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.
Ted is the Executive Director of Equality PA, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group. We’ve never actually met, but we have chatted quite a bit by email over the years – about legislation, policy, and current events. One thing I really like about Ted is that he does get back to me in a reasonable amount of time even though I’m sure he has a ton of pressing media inquiries, especially when there’s “news” – but he does respond and we have some thoughtful exchanges. And even when I bring up arcane policy matters – like funeral home licenses – he is already 1 step ahead of me. His advice is very tender and very personal, not about voting or policy at all – but about the relationships that create opportunities to get to the rest.
Tell us about the very first LGBTQ person you met and what that meant for you. I think the first gay person I met wasn’t open about it at all. In fact I know that he wasn’t. It was an older cousin and my nascent gaydar was already fine-tuned. He was unhappy and a mess and I think that held me back from being open for a long time.
How do you stay informed on LGBTQ issues? Not to sound flippant, but I’m the Executive Director of the state’s LGBT political advocacy organization. This job is 24/7, and I often joke that my life in one big PRIDE celebration.
What is the most important issue facing the LGBTQ community today? Fragmentation. Some of us have rights and some of us don’t. We all need to pull together until we are all equal. We are so very close to winning on everything that we just can’t leave anyone behind.
If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community, what would it be? I’d want the fun spirit of Pittsburgh’s LGBT community to be everywhere.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? Michael Tolliver, Tales of the City…hands down and forever…
What is one simple thing a reader can do to support the LGBTQ community? Be open and honest and don’t judge. Thanks, Ted.