HARRISBURG, Pa. — LGBTQ community leaders from throughout Pennsylvania are proud to announce the formation of Keystone Equality today. Recognizing the urgent need for statewide LGBTQ political mobilization, the nonpartisan organization was incorporated in November 2022, met in December to adopt its bylaws, and elected its officers in January 2023.
Keystone Equality will endorse candidates for public office, mobilize LGBTQ voters, and become a leading voice in statewide political action for LGBTQ inclusion. The organization is preparing to apply for 501(c)(4) status.
The changing dynamics in Harrisburg provide historic opportunities to move LGBTQ civil rights legislation. To successfully advance LGBTQ inclusion in public policy, Keystone Equality will work to ensure LGBTQ community supporters are elected, that LGBTQ voters participate in every election, and that public officials recognize the political power of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. Pennsylvania is home to over 500,000 LGBTQ people.
Appreciative of the strong allyship of currently-serving state legislators, Keystone Equality features on their website supporting Senators and Representatives who back full LGBTQ equality and the leadership of Pennsylvania-based LGBTQ advocacy in the Keystone State. More information on Keystone Equality, including its mission and vision statements, are on its website at keystoneequality.org.
Keystone Equality Board Co-Chair Bre Reynolds, who is the President and Founder of the Clinton County LGBTQ+ Network, said, “The formation of Keystone Equality by dedicated activists and leaders from across our commonwealth is a landmark step forward for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. Mobilizing LGBTQ voters and backing political candidates who are our true allies provides us a solid foundation to successfully help enact urgently-needed civil rights protections.”
State Senator Sharif Street, who is also Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said, “Equal protection under the law for all Pennsylvanians is the bare minimum government should provide. I’m proud to have Keystone Equality by our side in the fight for civil rights for our LGBTQ community. We have work to do.”
State Representative Ismail Smith-Wade-El said, “As Lancaster County’s first Black legislator, first LGBTQ+ legislator, it thrills me to see organizations building political power that are with, by, and for queer Pennsylvanians. Every person in the Commonwealth deserves a good job, a safe home, affordable healthcare, and the right to determine what their families look like. In this generation, we are going to see a lot of “first” LGBTQ+ legislators from their region, city or community. I look forward to working with Keystone Equality to ensure that none of them are the last.”
LGBTQ leaders in Pennsylvania stand firmly united in making sure that LGBTQ political action in Pennsylvania must be by LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. The Board of Directors reflects the diversity of LGBTQ communities and is comprised of individuals from urban, suburban, and rural areas. While not representing other organizations they participate in by being members of the Keystone Equality Board, their backgrounds include being current and former leaders of major regional LGBTQ groups, trans-led support organizations, and elected officials, including Stroudsburg Mayor Mike Moreno, Hatboro Borough Councilmember Alex Myers, and Gettysburg Borough Councilmember Chad-Alan Carr. Per its bylaws, all members of the Board undergo a thorough background check.
Keystone Equality does not aim to displace established groups, but rather to fill in the existing gaps in political advocacy work in Pennsylvania. The organization looks to partner with other groups to achieve their shared goals of helping enact laws to safeguard vulnerable LGBTQ Pennsylvanians and make our state better for all citizens.
The Board of Directors is as follows:
Co-Chairs: Bre Reynolds (Lock Haven) and Naiymah Sanchez (Philadelphia)
Vice-Chair: Dena Stanley (Pittsburgh)
Secretary: Michael Moreno (Stroudsburg)
Treasurer: Alex Sphon (Erie)
Alex Myers (Hatboro)
Anthony Bullett (Huntingdon)
Chad-Alan Carr (Gettysburg)
Corinne Goodwin (Allentown)
Doug Hearn (Warren)
Laura Pearce (Chambersburg)
Mikaela Gavaletz (Pottsville)
Moira Kaleida (Pittsburgh)
Morgan Selkirk (Abington)
Preston Heldibridle (Harrisburg)
Ryan Matthews (Upper Darby)
Stephen Elcock (Scottdale)
Wendy Cheesman (Lancaster)
Keystone Equality will announce ways Pennsylvanians can get involved soon. As a political nonprofit organization, supporters can visit keystoneequality.org to learn how to donate.
The Keystone Equality Board of Directors welcomes outreach from LGBTQ community members and supporters and can be contacted at [email protected]
Keystone Equality is the leading political organization advancing LGBTQ equality in Pennsylvania. Through voter mobilization, electoral advocacy, and political organizing, Keystone Equality centers LGBTQ Pennsylvanians in the fight for equality, equity, and inclusion on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We are Pennsylvanians, for Pennsylvanians.