County of Residence: Allegheny County, previously Ohio & Puerto Rico
How do you describe your identity? Bi submissive white femme
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? At the age of 27, I was dating a woman for the 1st time when I became critically ill. I wanted her to be able to visit me without any problems. I came out to my Mom via letter who was accepting.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? I don’t really remember. I worked with a lot of lesbians when I started dating women which helped me to be more comfortable with who I am altho most of my coworkers assumed I was straight. I dated a girl during that time that introduced me to the ‘gay community’. However, I didn’t feel like I belonged any more than in the straight community.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. I don’t have one
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Online mostly
Describe your geographical community. The only place I felt that my community was LGBTQ friendly was in Columbus OH. I had many gay friends there. However, there were always comments made to downgrade bi people, wherever my home was. I prefer to live in a predominantly AA community which usually, in my experience, is even more difficult on me as far as dating women goes, due to non acceptance & preferences.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I couldn’t describe it as I am a part of it without really being a part of it. I need LGBTQ friends, preferably lesbian or bi women.
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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. Of course, I have been called & heard others called inapropriate names at work & in public. I have been tried to be saved from homosexuality at a church which is extremely amusing to me!
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I haven’t had any issues but I’m regarded as hetero since I have children.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Idk
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Keep LGBTQ marriage legal & consider all LGBTQ a protected class in the workforce, housing, etc
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. A younger woman I knew for a couple years came out to me by mentioning the girl she was dating. I got so excited to realize I know another bi woman, AND that she was exclusively dating a woman! She has no idea how good that made me feel.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Idk
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Groups on FB have helped me a lot since I’m not really out & about.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? The current national political leaders
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Idk
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Let your voice be heard in everday life. Not only do they need to be heard by the straight community in regard to supporting LGBTQ. We need to know that we are not always being judged.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Please stop believing that we all are cheaters &/or polygamous or are confused.
What motivated you to take part in this project? I was encouraged by another bi woman’s submission.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Do you see a racial divide within the LGBTQ community? Absolutely, it’s nearly impossible for me to meet who I’m attracted to or to even know where I will be accepted within my self identification. There are no means of dating interracially as a bi woman in a lesbian environment in our area that I know of, or anywhere for that matter.
Thank you, Lisa.
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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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