AND-THEN-CAME-TANGO

The “AND THEN CAME TANGO” fundraiser hosted at The Painted Table on Feb. 27 and 28, 2015, which benefited the Bulldog Pride Club and Bulldog Pride Fund at Fresno State raised more than $10,000. Special thanks to The California Endowment for its generous support.The Bulldog Pride Club is the booster or fundraising club, while the Bulldog Pride Fund (BPF) is the endowed scholarship fund. The BPF was established in 2006 under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association with one simple mission: “To support students at Fresno State.” By this fall, its $360,000+ endowment will have provided 41 scholarships valued at $75,000.Please “like” our BPF Facebook page – facebook.com/bulldogprideorg – where we’ve posted more than 25 photos in an “AND THEN CAME TANGO” photo album. Comments are welcome, too.A sincere thank you to all of the sponsors, donors and attendees for their support of and investment in our scholars. All are successfully assisting in making Fresno State students’ educational dreams become a reality.

# # #NOTE: The Theatre for Young Audiences will present two FREE performances of “AND THEN CAME TANGO” on April 11, 2015 at 10am and 2pm. Performances will take place in the Woods Theatre located in the Speech Arts Building on the Fresno State campus. Details: 559.278.2216.

Trans the MovieYou are invited! Screening of "Trans" the movie TOMORROW (March 14th) @ 6:30PM at the Community United Church of Christ (5550 N. Fresno St.). There will be a panel and Q & A discussion following the film. Snacks and concessions will be available for purchase at this event.

Below is a description of the film:

"TRANS" is an up-close and very personal journey into the transgender world through the memorable stories and the unusual lives of a remarkable cast of characters.

It begins with the story of Lt. Commander Christopher McGinn, a Navy flight surgeon selected by NASA to serve on two space missions. But, upon her discharge from the armed forces, Chris McGinn would set out upon a different mission…from which she was never to return.

Now Dr. Christine McGinn is able to tell her own amazing story, (picked up by the media on both MSNBC and the Oprah Winfrey show) and provide an entrance into a complex and dramatic world that is "TRANS."

Please R.S.V.P. on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/505469769590799/

rainbow-pc

As the song says, "it's that most wonderful time of the year..." but if you are buying gifts for the techies in your life, it's also one of the most trying times as you decide what to buy them, how much you want and need to spend and whether or not you can afford everything they want and if not, what to do about it. That said, here are a few of our suggestions, starting off with one we'd bet you will be shocked to read: Do not buy an iPhone or any phone for a gift.

Why not? As much as we adore Apple and proudly use our iPhone 5S, the issue with anything attached to a contract (most phones) is, well, that contract. If you buy say an iPhone for someone, you will need to know if they are AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or even have a contract existing. You also will need to sort out all the rest and you will commit them (or you if it's a family member on your "family plan") to at least two veal's with that phone. If you simply MUST buy them an iPhone, instead may I suggest an Apple gift card with the suggestion they buy a phone with it or go shopping with you the day after Christmas?

That said, there are a lot of other possible tech gifts... For one, I'd love one of the new and much lighter — since I use mine to read newspapers — iPad Air's. These shave about a third off the weight of the older iPads and they have faster processors, a lot better retina displays and more. They are, however, it needs to be said, pricy so don't plan to put one under the tree of every friend you have (unless you have a lot of spare cash, in which case please come sit next to me!) iPad Air starts at $499 for the 16 gig version, but to be brutal, I'd ask Santa for at least a 32 gig ($599) because you will just not be able to fit all your movies, TV, books, newspapers (including this one) and more on that smaller version. Trust us, we know!

If you do not need the very latest and greatest, you can get the older iPad for $399 or the mini from $299 so there is hope for the big heart but small wallet techie givers out there.

Also (and this is heresy but hey I am realistic here) while I am an Apple devotee, there are pads, tablets and their ilk from under $99. Just beware if you do buy one of the less-known (ie: off) brands for someone as a gift that none of them come with AppleCare and that a lot of the warranties are pretty much worthless if you do not know who's backing them up. Be sure that you have a back-up plan if you buy something that's lesser-known. I suggest buying from a reputable store (Best Buy, Costco, etc.) which will stand behind their product if it fails. Not that the off-brands are any less fun than an iPad, but do be aware they have fewer available apps and less computing power than an iPad. You do get what you pay for to a certain extent.

So what if your budget doesn't allow for a tablet? Well do not despair. Everything from jump drives (They can be had for under $10 these days.) to headphones (from $8 or $9 to up, up and up) are nice options. There are also hook-up cables, extra chargers and small devices which fit well into that Christmas stocking. Just be 100% sure that if you pick one of these smaller items your intended recipient has the ability to use it (ie: no pc gadgets if they are Mac or Mac items if they are pc) and that it's something they want and will use. In short, as with all gifts, hang onto the sales or gift receipt and make sure you buy from somewhere established and know their return policy.

Other ideas?

Mz. Pink,

I am a lesbian from a small town. Not only are there very few of us here who are my age, but the ones who are here aren't full-blown lesbians. That being said, my on-again-off- again girlfriend always goes back to the same guy when we break up. While she does this I sit and wait for her to come back.

I love her, but when is enough enough? I want to be with her and I give her many chances and she always comes back to me but why does she run to this guy when we break up? Why does she tell me I'm all she ever wants and needs and then leaves to go be with a boy? I'm heartbroken. I don't have any other options to run off and be with anyone else because of the size of our community and I don't know if I would, even if I had the chance. If we break up I will see her over and over almost every day so how do I do this? How do we break up and make it stick?

Small town problems.

Every day of our lives, we make assumptions. We assume that the people we encounter regularly will behave in the manner to which we are accustomed. We assume that if we take care of our cars, they will get us to where we want to go. In fact, we need to make assumptions to bring order to our world. But in some parts of our life — such as investing — assumptions can prove dangerous.
Of course not all investment-related assumptions are bad. But here are a few that, at the least, may prove to be counter-productive:

—"Real estate will always increase in value." Up until the 2008 financial crisis, which was caused, at least partially, by the "housing bubble," most people would probably have said that real estate is always a good investment. But since then, were all more painfully aware that housing prices can rise and fall. That isn't to say that real estate is always a bad investment — as a relatively small part of a diversified portfolio, it can be appropriate, depending on your goals and risk tolerance. But don't expect endless gains, with no setbacks.

—"Gold will always glitter." During periods of market volatility, investors often flee to gold, thereby driving its price up. But gold prices will fluctuate, sometimes greatly, and there are risks in all types of gold ownership, whether you're investing in actual bars of gold or gold "futures" or the stocks of gold-mining companies.

—"I can avoid all risks by sticking with CDs." It's true that Certificates of Deposit (CDs) offer a degree of preservation of principal. But they're not risk-free; their rates of return may be so low that they don't even keep up with inflation, which means you could incur purchasing-power risk. Again, having CDs in your portfolio is not a bad thing, but you'll only want to own those amounts that are suitable for your objectives.

—"The price of my investment has gone up — I must have made the right decision." This assumption could also be made in reverse — that is, you might think that, since the price of your investment has dropped, you must have made the wrong choice. This type of thinking causes investors to hold on to some investments too long, in the hopes of recapturing early gains, or selling promising investments too soon, just to "cut their losses." Don't judge investments based on short-term performance; instead, look at fundamentals and long-term potential.

—"If I need long-term care, Medicare will cover it." You may never need any type of long-term care, but if you do, be prepared for some big expenses. The national average per year for a private room in a nursing home is nearly $84,000, according to a recent survey by Genworth, a financial security company.

This cost, repeated over a period of years, could prove catastrophic to your financial security during your retirement. And, contrary to many people's assumptions, Medicare may only pay a small percentage of long-term care costs. You can help yourself by consulting with a financial professional, who can provide you with strategies designed to help cope with long-term care costs.

You can't avoid all assumptions when you're investing. But by staying away from questionable ones, you may avoid being tripped up on the road toward your financial goals.
On another topic as we get set to wrap up the year, if you've been around long-time investors, you'll probably hear them say, ruefully, "If only I had gotten in on the ground floor of such-and-such computer or social media company, I'd be rich today." That may be true — but is it really relevant to anyone anymore? Do you have to be an early investor of a spectacular company to achieve investment success?

Not really. Those early investors of the "next big thing" couldn't have fully anticipated the tremendous results enjoyed by those companies. But these investors all had one thing in common: They were ready, willing and able to look for good opportunities.

And that's what you need to do, too. Of course, you may never snag the next big thing, but that's not the point. If you're going to be a successful investor, you need to be diligent in your search for new opportunities. And these opportunities don't need to be brand-new to the financial markets — they can just be new to you.

For example, when you look at your investment portfolio, do you see the same types of investments? If you own mostly aggressive growth stocks, you have the possibility of gains — but, at the same time, you do risk taking losses, from which it may take years to recover.

On the other hand, if you're "overloaded" with certificates of deposit (CDs) and Treasury bills, you may enjoy protection of principal but at the cost of growth potential, because these investments rarely offer much in the way of returns. In fact, they may not even keep up with inflation, which means that if you own too many of them, you will face purchasing-power risk. To avoid these problems, look for opportunities to broaden your holdings beyond just one or two asset classes.
Here's another way to take advantage of opportunities: Don't take a "time out" from investing.

When markets are down, people's fears drive them to sell investments whose prices have declined — thereby immediately turning "paper" losses into real ones — rather than holding on to quality investment vehicles and waiting for the market to recover. But successful investors are often rewarded when they not only hold on to investments during declines but also increase their holdings by purchasing investments whose prices have fallen — or adding new shares to existing investments — thereby following the first rule of investing: Buy low.

When the market rises again, these investors should see the value of their new investments, or the shares of their existing ones, increase in value. (Keep in mind, though, that when investing in stocks, there are no guarantees; some stocks do lose value and may never recover.)

Instead of looking for that one great "hit" in the form of an early investment in a skyrocketing stock, you're better off by seeking good opportunities in the form of new investments that can broaden your existing portfolio or by adding additional shares, at good prices, to your existing investments.

These moves are less glitzy and glamorous than getting in on the ground floor of the next big thing - but, in the long run, they may make you look pretty smart indeed.

PecsnCity

“We need to talk." Possibly the worst four words in the human language. No one wants to hear this brief and ominous statement, because more often than not, it’s leading to a break-up.

Everyone has suffered through at least one break-up in their lives. The reasons people part are as varied as stars in the sky — they cheat, they realize that they are unhappy, they realize a relationship is harder than they thought and they don’t want to put in the effort or they merely grow apart. No matter what the reason or who you are, it’s never easy. Sure, we lie through our smiles and say it's no big deal as we hide behind our armor, but beneath the facade of tanned muscles, expensive clothes and feigned self-confidence that make it seem like we’re living our lives like nothing has happened, the broken, splintered hearts lie bleeding.

It could be a relationship of ten weeks, ten months or ten years — the razor-sharp sting is still there. When a relationship ends there's not only the grief from losing someone who is important to you, there is also the pain of seeing all the visions of your life together disappear. Your future is suddenly empty. When two people connect, their lives become entwined. Now, seeing your life stretch ahead of you without your partner means its time to start over.

In the beginning there's the empty hope of denial as you think that maybe it isn’t really the end. Maybe you are just going through a rough patch and any minute now the phone will ring or the text will chirp and you will realize that it was nothing but a silly misunderstanding. But the phone remains silent, mocking you with its blank glass stare. So, maybe you should call or text, right? But when you do, there's no response. That’s when the empty rooms start to close in on you as you wander them like a ghost, the heavy weight of the truth pressing harder and harder on your heart.

Then, the "if only” stage starts. If only I had paid attention to the little things. If only I hadn't been afraid to show my true feelings. If only I hadn't worked so much. If only I could have one more moment, one more kiss, one more chance. But it’s too late. When the cold reality that the relationship is lost forever finally sets in, that heavy pain in your heart spreads and crashes over you like a wave, dragging you down into the darkness.

The stage that comes next is the worst. Days (weeks? months?) pass as you lay in bed staring at the ceiling or the television, seeing but not really seeing, walking through the motions of your life like a wraith until you move to the second tier of this stage. This consists of listening to the saddest songs you can find and crying uncontrollably at the lyrics that remind you of happiness past, the miserable present and the empty future. Fix You by Coldplay is a good choice. My Immortal by Evanescence is also gut wrenching. Someone Like You by Adele is practically perfect. Whatever you prefer, it seems there are more songs about breaking up and being crushed by love's cruel touch than there are songs about the giddiness of falling in love.

medical-matters

One of my two partners doesn't take anything unless the doctor insists. The other takes whatever he’s told and then adds all manner of what he calls "herbals” to his regimen. I fall somewhere in the middle.

Its taken awhile, but I have finally managed to get the one of us who will try most any herbal to provide the doctor with a list of his herbals — which run from Valerian Root for his problems sleeping to Cat s Claw which he says helps fight off the effects of a case of Lyme Disease he got from tick bites some years ago.

Do they work? Maybe, according to the experts. And does the doctor need to know if you or I or my partner takes these herbals? A definite yes to that because those herbals can affect your body and other prescriptions you might have to take. Some of them can even be deadly with the wrong combination of prescription and even over- the-counter drugs.

The truth is, however, that very few healthcare professionals in the United States like answering questions about natural medicine products — the proper name for what my partner calls "herbals". Chances are if you've asked your doctor about herbal products, they probably resisted answering the question and told you to ask your pharmacist. Afterall, pharmacists are supposed to be the experts about medicines, right? Problem is that most pharmacists don’t like answering questions about herbal products any more than the doctors do. Why is that? How could it be?

First off, herbal products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means anyone can market, package and distribute these “medicines” and sell them to you and me supposedly to "fix" or "cure” most any ailment we have.

But wait! There's a notice on the bottles and it says right there that the FDA calls these dietary supplements, not drugs, so it’s the law, right?

Well The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) classified herbs as "dietary supplements” and not “drugs," but all that means is that the FDA is not required to regulate them. [So then why are some naturally occurring plants, like marijuana, regulated by the government? The answer is that marijuana is currently classified as an "illicit drug" and not a "dietary supplement" or a "medicinal ding,” so it is over-seen by a division of the government called the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) though even that is currently changing with several states "legalizing” pot for "medicinal use,” and others for "recreational purposes, though that’s a story for another day.].

But back to those other roots, oils and herbs... Manufacturers of herbal products can make claims about their product’s supposed safety and efficacy, but the claims don’t have to have any scientific evidence to support them (unlike claims made about drugs). The only stipulation is that manufacturers cannot claim that their herbal products diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases. For example, a company can say that their product "improves your mood” but they cannot say that it "treats depression.” Just look on most any bottle and there’s a politely worded FDA-required statement which says exactly that — that the FDA had not guaranteed or tested the product. In other words: it's the maker's word against yours and your doctor's if that herbal will treat, help or do anything positive. And it's your responsibility not to let it harm or kill you with an interaction to something your doctor did prescribe.

TransTakingChargeAbstr-250x250In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States saw a cultural shift in its approach to civil rights. African-Americans and their allies finally stood together and demanded change. The movement killed segregation, ignited debate about interracial marriage and helped pave the way for equality among races in the United States. Some argue that battle is still continuing.

In 1969, the Gay Rights movement took off after the Stonewall Riots. Forty-Five years later, same-sex couples can legally wed in 17 states (and counting) and more government agencies are granting domestic partnership benefits. But there’s a segment of society that has patiently waited in line for its turn to fight for equality. And that time could be now.

Transgender Americans are finally getting noticed. But that battle for equality could be a good decade or two behind the Gay Rights push. Has the gay community left the transgender community behind, or are the two linked communities actually separate, fighting very different battles?

Authored By David Thomas Moran – See the Full Story at Watermark

 

firstaidcrossAuthor’s Note:  The following information is compiled from multiple sources including:  The Mayo Clinic, the American Medical Association, the American Red Cross, and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.  The information included in this article is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any serious medical condition.  In the case of all emergency situations and medical conditions, it is absolutely essential to seek the advice of a licensed medical professional.  All opinions stated in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GayFresno, its owners, entities, affiliates, or subsidiaries.

 

“Put a little butter on it!”  This phrase is commonly heard in the south just after someone has burned himself on a hot pan.  It’s just one of the many “old wives’ tales” associated with first aid.   In many cases, there tends to be some truth to the tales, and in others…well, they can do more harm than good.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a good deal of “first aid” advice flying across my Facebook feed in response to a few of my more accident prone friends hurting themselves.  Some of the advice was medically sound, but most of it wasn’t on par with current first aid standards.  Please understand that I’m not saying that someone must run to the emergency room for every scrape, cut, and burn, but what I am saying is that you can hurt yourself more if you don’t know what you’re doing.  There are many things you can do at home to handle minor first aid situations.  I’d like to take the time to address someone of those instances, dispel a few myths, and give people a better understanding of how to properly handle the situation.  And now, on with the show…

One of the most common first aid situations in the U.S. revolves around minor burns.  Whether it’s from touching a hot pan or oil splatter, people seem to burn themselves quite often.  An average of 3 million people seek medical attention for burns each year, but that pales in comparison to the number of people who treat burns at home.   In a recent poll, it was determined that, over the course of a year, 78% of the population of the United States will sustain a minor burn and will not seek medical treatment for it.  There are 2 problems with this. Most people don’t know when to seek medical attention and when to handle it at home, and most people do not know how to properly treat a burn.  A minor burn (one that does not require emergency medical attention) is less than 3 inches in diameter, does not break the skin, even if it blisters, and does not involve substantial portions of the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or major joints.  If the burn covers a larger area or causes the skin to crack or slough off, seek medical attention immediately.  Do NOT pop “water blisters.”  If you determine this to be a minor burn, then move on to treatment.   Some of the myths surrounding first aid treatment for burns include:  butter, vegetable oil, egg whites, vasoline, frozen peas, and ice packs.  Stop for a moment and consider what happens when you heat butter or oil?  It melts.  We fry things in it.  Does it really make sense to use that on a burn?  Egg whites?   Do you know what happens when you heat up an egg? It cooks.  Vasoline is very oily and can fall into the same category as vegetable oils and butter.  Cellular degradation occurs faster below 90 degrees, so cooling the area with ice packs or other frozen materials is not recommended.   To properly treat a minor burn, place the burned area under RUNNING, cool (NOT cold) water for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain lessens.  If it is impractical to use running water, then immerse the burned area in cool water for the same length of time.  Once the pain has lessened, gently blot the area dry.  You may now apply an over-the-counter burn cream, such as Aquafor (similar to vasoline, but not the same) or Bacitracin, and cover it with non-stick, sterile gauze.  Don't use fluffy cotton or other lint-ridden materials. You should wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Bandaging keeps air off the burn, reduces pain, and protects damaged skin.  Most people don’t have burn creams in their medicine cabinets, and if you happen to be one of those people, there is something you can do.  Always begin with the cool water treatment.  Once you get to the burn cream and bandaging step, if you don’t have the proper first aid materials, you can apply a layer of common yellow mustard to the burns that DO NOT immediately blister.  The vinegar in the mustard will reduce bacteria of the affected area, and there are some natural pain relieving properties of mustard seed.  This should be temporary though and used as a secondary option.  Use the proper materials whenever possible.

Another common injury, especially for those of us with children, is minor cuts and abrasions.  This is the most common type of minor injury.  My grandparents would swear by alcohol and a red liquid called Mercurochrome.  Those treatments burned like crazy, and quite honestly, I’d had rather just bled to death.  Then of course, there were always the “boil it out with peroxide” comments, followed by “Just let it breathe. It will heal faster.”  *BZZZZ* We’ve heard these things all of our lives, but there isn’t a lot of truth in them.  Before we get into the first aid, we need to define what a “minor cut or abrasion” is.  It’s not as clear cut as you would think.  Consult a physician for any cuts and abrasions near or on your eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, or feet (especially if you are diabetic.)  If the cut bleeds heavily, has jagged edges, gapes open, is more than ¼ inch deep, or reveals fat or muscle tissue, seek medical attention.  If you cannot adequately clean the wound (removing all dirt and debris) or the wound was caused by a rusted object, call your doctor.  Deep puncture wounds should always be looked at by a licensed medical practitioner, especially if you have not had a tetanus shot in the last 5 years.  If the wound was caused by an animal or human bite that breaks the skin or the injured area feels numb, go straight to the ER.  Now, I’m sure your thinking, “I’ve had injuries like that before, and I didn’t go to the doctor. It was just fine.”  That may be true, but that doesn’t mean it was the best course of action.  In most cases, the cut itself isn’t nearly as concerning as the related infections that can occur from improper treatment.  Nails, thorns, bites (animal or human), and cuts from household objects contain microbes (fungi, bacteria, parasites, etc.) that can cause SERIOUS and LIFE THREANTENING complications.  Don’t play with your health.  Now that we’ve established “minor,” let’s talk about those pesky myths.  Substances like alcohol, iodine, mercurochrome, and what not are painful and unnecessary.  Peroxide can actually damage healthy cells in the area of the wound, which will slow healing and could lead to other problems.  All of those chemicals are harsh and can irritate the wound.  First, flush the area with cool, running water removing as much dirt and debris as possible.  You may use a mild, anti-bacterial soap on the area as well, but be sure to rinse the area thoroughly afterwards.    Next, it’s time to stop the bleeding.  For minor cuts and abrasions, blood loss is inconsequential and is secondary to cleaning (First aid for more serious injuries with heavy bleeding is different.  For this article, we are only talking about minor issues.)  You do not want to apply pressure to minor cuts and abrasions that have not been properly cleaned, as you can cause debris (like gravel and glass) or metal shards to become further imbedded in the surrounding tissue.  A small amount of bleeding is necessary and helps to clean the wound.   Minor cuts typically will stop bleeding on their own, barring certain medical complications like hemophilia.  Small cuts to the head, hands, feet, and genitals will often bleed more than cuts to other areas of the body due to the number of blood vessels in those areas.  The face is the drama queen of the body.  It bleeds a lot.  If the bleeding does not stop on its own within a few minutes, apply gentle pressure to the CLEAN wound with a clean cloth or sterile gauze.  Hold the pressure steady.  Don’t raise the cloth or gauze to check on the wound, because that could cause the wound to start bleeding again. If blood seeps through the dressing, just put more on top and keep applying pressure.  It should stop bleeding in 2 to 3 minutes in most cases.   If the cut is on your hand or arm, you can help slow the bleeding by raising it above your head.  If it the blood spurts, go to the ER!  A squirty cut is not a happy cut.  Once the wound is clean and the blood has stopped, it’s time to cover it up.  Remove any dried blood around the wound (not on it) with a moist, clean cloth.  Don’t blow on it.  There are microbes in your breath.  Apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream (like Neosporin or Polysporin) to the area.  (Some of these can cause a rash.  If it does, remove the ointment and stop using it.)  Apply a clean, sterile bandage.  Make sure that the gauze or pad is large enough to cover the entire wound.  You don’t want adhesives sticking to the injury.  Change the bandage once per day.  Keep it covered.  Letting it “air out” can allow infections to set in.  Keeping it covered will reducing scarring, prevent infection, and allow the body to heal naturally.  Once there is no longer a risk of infection, you can stop using the bandages.  Be aware that some “pus” will occur, even without an infection.  Yellowish pus seen at the beginning stages of healing is normal and is a sign that the body is creating a scab to begin repairing the area.  Thick green pus or pus that has a strong, foul odor can be a sign of a serious infection, and you should seek advice from your doctor.  I will also add that ripping off tape or Band-Aids is NOT best.  This can reopen the wound.  Instead, rub the edge of the bandage with water to release the adhesive.  It will come off painlessly.  Most minor cuts will completely heal in 2 weeks (5 days for the face).  If a cut doesn’t scab over, becomes swollen, or does not show signs of healing in that time, you should see your doctor.

The last of the more common minor injuries are those involving muscles and joints.  We’ve all had them.  Shin splints, twisted knees, sprained ankles, jammed fingers, and stubbed toes.  There are TONS of myths surrounding these types of injuries:  everything from “COLD ONLY!!!” to “Just yank it lose” and “Keep running!”  Since these injuries involved the musculoskeletal structure, continued use of the affected limb or joints with only make it worse.  Jerking and yanking on joints is not a good idea for non-medical folk.  Broken bones should always be treated by a physician.  Don’t, for the love of all that is good, try and set a bone yourself.  You can break it worse, set it wrong, or push bone fragments into the tissue, and possibly perforate an artery.  Just don’t do it.   Let’s take a moment and define some things.  A sprain involves the ligaments of the joints that hold one end of a bone to another.  A strain involves the muscle tissue and tendons (the connective tissue that holds muscle to bone).  Twisted knees and ankles are sprains, while shin splints and pulled muscles are strains.  Believe it or not, jammed fingers and stubbed toes also fall into the category of sprains, though they are typically caused by impact injuries that compress the joints.   In the cases of sprains and strains, the average person is more concerned as to whether or not the bone is broken.  The truth is, unless it’s a compound fracture and you can see the broken bone, you really can’t tell without an X-ray.  Suspected broken bones can be determined by answering the following 3 questions.

                1.  Did you hear or feel a snap/pop in the injured area?

                2.  Are you having extreme difficulty moving the injured limb?

                3.  Does the injured part move in an unnatural way?

If you answer yes to any of those questions, GO TO THE ER.  The pain from sprains and strains can mimic the signs of a broken bone, but it’s always best to be safe.  If however, you are certain you are dealing with a minor strain or sprain, we treat them all the same way—with RICE!  Not rice like the grain though.  RICE is an acronym used for the treatment of strains and sprains: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest the injured area for a minimum of 24 hours.  Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time with 20 to 40 minute breaks between icings.  LIGHTLY compress it with an elastic bandage (like an ACE bandage) for a minimum of 2 days.  Elevate the injury above the level of the heart.  All of these things help to reduce swelling and pain.  You should NEVER apply heat to a sprain or strain during the first 24 hours.  Heat will cause an increase in swelling and pain.  If after the first 24 hours, the swelling is gone, but you are still experiencing discomfort, you may alternate between heat and ice for a few hours.  For impact injuries like jammed fingers and stubbed toes, it is best to wrap the finger or toe to an adjacent finger or toe to help with stability.  Don’t yank on it or try to “pop it” back into place.  It will do that on its own.  Expect bruising to occur with these types of injuries.  In the case of shin splints, DO NOT keep running.  Shin splints are caused by the muscle tearing.  If you keep running, you will only make it worse.  If you cannot stand or walk, if the pain and swelling persist longer than 48 hours, or if you lose feeling (goes numb), seek medical attention immediately.

So folks, save the butter for biscuits.  Remember to CTC! Cut the crap, and “Clean! Treat! Cover!”  Use RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  And seek medical attention if you have any doubt about your health or injuries.

As an addendum to the article, I’d like to offer some advice on home first aid kits.  Cheap kits are available at most major stores, though they can sometimes be lacking in their overall supply.  While many of them will have bandages, gauze, ointments, and swabs, they often do not contain cold packs, syringes, elastic bandages, or anti-bacterial soap.  You can make your own first aid kits for a little more money, and tailor them to your needs.  You can make them for your vehicle and home.  Purchase a small Rubbermaid tote or Lock-Tite box from your local department store.  They come in a variety of sizes.  Fill them with items that can help you treat minor injury and store them in an easily accessible place that everyone in your family knows about.  Items to include are: elastic bandages (ACE bandages) of varying size, a variety pack of Band-Aids, Bacitracin, Neosporin, Aquafor, anti-bacterial soap, non-stick gauze rolls and pads, self-adhering medical tape, a 10 mL syringe without the needle (for flushing), a small bottle of artificial tears, saline solution, a cold pack, a small pair of scissors, tweezers, and latex gloves.  You’ll be better for it!  Be safe!

 

church1-250x250Conservatives have been flailing this month to recover control of their “religious liberty” talking points after the country turned on Arizona for its “license to discriminate” bill, leading up to Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto Wednesday afternoon. Groups like the Heritage Foundation, the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, the Cato Institute, and Focus on the Family all came to SB 1062's defense, arguing in various fashions that it would do nothing to promote discrimination against LGBT people. At the forefront of this media effort was the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which not only helped draft Arizona’s bill, but provides legal counsel to individuals who engage in such discrimination.

By doubling down in response to the backlash, these groups have sent a clear signal that the fight over “religious liberty” is far from over, even if Arizona proves to have been a turning point. Here’s a look at the rhetoric they’ve used over the past two weeks to suggest that “religious freedom” somehow requires the privilege to refuse service to the LGBT community — in particular, marrying same-sex couples — and why it doesn’t hold up.

What Is “Discrimination”?

At the core of this discussion is a fundamental disagreement about what “discrimination” is and what “discrimination” is not. It’s no secret that stories of bakers, florists, and photographers being punished for refusing service to marrying same-sex couples is what motivates these bills; proponents admit as much. But they don’t actually think of that refusal of service as discrimination.

Authored By Zack Ford – See the Full Story at Think Progress

KidsDayLogo 2014You Can Make a Miracle Happen on Kids Day Tuesday, March 4, 2014!


Join team "Gay Fresno" as we help this worthwhile cause!
For the past 27 years, Children’s Hospital Central California has benefitted from the thousands of volunteers that hit the streets every March to sell the special “Kids Day” edition of The Fresno Bee for $1. By participating as a Kids Day volunteer, you not only help Children’s Hospital raise important funds, but also help valley residents learn more about vital healthcare services and programs Children’s Hospital provides.

The hours are approximately 6:00am through 1:00pm. If you can't stay until 1pm we may be able to use you, please contact us.

Since every group chooses its own corner, you will need to have access to a cell phone so we can call you the morning of with the location we have obtained.

Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Please call or text to (559) 862-4559 to RSVP
or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Via Joe.My.God:

Godtweet3

reynaldo

By now if you have not heard about the two cases affecting gay marriage which were heard by the SCOTUS then you have no Facebook and have lived under a rock.  Let’s cut to the chase, here are my predictions (f you want to know my reasons then read the rest of the column):

Prop 8:  the court will be very conservative the decision will have the effect of allow gay marriages in California only.

DOMA:  The Supreme Court will find that Federal Government has no legal basis to make a distinction between gay and hetero marriages and thus invalidate the part of the law that forbids federal government to recognize gay marriages.

What the court will NOT do is find that there is a fundamental right that protects gay marriages and thus all states must recognize or adopt gay marriage.

These results may not be what we are asking for however they are huge steps toward full recognition. 

