If you are looking for the AMPLIFY Q&A to contribute your own story,

click here to go to our online form!

Every story raises the visibility of LGBTQ experiences in Western PA. 

AMPLIFY is a storytelling project, a community art project and a historical archive project sharing the lived experiences of LGBTQ neighbors in Western Pennsylvania from 2015-2020. Contributors use an online form to answer questions about their lives and those contributions are published as individual blog posts without being edited, modified or altered.* These are the true stories of our neighbors in their own words.

#AMPLIFY Tee Shirts

The official #AMPLIFY Tee Shirt is here via our partnership with Commonwealth Press. Your purchase support the project and a local business. You also have the option of donating a shirt to a project contributor.


Click here for the archived contributions, updated 2-3x each week.

Click here for the project FAQ.

Click here to contribute your own story to the project.

Click here to read what people are saying about #AMPLIFY (Press and media page.)

Click here for more information on the 26 county region of Western PA and the LGBTQ neighbors who have ties to those counties.

Click here to donate.

Click here to read Issue #1 of the AMPLIFY zine (Click here for a copy to download and print)


The concept is straightforward. Use the Q&A format to amplify the lived experiences of individuals whose lives are not often highlighted in traditional media.

Read the published Q&A’s here

(More are coming every week.)


  • To explore the realities of our LGBTQ neighbors in their own words so as to better understand how their identities impact their day to day lives.
  • To identify barriers they face in day to day life, including discrimination and bias.
  • To identify how they contribute to a thriving region, including what unique strengths they bring to the table.
  • To connect with all 26 counties in Western Pennsylvania and identify resources, services and supports that may not be widely known, again in the voices and realities of the LGBTQ folks living there.

How to participate

  • You can complete the survey here  Note – the online Q&A uses a google form so you cannot save your answers (without a lengthy convoluted hack explanation.) Be sure to leave the tab open until you are finished.
  • I will send you a printed version of the Q&A if you would prefer to fill it out by hand. Contact me at pghlesbian at gmail.
  • I am speaking to groups and hoping to attend events throughout the 26 counties. Please contact me if you would like a speaker or more information to share with your members. This can include PFLAG, GSA meetings, book clubs, bowling groups, etc.

To learn more about my professional qualifications, please visit my LinkedIn profile.

Read the published Q&A’s here

Support #AMPLIFY with a donation today. Help us continue sharing the stories.

