Meet the future with the Coalition at STARDUST RHAPSODY; our 2023 GAYLA!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

March 14, 2023

2023 Gayla: STARDUST RHAPSODY May 13th 2023

Join us Saturday, May 13, 2023 at the Imperial Blue Ballroom and Imperial Terrace for a celebration of Queer identity and community, and how far we’ve come as a collective force in Lancaster! 

This year’s theme is STARDUST RHAPSODY. Come dressed in your galactic best! Calling all dashing space rogues and laser sword lesbians; this year’s outfit concept/motif is GLAM GALACTIC! Keep an eye on our Insta for outfit and theme inspiration leading up to the event! Michelle Johnsen will be on-site assisting with photography all night long. Our featured DJ will be MAJOR VIBES.

Awards Ceremony ticket holders will join our Galactic MC Chi Chi Mizrahi at 6PM on a journey through the stars, honoring changemakers in the Lancaster community. At 7PM, dinner will be provided (and we will reach out to ticket holders to receive your meal choice). We’ll open the evening with an awards ceremony honoring local community trailblazers, then feast and sip on the night’s signature cocktail; DIMENSIONAL SPACE DISTURBANCE. Explore new nebulas at our dance party, where we’ll inspire the future of Queer community and found family! After 10:30PM, everyone’s invited to our cosmic jamboree in The Imperial restaurant, featuring a live mix by DJ Stygian!

Get your tickets now!

Masks are highly recommended for this in-person event.

PHOTOSENSITIVITY NOTICE: While the awards ceremony will not feature flashing lights, the dance party may include flashing lights. If you have photosensitive conditions, please keep this in mind.

COVID-19 POLICY: Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition values every life in our community and desires to continue to protect the lives of those who are immune-compromised or otherwise at high risk for COVID-19. 

  1. We are asking all attendees to show proof of vaccination or negative Covid test from within 72 hours before the event
  2. Please wear masks indoors unless you are actively eating or drinking

We look forward to seeing and celebrating with you!

Make Zines With the Coalition & PCA&D CCE on June 21st!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

June 1, 2023

Join Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition and Pennsylvania College of Art & Design’s Center for Creative Exploration for a hands-on workshop on zine creation on Wednesday, June 21st at the Loop!

A “zine” (pronounced “ZEEN,” often short for “fanzine”) is a small, pamphlet-like, independently produced and published printed work. A zine can include text, images, artwork, found objects, or any creative material that helps to express the author’s message. Anyone can be a zinester (aka someone who creates a zine), and generally zinesters create zines for the love of the work rather than for seeking a profit.

Swing by The Loop anytime between 5:30-8:30 June 21st for instruction, inspiration, and invigorating conversation! Learn how to design, create, print, and distribute your own zines! Gain a familiarity with the role of the zine in Queer history!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition’s Executive Director Has Been Recognized in the PA Pride Power 100!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

June 1, 2023

We’re so thankful to City and State PA for naming our Executive Director K Foley as number 69 in this year’s Pride Power 100! This is K’s second year in the listing and we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to represent Lancaster and our LGBTQ+ community.

K is our co-founder and executive director, and has overseen the launch of the Homelessness Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) program in February 2021 and the Loop community hub in June 2022. Our latest initiatives include an emergency overnight clinic and a behavioral health and wellness program with pop-up clinics in partnership with Planned Parenthood and Alder Health.

City & State’s Pride Power 100 – compiled by freelance writer Jeremy Rodriguez – recognizes the people in the state who are making strides to create safe spaces and remove the limits for current and future generations. 

Op-Ed: State laws targeting transgender individuals are doing real harm

Ashton Clatterbuck

June 1, 2023

Zooey Zephyr, a transgender Montana state representative, was censured by her Republican colleagues April 26 when the legislative body voted to formally punish the lawmaker in response to statements she made in an earlier session regarding Montana Senate Bill 99, which would ban gender-affirming care for LGBTQ+ youth.

Zephyr condemned the bill during a session on the House floor, saying that it is discriminatory and would do irreparable harm to transgender youth in the state. She added that if the members of the Republican-led House did pass such a bill, they would have “blood on (their) hands.” After this impassioned speech, her mic was repeatedly cut off and the House leader refused to recognize her when she wished to speak.

Aside from the disrespectful and undemocratic nature of this censure, it also exemplifies the systematic erasure of transgender people in America.

The very bill that Zephyr was protesting is designed to prevent transgender kids from being themselves. It is an attempt to ban transgender individuals from simply existing.

