Today’s Update from Pine-Richland; Amicus Brief Filed



Today, Lambda Legal fought in federal court for a Preliminary Injunction to bar the enforcement of an anti-trans policy adopted in September by the Pine-Richland School Board. The policy is the center of the federal lawsuit, following months of contentious school board meetings. The resolution that was adopted was a directive to the district administration to bar trans students from using the facilities that correspond with their gender identity. Today’s hearing before Judge Mark Hornak lasted almost six hours, beginning at 9:30am. Judge Hornak’s decision on the Preliminary Injunction is forthcoming.

The Lambda Legal attorneys representing the three trans student plaintiffs were Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Kara Ingelhart, and Christopher Clark. The Pine-Richland School District is represented by the Pittsburgh law firm Maiello, Brungo, & Maiello.

Last Wednesday, November 23rd, through the help of Lambda Legal, the Pennsylvania Youth Congress filed an amicus brief along with THRIVE of Southwest PA in support of the trans student plaintiffs in Pine-Richland. The brief features the experiences of transgender students throughout the commonwealth, and is shared below.

In response to the brief being submitted, attorneys for Pine-Richland asked the court to reject it. Lambda Legal defended the brief’s submission before the court. On Monday, Judge Hornak approved the brief’s submission before the court.

More updates to come soon…


Open Letter of Support to Central PA Muslim Community from Pennsylvania LGBTQ Youth


Photo: Representative Patty Kim

In response to a hateful note sent to the
 Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg this week, PYC is sharing an open letter to stand with the Muslim community of Central PA, and across the county. Nearly a dozen copies of this letter were sent to mosques across the United States.

On Thursday, State Rep. Patty Kim organized a press conference to press back against this hateful incident at the Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg’s mosque in Steelton. Speakers included incoming Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg President Asgar Rizwan, Muslim community leader Samia Malik, Steelton Mayor Doug Brown, and Rep. Patty Kim.


Dear Muslim Members of our Pennsylvania Family,

We are outraged and appalled by all acts of Islamophobia, and continue to be with you in love and solidarity.

The letter recently received by the Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg is incensing to people of conscience. From our LGBTQ youth community, we are here for you in whatever you may need.

We write to you as young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians to share that:

We celebrate you. We value you. We support and love you. We are proud to work together with you in building a beloved community.

From our intersection with LGBTQ Muslims, through our connection as communities often targeted for harm, we stand together in our commitment to ensuring human decency and respect for all.

We cannot and will not stand idly by while any of us is targeted for intimidation, hatred, or violence. We hold ourselves accountable to standing with you against any injustice you may experience, and toward embracing each other in love and respect.

We are proud to be with you in our shared commonwealth, communities, and nation.

Yours in Solidarity,
The Pennsylvania Youth Congress Family


Pennsylvania Muslim and LGBTQ community leaders following a vigil for the Orlando Massacre in the State Capitol (June 2016)

At Dawn, We Rise


This has been a devastating day for many of us. The results of this election have opened floodgates of bigotry and hatred to flow through. We are now in a profound moment of global history, which will test the strength of people of conscience. Yet, as dark as the days ahead may be, we will always find the light.

Please take a moment to read our statement of action tonight. We recommit ourselves to meaningful rural LGBTQ youth empowerment and eradicating white supremacy.

While we had a beautiful evening two weeks ago opening our state LGBTQ youth advocacy center, we are now called to use our power and place for urgent action. We will share three key ways below that you can get involved to support the LGBTQ youth movement in Pennsylvania, including the opportunity for young advocates to attend our regional mobilization meetings in the coming weeks which will extend throughout our nine regions across the commonwealth.

PYC State Headquarters Opening Reception – October 25, 2016

We send our love to those who have been threatened with great harm. We will continue to be in solidarity with people of color, immigrants, indigenous people, those with disabilities, women, Muslims, Jews, and everyone who has been intimidated with violence and hatred.

PYC’s mission has always been clear: We are empowering our generation of leaders to be effective advocates in local and state government. We will continue to successfully pursue our mission and create meaningful change.