Below is a reverse chronological list of the AMPLIFY Q&A’s

  1. Hutch, 57, Marched With Harvey Milk and Knows We Have Miles To Go 
  2. Jay, 27, Discusses Challenges of Being a Straight Trans Man 
  3. Louie, 50, Identifies as Queer, Pansexual, & Kinky 
  4. Kat, 33, Shares Her Story as a Trans Woman to Find Some Peace 
  5. Paul, 61, Marched in Pittsburgh’s First Gay Pride March in 1973 
  6. Brian, 32, is Trans, Nonbinary, and Queer in Westmoreland County 
  7. Madi Scull, 20, Identifies as a Nonbinary, Asexual Lesbian 
  8. Lange, 41, is a Queer Single-Parent in Pittsburgh 
  9. Hansen, 20, is an Unapologetic Queer Filmmaker 
  10. Kyle, 22, is a Bisexual, Vegetarian from Crawford County
  11. Jess, 22, is a Poly, Bisexual Woman in Pittsburgh
  12. Madison, 40, is a Pansexual, Trans Woman Who Loves Pittsburgh
  13. Rae, 48, is a Pansexual Trans Woman Living in Allegheny County
  14. Mahogany LaPiranHa, 38, is a 6‘4“ androgynous African-American badass 
  15. Rain, 42, is a Gay Woman in Pittsburgh
  16. He’s a cisgender polyamorous bisexual guy, but nobody asks
  17. Joseph, 28, is a HIV+ queer and gay man in Pittsburgh
  18. Winter, 18, Identifies as a Genderquestioning Bisexual Person
  19. Dezmanian, 28, is a Black Man Who Happens to be Gay 
  20. Dakota, 27, Wants You to Support Queer Activists & Queer Art 
  21. Lissa, 28, Identifies as Genderfluid, Grey Ace, and Poly
  22. Kool Kase, 32, is a Black Lesbian at Peace With Herself
  23. Sam, 28, is a Genderqueer Artist in Pittsburgh 
  24. Jennifer is 40, Bisexual, and a Fan of Sara Lance 
  25. Reece, 31, Grew up in Southern Virginia, but Found LGBTQ Connections in Pittsburgh
  26. Tara, 24, is a Femme, Queer Human 
  27. Michael, 50, is a Gay Man Who Lives Without Shame 
  28. Dan, 36, is a Bisexual Man in Pittsburgh Who Wants to Build a Better World 
  29. Ben, 30, Wants All Gay White Men to Learn To Take a Step Back 
  30. Rachel, 24, Asks Where Are Our Out, Queer Women Role Models in Pittsburgh? 
  31. Laura, 42, is a Bisexual Mom in Pittsburgh 
  32. Brad, 33, is a Gay, Black Man Who Does Charity Work as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence 
  33. Tracey, 58, is a Queer Mother Parenting Nonbinary Children 
  34. Bebe Beretta, 27, is Nonbinary, Genderfluid, and Wants More LGBTQ Folks to Connect
  35. Dave, 33, Identifies as a Queer, recovering Gay White Man 
  36. Helen, 51, Came Out as Bisexual in the Army National Guard
  37. Meg, 28, is Nonbinary, Genderqueer, Polyamorous, and Pansexual
  38. Keith, 48, is a Gay, White Man Using Marriage Equality for Teachable Moments in North Carolina 
  39. Hilary, 44, Works Hard to Boost Pansexual Identity in Erie County
  40. Lisa, 47, is a Bi Woman Trying to Find Community in Pittsburgh
  41. Amy, 46, is Bi in Pittsburgh, But Not Really Out
  42. Alexia, 40, is Bisexual, Transgender, and Loves Pittsburgh
  43. Jez, 50, Came Out As Trans in 1985 in Rural Washington County
  44. Morgan, 31, is a Black, Bisexual, Queer, Polyamorous Woman & Mother
  45. Kelsey, 22, Talks Lesbian Life in Elk County 
  46. Tristan, 28, is Gay, Mexican-American, a Comedian and Writer and Drag Queen 
  47. Pastor Reed, 48, Puts a Face and Name to Being a Gay Christian
  48. Carmen is 42, Bisexual, and Resonates With Genderfluid Identity
  49. Jamaica, 41, is Bisexual and Wants the Pgh Queer Community to Have a Voice
  50. Luna, 25, is a Poly, Gender fluid, Queer Performance Artist 
  51. Bobbi Jo, 63, is a Transgender Lesbian in Indiana County
  52. Roxxie Thunder, 27, is a Glittery Pansexual Femme from Beaver County 
