Equality PA

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Members and allies of the transgender community are gathering in Pittsburgh on Thursday to raise awareness about transgender issues.

Events celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility are taking place across the state, including the Steel City at 6 p.m. at the Persad Center in Lawrenceville.

Members of the local transgender community are planning to share their personal stories and how they’ve been affected by discrimination.

Strange de Jim / Flickr

Cities like Pittsburgh continue to take the lead in providing legal protections for LGBT people and workers when states and the federal authorities have not, according to the fourth annual Municipal Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

“Pittsburgh should be pretty proud of their score,” said Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel for HRC and the study's author.

Measuring Poverty's Impact on the LGBT Community

Nov 14, 2014

There are 45.3 million Americans living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Poverty affects people from all walks of life, in all areas of the country, but according to several studies, people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are hit by poverty more often than others.

“I struggle every day,” said Lynn, who lives just outside Pittsburgh. She didn’t want to use her last name. Lynn identifies as lesbian, and she doesn’t work because of a disability. Lynn is also diabetic and living on a very fixed income.

Pittsburgh received the second highest grade in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality among seven cities in Pennsylvania, according to a report released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign.

Pittsburgh scored a 90 out of a possible 100, which is based on the city’s non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, employment policies, law enforcement and municipal leadership on matters of equality.

The General Assembly's fall session doesn't begin until Sept. 15, but the state's leading advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians is already closing the book on an anti-discrimination measure that picked up unprecedented, bipartisan support.

"At the current moment, with nine days left in the session, I don't hold out a lot of hope that the bill will pass this year," said Ted Martin, head of Equality PA.

Gay rights advocates are hoping the same-sex marriage ruling in Pennsylvania paves the way for laws to prohibit bias against residents based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.  

Identical bills in the state House and Senate would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians from being discriminated in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Equality PA director Ted Martin said about 30 percent of the state has such protections in place at the municipal level, but his group is seeking a state law.