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View Article  Politicians to Post-Gazette: Don't Pick on Our Amendment!

In response to the Post-Gazette's two-thirds hearted opposition to the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, two of the amendment's sponsors took the time to whine about the PG's mischaracterization of their bill.  You've heard it all before, but since the PG has been parsimonious in covering this issue of late, I'll take a stab at it.

State Senator Bob Regola (R-Hempfield) and State Senator Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster) have seen a future filled with married homos and it scares the living hell out of them:

No one can legitimately claim that Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act will not be challenged in court. The testimony of gay-marriage advocates in Harrisburg confirms it is not a matter of if, but when. Prominent individuals from the ACLU and other organizations believe same-sex marriage should be legalized. Knowing there is little chance of accomplishing that goal legislatively, using the court to achieve this legislative agenda becomes an attractive tool.

They take to task stout-hearted fellows like Dan Frankel who have been pointing out that this legislation might actually hurt tens of thousands of unmarried heterosexuals, but Bob and Scott assure us that won't happen -- their crusade against homos won't have collateral damage.  Doesn't that sound familiar? 

And they call out those tricky legislators who took the political route to compromise the full degree of hate and fear that was embedded in the original bill.

Opponents are aware of this and have repeatedly tried to dilute the amendment in both the state House and Senate. A vote to weaken the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment by allowing civil unions is a vote that will kill the effort to protect marriage in this legislative session.

You are either for the original amendment or you hate freedom.   Something like that. 

These guys suck.

View Article  Am I as queer as you

Sue beat me to the punch on this one, too. I'm not as dedicated a blogger as she is. Recetnly she wrote an article talking about how a "queer" woman made a comment to the effect that she didn't recognize/acknowledge Sue & I at Steel Queer N' At  because she didn't think I/Sue would be at that type of event. Or words to that affect.

I should have questioned her about what she meant. 'Cause sister, I have the street cred to go anywhere that I want to go. Yes, I'm white. Yes, I'm middle class (barely) and yes, I have a law degree. But I have paid my dues in spades. I toiled as a young female lawyer making $7-8 dollars an hour for a man who made that in a minute. But it was the only job out there and I wanted to practice law. I've been poor. I've had to scrimp to make ends meet--to pay bills, etc. So this notion that if you're not dirt poor you don't qualify as "queer" is bullsh*t. With a capital B.

I also have the street cred because I have been an outlaw and nonconformist my whole life. From the time I can remember, I didn't like dresses, pink, frills or any of the things "normal" little girls liked. To this day, when I pass the woman's section in any store, my reaction to the clothes on display is one of utter disinterest. I have worn short hair for quite awhile along with men's/boy's clothing. Sure, I've worn women's clothing--still do. But I have never fit the image of a woman in this society. And I've been mistaken for a man or a boy countless times. I've been queer before queer was a word.

So don't stereotype me. You haven't earned the right. You haven't paid your dues. And to top it off, this particular person then made a comment about her--boyfriend. What a f**king joke. I've been a lesbian since forever. And I've paid a price for it. So don't look down your nose at me and sneer.

View Article  Untitled

I read my partner's post about Pride Day--the fact that some of the local politicos didn't show up. Bob O'Connor and Dan Onorato really don't have too much of an excuse because their positions are probably relatively safe. But I agree, Bob Casey should have made an appearance, albeit even if it was short.

Now don't get me wrong, I think it's imperative that we vote for Casey. We may think he is "Santorum lite" and the fact that he didn't attend Pride Fest doesn't help alleviate that impression. But Ricky Santorum is much, much worse for our community. And the Democrats have to take back the house and senate if the Bush madeness overtaking our country is going to be stopped.

But here is where Sue and I diverge. The Republicans have been able to use guilt by gay association, and have been able to make us a punching bag for so long for one simple reason. We don't vote. We can't be bothered to get off our asses and take 5-10 minutes to vote. The apathy among gay people is huge and the Republicans--like my friend Bob's favorite target Karl "no shit sticks to me" Rove know it. Rove can use us as the proverbial boogey man under the bed because we allow it. Nobody stands up and fights him. And the Republicans know we're not a force to be reckoned with. Hell, we're too busy fighting each other for God sake!

