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View Article  Man threatens to shank dog and people think the police are the problem?

I love Pittsburgh.  Only here could a jackass like Kenneth King get sympathy for threatening to "shank" a dog.  King, a resident of the Mexican War Streets, walked past a canine unit at the Cedar Avenue Sunoco.  The K-9 dog, Benny, barked at him. From inside the car. Mr. King responded to the bark.

The man screamed "shut the (expletive) up or I will shank you," according to the report filed by Benny's handler and partner, officer Ron Absten, who indicated the threat was directed at the dog. Mr. King also said "I hate dogs" and pulled a silver knife out of his pocket.

King was arrested and charged with taunting a police animal and landed his sorry ass in the County Jail b/c he couldn't come up with $100,000 bond.  Apparently, tonight his bond was reduced to own recognizance and he's been sent off to anger management classes. 

Did the police overreact by arresting and charging him?  Perhaps.  Did Judge Riccardi get a little overzealous with the bail?  Perhaps.  And, yes, those circumstances warrant a closer look, especially if there was racial bias involved. 

What everyone seems to overlook is that Mr. King threatened to shank a dog that barked at him from inside a car.  Even if you overlook the sheer degree of idiocy required to threaten a police dog, there's the fact that he threatened a dog.  For barking.  Inside a car.  Now how come no one is talking about that overreaction?

Hmm. Here's my favorite (well, second favorite) part:

Mr. King's parents, Keith and Annette Cash of the North Side, told KDKA-TV that their son was returning home from his job as a cook, has no criminal history and poses no threat to anyone.

Umm, on behalf of dog owners throughout the Northside, I'd like Mr. and Mrs. Cash to clarify how they get from "shut the fuck up or I'll shank you" to poses no threat to anyone? Are you fucking kidding me?  I can't even begin to imagine how deluded these parents must be to completely downplay the fact that their son threatened to shank a dog. 

I'm not sure who needs more of a wake-up call -- Mr. King or his parents. 

This is my favorite part, courtesy of MacYapper.  His colleague Valerie McDonald Roberts tips him off to the inside scoop.

Here's what Valerie's sources tell her.
King was with his white girlfriend. Don't know if that triggered any particular emotions in the Pittsburgh police officer or what. I'm just sayin.'
He gets out of his car to go to the Sunoco next to the Poor Man's Giant Eagle on Cedar Avenue on the North Side, a service station frequented by MacYapper.

Suddenly the dog, inside the police car, starts barking at him. He yells at the dog, possibly in an apparent attempt to show off for his girlfriend.

Then the cop comes out of the Sunoco station and says "I'll let the dog out," to the kid. And the kid says something like "oh yeah, we'll I'll shank him," or something similar, which is a far cry from the guy actually threatening the dog directly.

Valerie says her sources describe this kid as pure as the driven snow. Sounds like we have a cop out of control here folks.

Sounds like we have a 23 year old whose parents had no control over him.  What kind of grown adult yells at a dog to impress a girl?  Is she a member of the Michael Vicks' fan club?  And, once again, we return to the question of what kind of grown man threatens to shank a dog? 

Here's what I think.  If my dog is in the car and Mr. King walks by, she's going to bark. That's what dogs do. They bark. If you don't like or feel afraid to walk by a barking dog, cross the street.  Turn around.  Act like a grown adult. 

Threatening to shank a barking dog is an overreaction. Threatening to shank a barking police dog is an overreaction and possibly a sign that you are one of the most stupid people in the City.  Dating a girl who thinks threatening to shank a dog is impressive pretty much guarantees another generation of stupid, overreacting jackasses.

What do I think of Mr. and Mrs. Cash?  I think they should call up the mother of Jamarow Trowery, the Penn Hills man charged in the shooting and mutilation of a 4 year old dog.  He cut off the dogs paw and then tried to decapitate it.  Then he bragged about it.  Did anyone pay attention when he was threatening to just "shank it"?  Did they dismiss it?  Did they defend him?  Who missed the boat on that one?  His mother?  His Recorder of Deeds?  Who?   I'd hate to think what would happen if my dog barked at him through my car window and there wasn't a police officer standing nearby. The problem is that someone probably pooh-poohed it because Jamarow was a nice young man or a good father or he didn't really mean it or some other such bullshit.

