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View Article  New Hospital Visitation Regs Finalized

I was chatting today with another blogger (yes, over coffee) about the circumstances under which LGBTQ families are kept apart in hospitals. I mentioned the new federal regulations and realized I had failed to blog about them.

From the Human Rights Campaign website ...

On Tuesday, federal regulations regarding patients? hospital visitation rights will go into effect.  These new regulations require all hospitals participating in Medicaid and Medicare programs ? virtually every hospital in the country ? to permit patients to designate visitors of their choosing and prohibit discrimination in visitation based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

What good news is this?  What I'm curious about is what happens what a patient's ability to designate visitors is impaired? 

The HRC has much more detail here.

This is a positive step forward.  Remember when UPMC Mercy was owned by the Catholic Church?  Do you think they would willingly have let me into ICU if Ledcat were hospitalized?  I was recently in the hospital for a few days and no one blinked when I listed my "partner" as my emergency contact.  The only awkward moment was when a doctor was asking me if I was a homosexual. I just looked at him and he moved on to another question. 

Still ... there's no real equality and protection without marriage.  Don't forget that.  We need to push for the steps and we need to celebrate when they are achieved.  We have to be realistic and we have to recognize what is achievable in our individuals states and municipalities.  But we have to remember that without true and total equality, none of us will ever have a way to tidy up all the loose ends. 



View Article  From Pam's House Blend: Beck and Hannity lose Philly

From Pam Spaulding comes this cheerful tiding ...

Mediaite has learned Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are being dropped from their Philadelphia radio station, WPHT 1210 (The Big Talker), in January.

The station is a CBS affiliate, and Philadelphia is the fourth largest radio market.

Taking Beck's 9am-noon slot is the local Dom Giordano, currently 6-10pm. Then comes Rush Limbaugh, noon-3pm, and Smerconish - who replaces Sean Hannity.

This makes me smile, especially with local news of the transfer of WDUQ out of the hands of the censoring Catholic church and into real independent arms.  There is nothing decent to listen to on Pgh's airwaves in the way of talk radio, if you are progressive and/or liberal.  Taking down the kings of right wing nuttery might pave the way for .... who knows?


View Article  Update

I haven't done a "what's up with me" update.

I've been lacking motivation to walk/exercise.  I still hung in and got three workouts a week in, but last week I slid down to two.  So today, I got out for a 3 mile walk right after breakfast so there would be no excuses.  I have to get back on the Wii but it just seems so hard. 

I can feel the difference the less exercise has.  My knee pain is back and I'm less flexible.  I suppose it is inevitable in the winter, but I'm searching for a good motivator.  I put on a pair of one of my new size 14 jeans and they still fit so at least I'm not gaining, but I'd prefer them to fit a little more comfortably and I have about 6 other size 14 articles of clothing that don't yet fit.  I find that clothing helps beyond simply measuring how much weight I've lost.  I haven't been on the scale in three weeks. 

I've also been working on a very specific goal to increase my consumption of fruits & veggies.  There are new federal guidelines that tailor consumption to your weight and activity level.  I am recommended to eat 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies each day.  Which is hard.  Really hard.  Check out this site for more details. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/

My walk this AM was pretty awesome.  About 90% of the sidewalk was clear and there were snowflakes flurrying all around me.  I had a few moments when I gasped at how cold the air had become, but I cut 5 minutes off my time so perhaps the briskness paid off for me.  I also have an iPod that Laura gifted to me for Christmas. That makes the walk super bearable even when its cold. 

What is getting old is my route. I try to stick to good sidewalks which eliminates half of the Northside. Sparkpeople.com has a great route tracker so I'm working to up my distance to 4 miles per walk and trying to figure out a route that makes sense.  Or routes.  I want to go down by the stadiums onto the trails but I quiver at how cold it might be.  Maybe I'll venture down there this week and see what happens.  If I don't blog all week, call Ledcat to go find me.

Blogging has picked back up.  I'm on medical leave so I have more time and inspiration.  Blogging is a stress reliever for me and I set some interesting goals for this year, including more contributions to national blogs. I'm trying to infuse a bit more of Sue the person into this blog that has really tilted too far to Sue the political lesbian in the past years. 

The Society has a new project we'll be unveiling soon to demonstrate what a group of determined Pgh women can accomplish (or at least try to accomplish).  We met yesterday and that was pretty exciting.  Just the pre-project conversation was very stimulating.  I love women with opinions. 

