Sunday, March 22
by Sue on Sun 22 Mar 2009 10:20 AM EDT
Ah. So good to see the Methodist Church looking out for the vulnerable. Ann Rodgers has the story in today's Post-Gazette.
So Reverend Higginbotham is a lawyer with an extensive background in judicial proceedings? I don't think so.
Here comes the part where they disparage the alleged victims character.
Apparently, the church leaders aren't even paying attention to the facts in the case. Well done. Good to know that the faithful little Methodist women who belong to his two churches are being looked out for with such rigor and scrutiny by their church leaders.
Garvey's lawyer plays "why did they wait so long? card.
The Rev. Garvey's attorney, Blair Hindman, said his client is innocent of the charges.
Here's someone who actually thinks criminal proceedings based on sexually victimizing people under his power and influence warrants being proactive to protect others in similar vulnerability.
What? People are reluctant to accuse pastors? Where on earth does that revelation come from? Is there any precedent for pastors victimizing their flock? Hmmm.
The Methodist Church in Jefferson County sucks. Does this disgust you? Sick of the hypocrisy of churches blasting the LGBTQ community for being the anti-Christ while they provide cover for sexual predators?
Bishop Bickerton [email protected]
Reverend Higginbotham [email protected]
Reverend Schwab [email protected]
Reverend Garvey [email protected]
This is just a pathetic backwater good old boys club attempt to preserve the power of the pulpit no matter the risk to the faithful. These so-called leaders should writhe in shame at their failure to balance the needs of their church members with the rights of Reverend Garvey. What kind of message does this send to women in the Methodist Church?
The message that your church won't believe you if you bring clerical abuse to light. Period. They won't believe you and they will even say so in the leading newspaper in the region. They are not protecting you and your families from potential predators garbed in clerical robes.
They didn't learn a damn think from the Catholic abuse scandal.
Saturday, March 21
by Sue on Sat 21 Mar 2009 10:07 AM EDT
The Tribune-Review interviewed Rachel Maddow. I've probably read 15 interviews with her as there has been one in almost every publication we receive. But I've never seen her show.
The Trib has remained shockingly mum on LGBTQ issues of late. Nothing on HB 300, the Allegheny County HRC ordinance, rallies or anything. Very curious.
by Sue on Sat 21 Mar 2009 09:45 AM EDT
Ladies, ready to dance?
WHO? WOMEN'S DANCE with D.J. Adele
PLUS Vendors, Raffles, Door Prizes!
WHERE? Absolute Ballroom
(Across the street from Animal Rescue League)
WHEN? Saturday, APRIL 18th, 2009, 7 PM
Ticket sales start March 1st
@ A Pleasant Present- $10 CASH
or $12 CASH at the door (if available!)
Only 200 tickets will be sold, so get your tickets early!
Parking on street or Animal Rescue League lot
BYOB & MUNCHIES: NO FOOD OR DRINKS WILL BE SOLD
Any questions send an email to [email protected]
benefits the GLCC
by Sue on Sat 21 Mar 2009 09:41 AM EDT
I realize the absurdity of writing about a fundraiser immediately after posting about poverty, but there's a very important connection ... the services of Persad Center, the region's LGBT mental health service provider. "Celebrate Life, Celebrate Art" is a clear way you can help.
Ledcat and I will be live-blogging this year's "Celebrate Life, Celebrate Art" auction in May. Something neat for you to explore is the online "thumbnails" of this year's art donations. Here's the link. We'll be covering the Patron Party, too.
I'm working with Persad to provide training for my team so we can make sure our services and program meet the needs of LGBTQ individuals and families we serve. I've been with my agency for a little over 3 months and have identified that we need to be very proactive to assure our consumers that we respect their LGBTQ identities. I'm out at work, to my team and to consumers as appropriate. My team is pretty good and certainly wants to be competent on LGBTQ issues, but there's only so much I can personally do to ensure that they have the appropriate information. There's also only so much I can do to assure our consumers that they can take the leap from coming out to me, an openly queer woman, to coming out to their staff person. That's a huge step and there has to be trust, as well as the right information.
Thankfully, I can turn to Persad to provide that information.
by Sue on Sat 21 Mar 2009 08:59 AM EDT
The Washington Blade has an interesting article on the myth of gay affluence. A recently published survey by the Williams Institute of UCLA reveals that the percentage of lesbian and gay families living in poverty is significantly higher than same sex families.
A new report from a think-tank on sexual orientation reveals how poverty is affecting gay people in the United States.
The Blade article goes on the make the logical conclusion that as women, on average, earn less than men so two women living together are likely to earn less than a man and a woman pooling their earnings as well as two men.
This study uses data collected before the current economic recession so it might be particularly useful to put this in perspective on how plans to revitalize the economy impact LGBTQ families.
I find this examination of socioeconomic status interesting because of my work in the human services field. The ability of low and moderate income LGBTQ families (and individuals) to access services and resources becomes even more acute when you factor in the double negative of being poor and queer in a society that devalues both groups of individuals.
What does this mean here in Pittsburgh? Well it certainly suggest that organizations such as the GLCC are human service providers and should be part of the equation when examining service delivery. It also suggests we should be mindful of the ability of low and moderate income queer families to access the social opportunities so critical to developing a strong support system -- events that cost $15 per person might be out of reach for a family living on $12.00/hr wages.
Groups that strive to create these social support opportunities that are free or income sensitive -- like the PrideFest Committee and the Dyke March -- do tackle this issue. Certainly organizations like PATF, Persad Center and the Shepherd Wellness Community play a significant role in serving individuals struggling with the day to day reality of surviving on limited means.
