Pittsburgh's LGBTQ Blog ... out'n proud in the Burghosphere.

Bookmark and Share
Year Archive
View Article  PG Letters to the Editor on LGBTQ Equality

Folks, it is a good time to get your fingers stretched and send in your own letters.  Politicians pay attention to people contacting them personally, but they also watch the opinion sections of the media.  If you need an angle, consider writing in about Chick Fil A if you are a customer.  Talk with the franchise owner of the restaurant you visit and ask them point blank if they would support an organization like the Pennsylvania Family Institute.  Then write a letter.  Very simple, but imagine how many people you can educate.

Two letters today ....

Daniel Robinson of Tarentum writes a pretty incoherent letter that seems to say he doesn't hate gay people, but his hands are tied because God told him being gay is wrong.

Hate isn't the emotion guiding people who take God serious, love is. What people do with their lives is between them and God. Likewise, those who place their faith in the Creator who endowed us with our rights, can't be asked to ignore His definitions of "right and wrong."

It is sort of a live and let live, but my side is really right approach to writing letters.  Or living life.  Or judging.  It also shows that people are making decisions about our equality based on some sketchy reasoning.  Do you want Daniel voting on your equality (no matter who you are)?

Major Gregorio Sheehan (Ret) is more blunt about the repeal of DADT

The result will be that conservative Christian men, the backbone of American combat units, will think twice before enlisting or re-enlisting, the thought of sharing a foxhole with a homosexual being repellent to their senses.

Well, I didn't know conservative Christian men were the backbone of combat units. Is that based on anything more than his subjective perspective?  Like the Pentagon survey?  Hmmm.

Regardless,  Daniel and Gregorio took the time to write and I'm sure they had an impact in some households, an impact that doesn't serve our community well. 

When can we expect to read your letter?

View Article  Another PG Letter to the Editor for Marriage Equality

The PG Community Forum is beginning to grow on me.  Today, we find another pro-equality letter to the editor from Attorney Bruce Wilder of Downtown.

Short, sweet and to the point and with an affirming message for same sex parenting.

On the issue of "majorities," please note that anti-miscegenation laws were struck down by the courts at a time where neither public opinion nor legislation would have ever accomplished that goal.

The comments reflect the usual stupidity and brilliant support. 

OK, I have to ask.  Lots of kind grow up with Mom and Grandma, or Dad and Aunt Ruth or even Grandma and Grandpa as their primary caretakers. Setting aside the circumstances that lead these children into non-traditional families, folks rarely imply that being raised by a mother and grandmother irrevocably damage a child because of the "what do I call these two women" perspective.  Yet, the myriad of homophobic slams about "which gay man is the mother" with regard to Elton John seems to actually carry weight.  Does anyone ask what the children of twice divorced Madonna, mother to three children with three different fathers, call her and/or their fathers?  Of course not, because its more interesting to focus on her dating life.  But no one cares.  Does Lola call her Mom, Mum, Mommy, Madre, Madonna, Hey You, etc?  I have no idea and I've never seen it mentioned.  I'd venture to say any confusion the children experience has more to do with the paparazzi and coping with any fallout from divorce, just like most children.  Elton John is not a mother.  He is a parent.


View Article  Letter to the Editor on Marriage Equality

Missed this in the Post-Gazette earlier in the week (I'd blame the search engine, but we've already been down that path).

Like Mr. Franck, I was once the sort of earnest Christian whose judgment against sexual difference was formed according to what I thought were orthodox ideas about the Bible and Christian tradition. But I now believe -- along with many fellow Christians -- that gay marriage is as good as "traditional" marriage for families and society. Those who oppose it are not a persecuted majority, as Mr. Franck would have us believe, but a misguided one.

South Side Flats

This is a snippet.  I urge you to read the whole thing.

It is followed by a lively dialogue.  My favorite comment is this:

I have no problem with gay whatever you want to call it (no matter what they try to say, it ain't marriage)...but don't start crying about "bullys" when their kids get picked on and get their a$$es beat in school because they have two mommy's or two daddies. Personally, I buy into Darwin...

What does that mean? A laymen's twist on survival of the fittest?  That gay kids deserve to die because they aren't strong enough to stand up to bullying?  Big ugly words from someone who hides behind a fake name.  And so so sad.

