Saturday, January 30
by Sue on Sat 30 Jan 2010 09:32 AM EST
So much has been happening. I've been so busy at work that I've hardly had time to keep up with email and Facebook, much less blog.
Let's do the LGBTQ stuff first.
The paper has apparently apologized for letting this slip through the cracks, but an interesting note is the mounting student led pressure for reform on campus -- a change in attitude. This story resonates here in Pittsburgh because of the eminence of Duquesne University and the never-ceasing struggles of local Christians over LGBTQ issues. I believe that Duquesne University has a gay-straight alliance called Lambda. Local LGBTQ orgs often mention the Pitt and CMU alliances -- perhaps we are called to reach out to the Duquesne group, too?
The cartoon is absolutely despicable. My reference to reaching out to the Duquesne gay-straight alliance is evidence that I am just as capable of contributing community building suggestions as I am lampooning foolishness.
Here's the "ManCrunch" ad rejected for the Superbowl. Amusing stuff.
It is Grammy weekend and notorious homophobic Buju Banton is nominated for a Grammy. GLAAD is not pleased and has taken out an ad in Variety to remind the entertainment industry that we should not reward "art" that promotes killing faggots.
Still, we are a nation that gave an Oscar to a white director who raped a child.
Is there a difference between the actions of the artist (rape) and the art itself (kill the faggots)? I guess we should ask girls who survive rape and Jamaican LGBT folks.
Anything else? Oh yes POTUS is going to repeal DADT. Yawn. Maybe we can have a contest to see what happens first -- Domestic Partner benefits in Allegheny County or the repeal of DADT?
Meanwhile, around the Burghosphere ...
The Comet closes up shop.
Slag Heap looks at Sestak's actual plan to repeal DADT.
Roddy on Hait (h/t That's Church)
PopCity on some new local blogs.
by Sue on Sat 30 Jan 2010 08:20 AM EST
The boys decided they really had to visit the backyard at 6:30 AM so up I got. Now I'm coffee'd up and had the wonderful joy of listening to my neighbor laying on her horn for ten minutes to get her kids out of the door.
Which brings me to the number one topic of the morning, the Pennsylvania Governors Debate last night at the PA Progress Summit
I followed last night on Twitter. The hashtag for upcoming debates is #pagovdebate, btw. Next debate is Sunday here in Pittsburgh.
Anyway, here's the Morning Call wrap up.
This is what I'm afraid of ... people out East are going to fall for Onorato's "pragmatic progressivism" which in the case of anti-discrimination legislation means jumping on the bandwagon at the last possible moment and then taking credit for the heavy lifting. He's a liar, but he's feeding them lies they want to hear so how on earth will the truth get out? I would love to invite a leader from Philly's LGBT political community to talk with some of the LGBT folks who can't necessarily afford to jet out to Philly for the high profile fundraisers and house parties, but have been present at critical junctures. We are at the mercy of political dilettantes who have a hell of a lot more money than we do. All we have is a voting record and an informed populace of LGBTQ leaders who are being excluded from the Onorato table because they seemingly are more Q than G.
Even Team Luke invites the Qs for God's sake!
Is that what Philly wants in our next Governor? Is that what you want?
If I were anti-choice, I'd be howling except I know this is codespeak for get the progressive vote and then let the conservative Senate do what the hell it wants so its really all okay for the fetus.
Wagner's right that we need better services for women and children, period. Not just pregnant women. Women who need access to safe, affordable healthcare across the board so they can make informed decisions about their lives, including their reproductive choices. There's a lot we can do to reduce the number of women who have unwanted pregnancies, but it doesn't start by squelching their Right to Privacy. It starts much much further back along the line, probably somewhere that led to four white men standing on a stage in 2010 discussing their bid for Governor. Until they acknowledge that privilege, this "support for existing law" needs to be called out for the ridiculous non-position that it is.
