Jason Landau Goodman
Jason is the founding Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress and a national leader in the LGBTQ youth movement. A fifth generation Pennsylvanian, Jason has been involved with social justice activism for over seven years as the first person to work statewide with LGBTQ youth in Pennsylvania.
Soon after beginning his studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, he began reaching out to students across the commonwealth to form a statewide LGBTQ youth movement. Navigating through adultism and other institutional barriers for young advocates, he lead the charge to form the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition in 2011, the nation’s first youth-led statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, which became the Pennsylvania Youth Congress in 2015.
Since PYC formed, he has become a spokesperson on behalf of thousands of LGBTQ youth through representing the constituents of the coalition’s member organizations. In his role as Executive Director he has organized numerous statewide campaigns, presented at dozens of state and national conferences, delivered testimony before city councils and state legislative committees, and drafted policies to advance the welfare of Pennsylvania LGBTQ youth. Jason has meetings with hundreds of LGBTQ youth across the state each year. When not doing his schoolwork at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, he can be found traveling along the Pennsylvania Turnpike or rural roads on his way to connect with young LGBTQ leaders, or in Harrisburg meeting with legislators.
In 2013, the Pennsylvania Youth Congress established its advocacy arm. As a registered lobbyist, his portfolio is focused on LGBTQ equality, creating safer schools, ending youth homelessness, and improving the foster care system.
Jason is deeply rooted in supporting youth-led action through group-centered, servant leadership. In this framework, he believes individual leaders are not to be known or celebrated, but should be regarded as equal members of their communities working selflessly in the trenches. This ideology keeps the focus on the collective empowerment of the community. He has closely studied the work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the main youth arm of the Civil Rights Movement, for inspiration and guidance. Jason considers his most cherished role models to be John Lewis and Ella Baker who helped design SNCC. In 2015, Jason was selected by the National Park Service to participate in the official 50th Anniversary Selma to Montgomery March as one of 70 youth from across the country.
Jason began his journey as an advocate in 2009 within his hometown of Lower Merion, PA. Upon learning that there were no non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in Pennsylvania, he became determined to help pass a local law to do so. After over two years of working with civic leaders across the township, which is one of the largest municipalities in the state, the Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the ordinance. This victory provided him the opportunity to organize with advocates in nearly a dozen other Philadelphia suburbs to pass their own ordinances. He spearheaded the formation of the Suburban and Rural Alliance of Pennsylvania to support that work.
Jason has received numerous distinctions for his advocacy including being named one of the top 12 LGBTQ student leaders in the United States by Campus Pride. At the University of Pennsylvania he has served as the Vice-Chair for Political Affairs of the Lambda Alliance and the Chair of J-Bagel, Penn’s Jewish LGBTQ community. At the University of Pittsburgh Law School, he serves as President of OUTlaw. He spoke at the United Nations for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia in 2017. His work has been profiled in newspapers and blogs across the county.