Happy Holidays from all of us at Gay Fresno

Popular video blog, Mental Floss, has 31 things you might not know about holiday songs, which did you know?

31-holiday-songs

 

rebel heartMadonna is the Queen. No, seriously - she is the undisputed Queen. Let me explain...

For starters, she's sold over 300 million albums worldwide (more than any female artist) over her 32-year career. She's the top-touring solo artist in history and those shows are sold out, critically acclaimed extravaganzas. She's a billionaire.....I could go on and on (a la "Give it 2 Me"). But her royal credentials have been proven yet again by how she worked the recent leaking of her album to her advantage.

In case you didn't read the news, 13 demos from album number 13 leaked onto the web just days ago. Yeah, the one and only Queen of Pop was not happy about it. "“This is artistic rape!! These are early leaked demos, half of which won’t even make it on my album,” she posted alongside a photo to Instagram (which was later deleted). “The other half have changed and evolved. This is a form of terrorism. Wtf!!!! Why do people want to destroy artistic process??? Why steal? Why not give me the opportunity to finish and give you my very best?”

Well last night (12/19/2014), she literally broke iTunes by releasing her upcoming album as a pre-order. Titled Rebel Heart (Madonna-holics like me have suspected as much since she's frequently used the hashtag #rebelheart on her Instagram), the 19-track album has six that are instantly available once a pre-order is made. You better believe I pre-ordered faster than she fired someone over the leak.

I say this as a hardcore Madonna fan (I have all her albums, most singles, several vinyls, some books, posters, etc.): It's her best material since 2005's Confessions on a Dance Floor. It's ahead of the curve (classic Madonna trait) and beautifully showcases the magic that happens when she collaborates with amazing artists and producers like Natalia Kills, Diplo, Avicii and others. I'm not saying 2008's Hard Candy and 2012's MDNA weren't good - I loved them. But they sounded like other music of the time (no complaints, by the way). Rebel boldly breaks the streak. It sounds unique and different from anything currently out right now.

There are seven tracks with names, six of which are instantly downloadable: "Living For Love," "Devil Pray," "Ghosttown," "Unapologetic Bitch," "Illuminati," and "Bitch I'm Madonna (feat. Nicki Minaj)." The seventh - "Joan of Arc." The available six are all single-worthy and could easily stand alone.

They're all my favorite. The dance and EDM grooves that have come to define Madonna are fine-tuned into some amazing songs. The lyrics are both deep and lighthearted, the beats are incredible, and the cover of the album is a stunning piece of art by Mert & Marcus.

If you need some confirmation, head over to iTunes and pre-order Rebel Heart. Twenty-fifteen is going to be the year of Madonna and I cannot wait.

gaywedding-04 copyHey all… just got this in… if you fit the bill or know someone who does, please let them know:

Are you an engaged or soon to be engaged couple whose family disapproves of your relationship? Have family members made it clear that they will not attend your upcoming wedding? Have you found the love of your life, and desperately want the support of your whole family?

Introducing a new docu-series that follows star-crossed lovers who have family that disapproves of their relationship because of race, religion, sexual orientation, class, or culture? The series will work to break down barriers separating couples and their disapproving families.

If you fear the moment when the officiant asks those who do not approve to rise, we want to hear from you! Are you ready to put your love to the test?

To be considered for the show, please submit a brief bio, contact info, and recent photos of yourself and your significant other to:

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

Kinetic Content
Casting Department
310-752-0846 – Main line
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.kineticcontent.com

transgender-flag.ong -250x250If you’ve ever read the comment sections of an article that was written by a trans person or is about transgender people on an LGBT publication’s website, you’ve seen an incredible amount of hatred. Maybe you’ve personally even left a disparaging comment or 50 about trans people in general or the trans author in particular. Why the h-e-double-toothpicks is that?

Well, if you’re gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and you’re not transgender yourself, how much do you see yourself having in common with transgender people? A lot? Some? Nothing at all? According to a June 2013 Pew Research poll, 48 percent of gays, 53 percent of lesbians, 62 percent of bisexual women, and 76 percent of bisexual men see themselves as having nothing in common with transgender people. Nothing. Zippo. As in, “Why do we even have a T in LGBT?”

To a lot of LGBT people, trans people are “the other” — just too different from that small circle of “normal” so many of us have a habit of drawing around ourselves. Trans women are ugly; trans women aren’t women — that’s what we trans peeps hear from some of those who don’t see themselves as having anything to do with the T of LGBT.

Authored By Autumn Sandeen – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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University Theatre presents CABARET
Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the play by John Van Druten and Stories by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by J Daniel Herring
Musical Director: Matthew Wheeler
Choreographer: Josh Montgomery
Stage Manager: Daniel Vaughn

December 5 - 6th & 9th - 13th 2014 at 8pm
December 7th at 2pm 
Fresno State 
John Wright Theatre
For information & tickets: www.fresnostate.edu/theatrearts

CABARET, the winner of 12 Tony Awards, is currently running on Broadway and is considered one of the most acclaimed and beloved musicals of all time. CABARET is a sensational, edgy, sexy, scary, mesmerizing and extremely entertaining look at a dark time in history. CABARET receives a PG-13 rating. CABARET contains mature themes, brief violence, drug use, partial nudity, sensuality, adult language, but the content does not reach the restricted R rating category.

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK TO WIN TICKETS!

SNCVinylImage Sun, December 29, 2013 7:00 PM
(Doors open at: 6:00 PM)

Holiday Concert!
Straight No
Chaser
William Saroyan Theatre
700 M Street, Fresno, CA 93721
(800 745-3000) All Ages.
Ticket prices range from
$29.50, $39.50, 49.50 and $59.50 in advance.

All Seats $5.00 Higher Day Of Show!

Tickets available from TicketMaster

 

 

california-representative-jackie-speierA US congresswoman from California is re-introducing a proposed ban on reparative or conversion therapy for gay youth.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Wednesday reintroduced a resolution asking the U.S. House of Representatives to encourage states to take steps to prevent minors from being harmed by controversial and discredited gay-to-straight conversion therapy. When first introduced last year, the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution was the first federal action taken to end the discredited sexual orientation change therapy — often referred to as “reparative therapy.” The practice is now banned in California and New Jersey.

A number of other states are also considering such bans. It also looks like an initiative to repeal California’s transgender kids rights bill may fail to make the ballot. Are we making progress on more than just the marriage equality front?

 

It’s stressful enough planning a wedding if you’re straight, but gay couples face all sorts of unusual dilemmas about how to handle what’s considered normal or traditional at most weddings.  Today’s blog on Pridezillas.com offers some tips to gay and lesbian couples planning their weddings on how to navigate those roadblocks without too much drama! Check it out here to see what the self-appointed “Queen of Gay Wediquette” advises you to do!

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!

Sandy

gaywedding-10Any day now, the New Mexico Supreme Court may grant same-sex couples the right to get married.

At this point, such a ruling may not seem like such a big deal. Prior to last year’s elections, gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states. Now, they have it in 16.

“This year represented the true tipping point,” says Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. “We’ve reached a moment in history where it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to go back.”

This has been “the gayest year in gay history,” in the words of Fred Sainz, vice president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, and not only because individual states and the U.S. Supreme Court have extended greater protections to gay couples.

Authored By Alan Greenblatt – See the Full Story at WABE

 

An important message from the ladies of Xotica for World AIDS Day.

 

With the still growing epidemic of HIV amongst the MSM community it was important to us to share a message this World AIDS Day. 
This is your life...
Take control of it.
Negative or Positive.
Know your STATUS

 

gaywedding-131A number of experts in law and state politics have written to emphasize the enormous slog that lies ahead for proponents of marriage equality. As a lawyer who knows a bit about politics I share their concerns. But employing my economics “hat” I wish to offer this encouragement – we have passed the tipping point in economics that ensures eventual success in securing marriage equality throughout the United States.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have reached the decision to allow full marriage equality for same-sex couples. As the chart I prepared shows, those jurisdictions represent nearly 38% of the total U.S. population and over 43% of total GDP. Marriage equality is now a normal aspect of life for an enormous share of our total U.S. population.

The demographic trends that favor the future expansion of marriage equality are well-known, but I write to emphasize the role that economics will play in brining marriage equality even to the states that most vociferously oppose equality. Economics and demographics both play a major role in shaping destiny, and they will combine to push in the direction of marriage equality. For all the talk about small businesses, the high-paying jobs that even Texas covets are disproportionately in big business and the elite professions. The elite professionals already locate overwhelmingly in states that provide marriage equality.

Authored By William K. Black – See the Full Story at Economonitor.com

 

nom-logo-250x250The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage is seeing a huge wave of red ink this year.

Joe.My.God reports:

NOM has published its 2012 tax form and as you can see above, they finished 2012 over $2.7M in the red. Brian Brown took to their blog last night to blast complaints. “NOM fully complies with federal law regarding the public availability of our Form 990 tax return. Our 2012 Form 990 was mailed to the IRS on November 15th as required by law. It is available for public inspection on the NOM website. This frivolous complaint by the HRC is extremely ironic given the fact that HRC published on its website the private information from NOM’s 2008 Form 990, which is a felony under federal law and which is the subject of current Congressional investigations. NOM has also filed a federal lawsuit against the IRS to find out who in the IRS illegally released to the HRC our confidential donor information.”

Could it be that NOM’s rich friends are unhappy with the organizations lack of recent success?

 

Mark-RegnerusProf Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas is back in the news: Regnurus, you’ll recall, published a study this summer that claimed children born to gay couples had more problems with than kids from straight homes.

Now Regnerus is claiming increased support for same-sex marriage across America comes from people looking at so much darn porn.

In an article on the website for the Witherspoon Institute, the right-wing think tank that paid for his discredited parenting study, Regnerus explains that porn “redirects sex–by graphic depiction of it–away from any sense of it as a baby-making activity.”

See the Full Story at Queerty

supreme-court-250x250The Supreme Court’s decision to hear gay-marriage cases from New York and California this spring means the justices will weigh in on two highly fraught social questions this term–same-sex marriage and affirmative action in higher education. (Not to mention the future of the Voting Rights Act.) Justice Anthony Kennedy is likely to be the swing vote in these cases, and many are predicting he will side with conservatives to limit racial preferences and with liberals to support gay marriage. Paradoxically, the very reasoning that could guide Kennedy to support marriage equality may bolster his decision to curtail race-based affirmative action, spurring colleges to adopt new approaches.

Proponents of gay marriage advance two powerful arguments: Couples seeking to marry should not be discriminated against on the basis of an unchangeable factor like sexual orientation; and shifting attitudes, especially among young people, make gay marriage an inevitability.

The problem for supporters of racial preferences is that these precise arguments can be, and have been, made by conservatives challenging the use of race in university admissions in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas.

Full Story at Slate.com

gaywedding-06My 6-year-old recently asked, “Daddy, did you know that boys can marry boys?” Shocked by his inquiry on such a serious topic, I answered, “Yes, son. As a matter of fact, I do know that boys can marry boys.”

“Do you know why?” he continued. “I suppose it’s because they love each other, like me and Mommy,” I answered. Sometimes it’s simpler to explain things to our children even though we, the adults, have difficulty understanding the very topics we’ve been asked to clarify.

In the recent past we have thought (wrongly) that women in the workplace would destroy marriage and families. We also thought that blacks in the military would weaken the fighting force, that interracial schools would degrade education, that a black president would ruin the country, that interracial marriage (between Adam and Eve) was an abomination. How many times do we need to be wrong about critical social issues before we really sit back and think about our positions? The wisdom of equal legal protection must not be reduced to the fear and hateful rhetoric of ignorance.

See the Full Story at The Huffington Post

supreme-court-250x250Now that the Supreme Court has decided to take up the issue of whether gays have a constitituional right to marriage, most of the attention will likely focus on the key swing votes in the court – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy. But court-watchers should keep an eye out for a potential surprise vote: Justice Clarence Thomas. He may be inclined to join with the liberal justices on this issue.

Thomas is generally seen as a staunch conservative to the right of even Justice Antonin Scalia. He notably thinks little of the concept of stare decisis, meaning that legal precedents don’t matter much to him if he thinks they interfere with a plain reading of the Constitution’s text. Thus he has been unafraid to attack long-ingrained liberal precedents.

But Thomas’ legal thinking also has a strong libertarian bent. If he thinks the Constitution does not bar it he has been inclined to allow it. The caveat here is that his reading of the Constitution has also given states leeway in drafting laws in those cases. This can be seen in his ruling on the last major gay rights case before the Supreme Court, 2003s Lawrence V. Texas.

See the Full Story at the Washington Examiner

gaysagainst-250x86NOMexposed revealed that Brian Brown’s crew has purchased the above URLs in an apparent plan to sow infighting among LGBT people.

Earlier this year secret NOM documents exposed the hate group’s plan to incite anti-gay hatred in the black community.

Full Story at Joe.My.God

Getting axed from Fox News must do wonders for your outlook on life. Just look at weepy conservative pundit Glenn Beck. Beck recently discussed same-sex marriage with comedian-magician (comician, if you will) Penn Jillette on his online talk show, The Blaze.

“Let me take the pro-gay marriage people and the religious people — I believe that there is a connecting dot there that nobody is looking at, and that’s the Constitution,” Beck said. “The question is not whether gay people should be married or not. The question is why is the government involved in our marriage?

Beck’s comments are not too surprising given that earlier this year he said he had the “same opinion on gay marriage as President Barack Obama” and that marriage equality is not a “threat to America.” What is surprising, however, is his advice to Republicans.

See the Full Story at Queerty

money-250x250In the wake of the major electoral victories for marriage equality across the country this fall, the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage (NOM) had some explaining to do. No longer able to rely on its long-standing argument that voters always reject same-sex marriage, NOM did some soul searching and finally identified the reason it suffered unprecedented defeats: It just didn’t raise enough money.

In a post-mortem email to donors and supporters, NOM President Brian Brown wrote that “each of the state marriage campaigns was significantly outspent by their opponents…. [W]e were outspent by over three-to-one … and by nearly five-to-one in Washington.” Brown went on to bemoan the fact that the anti-LGBT campaigns only raised half of the $20 million they allegedly needed to win. “What is required to regain victory?” Brown asked rhetorically in conclusion. “In a word, money.”

Still digesting NOM’s losses in four states, Brown can be excused for forgetting that spending alone doesn’t equate to electoral success. Just ask Sheldon Adelson or Linda McMahon what they got in return for their nine-figure political investments in 2012. But by publicly raising the issue of the money gap, Brown may have inadvertently touched on a new and significant development in the fight for LGBT equality: a steadily decreasing appetite among the right wing, especially among small donors and the conservative grassroots, to support anti-LGBT initiatives.

See the Full Story at The Huffington Post

UnknownAdvocates welcomed the American Psychiatric Association’s decision on Saturday to remove being transgender from its list of mental disorders.

The APA specifically removed the term Gender Identity Disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel (DSM) of Mental Disorders and replaced it with Gender Dysphoria.

The organization, which represents more than 36,000 psychiatrists from around the world, has revised the DSM five times since it was founded in 1844. The latest revision process began 15 years ago.

Full Story at The Washington Blade

gaywedding-06

It’s been a year full of news on gay marriage, including President Barack Obama’s statement that he personally favors allowing it and several state votes in November supporting it.

Now one of the biggest developments may be imminent. Supreme Court justices are discussing gay-marriage cases at their conference today and may announce as soon as this afternoon whether they will hear the cases.

The first dispute involves the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to same-sex marriages in states that have legalized the practice. Federal appeals courts in Massachusetts (May 2012) and New York (October 2012) struck down the federal law, saying it impermissibly discriminated against gays and lesbians.

Full Story at The Wall Street Journal

poll-250x199Word to conservatives: Don’t bother trying to peddle your divisive politics to African-Americans; it won’t work anymore. A post-election poll conducted by The Economist suggests that social issues may no longer be an effective means for Republicans to get Black voters on board. (Further evidence suggests that the same goes for Latinos.)

A co-worker handed me a page from the survey a couple of days ago, and pointed out some interesting data showing wide gap between black and white voters on one question: “Do you think openly gay people should be allowed to hold each of the following jobs?”

In each case, the “No” answers were well below 50 percent. So, the overwhelming majority of respondents were fine with gay people as Members of Congress, Army generals, CIA Directors, CEOs, university professors, big city mayors, business managers, and ministers.

Full Story at the Bilerico Project

domaEleven LGBT groups on Tuesday called on House Speaker John Boehner to stop wasting money defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

After the Department of Justice announced it would no longer defend the law in court, Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, directed the so-called Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to step in. BLAG hired former Solicitor General Paul Clement to argue more than a dozen cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA, which bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

Last week, CQ Roll Call reported that Republican House leaders in September quietly raised the budget to defend the law from $1.5 to $2 million.

See the Full Story at On Top Magazine

It was no secret during past decades of ballot-box pummeling that social connections help determine where people stand on LGBT rights, say the organizers behind November 6′s same-sex marriage wins in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. They knew the public-opinion polls. Simply having a gay family member, friend, or colleague doubles the likelihood of support.

“The meta narrative,” says Michael Cole-Schwartz, director of media efforts for the Human Rights Campaign, “is that we win these fights because Americans know that LGBT people are their neighbors, their cousins, their aunts and uncles, the people they sit next to in church, and the people they shop with at the grocery store.” More than that, experience told them that personal conversations on or around the significance of marriage were especially persuasive. And that stayed true when those talks happened between straight people, like the conversations with his daughters Sasha and Malia that were said to change President Obama’s thinking.

But there was still a conundrum, and it had to do with amplification, explains Cole-Schwartz: “How do we get these conversations that happen naturally to happen more often?” It’s a political challenge not limited to the question of LGBT issues. In their groundbreaking 2004 book Get Out the Vote!, Yale political scientists Alan S. Gerber and Donald P. Green wrote that “the more personal the interaction, the harder it is to reproduce on a large scale.”