Traditionally (rooted in constitutional law) the federal government has allowed States to dictate laws in certain areas. One such example is marriage.  That is why it is possible that each state has slightly different marriage laws, for example the way a divorce is conducted.  With this in mind I believe that DOMA will be invalidated.  The reasoning goes like this: Massachusetts has dully enacted law that defines marriage as including same sex couples therefore the federal government must respect that state’s right to do so and failure to recognize such marriages for purposes of federal law would undermine the states right to define marriage.  This is very likely to be the reason why DOMA will go down in history as unconstitutional because it violates each states right to define marriage as they wish.

The more difficult law to predict is Proposition 8.  Not only is it difficult to predict how the justices will decide but, also what rationale they will use.  But, I am still predicting that the result will be that gay marriages will be available in California, come this fall.

My prediction though is that the court will decide that it is not proper for SCOTUS to decide on this case.  This would be a technical maneuver based on procedural rules.  Simply put the Court may say that those defending the law did not have a right to do so and therefore it is not proper for them to hear the case.  If they make such a ruling then the decision of the last court (Ninth Circuit) will stand.  That court found that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional as it affected gay people living in California only.  So that gives us the result I mentioned already.

Now the even more difficult prediction of how each justice is going to vote. Scalia, Alito and Thomas will both vote against anything that would allow gay marriage in any form.  Not because of legal reasoning but because they have indicated they are very much against gay marriage even before the hearings were held.  Then there is the obvious “for” gay marriage votes: Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg and Breyer.  Now remember any decision requires at least five votes.  Therefore the deciding justices will be the swing votes of Roberts and Kennedy.

Kennedy has been cast as the consistent swing vote, the deciding vote in recent years.  He seems more against DOMA than Proposition 8.  That is why it is easier to predict DOMA.  But since DOMA suffers from one huge flaw, that it intrudes on states right to determine laws of marriage it is very possible that Chief Justice Roberts will also strike down DOMA.  Traditionally conservative justices, such as Roberts, have gone to great lengths to protect states from federal government intruding.  It is odd that in the case of DOMA the conservative justices are okay with states being dictated by federal law.  But I think that Roberts is smart enough to know that this is his legacy, after all he is the chief justice and history is being written as we speak.  He sees the writing on the wall and will not want to be cast as falling on the wrong side of history.  DOMA will likely go down 6 to 3.

Proposition 8 is harder to predict.  Again the ultra conservative and ultra liberal will vote the same.  Again, leaving Kennedy and Roberts to decide.  I think the vote will be whether or not SCOTUS should hear the case or not.  It will not be whether proposition 8 was properly passed or not or whether it violates gay citizens constitutional rights. In that case it is conceivable that Justice Roberts will like to appease the conservatives and say that it is proper for the court to hear.  Kennedy on the other hand will say that it is not. Prop 8 will go down on a 5 to 4 vote.

Now let’s wait until sometime this summer to see how accurate my predictions are. 

AScalia copyOver at the Advocate, Kerry Eleveld has five take-aways rom this morning’s Prop 8 hearing at the US Supreme Court. My favorite:

As expected: Justice Antonin Scalia did go on a rant of sorts, insisting that Olson explain, “When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?” Olson offered, respectfully, “When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriage?” (The suggestion being that it became so when the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) Scalia responded, “Don’t answer my question with a question!” Then, like a dog with a bone, he insisted on getting a date certain when it became unconstitutional. Finally, Olson conceded, “There’s no specific date.”

Ask a question to which you know there’s no answer, and then browbeat your opponent for not answering it. Vintage Scalia. But he can’t take his own medicine – typical.

 

NOMlogoNOM must be getting nervous. Yesterday, the group’s leader Brian Brown threatened to pursue a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality if the Supreme Court rules against them. Joe.My.God reports:

“I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way – that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, a Roe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution.”

Good luck with that. There wasn’t the will to do it back in 1996, when Defense of Marriage Act was passed, and a mch larger percentage of the US population supports us now.

 

prop8Over at ScotusBlog, Tom Goldstein thinks the Court will either find that the Prop 8 defendants have no standing, or will just decline to rule on the case. Either would invalidate Prop 8:

The Justices seem divided on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on ideological lines, four to four – i.e., all the members other than Justice Kennedy. For the more liberal members of the Court, there was no clarity on how broadly they would rule…

If those features of the oral argument hold up – and I think they will – then the Court’s ruling will take one of two forms. First, a majority (the Chief Justice plus the liberal members of the Court) could decide that the petitioners lack standing. That would vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision but leave in place the district court decision invalidating Proposition 8… Second, the Court may dismiss the case because of an inability to reach a majority. Justice Kennedy takes that view, and Justice Sotomayor indicated that she might join him. Others on the left may agree. That ruling would leave in place the Ninth Circuit’s decision…The upshot of either scenario is a modest step forward for gay rights advocates, but not a dramatic one.

Although having Prop 8 invalidated would be a great step, we can’t help but wish that the Court was more in step with society on this issue. It’s painful to thin we may have to wait another 2 or 3 or 5 years to get a yes ruling on marriage equality in another case.

 

 

poll-250x199This is HUGE. On the day of the US Supreme Court hearing on Prop 8, Think Progress reports that an astonishing 67% in California now support marriage equality:

As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments today on California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, a new SurveyUSA poll shows that 67 percent of Californians believe same-sex couples deserve the legal benefits of marriage. Only 30 percent believe those benefits should be limited to “a man and a woman.” Conservatives have argued that if the Court rules against Prop 8, it will somehow invalidate the will of the voters who supported the ballot initiative.

In related news, 25 California mayors signed a letter urging the Court to overturn Prop 8. Queerty reports:

The mayors of Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, West Hollywood and 20 other cities in California signed a letter urging the Supreme Court to rule the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, unconstitutional.

One way or another, Prop 8 is going down.

 

supreme-court-012Ezra Klein at WonkBlog has the written transcripts and audio for today’s US Supreme Court hearing on marriage equality.

Listen for yourself.

 

 

 

marriage equality hrcWith everything that has been written about the oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court case challenging California's Proposition 8 (spoiler alert: Prop 8 will most likely be a thing of the past), I'd like to take a different approach and address the haters.......of the LGBT community, specifically those who frequently bring religion into the equation.

Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), recently compared same-sex marriage to slavery. He is one of many on the far religious right who have, for years, demonized and insulted members of the LGBT community. People like the American Family Association's (AFA) Bryan Fischer and the Family Research Council's (FRC) Tony Perkins have consistently outdone themselves in a sick game of who can say the most outrageous and degrading things about gays and lesbians. According to bigots like them, gays and lesbians are perverts, degenerates, pedophiles, into bestiality, unhealthy, Nazis, and unfit to raise children. Don't believe me – simply visit the websites of these hate spewers.

Because actual professionals in psychology, psychiatry, sociology and even biology long ago destroyed the many ridiculous arguments against homosexuality with reason, rationality and compassion, bigots like Brown and Perkins are left with using old-time, Hellfire and brimstone religion. However even that is becoming unacceptable as more and more religions and faiths move to accept members of the LGBT community just as they are. How do they respond: Homosexuality is wrong because sexist, homophobic, genocidal Bronze Age men said so!

To which I respond with this: If there really is a higher power, whether it is an actual being or energy force or what ever, I strongly suspect it does not care who I fall in love with just like it doesn't care that women vote or people from different ethnic backgrounds marry. Your side of the argument has consistently used god and religion to fight against everything progressive, from the abolition of slavery to women's rights and interracial marriage. What kind of deity punishes people with eternal damnation and suffering anyway?! What about the "God of Love?" The whole "You will burn in Hell for ________ (insert various actions)!" line is really getting old. Times change. Cultures change. The meaning behind words are in a constant state of change (Communication Theories 101). Religions, thankfully, also change.

If you still want to use hate, go right ahead; it's a free country. However, here in the United States, there is separation of church and state. All citizens are seen as equal and are consitutionally guaranteed equality under the law. There's a pretty big difference between consitutionally protected civil rights and religious doctrine. No one is coming or will come to your church and force you to marry same-sex couples. It's not going to happen – get that myth and scare tactic out of your mind.

It is 2013 CE, not 2013 BCE. We don't stone women and children and we no longer think Earth is the center of the known universe. America is not a theocracy, nor are its churches controlled by the state. It is time for your loud screaming and hate to go the way of Senator Joe McCarthy's career – a disgraceful part of our history.

If you still cling to a brand of religious faith that preaches such hate and intolerance of everything different from it, that says something about your humanity (or lack thereof). The fact that there are countless compassionate, intelligent religious leaders and practitioners who accept their LGBT family, friends, doctors, lawyers, and coworkers just as they are delegitimizes your excuse for continuing to use religion as a tool to discriminate and oppress. Evolve or be left on the wrong side of history.

prop8It’s still waaaay too early to tell, to be sure, but the tenor of Chief Justice Roberts’ questions on Prop 8 is encouraging. Towleroad.com reports:

Reuters breaking:

Tweet: “Developing: Roberts says California #prop8 case may not reach central issue of right to marry for gays…”

Tweet: “U.S. Chief Justice Roberts, midway into gay marriage arguments, raises doubts about California case”

Tweet: “Supreme Court Justice Kennedy: California gay marriage ban may hurt rights of gay couples children”

SCOTUSBLOG:

Tweet: “Breaking: 1st update- #prop8 unlikely to be upheld; either struck down or #scotus won’t decide case.”

Tweet: “Breaking: key vote Kennedy VERY uncomfortable striking down #prop8. Suggests dismissing case. Would leave in place 9th Cir pro-#ssm ruling.”

Tweet: “There are not 5 votes to strike down #prop8 and recognize equal right to #ssm at this time”

So it may very well be that Prop 8 is struck down by default, but that the lower court decision only applies to California. Half empty, or half full?

 

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prop8After more than an hour of oral arguments this morning in Hollingsworth v. Perry,the challenge to the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, it came down to this:  attorney Charles Cooper, representing the proponents of that ban, Proposition 8, returned to the lectern for his ten minutes of rebuttal time.  He immediately confronted a question from Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom many regard as the critical vote in this case.  Kennedy told him bluntly to “address why you think we should take and decide this case.”  And with that, the Justice may have confirmed that the real question before the Court is not whether it would strike down Proposition 8, or what the broader effect of such a decision might be, but whether it is going to reach the merits of the case at all – a prospect that would be (to say the least) anticlimactic but seemed to be a real possibility by the end of the morning.

Continue reading at SCOTUSblog

 

Argument audio is now online: here.

rally-250x250On March 26th and 27th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases, respectively, which are fundamentally about whether same-sex couples, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans should have the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will make rulings by June, on whether or not it is constitutional for the federal government to deny a minority of U.S. citizens’ rights and privileges under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and whether or not to uphold the decision striking down Prop 8, where a majority of Californians voted to take rights away from a targeted minority.

Do you realize how important your presence at an event or rally is, this March 2013?

The LGBT community and supporters are planning events nationwide, to rally in support of marriage equality and full equality for gay,lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, while many thousands plan to converge on Washington D.C.

CENTRAL VALLEY CANDLELIGHT VIGILS:

March 25th – Porterville

Candlelight Vigil, City Hall Building, 5:30-7p

March 26th – Fresno

Candlelight Vigil, Federal Courthouse, 4-6p

March 27th – Hanford

Candlelight Vigil, Old Courthouse, 5:30-7:30p

Join the events on Facebook or go to lighttojustice.org

Brought to you by local, grass roots organizing with the assistance of: GetEqual, Marriage Equality USA, Gay Fresno, Gay Visalia, Gay Porterville, Gay Hanford, Gay Central Valley, COS Pride Club and many other local organizations.

Suprem-Court-FloorPlan-250x250Lots more to report on the Prop 8 / Defense of Marriage Act front this morning. We’ll start with congress.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke out this week on DOMA, On Top Magazine reports:

“Around 2005, the Republicans, who were in the majority, passed legislation specifically related to DOMA, which had, as you know, passed some years before, in the 90s,” Pelosi told reporters. “But they came up with a specific bill relating to DOMA that stripped the courts of the right of judicial review. They said [that] Marbury v. Madison was wrongly decided, that the courts do not have right of judicial review, and therefore they were stripping the courts of judicial review. Why would they do that if they thought they had a constitutional bill – specifically related to DOMA?” she asked.

Senate Democrats seem to agree. On Top Magazine also reports that all 15 current Senate Dems who voted form Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 now oppose it:

All 15 sitting Senate Democrats who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) now oppose the law… Patty Murray of Washington state is among those senators who have had a change of heart. “My state voted, and I voted with them, to allow marriages between gay and lesbian couples,” Murray told NPR. “I’m very proud of my state.”

gopThere’s lots being written out there today about and by the GOP on marriage equality. Let’s start with this charming quote from Rush Limbaugh, as reported in Gay Star News:

Limbaugh asked his caller, ‘What do you say to people who say – “you know what … you’re old fashioned, you’re stuck in the past. We can never go back to it, it wasn’t what it was. It’s all fuddy-duddy, and you’re going to have to modernize or society is going to leave you behind”?’ Limbaugh them summed up the progressives’ view of marriage as ‘Its all based in love – everybody loves each other and so what ever happens is fine. I love my sofa and I sit on it every night. And it loves me back … If I could marry my sofa I might think about it. I would. And maybe in a few years it could be possible? You never know.’

You gotta feel for that sofa.

Over at MSNBC, Emma Margolin thinks the GOP is afraid of “going wobbly” on gay marriage:

Here’s another example. On Monday morning, at a press conference to review the RNC’s 2012 “autopsy,” chairman Reince Priebus had some kind words for Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who recently came out in favor of same-sex marriage…
But later that same day, in a National Review article headlined, “Social Conservatives to RNC: Don’t be ‘Pandering Idiots,’” Ralph Reed cautioned against any softening on gay rights, saying, “If the Republican party tries to retreat from being a pro-marriage, pro-family party, the big tent is going to become a pup tent very fast… I am concerned that some in the party are going wobbly on this issue.”

At Slate.com, David Weigel wonders if gay marriage will end up splitting the party:

“Committed Christians make up a huge voting bloc within the GOP,” said A.J. Spiker, the 32-year-old chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. The “Ken Mehlman sliver of the party,” he said, didn’t play in Iowa. “We can’t win elections without committed Christians staying engaged. I suppose the argument is that young people won’t vote Republican unless the party changes on marriage, but I don’t hear young people advocating for gay marriage. I was the co-chair of Ron Paul’s Iowa campaign, a liberty-minded group, and I don’t hear it.”

Over at The Washington Post, Jena McGregor takes the longer view:

As a result, the recent bluster against same-sex marriage carries big risks for GOP leadership. The quick increase in support for gay marriage among voters has already made them look somewhat out of touch with the views of a majority of Americans. If the Supreme Court, in one swift blow, makes it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry, they will look even more so, at least to the growing number of Americans who support that right.

Over at Think Progress, they’re reporting that RNC Chair Reince Priebus is suggesting Mike Huckaby for outreach to the LGBT community. Yes, that Mike Huckaby. Some of his views:

Being gay is a public health risk. “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk”

Being gay is a sin. “Well I believe it would be — just like lying is sinful and stealing is sinful. There are a lot of things that are sinful. It doesn’t mean that a person is a horrible person. It means that they engage in behavior that is outside the norms of those boundaries of our traditional view of what’s right and what’s wrong. So, I think that anybody who has, maybe a traditional worldview of sexuality would classify that as an unusual behavior that is not traditional and that would be outside those bounds.”

Marriage equality will lead to polygamy. “If we change the definition to a man or a man and a woman and a woman, why can’t we accommodate a man and two women or a woman and three men.”

And Adam C. Smith at the Tampa Bay Times says history has already passed the GOP by on this issue:

Even if traditional marriage activists win the court battles, though, it looks more and more as if they have already lost the war. Public opinion in America has undergone such a rapid sea change that opponents of same-sex marriage increasingly look as if they soon will hold the fringe position. A growing chorus of conservatives argue that what only a few years ago was a fundamental plank of the GOP platform — opposing gay marriage — has now became a major liability.

When will the GOP come around?

starbucks-250x250The other day, we reported on Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz reaffirming his company’s support for marriaiage equality. A video of his comments just surfaced. Towleroad.com reports:

What Strobhar said as reported by KPLU: “In the first fill quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earrings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing.” Schultz responded by saying not every decision the company makes is an economic one: “The lens we use to make decisions is the lens of our people. We want to embrace diversity…If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”

 

karl-rove-250x250Not that we really care about anything this little man says, but it’s interesting that even this architect of the wedge strategy using gay marriage against democrats is conceding the sea change the country has gone through on the issue. Towleroad.com reports:

…on ABC News’ This Week this morning: “Karl Rove, can you imagine the next presidential campaign a Republican candidate saying flat out ‘I am for gay marriage,’” asked Stephanopoulos. “I could,” said Rove, before turning the discussion back to the Supreme Court’s hearing on the issue.

Rove was the one who pushed George Bush and the GOP to use divisive anti marriage equality initiatives in Ohio and other states in 2004 to divide democrats and bring out conservative voters. He, more than any other republican, is responsible for taking DOMA and spreading it like so much manure around the USA.

Perhaps turd blossom is an apt nickname for this odious man

california-attorney-general-kamala-harris-250x250A strong proponent of marriage equality, California state Attorney general Kamala Harris refused to defend Prop 8 in Court. Now she is on CNN laying out the case for marriage equality. Think Progress reports:

California Attorney General Kemala Harris gave an impassioned, pithy defense of marriage equality during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s hearing on whether California’s Proposition 8, which overturned the state’s marriage equality law, is itself constitutional.

 

Kamala is a rising star in California democratic politics. She survived a squeaker of an election in November to become attorney general, after serving for seven years as a San Francisco DA.

She’s the model for the modern democrat – fierce, smart, outspoken, and strongly supportive of LGBT rights.

Are you listening, Teresa Paiva-Weed?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

Book Launch party flyerBook Launch Party
Saturday, March 23, 2013
2pm-6pm

Live Music by:
* Laney Leyhovan
* Sam Amm
* Eli Sullivan
* Bethany Houghton

Raffle Prizes

Book Trivia Contest

BRING YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY

for a fun day at
The Ubiquitous Farm
6626 S. Reed Ave.
Reedley, CA 93654

559-779-9555

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook Event

Tangerine Product Tasting

Bring your own martini glass to try fun tangerine beverages (drinks available for all ages).

Food and Drinks available for purchase
from Dusty Buns Organic Bistro

gopThe republicans have done a bit of soul searching over why they lost the 2012 elections so badly, and as part of the effort, they considered gay rights and marriage equality. Think Progress reports:

For the GOP to appeal to younger voters, we do not have to agree on every issue, but we do need to make sure young people do not see the Party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view. Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.

If our Party is not welcoming and inclusive, young people and increasingly other voters will continue to tune us out. The Party should be proud of its conservative principles, but just because someone disagrees with us on 20 percent of the issues, that does not mean we cannot come together on the rest of the issues where we do agree.

It goes on to say: “On messaging, we must change our tone — especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters.” In other words, the party will continue to oppose equal rights but will do so with a less strident approach

Yeah, that’ll bring the youth vote into the fold.

rally-250x250On March 26th and 27th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases, respectively, which are fundamentally about whether same-sex couples, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans should have the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will make rulings by June, on whether or not it is constitutional for the federal government to deny a minority of U.S. citizens’ rights and privileges under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and whether or not to uphold the decision striking down Prop 8, where a majority of Californians voted to take rights away from a targeted minority.

Do you realize how important your presence at an event or rally is, this March 2013?

The LGBT community and supporters are planning events nationwide, to rally in support of marriage equality and full equality for gay,lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, while many thousands plan to converge on Washington D.C.

CENTRAL VALLEY CANDLELIGHT VIGILS:

March 20th – Visalia

Panel Discussion, COS, Rm 150 Sequoia 5-8p

March 25th – Porterville

Candlelight Vigil, City Hall Building, 5:30-7p

March 26th – Fresno

Candlelight Vigil, Federal Courthouse, 4-6p

March 27th – Hanford

Candlelight Vigil, Old Courthouse, 5:30-7:30p

Join the events on Facebook or go to lighttojustice.org

Brought to you by local, grass roots organizing with the assistance of: GetEqual, Marriage Equality USA, Gay Fresno, Gay Visalia, Gay Porterville, Gay Hanford, Gay Central Valley, COS Pride Club and many other local organizations.

NOMlogoLots of NOM news today. First off, there’s a new National Organization for Marriage video out, and it’s packed full of untruths. Joe.My.God explains:

As we learned long ago, NOM doesn’t care if their lies are broadcast across thousands and thousands of blogs and progressive websites, they just keep repeating the same discredited bullshit. Count the lies in this new ad for their DC hate march. If you miss any, Jeremy Hooper has fisked the entire clip moment-by-moment.

 

Over at Pam’s House Blend, Alvin McEwen reports on the comments NOM’s John Eastman made about Chief Justice John Roberts’ adoption of two children:

The leader of a prominent anti-gay organization called Supreme Court Chief John Roberts’ decision to adopt children the “second-best option,” the AP reports. “You’re looking at what is the best course societywide to get you the optimal result in the widest variety of cases. That often is not open to people in individual cases. Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts’ family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option,” said John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage.

Did NOM just jump the shark?

And over at On Top Magazine, they pile on the NOM video’s claim that a majority of Americans oppose marriage equality:

“The reality is that the majority of Americans want marriage to stay between a man and a woman. When people have the chance to vote on redefining marriage, the overwhelming majority voted to keep it the way it’s always been in our country: Between a man and a woman.” … Surveys over the past 18 months have shown a majority of Americans support extending marriage rights to gay couples. During the last election cycle, voters in three states legalized such unions and Minnesotans became the first to reject an amendment seeking to exclude gay couples from marriage.

Lie. Repeat.

In an email just released:

I have some pretty big news to share. I’m stepping down as the director of GetEQUAL and handing over the reins to two of the best organizers I know. This isn’t the time to step away from bold action, but GetEQUAL isn’t going anywhere. Here’s the deal...

When Kip Williams and I co-founded GetEQUAL three years ago, we knew that the movement needed a sense of urgency -- it needed to reflect the very real fear and danger that folks from Kip's home state of Tennessee and my home state of Mississippi experience every day. We knew that the movement needed to return to our roots of using direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience in order to create moral crises for elected officials and the American public. We knew that the movement needed to take bold action to insist on full federal equality -- and that there were people on the ground across the country who were willing to take action to support that effort.

And, over the past three years, we've done exactly that. We've created a national grassroots network of organizers who have a deep sense of urgency, who are willing to take bold action, and who are insistent that LGBTQ Americans should be fully equal under federal law. Along the way, we’ve found folks who share all those values, and who are energized by the same vision that captured my and Kip’s imagination three years ago.

In a video released today by HRC, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained why she supports marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples. Most of us assumed Clinton had already spoken out on behalf of same-sex marriage—or at least that it was implicit in her famous “gay rights are human rights” speech from 2012.

Either way, it’s a nice speech. Only, why did she have to wait till she left office to make it?

Are you happy with Clinton’s statement, or should it have come sooner? Make your own statement in the comments section below!

domaA couple more news stories on Prop 8 / Defense of Marriage Act. First off, The Washington Post reports on the partisan divide in the two cases:

A continuing distinct partisan divide is present in the gay marriage cases at the Supreme Court, set for arguments March 26-27, even though a brief on behalf of more than 100 prominent Republicans calls for marriage equality. The split is most apparent in legal briefs filed with the court by state attorneys general. All 21 attorneys general who have signed legal briefs or letters urging the court to uphold California’s ban on same-sex marriage are Republican… An additional 14 attorneys general who are asking the court for the opposite outcome are Democrats, including those from the nine states that allow gay couples to wed. Also among those Democrats are California’s Kamala Harris and Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon, which has a constitutional prohibition on same-sex weddings. Obama won all 14 states.

Our friends over at GayUSA have the list of lawyers who will argue the two sides before the Court:

The Supreme Court on Friday afternoon released the list of attorneys who will argue the DOMA and Prop 8, same-sex marriage cases. On Tuesday, March 26, 10 a.m. in the California Prop 8 Case Hollingsworth, et al., v. Perry, et al. (12-144): Combined, one hour of oral argument on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, and on the question of “standing” to appeal for the sponsors of that ballot measure.

See the list and full details at the link above.

bully-plays

THE BULLY PLAYS will have a special performance at Fresno State on Fri. April 19th. Proceeds benefit the Bulldog Pride Fund. Details: www.bulldogpride.org.

Front Row - Mitchell Lam Hau, Kia Vassiliades, Samantha Hyde, Leo Barajas. Second Row - Dillon Morgan, Beth Hall,  Aaron J. McGee, Nick "Phoenix" Rodriguez.
Photo by Cary Edmondson (2002).

 

 

THE BULLY PLAYS
Compiled by Linda Habjan • Directed by J. Daniel HerringFri. April 19th • Woods Theatre • Speech Arts Building • Fresno State
One Performance Only • Limited Seating • Free Parking
Online: www.bulldogpride.org • Phone: 559.278-2586

(Fresno State) – The Bulldog Pride Fund is presenting one performance of “THE BULLY PLAYS” on Friday evening, April 19th in the Woods Theatre, located in the Speech Arts Building on the Fresno State campus. “THE BULLY PLAYS” is a production of the Theater for Young Audiences.


“THE BULLY PLAYS” is a collection of five plays complied by Linda Habjan. They are touching, imaginative, powerful, uplifting and funning. These five, short plays will challenge, inspire and enlighten the audience, and will help confront the issue of bullying in a constructive and creative way. The five plays being are performed are:

• “A BULLY THERE BE” by Lisa Dillman (a bully kid in fairy tale form);
• “BEASTS” by Ernie Nolan (facing the monster of fear);
• “NOBODY NOSE (THE TROUBLE I’VE SEEN)” by Barry Kornhauser (being different);
• “HERE BE DRAGONS” by Doug Cooney (name calling); and
• “A BUNCH OF CLOWNS” by Sandra Fenichel Asher (a bossy person bully to have friends).

Directed by professor J. Daniel Herring, “THE BULLY PLAYS” features eight ensemble cast members: Leonel Barajas, Beth Hall, Mitchell Lam Hau, Samantha Hyde, Aaron J. McGee, Nick “Phoenix” Rodriguez, Kia Vassiliades, and Dillon Morgan. (Barajas is a senior and four-time Bulldog Pride Fund scholar majoring in Mass Communication & Journalism).


TIMES: 
6:00 PM*
 – Pre-performance wine and cheese reception with the Bulldog Pride Fund scholars.
7:00 PM – Performance of five scenes with eight cast members.
8:00 PM – Post-performance dessert and coffee reception with director and cast members


RESERVATIONS:
• $100* – VIP: Please arrive at 6:00 pm. Includes performance with reserved seating, a pre-performance wine and cheese reception with the 2012-13 Bulldog Pride Fund scholars, post-performance dessert and coffee reception with director and cast members, plus special gift bags.
• $50* – PRIORITY: Please arrive at 6:00 pm. Includes performance with priority seating, a pre-performance wine and cheese reception with the 2012-13 Bulldog Pride Fund scholars, plus a post-performance dessert and coffee reception with director and cast members.
• $25 – GENERAL: Please arrive at 6:45 pm. Includes performance with general seating, plus a post-performance dessert and coffee reception with director and cast members.All prices will be slightly higher on day of show. No actual tickets will be issued. All reservations will be held at the door. Sorry, no refunds, no exchanges.Seating is limited, parking is free and advance reservations are highly recommended. Online at www.bulldogpride.org or by calling 559.278.2586.


ABOUT THE BULLDOG PRIDE FUND:
In 2006, the Bulldog Pride Fund was established under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association with one simple mission: "To support student scholarships at Fresno State." To-date, it has raised nearly $250,000 for its endowment and will have provided, by next fall, 28 scholarships valued at $49,000.

 

“THE BULLY PLAYS” SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE:
Please contact Peter Robertson at 559.278.4669 or 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

cyndi-lauper-change-1115-250x250Following Donald Trump’s comments about gay marriage, Cindi Lauper spoke out on the issue. The Huffington Post reports:

Now promoting her new Broadway musical “Kinky Boots,” the pop diva — who appeared on the ninth season of “The Apprentice” in 2010 — told Next Magazine of Trump, “I felt that what he said about the gay community was disappointing because a lot of gay people work for him. It’s just sad. I thought he could have done better for his country than just go to the lowest common denominator and stir up the crap. It’s our country, it’s not wrestling.”

Girls just wanna support marriage equality.

 

 

 

 

california-205x250Is the California GOP ready to adopt a more moderate stance when it comes to marriage equality and gay rights? SDGLN reports:

Gay Republicans in California are sensing a thawing in the attitudes of the state’s GOP membership toward gays and lesbians as the party seeks ways to reach new voters. One gay party stalwart even believes the GOP in California is on the cusp of full acceptance of people the party shunned as recently as a few years ago.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

 

 

 

 

Book Launch party flyerBook Launch Party
Saturday, March 23, 2013
2pm-6pm

Live Music by:
* Laney Leyhovan
* Sam Amm
* Eli Sullivan
* Bethany Houghton

Raffle Prizes

Book Trivia Contest

BRING YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY

for a fun day at
The Ubiquitous Farm
6626 S. Reed Ave.
Reedley, CA 93654

559-779-9555

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook Event

Tangerine Product Tasting

Bring your own martini glass to try fun tangerine beverages (drinks available for all ages).

Food and Drinks available for purchase
from Dusty Buns Organic Bistro

 

 

 

 

 

readysetdownload-250x250Want to have a marriage equality rally in your home town during the upcoming Supreme Court hearings on Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8? Joe.My.God has the details:

If you’d like to help organize a SCOTUS rally in your hometown, advice and materials can be found here. On the same topic, is anybody here planning on being in DC that day?

See the currently planned events here.

 

 

 

 

 

From Robin McGehee: As the Supreme Court of the US gets closer to hearing the LGBT communities case for Marriage Equality - join local activist as we remind the community that we stand for more than just marriage. Come stand with others at the corner of Blackstone & Shaw and send a message to Congress that we expect them to fight for FULLY INCLUSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM and pass the employment non-discrimination act (ENDA) in this session. And, also give voice to GetEQUAL's call for our President to sign the federal contractor's employment protection Executive Order that is sitting on his desk, right now!!Help bring much needed visibility and apply pressure, during this week's National Week of Actions.  Facebook event

When: Thursday, March 14th 4:30pm to 6:30pm at Blackstone and Shaw "Peace Corner".

supreme-court-250x250We’re just 16 days away from the Supreme Court hearings on DOMA and Prop 8. Here’s the latest news:

At Think Progress, Ian Millhiser is worried about Justice Kennedy’s newfound respect for the powers of Congress.

