’s Study
More Information

HIV/AIDS has just turned 30 years old and Pennsylvania continues to be one of the most impacted states in the nation (CDC 2009).

The CDC recently reported that the rate of infection among gay and bisexual men in on the rise – especially in young men of color. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has useful factsheets on HIV in disproportionately impacted communities: HIV and African Americans | HIV and Latinos/Hispanics | HIV and Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) (Gay, Bisexual men) | HIV and Transgender People | HIV and Youth

A recent CDC study found that one in five urban gay/bisexual men in America are HIV positive, and only half of those infected are aware of their status. We continue today in the HIV/AIDS crisis – hoping for the resources to have an HIV free generation. Supporting HIV/AIDS awareness, education and support all throughout the year is absolutely critical.

HIV/AIDS Resources in Pennsylvania
Keystone Health (Chambersburg)
The Northwest PA Rural AIDS Alliance (Clarion, Erie)
AIDS Community Alliance (Harrisburg)
Action AIDS (Philadelphia)
ACT UP – Philadelphia (Philadelphia)
AIDS Fund (Philadelphia)
AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
The Attic Youth Center (Philadelphia)
GALAEI – The Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (Philadelphia)
Philadelphia FIGHT (Philadelphia)
Safegaurds (Philadelphia)
AIDS Coalition of Southwestern Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)
Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force (Pittsburgh)
Project Silk (Pittsburgh)
Shepard Wellness Community (Pittsburgh)
Adagio Health (Western PA)
The Northeastern Regional HIV Planning Coalition (Wilkes-Barre)

General LGBTQ Healthcare Providers
The Mazzoni Center (Philadelphia)
Alder Health Care (Harrisburg)
PERSAD (Pittsburgh)


To add an event to the listing in this post, please email

Image: GLAAD

Eight Pennsylvanians Named in the Out 100 for 2015

Out Magazine has released the ‘Out 100’ since 1994, featuring individuals who the publication considers having made compelling contributions to society as out LGBTQ people.

This year, eight Pennsylvanians – those born or who live in the commonwealth – have been named to the Out 100 list for 2015:

Alison Bechdel and The Fun Home Family (Beech Creek)
Lee Daniels, Filmmaker, Actor, and Director (Philadelphia)
Adam Joseph, Meteorologist (Philadelphia)
Chip Kidd, Author and Graphic Designer (Reading)
Andy Mientus, Actor (Ross Township)
Hari Nef, Model (Philadelphia)
The Legends: Edie Windsor (Philadelphia) and
Evan Wolfson (Pittsburgh),  Marriage Equality Advocates

[Pictured: Adam Joseph]

Pennsylvania Remembers and Celebrates Trans Lives

The International Transgender Day of Remembrance
(TDoR) is held in local communities and campuses across the nation to memorialize those who have been killed due to anti-transgender bigotry. Many victims of anti-transgender violence have been invisible in their communities and attackers not often brought to justice.
The 17th Annual TDoR brings together communities to mourn and honor victims of anti-transgender hate crimes and as a call to action towards the respect of all people regardless of gender identity or expression.

In 2015, Pennsylvania mourns London Chanel, 21, and Kiesha Jenkins, 22, both black trans women who were mercilessly killed in Philadelphia. In July 2013, another young trans woman, Diamond Williams, was brutally murdered in Philadelphia. The court case is ongoing in her murder. There have been countless known slayings of transgender people because of their identity around the world since last year. The TDoR website memorializes the murders of over 75 transgender individuals we are aware of.

At the start of  November 2015, there are at least 11 TDoR events scheduled in Pennsylvania. Over 25 organized vigils were held in communities throughout the commonwealth for TDoR in 2014. This was a large increase from just a few events held in Pittsburgh and Southeastern Pennsylvania before in 2013.

November is also Transgender Awareness Month. Many communities are not just mourning those lost to violence, but celebrating and lifting up the lives of transgender people. There are wonderful educational and community events set to take place throughout Pennsylvania. Several student organizations are holding Transgender Awareness Weeks.

