The PA Humans Relation Commission is expanding their definition of sex to include gender identity and sexual orientation, which would be a big boon for enforcing non discrimination laws for LGBTQ+ folks across the commonwealth. Following an earlier comment period this year, they are holding listening sessions to hear the the impacted communities' thoughts on this action. The Philadelphia listening session will be held on Thursday, September 8th from 12-2:30pm and 5-7:30pm at the Doubletree, 237 South Broad Street in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Family Pride stands in opposition to Pennsylvania Senate Bills 1277 and 1278, as well as House Bill 972. SB 1278, which passed the PA Senate, is similar to the Florida Don't Say Gay Bill, in that it limits the ability of our children to learn about their families in schools. SB 1277, which also passed yesterday, would require educators to flag any books, media, or curricula that include "sexually explicit content," and if a student inquires about these materials, their parents would be notified by the schools. HB 972, which had already passed the state House and passed the state Senate yesterday, would prohibit transgender student athletes from competing against athletes of their gender.
Our families deserve to see themselves represented in their publicly-funded school systems, and for our kids to know that their families, like all others, are defined based on the love they share. Trans kids deserve to feel welcome in their schools, not to be discriminated against based on inaccurate and misleading science. We encourage our members, and others who support our families, to write to their representatives in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to ask them to vote against these bills, and to encourage Governor Wolf to veto them, if they are delivered to his desk.
Read more about the Pennsylvania Senate Bills here: WHYY article
Philadelphia Family Pride lends its collective voice to the chorus of outrage over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the constitutional right to abortion that has been in place for fifty years. We recognize the many emotions, notably the hurt, anger, and loss that many of you are feeling. We stand with you in these emotions, both today and moving forward.
Leading up to this ruling, conservative legislatures across the country have worked to eliminate rights to critical reproductive health care. The Dobbs v. Jackson decision leak only emboldened those who seek to deny persons the opportunity to receive abortion care. With today’s 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed their institutional failures and impinged on what should be an unalienable right. The forthcoming restrictions will simultaneously attack bodily autonomy and perpetuate disparities - disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and low income communities. This dismantles work towards realized reproductive justice, an intersectional movement centered on choosing to have or not have families in safe and sustainable environments.
As an organization centered on LGBTQIA+ families, we recognize that many families who can get pregnant may lose bodily autonomy to decide if and when they are ready to start a family, complicated by a healthcare system that still largely operates within a gender binary. LGBTQIA+ families already face significant hurdles when looking to start a family. Accessing welcoming and affirming healthcare, tackling an overly-complex insurance system, and even navigating a daunting adoption or foster care system are all barriers that LGBTQIA+ families face. In the Dobbs decision released today, it appears as if the Supreme Court views adoption as a viable alternative for individuals seeking an abortion - but we know that this system is not welcoming to all families. According to the Movement Advancement Project, only about half of the states in the United States have enshrined adoption equality into law for LGBTQIA+ families. In some states, it is still illegal for LGBTQIA+ families to enter into the adoption process.
This decision further raises serious questions about other precedents set by the court that involve privacy, autonomy, and liberty including rulings that give rights to LGBTQIA+ families, including marriage. Already LGBTQIA+ rights are under attack in states around the country including the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida and the similar Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1278. The fundamental right to privacy ensures that our lives and personal journeys to and through parenthood are not regulated or interfered with by others who attempt to restrict the image and definitions of families and parenthood to a heteronormative standard. As we focus today on abortion access, we must stand against these other discriminatory policies that intersect with this court decision.
PFP has operated, and will continue to operate as an organization to support LGBTQIA+ families in the greater Philadelphia area. We are mission driven to support LGBTQIA+ families through advocacy, education, and family-centered events. With this overturn of Roe, PFP will continue to provide a safe haven for parents, prospective parents, and individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community looking to access information about family planning and affirming medical practices through educational events, peer-to-peer supports, and educating policy makers about the impact that Roe's reversal will have on our families and community. While in Pennsylvania the governor asserts any anti-choice legislation will be vetoed, with a conservative legislature, we must continue to fight for our reproductive rights.
Moving forward, we urge LGBTQIA+ parents and prospective LGBTQIA+ parents to hold space for all emotions brought up by this decision, care for each other, and stand in solidarity with local organizations and abortion access providers that will seek to continue services in light of today’s ruling. Our collective efforts are now more important than ever.
You can find a rally near you, give to local abortion funds, or contact your representatives at these links.
By Naomi Washington-Leapheart
A version of these remarks were offered by Naomi at PFP's Juneteenth Family Pride Picnic on June 18, 2022. (Pictured)
Juneteenth is an occasion to think about the fragile nature of freedom. Freedom can be “granted” to you by somebody else, freedom can be “won” in a military battle, but in a world like ours, where so much has us in chains, actually being able to LIVE in freedom can take days and weeks and months and years.
