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Sue Kerr

January 21, 2013

Sue Kerr

When Sue Kerr founded The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project in 2011, she knew it was an interesting idea, but “I had no clue it was innovative,” says Sue. The Project,  which collects tote bags for the region’s food pantries,  has collected more than 25,000 bags and thousands of pounds of food. Sue is now working on building a replicable model for other food bank regions.

Sue was born and raised in Pittsburgh, the daughter of five generations of steelworkers, Sue is now a 40-something Pittsburgh based advocate, social worker and blogger. In 2005, she founded Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, the region’s most comprehensive LGBTQ blog. She quickly became one of the city’s most well-known political bloggers for her rigorous focus an exposure of LGBTQ issues. She attributes being labeled as a political blogger to the fact that simply living as an openly LGBTQ person- especially in socially conservative Southwestern Pennsylvania – is a political act.

Sue is a co-founder of The Pittsburgh Women’s Blogging Society. She’s creative in using social media even when historic buildings and limited Internet access stand in the way of transparency. She is a fierce believer in the intersection of social justice and LGBTQ advocacy.

In 2004, Sue was named one of Pittsburgh’s 40 Under 40 young leaders. In 2010, she was the first lesbian to be named to the “Listed” by local blogger Infinonymous along with openly gay City Councilman, Bruce Kraus. In 2012, Sue was asked to serve on the LGBT Connect planning committee for Netroots Nation 2013. That same year “Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents” was named Favorite GLBT Media Publication in Western Pennsylvania.

Sue and her partner live in Pittsburgh. She runs her modest social media support initiative, SueCat Social Media LLC, from her living room sofa. She does not object to “bag lady” jokes as long as they accompanied by a donation and promise to always remember your tote bags.

Sue was nominated for 12?s by reader Alyssa John. Thanks, Alyssa, for bringing Sue and her important project to our attention.

1. What is your hometown?

Pittsburgh, PA

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Melissa McCartney.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

The facial reconstruction of Yde Girl as part of The Mysterious Bog People exhibit.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

“A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch” (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) is a touchstone for our human capacity to endure evil. Anxiously awaiting the day when my niece is old enough for “Little Women.” Currently reading “Les Miserables” via podcast because I have a concussion and must limit my screentime and/or reading.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine. I also have several GLEE tunes. Finally, I am listening to the Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta Christmas album for each new like our project’s page on Facebook receives by December 31. 5 listens down. 22 to go as of December 17.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

Lincoln. Several moments but the most profound were the scenes with Tommy Lee Jones and S. Epatha Merkerson – as a lesbian and a woman, they ripped my soul apart.

8. Cat person or dog person?

Both. Don’t ask how many.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

Kindness. It is the thread that binds us. There are moments when the truth is best left unsaid, but there is no moment when kindness or compassion is unwelcome. Even when we summon our outrage, anger, frustration and indignation – we can do so without being mean or ugly. Kindness is not weakness.

10. How do you define sin?

Sin is a state where we are disconnected from our values, our better selves. It may be that we are a little astray or somewhat lost, but we can always find our way back.

11. How do you define virtue?

Striving to do the right thing even when it seems impossible. Again, Tommy Lee Jones’ quandary in Lincoln challenges our traditional understanding of virtue.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

I plan to have a green burial so no headstone. Just a chance to rest in peace.

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Jennifer Tyrell and Mark Horvath.

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project

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