Category: Info

Information and updates about programs and projects at the Coalition

Celebrate the Holigays With Us, and Get Your Vax as a Plus!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

December 16, 2022

Holidays are complex for the LGBTQ+ community. To address the need for community around the holidays, AND offset the increased risk of gaythering, we are partnering with Union Community Care on two COVID booster/flu Vaccination clinics placed intentionally before the Winter holidays before New Years Eve celebrations!

Nurse Practitioner Erica Lehman will be donating her time to run the clinic and Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition will use grant funding from Union Community Care to host “Holigay” parties with performances and DJs.

Clinics will be held on the next two upcoming Wednesdays; December 21 and December 28, from 5PM to 8PM at the Loop, 117 E Chestnut Street, Lancaster PA 17602.

To sign up, please call Union Community Care at (717) 299-6371

“As a trauma therapist I am increasingly concerned about the constant confusion and quite frankly, the insanity of our current culture.

Rules around keeping people safe from COVID or the variants flying around are arbitrary at best and definitely not rooted in protecting vulnerable, marginalized communities.

We want to find ways to be proactive and protect our community members while tending to our other great need: community support.”

K. Foley (she/they), Executive Director

Red Lion Area School District Passes Anti-Trans Policy

Ashton Clatterbuck

December 10, 2022

The Red Lion Area School District decided in a meeting yesterday that LGBTQ students are required to use the bathroom that aligns with their sex assigned at birth. This is a devastating blow to queer children in York County. 

The school board held a vote on the matter during their meeting Dec.1. The motion passed 6-2 in opposition to LGBTQ rights. This was done as an “emergency directive”, which allowed it to  bypass deliberation and go directly to a vote. Several LGBTQ advocacy groups condemn this move, concerned that the very nature of the decision violates the Sunshine Act, a law that requires public officials to be transparent about the decisions they make. This comes at the end of a year marked by a steep rise in violence against the LGBTQ community, most notably the night club shooting in Colorado Springs last month that killed five people and injured dozens of others.

Donna Haywood, member of the board, commented after the vote “If it’s six now, then it can turn into more numbers later, and then the numbers just keep rising. If we nip it in the bud now, it doesn’t have to get more than six.” seeming to suggest that, if students are barred from using the bathroom that aligns with their identity, they won’t become trans, as though it were that simple to make queer kids disappear from society.

Advocates for the anti-trans policy claimed it was for the safety of all students. This is a ridiculous claim. As the board members themselves mentioned, there are just 6 students who have requested to use the restroom that matches their gender identity. This makes them the OVERWHELMING minority and, therefore, targets of bullying and harassment. It is the safety of these few students that should be a greater concern for the members of the board, the officials whose job it is to protect students and promote their success. This motion threatens the students’ safety and creates a hostile learning environment.

Kids can be ruthless. 73% of LGBTQ youth suffer with high levels of anxiety and depression, nearly all of which are driven by hostile environments at school, home, and beyond. In fact, according to the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth support and research organization based in the US, LGBTQ youth who felt high social support from their family reported attempting suicide at less than half the rate of those who felt low or moderate social support.

These anti-LGBTQ school policies only exacerbate the fear of these kids. In schools that have implemented these policies, queer students report higher rates of bullying and harassment. When those in charge of a school system endorse this kind of discrimination, it only empowers other students to discriminate as well.

Red Lion is just the lastest in a string of discriminatory school board decisions sweeping across the nation. In recent months, this issue has come up at Manheim Township School, Conestoga Valley, 

It is so important that LGBTQ youth can have access to safe spaces, that they know they are loved and accepted. In schools that have LGBTQ-supportive policies, such as allowing students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, permitting them to play on the correct sports team, and creating a GSA or other queer club, these schools had remarkable lower rates of attempted suicide among LGBTQ students.

It is unethical and antithetical for a school board to make decisions proven time and time again to harm and endanger students. And yet, that is precisely what the Red Lion Area School district has done.

Ashton Clatterbuck

​Lancaster LGBTQ Coalition Communications Committee

National Spokesperson for The Sunrise Movement

Member of Lancaster Stands Up

Employee of the YMCA of the Roses

Editor of The Rebel Newspaper

LNP Columnist

Scholarship for Students Living with HIV/AIDS

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

December 7, 2022

The HIV League Scholarship is the only national scholarship for students living with HIV. We’re so excited to boost the news that they have just announced that they are accepting applications for the 2023 round of scholarship applications until January 31st at 11:59PM Eastern Time.

