County of Residence: Cambria, grew up in Somerset
Preferred Pronouns: she/her
How do you describe your identity? Woman, female, lesbian
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I was 23. Married to a man who very much understood me. Met a woman and spent the next 10 years with her raising her three daughters.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I am very out. To everyone. In a very happy, stable relationship. And happier then I have ever been.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? My first girlfriend.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Xena, Ellen, Any strong female
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Internet mostly
Describe your geographical community. Much more than it used to be. I moved back to PA in 1991 and I have lived in this area ever since and it as come a long way through the years.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. Larger than I think, but I am not as active as I used to be.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. No not really, but I do believe I was let go from a position in the late 90’s because of my being lesbian
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Idk
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? More equality and education always
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I had a former boss of mine tell me how brave she thought I was just because I was being myself.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? There are not a lot of gay bars, specifically for just gay or just lesbian and I feel this creates a challenge for younger LGBTQ in the community to have a safe place for them to go to
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? I do not know of any
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
What motivated you to take part in this project? Doing it for my partner
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Can’t think of any.
Thank you, Jill.
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.