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View Article  She loves Jesus, W and the Dixie Chicks? (and Melissa Hart)

OK, this lady I don't get.  Helen Gricks of Ross, a self-described Republican and Evangelical Christian, writes to the Post-Gazette about  her decision not to attend the upcoming Dixie Chicks concert in Pittsburgh. 

 My son and I would like nothing more than to go to the upcoming concert, especially with so many great seats still available. However, I don't want to go to a political rally, and I'm afraid that it will turn into one. I don't agree with their politics, but I do like the music. That's why people are buying the CD but not concert tickets.

To catch you up, the Chicks are coming to Pittsburgh at the end of the month (we have tickets!) and ticket sales have been reportedly slow.  

What's interesting about Helen's perspective is that she basically wants the Chicks to perform for her, to entertain her but not bother her with those pesky politics of theirs.  I'm guessing Helen hasn't really LISTENED to the new album (or bothered to read the liner notes) or she might note a striking parallel with the second stanza to "Not Ready to Make Nice"

I made by bed, and I sleep like a baby,
With no regrets and I don't mind saying,
It's a sad sad story
That a mother will teach her daughter
that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing

Or my life will be over

It seems to be that Helen wants the same thing --- shut up and sing for crying out loud.  Yes, Helen wants the Chicks to crawl back into the nice comfortable "girl-singer" mode so they can entertain the men without creating all that stupid thinking and whatnot.  More precisely, Helen wants them to shut and sing so SHE can remain in her little delusional land where Jesus and W have got her back. 

If some right-wing loonie hypocrite like Toby Keith comes to town, wraps himself up in the flag he won't enlist to defend, and sings about killing Saddam Hussein ... will you object to him being "political" Helen? 

But wait ... here's the really interesting part .... guess who is an old college buddy of Helen?   That would be US Representative Melissa Hart.  And the right-wing apologist herself, Ruth Ann Dailey,  wrote a fawning column about Grick and her home-schooling buddies hanging out with Melissa ("Missy"). 

If I do decide to go, I will wear a T-shirt that says: "I love Jesus, W and The Chicks!"

Well, guess what Helen?  Unlike your buddy Malicious Hart, the Dixie Chicks want you to have the freedom to wear that T-shirt.  They believe that the Constitution of the United States protects your freedom to dissent and that the First Amendment in particular gives you the the liberty to wear whatever political T-shirt you want, even if its unpopular. 

The Dixie Chicks respect your right to love Jesus and W along with them.   Too bad you can't afford them the same respect. 

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

View Article  AIDS benefit featuring homophobic artists cancelled

LIFEBeat succumbed to outrage over plans to stage an AIDS benefit concert featuring openly homophobic dance hall performers Beenie Man and group TOK.  Concerns flew around the blogosphere this week as a large coalition of AIDS advocacy groups, LGBT organizations, members of the African-American community and countless others united in opposition to this incredibly stupid decision.

The concert was cancelled, but LIFEBeat had to take a few swipes at the protestors on the way out the door.  Cancelling the concert itself was like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but LIFEBeat claims they feared violence at the concert. 

Uh huh. And there's no possibility that violence could be ignited by a performer singing ...

Hang the gay woman/lesbian with a long piece of rope

I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays.

Take a Bazooka and kill gay-fucker

All faggots must be killed (no translation needed here)

We burn the gay man and then we burn the sodomtie

And everybody cry out, say, that?s right!

(Click here for Jasmyne Cannick's wonderful post on anti-gay dancehall lyrics)


Why, it is obvious the violence would be fueled by protestors objecting to hanging lesbians with rope.  What are we thinking? 


Why couldn't LIFEBeat invite performers who weren't advocating the murder of well, anyone?  Is that really so much to ask?  Surely there must be Caribbean performers who aren't down at the level. 

With her usual aplomb, Pam has the last word.

If LIFEbeat truly wanted to show that it cares about the power of music in educating the Caribbean community about HIV, it could put on a gay-affirming event and donate the proceeds to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, AllSexuals & Gays (J-FLAG).

View Article  Sheila and Bob: Two Pittsburgh Queers Stepping Up to the Plate

There's a lot happening in the Queer 'burgh  -- gay political groups, queer art collectives, a lesbian chorus, comedy shows, art shows, movies, dinners, fundraisers ... the list goes on and on of all the cool groups and organizations making a difference for you and your family.

