Wednesday, August 23
Who Holds a Breast Cancer Fundraiser in a Hookah (Smoking) Bar? She Does ... and her name is Girl Weapon X
by Sue on Wed 23 Aug 2006 09:14 PM EDT
At first, I honestly thought this was a joke. No one in their right mind would organize a cancer awareness event at a hookah bar, right? Wrong! Because coming up next week is Pittsburgh's first ever Mammogram-Jam held right in the heart of Pittsburgh Southside at HKan Hookah Bar & Lounge.
First, let me explain about a hookah bar. Its an ancient Middle Eastern practice involving smoking tobacco through a water pipe or hookah. This practice has become quite the rage across the United States with hookah bars popping up all over the place. The use of tobacco becomes the cultural activity at hookah bars.
Doesn't really strike you as the most appropriate place to promote cancer detection, does it? Let's take a look at the facts.
Here is what the Susan G. Komen folks have to say about the smoking/breast cancer issue (courtesy of their website).
Now, let me very clear that I certainly am in favor of promoting awareness of early detection for breast cancer and for raising money to support the good work of the Susan G. Komen folks. I just think there have to be some boundaries. So intrepid blogger that I am, I contacted the event organizer Girl Weapon X for more details on why they planned this event at a hookah bar.
First, I figured that they were using the space but making it a smoke free event for the evening. It seemed the logical solution. I was wrong. Girl Weapon X's response:
That doesn't explain why it cannot be a smoke-free event. If they aren't planning to make any money from beverage or food sales, why would they object to losing money on tobacco sales? How is that caring about the community? Its really not clear at all.
Then I asked her more pointedly about the connection between smoking and cancer. She responds:
She probably doesn't stop to think that I, too, might have organized an event or two, but never mind that ...
I also asked her if she would have accepted sponsorship monies from a tobacco company. She replies:
She'd accept money from a tobacco company if it was local? Did I read that correctly? Huh ....
And the gay theme ... I pointed out that as a lesbian blog we are especially interested in the topic since smoking rates in our community are nearly four times as high as in the general population, especially among our young women. I think she misunderstood and thought I wanted to bring a group of lesbian teens to the event:
LESBIAN LIFESTYLE? Oh, honey, you had to play the subtle homophobe card. I took a look at your MySpace page (really I had no choice) and would note that certain aspects of your lifestyle (quasi-Christian bar wench) aren't exactly the healthiest. Plus, you freakin' event is KILLING my sisters. What the hell kind of Christianity is that?
To give her credit, she does seem REALLY enthusiastic about how fun the event will be and quite taken with her own ability organize a fundraiser. So taken that I think the issue has become subordinate to the event, a frequent pitfall of special event planning.
You know, this is perhaps the most ridiculous thing that's come across my email box in a long, long time. Holding a cancer awareness event/fundraiser in a hookah bar makes as much sense as moving Gay Bingo to the Penn Hills house formerly occupied by Santorum. Or inviting Mary Cheney to serve as Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade. It is a marriage conceived in some distorted version of hell.
Before the Girl Weapon X posse pull out their taunts and barbs, you should know that I was very clear with Zoe that I was covering this issue in my blog. No nasty little taunts about my motives. I have two sets of motives - my boobs and my lungs. Neither wish to be sacrificed so I can have a good time inhaling your carcinogens.
by Sue on Wed 23 Aug 2006 07:29 AM EDT
Each fall, the Gay and Lesbian Neighborhood Development Association (GLENDA) holds their "Dining for Diversity" event which features small invitation-only dinner parties (dining) throughout the city followed by a large open-to-the-public dessert reception and silent art auction.
GLENDA is a wonderful organization - they offer volunteer opportunities for LGBTQ individuals and families which create opportunities to socialize and meet new people as well as do something meaningful. And I have used GLENDA volunteers at my agency. I cannot say enough good things about their mission, their volunteers and their structure. When people are coming out, I always send them to GLENDA as the most low key way to meet some new gays in a non-threatening environment.
But I never really liked the Dining for Diversity event, primarily because of its exclusive nature. You had to be invited to someone's house for dinner which creates a sense of being "in or out" of the party. Being invited to the dessert reception w/o dinner was like going to the afterprom party even when you didn't get invited to the prom. It just isn't the same. For an organization focused on breaking down barriers between the gay and straight communities, it felt odd to raise funds vis a vis an event that excluded people.