Dogs aren't disposable commodities. They are living creatures capable of fear, pain and anguish when maltreated by those who reduce them to playthings for their own amusement.  It is bad enough I have to drive my dog to the freaking dog park because of the jerks in my neighborhood with untrained, off-leash dogs who delight in chasing smaller animals.  It is bad enough I cannot leave my boys unsupervised in my own fenced-in backyard.  It is bad enough that I can do nothing while a neighbor breeds pit bulls for fighting.  I shouldn't have to worry about letting my dog ride with me to the library b/c some Kenneth King wannabe gets a little hissy up his ass when she barks "hello" at him out the window.

Shame on Mr. and Mrs. Cash for turning a blind eye to a real problem.  Maybe they should spend a few moments reading up on the connection between animal abuse and family violence.  Maybe they need to bitch slap their son into reality and teach him to have some respect for himself and for other living creatures. 

View Article  AFA of PA spinning hate on H.B. 1400 -- what are you doing?

Give it up for Diane Gramley, prez and proponent of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania.  She works hard to get her message of hate and intolerance out into the Pennsylvania heartland , be it letter to the editor or press release. She's everywhere the homos should be.

Are you?

Gramley sent out this snarky little press release about H.B. 1400 which would extend protected class status to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender presentation.  It is a significant piece of legislation that would give us statewide protections at our workplaces and in our housing situations.  So you couldn't be fired because you are a lesbian or because you are a lesbian who dresses in a masculine manner.  Here's how Gramley spins it:

H.B. 1400 will force all PA businesses with four or more employees to hire homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders i.e. men who think they are women and demand to use the women's restroom.  Upon closer examination you will see that there is no exemption for churches, Christian schools or daycares.

This is a clear example of why the local lesbian community needs to get a real grip on our internalized transphobia and turn our collective attention to the many thousands of Pennsylvanias who lap up this anti-gay rhetoric. People buy into this completely distorted interpretation of the legislation and get on the phone with their legislators, terrified that they'll have skirt wearing men in their restrooms and lascivious lesbians in the daycares.

You, dear reader whomever you are, should do the same.  You should call your State Rep and let her/him know how you'v experienced discrimination.  Don't wait.  Do it now. 

Diane is hard at work tearing us down across the Commonwealth. 


View Article  Most people like gays sayeth the polls; Duquesne University flips off Planned Parenthood

Here's some good news from the Post-Gazette's wonderful L.A. Johnson < is L.A.a man or woman? does it matter other than for my pronoun selection?>

A majority of U.S. citizens support equal treatment for gay people, a recent Harris Interactive poll reports.

About 56 percent of straight Americans 18 and older believe people should be more supportive of gay equality, a number that rises to 60 percent for those polled between the ages of 18 and 44, the survey said.

Hurrah!  The survey also brings to light the value of heterosexual allies, especially those who speak out against incidents of discrimination and homophobia.

"People's minds are changed more ... by the person who isn't the minority," says Betty Hill, executive director of Persad Center (www.persadcenter.org), which offers counseling, education and advocacy for the Pittsburgh-area gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. "When a family member speaks up, it seems to be better listened to than when a regular old gay person like myself speaks up."

Now see that's exactly why Betty Hill is a lesbian who rocks -- "regular old gay person" indeed. 

Anyway, her point is very true.  And it is a point I made oh so eloquently at The Society with regard to my good friend John McIntire, one of the staunchest allies the LGBT community is lucky to have. 

Heteros like John and that guy down the street and the lady at church and my friend Amy make all the difference b/c they normalize homosexuality. 

