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View Article  Possibly the Mayor's Advisory Committee?
Ohhh, a good rumor is always fun.  People have been slipping me names all weekend and I think we have a list of potential members of the Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committee.  Details forthcoming ...
View Article  Sister ShOUT! Episode 2 Links, Notes and More

The podcast for Episode 2 is up for your viewing pleasure at http://sistershout.outonline.com

This episode highlighted the history of the LGBTQ community in television history.  Our guest was Fran Monaghan, blogmistress of Ms. Adventures on the Mon and TV News Critic for the Pittsburgh City Paper.  We had a blast going down memory lane. We used a timeline from AfterEllen.com that you might like to peruse.

A few of the shows we discussed:

Female impersonator Beverly LaSalle from All in the Family (the YouTube video has been disabled so follow the link).

Jodie on Soap was a blast from the past.  In this clip, his mother can't bring herself to say homosexual.



First ever gay male kiss on network television from Will & Grace


The first ever gay male kiss on daytime television.



The first lesbian wedding in daytime

AND ... Ellen's coming out episode ... The Puppy Episode ...


We also touched on the latest release from the Indigo Girls and urged everyone to follow Autumn Sandeen on Twitter.


Join us next week when we share all the juicy details on the Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committtee AND test Independent Mayoral Candidate Kevin Acklin's Lesbian IQ. 

View Article  Sister ShOUT has a webpage

Check out our webpage at http://sistershout.outonline.com/

I'm hoping we can add some great links to topics we discuss on our show..

Sunday, September 13 tune in for a lively discussion on the history of LGBT character and defining moments on broadcast television.  Our guest will be media maven and City Paper television critic Fran Monaghan.  Fran is THE Ms. Monongahela and one of the longest blogging bloggers in Pittsburgh. 

We'll also be discussing why it is taking so damn long for the Mayor to get the LGBT Advisory Committee up and running as well as the fate of the Propel Commission and the City's Ethics Commission.  They may literally be tucked into a City Hall closet until it is time to dust them off for PrideFest.  Let's hope otherwise!

The latest news on South African athlete Caster Semenya, facing intense scrutiny over her gender identity.

And more! 

Sneak Peak for Next Week:  What's the attraction of lesbians to the vegetarian lifestyle?  Our guests include local vegetarian Susan Veraldi and Kara Holsopple from the East End Food Co-Op with great tips on how to be green, sustainable and healthy.

View Article  Random G-20 Question

There's a guy who takes an evening bus to work to clean a City office building for a little more than minimum wage.  He's a little afraid since the evening hours are anticipated to be the most confrontational.  Since he's not a City employee or a unionized employee, he has no choice.  His fear makes me sad. 

I just don't understand why our City leaders seem so immune to the economic realities people are facing.  Will Bill Peduto or Dan Gilman suffer without two days pay?  Maybe a little bit, but I bet they can still pay for their housing and groceries. 

I want protestors' civil rights protected, but I'd also like to see some action on the livelihood of folks making less than $30,000/year who work downtown.  Will Jim Motznik talk with their landlords about being late on the rent?  Is Theresa Smith going to drop off some goceries?  Might Darlene Harris negotiate with Duquesne Light and Equitable Gas to waive usage charges for 48 hours? 





View Article  Since it came up in the comments section ...

First, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's LGBT Advisory Committee.  Word from the Mayor's office is that an official announcement is imminent.  Now, this is what they told me in early August so frankly, I'm skeptical EXCEPT that it will be a nice little quasi-progressive pre-election move on the part of the campaign.  What we should be wondering is how a Mayor can organize the G-20 in a few months, but take 10 months to get a committee of 8 people organized?  He didn't even need to consult City Council.  Sheesh. 

I've asked individuals serving on the committee to demonstrate their accountability to the community, but I read between the lines that they aren't allowed to do so.  So we got nothing ... no names, no dates, no times, no details.  Just more promises and requests for patience. 

We'll discuss in more detail on Sunday night's episode of Sister ShOUT and unveil the official lesbian plan to prod Paul McKrell the Mayor into being a bit more transparent.  Translucent, even. 

You can count on us to be live at the meetings and report back faithfully here and on the air.  I'm *sure* the Mayor will hold open meetings.  Ahem.

A second topic of recent debate in the comments is the ability to post anonymously.  I took the privilege away and had a slew of complaints about how difficult blogware can be for those wanting to set up a user account.  I also missed your feedback.  Anonymity is a long gay tradition.  More than one person in our community has a fake name.  Plenty of folks planted in the bars, spending their hard earned money, are cloaked in anonymity.  Hundreds of local women join the Queer Events List using a very anonymous screen name to protect themselves from their employers, families and neighbors.  Don't even get me started on the bath houses, the private parties, the personal ads, etc.  In these cases, there's nothing wrong with being anonymous as long as you are being smart and safe.

Some would argue that anonymous comments open the door to bitchy gossip and innuendo.  I dare you to name a gay event that involves more than 10 people that doesn't have the same issue.  You think those tables at Bingo are filled with pious, uplifting conversation?  Or the corner booths at Images and Pegasus?  The bench for the softball team?  Of course not.  The difference here is that those subjected to innuendo and gossip have a chance to set the record straight, if they are willing to use their real name. 

