Name: Dan Burda
County of Residence: Allegheny
How do you describe your identity? bisexual 35% Women 65% Men
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I was 22 years old living in Los Angeles. It was there that I discovered gay men were not what is typically stereotyped in society. These men were masculine, muscular, well groomed, and completely intriguing to me.
A Late night “Sleep-Over” turned into an instant relationship. He had the body of a muscle magazine cover model. Seeing that my mom would often visit me, I knew I could no longer live a lie.
I called her on the phone, and told her that day that I was dating a man. She was somewhat speechless, not angry, not happy, not sure..
I then sent out a mass email to everyone I knew saying, I am Gay. If you are uncomfortable with this, it is ok. I had one reply that she too was gay, but could never come out due to a marriage with kids.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? 80% Comfortable. Will we ever be completely secure in ourselves? My partner Steven is younger than me, his confidence is on a higher level than mine. I feel his generation was accepted at a middle school level, Where I would have had the $hit beat out of me at that age for being out.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? I was 14 helping my Aunt move. She had male gay friend who was extremely attractive, probably 30 or so. I knew that day that I was definately attracted to men. I still remember watching his rearend as he carried the nightstand up the steps.
The story has no naughty ending, however this man made ME feel normal for once, at a very in-secure age and time of my life.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. ELLEN – She once said, the moment she was ready to come out, is when she looked at herself in the mirror and said, “I AM GAY”. After hearing that, I looked into the mirror and mouthed those words out loud to myself. I laughed several times as I began to say it more. Then I thought, hell, I think Im gonna like this.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Keeping my eyes and ears open.
Describe your geographical community. I certainly feel so. I feel the “gay community” should simply just be part of the “community” Let’s SPREAD OUT, and connect through each and every community across the state.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. North Hills – My Hair Salon; Studio Raw is located in the heart of it. It’s a great congregating area that brings all walks of life, orientations, colors, religions into one unified space.
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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. Sadly, I feel we all experience discrimination on a certain level. I am always surprised to feel it from higher dignified positions of power.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) Health Care? . Eug. Can we talk about something else?
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? No. I do think a rainbow crosswalk in the North Hills would be awesome:)
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? GAY COMMUNITY = COMMUNITY
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I will occasionally at 36 years old, still get a car that drives past my business as I walk the trash to the dumpster and will yell out the word FAG. It’s typically a man around my age. It no longer angers me, I typically watch the truck as it drives down the road with a soft smile on my face wondering what saddens this soul has in life.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? I feel no barriers. You can always climb or jump over them.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? I’m not quite sure. I think a UNIVERSAL GROUP of all sexuality types to meet each other would be pretty cool. Imagine that Q & A round circle !
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? That one day, Ulta will run out of bronzer.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? The letters LGBTQ will no longer be needed.. the Words PEOPLE or COMMUNITY will replace them.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Rock out with us during our JUNE PRIDE MONTH! Glitter up.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? I see HATE and PREJUDICE within all these “communities” as well. LOVE LOVE LOVE each other.
What motivated you to take part in this project? my goal in life is to MAKE IT A BETTER WORLD.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR A: GLITTER
Thank you, Dan.
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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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