See the Full Story at The Atlantic

It's been predicted so The Express invites you to
KEEP ON DANCING 'TIL THE WORLD ENDS

This End of the World Blackout Party
will feature
$5 Adios Muthafuckers and
Free Glow Goodies
DJs DIZZI & DJ FRESH

Friday, December 21, 2012

9:00pm

worldends-copy

doma

The Supreme Court chose a Harvard professor of constitutional law, Vicki C. Jackson, to argue that the Court does not have the authority to rule on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

She will file a brief and appear to argue the two procedural issues that the Court itself had raised in agreeing last Friday to consider DOMA’s validity.

Jackson, who joined the Harvard faculty last year after several years at the Georgetown University Law Center, will contend that the executive branch’s agreement with a lower court that DOMA is invalid takes away the Justices’ authority to rule on DOMA, and that the House of Representatives’ Republican leaders do not have a right to appear in the case under Article III of the Constitution.

See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

poll-250x199Earlier I cited centrist Democratic think tank Third Way’s poll on marriage equality support in Washington, where same-sex marriages just got underway. Well, that report, showing that framing marriage equality as a matter of love, rather than rights wins the fight, is now out.

Here’s a telling excerpt about movement among political lines:

The victory for marriage in Washington State was delivered by voters well outside the usual liberal base. Centrist voters supported the marriage refer- endum by large margins, with 66% of moderates voting yes, as well as 59% of Independents.

Unlike past elections–including Proposition 8 in California, where Democrats had trouble consolidating their own base in favor of marriage–this time 80% of Obama voters pulled the lever for marriage, as well as 86% of Democrats. Even 79% of moderate and conservative Democrats voted in favor of marriage for gay couples, as well as 38% of liberal and moderate Republicans.

See the Full Story at Towleroad.com

gaywedding-06It doesn’t take a professional pollster to understand what the chart tells us. In 1996, as the country was easily re-electing Democratic President Bill Clinton, two-thirds of the public opposed gay marriage. Sixteen years later, as the country was re-electing Democratic President Barack Obama just 43 percent opposed it while 48 percent favored it.

Go deeper into the Pew numbers — and thanks to Pew, you can! — and you see why those trend lines won’t be reversing themselves. In 2011-2012, 62 percent of people 18-29 supported gay marriage — by far the strongest support among any age group. During that same time period, just 32 percent of those 65 or older supported gay marriage.

The simple truth: Support for gay marriage tracks directly with age. The younger you are, the more likely you are to support it. Given that, it’s hard to imagine gay marriage getting less popular as the years go on.

See the Full Story at The Washington Post

domaAmerica is about to head over a fiscal cliff, but apparently the GOP thinks there’s plenty in the bank to spend on protecting traditional marriage from those heathen homosexuals: House Republicans secretly raised the $1.5 million cap on litigating for DOMA to $2 million.

Roll Call first reported Thursday that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group increased by $500,000 how much could be spent on outside council in defending DOMA.

House Administration Committee Chairman Dan Lungren–who was voted out on Election Day–approved the deal in September but didn’t tell Democrats.

See the Full Story at Queerty

The hacking collective known as Anonymous renewed their war on the Westboro Baptist Church today. After the haters from the infamous church posted their intentions to picket the funerals of the twenty children killed in the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Anonymous responded by re-posting the personal and professional information for members of the church on the Internet. Now the general public can contact the church members directly and tell them what they think about people who would desecrate the funerals of murdered children.

Westboro Baptist Church has been irritating Americans for years with venom filled message about their demented version of God. According to the many closely related and intermarried members of the Phelps family who make up the majority of the congregation of the so-called church, God enjoys killing children and soldiers. They constantly proclaim God hates homosexuals and plans to destroy America for not following the Westboro Baptist Church’s twisted version of Christianity. The incredible obsession with homosexuality expressed by Fred and family seems to many as a sure fire case of “thou dost protest too much.”

Anonymous has been after the Westboro Baptist Church for several months now, hacking their websites repeatedly. Recently, they accused the church of creating a fake letter from the hacking group in order to trick other hackers into attacking the website. Anonymous warned their supporters the church planned to harvest internet addresses and sue people. Suing people is apparently the primary activity of the Westboro Baptist Church when they aren’t screaming hate at funerals.


Read more at The Inquisitr

Do you think Anonymous is doing a good deed by hacking the Church’s website or should everyone respect their First Amendment rights and just try to ignore them?  Comment below

You won't want to miss our fourth annual holiday party! Everyone 21+ is invited. This year we are in a new venue, with even more to see and do!

Drag Performances by the ladies of Xotica, Free snacks, photos throughout the night, raffle prizes & more!

The night is hosted by The Diva X

Doors open at 9pm, Party begins at 10pm
Friday, December 14th

Your $5 door donation includes mystery gifts throughout the night and free raffle tickets.

holiday2012

NOMlogoBrian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is calling on supporters to raise $30 million in the coming year to defeat gay marriage initiates.

In remarks to Reuters, Brown said his group would use four so-called traditional marriage loses at the ballot box as a rallying cry to outraise supporters of marriage equality.

“Frankly, Americans never really thought that they would have to defend something so obvious as the reality that it takes a man and a woman to make a marriage, and only recently has the threat become clear,” Brown said. “We’re committed to not letting that happen again, to being outspent in that way. And I think a lot of our donors will step up to the plate, in a way that you haven’t seen before, in any future state fights.”

Story at On Top Magazine


vatican1-250x250If the American public is truly changing its mind on marriage, then it’s time for Catholic priests to start saying, “We don’t,” instead of continuing to endorse the government’s right to legislate who gets to say, “I do.”

At least, that’s an option that Catholics, and by implication other religious traditionalists, must be willing to consider, according to scholar George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who is best known as the official biographer of the late Pope John Paul II.

In the wake of President Barack Obama’s victory, supporters of same-sex unions will “press the administration to find some way to federalize the marriage issue,” argued Weigel, in a syndicated essay that ignited fierce debates once posted at FirstThings.com and elsewhere online.

See the Full Story at NewsOK

John-OConnor-2-250x250

Equality California and its Board of Directors announced that John O’Connor, a seasoned nonprofit executive with deep ties in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, will serve as the new executive director of Equality California and Equality California Institute. O’Connor will begin his tenure on December 3.

“I am honored to lead Equality California forward as the statewide voice on LGBT equality. The message will be that we are for full equality and nothing less,” said O’Connor, who previously served as the executive director of the LGBT Community Center of the Desert.

“That means enacting, implementing and enforcing legislation that expands the protections and freedoms afforded to LGBT Californians, supporting and electing pro-LGBT legislators, and winning the hearts and minds of Californians through effective education.”

Full Story at Dot429

front_coverAfter almost two decades of marriage to men, three children each, and years of friendship between them, two best friends living in the most conservative region of California realized they were lesbians and in love with each other. Having been raised Mormon, Candi married early and began having children right away. She was deeply entrenched in her religion when she met Kristin who was raised in Ventura, California, by permissive parents in a drug-infested environment where she spent more time at the beach surfing than she did attending school. As they jumped head first into a romantic relationship, Kristin and Candi had to navigate their way through a myriad of unfamiliar emotions that came with this intense and passionate love affair. They had everything to lose as they risked not only their own relationship but that of their children and husbands as well. This humorous and heart-wrenching story illustrates the difficulties of blending two families with six children along with the added complication of facing the homophobia and discrimination that comes from living openly as same-sex partners and parents. Having lived in both worlds, they clearly saw the distinct contrast between conforming to society’s expectations and going against the norm. In the midst of the Proposition 8 battle for marriage equality and after living nearly forty years with heterosexual privilege, Kristin and Candi sacrificed their basic civil rights in exchange for true love, but in their struggle to rebuild their lives, they created a new normal where they lived life on their own terms.

Available for purchase at Amazon: Paperback & eBook

About the Authors

Candi Hood, MA, is a parent, author, teacher, and grant writer. She has authored over $10 million in grants and coordinated several community service projects that have changed the lives of many. Candi has degrees in Management and Organizational Development, Child Development, and Early Childhood Education, and is a Certified Dyslexia Testing Specialist. After moving to Ohio and reorganizing her life, she finally settled back in Central California to be near her family. She and Kristin now live on The Ubiquitous Farm with the two youngest of their six children and several dogs and cats. Kristin Beasley, PhD, was raised at the beach in southern California where she spent more time surfing than attending school. As an adult she completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology with specializations in Neuropsychology and Parent Infant Mental Health. She has a passion for helping others and advocating for the less fortunate and at-risk populations. After allowing her maternal instincts to lead her down the traditional path of marriage with children, cancer brought her to her knees and taught her about living authentically. Now she and Candi are building their dream project, a philanthropic, organic farm where money grows on trees, feeds the community, and supports economic development.

supreme-court-012-250x250

Contrary to many people’s expectations, the U.S. Supreme Court did not issue any orders last Friday or today in any of the four challenges to a provision of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case challenging California’s Proposition 8, or in Brewer v. Diaz (Lambda Legal’s case that has preserved domestic partner health insurance coverage for families of lesbian and gay Arizona state employees). The next time we may hear from the Court about what it plans to do regarding these cases is this coming Friday, December 7.

The Court generally doesn’t explain the reason for delays in issuing orders. While some people are understandably feeling frustrated with the delays given all that is riding on these lawsuits, it should be recognized that the Court’s decisions about which case or cases to hear right now involve a good deal of complexity.

The main issue in the DOMA challenges is the same: whether DOMA violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for the federal government to discriminate against same-sex couples by treating them as single, while recognizing all other validly entered marriages. However, the particular federal programs involved in each case are somewhat different, and there are numerous

Read the Full Story at SDGLN

foreign-policy
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will endorse gay marriage, sources close to the former first lady have said.

According to POLITICO.com, Clinton will join her husband, President Bill Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea Clinton, in endorsing marriage equality after she leaves the Obama administration.

Her circle has “indicated privately that she feels like … because of her role as the country’s chief diplomat that it was appropriate for her to stay out of this,” one source said, adding that “she will end up with the rest of the clan.”

See the Full Story at On Top Magazine

Just IN - the US Supreme Court WILL hear the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. Oral arguments in April - decisions likely in June of 2013.  

 

So no local events going on today.  We were only going to rally if marriages were to begin in California immediately.

 

The Supreme Court announced this afternoon that it will hear the federal challenge to Proposition 8 and the Edie Windsor DOMA case, marking the first time the high court has heard a marriage equality case.

Here is the SCOTUS order (PDF).

SCOTUSblog writes:

Prop. 8 is granted on the petition question -- whether 14th Am. bars Calif. from defining marriage in traditional way. Plus an added question: Whether the backers of Prop.. 8 have standing in the case under Art. III.

In Windsor, the government petition (12-307) is the one granted. In addition to the petition question -- whether Sec. 3 of DOMA violates equal protection under 5th Amendment, there are two other questions: does the fact that government agreed with the 2d CA decision deprive the Court of jurisdiction to hear and decide the case, and whether BLAG (House GOP leaders) has Art. III standing in this case.

As far as timing goes, arguments in the cases should happen around March 25-27, with a decision coming in late June.

Adds SCOTUSblog:

The Court's two orders on the marriage cases do not include a word about two other issues that lurk in the cases: is Baker v. Nelson still controlling and thus requires dismissal of marriage pleas by gays and lesbians, and what is the constitutional standard of review on gay rights issues. But both almost certainly will be argued in the briefing and at oral argument....It is obvious now why the Court took as much time as it did: the selection process must have been rather challenging, and the compositon of the final orders equally so. The Court, one might say in summary, has agreed to take up virtually all of the key issues about same-sex marriage, but has given itself a way to avoid final decisions on the merits issues.

Lambda Legal Director Jon Davidson's take:

"Perry granted on merits and standing of Prop 8 proponents. So no answers (or CA marriages) likely until June, and Court may ultimately duck merits of Prop 8 and allow order striking it down to stand by finding that Prop 8 proponents had no right to seek Supreme Court (and maybe not 9th Circuit) review."

NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq. writes:

“Both the federal DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 serve only one purpose: to harm and stigmatize same-sex couples and their children. Without a doubt, Ted Olson, David Boies, and our colleagues at the ACLU will make the strongest possible case for equality before the Court. We are confident the Supreme Court will strike down DOMA once and for all next year, and, after four long years, will finally erase the stain of Proposition 8 and restore marriage equality to California couples.The day is now clearly in sight when the federal government, the State of California, and every state will recognize that same-sex couples and their children are entitled to the same respect and recognition as every other family.”

gaywedding-131Same-sex marriage initiatives scored big wins this month. In a historic turnaround that underscores America’s shifting attitudes about same-sex marriage, voters crossed party lines, age, race and faith. Marriage equality was the winner in four U.S. states — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington — ending a 31-state losing streak in the election that returned Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency.

Pundits will continue to wax poetic about what is being called the “the single biggest night for gay rights in electoral history.” Having states approve marriage by a popular vote changes the narrative and underscores evidence of a remarkable shift in public opinion around same-sex marriage.

The number of states with legalized gay marriage increased by 50 percent overnight. Suffice it to say that the freshman class of 2037 will hear their political science professors refer to Nov. 6, 2012, as a red-letter day in the history of the gay rights movement.

Authored By Dr. William R. Kapfer – See the Full Story at The Huffington Post

 

With repeal last year of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law, many military people, including senior leaders, assumed that married gay and lesbian couples had gained not only job security but also equality in allowances, benefits and access to family support programs. That assumption is wrong.

Since the law took effect 14 months ago, the Department of Defense has kept in place policies that bar spouses of same-gender couples from having military identification cards, shopping on base, living in base housing or participating in certain family support programs.

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, says Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, 39, “simply just prevented me from losing my job. It didn’t do anything else.”

Full Story at the Sierra Vista Herald

 

Today, Judge Kimberly Mueller of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a request by an anti-LGBT group to postpone the January 1, 2013 start of the state’s new law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from psychological abuse at the hands of state-licensed therapists who use dangerous practices to try to change their clients’ sexual orientation or gender expression. The ruling means that the law will go into effect as scheduled.

The court also granted a motion by Equality California to intervene in the lawsuit in order to defend the law alongside California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who represents the State of California defendants. Equality California was the lead sponsor of the law and is the state’s leading political advocacy group representing LGBT people and their families.

The Court’s decision was prompted by a lawsuit filed by the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality that challenges the new law protecting LGBT youth from practices—including the use of shame and aversion therapy—that are known to lead to depression and suicide attempts. The group is represented by Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT legal group. In rejecting the groups’ request to temporarily prevent the statute from going into effect on January 1, Judge Mueller concluded that the California law "prohibits a therapeutic practice deemed unproven and potentially harmful to minors by ten professional associations of mental health experts." Judge Mueller’s decision follows another decision yesterday by Judge William B. Shubb, also of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, in another case brought by a different set of plaintiffs who are also challenging the California law. Judge Shubb issued an order temporarily exempting three plaintiffs in that case from being subjected to enforcement of the law while the case proceeds in his court. Judge Shubb’s order applies only to the three plaintiffs in the case before him and does not prevent the state from enforcing the law against other licensed mental health professionals. Judge Mueller’s decision today clears the way for the law to go into effect on January 1, 2013. Senate Bill 1172 was authored by Senator Ted Lieu and sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by dozens of organizations including the California Psychological Association, the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the California Division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on September 29, 2012. Equality California is represented in the case by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the law firm of Munger Tolles & Olson LLP. Michelle Friedland and David Dinielli of Munger argued the motions on behalf of Equality California.

"This law will put a stop to one of the most dangerous and discredited forms of discrimination against LGBT youth," said Equality California Executive Director John O'Connor. "We are extremely pleased that the court’s decision will allow the law to go into effect on January 1, 2013 as planned, and young people in this state will no longer have to fear that they can be subjected to these dangerous practices by licensed therapists. Every day that licensed therapists are permitted to engage in these dangerous and discredited practices is another day that our youth are placed at risk of depression, substance abuse, and attempted suicide. The state has a duty to protect minors from conduct by licensed health care professionals that is both harmful and offers no benefit to health. We commend Senator Ted Lieu, the bill’s author, the California Legislature, and Governor Brown for taking decisive action to protect California’s young people and their families."

Said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.: "Today’s decision acknowledges that the anti-LGBT groups who have filed this case have no viable legal grounds for their attempt to block these desperately-needed protections for California youth. Every leading mental health organization has concluded that these practices, which claim to be able to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender expression, have no basis in science and expose young people to a serious risk of physical and emotional harm. We are confident the courts will continue to uphold this life-saving law, which simply requires licensed mental health practitioners to follow professional standards and to refrain from using practices that have no basis in science or medicine."

hrc-indexThe Human Rights Campaign has released The Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law:

he MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; the municipality’s employment practices; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership.

Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 137 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation.

Authored By Andy Towle – See the Full Story at Towleroad.com

 

You won't want to miss our fourth annual holiday party! Everyone 21+ is invited. This year we are in a new venue, with even more to see and do!

Drag Performances by the ladies of Xotica, Free snacks, photos throughout the night, raffle prizes & more!