These are people who might vote on our equality rights if the right wing has its way.  Be vigilant.


View Article  Trib Letter to the Editor

It has been awhile.  Thankfully, Kris Saunders of Squirrel Hill has brought back the homobigot rant to the editorial page of the Tribune Review.  Kris is of the mindset that the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church is a result of rampant tolerance of homosexuality.

But it is odd that the Trib, which has called for a societal endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle by granting same-sex couples the "right" to get married, would attack the church on the basis of the notorious priest sex abuse scandal, in which the homosexual lifestyle played such a major role.

That scandal only proves, once again, that too many Catholics aren't faithful to the teachings of the church and the example of the saints. Indeed, if more bishops had followed the example of Cardinal Peter Damian, a canonized saint and doctor of the church who had zero tolerance for homosexual behavior among the clergy, there would never have been such a scandal -- while the Trib, I suppose, would consider this saint a homophobic "bigot."

Now I'm not quite sure I understand.  Is Kris arguing that the Trib is being inconsistent by lifting up homosexuality, but failing to demonize the homosexuals for destroying the Catholic Church?

Let's take a gander at Cardinal Peter Damian ... from the lovely Wikipedia ... I learned that this is the guy who invented flagellation.

A zealot for monastic and clerical reform, he introduced a more severe discipline, including the practice of flagellation ("the disciplina"), into the house, which, under his rule, quickly attained celebrity, and became a model for other foundations, even the great abbey of Monte Cassino: subject-hermitages were founded at San Severino, Gamogna, Acerreta, Murciana, San Salvatore, Sitria and Ocri. There was much opposition outside his own circle to such extreme forms of penitence, but Peter's persistent advocacy ensured its acceptance, to such an extent that he was obliged later to moderate the imprudent zeal of some of his own hermits.

There's more ... namely The Book of Gomorrah: An Eleventh Century Treatise Against Clerical Homosexual Practices

Clearly, Peter had issues with homosexuality.  What gets lost in Kris' letter is the fact that Peter also had issues with the abuse of power by those in authority.  Would his censure of pedophiles who are homosexual end there or would he have the perception to see the deep corruption that covered up these sins and literally led lambs to the slaughter by refusing to exercise authority in the best interests of children, not the Church?

Who knows?  But it certainly is interesting reading and, as always, I appreciate a good letter to the editor! 




View Article  PG: online commentary

When I began blogging, I dedicated many posts to the letters to the editor to demonstrate that civil minded people were speaking out on LGBTQ issues. This pretty much requires me to search the papers daily with LGBTQ keywords (typically, gay and homosexual -- the fact that stories about lesbisn WITHOUT the word gay is for another day). 

Something I've noticed of late is that the newish feature of commenting in PG letters often brings up LGBTQ comments and most of them are positive.  This is an interesting twist in online discourse.  I myself rarely if ever comment online at the PG simply because I spend so much time commenting on my blog and Facebook, but I do read the comments. 

Check it out for yourself.  Click here http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/letters/ and follow the link to Open Letters.  I mean you can't spend ALL morning on Facebook, right?

View Article  Letter to the editor - DADT

Karen Mesko's piece in the Post-Gazette draw an appreciative letter from another person discharged under this policy.


View Article  PG Letters to the Editor on County Anti-Discrimination Bill

Ray McGogney of Shaler sees right through the culture wars.  His letter to the editor in the Post-Gazette shatters the right-wing argument that the County Anti-Discrimination legislation is going to limit the religious freedom of anyone. 

The anti-discrimination bill before County Council ("Discrimination Bill Draws Large Crowd," Jan. 16) has nothing to do with personal beliefs on homosexuality, gay marriage, morality or religion. Unfortunately, many people opposed to the bill have made these the issues.

The man who claimed that homosexuality is a "lifestyle that is condemned by God" can still cling to his belief with the passage of the bill. The bill is about discrimination and will not force any church or person to change views.

You may disagree with the beliefs or lifestyles of atheists, blacks, Muslims or many other minorities, but they should not be denied jobs or housing. The same applies to gays. Pittsburgh currently extends these protections to gender orientations and expressions. The county bill would do the same. It is time to stop using discrimination as a club to beat down minorities with whom we disagree.

This bill is about regulating (and preventing) discrimination, not personal beliefs.  Amen, Ray.  Thank you for writing.

