Janie From Brackenridge: Being Trans Limits Many Things #AMPLIFY

Westmoreland Transgender

Name: Janie

Age: 48

County of Residence: Westmoreland

Pronouns:  us/they

How do you describe your identity? I am transgendered MTF..

Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? my parents was my strongest supporters.And tried to find the answers for me and people who was transgender When I was 13. Go figure this was 1979 and transgender publications and Dr’s was nowhere to be found in Kentucky.

How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Well I am disabled now due to being attacked in 2007 in New Albany, Indiana. And relocating here after my parents passed away I have one lesbian friend . I am not active in any community at this time. there was a time in my life where i was active but that is not an option now..

Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first Gay person I met did not influence my life. I was a little young then still in puberty..

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. I have none .. I lived a very rural life outside of nightclubs .did not have a television for 23 years. If i had a television it was only one channel. I was more active within my own community and being trans was rough there Too many times I had to survive on 425 dollars a month because employment issues. Dealing with real issues in the community and my survival was more important. Since my relocation to Pa I have only had a Television set on 10 times and it is my parents old one.

How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Through different websites and when My lesbian friend comes by once a month we chat about a few issues

Describe your geographical community. I live in the upper portion of Brackenridge and it is not that great. Plus I do not have a clue on what is GLBT friendly here. In Ky I knew all the places but here no idea. Being trans limits many things ..

Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. My new pain management Dr is accepting I still need to go to persad one day soon. I am basically a shut in now so I really can not elaborate.

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Oh yes going through the GLBT rights in Louisville Ky was rough .Even at one time Transgendered people was not allowed in many Gay establishments.I have been dismissed from jobs for being GLBT on my own time hence I lived in a state where is was legal to fire you and not pay unemployment because you are GLBT.. My last Job at UPS certain employees would put pornographic images of shemales on my desk . There was many day I would get in my car leave there crying at the end of the day.

Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? There are the divisions of between the groups in the GLBT and sub groups within the GLBT. That is an issue that has went on for years. Some matters have been brought to my attention but I am the outsider here and a shut in and have no clue if they are known or not..

What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Fairness laws that is pending in harrisburg. We tried to get those same protections for years in KY but failed every year . I would come home after a trans lobby day or if I could not make trans lobby day I would attend when I could. Fairness laws need to be passed in every state that does not have them.

Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I used to be a GLBT lobbyist. and I bled GLBT and I was respected within my community for sometime till 2007 when my life changed. as for my current community I am not much use do to that event. I try to inform others on Trans history that are trans and anyone else on my FB list. I know the issues they are tough .Issues for the community can be very tough at times. .

Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? The division within the community hurts all of us . As in any culture everyone tends to stay within their own people . And there are sub groups within those groups it can get messy. From what I am told it is going on here Have I experienced it no not in PA because of health status.

What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Unknown

What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Nothing I can elaborate on at this time.

What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Well to get statewide protections.

What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Understanding of others

How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? I would not know.

What motivated you to take part in this project? Pittsburgh is my home now .my last stop here on this planet. I might not be able to be active in this community. But I am somewhat part of it now.

Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. The question pool looks complete to myself and have nothing to add to it..

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.

You can read the other Q&A responses here.  AMPLIFY! LGBTQ is a project of Most Wanted Fine Art and Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents.




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