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.
AMPLIFY LGBTQ is supported by Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery. Read all of the interviews here.
Name: Rashod X. Brown
County of Residence: Allegheny
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? Was my mom lol. not but truthful my mom is just like me and im just like her. back then i didn’t look at it as wrong because my mom didn’t teach me to do that but as i got older society started cracking down on my mom and she broke.
How do you describe your identity? I am an unapologetic black trans man living in my truth.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? I am a liaison for the Garden of Peace Project so i stay informed through our meeting or just by looking at facebook.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? Xena the warrior princess was my favorite when i was little now it’s max off of the L Word.
How would you describe yourself in terms of “being out”? I’m fully out and i tell everyone before i start anything with them. I’m an open book so if they ask i’ll tell because they just think I’m a gay man.
Tell me about your local or regional LGBTQ community. My community is messed up. the ones who are trying to help it gets put down or told that our dreams are not realistic.
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. Yes i have. at my last job i had to quite because my manager liked me i guess and he was making advances on me and when i transitioned he stopped talking to me and wouldnt go no where near me and when my mom was in the hospital i asked could i leave to go see her and he said no. Me and a group i was with got told we are being too loud and had to hurry up and eat and leave.
Describe your community in terms of being LGBTQ friendly (or not.) The “straight community don’t know because i don’t hang out with too many straight people but the ones i do are okay and love me and in the gay community they look at me like i’m a crazy person. I’m pansexual and try to date in the gay community but the gays can’t date me because of my body parts and the lesbains cant date me because i look like a guy. these are the excuses i hear often.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? There are no issues impacting the LGBTQ community that are part of the local dialogue. It is pretty much as if we don’t exist.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? 1) I would like to see a lot more inclusion for Trans people and people of color. 2) Get more Trans programs and help the programs that are for trans people of color. 3) support us not just by standing in solidarity but by paying us for reliving our past trauma.
Please share any anecdotes about life as a LGBTQ person in your community that might help outsiders better understand. I have so many i really don’t feel like typing it all.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? The lack of community unity and help. Just plane old helping out someone in need.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? The lack of community unity and help. Just plane old helping out someone in need.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we just give up and accept things the way they are. In doing that we will lose ourselves.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That the organizations that actually help the LGBTQ community get enough money to thrive and continue helping people.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Whats my prefered pronoun? He, him, his. What is my sexual Identity? Trans Man What is my sexual orientation? Pansexual (Editor’s Note: I apologize for not asking about pronouns and immediately added the question. I also clarified the question about personal identity. I’m publishing this response to show how the Q&A format can be organic and fluid.)