LGBTQ Equality Caucus announces changes for 2021-2 legislative session

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 21 – The Pennsylvania LGBTQ Equality Caucus, a bipartisan and bicameral caucus made up of members of the General Assembly who advocate for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents, has organized for the 2021-22 legislative session, according to state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., a caucus co-chairman.

The caucus was formed in 2011 by state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, to fend off attacks on and fight for the rights of LGBTQ people. Since that time, the General Assembly and the caucus have come to include three out members, including Sims, state Rep. Malcom Kenyatta, D-Phila., and first term state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny.

“We are off to a very robust start,” Sims said. “The issues and legislation prioritized by the LGBTQ caucus, most importantly LGBTQ equality, have been set aside for too long. But I want members of the LGBTQ community across the commonwealth to know that this caucus, at almost 70 members strong, is poised and ready to fight for the health, safety and well-being of all LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, now more than ever. As elected officials, we are here to represent all of the people of Pennsylvania and we’ll hold all of our colleagues to the same standard. I’m looking forward to the work that this bipartisan group can accomplish this session.”

State Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery/Chester/Berks, was elected as chairwoman of the caucus for the current term. She joins co-chairmen Sims and Frankel.

“It is with a humble heart and deep respect that I accept the position of chairwoman of this caucus,” Muth said. “Our caucus is more diverse and stronger than ever. The LGBTQ+ community has always elevated me, and it is time for us to elevate each and every LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanian. Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling, most Pennsylvanians do not know that you can be married on a Saturday and then evicted from your apartment or fired from your job at will by Monday. We must pass real laws that protect real people. You have my word that I will not only continue to lead with compassion, but that I will also be strongly vocal in our fight for fair and equitable treatment under the law. You are all my rainbow.”

“The LGBTQ Equality Caucus is growing and becoming more diverse, better reflecting the diversity of our commonwealth,” Frankel said. “I feel hopeful that this momentum can help us to finally guarantee civil rights protections to LGBTQ individuals and do much more to ensure that every Pennsylvanian feels safe and supported.”