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View Article  LGBTQ "Week of Advocacy" in PA

The week of February 6-11, 2011 will highlight a series of advocacy events designed to draw attention to equality issues. 

At a press conference scheduled for Feb. 14 in the lobby of the State Capital in Harrisburg, two bills will be introduced: Pa?s Marriage Equality Bill by Sen. Daylin Leach and Pa?s Civil Union Bill by Rep. Mark Cohen. Then meetings will be scheduled with legislators, concerned citizens and LGBT-rights advocates throughout the day, followed by a Marriage Equality Rally at the Dauphin County Court House in Harrisburg.

 

Interfaith breakfasts in support of marriage equality will be held in Philadelphia on Feb. 9 and Harrisburg on Feb. 11. In Allentown a same-sex marriage celebration will take place Feb. 12. Performances and drag shows will be held across the state. In Harrisburg a reading of The Laramie Project (which deals with the reaction to the 1998 murder of gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming) will be performed at the Rose Lehman Theatre-Harrisburg Area Community College on Feb. 17 and 18.

This is from the Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter which credits OutOnline, but I can't find the original source material.

Two other pieces of equality legislation are in the wings:  expansion of hate crimes protections and expansion of anti-discrimination protections.  Personally, I think those are the better first steps, but it will be interesting to see what happens with a civil unions bill in a Republican controlled state. 

View Article  A Friday Round Up

Pam's House Blend has a take on the Congressional call to extend veteran benefits to LGBT military families for those discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

From Lez Get Real, a tough to read post about bullying on college campuses.

The Post-Gazette's Dennis Roddy makes an interesting career move.

Bitch Media has the scoop on the GOP's decision to drop a measure redefining rape so as not to use use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion.  (You've got to follow the link to the amazing political satire by The Daily Show).

Maria from 2 Political Junkies highlights a county judicial decision that a minor girl was not mature enough to make a decision about abortion.  The inevitable conclusion is that she was mature enough to carry a pregnancy to term and make a mature decision about what comes next. She also lost her appeal and her case is before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 

Interesting that while [Judge Phil] Ignelzi was fairly vague to the League of Women Voters and the Steel City Stonewall Democrats while running for election (because, you know, it would be "inappropriate and unfair" to get too specific), the group People Concerned for the Unborn Child determined that he was anti choice and endorsed him -- in fact, he was the only candidate who they endorsed for that seat

Huh. Another example of Western PA Republicans in Democrat clothing.

The City Paper's Lauren Daley talks with Judith "Jack" Halberstam from USC about an upcoming discussion on queer and gender theory.

Finally, I urge you to read Jane's story, part of a new survey on the real lives of transgender men and women in the United States.

View Article  Fragmentation and dissent: church

There's an article in the Tribune Review referncing the decision of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church congregation to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in favor of joining the North American Lutheran Church.

The Evangelical Lutherans approve of ordaining gay ministers.  Guess who doesn't?  If you aren't familiar with the Scriptural battles over this issues, read the article.  I, for one, am tired of media spotlight every time a community of faith acts in bigotry.  Even if the media quotes the wonderful Reverend Janet Edwards at some length. 

"As far as I know myself, the source of my commitment to LGBT equality within the church arises out of my faith," she said. "One way to look at it is to ask the fundamental question, 'What would Jesus do?'

"When I see Jesus embrace the outcasts of his day, for me to follow Jesus means I will do the same

The interesting twist in this piece is looking at how dissenting opinions rips communities of faith, congregations apart.

When we attended Allegheny Unitarian-Universalist church this morning, Reverend Dave spoke about the concept of community, a term that implies sameness or unity.  He rebels against the command that people of faith come together in unity as if the in-between that fills our dissenting opinions is a scary space where angels fear to tread.  The great unknown or perhaps more accurately, the great differently experienced and differently known. 

He reminded us that community can exist without people being in lockstep.  The Unitarian-Universalist concept of community strikes me as both transcending and including people who differ.  There is unity in the "in between spaces;" it just takes effort to work through those spaces to find one another and lift one another up.

