LGBT

Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Despite Bipartisan Backing, LGBT Protections Stalled

Passage is looking unlikely this year for a bill to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pennsylvanians.

The measure would outlaw firing someone from his or her job, evicting someone from his or her home, or not seating people at a restaurant on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gov. Tom Corbett supports it, as do a bipartisan group of state lawmakers.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:58 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

An Update on PA's Non-Discrimination Legislation

PA Democratic State Representative Erin Molchany
Credit Erin Molchany / Twitter

“Marriage equality is now a reality in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but at the end of the day you can still be fired for putting your wedding photo on your desk,” says State Representative Erin Molchany.

With a lack of legislative protections, same-sex couples in many parts of PA still face legal discrimination in the workplace, when it comes to housing, and in public accommodations.

“I would imagine that a state that does not have these kinds of protections would not be marketable to attracting talent, for businesses, employees,” Molchany said.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:39 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Creator of It Gets Better, Dan Savage, Brings His HUMP Tour to Pittsburgh

Dan Savage is host and curator of the Hump Festival Tour, a syndicated columnist featured in the Pittsburgh City Paper, and LGBTQ media leader.
Credit Dan Savage / Wikipedia

Sex columnist, author, and lecturer Dan Savage is in Pittsburgh this weekend for HUMP tour, a film festival which has garnered a bit of controversy locally. It's a festival of independently made adult films, which was originally slated to screen in Dormont. But because of a local ordinance, the festival will instead be shown in Lawrenceville. 

Savage describes HUMP as a film festival of amateur porn that marries funny with sexy. The festival begins at 9 pm Friday at the Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville.

Savage is best known for his syndicated sex advice column, regularly featured in the Pittsburgh City Paper and the It Gets Better Project, created to inspire and give hope to LGBT teens.

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Community
4:13 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

LGBT Pride Event Expects Record Numbers

Members of Pittsburgh’s LGBT community and their supporters are expected to take to the streets in record numbers this Sunday during the annual Pride March, which is part of this week’s Pittsburgh Pride celebration.

Pittsburgh Pride is the largest LGBT festival in Pennsylvania, according to the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh. The nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the city’s LGBT community hosts and organizes the event, which runs from June 6 through June 15.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:40 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Sharing The Stories Of Pittsburgh's Transgender Community

This year’s Pittsburgh Pride Week will have the most extensive spotlight on transgender communities so far.
Credit "2 Political Junkies" / Blogger

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This year’s Pittsburgh Pride Week will have the most extensive spotlight on transgender communities so far.

Jessica McGuiness is a former EMT who transitioned from male to female over the last 10 years, and she shared her story about living in Pittsburgh and how growing up was difficult for her.

While working as an EMT, McGuiness started to undergo the process of becoming a female. McGuiness says she was a quiet person and kept to herself, even as her coworkers would degrade transgender patients coming through the hospital, right in front of her. She said it took her some time to become comfortable coming out to them, or anyone.

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Government & Politics
3:54 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Advocates Hope Gay Marriage Ruling Will Lend Momentum To Anti-Bias Legislation

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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:03 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Overturning Pennsylvania's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

A rainbow flag flown in Harrisburg Tuesday in response to a judge's ruling on same sex marriage.
Credit Lindsey B / Flickr

“We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” wrote Judge John E. Jones III in his Tuesday ruling, ending Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. 

It was a sudden, entirely unexpected ruling from a judge appointed by President George W. Bush and endorsed by Rick Santorum. The public was further surprised when Republican Governor Tom Corbett decided not to appeal the decision.

The ruling was met with jubilation by same-sex couples across the state, who can now marry, and for those who married out-of-state and want their union recognized in PA.

Asserting human rights or disregarding democracy? 

