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Living my truth and fighting for our Community

State Representative Jessica Benham.

Happy Pride, Pittsburgh! I’m excited to celebrate 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 include not just Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and myself, but also Rep. Izzy Smith-Wade-El, Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, Rep. Greg Scott, and Rep. Abigail Salisbury.

I currently have the honor of serving as co-chair of the legislature’s bicameral, bipartisan LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus alongside Rep. Kenyatta. Our caucus includes not just Out members of the legislature, but many straight allies.

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 in the PA House 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. Last year, we were able to get the Fairness Act passed through the PA House and while our efforts to get it to also pass through the Senate are hitting some roadblocks, we won’t be stopping anytime soon. And of course, enshrining non-discrimination provisions into PA law is the absolute floor – it’s a foundation on which we will continue to build.

Let’s all take the opportunity this Pride season to celebrate our true selves and continue the fight for justice for all of us.

In solidarity,
Jess

State Representative Jessica Benham
House District 36