Thursday, June 30
by Sue on Thu 30 Jun 2011 01:53 PM EDT
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
Wednesday, June 29
by Sue on Wed 29 Jun 2011 09:34 AM EDT
From the City Paper:
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.
Tuesday, June 28
by Sue on Tue 28 Jun 2011 12:36 PM EDT
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