Adrian is an organizer by birth. Inspired by his grandfathers, national union leader, Al Shanker, and psychologist and gender theorist, Dr. Ronald Levant, Adrian has been advocating for social justice and LGBT equality for more than a decade.
Adrian is President of Equality Pennsylvania, the statewide political organization advocating for equality for the LGBT community. He previously served as Vice President of Pennsylvania Diversity Network, the regional LGBT advocacy organization in northeast PA, and served at the appointment of Mayor Ed Pawlowski as Vice Chair of Human Relations Commission of the City of Allentown, the city agency charged with enforcement of their civil rights laws.
Shanker has led successful campaigns to win a non-discrimination law in Bethlehem, PA; LGBT relationship recognition in Allentown and Easton, PA; and Gender Neutral Housing at Muhlenberg College. Adrian was also the Research Assistant on the first edition of the “GENIUS Index” (Gender Equality National Index of Universities and Schools), which was published in 2006 by the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, under the direction of Riki Wilchins.
At the request of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Adrian provided testimony to the Philadelphia City Council Committee on Law and Government regarding the passage of their landmark, “Equal Benefits Bill” and he has also testified in Whitemarsh and Cheltenham Townships regarding passage of their municipal non-discrimination ordinances and the Bethlehem Area School District on their Administrative Change to grant Domestic Partner Benefits.
Adrian has also responded publicly to attempts to limit the rights of Pennsylvania’s LGBT youth. He has successfully fought the Bangor Area School District’s attempts to mandate parental notification for students to attend a Gay-Straight Alliance (2011) and the Northampton Area School District in their attempt to bar LGBT students from forming a GSA (2010.)
Professionally, Adrian is employed in the management team of a small, LGBT-owned business in Easton, PA, and has previously worked as a community organizer for a labor union, and as a development professional for a nonprofit community arts organization.
In 2009, he graduated Cum Laude from Muhlenberg College with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Religion Studies, and in 2011, he graduated from the “Pennsylvania Political Leaders Fellowship” at the Center for Progressive Leadership.
In January 2012, The Philadelphia Gay News named him Person of the Year for his success in advancing in LGBT equality at the local level throughout PA. He has received numerous awards for his leadership, including the City of Allentown’s prestigious Human Relations Award, the Anne Frank Center USA’s Spirit of Anne Frank Award, and GLSEN Hudson Valley’s Leadership Award. He has been featured on CBS Evening News, CQ Weekly, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Diversity Matters Radio on Voice of America.
Follow him on twitter @Adrian Shanker