…it is a bit concerning to see Kennedy suddenly claiming that he believes in judicial restraint while he is no doubt in the process of reviewing briefs in the marriage equality cases: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said Wednesday that congressional lawmakers need to maintain the nation’s balance of power by being able to compromise, expressing concerns that the high court is increasingly the venue for deciding politically charged issues such as gay marriage, health care and immigration.

It would be stunning (and disgusting) if the Justice who was instrumental in expanded rights for corporations over the objections of congressional law suddenly felt restrained when it came to rights for actual people.

Over at The Dish, Andrew Sullivan questions Richard Socarides’ explanation of why Bill Clinton signed DOMA in the first place:

They didn’t fully comprehend that the federal law would do … exactly what it said it would do. Blogger, please. That’s like Stephanopoulos taking me out to dinner at the time to persuade me that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was going to reduce the number of discharges of gay servicemembers – when it did the very opposite. And Socarides won’t mention Dick Morris, who was the real force behind this move and who once actually told me (probably disingenuously) that his one regret in the Clinton years was DOMA. But Socarides’ point – once you get past his ludicrous excuse that they were shocked, shocked that gay people would be affected by the law – is honest enough. They wanted votes.

Over at Towleroad.com, they have the video of David Mixner talking about the Clinton decision to sign DOMA:

Mixner said that while he welcomes Clinton’s decision to do so, it’s important to not rewrite history and sweep his original actions under the rug. Mixner also talks about the upcoming SCOTUS decisions.

Sunnivie Brydum at the Advocate notes something missing from the Clinton Op-Ed:

“As welcome as Clinton’s words are, there are two that are conspicuously absent: I’m sorry,” writes Capehart. “Sorry for signing the bill. Sorry for crowing about it in radio ads on Christian radio stations during his ’96 reelection campaign. Sorry for the harm it has caused same-sex couples and the income inequality it exacerbates.”

And Joe.My.God reports on NOM’s fundraisng to bus in the fundies to their march at the Supreme Court later this month:

“We have received requests from churches for 100 buses that we don’t have the funds to assist. That’s thousands — many of them from Latino and African-American communities — who want to attend the march but are having trouble pulling together the necessary funds. I know that some of you reading this email can give a lot more than that. Please realize that for every $1,000 you donate today, you will be responsible for bringing an entire bus full of marriage supporters and activists to the march at the Supreme Court on March 26th so they can make their voices heard loud and clear at the exact time the most important court case of our generation is under consideration.”

It’s practically a steal.

1362857904Just got back from the two hour rally at the Roseville Galleria in response to a gay couple getting told to stop kissing or leave the mall this last week.

We arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the rally at 11 AM, and there were maybe 50 people there. As the time approached, the crowd quickly swelled – we’re guessing there were probably 300 of us there at the height of the event.

The Galleria met with several local gay groups in the last few days, and came out in support of the rally – even passing out free Mrs. Fields’ cookies and bottled water and setting up an arc of rainbow-colored balloons.

We got into the spirit of the event (at right).

Scott Mark Kiss

The whole event had an air of festivity – many couples, gay and straight, were there, and a local group played some fantastic music for the crowd. Speakers from the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, the City of Roseville, Event Organizers, and Westfield (the mall management company) spoke to the crowd.

The Roseville representative was a gay VP from Hollywood who is responsible for the Norther California area, and he spoke of the company’s inclusiveness, and their desire to welcome everyone to each of their properties. You can see the whole statement here or below.

Kudos to the group that put this event together on short notice. To our knowledge, it was the first of its kind in this sleepy bedroom community, and ended up being a great way to reach out to the community and to the mall and management to help them understand our lives and concerns.

You can see the official Kiss-In event page here.

 

Kiss In2A few days ago, a young gay couple was asked to leave a Sacramento-area mall after being seen kissing by security guards. The local Fox affiliate broke the story:

Smooching and holding hands may not seem like a big deal, but two men were asked to leave the Westfield Galleria in Roseville, Calif. Saturday for doing just that. “I kissed him on the cheek. That’s how my boyfriend and I show affection,” said Daniel Chesmore. Sitting on the couch at 21-year-old Chesmore’s parents’ home in Roseville, he and his boyfriend Jose Guzman, 24, share a few kisses while holding hands. “This is exactly what we did at the mall on Saturday,” Guzman said.

The mall cited its code of conduct, but nowhere did it say anything about personal displays of affection, and Fox soon found the mall wasn’t enforcing the same rule for straight couples:

In an undercover investigation, FOX40 spotted dozens of straight couples sitting inside of the Galleria, holding hands and smooching, right out in the open. And as the hours passed, not one couple FOX40 witnessed was asked to leave the mall.

In response, local activists have planned a kiss-in for today at 11 AM at the mall. Called Love is Love, the event is planned to be non-confrontational and to celebrate love.

The mall management is supporting the kiss-in. The management met with some of the activists yesterday. Jovi Radtke reports (from the Facebook page):

“I really wanted to let everybody know that we just got out of a meeting with the management and different representatives of the Westfield Galleria. To say that they support us would be a dramatic understatement! They’re really going above and beyond to show all of us that they not only care, but are also on the exact same page in regard to embracing and spreading love for ALL people. It’s been a really eye-opening and inspiring experience to see how much positive change can come from what was initially such a negative occurrence. I hope this helps everybody’s expectations about what tomorrow is all about. We’re not there to start a war, we’re there to unify in love for the betterment of all people.”

The mall management also issued an apology yesterday, as Fox reports:

The original statement read, “Persons that violate the Code of Conduct are asked to leave the property.”
Friday afternoon, the Galleria released its fourth revision, part of the statement reads, “Let us be clear: if anyone was made to feel singled out on the basis of sexual orientation at a Westfield location, we apologize[...]“

We’re going to the kiss-in, and will report more from there.

Big Gay WeddingFriend of the Blog (is that FOTB?) Lisa alerted us to this great article about one couple’s wedding and the Defense of Marriage Act:

It was supposed to be just a little civil service, a Justice of the Peace type thing. We’d solemnly swear, sign some paperwork, and be done. Marriage at this point in our relationship, we thought, is merely a legal transaction – certainly no big deal.

But as two gay men in America, getting married is no small matter. It’s the flashpoint of a national debate over equal rights, one that could soon be decided by nothing less than the United States Supreme Court.

We got married recently because we had to – a shotgun wedding, of sorts. We’re expecting…no, not a baby, but that Supreme Court ruling, and the results could greatly impact our lives.

Read the whole thing over at Medium.com.

 

 

ken-mehlmanGeorge W. Bush’s former campaign manager and former chairman of the RNC must feel like he has some atoning to do. He apparently provided the impetus behind the new amicus brief featuring more than 100 top republicans that has just been filed with the US Supreme Court urging the overturn of Prop 8 and full marriage equality for same sex couples, the New Yorker reports:

It’s not just that Ken Mehlman is a prominent Republican, which makes him an important asset to–and, now, organizer in–the gay-rights movement; it’s that he is one of the smartest political operatives anywhere in the country right now, and that he understands better than perhaps anyone how moderate and persuadable Republicans think. These are the very people the gay-rights movement is now trying to speak to. As Mehlman told the Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “We are trying to say to the Court that we are judicial and political conservatives, and it is consistent with our values and philosophy for you to overturn Proposition 8.”

Mehlman eats a little crow in the article for failing to speak out sooner:

“At a personal level, I wish I had spoken out against the [anti-gay] effort… As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.”

While we agree, we also think that late is better than never. And who knows? This could be the brief that makes the difference.

train-carlyCarly Rae Jepsen and Train fans who also happen to be Boy Scouts: Don't count on seeing them perform at the upcoming Jamboree in July.

Both artists have pulled out of the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, an annual conclave that attracts over 50,000 participants, over the Scouts' position on including gay, lesbian and transgender members and leaders. Train and Jepsen had originally been slated as headliners for the West Virginia event.

"As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer," Jepsen tweeted Tuesday morning. 

Train members wrote on their blog last Friday, "When we booked this show for the Boy Scouts of America we were not aware of any policy barring openly gay people from participation within the organization. Train strongly opposes any kind of policy that questions the equality of any American citizen. We have always seen the BSA as a great and noble organization. We look forward to participating in the Jamboree this summer, as long as they make the right decision before then."

Continue reading

Some updates on the amicus briefs streaming into the court. The Huffington Post takes a look at the amicus briefs submitted by 14 states:

“There is no federal interest adequate to justify DOMA’s categorical disregard of the choice of some States to recognize or authorize same-sex marriage,” the brief states, adding that DOMA’s “sweeping refusal to recognize for federal purposes a class of marriages valid under state law violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment. The federal Defense of Marriage Act clearly violates the principle of equal justice under law as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and improperly intrudes on the traditional role of states in regulating marriage and promoting equality. We urge the Supreme Court to overturn this discriminatory law,” Schneiderman said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

Over at Queerty, John Gallagher pooh-pooh’s the much ballyhooed GOP brief on Prop 8:

In fact, it means very little. Despite the MSM trumpeting the signees as “prominent,” they are by and large political has-beens, never-beens or behind-the-sceners who have virtually zero influence on the current Republican party. It’s hard to describe such luminaries as the mayor of Melrose, MA, and the former Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs as political supernovas without laughing out loud.

He explains why:

Let’s not kid ourselves: these people have very little influence in the fever swamps that constitute the GOP today. As Charles Pierce at Esquire put it, “Christine Todd Whitman is an influential Republican? Since when? You might as well be talking about William Seward.”

And finally, the Mountain Xpress reports that the Campaign for Southern Equality has also joined an amicus brief against DOMA/Prop 8:

Among its arguments, the brief asks the Supreme Court to extend the fundamental right to marry to gay and lesbian Americans, including those who live in Southern states where constitutional bans on marriage equality are in place. Using the case study of Utah laws, the brief speaks to the experience of lesbian and gay Americans in a majority of states – including the entire South – where systems of entrenched legal discrimination treat LGBT people as second-class citizens.

money1-250x250There’s movement both in Germany and in California to bring more fairness to the tax system for same sex couples, Dot429 reports:

Germany’s conservative government has become the latest administration to consider tax reform that would grant same-sex couples the same tax perks as heterosexual couples. This marks a dramatic policy shift for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party following their December congress where a proposal of tax equality was rejected. This apparent shift in policy from Chancellor Angela Merkel demonstrates the growing momentum around Europe for equalizing tax laws. The move from Merkel is an indication that this issue is gaining broad support and would extend the CDU’s appeal ahead of Germany’s September election.

California’s Assembly Bill 362 aims to bring fairness to a situation whereby health benefits received by one same-sex partner from the other are taxed by the federal government as income. Then, when companies reimburse this tax to employees, the state taxes this reimbursement. The legislation, if passed, would provide a state tax exemption and would cover persons in a same-sex relationship who work for public entities or for private sector companies who opt in.

youtubeA few more marriage equality loose ends to wrap up for the morning.

Marriage equality hero Gavin Newsom speaks out on the surprising progress same sex marriage has made since 2003, as On Top Magazine reports:

“It’s extraordinary to see that progress,” Newsom said in reference to increasing Republican support on the issue. “I’m all for incrementalism in some ways but not when it comes to fundamental human rights, civil rights. And we have to be as bold as the problem is big. To deny people the ability to live their lives out loud and to fall in love and express that love and devotion and faith to one another was something that upset me. And I just didn’t like the timid nature of my party on it.”

Also at On Top Magazine, Ron Reagan, son of the former President, had this to say about GOP opposition to marriage equality:

“It’s not just that they are hateful towards gay people, it’s that they are ridiculous about this issue,” Reagan told host Chris Matthews. “Now you can be hated and people still respect you in some way, shape or form. But when you’re absurd, when you’re ridiculous about this kind of issue, you lack all credibility.”

And finally, David Frum talks about why he signed the GOP amicus brief for marriage equality, at The Daily Beast:

“As a conservative concerned with stabilizing families to rely less on government aid, I have been convinced: I’ve been worrying about the wrong thing. Stopping same-sex marriages does nothing to support families battered by economic adversity. Instead, it excludes and punishes people who seek only to live as conservatives would urge them to live. Treating same-sex partnerships differently from husband-wife marriages only serves to divide and antagonize those who ought to be working together.”

As we’ve often observed here, things are moving quickly.

A few more marriage equality loose ends to wrap up for the morning.

Marriage equality hero Gavin Newsom speaks out on the surprising progress same sex marriage has made since 2003, as On Top Magazine reports:

“It’s extraordinary to see that progress,” Newsom said in reference to increasing Republican support on the issue. “I’m all for incrementalism in some ways but not when it comes to fundamental human rights, civil rights. And we have to be as bold as the problem is big. To deny people the ability to live their lives out loud and to fall in love and express that love and devotion and faith to one another was something that upset me. And I just didn’t like the timid nature of my party on it.”

 

StatePoliciesGayMarriage-250x250Check out this article at the Washington Post – three maps that convey the state of civil unions and marriage equality in the USA today:

The Obama administration’s urging of the Supreme Court to reverse California’s ban on same-sex marriage marked its entry into a contentious legal battle and its latest appearance in the larger fight over the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Below, we take a closer look at how the fight has been unfolding across the country, state by state. And be sure to also check out The Washington Post’s thorough, state-by-state rundown of same-sex marriage status in the U.S.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot more “no” out there than “yes”.

nom-hrc-250x140National Organization for Marriage head Brian Brown is up in arms about the new logo HRC created for the Respect for Marriage Coalition.

“Because I designed NOM’s logo personally, I find this to be an insulting mockery, as well as very ironic: you see, I created this image to reflect the difference between men and women symbolically. The red ring represents men and the blue represents, women. The intertwining of the rings is meant to show that marriage is the unique union of both a woman and a man coming together in committed love. As for what it means for HRC, though, I can’t imagine.”

Joe.My.God takes him to task:

Hate group leader Brian Brown, who stole an Obama rally photo and pretended it was NOM rally, who stole my original video from my YouTube channel and posted it to their own, and who stole a photo from the 1963 March On Washington to use in their artwork to promote their hate march on the Supreme Court.

Black pot, meet kettle.

California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages in the state, should be overturned, the Obama administration plans to tell the Supreme Court.

An administration official confirmed that the Justice Department will file a brief in the case today. Officials would not discuss the legal arguments the brief would contain.

The decision to enter the case comes despite the president’s past position that marriage rights should be a state matter. In recent weeks, however, Obama increasingly has referred to same-sex marriage as an issue of civil rights.

Other administration officials have taken the same stance. In a television interview to be aired next week, for example, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said that he saw marriage equality as “really the latest civil-rights issue.”

“It is the question of whether or not American citizens are going to be treated with equal protection of the laws,” Holder said in the interview with ABC News.

TIMELINE: Gay marriage through the years

mylgbtpluslogo

The attached videos are courtesy of My LGBT Plus. From their Website...

My Lgbt Plus is a youth run organization, led by Founder Justin Kamimoto, whose main goal is to establish a connection between youth of California’s Central Valley community. In partnership with local valley organizations and leading activists, My Lgbt Plus is dedicated to providing support to youth activism and keeping the LGBT+ community of the Central Valley in touch with valuable resources.

Justin Kamimoto and member of the My LGBT Plus team came into the Fresno LGBT Community Center on a Saturday afternoon to highlight what we have to offer and to interview the board members of Gay Central Valley:  Jason Scott, Chris Jarvis, Kaylia Metcalfe, Jaymi Morgan and Kate Henry (the interviews and videos are minus our Visalia board member and GayVisalia.com webmaster, Brooke Burk, who was unable to attend).

Big THANK YOU to Justin and his team for taking the time to talk to us and let the LGBT Community in the Central Valley know what we have to offer...

Please visit the My LGBT Plus website for more information about their local organization, as well as their YouTube Page for these and many other videos.

Fresno LGBT Community Center Profile

Meet the Board

Fresno LGBT Community Center Staff

Resources for LGBT Youth

How To Support You & The Community

SHARES Program & Lending Library

Reactions to the LGBT Community Center

Courtesy Huffington Post

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has gone public with a series of confidential documents which outline the National
Organization for Marriage's (NOM) multi-year plan to thwart the national campaign for marriage equality.

The documents reportedly emerged as part of an ongoing investigation by the state of Maine into NOM's illegal campaign finance practices, and reveal some of the group's racially-driven strategies:

In the following video, Thomas Roberts discusses the revelations with Wayne Bessen of Truth Wins Out. Maggie Gallagher was supposed to be there for this interview, but due to a mistake by MSNBC she was in the wrong studio…

 

Gay Central Valley hosted our first LGBT HEALTH FAIR this last weekend, on SATURDAY, MARCH 24TH. We had a great turn out of vendors and a steady stream of visitors. The event took place on the best weather day of the year so far and we gave out several great raffle prizes.

Click on READ MORE below for the rest of the PHOTO GALLERY...

reg_desk

 

...

This SATURDAY, MARCH 24TH, GAY CENTRAL VALLEY and the FRESNO LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER are hosting our first LGBT HEALTH FAIR. The event takes place in the parking lot in front of the Community Center from 10AM-2PM at 1055 N VAN NESS AVENUE, FRESNO, CA 93728.

lgbt_health_fair_2012

Groups which have confirmed so far for the LGBT Health Fair include...

AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION * ANTHEM BLUE CROSS * CALIFORNIA HEALTH COLLABORATIVE * CALIFORNIA TELEPHONE ACCESS PROGRAM * EOC HEALTH SERVICES CLINIC * FEMZ N STUDZ * FRESNO COUNTY DEPT OF PUBLIC HEALTH * FRESNO COUNTY TOBACCO PREVENTION PROGRAM * FRESNO MADERA AGENCY ON AGING * HICAP (HEALTH INSURANCE COUNSELING & ADVOCACY PROGRAM) * JAMBA JUICE * KAISER PERMANENTE * MY LGBT PLUS * PLANNED PARENTHOOD MAR MONTE * RESOURCES FOR INDEPENDENCE * SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION * SMART 2 * THE LIVING ROOM * TMW FINANCIAL * TRANS-E-MOTION * UNITED STUDENT PRIDE * WE C.A.R.E

This is a FREE event for everyone. Complimentary drinks and snacks will be available.

Many booths and tables will have FREE giveaways and all will have information regarding their particular field of health and services. Booths and tables will be staffed by representatives to answer all questions.

There are also FREE educational seminars on breast and cervical health, breast and cervical cancer basics and how to receive free mammograms and pap smears.

The Fresno County Dept of Public Health will be providing FREE Rapid HIV testing during the Health Fair.

Many groups are providing FREE raffle prizes, which will be given away during the day.

Jamba Juice will be on site selling their drinks and snacks.

The Fresno LGBT Community Center will also be open during the Health Fair. Please join us.

Gay Central Valley will be tabling at ENS and hosting a workshop...

Courtesy GSA Network

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Expression Not Suppression (ENS) is a free, annual conference in the Fresno area for LGBTQ and straight ally youth (ages 13-21) who are dedicated to creating safer schools and building the GSA movement in the Central Valley. ENS is open to middle and high school students, teachers, and GSA advisors, as well as the larger community. The ENS conference is a chance for LGBTQ and straight ally youth to network and enjoy free workshops on activism and topics related to queer life and safe schools.

Expression Not Suppression 2012 will be held on Saturday, March 24th at Big Red Church in Fresno from 9:00am to 9:00pm!

Click here to register!

IF YOU ARE UNDER 18, please print out this page and have your parent/guardian sign the Photo Release and Notification of Personal Risk, and then bring the signed form with you to Expression Not Suppression 2012. Be sure to share that this is a LEADERSHIP SUMMIT with great tools for you to grow as a student and community member. Click here to download the Release Form!

Questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the Central Valley Program Coordinator.

Courtesy... GLAAD Trans People Speak

A new project created by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and sponsored by GLAAD aims to raise awareness about the transgender community's diversity -- and we've got a sneak peek.

As GLAAD notes, "Transgender people have a wide range of interests, experiences and backgrounds that are too often ignored because of their trans identity. Together we can make a positive change in the visibility and representation of transgender people by focusing on the full individual."

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Courtesy USA Today

Whitney Houston's death was caused by accidental drowning, cocaine ingestion and heart disease, according to a preliminary report issued today by the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Marijuana, anti-anxiety drug Xanax, muscle relaxant Flexeril and over-the-counter allergy medication Benadryl were also found in the singer's blood, but those substances did not contribute to her death, the report states. No trauma or foul play is suspected, and a final report is expected within two weeks.

Read More HERE...

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Okay, this song is about 20 years too late for this icon. As a club DJ, I'll have to play it, and play it, and play it. I already have been for about a month, and they run up and dance to it. But let's be honest..."girl"? I don't know. I've followed and loved Madge's career since 1982, when she splashed on the scene and I was living in New York, thinking like everyone else that this was some powerful black girl singer. She's more than proven her chops over the years. Still, I'm having a little problem with her latest, which sounds like the sound track to a cheesy, exploitative VHS tape.

Let's face it...Madonna has crossed all borderlines (no pun intended) and matured over and over throughout the years. She's a force to be reckoned with...a woman who's broken down every barrier she came across...a mother with adopted children she's rescued...an often prolific activist for various causes...and a brilliant performer and artist.

But...she's not a "girl" and she's long moved past "going wild". This latest track screams of last ditch desperation at the age of 53. And really, why act like this at that age? Why not own your maturity and evolution?

My guess, and my hope is that maybe not the next album, but maybe the next after that, Madonna will settle into her position in life, and give us a mature, introspective and quantifying album. Girl gone wild? We've all heard that for 30 years. Let's hope that Madge puts aside her desperate need for sex tart attention and move back to her strength and her real power...mature writer with an ear for hooks and a focus on relevance and controversy...

Still, I'll have to play it...and play it...and play it...

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Rick Santorum, Republican Presidential hopeful, was recently asked what he would do if he ran into Dan Savage, who's turned Santorum's last name into a rather dirty joke on the internet...

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RCR: If you happen to run into Dan Savage, what would you say to him?

RS: I would tell him that I'm praying for him. He obviously has some serious issues. You look at someone like that who can say and do the things that he's doing and you just pray for him and hopefully he can find peace.

How could Savage not react? Well, he couldn't refuse. Here's his response...

The man who wants to get his hands on the nuclear football so he can micromanage your sex life—no birth control! no porn! no gay sex! no teleprompters*! no aborting those gift-from-God rapebabies, you sluts!—thinks I have issues. That's hilarious. But my old college roommate and I do have one thing in common: we both spend a lot of time obsessing about other people's sex lives. Rick, however, spends an inordinate amount of time doing so. Me? It's my job, it's what I'm paid to do, the amount of time I spend obsessing about other people's sex lives is totally, you know,ordinate.

READ MORE HERE...

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Kirk Cameron has been going on shows stating that Piers Morgan sabotaged him by using sound bites to reference his anti-gay diabtribe on Morgan's show... today, Piers Morgan replied...

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JacobShe’s a strong and tall woman who embraces her femininity in tights, heels, and tightly curved tops. She is a born again Christian with light brown hair and those terribly blue eyes that cause her all the troubles with those boys. Boys. Boys. Boys. They are always a daunting task for those on the prowl for some fresh meat. But perhaps the similarities between Steph and I in our Darwinian demeanors are to be thoroughly embraced as opposed to ignored.

I’ve been fascinated by how often people use labels as a catalyst for separating the “us” from the “them”. From mental labels, to personality labels, to job titles, to that’s right - orientations and queer identities. I don’t count myself out. For the last two years during coming out and now into the debris of its aftermath, I have used my gay male identity to distinguish myself as significantly different from the rest. I’m gay, you don’t get me. I’m gay you can’t possibly understand. I’m gay, I need only gay friends, can only understand gay things, and can only be gay gay gay! Ok, perhaps not that bad, but you know the person I am talking about. The poor me syndrome of poppy seed flowers. Red and lonely drooping with weight.

I pass by the door that enters the third floor dorms. It’s nearing midnight and I have been up late philosophizing about the world’s problems. A stomach warm with orange flavored black tea and my brain finally simmering down a bit. Steph bombards the door open and embraces me open arms in a hug shortly before flopping her delicate body down on the floor. She must be in love. She is an actor and I am empathically her audience. She is acting. Her predetermined position with her arm flopped limply above her head with her face turned sullenly to the side tells me she has been struck by her crush’s lightning. I’ve been there; in bed the tears strolling down my cheeks. She couldn’t be far off.

“Would you like to talk about it?” I ask her. “You look like you could be having boy troubles.”

“Yah.” she says.

I can tell she must be in a lot of blissful pain over this. She attempts to smile but isn’t her normal chipper and energetic and mindfully disorganized self. Most the time she is easily distracted. She invites me into her dorm room and she begins unwinding.

“So, what happened?” I waited patiently for her response. She gracefully fills me in on the back story between her and Mr. Special - Someone. She speaks with the same intonations as a theatre major should when speaking in a state of being twitterpated. She stopped to talk in depth about how he held her hand.

“He did it wrong. You know how when you’re taller than someone you grab their hand from their backside. Well, he grabbed my hand from the wrong way. And he said – oh my fruit puffs gluten free isn’t that nice?” she got distracted and looked at her cereal for a moment.

“But any ways, back to my story. He said that it felt right and I said, no this doesn’t feel right at all and I am not sure if this means he likes me or if he is just being his flirtatious self.” Steph finished up. She looked at me curiously and her face was a question mark. This is when I was supposed to say something to relate. I paused for a moment. Was I really about to relate to someone who was heterosexual? Was it possible?

“It sounds like he likes you. I mean, holding hands is a pretty strong social indication that someone is into you. It’s a strong sign of courting.” I said, sounding vaguely like a psychologist professing sociological concepts in a classroom. It was matter of fact. This action means this.

“Well yah, but he is just really flirtatious. That could mean he just is really good friends with me, you know. I am not really sure what that means.” she said.

“I totally get it.”

That’s when I realized there was so much in common between us. Between two people who were just trying to decide between isolation or intimacy. Deciding to fall in love or save our hearts and stay forever single. It didn’t matter that I was into him or her and Steph knew I was gay. She was often times just curious about community specific issues. But, shoving all that aside, in this moment, we have so much in common. More in common than I could have ever imagined prior to saying. . .

“It’s just like when someone breaks a piece of his cookie off for you.” I said nonchalantly as if everyone should know how confused I was when my straight crush broke off a piece of his pumpkin cookie and shared it with me. Well they should know, because he was just being nice.

“What? I don’t get your reference. Explain.” Steph demanded.

“Oh, sorry. Yah, it was Halloween when you know who, my straight crush. . .”

“Hunny, you really have to stop falling for straight guys. But, I suppose you can’t really help it. I get it. It happens. I mean look at me.” she said teasingly understanding.

“Yah, I know. I know. But anyhow, I was sitting next to him at the cafeteria over Halloween and he had just picked up a cookie from the dessert table.” It had this brightly colored orange frosting on it. It vaguely looked like a pumpkin. “I said hey, that looks really good. I should go get one. And he broke off a chunk of his cookie and gave it to me. I thought this meant he loved me and that we should get married.”

And that’s the only difference really. Both Steph and I obsess over boys. Many people obsess over their crushes. The ones they love. The ones they want to love them back so demandingly. The ones they care about. The only difference in understanding courting cues in our naturalistic Darwinian demeanors is that when it does finally work out for us, Steph can get married in most states, where me, I can’t.

It’s easy. It’s easy to use that fact to manipulate people to feel sorry for you. To use that fact as a way to divide ourselves and isolate ourselves from others. To use that to say that no one understands. Even if they do.

“OMG, we have so much in common.” I wasn’t sure if Steph had said it, or if I had said it. Maybe we were both just subconsciously thinking about it. Our predetermined tracks telling us what to say and do.

2012FRPlogo

The above logo, created by DJ Binx, is the official logo for the 2012 Pride Parade, and the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival has chosen Grand Marshals for 2012...

They are...

DJ Binx

Justin Kamimoto

Chantal/Victor

Veronica Salmeron & the Fresno County LGBTQ Task Force

Judge Gottlieb

Brian Bishop

and the SHARE Video committee

The 22nd Annual Central Valley & Fresno's GLBT Pride Parade and Festival will take place on SATURDAY, June 2nd 2012 in the Tower District between 10am and 3pm.

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Hello Readers!  The Queer Femme in the Country is now in the BIG country…Los Angeles.  The blog had to have a new name too, so redirect your favorites list to Queer Femme On The Move.  Some aspect of my life is always moving and changing so it seemed like a good new direction.  Spread the word!

“Happy Trails to you all, until we meet again…”

Those last few weeks in Chowchilla were hard for many reasons, mostly emotional.  We will never understand exactly why Angela’s mom decided to make what seemed to us such a rash move to Arkansas out of the clear blue, so I have to let that go.  Wanda’s sister, brother-in-law and niece made a 2,100-mile trip (each way!) out to Cali in an RV to get her and take her back to Arkansas so there were lots of family good-byes that were sweet and bittersweet.

In addition, I had made some new friends that I had to say “so long” to.  Angela is fortunate to have many friends still living in the Chowchilla-Greater Central Valley area and I got to meet as many as we could, carving out a few hours here and there around Wanda’s needs to meet up with people while running errands around or out of town.  Some, understanding the pressures we were under, were able to come and meet us in the country.  Bless them all.  None of you will ever know how refreshing or how welcome your visits with us were.  I felt at times like a bad friend because we could rarely reciprocate and we had so little time to build or develop friendships in Chowchilla.  I only hope those who saw what we were up against would understand our time constraints.

I’ve found in my travels that the most important thing you miss when you leave a place is not usually the place; it’s the people.  Yes the place may be beautiful, or relaxing, or have astounding views or terrain or architectural wonders, but the people are what pull more on my heartstrings.  I can look at a photo of Reno or San Francisco and remember terrific places I got to enjoy, but the friends I made in those places and others can never be replaced.  Thankfully I have Facebook, and Twitter, and unlimited cell phone calling these days to keep up with people, but we all know it’s just not the same as being there.