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Government & Politics
1:51 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

After Ban Overturned, Same-Sex Couples Apply For Marriage Licenses In PA

Bill Rushlander and Rob Sauritch filed for a marriage license at the City-County Building marriage license office one day after a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act.
Irina Zhorov 90.5 WESA

Update (3:09 p.m.): Pennsylvania Won't Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Case

In overturning Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III concluded his nearly 40-page decision stating: “We are better people that what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:08 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Former NFL Player Wade Davis Talks About Getting Past Homophobia in Sports

Wade Davis is Executive Director of the You Can Play project
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Sewickley Academy is hosting an event titled "NFL to LGBTQ" featuring former NFL player Wade Davis. 

As a defensive back for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, and Seattle Seahawks as well as NFL Europe, Davis was constantly challenged physically and mentally. 

He said he grew up with limited understandings of what it meant to be gay and was constantly on his guard.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:15 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Helping the LGBTQ Communities in Honduras

Eric Vázquez, a PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University
Credit Eric Vázquez

Honduras is one of the world’s deadliest countries, overrun by gangs and violence.

Women, journalists, lawyers and members of the LGBTQ community have been singled out as victims.

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Health
2:51 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council Says Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men Is Discriminatory

Dan Burda (center) smiles after receiving the Will of Council resolution. Also pictured are Councilman Dan Gilman (left) and Dan Burda's mother, Lorraine Burda (right).
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgher Dan Burda’s partner of eight years, Rohn, passed away from a heart attack this year. Like many families of the recently deceased, Burda and his loved ones wanted to donate Rohn’s skin, tissue and organs to someone who needed them.

But they were not allowed to do that because of a long-standing FDA ban on such donations from any man who has had sex with a man.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:12 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Jason Collins Gets a Chance and Makes History

NBA center, Jason Collins walked onto the court Sunday after signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets. As he checked into the game in the second quarter, Collins became the first openly gay man to play one of the nation's four major professional sports.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak says on the part of the Brooklyn Nets, the signing was not made just to make history.

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Government & Politics
4:26 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Corbett Backs Gay Rights Bill On Discrimination

Gov. Tom Corbett is supporting a measure to ban the discrimination of Pennsylvanians based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The proposal would update the commonwealth’s anti-discrimination law to include what supporters call basic protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.

The governor insists he’s not changing his stance on the issue, claiming it’s the first time he’s had any kind of position.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:40 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Exploring the Wider Impact of LGBT Homelessness in Pittsburgh

Of homeless youth in Pittsburgh, 40 percent identify as LGBT.
Credit scribbletaylor / flickr

Homelessness among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people is more prevalent than any other statistical group in America.

Forty percent of homeless youth in America identify as LGBT. The same statistic applies to the city of Pittsburgh.

Lyndsey Sickler, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, and Nayck B. Feliz, associate director of Project SILK, work firsthand with young LGBT Pittsburghers who experience homelessness.

Feliz said this high homeless population has negative societal ramifications for the Pittsburgh region. 

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Government & Politics
12:24 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

PA’s Hate-Crime Law Still Leaves Many Groups Out

Jane, 59, was born a man but completed her transition from male to female in rural Pennsylvania about two years ago.
Credit Alexandra Kanik / PublicSource

Jane’s whole life has been like one long hate crime.

As a teenager, her classmates beat her to a pulp because she shaved her legs. Her family believed that praying would cure what the belt didn’t.

Jane was born a man. Today, she is a woman.

Jane, a transgender woman, asked PublicSource not to use her name because of fear that she might be targeted. She completed her transition from male to female in rural Pennsylvania about two years ago.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:01 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Reel Q Festival Features Some Divine Indie Films to Sample

I Am Divine is a documentary about the iconic drag queen, Divine. It's the opening night feature of the Reel Q festival.
Credit wikipedia

The Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival or Reel Q, runs October 11-10 and will offer 15 full-length films.

Pittsburgh City Paper Film Critic Al Hoff previews some of the best feature flicks including I Am Divine, GBF, Alice Walker Beauty and Truth and Interior. Leatherbar.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:31 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

A Virtual Time Capsule of Pittsburgh's LGBT Nightlife

Harrison Apple has been chronicling Pittsburgh's GLBT nightlife through the decades.
Credit Center for the Arts in Society / CMU

Harrison Apple has been exploring the underground. In speakeasies, bathhouses and after hours clubs, he’s found a hypothetical time capsule of a rich gay nightlife in Pittsburgh between 1960 and 1990.

