County of Residence: Allegheny County
How do you describe your identity? nonbinary gynophile
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? Trans friends in my company, and friends from a facebook account under an alternate name.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? Happy,but severe depression and PTSD
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? My trans woman lesbian colleague. She helped me understand transgender politically and personally. Listened when I needed a friend, and introduced me to people from her circle who could help support me. She and her friends were very helpful in dealing with “imposter syndrome”, and the pace of my evolution and coming out. If I had felt more pressure, I am not sure I would have come out yet.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. I’m not sure how to answer this. L Word was important for exposing an earlier, cloistered version of me to LGBTQ. Rewatching it, some of it still seems relevant and some of it seems downright offensive so I can’t really stand characters from it as my “favorite”. Definitely influential in my development though.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Facebook, corporate email groups
Describe your geographical community. Urban. It’s generally LGBTQ friendly, though I have been harassed twice in the past two months since coming out.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. I know local LGBTQ through corporate networks and through other sex positive communities. People have been accepting. I hope to meet more people in the community in the future – I just came out recently.
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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. No
Have you experienced microagressions based on your identity? Think everyday indignities & slights that you experience, but would not characterize as discrimination. Please describe in your own words. No, but before I came out someone expressed some LGBTQ-hostile thoughts to me. I had to react calmly but felt absolutely attacked. Avoiding a repeat occurrence was a factor in deciding to come out.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) I understand there’s an informed consent clinic in Pittsburgh, should I need one. I had some difficulty finding a therapist to work with, and eventually settled on telepsych with a Philadelphia therapist.
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Don’t know enough to answer.
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? Gender-neutral drivers license marker. Don’t ask gender out of habit – when gender is requested, make sure it’s for a reason.
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. When I came out to my colleague in Pittsburgh, she knew to offer “congratulations!”. She was really supportive of me and my journey. Once I had that experience, I knew I was ready and came out just a few days later. When I came out to my colleagues, most of them didn’t know what to say, so said nothing. They respect my wishes for name and pronouns, but incorrectly assumed it was inappropriate for work talk, or something I would prefer to keep private.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Scarcity of gender-neutral bathrooms and facilities.
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Persad
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Region dominated by Trump supporters who must be making life difficulty for less urban communities.
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? I don’t know. I need to develop more ties in the community.
What pieces of local or regional LGBTQ history would you like to preserve and why? I don’t know.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? I’m sorry, I don’t have a lot of confidence in allies right now. Listen more. Talk less.
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? One of my gay colleagues came to a non-binary meetup. It was more important than I realized. Despite both being LGBTQ, we didn’t really share a vocabulary for discussing gender before meeting.
What motivated you to take part in this project? A friend asked, and I was glad to share my recent experience.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. What industry are you in? I’m in tech, and I think that’s an easy/relatively safe industry to be out in. Much easier than my prior employment in finance.
Thank you, Ary.
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.