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View Article  Is homosexuality less offensive than satanism?

Thank you, Harry Potter!  You and your satanistic ways have surpassed "homosexual content" as a challenge to library books across the nation. 

According to the American Library Association, the Harry Potter series is at the top of the list (2000-2005) of books targeted to be removed from libraries.  Recognize any of the others?

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier

3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers

7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris

8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz

9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

10. "Forever" by Judy Blume

I've read Hary Potter, Of Mice and Men, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Forever (good grief - is Judy Blume still controversial b/c of the most innocuous love scene ever written?). 

I surfed over to GoodReads.com (be my friend if you want!) for more information on the other books.  "It's Perfectly Normal" is a children's book about sexuality that discusses homosexual and masturbation in an age-appropriate, healthy way.  The Alice series briefly mentions (and supports) both homosexuality and <gasp> interracial dating. 

The rundown on complaints?

1,607 for "sexually explicit" material

1,427 for "offensive language"

1,256 for material considered "unsuited to age group"

842 for material with an "occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism"

737 for material considered "violent"

515 for material with a homosexual theme or "promoting homosexuality"

419 for material "promoting a religious viewpoint."

The group lists as other stated reasons: "nudity" (317 challenges), "racism" (267 challenges), "sex education" (224 challenges) and "anti-family" (202 challenges).

I suppose you could say what a sad world we live in when sexual language and activity is more threatening to parents (and groups) than books with violent or racist themes.  However, like most rational adults, I would prefer to be the one selecting what books are appropriate for my child (and myself), not some wingnut fringe anti-gay, sex-fearing, God-lovin' group of loonies. 

You know what book freaked me out when I was young?  Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.  That was a seriously psychologically scary book for a 15 year old.  And our dreary old literature instructor, Mr. Ludwig, didn't help matters -- he was the kind of guy who would say "Write a 750 word essay ..." to a bunch of 15 year olds and then yell at us when we counted the words.  Not the best way to teach an appreciation of literature (or critical writing skills). 

For fun, check out the Captain Underpants website. 

So I'm going to add some of the "banned" books to my GoodReads list.  The Chocolate War and Fallen Angels sound particularly interesting. 

Any books freak you out when you were a youngster? 

View Article  Have you heard about that dude in Idaho?

So, there's this Senator from Idaho.  Maybe you've heard about him?  I've had a ton of email messages asking me when I'll blog about it.  I did a segment on McIntire yesterday.  And I've spoken at length with all the important homos in my life about the whole situation.  Here's my quick summary:

First, hypocrite with a capital HYP.  No question.  Closeted gay man actively oppresses us.  Not cool.

Second, police "sting" = entrapment.  I'm so not okay with arresting people for their thoughts or intentions.  Toe tapping and bag placement do not constitute a violation of the law, regardless of their intent.  My understanding is that the police officer played along, using established signals to communicate his interest. A friend explained to me that it is physically impossible for the scenario to have gone down without the police officer doing some fancy footwork of his own.

Third, the wingnuts are going to eject Craig faster than Mark Foley can compose an email.  He'll resign so a R appointee can take the "incumbent advantage" in the upcoming election.  You heard it here first.

Finally, the hysteria around men having sex in the bathroom is pathetic.  Good grief, people, get a grip.  The predator in the bathroom is not a gay man looking to make a connection with another adult.  My friend explained to me in great detail how much effort the individuals take to have some modicum of privacy and not expose their sexual activities to other people. 

View Article  Animal Friends, Bark in the Park and Protestors?

Hey.  This morning, Ledcat and I rolled out of bed early to head up to North Park to celebrate Bark in the Park with Animal Friends.  Mona was ecstatic about it, but the boys stayed home. 

When we arrived, we saw that the police had detained two individuals and word in the park was that they were protestors there about the geese massacre.  We were unable to confirm that fact, so I thought I'd throw the incident out to see if anyone knows exactly what went down and why?  I have my suspicions, but I'm waiting for details before I share them with the world.

The event was nice.  Saw some old and new friends and we met a dog named Sushi that could be Mona's older sister.  In fact, someone else mistook Mona for Sushi.  Mona didn't care -- there was petting involved.  Mona also made a paw print painting for the fridge. 

Mona participated in the tennis ball activity where she was supposed to "choose" one either by sniffing it or picking it up in her mouth.  She opted to claim them all by laying  down on top of the entire pile.  When it came time to claim her prize, she stuck her head in the box and came up empty.  So I picked out a cute little plaid purse that squeaked.  She approved and brought it home where Xander promptly claimed it as his "man bag" and has had it with him at all times ever since.  Deus tried to take it, but Xander stood his ground.  It coordinates better with his ensemble anyway.

Anyway, I hope someone can clue me in on the police activity....

View Article  Pgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society Shows "Tick Tock Lullaby"

Got plans on September 7? You might want to catch the latest film from the Pgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society  -- Tick Tock Lullaby -- at the Southside Works. 

