AMPLIFYing LGBTQ History Month: Q&A with Gary Marzolf

To date, the AMPLIFY project has published over 270 Q&A’s from the Western Pennsylvania region. These stories capture important moments in LGBTQ History, from the current day and extending as far back as the Kennedy Administration in terms of lived experiences of LGBTQ people.

I’ve asked some folks to weigh in on the impact of this project on their own lives and the larger community to help put the project in the proper context for LGBTQ History Month this October. We will publish as we receive the responses. If you would like to share your thoughts, please email us pghlesbian at gmail dot com.

These folks are both LGBTQ and allies. If they took the time to share, it is because they genuinely care about the project and the people who invest their everyday lives into the Q&A’s.

I have learned a lot about transgender folks and the need for support for them through AMPLIFY.

Name:  Gary Marzolf

Your Age: 65 Gary Western Pennsylvania
Your Pronouns: he/him
How do you describe your identity? Gay white man

Please tell us about the first LGBTQ person you met and what impact they had on your life?   I met two openly gay men in college and was so impressed with their confidence and activism.  One of them ran for public office.  They were a couple for over 30 years.

How does the AMPLIFY project resonates with you?  It gives many rural LGBTQ people a chance to participate and tell their stories.  Their strength and courage give many younger folks hope and encouragement.

What moments or pieces of LGBTQ history from Western Pennsylvania do you think are overlooked, forgotten, or misunderstood? The struggle of LGBTQ folks who found themselves in straight marriages, especially in the 1960’s and 70’s and their stories of coming out and the families that came to be with gay parents and their children.

There are an estimated 80,000-2000,000 LGBTQ residents of Western Pennsylvania per the 2010 Census. 270 have completed the Q&A. Whose voices are missing or underrepresented or simply not (yet) in this archive? How do we reach those people to invite them to contribute their stories? Keep this project alive!

What has #AMPLIFY taught you about the region’s LGBTQ community and our history? 
I have learned a lot about transgender folks and the need for support for them through AMPLIFY.

Finally, during LGBT History Month in October, what one concrete action will you pledge to take to amplify our history? I tell my story every time I think it might help someone who is struggling or to help others who are homophobic to understand and accept us as neighbors and members of whatever community I am involved with at a particular time.

Thank you, Gary.

Support the #AMPLIFY project with a donation in any amount today.

Celebrate LGBTQ history!


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