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View Article  Allegheny Council Members Withdraw Sponsorship of Anti-Discrimination Legislation

I received word that three members of Allegheny County Council have withdrawn their support of the legislation that would extend anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender presentation.

You can bet the rightwing and the AFA of PA are getting people to make calls and had something to do with this change in support of the legislation.

If you, your parents, siblings, friends or family live in these neighborhoods, please take a moment to send an email or pick up the phone and urge these three individuals to vote in favor of this legislation.  Remind them that is it not fair or just for someone to lose their job or be denied a place to live because they are gay.  It really is that simple and it shouldn't be controversial. Be polite and ask them to vote for the legislation. 

If you need any motivation to make the call, check out what the AFA of PA is saying about all of this ...they are spreading lies and misinformation about the impact of this legislation.  Go read the distortions for yourself.

More on this later after I attend the Steel City meeting this afternoon. 

Matt Drozd, District 1, Contact E-Mail(412) 350-6525

District 1 includes:
District Municipality
1 Aleppo
1 Avalon
1 Bellevue
1 Ben Avon
1 Ben Avon Heights
1 Coraopolis
1 Crescent
1 Edgeworth
1 Emsworth
1 Kilbuck
1 Leet
1 Leetsdale
1 Moon
1 Ross
1 Sewickley
1 West View

 

Michael Finnerty, District 4, Contact E-Mail(412) 350-6540

District 4 includes:  
4 Bridgeville
4 Carnegie
4 Collier
4 Crafton
4 Findlay
4 Glenfield
4 Haysville
4 Heidelberg
4 Kennedy
4 McKees Rocks
4 Neville
4 North Fayette
4 Oakdale
4 Osborne
4 Pennsbury Village
4 Robinson
4 Rosslyn Farms
4 Scott
4 Stowe
4 Thornburg

 

James Ellenbogen, District 12, Contact E-Mail(412) 350-6580

District 12 includes:
12 Dormont
12 Green Tree
12 Ingram
12 Pittsburgh - 19th Ward (Beechview, Mt. Washington, parts of Brookline, Duquesne Heights
12 Pittsburgh - 20th Ward (Banksville, Ridgemont, Elliot)
12 Pittsburgh - 28th Ward (Crafton Heights, Westwood, East Carnegie, Windgay and Fairywood)
12 Pittsburgh - 29th Ward (Carrick)
12 Pittsburgh - 30th Ward (Knoxville)
12 Pittsburgh - 32nd Ward

View Article  MacKenzie Carpenter has a blog

You can read it here:  http://mackenziecarpenter.blogspot.com/

MacKenzie, as you know, is a professional journalist, but does add another woman's voice to the Burghosphere. 

View Article  From Burgh 2.0 to Stonewall 2.0

Last week, I wrote about the potential emergence of the Burghosphere 2.0 with the recent demise of several anonymous bloggers and others.  New voices are breaking through and it is a very exciting time to be a blogger, perhaps, if you have the luxury/willingness to blog in your real identity.  I'm not sure what exactly is going on, but there's a shift as some bloggers turn off the comments function and others pick up the keyboard for the first time.  It is all good.

There's a parallel post over at Wockner about Stonewall 2.0, focusing on the 11 days between November 5 and November 15 which culminated in the anti-prop 8 protests (h/t Pam's House Blend). 

Stonewall 2.0 may or may not be inextricably wed to Join The Impact, the viral entity that coordinated the massive, 300-city, 50-state demos on Nov. 15, but what happened from Nov. 5 to Nov. 15 in California and across the country indisputably fired up a new generation of activists and lit a fire under complacent, comfortable older generations. It was a 2.0 moment -- different from the gay marches on Washington, the AB 101 protests, the White Night Riots and other post-Stonewall historical moments precisely because it took place from coast to coast and border to border, and because the method by which it was organized (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs, e-mail, text-messaging) can be reactivated in minutes whenever the moment strikes.

