In addition to the accomplishments and activities featured below, PYC regularly participates with community events, actions, conferences, and celebrations.

Since 2011, PYC has participated in every major Pride festival in the state. Additionally, each year since we were established, we have attended (and often present at) the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference, the Bloomsburg Mid-Atlantic LGBTQA Student Conference, the True 2 You Summit in State College, the Keystone Conference in Harrisburg, and the Central PA GSA Summit, among others. PYC is a member of several committees and organizations that we regularly attend meetings for, including the Governor’s LGBTQ Workgroup, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Partnership, the GSA Network, and others.

 

Year One: 2011

  • Pennsylvania Youth Congress Foundation established as the first youth-led statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization in the United States in April 2011
  • Initially named the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC), the organization was called into existence by a unanimous vote of over 30 GSA Presidents and leaders throughout the commonwealth at a statewide meeting at Penn State University Park in January 2011
  • Convened statewide LGBTQ youth leadership meetings in Philadelphia in May (Inaugural PSEC State Committee Meeting) and Harrisburg in August (PSEC Constitutional Convention)
  • Organized an advocacy trip for 10 LGBTQ student leaders to Washington, DC for legislative meetings supporting LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections
  • Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman was invited as one of five college students in the nation to attend President Barack Obama’s annual LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House
  • Held the first-ever statewide LGBTQ youth advocacy conference, the Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference (YAC) at the University of Pennsylvania in October which welcomed over 100 LGBTQ youth leaders
  • Represented Pennsylvania at the National Safe Schools Roundtable gathering in Nashville
  • Opened PSEC’s first office in Philadelphia, at the William Way LGBT Community Center
  • Testified before a Philadelphia City Council committee on LGBT inclusion
  • Became a fiscally-sponsored organization through the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia
  • Expanded PYC’s member organizations to include nearly 50 high school and college GSAs

 

Year Two: 2012

  • Led the drafting and introduction of the Pennsylvania Safe Schools (PASS) Act in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a comprehensive bill to reform the commonwealth’s extremely weak anti-bullying law
  • Organized for 16 LGBTQ youth leaders throughout the commonwealth to attend the national Creating Change conference in Baltimore
  • Expanded PSEC’s volunteer leadership team to include a Deputy Director, Director of Communications, and Director of Development, and Regional Coordinators for North Central, Delaware Valley, and Pittsburgh regions
  • Launched the Keystone Student Voice, PSEC’s dynamic advocacy blog featuring breaking LGBTQ youth news in Pennsylvania and editorials from young leaders
  • Held statewide LGBTQ youth leadership weekend convenings at Penn State University Park in January, the University of Pennsylvania in May, Gettysburg College in August, and Bucknell University in November
  • Elected the first PSEC Coordinating Committee Convener and Assistant Convener
  • Marched in both Central PA and Pittsburgh Prides
  • Organized a vigil in solidarity with a young lesbian couple attacked in Texas in Pittsburgh and supported the vigil facilitated by the Philly Dyke March in Philadelphia
  • Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman named an Emerging LGBT Leader by the White House
  • Testified before the Pennsylvania House Education Committee on bullying and harassment in favor of the PASS Act
  • Opened PYC’s first office in Pittsburgh, at the GLCC

 

Year Three: 2013

  • Reintroduced the Pennsylvania Safe Schools (PASS) Act with strong and diverse legislative support, held statewide advocacy day, and ultimately and directly secured 106 co-sponsors in the House — becoming the most cosponsored piece of safe schools legislation in state history, with over 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats signing on
  • Held the second Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference: Let the Circle be Unbroken, at the University of Pittsburgh in February
  • Held statewide LGBTQ youth leadership weekend convenings at Wilkes University in April, Penn State Behrend (Erie) in August, and Penn State University Park in October
  • Formed PSEC’s companion advocacy nonprofit organization, CommonGround Pennsylvania
  • Marched in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Erie Prides
  • Expanded PSEC’s Board of Directors to seven members
  • Represents Pennsylvania at the National Safe Schools Roundtable gathering in Portland, Oregon

 

