president-barack-obama-square-250x250President Obama’s evolution on marriage equality continues, as he discusses in an interview with the New Yorker.

The New Yorker reports:

Obama opposed marriage equality until May of 2012. He told me that he now believes the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, an argument that his Administration has not yet made before the Supreme Court. “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”

How many other Americans are now shifting their views on the subject, now that things are moving so quickly?

Scott and MatkWelcome to the new Marriage Equality Watch!

We started life on January 1st, 2008 as Gay Marriage Watch. At the time, the term “gay marriage” was the most-used term to describe marriage between a couple of the same gender. The phrase “marriage equality” existed at the time – I just checked our blog, and we first used the term on 1/10/08. But Web searches for “gay marriage were much more common, and it was important for us to get the word out to as many people as possible.

When we first began our partnership with Marriage Equality USA in 2011, I remember sitting down with the President at the time, Carole Scagnetti, and talking about this very issue. I still felt, fairly strongly, that the name recognition of the phrase “gay marriage” was key to getting the word out.

Over the next several years, I started to come around about “marriage equality”. Several folks made the point that “gay marriage” was sometimes used by our opponents to make our unions seem alien or different. I started to use the phrase most of the time in our posts instead of “gay marriage”, reserving that phrase for when I was discussing our opponents’ positions and claims.

Fast forward to today. Marriage equality is quickly becoming the law of the land. For my own part, I’ve always thought of it fundamentally as a gay and lesbian issue. Bisexual folks can at least marry one of their two attracted genders, right? And transgender folks are often not gay or lesbian at all, so they’re not really affected. Right?

Well, I’ve learned that I was wrong on both counts. Over the last few months, we’ve seen transgender couples who were same-sex attracted denied marriage licenses, just like the rest of us.

And then I got this email:

Being a bisexual who advocates for marriage equality I find it stunning that you would refer to your updates as Gay Marriage Watch. This is exclusionary and offensive on so many levels!! –Mark Metz, Bisexuals For Marriage Equality

Now, I don’t know Mark – I’m sure he does good work. And I have to say, we should be fighting the religious right, not each other. But he brought up a good point.

While Mark and I had good reasons at the time for calling the blog “Gay Marriage Watch”, that time has passed. We are constantly learning from others in the movement, and even after reporting on marriage equality and LGBT rights for 6 years, every single day, we are still learning new things. We hope the new name is more inclusive – especially for our bi and trans brothers and sisters who are in the fight with us.

So welcome to the new Marriage Equality Watch – we look forward to continuing to bring you the latest in marriage equality and LGBT rights news.

:)

–Scott & Matk

MatthewShepard-550x356WE NEVER thought we’d see marriage equality come to Wyoming in our lifetime. But in a wave of judicial rulings allowing same-sex couples to marry across the country, this week a federal court ruling granted our neighbors the opportunity to make history at the altar. The lives and rights of LGBT people in the “Equality State” are rarely thought about without reflection on the 1998 hate-crime murder of our 21-year-old son Matthew. His abduction, beating, and death changed the way this country and the world responded to anti-gay hate, eventually leading to a federal hate-crime law that bears his name.

In Wyoming, there is much still to do. The state continues to allow employers to fire these newlyweds for their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the reality is that they — and their children — may face social rejection simply for being who they are. We are keenly aware of the progress left to be made, but today, we celebrate this incredible step forward.

See the Full Story at the Boston Globe

Join hundreds of walkers & runners at Woodward Park to raise awareness & community support for this worldwide epidemic in our third annual Fresno AIDS Walk as presented by WestCare California. All proceeds will benefit The Living Room, a project of WestCare, Fresno's only HIV/AIDS social support center. Sponsors, vendors, walkers, & supporters are needed!

aids-walk-fresno

We welcome walkers and runners of all ages, and we encourage you to create teams of 2 or more to truly rally support for this event. This year's event will feature a 5K run.

Although it is FREE to walk and run, we encourage you to raise funds for this very worth cause:
If you are a registered participant, it's never too early or too late to secure donations in support of AIDS Walk! Donors can contribute online by clicking HERE for our secure PayPal page.
Supporter checks should be made payable to 'WestCare California.' Please add The Living Room OR Fresno AIDS Walk in the 'for' line
Checks should be accompanied by a Donation Form (link to donation form on website) with the participant name on it. To guarantee proper attribution, the walker name should also be noted on the check's memo line.
Checks should be sent to PO Box 12107, Fresno, CA 93776, ATTN: The Living Room. Please do not send cash by mail. All donations are tax-deductible.

A. Event Location
Fresno AIDS Walk will begin & end at the Park View shelter of Woodward Park in Fresno. Please enter the main entrance on Audubon Drive.

B. Event Schedule

Fresno AIDS Walk 2014 will take place the morning of Saturday, November 22nd.

Same-day registration begins 10:00am
AIDS Walk begins 12:00pm

Stick around for our post-Walk celebration with great musical performances and recognition of our top fundraising individuals and teams!

