No legal charges in Club Pittsburgh death; moral responsibility is up to us.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Allegheny County prosecutors will not press charges against a Strip District club for the death of one of its patrons in January.

Cleophus Pettway, 31, of Youngstown, Ohio, was found dead in a private room at Club Pittsburgh, a popular meeting spot for gay men.

District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said today that toxicology results from the Medical Examiner's office showed that Mr. Pettway had cocaine in his system but also chemicals from a solvent typically used to clean VCRs. The club sold the solvent — advertised under the brand “Maximum Impact” — to patrons, who would use them to get high.

Mr. Zappala said that his office would not charge the club with involuntary manslaughter because the death was more likely caused by the cocaine than the solvent.

But, he added, the club has been “put on notice” to not sell the solvents anymore.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Is it in poor taste to use the phrase “slap on the wrist” when discussing a gay issue?   Even though they are not going to be legally culpable for his death, given the dangers of these solvents – is there a moral culpability?  If the presence of the solvents, which were not sold for their intended purposes, in any way helped facilitate his death, then this is a problem and a moral quandary for our community. 

Meanwhile, Club Pittsburgh owners Steve Hereforth and Peter Karlovich received the Kerry Stoner Award for nearly a decade of service to the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. 

The likelihood is that other patrons of Club Pittsburgh also may have illegal substances such as cocaine in their systems so the owners should be making sure the Club doesn't sell substances to boost an already dangerous (and illegal high). It is after all a health club, at least according to the zoning regulations. I don't think the YMCA sells inhalants. I could be wrong. 

Yes, yes, I know we are going to hear from those who believe Mr. Pettway snorted his own coke and made his own decisions and thus, immunized the Club from any responsibility for his behavior.  It doesn't change the fact that the DA has said no more inhalants so whatever. 

My point continues to be that this club is not zoned properly.  It is not a health club, it is a bath house established to promulgate sexual activity for gay (and gay curious) men.  Improper zoning puts men's health at risk and for that, the owners and the zoning authorities should be held accountable.  Including the Mayor.

“Closeting” a bath house as a health club is not a constructive way to promote positive sexual representations of the gay men's community. It is 2009, for crying out loud.   I have been hearing stories of local business owners crying about the legions of Pittsburgh queers who would take to the street if our bath house was threatened.  Ha.  Our Gay & Lesbian Community Center IS threatened.  What's more important?  What's worth fighting to preserve and protect? 

Even as I type, I see comments hitting my inbox crowing about this vindication.  Of what?  You are happy that the bastion of gay men's sex is only a lesser factor in someone's death?  Seriously?

We will never know if more accurate zoning could have brought to light the sale of inhalants any sooner and POSSIBLY prevented Mr. Pettway's death.  We may never know if Yarone Zober, acting on behalf of the Mayor to fend off zoning investigations, could have brought to light the sale of inhalants any sooner and POSSIBLY prevented Mr. Pettway's death.

But we do know now that inadequate zoning could lead to someone else's death.  Think of a fire. Stopping the sale of inhalants is not adequate. Club Pittsburgh must be rezoned, regardless of the power and influence of its owners.  It doesn't matter if you blame the right wingnuts for calling 311 in the first place.  It doesn't matter if you magically know that a woman could never have acquired the information necessary for the 311 call (having never been there yourself, of course).  It doesn't matter that the owners want to gussy up the hog and pretend it is the Duquesne Club.

What matter is that the Club's improper zoning is illegal and sends a very negative message both about “gay sex” and the corrupting influence of gay money.  Buying off the Mayor does not mean we've arrived anywhere worth being.

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  • Sue, why don't you just post the facts about how many people die each year from these inhalants? We all know that there are thousands of deaths associated with them. I've never seen any stats that say cocaine causes deaths; we all know the inhalants are the bigger problem. Any chemist or medial doctor will tell you this.
    Come on Sue, why don't you post the facts about how many deaths are caused each year by these inhalants?
    And, why is the DA hiding this evidence?

  • Inhalant use or abuse was mentioned on 144 death certificates in Texas during the period 1988-1998 and was reported in 39 deaths in Virginia between 1987 and 1996 from acute voluntary exposure to abused inhalants.