  53. Maya, 20, Identifies as a Black Queer Fat Femme Woman 
  54. Mindy, 42, Lives Semi-Open as Trans in Rural Elk County
  55. Katie, 25, Identifies as Puerto Rican, White, Cis-Female and Lesbian
  56. Dylan, 28, is a Queer, Autistic Transgender Man
  57. Angie, 32: Out, Loud, and Proud Black Pansexual Mom
  58. Krista, 28, Lives in Washington, PA as a Pansexual Woman
  59. August, 46, Feels Separate as a Black Gay Man 
  60. Tanha, 36, is a Queer, Bisexual Woman in Erie 
  61. Joel, 35, is Gay, a Trans Guy, Polyamorous, Christian, Parent, & Husband 
  62. Chrissy, 40, Wants LGBTQ Folks to Educate One Another With a Sense of Humor 
  63. Lora, 33, Talks About Coming Out, Family Support, & LGBTQ Narratives
  64. Selene, 60, is genderfluid, pansexual, femme-presenting, neuroqueer and more
  65. Scott, 53, is a Gay Man Exploring Transition & Identity Anew 
  66. Marcia, 58, is Cisgender, Lesbian & Slightly Gender Nonconforming
  67. Seth, 21, Came Out as Bi and Trans Via Power Point 
  68. Krissy, 34, Talks About Step Parenting as a Bisexual Woman 
  69. Rev Leonard, 37, is a Black same-gender loving freedom fighter – #200
  70. Wendi, 31, Describes Being a Trans Ally in Her Workplace
  71. Chica Discusses Her Bisexuality to Show Solidarity 
  72. Brandon, 23, Identifies as a Pansexual Genderqueer Male
  73. Angela is a Queer Mother & Intersectional Feminist
  74. Tyler, 18, is a Pansexual Trans Man in Erie
  75. Chris, 40, is an Aspie Queer Girl With Some Kinks
  76. Bi and Demi, Kristen Wants You to Get Uncomfortable With Your Privilege 
  77. Caiolin, 56, is Just Another Woman Who Happens To Be Trans
  78. Regina, 33, Finds Comfort in Lesbian Ambiguity
  79. Megan, 22, is a Bisexual Woman Using Her Voice To Grow Her Community
  80. Ally, 20, Describes Her Fluid Sexual Orientation 
  81. Maddy, 23, is Queer and Gender Nonconforming in Allegheny County 
  82. Jason, 42, aka Miss Thea Trix Spreads a Positive Vibe in the Mon Valley
  83. Jesse, 28, Helps To Build New LGBTQ Community Supports in Mercer County 
  84. Sean, 29, Wants to Change the LGBT Climate in Western Pennsylvania 
  85. Emily, 40, Talks About LGBTQ Visibility, Intersectionality & Resiliency 
  86. James, 54, Is a Gay Pittsburgh Dad Living in Texas
  87. Kyle Discusses Privilege & Perception of Gay, White, Cisgender Men
  88. Shari, 57, Wants More Inclusivity & Power for QTPOC
  89. Leo, 42, is a Bi Man in Erie County Who Wants to be Heard
  90. Laura, 44, is a Lesbian Mom in Fayette County 
  91. Dawn, 33, Describes Life as a Trans Woman in Westmoreland County 
  92. Emma, 28, Keeps Her Queer Eyes Open in Pittsburgh
  93. Ravenna, 37, Pansexual Trans Woman Living in the Allegheny County Suburbs 
  94. Vanessa, 31, Describes Her Transition & Life as Pansexual in Washington County
  95. Tara, 29, Describes Life in the Shenango Valley as a Bisexual Woman  ** #175
  96. Lav, 29, a Queer Trans Gender Non Binary Mermaid Witch Warrior 
  97. Vi, 24, Is Very Concerned About Trans Health Issues in Pittsburgh 
  98. Mitch, 27, Describes Life in Butler County as a Gay Man
  99. Kierra Darshell is Pittsburgh’s First Lady of Drag
  100. Alexa, 22, Talks About Acceptance as a Bisexual Woman
  101. Ira, 30, Identifies as Pansexual, Genderqueer and Possibly Agender 
  102. Lavi, 29, is Trans Queer Bi and Wants Your Respect & Support
  103. Ciora, 27, Says Trans People Have the Strength of Two Souls
  104. Anonymous, 30, Wants More Visibility for the Pansexual Community 
  105. Janet, 66, is Bisexual, Cisgender and Gender Nonconforming
  106. Dominic, 18, Is a Bisexual Man Finding His Comfort Zone in College 
