My first column for the N&O/Durham News drops tomorrow

I think this is kind of big news...I haven't been able to confirm this, but I might be the first out lesbian columnist for the News & Observer. I might be the first out lesbian columnist for a major newspaper in NC; I have no idea. Anyway, my column will appear in The Durham News, its Bull City community edition. It's a monthly column (I rotate with other local folks), a gig for six months.

Mark Schultz, the editor of TDN and The Chapel Hill News (as well as one of the Western Triangle editors for The News & Observer) just asked me out of the blue to do this. I was recommended by one of my old pals and former neighbor in Old West Durham, John Schelp, since I'm a Durham native. It's a small world.

My column will not be about national politics, since this about community flavor, but that doesn't mean it won't be political in nature. The first piece will be familiar to regular readers here at my place -- it's about breed-specific discrimination when it comes to American Pit Bull Terriers, since I adopted Casey from a local shelter last year and have come up against bias around here that reminds me all too much of racial discrimination. I only get about 650 words to jabber on -- no freedom for endless commentary like I have over at my virtual coffeehouse, Pam's House Blend.

I thought I'd ease the local readers in to get to know me before addressing that pesky marriage amendment in the state, and what it means for a same-sex (married in Canada) couple right here in the Bull City. Hopefully the column will put a face on the issue; it makes it harder for those who oppose you to deny your humanity when the message comes from someone you may live near, who deals with the same local issues -- even mundane matters -- that they do. You have to start somewhere.

Mark has an intro post up over at the Raleigh main edition -- feel free to drop by in the N&O comments. It probably won't be long before the wingnuts that frequent the N&O's threads descend and start bleating away with homophobia. At least the sane commenters stopped by to thrash a homophobic op-ed by one of the NC4Marriage proponents. Good times.

I asked Mark if there would be comments enabled over at The Durham News columnist section, but apparently not, which is too bad. I like getting feedback and the fact of the matter is, more people know about me and the blog in virtual space or in DC than right here in Durham, so I'm curious about what locals will think about my columns.


Thanks for sharing the news

I look forward to reading, commenting and hunting wingnuts.

Congratulations Pam!

I look forward to reading Greg's replies to the wingnuts.

Well Done!

Looking forward to it!


Meet you in Person

I need to hurry up and meet you in person so I can brag that I know you.


that's funny

Somehow I don't think I'll graduate beyond grade z celeb status any time soon.

Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend

Congrats on the column, Pam!

I can't wait to read it. You're on the A-list as far as I'm concerned. You have a terrific sense of humor and in the three years that I've read you I don't recall a time when you've lost perspective on what is important. You set a great example for the rest of us. I just wish I was better at following it.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I already brag that I know her can brag that you know someone who has met Pam Spaulding. :)

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Terrific column

Our dog Lizzy looks like a black lab, but is actually a Rottie mix. She is aggressive at times when most breeds would not be. I have the opposite problem. People see Lizzy and think she's just fine because she looks like a Black Lab. She has attacked our Jack Russell three times, once requiring stitches in a few places on his face. We no longer put them out to play together and stand with them while they eat. We are enrolling in obedience this summer when the entire family can take part. Until then, I keep a very, very close watch and hold on my dog. Lizzy is a rescue dog and was almost two when we got her. It's hard to know what happened to her early on, though we know she was abused. We'll do what it takes to make sure she's safe and others are safe around her.

The real fact is we should be cautious and respectful of all dogs, regardless of breed. Even a small dog can do damage to a child's face or fingers. The sweetest, calmest dog can be set off by the squeals and quick movements of a small child.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Congratulations, Pam!

Very proud of you!

Wonderful column Pam

you do a great job of making people think about all kinds of prejudices.

the first negative email re: the column

I was wondering when the arrows would start flying. This man's thoughts are so disjointed it's hard to know where to begin. He apparently doesn't know what an opinion column is.


I am hoping that future articles will be better. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that your articles will be interesting and informative because you are just getting started. I am not a writer so I am not going to say it is easy or that I could do better, that is not the case. And maybe I should not even suggest it is your writing. I guess it is the tone or attitude of your thought process when you wrote this article. Why is your thinking so defensive? I first noticed when you defended your marriage but sort of understood why. But when you started in with the dogs your bias (or would it be called reverse bias?) really kicked in and showed your "in your face self-defensive-let-me-tell-you" attitude. Is it "irony" that bit bulls and other breeds are targets of (what you call) discrimination and racism? No, it's the way owners of those dogs trained them. Then you go on to say "doesn't that kind of discrimination seem quite familiar" Then compare these dogs to "young minority men" and then throw your qualifier in with "regardless of how the man is dressed". I got to say that is not how I have seen it.

Take any "minority man" and put him is nice and clean clothes, put a smile on his face and a pleasant attitude in his appearance with a glowing aura and women will not clutch their bags or cross the street. The men you are talking about are the saggy pants, baggy sweatshirt, scowling, 'tude showing thugs that even you clutch your bag when approaching. But back to the dogs. These dogs do have a reputation and that is why people react to the breed whether that particular dog deserves it or not. People do not want to take the chance. Some people cannot read a dogs attitude and treat dogs by the way they have heard that breed acts. If you would like people's attitudes to change then you have to stop the bad things and then give it lots of time, the same with the minority men.

I guess my whole point of this is that I want to hear both sides of the story with I read about it from a newspaper or internet. I get enough one-sided stories from TV news. Please skip your personal feelings on the subject, do the unbiased research, and write the facts.


I've actually received more harsh messages via Facebook. That's interesting.

Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend

Biggest problem is he doesn't understand what an opinion column

is.....and second biggest problem is he lacks the capacity to feel empathy.

I also find it interesting or odd that you are receiving harsh messages via Facebook.

I didn't get to comment, but I did go to your place to read the comments you'd received so far and enjoyed the one by the person who doesn't like ankle-biters. A lot of times owners of small dogs think their dogs are harmless because of their size (or lack of it), but if you've been bitten by one it isn't funny.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Dude with a 'tude

Apparently he has delusions of being a little man inside your head:

I guess it is the tone or attitude of your thought process when you wrote this article. Why is your thinking so defensive?

His problem seems to be all about "attitude", a word used several times. It's as if rights can be trumped by "attitude". Even if that were a valid premise, attitude is as much perception as it is projection.

I'm pretty sure your article was "interesting" and "informative". It wasn't what he wanted to hear and even if someone hears both sides of a story, they haven't heard all sides. Keep giving us your side Pam.