100 WVIA Way
Pittston, PA 18640

Phone: 570-826-6144
Fax: 570-655-1180

Copyright © 2024 WVIA, all rights reserved. WVIA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

LGBTQ+ advocacy group Fairness Pennsylvania launches

LGBTQ pride colors are displayed on the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Commonwealth Media Services
Commonwealth Media Services
LGBTQ pride colors are displayed on the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Fairness Pennsylvania, a lobbying group, launched last Monday during the first week of Pride Month.

It will work with members of the General Assembly on the wording of bills geared toward protecting LGBTQ+ rights. It’s the state’s first full-time lobbying group focused on LGBTQ+ issues.

“The launch of Fairness PA will give every person the opportunity to learn about the realities facing our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and colleagues while working towards fostering nondiscrimination principles across the Commonwealth,” said Fairness PA state director Sarah Hammond in a statement.

They will work on issues such as making it easier for transgender people to change their names or participate in sports when transitioning from man to woman.

One of their main goals is the passage of the Fairness Act. That bill would amend the Human Relations Act to add protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

The bill passed the state House but has been in the Senate State Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Cris Dush, R-Elk, since May 3, 2023.

Dush’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Sen. Lindsey Williams, D-Allegheny, is the minority chair of the Senate Education Committee. She said this committee has seen a fair share of legislation on things such as preventing trans people from competing in sporting events.

“I listened to hours of hate speech, including members saying that people in the LGBTQ community, quote, ‘suffer from disordered thinking,’” she said. “It’s no secret to them that the LGBTQ+ youth are at greater risk of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide than their peers. But those that support these bills, they don’t care.”

Some legislators who support banning trans girls from participating in sports with other girls say it’s a fairness issue.

Following the Senate’s passage of such a bill in 2022 Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, affirmed his support of the ban, saying, “I stand on the side of the lady athletes. I stand on the side of science.”

LGBTQ+ people are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, according to suicide prevention group The Trevor Project.

If you are thinking about suicide or if you or someone you know is in emotional crisis, call or text 988 any time for confidential and free crisis support.