  107. Dean Sees Queer Struggles as Stories of Strength
  108. Brian, 29, Wants the LGBTQ Community to Address Social Isolation
  109. Morgan, 21, Hasn’t Met Other Openly Gay Suburban Couples 
  110. Hayley, 46, Wants To Keep That Pride Feeling Year Round #160
  111. Brian, 35, ‘It’s okay to be who you want’ 
  112. Jim, 63, Reminds Us That Environmental Issues Are Queer Issues
  113. Kitteh, 27, ‘The Door Is Open But I’m Still Sitting on the Floor of the Closet’
  114. Samantha, 44, Wants Better Health Choices for the Trans Community
  115. ‘Your Story Can Heal’ Says Rain, 26
  116. Jill, 48, Has Ties to Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland Counties
  117. Caitlyn 51, Lives Her Authentic Self as a Trans Woman in Erie 
  118. Melissa, 23, is Androgymous and Queer in Butler County
  119. Delilah, 31, Finds Trans Community on Twitter
  120. Jamie, 52, Celebrates the Queer Tribe Rising
  121. Jessica, 28, is Resisting Bisexual Erasure in Pittsburgh
  122. Benjamin, 35, is a Cis Gay Man Who Came Out Four Times
  123. Chi Chi, 47, Lives Her Version of Latina, Queer and Spiritual
  124. Jay, 33, Says Stories Are Part of Queer Liberation
  125. Cheryl, 42, Wants Us To See Everyone in the LGBTQ Community
  126. Dave on Coming Out and Being Out in Cambria County
  127. Avery is a Bisexual, Latino Tran Man in Cambria County
  128. Eileen, 52, Reflects on the Awakening of Her LGBTQ Community  (142)
  129. Rach, 36, Loves a Girl in Armstrong County
  130. Kim, 40, Mother, Pansexual and Mexican-American in Washington County
  131. Kay, 27: Not Ashamed of the Reality of Me
  132. Heidi, 28, Learned That It’s Okay To Be A LGBT Christian
  133. Mel, 40: Bi, Queer and Pan Folk Don’t Always Speak in a Gay or Lesbian Voice
  134. Mitch, 52, Believes in The Power of Movies to Create Community
  135. alexis, 29, talks compensation & community for marginalized lgbtq neighbors 
  136. Camellia, 30, is a Lesbian, Soon-to-be Wife, and Momma 
  137. Staci, 52, Wants More Representation for the Bi Community
  138. Rachel, 30, Is In The Process of Coming Out as Bisexual
  139. Bill, 52, is a Gay Man Living in a Small Town in Cambria County
  140. Patricia, 41, Does Not Feel Safe as a Trans Woman in Her Urban Pgh Suburb
  141. Mariah, 38, Wants More Support for Westmoreland LGBTQ Neighbors 
  142. Norman, 67, is a Gay Black Male of African Descent
  143. Wes, 44: Queer Trans Man, Parent Wants You To Know That He Exists
  144. Lisa Believes Being Out and Honest is ‘Like Flying’
  145. Sueno, 33, Adds Her Particular Color of the Rainbow to the #AMPLIFY Narrative
  146. Maggio, 28, is Unapologetically a Bi-sexual Queer Feminist Scholar
  147. Ben, 29, is Proud to be a Queer Pittsburgher
  148. Martha, 52, is a Gay Woman Spending Her Whole Life Coming Out
  149. Naheen, 29, is a Gay Black Male Who Feels Confident in Himself 
  150. Mia Donna Has a Wild Happy Life as a Pansexual Polyamorous Person
  151. RevDrRay, 49, Believes LGBTQ Folks Deserve Strong & Powerful ‘Spiritual’ Life
  152. Sara, 28, Single Mom, Agnostic Jew, and Queer in Ohio
  153. Shain is 32, grew up in Mercer County and now lives in NYC
  154. Bobby, 50, Queer Trans Guy, White Anti-Racism Activist
  155. Diane, 56, Is Asexual With Lesbian Leanings and a Writer
  156. Pixie, 26, is Androgynous, Non-binary, Genderqueer and Lesbian, But Identifies as Pixie
  157. Tylor, 30, is a Pansexual Trans Man Who Wants Better for Young People
  158. Nayck, 50, Identifies as a Black, Gay, Domini-rican in Pittsburgh
  159. Jill, 49, Wants Young LGBTQ People To Have a Safe Place to Go In Cambria County
