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

Bookmark and Share
Loading
Year Archive
View Article  Untitled

Tonight, Ledcat and I stopped by Peduto's campaign event at the Schenley Ice Rink.  My last visit was like 1987.  It seems different.  There was no skating in our party.  We came, we mingled, we munched and we listened.  Here's an old picture.

 

View Article  No legal charges in Club Pittsburgh death; moral responsibility is up to us.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Allegheny County prosecutors will not press charges against a Strip District club for the death of one of its patrons in January.

Cleophus Pettway, 31, of Youngstown, Ohio, was found dead in a private room at Club Pittsburgh, a popular meeting spot for gay men.

District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said today that toxicology results from the Medical Examiner's office showed that Mr. Pettway had cocaine in his system but also chemicals from a solvent typically used to clean VCRs. The club sold the solvent -- advertised under the brand "Maximum Impact" -- to patrons, who would use them to get high.

Mr. Zappala said that his office would not charge the club with involuntary manslaughter because the death was more likely caused by the cocaine than the solvent.

But, he added, the club has been "put on notice" to not sell the solvents anymore.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Is it in poor taste to use the phrase "slap on the wrist" when discussing a gay issue?   Even though they are not going to be legally culpable for his death, given the dangers of these solvents - is there a moral culpability?  If the presence of the solvents, which were not sold for their intended purposes, in any way helped facilitate his death, then this is a problem and a moral quandary for our community. 

Meanwhile, Club Pittsburgh owners Steve Hereforth and Peter Karlovich received the Kerry Stoner Award for nearly a decade of service to the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. 

The likelihood is that other patrons of Club Pittsburgh also may have illegal substances such as cocaine in their systems so the owners should be making sure the Club doesn't sell substances to boost an already dangerous (and illegal high). It is after all a health club, at least according to the zoning regulations. I don't think the YMCA sells inhalants. I could be wrong. 

Yes, yes, I know we are going to hear from those who believe Mr. Pettway snorted his own coke and made his own decisions and thus, immunized the Club from any responsibility for his behavior.  It doesn't change the fact that the DA has said no more inhalants so whatever. 

My point continues to be that this club is not zoned properly.  It is not a health club, it is a bath house established to promulgate sexual activity for gay (and gay curious) men.  Improper zoning puts men's health at risk and for that, the owners and the zoning authorities should be held accountable.  Including the Mayor.

"Closeting" a bath house as a health club is not a constructive way to promote positive sexual representations of the gay men's community. It is 2009, for crying out loud.   I have been hearing stories of local business owners crying about the legions of Pittsburgh queers who would take to the street if our bath house was threatened.  Ha.  Our Gay & Lesbian Community Center IS threatened.  What's more important?  What's worth fighting to preserve and protect? 

Even as I type, I see comments hitting my inbox crowing about this vindication.  Of what?  You are happy that the bastion of gay men's sex is only a lesser factor in someone's death?  Seriously?

We will never know if more accurate zoning could have brought to light the sale of inhalants any sooner and POSSIBLY prevented Mr. Pettway's death.  We may never know if Yarone Zober, acting on behalf of the Mayor to fend off zoning investigations, could have brought to light the sale of inhalants any sooner and POSSIBLY prevented Mr. Pettway's death.

But we do know now that inadequate zoning could lead to someone else's death.  Think of a fire. Stopping the sale of inhalants is not adequate. Club Pittsburgh must be rezoned, regardless of the power and influence of its owners.  It doesn't matter if you blame the right wingnuts for calling 311 in the first place.  It doesn't matter if you magically know that a woman could never have acquired the information necessary for the 311 call (having never been there yourself, of course).  It doesn't matter that the owners want to gussy up the hog and pretend it is the Duquesne Club.

What matter is that the Club's improper zoning is illegal and sends a very negative message both about "gay sex" and the corrupting influence of gay money.  Buying off the Mayor does not mean we've arrived anywhere worth being.

View Article  Update on "Pride Night at PNC Park"

I spoke with a representative from the Pirates today who tactfully told me that a breakdown in communication blocked the 2008 event, but plans are well underway to organize an official Pride Night during June of 2009.  He was very candid about wanting to connect with LGBT baseball fans. 

Officials from the local Pridefest organizing committee have acknowledged that they are working on an event for this year and take full responsibility for the mishaps of last year.

So it appears that the Nuttings are limiting their anti-gay publishing crap to Hawaii.  For now.  They still want your money here in Pittsburgh. 

Bear in mind that statewide LGBT legislation is making its way through the House (and Senate, hopefully).  If you have friends or family in the following distribution areas, they may want to send in a letter to the editor about the cartoon Ogden Newspapers published in Hawaii.  There's nothing to stop them from pulling the same punches here in Pennsylvania.  A little proactive action never hurt. A few letters to the editor will carry a lot more weight than not buying a few baseball tickets.  We want a robust, gay-friendly major league franchise. 

