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View Article  GLCC KidsFest Planned for January

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

210 Grant Street, Downtown

Come enjoy the festivities in celebration of all of our families!

Kidsfest

hface painting

h crafts table

h ping-pong tournament

h karaoke

h games & prizes

h children?s reading hour

h free check-ups

by Adagio Health

Demonstrations by:

The Extreme Strings

Children?s Orchestra

Mad Science of Pittsburgh

Vendors including:

~ inclusive books that are great for home schooling

~ natural cloth diapers, soaps, school gear and more

$5 donation requested donation per family. Proceeds benefit the GLCC.

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View Article  Friday Random

Marriage equality dealt another blow in New Jersey when the NJ Senate votes down the bill. Please, please don't let this issue drive PA in 2010.  Please. 

The Mayor plans to introduce rules which would expand his "zero tolerance" approach to domestic violence to the entire City workforce, not just the police. 

The response in the blogosphere has been tepid and skeptical.  I'm sort of shaking my head.  It is all strange.

The Post-Gazette obituary for a local attorney references his anti-gay beliefs which is ... inappropriate, I think?  Or was it important enough to highlight who he was in life?   

In one from February, he took offense at Hollywood stars, who he said used the Academy Awards as a "platform for their far-left political and social agenda."

"During this year's ceremony, Bill Maher blasphemed God and insulted millions of viewers who worship God by saying that our creator is 'silly,' " he wrote. "Sean Penn then compounded the insults by stating that the millions of Californians who voted for the gay marriage ban (a ban which has been approved in every state in which it has been voted upon) had brought 'shame' upon their children and grandchildren.

"These instances illustrate how liberals, who love to preach tolerance, actually are themselves among the most intolerant of people, and have no regard for the feelings and sensitivities of those who disagree with them."

How sad that your exit from this world includes highlights from putting down people.  How also sad that he felt more indignant about Sean Penn's words than the long litany of hate lobbied at the gay community. 
 
Sites I check frequently
 
 

Go read.

View Article  The Big LGBTQ Planning Meeting

What are you doing on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 7 PM? 

You could be part of planning to make a big ole LGBTQ political whallop during Pride month ... remember when Pride was an activist event in and of itself?  Just the act of standing next to other queer identified people in a public venue was incredibly political (ask Uguanda and Nigeria).

If you'd like to see a Pride themed political rallyt which includes your point of view, doesn't it make sense to get involved in the planning so you have the best opportunity to shape the dialogue? 

You are can RSVP here.

Competing agendas will be at the table.  I don't just mean those who apologize/defend Onorato-Ravenstahl and those who don't (ha ha).  I mean those who think marriage is the goal and those who want to shore up hate crimes and those who need to remind us that AIDS is killing our brothers and sisters and underfunded.  The value of working together to organize an event is the ability to shape the event agenda to be as inclusive (and interesting) as possible. 

(I'm going to pass out "name dropping" bingo cards at the door just to keep the meeting interesting! Kidding)

937 Liberty Avenue, 3rd Floor Downtown 7-9 PM. 

Yes, I know you have children, commitments, work schedules, early busses, volleyball, etc.  But this is important.  The County Anti-Discrimination ordinance would not have passed without both a strong coalition of organizers and a strong community response.

View Article  Of gay funerals and gay retirements

It has been suggested to me that the Post-Gazette and other local media sources are weak on coverage of LGBTQ stories, suggested that this is conventional wisdom. I disagree.  While our local media needs improvement, the PG is particularly attentive to LGBTQ issues. I suspect the issue is that the local media doesn't act as a PR vehicle for LGBTQ events rather than coverage of LGBTQ issues. I don't see that as a problem.  There isn't a single local group that has effective PR resources (believe me, I am often promised press materials that never materialize).  It is a growing pain. 

They picked this up off the wire (or whatever serves to bring in national tidbits these days).

Ah, the erosion of traditional marriages extends into eternity.  I wonder if Governor's Carcieri's version of religion passes out virgins to dead defenders of marriage?

Equality Advocates PA goes through another leadership change with the resignation of EX Lynn Zeitlin after one year.  Zeitlin isn't leaving for some specified opportunity and a replacement hasn't been identified so we can only imagine what has been going on.  The LGBTQ community has zero attention for organizing infrastructure when it comes to advocacy which really hurts us. Yet, it is hard to donate to an organization that is out of touch with Pittsburgh.  This literally leaves us at the mercy of those who play Western PA political/Democrat ball which is an unsettling place to be.  Even if their hearts are in the right places, the fact that it is January 6, 2010 and there are no domestic partner benefits for Allegheny County employees shows that they just don't quite have the muscle we need to be significant players.  I don't think we'd be well served by continuing to pay obeisance to that approach.

We need a dedicated organizer and to get that, we need to get behind an organization that can unite fractured organizations as well as truly represent the diversity that is the LGBTQ community Pittsburgh.

????

More from the PG on the Uguandan death penalty bill.

