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View Article  The Lesbian BlogRoll

We made a few modifications to the blogrolls ...

Pittsburgh's Gay Male Blog - a fun sometimes serious frolic through Pittsburgh's gay male world.  lots of gay male pictures interspersed with great commentary on the Catholic church. 

Transburgh - excellent resource for Pittsburgh's trans community.  my friend is the author and working on a related podcast.

Blogging Feminism:  Websites of Resistance - i found this link at Feministing.com (already on the blogroll)  Sometimes its difficult to make time to read more than the local blogs, but this is one well worth the effort.

Agent Ska - i'm embarrassed that it took me this long to add one of my favorites.  Maria and I are organizing the first ever Pittsburgh Women's Bloggers Conference and I hope Agent Ska will be the keynote speaker.  :-) 

View Article  Queer This and That: McCain, Coming Out and Did American Soldiers Condone Torturing a Gay Iraqi man

Just some random Saturday morning LGBTQ stuff ...

Pam's House Blend contributor Ken from Mississippi has a nice little piece on the activism of coming out.

As I've said many times here at the little coffeehouse, the most radical, powerful bit of activism that we can do as LGBT citizens is to come out of the closet, live openly. The power to effect change and acceptance is to let your friends, family, work colleagues and people see that our lives are as normal and mundane as theirs, and that there is nothing to fear by expanding their world view to include a more diverse view of people.

Also from Pam, John McCain calls gay members of the military an "intolerable risk."  Sigh.

This weekend is the first regional meeting of the International  Lesbian and Gay Association in Africa. According to Pink News out of the UK, 38 African nations - all members of the United Nation -criminalize consensual same sex activity. 

There's a report on PageOneQ that an Iraqi gay man was beaten and tortured by Iraqi police - for being gay - while Americans were present. For being gay. 

The EU's Court of Human Rights has condemned the ruling that banned the Warsaw Gay Pride festival, saying it violated the EU Human Rights Charter.  Warsaw hasn't been kind to Gay Pride as we've reported before.

And you've probably heard that Rosie O'Donnell made Time's list of the 100 Most Influential People.  W did not make the list.  Sadly, Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Anglican "Hate the Homo" theological tradition made the list.  That's really scary.


View Article  Would you rather be stranded on a blog with Chris Potter or Eric Heyl?

Sigh.  PittGirl.  She gets all the cool guys.  Eric Heyl reads her blog AND sends her email.  And uses queering as a verb. 

I was all sad and sighy for a few moments.  No one from the Trib reads this blog and I make relentless references to them.  Sigh. 

However, not all is lost for the lesbians can count both Chris Potter and John McIntire as one of us.  At least sometimes, when they aren't out crusading for truth, justice and the top 100 synonyms for boobs.  Wait, that's just McIntire. 

I wonder if Mike Seate reads gay blogs as often as he frequents gay bars?  Hmmmm.

View Article  The Trib decries hate-crime legislation

You aren't that surprised are you? 

The Trib's editorial board clicked their heels and jumped into line with the right wingnuts clamoring about the House of Representative's extension of federal hate crime protections to the LGBT community.  It passed 237 to 180 while a companion bill works its way through the Senate.  W, of course, is going to veto it. 

Here's what the Trib has to say about it:

So, if somebody shoots dead a homosexual -- actual or perceived -- he would face the added hate-crime offense as opposed to someone who shoots to death a heterosexual.

Did the shooter hate the heterosexual less?

"H.R. 1592 would further carve out 'tiers' of victims, putting more importance on crimes committed against a Rosie O'Donnell than against her next-door neighbor," the Family Research Council reports.

They neglect to point out that shooting someone because they are gay happens a lot more frequently than the equally terrible crime of shooting someone because they are heterosexual.  Its not the fact that a homosexual has been shot, you idiots; it is that they've been short BECAUSE they are homosexual.

The truth is that wingnuts are freaking out because they won't be so free to spew their inciteful hatred in the guise of free speech.  They claim their thoughts wll be censored, but that's patently untrue.  They will just be held responsible for violence based on intolerance. 

The Trib doesn't fail to play the fear-mongering card ...

From capital crimes to organized religion, the adherents of hate-crimes legislation don't seem to know where to stop. A Catholic city official in Canada, for example, got slapped with a $1,000 fine for suggesting a gay couple's lifestyle was not "normal."

