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

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View Article  Count Your Blessings ... Sigh

This song makes me think of my recently deceased dog, Mona.  I just picked up her ashes on Friday.  I won't forget you my friend.

 

View Article  Brian O'Neill mixes peas and corn ... woo hoo!

For that to make any sense, check out O'Neill's column in which he tries to figure out how a marriage protection amendment works.  Apparently, one of the most memorable bits of testimony:

One of the more imaginative arguments in favor of the amendment was made by Randy Lee, a law professor at the Widener University School of Law. A 50-year-old father of six, Mr. Lee likened the idea of equating gay unions with marriages to an unfair trade practice.

"You can't put a picture of corn on a can of peas and sell it as corn,'' he said.

Sue Frietsche of the Women's Law Project also mentioned that analogy to me. It you stick with the analogy, though, gay marriage makes more sense -- keep the peas with the peas and the corn with the corn.  None of this succotash stuff to trick innocent children into eating their vegetables.  Everyone knows kids sort mixed veggies out into little like minded piles anyway.

So what does it all mean?  Well, since this is like my 19th post for the day (lots happening), I guess I'll Brian have the last word. 

But there is something about the institution of marriage that people in love continue to value. That may be the only thing that unites everyone in this argument. If anyone can get past that irony, that's the good news.

 

 

View Article  More on Obama Balking
The Philadelphia Gay News follows up on their decision to leave blank space on their front page allocated to Barack Obama's interview, plus some insight as to how the Advocate interview just isn't the same.
View Article  Clinton Talks, Obama Balks

This is from last week ...

Apparently, Obama hadn't granted an interview to any local gay press - across the whole nation - in over four years.  Hence, his recent interview with The Advocate.  Which isn't the same thing at all.

I also learned that LGBT voters account for 3% of turnout in Pennsylvania. 

View Article  GLCC merger with Celebrate the Night: Where does this leave transwomen?

In the most recent GLCC newsletter, the organization announced that Celebrate the Night has become an official committee of the organization.  Celebrate the Night is a variety show that benefits the GLCC.

As you may recall, CTN generated a firestorm last year by refusing to audition a transwoman and pronouncing that she was not woman enough to meet their criteria.  At that point, the CTN website described the event as celebrating all women.

They've since updated it to state:

For the purpose of this event, if a person is legally recognized as
a woman or living full-time as a woman, she is a woman.

No such requirement that to be a lesbian, you must be legally recognized or living full-time as a lesbian.  Which is good since there are many, many women who participate in CTN that are not 100% out of the closet and I would hate for them to feel excluded just because they aren't lesbian enough.

Well, at least if the GLCC is going to formally associate itself with an organization that openly discriminates against transwomen,things are a little more out in the open.  The GLCC has historically been a little weak on transinclusion and I don't really think this is going to come as a shock to anyone.  The truth is that Pittsburghers who are L, G, B and Q really have a long way to go when it comes to lifting up and including our trans brothers and sisters.

For a complete herstory on this situation, click here.

View Article  Is Steel City Stonewall Diluting Its Own Endorsement?

As this group finds its footing in the party and the region, I have for the most part been impressed with the new leadership (and recent leadership). I'm particularly pleased that they have invested some resources on issues as opposed to just elections.  It is important that LGBT Democrats send a clear message to our elected officials on how we view issues and what steps we can take as a community to express our position.

That being said, I do worry that the organization "dilutes" the impact of their endorsement.  First, there has been a tradition of naming individuals to an honor roll of sorts -- "Honorable Mentions" -- indicating they are good on issues, but didn't receive the endorsement.  Sometimes they didn't submit a questionnairre, but the group feels they deserve consideration.  I'm just so-so with that practice.  It isn't really democratic and doesn't make the actual endorsement that valuable. 

Another example was Friday when the organization used their official email blast to inform us of an upcoming LGBT event for Hillary Clinton, the endorsed candidate.  Great.  That's a good use of resources.  A few lines down there was a listing for an Obama event.  Huh?

I'm not offended, but I am confused.  Is that organization's purpose to elect a slate of candidates selected by the members or is it to educate the general LGBT community on all Democratic candidates, information and events?  Either is fine I suppose, but trying to do both is sending people like me -- members -- conflicting signals.  

Here's my ultimate question -- why should I turn up for an endorsement process when it doesn't carry a lot of weight?  If you are going to promote candidates who were not endorsed, either as Honorable Mentions or by promoting their events, why should I care about the endorsement?  What value does it have? 

In my opinion, the slate should be the slate. Individuals should be free, of course, to promote whomever they choose, but the origanization should focus on getting folks from the slate elected and not dilute resources on candidates who are not on the slate.  No matter what the reason.  Maybe next year, they'll fill out the questionnaire or show up at an event.  But if Steel City can mobilize the local LGBT community to have an impact on a handful of elections, they have done their job as well as sent a message about our political power.

The endorsement of Steel City should be coveted by local Dems and something they have to earn.  We shouldn't settle for anything less. 

