June is

Pride Month

June is Pride Month for members of the LGBTQIA community. Major cities across the country host month-long celebrations, including parades, picnics, parties, concerts, and more. Memorials are also held to remember trailblazers in the community, those lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Pride Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQIA people in the United States and the world.


The Gay Rights Movement in the United States began nearly 100 years ago in 1924, with the founding of the Society for Human Rights in Chicago. It’s the first documented gay rights group in US history.

In the years following World War II, more groups formed across the country in support of basic civil rights for the LGBTQ community, like the Mattachine Foundation in 1950 and One Inc. in 1952.  

Despite its growth and progress, the movement faced significant setbacks.

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a form of mental disorder; the association didn’t declassify it as a mental disorder until 1973. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order banning gay people from federal jobs; the bill remained in effect for two decades.

Through the 1960s (and decades prior), homosexuality was criminalized through laws and statutes across the United States. Even engaging in affectionate behavior in public (holding hands, kissing, or dancing) with someone of the same sex was illegal in most of the United States, leading to continued harassment and arrest of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Then came a night in the summer of 1969 that changed the course of the Gay Rights Movement.

The Stonewall Riots

Stonewall Forever Flag

The Stonewall Riots in New York City are considered a pivotal and defining moment of the Gay Rights Movement.

They began June 28, 1969, after police aggressively raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. The riots lasted six days and made headlines around the world, putting the gay rights movement in the global spotlight.

The following year, on the one-year anniversary of the riots, community members in New York City organized and participated in a Christopher Street Liberation Day march. This is now considered to be the first gay pride parade.

Stonewall National Monument

On June 24, 2016, President Obama announced the designation of the first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights known as The Stonewall National Monument. It encompasses Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn, and the surrounding streets that were the sites of the 1969 Stonewall uprising.

Standing Up for the LGBTQ+ Community

Senate Democrats are committed to fighting for equality and fair treatment for all individuals, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, expression. This work continues at a crucial time when legislative bodies across the country, including here in Pennsylvania, introduce and pass discriminatory bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community at an alarming rate.

In 2022, Pennsylvania Republicans passed legislation in both chambers that would ban transgender girls from participating in female school sports.

State Democrats stood united to call out the bill for what it was:  an assault on the identity of transgender individuals and an attempt to exclude and marginalize a group of people who are only seeking to be their authentic selves.

As promised, then Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the discriminatory legislation.

In May 2023, House Democrats made history when they passed HB 300, the Fairness Act. The legislation would ban discrimination in Pennsylvania based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, expression. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Governor Josh Shapiro, who as Attorney General consistently fought for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians and stood up to the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back rights and protections, says he would proudly sign the bill.

Senate Democrats strongly support the Fairness Act and are calling on Senate Republicans to support it, too.

In addition to Senate Democrats’ support of the Fairness Act, they have also introduced their own bills to improve current systems and better serve and empower the LGBTQ+ community, including:

Senate Bill 150 sponsored by Senators Santarsiero and Saval

Legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Senate Bill 326 sponsored by Senator Street

Legislation that would help collect critical data about members of the LGBTQ+ community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so they can be better served by policy makers inside and outside of government.

Senate Bill 370 sponsored by Senator Street

Legislation would award grants to non-profit organizations and local governments for health care, cultural competency, computer training, job placement, social activities, and other programs that specifically help the LGBTQ+ senior community.

Senate Bill 523 sponsored by Senators Kearney, Cappelletti, Muth, and L. Williams

Legislation would remove sex from PA birth certificates but will still ensure that an individual’s sex designation at birth continues to be reported through the separate U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth system.

Senate Bill 524 sponsored by Senators Kearney, Cappelletti, Muth, and L. Williams

Legislation would direct that money be allocated, from the general fund, to establish a grant program, housed in DCED, for organizations, county governments, and municipal governments that assist transgender individuals in navigating the process of changing their names.

Senate Bill 526 sponsored by Senators L. Williams, Cappelletti, Kearney, and Muth

Legislation would require the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to provide:

  • Accurate, publicly available information detailing the name change process and the steps required in a widely available, accessible format.
  • Dedicated and safe point of contact to help trans individuals navigate the name change process and connect with resources in their area.
  • Training so that all staff, judges, and administrators involved in the name change process are knowledgeable, competent, and affirming.

Senate Bill 528 sponsored by Senators Muth, Cappelletti, Kearney, and L. Williams

Legislation would make the legal name change process more affordable and create privacy protections by removing the Title 54 requirements for publication and mandating the sealing of court records from the outset of the proceedings.

Senate Bill 530 sponsored by Senators Cappelletti, Kearney, Muth, and L. Williams

Legislation would replace the antiquated judicial name change process in Pennsylvania with a simpler, more streamlined, and largely administrative process.

Senate Bill 554 sponsored by Senators L. Williams and Comitta

Legislation would protect LGBTQ+ students from being discriminated against by schools that receive funding through EITC and OSTC.

Senate Bill 574 sponsored by Senators Muth, Cappelletti, Kearney, and L. Williams

Legislation would eliminate both the permanent bar and the two-year wait period for formerly incarcerated felons who have served their time and wish to change their names so that they can live life as their genuine identity.

Senate Resolution 36 sponsored by Senator Santarsiero

A Resolution recognizing February 15, 2023, as “Love is Love Day” in Pennsylvania.

What Does LGBTQIA Stand For?