I thought it was a LGBTQ activist emergency. Really.
Monday morning, my wife texted me repeatedly, telling me to call City Councilor Bruce Kraus’ office immediately. I was a little dumbfounded by the request. So I called, no answer. I called his cell phone (it is Pittsburgh, having his cell phone is not that unusual), no answer. I’m starting to sweat. Did I mention that my wife is a City employee (23 years) ? Bruce texts me and asks me to give him time to wrap up a call and then he’ll call me.
So I’m fairly certain of several things – this is official, this is not a crisis scenario, and I have honestly no idea what to expect.
All of those things proved true when Bruce called me back to tell me that I needed to be at the City Council meeting the following morning to receive a proclamation acknowledging that I was named a Person of the Year by The Advocate magazine.
Apparently, Councilor Kraus had deployed his team to craft the proclamation with the input of my friends and wife, totally behind my back. They started with Laura, then consulted Anne E. Lynch and Billy Hileman. Plus, Bruce.
The original plan was to somehow lure me to the City County Building and surprise me, but my all-knowing wife vetoed that option. So Bruce wanted to be the one to tell me.
We had a lovely conversation. He grew a little teary talking about how much The Advocate magazine means to him. Then we talked about other stuff. I called my wife to ask about her role in this. And then I immediately began obsessing about what to wear.
The next morning, Anne joined us to drive downtown. Laura went to work and we went to look at the gingerbread houses. We got turned around in the elevators like you do in CCB. Then we went for me to be proclaimed, took photos, I made a connection, and soon we were back at the parking garage forking over $22 for the privilege. Only I had forgotten my wallet so Anne had to pay!
I want to stop and mention something. There was a proclamation before mine for a Parking Authority employee, Monica Jackson, who had saved someone’s life with CPR, something she was instructed in over the phone by the 911 operator. She used her time at the microphone to advocate that all security guards, parking attendants, and similar personnel be certified in CPR. That’s a truly excellent idea. And I applaud her for using her moment to pivot back to the larger point. I hope someone picks up that idea and runs with it. I will be right there with you. It is a great idea.
I used my moments at the microphone to thank my wife, name drop President Zelensky and Beyonce, and then say the names of the two local Black trans women whose murders remain unsolved as well as call for a local pre-teen Black trans child who has been missing for over two weeks to be safely found.
“It is an honor to speak for them and I am very sad to have to do that.”
So, it turns out that “Sue Kerr Day” will be Saturday, December 10, 2022. Anne chose that day because it is National Human Rights Day and she thought it fitting. They super cool thing is that I’m already going to a huge queer party that night to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Outrageous Bingo at Rodef Shalom with our PLC team and friends. I’ll literally be with 500 friends and neighbors in a super safe and affirming space. I wonder if I’ll win a game?
Thank you for this honor, for both of these honors really. The little girl growing up in West Mifflin could not imagine any of this. I hope by sharing my story other kids start to imagine it for their own lives. And just as importantly – that other adults imagine it. I began blogging in my thirties. I received my first local award at age 45 and national award at age 48.
Thank you, Councilman Bruce Kraus and everyone who made this lovely honor possible.
WHEREAS, Sue Kerr was born on October 22, 1970, in West Mifflin, PA, and earned an MSW from the
University of Pittsburgh and a BA in Political Science from Marymount University; and
WHEREAS, Sue became a resident of Pittsburgh in 2005 when she moved in with her wife, Laura Dunhoff,
with whom she has fostered over 25 cats in the Northside; and
WHEREAS, Sue is a gifted writer and in 2005, established the award-winning blog, Pittsburgh Lesbian
Correspondents which acts as a messenger of many local LGBTQ stories to her, in particular, documenting the
campaign of terror targeting trans neighbors through a series of over 250 memorial posts honoring the victims’
lives and acknowledging their deaths; and
WHEREAS, she established the #ProtectTransKids projects in 2022 in response to the harassment of a Black
trans teenage girl by a neighbor; and
WHEREAS, in 2020, Sue cofounded the Pittsburgh MasQUe ProjecT to support the queer and trans community
during the pandemic, distributing tens of thousands of face masks and other supplies throughout the region; and
WHEREAS, in 2021, Sue worked with community leaders to develop and establish Pittsburgh LGBTQ
Charities to raise community awareness and promote grassroots engagement for neighborhood quality of life,
animal welfare, anti-poverty, and LGBTQ+ issues in Western Pennsylvania and currently serves as the Board
WHEREAS, in 2021, she was elected unanimously as one of three inaugural co-chairs of the LGBTQIA+
Commission which advises city government on issues pertaining to the Pittsburgh LGBTQIA+ community and
which acts as a resource to create dialogue by elevating LGBTQIA+ voices and advancing communication
between the LGBTQIA+ community and city government; and
WHEREAS, Sue was an outspoken critic of the decision of eight Pittsburgh radio stations to air a 60-second
anti-transgender ad targeting youth, and worked with advertisers and community members to pull the ads from
seven of the eight stations; and
WHEREAS, she was named one of 12 “People of the Year” by The Advocate, a prestigious national publication
serving the LGBTQ community since 1967, which uses its annual People of the Year issue to honor “the
LGBTQ+ change-makers and culture-shifters that have had the most influence on the world; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Pittsburgh thanks Sue Kerr for being a fierce,
passionate life-long advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, for working tirelessly to amplify the voices of the
LGBTQIA+ individuals, and for being a constant source of support for many vulnerable communities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare Saturday,
December 10, 2022 to be “Sue Kerr Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.
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