Innocent Bystanders Suffer From Homophobia

This morning, I sent word about the Remember Her Name vigil to members of Pittsburgh City Council. One wrote back and sent me the notice that my site is still blocked by the City web filters, categorized as nudity and pornography. I explained the situation and hope perhaps that person will be of help.


When retelling the story, someone suggested I set up a mirror site so City employees don’t “miss out” on the vigil because of the block.

Ummm, no.

It is very unfortunate that some people might not be able to follow information pertaining to a very important local news story and a very timely topic for the City’s Department of Public Safety. But that’s the consequence of homophobia. I didn’t even think about that when I spent hours setting up this page, but I realize now that it highlights a really important component of the story – the poor responsiveness of the City of Pittsburgh. I’ve been trying to address this issue since late October and have gotten exactly nowhere.

I even reached out to Jim Shepherd, President of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats (Gay Democrats) and Special Assistant to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. No response. If the most prominent gay employee of the City doesn’t care, why should anyone else?  What if a queer woman had been murdered by her ex? Would that make it more or less relevant?

I can only assume the IT Department, Jim, the Mayor, the Members of Council and others just don’t think its worth cashing in chips to address homophobic web filtering (that’s one of the most ridiculous phrases I’ve ever typed.) The fact that it hurts innocent bystanders must not matter either.

Clearly, blocking my website is not the same degree of responsiveness (or lack of responsiveness) as police responding to a domestic report. But it is not a surprising extention of the same “screw you, average person” mentality that pervades the current Administration.

Gay reporting just resulted in the Presidential Inaugural Committee CHANGING the person offering the benediction. Don’t underestimate the value of information in the hands of the average person.

BTW, I welcome anyone to copy and paste whatever information you feel necessary and to please make sure your friends who work for the City of Pittsburgh know about this vigil. But its not my job to compensate for an entrenched bigoted-by-default IT Department that doesn’t know how to program the web filter thingy. Perhaps they should try turning it off and on again, eh Roy and Moss?

Bigotry hurts. Many people. Don’t underestimate the power of the message that “lesbian” = “pornography”  … and I’d love Jim Shepherd to sit down with Ka’Sandra’s son to explain it.



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