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View Article  Saddlebacking defined and more ...

Courtesy of After 8 Pgh comes word that Dan Savage finally announces the definition of Saddlebacking.  Hilarious.  Savage's explanation here.

Courtesy of PageOneQ comes word that schools might be able to kick out students (CHILDREN) who seem gay.  Should be some comfort to Diane Gramley.  Also a wake up call to those who don't associated youth gay issues with grown up gay issues. 

Courtesy of our living room, Coco has decided upon a new perch ... Laura's placemat.  She has allowed all of the critters to sniff her and no fights have erupted.

Maria from 2 Political Junkies has some ..ahem .. strong words on the Democratic cave in on contraception.  Contraception for poor women, mind you. 

Facebook went down for like five minutes and my entire world stopped.  I need to really not have any more snow days this year.  However, it is now back up. 

I do not like this style of blogging.

Did anyone else see Katie Couric's special edition of her news show?  Did anyone else wonder why?  I mean it didn't bump anything I really wanted to see, but the Eye on America story about the overly optimistic survivor of the Hudson Plane landing was just sort of random weirdness.  I kind of expect that someone who survived a plane crash would be thankful and so forth.  It wasn't really very interesting and definitely not news.  In fact, it just came off as a cynical set up for the much ballyhooed 60 Minutes interview Katie landed.  Irony, anyone?

I'm off to read my book on Descartes.  He's dead at this point and his bones are being hauled all over Europe.  Someone stole his skull.  It is sort of like a History of Philosophy merged with The Da Vinci code dipped in more than I ever wanted to know about Queen Christina of Stockholm.  But in a good way.


View Article  Post-Gazette Op/Ed: I 'm ashamed of my hate-filled fellow Christians

Angelle Guyette lives out the faith she believes by laying out an impassioned argument against those within her Christian community who hide behind hate, intolerance and fear toward the gay community.

This lady pulls no punches.  She trotted out into the cold to attend the Allegheny County Council hearing on the Human Rights Commission (apparently, the reporter didn't talk with Christians wearing the pro-ordinance stickers) and came away with utter disappointment in the hypocrisy of her Christian comrades. 

But Angelle picked up a pen and did something with those feelings.  She affirmed that the Christian faith requires tolerance of all and acknowledged the perversions that drove opponents to twist fairness issues into religious oppression.

At this County Council meeting, you could know most of them by the hatred on their faces. The leaders of the religious opponents were the worst, displaying physical revulsion at having to stand near people they figured were gay. They looked like they'd have stoned Mary Magdalene, and her friends, too.

One minister's face contorted as he spoke, "Homosexuality is offensive because it is a sin. People choose to commit this sin. My congregants should not have to hire gays and condone a sinful lifestyle they find offensive."

One of his followers spat out, "I should not have to rent to those people. I don't want them sinning in my properties."

This made me recall a minister I had dated who had cheated on me when I thought we were practicing abstinence. Nice, clean-cut looking fellow. Dirty rat.

"I don't want them sinning on my properties"?  Wow. Them's some pretty high standards and one has to wonder if this good Christian has other morality clauses build into his lease (or if he takes action to prevent current tenants from homosexual sinning)?

Some opponents of the anti-discrimination legislation wanted me to know that they're caring people, just afraid of the effect homosexuals might have on their families.

When I was in school, I saw great damage done to a young man ostracized as a "faggot" by his holier-than-thou Christian brethren, called unmanly by his own father and left unprotected by his mother against all the abuse. The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, on the other hand, showed him care and compassion.

Has anyone stopped to consider the effect that so much hatred and fear might have on their families?  Seriously, do the children of these good Christians see their papas and mamas braving the cold to speak out for legislation/policy on the Top Ten list ... killing, stealing, coveting, etc.  Or policy issues related to the Beatitudes?  Do they turn out en masse to support legislation to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless?  Maybe, but never en masse enough to draw the attention of the Post-Gazette. 

Angelle has an interesting final point.

