LGBTQ&A: Liz de Jesus Steers Pittsburgh PFLAG To Be a Safe Space

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.  During Pride 2013, we are trying to feature someone each day.

March 2013, at  the Prop 8/DOMA rally on the steps of Supreme Court.
March 2013, at the Prop 8/DOMA rally on the steps of Supreme Court.

 

Liz is the President of the Pittsburgh chapter of PFLAG. She is the first respondent nominated by another respondent – fellow PFLAG member, Bonnie Humphrey. I think PFLAG is a wonderful organization and leads the way with community building.

Name: Liz de Jesus

Affiliation: President, PFLAG Pgh.

Tell us about the very first LGBTQ person you met and what that meant for you. As a child, I remember two gentleman that were always guests at our family gatherings. They were well educated and appeared quite sophisticated. I was probably only about 8 yrs. old when I asked my mother if they were married. My Mom responded by explaining to me that they were “partners” and what that meant. That was and still is, all okay with me. By the way, these two gentleman are still alive and well and have been together as a couple for over 50 years!

How do you stay informed on LGBTQ issues? Being part of PFLAG provides me with the ongoing opportunity to share stories and experiences with LGBTQ individuals, their parents and families. In addition, I try to attend events pertinent to the gay community and have learned a lot from networking with other local and national LGBTQ groups/organizations. My goal is to use this knowledge and understanding towards advocating.

What is the most important issue facing the LGBTQ community today? I feel that would be the need for nationwide laws that would legally assure and protect LGBTQ individuals and their families and enforce equal civil rights.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community, what would it be? I’d like to be able to eliminate the emotional struggles that LGBTQ individuals are faced with when coming out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if LGBTQ individuals could feel comfortable, secure and safe to come out and be themselves?

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? That would be Ellen DeGeneres. She’s what I call “good people” and I just love her sense of humor. Ellen can bring tears to my eyes and have me laughing at the same time.

What is one simple thing a reader can do to support the LGBTQ community? Perhaps a reader doesn’t understand or agree with what it means to be gay but they can show respect for diversity.

To learn more about the Pittsburgh chapter of PFLAG visit www.pflagpgh.org  You can also visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter

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