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

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View Article  Joe Sestak

Joe is running to represent us in the Pennsylvania Senate.  Please visit his website to learn more about him.  Stay tuned for more details ...

I'm sure you've seen the ads sponsored by all those anonymous crazy right wing groups that paint him out as a Nancy Pelosi puppet in his current role in the House.  The ferocity of the ads will hopefully be enough to pique your curiosity. 

I barely watch the news because I can't even tell whose ads are whose any longer.

View Article  So Podcamp ...

1. Political blogging panel with 3 women and 2 men was a nice twist.  Plus, the audience was predominantly male.  It says quite a bit that so many men care what female political bloggers have to say in person.  Maybe new social media is changing things a little bit.

2. Members of the Mainstream Media (MSM) came to the panel. Interesting discussion on the "symbiotic relationship" (thanks to Jon Delano) between blogs and MSM. 

3. How do I make good decisions about whom to cite on my blog?  I'm at a disadvantage because there are so few primary sources covering LGBTQ issues, at least not until they are sensational.  So I do rely on other blogs and count on my ongoing "off the record" dialogue with many, many folks to help me discern the credibility.  I do go to the big LGBTQ advocacy groups, but the need to raise funds requires me to use a skeptical eye.  Plus, the more I learn about the organizational stability of lack thereof, the more skeptical I become.  Tossing me off your email distribution list for whatever reason is not going to encourage me to promote your point of view.

4.  I spoke about outing/exposing hypocrisy. Several folks commented that they had no knowledge of this whatsoever.  Another blogger commented that he would never touch this.  I can see his point of view, but i also think exposing political hypocrisy is the job of all political bloggers.  If you'd cover a politician caught in a sex scandal that wasn't gay related, you should cover those that are.  It also reminded me that being a niche blogger has its ups and downs. 

5. Anonymous blogs. Love 'em.  Wish I knew who they were.  Wish we had more openly outspoken persons to air the dirty laundry and bring about some change.  Sigh.

6. We had a great turnout for our panel and it was lots of fun. 

View Article  DADT alive and kicking

Thanks to procedural maneuvers, DADT has not been repealed.  Sigh.  Do I even need to describe how frustrating it is that this one small step, which is clearly in the best interest of our national defense, can't get traction.

There's hope. You can still help by going through the HRC Action Page.

For the full story, see what Pam has up.  She minces no words on the role of the Democrats in this debacle. 

Believe me, I'm livid about the Republican Party's demonization of the LGBT community.  It is unconscienable and I'm grateful that the Party is separate from reasonable, thoughtful Republicans who do not capitulate to this crap.

Still, I'm REALLY angry at Democrats and the Party.  They have failed the LGBTQ community over and over.  The small steps forward we've made are miniscule compared to the ground gained in the 1990's here in Pittsburgh.  It is laughable when well intentioned leaders in the community defend them and hold up these gains as proof that the homo revolution has taken root in Western PA Democratic politics.  Translate that to the national stage and its even more laughable. 

A party unable to prevent the abuse of a military policy to discharge linguistic specialists in the midst of a horrific war is not a party we should laud.  We need to focus on the candidates who deserve our support, not those who are the lesser of the evils. 

And for those who roundly condem people willing to speak up against ineffective leadership, well ... get thee to a phone bank and stop reading the blogs. 

View Article  GLCC Wisdom Wellness Series

GLCC Wisdom Wellness Series

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

7-9pm

210 Grant Street, Pittsburgh PA 15219
 
 
The GLCC has created a Wisdom Wellness Series! This month's topic will be SMOKING CESSATION, an issue that strongly affects the older adult LGBT community. Do you want to quit smoking? Do you know someone who does? Come learn why and how tobacco use is such a large issue, especially in the LGBT community, and tips and advice on how to stop! The wellness program will be led by a certified Physician Assistant (PA) with over 10 years of experience in the field. The first half will be comprised of a presentation, and the second half will be open to any questions and answers you may have about smoking cessation or health issues in general! A $2 donation is requested and all of the proceeds will benefit the GLCC. Light refreshments will be provided. Please contact Sam at samantha.l.goldberg@gmail.com with any questions. We hope to see you there!

View Article  Lady Gaga addresses the crowd at the #4the14k Rally in Portland, Maine

Photo Credit: Terry Richardson

View Article  Swimming Upstream

I spent several afternoons/evenings a week at the pool in Riverview Park this summer.  It is well kept and far enough off the beaten path to keep crowds to a minimum.  We got to know the life guards and some of the other swimmers. 

