Pittsburgh's LGBTQ Blog ... out'n proud in the Burghosphere.

Bookmark and Share
Year Archive
View Article  Keep up the momentum: Boycott Prop 8 Supporter right here in Pittsburgh

There's been a lot of chatter about pushing back against those who financially supported the Yes on Proposition 8 initiative to show that the LGBTQ community will not have our rights ripped away and then blindly spend our $$ to fill the coffers of those who did the ripping.

LGBT organizers have been posting lists of donors to the Yes on 8 funds causing those folks to cry "foul" on issues of free expression and participation in the political process.  That's bullshit.  You can't fund a very targeted political issue and then expect those of us in the crosshairs to gladly hand over our pennies. 

One of my sisters over at Lez Get Real has published a list of Yes on 8 Donors. 

So, you might be asking what this has to do with us yinzers not planning to travel to California anytime soon..  I'm glad you asked.  In a mere week or so, the new movie based on the legacy of Harvey Milk "Milk" will debut and the CEO of Cinemark Theaters made a nearly $10,000 donation to strip away marriage rights. 

Hmmm.  So, you can inform yourself about which local theater are owned by Cinemark and make an informed decision to not finance our own oppression, especially when it comes to the legacy of one of the greatest figures in contempary gay life. 

I can hear you saying that boycotts don't work.  Apparently, similar tactics in Sacramento resulted in a contribution to the HRC and a public apology.  Plus, we are from Pittsburgh and know the power of the girlcott, right? If our girls could take on Abercrombie & Fitch, surely you and I can make a conscious decision to see Milk at a theater that is not owned by Cinemark.  These include:

Theaters to avoid in Pennsylvania:

For those of us in Pittsburgh, this is a no-brainer as we have a zillion theater from which to choose.  What's the situation in Erie -- are there alternatives?  Clearly, someone should also take the lead on notifying the theaters of the call for the boycott so they can let corporate know and maybe we can see what happens. 

Getting back to the larger issue, the response of the LGBT community and our allies hasn't always been something of which we can be proud.  I've heard some stunning racist comments and these sweeping generalizations about African-American folks and Mormons.  NPR reported that some Morman communities have received anthrax threats.  That's despicable. 

The boycott idea is fine because its pretty low energy, but what we really have to find the initiative to do is wrestle with the racism within our own community.  We can't simply lay the fault at the feet of the African-American Christian community and call it a day.  I don't really know many groups that are thoughtfully reaching out to the African-American community, both gay and straight.  Yesterdays rally was pretty homogenous.  The Dyke March gets it right -- that's one of the more diverse events in the City.  This is the real underlying challenge.  We have to find a way to engage Pittsburgh's African-American community around our shared struggles for equality. 


View Article  Sunday Stuff

The PG runs an interesting piece from the Washington Post on the taboo of homosexuality in India.  Apparently, in spite of the slight liberalizing impact of the new economy, the fact that being gay is illegal causes for a thriving subculture in blackmail.  Nice.

The editors ran one photo with a three sentence caption to describe yesterdays protest.  You cannot access it online.  The Tribune Review has nothing.

We missed the news, but I don't see anything up on KDKA.  WTAE ran this piece.  I saw their team arrive early when the crowd was small.  I'm sure they had other news to cover, but it is a shame they didn't capture the large crowd streaming across the lawn and onto the sidewalks. 

On a personal note, last week a friend emailed me about using my name in a blog post about marriage. Not wanting to make assumptions about my relationship, he opted not to invoke my name.  I appreciate that, but I have been meaning all week to email him and clarify.  True, the decision of Ledcat and I about our relationship is private and it is not fair or reasonable to assume all LGBTQ couples want to get married.  But it is fair to use my name to say that I believe that we should have that option.  It should be our decision, not a decision made to placate people who feel we are going to destroy the fabric of their faith community. 

