Thursday, May 29
by Sue on Thu 29 May 2008 10:02 PM EDT
Mike Seate of the Tribune Review posits some new additions to Pittsburgh's lexicon. One of these is the term "gaybee" referring to children parented by gay people.
I like this one:
This wasn't funny. Am I too senstive b/c of the lesbian reference? Or is it just not funny?
This is pretty much the only reference to lesbians the Trib has made in weeks. What do you think?
by Sue on Thu 29 May 2008 09:50 PM EDT
Craig Galik of Duquesne is not pleased. Apparently, when he tunes in to the Ellen DeGeneres show, he doesn't expect to see any lesbian claptrap. Imagine his horror when Ellen spoke about her plans to marry partner, Portia De Rossi. On television. In front of viewers. Gay stuff.
Either Craig is the only person on earth who doesn't know that Ellen is a lesbian or he is just an idiot. Actually, I'm pretty sure its the latter based on these statements:
This is exactly the narrow-minded thinking that is so seductive to people lacking the capacity for original thought. Craig postulates that there is more discussion of gay issues than Jesus-flavored religious issues on television. That's simply preposterous. You can't turn on a news station without smacking into some religious advisor or another commenting on the latest political issue. We can't have a discussion on anything -- from access to healthcare to hemlines -- without contemplating what Jesus would do about it. Craig also seems to forget that entire stations devoted to Jesus flavored religions dominated the airwaves long before LOGO came churning along. It has been a long, long time since it wasn't cool to talk about Jesus on television. Exactly one day longer than there has actually been television.
What Craig is trying to do is pit any discussion of gay issues as a suppression of his religious liberties. He does it poorly and with a distinct lack of poetry, but I'm sure he got a few amens out of the PG readers. It is just amazing that Christians can somehow redefine themselves as a persecuted minority on one hand and yet force all three Presidential candidates to prove their Jesus-love in order to win the nomination. Amazing.
To answer Craig's question about the Founding Father's wanting us to talk about gay issues as freely as religious issues, I say a resounding YES. Freedom to exchange ideas was a big Founding Father priority, not the content of said ideas. See the difference, Craig? They wanted a society where you get to be a small-minded bigot and I get to love a woman without impinging on each others liberties.
If you don't want to hear about the personal life of a lesbian, stop watching a television show named after and starring a lesbian. There's nothing radical about that.
Tuesday, May 27
by Sue on Tue 27 May 2008 08:16 PM EDT
You probably saw the giant face and know that we have a new dog. I've been blogging like mad about her over at http://pghmona.blogspot.com.
But the LGBTQ worlds needs some attention, too.
First up, the latest letter to the editor in the Post-Gazette. Jay Jarrell of McMurray drags out the arguments that marriage is about purpose, ie. the next generation. He uses big fancy words to make his point, completely ignoring the evidence that many non-human life forms engage in non-purposeful sexual activity. Because it feels good. Ah, poor Mr. Jarrell. Maybe someone needs to buy him a few early Prince albums and help him understand that marriage does not equal sex and procreation. (I'm secretly guessing that he is one of those guys who watches news stories about parents who make disastrous choices and thinks that there should be laws about who gets to parents.)
Second, there was no mention of PghLesbian Correspondents (PLC) in the Cutting Edge this week. Sigh.
The Philadelphia Boy Scouts are suing the City. Philly is tossing them out of a publicly funded building b/c the Scouts discriminate against adults and children who are LGBTQ, not to mention the Scouts with LGBTQ family members. The Scouts are crying foul because other homophobic groups still get to rent some space at a public rate.
I try not to support the Boy Scouts. In fact, one of my favorite work moments was when a heterosexual coworker spontaneously spoke out against the agency participating in a Scouting for Food drive because the Boy Scouts policy conflicts with our own nondiscrimination policy. I felt so good! I mean, let's do our own food drive. Hurrah!
The GLCC is looking for volunteers to help staff a LGBTQ volunteer team for the upcoming WQED pledge drive. This sounds like fun.
Monday, May 26
Saturday, May 24
by Sue on Sat 24 May 2008 12:59 PM EDT
So, we might be adopting a dog on Monday. Her name is Ana and she is a Chihuaha mix. She was rescued. She lives with big dogs and has lived with cats in the past. She weighs 9 lbs. Ana comes from Starfish to the Sea Animal Rescue.
Ledcat has a rescue friend that is going to help us introduce her to our crew. That's a bit of a worry for us, but I think it will be okay based on how she integrated into her foster home. Here is Ana sleeping on top of her much bigger brother.
Her story is similar to Mona's even though she weighs 40 lbs less. Actually, Ana weighs about half as much as Simon the cat so that should be interesting. And I've always wanted a dog named Anna (close enough). Plus, it keeps up the alliteration with Amadeus and Alexander.
If everything goes okay, I'll be blogging about integrating Ana into our family over on Miss Mona's Blog. As much as we miss Mona, we think she would want us to take in another dog in need of a home.
