In response to Tara Murtha’s article about the Dyketactics, a group of lesbian activists whose 1975 City Hall protest set the stage for gay-rights progress in Philly:
Often, roots of movements are overshadowed by current events. Kudos to those assertive and brave activists back in the ‘70s, when LGBT civil-rights issues were unaccepted and unacceptable by the larger society. This article shows that activism challenges traditional thinking, pries open minds and then changes them. In this case for the good. Murtha quotes five of those activists, and refers to one or two more, unsung heroines who refused to quietly accept second-class status. So much has changed for the better since then, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
I am very happy that one of the quoted activists is still among us and still quite active politically. I work with Sherrie Cohen and used to work for her father when he was a Council member-at-large. Murtha mentioned that Sherrie ran for an at-large Council seat in 2006 but pulled out. Sherrie’s very brief foray into politics in 2006 was more a thought (a good idea) than a campaign. However, Murtha failed to mention that in 2011, Sherrie ran a well-organized, highly successful and well-funded citywide campaign for City Council-at-large and came in sixth, receiving 45,000 votes. She was only 1,600 votes behind fifth place in an election where all five incumbents were endorsed and supported by the Democratic Party and thus re-elected. Indeed, 45,000 votes in other elections got candidates elected to at-large seats. And, if two at-large seats were not charter designated for a second and/or third party (truly a minor minority party in Philadelphia), Sherrie would be sitting in a seat currently held by Republicans David Oh and Dennis O’Brien, and Philadelphia would now proudly have paid earned sick days for all Philadelphia workers.
The good news is 2015 is coming soon, there may be open at-large seats, and that 1970s activist who refused to go quietly will be elected the first openly lesbian Council member to a our currently heterosexual, male-dominated City Council.
Feeling Left Out
In response to Randy LoBasso’s blog about state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe introducing an anti-gay marriage bill to the PA House:
Pennsylvania is so far behind other states because of people like Metcalfe. This guy and his cronies are, and always have been, on the wrong side of history. Just wait until the Supreme Court makes its decisions. The hatred and bigoted comments from Metcalfe show the kind of person he is.
Come on, Pennsylvania, it’s time to join the other states and be on the right side of history. Pass House Bill 300 and evolve already.
As a straight member of the GLBT Equality Caucus, I cannot help but note that all of the co-chairs of this caucus are also straight. This seems to be an important precedent.
I would therefore respectfully suggest that if a heterosexual caucus is formed, Rep. Brian Sims and Rep. Mike Fleck be offered the co-chairmanships of it as the only two openly gay members of the Legislature.
I would further suggest that the heterosexual caucus join the GLBT Equality Caucus in lobbying for House and Senate Bills 300. These bills would protect straight people from discrimination by gay employers and supervisors no less than they do the reverse.
REP. MARK COHEN