Again, not quite accurate.  I feel like daveyoe what with all this fact checking and n'at.  The Canadian city official was opposed to a gay pride proclamation, but took it a step further by denouncing homosexuality as unnatural and abnormal.  That's inappropriate behavior for an elected official and, apparently, a violation of Canadian Human Rights ordinances.  However, the nutters spin it as a suppression of DeCicco's Catholic beliefs. 

They should relax because the worst DeCicco would face in the US is a short stint in rehab and an appearance on Oprah.  While he might be unelected, he'd get puh-lenty of $$ on the wingnut speaking circuit and be personally annointed by Big Daddy Dobson.  Not too shabby for a little dude from Kaloomps, British Columbia.

Seriously, those of you who are white and heterosexual, take a moment to think of the many ways in which you can express your identity without repercussion.  I have to think very carefully about holding Ledcat's hand in public.  I can not kiss her good-bye 99% of the time.  We can't enjoy the simplest display of public affection without some qualm because of the very real possibility that we will encounter hostility.  The majority of the time its merely dirty looks and muttering.  But you never know.  You have to be careful.  I love Ledcat too much to expose her to potential violence just for the pleasure of holding her hand while we walk down the street. 

Violence against gays is a very real issue in our society, much of it driven by hate rhetoric dripping from the fervored wingnuts and their merry minions of faith.  I believe their speech is protected.  Parry if you must, but be careful not to thrust.

View Article  The Big Gay Chat from the Party's Point of View

I spent 90 minutes detailing what I deemed an historic event for Pittsburgh's LGBT community and the local Democratic Party.  The party detailed it thusly (h/t Progress Pittsburgh):

GLBT: A good crowd representing the GLBT community in the area met with a dozen candidates and discussed issues of concern within the community, raising health care partner benefits coverage questions among several topics discussed during the evening. Local GLBT bloggers called the forum ?historic? and applauded the ACDC outreach into the community. Former Judicial candidate Hugh McGough served as moderator for the event and helped to usher along candidates new and familiar with GLBT community issues. Following the event, long discussions and networking occurred over far too many cookies and many in attendance asked hat these events become standard ACDC procedure.

You gotta be freakin' kidding me.  Cookies?  That warrants a mention in the one paragraph devoted to this event.  Cookies.  Like we are a bunch of church ladies who got together to discuss an upcoming social.  Please note, I only got one cookie because I was busy chatting. 

Plus, I have the sneaking suspicion they lifted some of the concepts from my blog post as I believe I am the only local LGBT blogger who covered the meeting and practically the only LGBT political blogger in Pittsburgh.  The phrase "usher along candidates new and familiar with GLBT community issues" is what tipped me off.  This is a neat little way to sidestep the criticism some of us raised about the candidates lack of preparation. They aren't underprepared; they are just "new."  How nice for them. 

So when exactly do they become old?  Cause I swear Len Bodack and Sheriff Mullen have been around the block a few times if ya know what I mean.  <wink wink>

Here's the thing ... the little paragraph is great ... so when is the next meeting?  How about having a lesbian moderate it -- maybe Betty Hill or Dr. Emilia Lombardi?  And we definitely need a little more "T" so be sure to get the word out in the trans community.  When will the LGBT subcommittee be formed?  Or an openly LGBT individual hired on by the committee? 

I have a better idea -- how about if the candidates turn out for PrideFest so they can interact with thousands of LGBT community members from all over the county.  How about if Rich Fitzgerald and Doug Shields turn out a few new members of their respective councils?  And I hope Dianna Wentz proves she really is supportive of the gay community in spite of her personal religious beliefs by turning out for the most important LGBT political networking event AFTER the primary.  It is all symbolic, you see, but it can send a message to our community.  Click on the pretty little button on the top right side of my blog for all the PrideFest information you need.  I'll be the one with the small blonde dog and the petite Ledcat. 

Next time, come to us.  I'll even let you borrow my blog.

View Article  Another Pgh Presbyterian Church Votes Itself Off the Island Over Gay Ordination

From Weds' PG

"This is a congregation that has been dealing with these issues for years, long before I ever came on the scene," Rev. Weaver said. "This congregation is concerned about the shift of the denomination away from biblical standards."

He believes that reports endorsed at last year's General Assembly weakened the church's commitment to the doctrine of the Trinity and paved the way for local option on gay ordination.

This is the Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in McCandless, the largest Presbyterian church in the region. They are evangelical and are heeding the call of a breakaway evangelical group that seems to believe in take your toys and go home theology. 