  160. As a Gay Man, Ryan Wants More Scrutiny of Bath Houses and Non-Profits
  161. Dani Janae, 23, Identifies as a Black Femme Lesbian Poet & Trauma Survivor
  162. Jay, 54, Considers His Gay Identity Both Now and The
  163. Ama, 30, is a Girl Who Likes Girls and Who Likes Guys
  164. Austin, 30, is a Straight Trans Man from Washington County
  165. For Jodi’s Kids, Having Two Mothers Is Just a Fact of Life
  166. Char, 62, is a “Very Late Bloomer” Lesbian in Cambria County
  167. Minion Wants to Talk About What It Means to Be a Queer Black Futch Leathergirl
  168. Kim, 44, Say She Lost Her Job in Beaver County Because She’s a Lesbian
  169. Alissa, 34, is Just Another Girl in the Crowd in Lawrence County
  170. Carina, 18, Identifies as Plus Sized Monogamous Queer and Femme 
  171. John, 38, is a Johnstown Based LGBTQ Activist **#100
  172. Corvus Regrets the Lack of a Sober, Queer, Radical and Disability Friendly Community in Pgh
  173. KK Compares Small Town Michigan to Pittsburgh
  174. De, 49, is Concerned About LGBTQ Youth in Rural Western PA
  175. Joe Was Dragged Out of the Closet As A Young Man
  176. KD is a Gay Woman Who Chooses to be On the Periphery
  177. Sabrina, 50, Found New Friends When She Came Out as Trans
  178. Lela Wants Bisexual Voices To Be Heard
  179. Kevin, 38, Talks About Jack Kerouac, Senior Housing and Gay Crushes 
  180. Jus Hadiya Wants to Spread Education 
  181. Viva Valezz is a Queer Burlesque Performer Parenting a Gender Fluid Child
  182. Alyssa is First Generation Cuban American, Trans, Gender Nonconforming and from Beaver County
  183. Heather Refuses to Marginalize Herself as a Bisexual Woman
  184. As a Lesbian, Shelly Values Her Ties to Rural Indiana County
  185. Elliot is Bi, Trans and Wishes Westmoreland County Was Talking More About Queer Youth
  186. Gloria a Happy Black Lesbian
  187. Moira Describes the Toll of Gatekeeping on the Trans Community
  188. Sara, 35, On Her Reality as a Lesbian in Western Pennsylvania 
  189. Mark, 29, Talks About Gay Stereotypes in Pittsburgh
  190. Ade is Pansexual, Androgynous and Finds Comfort in Their UU Community
  191. Dinah Denmark: Lesbian, Jewish, Buddhist
  192. Jazmine, 46, Has Advice for LGB Allies to the Trans Community
  193. Niki Talks About Living as a Gender Queer Trans Woman in Pittsburgh
  194. Cavanaugh, 25, Talks About Genderflux Identify and the Value of Self-Care
  195. Jean Came Out as Bisexual After Retirement
  196. Kathi Wants To Connect with LGBTQ Elders in Rural Communities
  197. Casey, 38, Honors One Year Since Coming Out As a Gay Woman
  198. Roman Knows to the Depths of His Soul That He Is a Man #AMPLIFY
  199. Erin Answered These Questions to Challenge Bisexual Erasure
  200. Mair, 55, Came Out the Same Week As Ellen DeGeneres #AMPLIFY
  201. Derek On Life As a Gay Man With Asperger’s Syndrome #AMPLIFY
  202. Kaley is Trans, Queer and a Fan of Gender Outlaws
  203. Shaquanna Wants Families to Have Positive Conversations With LGBTQ Relatives
  204. Raven Has Not Told Anyone That She’s Pansexual Because She’s Afraid
  205. Walter Wants Western PA to Be More Vibrant, Tolerant and Diverse
  206. Janie From Brackenridge: Being Trans Limits Many Things
  207. Cat is Queer, Genderflued and Fully Out #AMPLIFY
  208. Jeff Hopes the LGBTQ Community Will Embrace a Common Queer Identity
  209. Jesse Talks About Living as a Trans Woman in a Culture of Fear
  210. Jess is a Lesbian Mother Who Wants More Family Friendly Resources
  211. Saintly Sinner is a Cisgender Lesbi Not So Flexible Black Biological Womyn
  212. Diane Discusses Being Belligerently Out in Pittsburgh