The criteria to apply for this ninth round of scholarship funding are as follows:

  • You are living with HIV/AIDS
  • You will be enrolled in an institution of higher education as a full-time or part-time student for at least one year beginning with the Fall 2023 semester
  • You are going to an institution of higher education in the United States or a United States territory. American citizenship is not a requirement

We only have one type of scholarship this year, and it is listed below:

  • 1 year $3,500 scholarship for full-time and part-time students

Please find all of the materials you will need to apply at www.hivleague.orgwww.hivleague.org/scholarship, or at the application link HERE

If you have any questions, please call the HIV League at 828-467-4025.

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition to Participate in the 2022 Extra Give

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

November 15, 2022

Give Extra to Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, November 18 2022

Give Extra to Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition on November 18th

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition will participate in the 2022 Extra Give on Friday, November 18th! Make sure to Give Extra to Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition throughout the day to help support our continued efforts to create a truly equitable Lancaster County, and to develop The Loop; our new hub for safety and community in Downtown Lancaster.

We’re planning to celebrate four years of Extra Give participation with an event-packed day full of celebration and opportunities to see the impact of your donations. Here’s what we’re planning throughout the day:

7-9AM: Morning Rush Hour at Square One
Start off the morning right with coffee, snacks, and even a selection of beans at Square One Coffee Co. 10% of proceeds will go to Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

9AM-2PM: Information & Swag Table at Clipper Stadium
Hang out with our very own Program Coordinator Glitch SteelHeart and learn about the Coalition’s services, programming, and training opportunities for individuals, organizations, and more! Score some swag while you’re there to represent our local Queer community!

6-11PM: Extra Give Gaming Livestream on Our YouTube Channel
Join us online starting at 6PM for hours of Queer gaming fun with several different hosts! We’ll start off with classic and modern PC, PSX, and PS2 games until 8PM, then power on our imaginations for a live tabletop gaming experience from our LGBT RPG group! Keep an eye out for the possibility of special prizes and shout-outs on stream!

7-11PM: Community Celebration & Raffle at The Loop
RSVP now to celebrate another year of progress and giving in our community party at The Loop! Enjoy live music from DJ GiGi, and stick around ’til the end of the night to join in on a raffle ticket fundraiser for a unique piece of artwork by Lancaster artist Jeff Sibbett!

We’re so excited to see you there, and to thank you for everything you’ve helped to make possible. Make sure to Give Extra to Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition on November 18th to support community, authenticity, and love!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition Marks Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR)

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

November 14, 2022

Every year on or around the 20th of November trans people worldwide gather for Transgender Day of Remembrance to remember those we have lost to violence in the past year.

Year over year, the average number of trans deaths is on the rise. Since October 2021, at least 315 trans individuals have died due to murder or suicide. This figure does not include closeted individuals, those whose trans identity was erased in their obituaries, and many more who we must honor and remember.

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition will host a digital installation piece honoring the names, identities, and histories of trans community members we’ve lost, which will be installed in our courtyard at The Loop; 117 E Chestnut Street. Join us on November 20th to ensure that those we have lost will not be forgotten.

Funny That Way Viewing & Panel

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

November 10, 2022

Join us for a viewing and panel discussing Julia Scotti: Funny That Way at 6 PM on Wednesday, November 16 at the Ware Center!

With breathtaking emotional honesty, this tender, funny, and powerful portrait of transgender comedian Julia Scotti explores the unrelenting courage and humor it takes to be Julia. This film tracks Julia’s triumphant journey as comedy becomes the shared language of identity, healing, and joy.

From 6:15 to 6:50, join us for a community panel discussion of the film, followed by a screening at 7 PM. Stick around after the screening for a LIVE Post-Show Q&A with filmmaker Susan Sandler and Julia Scotti herself via Zoom! Panelists include:

  • Joanne M. Carroll (she/her/hers), Executive Director, Trans Advocacy PA; Co-Chair, Keystone Conference; Commissioner, PA Commission on LGBT%Q Affairs and Member of Penn Central Conference of the UCC, Open and Affirming Ministry Team
  • Rachel “Glitch” SteelHeart (she/they), Program Director here at Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition
  • Dr. Blaise Liffick, Director of Operations, Silent Witness
  • J Whitlow (he/him), Director of Campus Life, Millersville University

Reserve your FREE ticket by phone at 717-871-7600 or online at artsmu.com, or pick one up at the door one hour before showtime!

