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View Article  Jane Orie: Whirl Magazine Darling or Whirling Dervish?

Here's a delightful photo of the yinzer queen herself, Senator Jane Orie (it scanned very poorly - but you can still get the point).  She at the "Cannon Ball" benefiting Soldiers and Sailers  -- hence the jaunty cap.  I'm not sure how to explain the hair, but I suspect no one can. 

Senator Orie is one Republican who could benefit from some gay male friends. 


I hate those ads for Hurl magazine  - "Whirl Magazine - Are you In?"   What a load of elitist propaganda.  I thumbed through this edition while waiting for our hairstylist to work on my partner's mop.  It provided endless fodder for a steady stream of withering commentary from moi, commentary that made the hairstylist laugh far too much when wielding scissors. 

It seems the only black people who get included in the photos are either a Steeler or attending a black event.  Which reinforces the notion that the vast majority of  la-de-da events are white only.  Inviting Jerome Bettis to your fundraiser for low income women doesn't exactly count as diversity. 

Hurl is the bastard sister of the PG's voyeur rag, Seen.  My one and only experience with seen was at a 2004 fundraiser for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.  We were having a little chat with local LGBT woman about town Dinah Denmark when I heard this huge sucking sound behind me.  I turned to see Patricia Sheridan oozing her way across the floor heading right for Dinah.  She had her photolackey snap a shot of us and then went off in search of other ass to kiss.  The following Monday, Dinah was smiling out from the Post-Gazette --- with Laura and I neatly cut out of the photo!  So the closest I've been to Seen has been the cutting room floor somewhere in the bowels of the PG. 

Obviously, I'm bitter.  :-)   

View Article  What's the story with True, Pittsburgh's Gay Bar on the Northside?

This caught my eye in the June 2006 edition of Pittsburgh's OUT, the monthly gay newspaper.  Click on the image to read the full text of the ad.

We liked True b/c they had a coffee bar and were smoke free.  We didn't go often, but it seemed busy enough as we drove by.  And the buzz from the community meetings here in Manchester is that bars like True are much more desirable than the Shamrock Inn and other rundown unsavory watering holes. 

So what's the story with True? 

View Article  Is Catherine Specter Inching Toward Feminism?

This morning, I flipped to the "Just Ask Cat" segment in the PG and almost spilled my coffee.  No, she still has the rich girl slumming as hipster yinzerette photo up.  Its way more interesting than that. And you know how much I look forward to reading Cat's insipid advice each week. 

Cat stood up for women.  Sort of. Women who don't wear makeup.  Or girly clothes.  And sexually active women.  All the good girl no-no's. 

First a letter from a 40 year old divorced man who questions whether he can trust his current lady love to have outgrown her casual sex days of yore.  Cat sort of steps up on this one, informing "Bothered" that his concern for her past is a reflection on his screwed up values and not hers. 

Then comes De-Tom Time who thinks his near perfect "girl" needs to girly up a little bit and asks for advice since "it is way too early to start criticizing her."


Cat's response:

DEAR DE-TOM: There are myriad reasons why attractive girls with great bods might not have a lot of dates. Don't assume it's because other guys can't see past her lack of makeup and minis. You've had three dates and you want to change her already? Get over yourself. "Near-perfect" is quite something. Take her someplace real; don't just hang out. If she wears overalls to dinner, accept it or move on. And do note, there's never a good time to criticize her.

Cat's Call: The best thing about tomboys -- the girl underneath is an elusive surprise, not a given.

Obviously, she has a LONG way to go toward actually valuing women (or offering good advice). 

Sadly, what Specter fails to recognize is her complicity in patriarchal attitudes that treat women like inanimate objects solely existing for their male sexual gratification (and breeding.)  Her constant use of the term "girl" to describe adult females is the obvious starting point for her never ceasing descent into the world where boys will be boys and women will be dissected on Top Ten lists.  

But perhaps there is some faint glimmer of hope that Specter can evolve into an actual dispenser of good advice instead of merely spewing out quasi-flippant comments while licking her 8x10 glossy of Carrie Bradshaw. 

