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

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View Article  Things We Missed

I have been brought to my knees by a mighty round of ailment and have barely touched a computer over the past two weeks.  Thanks for all the inquiring and encouraging emails.  It is nice to be missed. :-)

I'm sure you've caught most of this but I'll do a quick round up of some things that may have slipped beneath your radar.

Mark Foley - Scummy pedophile hiding behind alcoholism, history of abuse and the turmoil of being gay?  Boo fucking hoo.  On behalf of alcoholics, victims of abuse, homosexuals and all of our families, grow a pair and take responsibility for being a fucking pedophile.  As for Hastert and all the rest, are you really surprised at their desperate desire to cover this up and somehow blame the homosexuals --- the Catholics have been doing this same maneuver for years.  And its pathetic to consider abolishing the page program to "protect the children."   Even the Catholics didn't go that far. 

The always eloquent LA Johnson wrote a two-part series for the Post-Gazette about  a local woman, Dannylee Mitchell, who is suing her former employer for discrimination. Dannylee is a transgender woman and believes she was dismissed because of her gender identity rather than her work performance.  This is an amazing little series, very brave and forthright.  I have never met Dannylee, but I admire her courage in sharing so much of her inner life with Post-Gazette readers.  Go check it out.

Reverend Janet Edwards published an Op-Ed piece on her struggle with the Presbyterian Church over performing a wedding for two women.  She explains why she is pleading innocent.   Here's the backstory on our coverage of Janet's situation.

The Lesbian and Gay Film Festival opens this month.

Former Whitehall native James Yearsley now of Tampa wrote in a lovely little anti-gay diatribe to the Post-Gazette that was only printed in the online edition.  Don't ask, Don't tell, Mr. Yearsley opines, keeps the military blood supply HIV free.  Good to know, Jim. 

Contrary to reports from the PA Department of Education, incidents of bullying is significantly high for gay and lesbian students.  A report from GLSEN indicates that 80% of respondents had heard homphobic language in school.   Only 12% of Pennsylvania schools have Gay Straight Alliances in comparison with 22% of schools nationwide.  GSA's are an important tool in addressing homophobic harassment and bullying.

I'm sure there are stories I missed, but they'll resurface soon I am sure.  Enjoy this beautiful day!

View Article  Pittsburgh Protestors Force Jeb Bush Into Closet

Now that's the kind of headline to start your Saturday morning. 

Jeb Bush rolled into town for a Santorum fundraiser at the Duquesne Club (no word on whether Sienne Miller was in attendance).  He encountered some protestors near Sixth and Liberty.

Demonstrating the further stagnation of the Bush gene pool, Jeb blew the protestors a kiss.  Does he think he's Liz Taylor for crying out loud? 

So they chased him.  The PG account is filled with delightful phrases like "scurried" and "slow retreat" and "Mr. Bush was cornered."  But far and away this is the best part of the entire article:

As a precaution, the governor was ushered into a T-station supply closet and stayed there until the crowd left.

 They drove him into the supply closet while Port Authority police tasered a few folks and dispersed the crowd.  No arrests. 

Here's my question -- if the crowd's behavior requires the use of force (taser), why no citations?  Or was this just about felling some protestors to free Jeb Bush from his closet? The homo in my would normally find that compelling, but I'd frankly rather Jeb stay in the supply closet and stay the hell out of Pittsburgh.  Blowing kisses and going underground is simply not done here in the 'burgh.

Who investigates Port Authority use of force?  Who investigates Jeb Bush's crowd control tactics?  Who unlocked the closet door? 

View Article  Philly School District Acknowledges LGBT History Month

In another step forward, the Philadelphia School District has added LGBT History Month (October) to the other culturally significant items included in a student calendar which will be sent home with all students (Philly Inquirer)

Noting that October is Gay and Lesbian History Month is an attempt to be inclusive and is no different from recognizing months devoted to the history or heritage of African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians, said Cecilia Cummings, a spokeswoman for the district.

"The school district maintains and upholds Policy 102, which is a multiracial, multicultural gender-education policy," she said. "Basically, it's a policy intent on fostering knowledge and respect for people of all races, ethnic groups, social classes, genders, religions, disabilities and sexual orientations."

