Leo, 42, is a Bi Man in Erie County Who Wants to be Heard #AMPLIFY

bisexual erie

Name:  leo 13

Age: 42

County of Residence: Erie, formerly Greensburg and Oil City

Preferred Pronouns: yet

How do you describe your identity? I identify my self as bisexual & I knew that I was when I was about 5 years old . but afraid to lose close friendships that I have known for 20+ years

Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I have not come out all the way yet only a few people know that I’m bisexual. & I’m scared to come out to family & friends .& I’m scared that they wont talk to me anymore when I do come out .

How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? like I said that I’m not fully out yet

Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? the first person I meet that made an impact on my life would have to be my friend ill call Kim to protect her real name & she’s transgendered I meet her through a friend. & I told her I still haven’t fully come out of the closet as bisexual.& she said I will know when its time to come out when I do it . but yes she is one awesome person that I’m glade to call my friend.

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. I would have to say boy George because I love his music & he’s gay he’s good looking . & he’s still making music today .

How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? my local news letter called Erie gay news . Facebook.com attending pride rally’s / parades in downtown Erie

Describe your geographical community. where I live at in my community is friendly I have not had any problems yet

Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. we have a good lgbtq community here in Erie we have trans sisters/ trans family / a local dance club called the zone which is a lgbtq club. which is an awesome place to go to

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public.  so far not yet

Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I’m not sure

Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? more awareness about hate crimes bullying in schools about being lgbtq relationship violence. more std awareness .

What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? more job/home/medical protection laws about being fair to the lgbtq community

Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. when I told an ex that I was bisexual & she knew about it for a long time & when I told her I was bisexual she said why did you take so long to come clean with me about being bisexual. it wasn’t a bad thing . + I march in the pride parade /rally every year . I have met many awesome people in the lgbtq community that are really cool. + I’m totally stoked to have many friends in the lgbtq community.

Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? cant think of any right at this moment

What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? nw pa pride alliance ( nw pa pride.org) Erie gay news monthly news letter

What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania?  the fear of not having equal rights for same sex marriage taken away

What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? that people se me as well as countless others wanting to be heard & loved get treated fairly like every body else

What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? be a good listener / a friend

How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? we are people too and want to be treated fairly . we need lots of friends in our corner fighting for us & them

What motivated you to take part in this project? I want to make my voice heard by all .

Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. what can your local government do to help you ? – we want to be heard our voice to be counted like all the rest . the to have equal rights. like everybody else.

Thank you, leo.

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. These are glimpses in to the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania as told in their own voices.

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.  If you would like to participate, visit the online Q&A which takes about 30 minutes. 

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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