Transgender Day of Remembrance in Pennsylvania

November 20th, 2015

The Ice House Gazebo (57 River Street), November 15th, 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Kehr Union (400 East 2nd Street), November 19th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Bloomsburg University LGBTA Commission

University of Pittsburgh – Bradford, Wick Hall (300 Campus Drive), November 20th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Host: LGBTS Alliance
More Information

Dickinson College (Britton Plaza), November 20th, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
More Information

Clarion University (Outside the Gemmell Student Complex), November 19th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Clarion University Allies

Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Collegeville (3424 Ridge Pike), November 20th, 7:00pm – 7:45pm
Host: Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Collegeville
More Information

Memorial Park (500 Bloom Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Host: Shiloh United Church of Christ

Edinboro University Pouge Student Union (219 Meadville Street), November 20th, 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: Edinboro University Identity

More Information

The Avalon Hotel – Courtyard (16 West 12th Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: TransFamily of Erie

More Information

Arcadia University (450 South Easton Road), November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Host: Pride

More Information

The Steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building (3rd and State Streets), November 20th, 5:30pm – 6:00pm
Host: TransCentral PA

More Information

Haverford College (Founders Steps), November 20th, 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: TransCentral PA

More Information

Binns Park (120 North Queen Street), November 20th, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
More Information

Lock Haven
Lock Haven University – Rogers Gymnasium (401 North Main Street), November 20th, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Host: Lock Haven GSA

Bucknell University – Olin Science Quad (701 Moore Avenue), November 17th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Bucknell University GSA
More Information

The Penn LGBT Center (3907 Spruce Street), November 16th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Host: The Penn LGBT Center

The William Way Community Center (1315 Spruce Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: The William Way Community Center
More Information

Drexel University – Dragon Statue (33rd and Market Streets), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Drexel FUSE
More Information

University of Pittsburgh Law School, November 19th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Host: OUTLaw and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA)

University of Pittsburgh (William Pitt Union Patio), November 19th, 9:00pm – 10:00pm
Host: Rainbow Alliance

Carnegie Mellon University (The Cut), November 20th, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Host: CMU Allies
More Information

Schenley Plaza (4100 Forbes Avenue), November 20th, 5:30pm – 7:00pm
Host: Garden of Peace Project
This is a Trans March of Resilience Event, incorporating a remembrance and celebration program
More Information

Cabrini College (610 King of Prussia Road), November 19th, 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Host: Office of Student Diversity

More Information

Calvary Reformed United Church of Christ (640 Centre Avenue), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Reading Pride

Courthouse Square, November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:15pm

State College
Penn State University Park (Old Main), November 20th, 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: Penn State LGBTA Student Resource Center
More Information

Zion United Church of Christ (14 North 8th Street), November 18th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Pocono Interfaith LGBT Alliance
More Information

First Presbyterian Church (100 East Wheeling Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
More Information

West Chester
West Chester University of Pennsylvania – Sykes Union 115 (700 South High Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: LGBTQA Services
More Information

November 2015 Transgender Awareness Events

November 12th
Bucknell University: Trans* Awareness Speaker – Vanessa Gonzalez
Rooke Chemistry Building, 7:00pm – 8:00pm

November 20th
University of Pennsylvania: Gender Talk
Penn LGBT Center, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

If you would like to add your event to this page, please email us at



PYC and GLSEN: Criminalization of Cyberbullying is the Wrong Move for PA

Statement from the Pennsylvania Youth Congress on the General Assembly Passage of HB 229
Criminalization of Cyberbullying Expected to Harm Minority Youth Most

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Youth Congress expresses its concern with the unanimous passage on Monday of HB 229 from the State Senate. The legislation, championed by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-105), was approved by the State House of Representatives in a 193-5 vote in February 2015, and now awaits approval from Governor Wolf. The cyber-harassment bill provides for the specific criminalization of sexual-based cyberbullying – by both adults toward minors, and minors toward other minors.

