Bram Reichbaum from The Pittsburgh Comet alerted me to an exchange between City Councilors Bruce Kraus and Ricky Burgess during the pension plan bailout meetings.
Kraus: “I am neither a Republican, a racist nor am I rich.” Points out that Burgess never has supported gay lesbian & transgendered legislation and so doesn't want to hear implications of such out of him, and wants the Clerk to look up the record so he can read it tonight. “Speak about that, Rev. Burgess.”
Burgess: “I am sorry that Mr. Kraus is upset about my conversations about poor and low-income families.” Says not attacking personally. Thinks he's been consistent supporting equal rights.
Having worked in Reverend Burgess' district for nearly five years, I can state unequivocally that LGBTQ families and inviduals live there. I am equally comfortable stating that there are many low income, working class LGBTQ families among them. Reverend Burgess likes to posture himself as the defender of the oppressed, but only certain oppressions fit under the umbrella.
I believe Bruce Kraus is right and that Burgess has NOT consistently supported equal rights. I used to think capitulation to his base was acceptable, but not when he uses gay stereotypes to isolate the courageously openly gay member of Council. Burgess won't even sign on to support PrideFest. He would not co-sponsor legislation in support of HB 300, only agreeing to vote for it. He clearly wants to have it both ways — warrior for equal rights, but only so equal.
What the hell this had to do with the penion plan is anybody's guess but kudos to Bruce for calling Burgess on the carpet for his hypocrisy. The homophobia on Grant Street is rampant and we need more champions to call it out, especially when it is tossed around for filler during a filibuster. I think the gays should continue to call out men like Burgess whose hypocrisy contributes to the isolation and alienation of LGBTQ folks living in his district and throughout the City.
It does damage and deserves to be challenged.