I love this time of year where I can look back over the past year and see what it means based on what has happened on the blog. In general, it was a very good year for my blog with pageviews up, the loyalty of my visitors also up. The year also showed site visits down, but that may be due at least in part to the fact that the number of posts for the year dropped a fair amont as my time was taken up with other projects. Still, from the analytics, I have at least a sense of what were the 11 most read blog posts at thomascwaters.com, and here they are for you starting at #11. These may not really be all that accurate, since about 50% of my site traffic is to the home page, and the blog is set up so that whole posts can be read directly from that page. I’m not going back to cross reference the highest hit days and what posts were on those days, so suffice to say, here at the 11 posts that received the most direct traffic and most likely also caused hits to the home page as well.

#11 GenderQueer

I’m thrilled to see this post rank high in terms of direct hits, and glad to be talking about issues of naming, labeling, and understanding our differences within the rainbow coalition that we often abbreviate as LGBTQ. I think this is one of the most important issues to be written about as we move forward, as “today’s” Queer community sees itself in very different ways from the “Queer” of even 10 years ago. Heck, some of today’s most vocal militant queers think they cointed the term Queer based upon how adamantly they defend that us older folks can’t know what it really means. What do we need to do? Listen and learn, and come to newer understandings of what the whole of the LGBTQ (and whatever other letters ought to be added) is and how do we see it, identify it, and talk about it in ways that make none of the parts invisible. This is something I’ve thought a ton about and will be writing more and more in 2012.

#10 Alan Bounville and direct action

Alan is an activist I met first on Facebook and later interviewed. If you seach my site, his name pops up a few times, and while I think Alan specifically is importnat to talk about, he draws attention to a new age of direct ac tion activists, who seem to be willing to do ourtrageous thigs to draw attention to the issues that others are either overlooking or delibrately ignoring. At moments, I have felt Alan is genious, and at others I’d label him insane. Maybe he is all of that, and I’m glad for it, no matter what label gets attached. I’m glad Alan is out there doing his thing.

#9 Darryl Medcalfe, and same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.

In 2010, we fought back a bill in the Senate to add an anti-same-sex marriage amendment to the PA Constitution, and in 2011, after the Republicans took control of the State House, we had Darryl Metcalfe say he would introduce such a measure in the House. Metcalfe cairs one of the most powerful House committees, and the only thibng I think we can expect to see come out of the House as long as he has the power he doews, is anti-gay crap. The solution is to get Demoract control over the House back again as soon as possible.

On the positive side of this, many speculate that he doesn’t have the votes to actually pass such a thing, but I don’t agree with those who claim it is empty rhetoric on his part. I guess too it may be some comfort to recognize that such measures will be deemed unconstitutional, if Prop 8 makes it’w way to the US Supreme Court and the decision comes down in favor of Equality. Still if this goes all the way through, it produces one more layer of buracracy to fight in the long run.

But Same-sex marriage rally shouldn’t be seen as the subject here.  Nope, the subject is Darryl Metcalfe and the solution is to get out of a controlling role in PA politics!

#8 Westmoreland County Pennsylvania

Thanks in large part, to the work of Ted Hoover and Persad, two new LGBT-related groups have been growing in Westmoreland Co. Actually, in many counties, considered as “rural” or as less uban as Pittsburgh, LGBTQ and Ally visibility is growing and strengthening in wonderful ways.  “We” really are everywhere, and the more folks  come out, become visible, and actively support Equality, the road to that Full Equality gets easier and easier.

I think one of the best lessons to be learned from places like Westmoreland County, is that the residents of these areas must be the central driving force behind organizing locally, and form groups that fit their area as well as their needs.

Police arrive at Bloomfield Rally #7 What you can and can not do at a rally

The single, biggest theme for engagement on my blog in 2011, surrounded a whole group of posts dealing with the anti0homophobia rally in Bloomfield which resulted in arrests. I have caught more crap from site visitors on this than on any other topic ever, since I started this blog! I have also received more genuine thanks and compliments as well for my attempt to sort out the various threads that all entwined, was a real mess. One effort towards that end, was this post, which cotains a link to an ACLU booklet on knowing your rights when it comes to protesting. I believe this booklet is an essential read for anyone who is planning to do any type of direct action/rally. While not all of my commenters would agree, there are as always multiple perspectives to every story. I tried to find many and talk about them all. and I think I did a pretty good job at it.