I'm not sure if this is what Reverend Dave was saying, but it is what I took away from the service.  I, a wanna-be evangelical, can build community with a person who does not identify as Christian within the same congregation.  That's pretty darn radical when you consider how many Pittsburgh congregations vote themselves off their denomination island over the ordination of gays and women. 

In the Trib article, one interviewee admits he fled to the Catholic church because he liked the idea of one church.  As a former Catholic, I do not look at it that way at all.  It never made sense to me that there was one path to God and certainly one way to be Catholic.

Reverend Dave seems to believe that our disunity can be a creative place which brings forth new understanding on both parts. 

Does that make sense? I know, it is so unfamiliar to us.  I think there's a parallel in the LGBTQ community where we experience the world very differently, yet insist that our identity transcends factors such as gender, race, socioeconomoic status, ethnicity, faith and so forth.  We don't always (most times) pull it off, but the struggle to find the common ground itself generates the communal vibe that seems so elusive.

Some people in our community vote themselves off the island and I'm must more sympathetic to them than these churches, something I need to explore for myself.  If our community is a catalyst for so much disunity in the churches, perhaps we should all rethink how we build our own community.

Just some random thoughts.  I'm tired of simply reporting on yet another defecting church without questioning why I care. 

View Article  Post-Gazette on repeal of DADT

A nice editorial in the PG on the unacceptable plan to roll out the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell "slowly."

Delay will only foster uncertainty and resentment. Theoretically, gay servicemen and -women could still be dismissed under the old law while the new one is pending. The sooner this is completed, the better for everyone.

Excellent point.  Equality rolls along at such a slow pace, far more slowly than public opinion.  I recently joined a group made up of people I don't know.  I wasted no time talking about Ledcat in the same way the others discussed their spouses.  Not a peep of dissent or a rolling of the eye.  In fact, people comment on our relationship as an example of doing things right.  It is out of context here, but the example goes to show that most people embrace or don't care. 

Wake up, military leaders.  Welcome to 2011.

View Article  Marines on DADT

Information on this circulated on the gaydar yesterday.  Thanks to LezGetReal for the video.

 

View Article  Networking as a lesbian

Does anyone else use LinkedIn.com?  I joined a few years ago, but have found it newly compelling reading because of the livefeed of tweets and status updates.  I'm not aware of any of my friends who have found a job this way, but it is lovely to have all of your information in one place.

I downloaded an app that lets me post all of the articles about a project I coordinated for the holidays as well as some of the exceptional guest blog posts. I also like the recommendation/referral options.  To my surprise, I get the most feedback as editor of this blog rather than my day jobs.  To be fair, in some cases, there's overlap so I guess people feel more comfortable defaulting to the blog. 

I used to bury the blog in the Accomplishments section of my resume. I like to put it out there in the interest of full disclosure since I have a bit of reputation as a result of blogging.  But on LinkedIn, I list it as a job and have a robust description of my accomplishments.  Now I'm at the point that if I was job hunting, I'd want to leverage my blog accomplishments along with other accomplishments.  Advocacy is a skill which overlaps both my professional life and my blogging self. 

I'm not aware that I've lost any contacts and I gain new ones at a moderate, but consistent pace.  There's no sense pretending that I am not a blogger.  I'd have to disclose it at some point so I might as well try to leverage it up front if necessary. 

The networking disclosure question comes up often.  If I'm at a work related event, I rarely discuss it except in broad terms.  I think that's appropriate.  What's more challenging is when I'm at a "personal life" networking event and both come up.  It takes some finesse to maintain the boundary, yet network effectively.  For example, someone might ba a good interview, but also a good work collaborator. I opt for work because I feel an obligation to the people we serve to do my best for their welfare. 

I'm rarely in situations where I can's comfortably disclose being gay.  Typically, it comes up in a personal context such as "Yes, I tried that restaurant last week with Ledcat.  We loved it."  The two girlie name "us" is the cue and I can tell in minutes if there will be another conversation.

