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

Bookmark and Share
Year Archive
View Article  Luke + Gay Community = Marriage Made in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh wants to host the world's largest wedding vow renewal ceremony and the homos are invited!  On February 10, 2008, 700 couples will participate in the world record setting event.  Including gay couples.  According to event organizers, the Guiness folks will accept any US or International marriage certificate. 

It costs $30 per couple to participate. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the ceremony is at 7:30 p.m. The secular ceremony will be performed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The Guinness world record for a group vow renewal is 272, set Sept. 16 in Sydney, Australia. To qualify, each couple must present a copy of their valid wedding certificate, which will be kept by Guinness officials.

Participating couples will receive a champagne and cake reception, gift bags and the chance to win prizes.

Yes, you read that right.  Mayor Ravenstahl is going to remarry upwards of 700 people.  Including gay couples.  Only a few months after he went on the record as opposing both gay marriage and gay civil unions in a televised WQED debate.. 

How the heck do you go from opposing any legalization of gay relationships to welcoming us to the MacDaddy of wedding ceremonies? 

You might recall there was a big secret meeting between Luke and LGBTQ leaders on election eve.  Do you think they were picking out china patterns?  Maybe deciding on a floral arrangement?  I can't tell you because the silence from our "leadership" has been deafening. 

Do you think they'll be going to the chapel?  More importantly, do I have to buy them a gift or has Luke taken care of that? 

Interesting to note that the ceremony has been secularized.  Do you think there was a flap about including individuals who are in marital relationships without the benefit of a legal wedding certificate?  Gay or non-gay alike. 

Does one homophobic Mayor trump a whole flock of homophobic religious chaps? 

View Article  Changes to the blogroll

A few additions:

Pleasantly Furious

Revelations - Dr. Goddess

Pittsburgh Pist-Gazette

And one farewell.  Pittsburgh's Gay Blog has shut down.  Best wishes to Mozarti and here's hoping other members of the local LGBT community might try to fill those shoes. 

View Article  Giant Eagle's War on Christmas?

(h/t Pam's House Blend)

Apparently, Giant Eagle hates Christmas and has taken active steps to stomp it into oblivion.  This according to the Liberty Counsel's latest "Friend or Foe" list of retailers who adopt a secular holiday advertising approach.  Liberty Counsel bills itself as a public interest First Amendment law firm.  Founder Mat Staver claims that retailers like Giant Eagle are profiting from Christmas while "pretending that it doesn't exist." 

Giant Eagle's sin?  Using the phrases"holiday cards" and "holiday season" with no mention of the word Christmas. 

Other retailers on the Naughty List include Bloomingdale's which has the audacity to mention a Hannukah card, but not Christmas cards on their website.  And there you have a clear example of the hideous, Jesus-flavored intolerance these wingnuts use to bash down anyone who gets in the way of their theocratic wetdream.  This isn't about religious freedom at all. God forbid a retailer acknowledge a Jewish holiday without the caveat that the "real" reason for the season is to cram a red and green bedecked whitified baby Jesus down our throats with a side of tinsel wrapped salvation.

Excuse me while I choke on the hypocrisy of the hyped up Christo-obsession with holiday advertising, while sincere believers of all faiths go about the business of feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, clothing the naked and comforting the afflicted.  Christmas or not.

Here's the complete list

I'm heading for Giant Eagle to pour my meager pittance into the coffers of a corporate monolith that hasn't (yet) capitulated to the tyrrany of Christofascism. As soon as I finish my coffee. 

Please note that the author of this blog identifies as a Catholic-flavored Christian (for now) and believes that the number of sincere believers far outweighs the opportunistic, publicity hounds who would willingly abuse any faith system at hand to further their own power-hungry agenda.  She deplores, however, how many of the sincere believers suppress their humanism to satisfy their inner-craving for something to believe in and she wishes more said believers would seek something to think about. 

View Article  PA Court Says Expansion of Hate Crimes Law Unconstitutional

Not much time to blog tonight, but you should know about this.  The Commonwealth Court struck down language that expanded hate-crimes legal protections for persons based on sexual orientation and physical disability.  Repent America and beloved psycho-Christian Michael Macavage took the Legislature to task for adding these protections onto an agricultural bill.

Here's what Pam has to say about it:

You know what?  Macavage has a good point.  They snuck this legislation onto an unrelated bill instead of passing a good law on its own merits.  It is unfortunate that the wingnuts like Macavage and Diane Gramley get to crow about their "triumph" in denying hate crime protections to people with disabilities and people who are homosexual, however this was a poorly planned maneuver. 

Follow the link to Pam to see the original text of the decision. 

View Article  When Lesbians Don't Weep

Early Saturday morning, my friend of 23 years died.  He was 41 years old.  I received the call Saturday and I cried all the way home from the training I was co-facilitating.  Note: co-facilitators come in handy when your friends die. 