I want to thank all of the friends, new and old, that made the Queer Femme in the Country experience so dear (in no particular order):  Chris, Dale, Sharon, Annette & Todd, Nancy, Julie, Terri, Cindy-Lou, The Chow Chow Sisters (Jenny, Marlene, Carol, Dean, Wanda, Mary B, Mary R, Dorothy, Ruth, Joan), Mr. Bill, Sabrina, Jennifer, The Girls at Bank of America and Citibank, Thomas, Sandra, Susie, Mario, Joy and Shawnda, Pam, Andrea, Bobbi, and all the girls and boys at SaveMart (especially the guy who didn’t even get mad at me one bit the day I dropped the buttermilk in the store and made a huge mess!)  We were also able to meet some great people through these Central Valley LGBT organizations:  San Joaquin Pride Center, Fresno NewsLink, GayFresno, GayCentralValley and CSU Fresno United Students Pride; you all helped me keep my queer femme self a bit more centered.

And on to Okie Sales...

Click READ MORE below for the rest of this article...

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The Printise J. Womack Lecture endowment, the Henry Madden Library, and the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature invite everyone to attend a panel discussion on the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, Respectful) Education Act. The discussion will be held on May 1st from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Henry Madden Library, Room 2206.

Signed into law on July 14, 2011, the FAIR Education Act requires schools in California to integrate information about social movements, current events, and contributions of people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people into the K-12 social studies curriculum. Current curriculum addresses these issues for people of color, women, and other diverse and previously underrepresented groups. The new law updates and expands the groups to be included in its coverage.

A panel of guest lecturers will discuss the FAIR Education Act, presenting information about the law’s impact, curriculum development, and implementation in the schools.

Panelists include:

Lee Wind, M.Ed. Blogger, author and speaker, Wind holds a master’s degree in Education and Media from Harvard. One of four sites linked from the American Library Association’s Rainbow Project, his award-winning blog on LGBTQ Teen Literature and Culture, “I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?” gets over 200,000 page loads a year. The official blogger for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators, Wind’s articles and interviews have been published online and in print, including the 2011 and 2012 “Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market.” He speaks to thousands of students and educators a year, conducting Smashing Stereotypes workshops and presenting Safe Space: Ending Anti-Gay Bullying in our Culture... and at YOUR School programs.  www.leewind.org

Robert McGarry, Ed.D. Director of Education for GLSEN—the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Dr. McGarry is a lifelong educator with a diverse K-12 background that includes over 10 years of guiding, developing, and assessing the implementation of curriculum on both the district and state levels in his home state of New Jersey. His professional and academic passions, exemplified by his doctoral thesis Troubling Teachable Moments: Initiating Teacher Discourse on Homophobic Speech brought him to GLSEN where he is now fully engaged in evidence-based efforts to provide educators with tools to teach young people the value of respecting that which makes us different.  www.glsen.org

Shelbi Day. Staff Attorney in the Western Regional Office of Lambda Legal, Day has litigated a diverse range of civil rights cases. Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and individuals with HIV.  Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Day worked as a Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Florida, Southern Regional Office of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Southern Legal Counsel. She has a particular interest in issues concerning LGBT Youth, and over the last five years has successfully represented several LGBT and allied students whose rights were being violated by school districts.  www.lambdalegal.org

Contact: Jennifer Crow, Librarian

Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature

Phone: 559.278.8116

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web site: www.arnenixoncenter.org

Happy Friday! Happy almost St. Patty’s Day!

 

Before you get started on your corned beef and green beer, here’s a quick rundown of some LGBT news items you might have missed.

 

This Just In : NEWARK, N.J. -- Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate, was found guilty Friday on charges of invasion of privacy, but jurors found him not guilty on several charges of bias intimidation.

 

A Ugandan gay rights group has filed a lawsuit against a US minister accusing him of involvement in a campaign to persecute gay people in Uganda.

 

The British government on Thursday (March 15) launched a 12-week consultation that is widely expected to lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, despite strong opposition from Catholics and some Anglicans.

 

A brutal attack on two Texas men believed to have been targeted because of their perceived sexual orientation has been classified as a hate crime.

 

After deal to end deadlock, Senate approves California’s first openly gay federal judge

 

Donald Trump Jr, not really a typical conservative, talked about his support for gay marriage and abortion rights.

 

The world’s largest global research study into the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has just launched in another country - and it is one you might not expect - Turkey.

 

Interesting video spotlighting the former nanny of President Obama…. a transgendered woman living in poverty in Indonesia.

 

 

 

Lastly….. a song is making the rounds… homophobic means you might be gay….

 

 

 

And that’s it for now, have a fun, and safe, weekend.

Check out this clip from last week's episode of "What Would You Do?" The show places actors in public areas and plays out various scenarios to gauge reaction. This clip deals with the issue of coming out as transgender to a parent.

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Fresno Stonewall Democrats will meet on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at Carrow's Restaurant 4280 N. Blackstone at Ashlan in Fresno. Dinner and social 6:00 P.M., meeting 7:00 P.M.

We will be considering plans for our upcoming fund raising event in may and discussing the endorsement of candidates in the June 2012 elections. We will also be getting an update on the initiative for labeling of Genetically modified food products.

Fresno Stonewall Democrats represents the interests of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Fresno and the Surrounding area through the Democratic party. For more information visit our web site at www.fresnostonewall.org email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 559-266-9237

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Okay...let's face it...Colin Farrell just gets hotter the older he gets...I could go so much further with why older guys are hotter than younger guys, a tenant I've lived by my entire life, even when I was a teenager, but I digress...let's focus on the message about bullying...

Courtesy BelongTo.Org

Hollywood actor Colin Farrell has come on board to support Stand Up! Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying, the campaign launched last Friday by BeLonG To- the Irish LGBT youth organisation. The Stand Up! Campaign calls on everyone, gay and straight, to support each other in taking a stand against homophobic bullying.  It includes an interactive video ad which has become international online phenomenon – www.standup.ie

Statement from Colin Farrell...

"If there was one great wish I have for my country - for a land that I love and a people I so revere, it would be that school bullying were a thing of our past.

So much has befallen us in our shared history as a people. The harshest of these times have threatened to take our dignity, or scald our hearts into closing.

“Most of our great trials, from soiled land to the institutionalized abuse of trust and power, were inflicted upon us, whether by nature or the power corrupt. Now with bullying, there is a clear choice and the choice is ours.

“Each individual, as a member of his and her community, must Stand Up! In the face of this appalling brutality that plagues our schools. In effect, bullying is no less than the systematic doling out of pain upon the innocent.  It is literally laughing in the face of somebody as they fall into increasingly grave danger. It's not my place to draw parallels, but we have had enough of such hardships. The world has.

“Whether it be the attacking of Gay students, which I witnessed first hand happening to my own brother, or students who are in the minority as a result of race or religious beliefs or any other such characteristic that separates them from 'the norm', it is all wrong and has no place in a just and compassionate country such as I know Ireland to be.  We have always been praised as being the friendliest and most welcoming race in the world.  My wish is for us to prove it daily, in the school yards and playgrounds across this Great Land of Ours."

READ MORE HERE...

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The Advocate reached out to all Presidential candidates, as well as the President, for a statement on LGBT accomplishments. President Obama was the only one who responded. His statement is below...

Obama

Statement to The Advocate from President Barack Obama

Our country grows stronger when all Americans have access to opportunity and are able to participate fully in our economy. Too many Americans are still denied their basic rights. But we can also be proud of the progress we have made.

Together we have repealed the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that prohibited gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans from serving openly in the military. We passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Protection Act, adding the words sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights protections for the first time. And through the Affordable Care Act, we’re making sure that all Americans have access to affordable health care and that insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions, including HIV/AIDS.

I believe that Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and should be repealed. I have instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend it in court, and the Department has already filed multiple briefs supporting individuals challenging the law in court. I also support an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

But a lot of work remains, and we cannot wait for Congress to act. My administration developed and is executing the first comprehensive national strategy on HIV/AIDS to reduce HIV incidence, increase access to care, and reduce disparities. I hosted the first White House conference on bullying prevention and many in my Administration, including myself and Vice President Biden, participated in the It Gets Better Project that gives hope to young people who are victims of bullying or harassment because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Department of Health and Human Services is now requiring hospitals receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to honor LGBT patients’ wishes regarding hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights, and is beginning to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity, including new information on health disparities affecting the LGBT population. The Department of State ended the ban on travel by HIV-positive individuals and is working to ensure that the human rights of LGBT people are a U.S. priority around the world. The Department of Homeland Security has prioritized the deportation of certain undocumented immigrants, including those who pose a threat to national safety and public safety, while putting a lower priority on the cases of undocumented immigrants with family members, including same-sex partners, in the United States. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is working to making housing discrimination against LGBT Americans a thing of the past. Finally, my Administration has brought on more qualified LGBT appointees, and confirmed more LGBT federal judges, than any other Administration.

My Administration will continue to seek out avenues for progress. Together we can continue to build the more perfect union in which LGBT Americans have the same legal rights and responsibilities as every American.

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Tzu Chi Community Health Fair

Fresno City College - Cafeteria

March 10, 2012

9 AM – 2 PM

(Patient Registration Starts at 8 AM)

*May stop accepting patients before 2 PM, depending on number doctors volunteer and patients register

before 2 PM*

Tzu Chi Free Clinic presents a free health clinic for low income and no insurance families.

Servicios y examenes de salud gratuitos para todos sin seguro medico y con bajos ingresos

. Medical / Médico

. Pediatrics / Pediatría

. Dental / Dentista

. Acupuncture / Acupuntura

. Blood Pressure / Chequeo de la

Presión

. Blood Sugar Test / Examen de

la Azucar

. Please don’t eat for 8 hours before you come

* Por Favor No Coma Durante 8 hours

. Antes De Venir

. Hair Cut / Corte de Pelo

Details/Detalles:

Tzu Chi: (559) 481-1498

Free Clinic Site

Location: Cafeteria - Fresno City College - 1101 E University Ave - Fresno, CA 93741

Statement issued by Kirk Cameron...

"I should be able to express moral views on social issues, especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years -- without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach 'tolerance' that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square.

I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect. I've been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally)."

Patricia Heaton has apparently moved back to Twitter and issued an apology...

"re @SandraFluke Mea culpa Sandra! Wasn't being respectful 2 u re my tweets as I hope people wd b w/me. Don't like you being dissed -so sorry," she wrote and again on March 5th she

Kirk Cameron recently appeared on Piers Morgan. Morgan asked Cameron about homosexuality and same sex marriage. It's a perfectly appropriate question, given that Cameron has very publically taken up a crusade against the LGBT Community. Cameron stated on the show, among other things, that "homosexuality is unnatural, detrimental and ultimately destructive to foundations of civilization"

Here's a video of part of what he said...

 

Cameron was in the news in 2009 for distributing an altered version of Origin of The Species, supporting Creationism. Since then, he's been a constant presence on the internet and YouTube, not only denouncing gays, but any divergence from a strict interpretation of the Christian bible.

E Online has posted a story covering the backlash against his comments on the Morgan show, which I'm sure is only beginning. There's also a story (okay, a gossip blog story) which indicates that Cameron might, in fact, be gay himself.

Courtesy E Online...

Forget growing pains, Kirk Cameron's feeling pains of a different sort: namely, those of the ever-accelerating backlash variety.

Over the weekend, stars like George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Jane Lynch reacted as one to the former teen idol's homophobic remarks, condemning his comments that homosexuality was "unnatural" and gay marriage "detrimental" to society.

Then this morning, his former small-screen sister Tracey Gold reasserted her belief in equal rights, making sure to put a considerable distance between herself and Cameron.

And now? Well, the floodgates have opened, and stars are aligning to condemn the hateful remarks in the wake of the firestorm. Among them, Kirk's TV dad Alan Thicke...

First among those commenting online was Piers Morgan, on whose CNN show Cameron let loose with the instantly reviled comments. It's safe to say, even for a Brit, he came up with quite an understatement:

"I don't think this Kirk Cameron interview went entirely how he thought it would…"

Highly unlikely, indeed. Here's a look at what some other gay rights-supporting stars had to say:

Alan Thicke: "I'll address kirk's comments as soon as I recover from rush limbaugh's...I'm getting him some new books. The Old Testament simply can't be expected to explain everything."

Craig Ferguson: "Rush makes me ashamed to be a middleaged white man and Kirk Cameron makes me ashamed to be a failed actor. We don't all think like that NoH8."

Jesse Tyler Ferguson: "The only unnatural thing about me being gay is that I had a crush on Kirk Cameron until about 24 hours ago."

Debra Messing: "I want to thank Piers Morgan for his response to what he wud say to HIS child if (s)he came out: 'Great, as long as you're happy.'"

Roseanne: "Kirk or kurt or whatever Cameron is an accomplice to murder with his hate speech. So is rick warren. Their peers r killing gays in Uganda."

Dave Holmes: "Remember yesterday afternoon, when Kirk Cameron's views were none of our concern? Let's restore America to that golden age."

Michael Showalter: "Idea for movie: Human Centipede 3 starring Kirk Cameron and Rush Limbaugh."

Martha Plimpton: "The word 'equality' shows up too much in our founding documents for anyone to pretend it's not the American way. #usethe19th #equalitynow."

READ MORE HERE...

GLAAD weighed in as well...

Kirk Cameron joins former TV stars Victoria Jackson and Chuck Norris in desperately trying to remain in the public eye by using anti-LGBT rhetoric.

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This all comes at about the same time that Patricia Heaton joined with Rush Limbaugh in slamming Sandra Fluke over her birth control testimony in front of Congress.

Her tweets included...

"If every Tweaton sent Georgetown gal one condom, her parents wouldn't have to cancel basic cable, & she would never reproduce - sound good?"

and

"stop buying toothpaste, soap and shampoo! You'll save money and no one will want to sleep with you!"

I learned that Heaton was a right wing conservative only a few years ago. I had no idea she'd go this far, though. Shortly after the media latched on to it, Heaton deleted not only her Twitter comments but her Twitter account completely...

...

z_bpf

Since 2006, the Bulldog Pride Fund (BPF) has had one simple mission: "To
support student scholarships at Fresno State." A relentless focus on its
mission has allowed the BPF to become one of the Fresno State Alumni
Association's largest endowments within its $2.4 million portfolio.

In just six years, the BPF has raised $214,000 for its endowment from nearly
400 donors. This fall, the BPF will provide five scholarships of $2,000 each
- $10,000 total - to Fresno State students based upon academic achievement,
financial need and community involvement.

"Sometimes the tortoise beats the hare," said Peter Robertson, founder of
the BPF and a three-time Fresno State graduate, referring to the well-known
Aesop fable . "The amazing power of an endowment, invested in low-to-medium
risk securities, compounded with the generosity of our donors has allowed
the Bulldog Pride Fund to grow exponentially."

Currently, students are offered the following five, annual scholarships: two
Bulldog Pride Fund scholarships, a GSA Network Award, a TimeOut Spirit Award
and the newly-established Harvey Milk Hope Award. Including the 2012-13
academic year, a total of 23 scholarships valued at $39,000 will have been
provided to students, made possible by the support of alumni, friends and
donors.

The BPF accepts cash, checks and credit card gifts, as well as donations in
the form of securities, real property and corporate matching gifts. Also,
gifts derived from beneficiary designations on life insurance policies,
retirement plan accounts, living wills and trusts are welcome. Include the
BPF in your estate plans today and support student scholars at Fresno State
in the future.

Your continued support is appreciated.

Give today. For tomorrow and beyond.
www.bulldogpride.org

# # #

PHOTO: The 2011-12 Bulldog Pride Fund scholars - Leon Barajas, Ally
Zulewski, TimeOut and Justin Kamimoto. Each received a $2,000 scholarship
for the academic year based upon their academic achievement, financial need
and community involvement. (Photo by Peter Robertson).

You probably know that there are many in the community who struggle with substance abuse issues. Our Fresno LGBT Community Center hosts weekly meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM and Crystal Meth Anonymous on Sundays at 6:00 PM for those who are interested.

If you’re interested in exploring another option—one that is secular and makes inclusion of LGBT (and all minority) people a priority—check out SMART Recovery, the resource I chose when I decided it was time to stop drinking.

SMART Recovery’s Four Point Program offers specific tools and techniques for each of the four points of the program:

  • Building and maintaining motivation
  • Coping with urges
  • Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Living a balanced life

The program is based on Albert Ellis’s pioneering form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

The meetings are typically very positive and interactive. Unlike AA/NA meetings, SMART encourages cross-talk, and the focus is always on helping people cope with current issues.

SMART differs from AA in two important ways. First, it is secular. Religious beliefs are not a part of the program. Whether you want to keep your faith personal, you have a faith other than Christianity, or have no faith at all, rest assured you are welcome and will not be told you cannot succeed. Second, SMART does not teach in individual powerlessness. On the contrary, SMART’s focus is on empowerment of the individual.

Studies on the efficacy of self-help groups indicate that a support group should match one’s view of life closely for best results. If you are the kind of person who believes that a higher power can and should alleviate your addiction issues, you’ll probably do better at AA/NA. If you believe it is your responsibility to take control of your problem, you’d probably be better off at SMART or one of the other secular self-help groups.

Currently there are two weekly SMART Recovery meetings held in Fresno.

Tuesday 8:00-9:00 PM

Kaiser Permanente Hospital

The Sierra Conference Room 3rd Floor

David Roberts

(559) 213-0098

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday 8:00 PM

4785 First St., Fresno 93726

Sonora room at Kaiser

Thom Maslowski

(559) 281-7558

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I have just finished training to become a facilitator as well and will be starting a new meeting in a more central location soon. Meetings are free but small donations are requested.

SMART Recovery also has a great online presence, including information, chat rooms, message boards, online meetings, etc. You can read more about the organization or participate online at www.smartrecovery.org.

image001

THE POWER OF AN ENDOWMENT:

Established in 2006, the Bulldog Pride Fund (BPF) has had one simple mission: “To support student scholarships at Fresno State.”

Since its inception, the BPF has raised nearly $214,000 for its endowment. This fall, the BPF will provide five scholarships of $2,000 each – $10,000 total – to Fresno State students based upon academic achievement, financial need and community involvement.

By the 2012-13 academic year, a total of 23 students will have been provided $39,000 in BPF scholarships, made possible by the support of alumni, friends and donors. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support.

Give today. For tomorrow and beyond.
www.bulldogpride.org

I've been an LGBT activist since the mid-1980s. I was an early member of the California State University, Fresno student organization known at the time as the Gay and Lesbian Student Alliance (GLSA). I've been in this fight for a long time. I love the energy and enthusiasm of the movement as it is today. I'm astonished by the progress we have made in the last few years alone. We have every reason to be proud and optimistic. But something has been lost along the way. The movement has become more conservative and more exclusive in recent years.

The Cynthia Nixon brouhaha serves as a case in point. The actress known for her role in Sex in the City publicly stated that she chose to be a lesbian, creating a firestorm of criticism from the community at large. She later recanted and stated instead that she was bisexual and was born that way. But there are many who feel they chose the lives they lead, and by shouting them down, we are exluding them, marginalizing them.

Each time someone is publicly attacked for his or her beliefs in this way makes the LGBT tent a little bit smaller and a little bit more conservative. And this is just one example among many. We are a large and varied community. Each of us has at least a slightly different experience, and each of us has something valuable to contribute. Fracturing the movement by attacking individuals whose experience differs from our own does nothing to further our cause.


Forward to 18 minutes for pre-show presentation. Forward to 30 minutes for the play/production.

It's official, Maryland now has legal same sex marriage. It is the eighth U.S. State to pass marriage equality.

Courtesy Wikipedia ...

Same-sex marriage in the United States is not recognized by the federal government, but such marriages are recognized by some individual states. The lack of federal recognition was codified in 1996 by the Defense of Marriage Act, before Massachusetts became the first state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004. Such licenses are granted by six states: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, plus Washington, D.C. and Oregon's Coquille and Washington state's Suquamish Indian tribes. The states of Washington[1] and Maryland have passed laws to begin granting same-sex marriage licenses during 2012, but each may be delayed or derailed by November 2012 voter referenda. Same-sex marriages could be legally performed in California between June 16, 2008, and November 4, 2008, after which voters passed Proposition 8 prohibiting same-sex marriages. California also recognizes any same-sex marriage from around the world that took place before that end date, while Maryland recognizes all same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[2][3] The legalization of same-sex marriage has been achieved by court rulings and legislative action, but not through voter referendums.[4][5][6][7] As of June 2011, 12 states prohibit same-sex marriage via statute and 29 via the state's constitution.[8]

downloadPhoto by Peter Robertson

Friday  3/2 8:00pm * Saturday  3/3 8:00pm * Thursday  3/8 8:00pm * Friday  3/9 8:00pm * Saturday  3/10 8:00pm * Saturday  3/10 11:00pm

$10 * The Voice Shop ~ 1296 N. Wishon Ave.

Written by James Still * Directed by J. Daniel Herring * Starring Terry Lewis

Produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois.

A story, a confession, a revelation this one-man play takes place in the past, in the present and in the infinity of Gary’s mind. Armed with his theme (“Anything can happen”) and a pair of leopard-print underwear Gary dreams about kissing somebody, but along the way finds himself in New York addicted to phone sex, attending memorial services for strangers and passing out at the memory of Cream of Wheat boxes. His affinity for strange situations leads him through an unforgettable circle of porn stars, deaf transvestites and a dog named Rodney. It’s through his surprising friendships with a man named Valentino and a woman named Mary Carmen that Gary discovers his greatest poetry, humor, pain and hope.

Contains Mature Subject Matter and Nudity

Theater/Drama, 1 hour 15 minutes, rated NC-17

No latecomers allowed

Rogue Festival 2012 Website


Given the onslaught of hateful attacks on the LGBT community by the finatical religious right, I would like to share a link to a site thats focus is to heal and empower.

http://www.new-wings.org/

The mission statement says it all:

For centuries, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community has suffered soul-damaging condemnation due to internalized fanatical fundamentalism and religious dogmatism.

Supported by prominent theologians and sacred activists, New Wings is an inclusive organization committed to healing the collective pain body of the LGBT community, facilitating self exploration, inquiry, networks of support and expanded education, and providing a safe environment to realign all affected with their divine nature.

West Coast Premiere of “8”

An unconstitutional proposition.
An unprecedented decision.
An all-star cast.

a new play by DUSTIN LANCE BLACK

Benefit Reading for Marriage Equality

Presented by: American Foundation for Equal Rights, Broadway Impact & Presenting Sponsor Bryan Singer

directed by: ROB REINER

Watch the L.A. Premiere LIVE >
Saturday, March 3
Pre-Show: 7:30 p.m. PT 
Curtain: 7:45 p.m. PT

Full Cast & Event Information >


On the heals of the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling in favor of same sex marriage, a new poll shows gay marriage has arrived in California – in public opinion if not in state lawbooks. Golden State registered voters now favor same-sex unions by 59 percent to 34 percent, a 25-point gap that is the largest margin of support for the issue in the three-plus decades the Field Poll has been asking the question.

The new Field survey shows support has leapt markedly in the three and a half years since California voters approved Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent.

The poll showed increases in support virtually across the board – among voters under 64, non-white voters, Catholics, Republicans and nonpartisans.

Another great new read on the topic of same sex marriage is Frank Rich's article: "Whitewashing Gay History"

ca2012poll

LGBT + Picnic…Saturday, April 16th at 11AM at Einstein Park (Dakota & Millbrook).

picnic

Gather together with friends and family to picnic in the park. Bring your own picnic or buy a lunch combo. Celebrate Spring and the LGBT Community. Fun, Food & Friends. Door Prizes plus “just for fun” softball and volleyball.

Hosted by Trans-e-motion and sponsored by Gay Central Valley, PFLAG – Fresno and United Student Pride. For more information email…

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Fresno Stonewall Democrats present…

“MOVE FORWARD FRESNO – TOLERANCE THROUGH EQUALITY” Campaign Launch

moveforward

Spring Brunch – Saturday, April 16th 2011

VIP Reception – 10:30AM  Main Event – 11:30AM

Special Guests: Judge Kevin McCarthy & Local Activist Robin McGeHee

1044 N Van Ness Avenue Fresno, CA 93728

Purchase Tickets & Advertising ONLINE by visiting the

Official Fresno Stonewall Democrat Website

http://fresnostonewall.com/wordpress/

getequal2 

UPDATE: The soldier referenced in this issue is from Lemoore...

Dear friends,

In December, when President Obama signed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010," I breathed a sigh of relief. Although there is still work to do to make repeal fully inclusive and get it implemented, my hope was that at least now we would not lose another servicemember because of that discriminatory law. After so many discharges even as late as last year [1], I thought we were finally out of the woods.

Sadly, I thought wrong.

A short time ago, we were contacted by an active-duty servicemember who -- despite the repeal of this horrible law -- is still going through the process of being discharged. The process started for him on November 8, 2009, when someone anonymously outed him after seeing his MySpace page.

Within weeks, his discharge process began -- but it limped along while the government waffled about what to do about repeal. A year went by before he got any kind of update, each day believing it was his last day to serve his country. After the repeal bill was signed into law, he believed his case to be over.

But Derek got bad news earlier this month. Despite DADT repeal, his case is still being pursued and his hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. With implementation still not in place, is this the Navy's attempt to slip in another discharge or bully him with a hearing...just because they still can?

Click here to show your support for Derek and to fight back against his discharge!

Derek joined the Navy right after high school -- here are his own words:

This lengthy matter has been tearing me up; it has destroyed relationships and displaced loved ones who were relying on me. But even after the U.S. Government has made it clear they don’t want this law in effect the Navy has said that, because the paperwork has been submitted and the policy is technically still active, they have no choice but to continue.

I have been in the U.S. Navy since I graduated high school. It’s all I know and all I want to do. I have dreams of grandeur, hopes of retiring a young, highly-decorated, respected senior enlisted sailor. My resolve is weakened but not broken. I just have to place my fate in the hands of three strangers -- strangers who I hope have strong moral convictions and like-minded sentiments to my own.

Click here to add your name to the list of supporters Derek will take into his hearing with him!

Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!

Robin McGehee, Director

 

Hi CET members:

We have two events in April and I need to lock in the teams ASAP. First and foremost, we have the SF Gay Men's Chorus coming to Fresno State on Sunday, April 10th. We will need a team of volunteers from Noon to 4 pm to set up, take tickets and usher and then to clean up after the event. Volunteers for the CET that day will receive a free ticket to the performance. I have only 5 free tickets left, so please reply to this e mail right away if you want to volunteer and get your name on the list.

Second we have had a request for team members to help out at the Mutts in Motion Fly Ball tournament on Saturday, April 9th (the day before the Gay Men's Chorus). This is a super fun event too, where dogs race each other on a course with little hurdles. The nonprofit Mutts in Motions is the largest fly ball group in Fresno and are really great to work with.  If you enjoy dogs and want to help by being a line judge for the races (easy job ) please let me know right away so that if we don't have enough team members they will have time to get more volunteers. The tournament is held at the Fresno Fair grounds. They would like us there both Saturday and Sunday, but I have only committed to Saturday since we will be at the Gay Men's Chorus on Sunday. 

So to summarize, SIGN UP FOR:

  • San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus on Sunday, April 10th from Noon to 4 pm at Fresno State-only 5 spaces left!

AND/OR

  • Mutts in Motion Fly Ball Races on Saturday April 9th from either 8 am to noon or noon to 4 pm, at the Fresno Fair grounds.  (I'll be there from 7 am to 5 pm!)


Let me know right away!

Thanks for your continued participation in the Gay Central Valley Community Engagement Team,


kate

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last year, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performed at the Tower Theater here in Fresno. This year marks the second year of their California Freedom Tour, and they will perform here again at Fresno Stateon Sunday, April 10th, 2011 at 2:30pm.

Purchase tickets online by visiting Gay Central Valley or by clicking  HERE

Advance Tickets Pricing: $40 VIP (Premium Seating) - $20 General Admission - $10 Student

Day Of Tickets: $45 VIP (Premium Seating) - $25 General Admission - $15 Student

Don't miss the chance to see this legendary chorus perform right in your own backyard...the Chorus will also host a meet and greet immediately after the performance...

All proceeds benefit Gay Central Valley, the Fresno LGBT Community Center, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and Bulldog Pride Fund...


...

Local Youth Organize Events to Speak OUT IN THE SILENCE

Against Bullying & Discrimination in California

Screenings of award-winning film to help build bridges on gay issues, bullying and teen suicides

Redwood City / Clovis, CA — March 14, 2011 — A series of free community screenings of OUT IN THE SILENCE, "a stunning documentary" (Philadelphia Inquirer) about the harrowing, ultimately successful battle waged by a gay teen and his mother against recalcitrant school authorities when the teen is brutally attacked for coming out in his small town high school, will follow the film's local premier in the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival (Sat., March 19).

The events, organized by Gay-Straight Alliance, parent, church, and other community leaders, include:

March 25, 5:00pm – Leon S. and Pete P. Peters Educational Center – Clovis / Fresno

The screenings will be followed by a Q & A session with filmmakers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, GSA leaders, and other community representatives aimed at engaging audiences in conversation about building the movement for inclusion, fairness, and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people locally, in California and across the country.

OUT IN THE SILENCE was produced in association with the Sundance Institute, premiered at the 2010 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York, and has won praise from critics and film festivals around the world.  But Wilson and Hamer are most interested in using it as part of a grassroots campaign to help raise LGBT visibility, support local organizing and advocacy work, and promote dialogue and civic engagement in smaller cities, towns and rural communities.

At the heart of the campaign is a dedication to the idea that small acts of visibility, particularly in places where they are rare, unexpected, and sometimes unwelcome, help to raise awareness, open-up dialogue and create ripple effects and opportunities to organize for change that go far and wide.

California Gay-Straight Alliance leaders have spearheaded the organizing for these events as a way to help communities respond to the tragic rash of suicides among gay youth that captured the nation's attention last fall and to help counter the pervasive harassment and violence LGBT students face on a regular basis in schools across the state.

http://OutintheSilence.com

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We are looking for Black Males to join our very first Black Men and Boys Leadership Academy. The criteria are listed below.

WHEN: March 26th-May 7th, 2011

TIME: Every Sat. 8:00am-12:30pm

COST: None

MORE INFO: Jocelyn Chretien at 559.485.1273 or Dr. Jean Kennedy at 559.270.1023

Black Men and Boys (BMB) mission is to identify the systemic failures which have created unequal health outcomes for black men and boys of color (BMBoC), and to promote policies and system practices which demonstrate the greatest potential for improving their quality of life.