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress recognizes the importance of diverse legal methods in addressing bullying and harassment. However, criminalization laws directed toward young people often are disproportionately and misapplied to youth of color, LGBT youth, and youth with disabilities. Further, the Pennsylvania Youth Congress calls for increased efforts toward bullying prevention and positive behavior support, to curb this type of behavior from occurring in the first place.

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress lauds the intentions and hard work of Rep. Marsico and others supporting this legislation. While HB 229 includes a provision for youth to be directed to a “diversionary program” before being placed into the juvenile justice system, school safety data does not provide evidence that it will be evenly applied to minority youth.

In the rush to criminalize this behavior, we tend to pull ourselves away from meaningful violence prevention,” said Jason Landau Goodman, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress. “We are failing as a state when we prioritize reactive crime bills over proactive legislation to help secure positive futures for young Pennsylvanians. We need to send students engaging with this destructive behavior to school support staff – not funnel more into prison.

“Bullying and harassment in schools should be addressed through proactive approaches to improving school climate,” said Nathan Smith, GLSEN’s Director of Public Policy. “We are disappointed that the Pennsylvania legislature has chosen to address these serious issues through the criminal justice system.

“GLSEN does not support policies that criminalize youth, particularly when those policies disproportionately affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, who are three times as likely to have been involved with the criminal or juvenile justice system as a result of school-related infractions.

The United States Department of Education – Office of Civil Rights found that there exists a significant racial discrepancy between students being referred to law enforcement (Civil Rights Data Collection 2014). Additionally, their report identified Pennsylvania was among 11 states in the country which have a rate higher than the national average of suspending more black students than white students. While non-white students comprised less than 30% of the Pennsylvania public school enrollment in 2011-2012 school year, the Office of Civil Rights identified that 93% of out-of-school suspensions were issued to them. Both black and hispanic Pennsylvania students were more than twice as likely to face suspension as were their white peers.

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress joins with the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Partnership, in a renewed call for the General Assembly to vote on the Pennsylvania Safe Schools (PASS) Act, HB 156. The PASS Act is the most supported safe school bill in state history, which garnered 106 co-sponsors last session in the House. HB 156 awaits action in the House Education Committee.


Celebrate Marriage Equality Today in Pennsylvania!



This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that marriage equality is guaranteed under the Constitution. Every state in the county must now allow marriage equality, and recognize same-sex unions performed outside their borders. This is a watershed moment in the LGBTQ rights movement. We know there is tremendous work to continue – and that we are far from securing freedom and justice for LGBTQ people. Today, we celebrate. Join LGBTQ communities across the state tonight in rejoicing in this landmark decision!

The Erie County Courthouse
140 West 6th Street, Erie, PA
Host: NWPA Pride Alliance

The Pennsylvania State Capitol Building Steps
3rd and State Streets, Harrisburg, PA
Host: Capital Region Stonewall Democrats

Northeastern PA
The Tomato Bar
7 Tomato Fest Drive, Pittston, PA
Host: NEPA Rainbow Alliance

Independence Mall
Market and 5th Streets, Philadelphia, PA
Organizers Include: The William Way Community Center, HRC Philadelphia

Ellsworth Avenue/Shadyside District
5800 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Organizers Include: The Delta Foundation

Penn Street Bridge
Host: Reading Pride Celebrates

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress Calls for Accountability in Pittsburgh Pride

First Statewide Organization to Call for Accountability with Pittsburgh Pride

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Youth Congress affirms our solidarity with Roots Pride Pittsburgh, and the many local organizations and civic leaders, in denouncing the decision of the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh to present Iggy Azalea as the headline performer for Pittsburgh Pride 2015. As a social justice organization representing thousands of young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, including many from Pittsburgh, we work tirelessly to ensure LGBTQ people of all identities have power within their organized community. We find that this year’s selected headline performer demonstrates a significant lack of respect for the LGBTQ people and people of color who have been harmed by Iggy Azalea’s actions.

