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View Article  Lez Reunite

It really isn't that there's a dearth of LGBTQ news to analyze and share.  I'm just not feeling it lately.  I have this weird kidney thing going on (not diabetes related at all, thank god) and I basically drag myself out of bed every single day feeling like a dishrag.  The one you tossed into the laundry.  Yesterday.  After one final giant squeeze. 

I couldn't even make it through my class reunion.  I went, saw about a dozen people and came home to lay on my bed and moan.  Sort of like the scene from When Harry Met Sally.  Not that scene.  The one when Harry lays in bed moaning after hanging up the telephone with Sally.  That was me last night. To tell the truth, I wasn't entirely disappointed about missing the reunion (except for the wasted $$) because I pretty much keep in touch with the few people whom I care about catching up with at this point in my life. I wish the others well, but it just felt so contrived.  I don't think I'll go to another reunion. Maybe when I'm 67 and fewer people show up.  Does that sound awful? 

I glanced through the reunion book and noted that I am the only out homo in the whole thing.  So that's wasn't awkward at all.  Fortunately, my classmates were more hung up on the fact that I was in the Post-Gazette for my former pet sitting business several years ago.  I should be flattered that people paid attention.  Aside from people I currently know, I couldn't tell you the occupation of 5 of my former classmates without at least 3 lucky guesses.  And one of them was in the Post-Gazette himself. 

Today, I still feel icky.  We had breakfast at The Square and then did some much needed grocery shopping.  Speaking of which, I learned via the Queer Events list that the Square is hiring a barista.  Check it out if you are interested.

On an international level, this amusing little commercial from Heinz caused quite the furor in England because of  ... well, watch it and see.

It is cute, but I can't believe it created an international furor.  Clearly, the joke is the play on the deli part of the deli-man, not the man part  Heinz in good fashion pulled the ad for fear of offending people.  So sad. 

How Do I send a comment or inquiry about a Heinz Product online?
At Heinz, we look forward to hearing what's on our customers' minds. If you would like to send a question or a comment via email, http://www.heinz.com/Consumer_faq.aspx . We also welcome you to call our toll-free number at 800.255.5750 or send a letter to Heinz Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 57, Pittsburgh, PA 15230.

While the celebration continues in California, Arizona faces another ballot initiative about a gay marriage amendment.  Note that Arizona has already defeated one such initiative at the ballot box -- a landmark accomplishment.  Pam has the scoop.  What is important to note is that this verion of the hate eliminated the broad language to reduce claims that they might be hatin' on unmarried heterosexual couples and seniors and so forth.  Smooth. 

The tough call here is that a lot of funds are being poured into California.  So who is going to help Arizona?  Hopefully, the prospect of seeing Ellen marry Portia doesn't completely overshadow folks in other states.

Speaking of how this impacts us locally, I just sent an email to Bruce Kraus, Doug Shields and Tonya Payne (my councilwoman) asking for some feedback on the Domestic Partner Registry. I'm hoping to have a constructive dialogue on how to make the registry valuable for moderate and low income families living in the City and/or employed by the City.  The man called Potter has alluded that the City Paper might look into the relatively small number of employees utilizing DP bennies and I'd really look forward to the outcome of that investigation. 

Well, that's it from Lesbian Central.  I have to go refill my drink -- kidneys need hydration.  Oh, I should say that our nephew is home and doing great.  Thanks for the kind words and thoughts.  I'm staying away until I feel better just to be on the safe side. 

View Article  Things That Matter

Tonight, Ledcat and I visited our nephew at Children's Hospital.  He has pneumonia. He is 10 weeks old. 

He looked good. He was cooing and wriggly and hungry and breathing well.  His parents have been on a round robin for days now, juggling his needs with the care of their toddler.  Tomorrow, we'll be with the toddler.  She bit me on Saturday night.  I've never seen anyone so surprised by the concept of time out, rather the concept that Aunt Sue actually knew about time out.  Or that Aunt Sue's exothalmia gives her super human peripheral vision and thus she can snuff out any time out cheating without actually making eye contact with the misbehaving toddler.  I rock.  She did learn how to say exothalmia and now thinks I have superpowers.  To be fair, she only eats for Aunt Ledcat.  It takes a village.

Yesterday at work, I held a 2.5 lb baby who was born 5 weeks premature.  She was so small, but feisty.  She wrestled off a heart monitor and we had to have a little talk about making me look bad in front of the rest of the staff. 

