County of Residence: Allegheny
How do you describe your identity? Cis gendered bisexual
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I was out when i was younger & lived in another city. But since i fell in love with man, I haven’t really come out. Most people assume i am straight. My sister knew I was bi before I did. I’ve told a few good friends & my husband. But my parents, and society at large do not know.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Not out really.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? A man in my highschool. This was the 1980s, not a great time to be gay (AIDS & all). I remember him bring bullied & thinking how absolutely brave he was.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Loved Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But my favorite would be Jack Harkness from Doctor Who & Torchwood. I am a HUGE John Barrowman fan.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? I read your blog. But, I’m not really involved.
Describe your geographical community. I live in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. The principal at my daughter’s elementary school was a gay man. He was loved. And, I never heard a stupid stereotype about him. I know a lot of allies. But i don’t know any 2 mommy or 2 daddy families here.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I’m not really involved in the local LGBTQ community. But, I have a teen daughter & I know through her that people her age are much more open and accepting than when I was her age.
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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. Again, not completely out.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) Since I’m not out, I can’t really comment.
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? More protection — more anti discrimination laws.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I found that there is a lot of misconceptions about being bi. People immediately think i want to do a threesome. Or, they think I NEED to be with both men & women. Or, that I will be less faithful because of it — like I would cheat on my significant other with someone of the other sex. I also had queer women tell me that I was a lesbian and was faking it with men. None of these are true. I am happily married to a man, who I have never cheated on. I still find women attractive. But I’ve found my love.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? I think there is still a lot of misinformation — gays abuse children, or you can be turned gay, or its unnatural. I wish people understood that gay sex happens in all species & it’s completely natural. Even that we are prudish, for all of our advances… that other cultures past & present respect & embrace queer.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? There is a support group for middle & high school students.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? I am afraid for anyone who doesn’t fit into this presidents agenda. I am afraid that LGBTQ rights will be taken away.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Our young people. My daughter has friends in the whole spectrum of LGBTQ. And, she & her friends are very open & accepting.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Since i function more like an ally, i would like to know what others think.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? I can only speak for Bi. Please stop telling me I am gay!
What motivated you to take part in this project? My friend
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Since it is bi awareness, I would liked there to be a question specifically about being bisexual. It’s not easy. You get pulled by both sides. Being gay is becoming more accepted. But, being Bi is seen as slutty.
Thank you, Amy.
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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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