That being said, I was pleased to have a chance to hang out with my friend Maria when she sat in for Lynn Cullen this morning.  It ties into this little theme very nicely b/c Maria asked me to talk about my *other* blogging gig -- the Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society.  Sure, the lesbian flavor came up a time or two, but it was an opportunity to talk about other issues that matter to me.  I'm a multi-dimensional homo!

One thing that was frustrating was our limited ability to talk about some big news -- WDUQ- FM will not allow Planned Parenthood to underwrite news segments. Why?  Because Duquesne University pulled the puppet strings of so-called public radio.  Check out Maria's well crafted post on the topic and decide for yourselves -- should NPR's flagship station in Pittsburgh have a modicum of free speech or should it be all fetus, all the time? 

Geez oh man.  Anyway, because it was about a rival station and we are supposed to have the courtesy of not talking about other stations, we had to low key it because saying "another local station" without the whole MacDaddy Catholic Church thing was pointless. I hope we were successful and Maria gets to go back. 

I wrote some emails to Scott Hanley and the big kahuna Dr. Doughertry at Duquesne.  I even filed a complaint with the NPR ombudsman.  Do they seriously not realize how much of their local listening audience are liberal do-gooder yuppies who support organizations that promote women's health and try to keep kids from contracting the clap?  Seriously?

Here's something amusing -- take a look at the list of local companies that accept the membership Q-card.  Disclaimer or not, the station is willing to promote these folks in exchange for a little love to the members. Let's see who can identity the most companies that have some business practice which violates Catholic principles.  You go first ...all I'm gonna do is remind you of the entire Rolling Stones exhibit at the Andy Warhol Museum and call it a day.  :-)

All fetus, all the time. I just like the sound of that.

View Article  What do Potter, Lynn Cullen and Cambodican Kitchen have in common? That would be me ....

Hey.  I'm in the City Paper this week.  I wrote them a brief letter to the editor about their story on a local transwoman.  They printed it. 

On another note, the non-discrimination dinner at Cambodican Kitchen was good fun.  I met a few new ladies and learned a lot of new stuff about some old friends.  The food was delish as always.  Dan worked really hard to keep everyone well fed and beveraged.  We are going to do it again on Saturday, November 17, 2007.  Location to be determined.  Let me know if you want to be part of the guest list.  Or if you have a great location.

I'll be on Lynn Cullen's show tomorrow during the 11 AM hour to talk about The Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society.  Tune in.  Call in with insightful questions.



View Article  Do we earn the privilege of being gay?

From today's Post-Gazette, a letter written by Kurt Colborn of Swisshelm Park:

I have to agree with Sen. Larry Craig's claim that he is not gay. People have forgotten that "gay" is a term of liberation. Being gay means having the maturity to accept yourself as you are. It also means having the courage to represent yourself honestly to the world. Not all homosexual men are deserving of the term "gay."

Sen. Craig is not gay. He's just a coward. He should spare us bearing witness to his thousand deaths by reversed pleas and canceled resignations ("Craig Vows to Remain in Senate," Oct. 5). He should slink quietly away to be forgotten.

While I agree that Craig is a coward, the gay v homosexual debate is the interesting point.  Homosexual is the preferred term utilized by the right wingnuts (especially the Christian wingnuts) to demonize persons who are LGBTQ.  They've taken a rather scientific term, skipped right over the "human" syllables and loaded it with all sorts of sexually inappropriate connotations to make us less human and more "other."

In reclaiming the terms "gay" and "queer", the LGBTQ community has made tremendous strides liberating ourselves from a heteronormative society that does often, in fact, demonize us.  Being gay is different that identifying as gay.  I've heard this theme pop up in quite a few different contexts in the recent past here in my day to day queer life.

Hipster heterosexuals appropriating the term queer when queer identity does not include heterosexuals.  Queer is not about being hip (or ironic).  It is politco-cultural identity. 

A related issue is heterosexual women identifying as bisexual for the purposes of fitting in (and hooking up) with queer women.  This blurs the lines for actual bisexual women (see below).  However, there is also the issues around using women for sexual gratification and/or exploration which is a patriarchal tool especially icky in the hands of other women.