We all had a collective feeling we'd had enough of this crap and it was time to reclaim something that had been taken from us. And now we know we have the ability, the tools, and the activist masses to fight back on cue. Any future events organized by Join The Impact may or may not look or feel like Nov. 15, but the U.S. GLBT population turned a corner from Nov. 5 to 15. It may take a couple of years before it's fully clear what all happened during those 11 days, but it did happen, and things are different now. Lots of things. Not the least of which is the truly diminished authority of Equality California, the Human Rights Campaign and other snappily dressed fortysomething and fiftysomething gay leaders who utterly failed to lead in the campaign against Proposition 8.

Steel City Stonewall is leading the planning efforts for the January 10 "Join the Impact" event.  It would be interesting to get their take on this.  That last sentence is pretty telling.  When I think of true leaders in the local LGBTQ community, I'm thinking of folks like Lance Friedman and Eli Kuti neither of whom would be confused with a snappily dressed fortysomthing and fiftysomething.  However, when I think of those who seem to have the power and the political sway, well it looks a little different.

Remember, the Mayor's office has NOT yet answered the question about releasing campaign contributions for individuals nominated to the Advisory Committee.  No answer.  There is no dialogue.

Have you had enough of this crap, yet?

View Article  Happy Holidays from Lesbian Central!

View Article  Steel City Stonewall announces planning meeting
Event Info
Host:
Type:
Network:
Global
Time and Place
Date:
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Time:
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Location:
Panera Bread
Street:
3401 Blvd of the Allies
City/Town:
Pittsburgh, PA
 
Contact Info
Phone:
4127285262
Email:

The Planning Meeting will be held on Sunday, December 28th from 5 to 7 in the glassed in private room at Panera Bread at 3401 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

It is within walking distance for anyone in Oakland and there is a large free parking lot for anyone who is driving.

Some of the things to be discussed at the meeting:

Location of Event & Permit for Event

Speakers for Event.

Adding the current battle for the proposed Allegheny County Non-Discrimination Ordinance to the fabric of the Event.

Adding components to create awareness & participation in the important School Board, City Council, Mayoral, County Council, & Judicial Races happening in 2009

Sponsors

Creation of Printed Material & Signage

Publicity/Media involvement

Stage & Sound

Logistics

Miscellaneous

The only thing missing from the agenda is weaving the Mayor's LGBT Advisory Council into the larger event ... after all the protest takes place five full days before the deadline to submit nominations.  What a great opportunity to capture some last minute interest.   (And somewhat ironic since the Mayor is on the record as opposing gay marriage and civil unions). 

Still, the location is easy to find, accessible, plenty of parking, coffee at hand, and everything else folks have mentioned.  It is close the holidays, but here's your opportuniy to "Join the Impact" of the LGBTQ Community in Pittsburgh.  Marriage doesn't have to be your issue to motivate you to participate. 

View Article  Reimagine Charlie Brown Christmas ...
View Article  Harrisburg City Council Passes Domestic Registry; Now What?

Harrisburgians may soon be on their way to another notch in the belt of pointless LGBT legislative efforts. 

Harrisburg City Council Unanimously Passes Life Partnership Registry


HARRISBURG- Last night the Harrisburg City Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance to create a Life Partnership Registry, allowing unmarried, committed couples to affirm and recognize their relationships with the city. By a vote of 7 to 0, the Harrisburg City Council has taken an important step to streamline the process for domestic partners to obtain healthcare and other benefits afforded to married couples

"This vote shows that people all across Pennsylvania are committed to treating same-sex couples with the same respect and dignity as other married couples," said Jake Kaskey, policy and outreach coordinator with Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization.  ?This type of legislation has strong support across Pennsylvania, and will concretely help countless unmarried couples obtain benefits afforded to married couples.? 

Kaskey noted that polling conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research in November 2007 found that 91% of people polled supported hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples.

Equality Advocates Pennsylvania worked with Councilman Miller and Harrisburg Attorney Benjamin C. Dunlap, Jr. to draft the ordinance.

Councilman Dan Miller, who introduced this legislation, remarked, "I am proud that the Harrisburg City Council unanimously passed the Life Partner Registry Bill last night.  It is a positive step toward equality for all residents.  I hope this new law expanding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in the state capital will inspire state legislators to take similar action.?