  • Don't forget Dan Frankel is taking money from these guys to support HB 300. Councilwoman Amanda Green is benefitting from a fundraiser they and their buddy Gary are throwing. The corrupting influence of gay money rolls into some lofty and reputable corners. That is a lot of bathwater going out with the baby over zoning. I hope it is worth it.

  • My training is in chemistry. While I am not familiar with the statistics that would answer your question, let me say something about things that I am in a position to know.
    The active ingredient in “maximum impact” is ethyl chloride (or chloroethane … they're synonyms). It is, among other things, an anesthetic. Anesthetics are generally bad news in terms of safety. I don't know if it would be better or worse than cocaine. The medical examiner seems to think the cocaine was the predominate cause of death. Fair enough. But it is apparently not the safest anesthetic to use … “it is so toxic that only one dose may be given. If an overdose is given the respiratory centre and the cardiac centre are likely to fail together … ”
    I find several reports of deaths on Google Scholar primarily attributed to cholorethane.
    I note that the MSDS indicates that long term exposure to high concentrations of the gas can be fatal.
    In short, this is not a safe drug at all.

  • Zoning expert? What the hell kind of comment is that? Maybe you don't realize why buildings are zoned and permitted, classified the way they are? Do you think it is just to generate revenue? I realize that this is the common perception however, classifying buildings, zoning, and issuing use permits is how others know and determine what and how the building is used. How the building is built, how people can get out, what can be done inside, how many people can be inside for the intended use. You must be kidding me?
    To circumvent this process flies in the face of all of those who have died, the blood that has been spilled, and where and how the codes were developed and implemented in the first place, written in the blood of people. Did we lose site of that in Pittsburgh?

  • Zoning Code has NOTHING to do with Building codes!
    Building codes dictate how a building can be used!
    Zoning Codes dictate what types of businesses can operate in what areas! Its all about LAND USE as opposed to what is required in a building.
    Please do you research first! Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoning.
    Thanks!

  • The business is a sex club masquerading as a health club. The point is that someone is lying. Land, building, whatever. The owners lied and the Mayor lets them get away with it. I'm sure the distinction between land and zone is a great comfort to Cleophus' mother.

  • Ummm…Mayor Ravenstahl wasnt around when it initially opened. You better check with Tom Murphy cause he was mayor 8 years ago!

  • It is fair to say that knowingly selling these “drugs” for an intent other than stated purpose of cleaning VCR heads would be morally questionable? If you intentionally make a profit selling something that is clearly dangerous, potentially lethal, what does that say? The legal issue is settled, but the gay community of Pittsburgh wants to have it both ways. We want bath houses to be more responsible by distributing condoms and requiring photo ID at the front door, but we want to enjoy the parties and fundraisers paid for, popper by popper.
    So they are legally not guilty of manslaughter. Now what?

  • Steve and Peter aren't even going to have to endure a social snub. They cannot stand being crossed, so be careful. They don't view this as an indicator of public opinion, they view it as a threat.

  • Where is the money coming from to pay for Pittsburgh's bus trip to Harrisburg? Delta. Is there a difference between Delta and Club Pittsburgh? Maybe on paper, but let's be realistic. We are earning a freedom ride from pornography and poppers.
    Proof of the fundraiser is imminent. Just wait for an announcement from the Green campaign of an event, probably in Shadyside not the mansion, of an event co-hosted by Gary Van Horn. You cannot separate him from these two particularly when you are talking about moral and ethical issues, not legal issues. They are essentially one person. Green doesn't even have a real opponent so why she's climbing in bed with this guy is beyond me.

  • I am under the impression that selling this chemical for anything other than industrial or legitimate medical purposes is illegal.
    I am under the impression that this is a more gray zone, than selling, for example, cocaine. Because to prove illegal activity occurred would require proving the intent of the sale, while merely selling cocaine is illegal.
    I believe it is safe to say that given the setting, they knew the likely purpose a purchaser would have. So, even if it is not legally provable that they had intent, I think it is fair to assign them some moral culpability.

  • Sue, doesn't it present a “moral quandary” to you that you are using a copyrighted photo wihtout permission? That's illegal copyright infringement.

  • Is that the best retort ya got? Copyright infringement? Please. Your disdain for Mr. Pettway's death is pathetic.