Wanda Sykes came out during yesterday's protests.  Courtesy of Queerty.  Ledcat and I enjoy the lightheated gay marriage storyline on "The New Adventures of Old Christine."  I wasn't surprised by this "revelation" having seen Wanda chat about gay issues with Ellen a few months ago. 


View Article  Join the Impact - Pittsburgh!

UPDATE:  Photos now included. 


Wow.  Pittsburgh turned out a crowd of more than 500 people (independent counts, not the organizers) in the Oakland area of town to protest the passage of California Prop 8 and demand equal rights for LGBTQ families.  What began as a loosely organized effort turned into a large crowd of adults and children milling around Schenley Plaza and then taking to the streets for a very orderly and loud impromptu march around the Cathedral of Learning.  Bearing signs and chanting the age-old calls for equality, Pittsburgh's queer community has clearly taken to the heart the national cry to rise up and demand change for our community. 

Most major media outlets were present and busily interviewing the array of families who turned out with signs, strollers and something to say.  I caught up with Equality Advocates' Jake Kaskey and a few old friends, but the vast majority of the crowd were folks I've never met before.  Nonetheless, a friendly vibe pervaded the event with folks sharing signs, ensuring their neighbors got safely across the street and generally reveling in the festive nature of the crowd.

There was some police presence, mostly university police from CMU and Pitt.  Ledcat picked out the police in unmarked cars, but they were fairly unobtrusive. 

Throughout the march up Forbes and back down Fifth, we heard lots and lots of honks of solidarity with only a few perplexed stares.  I counted no negative incidents.  Click here to see what's happening around the country.

I don't have my cable to upload the photos so those will follow later tonight. 

I was blown away by the turnout for this event, especially after all the confusion about location and the lack of participation from the major local groups.  GLSEN, PFLAG and the Renaissance City Choirs turned out with the latter doing a lovely performance.  Pittsburgh did itself proud.  Kudos to Misty for showing what one person can accomplish even without the participation of the old-timers.

The question is whether this will make any difference.  Let's hope Steel City and Gertrude Stein and other groups will find a way to tap into this energey and transform it into direct advocacy on local and statewide gay rights issues.  The energy is there as is the willingness to do something -- our charge is to find a way to channel that into something proactive.  We need to step up the advocacy work on HB 1400 and the Allegheny County anti-discrimination and not just sit back waiting to react to the anti-gay efforts of our opponents. Today was about far more than gay marriage -- it was about our entitlement to full and equal rights.

If you feel the energy, I encourage you to go to Steel City Stonewall and get involved.  Come back later and see the photos.

View Article  Moon Area Schools approva GSA; Dont' Forget Today's Protest

From the PG comes word that Moon Area Schools have approved the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance among another new officially sanctioned clubs. 

The approvals were unanimous on all of the groups except the new one, which was opposed by director Mark Limbruner.

"I voted no to the Gay-Straight Alliance because the club will be dealing with sensitive issues that are more appropriately handled by family members or our in-school counselors," Mr. Limbruner said, explaining his vote.

The club's purpose, as described by the district, is to "provide a forum for students of various sexual orientations to meet, discuss and address issues affecting them and their friends."

Amanda Hartle, the district's public relations officer, said the Gay-Straight Alliance was chartered as a club this year. She said its formation passed through all of the district's approval channels to become a recognized district organization.

She said the club will hold its first meeting this month, so it's not known how many students in grades 9-12 will participate. It's expected to include students of all sexual orientations -- not just gay or lesbian but also straight, she said.

No word on how Mr. Limbruner voted on the Youth for Christ club, or if he thought religion is an issue that should be handled by families. 

Good for Moon.  Good for the students who get to the club going and more power to 'em. 

Don't forget today's rally at 1:30 in Oakland.  Hope to see you there.

View Article  Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll has died

From the Post-Gazette:

HARRISBURG -- Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll has died, the governor's office announced tonight.

Mrs. Knoll, 78, had battled a rare form of cancer.

Earlier today, Mr. Rendell had reported that Mrs. Knoll remained in a rehab center and was continuing her "rough and difficult fight" against the cancer.

