The Lead

Pa. Legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus changes up leadership

By: - January 8, 2023 6:30 am

Democratic state Reps. Jessica Benham, of Allegheny County (L), and Malcolm Kenyatta, of Philadelphia (R) are the new chairs of the Legislature’s LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus (Capital-Star photo).

By Michele Zipkin

The Pennsylvania Legislature’s LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus recently changed over its leadership; state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Jessica Benham, who represent Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, respectively, are the new leaders of the caucus. Both Kenyatta and Benham are out members of the LGBTQ community.

Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, previously chaired the LGBTQ Caucus. Frankel, who formed the caucus 11 years ago, told CBS Philadelphia that he thinks it’s time for new leadership. Frankel has been a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights.

“Representative Frankel has been invaluable in the ongoing fight to make Pennsylvania a fairer place for all, and I know that the LGBTQ+ community continues to have a fierce ally in Senator Muth in our fight for equal rights under the law,” Kenyatta said in a statement posted to the caucus’  website. “To that end I’m thrilled to work with Representative Benham, a trailblazer and champion, as the next co-chairs of the Equality Caucus.”

The caucus now has five out LGBTQ members, including members from Philadelphia, its suburbs, and Allegheny County.

“I’m honored to serve as co-chair with Representative Kenyatta for the 2023-2024 legislative session,” Benham said in the same statement. “Knowing that we will be joined by even more out members of the LGBTQ+ community in the House, I’m confident that this session will result in continued progress toward justice and look forward to fighting for much-needed change.”

Both Frankel and Muth called Kenyatta and Benham trailblazers for their work as state legislators.

“In their short time in office, they have both distinguished themselves as tough, determined and very smart,” Muth said in the release. “I’m excited to see those gifts on display in leadership roles.”

Michele Zipkin is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared

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