County of Residence: Washington County
How do you describe your identity? Transfemale
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? It was kinda slow and steady. I was outed to a coworker by a family member. It ended up as a victory for me since I had already made our management aware. I went full time a month later, 6 months earlier than planned.
My counsellor Jenny and friend Tim were my biggest supporters early on.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Living full time for over the past two years and married to a 30+ year veteran of the trans community.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? First I really knew was Tim, it never changed my opinion of him. Always a terrific friend
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood. He’s good looking very open and fun personality
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Internet news
Describe your geographical community. The town in which I reside smaller town near the mid Monongahela valley, somewhat rural. I grew up in a very rural farm village.I The majority of folks here care little if you are LGBT. My partner and I have been treated well most everywhere we have gone.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I live in a small town with a handful of LGBT folks. Mostly we are out just living our lives and not afraid of going anywhere in the area. Most of the Washington county community is fragmented but out living there lives
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Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Very little to be honest. I own my own home so that is not an issue for me and my long time job accepted and embraced my transition.
Have you experienced microagressions based on your identity? Think everyday indignities & slights that you experience, but would not characterize as discrimination. Please describe in your own words. Yes, mostly from professed Christian conservatives that knew me prior to transition. Otherwise I am well treated in public
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I am very lucky with health care, my employer provided insurance is excellent. My PCP is LGBT friendly and we have a Central Outreach (they do my HRT) office across town from where I work.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Yes there are, mostly concerning the local trans community here. I prefer not to go into this subject in this format.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Ensure LGBT non discrimination legislation and protect the expansion of health care plans in Pennsylvania for transgender procedures.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I was helped by another transfemale in understanding the steps of the name change process. I passed what I learned to a transmale friend and wrote up the procedure in our county for my therapist Jenny to share with her other trans clients.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Lack of communication in the local community and lack of a trusted LGBT meet up place. Also no Pittsburgh area surgeons who do transition surgeries.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? I found my initial help via TransPulse online. My pcp connected me with my gender therapist and she guided me eventually on finding a HRT provider.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? The push backwards towards us by the Federal Government as our rights go. Also the lack of an LGBT person representing our community to government
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Our youth and Pennsylvania being on the path of progress for our community
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Let others around them know we are not much different than anyone else in society
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? By promoting our community and a opposing discrimatory elements in our own community (exa TERFs)
What motivated you to take part in this project? Wanted to help and share my story
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. What I do for a living
Thank you, Allie.
Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.
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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.