THE LGBTQ+ EQUALITY CAUCUS 


Philadelphia House Delegation leadership reacts to PSP trooper now off force

(May 10, 2024)

PHILADELPHIA, May 10 – Members of the Philadelphia House Delegation today said they were grateful to the Pennsylvania State Police for conducting a thorough investigation into the State Police traffic stop and arrest of Celena Morrison and Darius McLean on I-76 in March and reiterated the need for transparency in community policing. The unnamed PSP trooper involved in the incident was placed on administrative leave two months ago pending an internal investigation and is now no longer employed with the State Police, according to a PSP spokesperson. Delegation Chair Morgan Cephas said that while the investigation likely remains ongoing, she is grateful that Pennsylvania State Police officials took the matter seriously and handled the matter swiftly and professionally. "As chair of the delegation, I'm glad that the State Police have heard our concerns and took the time to hold a fair and impartial internal investigation into this matter, which has led to the officer involved no longer being employed by them,” Cephas said. “I also commend the State Police for speeding up their commitment to make sure all officers working in Philadelphia have active body cameras. This will go a long way in protecting the citizens of Philadelphia as well as the hardworking members of the Pennsylvania State Police who serve and protect us day in and day out. This kind of transparency is critical when incidents like the Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus praises state boards for new policy to protect LGBTQ+ youth

(May 03, 2024)

Celebrating the five state boards -- the state boards of Nursing, the Medicine, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors, Psychology and Osteopathic Medicine -- who all voted recently to adopt new statements of policy opposing the use of conversion therapy on minors in Pennsylvania, members of the Pennsylvania House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus issued the following statement: “The LGBTQ+ community often faces a troubling disparity, where accessing appropriate health care can be tainted by discrimination, misunderstanding and systemic barriers. This new policy, adopted throughout the state, validates what advocates have been saying for decades about the dangers of conversion therapy, and sends a clear message that we will not let hatred masquerade as medical treatment here in Pennsylvania.” The new policies notify licensees that all five boards consider the use of conversion therapy to be unprofessional, harmful conduct that may subject any licensee engaging in it to administrative discipline. They said that conversion therapy refers to any practice that seeks or purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “The LGBTQ+ community's experience with health care must reflect inclusivity, respect, and understanding, ensuring every individual receives the quality care they deserve, free from discrimination or bias." Read more

 

State Reps. Smith-Wade-El, Kenyatta and Benham applaud two state boards’ opposition to conversion therapy

(Apr 17, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Reps. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; Malcom Kenyatta, D-Phila.; and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, today applauded the Pennsylvania boards of Psychology and Osteopathic Medicine for their recent adoption of new policies opposing the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ+ minors. The representatives issued the following statement: “We applaud the state Boards of Psychology and Osteopathic Medicine’s adoption of a new Statement of Policies (SOP) that opposes the use of the discredited, pseudoscientific practice of conversion therapy on minors in Pennsylvania. Conversion therapy, also known as conversion abuse, is a dangerous practice aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression that has resulted in profound physical and psychological harm on patients, including depression, trauma, and suicide. “We hope that the state boards of Medicine, Nursing and Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors will vote in the coming weeks to adopt similar SOPs opposing the use of conversion therapy. “Although we are glad to see esteemed state medical boards gradually take steps to oppose the practice of conversion abuse, this is happening at too slow a rate. It is long past time that Pennsylvania joins the 20 other states outlawing the practice. Our bill, the Protection of Minors from Conversion Therapy Act, would prohibit a mental health Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, House Philadelphia Delegation, LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus release statement on Pennsylvania State Police traffic stop and arrest

(Mar 05, 2024)

PHILADELPHIA, March 5 – Leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and Philadelphia House Delegation today issued a statement in response to the traffic stop and subsequent arrest of Philadelphia’s head of LGBT affairs and her husband by a state trooper Saturday. According to news reports, Celena Morrison, the executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, recorded a portion of the arrest of her husband, Darius McLean, on the Vine Street Expressway. State Reps. Napoleon Nelson, chair of the PLBC, Malcolm Kenyatta, co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, and Morgan Cephas, chair of the Philadelphia House Delegation, said they have been in contact with state and local authorities surrounding the incident. “The video of the traffic stop of Celena Morrison and Darius McLean was deeply troubling,” stated Kenyatta, D-Phila. “We need a full, thorough, and expedient investigation into every aspect of this stop.” “My sympathies go out to the family dealing with the trauma of this incident, and I stand in solidarity with the communities that have experienced their own traumas as a result,” Nelson, D-Montgomery, said. “The investigation that we are expecting will help us determine accountability measures needed and identify necessary policy changes that we can craft at the state level that will enhance community safety at home. Those changes may come in the Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus condemns hate crime, murder of gay man at gas station

