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View Article  RIP Miss Mona

Yesterday, I thought, was a tremendously sad day.  Our beloved Mona who had fought cancer for 10 months and three days reached her final day.  All the way to the vet, I kept hoping there was some alternate explanation, but no.  We put her to sleep and I have all the usual comforting thoughts about her being "across the Rainbow Bridge" with her best friend Jack and her beloved veterinarian, John.  She only had one bad day out of 10 months and three days and that wasn't painful, just her way of telling me it was time to let her go. 

Today is a tremendously more sad day.  There are reminders everywhere, in the most unexpected ways.  The thump of her jumping off the bed.  I didn't hear it today.  Playing "Our Lady of the Bedcovers" (she made a cute Madonna) when I make the bed.  The 300 minutes in the backyard deciding exactly which spot needed a spot-o-Mona.  Her unparalled excitement, just quivering with anticipation, at the leftover canned catfood -- even if the cats were still eating the pre-leftover portion. 

She fought a really good fight.  She kept her weight up (even gaining a few pounds) through the whole chemotherapy.  She was her usual self 99% of the time.  She visited with her goof friends, Brenda and Michelle, last Friday and snagged some salmon. 

Mona was a stray dog that had been hit by a car and taken to the vet clinic where John worked.  Her hip was broken, but not her spirit.  She came to be a foster with my family while I was in grad school and living with my parents.  She "moaned and groaned" a lot because she was crated -- hence, Mona.  She was a very vocal dog.  I came home from class one day to find our family dogs locked in the backyard and Mona laying on my Dad as they ate some Saltines and watched the Cooking Channel.  She was there to stay.  And she never got over her fetish for saltines.  Thanks, Dad. 

Miss Mona had a brief career as an advice columnist and then became a blogger http://pghmona.blogspot.com.  My dog behavior friend urged me to keep blogging about the adjustments of the other pets.  So I'll try to do that.  Amadeus and Alexander are confused.  I let them sniff her collar and my clothes that I wore during the procedure.  I know that gives them information, but they really are quite lost.  Mona was definitely top dog.  Debby (behavior friend) doesn't think either one will want to assume leadership so we are hoping that Simon Le Bon, the cat, is up to the challenge.

Considering he stretched out on the dog bed and wouldn't share with Deus, we might be on to something.  Simon has now taken over Mona's bed in the corner of the room.

I had Miss Mona for nearly 10 years.  She was the brightest, bestest dog ever.  I hope everyone experiences that type of love and loyalty.  I gotta go now. 

Miss Mona   1997 - 2008

View Article  Rock on, Joe Brandtner of Beechview

I called my State Senator's office yesterday (Fontana) and discovered that I was the first person to thank him for voting against SB 1250, the Anti-Gay Family Amendment.  The first person.  What the heck is up with that?  Why aren't people calling?  Actually, plenty of people, just people from the christo-bigot flavored variety, are calling. 

I just wrote everyone in my address book and asked them to call.  It seems so easy to brush off making that call ... the threat of the legislation passing seems ridiculous.  But it isn't.  The threat is very real.  And if you are or love someone who is in an unmarried heterosexual relationship, the threat is real for you, too. 

Joe Brandtner of Beechview took a stance.  I hope he made a phone call, too.

I am a gay man, 59 years of age. My partner and I have been together for 40 years. We are and have been taxpaying citizens. We deserve the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts. Yet we remain second-class citizens, unable to enjoy the same legal rights of marriage in this commonwealth.

I am old enough to remember the Stonewall riots where gays and lesbians fought back against the New York Police Department and their campaign of harassment. And, they won!

I remember the gay and lesbian boycott of anything associated with Anita Bryant, who so vehemently campaigned against gays.

Now Pennsylvania senators have moved to enact a constitutional amendment to restrict the rights of gays and lesbians to have equal protection under the law in marriage. ("Panel OKs Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage," March 19). This is an outrage to any gay or lesbian taxpaying citizen. Lawmakers who support this obvious religiously backed amendment do not understand the constitutional right of the citizens to have freedom from religion.

