Wednesday, February 6
by Sue on Wed 06 Feb 2008 09:45 PM EST
The Delta Foundation meeting took place on Tuesday evening. Reports range from 50-150 people in attendance. Some of the feedback I've heard:
My impression? They have good intentions and some significant resources. I would personally like to see the organization prioritize diversity and inclusivity among the leadership as well as the rank and file, but I certainly wish them well. It will be interesting to see what happens with the events and if they can take PrideFest to a new level -- is the event ready to take that leap?
One caveat. I dislike the rhetoric that builds up the new projects at the expense of those who came before. The GLCC took a bankrupt event and rejuvenated it. The GLCC board attempted to be diverse. The event wasn't perfect, but some of the "dawn of a new gay" rhetoric makes me cringe a bit. The GLCC is still our community center and if it isn't working for us, then we can make some changes (some are underway). I hope we don't toss out the baby with the bathwater in this regard.
Tuesday, February 5
by Sue on Tue 05 Feb 2008 01:51 PM EST
There's been quite a little exchange going on at the Tribune Review with readers from New York City with Pgh roots defending the homosexuals and folks from Jeannette and Squirrel Hill condeming us.
The latest round features a January 25 letter from New York explaining how anti-gay rhetoric impacts his family:
Kris Sanders of Squirrel Hill comes roaring back in full attack mode.
I don't know any married gay men who pretend to be husband and wife. That's silly rhetoric designed to drag a little genderbashing into the discussion.
Kris doesn't get that. We aren't pretending to be anything. Well, we pretend to be straight at work and school and church, but that's a matter of survival and self-preservation.
But my point is .... why are gay men from New York City filling the pages of the Tribune Review with this discussion, while the multitudes of local homos remain quiet? Why aren't local folks writing letters? You don't have to live in Greensburg! Pick up a pen. Respond to Kris Sanders pigeonholing your family as a homosexual lobby.
Monday, February 4
by Sue on Mon 04 Feb 2008 07:56 PM EST
Tomorrow, the Delta Foundation hosts the latest incarnation of a Pittsburgh Queer Town Hall Meeting. It is at 7 PM at One Mellon Center. You should go. Find out what's happening.
I have to work, so I'll be relying on you to report out to the community.
Wednesday, January 30
by Sue on Wed 30 Jan 2008 10:41 PM EST
As you recall from Tuesday, City Council voted 7-0 to support state legislation including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity/gender expression" into the classes protected under the PA Human Relations Act. Motznik and Payne were out of the room during the vote, hence the 7.
My sources tell me that both Motznik and Payne co-sponsored this resolution, as did all of the other members of Council except Ricky Burgess. Burgess did vote in favor of the legislation. So, I am told, it is practically the same thing as a unanimous endorsement.
I guess. What do you think?
I'm still waiting to hear what happened in Harrisburg with the marriage amendment. You know that's one thing that really frustrates me -- we get these "hurry, hurry, hurry" messages from the lobbying groups with very concrete deadlines by which we must take action. Then, days and days go by with no follow-up, not even a simple acknowledgement. In the information age, that's unacceptable. We need better infrastructure. There's no weekly, much less daily, gay media source in Western Pennsylvania. Websites aren't being updated and voice mail boxes are full. Email messages go unacknowledged.
Here's what I would have liked on Wednesday. A blast email:
That's long been a downside to local LGBT everything -- communication does not filter from the top decision makers on down to the everyday homo.
The good news is that Diane Gramley hasn't updated me, either.
Tuesday, January 29
by Sue on Tue 29 Jan 2008 04:59 PM EST
3:15 PM Leave office and drop promotional literature off at several local businesses. Buy King Cake to share with office on Wednesday.
4:00 PM Arrive at Hoi Polloi. Artfully distribute promotional literature. Meet Jessica's other brother. Realize lack of eating since dinner on Monday so order curried pumpkin soup and grilled cheese sandwich.
4:15 PM Finish eating. Soup is OMG.
4:30 PM Read text of HB 1400 that was helpfully sent to me by Dan Frankel's staff. Try to find exactly how religious organizations get exempted from discriminating against queer people. Get confused.
4:45 PM Order a coffee beverage to kick start analytical skills. Delicious. Still confused.
