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

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View Article  Various Updates

Here's a good site for an update on Prop 8, the California amendment that would make gay marriage illegal.

Pam's House Blend has an interesting post about Barack Obama's Caucasian family.

From PageOneQ:


And, finally, this from the Bay Area Reporter's Political IQ column:

I'm not joking when I say we need heroes right now. We need a Martin Luther King Jr. or a Gandhi. And, I wouldn't at all mind if a Wonder Woman or Superman flew in to help.

We should be winning. This year's electoral map looks increasingly liberal, yet we're still struggling. As I gaze at the political landscape, I can't help but wonder: Where have all our champions gone?

Personally, I think these people do exist, but they are impossible to spot unless we understand what it really takes to become a hero. To do that, first consider Superman and Wonder Woman. These fictional super folk illustrate the two characteristics shared by all heroes, imagined and real.

First, heroes have to have the ability to act. Because they face super villains, Wonder Woman and Superman need extraordinary powers. But even with their super strengths, these two couldn't claim the title of "hero," if they hadn't first decided they have a personal responsibility to help other people. Wonder Woman could have lived regally as an Amazon princess. Superman could have ripped apart bank vaults and lounged in luxury with his plundered millions. Who could have stopped him?

In real life, heroes don't need super strength. In fact, real heroes are quite ordinary before they ever do anything heroic. Martin Luther King Jr. was nothing more than the pastor of a church in Alabama before he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Gandhi was a lawyer before he launched his first crusade for freedom. However, both realized that they had a responsibility to act. Both brought their real-world gifts to the battles they faced.

I ask again: Where are the champions in LGBT America and among our straight allies? Who are the people who will save us?

Who are our heroes in Western Pennsylvania? It is something I struggle to understand and seem to question far too often for anyone's comfort. Including my own.  My therapist keeps asking me why I have to go there and I'm not sure I understand it myself.  First and foremost, I just think it should be okay to ask questions.  Second, it should be okay to have opinions.  And third, well, it should be okay to hold people accountable when they assume leadership roles and make promises/commitments/pledges to us.  Like the President. Only someone that I acutally believe.

View Article  Electile Dysfunction: Wagner and Peduto?

Due to my radiator malfunction in Uptown during the afternoon, I was unable to attend the Electile Dysfunction event last night.  Missing Lynn Cullen was a definite downer.  Spending hundreds for the repair is another.  Sigh.  I keep repeating that I got luck enough to be able to pull into a parking space before the last of the fluid leaked from my car AND that my engine doesn't need to be replaced.  Right? 

Someone please book Lynn Cullen somewhere so I can get a little jolt.  You would not believe how much email I get asking for her email address.  It is cullenshow@yahoo.com, by the way. 

I'm in the process of wrapping up my tenure with my current employer and switching gears from the child welfare system to the adult MH system.  Just learning the acronyms is a challenge.  But I'm excited about moving from a literal closet office to one with a giant window.  Sunshine! 

I'm disappointed that Bill Peduto and Chelsa Wagner have still not identified the charity to benefit from tonight's Halloween party.  I'm a little more disappointed that they seem to be affronted that I would ask questions of them about a political event (we all know it is a political event).  I asked some folks in the know, including someone connected to another state level official, and it does seem that there is an "understanding" that we who identify as liberal/progressive are supposed to sort of grant more wiggle-room (for lack of a better term) to our progressives allies whom we've elected when they are doing the political/pre-campaign thing.  I violated a taboo when I shared my opinion with the 57 people who read this blog, most of whom are other bloggers and already knew.  Gosh.

I think failing to name the charity is a mistake in general and that's more from my social work/NPO perspective. But I'm much more concerned that Chelsa Wagner's team (the campaign team, the office staff, the behind the scenes supporters who are putting this shindig together) are completely ignoring my concerns about her lack of presence in Manchester.  It doesn't make sense that you could consider a run for Mayor when you haven't been tending to your current duties in a City neighborhood. 

The response from her supporters in the blog comments has been rather vile, but privately people keep asking me if I'd vote for Chelsa over Luke, even given this lack of attention to my community.  That's a ridiculous question at this point.  I mean Manchester has been pretty much ignored by the City anyway, so does it really matter on that point?  Well, Tonya Payne is at least putting in some effort to change that.  And BBI told me they are coming out in November to do a sweep of Manchester and clean up tons of vacant lots.  That's going to generate a feel-good buzz which will last until the weeds and vines really take hold in mid-summer.  Someone commented about that and I agree its a possibility. 

I just think as a resident that it is offensive that our State Representative would lend her political cred to OTHER neighborhoods in the Northside when she hasn't been doing a satisfactory job in our neighborhood.  And then complain to another blogger about "no good deed going unpunished" while her alleged supporters are personally attacking me and her other constituents.

Who exactly is being punished here?  Read the comments again.

I was planning to attend the party, but now I am carless and have several other invites that Ledcat prefers to attend.  So I don't know.  Clearly, if Bill and Chelsa aren't going to even reach out via private email or phone call in response to the racism and homophobia running through this discussion, then it doesn't seem worth my while to even bother.  Clearly, dissent is not a viable tactic in this dialogue.

View Article  LGBTQ positive letter to the editor

This ran in Thursday's PG.  Kudso to Lee Marcuzzi of Shaler for noting a LGBTQ positive story. 

What a wonderful article. ("Taking center stage," Oct. 23.) It is so refreshing to see an article about drag queens and kings that is not biased and discusses the true talent and work that these performances require.

As a female, and concerned member of the community, I think that positive coverage like this will help people see that GLBT people are not threatening. Unfortunately, the bullying and harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth in our schools is a huge problem. It is a fact that nine out of 10 gay kids are victims of name-calling in the schools and four times as many gay kids attempt suicide as straight kids. Our schools should be safe and welcoming for all students, regardless of gender identity. We are all different! Let's embrace and enjoy our diversity as your writer has.

Here's a link to the original story about the Miss Tri-State All Star pageant. 

Lee hits the nail on the head.  Our community has been pretty fortunate that the majority of local coverage has been gay-positive, even in the Tribune Review.  The worst sin seems to be a tendency to rely on cliches, even if they are alleged to be "positive" by a predominantly hetero media (Mike Seate is a classic example).  But the vile tends to come from the columnists and most of that from the syndicated ones.  The local reporters tend to "get it" and I'm optimistic that this coverage has helped promote positive representations of our community. 

We are actually fortunate that the issues are being covered at all.  We have a lot of political balls up in the air, on the state and local levels so it is important that our straight allies speak up and speak out. 

Keep looking for opportunities to write letters.  Call the talk shows.  Be vocal and make sure the media continues to be aware that we are paying attention.

View Article  Here's One Way to Keep Warm ...
View Article  Another local queer blog

h/t to local writer Jane Muder for pointing out another local queer blog .... http://www.tonystimeout.outonline.com/ written by OUT publisher Tony Molnar-Strejcek. It is more of a personal blog than a newsy blog, but it is good to have another perspective on life in queer Pittsburgh out there. 

I had suggested to Jane that it would be great to see OUT utilizing Web 2.0 resources to provide more up to date content on local LGBT news.  They do a pretty good job using podcasts to cover the entertainment/events aspect of local queer life, but tackling that news component would be great.  Still, someone has to pay for it.  It being content written by local professional writers. 

Let me add that I'm not talking about myself.  I like my opinions too much to tame them to the demands of any local newspaper.  But Jane and other local gays should be writing online. 

Plans are underfoot on a national level to organize and train LGBTQ bloggers as advocates, with funding someone connected to the Progressive Insurance company (my insurer - yeah!).  They are only accepting 35 applicants this year.  That's not even one per state so the odds of Pittsburgh being included are pretty slim.  Yet, the dearth of online queer voices makes it even more imperative that we find ways to better utilize web technology to promote our agenda. 

It would be nice.

View Article  Young Lesbian Aspires to Help Community

This little item in the Valley Independent caught my eye.

Abigail Begandy doesn't mind marching to the beat of her own drum.

Begandy, 16, a junior at Ringgold High School, recently was sworn in as a junior firefighter for the Monongahela Fire Department.

She was sworn in Oct. 7 and became the department's third female firefighter.

"All my life, my community and family and friends have helped me and I just wanted to do something to give back," said Begandy.

"Originally, I had planned on going into the army. But my mom didn't want me to do that because she said there is just too much crazy stuff going on in the world," she said.

"So, I decided to become a firefighter."

Abigail also happens to be a lesbian.  Who just outed herself to the readers of the local paper in a rural Mon Valley town.  She's working with her principal at Ringgold to start a GSA type organization.

That's a pretty impressive reveal of information.  Volunteer firefighting itself is an interesting choice.  I wish the article had delved a bit deeper into the reality of sending a 16 year old into a blazing building scenario.  Still, even if she's contributing behind the scenes, it is more than I did at 16. 

I wonder how many other teens read the Valley Independent and feel a bit less isolated?  I wonder how many other adults read it, nod their heads in approval about the firefighting and then stop to consider the lesbian reveal? I wonder how many phone calls the Ringgold principal received? 

Kudos to Abigail for being a real leader.  And good for the VI for writing an interesting story about a girl who happens to be a lesbian, not a lesbian firefighter. 

View Article  Am I naive about the Wagner/Peduto pairing?

This came across my desk about 14 times last week:


Please join Councilman Bill Peduto &
State Representative Chelsa Wagner for

"The Life of the Party"
Halloween Party

feat. live music by

The Old E Allstars
DJ Omar Abdul

Friday, October 31 from 8 to 11 PM

The Grand Hall at The Priory
614 Pressley Street, Northside

Cost is $10 with costume, $20 without
All proceeds benefit Northside charity

Paid for by People for Peduto and Friends of Chelsa Wagner

My first question?  Which Northside charity.  Representative Wagner represents part of the Northside, specifically my part of the Northside - Manchester. Along with Castle Shannon and Beechview and Brookline, etc. Hmmm. Our little step-child status isn't her fault -- she didn't draw the district maps.  I've talked with her staff on a regular basis and I believed they genuinely wanted to connect with our community.

