We're thrilled to have her as a regular Guest Blogger for the #LovePGH blog. She will be writing about Pittsburgh from an LGBTQ perspective and will share important history and resources, as well as information about welcoming and inclusive events that often fly under the radar. In Sue's words:
"I am what some sociologists describe as a 'boomeranger' - grew up in Pittsburgh (West Mifflin), left for college and then some, and returned home to this region in my late-twenties. This gives me two distinct impressions of Pittsburgh: My childhood experiences (1970-1988) and my adulthood (1997-today) with a very decisive portion of my young adulthood spent living in other parts of the country.
My family has deep roots in this region. They arrived as early as 1860, settling in South Fayette,Washington and Butler as farmers and eventually migrating into Pittsburgh to work as clerks, shopkeepers and in the mills. I come from five generations of steelworkers, including my father who logged an impressive 50 year career during the decline of Big Steel. One of my great-grandfathers was the Executive Sports Editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; another refused to install indoor plumbing in his farmhouse until the 1960s.
I'm unsure how unique my story is. I'm at least a 5th generation resident. I'm not the first to go to college (that distinction belongs to my grandfather and/or great-uncle.) Most of my family has remained in the working class or 'blue collar' ranks with a few exceptions of folks moving into the middle and upper middle classes.
I am the first openly LGBTQ person in my family. I came out as a lesbian in my late 20s and now live with my partner of 13 years, Laura. We live in Manchester on Pittsburgh's Northside.
LGBTQ life in Pittsburgh is both better and not as great as you'd think. I'll be using this blog to share some of the amazing resources that exist in this region as well as exploring queer and trans history. We are fortunate to have a huge range of social and recreational opportunities as well as generations of activists working for equality and liberation for our communities.
Right now, I am an artist in residence with Most Wanted Fine Art in Garfield. My community art project is a blog initiative called #AMPLIFY which explores the lived experiences of LGBTQ neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania. It is a three year project that offers an unfiltered first-person glimpse into the lives of your neighbors - in their own words.
That's the reality of LGBTQ life in our region today and for the foreseeable future - some people can be out with a degree of safety and confidence while others must remain closeted because of fear, bigotry and intolerance. It is a complicated situation that requires us to celebrate our accomplishments while still acknowledging the barriers and obstacles on the road to equality.
Most of all, it requires us to truly get to know our LGBTQ neighbors - from Aspinwall to Aliquippa. I hope you'll find my posts help you do that. I'm looking forward to the dialogue."
We can't wait to hear more from Sue as Pittsburgh works towards becoming a more welcoming and inclusive city. Stay tuned to the #LovePGH blog to get the latest on can't-miss events, interviews with LGBTQ public servents, and Pittsburgh LGBTQ history!