Bisexual women have a tough time laying claim to being part of the LGBTQ community because of our long-standing division into the gay men and the lesbians.  There's a suspicion that bisexual women partnered with a man (straight or bisexual identified themselves) are just "playing" at being gay or trying to have their cake and eat it, too.  I'm not sure if gay men feel the same way about bisexual men, but I suspect it is not so much an issue.

Read a few recent posts for an example of the challenges of gay identity for transgender men and women. 

The battle over amending ENDA to eliminate gender identity and gender orientation goes far beyond political expediency to tap into notions of who "deserves" to be part of the gay club.

For our local community, the inherent issue truly is about identity and there's a heightened scrutiny of the motives and even the legitimacy of assuming gay identity solely based on sexual preferences. 

Personally, I haven't been victimized in any sense by someone pretending to be gay.  The closest I came was one date with a bisexual woman who decided she had to date a man to please her parents.  I have no clue about the "validity" of her identity as bi and, frankly, didn't care b/c she was a double-dipper <gross!> and that meant no second date from my point of view anyway.  I have three friends who are bisexual - two are with men and one with a woman.  It never occurs to me to question their gay identity and knowing them makes me a bit more sensitive to making sure of the B in titles and terms.  As for the men, the only thing that bothers me is their reluctance to accept the whole bisexual identity thing. That only happens in one case.  That makes me feel sad, but it doesn't impact the authenticity of the woman. Nor does it make me feel like the dates I had with her were less than authentic.

I would be annoyed by the hipsters, but I gotta wonder how blurry the line can be between heterosexual supporters and those questioning if they might be gay. It certainly seems blurry in the opposite direction, with plenty of women exploring life as a heterosexual women while working through our identities.  At least, that more closely mirrors my own experience, rather than saying I was simply closeted or in denial or some other explanation that solidly defines my sexual orientation during the years I lived as a heterosexual woman.   I would say hanging around gay people, spending time at their events and being supportive is completely different than soliciting sex in a bathroom stall or crawling through a bar looking for a woman to deceive. 

That being said, it makes sense that queer men and women resent their identity being co-opted.  If that were my scene, I might feel differently.  But my scene is very hetero-mixed and filled with lots of straight men. 

So, the gay identity is hotly contested even within the community.  Those of us on the inside understand how nuanced and diverse we are, but, to the larger population, it is one big mass of homosexuals - supporters and opponents alike.  I sort of like identifying Craig as a homosexual man, be he bi or gay, while stating that he has not claimed identity as a gay man (or a bi man).

View Article  I am 27 going on 17, I know that I'm naive ...

Ah, I remember 27 (it was only nine years ago) and it sure as hell didn't look like this:

But at the end of the day, I'm still going to continue to be who I'm going to be, and go to concerts like I always have, and go to have a drink with my wife in bars. That's what 27-year-olds do and I shouldn't be any different."


You wait, little boy, on an empty stage
For fate to turn the light on
Your life, little boy, is an empty page
That men will want to blog on

You are twenty-seven going on seventeen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you're on the brink

You are twenty-seven going on seventeen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and rogues and cads
Will offer you SUV's and wine

Totally unprepared are you
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of things beyond your ken

You need someone older an wiser
Telling you what to do
I am thirty-three going on eighteen
I'll take care of you


I am twenty-seven going on seventeen
I know that I'm naive
Fellows I meet may tell me I'm sweet
And willingly I believe

I am twenty-seven going on seventeen
Innocent as a rose
Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies
What do I know of those

Totally unprepared am I
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared am I
Of things beyond my ken

I need someone older and wiser
Telling me what to do
You are thirty-three going on eighteen
I'll depend on you


View Article  Debate over trans inclusion is creating fissures at the national level, too.

You may have been keeping up, via blog or email, with the ongoing debate around the local lesbian community's acceptance and inclusion of transwomen.  It has been contentious and brought to light some long-standing fissures around gender identity that fall loosely along generation lines -- almost a second wave v third wave debate, but not quite.