(Aug 02, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 2 – The Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus is condemning the murder of O’Shae Sibley , a 28-year-old gay man, in Brooklyn, NY, at a gas station late Saturday night. According to reports, Sibley was with his friends, who were vogueing, a style of dance that has evolved as an expression of LGBTQ+ pride, while filling up a car. Sibley and his friends were approached by a group of men who told them to stop dancing and began using anti-gay slurs. Sibley confronted these men, and an altercation broke out leading to one man stabbing Sibley. “O’Shae was brutally stolen from his family, friends and community for nothing but poisonous hatred. He deserved so much better than this. My thoughts and condolences go out to their family and friends during this unimaginably difficult time,” said LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Co-Chair Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila. “It’s an absolute shame that us LGBTQ+ folks can’t just be ourselves in public without having to worry about losing our lives because of someone else’s senseless hatred for us. We cannot become numb to tragedies like this. We must continue to combat all forms of discrimination and hateful rhetoric targeted at LGBTQ+ folks that is causing much of the attacks on our community.” “Mr. Sibley’s murder was another senseless act of anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, and my heart is breaking for his friends, family, and Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus denounces SCOTUS ruling in 303 Creative, Inc. v. Elenis

(Jun 30, 2023)

“Whether it’s a bakery or a media production company, no business should possess the right to refuse services to individuals based on sexual identity. Simultaneously, requiring a business that serves the public to offer services equally to members of the public does not violate their first amendment rights. Read more

 

House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus & Philadelphia House Delegation condemn Moms for Liberty event in Phila.

(Jun 29, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 29 – The Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and Philadelphia House Delegation are condemning the upcoming Moms for Liberty summit that’s scheduled to take place in center city Philadelphia today through July 2. Moms for Liberty is a right-wing hate group that advocates against school curriculum that mentions LGBTQ+ rights, race and ethnicity, critical race theory and discrimination. LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Co-Chairs Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, and Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., who also serves as Philadelphia House Delegation treasurer, each issued comments condemning this summit. “I’m extremely disappointed to see this summit take place in our city. Our city shouldn’t be a backdrop for hate,” Kenyatta said. “We can’t allow the type of rhetoric and ideology that far-right groups, like Moms for Liberty, promote prevent us from becoming a more fair and equal society.” “Hate has no home in Pennsylvania,” Benham said. “I believe most of our state’s residents find it embarrassing that Pennsylvania’s largest city will host one of the nation’s most hostile anti-LGBTQ+ groups during the month of Pride. Alongside my colleagues in the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, I am eager to continue fighting back against the hateful rhetoric and policies pushed by groups like Moms for Liberty.” Philadelphia House Delegation Read more

 

Pa. House recognizes LGBTQ+ Pride Month

(Jun 27, 2023)

“As levels of LGBTQ+ hate and discrimination continue to rise, we must also recognize that the fight for full equality is far from over. My colleagues and I in the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus stand in solidarity with members of the LGBTQ+ community and will continue advocating for policies like the Fairness Act that move us toward a more accepting, loving, and inclusive society.” Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus shames Erie County Public Library

(Jun 21, 2023)

Calls for Pride book display to be replaced Read more

 

Mayes: ‘Means the world to me’ to lead Pittsburgh Pride March and Parade

(Jun 03, 2023)

"As the first out lesbian ever to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and a long-time local and national LGBTQ+ rights activist, it means the world to me to lead this march and parade on the 50th Anniversary of the first Pride in the United States," Mayes said. Read more

 

Smith-Wade-El celebrates House passage of the PA Fairness Act

(May 03, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Rep. Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, praised yesterday’s passage in the House of the PA Fairness Act, which would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “I’m honored to be a co-prime sponsor of this important legislation—The PA Fairness Act,” Smith-Wade-El said. “This moment is 22 years and hundreds of elections in the making as Democrats have repeatedly tried to pass legislation that would make Pennsylvania a more equitable place to live and work for our LGBTQ+ community. During this time, many LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians have found themselves to be second-class citizens, at best, in the commonwealth—worried if they would lose housing or a job or their lives because of who they love or who they are. “Pennsylvania for too long has lagged behind other states in outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. That must stop. Thanks to the Democratic majority in the House, we have been able to pass this historic legislation. We’ve got to keep fighting so this legislation passes the Senate. The Fairness Act gets Pennsylvania closer to a place where everyone's rights are protected, where citizens would be wrapped in freedom, equality, fairness and justice which is love spoken out loud. I look forward to that day when the Act is signed into law, and Read more

