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The long road to LGBTQ equality

KIARA TINNIN/THE EXPRESS A display of historical events highlighting issues the LGBTQ community faces can be viewed at LHU’s Stevenson Library.

By KIARA TINNIN

ktinnin@LHU.edu

LOCK HAVEN — The fight for equality is a long road to travel and it’s even harder when the fight is for LGBTQ equality.

Last week, LHU’s Stevenson Library opened a viewing for the public on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or anyone who is questioning) rights, with different historical events on display highlighting the many issues that members of the LGBTQ community face.

The exhibit is premiering in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Bar raid and riots. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.

The Stonewall Inn was one of the commonly known gay bars that were subjected to regular police harassment. On that day patrons and local sympathizers did not retreat when they threw bottles and jeered at police. The policemen barricaded themselves inside the bar while some 400 people rioted. After the barrier was breached the bar was set on fire. Stonewall soon became a symbol of resistance to social and political discrimination that would inspire solidarity among LGBTQ groups for decades.

Other events that were shown took place in Pennsylvania were in 1982, when local activist of Pennsylvania Gay Caucus and Metropolitan Community Church of Harrisburg lobbied Harrisburg City Council for an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In Philadelphia many activists and council men and women came together after 10 years to pass a bill in favor of LGBTQ rights. The bill was to eliminate existing discrimination based on sexual orientation, the bill passed 13-2. Transgender protections waited another 20 year to be come a law in 2002, the addition of gender identity to the City’s Fair Practices Ordinance.

Pennsylvania’s long fight with LGBTQ equality has come far but still has so far to go in covering the rights of those who are being discriminated because of their sexual orientation.

So just how many LGBTQ Americans are there?

In Pennsylvania, 4.1 percent of the population identify as LGBTQ but with more millennials, that number could soon change to 1 in 10. Many can attribute the increase to the fact that many millennials are feeling more comfortable and more willing to identify as LGBTQ. Recently more women have identified as bisexual which significantly increased the community’s size.

For more than 50 years, Pennsylvania pursued the civil right equality to enforce a state-wide law that provides protection in employment, housing and public accommodations to all LGBTQ people.

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