Are we not our brothers' keepers, bound to love and protect everyone?

How do others see you?

Catholic? Protestant? Jew? Muslim? Black? White? Brown? Do you look "un-American"? What about Republican? Democrat?

Let's hope they don't assume you are gay.

Our laws should protect everyone. This is the only way to protect our own freedoms against those who might one day turn on you, or me, or us.

Actually, there are a few points to tease out from this ending.

First, the assumption of gayness which is pretty ridiculous on the part of being able to tell and the part of gay being such a bad thing that even an assumption of association is considered tantamount to deep offense.  This is something the ordinance addresses -- protecting people who don't conform to gender normative behavior.  I''m talking about a woman who is perceived to be a lesbian because of her hair cut, her clothing style and her mannerisms.  She can be fired even if she straight.  There's many a good Christian woman who might fit right into these stereotypes and should perhaps be a little mindful that the girdle of faith doesn't make her immune to the barbs of her contemporaries.

There's also a key point about laws protecting everyone.  James Madison aka Publius argued against the negative consequences of factions in the Federalist Papers.  Religious leaders are trying to set up a false dichotomy of gay rights versus religious rights, counting on the sheer number of Christian identified Americans to carry the day.  But that is not what the law intends.  The law says that where your personal beliefs intersect the general public, you have to give a little ground to respect the rights of others.  Christian wingnuts cannot refuse to rent an apartment to Orthodox Jews no matter how abhorrent they find their faith.  It is the exact same thing.  If you want to enter the public sphere as a business owner, you clearly leave some of your personal rights at the front door. 

No one is forcing Christian people to give up their faith or compromise their values.  Playing the Jesus card is misleading and unfortunate.

Thanks for writing, Angelle.

View Article  Kitty
View Article  Musings

Womanist Musings has some data on the issue priorities of LGBT folks, and writes, "just like any other social grouping in the GLBT community, whiteness seeks to lead and make its issues primarily the focus for organizing." (courtesy of Feministing).

This is an issue we just tend to shy away from here in Pittsburgh.  The plain ugly truth is that we just don't dialogue on these issues much to our shame.  There is hope for more inclusivity with younger generations, but intersectional analysis isn't on the agenda.

On another note, something from Secretary Clinton.


This is also courtesy of Feministing and The Onion


Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size
View Article  Same Sex Ballroom Dance Lessons

This looks like big fun.  I've always wanted to learn how to ballroom dance.  Getting dressed up and attending the Lambda Ball was a big thrill for me.  I love when people design these things for same sex couples so that folks can be comfortable.  I'd posit that a mixed-couple session should be the way to go, but it can be hard enough to learn a new skill and be self-conscious about that without adding in the "why are those two women dancing together?" vibe.  Plus, it really gets old explaining who is the man in the relationship. 

However, the fact that this company recognizes a niche market promises well for the future of mixed orientation ballroom dancing events in Pittsburgh.  And that, my friends, is a good sign.




2 courses to choose from each week ? mix/match or come to both!

Jan 24 ? 4 p.m. Foxtrot and Swing, 5 p.m. Tango and Cha Cha Cha Jan 31 ? 4 p.m. Tango and Cha Cha Cha, 5 p.m. Waltz and Rumba (Valentine!s Day) Feb 14 ? 4 p.m. Waltz and Rumba, 5 p.m. Hustle and Bachatta Feb 21 ? 4 p.m. Hustle and Bachatta, 5 p.m. Salsa and Merengue Feb 28 ? 4 p.m. All Dance Review, 5 p.m. All Dance Review

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Absolute Ballroom and Dance Center of Pittsburgh "It's all about the Dancing!"

location: 6617 Hamilton Road, Pittsburgh, PA web site: www.absoluteballroompgh.com

phone: 412-441-1461

fax: 412-441-1463



View Article  New PG online forum

Check out the Post Gazette's new community forum.  There are some bugs in the program, but it does make the paper more interactive.  More reading to fit into my day.  Sigh.


