Tuesday, May 26
by Sue on Tue 26 May 2009 09:08 AM EDT
The Post-Gazette editors remind you that recycling the "marriage amendment" is getting tiresome.
Ya got the social conservative part right. Other states are surging ahead in creating equal societies and eliminating second-class citizenship, but Pennsylvania has looped back around to scapegoat our community for society's ills.
It isn't like the loss of a job or wiped out savings might put some stress on a marriage, is it? Sigh.
Remember our recommendations to stand up to the ongoing "separate but equal" mentality: join Steel City Stonewall Democrats and/or make a donation to the Women's Law Project.
ps: There's also a letter from Bill Huber of Moon mocking Carrie Prejean. It is a little bit funny, but could have been more witty about Prejean (one of my Facebook friends) using Jesus wanting his religion back.
Monday, May 25
by Sue on Mon 25 May 2009 09:19 PM EDT
Well, I've gone six days without meat and it hasn't been too bad. It was easy enough to substitute shrimp when dining out and one of our meals was at The Quiet Storm which has delicious veggie options. I had a falafel with chick peas as the protein. Otherwise, I had a veggie omelet, cheese pizza, shrimp tikka masala, etc.
I've been trying to replace meat with lots of veggies instead of more carbs. Tonight I made Ledcat shish kabob with chicken and veggies. I threw some extra mushrooms on mine and basically had a big serving of grilled veggies plus applesauce and a pear for dessert. I also bought some tofu to try and marinate for grilling later in the week.
I am fortunate that Ledcat is willing to try vegetarian fare. We are making tacos tomorrow night with fake meat crumbles. She agrees that once you add on the seasoning and the fixins, it is all about texture not taste. I also ponied up to buy the socially responsible salmon -- we have a little guide from the Aviary of all places that lists all the good, so-so, bad fish to buy. It usually takes me about 15 minutes to compare all the options to my guide which seems to annoy the fish people.
Finally, I stocked up on some frozen vegetarian options to keep me from succumbing on those nights when there isn't anything else in the house.
At this point, the biggest issue for me is convenience. Finding meals that suit both our choices takes a bit of effort. Work will also be an issue -- we have a daily luncheon in our dining room and I like to go up a few times each week to socialize. The food is heavy on the meat and potatos while veggies are pretty dull. So I've got my egg salad, pb&j and yogurt ready to roll. I'll just have to incorporate socialization without succumbing to the very appealing comfort foods.
I'm sure once the newness wears off, it will be more difficult. I really like meat. It tastes good. Finding other tastes is a good experience, but we'll have to see.
by Sue on Mon 25 May 2009 08:54 AM EDT
One year ago, we adopted our little Ana from Starfish to the Sea Rescue. Technically, it was May 26, 2008 but since it was a holiday we've decided to celebrate Ana's anniversary (get it?) on Memorial Day each year.
It was quite a day. We drove up to Indiana County, spent a few hours, plopped her in the car and promptly ran down a deer. Deer was dead, car was fine. Ana was like "what the heck is up with these ladies?" We drove 700 hours on Route 22 and finally made it home. Awesome rescuer Julie came to help us acquaint Ana with the boys at 9:30 PM.
Fast forward one year. Ana is either glued to our side or the boys' sides. She has recently begun running furiously around the backyard and actually barking. She chases after tennis balls (even though she's afraid of them up close). She takes her pick of the dog beds and will actually prod the 110 lb dogs to move out of her 10 lb way. She lives to surrpetitiously snack on cat food. She's finally gotten the hang of the stuffed Kong. She ignores the cats. She dressed up like a dinosaur for Halloween. She's the perfect hostess when guests come over.
by Sue on Mon 25 May 2009 08:24 AM EDT
Joseph Kowalksi of North Huntington has had a letter to the editor about LGBT equality published each year at this time. Today's letter reminds Post-Gazette readers that marriage equality in Massachusetts has wrought no harm. In fact, as we've pointed out before, it has generated a heck of a lot of revenue for the state ... around $100 million according to the Williams Institute of UCLA. No reports of heterosexual marriages going "poof" (ha ha ha) when same sex couples signed on the dotted line.
Speaking of Diane, she's fired off another press release urging Pennsylvania's to defend marriage and giving a little shout out to Allegheny County's looming self-destruction. She hits her usual despicable low notes of Boy Scouts being refused use of a park (please!) and sexually deviant child predators stalking public pools in opposite gender clothing.
This is untrue. Lots of groups that self-select are permitted to use public parks. No one tells the Clark Family Reunion they have to let certain groups attend their event to use a pavillion. Philadelphia told the Boy Scouts that the taxpayers aren't picking up their rent anymore because they don't comply with non-discrimination ordinance. I'm not aware of too many sweet deals where the municipality pay to house the Boy Scouts (or the Girl Scouts) anyway. We grew up attending Scouting meetings at the Presbyterian Church. Stupid fear mongering rhetoric. Period.