If you search the blog for Quiltbag, it will come up in a bunch of posts, and aside from the Bloomfield Rally, it is one of the thigs I’ve enjoyed writing most about. While some of the more traditional gays in the city may scoff at the name, I actually think a lot of it, and I’m glad that someone is pointing out the need to see many parts of the varied queer community. Many of these folks feel ignored or even shunned by the status quo gays, and tjhis becomes an opportunity for everyone to find their voice in the whole of the Queer discourse. Extra kudos to Rayden Sorock for getting this off the ground. I’ll be writing much more about this in 2012 as I believe what these folks are doing is really important.

To the QUILTBAG folks: You know you are doing something right, when the statusquo gays talk out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand talking about being inclusive, and out of the other, dismissing what you are doing with negativity. Keep up the good work.

fred-karger#5 Gary Johnson and Fred Karger

Way back in April, I write about two GOP Presidential candidates who were, not only pro-gay, but actually gay, although neither name has been heard enough either in the Queer or mainstream press. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be on a conference call with Fred, and he is an interesting guy. In a way, I think he has done some good as a gay GOP candidate, but if he can’t get into any of the debates, his usefulness is really limited. Still he has donbe a world of good shining a light on NOM and their gay hating ways and funding.

I think it takes a lot of guts to remain within the GOP party and talk about being an openly gay man and candidate. I believe strongly in a two (or more?) party systenm, and so I hope voices like his continue to make waves against the radical far social right-wing folks that are now ruling the GOP.



Wrestling move that ended in sexual assualt#4 High School wrestling and sexual harassment

Well before the Penn State story broke, there has been talk about the way homophobia, masculinity, and sports intersect. This story was so startling for me because of the way the parents were defending the actions of the sexually abusive son. What is missing though, as I pointed out, is a more thorough investigation about how wrestling moves are taught, and why this boy would think what he did was acceptable. Or did he? Perhaps sexual violation was his intention all along, and that is a real issue. What “heteronormative men” will do to protect their status quo image of masculinity, is a real problem, and one of the major elements underneath all homophobia and sexism.

queer liberation banner in a protest#3 Queer Anarchists

As I reported on the Bloomfield Rally and subsequent events, two things became clear to me. 1)I really knew nothing about the intersection of the queer community and the anarchist community (if that isn’t an oxymoron); and 2) A few but very vocal folks were ready to try and teach me a few things, while completely obliterating any focus on the really important story of a lesbian threatened with a gun in her neighborhood.

I think, on the otherhand that this group of queers are worth understanding. It is easy to create some stereotype of anarchist, and then just dismiss, but why is it that these folks (mostly youth? mostly radical queers?) want to step so far outside the conventional LGBTQ community and methodologies?  Is this a return to a more pure and radical “gay liberation” as it may have existed much earlier in our overall movement?

Bloomfield Rally#2 Gun pulled on lesbian in Bloomfield

Here is the post which started a lot of heated commentary and discussion on my blog this year, all of which IU’m really grateful for. For me however, the really toubleing part of this story was how easy it was cast aside by so many who onlty wanted to focus on the by-product story of the police arrests. A gun was puled and pointed at a lesbian in a very diverse neighborhood of Pittsburgh! That is extremely alarming, and the few loud mouth queers who spent days vilifying me, haven’t done squat to bring this type of real danger to the community to an end. Homophobia is out there, and won’t go away overnight, but our neighborhoods, where we live and spend our money and live our lives must ve safe places every day, and at every hour of the day.

As far as I know, no one was ever arrested for this crime even though I was told at one point there was possibly a suspect or some clues as to a suspect. If no one was arrested that means there may still be a drunbk who can walk out of a bar on Liberty Ave, and wll he actually pull the trigger next time?  Let’s hope not.

#1 E M Forster

If you had told me that the post that received the most direct hits over all other posts, would be a short 250 words about EM Forster’s career, I would have laughed, but the analytics don’t lie! I think this means 1) people care about all things Queer, not just topical news and issue-orienteds posts; and 2) few people overall write about this, s I get hit a lot via Google searches. No matter the reason, it is a cool story!



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