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View Article  HRC issues latest State of the Workplace for LGBT employees

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has issued the 2005-2006 State of the Workplace report. 

Take note of these facts:

* 51% of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partner benefits

* 86% include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies

* 81% include gender identity in their non-discrimination policies

Obviously, corporate America recognizes that a LGBT friendly workplace is good business. 

This does not bode well for Pennsylvania given our legislative obsession for ramping up anti-gay initiatives.  How will we attract the companies so necessary to create jobs for PA families if we are creating a hostile environment?  It would be interesting to see the Democrats suddenly become the champions of economic development by creating an environment conducive to attracting private investment.  Not gonna happen anytime soon while so many Dems are cowering in fear for losing their seats for even consorting with homosexuals. 


View Article  Post-Gazette -- Calling all homo spouses

I found this while browsing the Post-Gazette website.  Since the writer LA Johnson does A LOT of homosexual themed stories, I am presuming that the Post-Gazette was being clumsy by using "spouses" instead of "partners"    I could be wrong but hey -- let's give it a shot anyway .... all you homo spouses who fit this bill, give 'em a call.

Seeking Your Help: Spouses and friends

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Do you and your spouse have mostly couples as friends or do you and your spouse have separate, individual friends? Has it changed over time? What works well for you? What are some of the pitfalls? If you're interested in discussing this topic for a future story, contact L.A. Johnson at Ljohnson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3903. Be sure to leave your name and day-time phone number.

View Article  Pgh Episcopal Bishop Duncan wants to form his own diocese?

Frankly, this issue is so utterly complicated that I often avoid posting about it.  The American Episcopal church seems to be falling apart over the ordination of gays and women.  And there's all this gray in the middle sort of language that is meant to appease, but only succeeds in angering everyone.  I'm confused.  Read what the PG and the AP have to say about it. 

The Episcopal Church elected a female bishop as their head honcho.  The larger Anglican Communion is not pleased.  The conservative wing of the Episcopal Church was already angry about both female ordination and the ordination of an openly gay bishop.  The Episcopal Church expressed formal regret that the ordination caused turmoil, but not over the decision to ordain this man. 

So now the conservatives in the Episcopal Church led by Pittsburgh's very own Bishop Duncan want to break away and form their own diocese who does not answer to the duly elected female head bishop.  They want a floating non-geographic diocese led by someone specially appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Meanwhile progressive Episcopalians here in Pittsburgh are not sure how they fit into this whole schema.

I mean no disrespect because obviously this is a very painful issue for the entire Anglican Communion and the American Episcopal Church in particular.  Especially for Episcopalians here in Pittsburgh. 

But is it just me or does it seem pretty apparent that there is no real way to keep the church in union?  How does a diocese that refuses to ordain woman reconcile itself with a female bishop? If the Episcopal/Anglican strain of homophobia is so rampant that Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria would openly support legislation making homosexuals illegal (not just homosexuality), how do you expect them to accept a gay bishop? 

It just seems that this band-aid is being pulled off very slowly and hurting a lot of people who grow ever more divided over these issues.  Kind of like the looming divorce which sometimes is much better for everyone, especially the kids.

Just my non-Episcopal observation ...

View Article  PG Letters to the Editor -- Prancing Queens and Definitions

Aside from the myriad of letters disputing the PG's review of An Inconvenient Truth and those from the stalwart "Great Americans" defending the Cheesesteak Bigot, a few homosexual themed letters appear ...

First, Martha Perego of Oakland wants to give us homos our very own second class status word or term to describe our unions.  Her rational? No one objects to the usage of fraternity or sorority.  No one?  Huh.  Cause I do.  Of course, I'm more concerned about the elitism, snobbery, hazing, alcohol poisoning, date raping, exclusivity ...oh and that "frat boy" mentality that pervades adult life like stink on a dog. 

Bless her two-tiered little heart, she's willing to permit us the same social and financial benefits.  I'm not sure Martha has been reading up on all the latest homo-hitchin' up news b/c what she's describing is called a civil union.  And our good friends over at the AFA of PA are onto that approach. 

Next up is Bob Poropatich of Stanton Heights writing in response to the Post-Gazette's critique of the Pride Theate Festival.  (This is the prancing queens part of the post).  Bob takes affront at the PG's implication that the festival is too straight and minus the prancing queens.  He compares the lack of drag queens and lisping homos to Fiddler on the Roof:

To match her ignorance one could say that if you go to see "Fiddler on the Roof," you won't see any jewelers, lawyers or Park Avenue doctors either.

