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View Article  More sports folks weigh in on Rene Portland's gay bashing

From Sunday's Post-Gazette, sports colunist Ron Cook calls for Rene Portland to be fired.

What in the world is the Penn State administration thinking by allowing Portland to stay on as coach after its half-year internal investigation determined she created a "hostile, intimidating and offensive environment" for at least one of her players whom she believed to be a lesbian?

Ron -- Penn State is thinking they can get away with it.  They are thinking that the end justifies the means.  Portland wins games so who cares how she gets there?   Penn State is reinforcing the stereotype that athletics ALWAYS trumps well ... anything.

You mean to tell me Ron, that not all sports fans are homophobic?  That not all sports fans think winning at any cost is acceptable?  That some sports folks actually respect diversity and believe that a healthy environment is important to the growth and development of college players? 

That Penn State is pandering to the worst stereotypes about athletes and sports fans?

Wait ... there's more .....ESPN's Graham Hayes is disgusted with Penn State.

Portland is a homophobe.

And in this country, she has every right to be.

But that doesn't mean the citizens of Pennsylvania should be obligated to pay her to spread those views among current students or discriminate against prospective students at the state's land-grant university.

It's sad that Portland views the world through such myopic lenses; it's reprehensible that, knowing that, the school still wants her as its coach.

The folks over at Women's Hoops Blog have been doing an outstanding job covering the whole story.  Penn State students are planning to protest next week. 

On a disappointing note, Pittsburgh native Suzie McConnell-Serio can only muster up relief that Portland is remaining at Penn State ...

"When it was all said and done, I was relieved she was going back to Penn State to be with those players," said Suzie McConnell-Serio, a four-year starter for Portland in the late 1980s who coaches professionally. "I was relieved she could continue what she has started to keep the tradition going."

McConnell-Serio is on the record of stating that homosexuality is a personal choice, but acknowledging that she'll support her player's personal choices.  (Minnesota Lynx player Michele Van Gorp was living an openly gay lifestyle). 

Well, Suzie, I guess you don't want to be TOO supportive.  After all, a 20 year tradition of lesbian baiting is an important value for young basketball players.


View Article  PG Columnist Catherine Specter Continues to Demean Readers

For the past two weeks, I haven't found anything worth commenting about in the Post-Gazette's "Just Ask Cat" column, a quasi-advice section penned by Catherine Specter.  Specter is the genetic mutation of Harriet Nelson and Carrie Bradshaw, minus the cool hair. 

Why does it bother me so?  One need only turn to the back of the Employment Section for the incredibly good column "Help Me Harlan."  Harlan offers compassionate, thoughtful and gentle insight into the angst of modern life, with an especially graceful connection with adolescents.  Cat Specter offers her belief that "You are so hot" is a useful relationship building comment. 

Harlan's column calls to mind the grand dames of advice, Dear Abby and Ann Landers.    I read both religiously throughout my childhood and teen years.  They gave me an anchor in the face of seven zillion difficulties, both large and small.  I felt validated and affirmed as a person -- I felt like there was an adult out there that valued me for who I was on the inside versus trying to change who I was on the outside.

For the most part, Specter's damage is benign.  I'm sure there are women in Pittsburgh who are seeking validation in their fashion choices and their belief that the right lipstick is crucial to snaring a good man.   To everyone's disadvantage, Specter occasionally ventures in serious advice territory  - such as encouraging a reader to tacitly condone racism.  

She's like the oblivious sorority sister who fails to comprehend that your impact on the world should not be limited to fashion advice and an occasional charity event.  Sort of the pre-Harvard Elle in Legally Blond. 

Minus the cool hair.

View Article  Rene Portland - What the Local Media Has Been Saying

You know Rene Portland is not my favorite person.  She is found guilty of discriminating against lesbians (or perceived lesbians) and Penn State gives her a little slap on the wrist. 

As the Trib reports, Penn State is clearly responsible for "creating Rene Portland and allowing her to get away with this" per Jennifer Harris attorney. 

What's amazing (or maybe just depressing) is that parent's of female basketball players don't find this in the least bit disturbing. 

Norma O'Rourke, mother of freshman point guard Brianne O'Rourke, said she and her daughter are happy Portland is returning.

"I feel bad that this disrupted the team," Norma O'Rourke said. "It is a shame what (Portland) went through. I am glad she is still here. She has the support of so many people."

And recruits from Pgh?  Well, they intend to head right into the vipers den ...

This is the best example of head-in-the-sand thinking ...

