AMPLIFY LGBTQ is a new occasional series of blog posts designed to give a “signal boost” to the voices of our LGBTQ neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania. We are using a Q&A format and will mostly avoid editing their responses. The questions, however, may change as we ask each participant to tell us what we’ve missed asking. It is one of the vibrant elements of a blog format – evolution & growth.
Our intent is to highlight the voices of marginalized members of our community who are not always invited to the table or whose voices are not heard (because “we” are not listening?) Obviously, my choice of questions does shape the conversation, but beyond that – these are glimpses in to the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania as told in their own voices. If you would like to participate, please email me pghlesbian at gmail.
For perspective, here’s a map of the counties of Western PA.
I’ve met kelly at various events around the City and was quite glad when she agreed to be one of our first Q&A participants. Her responses offer some wisdom and guidance as we start a post-Pride dialogue around critical issues in our community.
County of Residence: Allegheny
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? A gay young man named Gerald who lived up the street from me. He,was very sassy and fabulous. I admired his boldness and he taught me about boldness.
How do you describe your identity? Glad I’m a womyn Butch.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? FACEBOOK, New Voices Pittsburgh and friends.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? Sylvester (singer)
How would you describe yourself in terms of “being out”? All the way out.
Tell me about your local or regional LGBTQ community. Completely polarized race, class.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity in a job setting? How about in terms of being served by a business? Please explain. No experience with that except for in my family.
Describe your community in terms of being LGBTQ friendly (or not.) Friendly
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? No
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Pass stricter anti discrimination protections.
Please share any anecdotes about life as a LGBTQ person in your community that might help outsiders better understand. Get to know me before you judge, because who and how I have sex with really isn’t your business. Gay is not the totality of me.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Race and class discrimination.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? New Voices Pittsburgh, Garden of Peace
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Violence
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Solidarity across color lines.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Why has the LGBTQIA community not made any markable strides along race issues?
Thank you, kelly.
If you would like to participate in a future Q&A, please visit our survey or contact us pghlesbian at gmail dot com.