FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | December 3, 2012
Contact: Victoria Martin
PSEC ELECTS NEW LEADERSHIP;
ANNOUNCES HISTORIC STATEWIDE LGBT YOUTH CONFERENCE IN PITTSBURGH
Lewisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) Coordinating Committee elected new leadership as well voted to appoint several new members to the PSEC Board of Directors at their Fall Meeting at Bucknell University. Additionally, PSEC leaders voted to convene the 2013 Youth Action Conference at the University of Pittsburgh next February.
The entirely youth-led organization, whose leadership is based with voting members from Pennsylvania GSAs in the Coordinating Committee, voted to appoint Ashish Kalani, Villanova University ’14, of Wyomissing (Berks County), as Convener. The Coordinating Committee also elected Faith Elmes, Indiana University of Pennsylvania ’15, of Landisburg (Perry County) as Assistant Convener.
Following his election, Ashish Kalani said, “I am honored to have been selected by my peers as PSEC Convener. Our coalition of Pennsylvania youth has come a long way from our formation last year – from the legislative introduction of the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act to growing our membership which now directly represents thousands of Pennsylvania LGBT students. I am humbled to be a leader in this movement and advocate for LGBT youth across our state.”
The Board of Directors inducted five new members: Olivia Benson of Pittsburgh (originally of Aliquippa), Victor Galli of Philadelphia, Ellie Gordon of Pittsburgh, Luis Medina of Lewisburg, and Natalie Richman of Philadelphia (originally of Johnstown). The Board now represents a great diversity of PSEC leaders across the state – all of whom serve in a variety of community positions. Olivia Benson is the Youth Policy Manager for the City of Pittsburgh under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Victor Galli is the former Vice-Chair of Political Affairs of the Lambda Alliance at the University of Pennsylvania.
“As the first youth-led statewide LGBT advocacy organization in the nation, we are proud that PSEC has continues to show strong leadership growth and sustainability – from critical work in Harrisburg to local community advocacy across the state,” said PSEC Executive Director, Jason Landau Goodman.
The 2013 Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference will be held February 1-3, 2013 at the University of Pittsburgh. The theme of the conference is “Let The Circle Be Unbroken,” which was chosen both to honor the legacy of youth-led advocacy throughout the suffrage and Civil Rights movements, as well as call attention to the strength and unity amongst LGBT youth in Pennsylvania. “Let the Circle Be Unbroken” is the first known conference to specifically link youth-led advocacy in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the modern LGBT youth movement.
The first Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference was held in October 2011 at the University of Pennsylvania, with the National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director, Mara Keisling, as the keynote speaker. State and national LGBT community leaders will be in attendance at the 2013 conference, with the keynote speakers to be announced later this month. The upcoming Youth Action Conference will be the largest statewide LGBT youth gathering ever held in Pennsylvania.
More information can be found at the conference website: www.yac2013.com
Photo: Ashish Kalani (left), Faith Elmes (right)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jason Landau Goodman
BREAKING: First LGBT State Legislator in Pennsylvania Comes Out;
Republican Rep. Mike Fleck Becomes
First Openly Gay Legislator in Pennsylvania History
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) and LGBT youth across Pennsylvania commend Republican State Rep. Mike Fleck (R-81) for coming out today, becoming the first openly LGBT lawmaker in the Keystone State. Not only is Fleck the first and only legislator currently in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly who is openly gay, he is also one of only two openly gay Republican state legislators nationwide.
This is a historic and significant event for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania General Assembly that reflects the true diversity of her citizens is a better state for us all. Fleck said he hopes his openness will help others better understand the journey people have to take to live an authentic life, according to the Huntington Daily News.
Rep. Fleck represents a largely conservative and rural district stretching over Blair, Huntingdon, and Mifflin counties in Central Pennsylvania. In the breaking article in his local paper today, he noted that he remains committed to the same political ideals as before the announcement, as he has since he was first elected in 2006.
PSEC has been proud to work with Rep. Fleck. Prior to his big announcement, Rep. Fleck was already a friend of PSEC as a cosponsor of the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act (HB 2636), which is a landmark anti-bullying bill to update Pennsylvania’s weak safe schools statute. Supporters of the PASS Act have appreciated considerable diversity of cosponsors, in terms of political affiliation, gender, and now–as of today–sexual orientation.
“Rep. Fleck has made history in becoming the first openly gay member of the Pennsylvania legislature. We could not be more proud of his courageous decision to be open and affirming of his identity.” said PSEC Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman.
PSEC wrote personally to Rep. Fleck on the day of his announcement. “On behalf of the thousands of LGBT youth we represent across the state, we thank you for coming forward and becoming a role model for us.”
PSEC is excited to continue working with Rep. Fleck in helping make the Commonwealth a better place for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of their sexual orientation.