Out of the past four days, I've cried about three hours give or take.  I didn't cry when I saw his family.  I didn't cry at the funeral home.  I didn't cry at the funeral itself.  I didn't even cry the two nights I spent alone in his house taking care of his beloved pets.  I didn't cry when I was packing up some of his pet supplies to send them down to his mother's house.  I didn't cry when his mother realized we bought dog food instead of flowers. 

23 years would seem to warrant a few more tears.  Instead, I'm hoping his mother might let me adopt one of his dogs with whom I fell in love this weekend.  I'm also hoping I'm not going to have a breakdown and burst into tears this week in the midst of a meeting or teaching or an interview. 

This is a grief I've never known.  I have lost older relatives and acquaintances of my age.  I've been filled with anger over needless, senseless death and murder.  But I've never lost someone with whom I have shared so many years, so many important pieces of my life. As I sat in his livingroom trying to comfort his poor confused animals, a tape of 23 years kept playing in my mind.  I can't imagine walking through this world without this dear, talented, and amazing man. 

And I'm still not crying.

View Article  HandMade Arcade: Cool Crafts or Conspicuous Creation?

Ledcat and I rolled into Point Breeze today for the Handmade Arcade which is giant fair of handmade stuff held at Construction Junction.

Last year, I enjoyed the event with a few reservations, most notably about my number one bitch -- gigunda baby strollers.  This year, the event was spread over two days and we intentionally waited until Sunday afternoon which was a major good decision on our part.  We caught a decent parking space, nimbly side stepped the rude folks chit chatting at the front entrance and hit the tables. 

I have to admit there was a ton of cool shit.  Purses, wallets, headbands, tee shirts, belts, lotions, potions and more.  We had a nice time just browsing the tables and chatting with the vendors. 

We found a couple of gifts and I bought some soap for myself.  Ledcat's mom told us to stop buying bottles of shower gel because of the plastic.  So I'm going to try and go back to a bar of soap.  I hate soap slime so this will be a real test for me.  I bought soap that smells like cedar so it will sort of be like showering in my closet.  Whatever. 

Great improvements include expanding to two days (see above).  Bringing in the Franktuary to provide sustenance was stellaer.  There's something about a fair that demands a hotdog so I was glad to get one from a cool place.  With chips.  Something to think for next year -- a few tables so we could stand and put our stuff down and chow down quickly.  Instead, we improvised with a recycling bins and the unusually large pockets in my sweatshirt. Think tables. Also, CoCos Cupcakes from Shadyside was there.  Delish-us.  I bought one to eat and a half dozen to take to my parents house for dinner. The map was helpful. 

I was a little disappointed that so many of the crafts were duplicative and rather frou frou. I wrote this last year:

Here's a question I have.  The article in the PG ran the following quote from an event organizer and I must be on slow-mo because I just don't get it:

"Its genesis was in alternative culture, and wanting to produce something just for the act of producing it, and to bring an artistic sensibility to that act of producing it," said another Arcade organizer, Elizabeth Prince, 31.

If we produce for the sake of production, then aren't we contributing to a consumption culture?  Or is the assumption that things are produced NOT for consumption necessarily?  But how could you afford to do it? 

Event organizer, Gloria Forouzan responded in the comments section:

I believe that what my co-organizer, Elizabeth was saying in her quote, (??wanting to produce something just for the act of producing it??), is that indie crafters make crafts for the sheer joy of creating beautiful/funny/odd things with their hands.

I'm still not convinced.  I understand that it is fun to create (or recreate) something, but I'm still wondering about the utility factor.  Ledcat pointed out that you can't exactly make useful items such as kitchen utensils.  But, I pointed out, you can make pot holders and placemats and napkins and dish towels.  Something we use on a regular are throws for our sofa.  Imagine a throw constructed from blue jeans with cool patches or stencils.  We would buy something like that and use it.  It just seems that making cool pretty useful things would be higher on the chain of socially conscious actions than cool pretty stuff you can really only look at. 

Is there such a thing as conspicuous creation?

However, it was fine to attend and pick up some soap and a certain item that just might be a gift for Ledcat.  We bumped into some gals about town.  We had some amusing experiences with the dumpster divers when we dropped off our recycling.  I don't think someone diving into a dumpster to go through discards should push aside someone bringing more discard offerings.  Kind of like biting the hand that feeds you.  Apparently, there was a run on nursing school handbooks from the University of Pittsburgh.

One of the vendors told me that only 10 or so of the vendors were local.  What?  Can that be true?  She told me about another fun sounding event coming up -- I Made It! which seems to be this floating semi-regular event featuring all local DIYers.  It is coming up on Saturday December 8 in Homestead.  That is the worst possible week of the year for me, but the event goes until 8 PM so it might be doable. 

Still, only ten local vendors?  That just doesn't seem balanced.  Someone fill me in. 

If I'm going to do soap, it would be nice for it to be yinzer soap.  :-)

I would say go to Handmade Arcade next year.  Support your local crafters who are doing their part to reuse and spread a little beauty in the world.  Have a hot dog and a cupcake (or two). 