I think often about those who had gathered at what is now the Reedy Chapel AME Church in Galveston, Texas, on the morning of June 19, 1865. They gathered to hear an impromptu announcement from Union Army General Gordon Granger. I try to appreciate the energy that filled that sanctuary, the energy of proud yet tired Black folks who were still longing for a freedom they didn’t even know was already theirs.
And then I think about how many Black and non-Black LGBTQ people today are officially free but don’t yet know it?
How many of us have spent years toiling in humiliation and shame because nobody ever told us we didn’t have to anymore?
How many of us have spent years in isolation, duped by the people closest to us, who know that homophobia and transphobia ain’t right but still keep it up anyway?
How many of us can look back over our lives with sadness that all those years we spent in chains could have been spent living queer as fuck?
Juneteenth is a celebratory challenge. Juneteenth helps us remember that no, we have not run out of time to be free. Yes, there is still a chance to tap somebody on the shoulder and whisper to them, just like those Union soldiers did in 1865, “You are now free.”
Who can you set free today or tomorrow or next week or next month?
How can we ensure that freedom moves faster - in our neighborhoods and communities, and in the State House and White House?
I raise my fist to honor my ancestors who tasted freedom for the first time on June 19, 1865.
I raise my fist to proclaim that my freedom and your freedom must be enforced, protected, and claimed over and over and over again.
I raise my fist to celebrate freedom as lifestyle. Not a moment. Not a congressional bill. But a way of life.
Would you raise your fist with me and say, Freedom is my lifestyle!
May it be so.
Help us welcome Phoebe Cunningham (she/her/hers) to the Philadelphia Family Pride team as a summer intern through the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program (BTGCHIP). BTGCHIP is an interdisciplinary program for graduate-level trainees in healthcare and social services which aims to deliver health-related support to community partners across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
This summer, Phoebe will serve as an organizational support for Philadelphia Family Pride four days a week, focusing on the Paths to Parenthood program for prospective parents and aiding with the growing number of in-person events. Additionally, Phoebe will spend one day per week with other BTGCHIP students in curricular sessions focused on improving healthcare delivery for marginalized populations.
Phoebe is a rising second-year student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. There she is a Medical Student Government liaison for Penn Med Pride and co-founder of the Medical Humanities Council which centers storytelling, medical history, and the value of artistic outlets for healthcare providers. She is also involved as an advocacy chair for Penn’s Refugee Health Clinic and as the Creative Director for the medical school’s literary magazine.
Phoebe received her bachelor’s degree in Art History and Chemistry from Dartmouth College in 2020. Prior to attending medical school, she worked on clinical trials surrounding COVID-19 and HIV at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She also served as an educational co-chair for the Division of Infectious Diseases’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and as a member of the Community Advisory Board (CAB). Her interests include reproductive healthcare, the value of art in medical education, and community engagement. She looks forward to carrying her experience at Philadelphia Family Pride into her medical practice.
Phoebe grew up in Rochester, NY with her parents and three siblings. She currently lives in Graduate Hospital with three friends and medical students. She enjoys ballet, drawing, reading too many books at one time, and going on bike rides with her partner, Eric. Phoebe is extremely grateful to have the opportunity to support Philadelphia Family Pride’s community throughout the summer! She can be reached at email@example.com.
E-cigarettes are hooking a new generation on nicotine and threatening decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use. Studies show young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become smokers — including many who would not have otherwise smoked cigarettes.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about e-cigarettes, Juuling and vaping. Here’s what you need to know about these harmful products.
• E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth since 2014. In 2021, over 2 million middle and high schoolers were current e-cig users.
• E-cigarettes have driven a massive surge in youth nicotine addiction. In 2021, 44% of high school e-cigarette users vaped most days or daily — a strong sign of addiction.
• E-cigarette manufacturers have lured kids with thousands of kid-friendly flavors. In 2021, 85% of youth e-cigarette users used flavored products. The most popular flavors were fruit, candy/desserts/other sweets, mint and menthol.
• E-cigarettes can pack massive doses of highly addictive nicotine. One Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. Youth exposure to nicotine causes addiction and can harm developing brains,
impacting attention, memory and learning.
• E-cigarettes pose serious risks to young people’s health. E-cigarettes aerosol can deliver nicotine, toxic chemicals, volatile compounds, heavy metals and ultrafine particles that can reach deep into the lungs.
• E-cigarettes are sold in shapes and sizes that make it easy for kids to hide them. They can look like flash drives, pens, highlighters and other everyday items, so they blend in with school supplies.