These lawmakers seem to be traitors to the constitution of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Therefore it is time for a gay liberation army to rise up, to defend the constitutional rights of lesbian and gay citizens in Pennsylvania and to take the rights that are being denied! We are second-class citizens who are obligated to pay first-class taxes! Therefore we endure taxation without representation!

Rise up, gay Pennsylvanians! Call for national boycotts on anything Pennsylvanian! Do what is necessary to gain fully equal rights in this supposed commonwealth!

I like it.  He sound angry and fed up, as well he should be.  Our legislators are trying to distract voters from real issues by tapping into fear based bigotry about sexual orientation and many, many religious leaders are going along for the ride.  It is a clear agenda of discrimination AND AND AND AND ... a DISTRACTION from what is really important to your family ... schools, taxes, health care, infrastructure, violence. Oh, and the economy. 

How can it be that no one has called Senator Fontana's office? 

View Article  Zen Buddhist Priest Opposes SB 1250

Short, but sweet.  Have you written your letter to the editor, yet?

Senate Bill 1250, the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment, is in direct violation of my religious beliefs as a Zen Buddhist priest ("Panel OKs Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage," March 19).

I am a strong advocate of marriage and live under a strict ethical code (which predates Christianity). That code of ethics guides my actions toward kindness, compassion and generosity and not toward anger, hatred and bigotry.

Our commonwealth was organized for the benefit of all its citizens. It is time we take down (not put up) the signs saying "No gays allowed."

Head Priest
Zen Center of Pittsburgh


View Article  Iraq and Shield: City Papers Homos It Up This Week

I love when there's good gay stuff in the City Paper.  It reminds me that journalists with actual journalistic street cred pay attention to our community and find us interesting and informative.

I fully expected the paper to cover Doug Shields' showdown with Sally Kerns. I was kinda disappointed they gave Diane Gramley so many inches to spew her bigotry and that they didn't talk to any of us gay people about the whole situation, but this isn't the first time I've disagreed with editorial decisions about content.  And, on the plus side, Gramley's own words pretty much prove my point that she's an idiot, without any homosexual accents.

To my intrigue, the CP's Melissa Meinzer wrote a really informative piece about Pitt's Rainbow Alliance providing support for Iraqui individuals who are LGBTQ.

So Hili formed Iraqi LGBT, a group dedicated to providing safe houses for LGBT people living in the war-torn nation. And the University of Pittsburgh's LGBT group, the Rainbow Alliance, is hoping to help.

The group, which recently had to close three of its five houses because of financial constraints, provides safe group housing, food and medical care for LGBT people living in Iraq. Many of the residents it serves need medical treatment for HIV or gender transitioning.

Sometimes it takes such a smack in the face to make us appreciate that dealing with Gramley and Kerns is the worst I've contended with recently.  And underscore the imperative for us to step up and demand leadership on LGBTQ issues, both local and international. 

I'm hoping all of you are taking a page from the Rainbow Alliance's book and making some calls to your elected officials about marriage amendments. 



View Article  PA Senate Judiciary Committee Votes OK on Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Well, we lost this round.  Our local allies, Jay Costa and Wayne Fontana, voted no, but even with Republican Jane Earll they couldn't prevent the "marriage protection" amendment from being voted out of committee.  The legislation heads for the Appropriations Committee and then to the floor of the full Senate.

Here's how the vote went down.  Note that Jane Orie went with the bigots, even though she didn't cosponsor the amendment.

yes -- lisa boscola, john gordner, jane orie, jeff piccola, john rafferty, mike stack, barry stout, M.J. white, stewart greenleaf, joe scarnati
no -- patrick browne, jay costa, jane earll, wayne fontana

I have had a really tough day at work so coherent commentary may be out of reach for this lesbian.  When I think of the outrage over the Sally Kern hate-spew, I can't help but wonder if each of those people calling for her resignation took the time to weigh in on this particular issue right here in Pittsburgh.  Right here.