 

Fairness Act passes PA House

(May 02, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – Today, the Fairness Act (H.B. 300) passed out of the Pennsylvania House and is headed to the Senate for a future vote. Below is a quote that can be attributed to the co-prime sponsors of this bill: Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila; Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel and La’Tasha D. Mayes, all D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery. “Today is a historic day, as we take a critical step to make Pennsylvania fairer. The Fairness Act is as simple as it is substantive. H.B. 300 would protect LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians from facing discrimination and allow all individuals in the commonwealth to file complaints with the PA Human Relations Commission. “Now, we call on the Senate to quickly consider and pass this legislation and send it to Governor Shapiro’s desk.” Read more

 

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus holds rally for Fairness Act

(Apr 26, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 26 – Today, the PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, chaired by state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, held a rally on the PA Capitol steps in Harrisburg promoting the Fairness Act (H.B. 300), anti-discrimination legislation currently moving through the state House. House Bill 300 would prohibit discrimination in PA based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression. On Monday, the bill was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee and is headed for an eventual vote by the full House. Today’s rally saw a huge turnout of legislators, advocates and the public. Kenyatta and Benham were joined by the other co-prime sponsors of H.B. 300, state Reps. Dan Frankel and Latasha D. Mayes, both D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery; to speak on their bill. “Pennsylvania is better when it’s fairer. Passing the Fairness Act is the right thing to do for our families, our commonwealth and for our economy. This legislation was first introduced 22 years ago -- leaving committee once before -- and never receiving a full vote,” Kenyatta said. “It’s time for that to change. Pennsylvanians are good and decent people. They know every single one of us should be treated with dignity and respect. We have a chance to deliver on that basic principle and we will.” “The Fairness Act is as Read more

 

Frankel cheers step forward for the Fairness Act

(Apr 24, 2023)

“Every single district in Pennsylvania has LGBTQ+ people living there, and many more who want to live in an inclusive and fair commonwealth.” Read more

 

‘Fairness Act’ reported out of House Judiciary Committee

(Apr 24, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 24 – Today, The Fairness Act (H.B. 300) was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee 12-9 and will now head to the House floor for a vote. Prime sponsors of the bill, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila; Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel and Latasha D. Mayes, all D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery; issued the following statement following the Judiciary Committee vote. “The Fairness Act has been in the works for years and never received fair consideration. With today’s vote in the Judiciary Committee, we took a huge step toward making Pennsylvania fairer for our LGBTQ+ residents. “As H.B. 300 heads to the house floor for a vote, we are ready to defend the rights of LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians. “Most Pennsylvanians believe what we believe; Pennsylvania is better when it’s fairer. We hope our colleagues in the House can see eye to eye with us and most Pennsylvanians, so they can meet this monumental moment for our commonwealth and pass H.B 300 out of the House and to the Senate.” Read more

 

Democratic lawmakers issue statement on introduction of “Fairness Act”

(Apr 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 13 – Today, the Fairness Act , whose prime sponsors are state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila.; Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel and Latasha D. Mayes, all D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery, was introduced as H.B. 300. The following joint statement can be attributed to the members listed above: “Every single Pennsylvanian deserves to live with dignity and respect. For far too long, LGBTQ+ folks across the commonwealth have faced horrific discrimination for who they love, how they identify and who they are. “In 2020, in the landmark decision of Bostock v. Clayton County, the United States Supreme Court ruled that an employer cannot discriminate against an individual because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While this decision was a historic victory for civil rights, it does not prevent someone in our state who identifies as LGBTQ+ from being denied housing, education or access to public accommodations. These protections must be codified into law. “Lack of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law in Pennsylvania is a deterrent for workers and businesses who could help grow our economy, and its passage is long overdue. Discrimination in any form degrades us all. We can and must do better. “That is why we are introducing the Fairness Act (H.B.300) to prohibit discrimination in our state based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. “We Read more

 