For the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, prides are not only celebrations, but are annual reminders of the political tools we have to build a beloved community. In this statement, we insist that any pride which is built on the oppression of marginalized LGBTQ people is no pride at all.

A successful pride should be a family reunion that is planned and executed by the self-determination of the community. While there may be disagreements from time to time, there must be an underlying trust between local leaders. That trust has been stripped away over the years in Pittsburgh, leaving a raw desperation where people of color, transgender people, and youth leaders feel voiceless in their own city. Decisions have been made that have emaciated parts of the Pittsburgh LGBTQ community with a lack of resources, overshadowed and drowned out by the behemoth of one organization.

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress applauds the leadership of Roots Pride Pittsburgh for their work to identify strategies to raise-up LGBTQ people from marginalized backgrounds. We commend the broader Pittsburgh LGBTQ community in standing up for their own dignity.

We know it is rare for this thread of social justice to be spun so precisely as to cause numerous groups to withdraw. We commend the courage of many organizations and individuals, including Garden of Peace Project, GLSEN Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus, who have spoken up in in the spirit of building a better Pittsburgh.

The significance of Roots Pride Pittsburgh is tremendous, because it has already sent a clear message across the nation that the grassroots LGBTQ community, when organized, is able to unite and be heard.

We are distraught over the distressing position we are put in for Pittsburgh Pride 2015. The Pennsylvania Youth Congress believes we will be best able to share our vision for inspiring actualized social justice in the region through providing our resources at PrideFest. Further, we are met with the financial reality of our organization. As by far the most expensive pride in Pennsylvania for vendors, we have already invested hundreds of dollars in the fees that the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh requires. It took us four years to afford our own table at Pittsburgh Pride. At a $450 regular registration rate for non-profit organizations, Pittsburgh Pride is more expensive to participate in than all of the other nine prides in Pennsylvania combined. We believe it is outrageous that emerging community organizations have only one option if they wish to partake in their own community’s pride – to pay top dollar.

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress is accountable to our funders to engage with youth at every pride in Pennsylvania. There will be young people in Pittsburgh on June 14th, some of whom may not know about how the platform of Pittsburgh Pride 2015 was built, but they will be there. The PrideFest event still will be a significant opportunity to connect with students in order for us to support them throughout the year. We will use our presence at pride to express our displeasure with the decisions made by the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh.

We will not plan to participate in future Pittsburgh Prides unless conditions dramatically improve with accountability and transparency within the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, or whichever organization hosts a large-scale pride festival in the city.

The organized LGBTQ community should not resemble the oppressive structures which divide our society. We must build arenas to come together in authentically affirming ourselves in pride, and we commend Roots Pride Pittsburgh for doing just that. We are proud of the leaders who will not stop here in taking actions for justice throughout Pennsylvania, and in our world.

This statement has been approved by the Pennsylvania Youth Congress Board of Directors.


The Pennsylvania Youth Congress advances freedom and justice for young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians through advocating for responsible public policy. As a youth-led organization, PYC represents citizens working toward safer schools and thriving communities across the commonwealth.

Bethlehem Area School District Adds Gender Identity and Gender Expression to District Policies

The Bethlehem Area School District Board of School Directors unanimously voted to add “gender identity and gender expression” as protected characteristics under the district’s nondiscrimination policies and unlawful harassment policies at a school board meeting on Monday, April 20. The district previously only provided protections for LGBT individuals based upon sexual orientation.

Bethlehem Area School District is now the seventh school district in Pennsylvania to adopt nondiscrimination protections for transgender students, joining Pittsburgh Public Schools, Allentown School District, State College Area School District, Abington School District, New Hope-Solebury School District and Lower Merion School District.

