“Folks need to feel safe when seeking help.”

Happy Pride Month, Pittsburgh! 🌈 As we celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community this month, bringing awareness to the community’s unique challenges is essential to understand the necessity of Pride. Despite substantial social progress over the past decades, queer people still live at a disadvantage compared to non-queer people. 

While food insecurity is an issue faced by the general population, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 26% of queer adults in Pennsylvania face food insecurity, compared to 13% of non-queer adults. Trans adults face food insecurity at three times the rate of non-trans adults, and Black trans adults face food insecurity at six times the rate of white, non-trans adults.

Pittsburgh has a rich queer history and a thriving queer present filled with art, music, creativity, and love. However, without having basic needs met, such as access to food, many in the community are disproportionately hindered. How would the tight-knit community be affected if there was greater food access in the city? How would we all be affected if the city had greater food access? 

At 412 Food Rescue, we are seeking the answer to that question through our mission to get good food into the hands of the community, not landfills. Our volunteer network is dedicated to increasing food access by feeding our neighbors and preventing good food from going to waste.  Combating food waste and food insecurity is an intersectional issue. LGBTQIA+ adults, like other minorities, often face discrimination and stigma within their homes and social environments. They also experience higher rates of poverty and have less access to employment opportunities, social support, and healthcare services. These combined factors contribute to elevated levels of food insecurity. 

Our queer neighbors are some of the most vulnerable in the community. With queerness becoming increasingly targeted at the legislative level in the United States, protecting and nourishing the queer community has grown increasingly vital. The 412 Food Rescue app offers the opportunity for volunteers to advocate for the queer community and to help combat hunger across Pittsburgh.

Multiple resource centers are available to queer Pittsburghers facing food insecurity, including the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation and the Persad Center of Pittsburgh. These centers offer assistance for queer and trans people in need of assistance with food, housing, mental health, and more, and 412 Food Rescue is proud to support these community resources.

From our friends at Persad Center 💚:

“The donations from 412 Food Rescue have been an amazing help to many clients and LGBTQIA+ community members in need that come through the doors of Persad Center. We greatly value and appreciate the partnership to make sure that the donated foods are not going to waste. That appreciation is shared by the folks that use our pantry: homeless, transgender, victims, families, low-income, jobless, and some that are just going through a rough patch. Smiles, tears, thank-yous and hugs. Access to services sometimes gets blocked due to fear and the marginalized treatment of many members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Folks need to feel safe when seeking help and this partnership does so much for Persad Center’s mission and the larger community.”

Tony Kuhar, Facility & Operations Coordinator, Persad Center

As Tony points out, “folks need to feel safe when seeking help.” Current systems may prohibit minorities from seeking the help that they need, so it is vital to meet people where they are and help them there. For this reason, we are proud to have nonprofit partners helping to meet members of the LGBTQIA+ community where they are. Not all members of a community are on an even playing field and many of our neighbors face challenges that we may be unaware of. Often, the necessity of Pride Month is called into question, and food insecurity is one of the social inequalities that the LGBTQIA+ community faces at a disproportionate rate. We are proud to help bridge the gap of need for all Pittsburghers. 

Additional Local Resources

  • QBurgh: Online magazine that provides LGBTQIA+ news, events calendar, and community resources in Pittsburgh.
  • Proud Haven: Offers services for LGBTQIA+ youth and adults experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.
  • TransYOUniting: Provides services to the Pittsburgh Trans Community. Including crisis housing and food assistance.
  • QMNTY Center: Offers youth and adult drop-in events, a library, support for job searches, and more.
  • SisTers PGH: provides holistic, supportive services, including housing, rent/utility support, emergency shelter, and a drop-in center for Trans youth, adults, and seniors experiencing houselessness, domestic and sexual assault, gender-based violence, and those living with HIV.
  • Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents: Political blog exposing LGBTQIA+ issues, longest running LGBTQ blog in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Pride Timeline

  • 1973: Pittsburgh’s first-ever Pride parade was held.
  • 2014: Pennsylvania legalizes same-sex marriage, one year before legalization at the federal level 
  • 2015: the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
  • 2019: The Pittsburgh Mayor’s LGBTQIA+ Advisory Council was established to address the needs and concerns of the LGBTQIA+ community and ensure their voices are heard in city governance.


Article photo by chadisaiahphoto

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