  • So let me get this straight (no pun intended): It was “inadequate zoning” that “lead to someone else's death.” Well, first of all, zoning has nothing to do with the safety of a structure. It has to do with how land is used in a particular area. In other words, you can't just open a retail store in a residential neighborhood; it has to be on a street zoned for retail shops. Also, you can't build a skyscraper in the middle of a residential neighborhood (unless, of course, you get the zoning changed). And, you couldn't put a horse stable downtown (again, unless you get the zoning changed, or receive what's called a variance).
    Now, as for building saftey (fire exits, stair wells, emergency lighting, etc.), that's dictated by the building code. In order to do construction of any kind, you need to submit plans for approval. The city building inspectors (and fire marshall) will review those plans and if they adhere to the building code, they will be approved for construction. During and at the end of construction, the building inspectors will visit the construction site to determine if the building is being built in accordance with the approved plans. If it is not, then the builder will be required to correct any problems. The safety of the building has nothing to do with it's use; it has to do with the size of each floor, the height, the surrounding buildings, the number of exits and stairwells, etc. The building code ensures the safety of the building before it's ever built.
    Now, after construction, an owner may not structurally alter the building without again submitting plans and obtaining a building permit. If legal permits are issued, and the construction proceeds according to plan, then the building is deemed safe according to the building codes of the day.
    When a building inspector follows up on a complaing about a building, they will visit the site to determins if the structure is still in compliance with the plans previously approved by the city for the structure (the plans will include details like fire alarms, exit signs, emergency lights, etc.). If it is, then no problem. If not, then the owner is requried to make changes so that the structure complies with the plans.
    So, I don't see how the zoning had anything to do with this poor person's unfortunate fate.

  • It was an unfortunate thing that happen to Mr. Pettway
    It is also unfortunate that it happen at the bathhouse the two rich white men own.
    However these two rich white men have done more for this community that you could ever imagine. And I would bet at least 80% of the GLBT community has benefited from them. They give money to the GLCC, Persad Aids task force and yes even pride, they have opened their house to organizations outside of the GLBT community that most of you do not know about , because it is isn’t a party, why care?
    But if you think that the money they make only comes from the bathhouse and that means it is all tainted, you are pathetic.
    I really think everyone just has an opinion because it is Peter and Steven.
    It is not the fact that it is a bathhouse; and it wasn’t zoned for it, it is not even that fact that someone died there that brings all of you out of your hiding place when something scandalous happens; it is the opportunity to say something anonymously about someone you are envious of.
    I can not say I believe what they did was fine, but they are my friends, and I will stand by them, not give up because they made a mistake. I am sure they are paying for it day after day by reading all of you people who have nothing but hate in your hearts.
    Why is the issue not, how do we get gay men to stop using drugs? Why the question is not, in this day and age why is there a need to hide an establishment such as Club Pittsburgh? These are the real issues!!!!

  • This guy that died who frequented 941 saloon, much more than the club Pittsburgh, apparently could “hook you up” as one of his friend stated to me. He also made mention of some additional drugs found in his bedroom in Ohio, extacy or something. This guy wasn't innocent at all. So let's stop using him as a political pingpong ball. He's dead and made his own mistakes and I'm sure as a gay man he wouldn't want some lesbian( who sits behind a computer who has no clue what it's like to be a gay man and hasn't even thought about what it would be like to be in a gay mans shoes, especially a gay black man… this is why gay black pride is so important) to interperate or even understand his lifestyle or the need for a bathhouse. He could
    have died driving home from afterhours. So let's leave him be already.

  • You have the logic twisted, steel city dyke. Your loyalty to your friends blinds you to a simple fact. In this day and age, there is no need to hide a bath house. The owners of the establishment make a choice to tap into the down low perception purely for business reasons. They could legitimately get zoned as an adult entertainmen establishment, but they don't. That's the question you aren't asking, dear. They certanly don't hide the nature of their business.
    As for their charity, my coworkers sister is “renting” their home for her wedding at a pretty hefty fee. Nothing wrong with that, but let's not get carried away with knighting the two men for running what is essentially a rental venue for weddings and fundraisers. They open their home for profit and not.