Check it out:  http://community.post-gazette.com/

View Article  PG Letters to the Editor on County Anti-Discrimination Bill

Ray McGogney of Shaler sees right through the culture wars.  His letter to the editor in the Post-Gazette shatters the right-wing argument that the County Anti-Discrimination legislation is going to limit the religious freedom of anyone. 

The anti-discrimination bill before County Council ("Discrimination Bill Draws Large Crowd," Jan. 16) has nothing to do with personal beliefs on homosexuality, gay marriage, morality or religion. Unfortunately, many people opposed to the bill have made these the issues.

The man who claimed that homosexuality is a "lifestyle that is condemned by God" can still cling to his belief with the passage of the bill. The bill is about discrimination and will not force any church or person to change views.

You may disagree with the beliefs or lifestyles of atheists, blacks, Muslims or many other minorities, but they should not be denied jobs or housing. The same applies to gays. Pittsburgh currently extends these protections to gender orientations and expressions. The county bill would do the same. It is time to stop using discrimination as a club to beat down minorities with whom we disagree.

This bill is about regulating (and preventing) discrimination, not personal beliefs.  Amen, Ray.  Thank you for writing.

Meanwhile, Paula Martinac of Park Place (near Regent Square) takes issue with the Post-Gazette coverage of the hearing for this ordinance. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or Fox News? Hard to tell in your "news story" of the proposed Allegheny County anti-discrimination bill


As a journalist, I am sick of seeing articles like this touted as "balanced" reporting, when in fact they are deeply biased. I'm surprised the Post-Gazette didn't open its coverage of Barack Obama's historic inauguration with the opinion of the grand wizard of the KKK.

Harsh words, but the PG really did drop the ball on this article.  There was no balance, although Paula is mistaken in that Reverend Janet Edwards does count as a LGBTQ activist; she identifies as an openly bisexual woman which is pretty awesome considering the entrenched biphobia in our community.  No one could reasonably challenge Janet's lesbian street cred even though she is married to a man.  What a great role model she is for all of us. 

I was glad to see someone commenting on the ordiance and someone else picking up on the media coverage.  Media coverage feeds public perception.  It is one thing for the editor's to support the legislation, but when their reporter leaves the impression that most people attending the meeting (or the one's who "sacrificed" to be there) oppose the ordinance, they misrepresent public opinion.  That's unacceptable.  Kudos to Paula for picking up on that nuance.

View Article  Democratic, Republican and Senate Leaders Remain Silent in the Face of Anti-Gay Rhetoric

I am disappointed.  It has been more than 72 hours since John Eichelberger of the Pennsylvania State Senate uttered his hateful comment that he is "allowing" gay persons to exist. 

Everyone knows. This hits to my blog post and the one at 2 Political Junkies are filled with visitors from all sorts of chambers and governmental offices.  It is no secret at all. 

But ... apparently, only the bloggers care enough to notice.  Not a word from the MSM (surprise!).  KDKA would have David Highfield living in a newsvan if someone made these comments about Pennsylvania's Jewish population so he could capture every nuance and garner opinions from yinzers all over the place. 

One State Senator told me he is passing along the request for an apology, but that's the only response I've had and frankly, he wasn't optimistic anything would come of it.

Not a word from Daylin Leach's camp in spite of all the hailing of him as our great defender in the Senate.  Senator Leach should note that if we have to qualify for existence, marriage is pretty much not gonna happen.  I guess there would be no need for gay divorce as you could just deem someone nonexistant and head your own way, no harm no foul. 

No word from Dan Frankel, Dan Onorato, Jim Burn with the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.  No word from any member of City Council.  Rich Fitzgerald has yet to speak out.  Where's Senator Costa and Logan?  Lots of gay votes in both districts, but should that even matter.  What are Jim Roddy and the Republican Committee of Allegheny County? 

I am hoppin' mad that somone thinks he gets to decide if I exist (especially when I wouldn't get that same right about my own fetus), but I am really getting angry that no one seems to think this is a problem.

