Claudette is a Non-Binary Queer Who Wants Us To See Beyond the L and the G #AMPLIFY

queer Allegheny County
Claudette

Name: Claudette Sheree

Age: 22

County of Residence: Allegheny

Preferred Pronouns: They/Them/Their

How do you describe your identity? I identify as queer non-binary hard femme queen

Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face?  coming out as a femme non-binary queer person in a very strict family in a very small town. Was to say the least torturous. I was the only out queer person in my entire high school my home life wasn’t the greatest on one hand I had a very loving and compassionate father who accepted me exactly as I was and on the other hand I had a very difficult confusing unreliable and disrespecting mother. I came out to my entire family and the majority of our friends by the time I was 14 but waited until I was 18 and two months before my high school graduation as an International Baccalaureate student to tell my mother. To say the least her reaction was devastating she completely disagreed with who I was and took everything I had away and left me with nowhere to go so I got on plane dropped out of high school and moved to Tampa Florida where one of my sisters who want to be in my life accepted me into her household and help me gain my footing as an adult.

How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I would describe myself in my new life as being as out as the work day is long. I make it very clear as much as possible to tell people that I’m queer and non-binary because based on my outward appearance only people don’t expect that.

Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first LGBTQ plus person I ever met is my oldest sibling. She’s the oldest of the ten children my parents had. The impact she had on my life was interact because of our vast age difference but she allowed the difficult situation I was already in growing up in a Sicilian Roman Catholic family be slightly easier but paving the road to me

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. I don’t necessary have favorite. I respect every person who is willing to be out as who they are not only in their personal life but in their work life

How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Mostly through directly within the community

Describe your geographical community. I grew up in a very small town but I now live just outside the city limits of Pittsburgh

Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I love just outside the Pittsburgh City Limits the our community is very strong I’m also extremely proud to be part of a gender performance troupe called hot metal hardware as well as a group i run in Pittsburgh of femme Queens or bio Queens called #armyofFemmes.

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Fortunately no because from the exterior no one looks at me differently. My closet has always been made of concrete walls that no one sees through because I don’t fit into a quote unquote stereotype

Describe your community in terms of being LGBTQ friendly (or not) I have yet to find an area that I frequent that hasn’t been LGBTQ friendly

Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue?  I’m not exactly sure

What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians?  The only thing that comes to mind is more funding for people in need but that not only covers LGBTQ plus people just people in general

Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. No response. 

Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? That I have seen a lot of time people just tend to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that we exist

What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? The GLCC also persad

What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania?  Na

What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania?  Na

What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Just be knowledgeable and accepting and non judgmental

How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Just by being there making sure that they get exposure the people don’t forget that there’s more to LGBTQ plus then the L and the G

What motivated you to take part in this project? Reading other people’s experiences and life stories seeing other peoples point of use online the same topics I have constantly running through my brain.

Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer.  I think you did a fantastic job asking question.

Thank you, Claudette.

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.

You can read the other Q&A responses here.  AMPLIFY! LGBTQ is a project of Most Wanted Fine Artand Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents.

AMPLIFY LGBTQ