County of Residence: Allegheny
How do you describe your identity? I am a genderquestioning bisexual.
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I’m not fully out. I only came out two years ago to my friends and a few family members. My mom, stepdad, friends and teachers were all supportive. My dad’s family is a different story. I’m not out to my dad’s family.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I am out to my mom, stepdad, classmates and teachers although I am not out to my dad’s family.
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Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first LGBTQ person I met was my friend Alex who is trans. They showed me that I can do this and that I will be supported. They help me a lot with controlling my emotions.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. My favorite LGBTQ character is Calliope Torres on Grey’s Anatomy. She accurately portrays what a bi person is. I believe she helped me a lot when I was struggling.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? I write for QueerPGH and read current articles. I read everything published on QueerPGH and I always end up looking for LGBTQ Issues.
Describe your geographical community. I live in Pittsburgh. A lot of the people seem to be LGBTQ friendly but there are definitely people who aren’t LGBTQ friendly. Some people are stuck on their religious views and don’t believe we deserve love. I find that painful, especially since my dad’s family is like that. A lot of people are accepting of LGBTQ people and they support us through our hardships. They let us know that there are people who accept us for who we are.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. My school community is great. We have a GSA in school. We talk a lot about LGBTQ Issues. Also, we have a lot of people who are LGBTQ who are not in GSA. We tackle issues hands on. I know that we have more support in school than past generations had.
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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 never faced discrimination because I am not fully out. But I do know people who have.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I cannot answer this because I am not fully out. However, I do expect it to be LGBTQ competent because we need healthcare just like straight and cisgendered people.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? My family talks about our neighbors who are gay all the time. They don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s right that they can judge them just cause of their sexual orientation.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? I would like to see anti discriminatory laws passed.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. I am out at school and closeted at home. Everyday, I realize that sooner or later I will have to come out to my family. However, I choose later because I don’t want to risk being abandoned and thrown out to fend for myself. I accept that this is what I have to do for now and I don’t question that fact.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? I don’t know.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? GLAAD, PFLAG and Online communities.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? My greatest fear is that we will lose the rights we have gained. I fear we will lose progress instead of gain it.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? My greatest hope is that we can and will express ourselves more to show elected officials that we matter.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? Allies can ask us for more information about the LGBT community and research it. They can attend LGBT meetings.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? Don’t call bisexuals greedy. Accept that we were made the way we were. Don’t judge us.
What motivated you to take part in this project? I want to share my story and how it impacted a teenager just as much as it can impact an older person.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. How do bisexuals feel about the gay and lesbian community calling them names and judging them like straight people do? I don’t like it at all. I feel hurt that they would judge us for who we are.
Thank you, Winter.
Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.
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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.