Tuesday, May 9
by Sue on Tue 09 May 2006 10:04 PM EDT
Tonight some disturbing news from our good friend Dave over at 2 Political Junkies. It seems that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has categorized the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents' website as pornography and blocked access from their computers.
I took a quick look at the online library policies which indicates that material that is harmful to minors is filtered.
Interesting. I contacted the library for an explanation so we'll see what transpires.
I'm also interested in what sites are NOT blocked ... your feedback is welcome.
by Sue on Tue 09 May 2006 07:43 AM EDT
From Monday's Valley Independent, I learned that most of the high schools in the mid-Mon Valley believe they are being proactive on cyber-bullying. According to Charleroi Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko.
The rest of the superintendents and principals shrug off the problem as not overly prevalent in their wonderful little school districts (Monessen and Ringgold) and emphasize how they interact with the parents to address specific circumstances. Monessen Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Chelen prefaces all of her sentences with "if" which implies that of course the wonderful Monessen school district is probably not sullied by bullying.
Ferko has the utmost faith in parents:" Ninety-five to 98 percent of the time, it's handled by the parents and they're very supportive."
Let's take a quick trip to Bridgeport, Connecticut where more than 14 high school students took part in a brutal assault on a gay high schooler. (He's recovering but terrified to go back to school, of course). But note this little tidbit ..
So this wasn't just a random mob event. The tension .. ahem, bullying ... had been there. In the school. Among the students. What we don't know yet is how the school was handling the situation.
I want to know who sold the sand in which the Mon Valley birds have buried their heads. I mean do they actually spend time in school? Have they met the parents? 98 percent of the time the parents handle bullyiing? That's a ridiculous assertion. If 98 percent of the parents in any disciplinary situation handled the situation and were "very supportive" school life would look very different. Especially for those of us who were on the bottom of the food chain.
I remember high school very well (West Mifflin Area). I survived some what unscathed because I was brainy and funny, but I have some wounds from ugly confrontations and abuse. It was awful for some of my friends, including those who were gay. I remember lists like the one in Mt. Lebanon, painful scenes in the locker room, the constant teasing and ridicule, being physically chased and assaulted, and the very subtle underlying sexual threat. It was not an experience I would willingly repeat. And I got off easy.
My partner went to a rural school and her stories are just as awful, if not worse because of the greater isolation the rural kids experienced.
Reading this piece of drivel from the Valley Independent makes me choke of my coffee. I have a cousin planning to move her kids out to a "country school" because she buys into this myth that somehow its safer than the suburbs (or, god forbid, the city). I know she's acting in good faith, but these principals are actively contributing to her delusion when they make these statements.
Too bad the reporter didn't challenge the 98% fact and ask for some evidence. Or even ask if they have documentation on bullying incidents. Or, more importantly, ask what type of anti-bullying curriculum materials they are using. Passing around some handouts at the PTA meeting isn't very effective. I'm guessing that the parents of most bullies don't join the the PTA. I could be wrong.
Take it from the homos, Mon Valley. You should really rethink this whole blissful ignorance issue. It is great that you work with the police and the parents to address specific incidents of bullying. And its great that you try to educate the parents about the dangers of cyber-bullying. But what you need to do is get beyond the mentality that bullying is part of the routine high school experience, roll up your sleeves and get in there with some tools to educate your kids. You might want to contact my all time favorite resource GLSEN Pittsburgh.
by Sue on Tue 09 May 2006 07:10 AM EDT
From the AP today, I picked up an interesting little tidbit. Swedish research indicates that lesbians' brains react differently to sex hormones than the brains of straight women.
In fact, lesbian reactions are similar to the reaction of heterosexual men; previous research indicates that the opposite is true for gay men - their reaction are smilier to heterosexual women.
The research gives credence to the argument that sexual orientation has a biological basis.
Monday, May 8
by Sue on Mon 08 May 2006 07:17 AM EDT
Thanks to the Post-Gazette, we now know to avoid Chocolate Celebrations and the Milkshake Factory on Southside.
It is the family business of siblings Chris and Dana Edwards, both of whom are proud members of the Bush Administration. Dana coordinates POTUS travel and Chris, who bears the title SPECIAL assistant to the President, oversees logistics for the press corp.
For some reason, a Post-Gazette editor decided to waste valuable feature space gushing over the Edwards candy store -White House connection . There's some inane reasoning that running a candy store prepares you to work in the White House. It is good that at least someone in the White House has run a successful business.
The best part is that Dana got her job because of her brother. It doesn't get more obvious that this Administration is not run by the most talented people, but by the most connected.
After annoying us with some pathetic jokes about Chris buying her a pearl necklace and how much money they make (poor Dana makes less -- imagine a woman making less!), the PG gives us this total line of garbage:
The PG thinks its news that two bright young Pittsburghers have been hoodswinked by the "family value" lies dripping out of the White House. Or, more likely, that Dana and Chris are young, upwardly-mobile, heterosexual, white adults who are willing to trade every bit of decency and intelligence they may posess for their own personal advancement and career trajectories. Chris and Dana are perfect examples of privileged hypocrites who don't give a flying fig about Pittsburgh families.
All the while selling us chocolate. And milkshakes.