The night is hosted by The Diva X

Doors open at 9pm, Party begins at 10pm
Friday, December 14th

Your $5 door donation includes mystery gifts throughout the night and free raffle tickets.

holiday2012

They’re at it again: The Ugandan legislature is set to vote – again – on a piece of legislation known internationally as the “kill the gays” bill.
Since 2009, Ugandan parliamentary member David Bahati has been trying to amend current Ugandan law (up to 14 years imprisonment for being gay) to throw LGBT Ugandans in prison for life. An LGBT Ugandan could earn this sentence for simply being in a relationship with someone he or she loves. His sick, twisted dream also includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” In Bahati-speak, aggravated homosexuality includes "serial offenders" (having sex with the same person multiple times) and those who have gay sex with a disabled person. Seriously.
Bahati claims that the most recent version of this disgusting violation of human rights does not contain the death penalty. We’ve seen this sort of thing for three years: the international community pressures the Ugandan legislature to abandon the bill and they eventually do or say it’s going to be amended. Then it dies…only to reanimate like the undead the next year.
Once the legislature passes it, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will either sign it into law or veto it, in which case it is expected the legislature will override his veto.
This is the same David Bahati who revealed it is his goal to use the government of Uganda “to kill every last gay person.”
Currently, members of the international LGBT community face life imprisonment and death in many nations. On the same planet where same-sex couples can wed in nearly a dozen countries (and nine U.S. states), a large but thankfully shrinking portion of the world still treats homosexuality as a sickness and crime to be punished and snuffed out.
What is perhaps most disturbing about this bill is the fact that it was inspired by the same ideas that many “family” groups use here in America.
Bahati is one of the Ugandan leaders of a powerful and secretive far-right evangelical organization known as “The Family.” Despite The Family’s claims that they are not responsible for the hate in Uganda, Jeff Sharlet of Harper’s Magazine and Rolling Stone points out:
“They didn’t pull the trigger [by writing such a bill]. But there’s a sense in which they built the gun, which was the institutional idea of government being decided by small groups of elite leaders like Bahati, getting together and trying to conform government to their idea of Biblical law…this is what their American benefactors wanted them to do.”
For four decades, so-called “pro-family” groups have been screaming bloody murder because the government and society at large have had the gall to grant gays and lesbians the same rights and protections that all citizens enjoy.
Gays and lesbians have been routinely called “perverts,” “degenerates,” “child molesters,” “sodomizers,” and “sick” by groups whose sole purpose it is to “protect” America from things like equality and equal pay. Be afraid, America!
One example is the influential Family Research Council, headed by former Louisiana lawmaker Tony Perkins. Last year it was classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its consistent dissemination of hate and lies against the LGBT community.
Not all “pro-family” groups are given the hate group certification. It’s when they start citing discredited studies and phony statistics to attack gays and lesbians as degenerates that the label is then rightfully applied.
Before he claimed he never supported the "kill the gays" bill, Perkins praised it as a way “to uphold moral conduct” and a tool that Bahati could use to lead “his nation to repentance.” It turns out hate and ignorance have consequences....like inspiring loons like Bahati.
Thankfully, this hate and ignorance of the LGBT community is continually decreasing. As the 21st century continues more and more people are realizing that gays and lesbians are just like everybody else (shocker, right?!). Nine, and possibly soon to be ten, states now recognize gays and lesbians as equal citizens. The number of nations that are legalizing marriage equality grows by the month as well.
At the same time, ideals from the 16th century are making one last stand before dying out like the infection on humanity they are. Uganda is sadly one of many nations where LGBT persons face intense persecution and possibly their lives for being who they are. The international community must continue to pressure and possibly sanction Uganda for its gross human rights violations.
Call me idealistic or American, but governments are supposed to treat and protect all citizens equally. It is absolutely unacceptable for any nation to treat its citizens the way Uganda currently does. It is vital to everyone that the medicine of truth and knowledge be administered, and soon.

Comic_Covers_DOM_ActpngImmigration enforcement doesn’t care if X-Man Northstar save American lives for a living; he’s a Canadian citizen and his recent marriage to American Kyle Jinadu does nothing to change that fact. That’s thanks to DOMA, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

And as you see in the screenshot above (click to expand), those immigration officials come knocking in the latest issue of Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men.

See the Full Story at Towleroad

 

www.huffingtonpost.com Submitted here by Lorie Frye The Author is "Amelia"

Editor's note: "Amelia" is a pseudonym chosen by the author in order to keep her family's identity anonymous.

On August 16 I learned what viral meant.

I wrote an essay about my oldest son and his love of a popular gay television character, Glee's Blaine, and how this crush led to him telling me he wanted to kiss boys, not girls. I naively posted it to a blog, thinking some fans of the show might think it was cute.

Within 24 hours it had been reposted and "liked" over 30,000 times on the blog's website. It wasn't long before messages started flooding in, other websites began posting it and people were commenting. The response was overwhelming positive. What I thought was a simple story about my kid and our family had clearly stuck a chord with a lot of people.

It also made some people uncomfortable. Of the criticisms, the most common is that my son is six years old and doesn't know anything about sex. While I fully acknowledge this may not be the end-all-and-be-all to my son's sexual orientation, I object to the idea that being gay is only about sexual acts. Our emotions and feelings, our attractions and compulsions, all contribute, not just our body parts. If my son had a crush on the star of iCarly, I doubt people would be saying he was too young to have those sexual feelings towards a girl. I think they would think it was an innocent schoolboy crush, which is exactly what it is.

Plus, for every comment I've read saying my son is too young, I have received multiple messages from adults saying "I knew when I was little, too."

It got me thinking and after awhile I started to feel like I knew this big secret that shouldn't be a secret at all: Every gay adult used to be a gay kid. It's not as if all children start off as straight until some time later when someone flips the gay switch. We are who we are from the very moment we are born.

The horrible and hate filled words of the Michele Bachmann's of the world take on a whole new level of disgusting when picturing them being screamed at a group of kindergartners and first graders. They are unnatural. They are sinners. They are going to hell. They are dirty, wrong and sick.

These people would tell my innocent little boy (who currently wants to be a fireman-ninja when he grows up) he is the biggest threat the American family... because he wants to kiss boys and not girls.

The reality is they are pounding these words of ignorance and hate into the ears and minds of gay children every day. And those children are hearing them. I know because many of those kids are now writing to me. Kids as young as 14 have sent me messages. So many are scared children, who sure as hell did not choose this for themselves, living in fear of their family finding out because they know full well what their mom and dad will say. And they tell me they wish I was their mom.

I want to keep all this talk, all these lies, all this hate, away from these kids. Of course, there is an inherent problem with that. We can't pick out the gay kids simply by looking, and behavior isn't a clear indicator (some little straight girls are tomboys, and some little gay boys love their monster trucks). The only way we can truly know someone's orientation is if they tell us, which for some doesn't happen until well into adulthood.

So the solution is obvious to me. Keep it away from all our kids. It's my responsibility as a mother, as a human being, to stand up and say "No more." No, you are not allowed to say those things in front of my children, not unless you want to deal with me. Because I will not allow any of my sons to be viciously attacked without seeing me defend them. They will never have to doubt for a second exactly where their parents stand, and never have to live in fear of who they are.

Because since August 16, I have learned that hate is the virus we all need to be worried about.

The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone. For more information or to talk to someone, visit their website or call 866-488-7386.

 

 

Follow Amelia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Amelia_blogger

Editor's note: "Amelia" is a pseudonym chosen by the author in order to keep her family's identity anonymous.

On August 16 I learned what viral meant.

I wrote an essay about my oldest son and his love of a popular gay television character, Glee's Blaine, and how this crush led to him telling me he wanted to kiss boys, not girls. I naively posted it to a blog, thinking some fans of the show might think it was cute.

Within 24 hours it had been reposted and "liked" over 30,000 times on the blog's website. It wasn't long before messages started flooding in, other websites began posting it and people were commenting. The response was overwhelming positive. What I thought was a simple story about my kid and our family had clearly stuck a chord with a lot of people.

It also made some people uncomfortable. Of the criticisms, the most common is that my son is six years old and doesn't know anything about sex. While I fully acknowledge this may not be the end-all-and-be-all to my son's sexual orientation, I object to the idea that being gay is only about sexual acts. Our emotions and feelings, our attractions and compulsions, all contribute, not just our body parts. If my son had a crush on the star of iCarly, I doubt people would be saying he was too young to have those sexual feelings towards a girl. I think they would think it was an innocent schoolboy crush, which is exactly what it is.

Plus, for every comment I've read saying my son is too young, I have received multiple messages from adults saying "I knew when I was little, too."

It got me thinking and after awhile I started to feel like I knew this big secret that shouldn't be a secret at all: Every gay adult used to be a gay kid. It's not as if all children start off as straight until some time later when someone flips the gay switch. We are who we are from the very moment we are born.

The horrible and hate filled words of the Michele Bachmann's of the world take on a whole new level of disgusting when picturing them being screamed at a group of kindergartners and first graders. They are unnatural. They are sinners. They are going to hell. They are dirty, wrong and sick.

These people would tell my innocent little boy (who currently wants to be a fireman-ninja when he grows up) he is the biggest threat the American family... because he wants to kiss boys and not girls.

The reality is they are pounding these words of ignorance and hate into the ears and minds of gay children every day. And those children are hearing them. I know because many of those kids are now writing to me. Kids as young as 14 have sent me messages. So many are scared children, who sure as hell did not choose this for themselves, living in fear of their family finding out because they know full well what their mom and dad will say. And they tell me they wish I was their mom.

I want to keep all this talk, all these lies, all this hate, away from these kids. Of course, there is an inherent problem with that. We can't pick out the gay kids simply by looking, and behavior isn't a clear indicator (some little straight girls are tomboys, and some little gay boys love their monster trucks). The only way we can truly know someone's orientation is if they tell us, which for some doesn't happen until well into adulthood.

So the solution is obvious to me. Keep it away from all our kids. It's my responsibility as a mother, as a human being, to stand up and say "No more." No, you are not allowed to say those things in front of my children, not unless you want to deal with me. Because I will not allow any of my sons to be viciously attacked without seeing me defend them. They will never have to doubt for a second exactly where their parents stand, and never have to live in fear of who they are.

Because since August 16, I have learned that hate is the virus we all need to be worried about.

The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone. For more information or to talk to someone, visit their website or call 866-488-7386.

 

 

Follow Amelia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Amelia_blogger

tmus-poster2

For information on FREE HIV Testing in Fresno please contact...

The Fresno County Department of Public Health - HIV/AIDS

Phone: (559) 600-3434 Fax: (559) 600-3370 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Address: 1221 Fulton Mall Fresno, CA 93721

Although we are still second class citizens in the United States and threatened with measures as extreme as execution in some nations around the world, we did see some landmark changes to LGBT civil rights in the year 2011, along with some defeats. Here’s a recap of the major happenings in the United States…

Click on READ MORE at the bottom to read the rest of the timeline...

lgbt_us_globe

JANUARY 2011

In the Prop 8 case of Perry V. Schwarzenegger, two rulings made news. The first was that Imperial County did not have the standing to intervene in the case, while the second asked the California Supreme Court to rule as to whether the proponents of Prop 8 themselves had standing to appeal the case.

The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas ruled that the Attorney General did not have the right to intervene in a same sex divorce case. The result was that a Texas divorce granted to two women was legal, despite the fact that same sex marriage is not legal in Texas.

Ohio Governor John Kasich allowed an order prohibiting discrimination in state employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity to expire. A couple of weeks later he reinstated a law to prevent such discrimination but did not include protection for gender identity.

A Virginia court reversed an earlier decision and allowed one half of a lesbian couple to change her last name legally to that of her partner, despite same sex marriage being illegal in Virginia.

The United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal in the case of  Jackson v. The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. The appeal sought to overturn a new law in the District of Columbia which allows same sex marriage.

The US Dept of Housing & Urban Development proposed regulations to eliminate discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In Wyoming, the House passed a bill barring the state from recognizing legal same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, a contradiction to previous Wyoming law. Only three days later the Wyoming Senate approved a resolution, that if voted affirmatively by citizens, would bar recognition of same sex marriage in the state. Wyoming is the state where Matthew Shepard was murdered in 1998 for being gay.

The Senate in Iowa rejected a voter initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

The Pentagon released training materials for the military to prepare for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

The Gary Community School Corporation in Indiana approved anti-discrimination policies which include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Illinois approves civil unions for all citizens, regardless of gender.

Gay Central Valley opens the Fresno LGBT Community Center in Fresno, CA. It’s the first such center in Fresno in over 20 years. In September of the same year, they move to a larger space and expand to offer various social and health community groups.

 

Courtesy The Washington Post

Two women in the Navy made history on Wednesday by winning the privilege to give the “first kiss” after returning from a deployment. Here’s what it looked like:

APTOPIX_US_Navy_Gay_Kiss_04ee7

For the gay community and the troops who were affected by Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, that image may become as iconic as this one:

thekiss

tmus-poster1

CLICK ON "COMMENTS" BELOW TO SEE FULL SIZE POSTER

Lesbian/Bisexual Females Needed!!

$15.00 for Participation

Are you an adult female (lesbian/bisexual) who has been in an abusive same-sex relationship in the past or currently in one?

The study will involve the following:

  • Interview: interview lasting 60 minutes with information remaining confidential.
  • Location: Interview will be at a location of your choice, no need to travel.
  • Time frame: Interviews will be conducted from December 19th – January 30th
  • Compensation:  You will be compensated $15.00 as a gratitude for your participation with your choice of either Starbucks or Target gift card.

To Participate contact Elizabeth Salas at 559-816-7510 or 559-707-5880. Email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have any further questions about the study, please contact Dr. Martha Vungkhanching at

(559) 278-8741 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

esalas

Unfortunately, a gremlin got to our mini fridge at the Fresno LGBT Community Center and it no longer works.  Do you or someone you know have a new or gently used small or mini fridge? We're also looking for a donation to help us cover the cost of a replacement.  The fridge allows us to offer free water to visitors and group attendees.

fridge-gremlin
If you can help us out, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write on our facebook wall.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

topheading logo_new

The North Tower Circle and the Fresno DBO's are once again stepping into holiday action to help ALL ABOUT CARE .

More about the nonprofit organization All About Care...

All About Care provides practical, emotional, spiritual, and charitable support to people with terminal illness, especially those with HIV/AIDS. We provide information and referral for People with AIDS, their families, and caregiver.

All About Care offers client advocacy, referral for prescription drugs, and legal referrals, in addition to community outreach, education, and speakers. Because of HOPWA (Housing Opportunity for People with AIDS) funding, we are able to offer referral for short-term housing assistance and utility payments. Due to giving by friends of All About Care, we are able to offer food, nutritional support, and have established and sponsor support groups for:

  • Women with HIV/AIDS,
  • Children of parents with HIV/AIDS,
  • Mothers of sons or daughters lost to or living with HIV/AIDS
  • Spiritual support.

Additionally, All About Care offers individual counseling, bereavement counseling, phone support, and crisis counseling for women and children.

The North Tower Circle is collecting gift cards and cash donations to help this wonderful group ensure these adults and kids have a great holiday season. Please donate what you can to help. Simply drop off your gift cards or donations to James or Chris at the North Tower Circle by December 20th and we will deliver them to All About Care.

Gift cards are best from places like Target, Walmart, Walgreens or similar stores which offer a wide variety of goods and health services applicable to both adults and children.

The North Tower Circle is located at 2777 N Maroa Avenue in Fresno. Phone: 229-4188 after 7PM any day with questions. The club is open 7PM-2AM Mondays and Wednesdays through Sundays. You may also drop off donations at the Fresno LGBT Community Center Wednesday through Saturday from Noon - 5PM or call us at 559-325-4429 and we'll arrange to pick items up.


Over the course of the last two years there has been a proliferation in media coverage of gay and lesbian suicide coverage. The following names should ring a bell. Tyler Clementi, Lance Lundsten, Justin Aaberg, Samantha Johnson, and most recently, Jacob Rogers.

 

This list is skimpy in comparison to those who don't get media coverage like the high school student out in Colorado earlier this year in August who committed suicide as a suspected bullycide. When an LGBT Commits Suicide.

But since the start of the coverage, it seems like the suicides are becoming more desperate. Jacob Rogers left his passwords so people could blatantly see that his suicide was directly thought out. His suicide was premeditated with the intention of people knowing the reasoning for his suicide. And even more dramatically, a teen Jamey Rodemeyer, who created an It Get's Better Video committed suicide shortly there after. (It get's better! I promise!)

There are statistics that discuss the higher rates of suicide within the LGBT community but even these may seem skeptical. Live Science writer Benjamin Radford discusses the inaccurate portrayal of suicide rates in the LGBT community citing sociology chair Joel Best of the University of Delaware.

“Advocates began with the largely discredited assumption that one-tenth of the population is homosexual, derived from Alfred Kinsey's 1940s research. In fact more recent studies and polls find that around 1 percent to 3 percent of the population is homosexual. The advocates further assumed the proportion held true for teens (it may or may not), and out of about 4,500 annual teen suicides, figured that one-tenth (450) should involve gay or lesbian teens.” (Is There a Gay Teen Suicide Epidemic)

With this in mind, it could be possible that with the It Get's Better Project, the constant throw up of LGBT suicide statistics, and the persistent coverage of LGBT suicides in the media is creating a viral self fulfilling prophecy for the LGBT community. With all this information in the air and with the thousands of LGBT teens who track these stories and statistics, the teens could be joining in solidarity by committing suicide as sort of twisted  mass hysteria in protest.

By all means, if this is true, what can be done to pull back the numbers and get teens to stop committing suicide? Arguably, share the stories where teens chose to live. The It Get's Better Project helps, but there are unfortunately too many sad stories of coming to age before it get's better. Like perhaps, life sucks now, just wait and it will get better.

California's Prop 8 case is back in court today, December 8th. Here's what will be heard...

Release the Tapes

In the first hour, Ted Olson will argue that the public has a First Amendment right to see video footage of the historic Prop. 8 trial. The District Court has already ruled that the American people have a vested interest in transparent court proceedings, but the Prop. 8 Proponents appealed that decision. They are trying to keep the video under lock and key because they don’t want anyone to know that they failed in court, where reason and facts matter. Also arguing that the tapes should be released is an impressive media coalition comprised of the Associated Press, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, FOX News, NBC News, the Hearst Corporation, Dow Jones & Co., and others.

