Keeping our diverse communities safe and healthy.
Avoiding and Reporting Anti-LGBTQIA+ Bias and Violence.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have a vibrant LGBTQIA+ community that so many of us are proud to support as allies year round. Sadly, incidents of bias and violence against the community have persisted or even increased. Resources exist to report bias and discrimination to your local governments, and common-sense precautions can be taken to protect against hate-fueled violence while still being yourself and enjoying all our communities have to offer. I hope this guide provides helpful tips and resources as we all work to promote acceptance and eradicate hate.
Allegheny County Controller
In any emergency situation, always call 9-1-1
App & Online Dating
- When you intend to meet someone, be sure to tell your friends where you will be and who you will be with.
- It would be helpful if you could share an example of someone’s social media profiles with a trusted friend.
- Don’t volunteer any personal information (date of birth, address, etc.)
- Public places are the best places to meet a date.
- Take the time to learn as mich about your date as you can.
- You may want to take note of the license plate number and description of your date’s vehicle if it is practical.
- Make sure to save all of the emails and messages you receive from the person you are meeting.
- Do not worry about politeness if you are uncomfortable with your date. Just leave.
- If you are leaving a party or a bar, travel in a group. A lone pedestrian could be a target for criminals.
- Do not get into a stranger’s car.
- Make arrangements to be driven home by an Uber, Lyft, or cab, or ask a friend or family member who is sober to do so. DUIs are dangerous for everyone, and they are expensive as well.
- When you’re at the venue or bar, be aware. Also, pay attention to your drink and never leave it unattended.
- Be aware of backpacks, bags, or packages that are unattended or suspicious.
- You should immediately report suspicious behavior towards you or other patrons, as well as suspicious packages, to the bartender or management.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Walk in well-lit areas where other people are presenet.
- Group walks or walking with others near by are good options.
- Keep your technology (iPads, cellphones, etc.) concealed.
- When strangers approach you, be catious.
- If confronted by someone, refrain from verbally engaging them. The best course of action is to disengage and not escalte the situation if they appear to be under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or mental illness.
- If someone tries to rob you, either by threats or with a weapon, do not resist. You should not risk your life or physical injury for the amount of money you will lose.
Please note: It is not a crime for someone to call you a derogatory or hurtful name. A crime occurs if the comments are accompanied by threats, threatening behavior, or physical harm.
Reporting incidents, hate crimes, and insensitive interactions with authorities
- If you believe you have been the victim of a crime, you should contact local authorities immediately.
- To report a hate crime, contact the FBI at 1.800.CALL.FBI.
- There is no guarantee that the FBI is aware of a hate crime just because you filed a police report. You should follow up to ensure they have been informed.
- If you have an uncomfortable or insensitive interaction with Pittsburgh Police, you may file a complaint with the Office of Municipal Investigation or the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board.
Allegheny County Human Relations Commission
In 2009, the Allegheny County Human relations Commission was established to ensure all persons enjoy full citizenship rights and have equal opportunities in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The Commission’s role is to ensure that those benefits and opportunities are available regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or place of birth, sex, genre identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, familial status, age or need for a guide or support animal due to blindness, deafness or physical disability.
If discriminated against, you may file a written complaint with the Human Relations Commission. Forms can be accessed by visiting their website at AlleghenyCounty.us/HRC.
If the Commission determines that an investigation is warranted, the complaint will be forwarded to the Department of Human Resources to uncover further information. Upon review of the report, the Human Relations Commission could request Allegheny County Council to continue the investigation, or the Human Relations Commission may proceed to take necessary actions to stop unlawful actions from continuing, as well as preventing further discriminatory practices.
Municipal Human Relations Commissions
Physical and mental health services are available in the area in an affirming environment free of judgment. Many services are low-cost, no-cost, or do not require health insurance including routine STI screenings, preexposure medications and prevention, and mental health services.