Pride, progress and the battle for LGBTQ rights

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A man holds signs encouraging equal rights, Black Lives Matter, and stopping homophobia.

A man holds signs encouraging equal rights, Black Lives Matter, and stopping homophobia. (Nathan Morris/Billy Penn)

President Biden signed an executive order last week aiming to expand access to gender-affirming healthcare and stop federal funding to organizations that promote conversion therapy for queer youth. But in Pennsylvania, amendments to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination have stalled for almost two decades, and many say the flurry of anti-trans bills in the United States has encouraged an already existing culture of antagonism, violence, and erasure for transgender communities.

As we near the end of Pride Month, we discuss what it means to identify as an LGBTQ+ person in America today and look at the cultural and legislative shifts that have both progressed and reversed the visibility and representation of queer folks, especially those from other marginalized backgrounds.

How can allies work with LGBTQIA+ communities to rebuke the increase in threats to their safety? Our guests are Pennsylvania House Representative Brian Sims (@repsims), the first openly gay elected state legislator in Pennsylvania history, and Temple University student and civil rights advocate and activist Kendall Stephens.

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