Year Four: 2014

  • Held the third Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference: Igniting a Pennsylvania Youth Movement for Trans* Justice and Freedom, at the University of Pennsylvania in February
  • Held statewide LGBTQ youth leadership weekend convenings at the University of Pittsburgh in April, Muhlenberg College in Allentown in August, and PSEC Headquarters in Harrisburg in December
  • Held PSEC’s first all-organization retreat with volunteer staff, Coordinating Committee, and Board of Directors members over three days in a cabin in rural Jefferson County
  • PSEC granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization status by the IRS
  • Awarded $100,000 in the final cycle of the national Queer Youth Fund from the Liberty Hill Foundation
  • Invited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to join the Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Partnership, a PDE-facilitated annual meeting of stakeholders providing recommendations and encouraging collaboration to address school climate and safety
  • Held leadership trainings for emerging PSEC advocates over weekend retreats at Penn State University Park in April and the University of Pittsburgh in October
  • Opened PSEC’s first headquarters in Harrisburg, directly across from the state Capitol

 

Year Five: 2015

  • Reintroduced the PASS Act, again with significant legislative support in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Held the fourth Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference: Cultivating New Possibilities for Rural LGBTQ Youth, at Juniata College in February, with special guest Alison Bechdel
  • Successfully advocated for the Pittsburgh City Council to explicitly add gender identity as a protected class under their local nondiscrimination law, as it had previously been included within the definition of sexual orientation
  • Rebranded the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition as the Pennsylvania Youth Congress Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and CommonGround Pennsylvania as the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, a non-profit advocacy organization
  • Became the fiscal sponsor of THRIVE of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the first community-based LGBTQ safe schools organization for the greater Pittsburgh region
  • Joined dozens of LGBTQ organizations in strongly rallying against the Delta Foundation’s Pittsburgh Pride program for its longtime lack of inclusion, becoming the first statewide organization to do so, following the leadership of Roots Pride Pittsburgh
  • Held Pennsylvania Proud as PYC’s first fundraiser in New York City during Pride week in June, at the Penn Club, featuring Tony-nominated actress Emily Skeggs of Fun Home
  • PYC Executive Director participated in the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March in Alabama
  • Held the first ever Pennsylvania Comes Out for Freedom event in the state Capitol Rotunda, a speak out sharing stories of coming out and being out by community members throughout the commonwealth — honoring both LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day, becoming the first-ever LGBTQ community celebration to take place in the state Capitol

 

Year Six: 2016

  • Held the fifth Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference: The Future of Community Safety and LGBTQ Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in April, with special keynote speaker Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
  • Launched PYC’s Dignity for All project to feature transgender student policies across the state, develop and promote PYC’s model transgender student policy for Pennsylvania school districts
  • Successfully supported advocacy for local transgender student policies at districts across the commonwealth, including Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Lower Merion School District
  • Successfully advocated for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to update its nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity protections across the entire Unified Judicial System — covering all courts in the commonwealth
  • In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting, PYC organized a vigil ceremony in the state Capitol Rotunda bringing together LGBTQ community leaders and public officials throughout the state, as well as spoke alongside Governor Tom Wolf at the vigil held in the local Harrisburg community
  • Moved PYC’s state headquarters two houses down on Walnut Street to our current location, and held a house opening event in October
  • Held the second annual Pennsylvania Comes Out for Freedom event in the state Capitol Rotunda, with Governor Tom Wolf as a special surprise guest
  • Became an inaugural member of the Governor’s interagency LGBTQ Workgroup, a monthly meeting in the Governor’s office with Administration officials across various departments to address issues facing LGBTQ Pennsylvanians (as of 2019 PYC has not missed a single meeting since its inception)
  • Held Thrive as PYC’s second fundraiser in New York City, in December, at the Penn Club, featuring Nathan Lee Graham, Max Vernon, and Benjamin Velez
  • Swiftly on the ground in the Pine-Richland School District with students and their families as the district grappled with trans student inclusion, including working directly with trans students in advocating toward inclusion, ultimately leading to the filing of a lawsuit with our partners at Lambda Legal in federal court

 