It is just hard to know where to focus.  KDKA on-air staff need GLAAD media training.  The Trib actually managing to pull off any positive coverage is just amazing.  Those national investments aren't going to come to Pittsburgh if we continue to struggle with the advocacy leadership vacuum. 

View Article  Sunday This and That

Brrrr... I'm meeting with someone from the Pride Committee today to chat about their plans for 2010. It is very nice to think about Pride aka June on a day like this.  I like days that lead to snuggling on the couch with a book, but not to going outside for errands.  Unfortunately, I need to buy dog food for the woofers. 

I'm also thinking about a Wii Fit Plus.  I get a health stipend at work and I have a gift card so it seems like a good idea.  Anyone have one?

Not much happening in Pittsburgh's LGBT community this week.  The biggest item of interest will be Monday's election of a City Council President. Conventional wisdom says it boils down to Ricky Burgess and Bill Peduto.  Some LGBT persons mistakenly think Burgess is anti-gay; I think he's just less gay friendly.  Still, Peduto is my choice.  Burgess has not completed an actual term on Council which makes him less experiences to be the second in command of the City.  Peduto has the experience, both as a staffer and a Councilperson.  He's capable of assuming leadership should Ravenstahl aspire to run for County Executive in the middle of his term.  Peduto is a smart, capable man with proven leadership experience.  He's certainly well-versed in local politics, including finance matters and has proven to be open-minded and fair. 

Bilerico has the top ten LGBT stories of 2009. (I'm already saying Twenty-Oh-Nine!).  Top of the list?  The passage of federal Hate Crimes legislation.  Keep this in mind LGBT burghers.  'Nother reason for you to join Steel City Stonewall Democrats.  Yeah, I keep going there.  Cause it matters to your family.  Seriously.

My Dad joined Facebook. We were over there for the New Year pork/saurkraut meal and I loved his little "Dad cave" in the basement with computer and small television, where he is joined by the two cats and dog. I am counting the days until he is on Mafia wars.  Or his niece Meggie gets him into Fishville.  Either way, I predict my mother will be mad at me.

Glad to see MSM coverage of a custody/kidnap case involving lesbians. Ex-gay Lisa Miller has engaged in cat and mouse antics for years involving sharing custody of her daughter with her former partner.  You know, the girl's other parent.  She's gone AWOL, but the state isn't yet considering this a kidnap situation, but rather a civil matter.  I hope the resources are in place to find this child so she doesn't end up in Brazil and seriously damaged by protracted custody battles.  Lots of people deal with custody issues when they don't approve of their co-parent's lives.  You deal with it for the sake of your child.  So sad.

Have I written about yoga at the GLCC? Sundays 4:30 - 5:30 at the GLCC. I should really give it a try today because I woke up this morning with my arm extended straight out from the side of the bed (parallel to floor) which has left me with a strange muscle issue thingy going on.  Not sure why I was sleeping like that, but my last dream remnant involved teaming up with Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle to infiltrate Christian oppressors keeping the gays hostage in our world on the first floor of the Southside Works cinema.  Do you think seeing Avatar impacted my subconcsious?

Speaking of books, I'm in the midst of Brian O'Neill's "Paris of Appalachia" right now.  Ledcat had him autograph a copy for me (i'm blushing) and it is a real gem. I have it on my nightstand to ease me into the night and my only sadness is that it will inevitably end.  Ledcat is excited that she'll have a chance to read it then.  I am a bookie and true black/gold Pittsburgher, but I can't quite capture how much I love this book.  I will have to get a copy for my Dad's birthday.  OK, enough.  I love you Brian.  There I've said it.  You make me happy to live on the Northside, even if my drug dealing neighbor's friends menaced me today.  I can deal with it!

Well, that's it for now, kids.  Busy week ahead. But, tonight, Ledcat makes me a homemade meal and I don't have to wrestle 87 bags of recycling to the curb.  Its gonna be a good night.

 

View Article  Philly Gay News names Person of the Year

The Philly Gay News has named former Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, 'Dolph Ward, as Person of the Year.

The GLCC has copies of the Philly Gay News on hand if you want to read it.  You can also follow on Facebook for updates. 

So many thing about this story show how far Pittsburgh's LGBT community has to grow -- the Community Center includes the whole community in their name, they have paid staff -- they have a person of the year! 

Sigh.  It is kind of discouraging. 

View Article  Untitled by Frances Monaghan aka Ms. Mon

No one knows this, but the woman who inspired the character, "Vivian, the Angry Copyreader," on my blog, Ms. Adventures on the Mon, was Chris Biancheria. She worked at The Pitt News copy desk when I was a writer there, back in the late '80s. And she was gay. She had an extremely dry sense of humor, and I'm pretty sure she found me amusing, in all my bubbly blonde, hetereosexual glory. Chris taught me a very valuable lesson about prejudice against the gay community; one I often repeat. She was -- and is -- a very smart woman.