Making it “illegal” to be transgender does not stop people from being born transgender. Closing your eyes doesn’t make us go away. The anti-LGBTQ+ political stunts we see around the country — masquerading as religious liberty and moral piety — are doing real harm to queer Americans.

Only about 1.2% to 1.8% of Americans identify as transgender, according to a study done by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy. This makes for an easy target, and the GOP knows this.

Until new laws directly restrict your own rights and liberties, it can be easy for most to ignore their effect.

In Tennessee, a new law bans all “adult-oriented entertainment,” including “male and female impersonators” in any setting that might be in view of minors. This establishes grounds for anyone to press charges against a transgender woman for just existing in public. A drag queen innocently walking from the parking lot into a bar, if spotted, may be handcuffed and charged.

The ambiguity of the Tennessee law presents a grave threat to the safety of transgender individuals. Does this law make it illegal for any man to wear a dress? Paint their nails?

Under these new laws, transgender people are exposed to prosecution for “impersonating” their gender identity. Not only is such a law blatantly discriminatory but, at the very least, it is a violation of the First Amendment.

In effect, it establishes a state-enforced dress code that might be likened to the tyranny in Afghanistan and Iran — tyranny that conservatives rail against.

In a country so steeped in values such as freedom, liberty and equality, the Republican Party has led a campaign to keep these very rights from an entire minority block of the United States population. Not only is this immoral and cruel, but it is also shamefully unconstitutional.

Alabama, North Dakota, Idaho and Oklahoma have made it a felony for anyone to provide gender-affirming care to transgender minors. This includes hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy and surgeries.

More than a dozen bills have been proposed across the country that would make it illegal for schools to require teachers to use a student’s preferred name and pronouns. More than 220 bills specifically targeting transgender students have been proposed in state legislatures.

Restricting access to gender-affirming care and other protections won’t make kids “less transgender.” It will only exacerbate their emotional and mental distress. These laws do not protect children. They kill children.

Harrowing insight from The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to providing support and resources to LGBTQ+ youth, conducted a survey studying the effects of anti-LGBTQ+ laws on children who identify as LGBTQ+.

The findings were harrowing. About 85% of those interviewed reported increased anxiety and depression as a direct result of the new legislation that targets them.

There was also a reported spike in bullying, harassment and hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, as these laws justify discriminatory action by vigilante-type citizens who feel that their anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment is validated by these legislative measures.

About 86% of transgender individuals consider suicide. Many who have suicidal ideation attribute their distress to bullying, harassment and discrimination.

When something is repeated enough times, it starts to feel more and more true. Classmates, family, preachers, political figures, judges and even a former president have castigated the LGBTQ+ community, some claiming again and again that transgender people do not exist. Such treatment must be seen as unacceptable and severely damaging to our community.

It has long been known and supported by medical and psychiatric professionals that being transgender is not a choice. It is not a phase. One does not suddenly decide to be transgender, nor can they opt not to be, no matter how much you wish for us to magically disappear.

Cutting our mics will not keep us from speaking. Passing bathroom bills doesn’t stop us from using the bathroom. Banning medical care and treatment does not suddenly make us no longer transgender. Outlawing drag shows cannot steal a queen’s glamour and pride.

To politicians advocating and propagating hatred against the LGBTQ+ community, I implore you: Why are you so scared of us? Why do you hold so much hate?

America is a country of diversity, inclusion, strength and liberty. How does my very existence challenge, in any way, those values — your values? Your actions cannot change who we are. The only thing you can change is your own attitude toward us.

Ashton Clatterbuck is a local university student and political activist. He is a member of Lancaster Stands Up and a national spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement, which advocates for political action on climate change. He also is on the communications committee of the Lancaster LGBTQ Coalition.

Swing by Decades for a Pride Daiquiri Cocktail Pouch and Support Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 31, 2023

Happy Pride Month! To celebrate Queer history and help support our community, Decades will be donating $1 to Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition for every purchase of their Pride Daiquiri Cocktail Pouch!

Swing by anytime this month for a fun night of dinner, games, and bowling, and remember to sip a Pride Daiquiri to support the local Queer community while you’re at it! Decades is located at 438 N Queen St., and their hours can be found on their website.

Clothing Swap at the Loop on June 22!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 31, 2023

We’re so excited to announce that we’re holding a clothing swap at The Loop at 117 E Chestnut Street at 6 PM on June 22! Bring your gently used clothing and accessories to swap with other attendees.

