August, 46, Feels Separate as a Black Gay Man #AMPLIFY

Name: August

Age: 46

County of Residence:  Allegheny, formerly Dauphin

Pronouns: He

How do you describe your identity? Homosexual.

Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I was by myself and my brother has been my biggest support. As for the LGBT community on a whole, it has proven to be an enigma with shallow support for people of color.

How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? A Black Gay Man

Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? My fraternity brother, he helped to open my eyes to self and others

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, “Jack” from Will and Grace, Harvey Milk, Lance Black, & Ellen

How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? News, Internet and friends

Describe your geographical community. URBAN

Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I see it as closed off and very welcoming at times.

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public.  None that I am aware of.

Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) LGBT competent but it took time to find it.

Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Yes, inclusion

What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Vocalize their support and model their actions in a manner that is not condescending.

Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community.  I feel like I am separate from the whole of the community.

Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Having varied spaces of freedom

What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors?  I am at a loss at listing any active, strong, and welcoming resources

What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania?  It will be marginalized and pushed aside.

What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? It will be welcomed as a valued aspect of the greater community

What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Listen, mentor and engage

How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Listen and reflect an understanding of seeing value in another

What motivated you to take part in this project? You asked

Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. ?

Thank you, August.

Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.

Submit your own Q&A using our online form.

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.

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