Such joy gives me great pause in the middle of a busy week.  I am so grateful for the technologies of various sorts that makes each of three wee ones a few steps closer to healthy. 

I have a busy day tomorrow and I think construction is going to make it worse.  I'm going to try and recall seeing this beautiful little child in all his feisty glory as he battles for his health.  I'm going to revel in the little glow I feel when someone refers to us as "the Aunties." 

And I'm going to walk through the day with bit more gratitude than I did today. 

View Article  Lauren Weedman, Goddess of Funny

Yesterday, Ledcat and I were trotting up Liberty Avenue to grab some dinner with our friends Tom and Harry after wrapping up our PrideFest activities when I saw her.  Sitting at the City Theatre table.  Actually, I saw the sign first "Meet Lauren Weedman, Goddess of All that is Funny and Smokin Hot" or something like that. 

It took Ledcat and the guys like 3 blocks to realize I had completely abandoned them (Honey, that's why we have cell phones!). 

Then I saw Chris Young talking with her about Obama.  I waited impatiently for about 4 minutes, trying very hard to carry on a conversation with the somewhat taciturn City Theatre folks. When I send staff out to outreach events, I encourage them to talk to the people -- especially if they want to sell something. Like tickets. Whatever.  Finally, I used the hips God gave me and sent Mr. Young on his merry way (he was very cool about it). 

Then I talked with her.  I told her that her show revolutionized my life.  She told me she had read my blog post at the Pgh Women's Blogging Society.  I swooned.  I broke a cardinal rule and bought her book "A Women Trapped in a Woman's Body:  Stories From a Life of Cringe" and immediately felt guilty because I had told the Carnegie Library folks that I couldn't check out a book because I was holding myself to a two book limit to avoid any further $56 payments in late fees.  Seriously, at home waiting patiently for me were the final chapters of Faye Kellerman's latest mystery and a book about John and Abigail Adams.

Did not matter.  I broke my code and slapped down a $20.00 for a trade paperback book.  Which my new friend Lauren signed for me "The Power of the Blog"  !!!!  She then gave me this complicated order of chapters in which to read the book.  Which I promptly forgot and could kick myself because that was clearly intended to be a secret message about the meaning of life.  I asked her how many people under 60 came to her show and she admitted that not as many as she hoped.  What's up with that, CT?  I guess you missed my suggestion about inviting bloggers to all of your shows for people under 60.  I mean I enjoyed our show, but it felt like a race for the early bird special when we walked out the front door. 

Finally, Ledcat dragged me away.  She hates when I gush, especially over straight people.  Plus, she was hungry and we had to walk to Station Square.  I clutched my book to my bosom the entire way.  It was raining.  $20 is a lot of money for a book. 

Then I came home, finished the Faye Kellerman mystery and laid the new book on the nightstand to crack open tonight.  It is just waiting for me. 

The sad thing is that Lauren is a cable personality.  She was on the Daily Show which I've never seen.  She has a new show coming up on Oxygen which I don't get.  We get CBS, NBC and Fox. 

My entire appreciation for Lauren is based on her one woman show, Bust.  On her talent.  Not her ability to play nice with the boys.  Not her appeal to the homos.  Not her being a hottie.  On. her. talent.

So I am probably not going to get to see her again until she returns to Pittsburgh in two years. 

Meeting Lauren in person was pretty cool.  She is definitely the kind of person you wish you could go have drinks or coffee with.  I would love to invite her to hang out with Johnny Mac, Gab and me at Hoi Polloi.  I'll invite Ledcat, too, as long as she doesn't smirk at me for being gushy.  Ah well ... maybe someday when I'm a blogger with 200 readers a day, that dream will come true ...

Bust runs at the City Theater through June 29.  You should definitely check it out.  I'd like to go again b/c it was a really moving show. 

View Article  Highlights of My Pride

The Dyke March.  Was. Awesome.  I was very impressed with how well the ladies pulled off a switch from Oakland to the Downtown area.  From our vantage, the event was smooth and made quite an impact on the multitude of downtowners watching us march past.  I think the switch was good and added more visibility to the whole affair.  The women were in high spirits as the delicious Betty Hill speech kicked things off.  It was really cool.  We attended two years ago and it was completely different -- I felt much more welcome and part of the group this year.  Maybe it was the location switch -- being out of the university environs and in a more diverse atmosphere. The "Don't Sell Your Pride" theme was very appropriate downtown. Regardless, the dyke organizers did a terrific job and here's looking forward to something even more spectacular next year.

