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 minimize 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.
Name: Kristina K baby Barr
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? One of my best friends in middle school, now known as Mikiya. She’s transitioned but I’ve seen first hand how gender identity affected her self-esteem.
How do you describe your identity? Female, lesbian
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Through the Internet, social media, out magazine & LGBTQ local organizations.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? Ellen, Rosie O’ Donnell, Rosanne
How would you describe yourself in terms of “being out”? I’m all the way out! I came out when I was 15 living in San Pedro, CA. I remember telling my mother one day, “ma, I’m gay & I like girls”.. She said (and this has been edited to be PG, lol) “I don’t care what you do or who you like as long as you stay in school.” Lol. It was never a big deal to my family. They though it was a phase but I think after 12 years they see it’s not a “phase”. Lol. I’ve been with my now fiancé for 9 years in August. Being out IS my life. I’m so “out” I forget that people are straight. Like in my head, I’m the normal, & sometimes I just forget lol.
Describe your geographical community. I’ve lived a lot of places but have always lived in the urban area. Your typical inner city kid. Except when I’m at my Mom and Dads house. They bought a house in the suburbs 10 yrs ago.
Tell me about your local or regional LGBTQ community. I only first hand know about Pittsburgh Black Pride & the Delta foundation. I know they both play vital roles in the PGH gay community.
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. I personally haven’t experienced discrimination at work but have seen it happen to my fiancé ALL THE TIME. Grocery stores, restaurants, public bathrooms, bars.
Describe your community in terms of being LGBTQ friendly (or not.) My local community seems to b supportive. Things have gotten a lot better for us and I think more and more people accept the lifestyle. Even if they didn’t, we’d still be living it!
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? None I can think of right now
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Not sure right now.. I know we’re happy about being legal in all states!
Please share any anecdotes about life as a LGBTQ person in your community that might help outsiders better understand. You don’t “choose” it. Why would I choose for life to be harder for me?
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Race, economic status, gender
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Pittsburgh black pride, delta foundation, persad
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? I have no immediate fear.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we all stick together, not just here in PA but nationally.
What motivated you to take part in this project? I wanted to amplify my voice!
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. How do you feel about the resources on starting a family in the LGBTQ community? I think they aren’t many and it can feel daunting sometimes. I’d love to know of organization that exclusively helps LGBTQ family plan.
Thank you, Kristina.
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.