Unfortunately, we are out of viable contributions to publish. I have several in the queue, but I’m waiting to hear back from the contributors about various issues such as their photos or clarifications on certain questions.
But that’s it. We are out of posts at #179.
Now 179 is a respectable number of responses. But consider that there are likely 80,000-200,000 LGBTQ residents of Western Pennsylvania. That’s – at best – .2% of the total population.
I’ve been asking around pretty seriously this past month. I’ve emailed lots and lots of folks. I’ve posted all over Facebook, even running an occasional ad to reach new contributors. I’ve asked my personal friends. I’ve asked existing contributors to invite their friends.
This might just be a lull so I’m not going to panic at all. It is a missed opportunity so I am still going to post something on Tuesdays and Thursdays until the queue fills up again. We can’t afford to be silent resisters right now. Visibility matters. A lot. Oh so much.
Let me use this moment to address a few questions that come up when I ask people to contribute.
My story is not that interesting. Yes, it is. You are surviving as an LGBTQ person in an environment not particularly hospitable to our community. We aren’t searching for screenplay material. We are documenting the everyday experiences so your willingness to simply sit and reflect on the questions IS interesting.
I don’t have time to do this. Thomas Jefferson once famously wrote that he was composing a long letter to a friend because he didn’t have time to write a short letter. I can’t tell you that this project is more important than other priorities in your life. But I can tell you that taking the time to share the long, unedited version is a perfectly legitimate response. The collective impact is what we are assessing.
Also, you can request the document version of the Q&A and fill it out on your computer at your convenience.
I’m not ‘out’ and/or living ‘stealth’ We understand that privacy is important for a range of reasons, including personal safety. You can choose to use a pseudonym, a nickname, initials or even the word ‘anonymous’ – no worried on that front. Photos are always optional. The only requirement is that the project manager (that would be me, Sue) be able to confirm your identity.
I’m not sure about my identity and if I should claim the label LGBTQ. Questioning is a valid identity. This project includes people who are newly out as well as those who have been out for decades. We ask open-ended questions so you don’t have to use the label LGBTQ at all. You describe your identity in your own words. We will do our best to honor your words.
I don’t have good answers for all of the questions. There’s no good answer to many of these questions. All we ask is for you to be honest, even if that means writing ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I prefer not to answer’ – maybe you have a lot to share about healthcare, but you aren’t sure how much of your coming out story you want to disclose. That’s fine.
I don’t want to take up someone’s space. I have other places to shar e my opinions, but I know there are people who don’t. This is a blog; we have virtually unlimited slots/spaces to fill with responses. That’s one reason we chose this format. Your investment of time in the project enhances the responses of everyone else; you are not taking anything away from them.
I’m waiting to be asked. This is your ask. Your voice is needed. I do my best to personally ask everyone that I can, but I’m not going to connect with everyone. I’d love to have a chance to ask you individually, but please don’t let that hold you back!
So that’s a few of our most frequently asked questions. We hope to have more contributions over the coming weeks and be back to our regular publishing schedule lickety split. We’d appreciate if you could take the time to share this request with your personal network.
If you would like to take the Q&A, this is the link.