Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.
AMPLIFY LGBTQ is a new occasional series of blog posts designed to give a “signal boost” to the voices of our LGBTQ neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania. We are using a Q&A format and will minize editing their responses. The questions, however, may change as we ask each participant to tell us what we’ve missed asking. It is one of the vibrant elements of a blog format – evolution & growth.
Our intent is to highlight the voices of marginalized members of our community who are not always invited to the table or whose voices are not heard (because “we” are not listening?) Obviously, my choice of questions does shape the conversation, but beyond that – these are glimpses in to the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania as told in their own voices. If you would like to participate, please email me pghlesbian at gmail or visit the online Q&A.
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her
County of Residence: Allegheny
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first lesbian I met was a neighbor of my first girlfriend. Her and her partner lived across the street. This was a first time lesbian relationship for both my girlfriend and I, and because she had 2 children, we were very closeted. This was in 1982. The impact that my neighbor had on me was that there were other women living together, we were not alone. Eventually we had both broke up with our girlfriends, and she took me to my first gay bar, Paradise Cove.
How do you describe your identity? Woman, Wife, Lesbian, Spiritual
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? I am very active with the GLCC
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? Ellen DeGeneres. She is one of the first women I can recall coming out on TV. She is kind, generous and funny. I like her style.
How would you describe yourself in terms of “being out”? VERY, I am out to everyone, family, friends, neighbors, work. I am very blessed that I have such love and support around me. It’s like I am not gay, I am just me! Being gay is just a part of who I am.
Describe your geographical community. Pleasant Hills
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. While there is always room for growth and improvement, I think our community has a lot to offer. I handle the GLCC LGBTQ events calendar postings, so I see a lot of events getting submitted, anything from bowling to comedy shows to support meetings of all kinds to…. well I could go on and on. Check it out at http://glccpgh.org/events .. Anyone can submit an event to the calendar at http://glccpgh.org/events/community-events/132-add-your-event
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity in a job setting? How about in terms of being served by a business? Please explain. No, I work for Verizon, and they were one of the very first corporations in PA to offer same-sex benefits. They also donate $750 a year to the GLCC for my volunteer hours.
Describe your community in terms of being LGBTQ friendly (or not.) The community I surround myself with is very friendly and excepting. I feel comfortable with who I am, and comfortable where ever I go.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Safety for our trans youth.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? End discrimination in the work place. This is not an issue for me, working for Verizon, but I have several friends who are teachers, that are closeted because they are afraid of losing their jobs.
Please share any anecdotes about life as a LGBTQ person in your community that might help outsiders better understand. I, along with 3 other women, have been doing benefits for the GLCC for 14 years. Currently, we produce the Spring Fling / Fall Fling events. I am amazed at how some people will complain that there are not enough events, or things to do within our community, but are quick to criticize the events that already exists, yet seem unwilling to step up, in ways small or large.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? More places, other than bars, where LGBTQ people can go, and feel safe and meet people.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? http://glccpgh.org/links/other-organizations
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Since we won marriage equality, that we will become complacent.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That being in the LGBTQ community will become a non issue.
What motivated you to take part in this project? To share another perspective.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Nothing comes to mind.
Thank you, Cindy.
If you would like to participate in this Q&A series, please visit our online form. You can also email pghlesbian at gmail dot com to participate. We welcome voices from across the community – everyone has a story to tell.