Or maybe not.

View Article  Howard Dean Loves the Homos and the 700 Club

DNC Chairman Howard Dean was in town this weekend to address the annual convention of the National Stonewall Democrats aka "gay Democrats."  Dean told the assembled faithful that Stonewall has made the party "stronger, more inclusive, more courageous, more tenacious." (PG)

Mr. Dean said DNC operatives had been instructed to work with the gay community and trained to discuss gay-rights issues with straight voters.

He told the Stonewall group, 'We need you to reach out to the straight community.'

Reach out to the straight community? What the hell does he think we do everyday - live in a queers only bubble? 

While reporter Joe Smydo was quick to get some comments from the Sanctimonious camp, he failed to even touch on some of the recent gay controversy swirling around Dean's leadership.  (Washington Blade)

First, Dean eliminated the LGBT outreach desk late last year as part of a strategic realignment, assuring the community that the DNC would continue to reach out to gays.

Then in February, the DNC published its annual grassroot activity report without a single reference to LGBT grassroots activities. 

Third, in early May, Dean fired gay outreach advisor Donald Hitchcock just weeks after Hitchcock's partner publicly criticized the DNC for failing to protect gay rights.

For his coup d'etat, Dean went on The 700 Club.  Yes, Dean made time in his schedule to reach out to the Pat Robertson crowd.  Later, Dean had to issue an apology for informing Robertson's viewers that the Democrat party platform stated marriage was between a man and a woman.  Gay groups responded in outrage.  Dean does intend to return to The 700 Club for future appearances.  Click here for Shakespeare Sister's recap of Pat Robertson's more outrageous (?divisive?) comments.

Did anyone from the media even ASK Dean about these issues?  Did anyone from Stonewall?   I couldn't because Stonewall didn't want bloggers covering their convention.  We aren't a "valid media."   I guess no one bothered to tell Dean that during the 2004 campaign, but whatever.  Or perhaps bloggers might ask actual questions that put Stonewall on the spot.  Wouldn't want that. 

It appears that the PG editors prefer to spin Dean's appearance as an anti-Santorum story than to do any concrete reporting on current gay politics.  To be fair, they have probably sent an intern into the bowels of the Boulevard to drag out and dust off the tired old gay cliches for the June 17 PrideFest article.  Last year's trivial little article by Caitlin Cleary is a good example of how little concern the PG has for accurate reporting on gay issues.  But I digress ...

h/t to 2 Political Junkies for a transcript of the entire Dean speech.

View Article  Santorum Willing to Treat Homos "Nicely"

In an appearance on yet another right wingnut talk program, Ricky Sanctimonious played his oh-so-tired homo card.  Again.

This time he was on Janet Parshall's America (I wish I had my own America), a nationally syndicated talk radio program. I picked this up from the Raw Story. 

Read what Ricky has to say this time ...

It is. If you think about it, Janet, from everything from Brokeback Mountain to, you know, all the TV shows that you see promoting and affirming alternative lifestyles -- I guess to put it nicely -- you would think that the culture would eventually just move in the other direction. But I think these kind of debates are the chance for a public discourse to counter what Hollywood is purveying to our young people. Not just what Hollywood is purveying to young people, to all people. And it's an opportunity for us to get beyond, you know, 'We should treat everybody nicely.' I'm for treating everybody nicely, but that doesn't mean that we need to change the law to recognize a form of marriage that is harmful to our country.

Hey, hey --- I wonder if Santorum spokesfag Robert Traynham gets treated nicely when he's asked to spin yet another stupid lie to cover Ricky's ass?  You could say he's the right man for that job, but that would be an overly obvious joke. 

And, of course, there are still no details on how gay marriage will hurt the country.  Perhaps Ricky left that document in Penn Hills when he moved?  

View Article  Steel Queer N'At: Correspondents Weigh In

Last night, we toddled off to The Eagle to catch Steel Queer N'At, a quarterly performance of Pittsburgh queer talent put together by a local eclectic queer art collective.  For months, we've talked about going to the monthly K'vetch performances (third Thursdays at Modern Formations in Garfield), but something always came up. So this was our big chance to see what all the fuss was about.

