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.

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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?


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  • Sue,
    Surely, you understand that the Mayor is hoping Pittsburgh's gay community will just forget about his committee until he fill it with his supporters, campaign donations and all. Certainly you are not naive enough to think his spokesperson is going to follow through on her promise to give you an answer to your question. This not an administration of honor or candor. If she were a woman of her word, she would be working for someone in City Council.
    Might I recommend you attend the Steel City meeting and keep bringing this up until someone has a list of names compiled? The gay community cannot allow the Mayor to so blatantly use us, but that too is an uphill battle.
    In short, while people are tired of the crap, I would not venture so far as to say they have had enough.
    Humbly yours,

  • The Mayor isn't going to do squat unless Gary tells him that squatting will give him more gay donors. Sue, he knows you will never be a donor so fah-ged-abutt-it.

  • Hey everybody – Gary Van Ravenhorn is coming to the meeting on Sunday at the Panera Bread. I saw it on Facebook. This will be the time to literally corner him on the campaign contributions and get him to publicly commit to whether he is pursuing a seat on the board. He's literally got nowhere to go in that glass room.
    It would be idiocy for him to show up to plan something new and refuse to comment on an existing project that he is chairing.
    Sue, you better ask him these questions and quote him word for word. Invite the other bloggers to come. The DOMA thing, the County legisation and the City Committee are connected.
    Give him hell!

  • Sue can ask Gary questions anytime she wants. she has his phone number and talks to him on the phone somewhat regularly.
    I seriously suspect that a lot of this ridiculous vilification attempt of Gary in these is coming from right wingers out to cause confusion & misinformation in our community.
    We simply will not have time for any silly name calling or conspiracy theories at the planning meeting.
    The agenda of meeting is as follows
    Location of Event & Permit for Event
    Speakers for Event.
    Adding the current efforts 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
    Creation of Printed Material & Signage
    Publicity/Media involvement
    Stage & Sound
    We have a serious things going on right now and outside group based in Venango County is trying to kill an Allegheny County Anti-Discrimination Law because it contains protections for “sexual orientation” & “gender identity”
    We have a crucial Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Race happening this year as well as slew of other judial races
    We also have County Council races, Mayors races City Council races, and school board races.
    I hope people take time to work and get involved in all of these issues rather than fall into traps set up to divide and confuse us.

  • I think your attempt to silence people with opinions other than your own is undemocratic and falls right in line with our President's Free Speech Zone. No wonder people use fake names. Folks like you make it easy for folks like Gary to roll right over the civil rights of people with no power or no money. No wonder people need to hide behind fake names. You don't even support their right to have an opinion or to express it in a public forum. What would your group do if you had a list of people in the gay community who don't agree with you? Would you denounce us?
    Did you read the post, Lance? No one including Gary has answered the question. Do you honestly expect us to sit back and just shut up so you can worry about judicial candidates? This is the FUCKING mayor telling us lies. It doesn't get more of a slap in the face than that, but you are worried about every other thing under the sun but this.
    If you know Gary, why don't you try giving him a call and asking him to do the right thing? Nope, instead you are going to criticize people and beat us over the head with all the things that are YOUR priorities.
    Sue hasn't said anything unkind about Gary. She is focused on the ISSUE, dude. And the politician who is using our community to win his next election. I suggest you go back and reread the original posts.
    If Gary comes to a public meeting, he deserves to be held accountable for making our entire community look like a bunch of self-serving idiots. If you are so convinced that the right wing is behind all of this, then do something about it buddy. Call Gary and ask HIM to stop being a distraction from the issues you say are so important.
    You are supposed to be one of the good guys. Muffling free speech isn't productive. Do you want this blog to shut down too because you don't like the comments?

  • It seems a bit unusual that two individuals who are not from Pittsburgh and have not worked their way up through the ranks, as we say, are driving the local gay agenda and making it all about marriage. That's rather unlike Pittsburgh.
    Is marriage really the most important issue to local gay people? I think turning out 400 people demonstrates that it certainly is a catalyst issue. I'll be very interested to observe how Steel City turns this tide toward actual local issues that impact actual local gay people.

  • Ridiculous vilification? That's an on the record statement, Lance, in support of a guy who is tacitly endorsing our Mayor lying to us. Set aside the plainly mean-spirited comments and you have a series of people raising reasonable concerns about the motivation of a powerful gay man with a close relationship to a Mayor who is not gay-friendly. You have reasonable concerns about power, access and money with regard to a Mayor your organization endorsed while being led by said individual. That, too, is on the record, sir Lance.
    My reflection would be that Steel City should take some responsibility for that endorsement and listen to the themes winding their way through these comments. You personally don't have to vilify Gary if you acknowledge that people have concerns. I don't believe I've vilified Gary.
    I agree that Gary is a distraction, but that is a conversation you should perhaps take up with him, kind sir. I suspect we both know that he won't voluntarily relinquish power or access to the Mayor, even if you asked him to live up to the principals of noblesse oblige. While your frustration is noted, you do a disservice to your own agenda by elevating his personal reputation over the reputation of your organization. Let Gary defend Gary. You, sir Lance, should stay focused on your agenda and allow people to express themselves in a forum unreplicated by any other gay entity in Pittsburgh. Read their comments and allow yourself to grow by learning what people believe to be true, instead of hushing them.
    Gary, as you are surely reading this, I regret that you are starstruck by a man who holds nothing but contempt for your lifestyle that being said with intention.

