117 Ways to Describe LGBTQ Identity

We ask contributors this question “Please describe your identity.”

No checkboxes. No drop down menu. No predetermined categories. Just an open-ended question and a text field for people to write their response.

117 people have responded thus far (110 published, the others in the ‘to be published’ queue.)

As you can see, each person wrote a unique response. And while we can certainly tease out some common terms, this shows that there is no monolithic LGBTQ (or ‘gay’) identity – if we listen to what people have to say.

chart That being said, it is useful to have *some* sort of groupings to understand this mass of information being shared by our neighbors. So I did a little number crunching of this soft data and came up with this:

  • 23% of our contributors identify as bisexual and/or pansexual
  • 23% of our contributors identify as trans*
  • 23% of our contributors identify as queer
  • 25% of our contributors identify as QTPOC
  • 25% of our contributors identify as parents
  • 30% of our contributors identify as lesbian
  • 15% of our contributors are 55 or older

Our oldest contributor is 70 and our youngest is 18.

Don’t be too rigid – this is not a rigorous set of data. Some people identify as both queer and lesbian, for example. That might seem confusing, but thankfully – they filled out this entire Q&A so you could better understand their lived experiences and perhaps find more understanding. Read away!

It took me over two hours to calculate these figures and create this blog post using my google spreadsheet and my calculator. It takes about four hours of my time to solicit one new contributor, a number that increases as I work my way through the people with whom I have a personal relationship and into the parts of Western Pennsylvania where I don’t know many people. That’s mostly online time now; when the weather improves, I’ll be spending more time on the road to meet with people face to face and invite them to contribute.

I think the time is well-spent to generate the outcomes we’ve achieve so far. I think the time is invested in something that matters and is different and unique. Unique as the 117 individuals contributing to this project so far.

If you agree, will you please consider two things?

First, submit your own contribution to the project via our online Q&A form.

Second, making a modest donation to support this project.

Both things are necessary for us to continue amplifying the voices of neighbors who are least likely to be interviewed by local media or at the microphone at community meetings or featured on blogs. It isn’t for a lack of having something to say.

Please join me …





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