 

BMB LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CRITERIA
1. African American Male - (Preferred but not limited to the ages of 18 and over)
2. The candidate must be interested in community advocacy
3. Willing to volunteer time to Black Men and Boys projects
4. Willing to represent themselves in a professional manner.
5. The candidate must be willing to complete all training sessions every Saturday 8:00am-12:30pm beginning March 26th- May 7th (No Class on Saturday April 23rd) . BMB Leadership Academy Graduation Ceremony will be held on June 3rd , 2011
6. At the completion of graduation from BMB Leadership Academy, the participant must be willing to serve on 1 of the 6 BMB Committees.
a. Leadership professional and personal Development
b. Education and Training
c. Social-Economic Development
d. Justice and Safety
e. Health Equality
f. Community Capacity.

Academy Sessions Include:
"Building Healthy Communities"
"Black Brotherhood: Building Relationships of Healing & Hope"
"Developing Black Men for Leadership"
"Education"
"The Basics of NonViolence"
"Black Men Health Issues"
"Advocacy & Immigration"
"Conflict Resolution/Mediation"
"Bringing Your "A" Game"
"Building Coalitions Among Diverse Groups"
"Community Organizing and Community Engagements"
"Overcoming Obstacles in the Job Market"
"The Black Entrepreneur"
"Crime Prevention for Black Males" What you gonna do when they come for you?

If you fit the above criteria and are interested in Attending CALL NOW!

559.485.1273

SEATS ARE FILLING UP!


CALL NOW TO PARTNER! If you are interested in partnering with us, we have a partnership letter available. Please contact FWCED at 559-485-1273.

Thank you to our current partners,

Kings of Kings Community Center

Mary Ella Brown Community Center

Hills Document Assistant

Center for Multicultural Cooperation

Keith Kelley - Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development

FACEBOOK PAGE

GayCentralValley

The Fresno LGBT Community Center, operated by Gay Central Valley, now has expanded hours, and is open 5 days a week...

MONDAYS – CLOSED

TUESDAYS – 1:30PM – 6PM

WEDNESDAYS – NOON – 6PM

THURSDAYS – CLOSED

FRIDAYS – NOON – 5PM

SATURDAYS – NOON – 6PM

SUNDAYS – 9AM - NOON

Fresno's LGBT Community Center is located at 1055 N Van Ness Avenue Suite C, Fresno, CA 93728 559-325-4429

Elizabeth Taylor has died at the age of 79. Taylor was one of the founders of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and was revolutionary in her dedication to bringing awareness to AIDS and to creating an open dialogue about it. When AIDS carried an enormous stigma and help was hard to find for those with HIV, Taylor blazed the trail for AIDS awareness, and continued to do so until the end of her life.

elizabeth-taylor

As far as same sex marriage, Taylor once said...

I've married 8 times, shouldn't they be allowed to marry at least once?”

Courtesy The Advocate...

Taylor's publicist, Sally Morrison, told the Associated Press that the actress died of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Taylor had been treated for symptoms of the condition in recent weeks.

Taylor's son, Michael Wilding, released the following statement as first reported by ABC News: “My mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love. Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world.”

 

Read More Here

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the request to end the stay on same sex marriage until the Prop 8 case if finally resolved in the courts.

That decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, where the case is tied up on a legal question the panel asked the California Supreme Court to rule upon: Do Prop. 8 sponsors have legal standing to defend the law in court when the state will not.

Read More Here

(Click on the links for more information)

On Wednesday check out...

Peter Robertson Speaks at United Student Pride Meeting

Peter Robertson’s topic is “GLSA + USP: The first three years (1987-1990),” which will include personal recounts of the struggles faced by the Gay Lesbian Student Alliance (GLSA) (today known as United Student Pride or USP) and the organizations’s journey to overcome arson and total destruction of its booth, personal and public homophobic attacks, an appearance on the campus by the Ku Klux Klan, and public fallout from within fr...om some of its very own members.

Included in his presentation will be historic articles and photos that appeared in both “The Daily Collegian” and “The Fresno Bee,” as well as recounting successes such as re-building a new booth, hosting a GLBTQ+ conference on campus that included guest speaker Cleve Jones, presenting two drag shows featuring the Fresno City Bulldrags and members of the Imperial Dove Court de Fresno, and launching the inaugural Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (today known as Fresno Reel Pride).

Facebook Page

then...

On Thursday, check out the GLBTQ Collection Showcase & Open House

Did you know that the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State maintains a GLBTQ collection of more than 500+ books? Attend this special showcase and open house featuring this important collection!

5:30 p.m. Reception • 6:30 p.m. Program • 7:00 p.m. Tour

Details : 559.278.5790

AND

This Friday, check out the Reel Pride DOUBLE FEATURE at Fresno State

5pm Out in the Silence (FREE Reprise Screening)

7pm KABOOM($10 general/$5 Members and Student)

**New Venue: Fresno State's Save Mart Center Complex Leon and Pete Peters Educational Center Auditorium**

Our Night OUT! series presents a two-fer!  The night starts with a FREE 5pm screening of the Emmy Award winning "Out in the Silence" from last year's festival and presented in partnership with the Clovis North Gay Straight Alliance club.  Filmmaker Joe Wilson will be there to introduce the film and answer questions afterward.  Then we kick up the heat with the recent Sundance fave from bad-boy indie filmmaker Gregg Araki, "KABOOM".

Plus...

On Saturday, check out...

Expression Not Suppression (ENS) is a FREE conference for LGBTQQI youth activists and their allies who are dedicated to defeating homophobia and transphobia and creating safe and supportive schools for everyone. The target audience is high school & middle school students. Teachers & GSA advisors are welcome.

Expression Not Suppression

Gay Central Valley's LGBT Community Center continues to grow...

We're working to expand the number of days we are open. Currently we are open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and we've just added the first Tuesday of every month, with the all Tuesdays to follow shortly.

Hours are Wed Noon-6PM, Fri Noon-5PM, Sat Noon-6pm, Sun 9AM-Noon. The first Tuesday of each month we are open 11AM-3PM.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Gay Central Valley, whether to work in the office or for any number of various activities throughout the year, please come into the community center and fill out the appropriate paperwork. We also have a monthly activity driven through our Community Engagement Team, at which we as a group volunteer for other organizations in the Valley. Visit GayCentralValley.org for more information about volunteering for this group, which generally takes no more than 3-4 hours (sometimes less) one day out of the month. In March our team will plant native plants in a nature preserve up by the San Joaquin River for the San Joaquin River Stewardship Program on the first day of Spring, Sunday March 20th from 9 am to noon. In April our team will be helping out at the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus concert at Fresno State on Sunday, April 10th. PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE NOW

We've added more resources and information from community organizations. We offer free condoms and HIV information, free Rainbow Delegation Wristbands, free copies of News Link and other local papers, as well as community schedules and a community bulletin board for upcoming events. Information on the many ways you can participate and/or advertise at the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival (June 4th, 2011) is also available.

We've added a guest desk with computer and printer for those who would like to utilize it during our open hours. We also now offer WiFi service, which you may access for free, or choose to make a donation to Gay Central Valley in return for the wireless access.

Groups and organizations are free to utilize our center for their meetings. Simply contact us to arrange your groups meetings, which we provide even during hours when the community center is not regularly open.

We've now catalogued our donated books, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as our DVD, CD and VHS selections. Come in anytime during normal operating hours and fill out a library card and you may borrow any of these for a two week period of time, which is available for extension.

phpthumb_generated_thumbnailjpg 

Gay Central Valley is reaching out to the community to assist us in covering the monthly cost of our open and operating LGBT Community Center (about $300). With only a few people making regular monthly donations, we can easily cover the cost...

 

How easily?

 

All we need is 12 people who can commit to a monthly donation of $25 each and we will have covered our operating expenses for the LGBT Community Center each month. By simply visiting the link below you can set up monthly donations to Gay Central Valley, an official 501(c)3 nonprofit. There are also many other options for monthly donations or one time donations.

 

We thank those in the community who are able to assist us in keeping Fresno's only LGBT Community Center operating every month, for many years to come.

 

Click Here to Donate Now


We will spend a day planting native plants in a nature preserve up by the San Joaquin River for the San Joaquin River Stewardship Program on the first day of Spring, Sunday March 20th from 9 am to noon. Please see the email below for the link to a map and registration. We each need to register a head of time because they like to give out volunteer certificates and need everyone's name and correct spelling. I would be happy to transport anyone who needs a ride, just give me a call at 559-443-9901.


About the GCV Community Engagement Team: Spend time each month giving back to Central Valley nonprofit organizations and representing the LGBTQIA community! We will spend one day a month volunteering to improve the lives of others, as a team alongside others in the Fresno area who are making a difference. Team Members will receive a free Gay Central Valley tee shirt to wear at volunteer events. Gay Central Valley will do the leg work to set up volunteer days with friendly organizations and send you a reminder to attend and help. GCV will bring your tee shirt and we will all have fun while doing some good.

Please RSVP on facebook or write to Kate Henry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Hope to have you join us!

Gay Central Valley and the Bulldog Pride Fund have partnered together to present the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) on Sun. April 10th at Fresno State’s Satellite Student Union at 2:30 p.m.

sfgmc_1 sfgmc_2

The SFGMC is the world's first openly gay-identified choral organization, and today is the world's largest. It is widely known affectionately as the “grandfather” of the LGBT choral movement. It held its first rehearsal on October 30, 1978. Its first public performance took place a month later on November 27th at an impromptu memorial at San Francisco City Hall for Mayor George Moscone and openly-gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, both of whom had been assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White earlier that day.

Today, the SFGMC performs under the baton of newly appointed Artistic Director, Dr. Timothy Seelig. Enjoy a two-hour concert by more than 150 members of the SFGMC! Tap-your-toe and hum-a-long to Broadway show tunes and favorite standard classics!

Advance tickets are priced at $10 students, $20 general and $40 VIP. Day of show tickets are priced at $15 students, $25 general and $45 VIP. Purchase advance tickets online at www.gaycentralvalley.com or www.bulldogpride.org.

The Arne Nixon Center, within the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State, is showcasing its collection of more than 500 GLBTQ+ books on Thurs. March 24th at 5:30 p.m. One of the largest collections on any of the 23 campuses in the California State University system, Fresno State boasts large categories of children’s and young adult selections.

glbtq_andtangomakesthree glbtq_me_rickymartin

Selections being showcased include “Unfriendly Fire” by Nathanial Frank, “Stonewall” by Martin Duberman, “Outing Yourself” and “Queer in America” by Michelangelo Signorile, “Me” by Ricky Martin, “Gay New York” by George Chancy, “Gay L.A.” by Fresno’s own Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons, “Loving Ourselves” by Kimeron Hardin, “The Mayor of Castro Street” and “And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts, “Becoming a Man” by Paul Monette, “Crisis” edited by Mitchell Gold with Mindy Drucker, “Dancer from the Dance” by Andrew Holleran, “King and King” by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, “Heather Has Two Mommies” by Leslea Newman, “Daddy’s Roommate” by Michael Willhoite and one of the most-banned children’s book in America “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.

Sponsors one this event include Arne Nixon Center Advocates, Bulldog Pride Fund, XO Productions, Unites Student Pride, GSA Network, Rainbow Delegation, Central California Alliance, Community Link and Gay Central Valley.

The event includes a reception, program and tour of the recently remodeled and expanded library. Tickets are $5 general and $1 students and available online at www.bulldogpride.org. For further details and information, please call 559/278-5790.

Two Films will be screened by Fresno Reel Pride at Fresno State on Thurs. March 25th in the Peters Education Center Auditorium, adjacent to the Student Recreation Center.

The first film, “Out in the Silence” will be screened at 5:00 p.m. “Out in the Silence” documents a newspaper’s announcement of filmmaker Joe Wilson's wedding to Dean Hamer. It ignites a firestorm of controversy in his small hometown (Oil City, Penn.) and a plea for help from the mother of a gay teen being tormented at school.

Screening hosted by Clovis North GSA. Admission is free and includes a special appearance by Joe Wilson, filmmaker. A question and answer discussion will follow the screening.

The second film, “KABOOM” by Gregg Araki will be screened at 7:00 p.m. “KABOOM” is about the character, Smith's everyday life in the dorm - hanging out with his arty, sarcastic best friend Stella, hooking up with a beautiful free spirit named London, lusting for his gorgeous but dim surfer roommate Thor - all gets turned upside-down after one fateful, terrifying night.

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Screening sponsors are Bulldog Pride Fund, Central California Alliance, Gay Central Valley, Rainbow Delegation and United Student Pride.  MPAA unrated, no one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. Admission is $10 general and $5 for members and students.

Fresno Reel Pride online: www.reelpride.com. Fresno Reel Pride on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ReelPride.

United Student Pride, a student group at Fresno State, is hosting guest speaker Peter Robertson on Wed. March 23rd in USU 310 at 6:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Robertson’s topic is “GLSA + USP: The first five years (1987-1992),” which will include personal recounts of the struggles faced by the Gay Lesbian Student Alliance (today known as United Student Pride or USP) and the club’s journey to overcome arson and total destruction of its booth, personal and public homophobic and heterosexist attacks, appearances on the campus by the Ku Klux Klan, and fallout from within from some of its very own members.

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Included in his presentation will be historic clippings and photos that appeared in both “The Daily Collegian” and “The Fresno Bee,” as well as recounting successes such as re-building a new booth, hosting a conference on campus that included guest speaker Cleve Jones, presenting two drag shows featuring the Fresno City Bulldrags and members of the Imperial Dove Court de Fresno, and launching the inaugural Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (today known as Fresno Reel Pride).

In addition to being a founding member of GLSA (USP) in 1987, Robertson and Ken Fries co-founded Fresno Reel Pride in 1990. He was honored as being named a grand marshal in Fresno’s first Pride Parade in 1991.

A three-time graduate of Fresno State with a BA, MA and MBA, Robertson also founded the Bulldog Pride Fund (BPF) in 2005, an endowment that supports student scholarship at Fresno State. Since its inception, the BPF has awarded 14 scholarships totaling $21,000.

Stacy Layne Matthews was, until recently, a contestant on the current season of RuPaul's Drag Race. She was voted off only two weeks ago and is now pursuing a drag career across the United States. Stacy stopped over in Fresno recently, performing exclusively  AT THE NORTH TOWER CIRCLE on January 22nd, 2011. After watching Stacy voted off the show (TRAGEDY!)  I thought I'd call her up and talk about what it takes to get on RuPaul's Drag Race, and how to maintain your sanity once you're there...

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Chris Jarvis: Let's talk about the process of what it takes to get on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Stacy Layne Matthews: You know, it was kind of  a last minute thing for me. I sent in a tape and then they contacted me and I was kind of surprised. I didn't expect to get a call back. I'm glad I did.

CJ: Why didn't you expect to get a call back?

SLM: I've never auditioned for anything like that. I did American Idol once.

CJ: What happened on American Idol?

SLM:Well, they liked my voice when I sang, but I guess I wasn't what they were looking for.

CJ: Can you tell me about what happens after you send in a tape and they say they're interested? What's the process like? How long does it take?

SLM:It's a lot of phone calls and a lot of questions. You have to meet with a psychologist, send in measurements, and they ask you a lot of personal information.

CJ: What's the psychologist stuff about?

SLM:I guess they just want to make sure we're sane and we're not going to kill all the other contestants.

(laughter)

CJ: I guess the reason I'm asking is because Delta was just voted off and if anyone should have been spotted by a psychologist it should have been Delta. She was just so depressed and moody.

SLM:Yeah, she sounded sad. You know, the whole pressure of the competition finally caught up with her.

CJ: Well let's talk about that. How much privacy do you get on the show? How much are they on top of you all the time?

SLM:There's a lot of pressure. You know, we were filming for a long time, we'd get up early and go to bed late so it's a lot of pressure. You eat late, not a lot of sleep, so it's a lot of pressure. It was a challenge for me.

CJ: What hour would you guys start and when would it end every day?

SLM:On a good day we would be at the studio about 9AM and we'd leave around 11 at night. We were in drag for a while.

CJ: So let's say for the one episode we see every week, does that entail one week's worth of work?

SLM:Not really, there's a few days for each episode. Some might take longer because we were always on photo shoots.

CJ: What kind of reaction did you get when you were voted off?

SLM:Honestly, there are a lot of people who thought I should still be there and a lot of people who, you know, kind of miss the flavor of the country queen on the show. You don't really have that left on the show, and I hear from a lot of people who are upset that I'm not still on the show.

CJ: You've got a lot of support on Facebook. How is it effecting your local performances?

SLM:I'm doing a lot of shows actually. Next week I'm doing a show in Alabama, then I go to Chicago, and a lot of shows after that.

CJ: Now I know we had you out here and you performed at the North Tower Circle a few weeks ago. Does the LOGO show work with you on getting performances?

SLM:They did. I have my own manager now.

CJ: So tell me, what was your favorite challenge and your least favorite challenge?

SLM:I think my favorite challenge was with the celebrity impersonations, because I've done theater my whole life, so I felt like I shined it that episode, obviously, because I won the challenge.  I think my least favorite was the news episode, because we had to read a teleprompter and it was a lot of work.

CJ: And the impersonation you're talking about is when you did Mo'Nique. Is that something you've done before?

SLM:Yeah, I do it at the clubs.

CJ: Well you nailed Mo'Nique.

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SLM:Well you know what there's a place in New York that wants me to come and do a mock talk show as Mo'Nique and I'm working on material for that now.

CJ: Let's talk about the editing on the show.  Do they pretty much film everything that you do?

SLM:They film a lot of stuff that doesn't make it on the show and that people never see, but they have to squeeze all that footage into one hour so it's hard.

CJ: And how do you feel they make you guys look when they edit you? Do you think they make you look cattier than you are?

SLM:I don't feel they did that to me. I think they made me look like one of the sweetest people on the show.

CJ: Absolutely. But how do you feel they portrayed the others? Did they make them look catty?

SLM:Well, you know, we were all kind of catty. It is a competition, you know. It was pretty vicious, but you expect that in any competition.

CJ: Can you say who your favorite on the show was and who was hard to deal with?

SLM:There was a lot of sneakiness going around. The ones I knew were sincere with me were Shangela, Alexis and Jada and Mariah, and we kind of created a bond. The other girls were nice at times but it's a competition so you couldn't really trust anyone.



CJ: Now do you guys have to do all your own costuming? And let me just say this, when they asked you guys to do the cake thing, to decorate cakes, I thought that was weird. I mean, I'm a cake person but you guys are there for drag, not for cake.

(laughter)

SLM:Yeah, they just threw that on us. I was not prepared to decorate a cake.

CJ: So do you have to all the costuming on your own?

SLM:Yeah, nobody helps us with anything. We do all our own makeup and everything.

CJ: So you bring everything with you  or do they give you fabrics to work with?

SLM:There are fabrics there to work with but a lot of the stuff we brought ourselves. We brought our own accessories.

CJ: How much do you interact with RuPaul and the celebrities?

SLM: There's a little bit of interaction between takes. But the production was so tight that we didn't get to sit down and talk to anybody face to face.

CJ: So when you get your main challenge, how much time do you have between when you get the challenge and the moment you're on stage?

SLM:A few hours. Different challenges take different times.

CJ: So if you win the show, what exactly do they do for you? Do they just set you free?

SLM:I have no idea.

CJ:What about those of you who are voted off?

SLM:We still have representatives from LOGO who help us out.

CJ:Was it a good experience? Would you suggest others do it?

SLM:Yeah, it is. I would recommend it for anyone who cares about drag and who wants to put themselves out there, because that's basically what it does. It puts you out to the world and lets people experience what kind of entertainer you are.

CJ:And it must make it a lot easier for you to get bookings after the show.

SLM:Of course. I feel like I handled myself very well on the show and I was very professional. So I know a lot of people will want to work with me now. I didn't portray myself in any negative light.

Stacy Layne Matthews has upcoming performances in North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and then back to Los Angeles, for a RuPaul's Drag Race Reunion episode, which will air after the season ends...Visit Stacy's website at StacyLayneMatthews.com for information on Stacy and to follow her on Twitter...

...

Gay Central Valley and Bulldog Pride Fund have joined forces to bring the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to Fresno for a Sunday Afternoon concert on April 10th, 2011. The concert will take place on the campus of Fresno State and starts at 2:30pm, and is part of the SFGMC's second year of their California Freedom Tour. All proceeds from the concert and other sales benefit Gay Central Valley, the Fresno LGBT Community Center, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and Bulldog Pride Fund.  There are several ways to be involved in our event...

PROGRAM ADVERTISEMENTS

Business Card Ad        (3.5"x2")                      $50.00

1/4 Page Ad                (2.5"x4")                      $75.00

1/2 Page Ad                (5"x4")                         $100.00

Full Page Ad                (5.25"x 8.25")              $150.00

Inside Front Cover       (5.25"x 8.25")              $200.00

Inside Back Cover       (5.25"x 8.25")              $200.00

Back Cover                  (5.25"x 8.25")              $225.00

(Ad sizes are width X height. Please submit completed ads in JPEG format, 300dpi. Submission Deadline is Thursday, March 31st. Send ads & inquiries to Chris Jarvis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 559-325-4429 for more information.)

We are also accepting donations of raffle items as well as silent auction items. Silent auction items will be on display for bidding prior to and after the performance. Raffle and Silent Auction acknowledgements will be provided. Also, during the concert we will auction off an offer to personally conduct the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus for one song.

Purchase tickets to the event! Tickets are available for online. Please visit gayfresno.com for links. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the event at a slightly higher cost. Youth & Student rates are also available.

Thank you for your support in bringing the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to Fresno. We look forward to seeing you at the show...

Chris Jarvis - Vice President - Gay Central Valley - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 559-274-7577

Gay Central Valley, partnering with Bulldog Pride Fund, is bringing the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to Fresno for a Sunday afternoon concert at Fresno State. The SFGMC has a new artistic director, Tim Seelig, highlighted in the attached video. This is the second year the Chorus has come to Fresno as part of their California Freedom Tour...

Don't miss out... PURCHASE TICKETS NOW

Kathy Griffin is coming back to Fresno on her latest tour. She'll be performing at the William Saroyan Theater on Friday, July 15th at 7:30PM. I've seen Kathy in Fresno twice now it's worth the price of the ticket, I assure you...

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

A local director. A 5 person cast.  No budget.  Small venue.  Do you know what you get when you put all of that together?  A pleasant surprise.  Truthfully, I expected to be disappointed.  Not because I thought it would be a "bad" play, but after years of attending live performances, I've come to have a certain level of expectation that is rarely met.  I've had the esteemed pleasure of sitting front row for three Broadway productions, four at the Orpheum, and several others at venues worldwide, so you have to understand that I'm easily unimpressed by local productions.  This time I was surprised.  I'm not saying that The Wretched Void is Broadway ready, but I have to say that if Mr. Webber were in the same position as Scott Hancock, Cats wouldn't have been much better.  So kudos to the crew of The Cutting Edge for not only making the best of a bad situation, but also for delivering a powerful message on controversial topic with the grace and talent it demands.

 

The Wretched Void details the struggles of four LGBT youth struggling with acceptance, understanding, and inner turmoil, culminating in tragedy, a story that has become all too familiar these days.  Scotti Maldonado, plays a 15 year old bullied at school and accurately portrays the desperation one feels when attempting to explain "the gay" to someone who is not homosexual.  The frustration of constantly having to repeat the same tiring arguments to the misinformed is evident in his character's demeanor and tone.  Caroline Long and Danielle Jorn give a stellar performance as they personify the relationship of a self-righteous, socialite, single mother and her daughter's coming out.  Their interactions were perfect displays of the common mother-daughter arguments with a lesbian twist.  Bravo ladies, you had me at hello. Jonathan Wheeler's monologue displayed what I believe to be the constant prayer of every gay Christian youth.  I expect that many of them have prayed to their god, pleading for an answer and finding solace in the inevitable.  A true product of fundamentalist parents who can't see past what they were told to believe, their son was left with only one choice.  James Martinez rounds out the ensemble with a letter to those that should have been concerned.  His delivery was real, heartfelt, and deliberate.  I've had the unfortunate displeasure of seeing notes like that one before, having written something like that myself, and it was eerily accurate. 

Now, with the sweets comes the sour, for such is the balance of life.  Nothing ever gets better without some constructive criticism.  As I writer, I'm often the recipient of critiques.  Sometimes I care, sometimes I don't.  It all depends on the delivery.  Having said that, let me say, that of course, the performance could have been better.  The ending seemed almost anti-climactic.  Perhaps that was the intent.  However, I think that if the audience had been drawn in a bit more toward the end and forced back to realty with an old fashion shock, this play would be on their minds months down the road.  The lack of props is sometimes a good thing, sometimes not, but what can you do with a zero budget?  These players need funds people, and I believe with an upgrade to backdrops, costume, and make up, that they will have something spectacular.  Get your checkbooks and support the arts!  As with the evolution of scripts, the dialogue will get better with time and practice, perhaps some tweaking to voice and delivery.  All in all, the good far outweighs the bad, and the entire cast and crew are to be commended for the talent, effort, and passion.

Upon leaving, I felt as though I had just seen the love child of Grover's Corners and the Castro.  That's not a bad thing.  Both places have gained international notoriety and deservingly so.  I like the idea of a gay-themed Our Town.  So if your looking for something to do on March 12, stop by the Starline in Fresno's Tower District and take in the show.  Show times at 1 PM and 5:30 PM.  You won't be disappointed.

Speaker of the House John Boehner has said he will take over defense of DOMA in federal court cases after the Obama administration has declared a portion of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) be unconstitutional, specifically the part declaring marriage is only between a man and a woman, at least on a federal level.

"The constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts -- not by the president unilaterally," Boehner said in a statement. "This action by the House will ensure the matter is addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution."

Boehner has created a committee of both Republicans and Democrats to tackle the task, although some who were included, such as Nancy Pelosi, agrees with the administration.

Pelosi has lauded Obama's decision to stop defending it as a "victory for civil rights, fairness and equality." She added "This is nothing more than a distraction from our most pressing challenges."

READ MORE HERE

Imperial Dove Court de Fresno Madera Inc presents the CINDERELLA BALL. Come join us for an Enchanted Evening. Contest for the titles of Prince Charming, Cinderella, Wicked Step Mother and Ugly Step Sister. Anyone can enter. Applications are at the bars or online at www.idcfresno.org, as well as at the event. (21 & Older Only)

March 19th 2011. Doors at 6PM, Music 6:45PM & Show @7PM. 4030 E Belmont Avenue Fresno CA 93702.

Tickets: Presale $10 * Door $15 * Online $11 * www.idcfresno.org

Info: Regent Empress 37 Margo Starr 559-905-6674

A recent study, titled, Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations, assembled by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has been released through the Journal of Homosexuality. Twenty-six researchers, clinicians, educators and policy experts were involved. The report studies the prevalence and underlying causes of suicidal behavior in the LGBT community.

The study set out to...Summarize what is currently known about completed suicide, suicide

attempts and suicide risk across the lifespan...Identify knowledge gaps most in need of future research, and make recommendations for how these can be addressed, and...Offer recommendations for applying what is already known to reduce suicidal behavior and suicide risk in sexual minority populations.

 

The study ties the rate of LGBT suicide to the inequities of civil rights in the LGBT community. Some conclusions the study come to are to...Advocate for anti-bullying and safe schools legislation, and for the specific inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in protective legislation

related to school safety...Advocate for changes in all federal and state laws and regulations that

create inequities based on sexual orientation or gender identity and have been shown to have negative mental health outcomes or otherwise heighten suicide risk for LGBT people...Advocate for improved access to mental health services through nondiscrimination policies and expansion of health insurance coverage to same-sex partners...Advocate for legislation requiring measures of sexual orientation and gender identity to be incorporated into federally supported benchmark surveys and other population-based databases related to health and mental health, so that the consequences of inequities affecting LGBT people can be more fully identified.

 

READ OR DOWNLOAD THE STUDY HERE

Here Media, the world’s largest gay media company, has joined with Greater Than AIDS -- a new national movement to respond to AIDS in America -- to inform and engage the LGBT community about HIV/AIDS.  The multimedia partnership includes public service announcements (PSAs) and expanded HIV/AIDS news and editorial across Here Media’s iconic brands -- including Gay.com, OUT, The Advocate, HIV Plus, and MPOWRPlus.com. A dedicated new web portal, http://www.gay.com/greaterthan, provides targeted information and resources for gay and bisexual men.

Gay and bisexual men account for about half of all Americans living with HIV/AIDS today and are the only risk group among which new infections are on the rise. According to a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five (19%) men who have sex with men (MSM) in major U.S. cities today are HIV-positive -- and as many as half of those who are infected don’t know it.

"Homophobia and other social stigmas, low self-esteem, and high rates of substance use contribute to rising rates of HIV infections among our community," said Joe Valentino, Vice President and Associate Publisher, Here Media. "We are proud to partner with Greater Than AIDS to educate and empower our audience. This partnership refocuses our community’s attention on the important need to reduce the spread of HIV."

"As one of the communities hardest hit by the disease, gay and bisexual men have been at the center of the AIDS crisis since the early days of the epidemic," said Stephen Massey, Associate Director of Entertainment Media Partnerships at the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. "In joining with Greater Than AIDS, Here Media is providing a powerful platform to reach the gay community with action-oriented and empowering messages and helping to mobilize a new generation in response to HIV/AIDS."

June 2011 will mark 30 years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed. More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV today, and at least half a million more have died of AIDS complications. Men who have sex with men (MSM) have been at the center of the epidemic since its earliest days and today account for more than half of new infections in this country. According to a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five (19%) gay and bisexual men in some the largest U.S. cities are living with HIV -- and half of those who are positive don’t know it. MSM are the only risk group among which new infections are on the rise.

 

 

April is STD Awareness Month, an annual observance to raise public awareness about the impact of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the lives of Americans and the importance of preventing, testing for, and treating STDs. It is an opportunity to normalize routine STD testing and conversations about sexual health. Read more about STD Awareness Month in the Senate and the House of Representatives Congressional Resolutions.

Since 2009, MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other partners have been supporting National STD Awareness Month with the GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign to inform young people about STDs, encourage and normalize testing for STDs, and connect young people to testing centers. While here on the STD Awareness Month site, please check out our GYT campaign section for the latest campaign materials to help spread the word through posters, banner ads, widgets, and more. The Kaiser Family Foundation offers partner information about the GYT campaign on its Web site, or you can go directly to the campaign Web site at www.GYTnow.org.

We hope the content on this site will assist your efforts to educate, motivate, and mobilize your local community in the prevention of STDs, not just in April, but year round.

For more information on STDs, visit www.cdc.gov/std.

