From Pennsylvania Gay News, news about Gay Games Ambassador Brian Sims:
After two years at the helm of the board of Equality Pennsylvania, president Brian Sims has stepped down, and the agency has brought on both new board leadership and members.
Sims will end his term Sept. 1, and Adrian Shanker, the Allentown-based vice president of Pennsylvania Diversity Network, will replace him.
“I knew for certain what I wanted Equality Pennsylvania to look like three months, six months, 12 months out,” Sims said of his decision, “and I would have run for another term if I thought the organization still needed the internal work done that I’ve been doing, but we are in a very strong place right now.”
Sims led the board through a period of integral redevelopment, said Equality PA executive director Ted Martin.
“He brought stability to an organization that was going through a lot of transition,” Martin said. “And he maintained that stability that allowed the organization to get where we are today.”
In the past two years, Equality PA took such steps as hiring Martin as executive director, expanding its board to include members from all corners of the state and launching its 501 (c)(4) political arm and Harrisburg office.
Additionally, the agency has noted policy achievements such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s relaxation of its gender-marker regulations for transgender individuals, and organizational developments including the successful town-hall meeting series and the hiring of an outreach coordinator in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign.
Most recently, the organization finalized its paperwork to launch a political action committee, the first of its kind in the state that will focus specifically on electing LGBT and ally candidates.
“I think the PAC can provide a wake-up call to a lot of elected officials,” Martin said. “The LGBT community isn’t just talk; the LGBT community is now action. We can offer funds, support candidates and issues and work to elect good people.”
Last weekend, Martin attended a conference with about 40 other heads of statewide LGBT organizations and said that, with the creation of the PAC, which is expected to formally launch in mid-September, Equality PA is on equal footing with other agencies.
Sims said the 501 (c)(4) and PAC were goals of his two years ago that he’s thrilled have come to fruition.
“Giving Pennsylvania’s gay citizens a voice in the political atmosphere will be one of the defining characteristics of this organization 50 years from now,” he said. “We’re going to be extremely active in the next political cycle, and I think 2012 will see Equality Pennsylvania all over the country.”
The new PAC will mesh well with Shanker’s goals of building an LGBT and ally voter base and remind ally lawmakers of their commitment to the LGBT community.
Shanker, 24, comes to the presidency after spearheading successful efforts to secure three pro-LGBT ordinances in the Lehigh Valley in the past year — domestic-partner measures in Easton and Allentown and an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in Bethlehem.
“I’m very excited to be leading Equality Pennsylvania through this exciting time in Pennsylvania, where I think we have an opportunity to start making some real change locally and at some point soon hopefully at the state level,” Shanker said.
While his longterm goal centers on helping bring Pennsylvania “out of the Stone Age” and passing pro-LGBT measures such as a statewide nondiscrimination ordinance, he will also focus on educating lawmakers — in some creative ways.
For instance, at last weekend’s Pride celebration in Wilkes Barre, Shanker encouraged those traveling to nearby New York to get married to mail the receipts from all of their wedding expenses to their elected representatives, to demonstrate “how much they’re spending in another state because our state has failed in its responsibility to adequately represent its citizens by providing equal rights. We don’t have one right from the state of Pennsylvania, so we’re going to be aggressively educating our elected officials about the need for such laws as marriage equality, nondiscrimination, antibullying and hate-crime prevention.”
Shanker, who will resign from his role at PDN to take on the EQPA board presidency, will be joined by newly elected vice president Lisa Kustra, the Pittsburgh-based CEO of a consulting firm.
Also new to the board are Philadelphia-based members Adam Hymans, a board member at the William Way LGBT Community Center and donor engagement officer at The Philadelphia Foundation, and Rick Naughton, an attorney with Sellers Dorsey and former board member at Equality Forum.
The board also welcomed Dr. Michelle Angelo of Wayne, Fiona Hensley of Meadville and Jessica Rothschild of Scranton.
Read more: PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News. Phila gay news. philly news - EQPA gets new board prez launches PAC
|7-9 September 2012|
Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.
Learn more HERE.
|26-28 October 2012|
The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.
Learn more HERE.
|17-20 January 2013|
Sin City Shootout
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.
Learn more HERE.
|13-16 June 2013|
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.
Learn more HERE.