It was awesome (except for one detail I'll get to later).  The organizers did a great job staging an outrageous, sexy show that made me think and, even more importantly, made me want to take some action ... to pick up my pen, pick up my picket sign and pick my ass up off the couch. 

The performers were this amazing group of rowdy, righteous, motivated babes (and a few gents) who had something important ... a whole lotta something important .... to say and did it with style and words and music and movement that left the audience panting for more.  In a good way.  

It was also easily the most diverse group of queer women I've encountered in Pgh.  Most every gay event is pure white with maybe one or two token minorities.  And most every gay event organizers claim that they don't know how to connect with gay minorities.  Perhaps they should get in touch with the collective because they seem to be doing a fine job.

We loved 'em all for speaking their truth, for speaking out loud and for getting up on that stage to just speak. 

The next Steel Queer N'At should be in October.  We'll post it here with plenty of advance warning so you can catch the show. October is also the Celebrate the Night performance night, but we'll post on that separately.

Now here's our concern.  The performers howled about women taking back control of our bodies, our sexuality, our health and our identity.  They called out corporate America for filling our bodies with poisons and to society for boxing us in with few choices.  It was chilling and it was the truth.

It was also done in a room filled with smoke.  And there lies the rub.  If I wanted to hear the message, I had no choice but to expose myself to second hand smoke for the entire evening.  Every smoker in that room took away my control over the very air I breathe.  To hear their message, I had to sacrifice my own ability to breath and speak.  How is this inclusive or empowering? 

I respect that each woman, each person, in that room has the right to choose to smoke, but they shouldn't have the right to force me to smoke, too.   If someone drank too much or acted obnoxiously, I could choose to move away.  There's was nowhere to hide from the smoke.  I had to leave the space to reclaim my breath. 

On their website, they write:

We are creating a new aesthetic and we do this collectively because it is absolutely necessary for our health, well-being and struggle.

If you take the beauty industry to task for seducing us into inserting carcinogens into our vaginas, what about the tobacco industry's well-documented coercion of smokers?  Studies show that lesbians are 70% more likely to smoke than heterosexual women; 25 % of lesbians smoke.  I can't find the stats on the incidents of lung cancer and emphysema for lesbians versus heterosexual women, but I'm guessing there's a statistically significant difference. 

That means roughly 75% of us don't smoke.  Why force us to compromise our health to be part of the Steel Queer N'At experience?  Why not have a smoke-free event and ask the smokers to respect me and my choices about MY health enough to step outside? Even make the performance area itself smoke free and have the smokers go downstairs to the third floor to smoke -- its not even outside.  If a few smokers choose not to attend, I guarantee more non-smokers will gladly take their seats. 

A smoke-free event would rock.  I want to go again and want to take my women friends with me, but they won't willingly go into an environment where they can't breathe freely.  No one should.

Look for another post soon comparing and critiquing the lesbian performance experiences in Pittsburgh.

And check out the Steel Queer N'At collective for a consciousness raising jolt to your LGBT identity.  You won't regret it.

View Article  White House Posts Mary Cheney Interview

All I can do with a straight face is post the link.

View Article  Trib Column: Conservative Says Marriage Amendment is a Bad Idea

I missed this, but on Thursday the Trib published a column by Jim Powell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute (limited government, free markets, etc). 

Powell explains how federal regulation of marriage proved to be a bad conservative idea back in the days of Theodore Roosevelt. 

Polygamous families were producing more children than monogamous families and TR feared that polygamy would sweep the nation. He recommended a constitutional amendment banning polygamy. He came close to suggesting that there ought to be a law making it mandatory for monogamous families to have children.

Aside from the characters on HBO, do you know any polygamous families?  

Powell continues:

One big problem with the idea of federalizing everything is the assumption that the "right" people will always be in control.


Mindful of historical reality, one has to consider the possibility that if the marriage amendment is ratified, it will strengthen precedents for the federal government to find new ways of interfering in people's personal lives. At least some of the interference will likely be abhorrent to the religious right.

