An occasional series where we pose some questions to local LGBTQ folks (and Allies) to learn more about their personal experiences with LGBTQ culture. Click here for a complete list of all LGBTQ&A profiles.
I first met Eleanor and her husband in a coffeehouse in Squirrel Hill – and I was immediately struck by her energy. I’m a former child welfare social worker (I recruited and trained foster parents) and knew of her history in that realm – and I think I just picked up on her genuine recognition that being an effective advocate for children requires a vulnerability and a toughness, a difficult temperament to find. And Eleanor brought it to the table – she asked me thoughtful, reflective questions, she was willing to laugh at herself (we were talking about social media) and she clearly appreciated that I – a social worker, not a lawyer, not a professional social media guru – that I might have something to teach her. It is hard to find the words to describe how comforting it felt to imagine her on Family Court making life altering decisions for some of the vulnerable children I knew in foster care. Of course, I asked her about LGBTQ families and I was very impressed with how well versed she was in not only the law in this area but the range of “other” issues including the experiences of LGBTQ youth, the myriad of myths and misunderstandings and the simple fact that children need homes.
Disclaimer – Laura and I are among those on “Eleanor’s List” as supporters of her campaign. Laura is a licensed attorney with some experience in LGBTQ family law. As always, I am open to any candidate participating in this LGBTQ&A.
Name: Eleanor Bush
Affiliation: Cross-filed on Democratic and Republican ballots for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas
Tell us about the very first LGBTQ person you met and what that meant for you: My oldest friend, who I’ve known since we were both ten years old and in fifth grade together, is gay. I don’t know when he first realized it himself, but he didn’t come out until much, much later, definitely after college, maybe after law school as well. When I reflect on this, a couple of things stand out – first, that I feel like it’s always seemed normal to me to have gay friends, and second, that I’m now curious to talk to my friend further about how, when and why he decided to come out and what it meant to him to do it.
How do you stay informed on LGBTQ issues? Internet; print media; conversations with others who are well-informed.
What is the most important issue facing the LGBTQ community today? I think marriage equality is huge, and I am eagerly anticipating the results of the Supreme Court cases that were argued in March. Because of my focus on youth, I also am very concerned about a host of issues that particularly affect LGBTQ youth – from vulnerability to abuse at home, to being bullied at school, to homelessness.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? My older daughter and I watched the first couple of seasons of “Glee,” and I really loved Kurt. I also really loved Kurt’s father and their father/son relationship.
What is one simple thing a reader can do to support the LGBTQ community? Pay attention to using inclusive language when describing families and relationships.
To learn more about Eleanor, you can follow her Facebook page.