School Board Director Basilio A. Bonilla Jr. led efforts to protect transgender individuals within the district. Bonilla said that he was aware of several transgender students within the district, and upon reviewing the district’s policies, saw that these students had no protection from discrimination under current policy. After consulting with LGBT community leaders, Bonilla contacted the district’s superintendent to discuss amending the policy. Following two initial readings at previous Board of School Directors meetings, the policy was voted upon and passed by a 9-0 vote. “Last night Democrats, Republicans, and an Independent came together to protect the rights of all students, and that is something I am really proud of as a Board Member,” Bonilla told the Keystone Student Voice on Tuesday.

Bonilla said that he intends to continue to advocate for the district’s LGBT students. “We’re not done yet,” he stated. “We need be there to support our kids.” He hopes to establish training for the district’s sports coaching staff on working with LGBT students and to implement a transgender inclusive nondiscrimination policy in the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School, which serves Bethlehem Area, Saucon Valley, and Northampton Area School Districts.

Bonilla came out as bisexual in March of 2014. He is the first openly LGBT elected official in Bethlehem. In his first year as a School Board Director, he worked with the district’s health insurance provider to offer benefits to same-sex spouses of faculty and staff before marriage equality was legalized in Pennsylvania.

Photo: Express-Times

McGuffey School District Must Implement LGBTQ-Affirming Policies

The Day of Silence was the scariest day of the year for me when I was in high school. Those memories came back to me yesterday, when I learned that at McGuffey High School, a rural Pennsylvania high school in Washington County, students allegedly planned what amounts to an entire anti-LGBTQ Spirit Week to coincide with their Day of Silence on Wednesday. Students posted pictures of themselves on social media wearing flannel shirts on the Day of Silence and writing “Anti-Gay” on their hands. The posts indicated that the students would be wearing red on the following school day to signify their opposition to LGBTQ students, and that they had many more “anti-gay” days planned. Students at McGuffey who participated in the Day of Silence reported that they were verbally harassed, physically assaulted, and had offensive notes taped to their lockers. These students told local Channel 11 News that they are afraid to return to school.   

Organized by GLSEN, the Day of Silence is an annual event in support of LGBTQ students. Participants take a vow of silence for the school day to draw attention to issues of bullying and harassment, which effectively silence LGBTQ youth from living openly. Nationally, the Day of Silence was held on Friday, April 17, but McGuffey High School students choose to observe the event on Wednesday, April 15.

A school board meeting was held on the Thursday following McGuffey High School’s Day of Silence, and students and community members came out to share their stories and their concerns. Kathy Cameron, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, Inc. was present at the meeting, and reported that several students voiced their experiences on the Day of Silence to the school board members. Cameron described the school board members as being “receptive and reactive,” and stated that they “appeared to understand the gravity of the situation.”

McGuffey School District Superintendent Dr. Erica Kolat released a statement to media, saying, “Yesterday afternoon, April 16, 2015, allegations of harassment were brought to the attention of our administration. McGuffey School District, along with school police officers, continue to investigate all allegations. We will follow our Student Code of Conduct, and file legal citations, as warranted. We resolve to ensure that all children can grow and learn in a safe, supportive environment free from discrimination.”

Taking a stand against the harassment and violence which has already occurred is a good first step, but ensuring that all students grow and learn in an environment free from discrimination requires greater institutional change.

For the past three school years, McGuffey School District has reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Education that zero incidents of bullying have occurred in the district, despite the fact that the CDC has found that about 20% of students in Pennsylvania report being the targets of bullying. Additionally, the district’s nondiscrimination policy and anti-bullying policy contain no mention of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

I call upon McGuffey School District to send a clear message against discrimination by updating their nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies to list sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as protected categories, accurately reporting to the Pennsylvania Department of Education incidents of bullying, and appropriately preventing and intervening in all situations of student intimidation and harassment.  

As I read the reports about McGuffey High School, I was immediately taken back to a spring day when I was in middle school, sitting in the back of the bus and trying to blend in with the infinitely cooler high school students as they conversed about the high school’s upcoming “Gay Day.” The general consensus of the group was that on the Day of Silence next week, which they called “Gay Day,” you were supposed to wear “black if you’re anti-gay, white if you’re gay, and red if you’re not gay, but you support gay people.” There was some contention over the proper color to identify oneself as bisexual. I wasn’t even in high school at the time, and no sort of event had been spoken of at the middle school, but I was terrified of drawing unwanted attention to myself or causing offense through my almost entirely black wardrobe. I marked the date on my calendar and remembered to wear a neutral blue shirt.

