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View Article  PA Amendment Vote Expected This Week

From the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights in Philadelphia...

April 28, 2006 Constitutional Amendment Set to Run in PA House
The House of Representatives is in session [the week of May1]and the bill is posted on the voting calendar. This means that a vote can occur at any time.

The House Appropriations Committee voted the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" out of Committee on April 24th. This was the next procedural step to running the bill, HB 2381, on the House floor.

We have heard from legislators that both supporters and opponents to the amendment have been contacting them in unprecedented numbers.

It is critical that constituents continue to contact them and ask them to oppose the amendment. If you have not talked to your Representative recently, please do it now! Please ask your friends and family in Pennsylvania to contact their legislator.

If you don't know who your state Representative is, go here.

View Article  Rene Portland: Could PFLAG Help?

Rene Portland wins basketball games. She brings out the basketball best in her players. She knows her craft. But is Rene Portland is a good coach?

A front-page story in today's
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes an in-depth look at Portland's background, including her professional successes. She uses a "Mommy" approach to her team -- monitoring their clothing, their social lives, their volunteer work and so forth. She's had players live with her family and drew in her own mother as the team granny.

She sounds like every overbearing mother I've ever met. She apparently obsesses more about her player's ladylike behavior than their grades (and their overall well-being). I suspect that like many control freaks, Rene believes that if they would just do it her way, happiness and success is bound to follow.

The story indicates that this is Portland's last warning; one more homophobic incident and she'll be terminated. Penn State is like the parent in the checkout line lecturing their child "I'm going to count to three ...one ...two ... I really mean it ... two and a half ...don't push me ... two and three quarters ..." while the child in question gleefully continues to misbehave.

This serves to illustrate that Portland is not about following the rules; she's about following her rules. In her mind, Penn State administation should get out of the way and let her do her job. Non-discrimination language is fine, as long as it doesn't conflict with her way of doing things.

Portland's idea of "mothering" is more akin to Mommy Dearest than Mother Knows Best.

Being a parent is not about exerting total control over your children and forcing them to become the person you want them to be. Even parents of lgbt kids. Portland's methods belong in the realm of the so-called gay conversion progams, not at the helm of a top-ranked university's athletic teams.

I'm not a coach, but I did run track in high-school for several years under a good coach who brought out the best I had to offer (Hello, Mr. Shar, wheverer you are).  He set clear expectations, both for performance and behavior.  But they were all related to the sport, not an attempt to regulate my entire existance. I was one of three women who lettered that year even though I had the lowest ranking on team. That letter means the world to me because it represents finding something important inside myself that I never knew was there. That came in handy when I had my big gay moment at age 29

Portland is an unabashed homophobe and all the sanctions in the world are not going to penetrate her nasty little mind.  She doesn't belong at Penn State, period.  Perhaps Liberty University is looking for a coach?
(cross-posted from Big Gay Picture)
View Article  Altoona Finds Soldier Not Guilty of Sexual Assault; Complaintant Forced to Come Out

An Altoona jury found that an Army Reserve officer was not guilty of sexually assaulting a female officer.  He said it was consensual sex.  She claimed otherwise.  Guess who the jurors believed?

During the trial, the woman soldier testified that she had not wanted to file charges for fear that it would come out that she was a lesbian which would impact her career.  Her testimony surprised the courtroom, but she simply stated "You asked, and I told."

So now its more of a "Don't Tell and They Won't Ask" policy where soldiers are protecting their assailants in order to protect themselves.  What the hell kind of twisted logic is that? 

A 2006 study from the Pentagon indicates a 40% increase in the reports of sexual assaults within the military in less than one year.  40% increase!  While I'm glad people are reporting it, it makes you wonder what the hell was happening before 2005 AND who else isn't reporting it.   Advocates express concern over how the female soldier victims are being treated by the military throughout the internal investigations.

Apparently, in Altoona, it ain't so good.  Because guess what?  This female soldier is going to be investigated for outing herself.

Before the verdict was announced, Army Reserve spokesman Jack Gordon in Coraopolis told The Associated Press that the woman's testimony would be reviewed by military officials.

Thus, LGBT soldiers are caught in particularly vicious catch 22:  report sexual assault and risk their orientation being revealed OR keep quiet and risk being further assaulted.  What a wonderful environment for female soldiers of any orientation. 

Not that I'm surprised that Altoona "We have more in common with Alabama than Philly or Pittsburgh" is the locale for this particular travesty of justice.  Friends of mine who are a heterosexual, biracial couple have wonderful stories of tolerance and openmindedness from their brief sojourn in Altoona.  It was awful enough to make Pittsburgh a sort of beacon of acceptance when they relocated to this part of the state. 


View Article  Thugs Linked to Government Attack Polish Gay Marchers

From 365gay.com, we find this morning that marchers in a Polish gay tolerance parade (Equality Days) were attacked by youth "counterprotestors" (thugs).  Dozens of the parade's 1,000 marchers were injured.  Media sources indicate that there is a link between this particular group of thugs and Polish President Lech Kaczynski who has a history of oppressing gays.

The Polish government is under warning from the EU that it may lose its voting rights if it continues to oppose gay rights.

Interesting links on Polish LGBT issues

Warsaw Pride (in English)

Network of East-West Women

ILGA Europe (Equality for LGBT people in Europe)


View Article  Lesbian Correspondent Goes National!