• E-cigarette companies exploit loopholes in tobacco advertising regulations to target young people on social media and other digital platforms. E-cigarette companies and influencers market their products extensively and maintain a strong presence across social media sites.
• The tobacco industry has followed the cigarette marketing playbook in marketing e-cigarettes to kids.
E-cigarettes have been marketed to youth through celebrity/influencer endorsements, social media, TV and magazine ads, and sports and music sponsorships.
• Big Tobacco is behind some of the largest e-cigarette brands most popular with kids. Altria (maker of Marlboro) bought a 35% stake in Juul and Reynolds American (maker of Newport and Camel) owns Vuse.
Now that you know more about vaping, here are some tips for talking to kids about it.
1. Talk about the impact of vaping on their developing brains.
2. Start early - don't wait until your kid(s) are in high school.
3. Create a smoke-free home. Don't let anyone smoke inside even if there are smokers in the family.
4. Go over strategies and practice with your kids what they would say if someone offered them an e-cigarette.
5. Listen first. If you catch your kids vaping, first try to understand why they tried it and start the conversation from there.
How to talk to your kids about vaping - American Lung Association PDF
Talk with your teen about e-cigarettes - Surgeon General PDF
PFP is thrilled to announce that Shanay Rowe (she/her) has been hired as the new Assistant Director of Philadelphia Family Pride.
Shanay, a Philadelphia native, is a queer parent of an 11 year-old, lives in Delaware County near West Philly, and is engaged to be married this summer. She is a social worker and Clinical Case Manager on the autism/neuro divergent unit at Belmont Behavioral Health and doctoral candidate.
Before her work at Belmont, she was a foster care social worker for five years and a school social worker for five years. In 2020, Shanay published her first book titled I.S.E.A.: An exploration of gender identity, sexuality, gender expression, and attraction.
Shanay brings to PFP volunteer experience with Action Wellness (formerly Action AIDS) and the Attic Youth Center, as well as event and fundraising experience helping to organize the annual Good Friends gala held at Girard College. Shanay also has experience organizing events and promoting on social media for various businesses and organizations.
We look forward to folks meeting Shanay at upcoming PFP events. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the Quitline?
The PA Free Quitline is a telephone and web-based tobacco cessation counseling
service offering free coaching, and free or reduced price nicotine cessation
medication, with no judgment. The program has a user satisfaction rate of 90%!
What does the program offer?
Why should LGBTQ+ people want to quit?
The tobacco industry has historically targeted LGBTQ communities, using strategies like
marketing at Pride festivals and advertising in LGBTQ publications to promote tobacco use
among LGBTQ people. This legacy of aggressive marketing by tobacco companies has had a
serious impact, contributing to higher rates of tobacco use in the LGBTQ community.
In fact, the 2020 Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment found that 38.3% of LGBTQ+
Philadelphians have ever used tobacco products, a rate much higher than that of Philadelphia’s
Download and distribute this flyer. (PDF)
Philadelphia Family Pride is a non-profit membership organization for LGBTQ+ led families in the greater Philadelphia region. The group is run by a 16-person volunteer board and one part-time paid staff person, the Executive Director (ED).
PFP is looking to hire a second, part-time staff person, an Assistant Director (AD), to work with the ED to fulfill the mission of the organization. Please read the following description.
If interested, please apply by the deadline of March 1, 2022 at this link.
This person will work closely with the Executive Director to meet or exceed the organization’s goals in the following areas:
The AD will be expected to attend all of the organization’s board meetings (8-10 a year) as well as all major events organized by PFP, and Philly area Pride celebrations. Working with the ED, the AD will work to attend as many of the group’s smaller events as possible, approximately 1-2 a month.
The ideal candidate is one who:
Pay is $400/month. The staffer would work as an independent contractor and be responsible for paying their own local, state and federal taxes.
The AD will work remotely and be expected to provide their own computer and internet connection.
PFP is an inclusive community for LGBTQ+ prospective parents and families to engage in social events, education and advocacy. We strive to create a fun, reflective and supportive environment where our diverse identities are valued and nurtured while working to promote a more just world.
If interested, please apply by the deadline of March 1, 2022 at this link.
While vaccination rates rise and the world begins to open up again just in time for summer, parents of young kids are facing difficult choices. Kids under 12 are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, creating blurred lines on how families can move forward. Johns Hopkins epidemiologist and mother of three Keri Althoff spoke with the Hub about what she will be doing with her kids and how she is making decisions. Read the article here.
How are you and your family making decisions? Let us know in the comments below!
Find our collection of Covid-19 resources on our Covid-19 page.