SLAY Event October 28th [Cancelled]

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

October 17, 2022

The Monsters are Coming Out of the Closet

Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel this event. Stay tuned for future announcements! Tickets are now available to join Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition in our celebration of Queer identity, found family, our upcoming fourth anniversary, and the spooky season at our SLAY event at the Imperial Terrace on Friday, October 28th! Doors open at 7 PM

They say Halloween is Queer Christmas, and we’re ready to celebrate! Support the Coalition and celebrate our THIRD ANNIVERSARY and FIRST EVER Halloween fundraiser bash: SLAY!!

Dine on a spread to die for on the Imperial Terrace, sip on signature spirits, pose in your freak it dress for Michelle Johnsen Photography, and slay the dance floor with DJ GIGI!

We’re featuring surprise guests, spooky prizes, and swag for days, darling.
ALL are welcome :jack_o_lantern: Gaybies and minors must be accompanied by a guardian

Tickets are available for purchase here.

In order to protect our vulnerable immunocompromised population, masking is highly recommended for this in-person event. Attendees must be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Op-Ed: The Second Coming

Stevie File

September 13, 2022

Photograph of a protest sign reading "Conversion Therapy is Violence"

Executive 2022-2 and the State of Conversion Therapy in Pennsylvania

Today marks almost a month since Gov. Tom Wolf signed an Executive Order against conversion therapy—and I’m still struggling to celebrate. 

     Executive Order 2022-2 has been characterized in national news and private conversations as a “conversion therapy ban.” True, Gov. Wolf has directed all Commonwealth agencies to discourage conversion therapy, banning state funds, programs, contracts, or other resources going to the practice. He has even directed state agencies to promote evidence-based practices and updated policies that protect LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians. 

     But we must keep in mind the specific nature of this “ban.” This Executive Order is only secure under the Wolf administration; any future governor could easily override it. No penalties for those who violate the order have been outlined, either. As queer folk, it is difficult not to instinctually view this order as temporary and idealistic. 

     Still, we must acknowledge the immense potential of this order. The Williams Institute at UCLA predicted in 2019 that 16,000 LGBTQIA+ youth would undergo some form of conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional in states which did not have ordinances preventing its practice. Pennsylvania’s alliance with twenty-five other states in partially or fully banning conversion therapy is a massive triumph. 

     Executive Order 2022-2 has succeeded as such in banning what I understand as “first-wave” conversion therapy: “medical” institutions. Their notorious practices have included hypnosis, electroconvulsive shocks, lobotomies, and even castration. Following the national decriminalization of homosexuality and the widespread declassification of homosexuality as a medical pathology, the turn of the 21st century saw a shift in the state of conversion therapy from medical institutions to religious organizations.  

Unlicensed individuals gained thousands of dollars from their businesses, leaving survivors without faith and with alarming rates of anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behaviors.

     These institutions, like Love in Action and Exodus, were outright closet cases. They fronted themselves as “ex-gay” and “reparative” organizations—and ran to far-off, isolated locations. Unlicensed individuals gained thousands of dollars from their businesses, leaving survivors without faith and with alarming rates of anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behaviors. In the past decade, many leaders have shut down their organizations and even come out as LGBTQIA+. A former chairman of Exodus even admitted, “I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.” These institutions consistently go against the very promise they feed to their victims. Conversion therapy has become a discredited and dying “therapy;” as Wolf called it, a “traumatic practice based on junk science.” I call it quackery. 

     This is where I see the “second wave” of conversion therapy resurrecting. 57,000 other LGBTQIA+ youth were predicted to be exposed to another form of conversion therapy: Religiously-protected institutions—an even more “closeted” form of conversion therapy—have become the “second-wave” site for 82% of the practice. Their methods have included “talk therapy,” tracking familial sin, public shame, and exorcisms. Account after account, survivors have shared stories of similar damage to psychological states as those from the first wave. These institutions can function invisibly and legally, though. The First Amendment right to religious freedom protects these institutions from any consequence of Gov. Wolf’s Executive Order. 

57,000 other LGBTQIA+ youth were predicted to be exposed to another form of conversion therapy: Religiously-protected institutions—an even more “closeted” form of conversion therapy—have become the “second-wave” site for 82% of the practice.

