Wednesday, June 24
by Sue on Wed 24 Jun 2009 09:32 PM EDT
Clearly, I have no idea what I'm doing with Google Ads so down they come. How on earth does a Pat Toomey campaign ad end up on a lesbian blog? I don't have enough traffic to get into the progressive/liberal ad game, but geez ...
by Sue on Wed 24 Jun 2009 02:23 PM EDT
A version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Barney Frank and 10 cosponsors. Pam's House Blend has the details.
One note of even "gooder" news! Representative Mike Doyle's staffer has posted on my Facebook page that the Congressman has requested to join as a cosponsor.
by Sue on Wed 24 Jun 2009 12:01 PM EDT
by Sue on Wed 24 Jun 2009 11:37 AM EDT
Just confirmed with Allegheny County Council staff that the agenda for the July 1, 2009 meeting does include Ordinance 4201-08 ... more »
by Sue on Wed 24 Jun 2009 10:54 AM EDT
As I was literally typing my previous post, I learn that Ms. Kern is back with her anti-homosexual rhetoric. Timing, eh?
by Sue on Wed 24 Jun 2009 10:36 AM EDT
How do you measure outrage? Or even mild disgust? I'm reading Exist-gate tweets, blog posts, hits to the blog posts and started a Facebook Group http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=114139050228&ref=ts You could also go to Twitter and search for Eichelberger. I don't know how to post a Twitter update. Bob Mayo tried to teach me, but I'm still refining the skills.
(If you don't recognize the name Eichelberger, go read this post.)
But no official response. Granted the Senate and the City Council are in the midst of serious budget issues that I definitely want to be addressed. Still, "allowing them to exist?"
Am I overreacting as one person has asked me to consider? Was it merely a verbal flub intended to convey that Pennsylvania is not attempting to criminalize homosexuality, but merely associate us with pedophiles and incest perps to protect marriage?
If it was a verbal flub, Eichelberger could simply clear that up with a brief written statement and get focused back on "not encouraging" our behavior/lifestyle/whatever. So I'm open to the possibility that he flubbed, but not the silence that followed.
There's a lot on the gay agenda. NY may vote on marriage today. The White House is throwing a fancy party to commemorate Stonewall. DNC fundraisers are being boycotted. Anti-bullying legislation in North Carolina. First ever federal honor for a gay civil rights pioneer. That's just what I've seen with a quick visit to the major blogs.
I'm not sure if Exist-gate will catch on. I inserted the hyphen because people kept reading/hearing it incorrectly. Will it prove a rallying cry for the local LGBTQ community? Will we stop allowing other people to control the debate about our lives and take ownership of all these crazy things that are literally not-happening in Pennsylvania? I'm trying to persuade a few folks to meet with State Rep Harry Readshaw about HB 300 -- half of his constituents have these protections because they live in the City and half don't because they live in the suburbs. He needs to hear from the unprotected half and make sure everyone in his district has equal civil rights. That's an important discussion.
If we can't get an apology or a public show of support from any leader in our state, it is inevitable that every single LGBTQ resource will be sucked into defeating the marriage amendment. Again. Our attempts to obtain civil rights will be derailed by this other issue and, frankly, by the lack of resources we as a community are investing in a Western Pennsylvania LGBTQ advocacy infrastructure.
It still boils back to what can we do?
Let's see what happens.
Monday, June 22
by Sue on Mon 22 Jun 2009 05:05 PM EDT
My god, I cannot keep up with the news. I used to let a lot of national issues pass by, but the Obam Administration's DOJ legal brief comparing same sex marriage to incest ... we need to pay closer attention.
Pam's House Blend has the story and the full letter.
Here are the Pennsylvania elected officials who stood up to bigotry and FOR the troops.
Well, that's underwhelming, isn't it? Punishing LGBTQ servicemembers for being gay is wrong. President Obama and Congress have been playing volleyball on this issue. He says it requires Congressional action. They say he can issue an executive order. This letter apparently focuses on HOW the policy is administered through the Department of Defense.
We'll see what response this generates. Meanwhile, go back to the post below this one and call about ENDA.
by Sue on Mon 22 Jun 2009 04:45 PM EDT
Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
We got a lot going on that impacts us on local, statewide and national levels. Lots of calls to action. Try not to feel overwhelmed or besieged. Instead, this gives you a lot of opportunities to make an impact, most with a simple series of phone calls. I'm going to try and lay it out for you.
This is not in order of importance, just timeliness. Do what moves you (please do it all is what I really mean).
