Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.
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 minimize 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 or visit the online Q&A.
Vic responded to the Q&A with some thoughtful and painful observations about her life in Westmoreland County. She told me that she could not share a photo because “I, sadly, live closeted. I must in my work atmosphere and living locale. …very LBGQT hostile.” Her willingness to take this risk to raise awareness about the everyday lived experiences of people in her region is important to acknowledge.
Preferred Pronouns: Her, she
County of Residence: Westmoreland
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? Fell in love with a dear friend, coworker. Did not know that I could love a woman, nor that I was a lesbian until knowing her.
How do you describe your identity? Female, lesbian (maybe bisexual), Caucasian, mixed ethnicity
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Email strands, newsletters, local magazines
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, film or literature? Ellen (I know, lame and unoriginal)
How would you describe yourself in terms of “being out”? Closeted (unfriendly workplace and living region)
Describe your geographical community. Rural – current, I have lived both rural and urban.
Tell me about your local or regional LGBTQ community. Nonexistent
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. I have not as no one knows
Describe your community in terms of being LGBTQ friendly (or not.) Not friendly. Bias against sexual orientation removed from place of work mission statement. Witnessed violence, bullying, and discrimination towards others who are “out”
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Absolutely. Hate against Trans people. Intolerance of lesbian, gay
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Legislation requiring protection, benefits for same-sex relationships
Please share any anecdotes about life as a LGBTQ person in your community that might help outsiders better understand. Trans person forced to post a sign, carry a sign when she used the restroom.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Meeting other LBGQT persons in safe, healthy places
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? No idea
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Behind the rest of the nation in moving forward
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? To wake up
What motivated you to take part in this project? Feeling alone and wanting to create awareness and acceptance
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer All good
Thank you, Vic.
If you would like to participate in this Q&A series, please visit our online form. You can also email pghlesbian at gmail dot com to participate. We welcome voices from across the community – everyone has a story to tell.