Wednesday, August 23
Who Holds a Breast Cancer Fundraiser in a Hookah (Smoking) Bar? She Does ... and her name is Girl Weapon X
by Sue on Wed 23 Aug 2006 09:14 PM EDT
At first, I honestly thought this was a joke. No one in their right mind would organize a cancer awareness event at a hookah bar, right? Wrong! Because coming up next week is Pittsburgh's first ever Mammogram-Jam held right in the heart of Pittsburgh Southside at HKan Hookah Bar & Lounge.
First, let me explain about a hookah bar. Its an ancient Middle Eastern practice involving smoking tobacco through a water pipe or hookah. This practice has become quite the rage across the United States with hookah bars popping up all over the place. The use of tobacco becomes the cultural activity at hookah bars.
Doesn't really strike you as the most appropriate place to promote cancer detection, does it? Let's take a look at the facts.
Here is what the Susan G. Komen folks have to say about the smoking/breast cancer issue (courtesy of their website).
Now, let me very clear that I certainly am in favor of promoting awareness of early detection for breast cancer and for raising money to support the good work of the Susan G. Komen folks. I just think there have to be some boundaries. So intrepid blogger that I am, I contacted the event organizer Girl Weapon X for more details on why they planned this event at a hookah bar.
First, I figured that they were using the space but making it a smoke free event for the evening. It seemed the logical solution. I was wrong. Girl Weapon X's response:
That doesn't explain why it cannot be a smoke-free event. If they aren't planning to make any money from beverage or food sales, why would they object to losing money on tobacco sales? How is that caring about the community? Its really not clear at all.
Then I asked her more pointedly about the connection between smoking and cancer. She responds:
She probably doesn't stop to think that I, too, might have organized an event or two, but never mind that ...
I also asked her if she would have accepted sponsorship monies from a tobacco company. She replies:
She'd accept money from a tobacco company if it was local? Did I read that correctly? Huh ....
And the gay theme ... I pointed out that as a lesbian blog we are especially interested in the topic since smoking rates in our community are nearly four times as high as in the general population, especially among our young women. I think she misunderstood and thought I wanted to bring a group of lesbian teens to the event:
LESBIAN LIFESTYLE? Oh, honey, you had to play the subtle homophobe card. I took a look at your MySpace page (really I had no choice) and would note that certain aspects of your lifestyle (quasi-Christian bar wench) aren't exactly the healthiest. Plus, you freakin' event is KILLING my sisters. What the hell kind of Christianity is that?
To give her credit, she does seem REALLY enthusiastic about how fun the event will be and quite taken with her own ability organize a fundraiser. So taken that I think the issue has become subordinate to the event, a frequent pitfall of special event planning.
You know, this is perhaps the most ridiculous thing that's come across my email box in a long, long time. Holding a cancer awareness event/fundraiser in a hookah bar makes as much sense as moving Gay Bingo to the Penn Hills house formerly occupied by Santorum. Or inviting Mary Cheney to serve as Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade. It is a marriage conceived in some distorted version of hell.
Before the Girl Weapon X posse pull out their taunts and barbs, you should know that I was very clear with Zoe that I was covering this issue in my blog. No nasty little taunts about my motives. I have two sets of motives - my boobs and my lungs. Neither wish to be sacrificed so I can have a good time inhaling your carcinogens.
Friday, August 11
by Sue on Fri 11 Aug 2006 07:12 AM EDT
The American Psychological Association has released a press statement, taking a strong stance against conversion theory. Conversion theory is predicated upon the notion that you can change sexual orientation and is a core component of the controversial ex-gay movement.
NARTH is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. They have a whole litany of quack scientific studies that "prove" homosexuality is a choice. Check out Truth Wins Out which monitors the abusive practices of the ex-gay movement.
These NARTH people are pathetic, abusive monsters. They prey upon vulnerable people, take all their money in payment for so-called therapy, treatment, even camps and, of course, leave them bitter and disillusioned when it doesn't work (not to mention broke).
Note that the APA rightly calls out perennial homo-opponent Focus on the Family who will be making a stop in Pittsburgh this fall.
This is a critical point. The Jimmy Dobsons and Rick Santorums of the world don't openly call for violence against homosexuals, but they are major contributors to the cultural environment in which contempt for gays takes it that one step further. They are standing at the top of the slippery slope pouring down the lube ...
h/t Page One Q
Tuesday, August 8
by Sue on Tue 08 Aug 2006 07:23 AM EDT
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health got caught in the crosshairs this week when a local gay leadership group lodged complaints about the violent scenario in a recent ad campaign targeting African-American men. The campaign encouraged HIV testing, targeted gay, bisexual and "down low" men and featured images of African-American men in the crosshairs of a gun with the tagline "Have You Been Hit?" (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Black Gay Men's Leadership Council objects to the direct association of black men with gun violence in a city plagued with increasing rates of gun violence, especially among the African-American population.
Amidst concerns over the legitimacy of the campaign's use of focus groups and embarrassment about the associatio, the city is being rather weasley about the reason for pulling the ads, indicating that the pull date just happened to be last Friday. The PR departments of various media outlets indicated otherwise, stating that there was no cancellation date.
File this under WTF? In a city where too many people die from gun violence AND AIDS, why would you associate the two ---- why surely African-American men might have a postive assocation with being the target of gun violence and immediately run down to the nearest HIV testing center! And it certainly does wonders for the images of HIV positive people to be linked to gun violence.