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING A VOLUNTEER? Our deadline for volunteer registration for the day of the event is Friday, November 7th.

gaywedding-01Although there are a few Flat-Earthers out there who still believe gay marriage can be stopped, everyone else has accepted (or celebrated) it as an eventual inevitability. So now the question is: what’s next? Not just what’s next for LGBT equality–but also, what’s next for marriage?

Earlier this year, I took up this question and asked whether marriage will change gay people (by domesticating and normalizing us) or whether gay people will change marriage (by mainstreaming non-monogamy and lessening gender roles).

poll-250x199A new poll shows strong support for the US Supreme Court action on marriage equality, mirroring an earlier poll by the same organization on marriage equality in general.

ABC News reports:

Most Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support the recent U.S. Supreme Court action allowing gay marriages to go forward in several states – including a bare majority in the 11 states in which such marriages have begun in the past week and a half. Overall, 56 percent of Americans support the court’s action, while 38 percent oppose it – exactly matching opinions on whether or not gay marriage should be legal, asked in an ABC/Post poll in June. These results reflect the public’s dramatic shift in support of gay marriage the past decade.

Even the 11 states affected by the non-decision decision show majority support, at 51%. But more importantly, this poll refutes the results of an earlier Pew Poll, which seemed to show a drop in national marriage equality support. That poll is looking more and more like an outlier.

Join Fresno Immigrant Youth in Action (#TeamFIYA) on Sunday November 2, 2014 at Fresno’s Two Cities Marathon & Half as we #RunForLiberation, demand #Not1MoreDeportation, because #MigrantLivesMatter and we need #HealthForAll! 

fiya

The fight for marriage equality in the US may be almost over, but the fight for transgender rights is just starting.

Vocative has five maps and the story:

…as important as visibility is for creating awareness, it’s just one step toward equality. For all the positive changes taking place, transgender Americans are still treated as lesser-thans when it comes to policy and legislation that affords them legal rights and protections. “The recent media attention that the trans community has received is a helpful starting point for working toward greater rights and equal rights,” says Arli Christian, policy counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). “Now we have all of these legal and policy changes that really need to be made. And looking at the number of states that have more accessible trans policies versus the states that need to improve their policies, we have a ways to go.”

Here are a couple of the maps to back up that point.

caleb laieskiCaleb Laieski may be young, tall and lanky, but he’s a fighter.

At his Arizona high school, anti-gay bullying was so bad that he had to drop out and complete his education in a GED program. But the intense persecution he suffered had a sort of purifying effect – he channeled the bigotry against him into action. As he put it, he refused to “be another statistic.” In 2011 he advocated and lobbied for the Student Non-Discrimination Act in The Grand Canyon State and served as a diversity liaison in the Phoenix, Arizona mayor’s office. He also caught the attention of members of Congress and the White House and tried to take non-discrimination act to Capitol Hill.

Now he’s taking on the FDA. The 19-year-old LGBT activist, and good friend of mine, sued the FDA earlier this month for its “unnecessary” and “discriminatory” policy of banning MSM (men who have sex with men) blood donors from donating.

Since then, our understanding medical science has exponentially increased. For one, the FDA scrutinizes and tests all blood donations it receives for viruses and cancers. Samples that don’t pass the tests are destroyed. People receiving blood transfusions are in very good and capable hands. But what has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in medicine has been the demotion of HIV/AIDS from a life-ravaging Grim Reaper to a treatable, chronic condition. The miraculous Truvada, for example, essentially prevents transmission.

And yet the blood ban is still on the books. Even though experts and the American Medical Association have denounced the lifetime ban as an unnecessary, bigoted policy, the FDA still turns away possibly millions of donors because of their sexual orientation. The American Red Cross has estimated that nearly two million more people could be saved if the ban were to be eliminated and that as many as three people can be helped from a single donation.

Laieski’s lawsuit uses the precedents set in famous historical cases, including Lawrence v. Texas (2003), Loving v. Virginia (1967), and United States v. Windsor (2013) to argue that turning away and singling out a group of people because of their sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Medical privacy is also cited; only homosexuals are asked to disclose if they’ve had multiple partners.

Laieski has a compelling case, to say the least. The FDA’s ban is discriminatory and not even needed to begin with. Asking gay and bisexual men how many people they’ve slept with may have been an uncomfortable precaution in the ’80s, but it’s 2014. HIV/AIDS doesn’t just effect millions of straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people – it’s a treatable condition that can be managed and prevented.

Is the FDA just nostalgic for the Reagan years or does it see all LGBT people as diseased and unworthy of blood donation? We will soon find out. With marriage equality sweeping the nation and renewed efforts to pass the Employment N0n-Discrmination Act (ENDA), I can’t think of a better time for the FDA to join the rest of the country in the 21st century than now.

Read more from Micah at Micah's Two Cents

jersey-boys-fresno-tickets

“Oh what a night” it will be on Oct. 28 when the national tour of “Jersey Boys” swaggers into the Saroyan Theatre.  Now’s your chance to see the show for free! Three lucky winners will each receive a pair of opening-night tickets. Enter to win HERE.

