A transgender rights group was set to attend a borough council meeting in Franklin County on Monday, following a local council’s repeal of a short-lived LGBTQ-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance.
The Pennsylvania Coalition for Trans Youth said it will voice its concerns over the reversal at Chambersburg Borough Council’s first meeting since the anti-discrimination ordinance was repealed in late January after being on the books for just four months.
“We are standing with all those that stood in opposition of the ordinance and all those across the state that see this repeal as very hurtful for the constituents of borough council and the Mayor,” the coalition said in a statement Monday. “We are standing tall and strong in hopes of having the non discrimination ordinance reinstated.”
The council’s decision to repeal the ordinance drew the ire of the General Assembly’s LGBTQ+ Caucus, which has spent the last year advocating for the passage of HB 300 or the “Fairness Act”, amending the state constitution to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.
While some council members cited enforcement concerns as one of the chief reasons for rescinding the ordinance, advocates are concerned that it follows a wave of national headlines in recent years, which has seen states attempt to block individuals from receiving gender-affirming treatments or ban transgender students from participating in school sports.
“We are worried about the impact that this repeal has across the entire state of Pennsylvania,” Janelle Crossley, the coalition’s co-founder, told the Capital-Star. “This could very well become a copycat move or a domino effect.”
Calling the repeal “wrong” the coalition said that it was worried about the impact the ordinance’s repeal would have on the community’s LGBTQ individuals.
“We are extremely concerned and want to stand and speak in solidarity with the majority that feels this action is wrong, hurtful, and dangerous to its citizens, visitors, and business,” Crossley said. “This council’s failure to protect basic human rights … will lead to many around the state refusing to visit, do business with, or move their families to Chambersburg.”
Of the 2,562 municipalities in Pennsylvania, just 71 have anti-discrimination ordinances on the books, according to data from the Pennsylvania Youth Congress. The group noted on its website that Pennsylvania currently logs the most LGBTQ inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances of any state without a statewide law.
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