For more information about the STD Awareness Resource Site, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With all the chaos around DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) it's helpful to understand exactly what the law does and how it might effect you as a couple. You can get details about the law

and the following article, courtesy of the Huffington Post and written by Bill Donius, explains more...

In case you don't know what "DOMA" is, it is the legislation titled, "Defense of Marriage Act," enacted in 1996. DOMA enshrines discrimination against gays and lesbians by permitting states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Does DOMA matter? If you're in a heterosexual marriage, recognition of same sex marriages may not matter to you. Your marriage is recognized by the state and federal government, not to mention your family, friends and co-workers -- society in general. If you have one of these, you are entitled the automatic rights and privileges that go along with a civil marriage. i.e. if your spouse dies, you collect the benefits, you get the tax breaks, the hospital visitation rights and a myriad of other benefits conveyed by law. No problems, no questions asked.

READ MORE HERE

The seventh circuit court of appeals in Illinois has ruled that the wearing of anti-gay t-shirts in school is okay.

Students, protesting the Day Of Silence, an annual event which highlights the bullying of kids at school, wore shirts to school that proclaimed BE HAPPY NOT GAY, which was then changed to BE HAPPY BE STRAIGHT, until a school administrator stepped in and censored the students.

 

In its opinion, the court said a “school that permits advocacy of the rights of homosexual students cannot be allowed to stifle criticism of homosexuality...people in our society do not have a legal right to prevent criticism of their beliefs or even their way of life.”

 

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

 

Despite the urgings of the American Foundation for Equal Rights and the Courage Campaign for an expedited trial in the appeal of the overturning of Proposition 8, the California Supreme Court has stated it will not move the hearings up from the current date of September of this year.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights and the California Attorney General have also asked that while the case is being heard that the current stay on same sex marriage in the state be lifted.

 

Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign issued a statement including the following...

"With Proposition 8 already ruled unconstitutional in federal court, it is imperative that the ninth circuit court of appeals immediately lift the stay on enforcement of this decision so that families like Riverside’s Derence Kernek and Ed Phillips — together for 40 years but now waging a battle against Alzheimer’s Disease — are able to marry before it’s too late. I challenge the California supreme court — or any court for that matter — to tell Derence or Ed that they have not yet earned that right."

 

READ MORE HERE

The atheist movement continues to grow and make itself a force in a world filled with religious hyperbole. The following video is from the Center For Inquiry. Their mission statement is...

 

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

Courtesy Associated Press...

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a grieving father's pain over mocking protests at his Marine son's funeral must yield to First Amendment protections for free speech. All but one justice sided with a fundamentalist church that has stirred outrage with raucous demonstrations contending God is punishing the military for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

 

The 8-1 decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., was the latest in a line of court rulings that, as Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion for the court, protects "even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

The decision ended a lawsuit by Albert Snyder, who sued church members for the emotional pain they caused by showing up at his son Matthew's funeral. As they have at hundreds of other funerals, the Westboro members held signs with provocative messages, including "Thank God for dead soldiers," ''You're Going to Hell," ''God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11," and one that combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto, Semper Fi, with a slur against gay men.

Justice Samuel Alito, the lone dissenter, said Snyder wanted only to "bury his son in peace." Instead, Alito said, the protesters "brutally attacked" Matthew Snyder to attract public attention. "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case," he said.

READ MORE HERE

 

Gay Central Valley is considering offering some FREE self improvement workshops through our LGBT Community Center. Classes would be helmed by a professional and would be on subjects such as smoking cessation or stress reduction.

We'd like to hear from the community about what topics you'd like to see offered at such workshops. This will help us better determine the audience that is out there and how to best serve them.

Please feel free to post suggestions on our Facebook page or message us.

Courtesy the Adovcate...

The American Family Association's in-house attorney says that while he and many members of his organization believe that marriage should be reserved only for heterosexual adults, the Defense of Marriage Act is "probably unconstitutional."

While those bringing Judge Walker's historic judgment to appeal will be scrutinized by the California Supreme Court later this year, more California officials are standing behind the civil rights of LGBT Californians and pushing back hard against the continued injustices we face.

After then Governor Schwarzenegger and then Attorney General Jerry Brown supported Walker's decision to overturn Prop 8 and refused to appeal the decision, others took up the charge. However those bringing the appeal, the same involved in the original Prop 8 case, are now subject to the discretion of the California Supreme Court as to whether they have the standing to appeal the case. That case is set to begin sometime in September and could delay any decision in the Prop 8 case until early next year.

Meanwhile, just last week, Ted Olson, on behalf of AFER, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group that helmed the battle in the first place, asked the courts to lift the current stay on same sex marriages granted during the appeal process. Olson pointed out that the case was to originally have been a speedy one, and with the current delay, the injustices to LGBT Americans in California is unacceptable. Now, the current Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris, has joined the effort, requesting the stay be lifted while the appeal takes place.

Harris stated...

The appeal’s likelihood of success has been substantially diminished, Harris said in her statement to the court, “both by the United States Attorney General’s conclusion that classifications based on sexual orientation cannot survive constitutional scrutiny and by this Court’s certification order to the California Supreme Court, which seriously questions the Court’s jurisdiction to decide the merits of the case.”

Harris went on to cite the recent decision by the Obama administration not to defend DOMA in appeals court.

READ MORE HERE

Make plans today to attend OZ: THE BOOKS CONFERENCE at Fresno State!  (CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE FOR VIEWING)

ImageOZ: THE BOOKS CONFERENCE
May 14-16, 2010

Presented by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Student Literature
at California State University, Fresno

(Fresno, Calif.) This international Oz conference features a musical, "Time Again in Oz" produced by the Fresno State Theatre Arts Department and directed by J. Daniel Herring. Playwright Suzan L. Zeder, who based the play on the third Oz book, Ozma of Oz, will also be a speaker.

Enjoy lectures with 40 guest speakers and book signings by authors including:

Image• JOHN FRICKE
“100 Years of Oz” and “The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic”

Image• TOMMY KOVAC
“The Royal Historian of Oz” and “Wonderland” series

Image• GREGORY MAGUIRE
“Wicked,” “Son of a Witch” and “Lion Among Men”

Image• DAVID MAXINE
“Oz-story” series and “Vintage Recordings of the 1903 Musical: The Wizard of Oz”

Image• DEE MICHEL
“Friends of Dorothy: Why Gay Men Love Oz”

Image• ERIC SHANOWER
“Adventures in Oz” and “The Age of Bronze”

The Henry Madden Library will also offer Oz exhibits and a Special Collections exhibit on the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. This world's fair attracted Oz creator L. Frank Baum and artist W. W. Denslow to Chicago, where they later formed a partnership to write and illustrate children's books.

Community media sponsors include Community Link, Central California Alliance, gaycentralvalley.com and the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund at Fresno State.

Advance reservations required. Call 559.278.8116. Online: arnenixoncenter.org.

ImageEnjoy the OZ-THEMED PARTY at the North Tower Circle on May 15th at 9 p.m.

ImageAccording to Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) passing ENDA looms on the horizon. In an interview with LGBT POV he explained...

"We have the votes to pass ENDA in the House and we hope to bring it before the committee I serve on – the Education Labor Committee – within the month – by the end of April. And then, once it passes the committee, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks – a week or two – to schedule it for the floor.  It’s just a scheduling matter.

We think we would have passed it by now if it wasn’t for healthcare taking up much of the workload of our committee.

I don’t know about the Senate – but in the House, we expect to pass out substantially. It has substantial support. The Senate requires 60 votes so it’s a matter of getting some Republican moderates to support it."

Read the entire interview here...

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On Saturday, April 24th from 6-9PM there will be a Fundraiser for the benefitting the San Francisco AIDS Foundation via the AIDS Lifecycle. "An Evening In The Garden" will be held at Gazebo Gardens at 3024 Van Ness Avenue, with hors d'oeuvres provided courtesy of Grand Occasions, wine courtesy of Englemann Cellars & LoMac Winery, and soft drinks provided by Pepsi. There will also be raffle prizes, a silent auction, guest speaker and live music by JJ Brown. $30 donation per person.

 

 

A Presbyterian church in Northern California is going after a retired minister for marrying gay couples during the time of legal gay marriage in California. They've gone after her before for the same thing, but since those incidents were at a time when same sex marriage wasn't legal, they backed off. As for the fact that it was legal during the times of these charges? The church doesn't really care. As far as they're concerned, it's still "expressly forbidden" under their laws...

Read More Here...

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Okay, Clay Aiken beat Ricky Martin to the punch? And for both of them it's because of their kids?

Ricky Martin has finally admitted to being gay, saying that "To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids were born with."

It's great that Martin has finally come around to stating what we all knew already. The fact that he's 38 years old and only now coming out is bit embarrassing, but at least he did it. It's odd that there's such a rise in the number of teenagers who are coming out while secure, well off and well loved entertainers can't seem to do it unless they're up against the wall. Just last week, James Randi "The Amazing Randi" came out of the closet, at 81 years old...you're wasting valuable years boys...

Read More Here...

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Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Kou, and I am working at the Questionnaire Assistance Center at the Equality California, Central Valley Field Office in Fresno. I want you reach out to you and your membership to let you know that I am here Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00am to 2:00pm to serve as help to this community. I can show you how to fill out the US Census or answer any questions that you might have in regards to the 2010 US Census. It is very important that every home completes and sends in the 2010 US Census because its results are how our federal government distributes money to the state and local communities for Hospitals, Schools, Transportation and Social Services.

Feel free to drop by my Questionnaire Assistance Center or any Assistance Center near you. We have more than 30 Questionnaire Assistance Centers located in Fresno County.  For information about a Questionnaire Assistance Center near you, please call 1-866-861-2010. You can also contact me at the Equality California Central Valley Field Office at 559-486-3000, Tuesday through Friday, between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm.

Sincerely,

Kou

Your Friendly Neighborhood Census guy!

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who suggested and implemented a year long study into whether it is feasible to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, made a major move to ease the time period of the study for gay and lesbian soldiers.

He's changed the terms under which gays and lesbians can be discharged under the policy, a kind of stopgap measure until DADT can be decided. The new rules include things such as a higher ranking officer must be involved, any "overheard" revelations from 3rd parties must be given under oath, and confidential statements made from gay or lesbian soldiers to such persons as clergy and therapists is now protected.

Add to that the following development...

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, who heads Army forces for U.S. Pacific Command, was wrong to call on troops and their families to fight a repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Mullen said if uniformed officers disagree with President Barack Obama's call for a repeal, the answer for them is "to vote with your feet."

This should be a strong indication that the administration is clearly leaning toward at least more protection for our gay and lesbian soldiers.

Read the whole story here...  and here... 

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You are invited to our Charter Party April 17, 2010 at the Visalia   Convention Center’s San Joaquin Room

303 E. Acequia Ave. , Visalia , CA

No Host Social Hour

 Dinner

Ceremony

Dancing

 Dinner Attire Suggested

Raffle prizes throughout the evening

Dinner Entertainment by Ms. Julie Doctor

Dancing with DJ Nate of Rainbow Produktionz 

Tickets are available for advance purchase only until April 5th and are $35.00 each

Tickets will NOT be sold at the door !

Contact Pat Urruty with questions   (559) 739-1441

A special room rate is available at the Comfort Suites Inn (559) 738-1700, located across the street, for our out of town visitors.

        I was sitting in my chair and my eyes were fixated on one thing and one thing only. That one thing was the excruciating and painfully slow second hand of the clock. My ears were of no use to me as I sat there in English amongst annoying students waiting only to hear one thing. That one thing being the bell which signaled it was the weekend. The weekend only meant one thing as well. It meant I didn’t have to be in school.

        I didn’t have any plans for the weekend. I just wanted out of the building. Out of the way of noise and dramatic stories of the students I didn’t understand. The teacher continued reading out of the book periodically stopping to describe the details the students couldn’t get. I figured if we needed a history lesson behind each piece we read, what was the sense in even trying to understand the last half when we read it alone. This thought then was interrupted by the epiphany of what’s the point in even listening to the first half when it is the weekend and my mind is wired to think of other things through any comprehensible reading in the first place.

        Luckily the bell rang and I carefully waited for everyone to exit the room first before I casually filled in the end of the line as if I had something important to put away which was taking up time. I had put my papers in my folder slowly and told Mrs. Grethers, “You’re a wonderful reader! It makes the story understandable. Have a good weekend.”

        In teacher mode she replied folding up her lesson plans, “Thank you and you have a great weekend as well.”

With Health Care Reform out of the way, a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill which would provide employment protections for LGBT Americans, could come as early as the first weeks in April.

Congress is on break from March 29th through April 9th, but Congressman Barney Frank predicts that a vote could easily happen soon after Congress resumes, and he also believes a win is a possibility.

Representative Tammy Baldwin also believes the votes are there to pass ENDA.

Read more here... 

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An End To Pre-Existing Conditions

Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.

Small Business Tax Credits

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.

Seniors Get 'Donut Hole' Rebate

Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called "donut hole" in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50 percent of the donut hole will be filled.

More Young Adults Covered On Parents' Plans

The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents' health insurance rises to the age 27.

No Lifetime Caps

Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.

ImageThe court case brought by the ACLU against the Mississippi school district which cancelled the school prom rather than have Constance McMillen attend in a tuxedo with her girlfriend was heard Monday.

While school officials tried to deflect blame by saying they considered cancelling the prom before McMillen's request, for other reasons, and then blamed school disruptions over McMillen's request, under cross examination they admitted that the reason for the cancellation was McMillen.

Both sides were heard in court today and the judge has promised a swift ruling.

Parents of the town are planning their own prom which McMillen has said she was unaware of, while the ACLU, with other gay rights groups, is planning a prom which will welcome LGBT teens.

Read more of the story here... 

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ImageA new twist has occurred in the Prop 8 trial. Judge Walker has ordered the ACLU and Equality California to turn over relevant emails and campaign memos which were distributed during the time that the battle over Prop 8 was raging. Walker has stated that the sponsors of Prop 8 are entitled to the information as evidence.

Protect Marriage, the group sponsoring Prop 8, has already been forced to turn over their own documents as evidence. While the trial is already on hiatus, the new developments could delay an outcome. April 12th is the deadline for the documents to be turned in.

Read the whole story here... ...

What's the problem with politics? Check out this OVERTIME clip from the most recent REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER...Big BONUS...Gavin Newsom...

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I have to say that throughout last week's actions in DC, when Dan Choi, Jim Pietrangelo and Robin McGeHee were arrested, the strangest part of the whole thing was the consistent criticism of Kathy Griffin. I don't have a problem with the criticism of Joe Solomnese (and that's said with nothing intended, as I haven't seen footage of what actually happened between him and Choi. I'll note, however, that in the attached video, Choi makes a statement which seems to be, at least in terms of manners, an alliance with Solomnese when he says "We are on the same team", but again, I could be mis-interpreting that...), but what's the deal with the negative missiles hurled at Kathy Griffin? For anyone asleep, Kathy Griffin is one of the loudest and most public defenders of LGBT civil rights in this nation. She had a planned event in DC which she used to discuss the inequities of DADT, which she will later re-broadcast on her Emmy award winning, highly rated television show which, by the way, reaches millions of people.

Yet after she spoke in DC, after she invited Dan Choi to the podium to speak (after, by all accounts, Joe Solomnese of the Human Rights Campaign refused to do...), she's been decried over and over on the internet and called out specifically by Choi and McGehee, both stating that Don't Ask Don't Tell "is not a joke".

So let's get this straight...because Kathy uses humor to reach millions of people, in an effort to bring about change to the discriminatory policy of DADT, she's to be criticized? And can anyone actually say that Griffin truly believes that DADT is a joke? Or that, for that matter, ANY AMERICAN believes DADT is a joke? Come on.

If there's one ugly aspect to LGBT activists in this nation, it's the fact that their way is the ONLY way. Why is it that when others are working, in their own way, to their own audience, to create change, some activists feel compelled to denounce them for it?

Kathy Griffin believes strongly in the civil rights of LGBT Americans and proves that on her television show and in her personal life, consistently. Barney Frank believes it as well, but he was, and continues to be, denounced by a portion of the LGBT community simply because he expressed an opinion. An opinion, mind you, in support of the same end result as those who criticized him.

 

Health Care Reform has become a reality, against the wishes of the vast number of Republicans in the country. With a 219-212 vote, the House passed the Senate approved bill on Sunday, sending it to the President's desk for signature, which is assured. Whether the Senate, which takes possession of the bill now, chooses to act or not, it's a done deal, only requiring Obama's signature.

It remained heated until the end, with Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, declaring the bill the "Civil Rights Act of the 21st century," while Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart from Florida called it "a decisive step in the weakening of the United States."

One thing is sure, virtually all our politicians have become nothing more than career lobbyist supporters, as the bill is far more weakened than it started out to be. While Democrats certainly share the blame in the watering down of this vital piece of legislation, nothing will erase the disgraceful and shameful acts and words of conservatives and Republicans across the nation who dove into a world of fearful fantasy in a (successful) attempt to gather weak minded Americans to their cause, all in an effort to protect their corporate funding.

I thought the Presidency of GW Bush was as low as it could go, but watching the orchestrated and anti-American rhetoric of Republicans and conservatives throughout this debate has shamed this country more than anything I can recall. Who was against health care reform? Conservative Americans who have health insurance and a lack of interest in the truth, that's who. All those "patriotic" Americans who continue to shout down the debate, yelling about the cost (which actually, according to the terms of the bill, will create savings over time...) when they don't object to the cost of the illegal war overseas, which would have easily funded health care for ALL Americans.

True, this bill is not radical enough. As Obama put it, “This isn’t radical reform,” he added, “but it is major reform.”

But a start is a start. And as Americans have consistently proven, they are, for the most part, lacking in logic and reason, but welcoming to group mentality and easily adaptable to societal norm. Once in place, without a doubt, a certain percentage of limp minded Americans will support the new legislation, even if they can't explain why. After that, the rest is in the tweaking.

America is not a bright nation. At least this provides a light at the end of the chaotic tunnel. Moths move toward the light, don't they?

Read the whole story here...

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The website Open Artist Movement has launched a new campaign titled We Can Do It! The photo campaign aims to build solidarity and personal strength through positive messaging. The goal is to bring to life modern iconic individuals, by depicting them as powerful and not victims in support of the global LGBT movement worldwide.

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Prints are for sale on the site.


We had a great night last night at the Fresno Express for the St. Patrick's Day Fundraiser for Gay Central Valley! The night was a great success and we thank all those who came out in support of the organization. Big thanks to Lee and Malibu at the Express, to our fabulous performers DivaLicious and Chantal and all the volunteers who came out to help with the festivities. Here are a few pictures of the night with more to come...

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Dan Choi and Jim Pietrangelo were handcuffed to the White House fence today in protest of DADT. Local Robin McGehee, who participated in the action was arrested, as were Choi and Pietrangelo.

Read more here... and here......


You can now watch 12 days (with more to come) of video re-enactment of the California Prop 8 Trial by visiting MarriageTrial.com's YouTube Page

Restore Equality 2010 has made a strange and bold move in the last days of its signature gathering campaign to get a measure on the November ballot which could overturn Prop 8. They've announced they're now collecting electronic signatures as well as paper signatures. This has never been done before, and to help them with the effort, Restore Equality has enlisted the start-up company Verafirma.

The LA Times recently reported that Michael Ni, a co-founder of Verafirma, submitted an electronic signature to the clerk's office in San Mateo, signed through the touch screen of his iPhone for the measure to legalize marijuana. The purposeful act was done in order to challenge current law, which does not allow electronic signatures to be collected for the initiative process. Currently, no state allows electronic signatures for initiatives, which makes it confusing as to why Restore Equality would choose to go this route.  Ni's signature will be considered by the State Attorney General's Office.

Three states are currently debating electronic signatures. California, in this case, and Nebraska and Utah in similar cases. Decisions in California and Nebraska are pending, while the Utah Attorney General has already issued a 5 page analysis of the matter in his state, ruling that "the laws governing initiatives do not contemplate or allow for the use of electronic signatures."

There still is no word from Restore Equality about how many signatures they have collected and how many they need to meet the requirement of about a million signatures by April 12th.

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Looks like Fresno City College has called out Professor Lopez for his teaching style. After becoming a major news attraction recently, as well as a target of the ACLU, Lopez denied any wrong doing regarding his teaching methods. The College has now weighed in...

Fresno City College authorities found that Dr. Brad Lopez, a health instructor, “engaged in conduct that could result in the creation of a hostile learning environment by unreasonably interfering with students’ learning by making insulting comments directed at homosexuals.”

Read the rest of the story here... 

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BIG NEWS! Central California Alliance  (CCA) is bringing the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to the Tower Theater in Fresno on Harvey Milk Day, Saturday, May 22nd. Gay Central Valley  encourages the community to purchase tickets to support this project, as a portion of the ticket proceeds will be used to help fund a planned LGBT Community Center here in Fresno.  CCA has brought several community members in as an Advisory Board to assist with the goals and direction the planned Community Center will take. A Central Valley LGBT Community Center is long overdue and will be a monumental asset to LGBT citizen in the Central Valley. Only through the assistance of everyone in the community can this project take shape and flourish. Gay Central Valley fully supports this venture.

 

This performance by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is part of their 2010 California Freedom Tour, which is described on their website...

The Chorus will present a concert of uplifting and joyous music that speaks directly to the experience of seeking freedom in the face of discrimination. This is the first time that San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus has embarked upon a tour of California and the first time that the Chorus is collaborating with local charities in the Redding/Chico area to raise funds to help them with their work. 100% of all concert proceeds will be invested back into local community programs. The objective is to reach out to diverse communities in the universal language of music with an inspiring and affirming message of acceptance.

The concerts in Chico and Redding are the first leg of a statewide tour that plans to take in Fresno, Bakersfield and Tracy later in the year (May-July). More details of these events will be posted as it becomes available.

The tour has already appeared in Redding and Chico, California to sell out crowds. After Fresno, the tour is scheduled to move on to Bakersfield and Tracy.

The Official After Party for the concert in Fresno on Saturday, May 22nd, will be held that night, after the performance, at the North Tower Circle in Fresno. A $5 cover charge will be collected at the door. All door proceeds will go toward assisting the planned LGBT Community Center.

We urge the community to fully support this project during this event and in the future. The LGBT Community in Fresno and the Central Valley needs a space in which to disseminate information and come together, and an LGBT Community Center would be that place.

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Recently outed Senator Roy Ashburn is only #5 on the list of the Top 10 Anti-Gay Activists Caught Being Gay according to Ranker.com

Check out the whole list HERE

The head of the UN AIDS Agency, Michel Sidibe, is laying it on the line. With direct and pointed words, he stated yesterday that "it is unacceptable" that 85 countries still have laws criminalizing homosexuality. In fact, seven countries punish homosexuality with the death penalty.

Sidibe described the "growing conservatism" around the world frightening. The fact that conservative policies are increasing and that HIV is on the rise among groups which are not only being discriminated against but facing harsh criminal punishments, is a recipe for disaster. Sidibe warns of a rise in HIV of "epidemic" proportions.

He also pointed out that in Caribbean countries, most of which don't have repressive laws, that only about 5% of HIV is among men having sex with men. The United States, however, is shockingly seeing a spike in new HIV cases, with around 50% of those among homosexuals. Some of this, he concluded, is due to a new "complacency" about the disease.

"We must insist that the rights of the minorities are upheld. If we don't do that ... I think the epidemic will grow again," he warned. "We cannot accept the tyranny of the majority."

In his analysis we can see one of the most dangerous side effects of conservative and restrictive governments. While gays struggle the world over for basic civil rights protections, epidemic disease can be a result of isolation of various groups in the population, groups which are limited in their access to fair and available medical treatments and information. While these governments will undoubtedly entertain the thoughts that perhaps it wouldn't be too bad if certain groups in the population would start dying off, they're missing the piece that will in the end, be their undoing as well. HIV is alive and well among all groups in the population, and while they may not belong to the groups at highest risk now, they will eventually be the population left, the only population left for HIV to attack.

Governments choosing to criminalize and restrict certain groups based solely on some false morality they've created for themselves can come to no other result but to destroy civilization itself, not just the marked parties.

Read more about the warnings of Michel Sidibe HERE

I've written about 10 year old Will Phillips before. I'm not much of a hero person, but if anyone qualifies in my book, it's this brave young man. He garnered national attention for refusing to say the Pledge Of Allegiance in school until all LGBT Americans were granted equal rights. Now, GLAAD has bestowed an award on him for his courageousness. Watch his incredible acceptance speech...

 

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I've written about 10 year old Will Phillips before...explaining that I'm not much for heroes, but this boy is a hero of mine. He refused to say the Pledge Of Allegiance in school until LGBT Americans have equal rights. He garnered national attention for that brave move and now GLAAD has bestowed an award on him for that action. Watch his incredible acceptance speech... ...

If I were to type it in it wouldn’t be that bad. I mean I can just erase the history. But what if mom comes home early? It doesn’t matter; she won’t be home until like four. That gives me a hour and a half. I can just look at a couple of bad pictures and be done. What if she finds them though? What if somehow my brother hacks into the history and finds it? I don’t care. It is totally worth it.

I type in the raunchy gay pornography site and proceed to do what boys do. The only problem is I am wrong. Not because it is pornography but because it is the same sex. I feel guilty for being sinful and giving into my sins. I am demented by the devil for sure.

Who in the world could possibly think the same sex is attractive? I mean, there is something wrong with me for sure.

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Gavin Newsom is back, baby...Although he dropped out of the Governor's race, he's just made the following announcement regarding a run for Lt. Governor...

Just announced that I am running for Lt. Gov.! I want to say thank you for eveyone's support today and over the years. I hope you will join me in this campaign to help take what is right about California and fix what is wrong in Sacramento.

GavinNewsom.com

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A little more justice today as the employees of the Atlanta Eagle bar, who were arrested in September for supposedly "lewd dancing without a permit" (what century are we even living in??) have been declared NOT GUILTY.

Read the story here...

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ImageImageReading about Constance McMillen, the young girl in Mississippi who asked to take her lesbian girlfriend to the prom, resulting in the school cancelling the event completely, I was left feeling defeated. Many recent events concerning LGBT civil rights have resulted in organization simply "pulling the plug". It was evident recently when the Catholic Church changed their policies in reaction to same sex marriage becoming legal in Washington DC. They abandoned their foster care program and removed health coverage for employee spouses. Now we have a bill in Oklahoma which hopes to ignore the recently instituted Federal Hate Crimes Legislation. And the Virginia Attorney General told colleges they can't provide protection for LGBT students.

What's it coming to when we now live in a country that for the most part won't vote in our equal rights as citizens, but which is now working to remove protections already on the books and simply abandoning programs if we become involved? Aggression against LGBT Americans is on the rise, and becoming more prevalent each day.

So it was comforting to hear that the ACLU has now filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi school that cancelled the prom in fear of seeing a lesbian couple out in the open, wearing, GASP!, tuxedos. I hope they kick their butts and bring shame where it belong, to the school board of this small, Mississippi community.

Read the whole story here...

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ImageImageAfter the recent story about conservatives in the Oklahoma legislature debating whether the government should be allowed to intrude on traditional marriage (while having zero problem with the government intruding on same sex relationships) here comes another stunner from the state.

Now, Republican Senator Steve Russell has taken a bill aimed at looking into secondary school education and inserted language to exempt Oklahoma from complying with the recently signed federal hate crimes bill. Basically, it would allow the state to not only ignore the federal law, but to destroy records in hate crimes cases which did not end in conviction.

From Russell...

"We just don’t want the pendulum to swing too far the other way,” he said. "This protects people to do or say whatever they want, as long as it complies with local ordinances.”

The bill has already passed the Oklahoma senate by 39-6 and now heads to the House.

It's bad enough that the courts aren't stepping in when the established equality of LGBT Americans is simply voted away by the populace, as in Maine, but now are we going to see the states literally thumbing their noses at FEDERAL laws, just to protect and continue to enshrine BIGOTRY into our lives? Why does the law only apply to heterosexuals where they "feel" it should apply, while the rest of us are daily being restricted more and more.

This country is in real trouble.

Read the whole story here... ...


David Boies and Ted Olson, attorneys in the CA Prop 8 case, sat down with Adam Liptak, Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, at the newspaper's Manhattan headquarters last night to discuss the landmark case.

The two were filled with optimism as well as reality, discussing their return either later this month or in early April to give their closing statements. They feel the case went extremely well and have confidence in Judge Walker, who may issue his ruling as early as June. Let me just say that it will be quite a celebration if Walker issues a ruling in our favor in June, national Gay Pride month...

Read the story here......

While we occasionally consider political actions in regards to protesting the lack of equality for LGBT Americans that may end up with us being arrested to prove a point, those ideas can't even be entertained in many, many other countries.

A young Saudi man decided to make a brief, YouTube video with a friend of his. Sitting in a car, dressed in a police uniform and brandishing a weapon, the young man pretends to check the other's license, finds its not proper, then puts on some music and moves about seductively. There's nothing more than that, nothing obscene or close to exposure, just a couple of young men fooling around and having fun. Unfortunately, the video caught the attention of the authorities and the man has been sentenced to a year in jail as well as physical punishment for "impersonating an officer" and "homosexuality".

As far as we still need to go in America to overturn the oppressive and constitutionally illegal denial of equal rights to LGBT citizens, consider for a moment what it's like to have any variation on what other consider to be a "normal and proper gender and sexuality".

You can see the video below...

Read more here...

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ImageIn the first same sex ceremonies to be approved with legislative authority, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard officiated five same sex marriages, despite continued criticism from the Catholic Church and other campaigning against the recent change in the laws. It's yet another area from around the world where acceptance of same sex marriage seems unlikely, and somehow astonishing considering how the United States seems to be moving backwards on this issue.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force spokesman Pedro Julio Serrano cheered the milestone. "People in the United States can look up to Mexico City and see a courageous legislature taking a stand," he said. "It's a model to follow."

Read more here...

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ImageA prom is an event that most high school students look forward to, both for its excitement as well as its sense of passage. All that ended in a Mississippi school recently when a lesbian student asked to bring a girl to the dance, and to, god forbid, wear a tuxedo.

Constance McMillan's request to take her girlfriend to the prom resulted the entire event being cancelled by the school district. They chose that option rather than risk problems when the ACLU got involved. It's a small, conservative town of about 4,000 in Itawamba county in Mississippi, so conservative in fact that nearby, ten years ago, school officials were sued over student led, daily intercom prayer.