We’ll have a few tables set up for you to display your items. We also have multiple gender-neutral bathrooms on-site for you to try on your new finds.

Any leftover items can be taken back home with you or donated to our Queer Closet! If you’re interseted in helping us maintain the Queer Closet, please get in touch with us at

Join us June 18th for our Gender Identity-Aware LGBTQ+ Birthing Class!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 31, 2023

Join us from 3-4 PM on June 18th at The Loop at 117 E Chestnut Street for our free LGBTQ+-community focused birthing class and an opportunity to connect for peer-to-peer support!

We’re working with local doula Rae Johnson-Bundy to develop gender identity-aware educational workshops for birthing parents, and we’re excited for the opportunity to offer this generative pilot workshop to our community.

This workshop is free and open to the public, and we welcome your questions and feedback as we develop this program.

We’re looking forward to expanding on this workshop and offering similar workshops again in the future with our community partners, so stay tuned for more information if you can’t make it this time!

Youth Action Board Members Needed June 14th! Compensation Available

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 31, 2023

A Youth Action Board (YAB) is made up of youth and young adults who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness. These groups provide leadership and guidance in partnership with adults and directors who lead services in the community to end youth and young adult homelessness in Lancaster County.

Are you between 18-24, and have experience with housing insecurity? Want to advocate in Lancaster and make some coin? Join the Youth Action Board!

Register now to join the YAB at The Candy Factory at 342 N. Queen Street on Wednesday, June 14th from 3-6 PM! Food and compensation will be provided: $25/hr for your time.

Local Organizations Celebrating Pride are Invited to Apply Today for a PA Pride Community Grant!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 26, 2023

We’re excited to once again share the opportunity for local organizations to apply for a PA Pride Community Grant!

These grants, provided by the PA Tourism Office and administered in partnership with Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, are to provide funding to uplift LGBTQ+ Pride festivals and events across the Commonwealth.

Any organization presenting an event from May 1 to September 10, 2023 are eligible. Applications must be returned by June 10, so apply today!

Many thanks to the PA Tourism Office for their partnership with the Coalition! The Office is beautifully aligned with the Coalition’s mission and we’re thrilled to be a partner in this initiative.

Meet Our Galactic MC, Chi Chi Mizrahi!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 10, 2023

Chi Chi Mizrahi

Francisco Gonzalez Jr., better known as “Mother Chi Chi Unbothered West” is a stakeholder and community advocate for the House and Ballroom community. He has been an active member of the Kiki scene and Ballroom scene for over 15 years. Entering the HIV Prevention Field at the age of 19, his work advocating for youth affected by HIV has provided him with many opportunities such as appearing in an Adidas campaign, Paper Magazine’s “Night Life” issue, the AMFAR Gala opening act, and as a principal dancer in Icona Pops’ “All Night” music video. He travels around the world introducing the House and Ballroom culture to the LGBTQ community.

After getting his professional start as a community health specialist at FACES NY Inc, he is currently a Director OF LGBTQ Service for SCAN-Harbor located in Harlem, NY. Chi Chi’s work for the House and Ballroom community, the Kiki Scene and his dedication to youth hasn’t gone unnoticed. He is the Founding Mother and creator of the House of Unbothered-Cartier and Legendary Overseer of the Captivating House of WEST.

He is looked at as a mentor to many in the Ballroom Community. Chi Chi’s ballroom category is Vogue Fem and his Kiki scene category is Runway. He has dominated the Voguing category from state to state, as one of the most popular voguers. His playful personality, endless love, and nurturing ways are a representation of how he keeps the youth of his community safe. His personal motto: “Live In Your Truth”.

Get tickets now for STARDUST RHAPSODY to see Chi Chi MC a night to remember!

Awardee Spotlight: Ismail Smith Wade-El

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

May 10, 2023

Ismail “Izzy” Smith-Wade-El was born and raised in Lancaster, PA. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Izzy returned to his hometown and began working in Lancaster’s nonprofit sector to deliver relief to vulnerable people, first in behavioral health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation, then as a grant writer and researcher.

Prior to his election to the PA Legislature, Izzy was the President of Lancaster City Council on which he had served since 2017. During his four years on Council, Izzy helped secure the largest investments in affordable housing and lead removal for the City of Lancaster in its history.

Get tickets now for STARDUST RHAPSODY to see Izzy presented with our Starfield award; awarded to a local advocate committed to improving the lives of the Lancaster LGBTQIA+ community!