Cause guess what?  Last time around, our Senators played political footsie to have their homo-friendly appeal and keep their traditional Catholic values voters happy.  I'm guessing not much has changed.  This amendment calls for a ban on civil unions which may have repercussions for heterosexual couples as well as reach far beyond marriage to impact health care decisions and estate decisions and so forth.  This apparently is the deal breaker for the Republi-bigots.  Strip out the civil union language and they take their toys and go home. 

It disgusts me that we have so few people willing to just say  "hey its wrong."  Instead, we have to play games and engage in the same old, same old.  I am so tired of being a political football. 

I'm just really tired.

View Article  Gertrude Stein Club of Pittsburgh Announces Endorsements

The Gertrude Stein Club of Greater Pittsburgh is a non-partisan political club.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
      district 19    Jake Wheatley
                 21    Brenda Frazier
                 23    Dan Frankel
                 24    Joseph Preston
                 27    John Paul Jones
  U.S. Congress
    district  14     Mike Doyle
                18     Beth Hafer
  Pa. State Treasurer
                Rob McCord
  Delegates to the Democratic Convention committed to Hillary Clinton
        Sylvia C.Wilson
        Colleen Cooke
        Dan Frankel
  President of the U.S.A.
            Hillary Clinton

View Article  Flash the Dyke Salute, Get Free Cupcakes

As we've mentioned, local eatery Dozen Bake Shop has launched an official Lesbian Night on Saturdays.  Your faithful correspondents suggested they take it up a notch by offering a Buy One, Get One Free cupcake deal to lesbians with a special code or something.

Owner James emailed us to discuss and that's when we remembered ... the dyke salute.

Created by lesbian-gal-about-town Ehrrin, author of Now That's Good Eatin, the dyke salute is a queerified version of the Girl Scout salute.  The only time I've seen it was courtesy of a certain local rocker at the Square Cafe.

But the dyke salute has risen again AND is irrevocably tied to cupcakes.  What could be better?   

So, the next time Saturday night finds you in the East End, swing down Butler Street, flash the salute and enjoy the yumminess.

I am lobbying James to create a thematic cupcake recipe in honor of Lesbian Night.  My favorite?  The Salute which tastes like Thin Mint cookies. That would be awesome.

It is really nice to end my week on something queer-positive, even if it is just a local business owner saying he wants to reach out to lesbians.  After all the hullabaloo with what's her name in Oklahoma and the onslaught of campaign workers here in Pittsburgh, I am grateful that someone wants to give me free cupcake just for being a dyke.  Nice.

View Article  Pgh City Council Prez Response to Rep. Sally Kern
h/t  Slag Heap
Representative Sally Kern
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Room 332
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Ms. Kern:
    Today I listened to your remarks (http://www.victoryfund.org/listening) related  to your views on gay, lesbian, bisexual and  transgendered people (GLBT).  I was thoroughly disgusted by what you had to say and astonished that someone who presumably took an oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the laws of this nation would espouse hateful, bigoted and un-American views.
     I sit here in my office and only wonder who else might be on your "less equal" list.  I also wonder, if we should follow your illogic, what it is we should do about this "threat" to the nation?  Round them up and put them in extermination camps?  How would you have us "cut out this cancer" assuming we do away with our Constitution and Bill of Rights and host of other civil rights we enjoy in this free and democratic nation?   Of course you always have the option to relocating to a country that embraces polices of persecuting those who are "less equal."   But then AGAIN, you to may run the risk of being persecuted yourself. 
    Your remarks, whether you know it are not, provided an incredible display of ignorance and intolerance.  You incite others to cause harm and even death to those who are of the GLBT community.  New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned his office for far less an offense than the ones you committed in your remarks.  I would hope that you too would recognize your offense and do likewise - resign.  
    I find no place at the table for a public policy maker who would espouse hate, discrimination and bigotry.  Your remarks amply illustrate why you are unfit for office and the honor of representing the best interests of all law abiding people in your legislative district.    
    As the President of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh, I require an apology from you for your senseless, mean spirited attack on one my colleagues and the Council as a whole.  I would think, should you take the time to reflect upon your hateful, bigoted words.  An apology is also in order to the GLBT community, their families and their friends.  Short of a a miracle, I do not expect that you will.  I find persons of your ilk completely blind to your ignorance.     
    I any event, I would hope that the fair-minded people of Oklahoma will disavow your position in this matter and take the matter up with your state human relations and ethics commission.  I would also ask that your legislature censure you and all other hate mongers who truly are a threat to peace loving and law-abiding Americans everywhere.
Douglas A. Shields
City of Pittsburgh
President of Council ~ 5th Council District
Room 510 City County Building
414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412 255 8965   Fax 412 255 0820
View Article  Ellen Takes Sally Kern to Task

