County of Residence: Washington
Preferred Pronouns: she/her
How do you describe your identity? I am pansexual. Once I did more reading into bisexuality, I realized I am attracted to everyone, every gender, every sex.
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I have only come out as bisexual to my boyfriends and close friends. I am too afraid to tell my family. I have not told anyone I am really pansexual.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Myself.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first Person I met who ended up coming out as gay later in life, was actually my first crush on a female. We both graduated high school together and were in the same clubs. We were supposed to go out on a date, but I chickened out. I wish I didn’t.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Amber Rose. Not only is she beautiful inside and out, but she is a great told model for those who question their gender or sexuality.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Facebook groups
Describe your geographical community. Is it LGBTQ friendly? My high school was definitely not LGBTQ friendly. We had multiple suicides that were related to bullying due to sexuality. When I told my first boyfriend I was bi, he completely dismissed me. Living in Pittsburgh now is much different. I feel the LGBTQ community is much more accepted. Times have really changed.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I honestly do not know of any. I wish I did.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. I cannot tell my work for fear of being fired, so I guess that would be indirect discrimination. My bosses and company owner have all said negatory things about the LGBQT community due to their religion.
I have also been discriminated against by lesbians on dating sites for being bi.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? None that I am aware of.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? One word: equality.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. No matter what, your true loved ones will accept you. If they don’t, they don’t deserve you.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? I’m not sure.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? There are so many groups online which is great because not everyone has the time or resources to go to places for meetings.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we will never truly be 100% accepted by everyone.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we will be 100% accepted. My greatest fear is the exact opposite of my hope.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Love!
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Love!
What motivated you to take part in this project? We all have a voice that should be heard.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. These questions were all good, but one I think should be asked is “If you are not “out”; why?” I do not tell certain people out of fear. And I shouldn’t have to be afraid but I am.
Thank you, Raven.
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.