The info below is a press release I received today from the office of PA’s newest out gay representative Brian Sims. Sims is the only representative to be in office who campaigned as an out gay man in the state.

While this act is ceremonial, it truly is far more than that. It is a visible, tangible effort to make LGBTQ issues matter in PA government like few other efforts have. While our own Western PA representative, Dan Frankel has tirelessly worked for an end to LGBT discrimination in the state, public displays, like Sim’s signal that queer Pennsylvanians have a new voice in Harrisburg. This doesn’t mean that we can expect full equality overnight, but added to the already ongoing efforts of many, there may be a new energy and a new enthusiasm to push for equality. Congrats Brian Simms!


Rep. Sims Holds Community Swearing-In at Philadelphia’s City Hall

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), will be ceremonially sworn in to the Pennsylvania General Assembly today at City Hall in Center City, Philadelphia.

The ceremonial swearing-in will be held in Philadelphia’s City Hall at 4:30pm in Courtroom 653. Receptions will follow immediately after the ceremony in the Law Library on the sixth floor of City Hall as well as at Sims’ new District Office on the first floor of 21 South 12th Street.

Several members of the State House, City government, as well community leaders will make remarks at the ceremony, which is slated to last about an hour. Speakers include Democratic Leader of the House, Rep. Frank Dermody (D-33), Chairwoman of the Philadelphia Delegation, Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-200), and Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-175). Philadelphia City Councilman At-Large Bill Green, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, the Honorable Daniel J. Anders, as well as Publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, Mark Segal, Civil Rights Activist David Mixner, Board Member of the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Harvey Hurdle, and Executive Director of Equality Pennsylvania, Ted Martin will make remarks as well.

Sims made history on December 1, when he officially took office as one of Pennsylvania’s first openly gay members of the General Assembly. He was quickly joined by State Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon) who came out later that day.

Sims, a distinguished policy attorney and civil rights advocate from Center City Philadelphia, is the former staff counsel for policy and planning at the Philadelphia Bar Association. He recently stepped down as both the president of the board of directors of Equality Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth’s LGBT advocacy organization, and as chairman of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia (GALLOP).

The 182nd Legislative District includes Rittenhouse, Fitler and Logan Squares, the Gayborhood, and parts of Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Graduate Hospital and Grays Ferry.

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