As part of our partnership with FIERCE! International Queer Burlesque, #AMPLIFY will be featuring some of the performers this week. Today, we hear from Luna La Creme who is scheduled to perform at the Friday evening showcase, 7 PM. Tickets still available. Burlesque and queer performing arts are an important part of our community heritage.
Name: Luna La Creme
County of Residence: Allegheny
How do you describe your identity? I am a poly queer gender fluid person
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? Unexciting for the most part (and I’m happy about that!).
I came out to my parents by buying the infamous poster “kiss” they sold at Spencer’s, the one that probably countless straight men hung in their dorm rooms for their own objection-y needs. But I used the poster to be like “I like girls” and my family never asked questions and just accepted it. They didn’t ask about it, but silent support was fine.
School wasn’t quite as easy. After my first kiss with a girl, everyone found out and queer people existing was not common in West Mifflin. The most annoying thing was the graphic questions I would get asked. The worst thing that happened after coming out though was getting cornered by a group of girls who screamed “Dyke” at me and when I went to get help, I was told by my guidance councilor, Mrs. Pro, that I shouldn’t be out about my sexuality and I wouldn’t get harassed.
Obviously, I never followed her advice.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I am completely out and will only rarely not disclose that I am queer to a person. For a long time, I would think out “should I tell this person? Will it offend them?” But now, if someone doesn’t accept me for being queer, they shouldn’t really be around me. The only exception to this is when gross Cis Het guys try hitting on me and I want to avoid them making disgusting comments about “joining in”.
The only two aspects I’m not as out on with my identity is my Poly status and my gender. I’m really excited that more and more people are coming out and understanding Polygamy, but I’m still feeling out who to tell.
Gender is a whole mess of it’s own in my brain, but I’m going with Genderfluid right now and only a few people know.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first person I met when I was queer was after I started figuring out that I was queer. He was a classmate in middle school who came out as bisexual, and at the time trying to figure out my own sexuality, I thought he was brave because I couldn’t really imagine coming out.
My first exposure to the idea of being queer, however, was in Sailor Moon with Sailor Uranus and Neptune (Haruka/Michiru). I felt a connection to their love that I had a hard time understanding (especially the scene where the play with one another’s hands).
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Sailor Uranus/ Haruka and Sailor Neptune/ Michiru from Sailor Moon! They introduced me to the possibilities that a person could be queer. Also, they’re a really strong couple who fight together and know how to use their strengths together paired with their deep love for one another. Individually, they are strong characters away from one another too which Haruka and her racing (both bike and running) and Michiru’s artistry.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Internet articles like the cool millennial I am.
Describe your geographical community. Currently, I work in the city and live right outside the city. I don’t have really any issues a majority of day being queer or hearing anti-queer things.
I grew up in West Mifflin though which is not very LGBTQIA friendly at all (which shouldn’t be surprised since people are also really racist too). I can’t really speak on how it is now, but in the 2000’s, it wasn’t a great place to be while queer.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. My community at large would be the Pittsburgh community. There’s not really any queer organizations in Dormont however, so there isn’t really a specific community here.
There is of course also the performance communities.
I am a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Player’s, Pittsburgh’s Rocky Horror Shadow cast. Up until recently, the cast was queer ran, but is still staying true to the LGBTQIA+ foundations I built in the past. And if nothing else, we have enough queer individuals who will speak up if things seem askew.
And of course, I am a queer Pittsburgh performer who performs burlesque and the occasional drag. Honestly, I feel very much on the outskirts sometimes as a queer performer at times. But I am in great company with other queer burlesque beauties such as Viva Valezz and Boom Boom Bridgette.
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Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Its like more discrimination I experience comes from sexism of being sometimes presenting ultra femme rather than being queer.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) Honestly, I haven’t had insurance since I was 19, so I don’t go to doctors. Before that, most doctors were not queer friendly and always assumed I was straight, except for Planned Parenthood who were amazing about asking about that.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? My biggest issue is the rampant alcoholism in the community. As a young person in the community, I thought it was important to have to party as part of queer culture and I’ve struggled with some drinking issues. Fortunately, I’ve been almost completely sober for a little over 6 months and have control over me. But, I really want to see more people feeling empowered to not have to depend on booze to have a good time and understanding the hazards that come with drinking.
Also, we really need to talk about the racism that runs deep in this community. So often online I see people ranting “why do we need black pride? Why divide us more?!?!” and I want to barf. I find it honestly dumbfounding when one marginalized person can’t recognize the struggles of other marginalized people. We as a community need to start asking what we can do better and acting on making things more inclusive for all people and support specialty groups/events that cater to incivility.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Not threaten our marches with riot gear would be a great first step. From there, just general protection from discrimination, hate crimes, and protecting queer families would be helpful.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. Of course, there’s the age old defending myself from the unabashed loud gross yinzer cis straight men who assume I have any interest in the existence and what’s in their pants. The real debate here is to say if you’re queer because it’ll probably result in some kind of comment involving joining in. I usually will skip mentioning it so I don’t have to projectile vomit on them.
Getting hotel rooms suck when you’re Poly. I’ve been refused a king size bed room booking for three. I’m not trying to save money, I want to cuddle my partners comfortably.
At work, I have to cut cakes and any time I cut it crooked I just say, “Welp, I just can’t do anything straight.”
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Answering stupid personal questions, people not supporting queer events and queer artists
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? In Dormont, nothing specifically.
But, Allegheny county has a number of resources (which I once made an entire list as an intern for GLSEN).
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we will continue to lose organizations that are resources (such as GLSEN) and not be able to unite as a community. I also fear that our community will never become intersection as long as people feel that being queer gives them a barrier to be racist and refuse to learn/grow/stop being gross.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we could unite one day and make some really great resources for people. I want to see more queer stores, restaurants, and places to go (and less bars). I want to see more groups for people to meet others like them and celebrate who they are. I also want to see our current organizations continue to grow and improve their methods and resources as they go. I hope that people will care and put a hand into help lift this community.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Speak up when you hear people say bad things, defend queer people more than anything.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Acknowledging them, including them in conversations, and also defend them as an ally should defend you
What motivated you to take part in this project? Sue asked 🙂 I’ve also been really wanting to submit to this for a long while, so I’m glad I finally got to sit down and do it.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. N/A
Thank you, Luna.
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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