How do you feel as a gay person in this community? Do you feel welcome? That’s a great question! Most people have a hard time asking it because it might be considered controversial. I have been living in Berks County most of my adult life and I can honestly say I have never felt discriminated against because of my sexual orientation at all. At this point in my life, I feel comfortable and embraced by my community members and generally feel welcome and accepted here. Presently, I rarely experience explicit or blatant discrimination on the basis of my sexuality. You will always run into spaces or situations where homophobia is an issue, don’t get me wrong, but I always try to either ignore the situation or try to educate people on the matter. Unfortunately, we will be dealing with such issues until the end of time. This is why it’s important to educate your children to respect everyone no matter what they look like or who they love. I believe there is something magical in everyone!
Are there enough places for you to be YOU in Berks County? As much as I like to believe that Berks County is somewhat gay-friendly for the most part, I strongly feel the need for destinations for us to be US. Spaces and events in Berks County for LGBTQ-identified people are extremely limited. We need more places where we can be ourselves without the need of worrying about rejection or judgment from others. However, I think this is something that we can collectively work towards rectifying.
Do you think there are enough resources in this community to help the LGBTQ Community? I strongly feel that we as a community should thrive to create a much safer environment for our younger generation. To provide greater platforms that would protect our rights would help lessen issues such as bullying, suicidal thoughts, and homelessness due to family rejection. So, even though I believe that there aren’t enough resources to protect the LGBTQ community, it’s certainly worth the effort to accomplish such a goal.
Are there enough events? And why do you think there are enough or not enough? I feel that we should definitely have more events that cater to the gay community. Basically, the only local gay event that currently takes place is the Annual Pride Week Celebration held at the Historic District. I believe that there is plenty of open room to create activities that will honor our diversity.