Creating LGBTQ+ Religious Groups
Many of the earliest LGBTQ+ groups in Central PA were religiously affiliated, such as the Catholic organization Dignity/Central PA, which was founded in 1975 by Jerry Brennan. Two Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) were started in the Central PA area, one in Harrisburg started by Gary Norton in 1980 and one in Lancaster started by Arthur Runyan in 1981. There was also the Friends Lesbian and Gay Concerns, which advocated for LGBTQ+ people within the Quaker community. Martin Rock founded the Brethren and Mennonite Council for Gay Concerns in 1976 to do the same within Mennonite and Church of the Brethren communities.
I remember […] the feeling of warmth and being welcomed and […] I don’t at all remember what we were talking about, but […] I can remember feeling welcome.” – Steven Leshner, speaking about Dignity/Central PA, 2017