Motion to Vacate

In the second hour, David Boies will address the Proponents’ offensive motion asking that our District Court victory be vacated because the judge who heard our case is gay and in a long-term relationship. The anti-marriage forces are trying everything they can to get the case thrown out because they know that reason and truth are on our side. This tactic was universally condemned in the media and it took only a day for Chief Judge James Ware to rule against the homophobic motion. We are confident that the appeals court will affirm that being gay has no bearing on a judge’s impartiality, just as courts have historically done with cases involving race, gender and religion.

Hearing to be Broadcast

The court is allowing a live audio broad cast on KQED, a delayed video broadcast on CSPAN and NBC San Diego and has set up remote viewing locations in Pasadena, Portland and Seattle. Everyone will be able to see first-hand the baseless arguments that the Prop. 8 Proponents use to conceal and distract from the real issue: denying gay and lesbian Americans the freedom to marry is unconstitutional.

Read More Here

You can imagine my shock when I learned yesterday that a person had been raped by a man in Visalia.  As the story goes, the two met on a social networking site and when the man got to the house he was asked to leave.  Upon refusing to leave, he pepper-sprayed his victim, bound their limbs and proceeded to rape them.  The media is covering this as a sexual assault, but let’s not kid ourselves, it was rape.  After he was done with his victim, he left with several electronic items and was later caught by the authorities.

As I’m sure you feel, this is an especially horrible crime and my heart goes out to the victim.  Would you feel different about the victim if I told you he was a man as well?  I don’t.  I still feel this is a crime of the most heinous nature.

As I read the community responses to the media stations Facebook posts of this story, I was horrified.  Some of the comments suggested that the victim deserved this, others that the rapist should be castrated or raped himself in prison by “Big Bubba”.  Some of the other comments were just plain in poor taste with such antics as “did he leave through the back door lol”.

I see quite a few problems here: 1) I don’t believe that the community response to the victim would have been consistent if the victim was a woman or a child; 2) The media, not once reached out to the LGBT or rape counseling community to make any statements regarding this; and 3) We learn through this that there is still a growing need and responsibility for social media outlets to caution their users of the risks involved and precautions one should take when accessing their technologies.  I will applaud the media for not making this a “gay” thing, but there has to be more done.

We as a society should be much more sensitive to victims of such crimes and also continue to rely and have faith in the judicial system to bring such perpetrators to justice.  As much as I would hate for the same thing to happen to anyone else and as much as rapists and violent sexual offenders piss me off, I don’t believe that calling for violence upon them is the right thing to do.

We have to call upon our leaders to be responsible to those they serve.  Our leaders must remain vigilant and continue to remind our community of the dangers and risks involved in social networks.  And we must be careful to be sensitive to victims of crimes like this.  As I said, it doesn’t matter what the circumstance or what genders are involved, rape is rape and no one should ever be subject to such a horrible crime.

This is the man arrested for assault and burglary in Visalia. It's believed he's involved in more such crimes, where he preyed on people using social media tools.

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Police are asking for anyone else who may have been a victim to come forward.

Courtesy The Fresno Bee...

Alvarez is being held at the Tulare County jail on $150,000 bail.

Police believe this is not the first time Alvarez preyed on victims via social media and are asking anyone with information about the incident or similar incidents to call the Visalia Police Department Violent Crimes Unit at (559) 713-4234.

Earlier today I reached out to Grindr.com about the Visalia incident and they have graciously provided the following statement...

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We at Grindr are extremely saddened to hear about the victim in Visalia, California. Although arrested for an unrelated crime, a suspect has been apprehended. Grindr takes the safety of its users very seriously and as such, we have a number safeguards in place, including our strict photo and profile content guidelines, privacy policy, detailed user agreements, terms of service and safety tips which can be found on our website. We encourage our members to utilize the safety mechanisms we’ve made available. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family.

A local man, in Visalia, has been brutally assaulted and raped by a contact he made through the social application GRINDR. Read more here...

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While there have been many comments supporting the victim and the LGBT community in general, there has also been a string of negative statements on various social media sites regarding this crime. These negative comments generally suggest that a gay man searching for contact through such an application “deserved what he got”, or that rape of a man by another man is insignificant, even dismissive.

Rape is rape, regardless of the gender or sexuality of the victim. Rape is a violent crime, no matter who it is carried out against, and should never be dismissed because the circumstances don’t meet traditional criteria. There is absolutely no reason to view this crime as any less significant simply because it occurred between two men. Going further, to categorize the seriousness of this brutal crime based on anyone’s sexuality is even more demeaning. And to suggest that anyone deserves to be brutalized regardless of the manner in which they reach out for contact is simply and wrong. No one deserves to be a victim of a violent crime.

We have to remember, particularly given the recent environment of bullying and sexual abuse, that it is vital to support the victims of violent crimes, not to demonize them based on perceived traditional social stereotypes. Often, many of these crimes go unreported simply because the public and media tend to suggest the victim is in some way, to blame.

Grindr is an application marketed toward men who are seeking out male contacts, but the same company also provides Blendr, a similar application targeted at the heterosexual and female community. These are only 2 of the many, many applications which are out there to connect people from various communities, genders and sexualities.

While we do not endorse any particular social media, we urge all those using social applications to make contact with others to do so in as safe a way as possible. Meeting in a public place is just one of the ways to protect yourself. Caution should be exercised in all meetings, dates and similar social situations.

If you have a story you’d like to share, or advice to others on how to protect themselves please feel free to post a comment or contact Chris Jarvis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Courtesy KSEE 24

A Visalia man has been arrested for allegedly raping a man he met on a social networking application.

The application is an all-male mobile network tool that uses GPS technology for people to find each other. Police believe the suspect may have used this tool to commit similar crimes in the past. They are now asking people who may have been one of his victims to come forward.

READ MORE HERE

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Macy’s has stepped up its game in protecting the rights of all of its customers. An employee at a San Antonio, Texas store was fired for refusing to allow a transgender customer to enter the female dressing rooms.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Natalie Johnson refused to let a transgender woman, who she described as a man in makeup and woman’s clothes, use the woman’s fitting rooms.

The woman, who’d been instructed by store officials to allow transgender customers to use the dressing room of their choice, claims she refused to do so because of her religious beliefs. This is the same nonsense a couple of New York employees used when they left their county clerk positions after same sex marriage was legalized in the state.

Now, the Liberty Council, an organization dedicated to defending religious freedom, has taken on the case.  It’s yet another example of the recent trend with employees believing their religious beliefs trump company policy. Time to look for work somewhere else…

A statement from Macy’s included…

“At Macy’s we recognize and appreciate the diversity of our customers and associates.”

READ MORE HERE...

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Don't miss listening to this speech. I know it's easy to see so much on the internet on a daily basis and when a video seems long, as this one does, it's easy to run away. Don't. Take some time and listen to what Hillary is saying about our community, particularly as it's reflected against the general human rights acts of the past. You won't be sorry...

You go girl...

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On Friday, December 2, 2011, United Student Pride & Associated Student Inc. Of Fresno State hosted a Masquerade Benefit for HIV / AIDS Awareness at the Satellite Student Union at Fresno State. The event was to bring awareness to HIV / AIDS issues. Proceeds from the event will be donated to a local HIV / AIDS organization.

Photo Gallery...PHOTOS COURTESY NIGEL MEDHURST

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The Harvey Milk Project is accepting applications for the inaugural “Harvey Milk Hope Award” of $2,000 to be presented in 2012-13 to a Fresno State junior or senior enrolled in the Humanics Certificate Program (community benefit administration/non-profit organization management).

Online application:www.csufresno.edu/scholarships/index.shtml
Due: Feb. 28, 2012

YOU GOTTA GIVE ‘EM HOPE!
www.theharveymilkproject.org

Donations welcome. Online @

www.bulldogpride.org

From Kate Kelly, Blogging on The Huffington Post

Tonight people from around the world will pack into Times Square in anticipation of being at the "center of the universe" for the countdown to midnight. In addition to the one million people expected to be there in person, an estimated audience of one billion people around the world will be viewing the climactic moment when the ball descends into New York's Times Square to mark the beginning of a new year.


The Party Tradition Begins

The first New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square occurred in 1904, just after the New York Times had relocated to a new building in what had been known as Longacre Square. Publisher Alfred Ochs had successfully pushed for a renaming of the district, and the triangular area where the new building sat at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway, and 42nd Streets has since then been known as Times Square.

That year Ochs sponsored a party to beat all parties to celebrate the new location. An all-day street festival was capped off with a fireworks display, and there were thought to have been 200,000 people in attendance. The Times continued to sponsor a New Year's Eve event in the area, and New Yorkers soon began going to Times Square instead of ringing in the new year at Trinity Church as had been the previous custom.

A few years later the city banned the use of fireworks, and that led to the creation of a new tradition. At first, Ochs' team developed a creative use of lights. At the end of 1905, lights were configured to read "1906" and these electric lights flashed from the tower of the Times building, reportedly visible from miles away. The Times tower was also festooned with electric streamers that lighted the building's four corners.

But the creative thinkers were still at work.

Noting Time with Ball Drops

Everywhere in the world, the problem of synchronizing time was addressed with many forms of creativity. In 1833 The Royal Observatory in Greenwich England had a ball installed, and at 1 p.m. each day, the ball would drop to mark the time and allow the captains of nearby ships to set their chronometers. (When the telegraph was invented, the exact time could be communicated beyond areas that could see the ball drop.) The success of the dropping ball was copied elsewhere in the world, and it is this tradition that is mimicked with the dropping of the ball in Times Square.

The first ball made for Times Square was iron and wood and weighed 700 pounds; it featured light from one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. It was made by an immigrant metalworker whose company, Artkraft Strauss, took responsibility for the creation and dropping of the ball for most of the 20th century.

While the ball must have been on order for many months before December 31, 1907, its introduction was met with little joy and less fanfare. The "Bankers Crisis" had occurred in October of 1907, causing a 50 percent drop in stocks in the New York Stock Exchange and leading to the spread of a nationwide recession. There was no central bank to avert the disaster; times were very hard for people and there was little feeling of optimism. (The following year, Congress undertook a study of the country's financial structure that led to the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank.)

As a result, that fist drop of the Times Square ball was met by a subdued crowd. The New York Times reports: "The dropping of the illuminated ball on the tower of The Times was awaited by an expectant crowd with upturned faces. The square was thronged. As the ball dropped on the stroke of twelve an involuntary cheer arose from many thousands." (NYT 1-2-1908)

During World War II, the United States was adhering to a wartime "dimout" and in 1942 and 1943, there was no ball drop. The tradition was so strong, however, that people still gathered in Times Square. At midnight during those war years, a minute of silence was observed followed by the ringing of chimes from sound trucks parked in Times Square.

Since that time there have been several new versions of the ball, but one thing remains the same: People enjoy gathering in Times Square -- or watching via television or the Internet -- to mark the beginning of a new year.

Happy new year to you all.

If you're interested in reading more about what makes this country great, please visit my website AmericaComesAlive.com, or stop by Facebook.com/AmericaComesAlive.

Follow Kate Kelly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AboutAmerica

Friday, New Year's Eve, HBO will air Bette Midler - The Showgirl Must Go On. This is the show that Bette ran in Las Vegas for much of last year. I saw it live in Vegas and I highly recommend it...
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As we near the official opening of the new, local Gay Central Valley office, we'd like to reach out to the community for items which will help us get our fledgling LGBT Community Center off the ground.

We are seeking donations of...

BOOKS and MEDIA (DVD's, etc) pertinent to the LGBT Community.

POSTERS and ARTWORK

OFFICE SUPPLIES & FURNITURE

ELECTRIC OSCILLATING FANS & HEATERS

DESK CHAIRS

Internet Protocol (IP) PHONES

COMPUTER RELATED SUPPLIES

COFFEE TABLE or other low tables

FLOOR PILLOWS, THROWS, ETC.

SHELVING & STORAGE UNITS

BROCHURE RACKS & OTHER PUBLICATION DISPLAYS

WE ALSO NEED FLYERS, BROCHURES, PAMPHLETS, BUSINESS CARDS AND ANY OTHER PUBLICATIONS FROM LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS WHICH ARE OF INTEREST TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY.

If you would like to donate anything to Gay Central Valley to help us get our office off the ground, please contact Chris Jarvis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 559-225-1008. We can pick up donations at your convenience.

Our office address is 1055 N Van Ness Avenue Suite C, Fresno CA. We will be opening our office the first week in January and will have an official Grand Opening Ceremony in early February. Any publications can also be mailed to us at the above address.

Why oh why do we have to hear from so many in the LGBT community who aren't even close to understanding any of the issues?

Okay, let's get this straight, people. I know the general public always jumps on the current trendy terms and applies it to everything. That's common. But you'd think that the LGBT Community would be a little more politically astute.

"Bullying" is the term I'm referring to. A whole parade of thin skinned and unthinking LGBT citizens are now taking this very serious term (as it applies to children and teens in school) and use it to fight back against normal criticism coming from any one of a variety of sources.

The latest I found was this outrageous quote from Reichen Lehmkuhl, one of the stars of the ludicrous and brain killing TV series, "The A List", a show revolving around a bunch of empty headed, self absorbed gay men who couldn't find their way out of a simple maze with a bottle of poppers at the exit. By the way, on this show, "The A List" the stars regularly criticize and condemn other people for being "fatties" and other such delicate terms of endearment.

Lehmkuhl is responding to an editor, writing in New York's NEXT MAGAZINE, who said that Lehmkuhl and his boyfriend were "vapid queens".

Lehmkuhl responded...

“I don't appreciate your bullying words. You can save your 'vapid queens' comment for, well, no one. I can't even imagine speaking this way about other human beings. That you would reduce my existence to someone who is a 'vapid queen' says more about what you don't know about me, along with the kind of person you must be. Is this seriously how a 'senior editor' at a magazine talks about people?”

READ MORE HERE

Recently on one of my own Facebook postings someone went after me for pointing out the overwhelming evidence not that someone else was gay (well known) or mean (well known) but was an idiot (more than well known). She labeled it as "bullying". Opinion, well based in fact, is not bullying, not to an adult.

I have to admit that I'm sick to death of thin skinned, pie in the sky idealists who want to ban the word "fag" without paying attention to any of the other million or so offensive words out there, or people who label the civil rights battle for marriage as a battle for "love".  At some point in recent years, during the LGBT battle for civil rights, a whole new hybrid of activists popped up. Those who say we should "respect" all opinions and all work together in harmony. Are you serious? Why do we criticize those who get it wrong? So we can weed out the crop. Do we want to turn into a mass of passionless lumps of harmony, or do we want to get rid of those who are mis-using their positions of voice to mutate a message until it's meaningless? There are things to get angry about, and there are a whole lot of things to NOT get angry about. Why can't we tell the difference anymore?

Not all people deserve respect for certain opinions. I'm certainly not going to respect anyone in America who says that the bible says gays don't deserve equal rights. We don't live in a country ruled by the bible, we're ruled by the constitution. If I call out a Christian for that completely misguided opinion, am I bullying them? Of course not! There are not necessarily TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY. Sometimes there's only one. Anyone subscribing to the idea that all opinions are just as valid as all others is useless to any cause, in my opinion. All opinions are allowed to be expressed in America, but all opinions are not, at their core, valid. 

Most of all, I'm tired of those who now work to censor writing and speech everywhere by capitalizing and trivializing the very real issue of bullying as it pertains to children and teens.

You don't strengthen the work against the bullying of children by pretending that honest criticism of adults, even if it's sarcastic and biting and cynical, is the same as bullying. In fact, you weaken everything we fight for and more importantly, maybe, just maybe you're too weak to know the differences between free speech and hate speech. Maybe, just maybe, you should grow up.

Mickey Rourke has confirmed he's set to star in a film biography of gay rugby player Gareth Thomas.

Thomas came out of the closet in 2009, stating, "I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player, first and foremost I am a man", adding, "What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby".

Rourke confirmed the sentiment, attesting to portraying man who happens to be gay... “When I met the rugby player, Gareth Thomas, this is one thing that he and I talked about. This is something that’s really important: We’re doing a movie about a man who plays rugby who is gay."

READ MORE HERE 

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, who's long been suspected of being gay, is back on the radar. His recent objections to the repeal of DADT has once again brought his sexuality into the spotlight.

A rumor circulated last week stating that Mike Rogers at blogactive.com ( Mike Rogers @BlogActive )

intended on outing Graham. According to Roger's statements, however, he not only never said he was outing Graham, but is offering a $250 reward to anyone who can find a place online where he actually said it (so he must not have said it). Rogers does admit though, to having photos of a man leaving Graham's residence whom he claims was there to have sex with Graham. Rogers has sent a letter to Graham but as of yet there is no response.

Rumors about the senator’s private life have swirled for years, but Graham, who is unmarried, maintains that he is not gay. In one video blogger’s recording of a short interview with Graham, the senator was asked about his support for then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor; the interviewer asked obliquely about rumors regarding Graham’s own sexuality, but the senator re-focused the conversation on Sotomayor’s "temperament" and her overcall judicial record.

The interviewer attempted to broach the subject of Graham’s sexuality once more, saying, "I’m guessing after a long career in the military, you’re not going to dignify any of these rumors with any kind of response?"

Graham, looking unsure about what the interviewer is referencing, replied, "Right."

READ MORE HERE 

Elton John and his partner David Furnish have become parents. A surrogate mother in the state of California helped make the event possible for the couple. John is 63 years old and Furnish is 48.

The child, a boy weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces, comes after John and Furnish were refused as adoptive parents for a 14 month old HIV positive child when Ukrainian officials stated that John was "too old" and that the civil union between John and Furnish was not recognized.