Matters had improved by the time I reached high school, but every year, I imagined walking into school on the Day of Silence to face an entire group of people visibly protesting my very existence. Being an openly LGBTQ or allied student could be intimidating on the other 179 days of the school year, but an entire day dedicated towards raising visibility for our issues made me feel like I had a target on my back. My high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance prepared for the Day of Silence for weeks in advance, planning our shirts, ordering bracelets, and talking about what to do if we encountered harassment or violence. During my senior year of high school, our GSA opted to create matching Day of Silence shirts in black, to represent the legacy of black shirts being used to threaten and silence our fellow LGBTQ students.

I was incredibly fortunate to never have experienced anything like the trauma that LGBTQ and allied students from McGuffey High School have been forced to cope with. These students are facing the nightmare that kept me awake every night before the Day of Silence. Institutional change is necessary to end this blatant discrimination and hatred.

There is no easy fix to the deeply embedded problems of homophobia, transphobia, and violence in our schools, but McGuffey School District administrators, faculty, and staff have the ability to take a meaningful stand against discrimination in their district. I urge the McGuffey School District to implement policies which support LGBTQ students and to responsibly report and intervene in incidents of bullying, harassment, and violence. Solely reacting to this situation is not enough. The McGuffey School District must be proactive in changing policies and holding themselves accountable in order to prevent this bigotry from occurring again.

Four Pennsylvanians Honored in the 2015 Trans 100

The 2015 Trans 100 honorees were announced on Sunday, March 29th, at the annual live celebration in Chicago. The Trans 100 celebrates the work of 100 influential transgender activists and advocates from across the country. The event was hosted this year by Chicago trans activists Precious Davis and Myles Brady, with Keynote Speeches from GLAAD Senior Media Strategist, Tiq Milan, and film director Lana Wachowski. Violinist Tona Brown, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, and rapper Rocco Katastrophe performed.

Four Pennsylvania leaders in the trans community were honored this year:


Trans 100 - Copy (2) ——————– Turner Stulting
Lewisburg, PA
Turner is a trans youth activist, President of Bucknell University Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and the Assistant Director of Common Ground, a student-led diversity immersion retreat. Turner has worked in various capacities with the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition. Ze served as State Operations Co-Chair of the 2014 Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference: Igniting a Pennsylvania Youth Movement for Trans* Justice and Freedom, the 2014 Convener of the PSEC Coordinating Committee, and the 2014 Summer Policy Fellow. Last May, Turner interned with the Triangle Project, an LGBT rights organization in Cape Town, South Africa, assisting with the monitoring of hate crimes that LGBT people experienced in the Western Cape.Turner was the recipient of the 2015 Mara Keisling Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition. Ze is currently beginning research on the implications of socioeconomic class difference on transgender college students.
Trans 100 - Copy ———————- Samantha Jo-Dato
Philadelphia, PA
Samantha is the Coordinator of the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, one of the largest transgender conferences in the world. Samantha has served as a Committee Member for the annual Philadelphia Trans March and worked to launch the Mazzoni Center’s Trans Wellness Project in 2013.
Trans 100 - Copy (4)———————- Dr. Rachel Levine
Middletown, PA
Dr. Levine is the acting Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the highest ranking openly transgender public official in Pennsylvania history. Prior to her appointment, she served as chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Trans 100 - Copy (3)———————- Jayden HC Sampson
Norristown, PA
Jayden is an organizer of the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. He serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors for Gender Reel, a coast-to-coast film and performing arts festival highlighting the experiences and identities of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. Jayden previously served on the Board of Directors of the Attic Youth Center and the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia. He first came to Pennsylvania to practice law as a Public Defender.