Also, it is libel, people.  Slander is what happens in conversation.  Libel happens in print.  I keep an eye out for that and we take care of it.  I've removed comments, but I also think this is one of the few places where people can get their opinions out.  Name an organization that has public meetings?  Our leadership in Pittsburgh is pretty insulated from public opinion.  Granted, they may not read this little blog but its better than 10 minutes at the end of the GLCC Board Mtg (sorry, Rick, but there you have it).  And that's the BEST case scenario. 

So, the overall themes are a desire for more transparency and accountability from our leaders as well as an opportunity for people to get their opinions out there. 

View Article  Women Candidates Disappearing

I had a great question sent to me privately about the my comment about female candidates disappearing with details on their very much alive campaigns.

Here's what I wrote:

(Yes, I realize that I complained during the endorsement meeting that all the women blended together, but I was probably onto something b/c they've all disappeared.)

Now, he had a good point.  The campaigns seem to be alive, but I was speaking more metaphorically.  The overload of candidates almost forces everyone but the most die hard politico to focus on a few races, either those with a personal interest or those that get the most media attention.  I recognize this is not necessarily smart, but it is probably a survival skill.

For example, I have yet to see any political group publish an organized, easy to follow breakdown of the races, especially the very complicated judicial races.  The Steel City surveys are useful, but there is no follow up.

Still, how does a feminist dismiss women as disappearing?  Well, one candidate had no opponent (Amanda Green) so to me she is much more a legislator than a candidate.  I recognize that her performance in the election impacts her future in the campaign, but I just don't think she's on the radar for "candidate."  The same with Natalia Rudiak who has won her race.  The primary was exciting and thrilling, but I've heard nothing from her campaign for weeks. 

The reality is that the gentleman who emailed me is also the one who has been at the forefront of identifying and pushing two races that should matter the most to queers -- Jack Panella for Supreme Court (think redistricting) and Tim Michalow for County Council District 1.  So I've throw my hat in with the two white heterosexual guys for the sake of the dykes.  I don't subscribe to the philosophy of casting the net wide when it comes to endorsements.  It makes perfect sense to me to concentrate energy, money and attention on a few races rather than trying to be all things to all people. 

That's why I thought Steel City Stonewall should not endorse for the mayoral election and stay focused on Panella Michalow.  Every conversation battling it out over the pro-gay Acklin/Harris choice versus alientating the boy prince is conversation that would be better spent UN-electing an opponent by knocking on a door in County Council 1. 

I'm not opposed to the female candidates, but frankly they haven't reached out to me as a lesbian blogger.  I'm not invited to events, I'm not getting email updates and I'm not being asked to interview the candidates.  Acklin and Harris pursued me.  Michalow is in constant touch.  So they get my attention.  Luke's team ignores me as a constituent so I don't expect much from the campaign, neither of which want to answer the LGBT Advisory Committee questions.  LOL.  I can't NOT ask it, right.

I'm glad women are making progress.  I lost my female representative on City Council and I'm quite disheartened at what that portends for Manchester given the muck of local politics.  I'm glad Natalia and Theresa (eh) keep the balance a bit. 

I'd like to understand the judiciary, but frankly all that reaches me are the behind the scenes campaign management horror stories.  It seems like a free for all so why bother? 

Tom Michalow needs me to knock on doors.  He ascendency to County Council impacts the budget for the Department of Human Services. He gets the complications of foster children in the education system.  He knows adolescent girls who have been victims of incest and ignorance; he sees the need for access to good information on birth control and safe, legal abortions.  Gay issues are a no brainer and he told me he would push to get domestic partner benefits approved to help ALL unmarried County employees.  He is going to help women.

I just can't keep the big picture in mind.  It is too overwhelming, especially when I swing by the national blogs and see the exciting array of queer candidates running across the country.  Or when I try to grasp the referendum battles in Maine and Washington.  It is a lot to process.

If the women don't want to disappear, my suggestion is that they use the new social media tools Dok and Kevin are utilizing effectively.  Make me care by keeping your name in front of me. 

Is there sexism involved in this strategy?  Sure.  These men are probably better funded than the women.  The organizations which could be educating me are also underfunded and don't have the mighty array of churches to leverage.  Still ...give me a call and we can do an interview.  I'm open to changing my mind. 

Heck, now I've got a weekly podcast with slots to fill and it reaches a lot of people.  I can't invite everyone on, but if your website has some LGBT content I might slide on over and promote it.  But you need to push this information to me. 



View Article  Trib and 2 lines
The Trib mentions that the GLCC is moving.
View Article  A Challenge to the Mayoral Candidates

Sunday, September 13 is the date of the annual Steel City Stonewall Democrats Fall Barbecue (yes, the s;mores will return) featuring apppearances and speeches by politicians seeking LGBTQ support for their upcoming elections.

The event runs from 2 PM - 6 PM.  Ledcat and I will have to boogie out early due to the podcast, but here are my suggestions for an outstanding event.

