UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Aug. 6, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order creating the United States' only Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. Brian Patchcoski, the director of Penn State's LGBTQA Student Resource Center, has been chosen to be a member of the commission, making him one of the driving forces for inclusion across Pennsylvania, while also representing Penn State.
Members of the commission were selected based on their experiences and involvement with the LGBTQA community within the state.
Wolf said in a press release that the commission is working to ensure that no person is discriminated against because of their sexual identity or how they choose to express themselves.
Patchcoski, who said he feels grateful and privileged to be a part of this historic commission, was contacted by the governor’s office and asked to join.
On Aug. 6, the 40 chosen members took the oath of office at the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg.
“For this to be established, I think it showcases both to our Penn State community and the citizens of Pennsylvania that we are serious about addressing these areas of diversity and engagement,” Patchcoski said.
Patchcoski said he is optimistic that the work done will create stronger networks, helping to make students, faculty and staff feel more accepted and supported.
Patchcoski said he feels it is critical to educate ourselves on how the variations of human sexuality and gender diversity are just one aspect of someone’s journey — but those aspects connect and support the greater whole of who we are in the world.
Penn State is known for its efforts in maintaining a safe and inclusive environment throughout its campuses. Patchcoski said that through the Universities various programs and cosponsored initiatives, “we strive to build a more inclusive Penn State where we can all embody who 'we are' in every dimension.”
Patchcoski defines his work as "human work" where he can assist in finding connections for people to engage and build stronger communities. By having this commission created in Pennsylvania, voices are elevated to face the challenges that still exist today, Patchcoski said.
“Pennsylvania has come a long way in terms of inclusion," said Patchcoski. "We still have much work yet to do and I look forward to being part of it — as a resident of Pennsylvania and representative of the Penn State community."