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

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View Article  HIV/AIDS prevention with gel

A good piece from the City Paper on the development of a topical gel to reduce transmission, especially for anal penetration. 

Good to learn how much Pgh has invested in research.  The article is much more succinct than I could be, but it is just important to remind ourselves that we cannot be passive when it comes to HIV/AIDS.

View Article  Hair Peace - a new blog

My hair stylist, Susan Veraldi, owns and operates Veraldi Salon in Oakland.  She just published her first book, Hair Peace which is available for sale.

She also launched a blog, On The Fringe, which offers some pretty amusing insights into the daily life of a hair salon. 

I enjoy supporting a business that has been woman owned for over 20 years.  I get great hair cuts, even if I can't keep up the cool flippiness and I always leave smiling and/or laughing. 

I also want to encourage women to blog so this is my little shout out so Susan for her newest venture. 

View Article  Letter to the Editor on Marriage Equality

Missed this in the Post-Gazette earlier in the week (I'd blame the search engine, but we've already been down that path).

Like Mr. Franck, I was once the sort of earnest Christian whose judgment against sexual difference was formed according to what I thought were orthodox ideas about the Bible and Christian tradition. But I now believe -- along with many fellow Christians -- that gay marriage is as good as "traditional" marriage for families and society. Those who oppose it are not a persecuted majority, as Mr. Franck would have us believe, but a misguided one.

MIKE HOLOHAN
South Side Flats

This is a snippet.  I urge you to read the whole thing.

It is followed by a lively dialogue.  My favorite comment is this:

I have no problem with gay whatever you want to call it (no matter what they try to say, it ain't marriage)...but don't start crying about "bullys" when their kids get picked on and get their a$$es beat in school because they have two mommy's or two daddies. Personally, I buy into Darwin...

What does that mean? A laymen's twist on survival of the fittest?  That gay kids deserve to die because they aren't strong enough to stand up to bullying?  Big ugly words from someone who hides behind a fake name.  And so so sad.

These are people who might vote on our equality rights if the right wing has its way.  Be vigilant.

sdf

View Article  Chick Fil A Corporate Speaks

I wrote this piece for Lez Get Real which includes the official statement from Chick-Fil-A corporate along with my analysis of what this whole sordid mess means for Pennsylvania.  Thanks to Lez Get Real for the chance to bring a national audience to a regional/statewide issue. 

The story has gone viral and generated a lot of folks ire.  On my Facebook page alone, over a dozen friends spontaneously pledged to walk away from their love of the pickle/chicken combo to show solidarity with the LGBT community.  And those are local dollars.  That's pressure on the local franchises to pay close attention when and if Metcalfe introduces his amendment. 

So surf on over for the gory details and see what kind of impact a stupid decision on the part of one little franchise can have on the movement for equality.  And call your State Rep!

View Article  Update on Chick-Fil-A

From Good As You comes word that "Chick-Fil-A" has been de-listed as a corporate sponsor for the Pennsylvania Family Institutes upcoming marriages workshops. No word on whether is just a scrub of the marketing materials or a change in plans. 

Good As You also turned me onto Chick-Fil-A tweets .... here's the most recent evidence that public pressure may work even with an inherently fundamentalist Christian business.

Congrats to Good As You for bringing the story to the public eye and starting the public outcry.  I know of at least one MSM outlet interested in the story on a local level.

View Article  PA anti-gay group teams up with Chick-Fil-A

I could make bad puns about the disgusting combo of a pickle on a chicken sandwich, but I'll let the article speak for itself.

Take a look at an event scheduled for February 2011, co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, the leading anti-gay group in the Keystone State and a group that has worked hard to try and pass a constitutional amendment in Pennsylvania banning same-sex marriage.

The February event co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A is called "The Art of Marriage," and it's intended to be a launching point for Pennsylvania to return to "the biblical definition of marriage." Given the work of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, it's hard not to see where this event is going to go -- straight for the jugular of anyone who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The events take place:

    • Harrisburg/Camp Hill: Christian Life Assembly
    • Reading: Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church

If you've read this blog, you probably recall that the Pennsylvania Family Institute are rabidly anti-gay folks. They firmly believe in ballot initiatives as the Will of God or some such thing. The timing of these pro-marriage "conferences" coming on the heels of Darryl Metcalfe's latest mischief is not pleasant tidings for Pennsylvania gays. 

