HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Youth Congress is thrilled with the creation of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. As Pennsylvania’s first and only statewide LGBTQ youth organization, PYC recognizes the importance of this commission’s work to provide a direct line for LGBTQ communities into state government.
In June 2015, PYC leaders presented a comprehensive proposal to Governor Wolf’s Administration to create the commission. Over several years, PYC youth leaders met with numerous Administration officials in support of the initiative.
Last night, Governor Tom Wolf signed Executive Order 2018-06 and the members of the inaugural commission were sworn in. PYC Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman is among the 40 members of the commission.
“The Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs will provide a critical platform for our communities in making sure our state government is meeting the diverse and urgent needs of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians,” said Landau Goodman. He continued, “Our commonwealth has no statutory protections for LGBTQ individuals. We must use every resource we have to make sure all Pennsylvanians can be safe and thrive in their communities. This commission will immensely help us in this effort.”
PYC calls on this commission work to center vulnerable LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who are most impacted by the issues to be addressed. Landau Goodman said, “PYC looks to the commission to be reflective and responsive to the needs of all, including and especially trans individuals, trans and queer people of color, rural folks, youth, elders, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, and additional marginalized populations. We can do this with bold action, transparency, and accountability.”
In 1975, Governor Milton Shapp created the Council on Sexual Minorities, which was among the first governmental committees formed to address LGBTQ rights in the world. Community activists Mark Segal and Harry Langhorne were instrumental in helping start it. The council eventually dissolved. As PYC was forming in 2011, its youth leaders had learned about the council and wanted to propose the formation of a strong and dynamic commission to address current issues impacting LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.
PYC deeply appreciates the leadership of Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs Eric Gutshall, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, and Deputy Secretary of Health Sarah Boateng, along with all those involved, for their instrumental work in making this commission a reality.
The Pennsylvania Youth Congress advances freedom and justice for young LGBT Pennsylvanians through advocating for responsible public policy. As a youth-led organization, PYC represents citizens working toward safer schools and thriving communities across the commonwealth.