Here's further evidence of the “Pittsburgh is a good place to be queer” mantra that I've oft repeated. In response to the recent media coverage of the rescue of Rebecca Hare, longtime trans advocate Dr. Emilia Lombardi shares her thoughts with the readers of the Post-Gazette. Lombardi praises Pittsburgh's first-responders for their sensitivity to Hare's status as a transwoman.
I wish to thank Chief James Holman and the City of Pittsburgh's Emergency Medical Services, River Rescue Unit. The professionalism and respect they showed Rebecca Hare as they rescued her from the cold river Feb. 7 makes me proud to live in Pittsburgh (“Rescue in River Tunnel a Dangerous Challenge,” Feb. 8).
This is a stark contrast to other cities where their treatment of transgender people has been horrendous and may have actually led to further harm. This is another sign of the support the city has toward its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population.
I agree that Holman and his crew should be lauded for exemplary work and, hopefully, Public Safety Director Michael Huss will take note of this when reviewing the performance of other first responders. There's room for improvement, but we need to recognize when things go well.
As noted in this blog, media coverage of the entire rescue was abysmal. Clearly, the major outlets should put in a call to Mr. Potter (and presumably Mr. Scaife) for some guidance on responsibly covering the LGBT community.
However, I was disappointed in the media's reporting of this incident. Their reference to Ms. Hare as a man in initial reports was a blatant form of disrespect to her and to the transgender men and women living in Pittsburgh.
The only reporting agency that showed some respect was the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and for that I do thank them.
Lombardi's letter also appeared in the Trib.
On a related note, I like to highlight letters to the editor pertaining to the LGBTQ community as I believe it is important that we stay abreast of the messages being put out by John Q. Public himself. When I first began writing this blog in 2005/2006, I was kept busy nearly every day analyzing letters to the editor from the PG, the Trib, the Beaver County Times, and others related to the attempt to “protect” heterosexual marriage by amending the Pennsylvania commonwealth. That attempt failed, but another battle is on the horizon.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to move from grumbling about an issue to taking action. Our legislators do pay attention to public sentiment and it does make a difference when they get a feel for the sentiments of their constituents. You can have an impact by contacting your legislators and by writing letters to the editor. If your letter isn't published b/c another similar letter is, rejoice that at least two peole cared enough to write in the first place. Then write again on another issue. Don't be discouraged.
More details on the impending amendment push soon.