Back to Onorato, from the Post-Gazette coverage of the debate (big emphasis on Liquor Control Board)
Why doesn't the Post-Gazette ever mention that Mr. Onorato has not supported domestic partnerships for the past six years that he has been the boss of County employees? Why does the Post-Gazette edit out references to gender identity and gender orientation? Why do they obsess about marriage equality instead of finding out for themselves what the key indicators of LGBTQ quality of life are in the local gay community?
Because marriage equality is sexy shorthand for the mainstream media too lazy to do their homework on these issues.
Look, I don't have patience for the plodding along from "gays are okay" to marriage equality continuum, but supporting civil unions doesn't give you a pass on other issues. It may be smart strategy in Pennsylvania where civil unions or marriage won't see the light of day for a decade so you won't actually have to vote on it. But smart strategy is probably good enough for the affluent gay men who have the bounce of a thick wallet to take the sting out of being kicked in the ass by a politician who tolerates your campaign contributions.
Smart strategy doesn't help actual gay people here in Pittsburgh. We aren't getting married anytime soon, but we do have to feed our families, keep our jobs and figure out healthcare. Plus, catch a bus to work, prevent our kids from being swept away in Wal-Mart landslides, pay for childcare, take care of our senior family members and find somewhere safe to live. Whew. We are busy.
I cannot wait for the Steel City Stonewall Democrat endorsement where I will finally get to ask Onorato to publicly explain a six year (and counting) lag on domestic partner benefits in contrast to Mr. Hoeffel's County providing them for the past nine years.
There is more to my concern than choice and LGBTQ civil rights.
I'm getting tweets and FB notes from LGBTQ folks also concerned about the environment, job development, health care, public transportation and so forth.
It is heartening that people are paying attention and, as I've said before, social media is driving more people to this election.
Thursday, January 28
by Sue on Thu 28 Jan 2010 04:31 PM EST
Another step forward for Pennsylvania's public employees. From the Philly Gay News:
Disappointing that this only applies to LGBT couples, but still a step forward. This applies to nearly 1,000 elected officials.
Imagine -- openly gay judges.
This is the most excellent response to the "if the budget allows" hedging we've heard here in our neck of the woods.
Equality, fairness, equal rights. So refreshing.
Expect an announcement from Team Onorato next week. Sources tell me he will reiterate his support for civil unions, something the Governor cannot actually make happen given the rabidly conservative tenure of the Senate. No word from Chief Executive Onorato on domestic partner benefits for County employees.
Kudos to the PA Court system for treating their own staff with equality and fairness.
Wednesday, January 27
by Sue on Wed 27 Jan 2010 09:59 PM EST
I'm very pleased that Steel-City Stonewall Democrats are on the search for a volunteer to focus solely on social media. I've been working on this project with other local LGBT social media users and really want to applaud the group for embracing these tools to support their mission. The job description is also attached to this post as a Word document that you can circulate.
This is a concrete way someone who has social media experience and a desire to be part of the solution can get involved. There are also opportunities for folks to serve as "aggegrators" to help keep the organization's followers, fans and tweeps well informed on issues related to the group's mission. What an excellent opportunity for Pittsburgh!
Please repost this information.
Volunteer Description: Social Media Editor for
Steel-City Stonewall Democrats, a chapter of the national Stonewall Democrats, is looking for an experienced social media user to coordinate social media activities for the organization. This position will require daily monitoring of political and LGBT information on a local, statewide and national level and the dissemination of this information to the members of the Steel-City Stonewall chapter. Steel-City Stonewall is a regional chapter of a National organization with over 90 chapters and offers a unique opportunity to engage individuals at a grassroots level to be involved with the LGBT movement and the political process.
This position will require daily monitoring of political and LGBT information on a local,statewide and national level and the dissemination of this information to the
members of the Steel City Stonewall chapter. The editor will recruit and oversee
volunteer aggregators who will feed relevant information to the editor to be reviewed and filtered by the editor for dissemination. Aggregators can include members of the organization as well as allies. Posting to Twitter/Facebook/related feeds twice
daily on weekdays and once daily on weekends. ** Can be shared duty. Monitoring
comments section of blog to ensure compliance with guidelines.
