County of Residence: Cambria. Lived in Somerset County during my childhood, until age 21.
Preferred Pronouns: She/her
How do you describe your identity? Female, woman, lesbian, gay
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I came out after being in a heterosexual marriage for close to 40 years. I actually found my first support from a friend who had been involved in our local PFLAG Chapter. But once I came out I found support from my husband at the time (who is now my ex and still very supportive). My son and daughter-in-law were a great support, and my group of women friends were totally awesome in their support, also.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I’m out to everyone. Once I came out to my husband and my son and had their support and love I was then able to be my true self and be out to the world.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? I don’t really recall meeting anyone in particular who stood out. I was a late bloomer…very late. There were just girls that you knew were lesbian but it wasn’t discussed.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Ellen, hands down. I like her sense of humor and style. She has a kind, gentle way of expressing herself. Saw her do standup in Pittsburgh in the 80s, way before she was ELLEN, and loved her ever since,
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Most of my information comes from FB and Internet sites.
Describe your geographical community. It’s been fine for me but as I said I’m a late bloomer. I’m at an age where I’m comfortable with myself and if my partner and I want to hold hands in public we do. Also, I work from home. I’m not sure of what difficulties otters may encounter in their workplaces.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. Not really much going on here in the LGBTQ community. My partner and I have a great group of lesbians we interact with and hang out with, but no organized groups.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. I have not.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Not that I’m aware of.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Workplace Equality
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I would just say that you’re never too old to come out, to be the person you are. I’m proof of that. I’ve had many people tell me how brave I was to take this step. It was something I finally knew I had to do.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? No answer.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? I mostly read online information from the Pittsburgh area.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? No answer.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? No answer.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Educate themselves
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Educate themselves and accept everyone for who they are
What motivated you to take part in this project? Reading the other posts for this project
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Nothing.
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.