Constance has returned to school after the decision and faced some verbal retaliation from other students who are disappointed in the prom's cancellation. Her parents support Constance, even pushing her to get right back to school and stand up for who she is. Chances of a privately sponsored prom don't seem likely.

Read more here...

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The Give A Day Get A Disney Day volunteer program through the Disney Parks has come to an end. Gay Central Valley would like to thank all those who volunteered for our organization. Your help was generous and well needed and we hope that you consider volunteering in some way in the future, outside of the Disney Program. Disney issued the following statement regarding the end of this very successful program...

The overwhelming support we received for the "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day." program has helped us reach our goal of inspiring one million people to volunteer a day of service to their communities. The program has now ended. Although you can no longer register and sign up for volunteer opportunities on this site to earn a free Disney Theme Park ticket, you can still continue to give back to your community by locating and signing up for volunteer opportunities through HandsOn Network.

Image Gay Central Valley is happy to once again help sponsor The Fresno Skittles, a local LGBTQ (and allies) softball team . The skittles play other teams locally at the Regional Sports Complex , located 1707 West Jensen, on Jensen just past West Avenue. Games are an hour in length, played weekly on Wednesdays.

Their current schedule is as follows:
(all in field 4)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010: 6:00 PM
Wednesday, March 17, 2010: 8:00 PM
Wednesday, March 24, 2010: 9:00 PM
Wednesday, March 31, 2010: 6:00 PM
Wednesday, April 07, 2010: 8:00 PM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010: 7:00 PM
Wednesday, April 21, 2010: 7:00 PM
Wednesday, April 28, 2010: 7:00 PM
Wednesday, May 05, 2010: 6:00 PM

We encourage all to come to the games to show support for this local LGBTQ (and allies) team.

Though I am into healthy eating, I never thought I liked vegetarian food much. That was until I found New Stars Vegetarian Restaurant at Champlain and Perrin, near Woodward Park. It is a little out of my traditional haunting grounds, but I have since acquired a new job in the area, and have been exploring the nearby restaurants.

New Stars is stylishly decorated with white table cloths, and a lot of wood work. The place has a country feel. The ambiance is very nice, but the food is superb. The first item I tried was the Garden Burger. I have never had much respect for Garden Burgers, making it a good test. The vegetables were very fresh. The veggie patty was a different experience for someone not used to vegetarian food. It is very flavorful and has a texture a little lighter than ground meat. The fries are fried to a crisp golden brown. Instead of fries you can order a green salad composed of a very fresh mixture of salad greens, with a slightly sweet plum infused dressing. I did not know that soy meat existed, but their soy chicken comes very close to the real thing, but with a softer texture. New Stars only uses the highest quality soy meat.

They serve a very enjoyable tropical fruit tea as well that has a natural fruity sweetness. It is just the perfect choice to keep you awake for the afternoon’s work.

The service is very prompt and your glass stays full. All in all it is a different experience in the city of Fresno. New Stars is a good pick for those who like to try something new, whether you are vegetarian or not. New Stars is proof that you can be healthy and enjoy eating at the same time.

Hello and welcome to my article on the current events that are taking place in our valley.

I am sure you all know of the town of Hanford. It is not too far from the city of Fresno and is a rather cultural place to visit. Especially on the first week of every October where the yearly renaissance fair is held. It is aimed to recreate the era of King Henry the Eighth , and it does a very fine job at that I might add. It is a great event for history buffs and also very fun for the family. I strongly recommend all try and make the time to go see it as it only takes place on the first week of October, and another thing that is wonderful is it is totally free of charge! Hanford also has the Kings Symphony Orchestra for those that love classical music. They are very talented and I also recommend them to people that take an interest in classical pieces. They also stray aside and play more modern things as well to please more of an audience. Sadly they only play four times out of the year which sort of makes it more special since it is a rare occurrence. Hanford also has things to do that occur more often and not a few times of the year. The Kings art center has a very wide variety of art ranging from water colors, Pottery, Textiles and photography among many other forms of art. It also teaches classes on how to paint and make pottery on top of many other subject regarding art. Hanford is a very cultural place and has interesting things to do, yet sadly it also infamous.

Many notice right away that Hanford's water has a rather disturbing smell to it. This because of Hanford's water system. You see the wells that supply Hanford with ground water bring up Hydrogen Sulfide along with the water. Hydrogen Sulfide exists deep in the earth and Hanford just so happens to be below a pocket of the Hydrogen Sulfide gas which is also known as H2S which has the smell of rotten eggs. If you ask anyone who works on an oil rig they will cringe in fear at the word H2S. That is because while the machinery is pumping up oil it sometimes gets H2S along with it, which in major levels can be very deadly and leads to death upon breathing it in. They of course have an alarm system that detects it as it is coming up but unfortunately not everyone is so lucky to make it safety on time. H2S gas is also in swamps and volcanoes and “wells”. Luckily there is nothing to fear though as it is in very small amounts and only gives a rotten egg smell in Hanford's water supply.

On December 7th 2009 the city of Hanford was relieved to know that the dangerous levels of arsenic which is a very deadly poison. Has been eradicated from the wells. This was fixed by drilling new wells to replace the ones that were tainted with the dangerous levels of arsenic. They now meet the federal standard of only 10 micrograms of arsenic per liter of water and is now safe for public use. So now that we are all more educated on the fact that Hanford's water is safe we can all have one less thing to worry about.

In more entertaining news I would like to talk about an interesting web comic by the name of “Blur the Lines”.  It is a hilarious web comic about two gay men by the names of Rick and Drew who are a couple. It is very clever and is just simply awesome. The artwork of the comic is also pretty good and is made up of short yet very funny skits that range from day to life, pop culture and some odd events that Rick and Drew face. Do not just take my word for it though. Here click the link and give it a try yourselves http://www.blur-the-lines.com/ . I especially suggest that you read this comic on the recent fiasco where a school had given students laptops with built in video cams to spy on them at home. http://www.blur-the-lines.com/?p=224. A very controversial case in the courts I might add.

Well that concludes this news column on recent valley events. I hope you all benefit from it and I look forward to bringing to the next column. Good day and stay safe.

Another Gay Sequel

Director: Todd Stephens

Starring: Jonah Blechman – Jake Mosser – 

Aaron Michael Davies – Jimmy Calbots

Review By: Leon Velasco

Rating: One Thumb Up/ One Down

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I haven’t many good things to say about the sequel, other than the young lean bodies of young guys was hot, but the storyline didn’t follow thru with the first. The first one actually went with parodies of other teen movies but in gay format. Part two wanted to be like “Gays Gone Wild” was more like Narcoleptics go to sleep. It had no substantial humor as the first. The attempt was there but, no, it just didn’t happen. There were no references to teen sex movies or T.V. shows as the previous movie. There was a mixture of religion and they (writers) tried to tie it in with humor but were seen more to me like the writer thumbing his nose to my religious beliefs. It’s a movie, that if you’re curious about seeing then do; but your time and money are spent better on something else.

The boys are back and they are horny as ever! Packed with celebrity cameos and total gross-out humor, this outrageous follow-up to another gay movie centers around the spring break adventures of Andy, Nico, Jarod, Griff when they enter Fort Lauderdale “Gays Gone Wild” contest ) a contest to see who gets laid the most). The frisky foursome becomes entwined in all sorts of sexual misadventures in this scandalously funny un-PC comedy.

-- “The gay teenage sex comedy of your dreams!” – Time Out New York

-- “The most hilarious gay spoof ever made!”—Gay.com

 

Rosanne has issued an apology for her blog posting last week about the death of Marie Osmond's son...

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I saw on the front page of a tabloid that he had killed himself because he could not handle being gay, and I wrote about how angry that made me, after seeing it hundreds of times, growing up as I did in Utah. I don't know the Osmonds, but was always offended at their constant defense of the indefensible things that their church does, the way it promotes hatred and racism and sexism, tax free.

I always intended that my remarks are directed to Power, and always on behalf of its victims. I am sorry to have hurt Marie Osmond, who is the most open minded person in her whole family. I really apologize to her. I thought about waiting to say what I had to say, but then I thought that perhaps there was no better time to add to the conversations in America about homophobia.

Anyway, I apologize again for having added to another mother's pain, and have asked myself if I should have said nothing at all, or waited a while to say what I said. I really don't know. I think it's good to get people talking about being more aware of what we accept, and i know that my comments got people talking.

The hateful letters I have received from the darkest minds of all, the religious, have made me re-think ever adding my views or my voice to anything ever again in this country. It's a scary time in America, for everybody, but especially for people like me who have a less sanitized view of all of it.

Read more on Rosanne's Blog...

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Seems the courts aren't done with the Phelps gang yet. After a ruling against Phelps which was later overturned, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the fall about whether the messages on the signage used by Phelps when picketing funerals is protected by the Constitution...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is getting involved in the legal fight over the anti-gay protesters who show up at military funerals with inflammatory messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The court agreed Monday to consider whether the protesters' message, no matter how provocative and upsetting, is protected by the First Amendment. Members of a Kansas-based church have picketed military funerals to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

The justices will hear an appeal from the father of a Marine killed in Iraq to reinstate a $5 million verdict against the protesters, after they picketed outside his son's funeral in Maryland.

Read more here...

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Boy, you can smell the Republican hypocrisy in Oklahoma. Actually, you can smell it everywhere, but it's reaching a fever pitch there.

Republican legislators find themselves divided as measures concerning heterosexual marriage keep rearing their ugly, little heads. Oklahoma has the third highest divorce rate in the nation, behind Nevada and Arkansas. In light of the recent studies claiming that divorce and unwed childbearing weighs heavily on the financial burden of the nation, at something like $112 billion a year, the Oklahoma legislature is faced with a portion of their representatives urging some kind of intervention and another rebuking it.

Two marriage bills have already failed. One would have had couples seeking therapy before divorcing while another would have eliminated incompatibility as a reason for divorce if the couple had been married 10 or more years or had children. A third bill, requiring couples to seek counseling before marriage, is still on the table.

What's hypocritical and frankly, astonishing to see at this point, is some of the debate over the issue.

"How far do I want government to come into my home and your home about private personal matters?" asked Rep. Leslie Osborn, a Republican from Tuttle. She called state government a "huge monster."

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has advised addressing the issue, but outside of government. He wants to "break the cycle of divorce" but not "mandate it".

So is this the wave hitting back at conservative heterosexuals? Is this, in some small way, a little bit of justice for all those conservative Americans who seem to have absolutely no problem allowing the government to control the relationships of LGBT citizens? They work tirelessly to make sure we have only the relationship status they want us to have, inflicting the government all over every aspect of our personal lives, but when it comes back to their corner, then they think government needs to back off.

Read more of this story here...

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ImageWell, contrary to how things have played out in the past with closeted gay politicians, Roy Ashburn has wasted no time in re-defining his identity.

"I am gay... those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long," he said on a Monday morning radio talk show.

He defends his anti-gay voting record though, saying he's voted in line with his district and with how they wanted to be represented. While he may be technically right to represent his district with certain votes, what does it say about a man who's now explaining his record with the excuse of "integrity", when he's remained in the closet for so long and chosen to not only be a Republican but a Republican politician? There's no excuse for it. Add to that the standard "I'm a Christian please pray for me" BS that Ashburn is also peddling and you know exactly who this phony is.

Read more here...

You can listen to the entire interview in the videos below...


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The Attorney General of the state of Virginia, Kenneth Cuccinelli, has warned state colleges, via written letter, that they are overstepping their boundaries by including sexual orientation into their anti-discrimination policies. He claims the General Assembly of Virginia has the word on what is or is not discriminatory, and since the state of Virginia, as recently as last week, "a subcommittee killed legislation that would have banned job discrimination against gay state employees".

He went on to urge colleges which included sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination rules to retract and amend their regulations to conform to state law. The chairman of the democratic party has responded that colleges should be able to set policies "without meddling from Ken Cuccinelli" and the ACLU issued a statement saying that colleges are bound by decisions of the US Supreme Court to not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

This demonstrates one of two paths conservatives have begun to embrace in America. Both are born of  recent developments in civil rights legislation. Since LGBT equal rights issues have faced such massive defeat and devastation in recent months, it's had a splintered effect. Some conservatives, realizing they're winning, albeit on a morally treacherous ledge, have taken to the "gentler" approach, in which they proclaim gay people are not to be hated, or reviled, but accepted, although on separate terms. LGBT American are able to have rights, but the rights they designate, nothing more. And certainly no rights which carry the same label or equity as the rights they enjoy throughout the supposed "land of the free and the home of the brave".

A second conservative segment, easily more dangerous, see LGBT failures as an opportunity to ramp things up. From an alarming rise in hate crimes to government officials working to enforce, through twisted interpretations of equality, the daily discrimination of LGBT Americans, one of the results of our civil rights losses is an empowerment of our opposition. It's clear that without discrimination, these people have no one to devour and restrict. Without it, they are less. Without it, they are equal. And they don't want to be equal.

They want the throne. Virginia is another example.

Read the rest of the story here...

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For years the U.S has been fighting for freedoms, some of which we have today such as African American freedom and woman's rights to vote. Now there's another battle that we must fight for. Marriage rights for the widely known LGBT Community Or the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, And Trans community which I am a proud member of myself.

When the subject of Same Sex Marriage comes up in any political or simple conversation there are always criticizers and supporters, whom often are discriminated against themselves for supporting a friend or loved one, who are a member of the LGBT Community or who just support us in our fight for rights that we should have to not only bring peace between the straight community and the LGBT community but to bring equality to each individual of both communities.

Some say America is the land of equality, but how can that be when equality is still being fought for to this day? Equality among the LGBT and straight community may not bring discrimination to an end nor put an end to those who have political power who are against us, but it will finally be a milestone and the hugest achievement in a life time among the LGBT Community.

Most people have a choice in whether that want to get married or not, why can't the LGBT Community have the same choice? During the 2009 presidential election Same Sex Marriage was voted against in California because the public thought that Same Sex Marriage was wrong, but NO one should dictate how people live their lives, but nonetheless people do.

People say that homosexuality, bisexuality, and transexuality is not a genealogical factor. Well the matter of the fact is that it is, and it is also a life choice, and it's just who we are. A persons sexuality shouldn't matter, what matters is on the inside of a person, be it a kind heart, caring, forgiving, that's what people should take into consideration, as I said it shouldn't matter what the person is.

As we continue to fight for our rights as a whole, no one can quiet us, as long as we stick together no one can shatter our spirits and our pride. We will fight, we may lose from time to time but we shall stand to gain our rights for future generations to come. As a proud member I will continue to do what I can in helping our cause.


(Not an actual picture of Ashburn...but funny) 

Oh, it's all so delicious, and the flavors keep improving...Seems Ashburn was asked in 2009 by Lois Henry of The Bakersfield Californian if he was gay. His response?

"Why would that be anyone's business? Including The Californian's? I think there are certain subjects that are simply not relevant and this is one of them. It has no bearing on the job I do."

Henry pushed him, saying it was relevant because of his voting record, to which Ashburn replied that he's voted against "almost all social issues". What a guy.

Then this, courtesy Towleroad...

Just last year he was outed on Facebook (natch) by the out gay mayor of West Sacramento. At the time, Christopher Cabaldon's post on the social networking site:  "It wouldn't bother me so bad to see Roy Ashburn at Badlands with a boy if he didn't have such a bad voting record on gay rights."

Just to make things funnier, Ashburn was at Faces Nightclub, a very cool and fun gay club in Sacramento the night of the Miss Gay Latina 2010 Contest, as Craig Ferguson points out in the attached video... ...

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Marie Osmond's poor gay son killed himself because he had been told how wrong and how sick he was every day of his life by his church and the people in it. Calling that "depression" is a lie!

Yet the Osmonds still talk lovingly about their church, saying nothing about its extremely anti-gay Crusade. Marie also has a gay daughter! Hey, I want her and all the gay kids in the world to know that they are just fine being gay and that they deserve love and respect instead of insults and rebuke! I have gay people in my family and my circle of friends and I am kicking bigot ass and taking names!

That is how it's done in my religion---(I have my own religion that I made up for myself and it is a great religion that actually works and respects facts and not fantasy!)
Gerald Lund one of the ex church apostles has three gay kids himself.
Yet, even though the people they say they love the most in all of their public displays and speeches (THEIR KIDS AND FAMILY!!) are gay,-- their own children,for crying out loud- these people cannot find the christian decency and compassion within themselves to stop their hypocritical gay bashing!!
How sickening. I know so many mormon kids who were gay and committed suicide, and I just cannot and will not stay quiet in order to not offend bigots anymore. It is all so terribly depressing.

Marie please don't talk about how your faith in your church has helped you get through this one! Please get some integrity and tell that church of yours that you will leave it and stop giving it ten percent of your money if they don't stop trying to destroy your kids' and all gay people's civil rights and dreams and hopes!!

G-d is trying to use you for something good and this is your opportunity! Your church is wrong and on the wrong wrong wrong side of things! Get as vocal about that as you are about your diet. G-d bless you too, Marie.

Take a hard look at the facts now as you use this very sad time for introspection, healing growth and prayer, and become a strong symbol for loving mothers who make no apologies for hatred against their own kids!

From RosanneWorld.com

My friends in Upward Educate, a college preparation program, have been the most accepting of my homosexuality. In the following essay I describe the importance of being honest about my sexual orientation. I provide a short story that applies this imperative truth when I was at an Upward Educate convention. The parts are labeled.

Essay

My nerves are actually on edge and I'm shivering as I type this annoying piece of literature. I am a homosexual and I'm not going to lie, it’s an interesting place to be. This shaking and resistance to publishing my story is not because God is telling me to "choose" a better lifestyle: it's because I hear too many horror stories about gays getting killed and I also think about how many people will awkwardly approach me in the future to ask about it. I publish these journals because coming out is something that for certain reasons needs to be done. The main reason being sanity and another being public awareness.

The general public is not as bad as it seems, every hour hearing someone say fucking faggot, or that’s gay. You kind of get used to the creative ways people bash you after a while. The names hardly bug me because it is simply the generations background speaking. The hard part for me is trying to teach people it isn't a sin or a choice.

I’ve been this way since the first time I stepped in the boy’s locker room. Homosexuality deals with sex, that doesn't mean I'm a pervert dement who needs counseling. It just means that my body is sexually aroused by a male’s body instead of the female’s body. Unfortunately because it is viewed as a sin and seen as a sexually confused mishap, homosexuality has led me down several dangerous paths.

ImageGOP California State Senator Roy Ashburn was pulled over after leaving FACES, a gay bar in Sacramento, last night. His driving was erratic and in the end he was charged with a DUI and with driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .08%.

A male passenger in the car with Ashburn was released and not charged. Ashburn has since issued an apology (as usual). Ashburn, divorced with children, has a very anti-gay voting record, including voting against recognizing same sex marriage from other states and opposing Harvey Milk day. 

Read more HERE

 

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You know, I don't have a lot of trust in a lot of things anymore, but some dreams do still come true...

Police have wiretaps implicating Angelo Balducci, a "Papal Gentleman" (boy, that terms going to get some use behind bars...) in a gay prostitution scandal. I know, I need a cigarette too...

Seems Balducci, of course married with children, arranged for the sexual service of young members of the choir, uh, several times a week. These, uh, "meetings" took place at the home of the Italian prime minister, or occasionally after a private audience with a cardinal.

Oh, I can't go on...I'm dizzy from the ecstasy of all this...you can read the whole story HERE

UPDATE: Firings and Jail Time

In my mind one of the most homophobic and frankly, insane, policies of recent years is the continued ban on gay men donating blood. The law remains in place even though there's no science behind it and even though blood donated through gay men poses no more risk than blood donated from anyone else. Finally, someone on Capitol Hill sees the light...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The time has come to change a policy that imposes a lifetime ban on donating blood for any man who has had gay sex since 1977, 18 senators said Thursday.

"Not a single piece of scientific evidence supports the ban," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who joined 16 other Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in writing Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

The lawmakers stressed that the science has changed dramatically since the ban was established in 1983 at the advent of the HIV-AIDS crisis. Today donated blood must undergo two different, highly accurate tests that make the risk of tainted blood entering the blood supply virtually zero, they said.

The senators said that while hospitals and emergency rooms are in urgent need of blood products, "healthy blood donors are turned away every day due to an antiquated policy and our blood supply is not necessarily any safer for it."

Read the rest of this story here... 

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ImageWASHINGTON (AP) -- Jonathan Pilkington's boss wouldn't take no for an answer.

During more than two years as a food runner at an upscale steakhouse in Scottsdale, Ariz., Pilkington says his male supervisor groped, fondled and otherwise sexually harassed him more than a dozen times.

"It was very embarrassing," Pilkington said. "I felt like I had to do something because the situation was just so bad."

Now Pilkington, a married father of two, is the star witness in a federal lawsuit against Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and one of a growing number of men claiming they are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.

From 1990 to 2009, the percentage of sexual harassment claims filed by men has doubled from 8 percent to 16 percent of all claims, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Read the rest of this article here...

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ImageMEXICO CITY (AP) -- Throngs of Mexico City gay and lesbian couples registered for marriage licenses Thursday, the day Latin America's first gay-marriage law took effect.

The first gay weddings will take place within a week to 10 days, after the paperwork is processed.

Mexico City's legislature approved the first law explicitly giving gay marriages the same status as heterosexual ones in December. The change will allow same-sex couples to adopt children, apply for bank loans together, inherit wealth and be included in the insurance policies of their spouse, rights they were denied under civil unions allowed in the city.

"This is great, it is a feeling of relief, of celebration, everything," said Daniel Ramos, 20, a medical student planning to marry his boyfriend, Temistocles Villanueva, on March 12.

"For Latin America, this is not only a precedent, but an example to follow," he added.

Read the rest of this article here...

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ImageWASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon's upcoming study on gays in the military is biased, some GOP lawmakers already contend, because it assumes Congress will repeal the 1993 law known as "don't ask, don't tell."

Republicans are likely to use that argument as they try to erode the credibility of the planned review, which Defense Secretary Robert Gates envisions as the first comprehensive look at 17-year-old policy.

Leading the assessment are the Defense Department's general counsel, Jeh Johnson, and the U.S. Army Forces Europe commander, Gen. Carter Ham. They were to testify Wednesday before a House Armed Services subcommittee for the first time since being named to lead the study.

"Many of us on this committee have serious concerns with putting our men and women in uniform through such a divisive debate while they are fighting two wars," said Rep. Buck McKeon of California, the committee's top Republican.

Read the rest of this story here... 

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Spring is around the corner and the smell of leather is in the air. No, I don’t mean from chaps or whips…. but softball gloves. (sorry to disappoint) You can also hear the pounding of cleats in the dirt. Ahhh, spring time! As many of you know there is a local LGBT-Straight Ally softball team, the Fresno Skittles. They play on Wednesday nights at the sports complex located at Jensen & West. Their first game is March 3rd at 7:00 pm, please go out and cheer them on!

 
I am now proud to announce the creation of their sister team, the Visalia Skittles. We are set to begin our first season in a few weeks. We will play on Friday nights at Plaza Park. Our first game will be March 19th, we hope to see and hear you out there cheering us on as well!
 
Both teams serve two purposes within our community. They provide a safe outlet and recreation source for sports minded enthusiasts. Plus, they get out there and mingle with mainstream society for some great exposure and interaction. It’s also a good opportunity and perfectly legal, to kick a little heterosexual ass! (in a nice way, of course)
 
We hope to have a fundraiser exhibition game soon to benefit Gay Fresno & Gay Visalia, divisions of Gay Central Valley, who sponsor both teams. Stay tuned for more details in the near future.
 
In closing, whatever town you live in or near, get out there and root for your local team. If you have questions or would like to know more about the Fresno team you can contact Liz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Brooke at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the Visalia team. If you want to expand our rainbow to your town, contact us and get something going! See you on the field, GO SKITTLES!

ImageSame sex marriage licenses will begin to be issued tomorrow, Wednesday March 3rd in Washington DC. Although couples can register for the licenses on Wednesday, there is a 3 day waiting period before they can exchange vows.

Opponents of the new legislation attempted to have the Supreme Court block the law in order to allow an appeal, stating that the voters should have a say on the issue. However, today, the Supreme Court denied the request, allowing the new law to go into effect. Chief Justice John Roberts responded to the request for a stay by stating, "It has been the practice of the court to defer to the decisions of the courts of the District of Columbia on matters of exclusively local concern."

DC's new legislation will be added to other US locales where same sex marriage is legal: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and Vermont. 

In the wake of the new law in DC, Catholic Charities has issued a new ruling of their own. On Monday, they announced that they'd changed their health care coverage for DC employees, and would no longer cover spouses benefits. Their new policy takes effect today, Tuesday, one day before same sex couples will be allowed to obtain marriage licenses in DC.

 A spokesman for the charity said, "This allows us to continue providing services, comply with the city's new requirements and remain faithful to the church's teaching."

With the new law pending, the Catholic Charities just last month transferred their foster care program to another organization, rather than be forced to include same sex families once the law takes effect. As a private, nonprofit organization, Catholic Charities is within its legal rights to alter their health coverage and to transfer their programs. They employ about 850 people, of which only about 100 currently use their spousal benefit program.

ImageWASHINGTON (AP) -- Gay and lesbian couples will soon be able to marry in Washington, but the debate over same-sex marriage has sounded different here, with references to interracial marriage and Martin Luther King.

Over the past year, both sides have courted the support of Washington's black community, a majority of the city's 600,000 residents and one traditionally perceived as opposed to same-sex marriage.

"In D.C., outreach to African-Americans wasn't part of the campaign. It was the campaign," said Michael Crawford, the leader of a pro-same-sex union group, D.C. For Marriage.

Read the rest of this story here...

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says a study on allowing gays to serve openly in the military must involve troops without ensnaring them in the political debate.

In a memo outlining the parameters of the upcoming study, Gates says that "given the political dimension of this issue" that it is important to, in his words, "shield our men and women in uniform and their families from those aspects of this debate."

The internal assessment is the first of its kind since 1993, when Congress passed a law banning gay service members from acknowledging that they are gay and the Pentagon adopted its "don't ask, don't tell" policy based on that law.

Gates says he wants to ensure changes in the policy won't hurt military effectiveness.

SOURCE

ImageClick on flyer to enlarge for viewing...Fresno City College’s Diversity Club will be celebrating its fourth annual FCC Pride Day on THURSDAY APRIL 16TH, 2009 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the Free Speech Area of the campus.

For the past three years, this event has grown, both in reputation and in the level of community participation. Space availability will be limited, and will be on a first come, first serve basis. Please respond quickly if you wish to reserve a space at our celebration.

To reserve your place, please send the attached Booth Application Form to the return address provided on the form. All forms must be received no later than March 20, 2009.

We ask for a $20 booth donation from each organization that wishes to have a booth at Pride Day. We use the proceeds from this fee to recover the funds that we spend to put on our Pride Day. However, if your organization is unable to pay this fee but would still like to participate, simply indicate this on the “other” section of our Booth Application Form. The Diversity Club does not want to turn anyone away for lack of funds.

As in the past, the Diversity Club will be having a drawing at our Pride Day. If you would like to donate a door prize, please contact one of our advisors or officers, as listed below. We very much appreciate any donations you or your organization can make. Such donations, as well as the booth fee, are tax deductible, and the Diversity Club would be happy to produce any necessary paperwork, upon request.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration! For any additional information, please e-mail us back at this address or contact any of our advisers or officers, listed below:

Jerry Thurston, Advisor
(559) 442-4600, ext. 8455
Nancy Gutierrez-Sauceda, Advisor
(559) 442-4600, ext. 5795
Todd Martinez, Adviser
(559) 442-4600, ext. 563 Raisha Pacella, Club President

Image Do you have a fear of singing in public? Or standing in front of a crowd and being embarrassed? Then you have an overwhelming rush of courage from a group of strangers cheering you on! Well this was the part of our Miso event! Sushi, karaoke, and a group of fun diverse strangers in a room. We were not strangers for long. Everyone was intertwining in different conversations and eating tasty treats. Due to the large number of us, our service was a little slow. But our servers were extremely sweet and trying very hard to accommodate to us.

We had two main events, besides engaging in all the diverse friends in the room, was karaoke and the adorable children in the room. Melanie and Stephanie’s daughter looked like she was having a play date with Chris and Kat’s daughter. They were jewels in a crowd of rocks. Everyone seemed to flock to them, even the Miso staff.

WORLD TELEVISION PREMIERE EVENT: THE FILM ‘PEDRO’ AIRS ON MTV, MTV TR3S, mtvU & LOGO ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1 AT 8:00 PM ET/PT 

Introduced by President Bill Clinton, BMP Films and MTV Bring Academy Award-Winner Dustin Lance Black’s (“Milk”) Story of The Real World’s Pedro Zamora To Life  

MTV and World Class Partners to Help Mobilize Young People to Get Tested During STD Awareness Month  

Click here to download the Pedro Viewing Guide.

Santa Monica, CA - March 4, 2009 - MTV, mtvU, LOGO and MTV Tr3s, with subtitles in Spanish, will present the world television premiere of Pedro, a movie based on the remarkable life of The Real World’s Pedro Zamora, on Wednesday, April 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. BMP Films, in association with MTV, produced this biopic written by Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”).  For more information and to view the movie trailer, please visit
http://www.pedro.mtv.com/.

In 1994, Zamora captured the hearts of millions as the first-ever openly gay, HIV-positive main character on TV, on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco . Zamora ’s time in the house on Lombard Street brought a face to the AIDS crisis.  President Bill Clinton has long credited Zamora with personalizing and humanizing the epidemic, and he will introduce Pedro when it makes its world television premiere April 1st.


The ballot measure war has begun. Earlier this month two Southern California students got approval to start collecting signatures for a measure which, if approved, would strike the word "marriage" from all California state laws, which would include heterosexual couples.

A second ballot measure proposal was just approved for signature gathering. This measure, if passed, would rescind Proposition 8 and restore the rights of same sex couples to marry. Click on the links below to access these stories...

Proposed Ballot Measure Would Strike Marriage Down For All Californians

Second Ballot Measure To Repeal Prop 8 Approved For Signature Gathering

Secretery of State pdf

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has issued a formal reply to her office's support of "Celebrate Marriage Week".

See original letter sent to her

Reply from the Mayor

ImageWASHINGTON — The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. officials said Tuesday they had notified the declaration's French sponsors that the administration wants to be added as a supporter. The Bush administration was criticized in December when it was the only western government that refused to sign on.

Click HERE for the rest of this article...

