Joe Was Dragged Out of The Closet As A Young Man #AMPLIFY

AlleghenyCounty

Name: Joe

Age: 36

County of Residence:  Allegheny

Preferred Pronouns: He

How do you describe your identity? Gay male. 

Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? Everyone has a different story but for me, I was sort of dragged out of the closet as a young man. I think people knew I was gay and I was teased for years. Which inevitably, probably left me in the closet longer. Once I did come to terms with my sexuality, i embraced life. I became happier. I found support in some new gay friends. As a gay person, there will always be challenges but for me I have been discriminated against in many facets of life. I have experienced discrimination at work, friends and family. I would turn to those friends that experienced the same thing and now they have become my family.

How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I’m 36 now. Life is good. Being “out” now is not the same as it was back 20 years ago. Life is pretty good, eventhough there is still discrimination out there. I live my life openly. I have a great relationship and just want to be treated equally.

Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? I think the first gay person I ever really knew was one of my best friends. We basically came out to one another on the phone. At that point we were in our early 20’s and just finished up relationships with the last girlfriends we both had. It was a great experience because we were able to talk to one another about all of our feelings etc.

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Brian Kenny- Queer as Folk. Probably because he is a foul mouth, career oriented guy.

How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Read online

Describe your geographical community.  Urban- Mixed.

Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. My LGBT community is my friends

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Yes. I had a boss tell me that I should find a girlfriend and get married. I needed to have a real family. Needless to say she is no longer my boss.

Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? I don’t have any gay neighbors that I know of.

What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Continue to provide structure and support for Equality for all.

Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. Trying to donate blood at the Red Cross as an LGBT person isn’t fair. They don’t take gay mens blood and I find this rediculous. Blood needs to be tested no matter what your sexual orientation is.

Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? I think the country is starting to move in the right direction. Gay marriage is now legal which would have been my answer to this. Although I’m unsure of the struggles with being gay and legally single trying to adopt.

What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Gay4Good

What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? I don’t really have fears.

What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania?  That the community continues on a progressive path and that equality triumphs.

 

What motivated you to take part in this project? My friend.

Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. I think I hit them all.

Thanks, Joe.

Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.

AMPLIFY LGBTQ is a 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. 

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. 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 Art and Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents.

 

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