But I really can't swim.  I mean I can stay afloat and propel myself around the pool using my arms and legs.  I'm also a heck of water treader.  Did you know that treading water REALLY burns calories and works your core muscles? It was a perfect mix for our approach to swimming.  Our main goal was to be cool (temperature) so loitering about the deep end while treading water and doing some occasional lazy laps was just our speed.  I harbor no illusions that there was anything "cool" about two middle aged lesbians splashing about, especially me in my swimming suit with a skirt.  I mean what's more hip than the swim skirt? 

Plus, I was getting good cardio time in with all that water treading.  Which got me thinking about the end of summer.  Our season pool passes were accepted at the Oliver Bath House throughout the fall, winter and spring, but our languorous approach to swimming probably wouldn't translate to an indoor pool, no matter how historic. 

So, I decided to literally take the plunge and sign up for adult swim lessons. 

They began this morning.  I woke up cranky and a little anxious about the class, sure I would be miserable in the class.  And I was late.  Grrrrr.

Our instructor, Mike, asked me to float. Apparently, I was successful and we moved on to basics like kicking which I aced.  Nice.  I also can approximate a freestyle stroke except I veer to the left (I am not making this up).  I don't think Mike understood why his earnest instructions as to how to straighten myself out caused hysterical giggles.  I hope he chalked it up to nerves. 

Seriously, it was a very laid back way to learn that I actually know a bit more than I believed.  Learning how to breathe properly is my challenge, but that's week 3. 

The class was diverse. A few folks could swim, but wanted "stroke development" (again, not making this up). A few were "waders" who wanted to learn to swim. And a few were bluntly terrified and forcing themselves to confront their fears.

It takes a lot of guts to confront your fear of water in the 3 foot lane of the bathhouse on the Southside. I was talking with one woman who was very open about her terror that she was going to sink and die.  I don't have that sort of fear of water, but I have felt that level of terror so I was openly appreciative of her being there.  She was contemplating getting out of the pool, but decided to talk with me instead.  Then she did one last lap on the kickboard. 

So I decided I had to get back into the 5 foot lane and take another stab at "straightening" myself out. 

The real test will be if I can get myself back into the pool this week to practice.  Not only do I need the practice, but it is part of my goal of mixing up the exercise routine with a little Wii, a little walking and a little swimming.  So its as much about showing up to practice as mastery of the skill. 

And being grateful that I have someone in my lane when I face my fears (yes, Ledcat). 

View Article  DADT Repeal Vote Looms

The PG has it here.

The Senate on Thursday approved a multibillion-dollar package of tax breaks and government-backed loans for small businesses, as Democrats sought to use the muscle of their majorities to pursue a congressional agenda that would make their case for retaining House and Senate control this fall.

After surmounting months of Republican opposition to approve the small-business measure and send it to the House, Democrats -- over sharp GOP objections -- set up a floor showdown for next week over a Pentagon policy bill that touches on the politically charged issues of immigration and gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in the military.

The repeal.  It cometh. Your activism is still critically important. Make no bones about it.  This about intentionally bringing about systemic change in our political system as well as the military culture. It is important albeit really, really late in the game. 

The challenge for our elected Dems is to realize that LGBTQ activists are able to acknowledge progress, but continue to call for accountability and follow through on their promises to create a more equal and just society. I experienced this when Dan Onorato supporters were outraged that I did not consider his work on the Allegheny County Anti-Discrimination Ordinance substantial enough to warrant the term "ally."  It came down to arguing about what happened behind the scenes with the LGBTQ political elite, or basically he-said/she-said.  How is that actual progress? 

Then there's the fact that criticism is just not "appropriate" in what passes for liberal Democratic circles.  You can't critique the President, the candidates or the party.  I must point out that it remains perfectly acceptable for anyone to critique State Senator Jane Orie's appearance, I mean politics.  That's fine. 

Don't rock the boat.  You might tip over and force a gay Marine to save you. 

sdf

 

 

View Article  Gay controversy erupts at Podcamp Pittsburgh

I've mentioned in the past that I am part of a panel discussion on blogging ethics at this weekend's Podcamp Pittsburgh.  My sister blogger, Ms. Mongahela, has come up with the idea of giving away a "Liberal" basket filled with all sorts of liberal agenda goodies.

Great idea, right?

Well, until the liberal elite decided that a little dash of homophobia would spice things up.  Nothing says "gay ally" like gay panic.

"An evening with Pittsburgh's newly single Liberal Laureate, Vincent Scotti Eirene"*

... and much, much more!

We expect a hella good time.

Glad you can make it.

*In the event that there is a male winner, Vince has requested a separate drawing from female entrants.

I can't freaking believe that someone so dedicated to progressive causes would engage in this sort of shenanigan.  It is like the Seinfield line "he's gay, not that there's anything wrong with it" or however it goes.  What if a lesbian wins the basket?  A married woman?  Would that be better than spending the evening with a straight man with liberal proclivities?  Hmmmm.