  • Woah! Are you a gay male? Let's not talk about things we do not understand. When there isn't a need or want for it, I'm sure it will go away on it's own without the help of anyone on this blog. And for absolutly every event i've been to there it was donated. I would like to submit this is not a close friend of the family but please let's not ruin your coworkers wedding day.

  • I agree. Some people are acting out of personal feelings. But there's no need to hide a bath house in today's world. So that card doesn't fly. Try another angle to defend your poor persecuted rich friends.

  • do you people live in Pittsburgh????
    do you not know we can not even get the county to give us non-Nondiscrimination laws do you really really think telling all the people in this city.. this city of Pittsburgh.. oh and i saw Tom , you know Debbie's, husband over at the bath house… please give me a break. this place is not for gay men who are out of the closet it is the ones who are going home to the wife after.

  • You are nothing but a do nothing troublemaker. You throw out the red meat for the crazed animals to tear apart and sit back on your ample rear and gloat about it. You have never done one constructive thing for the Gay community and your cop girlfriend won't even appear @ a Gay Pride event because she is a coward. Mr. Pettway is dead because of his own choices. These products are still sold in every adult store in Pa. but I hear no outcry out that. Since Club Pittsburgh is a private club, this is a first amendment right issue you are trying to defeat, and not a zoning issue at all. You and so many others of your kind are hypocrites when it come to our bathhouse and if the lesbian community opened one for itself, you probably wouldn't even open you big fat mouth about it and that Club Pgh. is a club for Gay men has been the biggest problem the lesbians have had w/ the Club since it opened. It stuns me that the community is so divided against itself. You would think that when a Gay business is so unfairly attacked by the media and make no mistake about it, this was a Gay bashing from the local media, that we would stick together instead of aligning w/ the straights against the fags, but that's not the case in this the “most livable city”. Hypocrites and rabble rousers but nothing constructive, unified or helpful. Your blog is muck of feminist/lesbian diarrhea of the brain.

  • providing a place for heterosexual hypocrites to have anonymous sex is not a community service. it is a source of revenue and it is causing front page headlines that give ammunition to our opponents. so your friends make a profit and we lose our rights.

  • Don't shoot the messenger, Anonymous. Sue and her partner who is not a cop come to tons of events, including Pride so you don't know what you are talking about. Opening up “her big fat mouth” about anything gets her in trouble because queers like you get some sort of perverse thrill from the sexual antics of a bath house. This isn't Stonewall, for pete's sake.
    The issue is not “unfair media attacks” but unfair access to elected officials by rich white guys who made campaign donations. Us feminists might point out that your secret society mentality is what let Bernie Madoff get away with destroying so many lives when no one challenged his authority.
    You are the perfect example of why we need this blog. Someone has to get the feminist/lesbian diarrhea point of view out there because the gay men have been screwing it up royally for far too long. It is a well known fact in the blogging world that when your best defense is to attack the blogger, especially for the general sin of being a feminist, your done. Next.

  • God forbid a lesbian try to interpret the life of a gay man. Nothing there in common at all.

  • I agree with you. This hatred toward Sue is uselss and immature. If you are going to put your thoughts out there do it in a respectful way.

  • I am not sure I get your point here? You do realize that there are other clubs in Pittsburgh that are on the up and up, that welcome gay people, that do not skirt proper business practices? Massage parlors get busted all of the time, for operating under the radar and not as the businesses they were intended to be how is this different? Why was it treated differently? I don't think this is about haters, or jealousy at all.

  • Hey man haters. The comments on Sue were right on. You are all such hateful lesbians who envy the sexual freedom of Gay men. Bathhouses are in every major city in the US and if you ever traveled outside of your tiny self-imposed view of the world, you would know that Bathhouses are even more popular in Europe were people are not as ashamed of their sex lives as apparently you all are. Bathhouses appeal to a certain segment of the Gay population. Why can't you just leave it alone. You are no different than the religious fanatics who want everyone to be straight christians. Such hypocritical assholes are you. Now fuck off, lezzies.

