I received an email this week inviting me to the March 17 rally in Harrisburg and a telephone call from someone who wanted to discuss my concerns about the current state of affairs in gay politics. The call was perfectly cordial, but I'm left feeling rather unsatisfied. Especially when they wanted my list of other bloggers. I went back and reread some of my recent posts and the comments to figure out the source of my unease.
I'm not sure that I feel particularly frustrated so much as just angry. I'm angy that it is 2009 and we have very little to show for it in Pittsburgh and the larger metropolitan region. Maybe it wouldn't be so irritating if we had some accomplishment in recent memory. With all due respect, a domestic partner registry means nothing. If the Mayor hasn't made the effort to register City Employees, it is clearly an empty symbol. I can see why it is useful for businesses to have a vetting process for domestic partners, but I have yet to see how it helps us partners.
A recent commented affiliated with one of the major players in gay advocacy said this:
I have come to believe that Sue isn't really interested in the very difficult & complicated work that needs to be done to achieve progressive change. Instead, she mainly seems interested in creating controversy & causing division in an attempt to garner attention for her blog.
Then he emailed me and said that there are no hard feelings. Really? Cause this is pretty harsh. It is one thing to say I'm playing some sort of dilletante dance with blogging for attention and quite another to say I don't grasp the nuances of progressive change. So, yeah, I have some hard feelings. I'm not even doing such a great job of garnering attention given that my blog stats have been pretty consistent for over a year now. Sure a scandal generates a little spike here and there, but really… the same few people come to read me. I've had three prominent local folks tell me they read about my blog when I'm quoted on other blogs. 🙂
If you've been reading, you know the status quo with the Mayor's Advisory Committee and the County work on domestic partner benefits and the HRC ordinance. Clearly, frustrating. Not so clearly, anger inducing. It makes me angry that organizers based in Philly and Harrisburg roll into Pittsburgh for a meeting or two and leave us with half-fulfilled promises. Then they expect us to jump when its time to load up the buses. It is tough to swallow when someone says you don't know what you are doing and then asks for your “list of bloggers” that you've compiled after three years in the trenches. It isn't my responsibility to provide media lists for organizations that have access to computers, internet connections and blogrolls.
It is tough to read on Facebook that people are going to gay roller derby, but don't have time to send out a press release. Or be on the receiving end of a series of drunk emails because I refuse to toe anyone else's line. Drunk emails are fun. When you are 22, not 38. It it tough that people who are clearly angry at me for having an opinion still talk with me and try to justify things. I don't care if I know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say, I care if you know at least some of the story. My hands are tied by promises of staying “off the record.” (For the record, I removed people from my list of Facebook friends that insult me in real life, but want to network with me.)
It is just tough that I think I actually have something to offer, but I'm repeatedly slammed for thinking outside the box and asking uncomfortable questions.
While a statewide non-discrimination bill is a great idea, I just don't think Pittsburgh wins by taking the pressure and resources away from local efforts and pouring them into the state. We may get civil protections, but we also don't have domestic partner benefits in our County and I don't see any of the power players in Democrat politics doing anything about that. Would it really be that hard to convince Dan Onorato to reconsider that one? Really? You can get the farmers from mid-state to protect me from employment discrimination, but I can't get a job at the County? Come on.
It might just be nice if we could have one baby step here in Pittsburgh. Just one. If someone could follow through and get something accomplished before adding on yet another round of phone calls and letters and rallies and so forth then leaving us completely to our own devices for months on end while they “handle” the behind the scenes stuff. Because we are apparently untrustworthy when it comes to knowing that behind the scenes stuff is happening. I mean I know it, but I can't tell you about it.
Maybe the disaster that was the Proposition 8 campaign has taught us a few things about making sure our leaders are accountable to us. Maybe not.
Either way, I'm still feeling uneasy about the convergence of all these non-accomplishments. I'm not sure that Rocking the Dome is the best way to go. I could be wrong, but that's just where I'm at right now.