I’m From Schnecksville, PA – Video Story.

by Allyson Diane Hamm

My name is Allyson Diane Hamm. I am originally from Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, it’s such a small town it’s actually a village. I was always slight eskew as a girl playing drums or my Barbie driving a Tonka truck, but I felt that I was always in line with what I was expected to be: heterosexual and female. But I had some things that I questioned over the years and around 16 I had so many eye-openers and discoveries. And I knew I liked guys because I had been dating them, and I wasn’t quite sure if I liked women because I hadn’t had that opportunity. I was still not fully out as I became President of a queer organization and in my first couple steps of getting involved I did an interview with a local newspaper. And I called my mom because she was living in the same town, or area, to warn her my name was going to be in the paper and that I had done an interview. I was organizing a bus to the Millennium March to DC. So she was saying, “Well, how are you being interviewed? What did you talk about?” And I told her what I was going for. She said, “Okay, but do you say how you identify?” And I said, “Well, as president of Pride of the Greater League High Valley, an organization representing gays, lesbians, bis, transexuals, transponders,and allies.” And she said, “Oh. Well that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily gay, it just means you’re president of a group.” As I got involved politically before I got started here, a couple times I was asked to run for office. And I didn’t think it was best for me, but I encouraged my mom to run because I thought she would be a good candidate. And I managed her campaign. She was running for county commissioner. And all my political connections happened because of my queer advocacy so my mom was forced to run on a queer platform and has become much more vocal, where before she was like, “Oh, well, just because you’re president of a queer group doesn’t mean you’re gay” and “Your grandmother won’t read that article because she won’t read something about gay people” and being really scared about having people know and now she’s the one getting up speaking. It’s really great now because my mom can actually talk about things she never would have. And she’s also, I’ve seen her become an activist just this little bit of exposure I have with her for someone who wanted to be in denial and how far they’ve come, it’s really great.

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