Take heed.  This is how society has been brainwashed into accepting our status as second class citizens. 

Well, here's my response.  July 1 is the vote to determine if we have any "existence" in Allegheny County.  If the ordinance does not pass, be downtown at 8 AM in front of the County Building.  With your signs.  Look for tweets that night, but spread the word now.  July 2 at 8 AM.  People need to be there.  Stop at Starbucks.  Pay the damn parking fee.  Just be there.  

I guess if we don't exist, we can't snarl traffic on Grant Street can we? 

View Article  City Paper publishes article on Council hearing (are you paying attention, PG?)

Melissa has the story at the City Paper.

She covered the Allegheny County Council hearing on a proposed Human Rights Commission.  She talked to pro-ordinance folks.  She talked to anti-ordinance folks.  She considers multiple angles on the gay rights versus religious freedoms issues.  All in all, she does a pretty good job covering the event. 

Seriously?  In four paragraphs, she nailed a story the Post-Gazette completely botched.

On a well-below-freezing night, hundreds of people lined up to make their way through a painfully slow security check at the county courthouse. They filled every seat in the fourth floor's Gold Room, and scores more stood in the hallway waiting for a chance to get in.

Typically, seats at county council hearings are at no such premium. But this was no typical hearing.

The topic at hand was a proposed county ordinance, Bill 4201-08, which seeks to establish a county-wide human-relations commission that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as such less-controversial bases as race or disability. While such discrimination is already illegal in the city of Pittsburgh, and 13 other municipalities statewide, federal anti-discrimination laws don't apply to LGBT citizens at all.

The bill was introduced in July by freshman councilor Amanda Green. Eighty-five people pre-registered to speak, and 65 actually did, 48 in favor of the ordinance and 17 against it. Those against the ordinance -- clergy, physicians, parents and small-business owners -- overwhelmingly cited religious objections. People speaking for the ordinance included gays, lesbians, transmen and transwomen, high school students, psychiatrists, elected officials and clergy.

See how deftly she reminds us that some clergy support it and some are opposed, unlike the Post-Gazette's sensational muckraking attempts to reduce this to Family Feud:  Homos v Fundies edition. 

There's nothing new hear except a willingness on the part of the City Paper to put this political turn of events into the context of the much more ballyhooed drama unfolding at Club Pittsburgh.  The CP at leasts considers the fact that a multiple-day, front page Post-Gazette story just might have some impact or connection to gay politics. 

Of course it does! 

The same fear mongering that drives people underground to have anonymous sex also motivates people to stand up in front of hundreds of people claiming that they can't possibly have gay people living in their apartment buildings.  FEAR.  The same titillation factor that generates headline after headline with sly references to "gay sex" generates robo calls to Councilpersons about the gays recruiting innocent Boy Scouts, comandeering the ladies changing room at Kmart and destroying our entire legal system with frivolous law suits about lesbian hair cuts.  FEAR.  FEAR. FEAR.

This is precisely why I urge you to keep a few things in mind.  Pay attention to media coverage of gay issues.  It does help shape public opinion.  Support independent local media.  Ask questions.  Challenge the status quo.  Shake some trees.  Yes, you might end up with some angry gay people who are relying on privileges of their skin color, gender and socioeconomic status to offset the gay card, but so be it. 

By the way, I was interested in the affinities of the speakers.  I for one am not going to patronize a businessowner that is willing to work alongside the gays but not have them in his house. I'll have the list of speakers for you as soon as possible. 


View Article  Google Groups is broken

I can't get to any of the groups I manage.  There are dozens of help requests posted on the boards, but nothing from Google yet.  Anyone have word? 

Also, I opened up today's PG and learned that check cashing places are regulated.  Some dude in Monroeville broke the existing laws and is heading to jail.  Regulation of an exploitive industry.  Who knew?

Hey, our house didn't blow up so I'm good.  :-)

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