I'm off to do a blogging interview.  I'm not walking.

View Article  A look at the Tribune Review

One thing I like to do with this blog is examine local media coverage of LGBTQ issues.  Both the Post-Gazette and the Tribune Review provide some coverage but it is tilting more frequently to reprints of national pieces (Washington Post, New York Times, etc).  While we get exposure, we miss the local perspective.  At least I miss it. 

The Trib reprints a piece on the passport changing to allow for Parent 1 and Parent 2 so as not to discriminate against same sex parents.  It is balanced, but ... just not the same.


View Article  My blog and "Free Wi-Fi"

It was brought to my attention that Panera Bread allegedly blocks my blog because it falls into the category of pornography and nudity. I say allegedly because I haven't tried for myself, not because I doubt the veracity of the report.  I appreciate the feedback and will be investigating. 

So I'm going to try hitting up the local free wi-fi spots to see if I can access my blog.  You can help by giving it a shot when you whip out the laptop at a local spot and letting me know. 

I would guess it happens at corporate spots more than local coffee houses. 

So far I can Voluto in the East End and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh do not block my blog.  Last time I checked, The Quiet Storm and the Square Cafe also did not block my blog.

Why does it matter?  It is clearly annoying to me because it is my blog and I care about it.

But this is also about liberty and equality. My blog is about the LGBTQ community and the words "lesbian" "gay" "queer" are not offensive, pornographic or sexual.  To be lumped into those categories based on words is demeaning to our identities and offensive to me, both as a member of the community and a blogger.

It is not about free speech.  No one made a law saying Panera Bread or any other corporation has to block my site, so be careful.  But we as a community need to know when our views, opinions and information are being suppressed to "protect" people from being offended.  Then we need to speak up.

I'll keep you informed.  And I'll be taking my laptop with me more often. 

View Article  County Chief Executive Possibilities

Michael Lamb

Rich Fitzgerald

Mark Flaherty

I'm not sure we can go too wrong with any of these candidates for Allegheny County Chief Executive.  I see domestic partner benefits on the horizon for Allegheny County employees (we are thiiiiiis close) which will pretty much seal the deal in terms of our region being a true leader with regard to equality. 

This is more important than ever when a local elected state official wants to write discrimination into the Commonwealth constitution.  We need to rally local Democrats in the House to stand up to this hate and insist they focus on our economy, healthcare, environment and so forth.  A strong ally in this office will prove valuable in this regard.

There is also the inevitable march of non-discrimination ordinances through Pennsylvania's municipalities.  Allegheny County's LGBTQ community needs to shore up our base so we can assist our sisters and brothers in Washington, Westmoreland, Butler, Beaver, Armstrong, Greene, Fayette and so forth.  It is their turn so we owe it to them to elect a County leader who will lead on our behalf.

Some day, we'll seat more LGBTQ folks at the tables, alongside our champion Bruce Kraus.  For now, we must insist that the women and men we do elect represent our community in their roles. 

View Article  Rethinking Lesbian Spaces in Pittsburgh

Impulse Pittsburgh bills itself as a new monthly women's social event.  "The Girls are takin' back the 'Burgh!"

With the holidays over, the upcoming winter months may prove to be quiet and somber. The weather may bring a storm or two, and we'll naturally want to stay within the safety of the indoors. However, that doesn't mean we can't have some fun and be within the company of the most diverse and beautiful group of women in Pittsburgh! The burgh's newest monthly girl party is coming: January 15! and will prove to lift your spirits. Hence why our first theme will be: Winter Wonderland! Whether you're trying to get out of the house, love meeting new people, or just want to celebrate with your fellow LGBTQ crowd, you won't want to miss out! Impulse: Winter WonderlandDate and Time: January 15 from 9PM-2AM
Location: Tonic Bar @ Downtown! 971 Liberty Ave.
Door Fee: $5
Drink Specials: From 9-11PM!
Parking: Plenty of parking on the street or across the street at the David L Lawrence center for only $5 the entire night! 

Get ready for: 

-2 Floors will be all ours, and each will be decorated with winter splendor!
-Not 1, not 2, but 3 DJs from the Operation Sappho Crew! A warm intro to mary mack, drop that, and square peg, who will be spinning the beats all night.
-Drink Specials from 9-11PM - Dollar off all drinks in the bar, $2 off all speciality drinks!
-Photographers to capture the moments (of course, they will ask first!)
-Raffle Giveaways and Contests. Proceeds will go to The Trevor Project!

