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Year Archive
View Article  While We Are Talking Equality ...

Other good stuff happened ...

In New York, openly gay State Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell has announced the introduction of a marriage equality bill.  He announced it by Twitter.  You can follow him @DanielJODonnell 

How can you not follow this guy?  It would be like denying yourself a breath of fresh air.  I just nearly gassed myself with weed killer in a death match with poison ivy so the fresh air analogy is the best you are gonna get from me right now. 

So New York is a battleground.  More than 1,000 folks turned out for a lobby day on Monday and the Governor supports the legislation.  There's always a but ... however, today we are just going to bask in the good news. 

Next, we have word from The New York Times

After 33 years of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to change its constitution and allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.

More on this later. 

And then some very sad news from Uganda which is reportedly set to pass their anti-homosexuality bill.  The one that includes "punishment by death."

It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that were I living in Uganda, I could be executed.  I strongly encourage you to follow the link and delve into some of the nuances of that legislation. 

Then come back and tell me that I have nothing to fear from those right wing Christians who SUPPORT this legislation.  They may not be trying to kill me, but ... they are unabashedly denying my humanity. 

Hurrah for New York and the Presbyterian Church.  Prayers for the people of Uganda as they struggle for their very lives. 

View Article  Argentina first Latin American nation to approve marriage equality

Hurrah for Argentina.

BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina's Senate narrowly approved a law early on Thursday authorizing same-sex marriages, making Argentina the first country in Latin America to allow gay couples to wed.

But in a region where the separation of church and state is not always so clear, the law demonstrated a rare but increasing willingness by some Latin American nations to confront the church on fundamental issues, like Chile's legalization of divorce and Brazil's public distribution of contraceptives in recent years.

"There is no question that the law is unusual for a country that is not as secular as Western European democracies," said Javier Corrales, a political science professor at Amherst College. "There's a clear conflict with the church. Very seldom do we see presidents willing to fight the church so strongly on this particular issue in Latin America," even in countries led by left-leaning governments.

Argentina's new law will give gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals, including adoption and inheritance rights, and reflects the broadening legal recognition of same-sex relationships across Latin America.

Look how far the Catholic school boys in Buenos Aires have come!
View Article  State Rep Harry Readshaw teams up with Darryl Metcalfe? Really?

On that critical Pennsylvania issue ... immigration reform.

State Reps. Daryl Metcalfe and Harry Readshaw think Pennsylvania should follow Arizona's lead and "protect its borders and citizens" by giving local and state police more power to arrest, detain and eventually deport foreigners who have entered the state illegally and don't have proper registration papers.
Harry Readshaw? How many undocumented workers are running around the South Hills, for God's sake? The very idea of endowing the Brentwood police with immigration enforcement powers is beyond terrifying. 
Infinonymous has a unique take on this.

Speaking of which, why am I not on the list? There is no LGBTQ representation on the list.  Foul!


View Article  What we missed: the trib on gays

We like to keep up with local media coverage on LGBTQ issues, but things occasionally slip by us.

The Tribune Review ran a little AP piece on world condemnation of a Papal comment linking homosexuality and pedophilia. 

"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia," the Italian cardinal said. "But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true. That is the problem."

The Vatican backed away from that winner of a comment, but I'm curious why the Trib ran this.  Overall, the article condemns this attitude, but there seems to be a distinct trend in the Trib --- they run content that is anti-gay such as Pat Buchanan's column alongside local interest pieces about lesbian teenagers saving the world with food drives or some such thing.  So I can't help but wonder which editorial instinct ran with this piece  -- the part that wanted to get out the homosexuality/pedophilia story or the part that condemns it?  You never know.


View Article  Post-Gazette Runs Piece on Uganda

If you have been sort of "meh" about immigration <ahem> reform in Arizona and/or international affairs that don't involve sporting events, you should take a quick read of this piece in today's Post-Gazette, reprinted from the New York Times.

Not only is Uganda attempting to make gay advocacy illegal and potentially punish gay people with the death penalty, but Americans are helping them out in the name of "religious liberty."  Yes, religious freedom to persecute the gay community in a very poor African nation is a high priority for certain American pastors. 

Though not originally linked to the Ugandan legislation, [Kansas City evangelist Lou] Engle has long been a controversial figure in the United States for his views on homosexuality. During California's referendum on same-sex marriage in 2008, he called homosexuality a "spirit of lawlessness."