But that's just my reaction when I see the doctrine of the Trinity on the same level of concern as gay ordination.  I mean seriously ... the Trinity seems like it should be a bit more important in terms of theological differences than a homo leading the flock.  I don't think New Hampshire is about to descend into Hades anytime soon and they have a queer bishop.  Of course, they are liberal Yankees and Episcopalians ...


View Article  Before Bill, there was Rick ...

I found this while cleaning out some boxes.  Ok, while moving some boxes around the attic to make it look like I had cleaned them out.  Maria convinced me to post it thinking you might get a kick out of it.  That was senior year of college ... November 1991.

The inscription reads ..."To a great intern  Rick"  However, since I was one of the many staffers who forged his name on a daily basis, I cannot verify the authenticity of the signature.  I can verify that the dust on the bottom of the picture is from my attic. And I'm wearing a sweater my grandparent's bought me for Christmas the previous year. 

For further proof, here is the note Rick's secretary Debra sent along with the photo.  Apparently, I stuck it behind the picture which has fused itself to the glass in a permanent "man on dog" tribute to Mr. Santorum.



View Article  The Gay Chat: Here's How It Went

This is really long, but read to the end for the outcomes.  First, here are the Steel-City endorsements and here are those of the Gertrude Stein Club.

Tonight Ledcat and I scurried home to let the dogs out and head over to Shadyside for an historic meeting -- the first ever LGBT forum sponsored by the Allegheny County Democratic Committee which gave the community an opportunity to speak with endorsed candidates about our issues.

About a dozen endorsed and a few not-so-endorsed candidates turned out and created an interesting mix of mostly white, middle aged heterosexual candidates seeking the LGBT vote.  To be fair, the audience was mostly white, middle aged homosexual voters. 

I personally want to applaud the candidates who turned out tonight.  Being there made a statement about their recognition of the LGBT community even if their responses were not always what we wanted to hear.  My biggest criticism is for those who didn't turn out and those who didn't send a surrogate.  I don't have to bother asking where you are on LGBT issues if you don't even show up for the conversation. 

My second biggest criticism is for the LGBT community.  The crowd was about 40 deep including several heterosexuals.  I was probably the 2nd or 3rd youngest person there and I'm 36.  Where are all the young queer activists -- how on earth could they pass up this chance to ask the questions that are so relevant to their futures?  Kudos to Tom Sokolowski for speaking out loud and proud (and in a fabu pair of eyeglasses) but how long can those who forged their activist street cred during the 80s continue to carry us on their backs?  This was a missed opportunity for anyone who deems themselves a gay activist and shame on them.

My third biggest criticism goes back to the candidates who did attend.  Most of them didn't do their homework.  As Tom point out, they would NEVER have shown up at an event for other minority communities without knowing the issues and the data.  This was disrespectful to our community.  Better to be honest about your lack of awareness than to try and fool us, but there's no excuse for not being prepared.  You accepted the invitation to attend a forum; get on the Internet and at least familiarize yourself with our concerns.  To walk in not being aware of domestic partnership benefits is inexcusable. 

That being said .... here are my impressions of those who attended.

First the moderator.  Hugh McGough from the City Solicitor's office did a nice job and was very well prepared on a range of issues. 

Michael Lamb, City Controller:  Wow. I had no idea how freakin good this guy is and has been for many years.  I admit that I just knew him as the progressive guy who wasn't Bill Peduto.  I should have made it my business to know more and for that I am sorry.  He has a solid history of work on AIDS funding, the legislation to extend civil rights protections to the LGBT community and clearly knows the issues.  Wouldn't it be awesome one day to have Lamb as Chief Executive and Peduto as Mayor?  Sigh.  A girl can dream.

Bill Mullen, County Sheriff: Lives in a land of delusion where there are no problems between law enforcement and the rights of the LGBT community.  He served on the Pittsburgh Police Force for a gazillion years and ended up as Deputy Chief but was never aware of issues.  No comments on the need for sensitivity training for the sheriffs.  Actually no comments at all about LGBT issues, just responses to direct questions.  He did say he wouldn't oppose negotiating with the Sheriff's union about domestic partner benefits.  He seemed distinctly uncomfortable and had no actual LGBT platform other than a need to secure votes for a tight race.  But at least he showed up.