  • worked there way up the ranks? ranks? They just show up and do work. I have never seen you show up for any thing.
    But having showed and done the work they should take weird criticism from someone who wont even give their real name.

  • When I called Sue myself about the false and uninformed information being thrown around in these comment sections. She told me that Gary had called her too and that SHE HERSELF had advised him NOT to respond to the ridiculous statements being made in these threads. It has been a major oversight on her part that she has not pointed this out to people on this blog
    I'm not trying to silence anyone. My experience & opinions simply differ from yours.
    I'm sorry if you interpret that into somehow trying to silence you.
    I have read the posts and simply believe that who is on the mayors unpaid board is irrelevant. If it accomplishes things it will be a credit to the mayor. If it doesn't than it will be a discredit to the mayor
    If you don't like the mayor than do something constructive like supporting a more liberal alternative to him in the upcoming Democratic Primary. There is already one announced candidate. If you don't like her than try to draft someone else to run.
    I have been involved in a lot of different progressive endeavors in Pittsburgh. I don't think I have ever met you.
    I also find it a little weird that you want to so quickly dismiss the idea that conservative people might be trying to spread confusion and misinformation on this thread.

  • OK, let me address this.
    Gary did not call me. We exchanged emails in which we clarified that the comments being made did not meet the legal definition of libel and I advised him, based on my own experience, that arguing or defending your self against anonymous people spreading rumors isn't effective. Gary was, at that point, planning to post a response to my original blog post. He has chosen not to do that which I can understand b/c it would be hard to avoid the things being spewed around. He did choose to talk with the City Paper reporter and indirectly addressed my questions in that interview. I think the City Paper's readership is easily far more far reaching than this little blog.
    It may be the right wing, it may be disgruntled gay people. I have turned the conversation back to the issues, but I cannot control what people think or how they express themselves, until it cross the line and you your self know, Lance, that I deleted comments that were over the line and replaced them with my own thoughts.
    Personally, I think the Advisory Council should be on the agenda. As a City resident, I feel as if the organization is turning its back on this City issue that impacts MY life which is especially ironic given that the group endorsed the Mayor as someone pointed out. The County issue is important, but I've identified at least ten different areas in which this Council can be meaningful and its potential for success does depend upon its composition.
    DOMA is a rallying cry, but the domestic partner registry can actually be useful for people NOW if it becomes relevant. Better sensitivity training for first responders can save people's lives. Examining the disparity between a very friendly gay city council and the culture of homophobia in the city workplaces can improve the quality of life and create more employment opportunities for gay people, as well as the wellness that comes with living as an openly gay person. Etc. Etc. Etc.
    But there's a Miscellaneous Item on the agenda so I assume it would be fair, as a paid member, for me to bring it up. Maybe people really won't care and it won't go anywhere. We'll have to see. But the meeting is not the place for personal stuff. The issues, stay focused on the issues.

  • How do you know if you've seen me or anyone else who uses an anonymous name? Maybe I can't be identified as openly gay on the Internet for fear of losing my job.
    Anonymous sex has been part of the gay community since the Roman era. Are you walking through Club Pittsburgh or the Fruit Loop wagging your finger at those exchanging body fluids without last names? I don't think so.

  • OR maybe a lot of these people making anonymous posts are self-hating conservatives with a lot of internalized homophobia who lash out at people doing good work in the community to mask their shame of not doing anything themselves. I GUESS THERE IS NO WAY TO KNOW.

  • I think it is time to put an end to this back and forth. We are creating archetypes that pit shameful anonymous commenters versus heroic community leaders. That's ridiculous. We can't know people's motivations for posting anonymous comments anymore than we can elevate community leaders above real human, sometimes self-serving, motivations.
    It is perfectly fine to post anonymous comments. I fully anticipate that some people will spew some crap, but I also know that there are many, many people in our community who need some cloak of anonymity to participate in any sort of dialogue. That's the whole point of the County Legislation, right, to make it safer for people to be out?
    Personally, I think contributing to a dialogue *is* doing something, Lance. We can't possibly know what happens with the information people pick up when reading these blogs, but I think we can agree that if the issues aren't aired, it is fairly certain nothing will be done.
    I invite everyone to read the latest post. If you live in those neighborhoods, please call your Council rep. Let's get back on track with the conversation

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