June has arrived, and with it brings warm weather, vacations, and the beginning of summer. But June is more than just this– it is also Pride Month, a time for both celebration and reflection for the LGBTQ community.
Governor Wolf recently proclaimed June 2018 Pride month in the commonwealth. “Pride Month is a time to take a positive stance against discrimination and violence toward LGBTQ individuals, to promote self-affirmation, dignity, and equality, and to build community and celebrate diversity,” he said.
Governor Wolf has a record of fighting to expand rights for the LGBTQ community. Since his first days in office, the governor has urged legislators to pass the PA Fairness Act, but Republicans have blocked these bills from reaching a vote in the General Assembly despite broad, bipartisan support.
In the face of this stalled legislation, Governor Wolf took matters into his own hands. He signed two executive orders that prohibit any agency under his jurisdiction or any entity that receives grants or contracts from the commonwealth from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity, among other areas.
Governor Wolf recognizes that the LGBTQ community deserves equal benefits and the same state services as everyone else and continues to fight for expansion of state health care benefits for LGBTQ employees.
The governor has also been lucky to work alongside several talented members of the LGBTQ community in his administration. In 2015, Governor Wolf chose Dr. Rachel Levine as his Physician General, and now she serves as the Secretary of Health working with the governor to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic. Dr. Levine is currently one of the highest ranking transgender women in the nation.
There is still much to be done in Pennsylvania for the advancement of the LGBTQ community. Despite the hurdles, Governor Wolf is committed to continuing to advance the rights of the LGBTQ community and will stand with them as they fight to protect and expand their rights in today’s political climate.