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View Article  Democratic, Republican and Senate Leaders Remain Silent in the Face of Anti-Gay Rhetoric

I am disappointed.  It has been more than 72 hours since John Eichelberger of the Pennsylvania State Senate uttered his hateful comment that he is "allowing" gay persons to exist. 

Everyone knows. This hits to my blog post and the one at 2 Political Junkies are filled with visitors from all sorts of chambers and governmental offices.  It is no secret at all. 

But ... apparently, only the bloggers care enough to notice.  Not a word from the MSM (surprise!).  KDKA would have David Highfield living in a newsvan if someone made these comments about Pennsylvania's Jewish population so he could capture every nuance and garner opinions from yinzers all over the place. 

One State Senator told me he is passing along the request for an apology, but that's the only response I've had and frankly, he wasn't optimistic anything would come of it.

Not a word from Daylin Leach's camp in spite of all the hailing of him as our great defender in the Senate.  Senator Leach should note that if we have to qualify for existence, marriage is pretty much not gonna happen.  I guess there would be no need for gay divorce as you could just deem someone nonexistant and head your own way, no harm no foul. 

No word from Dan Frankel, Dan Onorato, Jim Burn with the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.  No word from any member of City Council.  Rich Fitzgerald has yet to speak out.  Where's Senator Costa and Logan?  Lots of gay votes in both districts, but should that even matter.  What are Jim Roddy and the Republican Committee of Allegheny County? 

I am hoppin' mad that somone thinks he gets to decide if I exist (especially when I wouldn't get that same right about my own fetus), but I am really getting angry that no one seems to think this is a problem.

Take heed.  This is how society has been brainwashed into accepting our status as second class citizens. 

Well, here's my response.  July 1 is the vote to determine if we have any "existence" in Allegheny County.  If the ordinance does not pass, be downtown at 8 AM in front of the County Building.  With your signs.  Look for tweets that night, but spread the word now.  July 2 at 8 AM.  People need to be there.  Stop at Starbucks.  Pay the damn parking fee.  Just be there.  

I guess if we don't exist, we can't snarl traffic on Grant Street can we? 

View Article  City Paper publishes article on Council hearing (are you paying attention, PG?)

Melissa has the story at the City Paper.

She covered the Allegheny County Council hearing on a proposed Human Rights Commission.  She talked to pro-ordinance folks.  She talked to anti-ordinance folks.  She considers multiple angles on the gay rights versus religious freedoms issues.  All in all, she does a pretty good job covering the event. 

Seriously?  In four paragraphs, she nailed a story the Post-Gazette completely botched.

On a well-below-freezing night, hundreds of people lined up to make their way through a painfully slow security check at the county courthouse. They filled every seat in the fourth floor's Gold Room, and scores more stood in the hallway waiting for a chance to get in.

Typically, seats at county council hearings are at no such premium. But this was no typical hearing.

The topic at hand was a proposed county ordinance, Bill 4201-08, which seeks to establish a county-wide human-relations commission that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as such less-controversial bases as race or disability. While such discrimination is already illegal in the city of Pittsburgh, and 13 other municipalities statewide, federal anti-discrimination laws don't apply to LGBT citizens at all.

The bill was introduced in July by freshman councilor Amanda Green. Eighty-five people pre-registered to speak, and 65 actually did, 48 in favor of the ordinance and 17 against it. Those against the ordinance -- clergy, physicians, parents and small-business owners -- overwhelmingly cited religious objections. People speaking for the ordinance included gays, lesbians, transmen and transwomen, high school students, psychiatrists, elected officials and clergy.

See how deftly she reminds us that some clergy support it and some are opposed, unlike the Post-Gazette's sensational muckraking attempts to reduce this to Family Feud:  Homos v Fundies edition. 

There's nothing new hear except a willingness on the part of the City Paper to put this political turn of events into the context of the much more ballyhooed drama unfolding at Club Pittsburgh.  The CP at leasts considers the fact that a multiple-day, front page Post-Gazette story just might have some impact or connection to gay politics. 