READ MORE HERE

Teena Marie called herself "a black artist with white skin", as well as the "Ivory Queen of Soul". In the early morning hours of December 27th, 2010, Marie, at the age of 54, died in her sleep. So far, authorities have concluded the death to be of natural causes.

I've listened to and adored Marie's music my whole life. My favorite was "I Need Your Lovin", while my husband James' fave was "Square Biz". As the DJ at the North Tower Circle, James and I have an ongoing joke when he visits me in the booth.  If I'm having a frustrated moment I'll say to him, "I don't know what to play next,"..."Play some Teena Marie", he tells me.

Teena was a groundbreaking and unique singer, teaming up early in her career, and often, with Rick James. She was funky and charged as a performer, and reached not just a club or urban audience, but garnered national and international success as a singer. Long before rapping became mainstream, Marie was one of the first female artists to include a rap in her songs.

We'll miss you Teena...

Read More Here

Every year of "Oprah's Favorite Things" I've said the very things Maher talks about in this video. I found this year's entry to be the worst and most disturbing. This year's audience members were supposedly "people who give back", meaning people who volunteer and help others. That makes their display of ultimate greed all the more shameful. Go ahead, take your gifts, but stop crying like you just were cured of cancer...

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To all of you who believe in BOYCOTTS, and who truly believe they work, click on the link at the end of this article.

 

LGBT Americans need to WAKE UP. Corporations are in business for ONE REASON and one reason only, to MAKE MONEY. They don't have political leanings. They don't THINK about how they treat their employees, that is, not outside of current LAWS. Corporations DON'T CARE how you feel about them, they only care about PROFITS.

And if any LGBT American believes for a second that LGBT Americans add up to a voice loud enough or financially representative enough to have an impact on any MAJOR corporation in the United States, they simply aren't good at math.

The ONLY ISSUE left that any of us should be concerned about is HOW MANY PEOPLE vote. If more of us don't get out and vote against the politicians these corporations are supporting, then it gets a whole lot uglier from here, and those of you under 30 have NO CONCEPT of just how ugly it can get...BOYCOTTS are easy, they take NO THOUGHT, but the TRUTH is tougher, and it takes a LOT MORE WORK...

READ THE RESULT OF YOUR TARGET BOYCOTT HERE


Click on the name of the club to visit their OFFICIAL WEBSITES to get details on their New Year's Eve Events... click on the images to enlarge for viewing...

THE FRESNO EXPRESS 

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CLUB LEGENDS

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THE NORTH TOWER CIRCLE 

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THE RED LANTERN

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MEDIA MATTERS, an organization which monitors truth in media, has started up a new website dedicated to the support of gay equality...

 

EqualityMatters.org is a new media and communications initiative in support of gay equality. Through strategic communications, research, training and media monitoring we strengthen efforts for full LGBT rights and correct anti-gay misinformation. Our goal is to enhance advocacy and activism across all platforms and to leverage our expertise in support of others who are working to make full equality a national imperative.

According to a 67 page plan filed last month, as far as the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell goes, gay and lesbian soldiers are to treated the same as everyone else. Sweeping changes which have been rampantly spun throughout the media, simply are not the reality of the changeover during the enactment of repeal. There are no plans to construct separate barracks or facilities in order separate soldiers who may be uncomfortable with each other. That's not to say that those options are off the table.

 

Throughout the recommendations, it's clear that the first step of any conflict will be counseling. The military will make every attempt to try to settle any disputes that come up, whether it be a soldier complaining that a military minister is preaching against homosexuality, or soldiers who don't feel comfortable sharing sleeping space with an out soldier.

Courtesy the Associated Press...

(Defense Secretary Robert) Gates has said the military will not drag out the implementation process, but it will move carefully and deliberately.

A new study by the Palm Center, a research institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said only three steps are needed to assure a smooth and quick transition: an executive order suspending all gay discharges, a few weeks to put new regulations in place and immediate certification to Congress that the new law will work. And it says that the military often implements new policies as it begins training, rather than waiting for the training to be finished.

Aaron Belkin, center director, said it took just 40 days to train the force when the don't ask, don't tell policy was implemented under President Bill Clinton in 1993-94. The Pentagon, Belkin said, can train the entire force rapidly, even those in combat zones.

READ MORE HERE

 

President Obama is expected to sign into the law the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell this coming Wednesday, December 22nd. Implementation of the new policy, however, does not take effect immediately. It's unsure just how long it will take, but officials have promised swift implemention.

READ MORE HERE 

From President Barack Obama...

Moments ago, the Senate voted to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members -- brave Americans who enable our freedoms -- will no longer have to hide who they are.

The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.

This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.

Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We will not quit.

This victory also belongs to Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and our many allies in Congress who refused to let politics get in the way of what was right.

Like you, they never gave up, and I want them to know how grateful we are for that commitment.

I will make sure these messages are delivered -- you can also add a comment about what the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" means to you.

As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.

But this victory is also personal.

I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.

But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me -- many I will never meet, and can never thank.

I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.

But the rightness of our cause does not guarantee success, and today, celebration of this historic step forward is tempered by the defeat of another -- the DREAM Act. I am incredibly disappointed that a minority of senators refused to move forward on this important, commonsense reform that most Americans understand is the right thing for our country. On this issue, our work must continue.

Today, I'm proud that we took these fights on.

Please join me in thanking those in Congress who helped make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal possible:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/DADTrepealed

Thank you,

Barack

 

The Senate voted 65-31 today to end Don't Ask Don't Tell, which, after the President signs off, will end the 17 year old discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians serving in the military.

Five Republicans crossed the aisle to vote against the policy: Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio).

The Senate vote is a vindication of Obama's decision to push for congressional repeal as opposed to unilateral executive action, though activists note he could have done both. The Senate will make a final vote on ending the policy at 3 p.m.

"The important thing today is that 63 senators were on the right side of history," Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told HuffPost, adding he sees the bill as a "stepping stone to further advances for the gay and lesbian community."

READ MORE HERE

There seems to be a reason the wealthier and more conservative Americans aren't as sympathetic to the plights of others, they can't seem to recognize emotions or empathize with others. So says the latest study from Psychological Science.

The wealthy don't need to rely on others for help, the study determined, and so their people skills have atrophied.

 

"They're less concerned and less perceptive of other people's needs and wishes," said study co-author Michael Kraus, according to MSNBC. "They show a deficit in empathic accuracy."

In the study, people with more education and from wealthier backgrounds had more difficulty interpreting pictures of faces. While "lower-class" people tended to correctly identify emotions, "upper-class" people had trouble.

READ MORE HERE 

The FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act is a bill that, if passed, will bring Gay History into the classrooms of California. The idea is that bringing LGBT history into school classrooms will help alleviate the bullying crisis that permeates school everywhere. The bill would also add sexual orientation to the anti discrimination laws for schools in California.

Matt Mazzei, of the local Rainbow Delegation, is interviewed in the piece, as well as Jim Franklin, who for some strange reason, local news affiliates continue to consult on every issue facing the LGBT community. Maybe it's about time local news had an LGBT voice attached to every story about Christianity, or religion in general, as well as a myriad of other topics. As open and welcoming the local news affiliates have been to us in the LGBT Community, getting our voices and issues out there on a regular basis, isn't it time they ran just ONE STORY concerning our rights without Franklin in the mix to bash us, and worse, to continually perpetuate lies and misinformation. Do they even realize they're doing it at this point, or is it just a matter of a rolodex call to Franklin every time an issue that concerns the LGBT Community comes up? Religion is not a FACTUAL institution, it's one based on mythology. What exactly is he doing in this story??

Watch the video below.

I've been extremely disappointed in people like Whoopi Goldberg and especially Jodie Foster in their defense of Mel Gibson and his recent actions. It reminds me of a statement Joy Behar made years ago about another person (I can't remember now who it was) who'd been revealed to be racist. She was asked if she would throw a long time friend away if she found out they were racist, or homophobic, etc. She said yes.

I'd waited years to hear someone say that on national TV. I don't care how close you are to me. If I find out that you have some hideous character trait such as blatant racism or homophobia, yes, you're not only off the Christmas list, but you're off the contact list. I've had the experience of finding out a long time friend is, in fact, an a**hole, and I no longer speak to them.

It's disgraceful that Whoopi recently said about Mel that she'd been a personal friend for years and he didn't display that behavior around her. I guess if someone rapes someone while they're out of town it's okay to attend their New Year's Eve  party. It's equally disgraceful that Foster, a lesbian, not only ignores Mel's rants, but continues to work with him.

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Winona Ryder has now commented on the Gibson saga...

"I remember, like, fifteen years ago, I was at one of those big Hollywood parties. And he was really drunk," she recalls to the magazine. I was with my friend, who's gay. He made a really horrible gay joke. And somehow it came up that I was Jewish. He said something about 'oven dodgers,' but I didn't get it.

"I'd never heard that before," Ryder continues. It was just this weird, weird moment. I was like, 'He's anti-Semitic and he's homophobic.' No one believed me!"

Read the whole story here 

Courtesy HIVPLUSMAG.COM

A drug company has been given approval by the Food and Drug Administration to market an HIV test that provides results in 60 seconds.

BioLytical Laboratories’ test will allow results in one minute; most rapid tests take about 15 to 30 minutes. 



“We believe the speed, accuracy, and unique technology of our 60-second HIV test will make the testing and early treatment of HIV/AIDS more efficient in all patient settings, including hospital emergency rooms and public health clinics,” said bioLytical Laboratories president Philip Bligh in a press release. “Additionally, our high-volume, automated manufacturing capability makes INSTI one of the most cost-effective solutions available for providers of HIV rapid testing.”

I opened my eyes.  5:30pm.

I hadn't slept after school, just rested my eyes. The butterflies in my stomach needed calming. I had no intention of falling on my face in front of Paul. Beautiful Paul.

I reached for the now lukewarm, left over 7-Up on my bedside table and downed it, thinking only during the last gulp that there was no caffeine in 7-Up, and that I would probably need some of that. I heard voices and a television. It was the football game dad was watching with a few of his friends in the family room.

I welcomed a hot shower. With the small, window over the stall open, the cool, early evening air was just enough to counter the steam and pulsing water from the shower head.  I closed my eyes and concentrated on the hot water flowing over my head, my shoulders, my arms, torso, stomach and legs. It was so hot my chest and shoulders were turning red. But it was exactly what I needed, relaxing my tense body so I'd be ready to connect with Paul when he came to pick me up.

 

My stomach turned.  I couldn't believe I'd asked Paul to the prom, let alone that he'd accepted my invitation. I looked over the suit I'd chosen, wondering again if I'd made the right choice of color, lapels, of shoes. Paul was different, beautiful. As far as I was concerned, he didn't have those worries. He didn't even have to try. No matter what he showed up in, he'd be the focus of the room, and the simple truth was that, at least for tonight, I'd be on his arm.

I was following Paul to college, both of us enrolled at Fresno State. I would major in psychology and Paul in business. We'd be living separately, but the fact that I'd secured his hand for the senior prom had to give me some leg up on any kind of future relationship, didn't it? Paul could be with anyone. And without a doubt, everyone wanted to be with him. It was just a stroke of luck that we'd been partnered in chemistry, and that we'd hit it off. I'd spoken to him briefly before, but Paul was, in my mind, in a different league. He was class President, beyond popular, and to look at him was to gaze on beauty.

 

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The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, with the tally being 250 for repeal and 175 against. This is half the battle, however, and a vote must be taken and won in the Senate for the repeal to take place.

 

Some are assuring the public that a vote in the Senate will take place before the end of the year, however conservative Republicans are also stating there are more important issues to tackle. If the Senate doesn't vote on repeal before the end of the year, the battle becomes even more difficult, as more Republicans move into Senate seats after the new year.

READ MORE HERE

Doctors believe that a patient who has undergone stem cell transplants as a treatment for leukemia, has in fact been cured of his HIV infection. It's believed that genetically engineered stem cells may lead to a cure for the disease.

 

Another recent finding indicates that healthy people taking antiretrovirals, medicines used to treat HIV, may have as much as a 73% better chance of not contracting the disease.

READ MORE HERE

Will the Scientologists go after Carrie Fisher for OUTING John Travolta??

Check out video from this year's WORLD AIDS DAY in Fresno...We're still uploading and processing videos, all should be uploaded by Wednesday, December 15th.

To view all videos from World AIDS Day in Fresno, as well as all Gay Central Valley videos, check out our YouTube Page.

 

Check out a great slideshow of those effected by Don't Ask Don't Tell by CLICKING HERE

You want to read something really insightful? Check out Frank Rich's recent New York Times article, GAY BASHING AT THE SMITHSONIAN.

Not only does it deal bluntly with the recent controversy at the Smithsonian over an art exhibit that was pulled by the museum, which they claimed was offending patrons (patrons never complained, only Bill Donahue, of The Catholic League...one man who isn't even affiliated with the Catholic Church).

The piece in question is by David Wojnarowicz, a painter, author and filmmaker. "A Fire In My Belly" was yanked because Donahue called the images of Christ included in the piece "hideously grisly", which morphed into "pornographic images of gay men". And this happened not because patrons complained, because they didn't, but because one conservative website and Donahue stirred the pot.

 

Rich's column is brilliant in its comparison of this recent travesty against the insane position of Senator John "I'm Crazy" McCain on the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal. The message is that homophobia has become so accepted and watered down in America that it's becoming accepted at the highest levels in the land.

Don't miss reading this piece.

I love Carrie Fisher.

Not for what most people love her for, the STAR WARS films, although I love those films and love her in them, but, no, I love her for her writing and her dead on, acid tongued sarcasm.

 

Carrie, whose parents are Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, earned the highest possible respect in my mind with her book POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, made into an hilarious film starring Meryl Streep and Shirley Maclaine. The writing is precise, funny and insightful, all within the world of self realization and self deprecation that is Fisher's actual life. Carrie doesn't shy away from anything in her past or present, discussing at length her somewhat sordid Hollywood family history, only to turn to the topics of her addictions, electro shock therapy and the man she married who left her for another man.

Quite by accident, I just came across WISHFUL DRINKING,  which started out as a book, then became a play, which can now be seen on HBO in its filmed incarnation. (Catch a trailer for the HBO show below...) The HBO One Woman show was my introduction to this piece but I intend to buy the book and read it as well. If you have HBO I urge you to check out this brilliantly funny piece of work that brings a movie star born into Hollywood royalty directly down to earth with the rest of us.

Fisher was also just interviewed by The Advocate.

Courtesy JoeMyGod.com

Over the last seven days....

Indiana: Father Byron Canada sentenced to 11 years in prison in $2.7M real estate scam.
Arkansas: Pastor Robert Burnham resigns after bust in prostitution sting.
Indiana: Pastor Vaughn Reeves sentenced to 54 years in prison for embezzling over $13M from church construction investors.
New York: Rabbi Victor Koltun charged two counts of murder in the killings of a police officer and the officer's nephew.
Wisconsin: Father Thomas Marr pleads guilty to embezzling over $600K from parishioners.
Indiana: Pastor Jerry Hillenburg sued for sexual harassment by church preschool teacher.
Illinois: Father Donald McQuire loses appeal over conviction for molesting four boys.
Netherlands: New report reveals almost 2000 accusations of sexual molestation covered up by Dutch Catholic Church.
Illinois: Pastor James French charged with sexual abuse of underage girl.
Missouri: Pastor Glenn Baldridge sentenced to five years probation for $100K check forgery scheme.
New York: Sister Marie Thornton arrested for embezzling $850K from Iona College, where she was CFO. Thornton reportedly blew the money in Atlantic City.
California: Will Lynch pleads not guilty to beating the Jesuit priest he claims molested him and and his brother when they were seven and five years old. Lynch wants a public trial since the priest cannot be charged under the statue of limitations.
Illinois: Archdiocese of Chicago sued for covering up the sexual abuse of a high school freshman. In 2007 Father Daniel McCormack pleaded guilty to molesting multiple boys and is serving five years in prison.

This Week's Winner
Pennsylvania: Herbert and Catherine Schaible have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment for relying on the power of prayer rather than seek medical treatment for their two year-old son, who died of a common bacterial infection that would have been easily cured by antibiotics. The Schaibles, who say they and none of their six children have never been treated by doctors, face up to ten years in prison.

Derrick Burts began work in the porn industry in Los Angeles in June of 2010. He then became the center of controversy when his HIV positive status was released and in turn shut down several adult film sets due to fears of contracting HIV.

 

Courtesy AP: The boyishly handsome 24-year-old, who performed in straight films as Cameron Reid and gay films as Derek Chambers, broke down in tears while recalling the frustration he felt after his diagnosis.

There have been contradicting stories about whether Burts contracted HIV from sex on the job or within his personal life. Burts says a clinic traced the source of his infection back to a performer he'd shared scenes with, but the clinic states it was his personal encounters that brought about the infection.

Burts said he used condoms during his performances but that "aren't foolproof". Condoms are standard in the industry, although there has been a huge rise in the popularity of "bareback" adult films in recent years.

Burts said he became worried about the business after contracting chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes in only the first month of work, but that others convinced him to keep working. He is now speaking up publically for the first time in an effort to revise the way adult films are run.

Before you consider having unsafe sex, read his story.

READ MORE HERE

Just keep your eyes on Sherri Shepard as she sits next to Prince on a recent episode of THE VIEW...hilarious...

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It's difficult to write this. I've been angry before at politicians, many, many times. What's difficult is that this feels different. Seeing the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell fail again seemed impossible. I mean, the data is in, isn't it? We hated seeing the study take place, but it came back in our favor. Even many of the military's top brass told Congress that the law should be repealed.

Still, it failed again. READ MORE HERE

I'm not one of the many voices in the LGBT community to lay this on Obama. Yes, I wish he'd been tougher on Congress, but after his recent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans, I'm beginning to think Obama is a lost cause on just about everything. That joy the night he was elected, of witnessing the first black President in US history has been all but dashed at this point.