I just had to share these two videos.  First, Ellen calls out Sally Kern for her comments.  Then, Ellen and Wanda Sykes (who i l-o-v-e) have a little chat.  Enjoy!



View Article  Why an Anti-gay State Rep from Oklahoma matters to your average Pittsburgh Homo

You've probably heard the story.  2 Political Junkies broke it here in the Burghosphere.  To sum it up, Oklahoma Republican and State Rep Sally Kern made some inflammatory comments before a GOP audience, including the rather silly claim that homosexuals have taken over Pittsburgh City Government.  

The rest of her comments are the same outrageous claptrap our foes have been spewing for years.  She's just up front about her bigotry.  People are up in arms.  Ellen DeGeneres stepped out of character and went political on her show in response to Kern.  Good for Ellen. 

You know who isn't so upfront about their bigotry?  Members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House who refused to stand against the so called "Marriage Protection" Amendment in 2006.  I've blogged over and over about this. I've been condemned by gay politicos for criticizing our "allies" in the Senate who used some slick maneuvers to vote for it and vote against it.

This Amendment hurts our community.  It also hurts the heterosexual community -- I'm sure each of you knows at least one unmarried heterosexual couple who have a family.  It is an unnecessary, hate-laced bill and next week it comes up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Sally Kern obviously feels she is politically safe to state that gays are a bigger threat to American society than international terrorism.  She can say that in her state, defend her Free Speech and not worry about getting herself reelected.  That's Oklahoma.

What about here in Pennsylvania?  Does your Senator have the electoral freedom to embed hate and intolerance in our state constitution?  S/he might.  Have you called to let them know otherwise?  Have you taken the five minutes necessary to get their phone number, make the call and share your thoughts?  How would you feel if s/he said your child poses a threat greater than terrorism because he's gay? 

There's no excuse for this silly legislation to get out of committee.  I believe the 2000 Census showed that there are 25,000 gay couples in Pennsylvania.  That's 50,000 votes, give or take a few who aren't registered in our Commonwealth. 

Kern's claim that Pittsburgh government is overrun with homos is absurd.  I'm sure Bruce Kraus isn't losing any sleep (and has been accused of much worse in the name of his sexual orientation).  But he's doing his part. 

Are you?

Click here if you have five minutes to do something constructive about the Sally Kern's of the world.

ps:  In a fun ironic twist, Chris Potter points out that the AFA of PA has changed Sally's name to Kerr.  I have been permanently banned from the AFA of PA email list (imagine) so I didn't get that information.  Ah, that Aunt Sally of mine ... :-)

pps:  Multiple people have commented on my lack of posting on this topic.  The good news is that I got a promotion at work!  Hurrah.  The bad news is that I seem to be working a lot more 12 hour days.  And, frankly, this just didn't move me to blog.  Until I realized how few people that I know are making those legislative calls ...

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