* 2 minute speeches.  Not 2 minutes bleeding into 5 minutes.  Be respectful of our time and our attention span.  I'm going to be timing people and will report back as to who had the ability to play by the rules.

* Protocol be damned.  Two races matter to us:  Jack Panella for Supreme Court and Tom Michalow for Allegheny County Council District 1.  Good luck to everyone else, but I want to focus on the races that matter to me.  County Council comes last in terms of protocol but it is our best chance to demonstrate our weight as a political force.  Sorry, but that should count for something.  If people get angry about it, they will get over it and come back. (I know this is unrealistic b/c the all powerful campaign managers would NEVER let the LGBT community get away with this. Still, by judge number 12, I'm bored.  Except for Joe Williams who has a story.)

* All three Mayoral candidates show up.  Harris, Acklin and Ravenstahl.  Not proxies, campaign managers or interns.  Matt, Michael and Paul - put your money where your LGBT Advisory Board ain't and show up.

* Fake laughter should be banned. 

* More chairs

* Can we get some women to speak?  Even the female candidates send male surrogates.  By the time the 15th heterosexual white male gets up, I'm so over this election.  Do any of the candidates have female campaign managers?  Wives?  Daughters?  I'm not even gonna point out that we aren't seeing too many gay people standing up. (Yes, I realize that I complained during the endorsement meeting that all the women blended together, but I was probably onto something b/c they've all disappeared.)

* If you used to be gay, but identify as straight now - don't ask for my vote. 

* Save me a s'more!




View Article  Labor Day Musings about Seniors

As per usual Americana, we "celebrated" the holiday by breakfasting at a local eatery (yes, Hoi Polloi) and then going retail at Staples, Target, Best Buy and Giant Eagle. I tried to muster up some sympathy for laborers, but the customer service experiences at the Cedar Avenue Giant Eagle are very trying.  Sigh. 

When it comes to issues of labor, I think of my Dad.  He is 68 years old and has been working in the mills for over 40 years.  He can't retire b/c the promise of permanent health insurance from his company is long gone and my mother lives with a myriad of preexisting conditions that will make finding affordable gap insurance too pricey.  Her prescriptions run to hundreds and hundreds of dollars and they are caught in the working class trap of too much retirement income to qualify for assistance programs and too little to afford what they need without living in utter poverty. 

We have some Plan Bs thanks to my education and familiarity with little known (or promoted) social service programs for disabled adults such as my mother.  That's just dumb luck.  If I were an accountant or a teacher or a self-employed blogger, I would be out of luck.  Even this is not guaranteed, but a shot is a shot.  Plus, if she weren't technically disabled with documentation, there would be no shot. 

They are true blue Republicans who are being terrorized by their own party to vote against their self interest.  There is no other person I know who wil be more directly affected by this issue than my mother, but she believes the rhetoric.  It is very sad.  I can only be grateful that Mike Doyle isn't going anywhere when he's up for reelection. 

Speaking of seniors, this story at Pam's House Blend caught my eye last night while I was talking about her site on Sister ShOUT! (our new podcast in case you hadn't heard - LOL).  It seems that senior heterosexual couples who are registered domestic partners in at least 7 states are going to be impacted by legal challenges/referendums to domestic partner registries.

Barrista Lurleen does a great job pointing out that one of the most powerful lobby groups in the nation, the AARP, remains silent on this issue which will impact thousands if not tens of thousands of senior citizens, many of whom are making this decision based on financial survival. 

Here in Pennsylvania, LGBT advocate State Representative Dan Frankel has been working to educate the public on the role that anti-civil union/domestic partnership efforts will play in hurting Pennsylvania unmarried heterosexual seniors. 

There are a lot of seniors like my parents who could benefit from these recognitions. The sad truth is that my parent's would be financially better off if they divorced so my mother could qualify for services based on her income alone, but they would sooner live on the street.  That's a sad state of affairs. 

View Article  Sister ShOUT! debuts

The debut episode just aired to viewers of GayLifeTV and OutOnline.  The "official" Sister ShOUT page will be up in a few days so you can see the podcast.  It was a lot of fun and thanks to a very organized team, pretty smoothy.  Smoothiness. :-) 

I have a few links for you.

Queer Events Calendar http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=u7bca5r4nru3jt91kfm6kkrpho%40group.calendar.google.com

Queer Event Listings http://groups.google.com/group/queer-event-listings?lnk=srg

Ehrrin   queerevents@gmail.com

Pam's House Blend http://www.pamshouseblend.com

PFLAG Pittsburgh http://pflagpgh.org/

Steel City Stonewall Democrats http://www.steel-city.org

Tune in next Sunday, September 13 when local media maven Fran Monaghan aka Ms. Monongahela joins us for  discussion of media representations of the LGBT community in primetime television. Fran writes a weekly media column for the City Paper and is the author of the local blog Ms. Adventures on the Mon.

We also wanted to remind you that Ledcat and I are VIP Sponsors for PodCamp Pittsburgh and hope to learn a ton of good stuff there. 

So, hey, today some lesbian herstory was made. Let's hope we can continue to draw engaging, informed guests to broaden our horizons.

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