County of Residence: Allegheny
Preferred Pronouns: she /her/hers
How do you describe your identity? Gay woman. Like Ellen, I don’t like the word lesbian.
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I did not have 1 single experience. I came out to different people at different times. So far all my friends have supported me. I still need to come out to my 1 conservative friend. I anticipate hostility.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Generally I am very reserved, so I don’t talk about myself. However, I don’t deny who I am.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? My cousin and her then-partner. They encouraged me to be myself.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Tough one! Probably David Sedaris. I love his writing. Also, the character Aud from Nicola Griffith’s novels.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Email, Twitter, word of mouth.
Describe your geographical community. I live in the south suburbs of Pittsburgh. My local community is difficult to evaluate. It seems simultaneously both progressive yet conservative on many issues.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I’m on the periphery of the community by choice. The city of Pittsburgh seems to be progressive and accepting in its elected officials and protections. I am in several gay Meetup groups. Non -gay -specific Meetups have been accepting.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. YES. I was fired from my dream job after 5 years for “allegedly being a lesbian.” Exact quote.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Employment discrimination, definitely.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Pass ENDA!! Get all religions out of government. Our Constitution is secular.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. The boss who fired me called me a “disgrace ” and an “abomination. “
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Misogynist gay men, separatist gay women.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Pittsburgh ‘s LGBT Advisory Board, LGBT Meetup groups, GLCC.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? The bigots will remain in power.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? ENDA will pass.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Actively lobby and advocate!
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Accept everyone for who they are.
What motivated you to take part in this project? I’m always eager to help.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. How do homophobic religions impact your daily life?
Thank you, KD.
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.