Traveling history exhibit on struggle for LGBTQ rights coming to Ross Township
A traveling history exhibit chronicling the efforts in Pennsylvania to achieve full equality for LGBTQ people will be on display at the Ross Municipal Center next month.
“The Long Road to LGBTQ+ Equality in Pennsylvania” utilizes case studies to tell the personal and political struggles faced during the more than 50-year struggle LGBTQ people have faced to achieve protection from discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and education.
LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning people, according to the New York City-based The Center. The “+” is often added to the acronym to include people who identify as asexual, pansexual or another sexual orientation.
The exhibit will be on display at the Ross Municipal Center from Aug. 18 to 25. The weeklong showing is the only one scheduled in the Pittsburgh area for the remainder of the year, according to the LGBT Center of Central PA, which produced the exhibit.
The traveling exhibit made its debut in mid-February to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which was a pivotal event in the LGBTQ movement.
The exhibit uses historical narratives, photos and video featuring first-person accounts of activists involved in the struggles to achieve protection from discrimination.
Ross Commissioner Steve Korbel said the exhibit is an opportunity for greater understanding about the difficulties the LGBTQ community has faced in its quest for equal rights.
“I view the fight for equal rights by the LGBTQ community as the civil rights issue of our generation,” he said. “This display will help frame the struggle this community has endured for a very long time.”
The lack of legal protections for LGBTQ people prompted Korbel, the board’s president, to craft a local ordinance last year that was approved by the board.
“We haven’t been able to get laws passed in Harrisburg or Washington to protect the rights of LGBTQ people,” Korbel said. “So I feel it’s important to do something in our own community. I’m happy to say that we haven’t had any complaints filed under the law. But it’s a comfort to know it’s there if somebody encounters discrimination.”
The measure outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, family status and age and other differences.
To enforce the law, an Equal Opportunity Board consisting of five township residents was given the power to issue cease-and-desist orders and fines against companies and people who violate the law.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .