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View Article  Those personal moments of discrimination

Just when I think I'm pretty accepted in mainstream society, I get a humbling reminder of my second class citizenship.

I can't be very specific, but I was asked to hide my identity as a lesbian in a certain situation. 

That never feels good.  I told you when my sister-in-law asked me to take down my blog logo from Facebook b/c she was afraid her teen cousins would start asking questions.  That hurt because I just don't think lesbian is a dirty word. I also don't think teens are unfamiliar with lesbians. 

These little moments happen all of the time and some of them are self-imposed.  Each one chips away at our comfort and should remind us that we are second-class citizens in this nation.  It doesn't have to erode our confidence or self-respect, especially when we comply willingly, but it hopefully galvanizes us to take action. 

I told my sister in law "no" and she unfriended me for awhile.  I went on weeks/months later to begin changing my avatar anyway so it wasn't a big deal when she came back (she asked me, though!).  In other scenarios, I acquiesce to keep the peace, avoid the argument or simply out of respect. 

But I feel it and if possible, I try to explain that to the other person.  They may not hear me or agree with me, but I give it a try.  The trouble is that to most people it doesn't seem like a big deal.  It seems "easy" because I simply don't need to bring it up. Until they ask me if I'm married, etc. Then I have to lie. The sticking point for me, however, is Ledcat.  To deny her role in my life is hard to swallow.  She's the most amazing woman of all time and I want to sing to the heavens about the fact that she loves me.  So that's really tough. 

The other tough thing is acquiescing to the words "lesbian" or "gay" being negative.

I'm a public person. I'm coming up on five years of blogging, three years of tweeting and so forth.  Being a lesbian is a very prominent part of my identity.  I can play straight if necessary and there are times I'll sacrifice for what I define as a greater good. 

The request was reasonable and I understood the rational.  I just wish it weren't necessary.  I wish things were further along.  I think that's something Democrats need to understand ... these quiet moments of discrimination are directly tied to the public messages surrounding the gay community.  If we don't have heroes outside of Hollywood and Broadway ... we just continue to sit in the corner and wait for our turn. 

At least, we used to until brave men and women repeatedly chained themselves to the White House fence.  If nothing else, they gave us real heroes -- active heroes -- to remind us that we can offset these little moments if we are brave, too.

View Article  Ohio Lesbian Wants to Return to West Point as Openly Gay Woman

The PG has the story.

We are all waiting for the Defense Department report on Tuesday regarding the repeal of DADT.  Recent court decisions and increasing pressure from the LGBT community that President Obama keep his promise to repeal have spurred our legislators to repeal under their own terms, instead of judicial terms. 

Good?  Bad?  We'll see, but one can only admire how this issue has galvanized the community.  We are no longer merely Gay, Inc sitting on the sidelines shoveling out the cash in exchange for empty promises.  Activism is en vogue, at least on a national level. 

Stay tuned ... this week could be very telling. 

View Article  World AIDS Day in Pittsburgh

Complacency about HIV and AIDS will prove deadly.

Wednesday December 1 is World AIDS Day and Pittsburgh groups are banding together to ensure the region does not take a sigh of relief on this issue.  People are still dying.  People are living with medical advancements, but face barriers to the lives we take for granted. People are engaging in risky behavior because of stigmas, stereotypes, and social pressure. 

One interesting event is the film screening of TAPOLOGO by New Voices Pittsburgh.

Here's a message from PERSAD Executive Director, Betty Hill.  She speaks to the issue with eloquence ...

Taking Up the Cause - A Message from Betty Hill


As World AIDS Day, December 1, approaches again this year, I have had the occasion to be talking even more than usual to folks about HIV/AIDS. In the wake of this virus are so many stories of loss. I am struck by how common the loss is and how wide spread the impact. Nearly everyone I talk to has a story of someone they know who has been affected by this disease. Yet, it is clear that this disease is not the darling of our imaginations and that it gets so little attention compared to other causes. We have a not so funny joke at our house that if we see one more thing draped in pink we are going to scream!! Perhaps we have disease envy? With so many diseases, so many ribbons, how do we prevent new infections, find those that are infected but don?t know, and provide care to those that need it?  


When my mother died of cancer years ago, I remember that one neighbor sent a donation in my mother?s honor to an agency that treated a disease which I had never heard of. I remember thinking, ?What does that have anything to do with my mother???and it didn?t, but it was my neighbor?s cause. Not to quibble in an Ann Landers kind of way about whether it was really ok to donate to a cause that wasn?t one suggested by the family in the obituary, this cause was what mattered to my neighbor and around which he focused his energy and resources. He cared enough about his cause to think everyone else should.