There was a frequent letter-to-the-editor writer -- an African-American woman -- who used the phrase, "you whites" a lot in her letters. She wrote to all the local papers -- not just TPN. In an effort to better understand her, I set up a meeting to listen to her concerns. Chris asked to come along, and so we went to the Burger King on Fifth Avenue in Oakland, which is now long gone (emminent domain!).

Chris didn't exactly tell me what she was up to. But it was pretty clever, what she did. She let a photo of a man embracing another man "accidentally" fall out of a textbook for our frequent letter writer to see, to gauge our letter writer's reaction. Our letter writer was appalled, and made a derogatory remark. The intent was to expose her hypocrisy, which we all sort of picked up on in her letters, and this cleared up any doubts we had. The lesson I learned that day was that we can't cherry-pick human rights. All men and women are created equal.

Chris would go on to do some great things. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04279/390544-53.stm

So how does that bring me to Sue Kerr? Well, mix in a little Andy Newman, former editor of In Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh City Paper (who does great things for the New York Times now: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/nyregion/20neediest.html?_r=1), who introduced me to John McIntire, former host of PCNC's NightTalk (I make no apologies when I say this -- but the show is not even a shell of what is used to be without McIntire) and current all-things-media man, who had the Lesbian Correspondents on one of his radio talk shows. That's when I first heard of Sue. I had no idea that Pittsburgh had Lesbian Correspondents. How cool, I thought.

Somewhere between Chris and Sue, I was busy raising children. I've always written while raising my kids, but there was only a certain level at which I could really be involved in extracurricular activities. Raising children takes a lot of time and energy. But as they became (and continue to become) older, I was able to reach out a little more to the causes that stirred my heart, and Sue was the catalyst to rekindling my involvement (the interest was always there) in human rights when she began her blog four years ago.

I admired how she was willing to "go there" on all issues LGBT -- and otherwise. What a tough cookie (though I think she prefers cupcakes), I thought. As I grew to know her and her partner Laura over coffees at a lovely little place on the North Side, Hoi Polloi, I saw that there was a very funny side to Sue. Honest -- at first, she scared me a little. Now that I know she has a weakness for red velvet cake and loves to shop at Target, and has a house full of adopted furry friends, I'm not so much afraid of her. Even when she sends me texts that say, "Why the hell are you texting me at midnight?"

That's just part of MY charm.

There's something to be said for the relentless, tireless pursuit of what's right, and Sue and her partner Laura serve the pursuit well. They are our true public servants.  

*********************************************************************************************

Midnight is better to the 5 AM texts, madam.  Ahem. Frannie has also gone from sister blogger to highly valued friend.  Her kind words are very humbling.  I so appreciate the multiple references in this and other guest posts to human rights.  I often focus on the trees and lose sight of that type of forest thinking.  I have to go set my alarm for 2 AM to text Frannie a Happy New Year.

View Article  Hlavac Referrals
I just want to say that I'm pretty amazed at the number of people googling/searching for information on Sgt. Eugene Hlavac, as well as how once they arrive at the site, they tend to poke around a bit.  Clearly, people are paying attention to this story and searching for information/opinions -- whether they support him, condemn his actions or haven't come to a conclusion. 

I'm basing this on referring keywords that lead people to my site.
View Article  Random Things of Interest

Found this on the Post-Gazette website:

I'm curious what the pro-gay sentiments were.  Does this mean the borrower was perceived as gay or perceived as gay-friendly?  I'm trying to think what I'd take into my decision-making if someone asked for change for a meter. I doubt I would assess their political beliefs, probably lending $$ to someone sporting an anti-choice button or some such paraphenalia.  What about you?

The Daily Courier (part of the Tribune Review family) has a gay-positive story on a local man's second place finish in Mr. Gay USA contest.  Kudos to Troy Michael Smith for having a great attitude.

He sees the Mr. Gay USA competition as a steppingstone to his ultimate goal ? equality. "We're looking for someone to stand up and be the new leader. Start with smaller cities and build to bigger cities. I'm ready for that push. I'm ready for that fight. I'm ready to make that change here. I always look for a challenge."

Smith wants to start a gay/straight alliance in Connellsville "to say discrimination is wrong, to bring all people together. I am striving for equality and will get that for the LGBT community. I'm ready to take that on."

I'm torn on this one.  On the one hand, he wants to use his position for good, albeit a naive one. On the other, it is a beauty pageant.  Is it realistic that a swimsuit competition will give rise to the next great gay leader?  Is it realistic to think there will be one leader anyway?  Hmmm.

Bilerico's take on the Top 10 LGBTQ stories of 2009.

I'm not sure I knew there was an openly gay superhero?

Sigh. Charlie Sheen's arrest for domestic violence INCREASED viewership of a rerun of his show. 

A little woman-positive shout out: Sarah Thomas made history as the first woman to officiate a bowl game.

Finally, Maria has a very amusing post on the Ravenstahl Inauguration.  Who says Luke doesn't support women in Pittsburgh?

View Article  This one goes out to the FOP with love from the women of Pittsburgh
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The Correspondents