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View Article  PG Saturday Diary: A Proud Father, Gay African-American and future minister speaks

Be sure to read this piece from the Post-Gazette Saturday diary:

In this miracle we call America, my own life is a testament to promises made, and kept.

I studied and worked hard. I have a good job. I worked in Congress for a well-known senator as the Reagan revolution began, one of only a handful of black Senate staffers at the time.

None of the blessings I've enjoyed would have been possible had it not been for those whose blood was spilled in Alabama in that summer of 1963.

Now, as a gay African American, a proud father and, I hope, a minister some day, I stand second to none when it comes to having pride in my country and what it has achieved. Mr. Obama's election reminded me of that.

The promise that now lives in me has been passed on to my children -- my beautiful "rainbow" sons -- two of them African American, one Puerto Rican and one Irish.

This week has been filled with much turmoil in the LGBTQ community as we struggle to reconcile the hope of an Obama presidency with the voter support of four anti-gay constitutional amendments.  Bigotry has reared its ugly head along with ignorance, good intentions and enough blame to go around and around.  At one point, I had to stop reading my email because the finger-pointing is just too much. 

Sadly, there has been no online discussion on the local level.  The local LGBTQ advocates have issued no statements or email messages or anything of that sort.  There has been no calls to action or invitations to reflect on how we -- the collective we -- can move forward. I haven't really seen this level of analysis in the other local blogs.  

Which is better?  To remain mum or to expose the ugly face of racism in the queer community?  It is great that Melissa Etheridge isn't going to pay California State taxes.  That'll show 'em.  And people are boycotting Rosie's family cruises b/c she didn't ante up.  Wow.  I shouldn't be so dismissive of people working through their anger and frustration, but the lack of self-awareness on the collision of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation is sad.

We are fortunate that men like Don step foward to proudly claim all of their cultural identity and remind us that our community is diverse.  Period.  We have to come to terms with that and find a way to build bridges with constituencies that might support a statewide marriage amendment.  We have to make sure the Don Hammonds of the region are sitting at the table when we talk with the Ricky Burgesses of the region.  Not that Reverend Burgess is a bigot, but he is opposed to gay marriage and we have to be willing as a community to enter that uncomfortable territory to dialogue around these issues and find our common ground. 

Do we have what it takes? 

View Article  Jim Quinn: "Gay Sex Produces AIDS"

Ah, Jim Quinn.  He has no problems with gays, except for our impact on health insurance premiums what with all the AIDS generating sex we have and our attempts to "muddy the waters" by wanting to get married. 


GLAAD is calling on all homosexuals to urge Clear Channel Communications to sanction Quinn.

Please contact Clear Channel to voice your concerns about Quinn's reprehensible remarks about gay people and people with AIDS. Call on Clear Channel to reprimand him and stop providing a national platform for these kids of defamatory attacks.


Lisa Dollinger
Chief Communications Officer
Clear Channel Communications
(210) 822-2828

Kathryn Johnson
Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations
Clear Channel Communications
(210) 822-2828

Sanda Coyle
Clear Channel Radio
(210) 822-2828

What Quinn said is really reprehensible.  And dated.  My God, gay sex produces AIDS?  Is that his best riposte to the quest for legalized marrriage?  Is that the best he's got?  So people with AIDS shouldn't get married?  And don't deserve health insurance?  That must be some comfort to all the happily wed heterosexual HIV+ folks out there.  Too bad for you. 

I'm not one for censorship, but I do think Clear Channel is part of the larger problem of the lack of positive representation of the gay community on the airwaves.  Pittsburgh just lost one of the few progressive voices on the air with the departure of Lynn Cullen from WPTT 1360.  Thus, personally, I think the community would be better served by calling for Clear Channel to diversify the voices on the air rather than gagging Jim Quinn.  Of course, that sort of campaign rests upon the outrageousness of these comments.

Rumors are that some local station might bring Lynn back on the air,  but no one wants to "'jinx" the deal by talking about it.  Someone should start an online petition. 

View Article  Pittsburgh's 25th Lambda Ball

Ledcat and I attended the Lambda Ball during our first year of dating.  It was such fun to get dressed up and wear my grandmother's jewelry and dance, dance, dance.  We met a lovely couple from Ithaca.  It was like magic.  You should consider going.  Not only is it a really fun night, but you are supporting one of the core groups that keep Pittsburgh's LGBT community flourishing.  Lambda has been here for us over the past 25 years, $3,000 at a time.  Hurrah!  See you at the ball ...


View Article  The Big Win is Yet Undetermined

It is 11:39 PM and we are waiting to hear Obama's speech.  We went outside and celebrated with one set of neighbors.  Everyone else either wasn't home or just didn't feel the joy.

Still, we also await the outcome on California's Proposition 8 which would invalidate gay marriage in that state. 