While I?m convinced that HIV/AIDS affects us all, I know that it won?t be the ribbon that everyone wears. Maybe it?s your ribbon. If you have a loss that you need to honor, or an infection that you need to prevent, or someone who needs information, or someone who needs care, maybe HIV/AIDS is your cause.


The World AIDS Day commemorations (information on World AIDS Day events are listed below or can be found at www.pittsburghred.org) provide a number of great ways to get involved and take up the cause ? because it?s your cause.


Betty Hill


412-441-9786 x212

Here's a list of other local activities.

Press Conference with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
Wednesday ? December 1, 2010 ? 10:30am

City-County Building


Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force 25th Anniversary Luncheon

Wednesday ? December 1, 2010 ? 11am-1pm

Rivers Club, One-Oxford Centre
Contact: 412-973-7456 or sorr@patf.org

Candlelight Vigil
Wednesday ? December 1, 2010 ? 5:30pm

Starts at CMU, down Forbes Avenue to the lawn outside Heinz memorial Chapel


23rd Annual World AIDS Day Memorial Service

Wednesday ? December 1, 2010 ? 7pm

Heinz Memorial Chapel
Contact: 412-624-2008

See you might expect me to make a comment about Luke's participation.  I think he should be doing things like this more frequently.  I can't attend because I have 8 million work meetings this week, but I'm glad so many groups are coalescing around this moment in the holiday calendar, this moment to remember.  For those of us who don't remember, we need to stop and realize what is happening around us today. 


View Article  A Lesbian Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving is pretty nice. We all have small families so we all gather together (my parents, Ledcat's mother, her brother and his family, our sister-in-law's mother) wherever dinner might be.  This year, we headed north to Mercer County.

There's no real huge lesbian element to the holiday.  We've been together for 7 years so no drama about us related to being gay. 

Except ... we are interchangeable aunts and I bet most heterosexual couples can't say that. When our niece was younger (she's almost 5 now), she would confuse our names but we just rolled with it.  If she's looking at you, she's talking to you sort of thing.  Yesterday, Jack (two and a half) called us both Aunt Sue for awhile until he switched to Aunt Sue and Aunt Yaya (his way of saying Ledcat) which cracked us up.  It doesn't matter in the least because we love them to pieces.  I got another chuckle when Ava said "Miss Aunt Sue" because she's so used to calling adult women Miss Something.  I guess from the perspective of a child "Aunt" is part of your name, not a title. 

A close friend told me her six year old recently asked what being partners meant, referencing us whom she's known since birth.  Amy told her what it meant and she had no trouble grasping the concept, but wanted to know if we were going to get married (you know 6 year old and brides -- here was a chance to have 2 of us).  Amy explained that we couldn't get married because of the law.  Her daughter thought about that and pronounced it "stupid."  She's not allowed to use that word, but this one time Amy said "yes, it is stupid."  How about that?  That's a future voter, Joe Markosek.  Watch out. 

So we came home and watched tv for a few hours, then we went to bed feeling very thankful for so many things. Especially for being aunties.  Now I've got to go on ebay and order stickers. 


View Article  Comments

I'm going back to anonymous comments because it is a bit cumbersome to register and post a comment. 

Let's try to act with some maturity.  You can still use your real name.  There are two or three people who post repeatedly and it is obvious who they are.  Don't ruin it for everyone.  Say what you will, but if you are going to go to the hatefest, have the decency to put your name on the comment. 

Plus, when those offers of free trials + prizes for readers come in ... if you are anonymous, it won't work! 

Come on, Dozen Bakeshop, ... now is the time to get a glorious pre-xmas review.  :-)

View Article  Being "Other"

It really sucks when someone bluntly tells you that you aren't part of the group.  I had this happen yesterday when someone didn't like a piece I wrote and told me that I was not part of their group because I didn't participate enough, nothing personal.  Ha.

That person clearly doesn't read my blog, because I write about "their" issues quite a bit.  I promote their specific group as well as the larger issues.  I ferret out pertinent legislation and advocacy information which I then pass along.  I try to stay on top of these issues, even when they aren't sexy enough to hit the radar of the advocacy groups.  I participate in blog swarms on their issues because I believe in them and I believe they are undervalued in our community. 

I do my part and I resent being isolated because I'm a non-traditional member. 

Guess what?  If we want the mainstream heteronormative society to accept "us" then we need to do a better job accepting each other. 

I'm waiting for the apology. 

View Article  Current Favorite Song

Thanks for 92.9 and 100.7 for making sure this hits the airwaves during most of morning commutes.  :-)



View Article  i am willing to sell out

Bram was sharing his Sonoma Grill adventures (restaurant review in return for a gift card to raffle off to readers).

It occurs to me that I am really ripe for some opportunities to burst the illusion of noble blogger.  Beyond lesbianism, I've lost nearly 50 pounds in 8 months. Think of all the opportunities ...