PrideFest was a good experience for me.  My agency had a booth so I had shade, a seat and a great view of the crowd for the first however many hours.  I missed the parade because of set up, but I certainly heard it.  There was a huge crowd and people were in a really good mood.  Many friends, old and new, stopped by to say hello, including Doug Shields and Michael Lamb.  Doug was in a really good place and kissed my intern -- she was really stunned b/c she had no clue who he was.  I was pleased when Michael Lamb recognized me (or my name at least).  We had an interesting discussion and I have to reiterate that he impresses me.  So much that I've reconsidered a campaign donation I was planning.  Overall, Pride was pleasant. The kids area was busy. We walked around at the end of the event and I managed to walk away with no new flyers, papers or handouts.  We stopped for a minute near the food/beer garden end of things and that was a little less nice.  It makes me appreciate the park and having a place to plop down.  I think moving the event to West Park on the Northside and maybe utilizing the Garden Theater for inside events would be great.

Kudos to the PrideFest Committee for a job nicely done.  The folks who helped us get our booth set up and address some related issues were really nice and helpful.  I appreciated that.  Thank you.

How was your Pride experience?



View Article  I'm proud of Gab

Gab is having a comedy show at Club Cafe on Saturday night at 10 PM.  It is not an official Pride event, but Gab is part of the emcee lineup at PrideFest and a long-time supporter of many, many queer organizations. She's also a local comedian. If you need a good laugh and can appreciate edgy humor, catch the show.  Check out Gab's website for information on her other shows.

Dyke March - Joan Rivers - Gab Bonesso

I might need some CoCo Crispies on Sunday to recuperate from all of this dykygoodish.

View Article  Registry Plans Update

According to the office of Councilman Bruce Kraus, the Domestic Partner Registry legislation will be signed by Luke with a swishy flair at Pride events over the weekend.  (I added the part about the swishy flair.  Kraus' staff were more professional). 

I love this.  Luke opposes civil unions, but somehow gets to be the Mayor of Gaysville over a very modest piece of legislation.  Meanwhile, his promise to appoint a LGBT liaison and an LGBT advisory committee remain unfulfilled.  He is the smartest Mayor ever for pulling this off and he doesn't have to move a single iota on any of these issues. Seriously. We should wait til he's posing with his homo buddies and then cover his car in HRC stickers.  Seriously. 

According to the City Personnel Dept, it could take up to 90 days for the Registry to be set up.  Once the procedures are in place, they will contact the 60 families already registered with the City and tell us where to show up to sign the official new registry application; everything transfers.  It will cost $25.00 to register.  I was assured they would get our transitions ironed out before opening up the door to other couples.  Which is only fair since we've been paying into the system itself for years.  Trailblazers.  :-) 

Still no word on how families who can't easily meet the established criteria can get help with the whole thing. I'm hoping a personal chat with Councilman Kraus will help our politicians remember that not every gay family in Pittsburgh is a middle class, two income, Starbucks patronizing, white family.  And not every gay family is going to come to PrideFest.  So once the hoopla is over, who helps those who need these benefits but cannot access them? 

I know a lot of PrideFest is about the hoopla and the smoochy-faces with the politicos and the donors and the mighty whites.  I get that.  It would be nice to be all grassrootsy and frolic in the sun and enjoy ourselves, but this is event is as much for the straight community to applaud themselves for being so gay-friendly as it is for gay folks to, well, continue to be gay like the other 364 days of the year.  Only with HRC stickers and petitions. 

I still plan to have fun.  I love festivals and there's music and booths and old friends.  There's Pride Cafe with Joey Murphy and Colelea.  There's the Dyke March on Saturday.  There's Joan Rivers.  There's Gab Bonesso's show at Club Cafe late, late Saturday night.  There's the people watching.  It is probably going to be a blast and I honestly do appreciate all of the efforts to produce the event. 

But you will never catch me writing a paragraph like this, courtesy of the man called Potter:

Ravenstahl's willingness to support it is at least as admirable. Ravenstahl has met with local GLBT groups in the past, but he's also a Catholic whose supporters tend to be more conservative than, say, the voters in Shields' East End district. Ravenstahl could easily have made a less principled move -- and one more politically convenient -- by allowing the bill to become law without his signature. Instead, he's bravely coming out in support of those who have, well, come out.