  • yes you are correct, the Mayor was different when the place opened, however, a complaint was issued while the current Mayor was in office. The complaint came before the death. Would changes in the operation have prevented the death? According to the DA no, does that mean the business was in no way responsible? According to the DA no, however it is difficult for people to believe that a business selling VCR cleaner, whether under the guise of a gym, or men's sex club is a legitimate business practice for either entity, especially since this substance was very well known for being used for recreation. Is selling a substance that is known to be used in this way a responsible business practice? Do businesses get in trouble everyday for irresponsible business practices? Yes, often they do, unfortunately many times they don't. Depends on how the pendulum swings, in this instance claiming ignorance of the matter was enough for the DA. I was always taught that ignorance of the law excuses no man from practicing it.

  • Was the building being used for the intended permit issued? If it was being used for other than the issued permit, is that legal? What do you expect to find in a building that is holding a permit for a gym? Would you expect to find what was going on this club? How many people would you expect to find in a gym at any given hour, or after midnight? How many could you expect to find in a gym, in pockets of private rooms which isn't really a gym but a private club operating under the guise of a gym? Wouldn't that be a surprise for everyone, emergency responders to arrive at what you thought was a gym and lo and behold No it isn't a gym and there are people in jeopardy god knows where? Yes, I think there is no reason to be worried at all, that is of course if you have total disregard for human life.

  • A work out facility, or gym, would draw less scrutiny or inspection oversight, for various reasons, from various agencies in general, than a facility that is zoned as any kind of Club in this city. That is the nature of the beast being an Adult entertainment club. It may be proper to ask any private club that operates in this fashion what kind of scrutiny they receive? Strip clubs etc.

  • Hmm, I am not sure why Sue deleted my last post. Compared to most of the crazy stuff that gets said on here, it seemed quite tame.
    I just want to point out the person posting above is not me.
    People should keep in mind that a lot of the posts on this blog are phony.
    It is very likely a conservative may be posting on this blog to mislead & divide people and/or that some bipolar individual with a vendetta is trying to make their beliefs more plausible by posting under a variety of names. It is probably a little from column A & B.
    This isn't paranoia. It is simply a well know phenomenon in the blogging world

  • Then why. Don't. They just. Register. As an adult entertainment establishment. ANSWER: Because if Club Pittsburgh went legit, it would cease to be a cash cow.
    This has nothing to do with providing gay men with whatever it is they'd have us believe they need. Because they can have all of it.
    This has everything to do with all the business that can be transacted on a chunk of real estate that operates in legal no-man's land. TALK ABOUT HYPOCRISY!!! They agitate for legal protections against discrimination to hold against landlords and employers, when in regards to their own business they have as much respect for the law as the Sopranos.
    Nice racket that a few of you feel you deserve.

  • You prove my point again w/ your foolish rant. You hate men and and resent what they have and want to take it away from them. You don't give a shit about zoning or you would be out protesting absentee landlords and their shitholes. It is a bathhouse that opened 7 and 1/2 years ago under another administration as a private club which it is and THAT my dear is protected by our first right amendment. If you are worried about STDs, then go have the internet shut down because Internet hookups are the main source of the spread of STDs. Club Pittsburgh rates somewhere far behind the bars which is information, courtesy of the Allegheny Co Health Dept studies. Are you worried about illegal drug activity? Then go have the Tilden, Lucky's and any other gay bar in the city shut down. You resent that men sometimes can enjoy their sex lives w/out the necessity or the delusion of romantic entanglement. If you don't like bathhouses, then don't go to them. Other than that, mind your own fucking business and leave a Gay owned, Gay employed business for Gay men the fuck alone.

  • Sue, congratulations on having excerpts from this post published in the Sunday Post-Gazette Cutting Edge feature. Never have I been more content to be passed over in favor of more significant, timely work.
    And if I don't blog about HB300 this week, flame me. 🙂

  • Mercifully, the Cutting Edge quote was burred deep in the bowels of the Post Gazette, where shit usually exists.

  • The Delta Foundation is helping to fund Tuesday's trip to Harrisburg for the HB 300 rally. That's not quite the same thing as giving money to Dan Frankel, to be fair. But it is indirectly supporting him. The Delta Foundation made this commitment at the last Value All Families Coalition meeting. Club Pittsburgh is a major contributor to the Delta Foundation, if not the largest.
    Gary Van Horn is planning to raise money for Amanda Green. He is hosting a fundraiser in Shadyside, not Mt. Washington. While it does seem logical that Peter and Steve would support his efforts, I haven't seen their names affiliated with this fundraiser. It would probably bring some credibility to them, but might hurt Amanda. My understanding is that this an exclusive invitation only fundraiser not open to everyday gay people.
    Good, bad or indifferent this will all be public information as the campaign contributions are added up.