All very excellent points.  But Powell fails to carry his argument to its logical conclusion -- its not so much federal control of marriage that's abhorrent as government control period.  Why should the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania exert that latitude of control over marital and, by default, nonmarital relationships? 

We've already seen examples of the damage that the amendments can do vis a vis blasting domestic violence convictions out of the water for unmarried couples.  People of faith should rethink this because its not just the great unwashed sinners who run into this wall of control.  If your engaged virginic daughter is beaten by her fiancee, she may have no legal recourse.  If he waits until they are married to beat her, she's all set.  That makes no fucking sense.

Powell wraps up with a call to the conservative faithful to live up to their own ideals rather than imposing them on others:

If they really want to promote traditional marriage, conservative people of faith should do two things:

First, they could marry someone of the opposite sex and set an example of how beautiful such unions can be.

Second, rather than working to close off the rights of gays, they should use their political efforts to abolish the obnoxious marriage tax penalty. Then all people of every sect and philosophy would owe them a debt of gratitude.

I'd go a bit further.  If the conservatives want to preserve the institution of marriage and protect families, they should put down their fetus signs and sign up as a foster family.  It is the best way to help put a family back together.

View Article  Soulforce Erects Gay Positive Billboards

Soulforce is hoping to put up 16 of these billboards in June in opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment.  You can help. 

The anti-gay forces are making another attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage in such a way as to exclude the families of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee is their agent for putting the Federal Marriage Amendment before the Senate.

During this summer's fight to defeat the FMA, these billboards will serve as a powerful reminder that Coretta Scott King called for legal protections for same-gender families. And we are placing them in Senator Frist's hometown.

It would be nice to see some in Pennsylvania.  Senator Santorum's former hometown.

View Article  McIntire Tackles Gay Marriage Amendment: "Its Unconstitutionable"

While he deftly minces closer to his own heterosexual-style wedding to the lovely and talented Roberta, our good friend and lesbian-lover John McIntire gave gay marriage a big old shout out in his local blog, MacYapper.com

In spite of his fondness for large-fonted bold-faced type (I always wondered what his type was), McIntire adroitly dissects the bigot-fawning behavior of Arlen Specter, Dubya and pretty much the entire Republican party (plus Democrat Ben Nelson).

Not to mention members of the general public who like to pussy-foot around their homophobic principles (type faced reduced for non-yelling like reading):

*To those who ask, "why, just because I'm against gay marriage, does thatmake me a bigot or a homophobe?" I extend my sympathies.
You're not necessarily either of those.*
You could just be an imbecile.

Its just like the famous phrase "I'm not a racist, but ..."    People are okay with me being gay as long as I don't flaunt it or shove it down their throats.  Dude, if I wanted to shove anything done your throat, I WOULDN'T BE GAY. Or at least I wouldn't be lesbian-flavored gay.

With PrideFest being just around the corner, we will soon get another wonderful dose of "why can't they be normal" media coverage from our local intrepid reporters while they zoom to the drag queens and leather men.  Talk about hypocrisy!  Somebody put Mike Seate on a Pride parade float with Ivana Trailer and be done with it ...

Speaking of intrepid reporters, back to McIntire.  His tirade includes the traitorous bitch-queen herself, Mary Cheney.

*And the ever hypocritical Mary Cheney should resign her membership in the party (and/or the human race) after Dubya makes his shameful shameless statements on Monday.

*But she hasn't got the balls. Well, I guess I can't be absolutely certain.

Now I have a bone to pick with Mr. Hetero-Metrosexual McIntire (ewww).  I sat 10 feet away from him Sunday night and called for the revocation of Mary Cheney's lesbian membership.  On the air.  With at least 5 listeners, including my cousin Bud in Greensburg.  Plus that stout overly friendly producer guy who kept trying to ply me with fresh coffee.  Don't trust a producer bearing fresh coffee.  You just end up having to pee and praying for a commercial break. 

Anyway, he pretties up my line and turns it into fodder for his blog-whoring readers

*It's unconscionstitutionable.

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