The Latest Updates on the Big Queer Rally, the Hearing and other stuff

Big Queer Rally — 6 days away.  Are you ready?  Got your signs?  Pulled out your long johns in case it is chilly?  Got your chant ready to go? 

Latest updates:  Unfortunately, Lynn Cullen cannot attend but she sends her best wishes.  On a bright note, State Representative Chelsa Wagner (and newlywed spouse of longtime LGBT ally Khari Mosely) is attending.  Chelsa is a co-sponsor of HB 1400 which takes anti-discrimination protection to the state level.  Other speakers to be announced.  I also had word from a group of local women that they are planning some advocacy efforts during the event, so that's all exciting. 

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People are asking about the hearing.  ANYONE can speak at the hearing if you register in advance.  You do not need to get approval from anyone in the LGBT community.  You are a resident  – you get to talk.  To do that, In order to speak at that hearing, one must register with the County Clerk, John Mascio: via e-mail(JMascio@alleghenycounty.us),  or  by  phone (412-350-6495)

It is great that people are interested.  Make the call and get on the agenda.  Share your story by all means.

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Speaking of stories, I received this via email today in the promotional materials for the Delta Foundation's Spark fundraiser set for Friday night.

The work of the Foundation has grown this celebration of diversity from a short parade through the blocks of Shadyside to a week of events throughout Pittsburgh that culminates downtown. Liberty Avenue is shut down for the weekend for the now annual outdoor concert and celebration PRIDE IN THE STREETS on Saturday evening, followed by the PRIDE PARADE and festival on Sunday.

This is at best an exaggeration and at worst … well, you know. Pittsburgh's original PrideFests were actuallly held downtown along with the parade.  The rallies were at Point State Park.  They moved up to Mellon Park, to Schenley Park and then to Shadyside.  Then, under the leadership of the GLCC, the event was held on the North Shore for several years during which time the parade moved right back downtown and through the heart of the Three Rivers Arts Festival. 

I was dismayed when I read this.  PrideFest is the culmination of the hardwork of many, many people over the past 30 odd years. No one person or institution can lay sole claim to that rich heritage. Delta should be more careful and accurate when describing our activist legacy in order to raise money for their future projects.  It is fine to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, but it is ill-advised to take credit for their successes. 

I hope Delta will issue a statement clarifying the very hard work of hundreds of anonymous volunteeers that have dedicated themselves to PrideFest in the years before Delta took it over.  To acknowledge their triumphs takes nothing away from the accomplishment of the Delta Foundation and to do otherwise, tarnishes the organization's credibility. 

So when you are being thankful for PrideFest's current level of success with your LGBTQ donations, be sure to thank the GLCC, the Lambda Foundation, the Pittsburgh Leathermen, the Softball League, GLENDA and many, many other organizations that have been part of our Pride history.

Here's to the next phase of PrideFest.  And a thanks to all of those who have made it possible.

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  • Oh, for crying out loud – you have got to be kidding me. Do those folks at Delta ever learn a lesson? Do they even care that most of us actually have been to PrideFest and know darn well who organized it each year? Some of us even did some of that work ourselves. I never agreed with taking it out of the downtown and hiding away in a little park, but that doesn't mean me should rewrite history.
    Jesus Christ, people. Just take credit for your own work and stop trying to make other groups look bad.
    Chelsa Wagner, hey. Now that is interesting. I didn't know she was a supporter. Too bad about Lynn Cullen. I'd stand in sleet to hear her speak. We miss you Lynn baby!

  • Just stop telling lies. Stop it. We have real enemies and your “foundation” is making it worse. STOP IT.

  • Just stop telling lies. Stop it. We have real enemies and your “foundation” is making it worse. STOP IT.

  • I am sort of afraid to speak to the County Council. It is a hard story to tell and my partner cannot come with me. Do you know who else is speaking? Maybe if we knew who else would be there, it might be easier to know if we should come. Can you get a list on the blog? I'm not sure I could refrain from spitting on Diane Gramley. Ha ha ha. Maybe we should find her car and plaster it in rainbow stickers. Sorry but huomour makes me feel better about being so angry.

