Friday, June 5
by Sue on Fri 05 Jun 2009 08:36 AM EDT
Proponents of Equality: III
Ron D'Amico is helping keep the balance in the Post-Gazette Letters to the Editor count when it comes to marriage equality.
Ron nails all the essential points:
Yes, civil rights are not at the will of the people. Yes, religious rites are a smokescreen issue.
The letters are neck and neck. Marriage equality isn't driving the degree of letter writing as in past years, but do not underestimate the impact of this section in the paper. Pick up your pens and tilt that balance in the favor of equality for all.
Wednesday, June 3
by Sue on Wed 03 Jun 2009 11:04 PM EDT
Remember the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)?
Earlier in the week, I checked Facebook and discovered I had been invited to join a new group to push for an inclusive ENDA. Inclusive means sexual orientation and gender identity (and expression but whose counting?). Not the palatable, baby steps, throw out the scary genderqueer folks version. The one that protects all people. So we can work and be productive members of society. Earn our keep. Etc.
The group asked people to call their federal legislators and get the 411 on their positions. Here's what I learned with three calls to DC.
Congressman Mike Doyle (D)
Supports a fully inclusive bill. Staffer didn't hesitate and knew exactly what ENDA was.
Senator Bob Casey (D)
He has told his staff in conversation he supports anti-discrimination measures that include sexual orientation. They do not know about gender identity. The staffer will ask him, but told me to wait for the issue to become public to learn his position with that regard. He wouldn't commit to "maybe" but only yes on sexual orientation, period. Took me a few minutes to get the staff to understand what I was asking about.
Senator Arlen Specter (D)
The first person who answered the phone said he had no public position, then transferred me three times. I ended up in a voice mail and asked for a call back. I'm still not sure they understood the question.
Sorry for the strange fonts. It happens.
So ... now what? Well, the Facebook group plans to tabulate and create a strategic plan to reach out to the folks like Casey who need some work.
We have work to do here in Pennsylvania. Join the FB group and stay on top of this issue. Be vigilant, my friends.
by Sue on Wed 03 Jun 2009 10:29 PM EDT
First, how about New Hampshire? Now six states offer marriage equality to their residents.
Second, the Humane Society recycling fiasco gets increasingly snarled. Matted, perhaps? Read the article and tell me if you share my outrage that the local organizations are upset MORE about their lost profits than by the toxic destruction being committed in their name? They are going to sue this man over their lost thousands, but no one is talking about the electronics and who is responsible for disposing of them safely. Sad. I guess dogs and cats living near the dumps in China aren't worth rescuing, especially when they glow in the dark.
Either way, this gives me pause:
When Mr. Nixon implied I was an industrial spy and threatened to draw me into a lawsuit, I was merely taken aback. Now I can see all those little red flags were waving like mad for good reason. Wow. I just cannot get over how many people were duped by this man. Rest assured, he had help from someone with inside connections to multiple local animal welfare organizations. Or don't rest assured because there are many tons of your materials floating around out there and no one seems to care.
I want my shredder and my electric heater back! I will GLADLY pay a reputable company to dispose of them. Maybe a lot of folks are comfortable with the "oh well, how could we have known?" approach, but I feel incredibly bad that I didn't take action sooner. Visions of the 60 Minutes segment haunt me.
Most of all, I feel awful that I was right. I have been bashed in the dog world, in the queer world, ignored by friends in the media and just trounced by volunteers for these different organizations. I wish they were all right and I was just an overly sensitive jerk. There is no satisfaction in being right. No feeling of accomplishment. None of the usual underdog standing up to the man sensations.
I feel like crap and I'm probably going to cry in a few minutes because I keep thinking that I should have started waving my hands back in February when I first smelled a rat. Instead, I let someone bully me into a corner. Now I'm backing down when people are saying "Oh, these organizations couldn't have known" to get me to stop complaining about their culpability.
Bullshit. If I walked into the Humane Society of Podunkville and said "Here's a too-good-to-be-true fundraiser that will generate $10,000" they would ask some questions. Especially if my company was 365 days old!
So the unanswered question now is what these organizations are going to do about it? I wish someone would put the screws to them on this particular issue -- how do they undo the damage and dispose of the electronics?
by Sue on Wed 03 Jun 2009 10:15 AM EDT
Not a lot to report on the local front. The dueling marriage equality bills are not generating the outpouring of letters to the editor we experienced in 2006 and 2008. Maybe you could write one?
New Hampshire votes on marriage equality today.
Check out the comments section to see (for once!) a constructive outcome to disagreement. Outrage is coming to Pittsburgh, the Film Society wants to support the film and people have good suggestions on a potential panel discussion. Now that's how blogging should be all the time!
Everyone and their brother wants to be involved in the G-20 summit. There's really no gay angle, however. Unless the County Council ...finally ... passes the non-discrimination ordinance and we can join 14 other Pennsylvania municipalities in the economic forefront. We have no real LGBTQ economic hook here in Pittsburgh. We do have, however, the opportunity to take a closer look at LGBTQ global issues. What's life look like for the average homo in the G-20 nations? More to come on that ...
Chime in if anything floats your boat.
Monday, June 1
by Sue on Mon 01 Jun 2009 05:47 PM EDT
Two upcoming movies sponsored by the Film Society. They state "PLGFS is always happy to support gay-themed movies... "
I hope this means they will be working with Magnolia Productions and the Pgh Filmmakers to promote Outrage the Movie which is absolutely gay-themed and promise to be a powerful, dialogue-generating documentary. I would love to see a panel discussion after opening night, but I've had no response from the Filmmakers about that possibility.
by Sue on Mon 01 Jun 2009 05:42 PM EDT
Personally, I think this is more rhetoric from a President who once called himself a "fierce advocate" yet has backed off many issues that he has the power to address: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, federal benefits for domestic partners, etc. These Pride proclamations are a little more useless than the showcase of politicians who show up at PrideFest, but don't show up to take action.