Dicks  - most of my weight loss has been due to swimming, walking and Wii fit activities.  Imagine if Dick's wanted me to try a new type of lady tennis shoe or (this would be awesome) the latest stretchy band?  Another area of potenial are sports bras.  When you actually use them, you realize there is a difference - especially when Wii makes you run.  I'm just saying that a lot of my female readers could benefit from a sports bra review.  If every season begins at Dick's, why not every stylish lifestyle change? 

My meal last night at Red Robin did not destroy my calorie balance and, yes, I did have a cheeseburger and fries.  Well, I had a portion of both.  You don't have to eat salads or bunless salmon patties while your friends quaff beer and inhale cheesesticks.  You just need to plan.   And be willing to stop mid chew and put the burger down.  Or use a knife to cut up your portions.  It can be awkward, but wouldn't it be great to review how I do it?  Bring it on, Mexico City.  I've got your calorie numbers.  I'm also looking at you, Legends of the North Shore.

Then there is dessert.  I skip dessert because I'm so full from the salads I inhale daily, but sometimes we go looking for a tasty treat and a cup of coffee.  Almost impossible to find after 7 PM here on the Northside.  So can I go to Dozen and stay on track?  How about Vanilla?  Or Glutueny -- does gluten-free mean more other things we need to monitor? 

Right by Nature.  Speaks for itself.  RbN fruit and chicken have been staples in our home.  I'd like to find an organic deodorant that could handle working out 4-5 days per week.  We are being frank here.  I had to default away from Tom's back to Secret.

And I really need to find the best thrift store in Pittsburgh.  I'm dropping sizes in very unusual proportions so purchasing new clothing is selective.  Everyone has an opinion about the best Goodwill/Red, White & Blue store. 

So, I will sell my blogger street cred to find a good sports bra or nutritious cupcake.  Just putting it out there.

That's not a bad deal, is it?  Just contact me sue @ sitnscoop.com and let's get the sell out started ...



View Article  Personal catch up

Just had coffee with Bram from The Pittsburgh Comet.  It was nice to stretch blogging and political muscles that have been a little cramped lately. 

So, the diet and exercise regimen continues.  I am closing in on the 50 lb mark which is pretty awesome.  That is not my final goal, but I certainly intend to savor it as much as possible. 

I'm still having a massive clothing struggle.  I'm firmly between sizes so even the thrift store wasn't much help.  I'm just going to have to alternate skirts with looking frumpy for awhile.  Annoying. But a good problem to have. 

Sparkpeople.com is a wonderful tool.  I was offline for a few days, but I was able to make mostly good choices even without consulting my nutrition tracker. I wrote everything down and when I plugged it in, got high marks so I feel a little more confident that I'll keep this up even after I lose all the weight.  I say that now.  We'll see a year from now. 

Otherwise, life has just been busy.  I haven't even kept up with the local section in the paper which is appalling.  In fact, i'm going to wrap this up and go read the Sunday paper so I can start being interesting again instead of just obsessing about how much a cup of fruit salad looks like in a take out container.  See what I mean?

View Article  This n That

The PG has a good piece on the spread of poverty into the suburbs. 

In the Pittsburgh area, more than three-quarters of the poor population now live in the suburbs.

In the decade since the turn of the century, "The number of poor in the suburbs has grown by more than twice the rate than in the cities," said Elizabeth Kneebone, a senior research associate at the Brookings Institution.

A critical issue is getting the word out to folks that there are programs to help them now, not after their straights are even more dire. 

In significant LGBT news, Gene Robinson, the first only gay Episcopal Bishop will retire in 2013.

The reason to depart, he said in a speech delivered at the close of the annual convention of his diocese, is that being at the center of an international uproar has taken a toll on him and on the diocese.

"Death threats, and the now worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark" and on Episcopalians in the state, he said.

But those who know Bishop Robinson say he has no intention of retiring from public life. His status as a symbol in the international gay rights movement means that after he steps down, he will have no shortage of platforms from which to preach his message that God blesses gay relationships too. (Through a spokesman, he declined interview requests.)

One can only imagine the toll this has taken on everyone.  While the world has not ended, hate mongerers like Archbishop Peter Akinola and Pittsburgh's own Bishop Duncan have used this to enhance their power and status at what appears to be great cost to the very people they profess to serve.  How sad. 

Redistricting anyone?

No excerpts because it makes my head spin. 

I haven't heard a lot from the local LGBT politicos since they were thrashed last week.  We were thrashed, I should say, because I was in that mix. 

Ah well ... I did read today that Senator-Elect Toomey is going to align with the Tea Party.  I believe Jason Altmore and Mark Critz are financing 2012 with Nancy Pelosi pin cushion dolls (not endorsed by Christine ODonnell). 

Sigh. I'm going for a walk.


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