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ImageImageGay Fresno would like to send out a big THANK YOU to The North Tower Circle and The Fresno Express nightclubs, for generously offering us a space to place our banner within their facilities. Gay Fresno and Gay Central Valley are not for profit (pending reply from IRS non profit status) entities dedicated to providing information, access and activism to the LGBT community in the Central Valley, and visibility is crucial to that goal. We thank both nightclubs for their support!

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From Julia Rosen, Online Political Director, Camp Courage...

"The wonderful Marta, one of our facilitators was kind enough to upload her photos from this weekend onto our Flickr photostream. There are some absolutely wonderful shots of Camp Courage Fresno. I've noticed that a number of campers/facilitators have already made the photos their facebook profile pictures."

Click HERE to access the photos and video...

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ImageImage“If you’re in the marriage business, do it equally.” This was the powerful statement made by one of the attorneys representing same sex couples last Thursday in San Francisco. This argument, made at a California Supreme Court hearing, nicely sums up one of the essential responsibilities of the government: govern with equality in all that the government is involved.

Quite simply, if the state is going to remain in charge of civil marriages, then it should do so in a manner that is fair and equal to all; similarly to how it’s supposed to act in all other areas regardless of race, gender or religious beliefs.

Many argue that the amendment made to the state constitution by Prop 8 merely restricts the ‘marriage’ label to apply to unions between opposite sexes. But it is utter silliness to attempt to pass the separate but equal term of ‘civil unions,’ as treating same-sex unions with dignity and respect. In reality, this is only granted through equal treatment of all marriages.


 In preparing this post, I can't but help use the first-person perspective because the impact that Camp Courage in Fresno had on me personally as a facilitator is so profound that distancing myself from it would, not only be difficult, but wrong in how I should communicate what needs to be told about the amazing change that is happening in Fresno, CA.

For the sake of time in telling this story, I first need to direct you to my Op-Ed on the first Camp Courage in LA so you can know what Camp Courage is and what it's about. This exact same model was brought to Fresno, but effectively expanded upon over the course of two days.

On Saturday morning, we facilitators anxiously waited for our pre-assigned group to arrive through the conference room doors, excited to know who we would be working with for the whole weekend. The expected 160 and more attendees were randomly divided into groups to help mix it up, and I was curious to see whom I and the rest of the facilitators would get. Many of us had either been to the energized Camp Courage in LA or had worked at several Camp Obamas, whose model Camp Courage has adopted. So we were expectant of the same amount of energy.
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ImageHere we are, LGBT Americans, awaiting another ruling from the California Supreme Court about whether our minority group, our suspect class, will be welded into the foundation of equality. After watching the hearings, my hopes are not high. After March 5th, I haven't found one person who thinks we'll win.

Regardless of the overwhelming failure of our "organized" leaders in California (check out the latest failure , how a letter from Barack Obama which fully supports marriage equality was ignored by the campaign. The letter was originally reported in July, 2008) we all know why we were out voted on this issue, and that's religion, specifically Christians. In the wake of our loss, and with the knowledge of the voting mentality of those who struck us down, it's fairly shocking to see and hear so much "pro-god talk" at political actions and events.  Put aside whether you believe in god or not (I'll get to that in a minute) and let's look at the facts.

 

ImageOut of Sync / A Memoir

Author: Lance Bass / Introduction by: Marc Eliot

I read this book with an open mind and intrigue. I was most ecstatic when the news finally made Headlines on all forms of media; “Lance Bass Comes Out”, were most of the headlines words. I never picked up a magazine up so fast to read it in 15-20 minutes tops.  Although it (the media) never went into detail of when he felt he was feeling things differently and all the emotional combats he had to endure to keep his secret, this book does. It is clear and more in depth of explanations and scenarios that not only tell his story of his struggle between being a star and being his true self. He tells a story of his climbing the ladder of the music business, the betrayal of the manager they (the group) first had. The conflict of telling the others in the group or not about his “secret”. The fear of being discovered and outted before his time. I do wish more people in the entertainment industry would follow in the footsteps of the entire gay entertainer’s that have been honest to the public.

 

Rick Jacobs is the chair and founder of the Courage Campaign . As their website states, "The Courage Campaign is an online organizing network that empowers nearly 700,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change in California"

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The Courage Campaign tackles many progressive issues in California including disenfranchised voters, wage inequities and the state budget crisis. It's Camp Courage, however, which brought the organization to Fresno, in an effort to facilitate and empower citizens of the Central Valley to become community organizers and participants in the battle for marriage equality.

On Saturday, March 7th, the first day of the Camp Courage event here in Fresno, I sat down to have a conversation with Rick about his organization and his thoughts on the continuing battle for marriage equality.

Chris Jarvis: Rick, I know the Courage Campaign started on the basis of other issues besides marriage equality. How did you get involved with this battle?

Rick Jacobs: We got involved in August, although we weren't very able to get involved directly with the campaign, so we ran a kind of parallel structure. Our team is about as good a set of online organizers as you'll find anywhere, they're really smart and they know what they're doing. They saw big holes and instead of complaining about it we just filled the holes. We put together a blogger's group to connect to people. We worked with MoveOn.org to raise money for the No On 8  campaign. We raised $250,000 working with Daily Kos . Afterward we saw there was, frankly, a vacuum, and people wanted to do something. So within four or five weeks we got over 300,000 people to sign a pledge to repeal Prop 8 and then we realized what really needed to happen was we needed to organize. This, to me, is a logical outgrowth toward making the state progressive. 

 

Photo gallery from the cocktail reception for Camp Courage on Saturday, March 7th, hosted by The North Tower Circle...(click on images to enlarge)

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You know, I get that the mood of a candlelight vigil, complete with a moment of silence, is supposed to be a somber occasion.  Especially when the next day equality and the slippery slope of mob rule are facing the microscope.  So, I should feel the solemnity of the occasion, right?  Then why do I feel so giddy? 

Maybe it’s the 150 people that turned out that night.  Maybe it was the lack of hatred pointed our way that night (no one protesting us).  Maybe it was the look on the faces of these people, the look that said, “We can DO this!”  That whether or not the State Supreme court votes with us or against us, this is not the end.  And maybe, most of all, it was that absolutely invigorating feeling that comes with knowing, with 100% certainty, that you are on the right moral side. 

Can’t help it.  Moral conviction makes me giddy.


 

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the first Saturday AFTER the California State Supreme Court issues its ruling on the Proposition 8 cases, meet us on the steps of City Hall in downtown Fresno to rally for NATIONAL LGBT EQUALITY.

Why FRESNO ?

The battle for equality has to be fought in small towns like Fresno , California -- not gay-friendly cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles .

The population of California 's Central Valley is far more reflective of national attitudes toward LGBT rights and until we roll up our sleeves and engage the communities of “middle-America, we will not have the full equality we deserve.

This IS the civil rights movement of this generation.

Where will YOU stand when the Court rules?

Where will you STAND for equality?

We will stand in Fresno ...join us!

City Hall at !

2600 Fresno Street
Fresno , CA 93721

 

 

MeetintheMiddle4Equality.com for event updates

ImageIf you weren't able to watch the CA Supreme Court Hearing the morning of March 5th, 2009, regarding the validity of CA Proposition 8, you can view the entire proceedings (3+ Hours) by clicking on the following link... VIDEO - Complete Video of Supreme Court Oral Arguments On Prop 8 (March 5th, 2009)

 

ImageImageThe Fresno Bee KURT HEGRE / THE FRESNO BEE

Opponents of Proposition 8 hold a vigil Wednesday in front of the Fresno County Clerk’s Office. Similar vigils were held throughout the state on the eve of arguments about the proposition's constitutionality before the California Supreme Court.

More than 100 people gathered outside the Fresno County Clerk's Office on Wednesday night for a vigil called in opposition to Proposition 8, the initiative passed in November that bans same-sex marriage.

Similar vigils were held throughout the state, including one in Visalia, on the eve of oral arguments in the California Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of the measure.

"No matter what the Supreme Court decides, we have no intention of giving up ... our right to marry," said Ellis Vance of the Central California Alliance.

Vance was married to his partner of 42 years at the clerk's office on June 17, the first day same-sex marriages were conducted in Fresno.

Also present at the vigil was Robin McGehee, a lesbian mother who said she was forced out as president of a parent-teacher group at St. Helen's Catholic School because she spoke out against the measure. Her son Sebastian now attends McCardle Elementary.

"Whether you agree or disagree with gay marriage ... I shouldn't be denied a right that's given my neighbor," she said.

Opponents remain steadfast in opposition.

"I'm hoping the justices uphold the decision voters made last November," Christopher Tasy of Sanger said in a telephone interview. "For the Supreme Court to undermine 5,000 years of social and historical precedent is anathema for those of us who hold marriage to be sacred."

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Click on the following link to view the CBS 47 News Video...CBS 47 News Coverage - Prop 8 Challenge  

Click on the following link to view the KSEE 24 Eve Of Justice Video...KSEE 24 News Coverage - Eve Of Justice  

Above is a KMPH News Video which covered tonight's events. The text below is a copy of the speech I (Chris Jarvis) gave at the Eve of Justice Rally in Fresno on March 4th, 2009. Thank you to all those who came out in the cold and drizzling rain to mark this moment with us, as well as to all the speakers and participants. We had an amazing turn out!  Photos of the event are included. Click on the images to enlarge... 

ImageClick on the following link for ABC 30 local coverage...LOCAL ABC 30 EVENING NEWS COVERAGE

ImageWe stand, again, at a monumental moment in our history. It's more than frustrating for us to have to watch once again as others debate whether we are worthy of equal citizenship in America. We've witnessed a lot of history for LGBT Americans in the last year. Last June we celebrated as we were granted the legal right to marry the person of our choice in California, and last November, our spirits were momentarily crushed by the passing of Proposition 8.  

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I've always believed, my entire life, that I would see LGBT Americans granted equal citizenship. I can't say I ever thought it would still be up for debate in the year 2009. This inequity in the very principals of the foundation of America is shameful. That our equal rights must be held up to the "will of the people" is shameful. It is a blight on the integrity of this nation.

March 2, 2009 Sacramento – Both the California Senate and Assembly passed resolutions today opposing Proposition 8 as an illegal and unprecedented revision to the state Constitution. According to the resolutions, Prop. 8 illegally usurps the legislature’s role to vote on all fundamental revisions to the Constitution. By taking away the fundamental freedom to marry from one particular group, Prop. 8 alters the very intent of the Constitution, which is to treat all people equally under the law.

The resolutions, Senate Resolution 7 and House Resolution 5, are sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and were introduced by Senator Mark Leno and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, respectively, both of San Francisco. In addition, a full 17 Senators and 40 Assemblymembers signed on as resolution co-authors. The Senate resolution passed by a final vote of 18-14, whereas the Assembly version passed 44-27. 


ImageImageImageImageClick on images to enlarge...Click on the play button in the video box to play the video, or follow this link... ABC LOCAL CHANNEL 30 NEWS COVERAGE  

"I'd take him to a lake and drown him..." the man answered, turning his head away from us mid-sentence, but not without us hearing his every word. We'd asked what he might do if he had a son who was born gay. His response was only one of such replies we ended up hearing that night.

We were at the Save Mart Center, a small group of us, on Saturday, February 28th, to stand with Jay Matthew of EraseTheH8.com to stage a protest against the $2,500 donation by Steve Cleveland, coach of the FSU basketball team, to the YES ON 8 campaign, the proposition responsible for stripping thousands of Californians of the equal rights they'd been granted by the California Supreme Court in 2008.

In  the world of sports, support of marriage equality is perceived to be far lower than in the general population.  Given our experience that night I can assure you, that's not just a perception.

 

Image Although I’m a gay man, I've struggled for years trying to understand the complexities involved with those who are transgender or transsexual. I fully support them, yet I've always felt a void in my understanding of the issues of those particular gender and sexual identities. Middle Sexes – Redefining He & She, provided clear, concise and educated enlightenment. Not only on those issues, but on a whole realm of varied levels and degrees of human sexuality. Helmed by the brilliant narration of Gore Vidal, this documentary travels to several countries and examines social structures regarding homosexuality and transgender issues. I came away from this documentary a lot wiser, and I highly recommend it, particularly to anyone who rejects any sexuality or identity outside of heterosexuality. Watch this and your eyes will be opened, as well as your hearts. Netflix Link: Netflix: Middle Sexes - Redefining He & She

Image Speaking at an LGBT fund raiser in New York City, Barack Obama stated, according to sources, that securing marriage rights for same sex couples was not "politically feasible” at this time. Read the story here: Obama Holds LGBT Fund Raiser In NYC

Image In Florida, Eric Breidenbaugh had a devastating experience recently – having to learn of his partner's death from the TV because he was "not an actual family member" – which epitomizes the cruelty of laws that discriminate against GLBT couples. But his story has also helped focus attention on a chilling reality: a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the 2008 ballot in Eric's home state of Florida – and, if you can believe it, more anti-GLBT measures moving toward the ballot in California, Arizona, Arkansas, and Oregon. Watch The Video

Image Lilliana Pastor @ Univision/Channel 21 (Spanish) is working on a special series about hate crimes. She is seeking anyone within the GLBT community who’s been the victim of a hate crime for a possible profile on a special series regarding hate crimes. As Univision is a Spanish station they prefer Spanish speakers. If you or someone you know qualifies to assist her in this project, please contact her @ 916-1897 (cell phone) or 559-241-6327 the office. 

Fresno Reel Pride hosted a special art and wine reception at Ashtree Studios on Saturday evening, March 22nd. Attendees enjoyed an intimate viewing of the colorful work by local artist and festival sponsor, Aileen Imperatrice, who co-owns the Tower District studio and gallery with her husband, Anthony. They donated 50 percent of the purchase price for all artwork sold that evening to Fresno Reel Pride, as well.

 

Image The rates of HIV among young African-American men who have sex with men have skyrocketed, reported the Centers for Disease Control on Thursday. The CDC's report showed that in the 33 states where data was collected, the number of HIV or AIDS cases increased among all adult and adolescent MSM in all age groups from 2001 through 2005. The largest increase came with African-American MSM ages 13-24, with a staggering 80% increase. Read the full story here: AIDS Rates Surge Among African American Men

 

The following is my first attempt at video blogging.  After listening to the remarks from Sally Kern (the nutcase in OK) I felt an overwhelming compulsion to mock her, and I couldn't think of any way that would be better than in video.  As you are watching, you will notice that Sally email addresses are linked if you want to send her your views on her rantings (don't send hate mail - it will just get deleted).

Image Fresno Reel Pride has been selected as a recipient for a Fresno Arts Council's 2008 Horizon Award. The 23rd Annual Horizon Awards winners have been officially announced and this year's recipients include Fresno Reel Pride. Since its inception in a lecture hall at Fresno State in 1990, Fresno Reel Pride has become the sixth oldest— and has grown to become one of the largest— gay and lesbian film festivals in the United States.

Image In episode 9, "What Happened to Gloria!?!", Marnie Alton and I talk about how we met auditioning for "Exe's & Oh's", what it was like for Marnie to have her first girl kiss and how she was introduced to homosexuality while growing up. We also take on Afterellen viewer letters dealing with issues of that straight best girl friend who is either homophobic or wants to cross that line....Among other things, join us for the fun and games of Marnie’s first paid gig, our childhood crushes and the battle of Canadians vs. Americans.... it's hard to tell who won though....ENJOY! Cathy

PS - Do tune in to my myspace page to see a "Cutting Room Floor" edition of this episode....  I won't tell you what, but there was some footage we couldn't legally post on Afterellen....  (It'll be up on my myspace page by tonight or tomorrow morning.)

www.myspace.com/cathydebuono  www.cathydebuono.com

www.myspace.com/cathydebuono

 

Image Exodus International, which refers to itself as "a nonprofit, interdenominational Christian organization promoting the message of Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."  is holding a West Coast Regional Freedom Conference here in Fresno at the Bridge Evangelical Free Church April 3-5th. Exodus proclaims itself a service where people go to "recover from homosexuality". Use the links provided to issue complaints to both Exodus and the church itself for allowing this damaging, brainwashing and completely discredited and illegitimate practice to have a voice in Fresno...

Exodus Official Website

Exodus - Wikipedia Listing

Exodus Fresno Event

The Bridge Church Website

Image Attached is the flyer for Barn Dance 2008 (click to enlarge). Barn Dance this year is on Sunday, April 13th, 2008. For more information contact ICP Greg Lucas @360-0279 or Empress Patsy Del Rey @ 477-0976. More information can also be found at the Imperial Dove Court Official Website

Image Sue Rochman, a writer for the Advocate, discusses the details of last week's marriage equality case, heard by the California Supreme Court, and analyzes possible outcomes. Read the article here: Advocate: California Marriage Outcome Far From Clear 

Image “This stuff is deadly and it’s spreading.”
“I honestly think it’s the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.”
“They want to get our young children into the government schools so they can indoctrinate them.”
“Gays are infiltrating City Councils.”
“According to God’s word…it has deadly consequences…”

These statements were spoken, among others just as unintelligent and shocking, by Oklahoma Republican State Representative Sally Kern during a gathering in her district. Kern mixes an unbelievable level of ignorance and hatred with a belief that she has a right to encourage and initiate prejudiced and restrictive legislation based on her personal religious ideas. Victory Fund is an organization dedicated to electing fair and intelligent officials, and their link follows, as well as a link to the video. I’ve also included contact information for Sally Kern, who by any reasoned path, should be removed from public office immediately...
YouTube Video
www.victoryfund.org/listening

Sally Kern: (405) 557-7348
2713 Sterling Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73127
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Image UPDATE: Watch Ellen Degeneres call Sally Kern's office on the Ellen Degeneres Show. Watch the clip here:  

Ellen Degeneres Calls Sally Kern

  

Image Can we just cut the bullshit? Let’s stop saying stupendously idiotic things like Americans who are on the wrong side of an issue are “ignorant” or “uninformed”? There’s one reason and one reason only why so many Americans can’t hold a decent conversation involving topical issues, and that’s that they don’t make any effort to learn. Nothing outside of making a conscious choice to believe whatever headline is spewed from whatever media giant they’ve chosen to fortify their opinions with.

Image The Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars-- Jared Lindo, Adrian Quintero and Sara Martinez-- were publicly recognized at the Fresno Magazine release party held on March 5, 2005 at Thaiphoon Restaurant in the Tower District. The March 2008 issue of Fresno Magazine includes a full-page article and photo on the Bulldog Pride Fund-- a $151,000 endowment dedicated to supporting students scholarships at Fresno State. Click on READ MORE for the full story and photo gallery...

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Image Get involved in order to battle the current movement to forever bar the LGBT community from achieving marriage equality by amending the California State constitution.

STOP THE INITIATIVE – SUPPORT FAIRNESS

We all work hard to treat others fairly because each of us deserves the same. Be careful if asked to sign an initiative petition to “protect marriage” – it’s really an effort to give government more say in our private lives. This petition is actually about amending the state constitution to exclude gay and lesbian couples from ever marrying in California.

Help stop this unfair initiative. Please do not sign the “marriage” petition.
Every Californian deserves fairness under the law. Our government should not be in the business of telling people who they can or cannot marry.

Support fairness. Please don’t sign the petition
Call 612-718-0770 or 202-841-0291 for questions or to get involved in Fresno.
Two people in a committed, loving, trusted relationship deserved the honor and support that comes with marriage. The Equality for All campaign is a large and diverse coalition of civil rights, faith, choice, labor and community of color organizations working to stop and defeat any ballot measure that would deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry in California.
Please visit http://www.equalityforall.com for more information.
 

ImageImageImage Village Voice columnist Michael Musto hilariously stars in his version of the Lindsay Lohan photos recalling Marilyn Monroe's famous photo shoot.

Read the story here: The Ultimate Revamping

 

Image Plans for the Imperial Dove Court Barn Dance - "A Country Jamboree" are in full swing.  The event will be held on Sunday, April 13, 2008 from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Fresno County Sheriff Rifle and Pistol Range. There is still space available for three food booths and plenty of space for informational or game booths. Booth applications and more information are available on the court website: www.idcfresno.org

 

Image Cyndi Lauper & The Human Rights Campaign are bringing back the True Colors Tour, featuring Cyndi, The B-52s, Rosie O’Donnell, Carson Kressley, Tegan and Sara, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Joan Armatrading, Wanda Sykes, Regina Spektor, Indigo Girls, The Cliks, Deborah Cox, and many others, will visit more than 20 cities across the country, starting May 31 and ending July 5th. For more information click here True Colors Tour 2008

ImageImageThe weather is warming up and the sun is shining. Do you feel that tropical breeze?  Do you smell the sea air? No? Then stop by Milano Italian Restaurant and view some tropical paintings in various mediums. If we can’t get to the tropics then maybe a view of the tropics can be in Fresno.
www.sereneartistry.com
www.fresnoarthop.org

Image At 9AM Tuesday, March 4th, the California Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the most important case for marriage equality in California history. Click on READ MORE for the story...

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ImageGay City News/02.27.08/03.03.08 Duncan Osborne
The health department is reporting that syphilis cases in New York City shot up by 60 percent from 2006 to 2007, largely due to an increase in cases among men who have sex with men (MSM).  

Image Check out comedienne Kate Clinton's latest Video Blog, where she discusses Politics in terms of Hillary, Obama & Bush, as well as Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and discrimination against transgender people in Maryland...
Kate Clinton VLog

Image Ellen Degeneres discussed the recent hate crime murder of 15 year old Lawrence King on her daytime talk show this week.
I would like you to start paying attention to how often being gay is a punch line of a monologue, or how often gay jokes are in a movie. That kind of message, laughing at someone because they’re gay is just the beginning. It starts with laughing at someone, then it’s verbal abuse, then it’s physical abuse, then it’s this kid Brandon killing a kid like Larry.”
Watch the video here: Ellen on Lawrence King Murder 

 I came across a recent and ongoing online debate between gay blogger Andrew Sullivan and author Sam Harris by accident, but I was hooked instantly. I didn’t move from the computer until I’d read all there was in the debate so far, and not once did the dialogue lose any of it’s resonance or power. It is without a doubt the finest example I’ve ever seen of debate on the topic of God and religion.

hrc logo

The Human Rights Campaign has joined forces with Cyndi Lauper to launch a national tour in support of LGBT rights, which kicks off in Las Vegas on June 8th. Besides the legendary Lauper, the tour will include such acts as Erasure, Debbie Harry, the Indigo Girls, and The Dresden Dolls, as well as special appearances by the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Rosie O’Donnell, with the whole thing hosted by Margaret Cho. HRC is also making tickets available to members March 12-14th, prior to public sales. For more information use the following link…True Colors Tour

The Yosemite chapter of the Knights Of Malta will host Leatherfest 2007, a competition for various Central California leather titles. Leatherfest takes place March 23 through March 25 with several events and activities scheduled. The Red Lantern is the home bar of the Knights of Malta, and will host the competition. For all the details and applications, visit the Knights Of Malta Website

A 30-something Fresno gay man has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer and four unidentified officers who allegedly handcuffed him, bent "him double" and then penetrated his anus with a foreign object-a thumb or finger.

According to the civil complaint, four Fresno police officers showed up at Cain Gonzalez's home in a Southeast Fresno gated community on November 7, 2005 where they detained and handcuffed him. The officers claimed he had drugs in his possession.

February 14th is known by all as Valentine Day, a day of love, care, and romance.  It’s a time where people want to be close to that special someone and express their “feelings” with that person; even if it’s just for one night.  But what if your partner decides to open up to you and tell you that they have AIDS.  How would you feel?  Would you be able to handle the shock and truth of this reality?!!
Image Al Franken came to Fresno this week to do a live broadcast of The Al Franken Show, http://shows.airamericaradio.com/alfrankenshow/ his weekly segment on Air America Radio http://airamericaradio.com/ . When I heard about it I also heard that the 400 available tickets were free and the live broadcast would be from 9AM-Noon on a Thursday. I couldn’t help but feel some doubt that they’d be able to scrape up 400 liberal Fresnans for an early weekday radio show. I was pleasantly surprised when the day came and the crowd was around 500.

We started lining our cars up at River Park around 7:30AM. People were busy decorating their cars with blue ribbons and signs welcoming Franken to Fresno. Afterwards we drove in a caravan of vehicles to Pardini’s on west Shaw. The warm, welcome and excited mood of those gathered was something you don’t experience a lot as a liberal in Fresno. Slowly, the cohesive crowd moved in to fill the banquet hall to capacity.

EQCA and GSA's Joint Office Warming Party and Mixer

Representatives from some of the leading human rights organizations are touring California meeting and discussing strategy with local leaders with the goal of building more powerful and connected networks around the state. Come meet up with them on their Fresno stop and meet and greet with local leaders while enjoying a free BBQ.

Sunday, April 2
2PM - 4PM
928 North Van Ness Ave, Fresno 93728

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The purpose of Liberty for All is to enable organizational leaders with shared human rights values to join together, network, strengthen relationships, build our collective capacity, and develop enduring grassroots infrastructure to proactively advance civil and human rights and respond to ballot measures, legislation, local initiatives, and other attacks on our shared human rights values. We must work together more than ever to create the world we want to live in, where every individual is a full and equal citizen.

Al Franken will broadcast his nationally syndicated Air America talk show LIVE from Fresno on Thursday, March 30 from 9am - 12noon!

You can pick up your FREE tickets at the KFPT Studios, Radio City, at 1071 W. Shaw (at Palm in Fresno) Monday-Friday from 8:30am-5:30pm.


Questions? Call (559) 490-7900

Meet up with us by 7:30am in the Riverpark Parking lot, near Jamba Juice, and join in the Motorcade by getting your car in line behind Al and the KFPT Van!

We'll leave promptly at 7:45am. We'll drive South on Blackstone and West on Shaw to PARDINI'S for the Live National Broadcast... and you'll go to the FRONT OF THE LINE just for participating in the MOTORCADE!

Keep your lights on, honk those horns, DECORATE your car and show your true color... BLUE!

Send us an email, (sorry, all gone) the station has generously provided Gay Fresno with 10 tickets to give away. We'll postal mail them to the winners.
Advocate Article #2Advocate Article #1
The Advocate, the largest and most respected gay magazine in the country, has published a two part special investigation into the death of our own Nathan Christofferson, who died suddenly and for unknown reasons late last year.
 
The articles, “Faith of His Father” and “What Would Nathan Do” appear in issues dated March 14th & March 28th. They explore Nathan’s life and the religious beliefs of his family, touching on the Fresno climate regarding the LGBT community, and the recent arson which destroyed the North Tower Circle.
 
The March 14th issue has been out for about 3 weeks and the March 28th issue, with Rosie O'Donnell on the cover is available now at bookstores including Out Of The Closet, at 35 E. Olive in the Tower District (look for the rainbow flag hanging out front). You can click on the cover images above to read each article at  www.advocate.com . Pictures not available on the site are shown here.
(Al Christofferson, Barbara & Al Christofferson, James Hensley & Chris Jarvis, Jason Scott & Molly McKay, Nathan Christofferson)
The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) of California's executive board and membership have unanimously opened its membership to include not only Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Law Enforcement Personnel, now will allow membership to all Public Emergency Service Personnel and Military personnel Active or Retired living or stationed in Central California.
GOAL of California is a mirror Fraternal Organization started in New York by Officers who dealt with harassment, hazing, discrimination and discipline actions against the GLBT Law Enforcement and Fire Personnel working for the City of New York.

GOAL differs from the Golden State Peace Officer's Association in that, this is a local organization, with funds and events staying here in the Central Valley.  Currently membership into the GSPOA will send funds to the Los Angeles Area, with members having to travel for meetings and events to L.A. 

GOAL was started here by members of GSPOA and other Law Enforcement members on December 7, 2005.  Membership is $30.00 for the year.
Opening membership to all public emergency employees is very unique for an organization.  However, "We here in Central California have a unique situation, in that this area, dubbed the Bible Belt of California, did not have resources available to emergency services personnel that would deal with harassment's, hazing, discrimination, or discipline due to someones sexual orientation." Stated Interim President L. Flores.  "Departments cover up their actions with Policy's and Procedures.  We have departments still asking officers their sexual preference during internal investigations, which although these investigations are to be confidential, still make their way into the work place causing issues for the officer.  Firefighters who live amongst each other during a shift really have to hide their orientation.  We are in a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" environment. This being similar to the military's policy is why we have also included the Military.  Currently member of the Military do not have a social outlet, or support.  The Service members legal defense network or SLDN is set up to raise money and focus on congressional matters, and to assist military personnel facing discharge.  It does not offer any other services."

  PROJECT: MALE

FIGHTING AIDS IN FRESNO COUNTY


Friday the 13th is thought of as a day of bad luck and disaster, basically a not so good day.  Well that’s what it was for CHAANGE on Friday January 13th.  That was the day that I had received a phone call telling me that the CHAANGE organization was going to be dissolved. Upset by the news, I had to decide what was going to happen next.  Was I going to drop out of the AIDS fight and allow AIDS to consume all of Fresno County or was I going to get into gear and take action?!!  Well I am here today to tell you that the later had happened.

Image  On Saturday, March 4th Central California Alliance (CCA) hosted it’s second annual Comedy Night. The laugh filled event took place at Fagan’s Irish Pub on Kern street in downtown Fresno.


The valley’s own Amy Shuklian, who has also appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”, hosted the evening with her own trademark wit, touching on her Armenian heritage and trading jibes with the women in the audience.

Video: (modem) (dsl/cable)
*Warning! Contains Adult Language and Situations*
Image  On Sunday February 26th Central California Alliance hosted a House Party fundraiser for Equality California. The event was attended by about fifty supporters of LGBT equality.
There was a screening of the film “Tying the Knot” a touching film on the struggle for marriage equality. Comedian and activist Robin Tyler was a guest speaker. The House Party was a fun and informative way for members of the LGBT community and supporters to get information on what is happening with marriage equality in the state of California and how they can get involved locally. If anyone is interested in becoming involved visit Equality California at eqca.org or contact Fresno Regional Field Organizer Marisela Garcia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (559) 681-6682.
Image  An increasing number of voices are rising up in the Central Valley to demand an end to the war in Iraq. On the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, people from throughout the valley and around the country are protesting the ongoing war and occupation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I present to you the Firecrackers...Spring 2005, a gayfresno.com sponsored softball team. Competing every Friday night, this is a team you'll enjoy to watch......

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March 15, 2005

Court rules denying marriage to same sex couples based on gender or orientation is unconstitutional...

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Here we go, it is almost Spring and it is time for SOFTBALL.......let's get it started! Find out more about the fabulous FIRECRACKERS....

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