Before arriving here last week, Mr. Engle came out with a statement condemning the harsh penalties proposed in the bill, and said that his ministry could not support it. But when he took the stage late on Sunday afternoon, with Ugandan politicians and pastors looking on, he praised the country's "courage" and "righteousness" in promoting the bill.

"NGOs, the U.N., Unicef, they are all coming in here and promoting an agenda," Mr. Engle said, referring to nongovernmental organizations. "Today, America is losing its religious freedom. We are trying to restrain an agenda that is sweeping through the education system. Uganda has become ground zero."

If a bill that penalizes homosexuality (which is already illegal in Uganda) is ground zero, what the hell does that mean for us here in the US?  If our own spiritual leaders (self-proclaimed or otherwise) are leading pro-hate-bill rallies, what that mean for the rallying cries we can expect from the wingnuts in the coming months, especially if they are successful in getting the bill through in Uganda? 
We've been covering this legislation since December. Stay tuned. Don't be complacent. Being gay should not be grounds to be executed. 
BTW, WYEP's American Shorts series is focusing on Immigration and Pittsburgh in July. 
With highly-ranked universities and growing arts, medical, financial, and technological sectors, Pittsburgh is evolving into a global city. In this economic and social climate, the stakes for the city as well as its incoming international residents are high. This event explores Pittsburgh's past, present, and future response to immigration and addresses the high stakes for Pittsburgh in rejuvenating our community through the engine of immigration. 

Combining personal, creative, and historical narratives, "The Immigration Stakes" examines themes of relocation and finding new national identity. Local music performance and a short film screening will accompany the program of short readings and conversation.


View Article  Queer Culture Conference at Pitt in April

Thought this is something interesting worth noting ....The conference is April 1-3 at the University of Pittsburgh.  Just one of those things you might not realize takes place in Pittsburgh (unless you subscribe to the Queer Events list).

Sexuality Studies and LGBT
Activism in Latin America

The Sixth International Latin American Cultural Studies Conference, to be held at the University of Pittsburgh the first three days of April 2010, will gather a number of people who have been key to activism and academic work on LGBT issues in Latin America. Many of them have organized events in their countries on issues of sexual minorities and LGBT issues; many have published anthologies of queer writing and sexuality studies within their national contexts. Many of our participants have worked intensely at a national as well as at an international context, often at personal risk and in the midst of complex political situations.

Their many publications have broadened and deepened our knowledge of sexual cultures throughout Latin America. Events in Caracas, Santiago de Chile, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Montevideo, La Paz and other important cities have helped give LGBT communities a public presence, while fostering academic work on LGBT issues. This event, which will include presentations, panel discussions and readings of creative work, will bring their (and others?) experience at the local and national levels to Pittsburgh.



View Article  Saturday Random Stuff

Melissa Etheridge is going to Philly, Reading and Columbus, Ohio, but not Pittsburgh.  I hear she just doesn't sell well here.  Very sad.



Now that Melissa caught your eye, read on please.

Equality Advocates PA wants to build on the great turnout of gays and gay allies to the Pittsburgh hearing on SB 1250, the so-called marriage protection amendment.  They want you to turn out for the next hearing Harrisburg and a big rally on May 5.  Buses will be scheduled to transport folks from Pittsburgh.  Anyone want to go and carpool?  You guys should be really proud of yourselves for setting the bar so high vis a vis the turnout here in Pittsburgh.  Way to go, homos!  You rock. 

Scary international news from Rome (365gay.com)

Rome police are searching for members of a mob of youths who burst into the city's LGBT center, ransacking the building.

The attack on Mario Mieli Homosexual Cultural Circle occurred Thursday night while members were in the building.

As they attempted to confront the gang the youths yelled anti-gay and anti-Semitic slogans. As they ran off the gang yelled praises for Benito Mussolini, Italy's wartime dictator.

"We fear that this situation is linked to the electoral climate," the association said in a statement.

Rome is in the midst of a mayoral runoff between rightist and leftist candidates.

And in Kyrgyzstan (Pink News):

Human Rights Watch drew attention to the fact that the police action in the capital Bishkek was the second time Labrys had been targeted in this way.

The centre was hosting a dinner for local and international LGBT groups on April 8th when three officers entered and threatened to arrest anyone who did not produce identification.

They also searched private files at the centre, which also serves as a shelter for transgender people and women who are victims of violence.

Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet republic in central Asia, home to more than five million people.

Although the majority are Muslim, the country is relatively secular and homosexuality is legal.

But in Columbia, some good news ...

Colombia's Colombia?s Constitutional Court has ruled that the government must extend pension benefits to same-sex partners.

The court ruled that same-sex partners must be given the same pension and health benefits as opposite-sex married partners receive.

The ruling said that to exclude same-sex partners would violate the principle of non-discrimination and human dignity as the expression of personal autonomy, protected by international law.

If you interested in a different perspective on gay issues, follow the link on the right the the Pink News site.  Lots of good stuff and an international perspective on US issues.  Did you know that other countries have elections with candidates from more than two parties (or one party, really, right?).  That candidates in Europe take pro-gay stances that are controversial.  That you don't have to surgically implant the Bible to your body to be taken seriously? 


View Article  Iraq and Shield: City Papers Homos It Up This Week

I love when there's good gay stuff in the City Paper.  It reminds me that journalists with actual journalistic street cred pay attention to our community and find us interesting and informative.

I fully expected the paper to cover Doug Shields' showdown with Sally Kerns. I was kinda disappointed they gave Diane Gramley so many inches to spew her bigotry and that they didn't talk to any of us gay people about the whole situation, but this isn't the first time I've disagreed with editorial decisions about content.  And, on the plus side, Gramley's own words pretty much prove my point that she's an idiot, without any homosexual accents.

To my intrigue, the CP's Melissa Meinzer wrote a really informative piece about Pitt's Rainbow Alliance providing support for Iraqui individuals who are LGBTQ.

So Hili formed Iraqi LGBT, a group dedicated to providing safe houses for LGBT people living in the war-torn nation. And the University of Pittsburgh's LGBT group, the Rainbow Alliance, is hoping to help.

The group, which recently had to close three of its five houses because of financial constraints, provides safe group housing, food and medical care for LGBT people living in Iraq. Many of the residents it serves need medical treatment for HIV or gender transitioning.

Sometimes it takes such a smack in the face to make us appreciate that dealing with Gramley and Kerns is the worst I've contended with recently.  And underscore the imperative for us to step up and demand leadership on LGBTQ issues, both local and international. 

I'm hoping all of you are taking a page from the Rainbow Alliance's book and making some calls to your elected officials about marriage amendments. 



View Article  Touching Base on International Gay Issues

I haven't been feeling especially bloggy lately, which usually means I scour the Internet for interesting gay tidbits that don't require a lot of commentary.  This is today's version ...

Russian Christians have attempted to purge the Moscow River in the wake of a gay cruise that sailed those very waters. 

[O]ne of the action's aims was "to purge the Moskva River after a large group of gays, who hired a similar ship to have a party going the same route last night."

Participants included state Duma member Nikolay Kuryanovich, who in February introduced legislation to recriminalize homosexuality.

Joining him were members of Cossack groups and assorted religious believers. They sung a prayer as they passed the Novospassky Bridge, then listened to a Christian rock band, Interfax said.

Huh.  That's an interesting approach.  Because I'm sure the very worst impurity involving the Moscow River is that it touched a boat that touched gay people.  No need to trifle with pollution or anything like being a steward of the earth or such nonsense.  Let's get rid of gay cooties instead.

In other news, the UK Gay News provides a transcript from Persian of an interview with an exiled lesbian Irani woman. She describes the torture she endured during years of imprisonment as well as her exile both from her home country and her entire culture.  It is very moving and disturbing.

What is your current situation?

I am alone.  Even here I am afraid, and I think it is this fear that isolates me.  A strange fear is my constant companion.  If I were to write the torments I have suffered on a piece of paper the reader would surely go mad.  Everyone has suffered pain in one form or another.  Have you heard of someone being tied to a car and pulled over the ground?  In Kashan, they tied me to a car and pulled me across the ground.  What should I say, who should I say it to?  If there was a God who would punish these criminals?

Why must I, at the pinnacle of freedom, even fear myself?  Why doesn?t anyone listen to us?  Where is this ?human rights??  Which Islam?  Which God?

You'll be amazed to learn that  <gasp> gays are less safe now than ever before in Iraq.

And, finally, Orthodox Jews did some big time damage to the city of Jerusalem during a destructive temper tantrum over the gay pride parade.  To the tune of $100,000.  City council members are calling for the money to be repayed.  Good for them.

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