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2 posts from October 2015

October 21, 2015

How Do Lack of Discrimination Protections Affect LGBT People & Their Families?

Yesterday at the Persad Center, SAGE, Equality PA and the Center for American Progress released a new series of videos telling the stories of how the lack of discrimination protections in Pennsylvania affects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families in Pennsylvania.

Multiple polls show that more than 80% of Pennsylvanians agree that all people, including gay and transgender people, should be protected from discrimination at work, in housing, and in business and government services.  Despite this fact, a majority of Pennsylvanians are unaware that these protections don’t exist at the state or federal level.

The new videos will be used as part of a statewide campaign to educate Pennsylvanians about the PA Fairness Act, which would update the state’s laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity in current discrimination protections.

“People all over the state of Pennsylvania are shocked to learn that there are no basic discrimination protections for gay or transgender people in the workplace, housing, or business or government services at the state or federal level. That’s why we are working with our partners SAGE and Center for American Progress to educate the people of Pennsylvania and encourage them to take action,” said, Levana Layendecker, Deputy Director of Equality PA.

Michael Adams, Chief Executive Officer of SAGE, explained, “A growing body of research --and SAGE's experience nationwide -- decisively demonstrates how difficult it is for LGBT older people to find appropriate housing. For example, a national study last year documented that an astonishing 44% of LGBT older people applying for ‘senior housing’ face discrimination just because of who they are.”  

The videos are available online and are being viewed in a series of watch parties around Pennsylvania where hundreds of attendees will view the videos and write letters to their state legislators. If you would like to take part or interested in learning more, please contact Levana Layendecker at llayendecker@equalitypa.org.



October 20, 2015

20th Annual SAGE Awards and Gala

On Monday, October 19, 2015, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders) held its 20th Anniversary Awards & Gala at Gotham Hall in New York. The event raised over $750,000–a SAGE record–and served to recognize SAGE’s achievements throughout the country, as well as honoring five leaders committed to improving life among diverse LGBT aging populations. The honorees included Jim Obergefell, who will be presented with the LGBT Pioneer Award by SAGE board member emerita Edie Windsor. This was Mr. Obergefell’s first award from a national organization.

The 20th Anniversary SAGE Awards & Gala also introduced the Jack Watters Corporate Advocate Award, honoring Stephen Simcock of JPMorgan Chase for his leadership on LGBT senior housing. Assemblymember Deborah Glick—the first openly gay member elected to the New York State legislature—received the Paula Ettelbrick Community Service Award.  SAGE also acknowledged Ted Snowdon & Duffy Violante for their continuous support of LGBT community programs, and the Macquarie Group for its commitment to SAGE Center Harlem and SAGE’s national programs.

Gabriella Pizzolo, child-star of Fun Home—Broadway’s first-ever musical with a lesbian protagonist and winner of five 2015 Tony Awards—rounded out the evening with a special performance of “Ring of Keys.