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Monday, July 9, 2018

LGBTQ advocates call for Allegheny County DA candidate Turahn Jenkins to withdraw following controversial statements

Posted By on Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 12:10 PM

Turahn Jenkins - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPAIGN
  • Photo courtesy of campaign
  • Turahn Jenkins
On July 2, Turahn Jenkins announced his candidacy for Allegheny County District Attorney in the wake of the shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr. The announcement was a passionate response to Rose’s death and a criticism of current D.A. Stephen Zappala’s not-so-stellar record prosecuting officers who fatally shot unarmed victims.

But just days into his candidacy, Jenkins is already facing calls to withdraw, thanks to his comments from a meeting with LGBTQ advocates. As first reported on local LGBTQ blog Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, then confirmed in a Facebook post from LGBTQ advocate and labor advocate Maria Montano, four representatives from Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community were told by Jenkins that he believes LGBTQ people are living in sin.

“Tonight I was asked to meet with new D.A. candidate, Turahn Jenkins, to talk about his stance on LGBTQIA+ issues after some disturbing revelations regarding his active participation in a church that is extremely homophobic,” wrote Montano on Facebook on July 6. “When asked if he believed that being gay/trans was a sin, he said yes and compared it to adultery.”

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Organizer apologizes for trying to throw satirical celebration of Hitler’s birthday at Pittsburgh LGBTQ bar

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 1:19 PM

Flier for "Fuhrer Festival" before event was canceled - IMAGE COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
  • Image courtesy of Facebook
  • Flier for "Fuhrer Festival" before event was canceled
On April 16, Brewer’s Bar in Lawrenceville added an event to their Facebook page called the “Fuhrer Festival.” The event was to be held on April 18 as part of Brewer's Bar’s Nightshift dance-night series, and was meant as a satirical take on the rise of white supremacy and dictatorships across the world, according to the event’s organizer. Adolf Hitler, known as the Fuhrer in Nazi Germany, was born April 20, 1889.

“A party fit for a Fuhrer’s birthday!” was written in the event’s description. “Join October and this week’s cast of Nightshift as we celebrate one special regime leader’s birthday (technically April 20th). Bring your small mustaches and significant other you want to do cyanide with as we throw a party for  a Fuhrer!!"

Now, the organizer of the event, a bartender at Brewer’s, is apologizing. Sarah at Brewer’s Bar, who withheld her last name because she is in the process of getting divorced, says she is “incredibly sorry.”

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A booster for gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango spouts anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on controversial podcast

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 10:13 AM

Carla D'Addesi (left) with Paul Mango (center) at a Mango campaign event in February - PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
  • Photo courtesy of Facebook
  • Carla D'Addesi (left) with Paul Mango (center) at a Mango campaign event in February
In January, business consultant and gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango (R-Pine Township) participated in a video interview with the controversial Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the leader of a far-right Christian church in Northeastern Pennsylvania that worships AR-15 automatic rifles.

During the January interview, Moon said that public-school students were getting “indoctrinated into the homosexual political agenda” and a “transgender agenda.” Mango nodded along to Moon’s comments, and Pennsylvania Democratic Party officials criticized Mango for his appearance with Moon.

Mango spokesperson Matt Beynon told the TribLive in January that Mango doesn’t believe “that schools are indoctrinating our kids," but does “believe that our culture has eroded and has become more and more intolerant of traditional family values.”

But a month later, on Feb. 15, a volunteer and campaign booster for Mango made an appearance on Moon’s podcast, and she joined in with Moon on espousing some anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

Carla D’Addesi is a conservative cable-news commentator and self-described faith-and-family-coalition leader for Mango’s 2018 gubernatorial run. She went on Moon’s podcast to discuss state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner (R-York) and his support for the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, a bill that would provide LGBTQ Pennsylvanians the same civil-rights protections currently received by religious practitioners, minorities and immigrants. Wagner is a co-sponsor of the state senate's version of the Fairness Act.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Daniel Smith Jr., an openly gay candidate, is running against homophobic Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Daniel Smith Jr. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Photo courtesy of the candidate
  • Daniel Smith Jr.
Daniel Smith Jr. is a Butler County native and longtime resident, who grew up in Zelienople and now lives in Adams Township with his husband, Don. He has been paying close attention to his state representative, Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry), for years. Smith has grown frustrated as Metcalfe has continually focused on bombastic and divisive issues, such as opposing same-sex marriage and attacking immigrants’ rights. Over the years, Smith felt that with every controversial Metcalfe issue that made headlines, Pennsylvania’s 12th House District suffered from being cast in a negative light.

Then a video was released in December 2017 of Metcalfe freaking out when his colleague, state Rep.Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery), touched him on the elbow during a committee meeting on land use. Metcalfe exclaimed, “I am heterosexual. I love my wife, I don’t like men, as you might. Stop touching me all the time.” The video went viral and was mocked on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Late Night with Stephen Colbert.

“The moment he had at the committee meeting, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says Smith. “Yes, what [Metcalfe] said pissed me off. But I saw the rest of the representatives in the meeting shake their heads. And I was thinking, ‘How does a district keep voting for this person?’ Then I thought, I needed to do something.”

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

New report shows Pennsylvania still behind other states on statewide LGBTQ protections

Posted By on Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 10:55 AM

The LGBTQ Pride Flag
  • The LGBTQ Pride Flag
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest pro-LGBTQ organization, released its 2017 annual report detailing every state's legislative efforts to provide, or inhibit, equality for LGBTQ Americans. The Pennsylvania state government, again, left much to be desired for those advocating for LGBTQ rights.

The HRC gives four general scores to states, with “working toward innovative equality” being the best and “high priority to achieve basic equality” being the worst. Pennsylvania ranked “high priority to achieve basic equality” in 2017. (The state also received this distinction in 2016, 2015 and 2014.) Pennsylvania is also the only state in the Northeast U.S. to be given the bottom score for LGBTQ equality. It should be noted that some Pennsylvania cities, like Pittsburgh, have been given high-marks by the HRC, despite the low grades on the state level.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

State rep. candidate Emily Skopov wants Daryl Metcalfe out of committee chair seat

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 2:07 PM

Emily Skopov - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CANDIDATE
  • Photo courtesy of the candidate
  • Emily Skopov
On Dec. 5, a video of Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) exclaiming he is a “heterosexual” when a Democratic colleague touched his arm went viral. It spread so far and wide, that on Dec. 7 it was featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

And while Metcalfe’s blatant homophobia is undoubtedly humorous to most Americans, some people involved in Pennsylvania state politics are taking it seriously. On Dec. 6, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York) requested that House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Marshall) re-examine Metcalfe’s chairmanship of the House’s state government committee.

And the woman who is running to challenge Turzai’s state House District 28 seat, Democrat Emily Skopov of Marshall, was even more unambiguous in her request; she believes Turzai needs to remove Metcalfe from the committee chair.

“Mike Turzai needs to do the right thing and remove Daryl Metcalfe as chair,” said Skopov in a press release. “Metcalfe’s actions are repugnant and dishonor our state government. By allowing Metcalfe to continue as chair, Mike Turzai further demonstrates his lack of a moral compass, endorsing homophobia and bigotry. It is time for Speaker Turzai to grow a spine and do the right thing.”

Metcalfe is arguably the general assembly’s most anti-LGBTQ member. He has tried to deny spousal benefits to same-sex couples and tried to make it illegal for LGBTQ people to marry. Metcalfe also chairs the state House’s state government committee, and thus controls the fate of civil-rights legislation that can affect the lives of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians. He has used this position to refuse to let the Fairness Act see a vote (the bill would grant LGBTQ Pennsylvanians the same non-discrimination rights that minorities and Christians receive under federal law).

According to a 2015 study from the Public Religion Research Institute, 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support a statewide LGBTQ non-discrimination law, while only 25 percent oppose such a law.