Since we established PYC in 2011, we have centered much of our work on supporting rural LGBTQ youth. There is great concern for the shifting national landscape as it relates to the safety of LGBTQ people in our rural communities, where those who harbor hatred may feel emboldened in these days ahead. We want to assure you that we are with every young rural LGBTQ Pennsylvanian, and we will rise with you.

We will be redoubling our efforts to equip young rural LGBTQ Pennsylvanians with the necessary tools to advocate in their communities for human decency and intersectional social justice. While some organizations focus primarily on flashy fundraisers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh alone, literally flying over our heartland, for years we have been in the trenches throughout rural Pennsylvania. We look forward to expanding our advocacy efforts across the largest rural population of any state in the nation.

We imagine our world where rural Pennsylvanians of conscience are fully equipped and empowered to talk with their neighbors about social justice. The status quo of dismissing rural leadership is unacceptable, certainly as we consider the impacts our rural electorate has on American democracy. Our rural communities can hold the United States together – or cement our division apart.

As people of conscience, we will persevere in going high, regardless of how low future events may try to pull us down. In the pitch black, we believe our light can shine and grow.

We have hope that those who are surrounded in hatred and violence toward our diverse communities, can be successfully met with our stronger capacity to find human decency in one another.

Indeed, we are at a scary crossroads where so much of our recent progress in human history is up to be erased.

We do not make any bones about how white supremacy has and continues to play an unfortunate role in our political systems. We reaffirm our commitment to eliminating white supremacy, racism, and xenophobia wherever it exists. We will not rest while any of us is under attack from our own government and communities.

Our commitment to transparency and accountability leads us to share with you our reflection: We recognize the longtime inadequate support for these critical, intersectional social justice efforts. In the next chapter for our nation, we must ask each other clearly: Will you help? Will you get involved? Recent national investments into Pennsylvania on LGBT issues have been sent through unaccountable politically-connected enterprises rather than community-based intersectional social justice organizations like PYC. We hope you join us in building a community movement worthy of your investment.

Governor Tom Wolf Visits PYC’s 2nd Annual PA Comes Out for Freedom Event  – October 26, 2016

Earlier this fall, we shared with you three important ways you can support LGBTQ youth advocacy in Pennsylvania. We implore you to consider getting involved today to safeguard the lives young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.

1. Keystone Pride Alliance

For Youth and Young Advocates

Friday, November 18th
Erie-West: Allegheny College, 4-5pm
Pittsburgh and Southwestern PA: University of Pittsburgh, 7-9pm

Saturday, November 19th
North Central: Lock Haven University, 2-4pm
South Central: PYC Headquarters, 6-8pm

Sunday, November 20th
NEPA and Lehigh Valley: East Stroudsburg University, 1-3pm
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley: University of Pennsylvania, 5-7pm


2. PYC Leadership Council

For Young Pennsylvanians
  • If you are a young Pennsylvanian interested in supporting the Pennsylvania LGBTQ youth movement in a broader way, consider joining the PYC Leadership Council. Members of the council are advisors to the organization and participate in a monthly giving circle to the organization. Click here to join!


3. Keystone Partners

For All Friends of Pennsylvania
  • Supporting LGBTQ youth leadership with a monthly donation will allow us to sustain and grow our operations. For a monthly gift starting at $10, you can join our donor circle as a Keystone Partner. You’ll get special insider updates on PYC activities and agenda. Click here to become a Keystone Partner!


PYC Constitutional Convention in Harrisburg August 6, 2011

The most powerful words that come to our mind are given to us from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Constitution that was drafted in 1960, which we adapted into the founding documents of PYC in 2011:

“Through nonviolence, courage displaces fear, love transforms hate. Acceptance dissipates prejudice; hope ends despair. Peace dominates war; faith reconciles doubt. Mutual regards cancels enmity. Justice for all overcomes injustice. The redemptive community supersedes systems of gross social immorality.

Love is the central motif of nonviolence. Love is the force by which God binds man to himself and man to man. Such love goes to the extreme; it remains loving and forgiving even during hostility. It matches the capacity of evil to inflict suffering with an even more enduring capacity to absorb evil, all the while persisting in love.

By appealing to conscience and standing on the moral nature of human existence, nonviolence nurtures the atmosphere in which reconciliation and justice become actual possibilities.”