Matt Arena, County Council District 13:  Spoke a lot about diversity and not discriminating against people on the basis of religion, ethnicity or "other things."  I'm not sure he actually said the word gay out loud.  At first, said he would consider extending civil protections and non-discrimination language countywide, but couldn't make a promise.  Later Jon Robison from the Gertrude Stein Club asked him to make the pledge to support and he publicly said he would support it.

Rich Fitzgerald, County Council District 11:  One of the most thoughtful candidates present, he directly answered each and every question from the crowd relating even tangentially to the county.  He stated he has no problems extending civil protections countywide, but acknowledged that winning the necessary votes from other council members would be a challenge.  In response to Tony Silvestre's question about issues of human service delivery and health disparities, Fitzgerald offered to set up a meeting with LGBT leaders, himself and Marc Cherna, Director of the Department of Human Services to discuss those concerns. 

Arnie Klein, Court of Common Pleas:  I liked his sincerity.  He made a good case for the importance of experience on the bench and his commitment to be fair.  I noticed that he really seemed to be paying attention to the questions, the dialogue and the issues.  That impressed me.  He's good on gay adoption (and seemingly foster care).

Mike McCarthy, Court of Common Pleas:  Best quote of the evening "If I weren't here, I wouldn't deserve your vote."  Very down to earth and seemingly good on LGBT issues.  Again, very good on gay adoption and gay parenting.  Something about this guy really struck me and he's a white middle class heterosexual man.  So I guess I can be open minded :-)

Jack McVay, Court of Common Pleas:  This guy must be impressive because he's snagged just about every endorsement possible.  He talked being fair, supportive of gay adoption and looked for opportunities as a judge to be proactive.

Len Bodack, City Council District 7:  I have to give this guy props for having cohones.  He showed up at an LGBT forum and admitted he's not in favor of gay marriage because of his religion (Catholic).  I think it was Tom that made the comment that Len did everything but show us his baptismal certificate to demonstrate how Catholic he was.  Then he left early. 

Sherry Hazuda, School Board District 6:  She spoke about GLSEN as a "wonderful organization" and said she's in favor of using GLSEN to help kids get through school mentally healthy.  She is in favor of domestic partnership benefits for school employees.  Seemed very enthusiastic and interested in learning.

Stephanie Tecza, School Board District 12:  She was direct with regard to LGBT issues "It is all new to me."  Has no problem with domestic partner benefits. 

Doug Shields, City Council District 5:  After a very awkward interlude with the moderator about speaking for his endorsed office versus the other office for which he was not endorsed (Controller), Doug made a nice speech about his long history of civil rights work.  What I didn't hear were any new proposals to move the city forward with regard to LGBT civil rights and that disappoints coming from someone who is a strong ally. 

Then there were the surrogates.  Again, at least the campaigns sent some folks.

Dan Onorato:  Said Dan favors extending nondiscrimination protections.  In his Steel-City questionnaire, Onorato said he's in favor of domestic partnership benefits if the budget allows.  When he was called on that, the surrogate got a bit snotty and defensive.  Did he really expect a crowd filled with domestic partners and tax payers were going to just let that fly?  I asked a follow up question and he looked none too pleased. 

Luke Ravenstahl:  Ok, this was weird.  The guy he sent was nice enough, but showed up in jeans and a half tucked shirt -- and not in a good way.  He commented that Luke courts the bar owners vote.  He had no new policies or ideas to speak of.  I went up to the guy later and asked if Luke would be at PrideFest -- according to the organizers, he is supposed to be.  The surrogate had no idea but said he would pass the suggestion along.  Why would you send a surrogate who wouldn't know your plans to attend the largest LGBT gathering in the region?  Who was this guy? I have to admit I advised him that Yarone should tone down the gay panic comments if he wants real support from anyone who doesn't own a bar. 

Judge Debra Todd, Supreme Court:  This is the woman who wrote an opinion on the Superior Court dissenting from the decision against same sex adoption.  Her dissent paved the way for the Supreme Court to overturn that decision and rule in favor of same sex adoption.  That's good for me.

Wrenna Watson , Common Pleas:  The strangest surrogate testimony "She's very sweet." especially coming from someone who took pride in being the first woman in her position.  No man running for office would ever want to be described as sweet.  She also praised her for being orderly.  It was more like an endorsement for Miss Congeniality than anything else.  Very strange. 

Outcomes to note:

Rich Fitzgerald:  committed to schedule a sit down with Marc Cherna to discuss LGBT issues.  committed to work on extending civil rights protections to the county and working with progressive Republicans to make it happen.