View Article  The loss of a friend

Yesterday, I received word that a long-time friend had passed away early in the morning.  I was stunned because I hadn't realized that he was that critically ill.  I was horrified because I had let so much of our contact lapse over the past few years.  As the day progressed, I was anguished as an array of gut-wrenching memories flooded over me. 

John and I have been friends for 23 years, since his mother moved next to my parent's home.  He was in college, but he took the time to befriend a rather lonesome 14 year old.  He helped me and several neighborhood kids get a decent part-time job at the foodcout he managed. He listened to my woes and as I grew up, we grew closer.  Throughout college, graduate school, the missionary years and back to graduate school again, he was there.  For two entire years while I plugged away at my MSW, we had a standing date for Chinese Food and a movie on Friday nights. 

He knew I was a lesbian many years before I did, but never pushed the matter.  He simply took me along to Pridefest, gay picnics, cruises and gay bingo.  I had a blast and it was that familiarty that made my own coming out process very smooth. 

He emailed me recently and told me to give him a call.  I put it off because I was busy and it would occur to me at times that weren't convenient for a long phone call.  I kep thinking  "Oh, this Sunday I'll give him a call," but that Sunday never came.

23 years is a long time to have a friend.  After a sad afternoon and evening with his family and his beloved pets, Ledcat took me for something to eat and I just wept in the booth. For him, for me, for his family and friends, for his pets who don't understand, for the pet who won't be treated by him. 

John was always there and it is difficult to imagine a world where that isn't the case.  He's so real in my mind and memory right now -- like a montage on a soap opera or a television show. 

I'm terrified that as that montage starts to play less frequently, he won't be so real to me. 

I have two other friends that I haven't called in awhile.  You'd think I'd have rectified that by now, but I'm afraid it will be me weeping inconsolably about John. 

He wouldn't approve, but he would understand. 

View Article  My Holiday Shopping

This year, I want the Complete First Season of Maude on DVD.  Last year, I got the Complete First and Second Seasons of Family. 

I remember being scared of Maude as a child.  She seemed kind of mean and the long flowing 70's frocks struck terror in my child heart.  But she also seemed cool because I didn't know a lot of women who were so outspoken.  Most of the mom's in my neighborhood were repressed alcoholic stay at home moms.  They, too, scared me.  I don't think any mother in my neighborhood came within a mile of the milk-n-cookie, warm-n-fuzzy, hugs-n-kisses kind of mom.  That's probably why I was so drawn to dysfunctional television families ... Archie and Edith, Uncle Bill (Family Affair), and my all-time favorite ...the Douglas family from My Three Sons. I was obsessed with that show, especially when I discovered the mysterious older brother, Mike. 


View Article  Ennui at Lesbian Central

What to blog about?  I'm sort of all politicked out what with the election and ENDA.  I did get a missive from the AFA of PA informing me that Christian bookstores must now hire homosexuals.  Sigh.  But it didn't seem worth fretting over. 

So here's some light stuff ...

Take a poll on your favorite gay character at AfterElton.com.  My first pick was Luke Snyder from As the World Turns.  He's one the most realistic characters I've seen and his coming out process was very authentic. 

OK, that's the only interesting thing I could find. 

View Article  The Morning After ... Debra Todd, ENDA and

I'm sure by now you've made the rounds of the usual suspects ... Comet, Burgher, Junkies, McIntire, Smoke Ball ... I could go on and on .... frankly, I didn't have the gumption to drag my ass out of bed any earlier than usual to Wednesday morning quarterback the election -- with a gay twist.  I was too damn tired from working a 12 hour day that ended after 10 PM to twist any gays.  I heard DeSantis say "doggone" on the radio and called it a day.

However, fortified with samosas (not mimosas, John) and an energizing day at work, I'm now ready to pontificate on all things gay.

First, please note that there has been no official followup from the Secret Gay Meeting held this past Monday by some unknown gay folks and the Mayor.  Sources have identified a few of the leader who attended, but I cannot get any confirmation.  The only person who has publicly stated their plan to attend is our faithful reader and commenter, steelcitydyke, and she hasn't shared with us. Thus, we remain firm in our belief that Luke Ravenstahl is opposed to civil unions and gay marriage.  This does not bode well for the expansion of gay civil rights or gay visibility in the City. 

Second, a big hooray b/c Debra Todd has become the first female Democrat elected to Pennsylvania's Supreme Court.  Todd had the endorsement of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats.  You can read how gay friendly she is here.

The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the House 235-185 minus protections for our trans sisters and brothers.  And, hey don't worry, your Human Rights Campaign folks have also made sure to get religious exemptions tied into the legislation. Sigh.

Michigan elected its first openly gay mayor in Ferndale.

Iraqui gays express feelings of abandonement and frustration.  This is an article that puts electing a twerp as our Mayor in perspective, doesn't it? 

Follow PghLesbian24 on Twitter

The Correspondents