Meanwhile, Paula Martinac of Park Place (near Regent Square) takes issue with the Post-Gazette coverage of the hearing for this ordinance. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or Fox News? Hard to tell in your "news story" of the proposed Allegheny County anti-discrimination bill


As a journalist, I am sick of seeing articles like this touted as "balanced" reporting, when in fact they are deeply biased. I'm surprised the Post-Gazette didn't open its coverage of Barack Obama's historic inauguration with the opinion of the grand wizard of the KKK.

Harsh words, but the PG really did drop the ball on this article.  There was no balance, although Paula is mistaken in that Reverend Janet Edwards does count as a LGBTQ activist; she identifies as an openly bisexual woman which is pretty awesome considering the entrenched biphobia in our community.  No one could reasonably challenge Janet's lesbian street cred even though she is married to a man.  What a great role model she is for all of us. 

I was glad to see someone commenting on the ordiance and someone else picking up on the media coverage.  Media coverage feeds public perception.  It is one thing for the editor's to support the legislation, but when their reporter leaves the impression that most people attending the meeting (or the one's who "sacrificed" to be there) oppose the ordinance, they misrepresent public opinion.  That's unacceptable.  Kudos to Paula for picking up on that nuance.

View Article  Another Good Letter to the Editor

 Another heartening letter to the editor, this time from Carole E. Rose of Mt. Lebanon on the topic of gay rights.  Ms. Rose is responding to a letter which regurgitated the "marriage = procreation" argument which this writer soundly rebuts:

Does she have her head in the sand? Does she think that children are born only of married couples? Does she think that every child who is born has a loving place to live? Has she ever heard of adoption? Has she ever realized that gay and lesbian couples can in most states both foster and adopt children and raise them in a loving environment? So why not raise them in a loving environment of married parents whether they are same-sex parents or heterosexual? I've seen it and it works.

The state sanctioned marriage of two opposite gender adults does not in any way carry a guarantee of a loving, stable home for children.  Otherwise, there would be a long line of adult-children filing for their state backed "my parents sucked" refund.

Ms. Rose also gets a good swipe in for full equality.

Earlier in her letter she enumerates the civil rights that same-sex couples have been granted by some (but not all) states. Well big whoop! When you are a little bit "not equal" you are not equal.

Well said, Carole.  While I'm glad for my brothers and sisters in those states, I'm concerned that Pennsylvania has not yet expanded our hate crimes laws to include acts perpetrated on the base of sexual orientation or gender identity (does anyone think beating someone up because they 'seem' gay is not a hate crime?).  I'm hopeful State Representatives Dan Frankel and Chelsa Wagner will successfully steer legislation that essentially prevents us from being fired, denied housing or ejected from a restaurant because we are gay. 

This topic was brought startling to my consciousness the other day when a coworker was discussing a 'staff only' bathroom with me, arguing that in an organization where we promote community integration, a staff only bathroom was akin to a "Whiles Only" or "Heterosexuals Only" bathroom.  I could feel my eyes widening as it has been a long time since someone (gently) threw that argument back in my face.  I wasn't defending the bathroom, just being brought up to speed on the issue.  However, he made an impression because I'm writing about it two days later on a seemingly unrelated issue.  There are people in my community who experience discrimination in bathrooms -- my trans-sisters and trans-brothers, my lesbian and queer women sisters whose appearance is masculine, and gay men who are stalked by the police for seeking connections in bathrooms.  Yes, the bathroom has been a place of much discrimination in our community (think of all the kids beaten up in the school bathroom for the crime of not fitting in). 

Legislation won't suddenly put an end to all of this, but it will provide an opportunity to educate owners on how to accommodate their LGBTQ visitors and manage confrontations that might infringe upon those rights.  It will send a signal that we have recourse.  We can complain to the manager and expect him to do something about it.  We can contact the police, if we've experienced an act of violence (not an expression of someones opinion, mind you), and expect them to do something about it. 

A "little bit" equal didn't cut it with Mr. Kampus in 8th grade algebra and it doesn't cut it with Carole Rose, either.

Thanks for writing.

View Article  Letter to the Editor

In today's PG , Chris Strayer of Homewood (misspelled as Hoomewood, I think) rebuts the "marriage is for procreation" argument.  Or, as Chris puts it, marriage for breeding.  That was worth a chuckle.

