On the heels of Pittsburgh's Gay Pride festivities, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services' (DHS) LGBTQ Advisory Council will hold a town hall meeting to inform the community of services and get feedback about what's needed in the area. Challenges faced by the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) community are thought to be numerous, though they are not well documented.
"But things that we know is that one of the biggest challenges to accessing social services is being served by people who are sensitive to your needs, people who are welcoming and inclusive when you walk in the door, and then also being served by people who, even if they are sensitive, know how to meet your needs," said Megan Good, an analyst with the DHS.
Since this is the first town hall meeting, members of the advisory council will introduce themselves and outline their role and objectives, while also informing the community of various services offered through the county. There will also be a question and answer session for those in attendance. There are no hard statistics on the exact population of LGBTQ people in Allegheny County, but it's thought to be a substantial number.
"In terms of population size, it's up for debate, but a lot of estimates are around 10%, and when you think about Allegheny County being 1.2 million people, we're talking about 120,000, so it's a good number of people in our area," said Good.
The state of Pennsylvania doesn't have specific protections for LGBTQ persons, though Allegheny County does have a non-discrimination ordinance that includes sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and marital status.
The town hall meeting will be held Wednesday June 13, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM on the lower level of the Human Services Building, One Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh.