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View Article  Sign Petition for Pirates to Contribute to It Gets Better Video Here


Click here to sign the petition. 

View Article  James Harrison's non-apology for "gay slur"

I read this late last night and choked on whatever was in my glass.  This man has zero understanding of LGBT issues.  Zero. He needs to be educated and I hope his management team recognizes that he is saying ... well, first read his comments. (Full statement here.)

I also need to make clear that the comment about Roger Goodell was not intended to be derogatory against gay people in any way. It was careless use of a slang word and I apologize to all who were offended by the remark. I am not a homophobic bigot, and I would never advocate intolerance of gay people.

A slang word? Again, I'm assuming the word is either "fag" or "faggot" but I haven't seen the original article and all of the mainstream media folks are not printing the word. Hopefully, we can clear that up when Men's Journal comes out today.

Anyway, slang word?  Let's contrast this to his publicist attributing his comments to his culture.

"I don't think we should get caught up in his cultural language," Parise said. "I think people will read that for what it is and move on. I don't think anyone truly believes James thinks the commissioner is the devil."

It would be easy to assume that Harrison and Parise are saying that using the word "fag" or "faggot" is part of African-American culture and thus deserves a pass (pun not intended) because it isn't *intended* to be offensive.

First of all, it is demeaning to imply that the African-American culture embraces a hateful word as part of their culture. It isn't slang.  It is a derogatory word for gay men (and the entire LGBTQ community by extension).  It conveys a message of disrespect, intolerance and even disgust or hate.  There's no way to spin these words as "slang" unless you are on the heterosexual, dismissive side of the "joke."  And that's an ugly place to be.

Second, I think there is a cultural component and Parise may be on to something.  The culture, however, is male dominated professional sports.  This is the fourth incident in less than a month (2 football, 1 baseball and 1 hockey) reported by the media.  Four incidents in one month suggests there is in fact a cultural acceptance of the word "fag" within this community.  Too bad for the LGBTQ players, staff, coaches and, oh yeah, fans, especially the kids. 

NBA star Kobe Bryant was fined heavily for saying this word in a heated moment. It was wrong, he should know better and the fine was justified given the negative impact it has on the kids who look up to him.  Period.

Harrison has apparently been stewing on his hatred toward Roger Goodell for some time.  He knew this interview was coming and he had fair reason to suspect the topic would arise.  In other words, he had ample opportunity to prepare his comments. If he got so worked up in an interview that he "slipped," then he needs to deal with these feeelings b/c they are leading him down some bitter paths and hurting innocent people.

If Harrison thinks the words "fag" and "faggot" or even "homo" are slang terms, he is a homophobic bigot. Sadly, he takes the immature approach of pretending that "offending" people isn't his bad b/c he didn't mean to do so.  What a poor role model this man is for youth in America.  And what a poor reflection on Pittsburgh and the Steeler Nation. 

He needs to be educated.  If Tracy Morgan could make time to meet with LGBTQ youth and families to make amends for his words, Harrison could take the time to meet with some of the LGBTQ youth of Pittsburgh or some of the Steeler's LGBTQ fans.  He could hear firsthand how these words impact our lives.  And maybe his heart would grow a few sizes and he'd be a man who can claim not to be a bigot in spite of the culture of his profession.

I'm willing to facilitate this.  I'll be waiting for the call. 


View Article  Oh, James Harrison ... you had to go there ...

UPDATE: If this angers you, please ask the Pittsburgh Pirates to send a different message to the LGBT community, especially youth, by signing the petition to make a video for the It Gets Better Project. Constructive response to a disgusting situation.


So, Steeler's linebacker James Harrison used an anti-gay slur (the Post-Gazette did not print which leads me to assume it was "fag") in his latest rant against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an issue of Men's Journal magazine.

In the article, Harrison uses an anti-gay slur to describe Goodell, and also refers to him as "stupid," "puppet" and "dictator."

If the Steelers had defeated the Packers in the Super Bowl, Harrison said, he would have whispered in Goodell's ear during the trophy ceremony: "Why don't you quit and do something else, like start your own league in flag football?"

The truly sad moment comes when his agent "spins" the comments as cultural commentary.

"A lot of it is bravado," Parise said. "I think people have to be careful not to read that and think those statements are anything more than expressions of feelings, particularly in regard to the commissioner. The commissioner fined James $100,000 last year. What do you want him to say, he's my best friend? James is a tough individual and that's the type of language he uses."


"I don't think we should get caught up in his cultural language," Parise said. "I think people will read that for what it is and move on. I don't think anyone truly believes James thinks the commissioner is the devil."

His cultural language? Does he mean the culture of football ...or professional sports?  Or famous people?  Cause dropping "fag" into a rant is not unfamiliar to individuals in these communities.  Or does he mean the African-American culture?  Cause I don't really think devil-talk and homophobic bigotry is universal to the African-American community.  

