County of Residence: Allegheny
Pronouns: They/Them and She/Her
How do you describe your identity? Genderqueer, Pansexual
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I have always identified with bisexual, but at 27 I came out to family after entering the queer community more and more over time. So far, there have not been any challenges outside of gender identity – there hasn’t been many conversations about that outside of friends.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I am a non binary, genderqueer, polyamorous, and pansexual.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? Childhood best friend. She always showed me it was okay to be myself no matter what.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Steven Universe has so many diverse characters. It covers so many aspects of sexual and gender identity.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Queer PGH, keeping up via news with friends and credible publications.
Describe your geographical community. I grew up in the city, and Pittsburgh has grown more and more with the queer community.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. Pittsburgh has Persad, the GLCC, Queer PGH, TransPride, PGH was the host for the Fierce! International Queer Burlesque Festival 2017, sisTers. Bill Peduto does what he can to fight for LGBTQIA+ rights.
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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. I have not, I’ve been very fortunate.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I have had no problems.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Gender identity is still a conversation that is very uncomfortable even with people within the community.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Continued efforts for transgender rights and intersectionality. Rights for POC who are in the community.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I was in a heterosexual marriage for 3 years and separated due to issues surrounding polyamory and queer lifestyles. I entered into a community that I felt like “myself” for the first time, despite being happy with my husband. I have been able to feel like a complete person.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Intersectionality between POC, trans, and the regular community. We need to have the ability to have the hard conversations and have people own and check their biases.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Persad, GLCC, sisTers, Transpride PGH, Queer PGH.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Safety for Trans POC.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That we can come together as a community and be a unified front always.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Do footwork to understand terms and problems that are important to the community – never stop asking questions.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Listening to the conversations that are needed, trying to understand the issues surrounding those specific groups.
What motivated you to take part in this project? To enter a diverse project.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. N/A
Thank you, Meg.
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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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