County of Residence: Allegheny County, formerly Indiana County
Preferred Pronouns: Miss
How do you describe your identity? Female, white, bisexual
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I haven’t fully come out to my family yet because I grew up being told that it wasn’t ok to be gay. When I told my friends, they were accepting and it made it easier to feel comfortable.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”?As I moved to the city, I have been more freely accepting of telling people and letting them know I’m in a relationship. It’s still hard for me to start conversations about it, but I’m working on it.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? A friend from college was bisexual and she would let me talk to her about LGBTQ topics.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Chris Culfer (Kurt/Glee), Eric Stonestreet (Cam/Modern Family)
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Internet: vlogs, blogs, news
Describe your geographical community. Urban, before I lived in a rural community that wasn’t as accepting
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I feel as if my community is welcoming of LGBTQ individuals.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. No.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I have recently switched healthcare plans that my workplace offers, but haven’t used or look for LGBTQ friendly resources.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? I don’t know.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? I would like to see them let the community know what resources are available for LGBTQ individuals.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. In my experiences, I have learned that a lot of individuals in this community have been very accepting and willing to help, all you have to do is ask. Speak up for things that you need and want.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? I don’t know personally, but maybe issues with churches.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? I don’t know.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That legislation will change marriage/healthcare/renting laws.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? I hope that everyone can be freely accepted in the community and have all the resources that straight individuals have.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Make resources known.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Know that they can use the same resources.
What motivated you to take part in this project? I think it’s important to have a voice and stand up for your rights. I think that collecting data on our communities will help the LGBTQ community grow.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Maybe: how long you’ve identified with the LGBTQ community? 5 years.
Thank you, Megan.
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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.
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