Some parents are up in arms.  Shocker!  Nicola Rucker thinks her son shouldn't be learning about this "stuff" until he's old enough to come ask her about it.  He's 9 years old.  He's old enough to ask.  The problem isn't the questions he'll be asking, but the answers she'll be giving.  She throws out the tired old arguement that sexual orientation is a preference.  So it will be very interesting for her to explain to her 9 year old why Mommy chose to be a breeder instead of a dyke.

View Article  Archbishop Tutu Shamed by Anglican Church's Homophobia

According to his authorized biography, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has his priorities in order (AP).

"He found it little short of outrageous that church leaders should be obsessed with issues of sexuality in the face of the challenges of AIDS and global poverty," wrote Allen.

That's John Allen, Tutu's former press secretary and author of "Rabble Rouser for Peace" which will be released on Tutu's 75th birthday in October.

Tutu decried the capitulation of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, to conservative forces in the church on issues such as the ordination of gay priests.

Do you think it will matter?

View Article  Focus on the Family "The Little Rally That Couldn't" -- News Round Up

Here's a bit of a roundup from the blogosphere coverage ...

Ann Rodger's PG story was picked up all over the country, including The Huffington Post.

Pam's House Blend points out while 14,000 seats in the Mellon Arena remained empty, Dobson didn't miss an opportunity to make the Christian connection with the African-American community.

Street Prophets note that a turnout of 3,000 doesn't bode well for electoral turnout among the wingnut faithful.

Regarding the Antifa contingent, there's a LiveJournal report here  and a blurb from their own website here

View Article  Pittsburgh Gay Response to Focus on the Family Rally Deemed Successful

According to the Post-Gazette, 3,000 Pittsburghers showed up to listen to the Focus on the Family hatefest spew its usual wingnut messages: Democrats kill babies, Democrats hate families, Democrats embrace homosexual perversion, blah, blah, blah.  One interesting twist was his open criticisms of Republicans for being too soft.  Never fear - he did his best softshoe endorsement-that's-not-an-endorsement of Ricky "My Children Lie For Me" Sanctimonious.

The good news is the Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community did not let that message go unchallenged. 

Those waiting to hear James Dobson's message last night parked in lots above Mellon Arena and trickled toward Gate 1. Those hoping to counteract Mr. Dobson's message crowded in front of the entrance, lining both sides, creating a tunnel of signage -- in essence, one message forming the physical passageway to the opposite message.

Here, perhaps only here, the two ends of a polarizing issue rubbed against each other. Those walking into the arena saw some 150 protesters. They saw two arrests. They saw signs -- for instance, "5 Christian kids + 2 Christian moms = 1 Christian family." And then they kept walking.

150 people!  That's awesome.  For a midweek 5:00 PM turnout, that's a powerful statement about the impact Dobson's anti-gay message has had on our community.

You'll recall some tension between the "Standing With All Families" organizers and Pittsburgh's newest incarnation of RESYST! (now known as Antifa).  How about this:

For several minutes, the signing and chanting gave way to mayhem. Just before 6 p.m., a band of teens and twenty-somethings -- dressed exclusively in black, and wearing fabric over their mouths -- approached the arena cursing about Dr. Dobson and fascism. Several in the group -- Pittsburgh Antifa, unaffiliated with the rally -- attempted to rush onto Mellon Arena property holding a sign. Security officers stopped the blitz, and police later handcuffed two members, arresting them for disorderly conduct.

Then, things again grew calm. The Antifa members joined with the assembly, creating an odd union of peace-preachers dressed in rainbow colors and radicals holding signs saying "Feed Dobson to the Lions."

Ledcat was there last night (I'm in Phoenix at a conference) and reports that Antifa made their presence known but did not violate the space of the other protestors.  They got themselves arrested and all is well in their world I suppose.  She reports that the police did have at least one dog for crowd control, but those protesting (aside from the trespassers) followed instructions and there was no problem at all.

And I still have to say hurrah to Antifa for showing up to make a statement, however ill advised.  I have many friends who couldn't bother to be there for a variety of reasons, but still feel compelled to complain about Focus on the Family.  Kudos to the 150 people who made it a priority.

I love the image of the last paragraph quoted above.  That's the new queer community at its best. 

David Schelbe, Vice President of Pittsburgh PFLAG, attended the rally itself.  He has this to say:

Last night, at Pittsburgh?s Mellon Arena, [Dobson] whipped his devoted followers into a focused frenzy using fear and hate as rallying cries.  Almost everyone was on their feet.  But, as they stood for family values, they did not stand for mine.

