Live Your Truth

State Representative Jessica Benham.

Happy Pride! I’m looking forward to celebrating Pride this year with so many of you in Pittsburgh and throughout the state. As the first out queer woman in the PA General Assembly, Pride means living my truth every day and fighting for our community, even when it is difficult. I’m thrilled that the number of out legislators has grown to six this session, with three of us from Allegheny County. Because of our lived experiences, we fight differently on these issues, even as we are joined by many straight allies.

I currently have the honor of serving as co-chair of the legislature’s bicameral, bipartisan LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus alongside Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. As co-chairs, we have two goals – champion legislation that protects and supports our community and fight back against any anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that our colleagues introduce. As in many states across this country, we are seeing an increasing number of bills targeting our community, especially our Trans siblings, but thankfully because of the Democratic majority and Governor Josh Shapiro, those bills will not see the light of day in Pennsylvania.

Instead, our caucus is proactively moving legislation forward to protect our community. Our efforts to enshrine non-discrimination into law through the PA Fairness Act is just the beginning – a foundation, a floor on which to build. In this time of growing uncertainty and fear, we hope you take the time to build with us and advocate alongside us for legislation that protects our rights.

I hope that during this Pride season, each of us has the opportunity to celebrate our true selves, while not forgetting that a crucial part of Pride is the fight for justice for all of us, leaving no one behind. I’ll hope to see many of you at the parade and other celebrations, so please come say hi if you see me!

In solidarity,

Jess Benham
State Representative
District 36