Often overlooked is the contribution of your average homo who takes it upon her or himself to do something proactive to build the kind of community in which s/he desires to live.  Both of these people, Bob and Sheila, are friends of mine who I believe put their money where their mouths are for the greater good of the entire community.  And they set examples for the rest of us who have a tendency to mouth off, but take no action.

Sheila thinks there isn't enough cool stuff for lesbians or, perhaps more precisely, that lesbians have trouble connecting with women with similar interests.  There are email list for biking lesbians, hiking lesbians, even kayaking lesbians.  Sheila liked to dance, go out to dinner, travel and hang out. So Sheila started her own group, Lesbos of Pittsburgh

This group is for lesbians only who are tired of staying at home. We want women from Ohio, West Virginia, and all around Pennsylvania. Do you like to go dance,go to comedy clubs,eat nice dinners,travel and go to gay events? Lets get together. Most activities will take place in the Pittsburgh area. There are lots of things to do and see here.

I've known Sheila for several years and she is one of the most straightforward people in my life.  She goes to all the events, including many fundraisers.  She tries all sorts of new activities from potlucks to mini golf to art shows.  And I really admire her for stepping up to create a sense of community for women who walk in her shoes.  I'm on several other local LGBT email lists and only one comes close to creating a sense of community (Pittsburgh Potluck Womyn for those of you who are curious).

Bob is an old friend of Ledcat's and a relatively new friend of mine.  He's interested in politics (like most of us), but he's made it a personal priority to help elect gay-positive candidates.  Unlike most of us, Bob puts his time and money where his mouth is.  He writes countless letters to the editor and letters to elected officials and letters to all the rest of us telling us that we should be writing, too.   He's even dedicated a portion of his website to promoting the candidates he think will best serve the needs of the LGBTQ community in his districts. 

Interestingly, both Sheila and Bob live outside of Pittsburgh, outside of Allegheny County even.  But they both still identify with our city and want good things for the entire LGBTQ community.  They aren't just focused on their neighborhood, card club or small group of likeminded friends  -- they put themselves out here for all of us. 

That's cool.    Wish more of us could pull that off. 

View Article  LGBTQ "Tea Dance" Sunday 7/16 at South Park

Looking for something to do on Sunday?  Head out to South Park for a tea dance featuring the reunion of the Shari Richards Band for this one time event only.  (Fusing Steely Dan with the Pointer Sisters according to one organizer).

A tea dance?  Apparently its a long standing gay tradition of afternoon parties featuring dancing, socializing and fun.  You bring your own refreshments and beverages, pay admission to cover the cost of the facility and entertainment and have a good time.  They've held these events at local firehalls because there are no "good" lesbian bars around Pittsburgh.

I heard about this via an email list and it took me a few days of digging to get some answers on what exactly a tea dance was, who the organizers were and who was welcome (they used a vague reference to "our community" in the original emails).  I've since ascertained that it does mean our entire community, but I'm just guessing that the event skews a bit older (based on the music). 

Tickets are $10.00 and available at the door.  Doors open at 1 PM.  Entertainment begins at 2 PM

Location is the South Park Museum Building at the South Park Fairgrounds.  Big clock on building so you cannot miss it.

If you check it out, let me know how it goes.

View Article  Alleged Duke Rapist Found Guilty in Gay Bashing

Here's a perfect example of why heterosexuals should be outraged about gay bashing.

Colin Finnerty, that upstanding young lacrosse player from Duke facing rape and kidnapping charges, was found guilty in an attack on two men in Washington D.C.

Finnerty and five college buddies, including Duke lacrosse captain William Gerrish, followed two men, taunting them with homophobic epithets and then punched and kicked the men. 

Here's the thing.  Finnerty and Gerrish are white, privileged thugs and if they were poor, black or brown men, they would be in jail for such behavior.  Finnerty beat up two men because he presumed they were gay.  Gerrish lied under oath about the circumstances and only recanted when confronted with his own statement to the arresting officer.  Finnerty got probation.

The Duke situation is filled with conflicting reports and he's innocent until proven guilty of course.  But he's not innocent of being a prick and its not a difficult leap to imagine a gay-bashing bigot treating women like trash.  Just the fact that these alleged pillars of society throw drunken brawls is disgusting.  It doesn't make them rapists.  It does make them elitist preppy pigs.

Back to my original point. The victims in the DC gay are not gay.  They were beaten up because Finnerty perceived them to be gay.  I don't know if they were mincing, pink shirted metrosexuals or just two average guys strolling through DC.  It doesn't really matter.  Finnerty has this tape in his head telling him that he has the right, the privilege, to beat the living hell out of someone b/c they seem gay.  And, apparently in US society, he's right.