  • Ahhhh Sue;
    You've walked into the mire, stepped firmly into the trap that awaits any non gay-male member of the LGBT community who dares critique some of the goings on, events, occurances or practices of the gay male community. Welcome to the club, sister.
    Some time ago, on an Irish Lesbian Blog, a few Lesbian activists complained about having to be apologists for behaviours of the gay male community when in debates with Right Wingers over LGBT rights issues, particularly T(toilet room) sex, public park sex, meth use, unprotected sex, etc. We got excoriated for daring to vent by Irish gay men.
    Well, Sue is right. The business is a sex club, zoned as a health club, at the least a misnomer and more acccurately a mockery of the term. It could not, likely, get licensed as a sex club. And solvents for sale at such a venue, given the not inconsiderable frequency of the target population's other chemical use associated with sex? Simply reckless.
    For those concerned about the Allegheny County battle or the battle in your state for wider LGBT rights, how will this play out when this is added to the Right's arsenal of plaints to pin to our community? Lesbian spokespeople for the LGBT community have for too long been expected to acquiesce and humbly go along with the lack of condemnation or outright defence of far too many things and endure far too much abuse when we dare to question our “wise male masters”
    Maura Hennessey

  • In fairness, consider the fact that you drag the Lesbians along with you when gay men get pinched for having sex in public restrooms or over incidents like this. Because we are the “LGBT community” things like this, the “health club” stealth, the solvents for sale to get high etc, all taint the rest of us.
    We retain the right to complain, to protest, to constructively criticise, to critique.
    And before you say that as a New York Lesbian I've no right to express a concern, I do. Because incidents like this, circumstances like this, and the gloss of tawdry corruption that pervades this incident at so many levels will be used by the Fundies against ALL LGBT's, EVERYWHERE that we debate or are in conflict with the Reactionary Right. Which means, basically, everywhere except Provincetown and San Francicso.

  • Personally, I don't hate men. You want your own club, fine with me, just call it what it is, Pittsburgh Men's Spa & Motel. Don't sell items that are questionable and provide to rooms what other motels or hotels would provide. Then if people die in their rooms, you are not responsible for what they brought into their rooms and you (the facility) didn't provide it.

  • Are you kidding me? You are blaming Sue for being picked up by the Post-Gazette instead of your blog? It isn't her fault. So you are going to retaliate by ignoring another timely issue.
    Guess what, you dysfunctional bunch of crazy kids, you are acting ridiculous. Go back to the very beginning of the issue. The Mayor allegedly intervened to prevent a simple inspection as a favor to his donors. If he intervened on that, do you really think he's going to shut down Club Pittsburgh because of a few blog comments? Go back and read the original posts again. Sue or anyone else who covered this issue, including Bram, never suggested the club be closed. Your hysterical minds made the major jump all by yourselves. The only person who suggested that was the gay male blogger who even acknowledged he was ambivalent about that at best.
    The anti-lesbian/anti-female hate that has shown up in recent comments by men who claim to be patrons of Club Pittsburgh is a perfect example of the real divides in our community. They aren't going to go away if we bury our heads in the free condoms and std tests. I haven't seen anyone make such nasty comments about Club Pittsburgh patrons who by definition are all men. You've given us plenty of ammunition, gentleman, but no one took the bait.
    Living in fear brings out really defensive behavior. Are you afraid of your wives' discovering your sexual activities? Are you afraid of your gay peers finding out you visit Club Pittsburgh? Are you afraid you can't get your needs met if the place is properly regulated? Are you afraid you might have to drive to the suburbs if the City rezones the club and it has to leave the Strip District? I don't see anyone expressing concern about gay women facing some of the same issues, women who don't even have a bath house.
    You have nothing to fear. The issue all along has been the alleged pay for play between your bath house owners and the Mayor. The Mayor is not going to touch this issue with a ten foot pole for fear of losing his few gay supporters.
    Stop blaming the family member who pointed out the problem and start working on the problem. The existance of the bath house? Not the problem. Alleged pay for play with the Mayor to keep the bath house free from scrutiny? The problem. Clearly, the mysogyny in the gay male community is another problem.
    My agenda is simply to get the conversation back on the original topic. I am using my full name and my email address if anyone wants to respond to me. And, yes, I am in recovery which is why I use the dysfunctional family analogy. Having spent a lot of years in the bar scene, I've seen this dynamic over and over. It is not the bar owners fault that I am a drunk, but I am very grateful that it is 2009 and I have plenty of other gay friendly places to go for socialization and contact with our family. A more tolerant society means today's young women have choices that I didn't. They don't have to live in fear of being discovered and are less likely to turn to a scotch on the rocks for solace.
    If the men and women in our community hate each other so much that we cannot have a civilized conversation without hysterical rants and nasty epithets, no legislation in the world is going to make that much of a difference.