This seemed perfect.  A chance for Chelsa to do something for the children in Manchester (and their families) by designating the proceeds to benefit a local charity in her district.  This could pave the way for more contact and stronger connections which would be a win-win for everyone.  Right?  Bill doesn't have any voters in the Northside so there isn't a conflict with him, right? 

I asked some questions. I contacted Wagner's folks and Peduto's folks.  I asked some friends of friends.  I got various answers, but it boils down to no one being willing to name the charity or tell me how that charity has been/will be selected.  That seems weird to me.  Why would there be a problem with designating the proceeds to benefit a neighborhood that could use it?  On the other hand, if they chose something outside of our district, why not just say so? 

I think I am too naive and missing some sort of insider perspective here.  I asked some people about that possibility and no one is talking. 

It is a party.  With masks and costumes.  It costs $10.00.  It seems reasonable to ask that our State Representative invest her time, talent and energies to benefit families living in her district.  We don't have an office.  Her staff cannot always attend (or aren't invited to) local events.  They haven't organized any events here.  So why not this one small first step? 

I certainly have nothing against the other local charitable organizations.  I just think it should be okay to ask for a little transparency when your elected official gets involved a few blocks outside of your district while you are struggling for some state attention.  If you've been reading this blog, you've seen the Herculean efforts it takes to get PennDOT to simply cut their grass.  We could use some help out here. 

Let me say this in closing.  Chelsa's staff have typically been very forthcoming with me and responsive to my calls.  They seem like good people.  I wasn't even going to blog about this until it became apparent that I could not get a straightforward answer.  Having recently sat through a depressing free-for-all that passes for a public meeting, a meeting not attended by her staff, I just think someone has to start speaking up --speaking up  more -- and saying that Manchester deserves attention.  My God, my neighbor caught a state employee DUMPING in our fields, only half a block from the house he (the employee) rents.  It is pretty bad when you drive a car down the street that is subsidized by  my tax dollars (gov tags) to your rental property.  But to dump in our neighborhood -- a place you should consider home?  That's crazy. 

There's a disconnect here.  Or maybe I'm crazy for asking questions.  Maybe I'm just supposed to put on my costume, shut up, pay up and have a good time.  Then drive back down the street to Manchester passing the kids "hanging out" because their pool is closed, their community center is leaderless and focused on $250,000 housing units and because no one can agree how to ensure these kids get a shot at decent jobs being created by development around the block (i'm talking to you casino and Steeler-hotel people). 

Maybe I'm the crazy one.

View Article  Win Free Tickets to Catie Curtis!
The Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society is giving away a pair of free tickets for her November show and a CD to one lucky reader.  Check it out!  The contest is not open to members of The Society, sorry!
View Article  Layout Changes

Check out our right hand column for some updates and changes.

 - The LGBT for Obama Button

- Buttons to oppose the anti-gay marriage amendments in Arizona and California

- Mini flyer to the upcoming Political Pundits show hosted by Gab Bonesso and featuring what is like my dream table for a dinner party --- Tony Norman, Chris Potter, John McIntire and Lynn Cullen.  It is like the coolest smartest place to be.  A bloggers dream team. 

View Article  Quiet on the Lesbian Front

Been a little quiet of late, huh?  Well, I just received a job offer that has me very busily trying to wrap up old business and prepare for the new.  I have a four week buffer where I'll have one foot in each job.  It is an opportunity of which I could not dream a mere four weeks ago ... the chance to work with a team of people I admire and in a field that holds a special place in my heart.  I'm not leaving Pgh, so don't worry.  But I'll probably be a little less on-line even as I do break in my new laptop. 

Timing is everything, eh?

Leaving a job is hard.  I cry a little each day as I put away files and try to cope with wrapping up five years of my life.  Just the paperwork through which I must sort is overwhelming.  I don't know how people do this after 20 years or more in one place.  How do you wrap up all that stuff and move on?

Today is my 38th birthday.  37 was a tough one -- we lost Ledcat's Grandpa, Mona and my friend John.  The anniversary of his death is approaching and I'm a little anxious about that.  On the bright side, our nephew Jack was born, adopted Ana and, apparently, my career inched forward a bit. 

I could use a less eventful year. 

I also learned that Facebook is a cool place for your birthday.  Tons of people I used to know took a moment to give me a shout out.  That's pretty nice and uplifting when you've spent your day swimming through stuff, good and bad. 

My friend James renewed my subscription to Bitch for a birthday present.  Very cool.  A magazine is the gift that keeps giving.  Very nice. 

Hang in with me.  I promise the other side of this transition will prove fruitful for lesbian corresponding.

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