This is what the Post-Gazette actually said:

But for a festival that purportedly spotlights GLBT themes, the plays are pretty, well, straight. You'd think there might be a few theatrical conventions challenged, but there aren't, and bisexual and transsexual/gender characters are conspicuously absent.

I didn't attend the festival so I cannot comment.  But the lack of bisexual and transgendered characters is a common motif in most mainstream gay events, organizations, issues, causes, etc.  And the further we strive to demonstrate how normal we are (not necessarily a bad thing) the more likely we are to turn our backs on those who don't fit in quite so easily.  The Post-Gazette may have picked up on that. 

The trick, Bob, is that we get caught up in normalizing our community to a heterosexual ideal.  Perhaps we should focus our time, talent and art on how HUMAN we are regardless of where we fall in the alphabet soup acronyms. 


View Article  Cartoon from Post-Gazette's Rob Rogers
View Article  Havin' Dinner with Pittsburgh Queers ....

Queers: They're What's For Dinner!

What could be more cool than a monthly dinner for queer women?  For the past 12 months or so, I've said that every single time I received an invite from organizer Ehrrin and then promptly didn't go.  Why?  Oh the usual reasons -- work, family, pets, blogging, blah blah blah. 

But as part of our mission to infiltrate the queers we made a point to head for last night's gathering at the Gypsy Cafe and ended up being one of the last to leave. 

Reasons why this event ain't your typical lesbo potluck ...

1.  People mingled.  There was still a hint of yinzeritis at the tables, but most notably the hostess for the evening got up and worked her way around the room.  And not just to collect the $$.  I've been to many a potluck here in da 'burgh where the hostess takes your food and you never see her again because she's catching up with her 16 best friends while you stand in the corner feeling like a complete moron.  But I'm not bitter ...

2.  Variety was the spice.  There were some moms there with very cute babies (shout out to Lola!).  There were couples, singletons, older women, younger, women from Shadyside and from Greensburg, even a sweet jezebel.  Your basic dyke variety. 

3.  Let's give them something to talk about.  Everything from Ted Nugent (we do NOT have any of his CD's) to PrideFest, from police misconduct to feminist deconstruction of the porn industry, from raising children to Scrabble .... and that was just our table.  For a conversation junkie like me, it was basically a giant verbal orgasm.  With pita.

4. Food excellence.  Gypsy Cafe rocks.  Excellent plentiful food.  With pita.

5. Continuity.  They do this often.  Kat has done a groovy job keeping the Lesbian Potluck going at the GLCC.  This just builds on that lovely dynamic.  Maybe because neither takes place in someone's home?   Is it a hospitality issue?  I don't know. 

To be honest, I know I won't make it monthly just b/c well ... because.  But knowing it happens regularly, I'll get myself there semi-frequently. You should, too.

ps:  pip pip for the very considerate smokers ... :-)

View Article  Pride Photos from around the world ...

h/t to Shakespeare's Sister for these luscious photos ....

San Paulo

And these photos from Pittsburgh's PrideFest

View Article  Happy Birthday Title IX - What's Happening in Pennsylvania?

From the cool chicks at Feministe (including the title which is just perfect) ....

* Women don't really understand Title IX or the variety of ways in which impacts education (not just sports and athletics)

* It is under continuous attack b/c we obviously discriminating against boys

* It hasn't been enforced effectively

* The current administration wants to deep-six it. Surprise, surprise.

The uber-cool Women's Law Project hosted a Title IX seminar a few years ago which your Correspondents attended.  It was fascinating for moi as someone who did not really understand it, especially the aspects of gender discrimination underlying anti-bullying programs.    

Here's a few tidbits from the WLP website on Title IX things you should know about here in Pennsylvania:

Slippery Rock University - The lawsuit was brought on behalf of twelve student athletes and a coach against Slippery Rock University (SRU). The lawsuit, filed three months after SRU announced it was going to cut three women's varsity sports, claims that SRU provides neither equitable athletic opportunities for its female students nor equitable treatment of female student athletes.

Report -   Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics:  Where Does Pennsylvania Stand?

Back in the 80's, I decided to join the track team.  The women's team had historically been just a goof off team -- they literally had been doing each other's nails at practice.  Then the school decided to put the entire track program under one coach, Mr. Shar.  That was my first year.  We had the same resources, the same commitment, the same expectations.  Only three women lettered, including yours truly and I got it b/c I was the only woman on the entire team who showed up for every practice and every event even though I only scored one point the entire season.