Thus Pittsburgh queers and allies, you are duly warned that Chocolate Celebrations and the Milkshare Factory are owned by traitors who contribute to the Administration that wants to strip us of every civil right we deserve.
UPDATE: Click here for the latest derring do of the ice cream twins.
Sunday, May 7
by Sue on Sun 07 May 2006 12:28 PM EDT
This week Catherine Specter starts off strong with a well-phrased dose of withering advice for a woman manipulating her husband with a "did he notice my haircut?" test. Nicely done. Could I be wrong about Specter's Carrie Bradshaw ambitions?
Not so much.
In the next letter, a reader asks whether a lack of compliments from a guy indicates a lack of interest. It takes THREE sentences for Specter to fall back into her superficial obsession with looks, clothes and makeup.
Wait a minute. Isn't this passive approach sort of the same manipulation she so tartly ripped to shreds in the previous letter? Why not talk with the guy? After all, even pretty girls have the ability to speak. Last time I checked, they don't even have to wait until they are spoken to.
What's worse is that this is the gussied up version of the mentality whirling through Mt. Lebanon these days --- girls are objects who should be evaluated on their external characteristics. Maybe the PG should just print a family-friendly version of the Mt. Lebanon score card right next to Specter's column.
Why is being pretty or looking nice the default compliment Specter assumes this reader is seeking? How about complimenting her intelligence, wit or compassion? Maybe her work accomplishments? Or her strength, bravery, resourcefulness, loyalty, etc?
Because, in her own words:
by Sue on Sun 07 May 2006 11:00 AM EDT
PG writer Sally Kalson tackles the thorny issues of surrogate pregnancy custody in response to a recent court ruling removing custody of triplets from their surrogate mother. It is a complicated, sticky mess and certainly deserving of some attention for our legislature.
However, PA plans to establish a legal framework in surrogacy matters will tap into the age-old battle on family values. Legislation proposed by Senator Jane Earll, R-Erie, permits only an infertile married couple to establish a surrogate contract. Obviously, LGBT couples are left out since marriage is not an option for us. At least in Pennsylvania.
But consider how this legal restriction will impact heterosexuals. Single adults would not be able to use surrogacy to conceive a child. Nor would married couples who perhaps have their own reasons for not wanting to carry a child. As Kalson points out, issues around frozen embryos only make the situation more complicated - what if the the couple divorces? or one partner dies? Under this legislation, that would eliminate surrogacy.
My point (and, I hope, Kalson's point) is that when the government legislatively imposes an ideal family framework on Pennsylvania citizens, it usually doesn't fit. Heterosexual marriage does not automatically confer some special degree of happiness or healthiness on any family unit. What is does confer is a two-tiered family status: the married, reproducing heterosexuals and all the rest of us.
Kalson sums it up neatly:
by Sue on Sun 07 May 2006 08:09 AM EDT
From The Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights comes word that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has recessed without taking action on the amendment.
What exactly does that mean?
For one thing, your legislator is home in your district for the next month. This is a good time to contact her/him in person AGAIN and reiterate your opposition to this amendment.
Go here for more details on how you can get involved. I'll have more later in the week.
by Sue on Sun 07 May 2006 07:37 AM EDT
It has been one week since the Post-Gazette article on the Rene Portland debacle ran (Penn State's 'Mommy Coach' a bigot?)
Given that women's hoops are fairly popular around here, I expected ... well, something! Between the lesbians, the parents of high school players, the Pitt b-ball fans, and those who actively support the criminalization of homosexuality, surely someone mustered enough umbrage to pick up a pen.
Only one person has done so and his name is Bill Earley of Merion Station, PA. I have no idea where Merion Station is located, but it sounds like at least one resident has his head screwed on the right way.
Thanks for hitting the nail on the head, Bill. Portland gets away with discrimination because Penn State lets her.
I wonder if the local b-ball parents realize that remaining silent on this issue sends the right message to their daughters.
Who on earth would let their kid go play for this homo-bigot? Only another homo-bigot, I'd assume. And God knows we have plenty of those here in Pgh.
Saturday, May 6
by Sue on Sat 06 May 2006 04:48 PM EDT
How could I not post this (Mike Tidmus blog)
by Sue on Sat 06 May 2006 07:55 AM EDT
She's great. We heard about her performance through a local Queer Events email list and thought it sounded like a nice evening. So off we drove. It was well worth the $98.34 in gas (kidding). :-)
Eve is very personable and her music was thoughtful and entertaining. I enjoy live music somewhat, but get kind of bored quickly as my attention wanders. Especially when the artists performs 17 monotonous songs about their inner thoughts on, well, anything.
Eve ain't like that. Her introspection felt universal, not self-centered. She has some delightful numbers on her partner's 94 year old grandmother and two best buddies, Big Dog and Little Wag. Her parents were in attendance which made it just seem somehow more cool.
Laura is defintely the musical one in the family. I enjoy music, but sitting in a smoke filled club (or standing) surrounded by self-styled hipsters listening to someone whine about their life is not my idea of a good time. The environment destroys any connection I may feel with the performer. Hence, the Square Cafe is perfect -- no smoke, lots of seats and really delish hummus.
Check out Eve's website for her performance schedule. You'll be happy you did.
ps: I bought both her albums.