I wish I had been there.

View Article  Yikes - Mary Cheney among Top 20 Women Leaders According to NewsWeek

I'm in the middle of the desert struggling to reconcile time zones and this is not the best way to begin a morning ...

These women are poised to be the next generation of leaders in their fields?whether it's sports, business, finance, politics or the arts. In their own words, they tell how they got where they are and where they hope to go next.

This is from Newsweek. The fourth woman profiled?  Mary Cheney - Queen Lesbian Bitch of the Bush Apologists.   Here's some pearls of wisdom on her "career" as a political campaigner ...

Every political campaign, especially at the national level, is an emotional roller coaster. There are moments that are simply incredible?holding a rally with 10,000 cheering people at midnight in Honolulu, watching my dad win the vice presidential debate and holding the Bible while he took the oath of office.

Mary appears to conveniently sidestep the fact that the Bible her father rode to the Vice Presidency is the very same weapon that's beating her entire community down on a daily basis in these hallowed United States.  Not to mention that her father did not win that debate ... but why let facts get in the way of continuing to leverage Daddy's power for your self-promotion? 

Leader?  She worked for her Daddy, she wrote a book that no one bought and she is the most boring talk radio guest I've ever heard.  What the hell kind of leadership is that?  If this is Newsweek's idea of including the LGBTQ community, I'm definitely glad we switched to Time magazine.

On a bright note, they also profile Queen Latifah. 

h/t Pam's House Blend

View Article  Philly Car Dealer "Champions" Homophobia

A Philadelphia man has filed a formal complaint alleging that he was fired after complaining about a "pervasive anti-gay" environment at the Toyota dealership where he was employed.

The ex-employee, Patrick Johnston of Philadelphia, said the work environment at Champion, on Castor Avenue near Cottman, was one in which anti-gay slurs were routine and tolerated.

"Salespeople regularly used slurs like 'faggots' and 'fudgepackers' to refer to gay people," said Johnston, who is gay.

"Even gay customers - who were making these people a substantial commission - were called 'fairies' and 'faggots' behind their backs," he said.

The dealership, Champion Toyota, is owned by Sloane Automotive Group had no comment in response to the complaint.

Johnston first complained internally about the pervasive nature of the gay bashing, but was told that it was the nature of the business (365gay.com). 

"It is shocking and disappointing that this type of anti-gay bigotry was so widespread at Sloane Automotive Group,? said Johnson's attorney Katie Eyer, of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights.

"What is particularly disturbing is that Mr. Johnston was terminated when he complained about Sloane?s response.  Retaliatory action of that kind sends a clear message to other employees ? don?t complain if you value your job.  This type of conduct is precisely the type of employer behavior that the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance is designed to prevent."

Toyota received a perfect score on the 2005 HRC Corporate Equality Index.  Here's their response to that ranking:

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Jim Press, President and Chief Operating Officer, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

?Toyota Motor Sales is honored to be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign with a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index. Diversity provides Toyota with a competitive advantage; understanding, embracing and leveraging our differences enables us to achieve our business goals. At Toyota, we acknowledge and support the diversity of sexual orientation and gender expression. Toyota recognizes its responsibility to both its employees and customers, and considers Diversity and Inclusion an integral part of every aspect of the business.?

How is this consistent with a pervasive homophobic environment Champion Toyota's management allegedly described?   Sadly for the Correspondents, the parent sales company also owns a Honda dealership.  What's a dyke to drive?

Just goes to show -- we may be a market, but equality is a long way down the road.

View Article  Its Official: Lesbians Love the Steelers

From Blog'N Gold comes this word about Steelers fans ...

"Everybody in Pittsburgh loves the Steelers. Not likes, not follows, but loves. And I don't mean Everybody but, it is everybody, the old ladies, the lesbians, the gay men ... college professors, annoying hipsters (not ironic), feminists. Everybody in that city loves the Steelers."

What about the bisexuals?  Do they have no strong football preferences? 

I can say this about Steeler love amongst the lesbians and bisexual women - a few years ago, I organized an adult toy party open to any local interested LGBTQ woman.  It ended up being a Steeler playoff night.  So even though we packed the GLCC with toy curious women, many others cancelled in favor of their Steelers.  I had multiple calls from women who were actually angry with me for making them choose.  As if I could predict the playoffs! 