Michael Lamb:  committed to training school principles on LGBT student issues. committed to keeping domestic partner benefits for city employees impacted by any further mergers of city and county offices.

Matt Arena:  committed to support extending civil rights protections to the county if the legislation is introduced.


Here's who didn't show up or send a surrogate:

Darlene Harris - City Council District 1

Jeffrey Koch - City Council District 3

Ricky Burgess - City Council District 9

William Isler - School Board District 4

Mark Brentley - School Board District 8

Oscar Petite - District Judge

Seamus McCaffery - Supreme Court

John Milton Younge - Superior Court

Ron Folino - Superior Court

Mark Flaherty - County Controller

Stephen Zappala - District Attorney

John Weinstein - County Treasurer

John DeFazio - County Council at Large

John Palmiere - County Council District 6

Nick Futules - County Council District 7

Bob Macey - County Council District 9

Bill Robinson - County Council District 10

Jim Ellenboren - County Council District 12

Susan Evashavik - District Judge

Eugene Riazzi - District Judge

Richard Olasz Jr - District Judge

Pat Capolupo - District Judge

Beth Scagline-Mills - District Judge

Anthony Saveikis - District Judge

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

View Article  Gay Endorsement Party -- TODAy 3-6 PM

From the Steel-City Stonewall Democrats ...

Questionnaires detailing candidate positions on GLBT issues from: 

Dan Onorato, Rick Swartz, Mike Dawida, Michael Lamb, Tony Pekora, Doug Shields, Willis Berry, C. Darnell Jones II, Seamus McCaffery, Debra Todd, Christine Donohue, Ann E. Lazarus, James Murray Lynn, Cathleen Bubash, Arnie Klien, Mike McCarthy, Jack McVay, Wrenna Watson, Bruce Kraus, Len Bodack, Patrick Dowd, Ricky Burgess, Leah Kirkland, Eric Smith, Matt Arena & Brenda Frasier

ARE NOW POSTED ON www.steel-city.org

The Steel-City Stonewall Democrats Endorsement Party will be this Sunday, April 29, from 3 to 6 PM at the home of Tara Reynolds in ShadySide (732 Summerlea St)

Most of the candidates will be at the Endorsment Party to discuss their positions with members and non-members alike.

At anytime during the meeting members in good standing can cast a vote for the candidates they want the chapter to endorse...

Please review the completed questionnaires that have been posted so far... more may be added as they come in...  Printed copies will be available at the party.

The party is free for members in goodstanding...  $50.00 is requested from non-member which can be credited towards future membership.

Food, Beer, and Wine will be served to mellow the afternoon

We all hope to see all of you there...  To RSVP email lance@steel-city.org  or call 412-728-5262

View Article  Gay news from across the land ...

The absurd ...a father is suing an Arkansas library because his sons "stumbled across" the Whole Lesbian Sex Book which disturbed them greatly.  I believe the quote is that they had two sleepless nights at his house.  Hmm ...

The ridiculous ...Rudy Guiliani does a big and very public flipflop on civil unions.  In case you weren't keeping track, he was for them before he was against them.  Pam's House Blend has the audiotape of Rudy discussing his "for them" stance back in 2003.  When he wasn't running for President and courting the fundies.

The good ...New York's Governor has filed a bill to legalize gay marriage.

The joyful ...

CONCORD, N.H. -- The Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, says he and his partner of 18 years will be among the couples taking advantage of New Hampshire's soon-to-be-signed civil unions law.

I'm not even going to spoil the joy of their announcement by contemplating how Bishop Duncan and Archbishop Akinola must be spinning in their sanctuaries ...

Speaking of Nigeria ...a lesbian who married four women (as in took them as her wives, not performed the ceremony) has gone in hiding because she's facing imprisonment. 

The ugly ...Poland.  Censured by the EU for promoting homophobia, the Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski is speaking out in favor of repressive school based legislation that would make homosexual propaganda illegal.  Here's the best part courtesy of Europe's gay news service:

"Nobody is limiting gay rights in Poland," Mr Kaczynski said.

"However, if we're talking about not having homosexual propaganda in Polish schools, I fully agree with those who feel this way.

"Such propaganda should not be in schools; it definitely doesn't serve youth well.

"It's not in the interests of any society to increase the number of homosexuals, that's obvious."

Not limiting gay rights indeed. I'm planning my trip to Poland right now.

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