PYC State Leaders Meeting at Bloomsburg – November 5, 2016

There are many, many advances in LGBTQ civil rights that are threatened to be taken away. The spirit of the current administration has been embracing of LGBTQ people – and that is expected to disappear. Fear is on the minds of countless LGBTQ people throughout our nation.

Though we may be scared for our future, we are also fully ready to push back and fight for justice and freedom. This fear is not just because we happen to be LGBTQ, but that many of us live at the intersection of being LGBTQ and a person of color, a woman, a person with a disability, immigrant, Muslim, Jewish, and other marginalized identities, who have been targeted for harm. We fear for our nation not just on social issues, but on our economy, environment, and education system.

The arc of the moral universe certainly bends toward justice, no matter in times when the arc has been made longer.

Today is the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or night of broken glass, which was a massive program across Nazi Germany which resulted in mass destruction of Jewish homes, synagogues, business, and hundreds of murders. This morning, several Swastikas were found emblazoned on buildings in Philadelphia. This is our reality, yet we can work to change it.

We understand this is a very difficult time for many of us. Please know, you are absolutely worth fighting for. Please call any of the hotlines below if you want to talk with someone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 (online chat available)
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386
Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860

We ask all allies and accomplices in this work to contact us at anytime if we can be helpful to you. Please let us know where and when to be there, and we will be with you as we can.

You may reach out to us anytime. I can personally be contacted by email at, and our phone number is 717-743-1035.

We can – and must – work together to ensure violence and hatred do not harden our nation and commonwealth. This is possible when we all get involved, mobilize, and take action.

Thank you for your continued leadership and support. We are counting on your help to ensure we not only survive, but realize the light ahead and thrive.

  Yours Always,

  Jason Landau Goodman
  Executive Director

Pennsylvania Comes Out for Freedom 2016

The Second Annual Pennsylvania Comes Out for Freedom event was held in the State Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. The event is a formal community observance of both LGBTQ History Month and National Coming Out Day in our State Capitol. This year, speakers included Former State Rep. Mike Fleck, Chair of the PA Board of Probation and Parole Leo Dunn, and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Hannah Smith Brubaker. Community leaders included Ari and Alissa Bowman, Dr. Michele Angello, Alonda Talley, Suzanne Oliva, and Nykolai Blichar. We also had a special performance from Oscar Williams, who was in Fun Home on Broadway.

We were thrilled to welcome Governor Tom Wolf for this special event. He was able to meet the speakers who came in from across the state.


Trans Lives Remembered and Celebrated Across PA

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 18th 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.

This year in Pennsylvania, we mourn and remember Maya Young, 25. She was stabbed to death in Philadelphia on February 20, 2016. Last year, in 2015, Pennsylvania mourned London Chanel, 21, and Kiesha Jenkins, 22, both black trans women who were 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 in this past year.

Over 25 organized vigils were held in communities throughout the commonwealth for TDOR each year in 2014 and 2015. 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, 2016


Lebanon Valley College (Miller Chapel), November 15th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: LVC Freedom Rings

Muhlenberg College (Egner Chapel), November 21st, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Host: Muhlenberg College Trans Advocacy Coalition
More Information

Unitarian Universalist Church of Athens (112 North Street), November 20th, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Host: Unitarian Universalist Church of Athens

Bloomsburg University (Multicultural Center), November 18th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: Bloomsburg LGBTQA Resource Center
More Information

University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (Wick Chapel), November 18th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Host: University of Pittsburgh at Bradford LGBTS Alliance
More Information

Dickinson College (28 North College Avenue), November 20th, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Host: Dickinson College LGBTQ Services

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

Bel-Aire Clarion (2800 West 8th Street), November 20th, 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Host: TransFamily of NWPA

More Information

Glen Mills
Imago Dei MCC (1223 Middletown Road), November 17th, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Host: PRYSM Youth Center

More Information

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

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, November 17th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Host: IUP Pride Alliance

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania – Old Main Concourse, November 17th, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Host: GLBTQ Resource Center, Lambda Delta Xi, and Allies

More Information

Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster (538 West Chestnut Street), November 20th, 10:00am – 11:15am
Host: Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster

More Information

Bucknell University (Olin Science Quad), November 17th, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Host: BSU, GSA, and the Bucknell Office of LGBTQ+ Services