This year GLENDA is focusing on "Just Desserts" with no dinner parties in sight. Yeah! Putting everyone on an equal footing is a step in the right direction.
Dining for Diversity
Saturday, September 9
7:00 - 10 :00 PM
Society for Contemporary Craft
2100 Smallman Street
Make a point to stop by and support an organization which distinguishes Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community. The dessert was fabulous last year and the location is very cool. Be there!
Tuesday, August 22
by Sue on Tue 22 Aug 2006 04:25 PM EDT
Be sure to set your dials for AM 1360 tomorrow morning when our favorite PG columnist Tony Norman brings along David and Maria of 2 Political Junkies for his three hour stint substituting for talk show host maven Lynn Cullen.
I've been kvetching that all the planned substitute hosts are men, albeit progressive liberal-minded men. Nothing wrong with some mantime on the air, but its very difficult to believe that the station cannot rustle up some engaging progressive women to fill some of these slots.
Boys -- you have to share the resources or you lose your token feminist cards!
But give Tony, David and Maria a listen as I'm sure it will be informative, entertaining and amusing ....
by Sue on Tue 22 Aug 2006 08:08 AM EDT
Emilia Lombardi, Pittsburgh trans-activist and good friend of the Correspondents, made history this year as one of the first trans women to openly participate in the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. As we've reported in the past, the Michigan festival has historically excluded those who are not woman born, inspiring trans women and their allies to establish Camp Trans outside the festival to promote awareness of trans inclusion issues in women only spaces.
Their years of dedication paid off.
Camp Trans will continue with the goal of continuing to promote awareness and provide supports for trans women attending the festival as well as working with camp participants to educate future attendees on transphobia.
I must say I am delighted! The Correspondents have differed over this issue with regard to attending the festival. And I think this is part of a larger shift in dynamics in the queer women's community. This past weekend, the New York Times featured an in depth look at the receptivity (or lack thereof) of the "lesbian" community to transgender women. Women have intensely personal reactions, especially to women born women transitioning to men. The complexity of gender and sexual orientation is a struggle, tapping into old insecurities about the reality of being a woman in our society.
I suspect, however, that its also a generational issue. Just as younger generations are more comfortable with the mere existance of multiple sexual orientations, I believe the younger queer generation is more comfortable with the fluidity of gender and less threatened by the paradigm shift.
But, as one Camp Trans organizer puts its, this isn't about winning a battle.
That's where the dialogue needs to go, most especially here in Pittsburgh where there is a huge generational divide in the queer women's community. As recent events in City Hall demonstrate, women cannot afford this divide. Obviously, Jim Ferlo and Bob O'Connor find much in common with a 31 year old so surely we can find ways to connect our 40 and 50 something lesbians with the 20 somethings queer women. More on this later.
Back to Emilia. She rocks and does a lot of good stuff here in Pittsburgh for the queer community as a whole. We are very lucky that the University of Pittsburgh snatched her up and brought her to us. And how very cool that she used her access to Michigan to get down to work on education and awareness.
Definitely a woman who rocks!
Sunday, August 20
by Sue on Sun 20 Aug 2006 08:45 AM EDT
This was very amusing from today's Post-Gazette:
Diana, honey, both my eyebrows are raised in skeptical disbelief that you actually spew this ridiculous crap in front of people with notepads and cameras. Its so very predictable to trot out the tired old gay-by-association references. And very sad that you attempt to counter Murtha's pragmatic stance on the war with the old homo thrust and parry.
Check out Chris Matthew's smackdown of Irey here ....
Saturday, August 19
by Sue on Sat 19 Aug 2006 09:38 AM EDT
The Renaissance City Choir Women are starting our 12th season with a NEW director and we are very excited. If you have ever sung in a choir before or if you have always wanted to but didn't get the chance, now would be a great time to join!
We have three goals
- to join together in a community to impact the broader community to effect positive social change.
- to grow in our musical skills and broaden our and our audience's musical horizons
- to have fun together with like-minded LBT & S women
Auditions are Tuesday, August 29th, but please don't be scared off by the word audition. It literally means to be heard, and we have singers of all backgrounds and levels of experience.
