Pittsburgh's LGBTQ Blog ... out'n proud in the Burghosphere.

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View Article  Working out the Sister ShOUT kinks

Last night, Ledcat and I met with our producer - David from Gay Life TV and OutOnline.com.  We made some slight adjustments to the show -- launch time is now 7 PM, instead of 6:30 PM (make a note!).  He gave us some background into the foray into gay online television and we ran down some tips.

We also already have a potential sponsor!

This week's episode looks promising.  We'll be catching up on LGBT news, including the current legislative battles for marriage equality across the nation AND the "oh oh" news coming out of Focus on the Family.  Ledcat will give her unique perspective on the latest album from The Decemberists "Hazards of Love" and I'll share my favorite lesbian social media of the week.  Our guest is one of the architects of contemporary Pittsburgh online LGBT social networking, Ehrrin Keena.  Ehrrin is the founder of the google discussion group, Queer Event Listings which has more than 700 members and is the fulcrum for the exchange of event information from garage sales to house concerts, plus everything else.  Ehrrin also maintains the Queer Events Calendar, a much needed collection of what's going on queer in Pittsburgh.  Fittingly, Ehrrin will help us wrap up the show with a run down of what's going on in the community.

In other exciting news, Lesbian Central has brought on an official Chief of Staff to help us manage all the goings on.  For this unpaid position, we used a highly refined search technique and selected the 1,000 person to friend Sue on Facebook.

Ladies, ladies and gentleman.

 

Our Chief of Staff has been assigned to wo-man Lesbian Central while we are on the air and ensure all things run smoothly.  He also has to let the dogs out and shred the junk mail. 

See you Sunday www.outonline.com 7 PM. 

View Article  Giant Eagle = major suckage
I hate poor customer service. Giant Eagle Mcintyre Square was horrible two weeks ago. I used the little form at the website to explain my displeasure. Two weeks later, nothing. If customer service doesn't respond to a customer service complaint well, I guess buiness must be good.

Today, Ledcat and I tried to refill 2 scripts and pick up a new. They lost the new script and RAN OUT OF BOTH of the others until TUEDAY.

What is going on? Ledcat thinks we should start a "people of giant eagle" website. I think we should go to the suburbs.

Giant Eagle sucks. Grrrrr.


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Sue Kerr
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
www.pghlesbian.com

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
View Article  People getting hitched in Vermont; my take on PG+

Always glad when the PG picks up gay-positive news.

Homos are now legally getting married in Vermont.  Reports that 18 Christo-bigots swooned and rumors that 11 marriages have been irreparably damaged after witnessing married gay people kissing.  Registries are booming.  Good stuff.  Hello economic gain. 

Pam's Lurleen has the story, too.

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Two days of PG+ and no LGBT content yet.  Some portions of the site are inaccesible so I could be missing an incredible Scott Mervis filing, to be fair. 

I know there's a lot of in-depth analysis of the future of print journalism and the value of a "plus" edition with the major journalism living on the free site.

I love the Post-Gazette.  I run for it every morning after feeding the dogs and starting the coffee.  I am so excited to tear into it, that I shove the green bag in whatever niche is handy (to Ledcat's everlasting annoyance) and dive in.  While I admit, I am looking for gay news coverage (and the A HA! moment when some bigot bashes us in print), I just revel in a newspaper.  I like the predictable structure.  I like finding something interesting in the business section and when I'm particularly lazy, I'll read sports and gardening.  Not often, but still.

The PG is in my blood.  My great-grandfather, Gil Remley, was the Executive Sports Editor for the PG and a reporter for the Sun and the Press before that.  The sports thing skipped over me, but my father insists that my blogging (and now vlogging) is the modern incarnation of Da.  The whole legacy thing is why I should write a guest blog for the PG along with a rotating list of other local established bloggers who can contribute occasional unique content that we will never see from the PG professional reporters. 