Sun-Gazette252 W. Fourth Street
P.O. Box 728
Williamsport, PA 17703-0728
570-326-1551

Times Observer205 Pennsylvania Ave.
Warren, PA 16365
814-723-8200

The Express9-11 W. Main Street
P.O. Box 208
Lock Haven, PA 17745
570-748-6791

The Lewistown Sentinel352 Sixth Street
P.O. Box 588
Lewistown, PA 17044
717-248-6741

Altoona Mirror301 Cayuga Avenue
P.O. Box 2008
Altoona, PA 16603-2008
814-946-7411

Clinton County Shopper911 W. Main Street
Lock Haven, PA 17745-1217
570-748-3211

County ObserverPO BOX 575
Reedsville, PA 17084-0575

East Lycoming Shopper & NewsR.D. 3
P.O. Box 266
Hughesville, PA 17737-0266
570-584-2134

The Luminary41 S. Main Street
P.O. Box 432
Muncy, PA 17756-0432

570-546-8555

If you can get a letter in one of these papers, let me know.  Call you aunts and grandparents and sisters-in-law.  Call people of faith who believe in a just and fair society for all.  Turn this nasty little episode into something positive.

View Article  HB 300 voted out of committtee; PG little newspaper that could (sorta)

HB 300 is making decent progress.

By the slimmest of margins, a House panel has approved Rep. Dan Frankel's bill to ban discrimination in housing and jobs against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The State Government Committee voted today by a margin of 12 to 11 -- Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed -- to send House Bill 300 to the full House.

"Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people thank (the committee) for their commitment to basic fairness,'' said Jake Kaskey of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania.

Mr. Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, is trying for a second time to get the bill enacted. This time he has 78 cosponsors in the House, or nine more than it did two years ago. He needs at least 102 votes to win House approval.

The measure would ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and several other factors is banned.

The bill has support from the state Human Relations Commission and the Value All Families Coalition but is opposed by the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

The institute contends the bill would "put at risk clergy, religious ministries or schools or child care centers, or even employers or business owners with religious beliefs, who may have moral objections to hiring homosexuals or transgendered/cross-dressers in the place of employment.''

The PG still needs to work on the whole religious angle.  They seem determined to sell papers by tapping into a false arguement.  Note the lack of quotes from religious folks who aren't bigots.  Note the lack of quotes from bill opponents who aren't people of faith. 

Still, the forward movement is good news.  Keep paying attention. 

Still no word from Onorato's camp regarding the cyber townhall meeting.  No word from Ravenstahl folks on the LGBT Advisory Committee.  On a good note, the Pirates did call me back. 

View Article  PG on HB 300

"Simple fairness," proclaim the editors of the Post-Gazette in their somewhat disappointing endorsement for the statewide bill. I expected to see a bit of a mention that this legislation does not pit gay rights versus religious rights, a very necessary caveat since the Post-Gazette's coverage of similar legislation on the County level did not really make this point clear. 

The Tribune Review has not published any LGBTQ related anything for many weeks now.  They remain mum on this matter. 

Note to the Post-Gazette:  please refer to GLAAD media resources.  This bill is not about gay and transgendered people.  It is about gay men, lesbians, bisexual men and women, and transgender (not "ed") men and women. Queer men and women.  Kids.  Adults, etc.  I'm pretty loosey goosey with the lingo here at Lesbian Central, but I expect more from people paid to write these things.)

View Article  Celebrate Life, Celebrate Art 2009

Click on the image for more details.  I'm very pleased to share that Ledcat and I will be liveblogging from this year's auction.  So even if you can't attend, send in your donation to the very worthwhile Persad Center and be part of the action from your very own computer.  It is like our very own PghLesbian:  Scene section. 

We've enjoyed this event and look forward to participating in this unique manner.

 

View Article  First Lesbian & Gay Film of 2009

JOIN US THURSDAY, APRIL 2nd, 7:30 PM at the SouthSide Works Cinema

 

Between Love and Goodbye
(U.S.A., 2008, 97 minutes)
Genre/Subjects: Drama, gay and transgender

From Casper Andreas, the director of Slutty Summer and A Four Letter Word comes this modern gay drama about falling in and out of love, and the rocky ride in between. Love makes the world go round. At least that's what Marcel and Kyle believe, until they suddenly discover that love can alternatively flip the world upside down. Even though they can't legally marry, they find a way to make it work. French Marcel marries their lesbian friend Sarah so he can stay in the US with Kyle. Together, they can overcome any obstacle, hurdle any barrier. Enter Kyle's sister, April, a former prostitute. She needs a place to crash, but for how long?