Not to go all boycottey on you, but I'd rethink a visit to Chick-Fil-A in the near future.  Why give your money to a company that thinks we are second class citizens and not entitled to marriage equality (and a heck of a lot more rights, my friends)? 

sdf

View Article  Keystone Alliance - Gay Life Newsletter Readers Choice Awards

Last year, I was honored to be named Lesbian of the Year by this publication.  So I want to be sure to invite you to submit your own nominations this year. The categories are in green.  You can email your nominations as directed below.

READER'S CHOICE AWARDS

NEWS AND INFORMATION

And as in the past The Reader?s Choice Awards have touched the hearts of many. The awards have shown and honored those that need to be honored. So once again we have the Reader?s Choice Awards. Please submit those you know that are due this great honor. Submit nominations to gaylifenewsletter@yahoo.com.

To access the ballot, click here.  There's a wide array of categories. I think your favorite LGBT blog would fall under publication, but it would be great for them to add a social media category (podcast, blog, twitter, etc).

Go vote!

View Article  Tweeking and Plucking

Did some tidying up of the blogrolls.  If I missed something, let me know.  Two blogs on the roll I "met" through Twitter ... Burgh Baby and Einstein's Desk.  I also updated a few links, deleted some that are no longer open for business and made some other tweeks. 

 

View Article  A Note From Heather Arnet With Regard to Five Years of Lesbian Corresponding

 This past week was the Fifth Anniversary for Sue Kerr and her Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents blog. Pittsburgh has seen a number of women leading with their voices online over these last several years. Maria Lupinacci has been blogging as one part of the duo of 2Political Junkies since 2004. 2005 saw the launch of Lindsay Patross and Natalia Rudiak?s Iheartpgh.com and seven years ago Virginia Montanez began blogging anonymously as PittGirl and then in 2006 outed herself and launched her new blog That?s Church.com.  Through the years, Agent Ska, MsMon, and at least 50 other women have joined the ranks of Pittsburgh bloggers. Nationally Jessica Valenti and the brilliant women at feministing.com, dailykos, slate, and of course Huffington Post took over our computer (and blackberry and iphone) screens.

So as Sue celebrates 5 years of lesbian blogging I find myself reflecting on the importance of women bloggers and raising a glass of Champaign this week to toast all of these fierce media savvy women to thank them for their biting wit, strong sarcasm, courage, conviction, humor, hormones, and did I say courage? For many of us, having women bloggers to read is as important as having Rachel Maddow on TV. Their reporting and their words help us feel sane, make us feel less alone, shine a light on topics and stories mainstream media are usually all too happy to keep in the shadows, and their sharp fierce honest intelligence is so refreshing compared with the world of mediocrity that saturates most news outlets and websites, that reading their words often feels like finding a full canteen on a desert trail. Lesbian bloggers and media writers in particular play an important role in our lives. They report on issues of particular concern to gay women, issues that hetero women writers/activists and gay male writers might just get wrong or ignore. Lesbian bloggers that post political opinions, and who do so without being anonymous, are especially courageous, as they battle discrimination and prejudice related to sexual orientation, gender, and politics. Lesbian women of color who blog about politics are just all out goddesses and the rest of us need to be thankful for their courageous writing and support them at every turn. The blogosphere is interesting because we see folks utilize the medium to explore identity politics and explode them. Often it seems the best bloggers attempt to do both.

 

Happy Anniversary Sue and thank you to you for your bravery, honesty, sharp words, and cunning wit. You never fear or shrink from telling us your truth. And we are grateful for it. And thank you to all of the women bloggers out there who fill our lives each day with new information, new questions, new things to be angry about, new causes to care about, new jokes and people to laugh at, new friends, new fears, new thoughts, new ideas, new places to go, new people to avoid, new issues to rally around, and new blogs to read. As one humble reader to all of you, many tidings of comfort and joy as we ring in another new year!

Heather Arnet, CEO, Women and Girls Foundation, @heatherarnet on twitter

View Article  Kraus calls Burgess to task on lack of support for LGBTQ community

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.

According to Bram:

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. 

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