  • That's a great idea, Callie. Diane Gramley doesn't even want us to have job security or decent places to live. You have to hate someone an awful lot to think their family should be on the streets. This ordinance is pretty significant if you care about basic social needs. Who hates someone enough to take away their jobs? Besides rich greedy people.
    The rally sounds like a good idea to get people fired up, but how are you going to get people to actually do something? They like to chant, but will they bother to come to a meeting or vote. Our leadership is pretty uninspiring. Can you even name a gay leader aside from that Lance fellow? I choked when I read that email about the ordinance and saw that it promoted the spark event. That is pretty self-serving. It is like a commercial in the middle of a plea for civil rights. Who does that? Delta is trying to have their cake and eat it too but I guess beggars can't be choosers when it comes to civil rights. Delta is the best we got and no one else even tries. So let them have their little underwear parties as long as they put some of the money back into civil rights. I guess.
    Hey Hey. Ho Ho. Diane Gramley has got to go. Ho ho Hey Hey. In Venango, make her stay. VOTE.

  • Be angry Callie. These people hate us. We are being led in circles like sheep by legislators who tolerate us at best and probably hate us behind our backs (like Luke). How do you schedule a fucking gay rally and not have Shields and Peduto show up? Or anyone from the County? WTF? Are you inviting black people?

  • Some dude died at Club Pittsburgh. He overdosed. It was on the news. This is not a rumor. On the news. Tune in at 11 PM. That's a hell of a Spark. Ha ha ha.

  • I saw it, too. “Suspcious” is how they described it. Great. Everyone knows drugs are part of the gay sex scene, but do you have to end up with a dead body the week before the owners of the club throw a big sexy bash? Dear lord. That poor man — I hope his family knows he was gay.
    You idiots are reinforcing every negative stereotype about our community, making a profit on it and crowning yourselves heros for saving PrideFest from the poor community folks who worked on it before? What the hell — is this Boogie Nights or the 21st century?
    That poor man.

  • Here's the link to the story. http://kdka.com/local/death.investigation.Club.2.899897.html
    The question, Embarrassed, is what are you and other people going to do about the bar owners and sex kings taking over Pittsburgh's LGBT community? They are the ones with the money and the power. They sit on the boards of Persad and PATF — do you think Betty Hill is going to make a public statement about cleaning up drugs in the bathhouses? Hardly. All of the old school leaders have gone underground. Where is Billy Hillman? Where is Jim Fisherkeller? They are the kind of men we need. They just disappeared and left us at the mercy of these predators. Retirement is fine, but did either one of those gentleman take the time to CULTIVATE new leaders to follow in their footsteps or where they just ego driven men themselves lacking the financial resources of the sex kings? Think about it. They are here in Pittsburgh and haven't done a thing to help US now.
    Delta just spit all over their legacy and they don't fucking care. Now we have a dead body — poor motherfucker. Who wants their mama to read about them dying in a gay sex club on the news?
    So what do you do abouti? Keep partying hard at Images and wringing your hands behind your back, fuckwad. Get off your ass and join any organization that isn't associated with the three dicks of Pittsburgh. Then make it powerful enough to stand on its own two feet. Stay away from Stonewall, Delta, Persad, PATF and so forth. What does that leave you? Hey, start a new group with no money and no resources. Drag Billy and Jim off mothballs and see if they have anything to offer or do they just want to fucking give up on us since we aren't their dying friends?
    Who the fuck set us up like this?

  • It is not like Peter Karlovich and Steven Hereforth injected heroin into this guy's veins. They run a business, not a drug dealing operation. But it sure doesn't look good when you compare this story to the rightwing rhetoric. I can see that point.
    I wouldn't go anywhere near Spark if you paid me. If anyone who knows them reads this, please beg them and Gary to stay away from the rally and the hearing. Don't give Diane Gramley ammunition.