Plus, the contributors are a little heavy on the white middle age heterosexual guys.  I'm just saying.  When I think hip multimedia, I don't think Reg Henry debating Jack Kelly.  I think Khari Mosely debating Jack Kelly.  I think Reg Henry and Paradise Gray having a chat about protesting.  I think Mackenzie Carpenter talking with Fran Monaghan about the challenges of carving out a career in journalism, on and off line,  as a woman and a parent - especially when the mighty mights threaten to sue you.  I think reader submitted album reviews.  I think guest editorials/commentary submitted by leaders who don't get a lot of column space.  I think video of a group chat with the incoming City and County Councilpersons with an articulate person under the age of 40 would be intriguing (I'm 38 -- just sayin). 

There's potential and I hope the PG decision makers will break free from the old paradigm to save the old paradigm.  I'll fork over the $36, log on each day and try to leave a comment as a way to say hello, but I am NOT watching Reg Henry debate Jack Kelly .... David DeAngelo has that covered, PG, and has been doing it really well for years on a weekly basis.  Now if you have David interview Jack Kelly, I might tune in. 

I really, really want this to succeed and I'm afraid it will become the "playground" others have described where reporters toss away their journalistic integrity to garner favor with the blog readers. 

Shake up the contributors to reflect the readership.  Make me want to click in as eagerly as I rip open the green bag each morning.  I want to be a believer. 

And, yeah, I'm big enough to admit that I want to pick up Da's mantle and contribute to the Post-Gazette. 

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We are looking for "sister" songs for the new vlog/vodcast/whatever we'll launch Sunday night on OutOnline.com.  The show is called "Sister ShOUT" so you can see what I'm aiming to do.   Let me know if you have any suggestions.  My new favorite downer song is Sister Morphine by Marianne Faithful.  I'll work it in somehow thanks to Ledcat's musical genius. 

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View Article  Sue's Debut with Cue

September 2009 marks my debut article with Cue Pittsburgh, the region's newest LGBT publication.  A glossy magazine (think Whirl with more tiaras, fewer furs), Cue's success shows that Pittsburgh's community really is expanding in multiple directions. 

I was asked to pen a piece about local florist and gourmet gift entrepreneur, K.S. Kennedy.  You've read my account of his resurrection after a devastating fire.  In this piece, I chose to focus in on a new fascination for me -- the emergence of mini community "hubs" instead of a "gay" neighborhood.  A Pleasant Present in Squirrel Hill is a great example as would be several local gay bars, including Cattivo's emergence as a lesbian hub. 

What's unique about the hubs is the creation of a safe, affirming space combined with integration into the larger community.  What I notice about Cattivo is the constant influx of neighborhood folks seeking pizza (ah, that pizza).  Long gone are the days of South Hills brats lesbian baiting outside of CJs.  Pop into A Pleasant Present for some rainbow merchandise and you'll inevitably bump into some very straight shoppers enthralled with the latest cool gift Michael has on display.  Get your hair done at Veraldi's Salon in Oakland and the same thing happens, albeit with a little bit of a feminist/vegetarian/Buddhist twist. 

The same is true of K.S. Kennedy Gourmet Gift and Floral.  We started shopping there because we learned he sold fair trade roses and wanted to support family.  Fast forward 10 months and he's a dear friend.  We drop in to check out the new merchandise, pick up fair trade organic coffee, get the neighborhood scoop and ALWAYS meet new people, gay and straight. 

When Pittsburgh's OUT offered me a chance to co-host a vodcast (is that really a word - so awkward) with Ledcat, the first person I called was Kerry.  He was thrilled for us and threw out a dozen ideas that would benefit lesbians around the region.  And it was Kerry who urged Joe at CUE Pittsburgh to offer me the chance to write the piece.  Yes, folks, you can work for multiple media outlets and be fully committed to building both into powerhouses.  It is called freelancing. 

That's the kind of community support we need to continue building and I honestly think it is going to come from the hubs tucked here and there about the region.  The Gay & Lesbian Community Center would be well served to tap into that neighborhood power to create channels of communication. 

Check out the new issue of CUE Pittsburgh.  Check out the new issue of Pittsburgh's OUT. 

And definitely check out our new vodcast Sister ShOUT! on Out Online this coming Sunday night.  Kerry will be watching!

View Article  Pittsburgh based VODcast debuts on OUTonline Sunday 9/6/2009

Its all the buzz at Lesbian Central --- Ledcat and I are launching a VODcast (videocast) this coming weekend in partnership with OUTonline and GayLife TV.