It hasn't necessarily been a good night for homosexuals.  We lost in Florida, Arizona and Arkansas.  Florida and Arizona approved constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.  Arkansas has approved an amendment prohibiting gay couples from fostering or adopting children.  As a soon to be former foster parent recruiter, I can only shake my head at the idiocy that would eliminate an entire group of potential homes for vulnerable children when we struggle every day to find homes willing to take in these children.  What a despicable turn of events for children.

Clearly, the Democratic surge is good news for us.  And Connecticut voters turned back an attempt to prohibit gay marriage. 

The time is not ripe for marriage.  We may have to accept that reality, but we need to work more diligently to ensure that our other issues are on the table.  That means Jason Altmire votes for an inclusive ENDA before he shows up at another gay campaign event and asks for our support.  That means Dan Onorato offers domestic partnership benefits to County Employees before crawling through another round of gay bars.  That means Doug, Tonya, Bill and Bruce pressure the Mayor to establish the LGBT advisory committee and make more appointments. That means Chelsa, Dan, Jim, Wayne, Don and our other state friends need to beat that Marriage Amendment to death once and for all so we can get on with the business of protecting our civil rights and ensuring that I get to visit Ledcat in the hospital without getting permission from her relatives.  That means the Steel City Stonewall Democrat memberships rise and their leaders insist the candidates go on the record by completing a survey to win an endorsement or a recommendation.  All of them -- ALL of them -- owe us a more concerted effort to improve the lives of every single gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender man and woman in this region.  Adult or child, we too deserve the promise that American can change.

Hold on ... President-Elect Obama just mentioned gay Americans.  Now that's what I'm talking about. 

"Put their hands on the arc of history and bend it towards a better day."

Let us hope, my friends, that we awake to a better day in California, so that the rest of us can feel some glimmer of hope.  Let us hope that people let the hate and fear and intolerance in their hearts begin to melt so that we stop putting up barriers to families that look a little different than the typical family, but feel the same love and connection and hurt and bond that all families feel. 

I am tired.  I drove to meet a prospective tenant this evening and I was exhausted and out of gas.  This gentleman bounced out of his tricked out car, decked from head to toe in Obama-gear and came up to me gushing about my Obama pride bumper magnet.  So I ripped it off my car and handed it to him.  He slapped that puppy right on his car and drove off with an ecstatic look on his face.  I think he was gay, but it doesn't really matter.  We bonded in a moment of anticipation, a moment of hope.

Now that's what I'm talking about.

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View Article  This is it ...history.

(photo appropriated from www.gabbonesso.com)

View Article  Read All About It: Pittsburgh's Marty Levine Joins the National Coverage

It couldn't happen to a better guy.  Pittsburgh's own Marty Levine, late of the City Paper among many other media street credentials, will be live blogging the election from the Pittsburgh perspective for none other than Time. 

Clearly, Pittsburgh is worth paying attention to throughout the election.  There's certainly all the Presidential brouhaha.  There's also the Altmire/Hart race, the takedown of Phil English, voting machine issues and much more.

Best of all ... Marty wants you to help.  Contact him throughout the day, from poll openings to concession speeches, at 412-758-4859 or mll2525@yahoo.com

Tell him the lesbians sent you.  And vote.


View Article  Various updates from a lover of freedom!

I chatted briefly with folks from Steel City Stonewall about the pub crawl.  They were hot in the middle of phonebanking, but took a moment to chat with me.  Apparently, it went well and Dan Onorato went to all of the bars where he did receive a cool reception from some of the owners who bear a grudge about the drink tax.  Good for him.  I'm not sure Dan will turn out any queer voters, but his participation does signify a slight shift to the left perhaps as he contemplates statewide office.  In the short term, it may bode well for domestic partner benefits and the proposed county-wide anti-discrimination legislation. 

Sounds like the event met expectations so that's a good thing.  I'm still waiting for the LGBT coffeehouse crawl.

I received my PG in the hate-wrapper.  I almost forgot about it after putting it into the dog poop bag bin.  Poor PG - they have forever lost my sympathy on trying to generate revenue for the print edition.  I want the paper to survive, but I'm just disappointed at this decision.  On a bright note, my post about this very topic was promoted to the main page at Pam's House Blend.  So that's cool.

The chief bishop of the Episcopal Church came to Pittsburgh to preach about forgiveness and love and blah, blah, blah. I am really tired of this story.  They came,  they hated and they ran away with the church property.  Its great that she cares about the foolish parishioners who joined the Union of the Southern Cone or whatever passes for a ridiculous diocesan name these days.   She was quoted as forgiving a lot of people, but nothing concrete on asking homosexual Episcopals for their forgiveness as they have sort of been the "flashpoint" of the whole thing.  Sigh. 

On with the day ...

View Article  McCain Pride Message

Courtesy of the Steel City chapter of the Stonewall Democrats. 


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