  • LANCE. This is what you're electing to publish, to add to the discussion? You're openly suggesting that Sue is “bipolar” and is adding comments to her own blog under a variety of names because that's what we bloggers do: trick people into believe CRAZY notions like all persons should respect the law and not profit from criminality?
    And you're making this ugly attack, ad-hominem while linking to the organization on whose board you sit? Is this the opinion of Steel City Stonewall Democrats, that Sue should be ostracized as a crazy liar for criticizing gay leaders?
    You accuse Sue of messing with your precious “unity”. I accuse you of being a self-important fascist. I guess every group has a jackass or two, I certainly don't hold it against Stonewall. I'm sure they'll survive you.

  • Let me start over. You know I don't think that Sue is right 100% of the time, or that you are wrong 100% of the time. But what do you have to say about Mr. Hixon, or about any of the other fully identified commenters on this blog? I apologize for my sharp tone above, but I look forward to discussing this further at your organization's next open meeting.

  • Bram,
    In fairness, a lot of us who neither operate such businesses nor even want to patronize them are advocating for equality. And it seems like we need the help more anyway.

  • I've heard about this blog…I couldn't believe what I did hear and I find it's true. GOSSIP, GOSSIP, GOSSIP. I've had the following for many years and read it from time to time. I think this is the perfect venue to post it. Please read it and think back…was I a victim of it!
    My Name is Gossip
    I have no respect for justice.
    I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives.
    I am cunning, malicious and gather strength with age.
    The more I am quoted, the more I am believed.
    I flourish at every level of society.
    My victims are helpless.
    They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.
    To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
    I am nobody's friend!
    Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never that same.
    I topple governments and wreck marriages.
    I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights,
    heartaches and suffering.
    I spawn suspicion and generate grief.
    I make headlines and headaches.
    Remember, before you repeat a story, ask yourself:
    Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary??
    If not, do not repeat it,
    KEEP QUIET!

  • A recent posting on pghlesbian.com created a link between Steel City Stonewall Democrats and use of a term that could be construed as casting people with mental illness in a negative light. The writer of the post, a SCSD board member, while responding to a previous comment in which someone used his name in an earlier comment to falsely pretend they were the board member, attempted to clarify his thoughts about the false posting. When inputting information to leave his clarification thoughts, a url link to Steel City was used and this then appeared on the blog and made it look like the comments were an official view of SCSD. The posted comment utilized the term “bipolar individual” to refer to the divisive and extreme behavior of the person who was falsely using the board member's name.
    Because the link to Steel City was used in the comment, I am writing a clarification point as president of Steel City Stonewall Democrats. Steel City does not endorse use of terms that can in any way be construed as dismissive of a group of people, in this case people with a serious mental illness who are often struggling against difficult symptoms. The above writer was attempting to describe behavior rather than mocking people with a brain disorder but readers may have been left with the impression that mocking was intended when using the term. Steel City Stonewall Democrats does not endorse use of possibly objectional terms when referring to people, particularly individuals attempting to manage the serious symptoms of a mental illness. Use of the term “bipolar” as a descriptive phrase, because it can easily be misconstrued and experienced as a slur, does not reflect the sentiments of Steel City Stonewall Democrats.

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