Worse yet are those who use smoke and mirrors to give the illusion of action and add fuel to the fire of the babysteps approach.
THE WHITE HOUSE
by Sue on Mon 01 Jun 2009 09:25 AM EDT
I believe this is the 4th annual blog swarm to educate readers about LGBT families. I met the editor of Mombian at the LGBT Blogging Summit we attended last December and have found her blog to be very interesting.
Now my nuclear family is Ledcat and myself as we do not have children. Still, as a former foster parent recruiter, I know how many children languishing in the adoption lists could benefit from what we have to offer. Now is not the time for us, but I certainly keep that possibility on the table. At this point, second parent adoption is legal in Pennsylvania due in part to the hard work of local LGBTQ advocate and attorney Christine Biancheria.
Pittsburgh has a small, but lively chapter of Families Like Ours. I'm on the email list and enjoy the exchange on very seemingly mundane topics that most likely thousands of other parents are discussing in other forums. The vast majority of the conversation is fairly universal with an occasional LGBT specific twist.
PrideFest has a children's section. Family friendly picnics are springing up. I'm not sure what is going on with the Family Fun Festival, but hopefully it will be back next year.
We also have resources for LGBT youth -- Dreams of Hope, Persad's Youth programs, GLCC Youth programs, GLSEN Pittsburgh. These programs can provide wonderful resources for children with LGBTQ parents as well.
When I stop to think about how many LGBTQ persons I know with children, I'm amazed at how quickly their names come to mind. One family is embroiled in a custody battle for their adopted son and shares updates via texting direct from the out-of-state courtroom. Another set of biological parents are in a custody battle between themselves. I certainly know more than one family who have adopted and I am huge advocate of LGBTQ families pursuing foster parenting.
As for our family? When Ledcat's brother and his wife had children (3 1/2 and 1) they never missed a beat with identifying us both as aunties. Our niece is sort of confused that we live together, but she associates us as one unit. It would probably be easier if we had a child so she could put us into context as so-and-so's two mommies, but she certainly doesn't see anything amiss about us. The same with her little brother.
My brother and his wife live quite away, but they are conscientious of sharing photos and I'm hoping to go out to see them this summer.
This topic hits all of us. We need to know that children in LGBT families, gay or straight, feel their family is affirmed and welcome as with their straight family counterparts.
Here in Pennsylvania, this hits home. We need to pass HB 300 and the Allegheny County ordinance to ensure that families of all types have access to housing, employment and public accomodations. We need to put the "Marriage Protection Amendment" to bed once and for all so children are not exposed to the vitriole and bigotry that accompanies this debate. We need equality for all of our families.
by Sue on Mon 01 Jun 2009 08:47 AM EDT
In another not-slanted-at-all story, the Tribune informs us that most Pennsylvania's prefer civil unions to marriage equality. Read for yourselves.
Can you do a marriage equality story without some reference to the Adam and Eve/Adam and Steve argument? Or a reference to polygamy? I guess we should be glad Eichelberger sidesteps the bestiality mention.
Mr. DiFiores is quite the chap, huh? He is the owner of the Grand Brew coffee house, FYI. You might not want to patronize a business that refers to our identities as "it." Starbucks doesn't do that. I'm just saying. OR you might want to intentionally patronize the business and bring your sexual orientation with you. He can't refuse you service after all thanks to the City ordinance. Maybe we should schedule some meetings there. Make it real and personal.
The article wraps up with a quote from Paster Roberta Dunn of the Metropolitan Community Church. She reminds us that the way to change hearts is to forge personal relationships and connections.
This is consistent with the advice our leaders are providing. We need to come out to new people in our lives. We need to make our lives personal to our elected leaders so they have real people to associate with their votes on LGBTQ issues. On LGBTQ lives.
Saturday, May 30
by Sue on Sat 30 May 2009 10:57 AM EDT
SUNDAY JUNE 21, 2009 7:30 PM
Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead Concert + Reception = $77.00
Limited tickets available (through ... more »
by Sue on Sat 30 May 2009 10:26 AM EDT
Huh. From what I'm reading, someone accidentally inserted this language into the policy which then just sort of "caught on" with other publications and documents. Now that they are aware of the issue, which has been a nonissue for the past 9 years, the College is going to strip people of their protections? In what reality does that make any sense?
I understand that there is a process to change policy, but wouldn't it make more sense to simply follow that process to bring the actual policy into compliance with established practice? Wow, that's confusing. After 9 years, it would be difficult for anti-union/anti-gay forces to have any grounds for predicting the downfall of the College. No one noticed enough to make a fuss.
Until someone filed a lawsuit. Huh.
Again, this is just a backwards response to discrimination. Are they afraid that acknowleding the faux policy will strengthen the suit?
The Post-Gazette reports that 9 out of 14 community colleges across the Commonwealth include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. That's the kind of imbalance that HB 300 should rectify.
One a final note, this is another example of the power of a union/LGBTQ alliance. The union plans to oppose removing the language:
A much more high profile alliance fermented in California as the two forces worked on a boycott of the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego.
This is a particularly interesting dynamic here in Southwestern Pennsylvania with our breeding ground for socially conservative Democrats and socially conservative blue collar workers. We are also a LGBTQ community with a significant class divide. I'd be curious to learn more about the labor sentiments of leaders in our community. I know one of our forefathers from the 1908s and early 1990s was a unionized teacher who was at the helm of generating class conscious protections within the community and his union. We don't have a contemporary "working class gay hero" here in Pittsburgh.
Well, perhaps we just have one coming out of this mess at WCCC.