View Article  Unite Against Homophobic Artists

Under WTF?  A prominent AIDS group recruits two notorious homophobes to perform at benefit concert.  They would be reggae artists TOK and Beanie Man.  Why, you ask, Beanie Man sounds familiar?   Yes, he was supposed to perform at a 2004 show here in Pittsburgh at the Boardwalk.  Til yours truly made some calls to LGBTQ leaders and the Post-Gazette complaining.  In the wake of negative publicity, the show sponsors (Salem cigarettes) cancelled.   As you can imagine, homosexuals, AIDS activists and the African-American community are up in arms over this stupid decision by LIFEBeat to ignore the cadres of talented reggae artists and bring in these two bastards for an AIDS fundraiser.  Follow the link for the full story and details on how to voice your protest.

View Article  Pittsburgh Black Pride 2006

The Sanctuary People of Color Center

Kicks off

?Black Pride, Everyday?

A one year initial campaign to mobilize and engage the community increasing visibility, to register 1200 new African American LGBTQ voters in Greater Pittsburgh,

and to increase health education and awareness.

Join us at the following events!


Monday, July 24, 2006

Town Hall Meeting 3


Andy Warhol Museum

117 Sandusky Street

Northshore Pittsburgh, PA

Come hear about the Center?s future plans.  Mix&Mingle. Hear the Dreams of Hope Performance Troupe. Watch Isaac Julien?s Film ?Looking for Langston?, pick up your Black Paper, buy a PrideT Shirt, Register to Vote, more?.

FREE Admission.



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Inaugural Event!

The Herman McClain Lectures

In Memory of the Late Herman McClain

with Special Guests

Bishop Yvette Flunder and Shirley Miller

Pastors&Founders, City of Refuge UCC

National Gospel Recording Artists

San Francisco, California

7:00 pm


Community House

120 Parkhurst at Sandusky Streets

Northside Pittsburgh

Directly across from AGH Emergency Room

Special Music Guests:

Missy, RCC Women?s Choir

FREE Admission.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Coming Out of the Closet;  A Fashion Opera

featuring former clothing designs of

Leon Sheffey & Deryck Tines


includes Live Music performed by The Howie Alexander Trio, guest DJ,

wine&spirits, grub&dancing


Botanicals Designs

4765 Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield




Saturday, July 29, 2006

Meet us for a day of fitness at the gym!

at the

New Homewood YMCA

7140 Bennett Street, Homewood


Free health screenings&testings, Free hot dogs&watermelon, healthy lifestyle organizations, vendors, speakers. Participate in the Unity Basketball Tournament.

Bring the family! Bring your friends! Come alone!

FREE Admission.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

?Fire? in the Park!

Good ole foot-stomping, hand-clapping, soul-stirring gospel music,

  dancing and singing in Schenley Park.

Featuring the newly organized Community Gospel Choir, Missy,

The RCC Women?s Choir, Nikki Daniel, Dreams of Hope, and others.

Veterans Pavillion

6:30pm. FREE!


For more information, tickets, to volunteer, to sing&shout

http://www.sanctuarycenter.bravehost.com or 412.391-7472 or


View Article  Round Up - Trans Positive Schools and Homophobic Reggae

There's not a lot of loal LGBTQ activity of late as we all recuperate from the marriage amendment battle.   Plus your faithful correspondent has been struggling with allergies and is tired .... so here's a quick round up of some national stories of interest ...

Broward County, Florida school to admit a transgendered five year old and test their progressive policies.  This is a really piece of good news coming from the land of Jeb Bush (and Katharine Harris).

Under WTF?  AIDS group recruits two notorious homophobes to perform at benefit concert.  They would be reggae artists TOK and Beanie Man.  Why, you ask, Beanie Man sounds familiar?   Yes, he was supposed to perform at a 2004 show here in Pittsburgh at the Boardwalk.  Til yours truly made some calls to LGBTQ leaders and the Post-Gazette complaining.  In the wake of negative publicity, the show sponsors (Salem cigarettes) cancelled.   As you can imagine, homosexuals, AIDS activists and the African-American community are up in arms over this stupid decision by LIFEBeat to ignore the cadres of talented reggae artists and bring in these two pathetic clowns for an AIDS fundraiser.  Follow the link for the full story and details on how to voice your protest.