What's clear is that the "T" in our homo-alphabet soup is not valued as highly as the "L" and the "G."  The Community Center includes T and B in their mission statement, but not their name.  The Gay & Lesbian Film Society changed their name, but still ignored the T and B folks.  What gives with that?

The only folks who seem to be consistently affirming persons who identify as transgender or bisexual are the Queers and Lord knows that's a whole other chapter in the book of gay inclusiveness. 

Even though I mock, I am concerned about these divides. As I discussed elsewhere on this blog, I just don't understand why so many lesbians refuse to allow a transwoman to define her own gender identity.  When is a woman woman enough to be a lesbian?  That's the heart of the matter and how on earth are we going to start a constructive dialogue among local LGBTQ leaders ...I haven't seen any "leaders" step up to the plate on this debate.  They are either laying low, afraid to take a public stance or they don't care.  Except for Ehrrin Keenan.  She has taken a stance, spoken out and she's absolutely a leader in our community.  Thank Goddess.

Its not exactly a silver lining, but Pittsburgh is right in line with a large-scale national debate about trans inclusiveness.  There's a national piece of legislation called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would extend federal protections in the workplace to include sexual orientation and gender identity.  It had a good chance at passing which is great (even though Bush vowed to veto). 

This legislation was the result of much hard work on the part of national organizations, including transgender organizations, who worked with legislators to educate them about the importance of these protections.  This was a tough sell, but our national leaders worked in harmony to make it happen.

Until ...the sentiment that overriding a veto would require abandoning gender discrimination began making the rounds and Congressman Barney Frank (yes, you read that right) was prepared to introduce a stripped down version of ENDA, with the support of Speaker Pelosi.  Our national leaders began howling, knowing full well that there would be no "coming back" to the issue to include gender identity once it passed. 

Except .. fissures have begun to appear.  Pelosi and Frank agreed to postpone marking up the substitute bill to appease leaders.  Then one of the big MacDaddies in the community, the Human Rights Campaign, issued a murky statement that basically reads that while they aren't signing on to sponsor the watered-down bill they aren't going to work against it.


Today, the only transgender member of the HRC Board, Donna Rose, has stepped down.  Her statement is here.

Pam Spaulding writes:

To turn on one another advances nothing. HRC, no matter what opinion one holds of the org, these folks do the work on the Hill. Where did the gauging of ENDA as a do-able priority (say over DADT repeal, which seems much more do-able), gain traction?

In any case, this whole "family fight," is undermining the long view of equality. There are no winners in this kind of a backstabbing event, where LGBs can be seen doling out horrible anti-T bigotry in the comments of blogs. I can only hope that Donna will reconsider this decision, but I have great respect for her efforts to represent the T perspective to the HRC board.

It does seem that repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would be more politically viable, so Pam asks a good question.

Can the national organizations wade through this?  I'm on a national LGBT email list with some pretty heavy hitters and I have to admit I'm a little concerned.

Pam also flips the local cries of "foul" on their head.  Here in da Burgh, I've experienced multiple incidents of LGB's decrying the publicity of our "family fight" or airing the dirty laundry as a few have put it.  Many women are absolutely incensed, even livid, that other women are criticizing Celebrate the Night, accusing us (yep, I've been included) of hurting the lesbian community.  Others, such as myself, are appalled when women insist on referring to a transwoman as "he."

The local debate has quickly escalated into a polarizing L v T situation, even though most of the T defenders are, in fact, Ls.  Confusing, no?  I think there are far more women who support CTN's decision to exclude Jessi as well as their understanding of transwomen than there are those who support the views I espouse.  I wish it weren't so. 

There is some good news, namely that discussion and conversation continue.  Emilia is organizing a podcast.  Another local woman set up an email list to encourage ontological exploration of gender identity issues (I have to admit the level of discourse left me in the dust about four posts into the discussion so I stopped reading ...).  While some women aren't comfortable having some transwomen attend women-only spaces, they acknowledge that these same transwomen shouldn't lose their jobs because of gender identity.