It is called "sister shOUT!" and will be a mix of queer women's news, album and social media reviews, updates on events and activities as well as a whole slew of fabulous guests from the local and regional queer community. 

For those of you who complain that OUT doesn't do enough to connect with lesbians, this is your chance to see them turn that on its head.  If you have suggestions for discussion topics, guests, news tips or any feedback at all ... hit us up either through OUT Connect or via email.  It should be quite an experiment.

Our first guest will be Pittsburgh's own social media maven, Ehrrin Keenan, founder of the hugely popular Queer Event Listings which is the region's largest LGBTQ email group.  She's also founded a monthly social dinner network called Queers:  Their What's for Dinner and a popular Queer Book Club.  Ehrrin proves that you can use ingenuity and a desire to connect people to make an impact. What better way to launch a new social media show than an interesting chat with someone who has used new social media to make a difference for all of us. 

So, what do you think?  Will you give this new program a chance?  Can it work? 

ps:  I'm also excited to announce that Lesbian Central has brought on board a new member of our team, Chief of Staff Yarone Zober.  Yarone was the lucky 1,000th friend of mine on Facebook so he was thrilled to join Lesbian Central as we leap into VODcasting. 

View Article  The Death of a Champion

This weekend brings sad news to the LGBTQ community among many others as we learned of the death of long time ACLU advocate, Larry Frankel. From the PG obiturary:

Mr. Frankel, the legislative director for the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union from 1992 through 2008, died last week.

His body was found Friday on a jogging trail in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.

Though autopsy results are pending, it is believed that he died from natural causes.

Mr. Frankel left the Pennsylvania office last year to become the state legislative counsel for the ACLU in Washington, D.C.

His work there included advising all 50 state ACLU offices on national matters, said Sara Mullen, the associate director of the Pennsylvania organization.

"I think he felt like he accomplished all he could. Not many people could handle Harrisburg for that long," Ms. Mullen said. "Moving on to a bigger stage meant he would have a much larger impact."


Reports began leaking out over the blogosphere and through Twitter/Facebook throughout the weekend, but no concrete details were available.  On Friday, when Frankels' then unidentified body was found in a D.C. park, PA Representative Mark Cohen posted on Young Philly Politics.com .

Longtime Pennsylvania ACLU lobbyist and Executive Director Larry Frankel, who in the last year or so has become the lobbyist for the national ACLU, has apparently been found dead in Washington under mysterious circumstances. Larry was 54. This is a breaking news story in which most key facts are still generally unknown.

Frankel was an outstanding lobbyist for the Pennsylvania ACLU in Harrisburg, taking positions on scores to hundreds of bills each year. He was a coalition builder reminiscent of Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate or William Brennan on the U.S. Supreme Court, who agressively reached out to unlikely allies like the National Rifle Association to help persuade members of the legislature that the ACLU was addressing broad concerns.

His aggressive outreach removed the ACLU from the fringes or margins of state policy and moved it toward the center of direct involvement.

A proud gay man, he was militant on the issue of gay marriage, believing that it was far more important to keep the legal option of gay marriage by defeating a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage than to enact civil unions legislation, an uphill battle that some, including myself, thought was winnable. His views on gay marriage were somewhat vindicated when four New England states and the state of Iowa legalized gay marriage this year.

Larry believed in the importance of facts in making decisions. His correspondence with legislators was full of facts. While his extraordinary depth of knowledge of public policy occassionally made him seem arrogant, I always found him deeply respectful to those whom he had not yet convinced.

The Philadelphia Daily News has their obituary here.

I've had the privilege of hearing Larry speak a few times at ACLU events in Pittsburgh, most recently during PrideFest when he facilitated an ACLU forum on LGBTQ rights.  At the time I was struck by his commitment to return from a nationwide position to speak at a Pittsburgh forum - a sure sign of his loyalty to his roots and his passionate belief in the advancement of our civil rights. 

The national LGBTQ rights community is also mourning Larry's loss so I believe posts will be popping around the blogosphere today.  

God speed, Larry.

 

Memorial contributions made me made in Larry's honor to the ACLU Foundation.