The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) is Pennsylvania’s statewide LGBTQ youth organization.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FIRST OUT LESBIAN HISPANIC JUDGE NOMINATED BY PRESIDENT TO FEDERAL BENCH
Philadelphia Judge Nitza Quiñones Alejandro Supported by both US Senators Toomey and Casey
PHILADELPHIA – The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) commends US Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) for supporting Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro in her nomination on Tuesday to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If her nomination is confirmed, she will become the first openly lesbian Hispanic woman to serve in the federal court system.
The recommendation for Judge Quiñones Alejandro to serve on the federal court came from both US Senators from Pennsylvania.
As a noteworthy step forward for LGBT inclusion in the federal government, PSEC Executive Director and University of Pennsylvania student Jason Landau Goodman said that “it is a great day in Pennsylvania when both our Republican and Democratic US Senators agree that an individual is qualified for the federal bench because she is an excellent judge – regardless of her sexual orientation.”
Senator Toomey praised Judge Quiñones Alejandro’s involvement within the Pennsylvania community, saying in a press statement, “In her 21 years on the bench, Nitza Quiñones Alejandro has presided over many cases incorporating different facets of the law. In addition to her extensive experience in the courtroom, she has also remained active in her community through her work with schools and mentoring summer law interns.”
Senator Casey is a cosponsor of the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) (S. 811) which would protect Americans from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Senator Toomey is currently not a cosponsor.
Judge Quiñones Alejandro has served the Philadelphia community for many years, as an attorney for both Community Legal Services and later the US Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1980 she became an arbitrator for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In 1991, she began her career as a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
President Barack Obama has nominated eight openly gay or lesbian federal judges over his first term. Most recently, President Obama nominated Judge William L. Thomas to the US District Court of Southern Florida. Thomas, who is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College in Washington County, Pennsylvania and Temple University Beasley Law School, is set to become the second openly gay black federal judge in the nation.
November is Transgender Awareness Month! There are plenty of wonderful educational and community events going on throughout Pennsylvania. Below are some of the great programs you should check out!
Vigils will be held in our major cities for the 14th Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th, 2012. Only Dickinson College is known to host a full Transgender Awareness Month. Several student organizations including West Chester University LGBTQA and Bryn Mawr College Rainbow Alliance are holding Transgender Awareness Weeks. We will add events to this list as they are made public. Of course, we encourage celebrating transgender people all year round!
Transgender Day of Remembrance
November 20th, 2012
Philadelphia: The William Way Community Center (1315 Spruce Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Philadelphia (Drexel University): The Dragon Statue (33rd and Market St), November 20th, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Host: Drexel University FUSE
Pittsburgh: The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh (210 Grant St), November 20th, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Hosts: GLCC of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Health Department, Judah Fellowship Christian Church, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, Persad Center, True T Entertainment, Project Silk, Pittsburgh Black Pride, TransPride.
Harrisburg: The steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol (3rd and State St), November 20th, 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Host: TransCentral PA
Bethlehem: The Maze Garden (3rd and South New St), November 18th, 1:00pm
Bryn Mawr (Bryn Mawr College): Taft Garden, November 28th, 9:30pm
Collegeville: Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (3424 Ridge Pike), November 20th, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Host: Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
November Transgender Awareness Events
Pittsburgh Initiative for Transgender Leadership: Trans Film Screening
The Andy Warhol Museum, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Drexel University: Trans Film Screening
Curtis Hall, 7:00pm – 10:00pm
West Chester University: F to eMbody Concert
Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall (700 South High Street), 8:30pm – 10:00pm
Dickinson College: Two Spirits Film Screening
Stern Great Room, 7:30pm – 8:45pm
Kutztown University: Orchid’s My Intersex Adventure
Old Main 4, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Dickinson College: Stonewall Vigil
Briton Plaza, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
University of Pittsburgh: Mara Keisling
Center Ballroom, O’Hara Student Center (3907 Spruce Street, Philadelphia), 8:45pm – 10:00pm
Bucknell University: Rebecca Kling: Transgender Workshop and Preformance
The ELC (1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg), 5:00pm-9:00pm
Erie Community: Gender Redesigner Film Screening
Hosted by: Erie Sisters, Persad Erie, and the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality
Avalon Hotel (16 W 10th St, Erie), 3:00pm
Widener University: Trans Film Screening
Webb Room, University Center, 8:00pm-9:30pm
The University of Pennsylvania: GenderTalk: An Open Mic on Gender Queer Issues by Penn N-CIS
The Penn LGBT Center (3907 Spruce Street, Philadelphia), 8:00pm-10:00pm
Bryn Mawr College: Trans/Gender 101
Quita Woodward Room, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Bryn Mawr College: No Dumb Questions Film Screening
Thomas Hall, 8:30pm-9:30pm
Penn State – University Park: Transgeneration Film Screening
The HUB, Room 107, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Bryn Mawr College: Trans Issues at Bryn Mawr Discussion
Quita Woodward Room, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Bryn Mawr College: IdentiTea: Creation and Celebration