Taking a quick dislike to Marcel, April methodically drips poison into their happiness. But where Marcel sees a conniving woman with a not-so-hidden agenda, Kyle only sees his sister - in need. And how do you choose between family and the love of your life? Our perfect couple falls headlong into possessiveness, jealousy and rage while trapped in the tangled emotions found in that space between love and goodbye. Just how far will one of them go to put a stop to the madness?

xc

View Article  Pittsburgh Pirates Owner Published Homophobic Cartoon in Hawaii

On February 26, 2009, the Lahaina News - a weekly paper in Hawaii -- published the following editorial cartoon.

The following week, the editor reportedly published the following statement: "We realize that last week's cartoon offended some community sensibilities.  We apologize for that."  I cannot verify this as the apology does not appear to be published online.  I've asked a Hawaiian blogger to poke around for that information. 

You may not know that Hawaii is in the midst of of legislative battle to become the fifth state to legalize civil unions.  The legislation has passed the House and is stalled in the Hawaiian Senate.  According to news reports, more than 6,000 persons rallied against the measure.  Many of those folks were bussed in by religious groups. Surprise!

So you probably wonder what this has to do with the Pittsburgh Pirates?  After all, the Pirates have been somewhat proactive in reaching out to the local gay community.  They have "Gay Day" at PNC Park (I think it is called something else). In 2004, Mr. Leather Pittsburgh threw the first pitch during Gay Day. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Robert Nutting (born March 29, 1962 in Wheeling, West Virginia) is the Chairman of the Board and principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, President and CEO of Ogden Newspapers Inc. and Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania, a four-season resort 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Hmmm.  The owner of the Pirates AND Seven Springs publishes a paper than ran an editorial cartoon straight from the book of Rick Santorum. 

So what exactly is Ogden Newspapers?

Ogden Newspapers, Inc., is a diversified media corporation that publishes 40 daily newspapers, several magazines, weekly newspapers and shoppers located in 12 states from Florida to upstate New York and as far west as Maui, Hawaii. The company has been headquartered in Wheeling, WV, since September 22, 1890. We are proud to be a part of the communities where our newspapers are located. This Web Site is dedicated to those communities and the organizations, governments and businesses that support them.

Included among them is the Lahaina News.  Also among his publications are Utne Reader, Mother Earth News, and the Herb Companion.

Here's my problem.  Mr. Nutting wants to make money fanning the flames of christo-bigotry to sell his newspapers in Lahaina and then turn around to collect our gay dollars here in Pittsburgh (AND the Utne Reader).  Is that okay with you?  Think carefully because his conglomerate has ten newspapers in Pennsylvania.  That's a lot of rural opinions being shaped by this family as our allies battle on two legislative fronts for gay positive bills (Anti-Discrimination and Hate Crimes).

Father Bill Albinger, pastor of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Lahaina has this to share:

"The apology is totally inadequate and shows that either they still just don't get it -  that portraying gay couples either marrying or enter civil unions as a wedding between a male human being and a sheep is dehumanizing and denigrating - is a bit more than "offending some community sensibilities".  I don't know if the blame is on the editor or the publisher for picking the cartoonist, running that cartoon, and issuing such a weak response to community outrage."

He continues:

"The editor of the Lahaina News does a great job with local news stories and is personally in favor of the currently pending civil unions bill in Hawaii (HB444).  The same goes for the Maui News, also controlled by the Nuttings via Ogden Publishing via Hawaiian Publications.  But every so often, out of the blue, comes some hard right wing stuff like that ugly cartoon and I always wonder, 'Where's this stuff coming from?'."

Tis very odd, indeed.  The editor supports the civil unions ordinance, then runs a patently offensive cartoon and then issues a pretty lame apology.  Everyone is either happy or unsatisfied.  Either way, they sell newspapers.  Guess who wins? 

Hey, at least someone associated with the Pirates is winning SOMETHING.

Robert's daddy, G. Ogden, is a frequent donor to Republicans.  Nearly $50,000 last year alone.  He donated to Melissa Hart.  He's among the top "sports revenue" contributors to political campaigns.

How do you publish the Utne Reader and a cartoon equating gay marriage with man on sheep sex?  In what reality does that make any sense except the "have your cake and eat it, too" universe? 

View Article  FYI: Lynn Cullen debutes on WAMO Monday at 5 PM

Just a simple FYI.  Tune into WAMO 860 AM at 5 PM Monday afternoon for the return of the Lynn Cullen show.

 

View Article  Frankel introduced non-discrimination bill

The Post-Gazette is reporting that State Representative Dan Frankel has introduced legislation to expand civil protections to include the LGBTQ community across the state. 

He's built up a stronger base of support so things look possible this time around.

Follow PghLesbian24 on Twitter

The Correspondents