Kenyatta, Benham, Burgos and Flick introduce bipartisan ‘Marriage Equality’ bill

(Apr 11, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 11 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Danilo Burgos, both D-Phila., Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, and Jamie Flick, R-Lycoming/Union, are introducing legislation to protect the right of marriage equality against further high court cases that could erode that right and to clean up the statute to be in line with the U.S Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges . Marriage was only recently extended to same-sex couples across the United States. While numerous states had previously recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry, it was the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015, that made it clear that marriage, and all its privileges and responsibilities, should be available to all. Despite the landmark ruling, and same-sex marriage being legal in Pennsylvania, the commonwealth, as well as many other states, retain outdated, unconstitutional and unnecessary sections of law that prohibit marriage equality. This legislation would update Pennsylvania’s current laws by repealing the section of law that only recognizes marriage as being between a man and woman. Kenyatta, who serves as co-chair of the Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, said it’s important for the statue of Pennsylvania’s law regarding marriage to reflect Obergefell v. Hodges. “As the first openly LGBTQ person to get married during their tenure in the General Assembly, I know how special it is, to not Read more

 

Benham, Kenyatta and Smith-Wade-El introduce bill to protect minors from conversion therapy in PA

(Mar 31, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Reps. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny; Izzy Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Malcom Kenyatta, D-Phila., have introduced legislation (H.B. 575) to protect minors from conversion therapy. “There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that tells us efforts to change an individual’s sexual identity through so-called ‘therapy’ causes serious harm to their mental health,” said state Benham, who co-chairs the PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. “It is shameful that in 2023 Pennsylvania still allows the abhorrent practice known as conversion therapy to occur, and I am looking forward to outlawing it to protect and affirm LGBTQ+ youth across our Commonwealth.” “Conversion therapy is anti-gay bias masquerading as science,” said Smith-Wade-El. “This abusive practice has caused immense harm on patients, including depression, trauma, drug use, homelessness and suicide. It reinforces the idea that there is something psychologically wrong with LGBTQ people because of their sexual identity. It’s long past time that PA joins 20 other states and the District of Columbia in banning this abhorrent practice to protect the physical and psychological well-being of LGBTQ minors.” The legislation, the Protection of Minors from Conversion Therapy Act, seeks to address harms associated with conversion therapy by prohibiting a mental health professional from engaging in this archaic treatment with an Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus condemns University of Pittsburgh for hosting transphobic speakers

(Mar 15, 2023)

“Giving a podium and university resources to someone like Michael Knowles who has publicly stated his goal is to eradicate ‘transgenderism’ from public life is a direct violation of the university’s commitment to support and protect its transgender community members. Transgender individuals at Pitt are not feeling supported – they are feeling endangered. I am urging the university to step in and cancel the events in the interest of protecting the LGBTQ+ community at Pitt.” Read more

 

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Introduces Legislation to Push for Equality

(Feb 14, 2023)

We will do everything we can to ensure LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians have a voice in the halls of Harrisburg and a seat at the table directing our commonwealth’s future. Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation leadership reacts to PSP trooper now off force
May 10, 2024

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus praises state boards for new policy to protect LGBTQ+ youth
May 03, 2024

State Reps. Smith-Wade-El, Kenyatta and Benham applaud two state boards’ opposition to conversion therapy
Apr 17, 2024

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, House Philadelphia Delegation, LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus release statement on Pennsylvania State Police traffic stop and arrest
Mar 05, 2024

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus condemns hate crime, murder of gay man at gas station
Aug 02, 2023

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus denounces SCOTUS ruling in 303 Creative, Inc. v. Elenis
Jun 30, 2023

House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus & Philadelphia House Delegation condemn Moms for Liberty event in Phila.
Jun 29, 2023

Pa. House recognizes LGBTQ+ Pride Month
Jun 27, 2023

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus shames Erie County Public Library
Jun 21, 2023

Mayes: ‘Means the world to me’ to lead Pittsburgh Pride March and Parade
Jun 03, 2023

Smith-Wade-El celebrates House passage of the PA Fairness Act
May 03, 2023

Fairness Act passes PA House
May 02, 2023

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus holds rally for Fairness Act
Apr 26, 2023

Frankel cheers step forward for the Fairness Act
Apr 24, 2023

‘Fairness Act’ reported out of House Judiciary Committee
Apr 24, 2023

Democratic lawmakers issue statement on introduction of “Fairness Act”
Apr 14, 2023

Kenyatta, Benham, Burgos and Flick introduce bipartisan ‘Marriage Equality’ bill
Apr 11, 2023

Benham, Kenyatta and Smith-Wade-El introduce bill to protect minors from conversion therapy in PA
Mar 31, 2023

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus condemns University of Pittsburgh for hosting transphobic speakers
Mar 15, 2023

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Introduces Legislation to Push for Equality
Feb 14, 2023