View Article  Pittsburgh Women: These are my real power clothes

A new multimedia exhibit at CMU explores women's empowerment through the clothing we wear.  Its called Trappings:  Stories of Women, Power and Clothing and its the work of two artists (one local, one not so much) - Renee Piechocki and Tiffany Ludwig, who collaborate under the sobriquet Two Girls Working.

This public art piece grew out of the ultimate old-school icon of American woman -- the Tupperware party format .... the artists worked with a host who invited friends, thus ensuring a wide range of women sharing their power stories.

Among the 50 or so interviewed locally:

Jan Gallaway, a member of the Pittsburgh Puffins recreational hockey team, feels powerful in her uniform -- and also when she takes off her helmet to reveal the 40-something mom underneath to the shocked boys at the ice rink.

Cecile Springer, retired head of her own consulting firm, feels it wearing a gold pin that was a gift from her late mother-in-law, the well-known union activist Maida Springer-Kemp.

Heather Arnet, executive director of The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, feels it in the purple cape she bought with her own earnings at age 16. The cut reminds her of the purple sash worn by suffragists like her great-grandmother, not to mention Wonder Woman, her childhood heroine.

Teen-ager Dana Jacobs of Philadelphia, interviewed at YouthWorks Inc., feels it in slacks and a sweater because in them, "I'm ready for anything, you know, for job interviews and if you go in a store, ain't nobody going to watch you."

Rebecca Newlin, posing with a hammer, feels it in her Habitat for Humanity T-shirt because "women can put up a drywall and that's what really gives me a lot of motivation."

And Valerie Archier feels it in the blue suit her mother bought her for job interviews because "it totally transforms me when I put it on."

I'm not sure if I feel powerful in any clothing.  Probably something I wear to work, but I'm usually pretty self-conscious and disengage from feeling any connection with the clothes I wear.  Ask Ledcat who shakes her head in dismay as I whirl around the house bemoaning all the negative aspects of my assorted items of clothing.  Wow ... I really cannot think of something that makes me feel powerful.  Now that's something to chew upon.

Trappings: Stories of Women, Power and Clothing
Where: Miller Gallery, Purnell Center, Carnegie Mellon University
When: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, or by appointment.
Information: 412-268-3618.

View Article  Lez Be Friends - PG Story on Couples' Friends Includes Lesbians

Someone is paying attention!  Last month, we ran this little request from the Post-Gazette searching for married couples to interview about friends (we presumed they meant homosexuals, too).  Today the article featuring partners of 11 years Madeleine Hershey and Michelle Wirth ran in the "on the go" section.  On the go used to be known as the magazine section until the PG decided that we need more ads from Target and Rite-Aid than actual newspaper content.  But I digress ...

The article discusses some of the benefits and pitfalls of extra-marital friendships as well as the pros and cons of single versus coupled friends.  Every couple finds a groove that works for them, with the emphasis from the expert suggesting that being respectful of your partner's sensitivities and your own proclivities is most important.  No one size fits all solutions.  All well and good. 

However, one breeder couple in particular illustrates the scary control factor embedded in isolatin yourself from your friends ...

Victor Cauley learned this lesson only after he was married.

"A single friend will get a married man in trouble," says Mr. Cauley, 38, of McKeesport.

When he was single, he did just that, not giving much thought to the sanctity of a friend's marriage when he was out with him one night at a club.

"I met a young lady, and she had a friend and I said, 'Talk to her friend, so I can talk to her,' " he says.

Later, after he was married, he apologized to his friend and his friend's wife for having disrespected their marriage years earlier. With six children, Mr. Cauley and his wife of nine years, DeShonna, are very busy. They socialize a bit with couples from church, but for the most part keep to themselves.

"Don't trust anybody with your wife but Jesus," he says.

Does anyone else read this as "creepy control freak?"   Victor was a jerk when he was single, found Jesus and now focuses all his energies on his wife.  It is very telling that DeShonna was not included in the story.  Perhaps she was too busy raising their children and baking cookies for the Darryl Metcalfe fundraiser to think for herself .... 

Thanks, Victor, for clearly evidencing the myriad of ways in which heterosexual marriage screws itself up with no help from the homos whatsoever.

Madeleine and Michelle try to balance couple friends with single friends.

"It's also important that we [each] have a place to go where someone can just listen to us and be with us and not feel that they're being disloyal to [our partner]," says Ms. Hershey, 43, of Swissvale.

Amen, sister. 

All in all, another fine job from LA Johnson.  Except for not calling out the creepy guy.

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