I prefer cynical Potter to dig up the truth.  Ravenstahl meets with gay supporters who give him campaign contributions.  Being brave would mean honoring his existing promises to our community.  Being brave would mean local LGBT advocates, including his supporters, holding him accountable for those promises.  Being brave would be assuring us that we won't lose our rights or our benefits if he pursues a merger with Allegheny County.  Being brave would mean taking an internal look to determine why only five (5) same sex couples are accessing domestic partner benefits. 

Just give us back Potter.  You can keep the bar owners and the Starbucks' lesbians.  We need our broody malcontented alternative editor. 

View Article  I changed my mind

Anonymous comments are welcome again.  Thanks, Peg, for reminding me what's important. 

Bring it on, Anonymous. 

View Article  PG story on regional gay rural life

Great story from the Post-Gazette

People labeled Patrick Arena "a fairy" early on.

As the only boy in tap classes at the Vella School of Dance in Washington, Pa., in the 1960s, he was taunted and whispered about.

"Truth was, I knew I was gay, but I certainly wouldn't admit it," says Mr. Arena, 57, of Washington. "There was nobody to discuss it with and I was afraid to discuss it anyway. I certainly couldn't talk about it with my parents or guidance counselor."

Is life better now for rural queers?  Ledcat grew up in the country and she has some very strong opinions on this.  I want to retire to her family's farmland when we get old.  She wants to live Downtown.  Hmmm. 

Go read the story.  I'm at the end of a tiring day so no energy to analyze the article.  The part about the Sugar Plum Fairy breaks my heart, though. 

View Article  Change to comments

I have turned off the feature that permits people to post comments anonymously. 


View Article  Resistry Approved; Other Stuff

City Council approved plans to create a domestic partner registry 7-1.  Now we await the Mayor's signature.  Here's the full PG story.

On a personal note, Ledcat and I are one of five same-sex couples receiving domestic partner benefits through the City.  Five.  That underwhelms me.  Five.  Seriously?  That would seem to warrant a second look.  Surely there are more than five gay employees in the City.  The City has really good benefits so it is hard for me to imagine that there are only five couples that could benefit from the benefits.  I would love to hear from a City employee who is eligible but not taking advantage of these benefits. 

I've also been assured by City Council President Doug Shields that our current status as domestic partners will transfer into the new registry and not require another round of paperwork.  No response yet on how or if the City will educate potential registrants on how to navigate the multiple systems necessary to fulfill the requirements or work with families who are unable to meet those requirements because, well, they aren't middle class families with financial stability.  Rather, that they are people who desperately could use domestic partner benefits.  Who helps them?

Maybe the City will contract with me to write the handbook.  Sort of two for one, lesbian/social worker combo.  I could totally do it.  Someone pass that idea along.

Is it possible that the five same sex family figure has something to do with the process?  Possibly. 

On the other hand, it does blow a huge hole in Danny O's claim that domestic partner benefits on the County level would destroy his budget.  It probably costs more to kill some geese than it does to take a homo to the doctor.  Seriously.

I was sort of taken aback when I read that the legislation has been amended to make domestic partner registries public information.  Marriages are public.  Then I had a "wow" moment as I realized that us five couples are like the San Francisco couples who were married several years ago.  The system has finally caught up with the times.  It would be really cool if the City would allow those five of us currently registered LGBT families to be the first LGBT families in the new registry.  Especially in order of registration.  I think there are about 20 heterosexual couples registered.  I'm just saying ...it would be cool.  Transfer the trailblazers first.  We could have a little ceremony.  Bram would cover it.  Right, Bram?

I know some gay folks worked to pass the legislation and they surely deserve their moment in the sun.  But I had no clue that as 1 of 5 families, our relationship was etched so starkly in contrast to the typical City employee.  It really does make me wonder about the other gay City employees. What's going on for them? 

Is it a problem that I can't just allow myself to enjoy this moment without worrying about LGBT families (and straight ones, too) that might be missing out because they don't have the same privileges of socioeconomic status, education, race and so forth that we enjoy?  My therapist -- who is part of a political family -- would tell me that I should speak up for those folk because who else is paying attention. 

So let's find a way to put together a handbook to enroll in the registry and figure out why only five gay families are currently enrolled for City benefits.   Bram might cover that, too.

Actually, has anyone taken a look at domestic partner registries across the City?  Is that a project for the Women & Girls Foundation -- a study on how people do or do not access these benefits? 

On a final note, the comic strip "Its About Lila" or whatever its called is no longer running in the Post-Gazette.  So all that furor for naught!  I won't know what happened with Drew's two-timing man-skank.  Drat.

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