I'm confused about this "engendering" business. I thought that was something ultrasound readers and OB/GYNs did. They look at the kid and assign her/him to one of two categories. Never mind that kids come in far more than two categories, and frequently do not agree with the engenderer's opinion. Is Ms. Jarrell arguing that only ultrasound readers and OB/GYNs should be permitted to marry? Of course not. But her argument that marriage is for breeding falls flat.

Postmenopausal women may marry; I presume Ms. Jarrell would "grandmother" women who married before menopause but cannot now bear children. Men need not obtain a sperm count before obtaining a marriage license. Couples do not need to have a kid first and take her/him to the county offices to certify their fertility. Fertility clinics don't require marriage, either.

And as for the "gift" to civilization, that smacks of the pay-to-play we so roundly despise in our politics. Ms. Jarrell may as well demand that only those able to help a politician obtain re-election be granted the constitutional right to petition for a redress of grievances.

Let gay folks marry. It's simple 14th Amendment equal protection, people.

Pay to play seems to be a theme this week.  :-) 

Personally, I think procreation is less powerful than the "way God intended" argument. It is hard to challenge people who are absolute in what they know God intends.  Nonetheless, Chris, thank you for writing.  The more pro-gay content in the newspaper, the more impact we have, especially when the content is driven by readers. 

View Article  Even more on PA so called "Marriage Protection Amendment"

A lot to impart so bear with me.

First, the hearing.  If you cannot attend, you can submit written testimony.  This comes from Sue Frietsche, Pittsburgh's Women's Law Project go-to-woman.  I am still trying to determine if you can email it.  Ledcat and I are working on a joint letter.

It can be in letter form, addressed to Senator Greenleaf at:  Senate Judiciary Committee, Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA  17120, and it should be entitled, "Testimony of [your name] on Senate Bill 1250".  

So, that's one critical piece of information and just proves that it is sometimes worth kicking up the dirt to find the flowers.  Thus, if you cannot attend, you have no reason not to let your voice be heard on this important issue.  It doesn't have to be profound or anything like that.  Just write. 

Second, I've mentioned my concerns about the "information dissemination" process around this legislation.  I shared my concerns with local and statewide LGBT advocacy folks.  Most agree that a dearth of resources are part of the problem.  Stacey Sobel of Equality Advocates gave me a lot of insight into the process.  I suspect, like many situations, it boils down to communication.  The fact that I received at least 13 copies of the hearing notice (including a few today) does not offset the fact that it took four days to get the information in the first place.  Creating another group or setting up another website is not the answer.  We have to find a better way for advocacy groups to get the word out here in Pittsburgh -- it is *our* responsibility to make it happen. 

Finally, I hope you caught the letters to the editor in today's Post-Gazette.  One is from a long (very long) time friend of mine, Keith Bajura.  His optimism is buoying amidst all this hearing hoopla:

Furthermore, marriage equality is going to happen. With our society becoming ever more accepting that homosexuality is a normal human trait such as having green eyes or being left-handed, the next generation will struggle even less with the issue than we do today. In fact, five countries of the world currently allow same-sex marriage.

Maybe we can get back to basics and remember that this country was founded on the equality of all people. It is only constitutional and only American that we offer marriage to all people -- gay or straight.

Then there is Marilyn Reed of Pine (where is Pine?) who hasn't been paying attention to the facts.  She claims that this amendment won't impact domestic partner benefits.  Then she trots out the worn out "Let the People decide!" argument.  Sigh. 

Your paper often seems to pride itself on its support of freedom of speech. The latest polling indicates that even those who don't completely support the majority who define marriage as the union only of man and woman still want the people to have the final say!

That didn't work out so well for the people in the 2000 election, did it Marilyn?  This whole line of thought makes civil rights something that can be bestowed upon certain groups on the whim of the majority.  Isn't that a scary world, Marilyn?  There was a time, Marilyn, when the voters didn't think that you - a woman - had the right to vote.  Or to get an education so as to be able to write letters to the editor.  Was it okay for those people to make that series of decisions?  Hmmm ...

Still no letters in the Tribune Review.  What is the deal?

Please write your testimony.  Let the Senators on the Appropriations Committee hear from you.  It does make a difference. 

Follow PghLesbian24 on Twitter

The Correspondents