There is no dress code- come as you are. No pressure- only a good time! 

An RSVP is not necessary but appreciated! RSVP at our event group here: 

"When Winter wages her war
Don't show her mercy
Instead, act on your Impulses
And Dance the night away!"


Interesting development.  Pittsburgh is already home to Lez Liquor Hour which is more of Happy Hour held on a monthly basis, complete with some of the most erotic written imagery demonstrating the intense creative power of the organizer.

Both events circulate among Pittsburgh's bars which may be an interesting indicator of the future of the "lesbian bar" scene.  We aren't going to have a bar specifically for lesbians, but more of a lesbian contingent drawn by events like these and staff who are gay friendly such as Cattivo and the Blue Moon, both in Lawrenceville. 


The idea that there is no lesbian scene is factually inaccurate, but the lack of a lesbian space is a bit troubling.  The GLCC hasn't been successful in creating a vibrant presence Downtown, but they are still new to the location so that could change.  The events above do require some disposable income and a desire to be part of a certain scene.  Ledcat and I are not bar people.  We attend more when there's a cause we support than for the socialization. Still, we could attend whereas some women cannot because of child care, income and recovery.  Monthly child-friendly potlucks, also rotating, fill some of those needs. 


So this emergent moving scene is an interesting phenom and one we should appreciate for adding some flavor to the local lesbian community.  It should lead us to rethink the concept of claiming a lesbian space within the mainstream community and recognize that this is about embracing our identity within that space, not necessarily assimilating. 

View Article  President Obama's remarks at Tucson Memorial

To the families of those we?ve lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the ...   more »

View Article  Lessons from Facebook

Last year, I set up a little widget on Facebook for this blog. I use it to push stories that are most interesting or relevant. At the same time, I set up a fan page for my friend's beagle rescue. 

Fast forward to January 2011. I have 222 fans.  The beagles have 1700+ fans.  LOL.  There's a bit of humble pie.

View Article  Advocate names Pgh 5th "Gayest" City in the nation

This is from the latest issue of The Advocate.  I'm trying to find out what the Pride Theater Festival is.  I googled and found some events in past years, but nothing current.  If anyone has a lead, let me know.  Perhaps they meant PrideFest? 

Pittsburgh got the following score:

Pittsburgh ranks very well in some local quality of life issues (LGBTQ friendly faith based communities) and "gay" businesses (the 21).  That's good news for those of us who live here, especially given how prominantly a role Pittsburgh's faith communities have played in the anti-LGBT sentiment (think Episcopal). 

For the lesbians, the news is less good.  No lesbian bars and the only other indicator is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the number of Tegan and Sara concerts (insert sigh). 

The most interesting indicator and perhaps the most powerful, aside from faith based, is the number of elected officials who are openly gay.  This is particularly unique timing as Pgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus has announced his bid for a second term.  Bruce has been a leader on quality of life issues on the Southside which has raised some hopes for the future of the residential and business portion of the community, but also raised ire from those who like the status quo (count me among the former).  If Bruce is not successful, it will do more than protect the drunken brawls, it will send a message rippling across the nation about Pittsburgh's progressive views. 

Thankfully, we can do something to preserve this.

BTW, who is the second official?  Are they looking historically to include Wilkinsburg's councilor James McGill from the early part of last decade?  I'll be asking or else I am completely blanking.

UPDATE:  I doublechecked The Advocate website and found this guide to points for the Elected Officials category.  1 point for state elected officials, 2 points for members of Congress and 3 points for mayors and governors.  I was also told I'll be getting a call from The Advocate tomorrow to explain it all.  So, we'll see ...

UPDATED UPDATE:  Apparently the tongue in cheek approach sort of slid by me. I mean I read those words, but I don't really get how Pride Theater Festival is a tongue in cheek reference.  It did exist, it doesn't now.  Oh, maybe that's the point? Oh, wow, this is just literally hitting me now.  The Andy Warhol Museum is the gayest thing about Pittsburgh and we have ONLY one elected official and a lot of religious turmoil over gays ... oh, this might be more slick than I originally thought.  Well played, Advocate.


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