Name: Jason Zubovic
County of Residence: Fayette, formerly Allegheny and Westmoreland counties
Preferred Pronouns: Mr. and Miss – him and her
How do you describe your identity? I am an openly gay white male entertainer with an amazing partner of three years.
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? My coming out was during my third year of college at Duquesne University. My best friend and classmate at the time took me by the hand and introduced me to the gay scene in Pittsburgh. I am a very outgoing person, and it took me no time to acquire many friends and support in the community.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I am 100% proud of who I am as a gay man. I have also been performing as a Drag Queen as Miss Thea Trix for 23 years now. I love and live life to the fullest, and let my inner rainbow shine bright!
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? My college classmate. He was an integral part of my coming out. He introduced me to Pegasus and the gay scene.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. All four characters on Will and Grace. I love the interaction of this dynamic group. They represent my aspects of the LGBTQIA spectrum.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? I am very involved in the community. In addition, I self-educate myself and keep up with the times on a daily basis.
Describe your geographical community. Rural. I feel Belle Vernon is a good mix of people with different views. However, I am very comfortable where I live.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I am very involved within my own community as well as Allegheny County and the tri-state region. I do various benefits and diversity lectures within the local venues and colleges. I feel very comfortable in this area. I am extremely excited about Mayor Bill Peduto’s new LGBT advisory committee which my friend Richard Parsakian is part of.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Yes. I feel I was discriminated in a position I held in Pittsburgh with an Independent Living Facility. I was the executive administrative assistant, and was replaced by a straight female under the new board of directors.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I have good healthcare and so does my partner, but they are independent of each other. Therefore I haven’t experienced this aspect yet.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? I believe they exist. I am very social, and I encourage my peers to express their views in an intelligent way. However, I feel that many of my community members are shy and do avoid confrontation.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? I feel that there is a huge barrier between community and religion when it comes to the LGBT. Even though I call my significant other my partner, we have not sought out formal marriage yet because I feel the significance of it has reached the appropriate place in society.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I have recently began lending my services to the entire Mon Valley for Drag Queen Bingo Fundraisers. I am continually amazed at how excepting the communities are as a whole when they come together for the common good!
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Religion, religion, and religion!
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Persad Center, University Safezone Programs, Shephard’s Wellness, PATF, Washington County Peer Support Services, TransPitt, Delta Foundation, Pittsburgh PRIDE.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Donald Trump
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? I hope that one day being LGBTQ is as commonplace as any other way of life.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? I am a huge advocate for allies, and I feel I am reaching them through my events.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? We need to unite as one community as stop the all the labels. Being LGBTQ in my opinion is simply being who we feel we are inside. No one group is better or more important than the other. Everyone is beautiful in their own way – Just own who you are!
What motivated you to take part in this project? I was asked by Sue Kerr, and I am a huge supporter of our community. I will do whatever I can to spread a positive vibe within our community!
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Describe yourself in any way you want? ~ Creative, Loving, and Full of Life
Thank you, Jason!
Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.
Take the Q&A yourself (about 30 minutes)
AMPLIFY LGBTQ is a series of blog posts designed to give a “signal boost” to the voices of our LGBTQ neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania. These are glimpses in to the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania as told in their own voices.
You can read the other Q&A responses here.