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View Article  Pittsburgh Gay Democrats Endorse Hillary Clinton

Steel City Stonewall Democrats have endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.  (That link won't be good forever -- Steel City doesn't archive their "news" very effectively.)  Interestingly, the group includes a list of LGBT issues that paint Clinton and Obama pretty much neck and neck. So how did Hillary come out ahead?  What is it about Hillary that swayed the Western PA gay? 

I don't believe for a minute that Obama will be good on gay issues.  Aligning himself with an avowed "ex-gay" to sway the Southern Baptist Belt voters does not bode well for homosexuals.  Now I'm also sure Hillary will throw us to the wolves if it becomes politically expedient (Hello, Barney Frank and ENDA -- who are we kidding here?), however at least we'll have good health care.  And choice.  And a lack of obesiance to the religious wingnuts. 

I don't think I can survive another month of mulling the whole thing over.  Every time I hear someone talk about Obama and "hope," I throw up a little in my mouth.  Someone this past weekend said to me that he doesn't trust anyone who talks like a preacher and I think that's accurate for me right now. 

But there's still a whole month.  I need to go lay down.

View Article  Cattivo and Dozen Bake Shop -- Lesbians on the Town

Saturday night, we finally had a chance to stop by Cattivo for some conversation and dinner with our friends, Emilia and Jessi.  We braved the weather and headed for Lawrenceville where we were early enough to snag a good parking spot.  Cattivo is a fine place for a bar.  It was clean and the service is really good.  The owner waited on our table and he was friendly and attentive.  The food was great.  I had a chicken gyro with homemade fries which were delish.  Ledcat had the pizza, something she had been craving all week, and she pronounced it excellent (high praise indeed).  Jessi and Emilia shared a strombolli which they enjoyed.  Overall, I'd stop back for a casual bar meal. 

We hung out for a few hours until the smoke got the best of me.  I probably wouldn't go to Cattivo during prime bar hours because even a half dozen smokers were too much, but I'd go back early in the evening to shoot some pool and enjoy those homemade fries. 

When we left, Ledcat and I discovered that the locks on my CRV were frozen.  It was quite cold outside.  A random lesbian whose identity I'll never know (I'll call her Xena) came over and advised me to pour water on the locks.  So I sent Ledcat in to get warm and tromped back up the bar to ask for a cup of water.  The barkeep was nice and understanding  ... offered me hot water and told me to come back in if we had any other problems.  Meanwhile, the owner was distributing candy to his regulars. 

The water worked!  I've never had that happen to me before. I'm presuming that all the sloppy rain got into the lock and caused the problem.  However, we were off to our next stop -- Lesbian Night at Dozen Bake Shop, also in Lawrenceville.  When we arrived (lock-freeing-water-in hand), there were two occupied tables and no lesbians in sight.  We snagged a couple of chocolate cupcakes made with Stout (yummy) and some hot beverages then sat back to soak up the ambiance.  It is a cute space, the food options are good and there are plenty of tables. 

I chatted up with Shmuell who was staffing Lesbian Night.  He laughed and said that obviously the store had to do more than pronounce Saturday as Lesbian Night to actually have it *be* Lesbian Night.  I pointed out that we had specifically come because of that so it worked, at least to the tune of about $10.00 in revenue.  I assured him we didn't expect him to produce lesbians upon demand. 

Dozen has been open about 6 weeks and business looks good.  If they had a lunch menu, I'd roll down once in awhile and meet Ledcat there (it is like 6 blocks from her office).  However, I can see adding Lesbian Night at Dozen Bake Shop to any dinner evening out in the East End.  A cupcake and a cup of coffee are much less expensive than dessert in any restaurant, plus it is good to support a company that wants to have Lesbian Night. 

My suggestions for Lesbian Night?  Send out a secret code via lesbian email and anyone who comes in with the secret code, gets a 2 cupcakes for the price of 1 (so they'll bring a friend).  Advertise Lesbian Night in the GLCC newsletter (with the BOGO offer for a limited time).  Bring in a lesbian singer songwriter and her faithful listeners will follow, even for just one evening.  Hire lesbians.  I also like to patronize stores that employ my fellow homosexuals. 