Penn LGBT Center (3907 Spruce Street), November 16th, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Host: Penn LGBT Center

More Information

Drexel University (Peck Lawn – 32nd and Market Streets), November 18th, 9:00am – 10:00am
Host: Drexel University Office of Inclusion

More Information

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

More Information

Carnegie Mellon University – The Cut (5000 Forbes Avenue), November 17th, 11:30am – 3:00pm
Host: CMU Allies

More Information

PERSAD (5301 Butler Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Host: TransPride Pittsburgh

More Information

University of Pittsburgh – William Pitt Union Lawn (3959 Fifth Avenue), November 17th, 9:00pm – 10:00pm
Host: Pitt Rainbow Alliance

Susquehanna University, November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Host: Susquehanna University GSA

More Information

State College
Penn State University Park – Old Main Steps, November 17th, 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: CLGBTQE, LGBTQA Student Resource Center, University Libraries Diversity Committee, and the LGBTA Student Roundtable

More Information

Calvary United Church of Christ (640 Centre Avenue), November 19th, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Host: Reading Pride Celebration

More Information

First Presbyterian Church (100 East Wheeling Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Washington County GSA, Inc.

More Information

West Chester
West Chester University (Sykes Union), November 18th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA)

More Information

West Chester
Unitarian Church of West Chester (501 South High Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: LGBT Equality Alliance

More Information


November 2016 Transgender Awareness Events


Philadelphia: GenderTalk
Penn LGBT Center (3907 Spruce Street), November 17th, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: Penn Non-Cis

More Information

Lewisburg: Lourdes Hunter
Bucknell University (Rooke Chemistry Buliding), November 15th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm

More Information

Pittsburgh: Trans Voices
BOOM Concepts (5139 Penn Avenue), November 20th, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: Garden of Peace Project

More Information

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



PA Courts Now Prohibit Gender Identity Discrimination

UJS Policy UpdateWe are thrilled to share that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has revised the Unified Judicial System’s non-discrimination policy to include protections on the basis of gender identity and expression. This policy is now in effect at every court under the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, including the Superior, Commonwealth, Common Pleas, and Magisterial courts. The policy must be adhered to by court employees, as well as district attorneys and lawyers engaging in court-related matters.

In June 2016, we approached Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward to propose this update. Judge Ward brought the proposed amendment to the Supreme Court which adopted the policy in in July. A judicial system-wide memo was distributed in August to all Justices, Judges, Magisterial District Judges, and state-level judiciary employees announcing the new policy.

We regard the amended non-discrimination policy as a seismic shift toward ensuring dignity and respect for transgender Pennsylvanians.

Actions that are now prohibited range from harassment by court employees toward transgender people, to prohibiting judges from discriminating against transgender people in open court. Additionally, court employees who are transgender are now explicitly protected against discrimination and harassment in their workplace. To address violations of the policy, members of the public and court employees may file a complaint which will be handled as are other cases of discrimination within the state judicial system.

Throughout the commonwealth, transgender people have shared how judges, court employees, prosecutors, and attorneys have been known to discriminate and demean them, both in personal interactions and in court proceedings. However, as the update reflects, the judiciary includes many judges who are supportive of fully respecting transgender people.

This is a significant moment in ensuring justice for all in our judicial system. Many transgender Pennsylvanians have too often had terrifying and traumatizing experiences in our judicial system. We are incredible proud of the Supreme Court’s declaration that transgender people must be regarded with dignity. This policy is instrumental in paving the way forward for openly transgender judges to serve across the commonwealth.

Ciora Thomas, founder of the transgender women of color support network Sisters United in Pittsburgh, reflected on the importance of this update. She said, “I am thrilled to know a safer and dignified future for trans people is becoming a reality. Now we can stand in front of any judge and be respected as women, men, and people, without being misgendered or incorrectly named. We now have the dignity we deserve as American citizens.”

Several years ago, Ciora was before a local magistrate for a minor traffic citation, where she was relentlessly harassed by court employees and the judge. In open court, the judge only referred to her by her birth name and forced her to remove her hair. She complied in the dehumanizing process in order to avoid judicially-imposed consequences. She would now be able to file a complaint and see through a charge where the court employees and judge could be disciplined.