The editor will chair a social media committee and attend board meetings on a
bimonthly basis to coordinate projects with the organization leadership. S/he will maintain regular contact with the Executive Committee as well as the board liaison to the committee. The board will make themselves available to provide guidance as needed.
Posting priorities will be coordinated by the board. For example, if the board
identifies a critical race, the status updates should educate followers on relevant
mainstream media and blog coverage of said race. The individual should have experience using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Flicker among others and be able to commit to 5 hours per week with primary duties during weekday hours.
The editor will recruit and oversee volunteer aggregators who will feed relevant information to the editor to be filtered for dissemination. Aggregators can include members of the organization as well as allies.
Responsibilities will include:
Interested persons should contact Lance Friedman at [email protected] Please provide links to your twitter feed, blog and/or facebook page for review.
Tuesday, January 26
by Sue on Tue 26 Jan 2010 10:19 PM EST
Peduto endorses Joe Hoeffel.
It is very sad to hear my fellow queers say things like "We have to be realistic" about a primary. In January. Did you learn nothing from Natalia Rudiak's election? Seriously people ... that was a year ago.
Joe Hoeffel's County has offered domestic partner benefits since 2001. He offers them to his campaign staff. His campaign staff, for God's sake.
Joe Hoeffel likes gay people. He thinks we deserve jobs, housing, health insurance and marriage equality. He includes us fully in his vision for Pennsylvania, not just to the extent permitted by the Pope.
Really. It is January. Senator-elect Brown has not wiped the progressive slate clean. Calm down and realize that nothing is inevitable in January.
The Trib runs a piece on the Prop 8 Trial.
Ah, but Daniel Haggerty of Chippewa begs to disagree (yes, I had to look up where Chippewa falls in PA).
At least he has the cahones to lay it out there. We are not decent human beings. We deserve second class status lest we spread our indecency to other people's children. Daniel Haggerty isn't inching along to thinking we deserve a few rights. He doesn't give a flying fig what conservatism means. His a faith-based hatred fueled by half-truths and misunderstandings.
Adoption is not a religious process. The Diocese of Boston Catholic Charities was contracted by the state to provide this service to children in the community. The law said that those children deserved homes based on certain criteria. Sexual orientation of the adopters is not a legal reason to deny a child a home. The Diocese opted not to participate in a civil process that violated their religious beliefs. Someone else picked up that contract. There's no "right to run an adoption program" that I'm aware of.
But you can't get around it. If you think LGBTQ folks are indecent, any weapon is fine.
But, heck, Bill Gates isn't worried that Uganda wants to make homosexuality punishable by death. Why should I worry about a little indecent slur?
Friday, January 22
by Sue on Fri 22 Jan 2010 10:03 AM EST
From the Orlando Sentinel comes a thoughtful story on an impending court ruling regarding the constitutionality of a statewide ban on LGBT adoption.
This has relevancy here in Pittsburgh where so many folks have stepped forward interested in adopting the Haitian children from the Bresma Orphanage. From the PG:
It is very unclear if LGBTQ families or individuals can adopt from Haiti. It is highly relevant given the probability of a significant number of children being orphaned by the earthquake and their proximity to the United States, especially Florida. Bringing children into the US foster care system under orphan visas does not trump the adoption policies of their home countries.
Wikipedia has an interesting chart of how LGBT rules role out in different nations.
As many countries will permit single parent adoption, there is a line of thought that LGBT couples can have one partner complete the adoption process and subvert the law by completing a second parent adoption back in the US. That's fairly repugnant to me because the entire adoption is based on a lie and could be legally challenged by the child's country of origin. Bilerico has more on this approach and the pending impact of Haitian orphans.
It is also repugnant to me because of the 125,000 American children needing homes. Going overseas to lie about your family while children in your own nation are ignored is borderline immoral. Mind you, it is the lie that bothers me more while the simple pursuit of transnational adoption just bugs me.