But it is the rhetoric that fuels intolerance and turns people out around the issue of marriage equality. It would be nice if Diane could just state the truth: the law means that if you dislike gay people, you can't let that interfere with your public responsibilities. You can hold the hate close to your heart, but you don't get to benefit from it. Instead, she's going to convince a few folks that LGBTQ people are the predators circling their family stability.
Once again, Diane does ask for money but does not ask people to pray. I still don't get how that is "In His Service."
Sunday, May 24
by Sue on Sun 24 May 2009 09:16 AM EDT
Sarah Springer MD uses a lovely PG article on foster parenting to point out that many different types of families can provide loving supportive homes for children in need.
Here's the whole letter.
Saturday, May 23
by Sue on Sat 23 May 2009 08:53 AM EDT
From The Philly Gay News I learned that two openly gay candidates were successful in their bid for office.
Also good news from Harrisburg (please stop with the "Alabama in between" metaphors -- Hburg is as much or more progressive as Pittsburgh):
Something interesting to note. If you Google openly gay politicians in Pennsylvania, you will find several lists compiled by the wingnuts for "action" efforts at the top of the search results. For a complete list of the 46 current officials who are openly gay, go to the Victory Fund page. I learned that Philadelphia's Mayor has a Director for LGBT Affairs. Hmmm. Anyway, note that list of 46 includes appointees to boards and commissions which is where most of the openly gay women are included.
I want to be on the State Board for Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors. As a non-clinical social worker, I'm not part of that side of the profession, but still ... :-)
Friday, May 22
by Sue on Fri 22 May 2009 10:58 PM EDT
From Pam's House Blend comes interesting news of what could be a momentous turning point in the struggle for equality. This document is referred to as the Dallas Principles (drafted in Dallas this past weekend). Here's some of the language:
I need to do some more reading on this, but my gut tells me that people in our community are fed up with the "not right now" approach of too many of so-called allies in elected offices and other leadership roles.
The national scope is impressive and I believe this is the sort of call to action that will generate the rise of national leaders we need.
On a local level, we need to pay attention to this as well. Our progress has been duly noted, but the plain truth is that we do not have full civil rights, that we do leave people behind, that our grassroots has not been mobilized and that success has been defined by access to power rather than empowerment of the whole community. We shouldn't have people comparing leaders to has been movie actors; we should have leaders on the forefront earning respect and loyalty with their accomplishments as well as their rhetoric. We should DEMAND that of our leaders. We should DEMAND something of which we can be proud, proud to share with our children and the larger community. We should DEMAND more of ourselves - that we step in to fill power vacuums rather than hand it over to the highest bidder.
We are about to enter the month commemorating the Stonewall Riots. Not the Stonewall street party. Not the official Stonewall drink. Not the Stonewall meeting or picnic or church service. Riots. Action. Resistance. Demands for accountability. Defiance.
The rest have their place, but I would charge that a "Visibility March" should not be the defining political moment of June. We are missing something and that absent spark paves the way for more apathy and lethargy. We cannot cajole, beg or shame people into action. We must MUST find a way to make these principles real and personal for our community. We must ask our leaders from the 80s and 90s to step forward and proactively cultivate that kind of leadership today. We must realize that people need to be energized.
We need leadership that unites the gays and the lesbians and the bisexual men and women and the transmen and transwomen and the dykes and the queers and the questioning and so forth. I contend that no one person in recent memory has been able or willing to tackle this. I contend that all of you who read this little blog should take ownership of whatever draws you here and hold the current leaders accountable. Yes, we should acknowledge what they are doing, but we must be clear as to what we expect.
"Not right now" is no longer acceptable. A new generation of leaders are rising to elected positions. Take this opportunity to educate them. Make sure they understand that the LGBTQ community is not solely defined by white privilege or socio-economic affluence. Make sure they understand the real faces of our bisexual, transgender and queer-identified brothers and sisters. Make sure they realize that we aren't interested in proclamations or gestures of support.
We demand they roll up their sleeve and get down to the task of building a more equitable community in Pittsburgh. Domestic partner benefits for County employees, appointments of openly LGBTQ individuals to boards and commissions -- these should be done deals. We shouldn't be engaged in backroom negotiations to get what we deserve, what we have earned with our blood, sweat, tears and millions of tax dollars.
I encourage you to enjoy Pridefest and the other activities. Revel in the company of your community. Celebrate your identity and enjoy the festivities. Just remember that when June 15 rolls around, you go back to being a second-class citizens in this City, this County and this Commonwealth.
