Jesus, it has been a year.
The nonprofit I helped to found, Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities, was in business and hit the ground running in January.
My mother died in February.
I received my second national #GLAADaward as Outstanding Blog in May.
I threw out the first pitch during the Pittsburgh Pirates Pride Night at PNC Park in June, accompanied by four of my niblings.
After listening to a 15-year-old Black trans girl express her opinion, I thought “hey yard signs might be a good way to spread a message.”
I got COVID-19 in August.
A Wikipedia page was created for me.
In November, I was named one of 12 ‘People of the Year’ by The Advocate Magazine.
Pittsburgh City Council issued a Proclamation for all of this and designated December 10, 2022 as ‘Sue Kerr Day’ in Pittsburgh.
I tested positive for COVID-19 again two days before Sue Kerr day and spent it at home alone while everyone went on to OUTrageous Bingo without me. They didn’t win.
I was elected to my third term as co-chair of the City of Pittsburgh LGBTQIA+ Commission.
I wrote 40 obituaries on this blog.
I failed to become Pittsburgh famous on Twitter; in fact, I lost followers.
I witnessed La’Tasha Mayes and Summer Lee change the world. I witnessed John Fetterman change national politics. I watched Josh Shapiro earn his office. I thanked God that President Biden and Vice-President Harris saved us. Fuck you to those who think otherwise.
I struggled with a tough depression, renewed social anxiety in this wave of a pandemic, and an unknown GI autoimmune issue that confounds all of the doctors. I confronted my traumas and was felled almost felled by demons that made me realize that the depths of personal horror and tragedy can always get worse. You just keep processing.
My cat colony remained stable – no new kittens this year. I helped co-foster parent nine kittens this year.
I interviewed fascists resistors, union leaders, teens, politicians, business owners, and more.
Our team, including 11-year-old Elijah, reviewed 12 art productions this year.
I went to my first press preview of a movie. And a second.
I was invited to the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City, but had to decline because we had six foster kittens and I was struggling with depression.
I was invited to the Governor’s LGBTQ History Month Reception, but had to cancel because one of our (different than above) foster kittens was sick (kitten recovered, not sure if the Governor got over my absence.)
I was invited to a fancy luncheon in Los Angeles by The Advocate by GLAAD to celebrate that award, but had to decline because of kittens and work demands.
My friend F. Dok Harris took us out for a celebratory dinner at a very lovely restaurant and reminded me of the beauty of gracious hospitality, the comfort of kind manners, and the delicious satisfaction of a really good meal. It made a lot of the above not sting so much.
Blogs began in 1994. The term blog was coined in 1997. Most blogs typically last two years. I’m beginning year 18.I do not suggest you read into that because I had the misfortune of googling the meaning of the number 18 and found it represents prosperity, success, bondage, new beginnings, lots of Biblical stuff, angels, manifesting things, and essentially what you want it to mean if you scroll far enough.
I’ve blogged through five Pittsburgh Mayoral Administrations, four Pennsylvania Governors, and four Presidents. Four City Paper editors. How to you measure the life of a blog? By any of these things? No, of course not.
A blog is about the people who create the content and the people who read it. Our team – currently Laura, Sarah, Elijah, Trish, and Anna – have worked hard to create content for you (or in Anna’s case, keep the machine running.) But you read it. I don’t know most of you. Most people I know rarely read this blog. Most of my family never read this blog. It is a strange thing to have this intense relationship, filled with some of my most fervently held beliefs and experiences, with so many people I’ll never meet.
I still don’t know what to say when someone approaches me and says “I read your blog” except “Thank you..” It never gets less awkward and I’m always self-conscious.
Last night at dinner with some of our nibling, the 14-year-old was quizzing my wife about her work. He then very politely turned to me and asked me to explain my job or “what you do” as he put it. I tried to explain being permanently and totally disabled (he didn’t believe me) and being a Commissioner and starting a non-profit and blogging. As he looked at me with skepticism, I finally said “Actually I’m a social worker, but I basically work for free. I volunteer.” That satisfied him.
Let me clarify a few things – we live on my wife’s income and my SSDI. So that’s already a deficit of 30% from a male household. This blog does not turn any sort of profit. Yes, we run ads from SheKnowsMedia, but that income barely covers any single expense much less domain registries, web hosting, software, etc.
We are occasionally comped tickets to events in exchange for promotional and review content. That’s not a freebie – we work for it. And we work hard. For one review, that’s two people spending about four hours at an event and at least two hours writing the review, then I spend an hour editing and formatting. Throw in parking, mileage. Maybe 30 minutes for an advance promotional post on occasion. If we were compensated $25/hour, that’s about $287.50 worth of our time to promote and review in exchange for two tickets. It is rare that we are offered tickets that would sell for $140 each (meaning, never.) So we lose money to create that content, but we still do it.
One topic I constantly argue with people about is whether I’m a journalist. I am not a journalist (I get to self-identify, right?), I am a social worker. A community organizer. I do write and I am part of the media. But by trade, I do something different than journalists. And I gotta say, it is most often cisgender heterosexual men who insist I’m a journalist no matter what I say about it. That’s ironic, eh?
As my wife and I watched The Kennedy Center Honors tonight, I was struck by Bono’s famous quote about fame being a currency that should be used to change the world, not hoarded for self-aggrandizement because it is always fleeting. I chased Pittsburgh fame this year, in jest but still, and I was unsuccessful. I received two national awards in one year that most of my family do not seem to even understand, much less acknowledge. People seem much more impressed with my having a Wikipedia page.
Chasing fame, even in jest, is silly. I’d much rather spend my time chasing opportunity. Or standing still to savor some of these fleeting moments.
If you are still reading this, I’d ask this of you to honor this notable if minor milestone:
First, subscribe to the blog either using our email option, add to your RSS feed, or WordPress. Then you won’t miss anything. I wouldn’t do all of this if I didn’t want you to read it.
Second, consider supporting this blog – me and my work – by becoming a Steel City Snowflake. I spent a lot of my time fundraising for cats, signs, causes, neighbors, etc. I did not do a great job working on the financial support necessary to maintain this blog. You can also become a patron through Patreon.
If this blog were a human being, it could now vote, join the military, and legally adult. It could go to R rated movies. It could sign contracts and make its own medical decisions. It would gain more privileges and responsibilities in our society.
On that random thought, I’ll wrap this up and head out to my normally scheduled day. Thanks for being part of our endeavor.
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