We can help the children of Haiti by investing that $20,000 into relief efforts.
by Sue on Fri 22 Jan 2010 09:34 AM EST
The Philly Gay News is reporting that the federal judge who recently issued an injuction in a case involving the City of Philadelphia and the Boy Scouts was himself a Scout official. The twist is that his time with the Scouts did overlap his time on Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
Philadelphia has been providing a City owned property as Scouting headquarters at below market rent. In recent years, they decided that the Scout sanctioned discrimination against sexual orientation conflicted with the City's non-discrimination policies. In other words, while the Scouts as a faith based organization are not required to comply with the law per se, they should not receive public subsidies (aka rent subsidy).
The Scout cried foul and off to Court everybody went.
I'm assuming the bond would be the technical way to ensure the Scouts pay the back rent if the Court decides it must be so? Regardless, the federal court has now made it possible for the Scouts to continue to reside in Philadelphia tax payer property without paying fair rent.
Can Buckwalter remain objective given his affiliation with the Scouts while serving on the Court of Common Pleas? The City attorneys have raised no objection. It was awhile ago, after all, but it does go to show just a lack of common sense. If you aren't supposed to be affiliated with groups that might come before you, it just seems ridiculous. At least he disclosed now.
The bigger issue this brings to light is this claim that the Boy Scouts have the right to discriminate against LGBTQ persons AND receive public subsidies. They claim that paying fair market value on the property is violating the constitution. It is so utterly ridiculous.
So continue to not support the Boy Scounts. Not only do they teach intolerance and bigotry, but they want your tax dollars to do it.
Wednesday, January 20
by Sue on Wed 20 Jan 2010 01:08 PM EST
Major fail on the part of CBS with regard to accepting faith based advertising.
You might recall back 2006, the United Church of Christ wanted to run a series of ads reaching out to the "unchurched" with a bit of pizzaz. CBS rejected the advertising, deeming them "too controversial" for network television. Here is one of the ads:
Fast forward (recurring meme this week, eh?) to the 2010 Superbowl set to air on CBS. Focus on the Family is set to spend $2.8 million on this ad. Video not available, but here's a description:
Change.org weighs in.
So what to do? One thing you can do to weigh in locally is call the local CBS affiliate ... yes, that would be KDKA and let them know if you think CBS should be carrying such a controversial ad, especially given their history with UCC. The number for KDKA is +14125752288. You can weigh in via email here.
Weigh in with CBS here.
You can also join a national petitions at Change.Org here.
The Facebook page is here.
One point to keep in mind is there is no move from the UCC to run their ads (4 years later). It is simply a point of reference to hold CBS accountable for consistent decisions with regard to advertising decisions, especially those that promote a social issue agenda. So the message is clear -- don't run the Focus on the Family ad.
by Sue on Wed 20 Jan 2010 09:53 AM EST
I am so tired of reporting on this, but I suppose I must.
Another church gone. This is boring me. I really wish Pittsburgh's church beat reporters would examine the faith based homophobia with a more critical eye than discerning who gets to keep the marital assets.
I recognize that these are painful decisions for people who belong to churches, but WHAT DO YOU EXPECT when your faith community endorses bigotry and intolerance?
Sheesh. Wake me up when a Catholic parish figures out how to wrest themselves away to join another diocese... now that would be interesting? Who keeps the bingo chips?
Tuesday, January 19
by Sue on Tue 19 Jan 2010 09:27 PM EST
Yesterday, I wrote about the ACDC's failure to put information about committe folks on the website. Blah, blah, blah ... accountability, transparency, connections. All that jazz.
Today ... the information is available on their website. Here's the link. It is actually the same link as in my original blog post so I need to fix that reference.
To be safe, I've attached the actual Excel spreadsheet to this post.
Kudos to the women of Run, Baby, Run who worked hard on this. They are a determined group who have just shown that things can happen. (Oh, those women's groups!)
From what I can tell, there are 277 vacancies. So who is ready to step up and get some good progressive voices bringing change from within?