Liz McCormick Published

LGBT Rights Discussed at Shepherd University


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights were the topic of a public forum Tuesday morning at Shepherd University. Speakers at the event said West Virginia has come far in accepting LGBT people but not far enough.

Dozens of community members, Shepherd faculty, students, and alumni attended the discussion Tuesday on LGBT rights.

The forum explored the struggle for equal rights and protection from discrimination in West Virginia and across the country. It specifically looked at challenges the LGBT community has faced since the June 2015 federal legalization of same-sex marriage.

Delegate Stephen Skinner, a Democrat from Jefferson County, is the only openly gay member of the state Legislature.

At the event, Skinner said in order for West Virginia to be a leader in LGBT rights the state needs to first acknowledge that there is an issue.

“People in West Virginia have to recognize that there is homophobia that leads to action that people are actually hurt because of the hate that gets promoted,” he said.

Skinner says passing a statewide non-discrimination law is one answer, but he says West Virginia has progressed significantly in the past ten years.