Mrs. Knoll died at 6 p.m. at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., according to Mary Isenhour, executive director of the Democratic State Committee.

"This is a very emotional thing. We extend our sympathies to the Baker Knoll family in their time of loss," Ms. Isenhour said.

A 40-year veteran of Allegheny County Democratic political wars, Mrs. Knoll served as state treasurer and made a strong third-place finish out of seven candidates in the 1994 Democratic primary for governor.

Eight years later she went on to capture her highest post, lieutenant governor in the Rendell administration.

She was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in May.

The man in line to take over as lieutenant governor, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, said Ms. Knoll "was a tremendous leader for the commonwealth and embodied the type of character expected of true, effective public servants. Her passion and commitment to bettering the lives of Pennsylvanians will be sorely missed, as it was certainly a staple of her public service."

View Article  Join the Impact Pittsburgh Hits Snags

Just got word this morning that someone from Erie took charge of the Pittsburgh "Join the Impact" effort and relocated it to Oakland ???? I have had no response to my inquiries so I don't know why someone would do that three days before the event, especially after all the PR previously directing people to the City-County Building.

The fear I'm hearing via email is fear that folks who might have showed up will be discouraged by yet another example of how poorly organized Pittsburgh's gay community is and just not come at all. 

Hopefully, the organizer will get in touch and let us know her thoughts. 

And I gotta say ... Oakland?  It just doesn't fit.

View Article  Upcoming Trans Events in Pittsburgh

From my friend, Dr. Emilia Lombardi comes word of some events that may interest you.  Unfortunately, due to a death in our family, Ledcat and I will not be able to attend.  I would like to hear more.

Thurs. Nov. 13th 7-9pm
Trans Town Hall meeting
University of Pittsburgh
Alumni Hall Rm. 562
On fifth ave between Lytton ave and Tennyson Ave
Amanda Green (Allegheny County Councilperson, district 13)
Stephen Glassman (Chairperson, The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission; )
Dan Frankel (PA Representative, 23rd district)
They will talk about the statuses of the county and state nondiscrimination legislation with an emphasis on the gender identity component.
Afterwards there will be a discussion on forming a trans political advisory committee. 
This meeting is open to trans people and allies.
Sponsored by the Steel-City Stonewall Democrats
Snacks will be served

Sunday  Nov. 16th 2-4pm
Trans Lobbying Training
Conducted by Jake Kaskey
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Equality Advocates Pennsylvania
3520 5th ave 2nd floor conference room
please RSVP

elombardi@stophiv.pitt.edu or 412-383-2233
View Article  Protest Pittsburgh: Join a Nationwide Prop 8 Protest this Saturday

Here's your chance to be part of the nationwide outrage over the passage of California's Proposition 8 which amends the state constitution to limit marriage between a man and a woman. 

11/15/08.  Join your queer brothers and sisters, and our allies, this Saturday, November 15, at the City County Building at 1:30 PM.   From Join the Impact website:

On the steps of your City Hall on November 15th at 10:30am PST /
1:30pm EST, our community WILL take to the streets and speak out
against Proposition 8 and all of the other pro-equality losses that we
have faced in our lifetimes, in our parents? lifetimes, and for many
generations before us.  WE CAN?T DO THIS ALONE! WE NEED YOUR
HELP!  We need organizers in every major city to work with us and
get out the protest!  I know you?re all tired from all of the work
you?ve done for this great election year, but I?m asking for one more
push!  Let the country hear our voices together.  Let them
see that we are a strong, adamant, and powerful community that deserves
equal rights, and CAN?T BE DEFEATED!

Why should you get riled up over a California issue and give up your Saturday afternoon to protest about marriage rights when we here in Pennsylvania struggle to beat down marriage amendments of our own and don't have the clout in Western PA to hold the Mayor accountable for his promises to appoint a gay liaison?