Here's the blurb ....Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society is pleased to present Tick
Tock Lullaby on Sept 7th at the SouthSide Works Theater.  Show time
is 9:30 PM with a party afterwards.   And don't forget to join us as
a friend on MySpace.  We got a lot going on so join us!
Tick Tock Lullaby
Bursting with smart, tender observations on the travails of
prospective parenthood, Tick Tock Lullaby is a sharply observed three-
part exploration of sexuality and the search for sperm in hip thirty-
something London. Spot-on dialogue, dynamic cinematography and
perfect performances are the highlights of this gently unfolding
intimate portrait of one lesbian couple's struggle with whether (and
how) to have a baby.

Butch-y artist Sasha (writer/director Lisa Gornick) and her attorney
girlfriend Maya's (Brit TV phenom Raquel Cassidy) heterosexual
procreation envy are contrasted with a pair of other baby-making
stories: A single female photographer who wants a child (but not a
relationship) sleeps around with a series of young clueless guys
while her coupled sister and her boyfriend entertain doubts (and sex
and intimacy issues) as they try to make a baby the old-fashioned way.

Sasha's intimate confessions and endearing neuroses touch a lovely,
vulnerable nerve as do her tremendously thoughtful reflections on
love, sex and intimacy in this bracingly honest, beautifully made
British feature from the director of sexy rom-com Do I Love You? --

View Article  New Lutheran Bishop won't rock the boat on gay issues

I have to admit I'm not at my best so this will be very short (I have bronchitis). 

There's a new Lutheran Bishop in town..  And he is neither friend nor foe to the homosexual community, so he says.

Bishop-elect Kurt Kusserow of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America plans to honor a request from the denomination's national assembly to refrain from removing gay ministers who have partners, at least until the church issues a new policy on sexual ethics in 2009.

"I think that already reflects the hearts of most of our bishops," said Bishop-elect Kusserow, who attended part of last week's assembly in Chicago.

"There are pastors and members of our churches who are involved across the board in all sorts of things that are questionable in terms of church practice. What it means to be a pastor is to work with people in their difficulties. ... It is not a wise pastor who goes looking for other people's faults to weed them out."

Essentially, they are in a holding pattern until 2009 which does allow the church to continue to dialogue without current pastors living under the fear of being evicted.

Well, it is nice to see a religious leader acknowledge that there are worse things a Lutheran could do, than go with a boy or two, even if the parish-hood, thinks their trashy and no good ... but there are worse things they could do!


View Article  92.9 Lite FM - Not Cool on Gay Bash

Why I was listening to Gary & Beth on 92.9 Lite FM this morning, I can't tell you.  But Mona was in the backseat so I was just too occupied to change the station.  They were taking calls about "must have" back to school crap.  I heard all about shoes, backpacks, binders, etc.  Then this guy named Larry (I really think that was his name) calls in to say his son wanted skateboarding shoes and other stuff.  *yawn*

Larry then says that his son likes "dissing" tee shirts.  Apparently, there are shirts that mock people and they are popular.  Beth groaned and said she doesn't like those.  Larry defends his parenting by saying he only buys funny shirts.  Such as:

"If you aren't gay, why is your girlfriend calling me?"

Nice, huh?  Gary and Beth's response?  They just get him off the air and move on to the next caller.  No comment about how NOT FUNNY that shirt is.  No statement that mocking gay teenagers (or gay preteens) is a hurtful, obnoxious, awful behavior. 

What's worse is that this isn't live radio.  They could have dumped that call.  They could have cut him off.  Or they could have responded.  Nope, they decided to get the little slam in without Gary or Beth sullying their reputations directly.

I sure hope the children of both Gary and Beth know better.  I hope they know what to do when Larry's kid is shoving the "gay boy" into the lockers and kicking him with his skateboard sneakers.  I hope their children have friends in the Gay-Straight Alliance.  I hope their friends have gay parents/siblings/relatives.  I hope they experience firsthand what value diversity and tolerance can bring into their young lives.

I hope they are more brave and upstanding when it comes to defending people than their parents. 

This from the company that brings you the City Paper each week.  Maybe Gary and Beth should pick up a copy once in awhile.

View Article  Thursday Flashback - Just Because


When I was in high school and college, I loved this show.  When I grew up and learned that Patty Duke was playing two roles while living with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, I loved the show even more.  I think I had a secret desire to go back to the "good old days" and actually believed the 50's might be it.  I had a passing flirtation with the 20s and the late 1800's, but the 1950's where it for me, man.  Until I left the nest and learned what the squabbles about bussing us kids during the 1984 WM high school merger really meant -- - funny how those same phrases are coming to light now regarding the Duquesne students ... 23 years later.  Sigh.

Anyway, Patty Duke is my dirty little secret.  I also loved teen romance novels set in the 50s of which the WM junior high library was well stocked.  To balance it out, I read a lot of boys stories, too.  In fact, I would hide my brother's copy of "Boys Life" (from Boy Scouts) when it arrived and read it under the covers at night.  My all-time favorite was "My Sister Mike" about the tomboy who got the guy without compromising who she was.  For a long time, I thought I wanted to get the guy, too. Took me awhile to figure out I wanted to get the tomboy.  LOL.

View Article  Tomorrow at the Warhol - A Chat About Transphobia and Homophobia
UPDATE:  Dr. Emilia Lombardi is NOT participating in this event. 
Date:  Aug. 17, 2007
Cost: Free
Time:  7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

7 p.m. ? Conversation moderated by Derek Tines with special guests, Chastity Cheetam, Emilio Lombardi and others.

8 p.m. ? Drag performance by Nickki Daniel with DJ Soy Sos spinning the flavor.

This program is presented in support of the special exhibition Carryin? On, currently on view through September 2.

Carryin' On is the Teenie Harris exhibit I wrote about last month.

View Article  Pittsburgh Organizing Group Fasts Against War and Military Recruitment

The Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) recently announced plans to launch a month-long fast in September at the front door of the Oakland military recruiting station.

The goal of this fast and camp-out is simple: To contribute to the movement working for the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq, and an end to military recruitment in Pittsburgh.

I have taken some time before posting this.  While I do post about direct action issues on a semi-regular basis, I have not always been in POG's corner on some of their tactics nor in the corner of other direct action groups that are self-described anarchists.  That being said, I am opposed to the war in Iraq and support a troop withdrawal.  I am also intrigued by how well-laid out this tactic seems to be, similar to how impressed I was with the direct action at the CMU National Robotics Institute

I've also noticed that when I do blog about direct action tactics, it generates a lot of response from POG and their supporters, which I appreciate of course.  The problem seems to be finding and respecting common ground.  My impression from some of the commenters is that it is all or nothing and that's just not going to build a bridge with me.  At the same time, it doesn't sway me from believing that individuals *like me* can make a difference.

Fasts and long term encampments have historically been used as personal and political statements of protest and have been successfully utilized by groups seeking to raise the moral and political pressure in society necessary for specific changes in policy. In September, we will be demonstrating our outrage and sorrow through our actions as we work to create the world we want to live in. We will not only do this by fasting, but by marching, mourning and reflecting.

There's a long list of events, including a rally, picket, candlelight vigil, and a festival at the very end.  So you and I can get involved.  I'm planning to head down and liveblog at some point, depending on my own schedule.

What do you think?

View Article  Pgh Lesbian Variety Show Issues Statement Regarding Trans-Discrimination

I should preface by saying the CTN has repeatedly ignored my requests for comment.  I received this through a local queer events email list.

As we reported two weeks ago, a local woman, Jessi Seams, alleges that Celebrate the Night, a lesbian variety show in honor of National Coming Out Day, discriminated against her by refusing to allow her to audition.  Jessi, a transwoman, provided email from CTN claiming she was denied because she had been an escort, an allegation Jessi denies.  CTN eventually acknowledged that they refused to allow Jessi to perform because a background search on the Internet found spaces where Jessi still identified herself as male.  To date, CTN has not explained why they misled Jessi about the situation and continues to state they are transfriendly. 

CTN's statement as per the Queer Events List:

   We, CTN, would like to thank everyone involved in this public discussion, and those who contacted us directly, for sharing open dialogue &/or showing support.
   CTN is growing and learning, and relies on the collaboration of volunteers and community. While we believe this situation could have been handled differently, we have taken all your feedback into consideration, and feel that CTN is going to be better and stronger as a result.
   CTN has been growing each year, thanks to the dedication of our completely voluntary committee, staff and the community, which we hope to serve. Every year, we learn more, and moving forward, we intend to re-evaluate our policies for next year. We acknowledge and accept that we can not, and will not please everyone. We also, as always, encourage everyone to get involved, if not with CTN, then thru another organization that aspires to help our community.  Sincerely, CTN

I'm going to be kind here b/c I do recognize that CTN is an amateur organization. 

But this doesn't say anything, does it?  It doesn't even use the words "discrimination" "transgender" or "inclusion," much less "we made a mistake."  Cause clearly they don't think they have and they have no intention of acknowledging or rectifying their discrimination.  "We cannot and will not please everyone" pretty well sums it up. 

Does it please you, dear readers, that a woman in transition was accused of being a sex worker, denied the opportunity to face her accusers and in the end, discovers it was a cover for the real discrimination?

Does it please you, dear readers, that an organization honoring all women and the coming out process blatantly disrespects the unique (aren't they all?) coming out of a sister in transition?

Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN will not clarify their policies on background checks nor confirm if they are universally conducted? 

Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN has subtly implied through various email messages that Jessi's behavior was vaguely threatening throughout the process with no real specifics?  Doesn't that nicely reinforce the stereotype and tap into lesbian fears that she's really a man? 

Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN will review their policies for next year? If policies are discriminatory, isn't now the time to address them?  How will they do so?  Will they contact the Pittsburgh Transsexual Support Group or Persad for assistance in reviewing those policies? 

Personally, I need a bit more to go on before I would drop $20.00 at this point.

There should be more breaking on this story today.  Live from Lesbian Central ....

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