The real criminals here? The American people. Not even a majority of us vote, despite the fact that voting by absentee ballot makes the process easy and simple. I've been doing it for years. Knowing that any American can vote from the comfort of their own home and then just mail it in, against the knowledge of how few of us actually vote, is pathetic.

Harry Reid has sworn to keep this going until January 4th, but how are any of us supposed to have any belief in any of these career politicians any more?

Really? This is a "controversy"? A talented comedienne taking down a talented actress within the frames of a comedy routine? Wow people, how very "on the edge" (that is, if you discount ALL comedy done prior to this)...

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According to the Den's website things have changed...So far, according to their CURRENT STATUS PAGE they've simply been working towards rebuilding, but more recent posts have indicated the ownership will soon be transferred and that a new club will be rising from the ashes, that club being called The Phoenix.

The Den has issued the following statement...

The Den opened in January 2002 and in September 2010 a fire forced it to close. During those years, The Den was a lot of different things to a lot of different people—yes, some more different than others. It was a place to come after work for a few drinks or to have a wild night out that you wouldn't dream of telling your mother about. It was a place to form lasting relationships—some lasting a few minutes and others lasting years. Above all, it was a place to feel welcomed and comfortable.

The bar itself seemed to be in a near constant state of flux for much of the time it was open. Do you remember enjoying only beer and wine under the parachute (which still exists in some Google Earth images)? The fence didn't always have "The Den" carved in it (thank you David!). For a brief summer, you could enjoy drinks at the "patio bar". And who could forget the the many incarnations of the Full Moon Contest?

But, there comes a time for all things to end. And that time for The Den is near.

In mid-November 2010, an agreement for the sale of the bar was made between Paul Moore, the owner of The Den, and Bryan Beckstrand. Bryan and his partner, Karl Jensen, will be taking over the rebuilding of the bar and reopening as The Phoenix. The transition should be smooth and nearly transparent; Bryan and Karl have been working closely with Paul since the fire to get the bar reopened.

Finally, while change is inevitible, you shouldn't notice many differences between The Den and The Phoenix but the changes you do notice should be for the better.

Keep checking back here on our Fire Rebuilding Status page until the sale is finalized. Afterwards, the updates will be posted on www.fresnophoenix.com.

Thank you all for making The Den what it was these past almost 9 years! We were nothing without you!

We leave you now with a few memories of The Den...

The parents of this young girl in this video are my new heroes...

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Today, a panel of three federal judges heard arguments in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the Proposition 8 (or the California Marriage Protection Act) case. The 9th Circuit heard an appeal of an August ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who presided over a trial that found the ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. The first hour of the hearing lawyers addressed issues of legal authority, or standing. The second hour addressed the merits of the appeal. There is a brief break in the live programming in which the opening testimony was replayed.

 

WATCH THE COURTROOM HEARING HERE

On top of all the recent attention on the bullying LGBT kids face every day in school, a recent study has found that LGBT students receive harsher punishments in school than their heterosexual counterparts.

 

The report states...

Non heterosexual youth suffer disproportionate educational and criminal-justice punishments that are not explained by greater engagement in illegal or transgressive behaviors.

READ MORE HERE

These are reduced pictures from NAUGHTY OR NICE, Gay Central Valley's Annual Holiday Fundraiser at the North Tower Circle. If you'd like a full size copy of a picture emailed to you, send your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (click on images to enlarge for viewing...right click on the photo you'd like sent, save a copy and send it in the email request so we'll know which photo you'd like a copy of)

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It is with a very real sense of gratitude for all you are doing to advance equality that I am writing to you this morning. Today I informed our Board of Directors that I will be stepping down from my position as Executive Director of Equality California at the end of my ninth year. I will formally step aside on March 31, 2011. However, I will never forget our milestones together nor put aside our unfinished mission.

It has been a true honor and a privilege to lead Equality California and serve the state’s LGBT community. When you think back to how far we have come in less than a decade, it is breathtaking.

With heartfelt appreciation,

https://www.kintera.com/accounttempfiles/account7346/images/gk_signature_gd.gif
Geoff Kors
Executive Director
Equality California

Read the full letter HERE

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Rated R
Director Stephan Elliot
Cast: Terrence Stamp - Hugo Weaving - Guy Pearce - Bill Hunter
Reviewed By: Leon Velasco
Rating: Two Snaps Up

I may have done a review on this movie years ago, but this is one of those films that never gets tiresome. I have heard o few wise cracks and puns that are still are funny today as the first day I saw it. Such as “Cock in a frock on a rock.” Imagine buying beauty products titled, “WO-MAN; make up for the rugged woman.” I hadn’t noticed before but the actor Terrence Stamp also had played on “Superman II” He played the character “General ZOD” The drag costumes are great. They’re so imaginative and creative. There are a lot of sequins, feathers and other flashy things. It’s not your, “Plain Jane” drag. What I got out of the story is; “When everything has failed to go your way; all you need is some good friends, great music, FAAAAB-ulous outfits and tons of alcohol with an audience to shake your groove thang to get happy.”

Hello Friends,

Today is WORLD AIDS DAY...the first World AIDS Day began on December 1,1988...today marks the 22nd year since being found to help raise AIDS awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. 
We can thank, James Bunn and Thomas Netter who came up with the idea...they shared their idea in late 1987 with the Director for the Global Program on AIDS, Dr. Jonathan Mann and because of their vision, heart & persistence that is how we have WORLD AIDS Day!

World AIDS Day is an important reminder to us all that HIV has not gone away...there are still many things to be done & many people to serve!

I send this E to you my friends not just as a reminder for World AIDS Day...but also as a Thank You for your amazing support & friendship through the past 20 years so that All About Care / Camp Care  may offer assistance for our women, children & families infected & affected with HIV/AIDS.

Please know I continue to be humbled & grateful by your support.....without it we couldn't bring the kindness & care we bring to our families!

Wishing you God's richest Blessings on your life this Holiday Season!
Much love & many hugs,
Cynthia
All About Care / Camp Care
559-222-9471

What does it mean to live with HIV? Click on the following link to view a slideshow put together by Positively Aware magazine. The magazine collected pictures from all kinds of people living with HIV & AIDS.

A DAY WITH HIV IN AMERICA Slideshow

 

ImageImageFor my second review, I picked a great restaurant that you might not even realize is there. My friend was surprised the building had a restaurant in it.

The Cosmopolitan restaurant at Fresno and G Streets is in Fresno’s Chinatown. It has a down home casual atmosphere. For lunch, you order at the counter from one of three menus, one with hot sandwiches, another with cold sandwiches, and another from the grill. If you want alcohol, you have to order it separately from the bar.

For dinner you will be seated at a table and served. The dinner menu is a little fancier with meat and pasta entrees, but Cosmopolitan remains comfort food, not a place you go to on a diet. Their side salad is exceptional. I always have mine served with an Italian dressing and a generous serving of blue cheese. It is much better than your average salad you get at a modest restaurant.

The open steak sandwich is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner, though it is served dressed up for dinner with mushrooms, onions, and blue cheese. The cheese drenched sausage with garlic bread is also a delicious decision for lunch. They also serve a great burger anytime. The onion rings and fries are the best in town. The cocktail drinks are also the most generous in town for average prices. If you want a Long Island Iced Tea, this place serves the best. Only thing to stay away from, to my knowledge, is the tri tip plate. They cut it thick and cook it medium rare, and for tri tip that means you will have a dental exercise.

Because of where it is, sadly they are closed on the weekend and only serve dinner Wednesday through Friday. You also have to be 21 to enter, but if you are in for some good old-fashioned food in a friendly environment, this is the place to go. For more info on Cosmopolitan, go to their website. http://cosmofresno.com


Give A Day - Get A Disney Day is a new program, spearheaded by the Disney Parks, to celebrate and inspire volunteerism. The program, which starts January 1st, has set a goal of enlisting one million volunteers throughout the nation to help nonprofit organizations in 2010. In return, the volunteer receives a free pass to a Disney park.

It works like this...individuals sign up on the Give A Day - Get A Disney Day Official Website, then search and select from a list of eligible volunteer opportunities with participating organizations. Once the volunteer participation with the selected group is completed, the individual obtains verification from the organization, provides it to Disney, and receives a one day pass for a Walt Disney World® or Disneyland® theme park, absolutely FREE!

Disney Parks is operating the program in cooperation with the HandsOn Network, which has 250 on-the-ground volunteer action centers across the country and connects volunteers to more than 70,000 nonprofit agencies that need their help.

Gay Central Valley has joined the list of nonprofit organizations which will participate in this important program.

Gay Central Valley is looking for volunteers to participate in such areas as...

Graphic design
Our organization is in need of logo redesign and also new logo creation. This volunteer opportunity can be completed from home.

Information distribution
Seeking assistance with distributing business cards and brochures. Items will promote our nonprofit organization. This will mainly occur in the tower district, but also other local book stores, etc. Literature to distribute can be picked up and the time frame is flexible.

Online outreach
Assistance needed with expanding our online outreach via Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, etc.
Our goal is to expend our reach outside of the Fresno/Clovis area to other communities in the central valley. This opportunity would include working in an office environment and mainly contacting existing "friends" on social networks to become involved and to expand the existing network of "friends".

Online research
As a new nonprofit organization, we are seeking assistance in locating donations of items to raffle. This volunteer opportunity would involve working in our office and contacting local and national organizations (mainly online via forms and email) to secure needed items to fundraise.

Sponsorship assistance
Seeking assistance with making telephone calls to potential advertisers. Also making phone calls to build an LGBT friendly community directory.

The program kicks off on January 1st, 2010 and runs until tickets are distributed or December 15, 2010, whichever occurs first. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in this program, visit the Give A Day - Get A Disney Day Official Website  to sign up. Any questions or information can be found on the Program Terms & Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions page. 

 

Lawmakers in Mexico City have approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The Mayor is expected to sign it, however, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has said he will challenge the bill in the courts.

As a Christmas Gift to our customers, the Express is ending the cover charge on Saturday nights effective Saturday Dec, 26th.

Merry Christmas from all the gang at the Express.

There are two ballot initiative measures in circulation related to a proposed constitutional Convention. The first measure is titled the Citizens Constitutional Convention Act and would amend the existing California Constitution to allow a simple majority of California voters to call a constitutional convention. Currently, the state legislature must authorize a constitutional convention.

The second constitutional initiative measure being circulated  is a mandate for forming a  the actual  constitutional convention  commission under the aegis of the Fair Political Practices Commission. The Commission will determine the site and dates of the convention. The deadline for submitting the constitutional initiative petition signatures to the Secretary of State for validation is January 11th, 2010.

This constitutional convention could have adverse consequences for the restoration of marriage equality for members of the LGBT community. First, because the constitutional convention  would not be allowed to take up marriage, abortion, and some other restricted matters, and, second, because  one of the purposes of such a convention would be to raise the threshold for amending the California Constitution  from a simple majority to a two-thirds majority. This would make it virtually impossible to overturn the abolition of marriage equality that was put into the California Constitution with the passage of Proposition 8 in November of 2008.

 

This is a video montage of Gay Central Valley's first fundraiser (Holiday Breakaway) as an official 501(c)(3) organization. The event took place at The North Tower Circle on Saturday, December 12th, 2009. Complete videos of the night's events can be seen on our YouTube Page

With Christmas and the end of the year fast approaching, there’s no better time to donate cash or goods to any number of nonprofit organizations. Christmas in America has become crass and excessive, with a constant barrage of advertising targeted to empty our pockets on yet another material possession we probably don’t need. While people camp outside department stores for two days just so they can buy the latest tech gadget, there are a multitude of organizations which could put some of our money to much better use, helping any number of people in need. Donations are also tax deductible, but in order to be valid for the tax year of 2009, they must be made by December 31st.

In researching nonprofit organizations in the Fresno County area, I found more than 1,400 groups and services. The specifics are varied, and include care giving, food & clothing distribution, senior services, HIV & health services and treatment, political action, education, disability assistance, shelters and animal rescue.

Following is a small sampling of nonprofit organizations which accept donations:

All About Care Provides practical, emotional, spiritual, and charitable support for persons and significant others with terminal illness, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS. All About Care sponsors bimonthly support groups for women with HIV/AIDS, for mothers of sons and daughters lost to and living with HIV/AIDS, and for children of parents with HIV/AIDS. Also offers legal referrals, community outreach, education seminars, speakers, and referral for prescription drugs.

American Red Cross Since its founding in 1881 by visionary leader Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has been the nation's premier emergency response organization. As part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war, the American Red Cross distinguished itself by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters. Over the years, the organization has expanded its services, always with the aim of preventing and relieving suffering.

Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund
Established in 2005 by Peter Robertson [BA '92, MA '95, MBA '05] and officially recognized by the Fresno State Alumni Association in 2006, the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund is an endowment that provides an annuity to support students at Fresno State.

Community Link
The purpose of this corporation shall be: to promote social well-being of individuals within the community through education and entertainment; to be instrumental in promoting a better understanding of the community by networking with other segments of the general population; to promote and support the Arts and cultural exchanges, to sponsor an annual vigil against violence; to provide information to the general population though an ongoing speakers bureau; to publish a community resource directory; and to develop services and programs for the community as they arise.

Fresno Metro Ministries
Fresno Metro Ministry primarily addresses community issues that affect low-income and middle-income residents. Current major projects include health care access, hunger and food security, building caring relationships across cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and advocating for helping human services to strengthen families and individuals.

Gay Central Valley
Gay Central Valley is a local, non-profit, official 501(c)(3) LGBT resource website hub serving Fresno, Visalia, Hanford and the Central Valley of California.  Currently operating: GayFresno.com, GayVisalia.com and GayHanford.com.  Our writers/staff volunteer their time and experience for the greater good of the community, bringing us back to our slogan: "For the Community, By the Community".

Imperial Dove Court Our primary purpose is to sponsor activities in order to raise money for charity.

Marjaree Mason Center
The Marjaree Mason Center (MMC) is the only program of shelter and comprehensive supportive services for women and children victimized by abuse and homelessness in Fresno County. MMC addresses the serious and life-threatening issues of domestic violence and homelessness for women and their children by offering programs of multilevel intervention

PFLAG Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) is a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 500 affiliates in the United States. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced and serviced by the PFLAG national office, located in Washington, D.C., the national Board of Directors and 13 Regional Directors.

Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is the nation’s leading women’s health care provider, educator, and advocate, serving women, men, teens, and families. For more than 90 years, we’ve done more than any other organization in the United States to improve women’s health and safety, prevent unintended pregnancies, and advance the right and ability of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices.

Poverello House Poverello House is a private, nonprofit, nondenominational organization that has been serving the hungry and homeless of our community since 1973. Mike McGarvin saw a need and addressed it simply: he began handing out sandwiches on the streets. Inspired by his example, others came to lend a hand, and with the help of churches, businesses, and volunteers, the outreach grew. In 1981, through the generous contribution of a supporter, Poverello House was established in its current location on "F" Street. A major expansion and renovation was completed in 1992, adding office space, a family dining room, a shower and laundry facility, and modernizing our kitchen.

Reel Pride The mission of Fresno Reel Pride is to increase the awareness of the gay and lesbian community through the exhibition of films and videos exploring gay and lesbian themes at an annual festival in Fresno. Fresno Reel Pride, through the universal appeal of movies, works to produce a major cultural event for the entire Central Valley community designed to enhance community acceptance and understanding while adding to the diversity of a culturally rich city.

The Living Room Social support, information and referral, activities, and advocacy for people infected with, affected by or at risk for HIV/AIDS

WestCare Outreach and education for men who are at risk for HIV/AIDS

San Francisco health officials reported an alarming increase in new syphilis cases last year after years of declines.

New syphilis cases rose 55.8 percent in 2008 over the previous year, San Francisco public health officials reported.

The increase was significantly lower than the dramatic spikes reported early in the decade, when new infections increased 167 percent from 2001 to 2002. But last year's rise would seem to indicate an increase in unsafe sexual practices, which could lead to a rise in HIV infection rates.

San Francisco health experts said they have not seen an increase in new HIV cases and cannot explain the reason for it.

"We don't have a single explanation to tie it to, but we do know reported risk behaviors haven't changed dramatically," said Dr. Susan Philip, acting director of the sexually transmitted disease prevention and control services unit of San Francisco's Health Department, which published the new findings in its 2008 summary of sexually transmitted diseases.

December 2, 2009 - New York , New York - The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene commemorated World AIDS Day by releasing new data to highlight continuing challenges in the struggle to contain HIV in New York City . The number of new HIV diagnoses has not changed significantly in recent years; the total for 2008 is not yet final but appears very close to the 2007 total of 3,965. Yet the number and proportion of new diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) continues its alarming trend upwards. Preliminary numbers suggest that MSM accounted for 42% of the city’s new HIV diagnoses last year, up from 37% just four years earlier. And for men between 13 and 29 years old, that rising proportion reflects a rapid increase in actual infections – from 551 in 2004 to 706 in the partial count for 2008.

ImageFor my first review for Gay Fresno, I visited a great restaurant here in Fresno, that is new, and not in the Tower District. That restaurant is Limon. It is in the Villaggio shopping center across from the River Park shopping center.  It is quite a surprise in a neighborhood filled with mediocre chain restaurants, and to my knowledge, the only decent restaurant in the area.

Limon is Peruvian fusion.  According to the Fresno Bee, the restaurant opened in Fresno when the owners moved to the area. They also have a successful restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District. It is quite obvious they are from San Francisco if you look at the portion sizes. They serve smaller portions, so one can have an appetizer, dinner, and dessert, without feeling bloated. This is very unlike many Fresno restaurants that serve you a mountain of food you do not really want.

