By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Known as the Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) summit, The Equality Forum, held every year in Philadelphia celebrates its 20th anniversary. Events, including 25 panels, start Wednesday and run through Sunday at various venues in the city.
The panels address various topics relating to the LGBT community. Out University of Pennsylvania varsity tennis player Jason Magnes, who is also the chair of PATH (Penn Athletes and Allies Tracking Homophobia) will be among speakers on the National Sports Panel.
“There is just way to much silence on this issue.” Magnes says his teammates have a come a long way. He says breaking the silence and talking about his sexuality made things better.
“And I think there is almost like this fear of the unknown type thing and once you kind of realize that, yes, the unknown may be like a little bit different than you but its not like completely foreign and scary, you can kind of coexist and identify with the unknown. I think that that realization definitely — at least for my team — has really just completely opened their eyes and their minds and it has really just become a non issue at this point now.”
And same sex marriage activist, 20-year-old Zach Wahls will be a part of the National Youth Panel. He has two moms.
“I wanted to make sure that people who are on the other side or even just kind of questioning where they fall on this debate have an opportunity to learn more about families like mine and to get into what a LGBT family looks like. It may not be common or, you know, ‘normative’ but it is certainly normal.”
For more information on programs and celebrations, go to EqualityForum.com