  213. Jaime From The ReelQ Film Festival Says Yep I’m Gay
  214. Scott Describes Life as a Gay Bear in Rural Armstrong County
  215. Claudette is a Non-Binary Queer Who Wants Us To See Beyond the L and the G #AMPLIFY
  216. Taylor Wants More LGBTQ Resources and Community Unity
  217. Alexandria is a Lesbian Artist Trying To Get Her Bearings
  218. Anonymous Grieves How Pittsburgh’s Gay and Lesbian Community Treats Bisexuals
  219. Erik Is a Cis White Working-Class Queer from Clearfield County
  220. Maria Wants You To Know a Family Like Hers #AMPLIFY
  221. Lyndsey Identifies as a Queer Genderfluid Lipstuck Butch
  222. Alex is a Black Trans Man Who Doesn’t Apologize For His Existence
  223. Mario Identifies As Queer Rustbelt Genderfluid Artist #AMPLIFY
  224. PJ Identifies as a Cis White Gay Man With a Twist of Genderqueer</a
  225. Ashe Believes To Be Queer Is To Be Yourself #AMPLIFY
  226. DJ Scott Is a Gay Black Man Full of Positive Vibes #AMPLIFY
  227. Kitty Is Out and Open as a Bisexual Trans Woman in Erie County #AMPLIFY
  228. Shawna on Her Unique Experience as a Lesbian in Indiana County #AMPLIFY
  229. Miss Erie Pride 2015: Embrace Who We Are Meant To Be #AMPLIFY
  230. Daniel Wants to See More Diverse Employers in Western Pennsylvania
  231. Alex Describes Erie’s LGBTQ Community as Live and Let Live
  232. David Talks About the State of Equality in Erie
  233. For Kristina, Being Out is Her Normal
  234. Bee Asks Where Single Parents Fit Into the LGBTQ Community
  235. Jessi is a Trans Lesbian Who Asks Questions
  236. Larry Traces His Coming Out to JFK and a Frat Brother
  237. Jesse Believes in the Power of [Trans]cendence
  238. Vic Lives Closeted in Westmoreland County
  239. Kayden Wants to Be Safe Holding Her Partner’s Hand in Pittsburgh
  240. Tony Believes Everyone in the LGBTQ Community Matters
  241. Brandon Believes Pittsburgh Should Have Better Trans Health Resources
  242. Cindy Has Been Fundraising for the GLCC for 14 Years
  243. Coley Claims to Be Invisible in Plain Sight
  244. Carmen is a Queer Black Womyn From Pittsburgh
  245. Darcell Hopes Everyone Will Find Love
  246. Sivynn Acknowledges That Some People Just Don’t Pay Attention to His Transition
  247. Amber Has Always Been Proud of Being OUT
  248. Shell is Proud of the Positive Impact of Pittsburgh Black Pride
  249. Gary Has Lived in Northwest and Southwest PA As An Openly Gay Man
  250. Patrouious Describes His Fears & Frustrations as a Trans Man in McKean County #AMPLIFY
  251. John is a Geeky, White, Cisgender, Queer, Pagan, Proletariat Hippie #AMPLIFY
  252. Skip Believes The Act of Coming Out Is a Continuous Process
  253. Sam Prefers the Ambiguity of Queer Identity to a Specific Label
  254. Jan Offers an Older Perspective on LGBTQ Pittsburgh
  255. Meg Is a Country Queer
  256. CJ Describes Living Stealth As A Trans Man
  257. Bob Is the First Openly Gay Elected Official In Northwestern PA
  258. Paula Speaks Out About Bi-Erasure and Bisexual Exclusion
  259. Joy KMT Values Intersectional Healing Spaces
  260. Katie-Anne Speaks As Two Spirited Bi Gendered Resident of Johnstown
  261. Twist Shares Their Life as Neuroqueer
  262. kelly emphasizes that ‘gay is not the totality of me’
  263. Gina Shares Her Truth With Those Who Deserve To Know
  264. Donna Met a Female Impersonator Who Made a Lasting Impression
  265. Joyce Believes Tolerance Is Not Acceptance
  266. Mike Talks About the Privileges of Living in Erie as a Gay Man
  267. Rashod Is An Unapologetic Trans Man of Color
  268. Tara Wants Us To Talk About Intersectionality