Team Harrison needs a sit down with GLAAD to do some spin.  A lot of LGBTQ folks are fans of the Steelers, but how often can you turn your head to bad behavior (drunk driving, sexual  assault allegations, domestic violence) before you are forced to reassess if the team deserves your loyalty? 

From Kobe Bryant to Philly's DeSean Jackson, the homophobic tirades are a serious issue and do real damage.  Callingg someone a devil probably isn't going to lead to a 14 year old being bullied in a lockeroom.  Or erode the self-esteem of a 15 year old who hasn't told anyone he is attracted to other boys.  Or egg on the 16 year old who picks on other kids. 

Harrison's conduct is unacceptable on many levels, but the "gay slur" is particularly egregious. His agent spinning this as a "cultural" issue is beyond the pale of racist stupidity.  I guess we are supposed to assume Kobe, DeSean and James aren't capable of conducting themselves in a respectful, professional manner under stress because they are African-American?  How is that a defense?  It is horrible and demeaning to these grown adults who certainly have the capacity for self-control. 

Just pathetic all across the board. 

View Article  Another Update on Pittsburgh Pirates and "It Gets Better Project"

We surged past 200 signatures on the petition overnight and now hover around 223. 

223 Pirates' fans encouraging the Bucs to take a stance against bullying of LGBTQ youth.  This is a great way for you to weigh in and urge our hometown team to stand up for youth right here in our communities.  I might say it paves the way for other collaborations down the road. 

I went ahead and invited the Diversity Initiatives staff to meet with the Gay & Lesbian Community Center to learn more about what is actually happening on the ground for LGBTQ folks every day, not just on Pride Night at PNC Park.  I'm also not sure folks realize that there is a lot of sports enthusiasts in our community. 

If the Pirates take this stance against anti-LGBTQ bullying, it will be a grant thing for Pittsburgh to be among the first Major League clubs to "step up to the plate" (ha) and embrace the responsibility of being the City of Champions. 

Pennsylvania faces many up-hill challenges for our community and our allies.  We still don't have anti-discrimination protections, hate crime protections or protections in our schools.  We are struggling to get domestic partner benefits for public employees, unionized or not.  We have to fight off another battle over a so-called "marriage protection" amendment.  It is a very full plate. 

I think we should welcome the Pirates to join us there in whatever capacity they can do it. I wonder if they offer domestic partner benefits?

Please promote the petition.  http://www.change.org/petitions/ask-the-pittsburgh-pirates-to-make-a-video-for-the-it-gets-better-project

View Article  Update on Pirates and It Gets Better

This little petition story received boosts from the likes of the City Paper and 2 Political Junkies.

From the City Paper:

Judging by the Nutting family's political activity, Kerr's initiative might not seem to have much of a chance. Ogden Nutting, Bob Nutting's father, has contributed nearly $12,000 to conservatives nationwide, like Michele Bachmann and Pat Toomey. Bob Nutting has also donated $1,000 to conservative West Virginia congressman David McKinley.

But team spokesman Jim Trdinich says that participating in the video project is "something we are looking to take part in, [although] the organization is still working on the most effective plan to assist everybody involved."

Yes, this is a bit daunting.  I had actually forgotten this tidbit.  Hmmm. Still, "something we are looking to take part in" is not an outright "no thank you."  I'm not sure what an effective plan might be.  The truth is that there are LGBTQ kids sleeping on the streets in Pittsburgh b/c they got booted from their homes, either directly or due to unrelenting pressure about their identities.  There are kids being slammed into lockers, stuffed into lockers, kept from their lockers and having their lockers vandalized.  The get beaten up, called "fags" and "dykes" and much worse.  They are mocked, belittled and persecuted in the way that only other teens can do. 

It is not as if a Pirates video will save these kids from future harassment.  But it does acknowledge their persecution and remind them that their are adults who are in their corner. 

Pittsburgh is very fortunate to have some resources for LGBTQ youth.  Dreams of Hope performing group does amazing storytelling about these and other experiences.  The Gay & Lesbian Community Center has a thriving Friday night youth might under the leadership of Ben Cook.  Persad has an afterschool program.  Faith communities embrace queer youth and remind them that they are loved and safe in their youth programming.  And street outreach programs try to connect homeless LGBTQ youth with appropriate services.  Families Like Ours provides exposure to other LGBTQ families. 

Frankly, I'd like to see the Pirates charitable arm funding some of these efforts.  I'd like to think the dialogue won't stop at a video. 

But, the video might be the entree we need.  It is worth a shot.  It has gotten us this far.  I'm moved that I don't know most of the folks signing the petition.  I don't recognize their names.  I do appreciate their comments and the fact that the information is apparently making its way around Pittsburgh.

Please, if you haven't done so, sign the petitions.  Share the link on FB and Twitter.  Be that one name that gets us past 150 signatures and a little closer to 200. 





View Article  Ask the Pittsburgh Pirates to make a video for the "It Gets Better Project"

Are you familiar with the "It Gets Better Project"

Recently, a series of Major League Baseball teams have contributed videos to the project.  The first team was the San Francisco Giants followed by the Cubs, Red Sox and the Mariners.  According to the project, other teams are considering signing on. 