So here's my profile http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=334304&locale=en_US&trk=tab_pro   Ask me to join your network. If you dare .... LOL. 

View Article  Dreams of Hope to perform at August Wilson Center

If you are seeking something interesting to do on Sunday ...

Dreams of Hope's Performance Troupe presents:
Bully Me - Season Preview
Sunday, Jan 30th, 2011
4:00PM
August Wilson Center for African American Culture, 980 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
Free
Dreams of Hope's Performance Troupe will open its 2010-2011 season
with a preview of 'Bully Me', an original show consisting of spoken
word, movement, drama, percussion, and song exploring bullying and its
horrific impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
Dreams of Hope is a creative and performing arts organization for
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and supportive youth. Through the
arts, Dreams of Hope develops youth leader who educate audiences
through the creation of new works based on their lives.
www.dreamsofhope.org 412.361.2065

sdf

View Article  GLCC to offer free legal seminars

A few upcoming events and activities that might interest you ...

The GLCC has a series of legal seminars that cover topics you very much should understand

Legal Series Schedule
Estate Planning for Non-Traditional Families 2/26 1:30 pm

Nursing Home Costs?How Much, Who Pays, With What Money 3/26 1:30 pm

Guardian Versus POA 4/26 7:30 pm

What Does Being An Executor of Someone's Estate Involve? 5/24 7:30 pm

Veterans' Benefits 6/18 1:30 pm

How Should the Deed and Joint Accounts Be Titled? 7/26 7:30 pm

Seminars will be held at the GLCC located at 210 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 412-422-0144

The seminars are free and open to the public.  The presenter is attorney Lynn Costa.

View Article  My first artist's date

I'm reading a book titled "The Artist's Way" which boils down to a cognitive behavioral approach to unleashing inner creativity.  So far I've written 750 words a day known as "morning pages", made a list of heroes and monsters who either fueled or stifled my creativity and turned creatively negative thoughts into factual statements.  And it has only been a week. 

The challenge for me is the task of taking an artist's date each week. Ideas range from visiting a museum to making your own collage using children's scissors.  People take creative bubble baths (??), take photographic montages and use a lot of glitter. 

I'm being somewhat facetious because it is an awkward challenge.  I don't like art very much and I can discount 90% of the suggestions I receive as silly or awkward without much thought.

The point is to make time for art and creativity on a date with yourself at least once per week. No time limit, no parameters except that you do it by yourself and you actually try.

I got stuck this week. I intended to go to West Park and look at the statues, but time got away from me and I had to improvise. I don't like to give up.

Sooooo .... I'm stting at Amani International Coffeehouse and Cafe and realize there is an array of artwork on the walls.  I get up, stretch and begin to look at it.  There's a set of tiles with photos emblazoned on them, titled "Wanderlust"  There's a beautiful piece called "Cosmic Butterfly" that does make me think of painting paper buttlerflies when I was a child.  Suddenly, I remember that I used to doodle butterflies and can't remember the last time I did that.  The paper butterflies were held together with red yarn.  I can't remember where we made them -- camp? summer program? school? -- but they were bright and pretty. 

In the front, there is a series of photos that appear to be shots of a coffee farm family.  I took a peek into the new meeting space and saw the beginning of a series of black stars mounted on the wall.  What could that mean?

So my artist's date was abbreviated, but nice.  I typically don't notice coffeehouse art because I don't like art.  I come to coffeehouses for socialization and blogging purposes. I don't like art.

Except butterflies.

sdf

View Article  City Paper on quest for domestic partner benefits for Allegheny County employees

The Pittsburgh City Paper explores the frustration of the County Human Relations Commission with the slow pace of  the Onorato Administration around domestic partner benefits.

Is anyone really surprised?  After 7 years, really?

It won't happen until the next Administration.  Onorato doesn't want to use the political capital on this issue when he's potentially gearing up for a statewide race where gay votes and gay issues won't matter.  That's my prediction. It isn't on his radar and the HRC is powerless.

Energy is better spent pressing Fitzgerald and Flaherty to commit to the issue. 

Just my prediction. 

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