Turzai, as the state House’s highest ranking member, has the ability to move Metcalfe out of the state government committee into another committee chairmanship, but he alone cannot strip Metcalfe from his current chairmanship, because of Metcalfe's seniority. It should also be noted that Turzai placed anti-marijuana state Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga) at the chair of the health committee, which was a main reason why the state took so long to pass a medical-marijuana bill, despite widespread public support.

In a Dec. 7 article in Lancaster's LNP , Turzai brushed off calls to move Metcalfe out of the state government chair seat. A request for comment to Turzai's office was not returned.

Regardless, Skopov feels that Metcalfe should be removed from the state government committee because of his anti-LGBTQ views, as well as other controversial behavior in the past. For example, even though the 1964 federal civil-rights act granted non-discrimination rights to immigrants, in 2015 Metcalfe attempted to pass English-only legislation and brought a white nationalist to Harrisburg to lobby for his cause.

“Time and time again, Representative Metcalfe has displayed bigotry, and Mike Turzai has remained silent,” said Skopov in a press release. “Mike Turzai either supports homophobia and bigotry or he doesn’t. If he refuses to strip Metcalfe of his chairmanship, everyone will know exactly where he stands.”


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf says Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s committee seat should be re-examined in light of homophobic comments

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 4:33 PM


A Dec. 5 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headline was one for the ages: “State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe comes out as heterosexual.” The P-G story was about Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) freaking out when state Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) briefly touched his arm during a committee meeting about land-use policies.

“Representative Bradford, look, I am heterosexual,” said Metcalfe after Bradford tapped his arm. “I love my wife, I don’t like men, as you might. Stop touching me all the time.”

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Community mourns the loss of Pittsburgh LGBTQ "pioneer" Chuck Tierney, co-owner of city's first public gay bar

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 5:47 PM

Chuck Tierney (left) and Chuck Honse in April 2007, a few weeks before they closed their LGBTQ bar, the Holiday. - CP FILE PHOTO
  • CP File Photo
  • Chuck Tierney (left) and Chuck Honse in April 2007, a few weeks before they closed their LGBTQ bar, the Holiday.
Chuck Tierney, a longtime LGBTQ activist and former co-owner of The Holiday Bar in Oakland died Oct. 11 from complications of liver cancer. And while he may be gone, his impact on Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community will be long remembered.

“I have gotten many calls from friends, who said they will really miss Chuck,” says Chuck Honse, Tierney's partner in The Holiday. “It is a big loss for me, but an even bigger loss to the community.”

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

U.S. survey shows transgender individuals in Pennsylvania face disproportionate discrimination

Posted By on Tue, May 30, 2017 at 2:34 PM

The transgender flag - PHOTO COURTESY WIKI COMMONS
  • Photo courtesy Wiki Commons
  • The transgender flag
Scores of political pundits, media personalities and even comedians have commented on how quickly transgender individuals have been accepted into mainstream society. And while the perception of acceptance might be growing with trans individuals like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox emerging into the celebrity spotlight, a new nationwide survey shows the average trans person is far from receiving equal treatment in the U.S.

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, released this month, showcases how trans individuals face significantly higher rates of poverty, unemployment and workplace discrimination nationwide. The survey received responses from 1,171 trans individuals in Pennsylvania, and asked them questions about their work status, housing situation, education and restroom access.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Members of Pittsburgh LGBT community criticize EQT sponsorship of Pride Parade

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 3:37 PM

Marchers in EQT shirts at last year's Pride Parade - CP PHOTO BY JOHN COLOMBO
  • CP photo by John Colombo
  • Marchers in EQT shirts at last year's Pride Parade
In January, LGBT nonprofit the Delta Foundation announced this year's LGBT Pride Parade in Pittsburgh on June 11 would be renamed the EQT Equality March.

Almost immediately after the announcement, the new name drew backlash from some in the LGBT community who are concerned about corporate involvement in LGBT activities. And now, a counter LGBT group has announced they're hosting a separate march that day.

"Pride has historically been about resisting. It's about bringing visibility to a marginalized community," says Ciora Thomas, leader of SisTers PGH, a LGBT organization helping to organize the counter march. "That's the history of Pride. We trying to carry on that legacy."

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