Friday, May 7
by Sue on Fri 07 May 2010 08:48 PM EDT
The Reverend Janet Edwards weighs in on the banning of burquas in a very thoughtful post on how Christian women might feel to have their religious symbols banned.
She previously weighed in on how a covenant relationship with God mirrors the intimacy necessary for a healthy sexuality.
Janet is a wonderful leader in our community. I admire her willingness to take all sorts of risks for her faith.
by Sue on Fri 07 May 2010 08:36 PM EDT
Check out this poll from the Philly Gay News
by Sue on Fri 07 May 2010 07:43 PM EDT
The City Paper's own Lauren Daley was front and center at the very first meeting of the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission. Sadly, the 8 AM start meant I had to be at work and could not be part of this historic moment. However, the man called Potter has the scoop over at Slagheap.
Front and center was an issue near and dear to my little heart -- providing domestic partner benefits to employees of Allegheny County. The Chief Executive has asked the HRC for recommendations on this matter.
Yes, the tax implication needs to be made very clear to employees who opt in for these benefits. It is grossly unfair and legislation has been repeatedly introduced at the federal level to address this inequity. It would be wonderful for Allegheny County legislators and executives to join the chorus calling for this redress while at the same time addressing the issue locally. I am all for highlighting and addressing this unfair tax burden.
I can speak from experience that the money we spend on the additional taxes (my "partner" benefits are considered taxable income, not a pre-tax benefit) is significant, but offset by the savings of the family benefits. In some cases, the costs don't make it the right decision -- it all depends on how good the benefit package is, after all.
Still, the benefits are a choice. As long as the County makes the tax implications clear, they are doing the best they can to support all families in their employ.
Congratulations to the members of the Human Relations Commission on a successful start. Check out Potter's summary to see what the plan is to address the discrimination complaints. As always, a thorough run down on the issues that often slip under the radar.
by Sue on Fri 07 May 2010 06:55 PM EDT
You've probably picked up on the fact that I am supporting Joe Hoeffel in the primary race for the PA Governor's manse. I believe his vision and experience will translate into the leadership we need to move ahead as a Commonwealth, My support goes far beyond his solid stance on LGBTQ issues. I like what's he saying about environmental, economic, educational and other issues. I urge you to click on through to read what he has to say on these issues. What strikes me when I visit the page is his consistent connection of a range of issues to improving the economy. For example, Joe "gets" the connection between a vibrant cultural community and economic strength.
You see this argument playing out today as various local leaders call for us to "invest" in the Carnegie Library system. Investment implies a return and we can measure the impact of a cultural institution like a library.
I'm not voting for Joe Hoeffel because I'm a lesbian. I'm voting for him because his vision for Pennsylvania most closely matches mine, both my hopeful vision and my pragmatic expectations.
Others feel differently and the beauty of the primary (as described by the man called Potter) is our freedom to make a choice. Yes, we need to think about the General Election but the slim margin by which Specter maintains his lead over Sestak indicates that Pennsylvania is not opposed to progressive values.
What matters, my friend, is that you make an informed decision on election day, both May and November. Read the questionairres, the endorsements, the editorials, the candidate websites and yes, even the blogs. :-)
I invite you to join local supporters of Joe Hoeffel at an event next Thursday at the Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink. The event is from 5-7 PM and gives you one final chance to meet with Joe in person.
Some say the vote is in the bag for Onorato. I say that your vote for the progressive candidate will have ramifications regardless of the outcome of the election. It does matter and they will pay attention to the support Joe receives.
The important thing is that the choice is yours to make. That's the beauty of being an American citizen. In spite of all the ridiculous things we see in the media each day, you have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process and be part of the solution. Don't lose site of that fact. Your vote matters.
Sermon off. :-)
Thursday, May 6
by Sue on Thu 06 May 2010 09:05 PM EDT
I read about this on Facebook ...
What a great way to make a difference. My friend in NYC told me her son's hair salon has been participating for a long time.
Watching the news coverage of this issue has been heartbreaking. I lived in Louisiana for three years so it feels extra personal. I know hair is a small thing and can blind us to the systemic changes that are necessary to address the real issues.
But it does really help to feel like you make a difference, as long as you keep perspective on the need to do more.
Pass the link along to your hair stylist or your dog groomer.
by Sue on Thu 06 May 2010 04:57 PM EDT
Speaking of Potter (he is always on my mind) ... here's a great breakdown of the gubernatorial race. Note that this is a pithy snapshot on issues, not a comprehensive GOTV document.
Speaking from the lesbian perspective, I think Joe Hoeffel has the most attractive disembodied head of the four.
by Sue on Thu 06 May 2010 07:58 AM EDT
The PG ran a nice little article about local running groups. Among those listed:
It is good to see an article with a reference to a LGBTQ component of the community that ist woven into the story, just like community groups and chapters of national running groups.
I knew someone in this group who loved it. He told me there were walkers. Hmmm .... I need a LGBT wii fit plus group. :-)
Wednesday, May 5
by Sue on Wed 05 May 2010 08:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 4
by Sue on Tue 04 May 2010 10:17 PM EDT
We first discussed this back in December 2009 when the Tribune Review reported on a federal lawsuit filed by a state prison guard in Fayette County. He claimed he was being harassed because he did not conform to gender expectations, including being too effeminate on the radio. (What does that even mean, asks the female former radio host?)
The suit has been settled by mediation. No one is talking about what that actually means, but it doesn't mean a court ruling on the matter.
This man is a state employee who enjoys no state protections from being harassed on his sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation (remember, gay men act like women and acting like a woman is bad). He worked in Fayette County which does not have county protections for sexual orientation.
He was harassed because people thought he was gay. He had to go to the federal courts to get help. We don't know if he is gay.
This could be you. You could be the woman who dresses in trousers and has manly gestures. You could be the man with the effeminate voice. You could be a heterosexual person who is perceived as gay. And you could be fired.
Support ENDA and HB 300. It is about our jobs.
Monday, May 3
by Sue on Mon 03 May 2010 11:06 PM EDT
Word on the street is that this week's meeting of the Allegheny County Human Relations Commission should include a report from the County Personnel Department on health insurance options from the County's vendor. That should be a positive step forward. At the very least, Chief Executive Dan Onorato will have a clear plan on how to provide dp benefits to non-unionized County employees. That creates a foundation for the union negotiations, but I'm confident he won't make some employees languish while those negotiations take place. Right?
I'm not beating a dead horse. I'm following up on his promise to make this happen. There's no conceivable way this can't happen ... vendors offer these benefits.
The Commission's regular meeting is at 8 a.m. on Thursday May 6, 2010, in Conference Room 1 at the County Manager's Office in the County Courthouse.
Allegheny County deserves these benefits before we consider sending our Chief Executive to Harrisburg. It has been six years and counting. It is time.