The 2014 Trans 100 honored four Pennsylvania leaders as well: A. Dionne Stallworth (Philadelphia), Charlene Arcila (Philadelphia), Shay(den) Gonzalez (Philadelphia), and Michael David Battle (Pittsburgh).

The inaugural Trans 100 list in 2013 honored five Pennsylvanians (those from Pennsylvania, and those currently residents): Allsyon Robinson (Jermyn), Che Gossett (Philadelphia), Jenny Boylan (Valley Forge), Mara Keisling (Harrisburg), and Van Nguyen (Philadelphia).

Andre Gray’s Body Found in West Virginia, Murder Suspect Charged

Andre Nathaniel Gray, 34, had been missing since October 23, 2014. In a press conference yesterday evening, the Pittsburgh Police disclosed that his body was found in the Ohio River in West Virgina with a gunshot wound. The police have ruled his death a homicide, and early this morning, charged a suspect in his death. Andre was an out gay man from the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He was involved in Project Silk, a program for young men and transgender women of color in the Pittsburgh area.

The press conference was extremely somber, with many of Andre’s family members present. His mother, grandmother, and brother expressed their devastation with this news, but also that they had accepted his passing and forgave those who ended his life. His mother, Victoria Gray Tillman said “I’m thankful to God for bringing my son home, so now I can begin my closure process. It’s been a long time coming.” Andre was reported missing on October 25, 2014, with his apartment ransacked and blood on his bed sheets – along with bleach. His car was later found partially burned in the North Side of Pittsburgh.

Press Conference

Pittsburgh Police Commander RaShall Brackney and the Gray Family (March 26, 2015)

On March 20, 2015, Brooks County Sheriff and Follansbee Police Department in West Virigina discovered his body along the Market Street bridge, which stretches from Stubenville, Ohio to Follansbee, West Viriginia. He was positively identifed as Andre by the Coroner of Charleston, West Virginia. The Pittsburgh Police were notified on March 25, 2015 of his body being found. They ruled his death a homicide with their disclosure of his gunshot wound.

This morning, the Pittsburgh Police revealed they have charged Hubert Wingate, 30, in Andre’s murder. Wingate was already in an Allegheny County jail when he was charged. He was arrested on an open warrant for assault from Colorado, in Pittsburgh, where he had a concealed semi-automatic weapon on his person.

No substantive evidence or leads had been established as of yesterday evening. Pittsburgh Police Commander RaShall Brackney confirmed they did not yet have any suspect in custody or warrants for persons of interest in the case. Brackney firmly stated that “Our goal is to bring justice to Andre Gray.”

Victoria Gray Tillman said that “I’ve given God all the glory. I have forgiven them a while ago. That’s what I need. I need for them to confess what they have done. We are a forgiving family, a loving family. That’s what they need to do, turn yourself in.” Andre’s brother, Javon Hutcherson, echoed this plea to the murderer to “Turn yourself in. We love our brother…We forgive him, please turn yourself in.”

The Pittsburgh Police have been leading a search effort for Andre since last fall. LGBTQ community advocates had established a fund for donations to the family. The Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents have been pressing hard through regular posts for the continued investigation.

Victoria Tillman Gray and Javon Hutcherson

Andre’s mother, Victoria Gray Tillman, and brother, Javon Hutcherson (March 26, 2015)

As the press conference was concluding, Victoria Gray Tillman additional shared how there has been “Lots of pain. Lots of suffering. Lots of prayers. I’ve said a prayers all day, everyday. Some days have been better than others. But, I knew all along that God had my son. I always felt that. Now that he has been found I can begin my process. It’s a mother’s worst nightmare of their child being out there – and it’s the not knowing. I thank God for all the people, the prayers, the friends, the family, who have come through, who have held me up, and let me know, but I thank God, for being God.”

Anyone with information on Andre’s murder is asked to please call the Pittsburgh Police homicide detectives 412-323-7161.