All in all, it was a nice evening.  Earlier in the day, I had purchased a few issues of the Buffy: Season Eight graphic novels (apparently, grown ups don't read comic books).  There's a big deal about Buffy hooking up with a woman in the latest issue, but I am forcing myself to read them in order. I'm missing Issue 8.  Anyone have a copy of that?  This is a new fetish for me.  I loved Buffy so Ledcat orchestrated a Buffy holiday for me, bringing in her family and mine to purchase 4 seasons of Buffy on DVD and a whole slew of graphic novels and omnibus issues.  I was in heaven.  However, this was my first visit to Phantom of the Attic and it was a bit like entering a completely foreign cultural setting.  The narrow walkway isn't really what I'd think of as appropriate for a group of customers who tend to sit on their asses reading comic books all day.  Am I stereotyping?  Maybe I'm just peevish because I never appreciate when overly large men continually brush up against my ass as I'm looking at merchandise.  Or perhaps I'm just trying to dissociate because I can see going in there to and buying Wonder Woman comic books, too.  And maybe the Runaways.  Plus, there's Batman. 

To wrap up, we got into the car without any trouble the second time around and headed for home (and Buffy).  Now I'm up sans an hour of sleep and ready to get rolling.  Our renovations are almost complete so we can start moving the jillion tons of belongings out of the bedroom and actually be able to see the floor again.  Yippee!

View Article  Clinton, Obama --- Shout out to David and Maria

Maria and David have come down on opposite sides in the Democratic Presidential race for the cure, er nomination.  Amazingly, they are still friends and both have pledged to support the nominee.

Anyway, I found this video over on AfterEllen.com and just had to share ... Maria and David, this is for you.


View Article  OUTrageous Bingo this weekend ...

I love this graphic.

View Article  The GLCC Newsletter is Out

We received our current issue of the GLCC News this past week after what seems like a long hiatus.  Is it just me or has it been awhile?  Maybe its just me.  I really look forward to this connection with the Community Center.  The professional quality just keeps getting better and I really like that.

Anyway, the organization is making strides in updating their use of technology with a brand new email list and they have posted some of the articles from the newsletter online here.  Still, I feel compelled to share.

Here's what I find most interesting ...

Ben Cook, GLCC Youth Program Coordinator has a nicely done piece about the GLCC's work with youth.  This program is, in my humble opinion, the hallmark of the organization.  Well, maybe second only to the Phone Line.  I think Ben is a great guy and does really good work.  Plus, he actively mentions kids who identify as queer or questioning.  This article also features the "Most Ironic Line" in the whole newsletter.  Tucked on page 3 after a feature on Celebrate the Night with absolutely no mention of any of the controversy surrounding probably THE most controversial gay happening of the entire year, Ben writes:

Unlike most GLCC programs that have careful planning periods leading up to large, publicized events (e.g., OUTrageous Bingo, PrideFest), the Youth Program is a mostly behind-the-scenes weekly commitment by the GLCC to the young people of our community.

Is it just me?  Do you see it?

There's a mention of PUMP's "40 Under 40" which includes Ben!  Go, Ben! 

The GLCC is hiring for two paid positions:  Community Resource & Information Specialist and a Grant Writer. 

Someone named Scott Itano (???) writes a nice piece about finding a LGBT-Friendly Physician.  He gives a shout out to two local practices.  I'm not a fan of one of them, so I'm going to instead give a shout out to my PCP for being so groovy.  I went to her simply because she replaced my former doctor who had left for greener pastures in Sewickley.  She was great -- she asked me a ton of LGBT sensitive questions.  Plus, she already knew the main side effects of the meds prescribed to me by other doctors.  Wow.  So if you need a great PCP, drop me a line and I'll give you her name.  Awesome.  Still, Scott's article is quite useful and one of the most neatest things in the newsletter.

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have a PCP who is gay friendly and medically reliable.  Awesome.

An old friend, Gary McKillop, focuses on the importance of donations and volunteers to the work of the Community Center.  It is interesting to me, but I'm a professional human servicey type.  I think these "asks" could be more powerful if they included anecdotes or somehow the "voice" of the people served.  I know I was always impressed by *something* if I spent more than 30 minutes in that building ... a phone call, a drop in visitor, a listing on the bulletin board, a volunteer's story.  You should do that -- go spend some time there and just soak up how important this resource is to the community.

