Pennsylvania Equality Project

P.O. Box 976
Edinboro, PA 16412        
Equality Now! Equality Always!

Petitions

A message from Rep. Dan Frankel:

Currently, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and accommodations based on an individual's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, education status, handicap, or disability. We strongly believe that the time has come to update this list to provide a basic level of protection for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters. We are not alone in this belief. At this writing, our legislation enjoys the support of vast majorities of people from one end of Pennsylvania to the other. In fact, according to recent surveys, over seventy percent (70%) of Pennsylvanians support amending state law to protect members of the LGBT community from discrimination. 


Our legislation is not simply the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense. More than 400 companies in Pennsylvania, including some of the largest employers, have non-discrimination policies in place that include sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Additionally, all Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Commonwealth have non-discrimination policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and most have a gender identity or expression policy as well. These employers recognize that by respecting diversity, they can attract and retain the best workers and maintain a competitive advantage - a key factor in stimulating economic growth. 


To read more, click here.

 

A message from Rep. Brian Sims (D-182)

Sexual orientation conversion therapy refers to counseling and psychotherapy attempting to eliminate or suppress homosexuality. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) excluded homosexuality from being classified as a mental disorder. Despite declarations from major medical, health, and mental health organizations, supporting the APA's position on homosexuality, many make efforts to attempt to change a person's sexual orientation through psychotherapy. According to studies published by the American Psychological Association, patients under 18 years of age suffer from a multitude of harmful effects associated with conversion therapy including withdrawal and suicidal thoughts.


To read more, click here.


A Message from Rep. Mark Cohen

In 2013, Philadelphia passed an ordinance codifying transition-related health care, and in 2014, Medicare, a bellwether of national health care trends, removed exclusions on transgender care. 

Despite this progress, this care has been elusive at the state level. There is no coverage for state employees, no protections in private insurance, and there are specific exclusions from the state Medicaid program. (Editor's note: The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services HAS authorized Medicaid coverage for all transgender-related issues as of July 18, 2016.)


This bill would require coverage of transition-related care, including hormone therapy, mental health, and surgery in all private, public, and Medicaid plans, the latter being critical to a group experiencing a high poverty rate. The relevant portion of this bill reads:


Section 3. Transgender health benefits. Every health insurance carrier that offers a health insurance plan shall include coverage in each plan for treatment of gender dysphoria and gender identity disorder, including medically necessary office visits, laboratory tests, prescription drugs, hormone treatments, 

counseling and transitional surgeries necessary for the treatment of either.


PEP thanks the Mazzoni Center and Equality Pennsylvania for thei rguidance with the Department of Human Services to make transgender health care available through Medicaid.
PA House Bill 1510

Why is this important?

Although marriage equality is legal, we still need everyone to support this important petition to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Senate to protect people from discrimination for all public accommodations based on sexual or gender identity. The people of Pennsylvania must be treated equally in terms of, but not limited to, employment, education, and housing regardless of real or perceived sexual or gender identity. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community should not be relegated to second class citizenry solely because of who we love or how we portray ourselves. All Pennsylvanians are worthy of equal treatment under the law.


Why is this important?

Conversion therapy has been debunked as junk science by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. There's no scientific evidence that it works. But, more important, there's a host of evidence that it hurts those who suffer through it, leading to depression and even suicide in some cases.

As a gay man and as the founder and president of the Pennsylvania Equality Project, formerly called Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania, I've met a number of gays and lesbians who have experienced the pain of so-called conversion therapy, and I've seen the results firsthand.


PA House Bill 304

UPDATE

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has authorized Medicaid coverage for all transgender-related issues.


Why is this important?

All people deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. According to Brynn Tannehill  "eighty percent of transgender people contemplate suicide, and 41 percent of transgender people attempt it. Lack of access to care is in fact likely to kill many transgender people. If this was a type of cancer that was killing 41 percent of the people who developed it, and it was possible to reduce the mortality rate by similar percentages, there wouldn't be any argument happening."