I was going to protest the panel by going to learn about kindness and giving away flowers and stuff at another panel, but then I decided that I am not going to be oppressed by any white straight man, no matter how good his liberal cred can be. 

So I will be at that panel and I will talk about the need for more LGBTQ voices in the social media frontiers precisely because our "allies" aren't so dependable.

Straight white men.  Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

 

 

** To avoid any confusion, this post is intended to be ironic. No attempt to denigrate the motivations of straight white men is intended.  Any similarity to straight white men in Pittsburgh is purely coincidental.  And I would be happy to spend an evening with anyone, male or female, who would like to talk politics and eat Thai food. 

 

 

 

View Article  The Inside Scoop

I share a lot of opinions on this blog, but haven't done such a bang up job covering the breadth of issues that matter to me.  Or sharing about me. 

I've been working pretty hard to get into shape.  I think I already wrote about it.  I'm using the website www.sparkpeople.com to track my nutrition and fitness, as well as get some general support.  I'm using the EA Sports Active for regular workouts, especially now that swimming has ended for the year. 

But I've hit the dreaded plateau. For five weeks, I've gained and lost the same pound over and over again.  I'm still eating approximately 1200 calories and I work out 6-7 times per week with a variety of exercises to avoid stagnation.  My next step is to really increase the intensity of my work outs, but I'm in the midst of a the 30 day challenge on EA Fitness and I hate to quit.  Fitting in another 30 minutes per day is challenging, but I am very lucky that Ledcat is 100% supportive.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm stronger, healthier and in better condition than I've been for years.  I'm just feeling stuck.  A lot of the energy I used to devote to blogging is poured into managing the fitness program.  So I need to find a way to feed my activist side and my "break the plateau" side. 

I turn 40 in about five weeks.  I want my forties to be a healthier decade for me, both physically and mentally. 

It was hard at first.  I bought the Wii Fit Plus in January and used it sporadically because it felt silly.  Then in April my employer started a health initiative and I started using it 3-4x/week and then 4-5x/week.  I did a simple free step to music of my choice.  I did some strength training and a little yoga.  Nothing major.  Then we hit the swimming pool in June and I treaded water like my life depended on it which burns a lot of calories.  That got me more invested in the Wii and eventually led me to EA Sports Active. 

With regard to food, I also started simple.  I gave up soda which wasn't terribly hard for me personally.  Then I focused on incorporating fruits and veggies which was challenging, but also filled me up - yeah.  I started using SparkPeople which gave me a clear picture of what I am consuming as well as a sense of what combination of calories/carbs/fat/protein were good for my goals.  Plus, it is a social media site, so fun!  Took me several weeks to get the right balance and I was onto a new goal.  Well, an old goal b/c my obsession with protein had led me astray with fruits and veggies. 

See ... it is a lot of work, but it is doable if you bite things off in small bites (pun). 

As for other interests, I've been quite interested in religion lately.  Frankly, I'm very drawn to evangelical churches because of the good experiences I had back in the 1990s.  So I discovered Jim Wallis, the "liberal" evangelical who basically says people are saved to do good in the world, not sit around waiting for the rapture. 

I know.  So weird for me.  I even joined a Bible study.  Don't worry -- there's a pagan in our group.  It is all good.

What to do next?  I guess keep plugging away at the improvements I want to make in my life.  They include getting back into the political/news groove.  I guess I had a summer vacation. I'm not particularly concerned what I missed.  I just want to roll up my sleeves and contribute, but I promise not to capitulate to the powers that be.

I think I'll burn more calories being a pain in the ass anyway.

View Article  Things You May Have Missed ...

Gay Activism and Government Crackdowns Live On in Russia.

The GLCC has a new movie night. $2.  Popcorn.  More info here.

More debate on the impending promised vote to repeal DADT.  Some, like Pam Spaulding, aren't buying it.  Others fear it may be the last chance to do anything before we lose the Congress to the Republicans.  I'm sort of the the Dems aren't doing such a hot job anyway mentality.  Which I know according to some makes me the enemy.  But I didn't fail. I rallied the troops for over four years. I laid out background information and contact information and general information.  Don't bring the "if you aren't with us, you are against us" aka social conservative Democrat position crap to me. 

The pissing contest about who gets credit for this potential vote is pretty funny.  Lady Gaga staged a PR bonanza (wearing meat nonetheless) at the VMA awards with a powerful statement for the repeal of DADT then "exchanged tweets with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid" ... for God's sake.  Let's just make some calls.  Casey and Specter are on board as of my last peek. 

That's it for tonight.  Flexing the blogging muscles takes some time ... and there's so much to digest ... new City websites, parking plans, preservation debacles, the failure to remove the tree stump in front of my house and on and on and on. 

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