Year Seven: 2017

  • Conducted the first-ever statewide GSA Survey to gather information on the most pressing needs and challenges for LGBTQ student organizations in Pennsylvania
  • Held the sixth Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference as a leadership retreat in Harrisburg in April
  • Held a special Central Pennsylvania LGBTQ leadership retreat in Beach Creek in October
  • Held the first emergency Pennsylvania Transgender Student Roundtable within a few days following US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ decision to rescind transgender student protections under Title IX, uniting dozens of students across the commonwealth for a meeting and press conference in Harrisburg with Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine
  • Created the Pennsylvania Trans Youth Roundtable within the PYC community and held its first statewide leadership retreat in Harrisburg in April
  • Swiftly on the ground in the Boyertown Area School District when a lawsuit was filed against the district for its trans inclusive practices, organizing directly with students and their families in support of inclusion with district administrators and the school board, ultimately intervening in the federal lawsuit through PYC’s member organization — the GSA at the high school — and winning in federal district court through PYC’s attorneys with the ACLU of Pennsylvania and ACLU national
  • Joined the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Equity and Inclusion Taskforce to represent LGBTQ students
  • Joined the national GSA Network as the Pennsylvania state partner, sent a Pennsylvania delegation to the National GSA Network Gathering in Ohio
  • Successfully helped lead the effort to reverse course on a legislative attempt to ban healthcare coverage for transgender children and teens using CHIP, following its introduction to CHIP re-authorization as an amendment, through consistently strong advocacy with PYC leaders and allies PYC organized from the healthcare and greater LGBTQ communities
  • Held the third annual Pennsylvania Comes Out for Freedom program in the state Capitol Rotunda, focused on sharing stories of transgender Pennsylvanians within the context of advocacy around CHIP
  • PYC Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman spoke at the United Nations for the LGBT Core Group’s observance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia
  • Continued supporting Pine-Richland students and their families as the lawsuit was settled by the school district, with the district rescinding the discriminatory policy and paying damages to the plaintiffs
  • Facilitated the first-ever Lycoming County GSA Summit in Williamsport

 

Year Eight: 2018

  • Held the seventh Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference: Alive To Thrive — Advocating for Healthier Communities, in Harrisburg at the Capital Area School for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in April
  • Successfully urged Governor Tom Wolf to establish the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, the first state commission of its kind in the nation, after first proposing it when he took office in 2015, with PYC’s Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman being sworn in as an inaugural commissioner
  • Swiftly on the ground in the Lakeview School District as the community engaged in a tense discussion on transgender student inclusion, with PYC supporting students in the district and making supportive communications with the school district administration to stay their course of inclusion
  • Partnered with the LGBT Center of Central PA and TransCentral PA to train all faculty and staff of the Central Fulton School District on LGBT inclusion
  • Won on appeal the Boyertown case to the Third District Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, and prepared for an appeal to the United States Supreme Court
  • Supported advocacy with SisTers PGH addressing the violence against transgender individuals in the Allegheny County Jail
  • PYC-produced short documentary on a rural Pennsylvania trans youth and her family, “The Toothmans”, selected to screen at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, the largest and oldest LGBTQ film festival in the world
  • Introduced PYC’s new logo and website
  • Entered into a formal two-year partnership with Self Advocates United as 1 to provide greater engagement with PYC and disability communities, while providing LGBTQ cultural competency development within disability community spaces

 

Year Nine: 2019

  • Secured a total win in the Boyertown case, as the US Supreme Court denied review and the opposition withdrew the case
  • Successfully secured ‘x’ gender markers on PennDOT-issued licences and IDs after several years of advocacy
  • Launched Pennsylvania Values as the public advocacy campaign for LGBTQ nondiscrimination legislation in the General Assembly
  • Swiftly on the ground in the Eastern Lancaster County School District with local students and their families as they addressed trans student inclusion, as over the year there were over a dozen contentious school board meetings as they proposed and finalized plans for gender neutral bathrooms (though in the meantime have enacted an anti-transgender policy which PYC continues to oppose)
  • Held the eighth Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference as a leadership retreat in Beech Creek
  • Expanded the Pennsylvania Youth Congress Foundation Board to ten members
  • Hired first paid staff in organization’s history, with an Executive Director and a Director of Development
  • PYC Executive Director Jason Landau Goodman was featured on a special PCN Call-in Program on Trans Student Inclusion in June
  • Attended the national GSA Network Gathering representing Pennsylvania in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Established the new youth corps of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, PYC Ambassadors (formerly the Coordinating Committee)
  • Held the first PYC Ambassador retreat in rural Jefferson County in November
  • Awarded grants from the Gamma Mu Foundation, the Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Staunton Farm Foundation