Stay tuned ...
by Sue on Sat 24 May 2008 12:36 PM EDT
The Correspondents love Gab. She's funny and smart and plays a mean game of Trouble.
Anyhoo, Gab has gathered up the four funny women in Pittsburgh for what promises to be a very cool show on Saturday, May 31, 2008. This is my favorite kind of show. Women. Non-smoking. Saturday night. And $10 tickets.
You should come out and support the funny. Here's the word from Gab:
I am feeling benevolent today because my good friends at Hoi Polloi special cooked me an egg burrito even though it is past breakfast. I found someone to paint the inside of my house. I'm not having luck finding someone to rent it yet, but that will come.
So rock on, Gab. You are trouble, but in a popping bubble kind of way.
by Sue on Sat 24 May 2008 11:35 AM EDT
I have been informed that individuals invited to the LGBT luncheon with Luke Ravenstahl are not being required to make a campaign contribution. They are invited to do so, as their discretion.
I don't know all the ins and outs of these sort of invitations, so I'm going to take this information at its word. What I must do is also assume that my original source acted in good faith and perceived the invitation language in a different way. That's for them to sort out.
I stand by the rest of my post. LGBT leaders attending a campaign fundraiser for Luke Ravenstahl strains creduality in light of his failure to move one single inch closer to gay-friendly positions during his tenure as Mayor. It just gives him further ammunition to say that he has broad based LGBT support.
Attending a meeting with the Mayor in his capacity as an elected official is a different animal, particularly when you hold him accountable for his promises. Where is the gay liaison? Where is the gay advisory committe? Where does he stand on gay civil protections and domestic partnership benefits under a City-County merger?
The private campaign meetings (apparently, 4 not the 2 I reported earlier) are not generating results for our community. Does it make sense to make financial contributions or lend your name to a campaign under these circumstances? Is is the responsible thing to do when you represent our community? I say the responsible thing to do is to ask the Mayor to take one step forward and take action before you support him.
That's my opinion. Yes, I am stirring up the pot. I do it all the time. But you -- you the supporter of Luke, you the letter writer from Braddock, you the person who took on a leadership role in the GLCC or the PrideFest committee -- you put the pot on the stove. I am following a long tradition of pot stirring -- stirring that took groups of Pittsburghers to DC marches, stirring that got PrideFest up and running and then up and running again, stirring that codified civil protections in City law, stirring that grew a phone line into a community center, stirring that brought thousands of gay people out of the closet.
I just use a computer instead of wooden spoon. I'm not out to attack anyone personally and just this morning took down an anonymous comment that slandered someone in our community. This isn't about attacking anyone. It is about a dialogue. Sure, I get the ball rolling with my thoughts and opinions. But blogging is a wonderful resource and it would be great to see more folks in the LGBT community doing it.
Have a great weekend!
Friday, May 23
by Sue on Fri 23 May 2008 09:05 AM EDT
From Tuesday's Post-Gazette. Always good to read a hit-the-nail-on-the-head letter.
Like letter writer Kim Winbush ("Let's Keep Discrimination Out of the Pa. Constitution," May 16), I too was happy to see the Pennsylvania Senate table the Marriage Protection Amendment.
This brazen attempt to pander to the theocratic aims of the religious right must be opposed by all who cherish the freedoms of our secular nation.
Would that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court follow the excellent example of the California Supreme Court ("Gay Marriage Ruled Legal in California," May 16).
AMESH A. ADALJA, MD
Thursday, May 22
by Sue on Thu 22 May 2008 10:49 PM EDT
As we discussed earlier in the week, plans are underway for LGBT "supporters of Luke" to get together with him over lunch to discuss LGBT issues. A few key LGBT designated leaders have been invited. This was confirmed by local LGBT business owner and chair of the Delta Foundation, Gary Van Horn, in the comments section of our blog.
Also confirmed in the comments: this is a private event and not open to the media.
What I've recently discovered is that those attending the private lunch to discuss LGBT issues are allegedly being required to make a campaign contribution to the Luke Ravenstahl war chest.
Wow. I'm sure this goes on all the time. Money buys you access. Is it a sign of the times that gay money is worth courting? Should we care about a secret meeting?
Well, yes. And here is why. This will be the second private opportunity for dialogue on LGBT issues between the Mayor and actual LGBT people. The first was held on election eve after he infamously announced live on WQED that he was opposed to civil unions. That meeting, too, was top secret and did not result in the Mayor reversing his public stance on civil unions.
Publicly, the Mayor has had contact with the LGBT community. He's just adroitly sidestepped any type of public contact that involves dialogue. This includes the "Big Gay Chat" sponsored by the Allegheny County Democratic Committee last spring. Luke sent a surrogate.
Luke himself did attend PrideFest. With a police escort. He attended OUTrageous Bingo. He spent some time in a gay bar. None of these contacts allowed for any real dialogue between Luke and our community. He came, but he didn't listen. He didn't even know we had anything to say. Or maybe he just didn't care.
