Guess what Luke Ravenstahl said at PrideFest?

Quick post about 2007 PrideFest.  Luke showed up.  Point for him.

Then during his speech, he said something to the effect that as a 27 year old mayor he, like gay people, understands what it is like not to be accepted. 

No exact quote because I almost choked and dropped my pen.  I asked around and the impression was clearly that he implied that the struggle for acceptance of a 27 year old, upper-middle-class, white, college-educated, Catholic, married, son of local prominent fathers, and, uh, heterosexual man is pretty much the same as the struggle we here in the gay community face. 

He made Jim Motznik's annual “I love my gay brother” speech seem positively enlightened. 

There's more, but I'll save the rest of my disssection for tomorrow. 

If anyone knows why Dan Frankel and Chelsa Wagner didn't show, please let me know.  They are both signed onto the legislation expanding discrimiation protections to the LGBT communities, so I was surprised they didn't show.  Especially Frankel.

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  • On a related note… I am infuriated at how the Pittsburgh media is totally ignoring the Pride events up to this point. No real coverage in the Post-Gazette except a few brief mentions in “What to do this Weekend” articles… and the most offensive piece was a brief report by KDKA “Downtown Events Snarl Traffic”… which was about how all the major events going on downtown last night caused legendary gridlock. The reporter mentioned Artsfest, Pirate game, shows at the Benedum and Heinz Hall… mentioned how Artsfest closed down a block of Liberty Ave. forcing drivers to make abrupt detours… but he NEVER mentioned Pride in the Street… which was also a significant attraction and CLOSED two blocks of Liberty Ave… which also forced drivers to make detours downtown.

  • I, too, was at Pride yesterday and heard Mayor Ravenstahl's remarks, and I think that you are grossly misrepresenting his comments. First of all, he was quite careful NOT to equate the struggle between being a “boy mayor” with being queer in an often unfriendly society. Instead, he was fairly clear that his comparison was not by any means parallel. He was merely trying to find some common ground. You seem to have overlooked the more significant and more substantive aspect of his remarks, which focused on the fact that his administration understands that Pittsburgh queers have often been unheard and unrepresented in this town, and that he plans to lead our city in becoming more inclusive and more welcoming. He said that he is committed to inclusiveness and that he welcomes people to come to the table to continue that conversation. It is also worth noting that Ravenstahl is the first Pittsburgh mayor EVER to attend a Pridefest. I'm no huge Ravenstahl fan–I think it's too early in his tenure to have a definitive sense of what he's capable of–but I gave him big points for showing up yesterday, for making an attempt to understand where we're coming from, and most importantly, for making a public statement about supporting the GLBT community.

  • Personally, I think the less said about Pride in the Streets, the better. Every article I read downplayed the festival in favor of the street party, playing right into the stereotypes. What's newsworthy about a big gay drunk street party, really? There's no significance, no statement. Its just a party. Why would the media even care?
    I posted after this about why I think the media ignored Pridefest.
    What we really need is a gay-centric space at the Arts Festival. Now that would be an interesting fusion between the two events and something else “adult” that doesn't involve young boys in their underwear.

  • How many members of the Ravenstahl Administration are openly gay? Appointees or hires. Either one. Please name a few.
    It will be interesting to see whom he invites to the table to discuss inclusiveness. If the majority, aren't white gay upper-middle class men …
    I don't think he was careful at all. I think he clearly stuck his foot in his mouth to expand his constituent base and made an ass of himself.
    And note that I did give him points for attending. Twice.

  • Which type of event do you think will cause most young gays to consider making Pittsburgh their home (as opposed to New York or Chicago or Ft. Lauderdale or San Francisco or etc., etc., etc.)? Don't most of them “escape” as soon as possible because “there's nothing to do here” or “because the town is boring”? Remember, we're talking about 20 and 30 somethings that are the next generation; if there's nothing to attract or hold them here (i.e., nothing “fun” for a “youngster”), who will lead the next generation?

  • I don't think any event should make anyone make a city their home. I think the fact that Pittsburgh has discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a good reason for that decision. The booming performing and visual arts scene is a good reason. The strong community organizations are another reason. The plentiful “gay things to do” is yet another reason. And we have several gay bars as well as gay bowling leagues, softball teams, square dancers, etc. The cost of living is good and housing is decent.
    There's plenty of fun things to do. It just takes initiative to get out there and find them (which is sooo Pittsburgh). If someone makes the decision to move b/c they are bored, then they don't have all the information.
    PrideFest is a good event. It can be enhanced with other events, certainly. That's a good thing.

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