My point, aside from bragging about my glory days - ahem, is that a lot of people criticized the rest of the women's team for being uncommitted, undisciplined, lazy girls who preferred to do nails than develop their talents and skills.  No one EVER said a word about all those years that these talented women had been shunted off to the side with a do nothing coach, no support, no equipment, nothing.   It was like being set up for failure -- they give us the resources and a few of us succeed which proves that the rest of the girls weren't worth the resource invesment.  What a load of crap.   In fact, I think the fact that I excelled is due to having the best resources from the get go and not having to undo years of second class citizenship. 

We've got a long way to go baby.

View Article  $640 million in homo buying power -- and the big boys want it ....

I caught this on PageOneQ this morning about the increase in lbgt specific marketing from corporate America. 

Last year marked the first time that advertising with gay-specific content comprised more than half of all ads in the U.S. gay and lesbian press, according to an annual report by Rivendell and New York's Prime Access Inc. that reviews 151 individual gay and lesbian titles. Only three years before, gay-specific content comprised just 9.9 percent of all ads in gay and lesbian publications.

Gay-specific content means the ad includes something very gay, like same sex couple walking toward their high-end car rather than just the car itself. 

The article goes on, however, to explore the next "walk the walk, talk the talk" issue -- are these companies who want our $$ offering domestic partnership benefits, including sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrim clauses and sponsoring LGBT events much like they sponsor hetero events? 

So we are in the midst of a watershed moment in LGBT history ... our government is working overtime to restrict our civil liberties while coporate America is desperate for our consumer dollars.  So what I ask is whether the mighty whites in charge of these companies are making campaign contributions to the very people elected officials who are deadset on driving us into reeducation camps?

Let's take a look at the Red/Blue spectrum of the corporate sponsors of San Francisco's PrideFest as listed in this article ... courtesy of Buy Blue.org

Bud Light   64% of political contributions went to Republicans, 36% to Democrats

Delta Airlines   57% Republicans, 43% Democrats

Travelocity  no data

Comcast  47% Republican, 53% Democrats

Wells Fargo 42% Republican, 58% Democrats

Toyota  no contributions

Bank of America 61% Republican, 39% Democrats

MasterCard no contributions

Diet Pepsi   68% Republican, 32 % Democrats

Showtime   no data

The answer is yes.  To some degree all of the companies who make contributions are supporting the Pro-Corporate American party that wants to kick us to the curb.  But that's just business? 

My point is that as we become an increasingly consumerized demographic, we have to keep our eyes on the larger prize and refuse to allow them to merely pander to us. Its easy to be seduced by the fact that say Bank of America sponsors your PrideFest to justify our consumer decisions. But look at Coors Brewing -- they hired a LGBT outreach person ... Mary Cheney.  All the while their founder was running on a very right wing Republican platform. Should we really buy their beer when they are so obviously pandering to us? 

These companies can have their cake and eat it too.  The desperate little boycott of Ford led by the American Family Association is having no impact whatsoever according to industry ananlysts who can trace Ford's declining sales to other more significant factors.  In fact, Ford recently sponsored the GLAAD Media Awards.  Their response to the boycott has been to increase their advertising in Christian oriented magazines --- the AFA isn't having any of that, but I bet all the sheep reading the magazines don't realize it.

Does anyone know if Giant Eagle offers domestic partner benefits?


View Article  Recruitment Works - PA Republican Candidate Turns Democrat Over Gay Marriage Issue

Get that man a toaster! 

Paul Fero of Monroeville, Repulican and former candidate for the State House of Shame er, Representatives in 2002, announced that the Rethuglican obsession with homosexual marriage has caused him to convert -- to a Democrat.   Proving once and for all that while you may be born a breeder, you choose to be an slavish idiot to a hate agenda.

Fero's writes that his decision is based on the political priorities of the Republicans.

A constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage -- our elected Republican officials believe this is a priority?

This is absolutely ridiculous and I can't take it anymore. The endless positioning to support the conservative base of the Republican Party has truly hit a milestone.

Then he puts forth a clear statement of support

And I support the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry. Marriage shouldn't be about what sex you are but about love, compassion and caring for one another. Those qualities aren't exclusive to heterosexuals.

Fero's opponent in that 2002 election was incumbent Joe Markosek, one of the 20 House Democrats who voted in favor of the original constitutional amendment -- the really bad one as opposed to the hate-light bill that made it through the Senate. 

To be fair, if Fero had been elected as a Republican who knows where he would be now -- would he have joined that other convert Mike Divin (opposite direction) in opposing the amendment?  No way to tell.

Nonethless, hopefully this is one more vote for Bob Casey and one more sign that the Republican obsession with controlling my bedroom behavior is turning off the real party faithful.

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The Correspondents