The “State” of PA politics – will we see anything through?

I received an email this week inviting me to the March 17 rally in Harrisburg and a telephone call from someone who wanted to discuss my concerns about the current state of affairs in gay politics.  The call was perfectly cordial, but I'm left feeling rather unsatisfied. Especially when they wanted my list of other bloggers. I went back and reread some of my recent posts and the comments to figure out the source of my unease.

I'm not sure that I feel particularly frustrated so much as just angry.  I'm angy that it is 2009 and we have very little to show for it in Pittsburgh and the larger metropolitan region.  Maybe it wouldn't be so irritating if we had some accomplishment in recent memory.  With all due respect, a domestic partner registry means nothing.  If the Mayor hasn't made the effort to register City Employees, it is clearly an empty symbol.  I can see why it is useful for businesses to have a vetting process for domestic partners, but I have yet to see how it helps us partners. 

A recent commented affiliated with one of the major players in gay advocacy said this:

I have come to believe that Sue isn't really interested in the very difficult & complicated work that needs to be done to achieve progressive change. Instead, she mainly seems interested in creating controversy & causing division in an attempt to garner attention for her blog.

Then he emailed me and said that there are no hard feelings.  Really?  Cause this is pretty harsh.  It is one thing to say I'm playing some sort of dilletante dance with blogging for attention and quite another to say I don't grasp the nuances of progressive change.  So, yeah, I have some hard feelings.  I'm not even doing such a great job of garnering attention given that my blog stats have been pretty consistent for over a year now.  Sure a scandal generates a little spike here and there, but really… the same few people come to read me.  I've had three prominent local folks tell me they read about my blog when I'm quoted on other blogs.  🙂

If you've been reading, you know the status quo with the Mayor's Advisory Committee and the County work on domestic partner benefits and the HRC ordinance.  Clearly, frustrating.  Not so clearly, anger inducing.  It makes me angry that organizers based in Philly and Harrisburg roll into Pittsburgh for a meeting or two and leave us with half-fulfilled promises.  Then they expect us to jump when its time to load up the buses.  It is tough to swallow when someone says you don't know what you are doing and then asks for your “list of bloggers” that you've compiled after three years in the trenches.  It isn't my responsibility to provide media lists for organizations that have access to computers, internet connections and blogrolls. 

It is tough to read on Facebook that people are going to gay roller derby, but don't have time to send out a press release.  Or be on the receiving end of a series of drunk emails because I refuse to toe anyone else's line.  Drunk emails are fun.  When you are 22, not 38.  It it tough that people who are clearly angry at me for having an opinion still talk with me and try to justify things.  I don't care if I know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say, I care if you know at least some of the story.  My hands are tied by promises of staying “off the record.”   (For the record, I removed people from my list of Facebook friends that insult me in real life, but want to network with me.)

It is just tough that I think I actually have something to offer, but I'm repeatedly slammed for thinking outside the box and asking uncomfortable questions. 

While a statewide non-discrimination bill is a great idea, I just don't think Pittsburgh wins by taking the pressure and resources away from local efforts and pouring them into the state.  We may get civil protections, but we also don't have domestic partner benefits in our County and I don't see any of the power players in Democrat politics doing anything about that.  Would it really be that hard to convince Dan Onorato to reconsider that one?  Really?  You can get the farmers from mid-state to protect me from employment discrimination, but I can't get a job at the County?  Come on.

It might just be nice if we could have one baby step here in Pittsburgh.  Just one.  If someone could follow through and get something accomplished before adding on yet another round of phone calls and letters and rallies and so forth then leaving us completely to our own devices for months on end while they “handle” the behind the scenes stuff.  Because we are apparently untrustworthy when it comes to knowing that behind the scenes stuff is happening. I mean I know it, but I can't tell you about it. 

Maybe the disaster that was the Proposition 8 campaign has taught us a few things about making sure our leaders are accountable to us.  Maybe not.

Either way, I'm still feeling uneasy about the convergence of all these non-accomplishments. I'm not sure that Rocking the Dome is the best way to go.  I could be wrong, but that's just where I'm at right now.


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  • You're an easy target, Sue. You put yourself out there, so you're going to get smacked.
    Consider the source, and don't take it personally. Just remember, and move on.
    And keep up the good fight.

  • As one of the people who once thought you like to stir the pot, I have to say now I understand your reasoning for doing so. It is not because you are a bitch as most perceive, but it is to get the conversation started, to get people involved, to get people to care about what is going on in our community. And how many people can say they would put their selves out there to say, this is who I am, this is what I believe, and just because you have wealth, status, and body parts I do not, you can not change my mind!
    You and I have disagreed on many topics yet I still have respect for you, as a writer, as a person of our community that cares, as woman who is not afraid to voice her opinion in a male dominated society and community. As I have been known to say, we live in Pittsburgh, we have been and will continue to be a decade behind the rest of the country, until someone stands up and says enough is enough. I feel parties and fundraising for organizations and foundations that really do not do anything for the GLBT community is more important than receiving rights. If someone came in and took the right to have a pride parade, or pride celebration or pride in the streets away you can bet there would be thousands in from of city county building.
    Look at Pride compared to the rally in Oakland, over 3000 people at party, barley 100 at a rally. This shows what is important in this city….. And it is sad.
    BTW glad to see I am still on your facebook.
    Keep your head up , keep doing what you do, that is the way to graciously filp them off.

  • i want to clear something up- I myself do not feel parties are more important than rights… but i feel in this cities GLBT community it looks as if parties are more important.

  • Why can't they get anything done here in Pittsburgh? We are being led by pornographers. No wonder we party. Do you think the rentboys will be at the PATF event?

  • Then he emailed me and said that there are no hard feelings.
    I guess by saying this, it means you're a whining bitch now if you have hard feelings?
    Nice meeting you today. I couldn't find an e-mail contact here. Anyway, my Live Journal URL is in the contact info. Check out “The Best Sermon I've ever Heard,” the one I was telling you about.
    And the apology you'll find there? Well, let's just say that maybe I'm better off staying away from the topic of fan fic and sticking with safer things – like gay rights, religion, and politics. ;P

  • Has there been any follow-up on the alleged charges that were going to be filed against the owners of Club Pittsburgh? Or was their Get Out Of Jail Free used on this “pay for play” politics matter?
    Gotta hate Pittsburgh with it's corrupt “so-called” gay leaders and str8 leaders for that matter!

  • The investigation is not finished. I say you pick up the phone and make some calls call City Council (412) 255-2138 and tell your representative that murder in a sex business that was zoned as a health club is not something to lose site. A man died and the owners of the business get a fancy award. It is only business as usual if we let this man's death remain unresolved. Speak up. Call and demand accountability. Demand justice for all gay people, even those who are dead and unable to tell us what happened. Call City Council and call County Council Phone: (412) 350-6490 to say we all deserve justice, even those of us who cannot pay the Mayor for it.

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