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 profiles. During Pride 2013, we are trying to feature someone each day.
I also met Miranda online, perhaps 12 years ago or so? I think it was through an email list or something similar, but we chatted and began running into one another quite often. I’ve always admired her passion and down-to-earth approach to life. She resurrected the Dykes on Bikes project, adding a very strong community element to their fundraisers. She’s very open about her identity, her advocacy and her commitment to her health & wellness. And she walks the walk (as well as run, bicycle, swim and cycle it!) – she’s at events, she volunteers, she reaches out to help, she gives back in many ways. If I could pick one person from the community to be on my team – any type of team – it would be Miranda.
Name: Miranda Vey
Affiliation: Pittsburgh Chapter of Dykes on Bikes
Tell us about the very first LGBTQ person you met and what that meant for you: It was over 30 years ago when I was starting to question who and what I was. The Internet was just starting and there was no great outlets for LGBTQ people to find each other. My only exposure at that time was on Jerry Springer which really expressed a negative view of queer people……specially gender variant people. Then I found a small little chat room on AOL called the “Gazebo”. This was the first time I found others who were struggling with the same questions on self-identity as myself. I made some online friends who were not the “Jerry Springer” types, but individuals with higher education, professional jobs, and building a life while being true to themselves. Many of these individuals I never met in person, but they became role models in a time being queer was still something that could get one killed living in WV.
How do you stay informed on LGBTQ issues? I belong to a few newsgroups that send me emails and I watch the social feeds of local LGBTQ activities I am friends with. I have slowed down as an activist but I still watch for a worthy cause to help with.
What is the most important issue facing the LGBTQ community today? I think we still face the same issue today as we faced 20 years ago. There is still far too many people who think that being LGBTQ is a choice for a perverted lifestyle. Many of us have little influence on our sexual orientation or gender identity much like we have no choice in choosing a dominant hand. As the next generations come to age, this continues to change and many outside of our community warmly accept us as who we are. The perception this is a choice is changing with each generation.
If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community, what would it be? I think if there was one thing I could change in the local community, it would be how transgender people are still very much misunderstood and left on the outskirts of our community. I see this changing more and more as the years roll by. The younger LGBTQ generation appears more inclusive in many aspects when considering transgender individuals.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? Roy ‘Ruth’ Applewood from the play “Normal”
What is one simple thing a reader can do to support the LGBTQ community? Be active in some way in the LGBTQ community. We have had a lot of activists pave the road to get us where we are at today. I think it’s important to give thanks for what those before us have done by not letting things get worse and making it better for those who come behind us. One doesn’t have to be openly out or be an activist. The act of simply supporting local LGBTQ events, businesses, socials, churches, or charities helps keep those assets strong in our community. Even a simple private email of support to those on the front line can make a huge difference. Even the smallest gesture of support can fuel change.
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