Two Female Political Bloggers Pay Tribute to Pam's House Blend

Co-written by Maria Lupinacci

When we launched the Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society in 2006, the name that came up most often in our discussions was Pam Spaulding, a political blogger who was a lesbian and a woman of color. And a really good blogger. We both admired her analysis, her humor and her dedication.

When Pam announced in mid-June 2013 that she would be shuttering Pam's House Blend to concentrate on her personal health, it was a sad moment for both of us. But is also gave us an opportunity to reflect on both the impact Pam has had on our own blogging and the realities of women blogging for a prolonged period of time.

Pam's House Blend, which launched in 2004, featured an array of LGBTQA contributors known as the "baristas," and eventually a diary segment for reader contribution. We were both pleased to see folks from Pittsburgh, straight and LGBTQ alike, among the diarists and commenters. Clearly, this North Carolina-based queer woman of color had something to say that resonated all the way up in purplish Pittsburgh.

Pam's biting humor and satire when tackling the antics of hypocrites and haters resonates with Maria's well-known approach to similar antics in the local realm. Sue found a space to promote Pittsburgh-centric LGBTQ stories with a universal theme.

Occasionally, Pam has offered glimpses into her personal life: her marriage to longtime love Kate, her passion for pitbulls and animal rescue, and her undying devotion to the pop-rock band Journey. She's also been honest about the impact that health issues have had on both her day-to-day life and her blogging.

It is exactly this blend of insight into and critique of the public sector and her own personal life that has set Pam's House Blend apart; it's really a blend of political analysis, family blog and humor infused with the perspective of a lesbian woman of color. That's a blend not to be found elsewhere in the blogosphere, and it's found in few places in real life. Pam's contributions stem from her own identity and her willingness, even insistence, to share that unique perspective.

As female bloggers in Pittsburgh, we have an affinity for North Carolina. While we do not have a state amendment defining marriage, we do not have any statewide rights for the LGBTQ community. (The exception is a court decision upholding second-parent adoption.) We have pockets of progressive leadership amidst a statewide stranglehold on anything that remotely smacks of liberalism. Our state has repeatedly intruded into the lives and bodies of women with casual disregard for our dignity, and it has blatantly ignored the rights of people of color in our Commonwealth.

Yet somehow we find ourselves included on multiple lists of political bloggers -- two women amidst a sea of straight white men. We persevere in the midst of our own health crises and personal loss, not from a sense of noblesse oblige but inspired by bloggers like Pam Spaulding who refused to be silenced.

Bloggers across the land have been paying tribute to Pam's accomplishments and success, causing her to quip that she's not exactly purchasing a coffin just yet. Those accomplishments are real: She has many "firsts" and will certainly be noted as a blogging pioneer. We don't expect Pam to go quietly into the good night, even as we hope her health will rebound and improve. It may be impertinent to ask her if she'll become an advocate for persons with chronic illness or some other important role. But we suspect it's not in Pam's nature to go Greta Garbo and disappear into the North Carolina mountain mists.

Sue half-jokingly suggested a tribute video of Pam's best quotations set to the Journey tune "Don't Stop Believing," to which Pam quickly said "no" and suggested "Be Good to Yourself." In the spirit, we share these lyrics that are such a lovely summation of our respect, admiration and love for Pam Spaulding:

When you can't give no more,

They want it all, but you gotta say no.

I'm turnin' off the noise that makes me crazy,

Lookin' back with no regrets.

To forgive is to forget.

I want a little piece of mind to turn to.

Be good to yourself when nobody else will.

Oh, be good to yourself.

You're walkin' a high wire, caught in a crossfire.

Oh, be good to yourself.

Be good to yourself when nobody else will.

Be good to yourself, Pam. And thank you for doing all the things you don't regret. Our lives are immensely better because of you.

Maria Lupinacci has been blogging since 2004 at 2 Political Junkies. You can follow her on Twitter @Maria_in_Pgh.

Sue Kerr has been blogging since 2005 at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. You can follow her on Twitter @pghlesbian24.