Sara, 35, on Her Reality as a Lesbian in Western PA #AMPLIFY

Allegheny County lesbian

Name: Sara

Age: 35

County of Residence: Allegheny

Preferred Pronouns: Me, herself, someone, somebody

How do you describe your identity? Female, white, lesbian

Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? It’s funny now but back in 1993 it was scary. I came out to my mother after listening to the Melissa Etheridge album “yes I am” . I remember sitting in my room crying knowing that she wasn’t going to be OK with it. I found strength and told her, she cried, said that she kinda always knew, was mostly upset because I wasn’t going to at that time get married. I found my support in the youth group and once I came out, I was on fire and before I knew it, everyone in high school knew it to. Playing sports sucked, the locker room turned into a place for the girls to say things to me , I would always smile and tell them not to flatter themselves but on the inside I was empty.

How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I don’t even think about it anymore, “I’m just me” .

Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first lgbtq person I met was when I was 16 and I was a going to a support group at the Sarasota gay and lesbian youth center. I was lost and alone not knowing basically anything about being me and she took the time to personally talk with me and one conversation we had sitting on swings in a park that would change my life.

Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Should I have one?

How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? News, facebook

Describe your geographical community.  Where I live now, they think I’m from mars

Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I move here 7 years ago, haven’t found much

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. I’m use to it, I’ve been called dyke when just walking down the street, in my younger days I couldn’t walk into a women’s restroom without being told I was in the wrong one.

Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Don’t know 

What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? There should be strong hate crime laws

Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. Look i stop giving a funky what people think, I’m in upper management with my job and they all know, my biggest thing is that I try lead and coach daily and I hope I can change one souls life.

Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? There’s not enough outreach, it seems that you have to live either downtown or in a specific neighborhood.

What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Gay and lesbian center

What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Community isn’t what it used to be

What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania?  That family becomes what family is.

What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Reach out

How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Welcome them

What motivated you to take part in this project? To share my reality

Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. They were all fine

Thank you, Sara.

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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