For more information or to schedule a time, contact Marcia Smith at
412-871-5388 or email@example.com.
by Sue on Sat 19 Aug 2006 09:34 AM EDT
After a whirwind tour of our nation's capital, we are back here in not-so-sunny Pittsburgh and glad to be home. We visited my alma mater, stopped by the National Zoo to see the pandas (only saw the papa), toured the Museum of American Indians (wow) and strolled through Georgetown and Chinatown. Ledcat went to the Holocaust Memorial which I've seen several times while I was at my workshop. We stayed in a ridiculously overpriced hotel -- the most significant difference between this one and a regularly overpriced hotel seemed to be the down comforters. ...
But back to the homo news from here and around the globe ...
First, a follow up. You may recall the fine upstanding Philadelphia couple, Joseph J. Catto and Shawnita Armonstrong Catto, who wrote in to their local paper expressing their disgust that homo-marriage is compared with interracial marriage. Just a quick mention that a fellow reader, Vanessa Burk of Medford, NJ, took a few moments to slap down the Armstrong-Catto hypocrisy:
Here, here Vanessa. The mighty-white wingnuts have done an excellent job sowing discord among American minorities. Its sad how frequently we step on each other in our scramble to reach the pinnacle of acceptance among the MWW. The sooner we realize their agenda and work together for human rights, the sooner we might realize they ain't ceding an inch of ground to anyone outside of their club.
Some good news from the Bush Administration ....the Prez signed the Pension Protection Act which includes provisions protecting two aspects of the financial interests of same-sex partners. Check out the Advocate for more details.
A gay porn star is heading to Israel to provide a live sex entertainment show for the Israeli troops ... how is it possible that they object to Gay Pride, but permit a live gay sex show????
A New York women's wrongful death case dismissed because she has no legal standing as a spouse. Even after 18 years together and coparenting two children. Sigh.
Cincinnati gays will be protected from discrimination in housing and employment now that their homegrown hate group has withdrawn its petition to force a voter referendum on the matter (the non-discrimination policy was previously passed by city council). Or more precisely, now that the gay-affirming residents have proven that the referendum petition was fraudulent, containing hundreds of false signatures. Ha!
Well, that's it for this morning .... off to try out my new coffee grinder and unpack. Uggg.
Thursday, August 17
by Sue on Thu 17 Aug 2006 09:06 PM EDT
Remember David Smith, the guy who threw a hissy fit because his precious family was exposed to some manly lip lock in the new Will Ferrell movie?
A few PG readers wrote in to share their thoughts on this homegrown version of wingnut values ---
Susan Kaminski of Sewickley who enjoyed the movie herself ...
Yours truly ...
What good company!
Tuesday, August 15
by Sue on Tue 15 Aug 2006 06:49 PM EDT
Our girl and mistress of family-values flavored hate, Diane Gramley has mounted her high horse again and that's never a good thing.
Seems Big Mama D has figured out that three Pennsylvania Congressman have signed the non-discrimination pledge sponsored by Gender PAC. She believes this opens the door to all sorts of hell ...
You'll recall that this is the very same document our very own Rick Santorum signed and then unsigned, blaming the original signature on the work of someone in his office. I'm sure he can count on Diane's vote.
Here's the source of Diane's concerns:
Diane must be hanging out in the same circles of some of my more saucy friends b/c those are frequent topics among them as well ...
Monday, August 14
by Sue on Mon 14 Aug 2006 07:23 AM EDT
Here, here to Liz Carrier of Squirrel Hill. Her letter "Campaign Comment" in today's Post-Gazette roundly boxes the ears of both Rick Santorum for running a negative campaign and the Post-Gazette for reporting on to the exclusion of covering actual issues.
Liz points out that telephone polls follow the grand old Pittsburgh tradition of ignoring young people who are much more likely to use cell phones than land lines. (I'm sure the white yuppie Repubocrats who aspire to nestle under the wing of old white men hedge their bets with both a landline and cell phone).
These seem like a reasonable request, Liz. Coverage of issues. Inclusion of young people's perspectives. Where have I heard that before?
Liz seems to have done her homework on the issues without the help of the Post-Gazette.
Those are sound reasons to vote against Rick Santorum. I guess his spokesfag didn't fool you into thinking he's a homolover deep in his heart, huh?