So I contacted the Pirates Diversity Manager whom I've met and began a dialogue about the project.  I recruited some other folks to advocate for our community and teamed up with Equality PA (they are also working with the Phillies). 

The time has come for fans to weigh in so we set up a Change.org petition, much like folks did in the home cities of the teams listed above.  Please take a moment to follow the link and sign on.  Include a message in the comments section if you like. But please remember, we are in encouragement mode. 

The Pirates hosted their first "Pride Night at PNC Park" in 2004 so there is precedent for them to work with our community.  And I would hope they would appreciate that taking a stance against bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not exactly a controversial LGBTQ rights stance.  It is tremendously important issue and the more allies the project gains, the more we can hope to improve the lives of youth in our community. 

Here's the link.  Please pass it around.  http://www.change.org/petitions/ask-the-pittsburgh-pirates-to-make-a-video-for-the-it-gets-better-project

View Article  Because Rape is Funny if its GAY ...

I saw this last week, but it is all over the place now and just thoroughly vulgar and disgusting. 

The reputation of the Pittsburgh Steelers likely took another hit today with the news that Steely McBeam, the team's official mascot, has been accused of sexual assault in an incident late last night at a downtown Pittsburgh gay bar.

According to a police report, McBeam was performing in a Village People revue at Steel Rodds Bar. During a brief intermission, he followed another performer into a small bathroom where they were planning to change -- McBeam into the Indian costume, his accuser into the construction worker -- and allegedly forced himself on the man. 

"The accuser describes the assailant as 6-foot-4 with a large, cotton-poly blend, stuffed penis," said Pittsburgh police chief David Palambo at a press conference this morning. "He claims McBeam held him down with a Styrofoam, faux-steel bar and assaulted him."

I realize it is intended to be a joke, but it isn't funny.  It might be funny if Steely were caught sending stupid text messages like Santonio or making a jackass out of himself like Jeff Reed, but rape?  Really? And it has to be in a gay bar because it is FUNNY that the Steelers mascot is gay.  Or likes gay sex. Or has a giant styrofoam penis.  Funny.


View Article  Suzie McConnnell-Serio to replace Rene Portland? And what does JoePa think?

The PG's Bob Smizik takes Penn State to task for allowing Portland to ride roughshod over university standards, policies and common decency.

It's not like the Harris incident was the first against Portland. She had a long and documented history on the subject. As far back as 1986, Portland was quoted making an anti-lesbian statement. In such a comparatively unenlightened era, such behavior might be understandable. But to maintain such an attitude over some 20 years speaks to the ignorance of a closed mind -- something that should not be tolerated among leaders at a major university.

And what does the big mac-Daddy of PSU sports himself have to say about the whole thing (he hired Portland back in the day when he was athletic director)?

"She is doing what she wants to do," said Paterno, who hired Portland in 1980 when he was athletic director. "I hired Rene and have always been fond of Rene. I think she has done a great job. If she wants to get out of it, then that is up to her."

Uh huh.  Well, fortunately, he won't be hiring the next coach.  Rumor has it that Pittsburgh's own Suzie McConnell-Serio is at the top of the consideration list.  Now that would be very romantic, but I'd suggest PSU take a moment to ensure that McConnell-Serio "gets" it on LGBTQ issues.  She's on the record as stating that sexual orientation is a "personal choice" and that she'll respect personal choices.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement for affirming lesbian players, but a far cry from the Portland-menace approach.  If McConnell-Serio can keep her attention on the game and the players' behavior related to the game, more power to her. 

But wouldn't it be cool if Penn State hired an openly lesbian coach? 

View Article  Penn State's Rene Portland Resigns

Here's a tidbit of good gay-tidings!

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland resigned today, ending a 27-year tenure in which she won 606 games but battled allegations that she discriminated against lesbian players.

Portland resigned last night, the university said in a statement this morning.

Hurrah!  Hurrah!   More later ....



View Article  The Trib - Joey Porter's slurs offensive to some

Imagine if Joey Porter mated with Ann Coulter ... they could spit out homobigot puppies left and right, well mostly just right. 

I just had to chime in on this.  The Tribune Review printed a list of Joey's highs and lows during his Steeler tenure. I won't recant all the amazing athletic feats he accomplished -- bully for him for doing the job he was amply compensated to do.  But here's how Scott Brown sums up Porter's homophobia:

The outspoken Porter made comments that some said were offensive last December, when he called Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. a derogatory name for a homosexual man during a post-game interview. Porter apologized for the word he used, though not to Winslow, and was fined $10,000 by the NFL.

WTF?   Outspoken?  Some said were offensive?  In what reality is calling Kellen Winslow Jr. a fag not offensive?   He was trash talking so everything he said was intended to be offensive. 

Brown was more outraged by Porter's horse-murdering dogs than his blatant bigotry.  Nice, huh? 

Now if I could just connect this to police secondary employment, the mayoral endorsement or Dennis Regan ...

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