The community is not well-served by secret meetings and backroom negotiations. We deserve a Mayor that is willing to talk publicly about our issues and engage a cross section of the community, not just one particular interest. We deserve a Mayor who doesn't trade access for campaign contributions (allegedly).
If that is the price of admission to this luncheon, let us hope that those who represent us on boards and committees and commissions will think twice before attending. Have any of the previous private meetings and soirees moved Luke a single inch further along the line of gay tolerance? There is no evidence of that. No change on civil unions. No support for HB 1400. No promise to protect the civil liberties and domestic partner benefits in a City-County merger. No nothing.
The private meetings aren't working. At least, they aren't working for our community. They might be working for the campaign. We don't know because even the gay media is excluded (believe me, I've tried).
Make no mistake, gentle readers, we are WAY past the point at which attending PrideFest is newsworthy. There's no extra credit points for taking that risk. The Mayor's people should be aggressively courting connections with the LGBT community. What happened to plans for a LGBT liaison in the Mayor's office? Or the LGBT advisory committee?
So, the meeting. Gary thinks it is a worthwhile investment of his time and he's entitled to that opinion. He's also entitled to organize events to support candidates in whom he believes. However, I think that continuing to contribute our hard-earned monies to a candidate that hasn't done a single thing for our community is going to get us nowhere. We cannot allow Luke Ravenstahl to continue making promises to us -- liaisons and committees, etc -- with no consequences for his failure to act.
So, why not email your local LGBT leaders and ask if they plan to attend the Mayor's event and, if so, whether they are financially supporting his campaign? It would be interesting to identify LGBT leaders that publicly support a candidate opposed to civil unions. After all, we can get the campaign contribution information after the fact if the City Paper keeps up the database. It would just be nice to know in advance where people stand.
LGBT supporters of Luke, comment away ...
by Sue on Thu 22 May 2008 05:37 PM EDT
What's more important for local social justice - the stability of the Thomas Merton Center or the culpability of a dead police dog? I'd like to ask Carole Weidmann that question. Carole's pants were ripped during an anti-war protest a few years ago and the culprit may have been Ulf, the dog who was shot and killed by Justin Jackson a few weeks ago. Mr. Jackson was subsequently killed by return fire. (Ripped pants do not equal dead teenager.)
Carole is oft brought up as an example of the horrors of police brutality in Pittsburgh. Carole is also a board member of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh's most significant anti-war organization. The Merton Center seems to be in terrible straights -- almost all of the professional staff have resigned. One sent an email (I have a copy if you want it) citing board issues as a reason for his resignation. The organization is struggling financially.
Who is going to protect the rights of other Justin Jacksons if TMC isn't back on solid ground? As a member, I'd personally prefer Carole put her time and energy (and her legion of fans) to use on that issue.
It is sad to read a City Paper story about a CMU student who claims to have stared down Ulf and avoid being "mauled" as he put it. That's just silly, condescending talk. David Struthers believes his elite status saved the day when he was confronted with a big bad police dog anxious to get 'em. I noted with some interest that the City Paper did not include any perspective from reputable dog trainers. I have consulted a few and their interpretation of the YouTube video footage is very different than Mr. Struthers.
Further, there's the never-ceasing coverage of police dogs gone wild with little if any acknowledgment of situations where police dogs saved lives or prevented violent endings. No information on the difference between a dog grabbing a suspect and a dog biting a suspect. Anyone with large dogs can tell the difference. A dog can be trained to subdue. They do it every day and no one ends up dead. It doesn't take Swami Struthers to prevent a catastrophe.
I love the man called Potter and his crew. They do good reporting. But this story mimics the one-dimensional approach to the death of Justin Jackson we saw when the story broke. And it continues to really piss me off to see all of this man v dog coverage. And I would be disingenuous if I didn't write this post out of deference to their feelings. I almost didn't. But they have much thicker skins than certain people who write 80 paragraphs responses to my criticism. So on we go ...
If David Struthers is so concerned about the other Justin Jackson's of the world, maybe he should call up Carole, roll up his sleeves and do something to build up the TMC.
Instead we get this ...
Par for the course? Ahem. This man puts monies (and his talent) in the coffers of a University that builds robots for war. A war in which Justin Jackson is much more likely to be used as cannon fodder than CMU "elite" students. So spare us the moral high ground, David. You have no clue what Justin was thinking when he pulled that trigger and it is insulting to imply otherwise. More importantly, why don't you speak out about what you are doing to make a difference?
To summarize. Stop the man v dog media coverage. Give the public a well-rounded perspective on police dogs -- find out how many suspects have been apprehended without violence with the assistance of a police dog --- now that would be a story. Consult dog behavioral experts instead of college students for analysis. Figure out what the hell is going on with the Thomas Merton Center -- they don't even list their board members on the website.