1 Senator John Eichelberger's outrageous comment "We are allowing them to exist" in reference to LGBTQ persons. If you think Pennsylvania's elected officials should not get to determine if you or your loved one exist, then please contact you State Senator today and let them know what you think about this comment. We deserve an apology. You must demand it. If you feel particularly inspired, call or email other local prominent Democrats and ask them to put pressure on their Senate colleagues. If Sally Kern of Oklahoma could draw a response, why not this in our very own backyard? Someone must step up to champion us.
2. HB 300. PA Representative Dan Frankel needs your help. There's a special focus on State Representative Harry Readshaw's district (Brentwood/Mt. Oliver/Southside). Click on the link to find out if that is you. Regardless, you need to follow up with your Representative and encourage/thank them with regard to support of this legislation.
3. Allegheny County Human Relations Act. The vote could come on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Be at the County Bldg by 4:30 PM that afternoon. The last hearing drew a record setting crowd of 150 people. Let's bring 200 to this one. And PLEASE call your Council Representative. If you can prompt five people in your district to call this week, you can impact this vote.
4. ENDA. Two major pushes. One is the need to talk with three PA Congresspersons about their position. The more "pro" calls they get, the better. The second need is to get our Congressional Representatives to cosponsor the legislation.
5. Luke Ravenstahl's LGBT Advisory Committee. On Friday, April 24, the Mayor's Deputy Chief of Staff Kristen Baginski told us that they were in touch with potential members and would announce when that process was complete. That was almost two months ago. You can email her to ask how many more months (it has been 7 since it was announced) will be needed to form the committee that will advise the Mayor on LGBT issues. You could mention the significant issues outlined above as proof that we really can't afford to wait too much longer. Her email is: Kristen.Baginski@city.pittsburgh.pa.us
6. Democratic National Committee. In response to some of the most outrageous anti-gay rhetoric emerging from the White House since Bush, gay folks are "shutting down the ATM" to the DNC. If you donate to the ACDC or the DNC or other Democratic wings, I'd encourage you to contact them and tell them that there will be no more donations until there is positive movement. Your money is probably better invested in candidates who are good on our/your issues.
Seriously, what has the ACDC done for our community? They had one forum two years ago and that was that. There's been no forward movement on anything discussed at that meeting. There's been no visible outreach or support or endorsement of the County legislation. No financial support of Steel City (that I can identify).
I know that most of you don't donate to the party directly, but think about it. Some folks with sizable bank accounts do financially support the party endorsed candidates, creating an illusion of buy in by the larger community.
Wrong. If there are so many boycotts nationally, why shouldn't we try that tactic locally? Spur our allies to skip the fundraisers until something gets done. Just a thought. It probably will just show that we have no clout and they don't care we think. Or what I think. :-)
Or maybe we need to shake the tree a little bit and let candidates and the party know that they don't "get" our donations without producing results.
7. I'm falling back on my repetition that you should join and become active with Steel City Stonewall Democrats. I was at their monthly meeting last week and it was fascinating. The conversation was fierce and the opinions strong (albeit civil). You can really make an impact on the organization's direction just by showing up and putting your views on the table. You can also make an impact by volunteering. If you are frustrated that you don't get email notices or facebook updates frequently enough to keep you informed and help you plan, join the communications/web committee and take some ownership of that task. A lot of things you can do from home with a computer or a cell phone.
If you do nothing on this list, please join Stonewall (national is pulling sponsorships of DNC events).
by Sue on Mon 22 Jun 2009 11:29 AM EDT
A few years ago, I had the privilege of breaking ground (I think) with the first liveblog of a City Council hearing. That meeting involved the Pittsburgh Police Department's internal domestic violence staff policy. You have to scroll down a bit to see the posts, but here they are.
There's an oft repeated mantra that domestic calls are among the most dangerous for police officers. What is failing in the translation is the reality of how much more dangerous they are for the victims. Once the scene is secured, the danger to the police is greatly reduced. The danger for the victim? Well, it often increases. Abusers aren't likely to retaliate against an armed copy. Guess who they will retaliate against?
Not difficult to imagine. Well for me, it isn't difficult. For the police?? Read this http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09158/975486-53.stm#ixzz0HlxjbFWg&C
Here's a fact you should get a bit outraged about. This happened in Zone 2. The Commander of Zone 2, George, Trosky, the man who made the decision not to handle this arrest with any competency, was once accused of domestic violence charges. The charges were withdrawn as is often the case. You would think the resulting backlash would encourage Commander Trosky to be attentive to these matters.
If you want to secure a more just and effective response from the police, you might consider the CPRB meeting on Tuesday.
The wonderful group of women who volunteered to help change the Pgh. Police Dept?s internal DV staff policy has come back together. They willll hold a press conference right before the CPRB?s meeting.