This makes your support of these groups even more vital. It also means we should continue agitating for systemic change on the local level. I would argue it makes advocacy on the County level even more critical to have any real impact on the delivery of local human services and strengthening the safety net to include all kinds of families.
I'm going to please Adam by also pointing out that changing federal laws on marriage would go a long way toward addressing a myriad of systemic barriers facing queer families. It is tax time and we once again face the lowering of the boom in terms of federal taxes on our domestic partner health insurance. It is still a bargain, but ridiculously unfair. Thus, while I absolutely believe we should push County Chief Executive Dan Onorato to offer domestic partner benefits we should continue to urge US Congressman Mike Doyle to make the federal government treat our families fairly. It is a continuum.
The myth of affluence is just that.
Wednesday, March 18
by Sue on Wed 18 Mar 2009 08:11 PM EDT
Human Relations Commission Chair Stephen Glassman has a well-written, thoughtful argument in support of the passage of HB 300.
The economic arguement is quite compelling for those who fail to see the import of the human rights argument. I would put forth that it also supports the reason we need to invest equal resources toward the passage of the Allegheny County HRC Ordinance.
Glassman argues that Pennsylvania is woefully late in passing this legislation. Allegheny County residents should carefully consider that reality. 13 municipalities have beat us to the punch. We are the second largest county in the Commonwealth and home to the second largest city in the Commonwealth.
We should be a leader in protecting vulnerable citizens, not in 14th place.
Tuesday, March 17
by Sue on Tue 17 Mar 2009 08:31 PM EDT
The Post-Gazette has the story on today's Rock the Dome Rally in Harrisburg, organized in support of HB 300 which would extend protections based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity.
The rally turned out several hundred participants. Unfortunately, this "breaking news" article did not include a reference to the Allegheny County ordinance. Hopefully, that will be corrected tomorrow so folks have proper context.
I hope we can attract some comments from rally participants to get first-hand accounts from the action.
Monday, March 16
by Sue on Mon 16 Mar 2009 04:09 PM EDT
Do you need food assistance?
Evening Food Distribution at the Food Bank warehouse in Duquesne
Targeting Unemployed & Underemployed Families
Thursday Evening, March 26, 2009
NO NEED TO PRE-REGISTER
TO HEAR A PRE-RECORDED MESSAGE ABOUTALL DIRECT
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
by Sue on Mon 16 Mar 2009 07:49 AM EDT
Two quick items of interest today.
Rob Owens from the Post-Gazette has a nice interview with award winning actress and CMU grad Cherry Jones, who is currently portraying the President on 24. I've never seen 24, but I do admire Jones' after seeing her in the "What Makes a Family" Lifetime special with Brooke Shields as a lesbian couple. Jones is an openly gay actor and has been honored by GLAAD for her achievements.
The Owens' interview actually gave me some food for thought about 24, but its far too late to pick it up now I guess.
Also, h/t to Christopher Hixson for the "Buying for Equality 2009" guide from the HRC. As you make your spending decisions, this guide which is based on the Equality Index can be a useful way to measure which national corporations support our community. For convenience, I've linked the document below.
This proved useful to me in an interesting way. My (former) insurance agent's staff treated in a very disrespectful manner, including referring to me as "the gay" and refusing to acknowledge that Ledcat is my domestic partner, insistently referring to her as a business partner in spite of my corrections. This all happened after I made it clear that I did not want an auto policy at this time. I contacted the agent for an apology which he refused to offer, proceeding to make his own bumbling offensive comments comparing homophobia to discrimination based on eye color or weight. So I contacted the corporate office and brought up the company's Equality Index rating. To my surprise, she was familiar with it and assured me that the agent was out of compliance. (It certainly helped my case that they made most of these comments via email.)
In 48 hours, I had a written apology from the agent and a promise from the company that his staff would be retrained on diversity.
Beyond buying, you can use this tool to insist that local affiliates meet the standard or go back to the corporate office (or the HRC) if they don't. It works.
Sunday, March 15
by Sue on Sun 15 Mar 2009 11:34 AM EDT
I am pleased. The Post-Gazette's coverage of yesterday's vote by the Pittsburgh Presbytery is a balanced report on the complexities of "gay issues" in communities of faith. Rather than a reductionistic portrayal of people of faith as vigorously anti-gay, Ann Rodgers presents multiple perspectives from various heterosexual members of the Pittsburgh Presbytarian community.
At issue was an amendment to the church's constitution which would have eliminated the mandate that ministers be either chaste single adults or married. In other words, it would have created room for gay clergy with partners. The local vote is part of the larger effort to amend the constitution nationally. Sadly, the local vote was against the amendment.
The good news is that the vote did bring out allies to testify on behalf of their gay sisters and brothers in the church (and beyond).
Of course, there were testimonials from those who belive homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle and opposed to ordaining gay clergy. You can go read the article to catch those. I'm very sad that Lebanon Presbyterian Church in my home community of West Mifflin seems to generate a lot of the opposition. I was a member of the youth group for two years. It was the alternative to my parish down the street which was being served by a pedophile priest who creeped the hell out of me. Great options, huh?
I'm just pleased that the coverage itself is thoughtful and nuanced. I really do believe that increasing the profile of people of faith who are allies to our community will help challenge the false claim that every right accorded to a LGBT person is one right removed from a person of faith.
I also hope the thorough news coverage will help the genuine dialogue continue.