  • Callie,
    Take a deep breath. Your fear can empower you. Deep cleansing breath. Everyone is afraid. There is a man named Kris Rust who is organizing the list of gay people who are talking. His email is kdrust@aol.com. I'll try to find his cell phone number. Ask him to publicize the list.
    You can testify. You can do it. Do not waste energy on those who want to take away your power.
    E

  • This rally is really serious. Chelsa Wagner is a big potential ally. People need to come and stop worrying about the sexploits of the white gay guys. They will reap what they sow.
    Lynn Cullen is a bummer. But your whole agenda is filled with heterosexual allies except for Janet Edwards. And why is Amanda Green missing from the lineup? Isn't this her baby? I'm not worried about marriage. I'm worried about keeping my job. The economy is tough and it is perfectly legal to let the homos be the first to be fired.

  • Um, since all the posters are so concerned about getting the history right, let's not forget that the current gay civil rights movement began in the gay bars and bathhouses. As Sue said, let's remember those “that have been part of our Pride history…. And a thanks to all of those [gay bars, bathhouses and all] who have made it possible.”

  • Good point, anonymous. It is pretty funny that the Delta Foundation made such a stupid mistake as to overlook their own predecessors. They are so eager to destroy the GLCC that they trample their own history. Thanks for pointing yet another chink in their armor of bloat and self-importance. What a group of morons.

  • We have real enemies. It really isn't a constructive strategy to circle the wagons and shoot inward.
    I also really question the motives of some the posters in these comment sections who never give their real names. It is very possible that they are conservative homophobes just trying to spread misinformation and confusion in our community.

  • What aside from anonymity makes you suspicious,Lance? I am reading people as being critical of external threats as well as internal threats? Could you please be more specific?

  • Well said Lance.
    Is there ever going to be a point we can agree to diagree and get down to what we can agree on.
    Divided we fail.

  • Oh my god…really? Really People? Here are three people that, CLEARLY others are jealous of, that actually bettered our gay pride. Is Gary a saint? No, none of us are. At least he got off his ass and pulled off, two years in a row, an amazing event. Not that Gary Van Horn is the only person responsible for this event, but he initiated it and with the help of others made it happen. I work for Gary at Images, I’ve worked the Spark and Splash events, and I’ve worked at Pride in the streets for the past two years. I’ve seen the work that goes into it all. None of you have a clue…truly you don’t or you wouldn’t be slamming Gary’s name and other bar owners into the ground…It’s sad and truly pathetic. I am just amazed that everyone on here is just so bitter and is taking something that is so good and so positive for this community and trashing it. These bar owners are taking a lot of money out of their own pockets to throw events, donate to charities, to just simply make gay life in Pittsburgh…better…for everyone!
    You ask where Billy Hillman and Jim Fisherkeller are…well the truth is that they probably thought that everything they did for the community would better it and be worth it for the gay community at that time and for the future. But sadly enough there were probably people like the people on here that ridiculed and criticized everything that they did while they were trying to do good things. So instead of trashing Gary and others into the ground while they are trying and working extremely hard to make gay life better for everyone, yes that even includes the people that don’t like them, be thankful that they are doing something. They are doing something to make life for the gay community better.
    You all talk about money, power, drugs, and sex. I’m not sure if you all live in the world, but that’s everywhere. So what if people with money sit at the top of different charities, they want to help and want their money to go to a good cause, and they want to make a difference. They could pull all of their money out of organizations, charities, events…everything, that’s if you want all the people that these different organizations and charities help, to suffer. I’m not just talking about Steven and Peter, there are other people that are well off that donate and give money out of their own pocket, and don’t even want any type of recognition. They just want to HELP!
    I’m just curious if any of you have truly sat down with Gary, Peter, or Steven. Do you know them, do you know that they are good people with good hearts? Have you listened to their visions for the gay community? Have you listened to what they want to do to UNITE the community? Stop being angry, stop hating, and start seeing the positive in the work that they do. So before you pass judgment on people for wanting to give gay people things to do where they are comfortable and safe, know what YOU'RE talking about first. Sit down with Gary, sit down with Steven and Peter, ask them questions, input your ideas… and for christ’s sake, say thank you.
    -Jenna

  • Just a quick update for you……
    The guy who died at Club Pittsburgh is Cleophus Pettway, better know as Jaylin. He was a tall (maybe 6'2″) africian-american guy who was often seen at Pittsburgh bars on the weekend. Jaylin was a wonderful guy that I often talked to when I saw him out. He was such a a great guy….. I'm sure most people that frequented bars would know who he is.
    God bless Jaylin's family on this tragic death. He will be deeply missed.