There's write up of the GLCC's strategic planning direction.  I was disappointed that there is no mention of diversity, at least thus far.  I think that's a significant issue in terms of those who hold power and decision-making authority and those who are served (or not served) by those folks.  Still, I know that any mention of diversity raises hackles on certain necks ... so keep reading.  Or go read something else. 

There's a new GLBT Corporate Network which is working with local corporations.  Awesome news.  If you have a GLBT group at your workplace, you can hook up with them.  There's only a telephone number contact so email me and I'll send it to you.

If you read this blog, you should be a GLCC News subscriber.  Hopefully, they will be able to move toward an online published edition (with ads!  the ads are great!).  Maybe YOU could volunteer to help them do that.  Or volunteer on the Phone Line.  Or the Youth Group.  Make a donation.  Go for it! 

View Article  As the World Gayly Turns -- PG feature

Hey everybody!  Something involving a c-file got all screwed up and our blog has been down for a few days.  However, thanks to my trusty bloghost Geoff at Radio Left, things are shipshape again.

Today's Post-Gazette included an AP story on the current gay storyline on soap opera, As The World Turns, featuring a young gay male couple, Luke and Noah.  Luke is the son of two of the most prominent families in Oakdale, Illinois - the Snyders and the Walshes.  Noah is new to town, but has already distinguished himself with a homicidal military father and a long-lost mother-turned-madam.  Said mother was killed by the homicidal father.  Said father also tried to kill Luke, who ended up paralyzed in the process.  Fast forward a few months, Luke is walking fine and enjoying mucho macho hugs with his lover boy. 

What he isn't enjoying is any on-air kissin'.  Fans aren't pleased and suspect that company bigwigs at Proctor and Gamble are avoiding the face to face time to appease their homobigot viewers.  It is an interesting twist for a soap that has developed the most realistic and sensitive gay character in daytime history.  It has been infused with soap dramatics, but Luke's coming out was handled really quite well. 

[PG Spokeswoman] Tharrington laughed when asked about any behind-the-scenes debates over showing intimacy between the two men. "You wouldn't even believe," she said.

Producers are committed to telling the story of the romance, she said, adding she hoped the audience would recognize what "As the World Turns" is showing, instead of just what it isn't.

"We feel like we're doing so much right here," she said. "We're telling a story that no one else is doing. We're telling a story that has really engaged our audience."

Well, that's just bullshit. You want credit for pandering to perceived homophobia(apparently, no one is formally organizing the nuts)????  Sure the story is good, but neutering two perfectly healthy young men for the sake of being "unoffensive" is pretty darn well, offensive.  As for a story noone else is telling, that's not quite true.  All My Children's Bianca had a multi-year lesbian story, including a love affair with a transwoman.  It was typically dramatic and had its flaws, but it certainly told a new story.

People aren't clamoring for full frontal nudity and sex scenes, after all.  They just want you not to pan to the mistletoe during the kiss.  P&G is just being silly. 


View Article  WTAE defends transinclusive coverage

In this week's City Paper, WTAE defends their coverage of a story involving the river rescue of a woman who happened to be trans.  They, along with just about every other local media outlet, were taken to task by local activists and allies for making the gender identity of the individual being rescued the story in lieu of the rescue itself.   In WTAE's case:

Over at WTAE, Janelle Hall reported: "The waters of the Allegheny started to rise and trapped that person. Ninety minutes into the rescue, paramedics pulled a 27-year-old transgender woman to safety."

Setting aside how incredibly stilted that sounds, I fail to see why the fact that Rebecca Hare was a transwoman had any bearing on her rescue.

Here's how WTAE's Roberta Petterson responds.

We came up with a plan aimed specifically at not sensationalizing the story and we executed that plan. In hindsight, we could have done some things differently, like edit some of the soundbites with rescuers, but we felt they helped tell a more complete story. Overall, our primary concern was finding a way to tell the story without focusing on Hare's "trans-ness," to use a quote from the University of Pittsburgh professor cited in your story.