Respect from politicans is to be earned. Not demanded. Not taken for granted. Earned. Earned by voting and exercising good citizenship. If we voted and became a political force to be reckoned with, neither Karl Rove nor Ricky Santorum could use us as punching bags.

So to all you queers who are bummed that Casey won, get over it, vote and show him that you're a force to be reckoned with. Maybe next time he'll make sure he attends Pride Fest.


View Article  AFA of PA abandons fasting and prayer --- just send money

The Senate may vote on the anti-gay marriage amendment on Wednesday.  Here's what the AFA is seeking ... notice that they've not asked for either prayer or fasting ... so much for God's will ... 


1.)  Call your State Senator ASAP and ask him or her to support
 the original language of H.B. 2381 and to reject the Earll
Amendment.  Click here for contact information.   If you do not
know who your State Senator is, please enter your county or
nine-digit zip code in the upper right hand corner of that page
or call Commonwealth Directory Assistance at 717.787.2121. 
Please do not assume that your Senator will support the
Marriage Protection Amendment!  Contact them!
2.)  Feel free to forward this alert to other concerned
 Pennsylvanians.  If this alert is being forwarded to you by
a friend, please feel free to sign up by sending an e-mail
3.)  Please consider supporting the ongoing work of the
American Family Association of Pennsylvania.  Make
In His service,
Diane Gramley
American Family Association of PA



The State Senate has not yet voted on the PA Anti-Marriage Amendment. A vote could come any time on Wednesday or possibly even Thursday!

The delay in holding a vote indicates that constituent calls are putting pressure on Senators - so we must keep calling. If you have called - please call your senator again and explain the issue is very important to you and you want to make sure your senator knows that.

View Article  Photos from Pittsburgh 1st Ever Dyke March

Thanks to Ehrrin for sharing these with the Correspondents.  Click on the photo to see the whole slide show ....

View Article  The Trib's Mike Seate bring his usual sparky perspective to gay marriage

You gotta love Mike Seate, columnist for the Tribune-Review.  No matter how carefully he crafts his essentially pro-homo thoughts, he always gets a little jab in there -- just enough to remind us that he is a heterosexual middle class male after all.  For the most part, they are benign and usually amusing.  But I digress ...

Yesterday, Seate took a stab at the gay marriage amendmen furor.  His conclusion?  Gay marriage happens everywhere but the courts and pretty soon state governments will recognize that. 

And that homosexuals are scapegoats right now. 

A point that the wise and wondrous Post-Gazette editorial board glossed over in their passive missive yesterday.

It's an interesting coincidence that as we pass 39 years of legally sanctioned interracial marriage, the Pennsylvania state legislature has been busy approving an amendment that would ban gay marriage.

From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, there are gay and lesbian couples who've adopted children, cohabited like legally married couples and even enjoyed health benefits from progressive employers. They continue living their lives as married couples even while our lawmakers play to bigoted voters by passing meaningless anti-gay marriage laws.

And he connects gay civil rights with the larger struggle for civil rights (here's the little sparky jab):

Though several lawmakers throughout the union staged public tantrums about having to legalize interracial marriages back in 1967, their fears of a ruined, lawless society never materialized. By the 1990 U.S. Census, one in 33 Americans identified themselves as being of mixed race heritage. By 1995, that number had risen to one in 26.

Better yet, interracial marriage has produced people as stunningly beautiful as Paula Abdul and Shakira, which even the most ardent segregationist has to agree is a positive development.

Ah, Mike.  Your not so bad for a breeder yourself.

View Article  PG Editors Sternly Denounce Gay Marriage Amendment (Sort of)

From Monday's Post-Gazette comes this rather unimpressive denouncement of the still breathing Pennsylvania legislation on gay marriage (amend the constitution, hurt the homos and the heteros, you remember).

Today is the day we are supposed to see some action in the Senate on the revised bill which would still make gay marriage unconstitutional, but not civil unions.  This bill should reach the floor as early as today.  If it passes, it has to return to the House for passage in its amended form.  The homo-haters and hate-panderers are up in arms at the watered down language of the legislation so what will happen is anyone's guess.

