News Briefing: July 21-27, 2017

News Briefing: July 21-27, 2017

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ACLU of PA to host storytelling workshop for trans individuals

A statewide nonprofit organization next week will host a workshop for trans individuals to share their stories. Naiymah Sanchez, the transgender-advocacy coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, will facilitate the discussion.

Sanchez is also coordinating an upcoming lobby day in the fall, as well as a page on the ACLU PA’s website specifically related to transgender rights. The event’s description states that the “hope” is for attendees to have an interest in participating in the lobby day as well as sharing their stories for the website.

The workshop is open to 25 individuals who ideally identify as transgender, gender variant, gender-nonconforming or non-binary.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania storytelling workshop will be held 6-8 p.m. July 26 at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. Visit to register.

— Jeremy Rodriguez 

Allentown advances conversion-therapy bill

The Allentown City Council’s Committee of the Whole unanimously approved legislation to ban conversion therapy for minors last week.

The bill passed out of committee July 12 and was slated for final adoption at council’s July 19 meeting.

“Conversion therapy is a harmful, unscientific practice promoted only by those who seek to do harm to LGBT people,” Adrian Shanker, executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, said in a statement after the committee vote. “LGBT youth deserve high-quality health care, not junk science. I’m proud of City Council for moving this critical ordinance forward.”

The center worked with National Center for Lesbian Rights and Jerner & Palmer, P.C., on crafting the legislation.

“Protecting our LGBTQ youth is not a partisan issue,” said NCLR Youth Policy Counsel and Born Perfect Campaign Coordinator Carolyn Reyes in a statement. “All of our youth are born perfect and deserve to be protected from the harmful, discredited practice of conversion therapy.” 

Philadelphia last month adopted similar legislation, which is awaiting Mayor Jim Kenney’s signature. Pittsburgh became the first city in the state to ban conversion therapy last year.

Deadline approaching for Leeway grants

Applications are due Aug. 1 for the Leeway Foundation’s Art & Change Grant. 

The program provides grants of up to $2,500 to women and transgender artists in the Delaware Valley for art projects focused on social change. 

Entrants must be pursuing an art-for-change project that impacts a community; demonstrate financial need; have a project supported by a Change Partner (a person, organization or business); and live in the Delaware Valley. 

For more information or to apply, visit

— Jen Colletta

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