Petterson fails to explain how the fact that Rebecca is a transwoman tells a complete story.  I don't believe WTAE contextualized her plight as a result of her identity as a transwoman.  In fact, Petterson clearly states that they didn't even interview Rebecca.  I haven't noted any follow up investigations on the plight of transwomen and transmen who are homeless in Pittsburgh.  What complete story did they tell? 

Each evening, the local news stations report on rescues and I have yet to see anyone identified as a "27 year old heterosexual, biological female" unless it has any direct relevance to the story.  Believe me.  I would notice any aberration from the "business as usual" coverage that presumes every yinzer and yinzerette in da burgh is straight as an arrow until it become sensational to drag out the stereotypical homo interviewees, ie. wealthy white gay men.

I like Roberta, but I still think WTAE dropped the ball on this story.  If they had simply reported on a story about a woman trapped in rising rivers, that would be fine.  The media created the story within the story. It doesn't matter how much effort you put into the decision -- Hall's report was flawed.  Rather than get defensive, it would behoove them to reach out to local advocates and experts to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Reach out to Persad and the GLCC and, yes, to the University of Pittsburgh professor quoted in the story (who happens to be a nationally renowned transadvocate). 

Hopefully, WTAE and other local media outlets will more forward as we gear up for PrideFest and focus on providing some LGBT-positive coverage for the planned festivities.  I know the temptation to highlight the stereotypes will be there, but surely a portion of the coverage could show some transpositive images as well.  Here's hoping.


View Article  Myron Cope - the Lesbian Connection

Yoi.  Ledcat caught the story on her way out the door this morning.  God rest his soul. 

There's a much loved family connection to Myron Cope.  My great-grandfather, Gil Remley, was the sports editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (and the business manager for the Homestead Grays).  Family lore has that he gave Myron his first job in the print media.  Myron's book "Double Yoi!" tells the story a bit differently, but does include a shout out to Da.

I met Myron at a work dinner speech function thing.  I told him I was Gil Remley's great-granddaughter and he laughed uproariously.  I hoped he would spontaneously offer me Steeler tickets, but alas no. 

I wonder what he would think about my association with John McIntire?

Rest in peace.

View Article  Lesbians MIA?

What a week.  I'm supposed to be on vacation.  So far, I've spent 8 hours in the ER with my grandma, 4 more hours in a skilled care facility (she's going to be fine).  I've had contractors zipping, sawing and hammering away for about 16 hours.  I spent 12 hours christening our new bathroom due to a very unpleasant encounter with a smoothie.  Then I spent another 16 hours asleep.  On top of the stuff we moved out from the room with the contractors.  I've spent at least 100 zillion hours on the telephone with various family member, the skilled care facility, home health care, the bank, and anyone else you can think of.  Literally, I'm on the cell phone and my home phone rings or vice versa.  I'm exhausted.  It is Wednesday.

I need to get back to work to get some rest. 

View Article  Local Presbyterian Minister Again Faces Charges for Lesbian Wedding

From today's Post-Gazette:

A Presbyterian minister whose 2006 church trial for conducting a lesbian marriage ceremony ended with dismissal on a technicality says she has again been brought up on the same charges.

The Rev. Janet Edwards, parish associate at the inter-denominational Community of Reconciliation in Oakland, said that an investigating committee of Pittsburgh Presbytery informed her Monday that it will pursue the case against her for the 2005 ceremony.

The Rev. Doug Portz, acting pastor to Pittsburgh Presbytery, said he was not allowed to discuss church trials.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) says clergy may bless same-sex couples only if the ritual cannot be mistaken for a marriage ceremony. But Rev. Edwards has never denied that she conducted a marriage ceremony.

"I believe with my whole heart that my decision to perform Nancy [Cole] and Brenda's [McConn] wedding was faithful to my pastoral call," she said.

This was not unexpected.  As we reported in early march, a formal complaint had been issued or reissued one might say. Last time around, the charges against Edwards went nowhere based on technicalities.  Persistent anti-gay forces within the church have soldiered on, determined to pin the church down on gay issues.  See here for previous coverage on this.

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