Never Act In Fear

Jeff Freedman. Photo by Chad Isaiah.

Happy 5-0 Pittsburgh!! Amazing that it’s been 50 years since the first celebration of Pride! I am in awe and wonder each time that I have reached back into our archives and read about the courageous and selfless efforts of those back in the early seventies. I only became active in the Community starting in 1981.  Although during my coming out process in the mid-70’s I can remember the names of Randy Forrester, Jim Huggins, Wendy S. Bell, Jim Austin, and Ann Begler to name a few. These may not be familiar names to most of you but to me, these were my leaders and people that I admired. I revered their courage to be one of the leading voices to stand out for representation and stand up for our civil rights. They were an inspiration for our community. We thank them for their hard-fought efforts in creating a path for us all. 

Today we are very fortunate to have the tremendous support of our newly elected Governor Josh Shapiro and Lt. Governor Austin Davis. Locally, we have our queer legislators Jessica Benham and La’Tasha Mayes representing us in our State House of Representatives. Long-time ally Dan Frankel has tirelessly worked on the House Fairness Act for over 20 years. Bruce Kraus has been an 0ut City Councilman for 16 years. We have great allies out there fighting for us but let us not forget to fight for ourselves as well.   

Fifty years ago, we were barely visible. Nowadays gay seems to be everywhere. However possible though if you ask some people there seems to be too much gay. These adversaries of ours are only guided by fear.  A very wise woman (my mother) had a saying “Fear will always guide you in the wrong direction. Never act in fear. Step back. Think. And then think again”   Let us take this astute advice and never act in fear. Let us be fearful of attacks against our Community but act fearlessly.  Let us be led by our uniqueness yet strengthened by our commonality.  Let us proceed with “No Fear.”

Together in Pride,

Jeff Freedman

Jeff Freedman (he/him) is a Pittsburgh native and is in his fourth decade of volunteerism for the LGBTQ Community.  Jeff is one of the founding members of the Steel City Softball League in 1981 and has been an active member of the LGBTQ Community ever since.  Jeff is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission for LGBTQ Affairs.  He is a past Chair of the Pittsburgh Pride celebrations (’05-’07) and current Pittsburgh Pride March & Parade Co-Chair.  You would recognize him by his voice.  He was the loud one on the megaphone lining up all the March & Parade participants.  Jeff has a lot of great stories to tell and looks forward to sharing the printable ones with the QBurgh Community.