4:50 PM Email contacts in gay politics to ask for help. Email Frankel's people for explanation. Email high school buddy to set up coffee date.
4:54 PM Support local business and local agricultural industry by ordering muffin.
4:55 PM No response from contacts in gay politics. Still confused. Coffee beverage still very hot.
by Sue on Tue 29 Jan 2008 12:02 PM EST
From my ace source comes word that the legislation endorsing the statewide effort to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in the Human Relations Act passed 7-0. Motznik and Payne weren't in the room and didn't vote.
Deasy asked to be added as a cosponsor, offering that he was behind on his email as a reason for his delay in doing so. Huh.
Now here's the interesting part. Reverend Burgess voted in favor of the legislation because he's against discrimination AND because the bills have exemptions for religious entities. Its awesome when the law meant to protect people from discrimination lays out who gets the freedom "to" discriminate. Awesome.
I have a call into Dan Frankel's office for clarification on what those exemptions mean. More on that later.
Monday, January 28
by Sue on Mon 28 Jan 2008 08:30 PM EST
From our friends at Steel City Stonewall Democrats comes word that 7 out of 9 members of City Council have agreed to support the proposed "Will of Council" which essentially gives a big thumbs up to state legislation that would include "sexual orientation" and gender identity and expression" as protected classes under the Human Relations Act. These protections already exist within the City; this action underscores that those protections have strengthened the City
Two aren't supporting it. That would be Councilman Dan Deasy of District 2 (which includes the neighborhoods of Banksville, Chartiers City, Crafton Heights, Duquene Heights, East Carnegie, Eliott, Esplen, Fairywood, Mount Washington, Oakwood, Ridgemont, and Sheraden). That would also be Councilman Ricky Burgess of District 9 (includes the neighborhoods of East Hills, East Liberty, Homewood, Larimer, Lincoln/Lemingon/Belmar, And Point Breeze North).
I can only speculate as to why either man would choose to stand silently by while this opportunity passes. Reverend Burgess is a former board member of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force so it is inconceivable that he not be aware of the discrimination so many members of our community have faced in the housing market and on the job. Surely, he must have absorbed that the stigma of AIDS is deeply intertwined with the stigma of being gay and that a just society does not allow vulnerable individuals to go without a place to live or the means to feed their family simply because they don't fit in.
I believe unanimity is important on this issue. I have oft stated that Pittsburgh is a good place to be gay and that Pittsburgh's gay community strengthens the entire region. A hallmark of my belief rests on the legacy of this local piece of legislation that could. We have inherited a Mayor who does not believe in civil unions, but we do have the fortune to stand upon the shoulders of many activists who worked tirelessly to achieve this reform.
I'll be at work tomorrow when Council votes on this. Maybe someone can email me the outcome?
Friday, January 25
by Sue on Fri 25 Jan 2008 04:19 PM EST
Diane Gramley might be a bit worried about how awesome you guys have been about calling your State Senators to oppose the so-called protection of marriage amendment.
Here's what she shared with me today:
OK, so she shared it with her entire email distribution list. Having been part of that list for over two years, I sense a shift in tone. Gramley knows that people who might feel a little so-so on gay marriage are likely to be more sympathetic to extending civil protections in employment, housing and so forth to LGBT individuals and families.
So keep up the good work. If you haven't done so, call your Senator and ask s/he to oppose the Marriage Amendment. Ask them about the PA Human Relations Act.
Diane thinks you mean business. Prove her right.
by Sue on Fri 25 Jan 2008 01:56 PM EST
In today's Tribune Review, I found ample evidence of the need for our entire community and our allies to remain vigilant. It is a simple letter to the editor and I'm sure no one is surprised to read a pro-Catholic/anti-gay marriage letter there. Nonetheless, this letter isn't guised as some hysterical screed invoking horrific images of a thunderous God striking down the homo sinners.
For every such letter published, we must have multiple contacts with our elected officials and the general public. We need people to understand our issues and our lives and our stories.
Contact you senator today. You have to do it before Monday. It will take just a few moments of your time.
Now I'm going to enjoy a few chuckles at the expense of Mr. Merkovsky's oblivion with regard to marriage as an economic pact.