Lesbian and gay, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples, can register with the city. Harrisburg would become the third municipality in Pennsylvania to approve this type of registry, joining Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

 

The ordinance now awaits the approval of Mayor Stephen Reed.

You might recall that Pittsburgh passed similar legislation, signed amidst much fanfare when Luke Ravenstahl came to PrideFest.  Fast forward six months.  Exactly six couples have registered.  There has been no promotion of this resource, either to City employees (60 registered domestic partners in Personnel) or the general public.  There has been no publicized effort to increase the number of employers offering domestic partner benefits.

With all due respect to Jake Kaskey, this legislation hasn't done one single "concrete" thing for Pittsburgh except reinforce the misperception that Luke Ravenstahl supports gay rights.  I have been informed that this is what actually propelled County Councilwoman Amanda Greene to go underground with the gay advocates and come up with the anti-discrimination legislation on the County level.  Certainly, that's a win for County residents.  But what about us here in Pittsburgh who are going to be saddled once again with a Mayor who publicly opposes civil unions, but is willing to allow people to think otherwise so he can court the "pink" voters and donors?  Too bad for us?  Screw us? 

I am poking around for information on how this registry is working in Philadelphia.  Perhaps there is something to be learned from how this rolled out in the Liberty City and I would be ecstatic if this could be salvaged to make a meaningful difference, especially for low and moderate income families who can really utilize the benefits.  And maybe the folks in H-burg have an actual implementation plan to make this a useful resource.

But I'm not exactly "consoled" by the fact that the County Council stepped on my back to achieve equality for gay people.  No one asked me to make that tradeoff and I'd like a recount if they did.  Especially since Amanda Greene is my County Councilwoman and I haven't seen her in Manchester at all (but she's in good company in that regard).  You can bet I'll be contacting her for more discussion on that tradeoff.

View Article  Burghosphere 2.0

What's going on?  The Burgh Report closed up shop this week, joining the ranks of many (many anonymous) bloggers who are gone.  Dayvoe shut off comments on his blog posts at 2 Political JunkiesJohn McIntire never allowed them in the first place, preferring to post things people email him.  Nothing wrong with that, but change is unsettling (and, apparently, fodder for PG writers). 

Personally, I believe change is inevitable.  Blogging is mostly a leisure time activity and when life happens, it falls to the wayside along with many other non-essential parts of our lives.  Or blogging consumers one's life and exhaustion and/or disillusionment inevitably set it.  Or life circumstances change and access to the topical information is inevitably altered such as a loss or change in employment.  (The loss of so many PG staffers coincides weirdly with the demise of the Burgh Report). 

Discourse is changing.  There's a shift.  Maybe we are entering The Burgh 2.0 or the second/third wave (depending on how you count 'em). Perhaps we could reframe the change in discourse to new opportunities for fresh, diverse voices to enter the dialogue on a more level playing field. In the queerosphere, we have a new player in the form of What Comes after 8, Pgh?  We also have a new email group for queer bloggers in Pennsylvania and a soon to be scheduled pow-wow on new social media and gay advocacy to be held here in Pittsburgh.  There's buzz and energy and potential.  It is all good. 

We need to ferret out the openly queer people who are blogging about food, books, poetry, sports, exercise, their family life, Amazonian reptiles and whatever else motivates us to start typing.  This is an opportunity for us to propel our entire community to the forefront of the Burghosphere and let people know who we are.

I'm not happy that things are changing. I was sad to read Joe Grata's final column in the Post-Gazette as much as the final post on the Burgh Report.  But a new voice will have a chance to speak up, speak out and be heard.  That's a change I can embrace.

View Article  Dear Reader Who Emailed Me About Moving to Pittsburgh

I can't find your email!  I am very sorry for not responding, but I have been pouring through my inbox searching for it.  So I thought I'd try to reach you in hopes that you might still be reading.  Please email me sue @ sitnscoop.com. 

With deep apologies,

Sue

View Article  Comment from a communications expert

Some advice from a highly respected professional on the need for a timely response from the LGBTQ community to breaking news.  ...   more »

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