  • Jenna at al.
    My original comment was about a factual error that Delta made in their PR materials. No one from Delta has officially corrected that mistake. Delta did not save PrideFest or bring it from Shadyside to Downtown. That was my point. This error has been made, in public, on other occasions and it clearly hurts people who have worked hard to make PrideFest successful. I think it an oversight that must be corrected b/c it sends the message that Pittsburgh before the modern incarnation of Delta was this big mess and that's simply not true.
    People are clearly angry. I think an organization that wants to put itself out there for people cannot assume everyone is going to appreciate their work or their worldview. Some people just don't like the direction of PrideFest or agree with the priorities of Delta — that does not mean they hate Gary, Steve or Peter. But they have a fundamental right to disagree and I think you and others are making big assumptions about their motivations when you assume they aren't involved in the community. Their contributions may be nothing more than an online dialogue, but they are paying attention and they are doing something
    There seems to be this ongoing resentment of people being critical. That just amazes me. Of course people are going to be critical and no, it doesn't make them secret spies for the right wing or hate mongerers. They are the very people our organizations are supposed to be serving — especially those who don't have the luxury of being out in cyberspace. Does everyone who comes into the bars or the bathhourses give their name and contact information? Of course not.
    Anger can be a powerful motivator and unfortunately, these three gentleman have chosen to involve themselves in controversial activities, especially politics. I can't imagine any of them are naive enough to think they are above criticism or foolish enough to believe they are always right. I have met all three men and I am certain they are neither naive or foolish, quite the opposite. And I have made repeated references to their contributions to the community. But I'm not going to silence people who don't have access to the kind of power and resources that Delta has just because their opinions are unpopular.
    Rest assured, there are plenty of gay people who don't care enough to post a comment on a blog. That is the apathy that is our common enemy, not the anger, warranted or misplaced, that manifests itself here or on other local blogs.
    The gay community in Pittsburgh has a long history that stretches back for decades. No one single person suddenly saved us. We have been saving ourselves for a long time. And kudos to those who contribute to the group effort. All of you, rich and poor, white and black, straight and gay, individuals and groups, politician and private citizen. All of you — all of us — we hold each other accountable. While I'm sorry for the unpleasant comments, I remained committed to creating a space for dialogue that does not take place in any other venue in this region.
    Please stop equating anger with hate. Acknowledge the anger and either resolve it or just let it be. The hate is much more cunningly disguised and on Saturday, you and everyone else has a chance to do something about it.
    Save yourselves. Join the impact.
    Sue

  • Thank you for sharing these details and putting a human face on a tragic loss. Hopefully, the authorities will resolve the investigation quickly and Mr. Pettway's family and friends can find some closure.
    Let's end this line of the thread shall we and move the conversation back to more constructive directions, such as how to prevent future tragedies?

  • VERY VERY well said Sue!
    Thank you for your important role in giving the community a forum to express their opinions.
    You rock! Keep up the good work!

  • Huh? The article to which you link clearly reads: “…was discovered at Club Pittsburgh in the 1100 block of Penn Avenue” Looks like Mr. Sherman CLEARLY referenced the club and the location…

  • ::gasps!!:: You mean the ones from the tavern guild that took part in starting and organizing lamda? That's so horrible!

  • So you asked the person who emailed you for clarification? The better story would be if you acually emailed them and they didnt respond. I will agree it's vague but it's not like it was meant to be a detailed letter. If you look back at your own posts under the category Pridefest from last year you'll see yourself that even you hadn't a problem with it. “too much this, not enough that.”.
    I will agree that having an idea is a partial contribution but not acting on it and making it happen is just plain lazy. Everyone wants to say what's wrong but doesn't want to be part of the solution.
    Look at me sue… Sue… Look at me… Over here. Stop the drama. Work with it not against it. work in your ideas and values and you'll be welcome to do so. You've got too much talent in those fingers to be wasting your energy CAUSING controversy instead of trying your best.

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