Name: Pastor Reed
County of Residence: Westmoreland County. Formerly, Dauphin, Snyder, and Adams counties
Pronouns: He, him, his
How do you describe your identity? Pastor, teacher, son, gay, loving, accepting
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I came out over years of time. I found support from my closest friends. I was most worried about being rejected by family and some other friends I didn’t know as well.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I finally feel free to be who I am and am proud to be who I am.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? He was a friend who helped me to understand who I was and that it was ok to be gay.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. I can’t think of anyone in particular
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Facebook
Describe your geographical community. Small town. It is very friendly to me because there was a trust and love established before I realized myself that I was gay. That is by far not the total sum of my identity. They knew me as pastor and teacher and loved me for this identity before gay part was ever identified.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. A community of friends on Facebook
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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. For the most part, thankfully, no. Every now and then someone is displeased with a decision I make and may make a derogatory gay comment to me.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) UPMC and Excella healthcare. In my case, very LGBTQ competent
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Not that I know of
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Make sure their rights are protected and that they are treated as equal human beings
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. By putting my face and name to being gay, people have become more accepting and slow to judge others people have also learned that scripture does not teach against being gay and that Christ welcomes and loves gay people
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Finding good role models
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Holy Angels Church, Wilmerding Facebook Private counseling from myself
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That people still fall through the cracks and feel lost and alone
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That people will become educated and more accepting and less fearful of things they don’t understand. That the LGBTQ community will be seen like any other part of the community
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Keep educating and show love and acceptance through behavior
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? By treating them as fellow human beings where the label child of God is the only one necessary
What motivated you to take part in this project? I believe this is a very important issue that deserves my attention and the attention of the Church
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. I can’t think of any.
Thank you, Pastor Reed.
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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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