Well, that's exactly why.  You can stay home and let the same few straggly group of advocates determine the priorities of our community and send that message to our legislators.  Or you can get off your butt and take a stand.  It just doesn't get any sadder that to realize our nation elected Barack Obama and, in the very same day, four anti-gay propositions were approved in their respective states.  Fingers have been pointing at the various folks we could blame for that sad state of affairs -- the Mormons, the Catholics, the African-American faith communities, etc. 

The truth is that we must first accept our own share of the blame.  Our opponents were better oganized and had an appealing message.  Meanwhile, our community refuses to wrestle with the looming questions of the racism, transphobia and sexism which plague our community, not to mention the economic issues.  We bury our heads in the sand and the best we get is a watered-down version of ENDA --- it was appalling that Congressman Jason Altmire was APPLAUDED for his vote on that non-inclusive legislation (I like Jason, but we lost an opportunity to educate him when he got a pass on that one.)

So, what will a protest on Prop 8 do for Pittsburgh's queer community?  For starters, it gets us out and mingling and tallking.  It brings us together and builds a foundation and makes this battle more than the work of the same 5 or 6 local advocates. It makes the battle about all of us.  It is our lives and I for one don't think its very acceptable that legalized gay marriage was bitch slapped back into the 20th century, even if I personally don't think marriage is the most important civil rights issue for the gay community.

So, we plan to be there on Saturday at 1:30.  Hopefully, I can live blog if I find somewhere to rest my laptop. 

How much will you tolerate before you come out? 


View Article  One year


John was my friend since I was 14 and he was 19 when his mother moved next door to my parents.  He was this amazing man and I miss him a lot.  I miss his smart-ass comments, his willingness to get down on the floor with the pets, his pleasure over a simple meal and his obsessive collecting.  :-)  John was the first person I came out to and he was just so great when I was confusing myself.  The death of a friend who is 41 is just mind-blowing.  Rest in peace, my friend.

View Article  Open Invitation to local LGBTQ leaders from the Gay & Lesbian Community Center

 *Dear GLBT Community Leader:* As you probably have heard, the building
housing the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh (GLCC) at Forward
and Murray as well as the former Poli's Restaurant and the Forward Theatre
building are under agreement with a proposal to demolish the buildings to
make way for a private hotel/retail development. Bottom line, the GLCC must
move by April 30, 2009 (with the potential for a 30-60 day extension
depending upon when the developer can get the necessary permits).

For our part, the GLCC Board has been working with an experienced architect,
a facility master planner and a planning facilitator to complete a
Facilities Master Plan. This formal process is helping us in assessing the
GLCC's needs and the role we the GLCC needs to play within the greater
Pittsburgh GLBT community. We now need to meet with our current lessees *and
* other GLBT community groups to complete the next step in the Facilities
Master Planning process. In other words?**

* *

*The GLCC now needs your input so please consider this your "call-to-serve"!

*On behalf of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, I am writing
to you as a community leader (or if appropriate, another representative of
your organization) to invite you to join us in our discussions and planning
for the relocation of the Center as follows:*

* *


*November 20, 2008*

*6:30PM - 8:30PM*

*at the*

*Gay & Lesbian** Community Center***

*5808 Forward Avenue***

*Corner of Forward & Murray Avenues*

* *

*Please let us know the following information by Wednesday, November 19th if
you or someone else will be able to join us:*

* *

   1. *Organization:*
   2. *Who will attend:*
      1. *Role in the organization:*
      2. *Telephone:*
      3. *e-Mail:*

* *

*Send to: Gary McKillop at gary@glccpgh.org *

Note: We want to be as inclusive as possible, so please feel free to pass
this along to other GLBT community leaders, organizations, etc.!

It has only been through community support that the GLCC is where it is
today! For that we thank each of you and we look for your continued support
as we face new challenges and opportunities. We sincerely hope that you
and/or your group will participate, support and work with us make the GLCC a
more accessible and visible entity in the Pittsburgh GLBT community.


Rick Allison

Chair, GLCC Board of Directors


Follow PghLesbian24 on Twitter

The Correspondents