LGBTQ&A: Jessi Strucaly Prefers Her Civil Rights Without Sugar, Please

An occasional series where we pose some questions to local LGBTQ folks (and Allies) to learn more about their personal experiences with LGBTQ culture. Click here for a complete list of all LGBTQ&A profilesJessi in color

I met Jessi several years ago through her wife, Emilia. If I had to pick one person (aside from Ledcat) that I would want to have my back, it would be Jessi. She was the first transwoman to earn the title Ms. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish (see interview in 2011) and was recently on the scene to support the trans community in Cleveland after the brutal murder of Cemia Acoff. I’ve personally witnessed Jessi push back against transphobia and gender bias because it was the right thing to do. She’s unafraid to live her truth and that’s perhaps the best type of ally anyone can have.

Name: Jessi Valeria Strucaly

Affiliation Active in Trans issues and an advocate for the Leather and BDsM comunitys

Tell us about the very first LGBTQ person you met and what that meant for you. When I was very young there had been a Transwoman in my hometown Mom explained to a that a young person could understand, but in that hushed voice, the same one you used to discuss an amputee, cancer or someone who had ‘sugar.’

How do you stay informed on LGBTQ issues? Read alot of news and stay active in local circles.

What is the most important issue facing the LGBTQ community today? ENDA!!

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community, what would it be? a further reach into the suburbs. perhaps GLCC satellites.

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature?  Charles Nelson Reilly.

What is one simple thing a reader can do to support the LGBTQ communityget your ass off the computers and go meet and socialize and get active in the real world.



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  • oh I didn’t complete my thought on the first question.
    I never really met the first person who was a Transwoman.however my thoughts on it. at the time I knew not of anything LGBT . I was round 6 yrs old. but had been intrigued by the notion that one isn’t necessarily born the way they are. I didn’t understand the procedures to correct or connect to two. but the fact that it was possible hit me deeper than I knew at the time. as a performing Magician, I know now that the seemingly impossible, is possible. I admired her convictions to be true herself.

    • The answers to that particular question have varied a bit – several folks describing more of their first “awareness” than actually meeting a person.

      It makes sense that a 6 year old would respond to the possibility and not focus on the practical matters right? If only adults could have that same attitude.

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