Friday, March 14, 2008

Doug Shields Blasts Oklahoma Bigot, Sally Kern

Our very own City Council President Doug Shields struck a blow for equality, dignity and tolerance today with a mighty missive directed to Oklahoman State Represenative Sally Kern. Kern, as you may have heard, was caught on tape in the midst of a ugly gay hate rant amongst her fellow GOPers. You can read all about it here.

Before I share my favorite excerpt from Doug's letter, I want to just say that the national gay blogosphere has eaten this up. The response that I've personally had has been great -- people are so pleased that an elected official had the courage to call Kerns on the carpet for her ugly words and the impact of hate speech on the whole community. Here's a few links:

Pam's House Blend
Page One Q

So here's an excerpt ...

As the President of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh, I require an
apology from you for your senseless, mean spirited attack on one my
colleagues and the Council as a whole. I would think, should you
take the time to reflect upon your hateful, bigoted words. An apology
is also in order to the GLBT community, their families and their
friends. Short of a a miracle, I do not expect that you will. I
find persons of your ilk completely blind to your

Here's what I'm wondering ... why are the vast majority of the elected champions of the LGBT community men? Think about this for a moment. There's Shields and Peduto. Rich Fitzgerald on the County level. Ed Rendell has been an ally. And, of course, our Lancelot -- Dan Frankel.
For a brief few moments, we had Brenda Frazier. And now she's gone anyway.

But who else? I mean some of our elected women are decent. Tonya Payne and Darlene Harris both co-sponsored a resolution supporting the expansion of the human relations act on the state level. Chelsa Wagner is co-sponsoring the actual legislation and (hopefully) opposing attemps to amend the constitution by anti-gay bigots. Heather Arnet is a staunch ally on the school board and I do feel good about the welfare of LGBT children with her voice in their corner.

So is there any reason that men are leading these efforts and women are taking a slightly back seat? Any thoughts on why female elected officials aren't more assertive on LGBT issues? Is that reflective of the LGBT community here in Pgh where men continue to dominate positions of leadership and power? Is it a Pittsburgh thing more than a gay thing?

We'll see what happens when Ellen DeGeneres invites Doug to her show. Maybe he'll take me along! :-)

In all seriousness, I appreciate the significance of our heterosexual allies standing up to bigotry.


  1. I think it's also because there are less women in Pgh Politics altogether. In terms of statistical sampling.

  2. If you scroll down you'll see I posted a video Wednesday because I was so infuriated with this woman. I had also seen the Ellen show that Sue posted clips from on the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents site. (I love Ellen!)

    You pose a good question, Sue, but I don't know if I have the answer.

  3. i'm just happy to see that this woman is being confronted and not just allowed to spew hate with no regard to how her hate affects others.

  4. What I find interesting about Ellen is that she is decidedly *not political* on her show. She focuses on contemporary culture and can veer toward the self-indulgent as with the whole "bring back my puppy" issue.

    So, Ellen goes political on this one and uses her immense popularity to highlight how hate speech hurts people. She's a woman. Does that shed any light on the situation here in Pittsburgh? I bet the only talk show host in town that's gonna cover this will be Lynn Cullen, another woman. Johnny Mac would talk about it if someone would stop being stupid and give the man a microphone.

    Ska makes a point, but still ... shouldn't our women elected officials be able to relate to being vilified and designated second class?

  5. Ellen is great. But she danced with Sen B. O, twice. She is talking about this matter too. Nonpolitical does not apply.

    I hope Doug spends another 5 seconds on this and then gets himself back to work.

  6. Mark,

    Ellen is political b/c she danced with Obama? Seriously?

    Good to know how much value you put standing against political gay bashing. Wouldn't want a pesky little thing like human dignity or equality to get in the way of the City Council's work.