View Article  Update: Federal Appeals Court Allows Discrimination Case Based On Gender Stereotyping

I brought this to your attention a year ago when Brian Prowel appealed a federal court anti-discrimination ruling that determined what he had experienced in his workplace was based on his sexual orientation, not gender stereotyping.

Yesterday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision and will allow Mr. Prowel to make his case.

"There is no basis in the statutory or case law to support the notion that an effeminate heterosexual man can bring a gender stereotyping claim while an effeminate homosexual man may not," wrote 3rd Circuit Judge Thomas M. Hardiman.

Instead, the employee must simply present evidence of harassment or discrimination "because of sex," and let a jury decide, he said.

Attorneys for Mr. Prowel yesterday lauded the appeals court decision, calling it important for workplace discrimination law.

"This case is significant to any person in the workplace who doesn't meet expectations because of their gender," said attorney Timothy P. O'Brien.

This means that Prowel's attorney will have an opportunity to present the case to a jury for determination whether the harassment he endured was based on the fact that he is gay or based on the fact that he is an effeminate man who did not conform to the work place's expectations of masculine behavior.

The court ruling doesn't determine the basis for the discrimination, but it does allow for the possibility that it could be due to gender expectations.  We all know how the blurry the line can be between gender expression and sexual orientation -- this decision does not allow employers to hide behind legal gay bashing to defend themselves from these accusations. 

It is important to note that this ruling sets the precedent for the entire 3rd Circuit, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Sexual orientation is a protected class in employment in Delaware.  Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are protected in New Jersey.  Thus, an intricate situation could be considered on both merits.

Something I pointed out last September is the fact that the employer doesn't deny workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Among the allegations made by Mr. Prowel are claims that he was often called "Rosebud" and "Princess," that fellow employees left personal lubricant on his work station, and that he was harassed for walking effeminately and talking with a high voice.

So this behavior was acceptable to the employer.  It won't end until it is illegal.  While we want this case to succeed  in order to highlight the gender-baiting unpinning so much homophobia, we can't count on a court ruling to protect us.

We must insist that HB 300 pass on a statewide level.  No one should have personal lubricant left on their desk.  As for the mocking?  Do you want to work in the 7th grade hallway -- cause that's pretty much what you should expect. 

Insist. 

View Article  PrideCast

Tune into OutOnline's Pridecast this weekend where I'll be sitting in with host Jason Lucarelli to bring a lesbian perspective to the show.  I'm planning to delve into the controversy surround South African female runner, Caster Semenya, who is being forced to undergo gender testing in the wake of accusations that she is, in fact, a man.  This is an incredibly complicated story that should give us pause to think about the implication of expanding our concept of gender identity. 

It was only two years ago that a smaller scale battle threatened to tear the lesbian community apart as organizers of Celebrate the Night, a hugely popular fundraiser among the slightly older lesbian crowd, denied a female identified performer the opportunity to participate, claiming she had not transitioned enough to meet their vague definition of being a female.  It was heated and bigotry carried the day, ripping back the curtain that hides Pittsburgh's queer community internalized homophobia and transphobia. 

I've said this before, but I think my coming out later in my young adulthood rather than earlier helped me understand the complexities of continuums.  Good stuff to discuss.

On a lighter note, I'm hoping we can spend some time chatting about an emerging trend in daytime television - prominent LGBT storylines.  From BAM to NUKE, queer couples are gaining fans and garnering ratings.

Hope to see you (so to speak) Sunday afternoon.  Be sure to log in to OutConnect during the show to chat with Jason and myself live!

View Article  Status of permits
The march on Friday 25 has not received permit. They appreciate commitment but need permit

Believe they should get to one block away from Convention Center.
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Sue Kerr
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
www.pghlesbian.com

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
View Article  G20
Teamsters showed up chanting because they are mad about Jim Ferlo. They cheered on the labor speakers and headed inside to look for Jim.

"We are part of the City of Pittsburgh," says a soccer mom. They want public meetings with feds to announce plans. They are in place but just withholding information. This promotes chaos which is driving the fear mongering.


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Sue Kerr
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
www.pghlesbian.com

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Follow PghLesbian24 on Twitter

The Correspondents