Yes, right now. Yes, right here.
by Sue on Fri 22 May 2009 10:33 PM EDT
How utterly relaxing was today. Breakfast at the Square Cafe -- we haven't been there since Thanksgiving! Wow. The decor has changed a bit, but the food remains awesome as does the service. I'm happy to report that I resisted bacon, even when Ledcat ordered it. I gritted my teeth and ate fruit plus the veggiest omelet in the world. Did I mention that the Square has some of the best coffee in Pittsburgh? Mmmm.
Then we decided to do one of those things we always discuss and never actually do. A visit to Allegheny Cemetary made the cut so off we went. We took a quick tour of the main building which is quite impressive and then took a long stroll through the hills and hollers exploring the headstones. The mausoleums are quite breathtaking. The oldest headstones we found dated back to 1780 something. One mausoleum for the Winter family is Egyptian themed!
We stayed long enough for me to get some sunburn, then headed back to the Northside for my first trip ever to Rita's Italian Ice. We browsed the Farmer's Market, then stopped at home to tend to the woofers. Dinner took us out to Taj Mahal on McKnight Road -- the food is great, but the service is usually lackluster. The servers themselves hustle, hustle, hustle while the owner sits behind the counter and surveys. But there simply aren't enough folks on the floor and you can wait as long as 15 minutes for someone to service you.
We rounded off the evening with some shopping. I got a giant Rubbermaid container, plus throw rugs. I mean if that doesn't make for an exciting Friday night, I don't know what does!
From the LGBTQ world comes news that the Prop 8 decision should be handed down on Tuesday. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, May 20
by Sue on Wed 20 May 2009 10:16 PM EDT
All is not as it seems with the City's Domestic Registry. Stay tuned.
Congrats to the victors in the election. I look forward to seeing Daniel Lavelle and Theresa Smith at Pridefest. I'm sure Natalia will be there.
Marriage amendment is drawing some of the old "Alabama in the middle" analysis of Pennsylvania. Of the 14 municipalities with anti-discrimination ordinances, only two are in Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh is the only one in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Methinks that analogy has been put out to pasture when it comes to the social conservatism flourishing in this region.
Others are positing Pennsylvania as a critical battleground for the advancement of equality. The forward momentum of HB 300 is garnering national attention.
I've been asked to speak at the Dyke March this year along with La 'Tasha Mayes from New Voices Pittsburgh. I'm very flattered. You may not always agree with what I have to say (or even often agree) but I hope you'll agree that it is important to have LGBTQ women's voices in cyberspace. I'd love to see more queer women getting into the fray.
Monday, May 18
by Sue on Mon 18 May 2009 08:17 PM EDT
From the Post-Gazette comes word that a Blair County State Senator, John Eichelberger, plans to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the introduction of legislation which would amend the Pennsylvania constitution to protect heterosexual marriage from the gay agenda.
The bill needs to be approved in two successive legislative sessions and then put on the ballot as a referendum. Recent similar attempts have been increasingly unsuccessful. While the 2006 legislation was defeated with a tricky "yes means no" maneuver, a 2008 bill never made it out of committee.
The bad news? Well, this will suck much needed resources away from the battle to expand anti-discrimination protections on a statewide level and possibly derail the expansion of hate crimes legislation. It is mad genius really because it rallies the Pat Toomey zealots around the battle cry of marriage and rustles up the latent social conservatism of many Democrats we've sent to Harrisburg. It also gives Diane Gramley the chance to dust off her tired old arguments and hit the christo-bigots for donations to fill her coffers.
What to do? Be proactive. First, join the Steel City Stonewall Democrats to add some muscle to the fight for the party. Second, consider donations however modest to organizations such as the Women's Law Project which will be in the trenches on this issue. Third, make calls and ask your heterosexual network to do the same -- remind your legislators that passing the anti-discrimination bill is imperative for the social and economic future of Pennsylvania.
Be attentive folks. We are approaching the benchmark of six states providing marriage equality for our families. That translates into stronger and healthier families as well as a stronger and healthier community. Marriage equality is not about stripping faith communities of their right to bless what they choose. It is about economic, legal and social justice for our community.
Still, that is not our battle in Pennsylvania. Our battle is to get HB 300 passed (I'm assuming Amanda and Dan have got our backs on the County level) without letting this derail us.
So step up, please. Call your parents, your best friend, your cousin. Ask them to contact their elected officials with the simple message: We care about HB 300. No need to mention marriage. No need to discuss the amendment. Simply let them know that voters of all orientations are paying attention and expect them to do the right thing.
I'm taking bets on how long it takes Gramley to issue a press release after the conference tomorrow. Anyone?