     We now understand conversion therapy has not been banned, but limited—and is still very much alive. State funding has been banned from public conversion therapy organizations; however private funding has and will continue to go towards these religiously-protected institutions. Conversion therapy is a business that costs our country $9.28 billion a year. This invisible practice surrounds us, and so do its victims. 

     This being said, we must resist our anger for joy. Far too often, queer history has been defined by loss and neglected moments of progress. We must approach this Executive Order as both a public ban and a private approval. It is cause for critique, but also for celebration. 

     We must remember August 13th as a historic day. Historic for more than the ban on “first-wave” conversion therapy; Gov. Wolf put down his foot and told our community: “I want LGBTQIA+ youth and individuals across Pennsylvania to know that I stand with you. I see you, I respect you, and I support you.” I never thought this possible—did you? So many of our lives could have been saved. Same-sex marriage legalization preempted far lower rates of LGBTQIA+ suicide attempts, especially among youth. One affirming adult in a young person’s life makes them 40% less likely to attempt suicide. We can only imagine how this statewide recognition has not only rescued but empowered queer lives across the Commonwealth. This is especially true for trans and gender-nonconforming youth, who are often neglected in these conversations and disproportionately threatened by this practice. 

     True, “second-wave” conversion therapy is still an invisible threat—but not an invincible one. Twenty states and D.C. have banned conversion therapy for minors. They have cited either LGBTQIA+ youth’s inability to consent due to lack of brain development or the aforementioned mental disparities of conversion therapy survivors. Look to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Scranton, Eerie, State College, Reading—they have all done the same. Sixty-five counties in Pennsylvania have yet to do so. While it is often unclear whether or not these bans include religious institutions, they at least include convictions and revisions.  

     National news always will begin with a private conversation. It’s how one survivor’s account can turn into Executive Order 2022-2, how a limitation becomes known as a ban, or how a governor can rouse a generation of LGBTQIA+ folk. Connection comes through conversation—and this is how we construct progress. 

     Listen to and amplify the stories of conversion therapy survivors. Over 680,000 LGBTQ+ adults have predictably underwent conversion therapy—all you need is one. Relay statistics. Warn those you love about sites of “second-wave” conversion therapy. Call out the Executive Order for what it is: a limitation. Call it out for what it lacks: convictions. Call out conversion therapy for what it is not: therapy. But most of all, call upon your community to celebrate each moment of liberation. 

     Call upon your community to second what else must come. 

We Stand with Trans Youth Athletes

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

August 22, 2022

With an upcoming Mainheim school board discussion involving the “integrity” of athletics, it’s become once again important for us all to voice our support for trans athletes’ participation in the sports teams of their gender.

Peer-reviewed data and expert testimony overwhelmingly show that exclusion from athletics based on gender has adverse effects, and there’s no medical standing to exclude trans athletes.

Please consider sharing your professional expertise (medical, social, psychological, etc) and/or your expectations of Manheim Township School District regarding the treatment of all students via email to the board at boardsecretary@mtwp.net.

Board discussion will take place on September 8th at 7pm in the district office. 

You can watch the livestream on the Manheim Township School Board website, but you can’t make Citizens’ Comments unless you’re a resident or employee of MTSD in the board room. Only discussion will occur at this meeting, voting will not take place.

In February 2021, the National Coalition for Women & Girls in Education issued a statement supporting transgender and nonbinary students’ full and equal participation in all education programs and activities, including sports. Making a talking point out of gender inclusivity in sports has never been about fairness or competition—it’s a thinly-veiled push to exclude trans people from society and perpetuate a culture that sees trans identities as shameful. To imply that these students bring a lack of integrity to athletics is a repulsive notion. It can not and must not gain traction.

Trans Youth Wellness Study Needs Participants!

Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition

July 19, 2022

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evidence for Action Program has funded an international study to understand the experiences and needs of transgender and gender diverse young people in the United States as compared to the Netherlands.

This study is a partnership between Children’s National Hospital (Washington, D.C.), VU University (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), and US and Dutch experts in trans health and equity.

The study is open to transgender and gender diverse youth who are 11-16 years old. The study is conducted fully online and takes a total of about 3 hours to complete, split across 3 shorter sessions.

Families are compensated $200 for their time.

The questions included in the study focus on strengths, areas of challenge, and hopes for the future. The ultimate goal of this work is to inform improved care for youth in the United States, including greater access to the supports youth may need.

To learn more, please contact the US research coordinator, Abby Fischbach afischbach@childrensnational.org