Name: Selene dePackh
County of Residence: Allegheny
Pronouns: she or they
How do you describe your identity? genderfluid, pansexual, femme-presenting, dom
white as f*ing bleached flour
autistic, neurodivergent, neuroqueer
multiply disabled, invisibly disabled, visibly disabled, auditory processing disorder, executive function disorder, ehlers danlos syndrome, partially ambulatory
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? Have been more or less out as weird-queer all my life. Had some excellent friends, also some friends of my mother’s were supportive. Several teachers.
Got beat up, excluded, gamed. Autism (undiagnosed) was not helpful in knowing whom to trust.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? very
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Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? High school friend. Queer, fabulous drag personality. Loved his insistence on being treated with respect.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Laurie Penny (Penny Red) – ferocious bisexual writer- sharp, perceptive as hell.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? interwebz
Describe your geographical community. Regent Square is very queer-inclusive, but a transitioning friend of mine was harassed right near their house just after the election.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. Pittsburgh isn’t exactly cutting edge, but it’s gradually developing. People in the community can be insular, but are generally kind.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. have been publicly harassed many times.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) Metro Family Practice, Kathy Homrok – awesome. Terrified of what’s going to happen with insurance, tho.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? I don’t really participate in the local dialog, so I don’t know. I know I’ve heard about lack of inclusivity and severe privilege-blindness by the more advantaged members of the community.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Non-discrimination legislation wherever possible. Making clear that harassing behavior will not be tolerated.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. My spouse and I, older women, me with an obvious disability, were pointedly ignored at a ‘trendy’ male queer owned establishment until we left.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Lack of general social awareness of the challenges unique to the community. Plain ignorance.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Metro medical practice in Edgewood Town Centre- awesome doctors.
Regent Sq. Theater
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Trumpism will be triumphant, and gerrymandering will make it permanent.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we can change the composition of our government at all levels,
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? listen
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? accept. welcome.
What motivated you to take part in this project? A request to help the community.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Do you have any type of disability? Yes.
Thank you, Selene.
There are a lot of places to go beyond that, but it’s a start.
Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.
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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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