I have to admit my Steeler-mania has been colored by a year's residence on the Northside.  There's something very ardor-quenching when you confront the members of the Steeler Nation face to face in all their rude, boorish behavior.  Now I rather enjoy watching the local vandals break into the cars.  Its sort of poetic justice for being too cheap to pay for parking and clogging up my neighborhood.  One particular asshole chained his grill to the fence in the field behind our house and left it there all season.  Its not your private villa dude!

I'm also hopeful feminists rethink the whole Steeler bit given their f*cked up decision to sign avowed thug Santonio Holmes.  That decision undid lots of hard work by feminists and women everywhere on domestic violence initiatives.  But no further word on that b/c the trial has been postponed until after the season.  And Steeler lovin' women everywhere will find a reason to justify it ....

If you are toy curious, go to Girls Night In for more information on how to organize your own toy party. 

View Article  Controversy Erupts in Gay Plans to Protest Focus on the Family Rally

Local gay organizers have spent dozens of hours organizing a planned LGBTQ presence in response to the upcoming "Stand for the Family" rally sponsored by the grand poobahs of homophobia, Focus on the Family.  It includes everything from a media training to a candlelight prayer vigil. 

And now from the City Paper comes word that a new group Pittsburgh Antifa is planning to ratch things up several notches. 

If we are to stave off an atmosphere of bigotry that directly fuels violence and intolerance, we need to demonstrate to people at war with us that we are willing to fight back against their hatred and bigotry.

So we call on our friends, allies, and comrades to join us on September 20th in a Pink-Purple-and-Black Bloc as we noisily, angrily, and directly confront Focus on the Family Action.

They aren't satisfied with the non-confrontational approach of the Standing for All Families organizers. All the code words are there --- assimilation, trading freedom for security, no such thing as police protection --- you've heard it all before. 

Several local and national groups are collaborating on a week of events to counter "Stand for the Family", culminating in a "Standing With All Families "Presence" outside the rally and a silent prayer vigil a block up the street. This is too narrow a framework for dissent, both in terms of the political issues addressed and the choice of tactics used. It also allows FOFA attendees to pretend they are just attending a conservative version of a liberal rally for same sex marriage.

Great.  Fine.  Believe what you choose.  Practice what you preach.  Do the anti-fascist thing til the sun goes down.  But here's where it gets ridiculous .... Mike Avallone of Bloomfield and Antifa organizer.

?We feel this needs to be confronted for what it is,? Avallone told CP. ?Basically we just want to disrupt it as much as possible from the outside.?

What the hell does that mean?  Hurling insults from behind black masks or throwing fire bombs? I'm not a 100% fan of the presence approach myself, but this is a bit too vague for my comfort.  Hell, its a whole lot too vague.  But this group comes out of nowhere with brimstone rhetoric that's basically a retread of what more radical LGBTQ groups have been saying in the past.  Its probably the same people or their younger siblings.  They have a message, but let's keep it in perspective.

And worst of all, it now has the presence organizers in a bit of a tizzy about how to handle these disruptive pseudo-allies. 

So once fucking again our community is going to get so embroiled by infighting and petty disputes that we will completely miss the point.  Then we can spend the next six years pointing fingers and whining about how apathetic we are.  Blah, blah, blah.

You know what --- these antifa kids have been around for years and they ain't gonna set the Mellon Arena on fire. (Remember RESYST?  They coexisted with us for years). The police know how to handle them so just give them wide berth and do your own lawful thing exercising your first amendment freedoms.  If you think seeing a queer activist in purple and black is the worst sight your kids will endure that night, you are sadly mistaken.  Its a good bet the fetus-friends will be out there with signs that are much worse.  And those rally attendees probably will let loose with a few choice words when their own precious angels have to eyeball handholding homos in mass quantities. 

Leave your kids at home with their homework, bedtime snacks and so forth if you must.  That's fine and its probably where they belong. 

But there's no excuse for you to stay home and let Rick Santorum return to office without even a whimper of protest from the LGBTQ community.  Your kids deserve better than that. 

Official word on plans to cancel the Standing with All Families event is still pending ...

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The Correspondents