We are pleased to welcome our new guest blogger to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents – Jennifer Tyrrell.
As you may recall, Jennifer is an Ohio based lesbian who skyrocketed to national attention when she challenged the Boy Scouts of America about their homophobia. Like many parents, Jennifer had volunteered as a den leader and had received a lot of positive feedback. Unexpectedly, she was asked to resign – for being gay.
Jennifer and her wife Alicia have four children – they had encountered no discrimination on the local level or among their den’s families. It was all about a national policy and had nothing to do with the best interests of the actual children who were part of Jen’s pack. Jennifer didn’t back down. Over the ensuing months, she partnered with GLAAD and other LGBTQ organizations to bring attention to this issue – she organized petitions on Change.org, works with Zach Wahls and George Takei and volunteers her time and energy to fight this discrimination.
I met Jennifer (and Alicia) on Facebook. When I learned how close they lived to Pittsburgh, it really struck home how well … close to home this issue can be even though Laura and I do not have children. Prior to getting to know Jennifer, I dismissed LGBTQ people who enrolled their kids in Scouts as either self-loathing or uncaring about the larger community – not a proud admission, but I’m being honest. Through her, I learned to rethink that – joining Scouts is more akin to remaining part of the Catholic Church than eating at Chik-fil-A because your kids like the milkshakes. There are other milkshake sources – but the church and the Scouts are institutions that play a very important role in the lives of all sorts of families around the nation.
But what I think inspired me to ask Jennifer to join our blogging team was not so much her national advocacy, but the fact that she lives an hours away – the chance to look at the life of a lesbian family in Ohio in contrast with our experiences here in Pennsylvania. That through our limited contact on Facebook, I had the chance to glimpse the life behind her cause – her work, her friends, her day to day activities and I saw that Jen and Alicia are a lot like Laura and me. That’s probably not terribly surprising since we are two sets of white lesbians living in mid-Western/Appalachian cities.
I asked Jen to introduce herself on her own terms and she has a blockbuster post – startling confession and all. That’s my kind of living out loud.
Welcome to Pittsburgh Lesbian Corresponents, Jen (and family.) We are looking forward to being neighbors.