I want to thank the man who made it all possible for this little correspondent to hit the big time .... soon to be former US Senator Rick Santorum!  

Yes, folks, I am doing a one month guest stint as a lesbian correspondent for a NATIONAL blog (ooohhhhhhh!).  :-)

It is called Big Gay Picture and we've linked to it from almost Day One.   Founding lesbian editor Sarah has to attend to other priorities, so the dynamic duo of Brent and Michael sought out some new lesbian blood (oh, those gay boys and their lesbian blood fetishes!).  Voila!  I'm joining Christie Keith (fellow dog lover) in a one month guest stint. 

Don't worry Pittsburgh!  I'll still be taking care of my correspondent duties both here and on KDKA's The Flip Side with John McIntire.  Big Gay Picture is all about the national issues like Rene Portland's lesbian baiting, Rick Santorum's reelection campaign and attempts to pass marriage protection amendments ... its like the Big Pennsylvania Gay Picture. 

Obviously, I'm just the woman for the job!   Read often and make lots of comments. 

My mother would be so proud if I could get her to understand what a blog is ...

View Article  Hypocrites in right winger land

As a member of the female species and a feminist I have been paying attention to the furor in Mt. Lebanon. I have some friends who live in Mt. Lebanon and my grandfather lived there for many years. It's a nice place. Lately it has also provided a lesson in good ole fashion hypocrisy, one of my favorite subjects.

It's a favorite topic because I always have to laugh at how people can condemn and bash gay people for supposedly being morally bankrupt. And then turn around and do the same thing (or worse) they condemn others for doing.

Mt. Lebanon--white, rich, Christian and right-wing republican has a group of boys (sorry, they don't qualify as young men) rating the girls of their school on such wonderful areas as their breasts, buttocks and whether they perform oral sex and do drugs. A lovely, lovely way to think about their female peers. I'm sure the "women" at Concerned Women for America are very proud. Anyway, to illustrate my point, I can't think of a better way to do it then the following quote--published in today's Post Gazette from Attorney William H. Difenderfer, who represents one of the boys involved in making the list:

He added, "I'm very fearful with this publicity that the administration will go over the top with these boys. They're very good kids. I know them well. They all are college-bound. They all have very constructive lives ahead of them. ... These kids are all decent kids. My client is extremely remorseful."

Here is what these "decent kids" were talking about in their list of "Top 25" females:

The list includes grades for girls' faces, breasts and buttocks and talks about drug use, oral sex, sexually transmitted disease and weight.

So, these are what the right-wing republicans of Mt. Lebon consider to be "decent kids?" Well, it makes me feel better that they are college-bound and have constructive lives ahead of them--doing what? Writing for Hustler Magazine? Playing lacrosse for Duke? Ohhh, low blow!!

These are the same, smug people who, with their Bibles in hand, will vote to ban gay marriage so those deviants don't harm our society! 

See, ain't hypocrisy grand? And I will say this. I will pit all of my gay friends (and most of gay society--LOL) against these "decent boys" any day of the week.


View Article  AFA of PA: Being Queer More Risky Than Bullying and Harassment

I just have to post the whole damn message I received as part of my subscription to the American Family ...   more »

View Article  City Paper - Marriage Amendment Could Hurt A Lot of Heterosexuals
We've said it before, but it bears repeating .... Metcalfe's Marriage Amendment could hurt tens of thousands of unmarried heterosexual couples.  The City Paper does a nice job with this.

U.S. Census 2000 estimates there are roughly 240,000 Pennsylvania families ? about 5 percent of the state?s 4.8 million households ? made up of unmarried couples. Many of these were grandfathered in as common-law marriages before a new state law abolished this marital arrangement last year. Among them are widowed seniors who never formalized their marital bonds, and who might have no redress if the proposed amendment negates every form of marital arrangement but traditional matrimony.


Seniors? ?property, pension and Social Security are possibly at risk because they?re survivor benefits,? explains Karen Buck, executive director of the Philadelphia-based SeniorLAW Center, a statewide advocacy group that objects to the amendment


We can only try to convince the moderate Republicans that this bill is going to negatively many of their constituents.  And protect no one's marriage.

Meanwhile, over at the Vox Pop column, lesbian fan John McIntire takes homobigots to task ...

I know the homophobes don?t care about whether gays and lesbians have the same rights as the rest of us. Discrimination against anyone different is a grand American tradition. But here?s what they should try to understand: There?s nothing to ?protect.? Legal gay marriage will have absolutely no effect on hetero marriage.


You still don?t have to mix with the homos. You can still look down your noses at them ?cause ?it just ain?t natural.? (?Course there are millions of them on the earth, you know. God sure must have screwed up a bunch of times.)

Stay tuned for an update on the marriage amendment passage through the Pennsylvania Republican Caucus.

View Article  Big Lesbian Welcome to Correspondent Shelly
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents is pleased to welcome our newest
correspondent Shelly. We've known Shelly for several years -- she is very
active in the local LGBT community. Her writing, you will find, is
articulate, insightful and from a slightly different perspective than Ledcat
and me.

Three's Company, too!

Welcome aboard Shelly!

View Article  A Reply to Rep. Daryl Metcalfe
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe wrote an op-ed piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that defended the proposed amendment to the PA Constitution regarding gay marriage. His piece was full of fear-mongering and inaccuracies that are exposed in this article.   more »
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The Correspondents