This is an occasional feature we run, curating news links related to the LGBTQ community and the Pittsburgh region.
One of the ugliest examples of local white hate and bigotry I’ve found in the Letters to the Editor section in a long time was published on July 14 via the TribLive. Kathleen Bollinger of Fawn (near Natrona Heights) spewed a horrifying amount of misinformation, hostility, and sheer nastiness around Pridefest.
I am ashamed to live in Allegheny County, where the very liberal county government sanctions the Pittsburgh Pride Festival. Not everyone in Allegheny County shares the same views on LGBTs as our mayor. The festival gives Pittsburgh a bad image, and it doesn’t reflect the opposition to LGBT that many county residents have.
The law mandates that LGBTs cannot be objects of discrimination. Indeed, sometimes I think they have more rights than straight people. Sometimes I feel my rights are being taken away.
It is not 1984. I have the right to hold my personal opinion on homosexuality and transgender. I believe both are immoral and perverted. Keep it to yourself, and you don’t deserve any special treatment. Bisexuals can spread AIDS to the straight community.
Westmoreland County officials and residents have it right: Don’t discriminate, but don’t encourage LGBTs. Opponents of LGBTs should be able to express their opinion without ridicule or government harassment. The First Amendment applies to everyone, not just the LGBTs.
Kathleen Bollinger, Fawn
Earlier that week, some jagoff tried to set a rainbow Pride flag on fire in Greensburg. Twice. Police have video stills of the suspect via TribLive.
Also from the Trib website, Frances Olyarnik helpfully clarifies that refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same sex wedding does not make a baker anti-gay if he is willing to sell them other items. Thanks, Frances.
Calvin Fatchet of Freeport also penned a Letter to the Editor, rambling on about the ills of society including the fact that transgender atheletes are a threat to the Olympics?
Gerald K. “Jerry” Weller Jr., a longtime LGBT rights activist and founding board member of the Human Rights Campaign’s predecessor organization, has died at age 69. He was a Pittsburgh native.
USA Today explored the evolution of Pridefest, including the perspective of Pittsburgh native, Paul Ellis.
Hometown religious bigot Robert Gagnon is in the news again, this time deriding a publication from the Human Rights Campaign geared toward LGBTQ folks who are Evangelical Christians. He wants to debate the HRC. OK, technically he isn’t originally from Pittsburgh but he was part of the Theology Institute long enough to do real harm.
The New Pittsburgh Courier ran a wire piece exploring how we use language within our groups and how social censure shapes that dialogue.
From Vanity Fair, Mister Rogers’s Gay, Black Friend François Clemmons Wears Tiaras Now
A Pittsburgh woman, Gia Fagnelli, is featured in a piece by Vice: Why Being a Lesbian Stripper Is Harder Than You Might Think. Though most strip clubs are known for being aggressively heterosexual environments, many queer women are making waves on the scene.
The Post-Gazette runs a piece from the Washington Post about retirement communities realizing LGBTQ folks have money and are growing older.
The decision by Lakeshore School District in Mercer County to treat all students with respect and dignity continues to draw ire. The Post-Gazette’s Elizabeth Behrman has a great overview, including the next steps in the implementation process.
The Beaver County Times wrote about the campaign of Daniel Smith Jr who is challenging Daryl Metcalfe in November. Smith was speaking at a NOW meeting.
This is disturbing news out of Harrisburg. A state bill to stop municipalities from setting requirements for local businesses could have consequences for current and future anti-discrimination ordinances. Anti-discrimination ordinances passed before 2015 would remain intact, but no new ordinances could be passed in any municipality in Pennsylvania.
The New Pittsburgh Courier ran the story on Sharice Davids, who would be the first gay, Native American elected to Congress, narrowly won a six-way primary in her eastern Kansas district, shattering the mold for a congressional primary winner in conservative Kansas and embodying the range of ethnicities and sexual orientations of Democratic candidates running throughout the country this fall.
PublicSource publishes part one of a series on the LGBTQ community and local faith communities. They start with the positive experiences.
The Post-Gazette wrote up Blackout 2K18: Black Gay Prom
Governor Tom Wolf has established the first LGBTQ Advisory Commission including 40 LGBTQ representatives. It is mind-boggling that so many people forgot to include a trans woman of color on the commission until Monica Roberts of TransGriot pointed out the error. I’m glad that has been addressed with the appointment of Ciora Thomas, but it still stuns me that so many LGBTQ leaders were involved and MISSED THIS ommission. Either they didn’t ask or they didn’t speak up or they weren’t heard. I’m sure silence will continue on the matter because we aren’t doing so hot when it comes to intersectional conversations of late. FWIW, Diana Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania is pissed.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging announced that the registration for Pennsylvania’s Inaugural LGBTQ Aging Summit is now open.
Disgraced former Penn State Women’s Basketball Coach Rene Portland died of cancer at age 65. She was renowned for her ‘no drinking, no drugs, no lesbians’ rules and protected by Joe Paterno.
Westmoreland County extends sexual harassment protections to gay, transgender workers reported by the Trib Live.
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