Of course it does! 

The same fear mongering that drives people underground to have anonymous sex also motivates people to stand up in front of hundreds of people claiming that they can't possibly have gay people living in their apartment buildings.  FEAR.  The same titillation factor that generates headline after headline with sly references to "gay sex" generates robo calls to Councilpersons about the gays recruiting innocent Boy Scouts, comandeering the ladies changing room at Kmart and destroying our entire legal system with frivolous law suits about lesbian hair cuts.  FEAR.  FEAR. FEAR.

This is precisely why I urge you to keep a few things in mind.  Pay attention to media coverage of gay issues.  It does help shape public opinion.  Support independent local media.  Ask questions.  Challenge the status quo.  Shake some trees.  Yes, you might end up with some angry gay people who are relying on privileges of their skin color, gender and socioeconomic status to offset the gay card, but so be it. 

By the way, I was interested in the affinities of the speakers.  I for one am not going to patronize a businessowner that is willing to work alongside the gays but not have them in his house. I'll have the list of speakers for you as soon as possible. 


View Article  Google Groups is broken

I can't get to any of the groups I manage.  There are dozens of help requests posted on the boards, but nothing from Google yet.  Anyone have word? 

Also, I opened up today's PG and learned that check cashing places are regulated.  Some dude in Monroeville broke the existing laws and is heading to jail.  Regulation of an exploitive industry.  Who knew?

Hey, our house didn't blow up so I'm good.  :-)

View Article  "There's a queen on the board as well ..."

This is absolutely wonderful ...


View Article  In the neighborhood ..

As I've mentioned before, we live in the Northside neighborhood of Manchester on a fairly quiet block.  Our neighbors are a mix of races, socio-economic classes and family compositions. It is the kind of neighborhood where people nod and wave, occasionally exchange a few words and pretty much mind their own business (especially when business involves breeding fighting dogs and dealing drugs - sigh).

But tonight was a little different. Ledcat came into the house and mentioned that she had smelled gas in front of our neighbor's house.  I grabbed my phones and went out to check, dialing our other neighbor to come triple check us.  You see, said neighbor had told me she was having work done on her furnace and using space heaters. After sniffing the air and, yes, sticking my nose into her mail slot for a whiff,  I called 911 and we banged on the door.  No answer.  The firemen showed up and we began asking neighbors if they had her phone number. 

Everyone acknowledged that gas was in the air.  I kept saying she might be in the house.  While we waited for the gas company, neighbors tracked down the neighbors friends and I went into our house to bang on the wall to get her attention. 

She was fine.  There was no sign of gas in her house.  The gas company has spent a long night scouring the neighborhood for the source to no avail, but it came from somewhere.  That's a little troubling but hopefully you won't be reading this from some link written about the demise of another Pgh blog due to explosion.

The outcome?  People came out to check on each other.  Phone numbers were exchanged.  My wrist is very sore from all that banging.  I discovered a neighbor used his gift card to Hoi Polloi that we gave to him.  I learned that we have two kids (Shaq and Larry) who bear an uncanny resemblance to one another and have resolved themselves to answering to both names.  Our fire crew from North Avenue are great guys who stopped to wipe their feet.  My chihuaha is afraid of firemen.  My neighbor got a good deal on his new truck.  Another neighbor is renovating an empty house she bought.  A third mentioned she has keys to a few houses. 

We may not be Mayberry, but we have our own way of coping with potential crisis.  In spite of all the uproar and ruckus, everyone agreed that calling 911 was the best way to go.  No one complained about the fuss. 

I was really glad to see my neighbor stick her head out the door.  Best sight I've seen all night.

Suddenly, a dinner of bland leftovers and a load of dishes seem charmingly appealing. 

Just for the final homophobic touch, one neighbor was trying to sort out who lived where and when she realized that Ledcat and I lived together and were not married to our neighbor Tim, she was visibly taken aback "You two ladies live together .. .here?" she said.  That was kind of funny.  Kind of.