That being said, please consider joining the organization as Ledcat and I have done.  It is a long way to November.  In practical terms, you should be deciding if Luke Ravenstahl needs to do more than show up at PrideFest to earn your endorsement. 

View Article  PG poll on Marriage Protection Amendment
Through 4/15/2008, you can vote in the Post Gazette poll on the marriage amendment.

http://www.post-gazette.com/polls/?pollID=2463

As of tonight, 1,820 responses ..

A. Yes - 627 (34%)

B. No - 1136 (62%)

C. Don't care - 57 (3%)
View Article  The Amendment Hearing - Reports from the Field

Having read both the article in the Post-Gazette and the one in the Tribune-Review, I must say I came away with a sort of "it all came out equal in the end" impression -- namely, that it was a draw.

That's not what folks in the LGBTQ community are saying. Reports from various sources tell me that anti-amendment (the good guys) folks outnumbered pro-amendment (the bigots) folks by as much as 4:1.  I guess the stickers proved useful after all and I shouldn't have made fun of them.  Plus, there was cheering and boos unreported in the media.

Both newspapers start off with quotes from the christo-bigots. Here's the Trib:

"It advances a single purpose -- the preservation of Pennsylvania's marriage policy as understood throughout the existence of the Commonwealth -- by reaffirming the legal definition of marriage," said Deborah Hamilton of the coalition Pennsylvania for Marriage, reading a statement prepared by the Utah-based Marriage Law Foundation.

Now it is interesting to me that the paper makes a point that someone outside of Pennsylvania prepared the statement.  Heck, if Deborah can't string a coherent statement together on paper, why let her talk? 

The Trib does not quote any openly gay individuals or at least doesn't identify them as such. They also fail to quote any openly heterosexual individuals who fear for their marriages.  So it sort of is a draw.

The Post-Gazette starts off with the Catholic flavor of bigotry

"I come to you today as a pastor, a pastor with a desire to testify on behalf of one of the oldest institutions of humanity -- marriage itself," Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh told an audience of more than 200 people in the Gold Room.

Interesting side note. While almost every gay man over the age of 50 that I know seems to have scoop on which priests and bishops are gay <they don't necessary corroborate each other>, no one wants to claim Zubik.  They vehemently argue that he is heterosexual.  That's odd. 

Some gays are claiming that the PG bent over backward to be "fair and balanced" which could account for their failure to report on the turnout. 

Here's my favorite part of the article:

City Councilman Bruce Kraus yesterday described such a qualification and the entire move to ban civil unions as a "mark of shame."

He implored members of the Judiciary Committee and the Legislature to stand against the constitutional amendment.

"This need not become your mark of shame, but rather your call to courage," he said. "The courage to overcome fear and injustice; to leave behind moral cowardice."

Our call to courage.  And he didn't even have to send to Utah for help with that statement.  I mean, that's a theme the LGBTQ community should pounce upon. 

Speaking of courage, I hear that State Senator Jay Costa was the one asking tough questions of those in support of the amendment.  Was Fontana there?  Did he ask questions?  I'm concerned given his staff comments about receiving a lof of critical calls. 

Did you call you Senator?  It is certainly not too late.  Consider this a call to courage.  Speak out now while someone is still listening to your voice.  Outnumbering them 4:1 in socially conservative Pittsburgh -- where our 28 year old Mayor is anti-civil union for God's sake -- that's big news. 

Apparently, Senator Jane Orie left when the cameras left.  So she wants the film clips, but can't even bother to hear out what the others have to say?  Classy.

Here's what the gay media is reporting. 

View Article  Can we talk about Joan Rivers and the Lambda Foundation?

Yep, Joan is coming to town to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Lambda Foundation, Pittsburgh's LGBT philanthropy.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 8 PM.  The Renaissance City Choir will also be performing. 

Sounds kind of cool. 

One thing I learned while reading the press release is that Lambda has granted almost $1 million in the past 25 years.  Wow.  That's a pretty impressive amount of money considering most grants are about $1,500-$3,000.  Way to make the small monies count.

This is something I would go see if I can afford the tickets.  They go on sale Monday so I have no clue how much they cost. 

So, if you are a Joan fan, this is yet another really interesting thing to do during PrideWeek.  Isn't it great that we have multiple choices?

View Article  Obama: The Advocate Interview

I can't get past Obama inviting Donnie McClurkin on his swing throug the south tour.  I can't swallow his alliance with an avowed "ex-gay" determined to convert/heal me from my sexual orientation.  It is a very personal issue for me.

That being said, Obama has an interesting interview with The Advocate.  Everyone should follow the link and read it.  Now The Advocate isn't the same thing as real life engagement with the LGBTQ community.  But he does make good commitments.  Except for an inclusive version of ENDA.  He supports it, but doesn't think it can pass.  Sounds like the HRC to me. 

I could go on for paragraphs about how turned off I am by the Obama campaign and the majority of Obama supporters that I know.  But the important thing is that Obama gave an interview to a significant press outlet in the LGBTQ community and we should pay attention. 

Please read it.

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