When you walk into the restaurant, the atmosphere is trendy urban casual. Limon has a full bar and the mixed drinks are tasty and generous with the liquor. One has to try the Pisco Sour, the national drink of Peru. It is a bit different. However, my favorite drink is their Mojito, a very well done Mojito, in a city where bartenders often tell you they do not have the mint. To start your meal, the Jalea is very good, a mixed seafood combination, served with salsa criolla and tartar sauce. The Papa Huancaina is a must try. It is a traditional Peruvian dish of steamed potatoes with a yellow cream cheese sauce, but anything Limon makes is excellent.  So far my favorite dinner dish at Limon is the Churrasco a La Parrilla, a rib eye steak served with cabernet sauce, roasted potatoes and chimichurri. 

For my most recent visit, I had a tender, very well done pork chop over bacon cabbage hash and mushroom ragout. A good pork chop is a true test for any good cook. For dessert, I had a special, a great cheese cake with passion fruit ice cream, a different taste. The wait staff is exceptional and attends to any possible need, including keeping your water glass full. Limon is an overall spectacular experience. For further info visit their website.  http://www.limonfresno.com

(article & photos courtesy Nigel Medhurst)

On Christmas Tree Lane, amid the twinkling colored lights, with the crisp smell of wood smoke in the air, a married couple walked arm in arm, listening to the melodious sounds of a group singing their favorite Christmas carols. The couple paused to listen to the group singing about decking the halls and sleigh bells in the night. The man and woman snuggled more closely together, exchanging glances as they enjoyed the familiar music, feeling filled with that nostalgic, comfortable holiday spirit.

A song that sounded like “Winter Wonderland” suddenly became unfamiliar. The words were different: they were singing about “wedding bells” instead of “snow bells ringing.” They were singing about “marriage rights” and “lawsuits opposing Proposition 8.” The couple noticed that the choir members were all wearing rainbow colored scarves. Realization slowly dawned: these were the people they had voted against last year. The group members were hugging and loving each other and they were singing about it. Young women huddled close. One man cuddled another from behind. The man and woman held each other closely and they sung. They rejoiced. These people were not going away, the couple thought. They were not shrinking into silence, into defeat.

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Some listeners cheered; some listeners just watched; others made quiet scornful comments and moved on down the street. The event was equally complex. It was one part political, one part seasonal celebration--just having a good old time.

“It was a group of people out here singing in the spirit of the season which is compassion and justice. That's what equality is,” Vickye Ashton, from Coarsegold, said. “Equal rights are a moral right. This was fun. It wasn't some big angry demonstration. I had a good time.”

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Organizer Jason Scott planned the event to attract a different sort of participant. “It is not a traditional protest but people who would not be inclined to come to protest would come to this,” he said. “Marriage equality is something that gets put on the back-burner and the objective is to make people realize this is something that LGBT's live with every day.”

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Scott added that the event was a celebration of the season and not a mockery. “It's definitely not something against the holiday. It's a way to join in the festivities and take advantage of the large crowds to raise public awareness and to not do it in an overly aggressive way,” he said. There were many traditional Christmas songs interspersed with rewritten carols that promoted the concerns of equal rights.

It was also a gathering for other groups to come out in support of equal rights. Jerry Thurston from Straight Advocates for Equality (SAFE) showed up to participate and show his support. He explained that the caroling was “a way to get in the holiday spirit but the larger objective is to support with GayFresno. Our SAFE motto is education, outreach and support. SAFE's objective is to get more vocal and supportive. Our job is to convince people to be vocal in their support.”

For others like Alison Munroe, who is new to California, the event was a way to join in with the LGBT community locally and become politically involved. “We should be able to love who we want. The government shouldn't be able to say who we love or not. Doesn't God just want us to love? We got over the racism. Essentially it's the same thing,” she said.

For others it meant a lot to have their community represented on Christmas Tree Lane. Angel, 20, a Fresno resident, received an email about the caroling event and showed up with his boyfriend and friends. “I am still mad about Prop 8 passing but it got me motivated to get out and do the work for 2012,” he said. He is fully aware of the work that lies ahead. “My number one present from Santa would be for gays to be allowed to marry,” Angel said.

This is a brief montage of events at World AIDS Day on December 1st at the Tower Theater here in Fresno. We have uploaded full videos of all performances and activities from the event, which can be viewed in High Definition by visiting the Gay Fresno YouTube Page.

The World AIDS Day Committee was: Maria Baldovinos, Rachel Bowman, Erica Caudillo, Stephanie Garcia, Toni Harrison, Stephanie McGrew, Stella Ossieladja and Yolanda Rendon. Contributing Agencies: Centerforce, FCDPH, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Rachel's Projects, WeCare and WestCare.

AIDS day 2009 in Fresno was remembered with reverence, hope and a strong call for the education of practicing safe sex.

Nelson Vergel, the keynote speaker for the event been HIV positive for 27 years. He encouraged the crowd, “Most of us have a life expectancy of over 50 years after discovering a positive test. Take your meds and take charge of your life. There are 33 million of us but we have lost 33 million of us already. 40,000 of us get infected every year and 50% of those are under 25 years old.”

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Buck Ellis, a drug rep from Atripla was displaying his product in the lobby. “When we consider an AIDS patient was on a daily regimen of 16 to 20 pills a day in the 90's then there is no reason to miss medication.”

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“The major deterrence is lack of education. I go out to bars and there are no posters informing people about how to practice safe sex,” Tony Lane, President of Yosemite Knights. Mr. Central California Leather for 2008. Lane is a peer advocate for community Care Special Services. “We can prevent the spread of HIV,” he said.

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The county of Fresno was represented by Norma Sanchez who was giving out condoms and information about preventing the spread of HIV. “AIDS hasn't changed,” she said. “People are still dying. We need to make people aware especially in the Hispanic and African American community. They don't get tested. They can get tested for free at the health department. We can test them within an hour.”

David Bouttavong from Planned Parenthood was informing the transgender community of their affordable hormone therapy program. “We don't want the transgender community getting their hormone medication off friends or the black market.” They also provide Rapid HIV testing.

Throughout the evening the spirit was consistent and there was hope. As Vergel said, “Don't be afraid. There is hope. There is a lot of hope. When I was first diagnosed there wasn't even a drug to take, Now I have 28 drugs to choose from.”

(Photos courtesy Nigel Medhurst. Photos, in order of appearance: Buck Ellis/Atripla, David Bouttavong, Fresno Street Mallers Band, Jamina Hackett/WestCare, Nelson Vergel, Nelson Vergel, Norma Sanchez, Fresno Flamenco & Spanish Arts Society, On Point Dance, AIDS Quilt, Reading Of Names, James Hensley, Volunteer Award, Tony Lane)

Neither is being fired because you are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender -

We MUST demand equal protection under the law!!!

Looking for volunteers to help with an action in the Concord, CA area - TOMORROW, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4 at 11:00am, if you have the day free or you are willing to take the day off - contact me IMMEDIATELY.  Carpool with me or follow up to the office of Rep. Miller, chairman of the committee that is delaying the mark up of ENDA.

Help testify about how vital this legislation is for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers and their families. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 1584)

We know that the most important voices to these Senators are the voices of people who live back home.  So, if you can't get free to take action tomorrow, please, look over this and take over the phone lines, fax machines and offices of these representatives - DEMAND that LGBT people be protected with @ENDANOW and that a mark-up happen before the end of the year.  DO NOT DELAY - take 10 minutes, look over this list and call, flood their fax line and schedule multiple appointments while they are home for the holidays.

Get involved - find a rep to contact HERE: http://edlabor.house.gov/about/members/

Learn about more ways to make a difference: http://endanow.com/

Sincerely,
Robin McGehee
559-287-9670
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Courtesy the New York Times...

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ALBANY — The New York State Senate decisively rejected a bill on Wednesday that would have allowed gay couples to wed, providing a major victory for those who oppose same-sex marriage and underscoring the deep and passionate divisions surrounding the issue.

The 38-to-24 vote startled proponents of the bill and signaled that political momentum, at least right now, had shifted against same-sex marriage, even in heavily Democratic New York. It followed more than a year of lobbying by gay rights organizations, who steered close to $1 million into New York legislative races to boost support for the measure.

Senators who voted against the measure said the public was gripped by economic anxiety and remained uneasy about changing the state’s definition of marriage.

“Certainly this is an emotional issue and an important issue for many New Yorkers,” said Senator Tom Libous, the deputy Republican leader. “I just don’t think the majority care too much about it at this time because they’re out of work, they want to see the state reduce spending, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. And I don’t mean to sound callous, but that’s true.”

The defeat, which followed a stirring, tearful and at times very personal debate, all but ensures that the issue is dead in New York until at least 2011, when a new Legislature will be installed.

Read more HERE

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RAINBOW BOYS!

Author – Alex Sanchez

Review BY- Leon Velasco

Rating – Two Thumbs up

This book is one of a three part series that captivated me. Because all three parts were not in a catalog of some book membership, I had to hunt these down to be able to finish the series.  Word of caution, it may take awhile to finish all three parts if you don’t find the entire series to buy all at one time. Part one is so familiar to situations I went thru ( or any gay guys) who are uncertain of themselves, or know about themselves and are trying to find the love of their life, or those guys who are sure of themselves but fear the worst from people if they come out (especially parents). I experienced all the venues mentioned. High school is great when you and your buddies share one common thing (a penis doesn’t count).  The funny tricks you pull on each other and the scary situations you don’t know how to get out of. This book was hard to put down to do my day to day stuff.

Jason Carrillo (Jock, Good Looks, Beautiful Girlfriend, Popular, Unsatisfied)  Kyle Meeks (Swim Team Star, Friendly, Easygoing, Intelligent, Confused) Nelson Glassman (Independent, Opinionated, Defiant, Joker, In Love)

High school is hard enough as it is without falling in love with your best friend- who’s crushing on the most popular guy in school. Or feeling like your parents would throw you out if they knew you were gay. Or being afraid of who you are…

---“Believable – and touching.”—Publishers Weekly

---“Sanchez’s storytelling is fluent, direct, and authentic.” --- Lambda Book Report

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According to a Courage Campaign Press Release, the group has concluded that more work is needed before putting LGBT marriage up for another vote.  What's needed, they say, is "more research and time to change hearts and minds before returning to the ballot to restore marriage for gay and lesbian couples in California."

Lambda Legal agreed, stating "While we're within striking distance, we're not there yet."

Equality California also believes that 2012 remains the best, next logical step. Their website states, "Many believe we should wait until we are guaranteed a victory before proceeding. We do not agree. We believe it is essential that we select an election and build a campaign for that election. We believe the 2012 election gives us the clearest path to victory."

Signature gathering has already begun in an effort to get the issue on the ballot in November of 2010. If enough signatures are gathered and approved, the equal marriage rights of LGBT Americans in California would once again be up for a vote. The 2010 effort is spearheaded by the group Love Honor Cherish in coalition with Restore Equality 2010. Approximately 1 million signatures must be gathered by April of next year.

Image On December 20th Join the Impact invited this nation’s LGBT community and it’s supporters, to join together for a candle light vigil called Light up the Night for Equality.  This vigil was a peaceful gathering held in remembrance of the 18,000+ marriages that took place in California, the Civil rights that Proposition 8 and other initiatives like it around the country have stripped from us, and in honor of those rights that will one day be again.  All over the nation the LGBT community joined together to be seen and make an impact.  I am proud to say that we here in Fresno WERE able to make an impact and be counted amongst the thousands to stand up for our rights and make a difference.

I know that it would possibly give us more weight, more credibility, more support if I could unequivocally argue that the marriage equality movement is a direct comparison to the civil rights movements of the past, but I can’t.  What I can say is that I have never felt more moved to do whatever it takes to make sure that all of my gay brothers and sisters are treated equally under the law.

Growing up in Mississippi, the belief that race segregation was a thing of the past was essentially a joke.  I can remember hearing stories from my mother about the race riots and efforts for and against segregation.  But in my mind, I asked as she spoke of this “past;” has it ever really changed?  I knew that the African-American community wasn’t dealing anymore with the blatant aggressive attacks of public beatings and dogs being released on them just for speaking up for their desire to be treated equally.  But, there was and STILL IS, segregation.  In the schools, in the neighborhoods, in the friend groups that exist and in the basic places people shop and entertain themselves – individual efforts of segregation cannot be legislated away.

ImageFrank Rich nails the problem with President Elect Barack Obama's choice to deliver the invocation at the inaugural, in his article for the New York Times.

Throughout the campaign my overwhelming fear was that Barack would sell out like so many before him, and with his choice of homophobe Rick Warren to deliver the invocation, my fears began to see the light of day. I hope it doesn't carry that much weight, I hope it was a stupid oversight, but stupid and thoughtless it was, none the less. Barack's lame excuse of "bringing people together" and "welcoming diversity" not only does not apply to this choice, it condescends to all LGBT Americans. Let's hope it's not indicative of things to come. Read Frank Rich's article by clicking on the following link...

NYT - Frank Rich - "You're Likable Enough, Gay People"

It began on a Sunday morning after he greeted a group of gay rights protesters outside his church. In a spontaneous move, Franklin decided to invite the group into the morning service and asked their leaders to speak to his congregation.

A video from that morning shows Franklin onstage with the protest leaders. "I just want them to know they're not our enemies and I don't feel that from them in that," Franklin tells his congregation.

"As a person who has served on a forum with Pastor Franklin I know his conviction and I know your conviction as a church and I only ask you to respect my same conviction and ask that we work together for a better Fresno," said Robin McGehee with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

The next day, Franklin received an e-mail from the man who had threatened him.

"He said, 'I saw what you did by inviting those protesters onstage," Franklin recalled. "Maybe you're not as homophobic as I thought. You're not going to hear from me any longer. And you can tell the mayor I won't bother him either.'" 

http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/503597.aspx

A monumental victory was reached this last week, when a needle exchange pilot program was approved by the Fresno County Board Of Supervisors. This success comes after a very long and difficult struggle to get the program started. The following is the report from The Fresno Bee...

By Barbara Anderson / The Fresno Bee

Intravenous drug users can legally receive clean hypodermic needles in exchange for dirty ones in a pilot program approved Tuesday by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. The one-year program, which includes substance-abuse counseling, will allow members of the Fresno Needle Exchange to move off the street and into a building where they can dispense clean needles without fear of arrest.

"We can reach so many more people," said Dallas Blanchard, who has been dispensing clean needles to injection drug users for 13 years.


This video takes all the anti-gay rhetoric and blows it away, in a very clear, mannered and often humorous way. Share it with anyone who still isn't "getting it". 

(San Francisco, California) California Attorney General Jerry Brown told the state Supreme Court Friday that it should invalidate Proposition 8, the voter approved amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriage.

In a brief submitted to the court Friday, Brown’s office said the measure should be invalidated because it deprives people of the right to marry—an aspect of liberty that the Supreme Court has concluded is guaranteed by the California Constitution.

“Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification,” Brown’s brief said. ClickHERE  to read the rest of this story...

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ImageUnited Nations — Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.

In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration _ which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution. Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was signed by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim nations, and the United States refused to sign, indicating that some parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review. Click HERE to read the rest of this story...

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"The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions"

Check the rest of it here

ImagePresident Elect Barack Obama is creating controversy over his choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation on January 20th. Warren, a pastor and friend of Obama's, stands in direct opposition to such things as gay rights, women's choice and stem cell research. Personally, my one problem with Obama is  the depth of his "faith" platform, which is detailed on his website. When will the day come in America when faith and religion are pointedly excluded from politics? Maybe never. Read the story HERE

ImageBy Lisa Miller / Newsweek Published Dec 6, 2008 From the magazine issue dated Dec 15, 2008

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists.

The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/172653

 

ImageThe Transgender Law Center in San Francisco is looking for transgender people and their allies in the Fresno/San Joaquin/Bakersfield/Coalinga area. We hope to facilitate a meeting with area legislators to introduce them to their transgender constituents and allow them to learn about issues facing transgender people in their district.

We’re looking for trans-identified people in the 20th Congressional district (to see if you’re in this district, look at this map: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd?state=CA&district=20).

We’re hoping to gather a group of trans people from this area who would be willing to meet with legislators and talk about their experiences. The Transgender Law Center will be facilitating the meeting and will provide training on legislative visits prior to the meeting. We’re hoping the meeting will take place sometime in February in the local office. Training would take place sometime in January.

If you are interested in taking part in the visit, or know of a person or organization who we should contact to reach out to transgender people in the area, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Morgan Weinert / Policy Intern / 415-865-0176 http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org/

Watch Jon Stewart be nothing but logical and reasoned, while the self serving Mike Huckabee spews nonsense and avoids details...

The volunteer opportunities will be staggered throughout the day, but the length of the entire day will be from 9am-10pm, see details below. All activities will be overlapping, so as long as you see something you’re interested in, hopefully offering your day to service will be worth it.

If you CAN NOT TAKE OFF WORK OR SKIP SCHOOL, come before or after. If you don’t want to donate the whole day - do what makes you feel comfortable.