Oakland Catholic junior guard Erica Prosser's father Craig said he would have no problem with his daughter attending Penn State. Erica said she feels the same way.

"Most of what I have heard is all good about her," Prosser said. "My family and I would have no problem with going there. I have talked to (Penn State freshman guard) Brianne O'Rourke, not specifically about Jen, but she said things are going well."

And from the Post-Gazette, a voice of reason from B.J. Searcy of Monessen ...

I pray that some of that compassion be directed toward the women whose young adult lives were painfully disrupted by the discrimination and humiliation they experienced at her the hands of Portland.

That's right BJ.  Rene Portland's homophobia has HURT young women for over 20 years.  Creating a hostile environment hurts the entire team both those who fall into the undesired category and those who are taught to shun and disdain them. 

Rene Portland's game record may be admirable, but her legacy is one of fear and intolerance.  Is that really the best environment for these promising young athletes? 


View Article  Let's hear it for Heather from Shaler!

Today, Heather Chirdon of Shaler takes Concerned Women for America to task for their support of the marriage amendment. 

The notion of bringing the gay marriage amendment to a referendum vote is laughable. As a woman I feel it is my duty to remind her that the vote she would like to use is the one we gained only in 1920. How can we take a basic civil liberty and use it to bludgeon those of another citizen?

The Concerned Women seemed to be unduly worried that gay marriage will cause a higher injury rate among married heterosexual couples.  And continues the wingers ridiculous inability articulate HOW gay marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. 

Heather -- thank you for stepping up!    You rock!


View Article  PG article on Presbyterian Homophobia confuses Correspondent

In today's PG, Ann Rodgers reports on the Pittsburgh Presbytery's decision to keep homonegative language in a document that underscores anti-LGBT ordination. 

I get that the majority of Presbyterian voters decided that this language is okay with them, even when challenged to reflect on whether this language truly represents the church.  What language?  Here's a bit:

"Even where the homosexual orientation has not been consciously sought or chosen, it is neither a gift from God nor a state nor a condition like race; it is a result of our living in a fallen world."

That's nice.  I love how neatly people split human rights into immutable characteristics and behavior.  If only people could be so neatly compartmentalized. 

But kudos to those brave souls who put themselves out there to generate this dialogue.

However, Ms. Rodgers has me puzzled.  Maybe I'm just statistically challenged.  But I cannot figure out what this sentence means:

However, the margin of 3-2 was closer than the 2-1 votes with which the presbytery has turned back efforts to approve the ordination of actively gay clergy in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

What does that mean?  Am I just dense?  Did I have too much late night caffeine? 



View Article  City Paper Drops the Ball Exploring the Black Gay Faith Experience

This week's City Paper takes an interesting look at the conflict many gay African-American's struggle with between their faith and their sexual orienation.   Commend the CP for exploring the range from those who want church help "getting through" being gay to those seeking full acceptance and inclusion. 

Some ministers take a hard stance invoking scripture to justify condeming homosexuality (while loving the sinner).  Others emote compassion to help individuals cope with being gay, still implying there's something immoral that needs to be fixed or denied -- to outrun the internal sinner and be delivered from being gay.   Inevitably, the issue of comparing gay civil rights with the African-American civil rights movement arises as well. 

One local gay black man of faith states:

?I don?t think the African-American community is in a position to lose the ? gifts of hundreds of thousands of black people simply because they love in a different way than the majority,? he says. ?But to be honest, that is the way it?s going to be for most African-American gays and lesbians until the community learns how to work with people who are different from themselves.?

What's interesting is that the City Paper talks strictly to men.  There was nothing from female African Americans who are gay or who are church leaders.  How is that a holistic examination of the African-American experience, especially in churches where women play such a strong role? 

It is also interesting that the CP notes that Dr. Martin Luther King's daughter Berneice is avidly anti-gay without noting that her mother, the dearly departed Coretta Scott King, was an outspoken supporter of gay civil rights.

A friend of mine who is an African-American woman of faith tells me that in her experience and her family, homosexuality was not scorned or shunned.  Her mother had gay male friends who were a fully loved part of her life and wept along with the family at her mother's funeral.  And she firmly believes that most women in the church share this attitude. 

Overall, I think the City Paper dropped the ball on this one. 


View Article  Penn State "reprimands" lesbian baiter coach

Proving once again that athletics trumps anything else in higher education, Penn State has issued a "letter of reprimand" to Rene Portland for her lesbian baiting ways.  AND it will go in her permanent file ... ooohhhhh. 