I've been feeling a bit discouraged this whole situation.  No one attacks me with the venom and deadly aim of local lesbians.  Not the Christians, the right wing nuts, the Ice Cream twin defenders, the Santorum lovers. Not even the Anarchists with whom I am often at odds.  No one does nasty condescension and disrespect like a lesbian, especially one taking the time to post a comment informing me that no one gives a shit what I have to say.  :-)     The comments don't get me down. It is the fear that most lesbians share those views about trans inclusion that is so discouraging.  If they share those views about people giving a shit about me, its all good. Blog hits are blog hits.

Pam's post has me ruminating about my discouragement and I am vowing to turn my attitude around.  There's good stuff happening.  I'm hangin with some cool chicks on Saturday night.  People are writing letters to the editor in the City Paper that will clarify the fissure described above and I gotta think that sort of exposure to the light can only help heal the wound.  I'm going to rededicate myself to covering trans issues and highlighting the impact of overarching issues on transmen and transwomen. 

In fact, I've been asked to submit a question or two as part of an interesting new blogger debate, focusing on the Mayoral race.  Maybe that's the opportunity to put my money where my keyboard is ...

As for ENDA, it would be a tragedy if we left our trans sisters and brother behind.  Easy for me to say because I live in a City where employment protections exist for me and state protections may not be far behind (see earlier post about Frankel).  I personally believe it is better to pull back on the legislation and educate, educate, educate on gender identity while perhaps putting some energy into passing DADT.  

Hopefully, Pittsburgh and ENDA will move forward to create a community that values everyone in the alphabet soup.

View Article  Won't You Please Help Dan Frankel Protect the LGBT Community?

An open letter from one very cool chick with the Women's Law Project ... please use the email link or pick up your phone to speak up on this issue.  Especially those of you who live outside of the City of Pittsburgh. 

Note:  this legislation includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  I would hope that regardless of your position in the recent CTN discussion, you would agree that a transwoman should not lose her job no matter where she is in her transition. 

We gotta pick up the phones, folks, if we want to build a better society for ourselves.

I am very proud of my State Rep, Chelsa Wagner, for co-sponsoring the legislation.  So this my public thank you as requested by Tara.

Here's Tara's letter ...

Dear Friends of Equality:

Current Pennsylvania law provides basic legal protection against
discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, sex,religion, ancestry,
age, national origin, handicap or disability, education and the use of a
guide dog, *but not sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression*.

State Rep. Frankel introduced House Bill 1400 to correct this problem.  This
bill will add language to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and
public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or

A public hearing with the PA State Government Committee about HB 1400 is
scheduled for *Thursday Oct. 4, 2007 12-4pm  at University of Pittsburgh,
Cathedral of Learning, Room 2017. *  Come show your support for equality for
all people in Pennsylvania.  You will hear testimony from leaders in the
LBGT communities, people who have experienced discrimination because of
their sexual orientation and supporters from the business community.

*Can't make the hearing?  Please call your state representative.  Ask your
representative to support HB 1400.  If your Representative is a sponsor of
Frankel's bill then call to say thanks.  Please visithttp://www.house.state.pa.us  to locate contact information for your state
representative.  Below is a list of the south west Pa reps that have signed
on as a co-sponsor:*
*     *
*Call and say thank you to these reps!!  Don't see your state rep.?  Call
*     *Frankel*
*     *Bennington                                                     *
*     *Biancucci*
*     *Costa*
*     *Daley*
*     *Dermody*
*     *DeWeese*
*     *Gergely*
*     *Levandsky*
*     *Petrone*
*     *Preston*
*     *Readshaw*
*     *Wagner*
*     *Walko*
*     *Wheatley*

   Please help support House Bill 1400 by sending this email to at least 10
other people.

Thank you for your commitment to equality.

Tara Reynolds

Tara Reynolds
Family Equality Coordinator
Women's Law Project
Regional Enterprise Tower
425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1860
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
View Article  LGBTQ Round Up -- ENDA, rude Republicans,and Catholic Charities

A few things you might find interesting ...