The only solace is that is all has to happen by the end of next week or it goes kapoot (how do you spell kapoot by the way?). 

I'm glad the PG opposes the amendment.  And I'm glad they point out how this could hurt many heterosexual couples b/c frankly that's our best shot at avoiding passage.  Hurting homsexual families doesn't seem to be a concern for our homegrown Democrats so we need to pull out all the possible cards. 

But this editorial reads like a carefully crafted compromise rather than a thoughtful articulation:

This whole amendment is objectionable. That the civil union language was in there at the start proves the lie at the heart of its supporters' claims: This isn't about protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage (if it were, it would ban divorce, the real culprit). It is about writing a note of prejudice into the state constitution.

Objectionable?  A note of prejudice?  Was Tony Norman off this day -- who the heck uses phrases like "note of prejudice" over an amendment that would overtly constitutionalize second class status for an entire group of people?  About the violation of our civil rights?  About the fact that we've been here before and it wasn't so good that time around? 

The PG wimped out on this issue.  You'll note they stopped printing letters to the editor on this issue.  Perhaps readers are getting bored?  But isn't that the damn point ---

View Article  Episcopal Church Elects Female Bishop, Expresses "Regret" For Ordaining Gay Bishop

It has been a tumultuous week in Columbus Ohio where the Episcopal Church legislative body wrestled with questions that threatened the very unity of the church, a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion (PG).

The church shocked the world with the 2003 election of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly gay man.  In response, a commision established by the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a report calling for a moratorium on electing gay bishops. 

This Episcopal Church gathering carefully crafted a response expressing regret for not being more careful with the appointment and failing to recognize the impact it would have.  It does express regret for appointing a gay man. 

The gathering also rocked the boat with the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop. 

The conservative forces within the Anglican Church, including Pittsburgh's own Bishop Duncan, are not pleased.

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, president of the conservative American Anglican Communion, said the actions thus far at the convention, including the House of Deputies' vote on the "Expression of Regret," had not altered his opinion that the Episcopal Church was headed in the wrong direction.

"It was not Windsor Report-compliant to begin with," he said of the vote. "So they rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic."

And there remains other legislation dealing with the election of gay bishops and the authorization of same-sex unions that must still be voted on before the convention ends late tomorrow.

View Article  How Queer Am I?

We did a lot of gay things this weekend ... the dyke march, the quiet storm queer performance, pride march, pridefest, pride baseball game, etc.  All of them had their awesome moments. 

There was only one moment that really pissed me off.  And it was when a self-styled queer woman had the gall to suggest that my girl and I aren't the "type" of lesbians to show up at either a dyke march or the recent queer cabaret show (Steel Queer N'At). 

Meaning we aren't dyke enough, queer enough, cool enough, hip enough and a whole other list of prejudicial exlusionary things enough for this chick's comfort.

I guess its easy to take a look at us and write us off as middle class white yuppie lesbians.  And, yes, that is part of who we are ... we have a house, two cars, professional jobs, advanced degrees and all that assimilationist stuff that goes along with it.  What you don't see if you don't bother to look is the important stuff about who we are -- our values, our beliefs, our practices, our contributions, our commitment, and so forth. 

Here's a small slice of what you f*cking don't know about us. You don't know how many hours of volunteer work we do.  You don't know how we choose to spend the money we earn working public service jobs rather than for corporate America.  You don't know if we eat meat, recycle, take care of our aging family members, ride share, go the library, live in an inner city neighborhood, drop everything to help our friends, support LGBTQ human service agencies, shop at thrift stores, feed homeless cats or boycott Wal-Mart.  You don't know if we stand up, speak out, shut up, kick ass, takes names and speak to the manager when we see discrimination, oppression, injustice, unfairness or plain old hatred.  You don't know if we recognize our privileges.  You don't know what we say when get access to people with power and money.  You don't know how many times we've been harassed, assaulted, violated, picked on, laughed at, mistreated, misled, denied, ignored, repudiated and disregarded because we are gay or women or both.