This is so utterly pathetic ... they acknowledge that Rene Portland harassed Jennifer Harris, but don't deem it serious enough to warrant any real action.  Because Rene Portland is paid to win basketball games. Not to coach these young women.  To win. 

Any woman, particularly any gay woman, who gives one iota of support to Penn State should really take a step back and think about this past year.  Beyond this whole lesbian bashing situation, Joe Paterno made frivolous demeaning comments about cute young girls seducing football players in reference to allegations of rape. 

I would no sooner send my female child into that lion's den than I would enroll them at Liberty University.  Women are not valued at Penn State.  More precisely, the value of women is significantly less than the value of winning ball games. 

I know it ain't gonna change. But do you want to financially support a university that has such little regard for women?

Let's hope the lawsuit generates more suitable consequences for this hate-mongering b*tch. 




View Article  More from PG readers on anti-gay marriage amendment

Apparently, I spoke too soon.   Today's Post-Gazette includes a letter to the editor from Nancy Staible of Zelienople, Pennsylvania Director of Concerned Women for America.  Ms. Staible rambles on about children needing two parents and the fact that married couples are wealthier and less prone to injury.  After reading her letter 4 or 5 times, I still don't understand why a constitutional amendment will strengthen marriage.  If the goal is wealth and children, perhaps the women should be more concerned about creating jobs, improving healthcare, reforming taxes and maybe a bit of attention for daycare and education services. 

On the bright side, Jason Feldstein of Squirrel Hill distinguishes civil from sacramental marriage. "If we value freedom of assembly and freedom of religion, as guaranteed by the First Amendment, then the answer is clear; if you have a problem with same-sex marriages, join a church that refuses to perform them. Even stand in the street and preach about the evils of homosexuality, if you like -- that's your constitutional right. But keep your paws off other people's civil liberties."

Kudos to Mr. Feldstein for actually making a rational argument. 

View Article  Will Congress Allow Christian Schools to Legally Reject LGBT students?

Holy smokes .. this one slipped under the radar.  An amendment to the Higher Education Act will allow private Christian colleges to be exempted from state and local non-discrimination laws when it comes to accreditation.  Its a cloak and dagger maneuver to essentially allow Christian schools to reject (or expel) homosexual students w/o fear of violating an accreditation standard.  According to 365gay.com, most accreditating bodies do not make compliance with nondiscrimination laws a requirement.

But it passed the House and is heading for the Senate. 

The pressure stems from the Soulforce Equality Ride which is visiting private Christian colleges around the country and, apparently, making some waves in among the wingers. 

Now I attended a private Catholic school, Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.  I was not out at the time (took me another 10 years).  However, I regularly send in alumni updates (shameless self promotion) and always include references to my living status much like other alumni reference their spouses and children ... Mary and her husband Billy live in Annapolis with their three children, Chase, Carter and Gideon.  And to my surprise, they publish it! 

Has there been fallout?  You bet.  My favorite undergraduate instructor has failed to respond to any of my email messages, holiday cards or letters.  He just stopped communicating with me.  He is an ardent Republican Catholic, but I never would have pegged him for a bigot.  I'm hopeful there is some other explanation, but the timing is suspicious. 

Back to educational discrimination, what about a 20 year old kid struggling with his identity?  Should he be expelled simply for being gay?  For talking about being gay?  Do these universities expel heterosexual students for having sex which is also a big Christian no-no?  Of course not!  

Ah ... the sweet smell of Christian hypocrisy wafts over the land once again ...


View Article  Eat Pancakes for Queer Kids --- Something Fun to do next weekend

 Dreams of Hope Youth Invited to Perform in Twin Cities
Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser!
hosted by Dreams of Hope
Saturday, April 29,
Seating times: 10:00am and 11:30am
Community of Reconciliation; 100 N. Bellefield Ave
corner of 5th and Bellefield; street parking and lot across Bellefield
Performance for both seatings
$5 for breakfast
EAT DRINK (juice, coffee, tea, H2O) BE GAY and DONATE
number of eaters
preferred seating time
If you are unable to attend but would like to donate please send your tax deductable donation to Dreams of Hope, c/o Robin Godfrey, 3432 Perrysville Ave, Pgh, PA 15214
Dreams of Hope is a nonprofit creative and performing arts youth group committed to developing leaders in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youth community and to promoting awareness and understanding of this community. Through the creation of new artistic works by and about its members, professional training of its members in public speaking on LGBT issues and performances for academic institutions, DOH confronts and challenges homophobia.
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