Deja Alvarez, Director of the LGBTQ Home for Hope in Philadelphia, the first LGBTQ homeless shelter in Pennsylvania, said that the new policy “will help empower us to fight against any injustice and bias perpetrated against Trans* communities in the courts. This is a landmark moment in ending discrimination in a system that directly affects our ability to live, where our community is often unjustly put through the criminal justice system at alarmingly high rates.”

The full policy can be found online at the Unified Judicial System’s website, along with the complaint forms.

Pennsylvania Birth Certificate Update

On August 8, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced it has updated its policy on how an individual can change the sex marker on their birth certificate. 

The new policy allows for a Pennsylvanian to amend their birth certificate’s sex marker through a note from a physician stating they have received gender transition care. This is a change from the prior requirement to demonstrate gender confirmation surgery as the threshold to update a birth certificate. 

The National Center for Transgender Equality has posted a quick summary of the steps that need to be taken here.

Below is the updated policy from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Carlisle, Wilkes-Barre to Advance Non-discrimination Ordinances

IMG_1609In the wake of the Orlando massacre and the continued stalling of statewide non-discrimination legislation, local governments have renewed their efforts to support LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances.

At a June vigil for the Orlando victims, Carlisle Council member Dawn Flowers announced the proposed legislation. There is support for the ordinance among the Council members and community members. At an open forum meeting last Thursday with the Council, over 100 community members engaged in the conversation discussing the merits of the ordinance. The ordinance is expected to be adopted in October, at earliest.

On Monday, Wilkes-Barre Council member Beth Gilbert announced she plans to introduce an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance next week. Wilkes-Barre would be the second major city in Northeastern Pennsylvania to do so, following Scranton in 2003. The ordinance is expected to have strong support, including from openly-gay Council member Tony Brooks. Pittston and Dickson City have recently adopted non-discrimination ordinances as well.

In Southwestern Pennsylvania, Butler Council continues to debate a non-discrimination ordinance. Approximately 75 community members attended last Thursday’s meeting, which had to be moved to the Butler Fire Company Building to accommodate the many citizens interested in speaking on the proposal. An ordinance has not been introduced and there is currently no timeline for an adoption.

There are currently 35 municipalities in Pennsylvania with LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances. According to the Movement Advancement Project, only Florida has just as many in any single state. With the expected adoption of an ordinance in Carlisle and Wilkes-Barre this year, Pennsylvania would become the state with the most local non-discrimination ordinances in the nation.

If you are interested in advocating for a local non-discrimination ordinance in your community, please send us an email and look up more information at the Suburban and Rural Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Photo: Butler residents speak on the proposed non-discrimination ordinance at the July 28th City Council meeting (PYC)

June Non-Discrimination Update

LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination legislation has languished for over a decade in the General Assembly. A comprehensive non-discrimination law would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations – just as it does for 11 enumerated characteristics today.

In an attempt to see at least one protection through for LGBT Pennsylvanians this legislative session, Senator Pat Browne (R-16, Lehigh) introduced three separate LGBT-inclusive bills in June, SB 1306 for employment, SB 1307 for housing, and SB 1316 for public accommodations.

On June 22, Senator Scott Wagner (R-28, York) held a Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee to consider SB 1307, LGBT-inclusive housing protections. Senator Wayne Fontana (D-42, Allegheny) successfully amended the bill to include LGBT-inclusive employment protections. Senator Mario Scavello (R-40, Monroe) attempted to add a significant religious exemption amendment, which failed. In the end, the amended bill, with housing and employment non-discrimination protections, was voted out of the committee in a 7-4 vote, with the following vote breakdown:

Yea  Nay
Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28, York)
Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46, Washington)     
Sen. John Blake (D-22, Lackawanna)
Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-42, Allegheny)
Sen. Art Haywood (D-4, Philadelphia)
Sen. Tom Killion (R-9, Chester)
Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-3, Philadelphia)
Sen. David Argall (R-29, Berks)
Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50, Mercer)
Sen. Mario Scavello (R-40, Monroe)
Sen. Joseph Scarnati (R-25, Jefferson)

The amended bill was moved to the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations committee. Here, it must wait for action by the Senate leadership to be called for a vote on the floor. If adopted by the State Senate, it would then be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

Public accommodations protections is not currently part of SB 1307 that awaits action.