Guess what, honey?  You need to f*cking get over yourself.  Who the hell are you to tell either of us - whom you barely know - that we aren't cool enough to play in your sandbox?  This is the kind of exclusive crap that reinforces those giant walls that keep women in our community disempowered. 

What you also don't know is that you pissed off the wrong lesbians.  Because now we will come to every f*cking event there is and we will plop our middle-class asses down right next to you and make you acknowledge us.  And we will bring others -- from Sewickley and Homestead and Bethel Park and Greensburg --- we will invite them to be part of the dyke experience and they will come.  There will be minivans parked next to bicycles.  There will be burgers and tofu.  They will listend to WYEP and KDKA. 

We're here.  We're queer (too).  Get used to it.

View Article  Pittsburgh's First Dyke March: Correspondents Deem It a HUGE Success

Nearly 125 women of all ages, ethnicities, sizes and shapes turned out Friday evening for Pittsburgh's first-ever dyke march, a grassroots effort organized by two local queer women in less than one month.

The event kicked off with a rallyesque bang at the CMU lawn with some spoken word, a few djs and a lot of lady mingling.  We marched from CMU to Pitt and back along the Forbes/Fifth corridor.  The pace was a little fast for those of us who aren't uber-physical, but the energy was high as the parade participants chanted, cheered and enjoyed the delicious feeling of being amongst a crowd of women laying claim to the dyke mantle.

The organizers expected/hoped for about 40 participants especially as they relied mainly on word of mouth to promote the event.  They got well over 100 women, some reportedly driving in from West Virginia to attend.

The event grew out of frustration that most spaces in the local community are defined by men, either the men who attend or the men who own the actual space.  This holds particularly true for PrideFest where some sense that queer women are invisible.  Some women just opt not to participate in the LGBT community or travel out of state to attend dyke-friendly events.  Eli and Khalia, the organizers, chose to create dyke affirming spaces and settled on a dyke march to coincide with PrideFest.

They are both quick to point out that the PrideFest Committee and the Gay & Lesbian Community Center have been supportive, providing listings of the march on their calendars and spreading the word about the event.  PrideFest organizer Jeff Freedman told the City Paper that he viewed the Dyke March as a mobilization of the community, something he claims is long overdue.

The event did face an organizing problem when the Pittsburgh City Police failed to show up on time for the start of the march even though the organizers had followed all of the city policies and procedures to request the permit and arrange the event.  They tried repeatedly to contact the police and were unsuccessful.  Rather than see the event collapse, they turned to allies and asked them to help block traffic counting on the fact that the permit would offset potential problems. 

We marched up Forbes and all the way to Fifth Avenue near the Cathedral of Learning when one squad car from Pittsburgh's Zone 4 showed up at the event.  Organizers showed him the permit and he allowed the event to continue.   This sargeant stayed for about 20 minutes and then left the group to finish the parade unescorted. 

The event ended back at the lawn where jubilant women spent some time decompressing from the bit of a high this sort of dyke-positive event had created.  I spent some time talking with both Eli and Khalia to get their perspectives on the value of creating dyke friendly spaces.  I found them both to be articulate, passionate and -- perhaps most importantly -- willing to take action to build the dynamics they think will strengthen the community.

What I did not find was any sense of man-hating or male-bashing or desire to completely disengage from the male homodynamic.  I did an informal survey at PrideFest about the Dyke March and found that a lot of the women who did not attend had heard these sort of rumors about the event and the organizers. Fortunately, they were willing to listen to our experience and expressed a genuine interest in participating in the future once we reassured them that no one was planning to castrate gay boys. 

These women have done a good job creating a dyke-affirming event.  The next challenge is to reach out beyond their circles of genderqueer women to all those dykes who didn't attend, didn't hear about it and are pretty much mainstream.  Their voices should be part of the dialogue because they too are being disregarded by those in power. There are lots and lots of suburban dykes in Pittsburgh complete with minivans, car seats and years of misogeny on thier backs. 

More on that later when I discuss why being labeled an assimilationist is not cool ...

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The Correspondents