The vote to mark up the ENDA has been postponed due to mounting pressure from LGBTQ groups to reinstate protections based on gender identity. 

"The step taken today by the committee to delay action on the substitute bill is a clear demonstration of the strength of grassroots organizing as exemplified by our members and thousands of advocates across the country," said Jon Hoadley, the Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats. 

"Our work isn't over until Congress passes, and the President signs, an Employment Non-Discrimination Act that protects all working Americans from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," said Hoadley.  

On Monday Stonewall Democrats launched NoSubstitutes.org, an online organizing effort to mobilize people to save the the original version of ENDA. 

Here's some background courtesy of Pam's House Blend.

Republican heavyweights are skipping candidate forums' sponsored by people who don't look like them.  Bad choice according to the Post-Gazette editorial board.

[T]he absence of the frontrunners suggested their commitment to black and Hispanic concerns was only partial, too.

"[The missing candidates] told every black request and every brown request, there's a scheduling issue here," PBS moderator Tavis Smiley told an interviewer. "Is it really scheduling or is it a pattern?"

It looks like a pattern when debates and forums sponsored by the National Urban League, Logo (the gay cable network), Univision (a Spanish-language network) and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials are factored in. Coincidence or contempt for vast voter constituencies?

The Supreme Court has refused to hear a church-state case in which religious social service organizations are required by New York State Law to pay for workers birth control health insurance benefits.  The law, like that in 23 other states, exempts religious institutions that hire and serve primarily those of the same faith.  The New York Court of Appeals ruled that since groups like Catholic Charities hire and serve people of different faith, they are essentially social service agencies and thus must follow the law.

Let's say that again ... Catholic Charities must follow the law.  Ah, how sweet! (h/t 365gay.com)

View Article  2 Town Hall Meetings on Legislation to Limit Discrimination

Both will be October 4.  First, at 12 noon, State Rep Dan Frankel is hosting a town hall meeting to discuss PA House Bill 1400.

State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, will host a landmark public hearing Oct. 4 in Pittsburgh on his bill (H.B. 1400) that would protect people who live or work in Pennsylvania from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in employment, housing or credit.

The House State Government Committee will hold the hearing at noon Thursday, Oct. 4 in Room CL 2017 of the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, Fifth Avenue at Bigelow Boulevard.

 ?More and more people inside and outside of the Capitol building understand that being gay or transgendered has nothing to do with your ability to fix a car or computer, to show up on time and to do a good day?s work,? Frankel said. ?It?s important to note that this legislation would also protect heterosexual people from being fired based on their sexual orientation or their gender identity or expression. This legislation would protect everyone.?

(There are at least a dozen gay women in Pittsburgh who don't know that at all, but I digress).

Later that same day,

Town Hall Meeting Oct. 4th (Thursday) at 7:00pm

To discuss The Federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) and PA
House Bill 1400 (amends PA's Human Relations Act to prohibit
discrimination on the basic of sexual orientation and gender identity or

With Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for
Transgender Equality

Dining Room B on the first floor of the William Pitt Union (corner of
5th ave and Bigelow Blvd, across from the Cathedral of Learning)

Both ENDA and House Bill 1400 will aid in stopping discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.  Mara
will discuss what's happening at both levels and to gather support for
the activities being conducted in PA and at the federal level.

Mara is the founding Executive Director of NCTE. A Pennsylvania native,
Mara came to Washington after co-chairing the Pennsylvania Gender Rights
Coalition. Mara is a transgender-identified woman who also identifies as
a parent and a Pennsylvanian. She is a graduate of Penn State University
and did her graduate work at Harvard University in American Government.
She has served on the board of Directors of Common Roads, an LGBTQ Youth
Group, and on the steering committee of the Statewide Pennsylvania
Rights Coalition. Mara has almost twenty-five years of professional
experience in social marketing and opinion research.

This is courtesy of Dr. Emilia Lombardi from the University of Pittsburgh.  So you can make an attempt to attend either and be part of a constructive move forward for our entire community.

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The Correspondents