View Article  The Agenda: Civil Rights

From the updated White House website.  It sounds great.  Now let's see what kind of inclusive action unfolds.

Support for the LGBT Community

"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."

-- Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

  • Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.
  • Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
  • Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
  • Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
  • Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
  • Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.
  • Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.
View Article  But know this, America -- they will be met.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, ...   more »

View Article  Lily Tomlin back to Pittsburgh

We were sad when Ms. Tomlin's 2008 appearance was cancelled.  She's back!  You can also enjoy an exclusive meet and greet afterwards which will benefit the GLCC.  Follow link on side menu to purchase tickets.


Saturday, February 7, 2009
8 PM
Benedum Center
Pittsburgh, PA

An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin is a nostalgic and warm presentation of Lily's "greatest hits" with more than a dozen of her famous characters -- including the precocious 6-year-old Edith Ann, the irascible telephone operator Ernestine, the aging beauty adviser Madame Lupe, Lucille the rubber addict, prim Judith Beasley from Calumet City, Indiana, and Lily's most profound character, Trudy, the schizophrenic street lady who starred in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. It will be a night of cerebral comedy and prescient social commentary woven among Lily's affectionate reminiscences about her childhood in the Midwest.

Lily Tomlin has won six Emmys, two Tony awards and a Grammy for her astounding body of work that includes the landmark comedy series, ?Laugh-In.?  Her one woman performance in Jane Wagner?s ?The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe? also won a CableAce Award for its film adaptation.  Other movies include Robert Altman?s THE PLAYER and SHORT CUTS, Joel Schumacher?s comedy THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN, Woody Allen?s SHADOWS AND FOG, 9 TO 5 with Dolly Parton, ORANGE COUNTY, FLIRTING WITH DISASTER and I HEART HUCKABEES.  Her memorable television roles include ?Murphy Brown,? ?Will and Grace? and ?The West Wing.?

Tickets to Lily Tomlin may be purchased at the Theater Square Box Office 655 Penn Avenue, near 7th Street (Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun Noon-6), charge by phone at 412-456-6666 or online at www.pgharts.org. Prices are $100, $67 and $57.

PLEASE NOTE: If you already purchased a ticket for Lily from the Cultural Trust and would like to attend the Meet and Greet fundraiser, you can add on the event  through the GLCC for an additional $23.00.  Kat Carrick  412-793-5274  Mail to: GLCC, P.O. Box 5441 Pittsburgh PA 15206

All Tickets  for the Meet and Greet will be held at the Will Call office at the Benedum Center


View Article  Equality

I don't have much time to blog today.  It was hard to find time to watch the inauguration and there's always work and laundry.  More is happening with the Club Pittsburgh criminal investigation and new toxicology findings. Find that at KDKA Investigations. We are waiting for some more details to come out before commenting any further. I must say, however, that I hope the spotlight continues to shine on the issue of criminal wrongdoing in the death of Mr. Pettway AND the "pay to play" shenanigans that might have derailed the governmental failsafes that are supposed to prevent people from dying at health clubs.  My personal opinion is that the Mayor's people got involved because of campaign contributions and if it turns out they turned a blind eye to potentially lethal activities, they have the death of this man on their conscience.  It would be no different if, as someone commented, a gay restauranteur made sizable donations to Dan Onorato, called in a favor to cut out the middle man on a health inspection citation and then Mr. Pettway died of food poisoning in that restaurant.  In either case, Mr. Pettway should have expected that the government safeguards are in place to protect him.  That's Government 101.  The government let him down by not following through on the site inspection.  Would a thorough scrutiny of Club Pittsburgh have ended the alleged sale of huffing materials?  I guess we'll have to see.  The point is that equality means we have to play fair, too.  We can't cry foul and play the gay card to ward off investigations into our community businesses. 

Thanks to Maria for this fun suggestion.

View Article  Obama mentions gays in address

Also worth watching.  I'm not glued to the inaugural events, but I am curious as to how it shakes out for our community.  I picked this up courtesy of Pam's House Blend.

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