Blogger’s note added May 8, 2015

This post has some dated material in it, but the point of the post remains relevant. To date, the Pittsburgh City Paper remains the only news source that continues to publish stories directly related to the LGBTQ community among the rest of its reporting.


Sue Kerr has an impassioned post at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents about the ongoing terror experienced by Andre Gray’s family and the still unsolved mystery of his disappearance and possible murder. The case is a frightful one, and more frightening is the fact that it is only one of three missing person cases in the Pittsburgh area that some consider may be related to the sexual orientation of the missing person.  While Sue sometimes gets a bad rap, few writers of any type (blogger, journalist, or other) have made such meaningful efforts to bring to light Pittsburgh cases in a very needed way, and Sue really deserves major kudos for that.  I have tried on a few occasions to be more “journalist” in my posting, but long ago realized I am far from qualified to be a blogger than reporter and journalist. I am a blogger who writes commentary, more like the op-ed writing in the newspaper than the news stories in that same newspaper.

The Andre Gray case is itself heart wrenching and difficult, but even scarier if there is any connection to the other two missing persons or other missing persons not currently on the radar. So, given how troubling the story is, a different question has to be raised as well. Why did it take months and months for any reporting about Andre Gray to include the fact that he is gay? In fact, I think Sue’s writing is the only place where this detail of his existence is getting mentioned. Why is that?

One important question in the Gray case has to be– were homicide investigators aware, early enough in the investigation, that Andre was gay? To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to put it that way. I didn’t know Andre personally, and no one has actually told me directly that he is gay, except for Sue’s writing. Was Andre very out of the closet? And, irrespective of that in his case, how does the closet impact what is known and not known so that police investigators have as much info as they can to move an investigation forward as quickly as possible?

These types of questions are especially poignant for me following a call I had with a reporter for a local paper the other day, and then a subsequent on-line chat I had with a past editor for the no longer published Pittsburgh’s Out newspaper. I’m far from the only one who wonders if there is a need for local reporting regarding the LGBTQ community similar to what we see in other cities. Consider for example, the Philadelphia Gay News. Pittsburgh’s Out is still active on Facebook and at this URL, but the actual newspaper has been gone for a while, and the on-line stuff cannot be construed to be “news” in any way. I don’t say that as a criticism, it doesn’t really present itself as news anymore. It was however, the closest thing we have ever had t a local news source when it was published.

Does Pittsburgh need LGBTQ related journalistic reporting? Where could it be found, and what would it take to make it successful?

I think it is possible that other news sources are doing a better job covering LGBTQ related news in Pittsburgh than ever before.  Certainly some news sources have employed self-identified gay, lesbian, and bi persons more than in the past. But does that constitute reporting that is LGBTQ focused? I don’t know. Seems to me that suggesting only LGBTQ persons can do LGBTQ reporting is highly problematic if not possibly just plain false. I think the thing is who the reporting is written for rather than who writes it, and is any paper or news source creating and distributing news for the Pittsburgh LGBTQ community?

Can blogs such as mine or Sue Kerr’s be sources of reporting news, which requires some level of objectivity, and a very thorough process of investigation. Reporting takes finding sources, interviewing them,  confirming their stories, and getting all of it balanced into a short piece of writing that gets it across clearly to the reader. Maybe bloggers can provide that, if they are clear about what posts they write are news and what posts they write are commentary.

And maybe I’m wrong about all of this. Or maybe I’m right, but Pittsburgh isn’t lacking or doesn’t want an LGBTQ news source.

I’m interested in your ideas, and hope you comment.


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