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LGBT activists warned Penn students at a panel Tuesday night to not be pacified by the progress the LGBT community is making — there is plenty more that needs to be done.

Penn Democrats hosted the panel featuring LGBT activists Sarah McBride of the Center for American Progress and Malcolm Kenyatta of the Philadelphia Liberty City Board with the upcoming gubernatorial and Congressional elections in mind.

“I came to the panel tonight because this is an important time,” College freshman Shaishvi Shrivastava said, stressing the implications for the LGBT community in the upcoming election. “Our current governor has compared gay marriage to incest, and the new potential governor Tom Wolf is very pro gay rights.”

The speakers stressed that Penn students should spread awareness on campus and campaign for LGBT-friendly legislation and candidates.

One significant piece of proposed federal legislation is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which John Boehner refuses to introduce in the House despite being passed in the Senate. The bill would protect LGBT individuals from being mistreated in the workplace.

However, if passed, ENDA will “only protect the LGBT community from 9-5 p.m.,” McBride explained, arguing for politicians who will advocate for anti-hate crime legislation and other effective means of securing LGBT rights.

McBride also stressed the importance of reaching out directly and aggressively to Congress, describing the difficulty of passing state legislation, especially among Republican states.

On Sept. 11, a gay couple was assaulted and verbally abused in Center City, another reason Penn Democrats organized the panel.

“In light of the recent attack as well as upcoming elections, it is vital to remind people of these issues. People cannot just get complacent with the fact that gay marriage is legal in Pennsylvania,” said Shane Murphy, College sophomore and legislative director of Penn Dems.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the assault on the couple occured on Sept. 11, not Sept. 19. 

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