Time: 9am-12pm
Place: Gay-Straight Alliance Network, 928 North Van Ness Avenue, Fresno
What: Office cleanup & clerical
Questions: Robin McGehee - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 559-268-2780

Time: 10am-2pm
Place: Wesley UMC, 1343 E. Barstow, Fresno
What: Make lunch bags to deliver to "tent city" or El Dorado Park
IMMEDIATE NEED: Need someone to set up - food/kitchen logistics, and be the contact person on the day of the event

Time: 12pm-4pm
Place: meet at Wesley (see above), head to Downtown or Central Fresno
What: Deliver food and litter pick-up
Questions: Robin McGehee - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Time: 1pm-2pm
Place: CSUFresno, Women’s Resource Center - ask for USP meeting
What: United Student Pride at Fresno State will be collecting and donating non-perishable food items to the Bulldog Pantry, drop off your food and attend the 1p-2pm meeting. Questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Time: 4pm-8pm
Place: Wesley UMC (see above)
What: assemble grocery bags for needy families - check out facebook for supplies needed
Questions: The Facebook event is listed at
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?/event.php?eid=51500636984 where you will find the list of what goes into the grocery bags and other, upcoming volunteer opportunities. Or, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Time: 6pm-10pm
Place: meet at Wesley UMC (see above) and at 6:30pm, drive over to Christmas Tree Lane on Van Ness Avenue in Fresno
What: Each year there is lots of trash left on Van Ness and surrounding areas by viewers of Christmas Tree Lane - we’d like to organize our group to sight-see, but also work to pick up trash during the event - so, bring some trash bags, gloves if you’d like, etc. Walk begins promptly at 7PM. Questions: Jason Scott @ 559-862-4559 or email,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ImageAll About Care is in severe need of funding, and facing a critical situation if they can't raise enough money to stay afloat. In the current economy we're losing lots of businesses, let's not lose such a vital helping hand to the community as well. All About Care / Camp Care offers support and services to those dealing with HIV/AIDS and their families.

Click HERE to make an immediate donation online...

The following statement is from Cynthia Karraker, who operates All About Care/Camp Care...

"Hello friends of All About Care / Camp Care. All About Care offers daily support to women, children, & families. Due to the quietness of HIV/AIDS many people think their support is no longer needed, but in reality we need them more now than ever. I'm very proud to share that quite often it is our assistance  that makes the difference in the lives of those we serve.

As many of you know, Camp Care is very unique and we offer a life-changing experience to children and their families  whose daily struggles often diminish both their desire to be well & their ability to lead a rich productive life.  We offer a nurturing, loving, fun filled Camp intertwined with programs and education that inspire our children & families to become more self- confident, as well cooperative with their medical care.  There is a strong healing of spirit & lifelong friendships that take place at Camp with both Campers & Volunteers alike." 


 

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 Best Gay Love Stories- New York City                                            Fall In Love in a City Of Dreams / Composition of Stories       Author: Brad Nichols                                                          Review By: Leon Velasco / Rating: One Thumb Up

 

The collected stories are very descriptive and clearly explain the surroundings that you can imagine the areas and envision the crowds of people. You find yourself drawn in by the authors of each story. However being that this was my first collect stories book, I really didn’t care for the break in stories and starting another one. Some leave you wanting to read more. I came across a sad ending so if you’re like me, a hopeless romantic, grab a box of tissues for the second story. Some stories leave you feeling warm and gooey inside. 

ImageWhat the hell are we afraid of? Especially those of us who are affected by Prop 8? Looks like the two biggest things are religion and black Americans.

As soon as Prop 8 passed and protestors took to the streets, a debate came up which raged long before Prop 8 and may likely go on forever.  Does the battle for gay rights compare to the black civil rights movement? A new phrase popped up before Prop 8's passing, but became particularly prominent after the votes were counted, "Gay Is The New Black". It's been on countless protest signs, discussed in the media and adorned the cover page of a recent edition of The Advocate.  Then it came out that the vast majority of black voters in California voted Yes on 8. There was a lot of misunderstanding that followed, often blaming a host of reasons while neglecting the religious aspect. Then, as before, debates sprung up about whether the gay civil rights movement has a valid comparison to the black civil rights movement.

 

Many of you have asked how you can help and although I KNOW this is a very tight economic time for many, one of the major ways you can help is by helping us, personally, offset the cost that some of us have taken on while doing this work. If you do decide to give or, If you have already contributed - either by giving when you picked up signs at the GSA Network office, offering to pay for City Hall rental fee, giving $20, $40, + to cover other event needs - THANK YOU! This work could not continue to get done without you.

I HATE to ask for money, but please remember we WERE NOT funded by the NO on 8 efforts - so, all cost have been either paid for by donations over the course of the campaign OR, by individuals who have been willing to foot the bill - in hopes, that some of the cost would come back to them.

Here are the remaining expenses to get us through the rest of the year - if by the Grace of Generosity we are able to collect more than the amount listed below - the account will be managed by me and held for future event spending or donated to LGBT Center planning for the Fresno/CV region - (I AM DETERMINED TO SEE THIS HAPPEN) - So, if you are willing & able to help by contributing financially - here are the details....

I have set up a www.paypal.com account - you can either go to that site directly, or go to www.gayfresno.com and click on the Donate Now button - at paypal.com, go to send money, put in the email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the amount and click "services/other" - should be that easy, but who knows - Paypal does charge a transaction fee (about $1 for every $25)

Written by Jay Matthew

As the music started at the World AIDS Day event here in Fresno (held annually in Fresno's Historic Tower Theater), people were already beginning to stream in. The event opened with two songs from Fresno's Gay Men's Chorus—both were really funny gayed-up versions of Christmas songs, the second of which was called "Coming Out On Christmas," which got everyone in the crowed laughing and clapping. The show then moved on to the issuing of an award to Elaine Jimenez-Obeso for her involvement in the community; Elaine accepted the award with tears in her eyes.

Afterwards Dr. Naiel Nassar came on stage and lectured about some of the medical things that have been tried and tested to stop, and also help prevent, the spread of AIDS and HIV infection, but have failed in the past. It was quite informative and also very shocking to hear how close they have come to finding a cure and/or vaccine. But at the same time, they are still so far off from achieving this goal.

Following Dr. Nassar’s speech, the event took a different route and turned into a showcase of varied performances; not all of which where relating to AIDS, but were nonetheless very enjoyable. We got to see FSU's Los Danzentes de Aztlan, the Brix Mercer Band, Kitty Karryall, Christina Lacomb, and Shannon Price of Exotica. The most entertaining and eye opening of them all was the mother and daughter dance team, Stella and Tiffiny O, who performed an African dance about AIDS in Central Africa. The performance is about a woman who finds out that she has AIDS and her husband doesn't care. The only one there to lift the mother’s spirits up and show her that she still is alive is her daughter. I have a feeling that the song they danced to means a lot to Stella because she is a victim of AIDS and moved here from Egypt to learn more about it. Not only has Stella learned about AIDS since coming here, but now she is out there making a difference. Stella also received “The Volunteer” award that night for all of her contributions to Fresno County. The night ended with a candle light vigil outside of the theater, one last song from Christina Lacomb, and then the reading of names for those who have lost their battle with AIDS.

World AIDS Day is held every year on December 1st across the world. It all began in 1988 and served as an effort to strengthen global awareness and the challenges of the AIDS epidemic, which continues to spread across the world and affects everyone in all classes, races, genders, and sexualities. 1.2 million people in America are infected with HIV. In Fresno County alone there have been over 1,600 documented cases of AIDS, of which 865 of those people have died. The goal of Worlds AIDS Day 2008 is to make the promise—made by the United Nations in 2001 and 2006—of universal healthcare for HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support by 2010 into a reality, and to get the people of Fresno to take part in events pertaining to the awareness and prevention of AIDS in the community. The event was organized by a small group of people from various governmental and private organizations. World AIDS Day in Fresno has been held at the Tower Theater for the last 5 years, and has been going on for the last 20 years at varying locations across Fresno.

The World AIDS Day committee was comprised of the following people:
Jena Adams, Maria Baldovinos, Rachel Bowman, Erica Caudillo, Sam Chaparro, Stephanie Garcia, Toni Harrison, Kristin Haynes, Stella O, Jennifer Rincon, and Emily Rizzo

Contributing Agencies:
Centerforce, Fresno County Department of Public Health, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Rachel's Projects, and WestCare

If you would like to donate money to the next World AIDS Day event here in Fresno, it would be very much appreciated and needed; you can contact Stephanie Garcia at (559) 445-3434 or via e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Image"In two short months, the battle over California’s Proposition 8 went from double-digit opposition to passing with 52% of the vote on Election Day. Could the heartbreaking loss have been avoided? Depends on who you ask."

The more you read, the more you realize just how off track the No On 8 Campaign ran. Everything from not allowing volunteers to have discussions with those voting YES on 8 to the subject of children and families being off limits, as well as how the leadership of this campaign basically shut out all but their own. Read this article from The Advocate, which delves into the strategies of the No On 8 Campaign...Click here... The Advocate - Anatomy Of A Failed Campaign

ImageImageImageSome photos taken at the World AIDS Day Event at the Tower Theater on December 1st. Photos courtesy of Cynthia Manuszak. Click on photos to enlarge...

...

 

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

ImageImageA lot of discussion is going on concerning the strategies of the No On 8 Campaign, in the wake of the devastating loss on November 4th. As with any other political campaign in the history of the United States, any loss tends to focus on how the campaigns played their cards, and this one is no different.

There's also been a lot of backlash against those criticizing the No On 8 strategies, which is, of course, ludicrous. To move forward we have to analyze what went wrong, if we were even working in the right direction, and what we should do next. To criticize legitimate debate about the campaign is, in itself, working against the struggle for equal rights. Protest is never enough to solve complex miscarriages of justice. You have to understand how state and federal constitutions work, what it takes to overcome a majority prejudice, etc.

It may turn out that the Yes On 8 campaign, in putting the issue to voters after the California Supreme Court made the decision to legalize same sex marriage, has done themselves in. Their "amendment" may really be a "revision", which by the rules of the state constitution, can only be enforced through different methods.

ImageThe following story was printed in the Fresno Bee on November 29th and was written by Barbara Anderson...

The kitchen is an important place at The Living Room, a support center in Fresno for people who have the virus that causes AIDS.

People come to the center not only for counseling and peer support, but for hot lunches and sack lunches, and bags of food filled from a pantry that's stocked with everything from tuna and cereal to rice and beans and canned fruit.

Even before these tough economic times, food ran short by the end of the month for many of the clients at WestCare's The Living Room, who have an average income of $800 a month. "To some of our clients, a bag of rice and a bag of beans is life sustaining," said Toni Harrison , case manager.

It's Christmas time.  A time of giving, of charity, of compassion.  At least, it is supposed to be.  This Christmas season however, we get to watch GOP Presidential contender Mike Huckabee travel about Iowa selling his views of America - an America where not only is it not ok to be gay, it's just plain illegal. 

Image Hey Everyone! It's That Time of Year Again. Closet Ball 2008 is here. This years theme is Hollywood Comes To Fresno "A Night On the Red Carpet" This years event will be held January 19th, 2008 at the Clovis Senior Center located at 850 4th Street Clovis , California 93615 the doors are @ 6pm / Show @ 7pm. Tickets: Advance Adults $20 Adults @the door $25. Youth is $10 in advance and @at the door. Ad's are full page only sold @ $25 per ad. Deadline for ad's is no later than 1/4/08 and must be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in Jpeg format only. ALL ADS MUST BE PAID IN FULL BY THE DEADLINE OR THEY WILL NOT BE IN THE PROGRAM. For More Information Contact Empress34 Patsy Del Rey @ (559)477-0976 or Ball Coordinator Grand Dutchess 34 Diva Licious @ (559)960-2716. 

On Nov. 28, California's Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs announced a $10 million ad campaign to address methamphetamine use among men who have sex with men (MSM), women of childbearing age and youths. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared the date Methamphetamine Awareness Day.  

When you think fabulous;   someone with style, intelligence and a great sense of humor comes to mind.  But what about generosity?

Gay L.A.The newest book by California State University, Fresno English professor,  Dr. Lillian Faderman, “Gay L.A. A History Of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians”, is on The Los Angeles Times list of favorite nonfiction works of 2006 . The book, co-authored by freelance writer Stuart Timmons, was published October 2nd by Basic Books .

Image  December 12th @ 7pm. This will be a great chance to see Christmas Tree Lane with no vehicles.

We'll meet at 7pm on the corner of Shields Ave. and Van Ness Blvd. We'll have small flashlights available for $1 donation.  Call if you need help or can't find us: 307-0807

See you Tuesday night!
Image Marriage Equality USA's Fresno chapter is hosting a premier screening of A&E's "Wedding Wars" on December 11th.  Doors open at 7pm, movie starts at 7:45pm.  Free T-shirts for attendees and prizes will be raffled.  Come out to help kick start our local chapter.  Funds raised will support the local efforts of Marriage Equality USA.

You can still catch Wedding Wars on A&E in re-runs, check local listings...
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Ah, the joys of the holidays to shop till you drop and eat till you pop.  This is the time of the year where material guys and girls can be themselves and get that certain something that they have been waiting for all year long.  Or maybe you're the generous type, and like to buy presents to impress you friends and family.  Well I'm sure whatever it is that you give or receive, AIDS is not on top of that list.  But unfortunately this is the time of year where loneliness sets in for some and inhibitions leave town.

Brokeback Mountain, for those who have been living under a rock, is the award winning novel and motion picture that is the subject of rave reviews and Oscar buzz. It is, ostensibly, a ground breaking story of two male ranch hands lustily falling in love. On the surface it would seem that such a theme would fail to appeal to heterosexuals who couldn’t possibly identify with such non-normative sexual behavior. But hold your horses, bucko. There may be more that thickens this boiling pot than meets the eye.
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     The re-election of GW Bush did some pretty big damage to my faith in America. Besides the obvious insanity of the Iraq war, it became clear that prejudice in America was still strong, with Bush favoring a constitutional amendment to permanently ban gay marriage and 11 states passing anti-gay legislation.
     I was listening to this song one day and felt it was the perfect statement to make to all those who seem to think that as gay people we're not just immoral, but that we don't feel the same things as everyone else. Shouting out "My Love Is Alive" seemed a fitting way to get the message across that our relationships are not about sex, as many proclaim, but about love. At the time I was also working as a DJ at The North Tower Circle and I had turned Wednesday nights into a video lounge, where I would play blocks of music and then a short block of videos. Since I was doing everything I could to come up videos to play at the club, I started creating some of my own, which was what led to this video.
     Regardless of what those who condemn us say, our love is here, alive, just as valid, and we will not stop until we are granted the same legal rights as heterosexuals.

Chris Jarvis
UPDATE...DON'T MISS THIS CLIP...
DAVID LETTERMAN SKEWERS BILL O'REILLY ON "LATE NIGHT" LAST NIGHT (JAN 4TH 2006)
http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/002750.html#002750

Bill O’Reilly is something to behold. If you haven’t watched an entire show of his, I recommend it. I’ve been watching him on and off for the last few years, and with all the anger and frustration he brings out in me, at least his particular brand of insanity always manages to make me laugh.

Recently he debated Ellis Henican, a Newsday Columnist and, surprise, a FOX News Contributor. Henican barely tried to oppose anything O’Reilly said, except for things they weren’t even talking about. What they were talking about was Ann Coulter’s recent speaking appearance at the University of Connecticut where she was greeted loudly by a large group of protestors in the audience shouting “You suck!”. O’Reilly was infuriated by these protestors. After all, Coulter was showing up somewhere she was invited to, she’d been asked to come. O’Reilly, angry and agitated by this treatment of Coulter, portrayed her as innocent and vulnerable, undeserving of this kind of “shout down”, as he called it. If you’ve watched and listened to Ann Coulter even once, you know that at the very least, “innocent” and “vulnerable” do not apply.
A Reminder of What We Are Up Against – Our Tragic Loss


When Becki, our Tulare County Chapter leader called me on Friday night, I couldn’t believe the news…Nathan Christoffersen, the 28 year old, sunny, bright volunteer who ran our Madera County Chapter had been found by his father that morning, dead on their front porch.  According to a handout from his father entitled “WHAT HAPPENED,” Nathan was found “down on his knees with his head on his knees and his butt on his heels, facing away from the house.”

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Nathan Christoffersen
Dec. 1st, 1977 - Dec. 16th, 2005

For those of you who have not heard the unfortunate news, our friend Nathan Christoffersen has passed away. His sudden death has left many of us in shock and deepley saddened.
He was a voice for the Gay and Lesbian community for the central valley and worked with Gayfresno.com and was an advocate for marriage equality. He recently became involved in planned parenthood and was working to help open their new Madera office.  For many of us he was a dear friend, confidant, and most of all FAMILY!

Memorial services for Nathan will be on; Wednesday, December 21, 2005 please arrive by 10:30am

The University Vineyard Church
4910 N. Woodrow Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726
(559) 346-1872

Please come in solidarity for our dear friend Nathan.
Danny Rodriguez

Nathan was a dedicated writer for our website. He will be sorely missed, but will always remain in our hearts and minds...  An activist, writer and dear friend.  Condolences may be mailed to us and will be hand delivered to the family.  Or, email sent directly to his family at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
We Miss You, Nathan,
Jason Scott & Becki Jones
Too bad I live in a culturally challenged area (Fresno in Central California).  Regal Theaters has bought up all five theaters in town. They have a total monopoly. They are a huge chain and give no indication they will show it anywhere at any time. Why? Regal's (Regal Entertainment Group) principal owner is Phillip Anshutz. His corporation is the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world (it operates nearly 20 percent of all indoor screens in the US) -- and is a growing force in Hollywood. Anshutz is also a leading religious right culture warrior.
Recent news stories indicate that Ford Motor Company has reached
a deal with the anti-gay group the American Family Association
(AFA) and that Ford has pulled advertising from media for the
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

If you go to the URL below you can check out what is at stake
and send your own message directly to Ford. Take action on this
action alert from the Human Rights Campaign.


All you have to do is click the link and enter your info in the column to the right and
hit send message.

Thanks for your help!
I sat down for an exclusive, one on one interview with Jade Esteban Estrada after the November performance of ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1.  Please enjoy the interview, photos and video from the event...


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ImageThe Stonewall Democratic Club and Queer Fresno participated in the 75th Annual Fresno Holiday Parade today carrying the banner Don We Now Our Gay Apparel.