Now as Artist in Residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for the Arts, Harrison not only exhibits his own work, but has been successful in bringing award-winning author and gay rights historian George Chauncey to CMU’s 2013 Kim and Eric Giler lecture in the humanities Thursday afternoon.

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Same-Sex Marriage
3:06 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Rep. Sims: Same-Sex Marriage 'Inevitable' in PA

State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), the first openly gay member of the General Assembly, said same-sex marriage “will become law” in Pennsylvania, either through legislation or judicial action.

Sims spoke Wednesday with Essential Pittsburgh about his LGBT anti-discrimination legislation and marriage equality bill.

He said most believe gay marriage will someday become legal in Pennsylvania, which is the only state in the Northeast without laws providing for civil unions or same-sex marriage.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:39 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Ending LGBT Discrimination in Pennsylvania

Credit Michael Lokner / Flickr


Although protections exist in Pittsburgh and in Allegheny County, there is currently no comprehensive protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression throughout Pennsylvania. Democratic State Representative Dan Frankel aims to provide that protection to LGBT individuals at the state level. Frankel has authored a bipartisan bill with a record number of cosponsors to amend Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act.

According to Frankel, there needs to be a uniform statute to provide protections across the commonwealth.

“It’s the last vestige of legalized discrimination that Pennsylvania still embraces,” says Frankel.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Lawmaker Denies Hearing on LGBT Discrimination Bill

The Republican chairman of a key state House committee isn’t planning to schedule a hearing on a bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
    
The measure was referred to the State Government Committee, which is made up of 15 Republicans and 10
Democrats, and its ranking Democrat has prodded the chairman for a hearing.

But Representative Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County said he believes the majority of his panel opposes the bill.

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Religion & Faith
4:21 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

At Lutheran Assembly, Calls for Full Inclusion of LGBTQ Community

UPDATE:  August 15 5:00 am

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)  has a new leader.  Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Bishop of the Northeast Ohio Synod was elected as Presiding Bishop of the ELCA at the church's national conference in Pittsburgh.   Bishop Eaton was elected on the fifth ballot with 600  votes compared to 287 for Bishop Mark Hanson who has led the ELCA for the last 12 years.

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City Government
3:11 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Pittsburgh to Require Some City Contractors to Offer Domestic Partnership Benefits

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed legislation Tuesday that requires contractors who enter into a contract of $250,000 or more with the city to offer same-sex domestic partnership benefits to its employees.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:29 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Expanding Domestic Partner Benefits in Pittsburgh

Bruce Kraus is Pittsburgh City Council member for District 3
Credit City Council District 3 Office

For Pittsburgh city councilman Bruce Kraus, the reason he introduced the Equal Benefits Ordinance to council can be summed up in one word: equality.

“It’s the right thing to do,” says Kraus of the ordinance, which will require private companies contracted with the city for jobs of more than $250,000 to extend benefits to domestic partners, including those of the same sex. “It sends a message of inclusiveness,” he adds.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:28 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

LGBT Health Concerns

Dr. Ron Stall
Credit UPMC

According to Dr. Ron Stall, director of the Center for LGBT Health Research at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, the dearth of investment in sexual health research, especially for the LGBT community, is something of an American tradition. Primarily due to the hot-button nature of conversations about sexuality and sexual practices, “the US has been slow to invest in sexual health in general.”

This additional roadblock makes the advances that have been made in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV all the more impressive. According to Stall, thanks to breakthrough drug research, HIV “has now become a chronic manageable disease much like diabetes,” for those who are aware of their illness and have access to drugs.

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Same Sex Marriage
2:30 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

AG Kane Will Not Defend Against Suit Challenging PA's Marriage Law

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Thursday that she will not defend the state law effectively banning same-sex marriage from a legal challenge in federal court, meaning the task will be left up to Gov. Tom Corbett.

"I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's (law), where I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional," Kathleen Kane announced Thursday at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

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