Singing protesters confronted the ultra-conservative Westboro Baptist Church on Tuesday with a message of love outside Philadelphia’s Mazzoni Center, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community health center.
More LGBT voices were heard throughout the Democratic National Convention.
Equality Pennsylvania, a progressive LGBT statewide advocacy group, held an event downtown Tuesday. Because individuals working in the private sector can still be fired for their sexual orientation in the Keystone State, Equality Pennsylvania Executive Director Ted Martin said constituents must continue to push legislators for change.
“We elect people who will stand with the LGBT people, and we make them sign something saying what they’re going to do,” Martin said.
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The LGBT community has had many progressive policies and laws implemented under the administration of President Barack Obama, but some think there’s more to be done.
“I think we need non-discrimination laws that protect people in housing and employment accommodation,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman and Pennsylvania’s physician general, who was among the crowd.
“The ways a small community can be heard is to, one, band together. I think we’re stronger when we speak together — have advocacy events,” Levine continued. “Another thing to do is network with an organization, such as Equality Pennsylvania.”
Levine said she believes Penn State, where she taught, is a progressive organization that helps Centre County.
“It’s important (for) an academic institution to not only have a tolerant environment... but a welcoming and celebratory environment that celebrates diversity in all its forms,” Levine said.
Louis William Finley is a journalism student at Temple. He is covering the Democratic National Convention for the CDT.