Pennsylvania Taxpayers Fund 17 LGBT Pride Events

By Beth Brelje
Beth Brelje
Beth Brelje
Reporter
Beth Brelje is an investigative journalist covering Pennsylvania politics, courts, and the commonwealth’s most interesting and sometimes hidden news. Send her your story ideas: Beth.brelje@epochtimes.us
July 13, 2022 Updated: July 13, 2022

The LGBT community needs more visibility, according to Pennsylvania officials. To make that happen, state taxpayers are spending $90,000 to support 17 LGBT pride celebrations across the state, through “PA Pride Community Grants.”

Most of this year’s pride celebrations have featured lots of rainbows, risqué costumes, drag shows, and often, support for children and families experiencing someone coming out as a member of the LGBT community.

Governor Tom Wolf’s administration announced grant recipients this week. Pride events receiving grants must have planned to hold their events from May through September 2022.

Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, says the governor’s priorities ignore more pressing needs.

“In this time of record inflation, Pennsylvania families struggle just to buy food, gas or pay the rent,” Geer told The Epoch Times. “And yet, Gov. Wolf somehow thinks it’s ok to send our hard-earned tax dollars to fund 17 LGBTQ festivals, which include activities like drag queen story hours for young children. It’s not ok, and citizens should let Tom Wolf know just what they think.”

In a similar move in April, the Wolf administration announced $89,000 spent on grants supporting seven Juneteenth celebrations around the state to bolster African American cultural heritage tourism.

Pride events in Pennsylvania include celebrations of culture and community through education, art, music, food and drink, dance and more, a statement from the state said.

The PA Pride Community Grants are funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Tourism Office.

“The PA Pride Community Grant Program reaffirms our commitment to bringing visibility to the LGBTQ+ community and creating a more inclusive commonwealth,” Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary for Marketing, Tourism and Film with the Department of Community and Economic Development said in the statement. “Uplifting events and festivals that celebrate belonging, accessibility and inclusion sends the message that in Pennsylvania, all are welcome to pursue their happiness.”

The grant was administered through the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, an organization working to build a supportive, enriching community with abundant opportunities for LGBT individuals.

“This opportunity directly affirms the Wolf Administration’s commitment to create a Pennsylvania free from discrimination and bringing visibility and celebration to all communities,” Todd Snovel, Development Consultant with the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition said in the statement.

Matching grants were available for up to $15,000 per event. To qualify, pride events must align with these priorities:

Celebration—Providing a celebration and a gathering place for LGBT communities and allies that will boost economic impact to the region through visitor spending.

Belonging—Helping to elevate the “all are welcome” identity.

Accessibility and Inclusion—Addressing barriers that may prevent any potential attendee from enjoying equitable and meaningful engagement through community.

Intersectionality—Recognize the many identities shaping LGBT Pennsylvanians and ensure that all find belonging and acceptance

Increased Promotion—Provide additional marketing to extend awareness and increase attendance.

The 17 recipients of the 2022 PA Pride Community Grant are:

Carlisle Pride Festival—$6,000
Central PA Pride Festival—$10,000
Centre Support Network (State College Pride Festival)—$7,000
Common Wheel Queer Ride—$1,300
Gettysburg Pride Festival—$8,000
Hedgerow Theatre Space for All Day—$3,000
Hoyt Arts Center Queer Color Run—$1,000
Lancaster Changemakers LGBT Film Festival—$2,500
Lancaster Pride Festival—$2,600
Lebo Pride Festival—$2,500
Lehigh Valley Pride Festival—$12,000
Pocono Chamber of Commerce Pride Celebration—$2,600
Rainbow Rose Center (York Pride Festival)—$8,000
Reading Pride Festival—$10,000
Schuylkill Pride Festival—$2,000
Souderton Area Pride Festival—$1,500
Washington PA Pride Festival—$10,000

Beth Brelje
Reporter
Beth Brelje is an investigative journalist covering Pennsylvania politics, courts, and the commonwealth’s most interesting and sometimes hidden news. Send her your story ideas: Beth.brelje@epochtimes.us