BREAKING NEWS: House Discharge Resolution Filed for LGBT Non-discrimination Bill

BREAKING NEWS: State Representative Dan Frankel (D-23, Pittsburgh) filed a discharge resolution on HB 1510, the leading LGBT non-discrimination bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, on Thursday, June 8th.

A discharge resolution is a rarely-used legislative maneuver to bring a bill that has not been voted on in committee to a full vote. The Pennsylvania Youth Congress first called for consideration of this move over two years ago, in 2014. 

HB 1510 has stalled in the House State Government Committee, as its chair Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-12, Butler) has for a long time been in staunch opposition to the legislation. In Harrisburg, if a committee chair does not want to run a bill, the bill simply does not move forward. That is, unless the bill is transferred to a different committee or a discharge resolution is filed.

The first non-discrimination bill to include protection on the basis of sexual orientation was introduced in 1976. Nearly 25 non-discrimination bills inclusive of sexual orientation and/or gender identity have been introduced in the 40 years since. Rep. Frankel has introduced LGBT non-discrimination legislation six times in the House since 2001. The leading LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination bill in the State Senate is SB 974.

Only once has an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination bill been voted out of committee. In March 2009, the House State Government Committee had a historic 12-11 vote that ushered the bill forward to be considered by the House. Rep. Babette Josephs (D-182, Philadelphia) was then the chair of the committee. The bill stalled out that year.

A discharge resolution petition needs 25 signatures to call for a vote to consider the bill before the full House. If a majority vote in favor of the petition, then the bill will be voted on.

Once the petition is successfully filed, any member who has signed it can call for a vote (which no member has yet done). After two legislative session days, the vote to consider a full House vote would commence.  If the bill fails to receive a majority of votes, then the bill dies, and non-discrimination legislation would have to be reintroduced into the House.

The following House members have signed onto the discharge resolution petition for HB 1510. All but one of the signatories are Democrats.

Rep. Dan Frankel, (D-23), Allegheny
Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-197 Philadelphia
Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172), Philadelphia, Montgomery
Rep. Tim Briggs (D-149), Montgomery
Rep. Donna Bullock (D-195), Philadelphia
Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis (D-200), Philadelphia
Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-148), Montgomery
Rep. Tina Davis (D-141), Bucks
Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-179), Philadelphia
Rep. Madeline Dean (D-153), Montgomery
Rep. Pam DeLissio (D-194), Philadelphia, Montgomery
Rep. Marty Flynn (D-113), Lackawanna
Rep. Ed Gainey (D-24), Allegheny
Rep. Jordan Harris (D-186), Philadelphia
Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D-161), Delaware
Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-191), Delaware, Philadelphia
Rep. Dan Miller (D-42), Allegheny
Rep. Tom Murt (D-152), Montgomery
Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-175), Philadelphia
Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-121), Luzerne
Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-126), Berks
Rep. Michael Schlossberg (D-132), Lehigh
Rep. Kevin Schreiber (D-95), York
Rep. Peter Schweyer (D-22), Lehigh
Rep. Brian Sims (D-182), Philadelphia

Two signatories of the discharge resolution petition are not co-sponsors of HB 1510, Rep. Tom Murt (R-152) and Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis (D-200).

Following the developments in North Carolina with their HB 2, several legislators removed themselves as co-sponsors of non-discrimination legislation, including Sen. Mario Scavello (R-40, Monroe and Northampton) and Rep. Jamie Santora (R-163, Delaware). Rep. Kathy Watson (R-144, Bucks) and Rep. Scott Petri (R-178, Bucks) have been under pressure from the hate group-designated American Family Association of Pennsylvania to remove their co-sponsorship of HB 1510 as well. When Sen. Scott Wagner (R-28, York) was approached to remove his co-sponsorship of SB 974, he publicly rebuked the push and made a clear statement in support of the bill.

We encourage all Pennsylvanians to reach out to their representatives an encourage them to vote YES on the discharge resolution on HB 1510.

You can find your House member on the General Assembly website here.

We will post updates as they become available.