JERSEY BOYS
 
is coming to Fresno, October 28th - November 2nd. Official Ticket Source JERSEY BOYS, is the Tony®, Grammy® and Olivier Award winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the story of how four blue collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30!


To enter: All you have to do is fill out our super-easy entry form 
here
.

For more information about the play, click here.

CL Frederick.1012.14Originally seen on TALKHILLCREST – contributing author Internationally known male model and HIV awareness activist C.L. Frederick

I used to think that gay men who acquired HIV got exactly what they deserved; that was until I myself tested positive.  I knew very few openly positive gay men.  Those that I was aware of were the social outcasts, the topic of gay gossip and innuendo, and the guys you were encouraged to stay away from in order to keep your social standing.  To me, the few positive men I knew of didn’t seem like happy people.  They seemed defeated, used up, and simply put – miserable.  How could anyone possibly be happy and living with HIV?  I was acutely aware that HIV positive men faced many stigmas socially, dating wise, in being sexually viable, and amongst their own families acceptance.  Complete misery in my book of books.  I did not want that life and I believed it would never be something I would ever have to deal with.  In all honesty, I pitied positive men.  My preconceived notions of the type of man living with HIV/Aids was rooted in social ignorance and was completely off base.  After my diagnosis, I didn’t think I would ever be happy again or that I deserved happiness.  I found myself at a great precipice and I did not know if I’d catch myself from falling.

Initially I felt a tremendous amount of shame.  I had always told myself if I ever ended up positive that was it, I’d end this life.  No way was I going to live with THAT stigma let alone a lifetime dealing with Human Immunodeficiency Virus.  I assumed that the rest of my life would be marred with rejection, fear, and that I would never again have another man take an interest in me.  Before I had never equated living well with being HIV positive, whether due to societal stereotypes or having a sparse group of positive men in my life.  I had very few guys to relate to.  I had found my rock bottom and it was the darkest reality I had ever faced.

Fresno Family Counseling Center in partnership with Fresno State is currently screening participants for the following groups:
-12 week gay men's group for ages 18 and over. Meets weekly, hour and a half sessions.
-12 week lesbian's group for ages 18 and over. Meets weekly for hour and a half sessions.

Groups will focus on identity and group membership within the LGBT community and the need for connection, alliances, and pride for a healthy self-concept. The groups will address the following themes: internalized hompphobia, coming out, gay myths, body image, relationships and friendships, dating, sex and healthy boundaries, self-esteem, grief and loss, communication and obstacles in connecting with others, and creating community and building resources.

$20 first session/$10 dollars each session afterwards.
Call (559) 229-3085 ask for Jessica or Patrick

Fresno Family Counseling Center
7320 N First Street
Fresno, CA 93726

silverman wage gapSarah Silverman is in hot water over a video she did to comically highlight the alarmingly high wage gap between men and women in this country. Some transgender activists found it insensitive and took it literally.

The video is almost four minutes long, but it can be summed up in the following few sentences:

“Every year the average woman loses around $11,000 to the wage gap. Over the course of the working years of her life, that’s almost $500,000. That’s a $500,000 vagina tax! That’s why I’m taking matters into my own hands…I’m becoming a dude.”

 


To nearly everyone (gay, straight, bisexual, transgender) who watched, the message was pretty self-explanatory: Hey, I’m a woman and I earn less than a man because of it…so I’ll just be a man instead! It was hilarious and to-the-point: Working women deserve the same pay as their male counterparts.

Trans issues have nothing to do with the video. They just don’t. She’s not literally saying that women who undergo gender reassignment surgery will then go on to get equal pay. But transgender activist Janet Mock – whom I love and find incredibly inspiring – too to her Twitter account to claim Silverman was making that exact point. “Sex reassignment doesn’t help one advance in workplace,” she tweeted. “Ask one of the most underemployed populations: trans people.”

So much for irony and humor.

October 11, 2014 • 10am – 9pm

The Voice Shop

Join us for our first ever LGBT+ Leadership Summit! This summit will be like no other. Workshops are being presented in a fun way for you to interact with the topics being discussed with leadership ice breakers throughout the day. Come meet new friends and learn from community leaders to bring back new knowledge to your school. After all workshops are completed, students will have fun at our end-of-summit social!

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club leadership are strongly encouraged to attend! Lunch, Dinner, snacks and refreshments will be included with registration.

SUMMIT FLYER

Workshops being presented:

Diversity Panel
Moderated by My Lgbt Plus

LGBT+ Domestic Violence Awareness
Hosted by Melissa Knight, Fresno State

Suicide Awareness/Prevention
Hosted by The Trevor Project

Take the Power Back! Grassroots Organizing 101
Hosted by Californians for Justice

HIV Awareness/Prevention
Hosted by Jena Adams, Fresno County Department of Public Health

LGBT History
Hosted by Gay Central Valley

Marriage Equality MapKnowledge is power! With our new, interactive marriage equality maps, you can instantly find out what you need to know – an overall picture of the movement in addition to court cases, legislation, ballot initiatives and current polling!

Our maps are divided into 5 categories: State of the States (the current status regarding marriage equality for each state); Legislation; Litigation/Lawsuits; Ballot Initiatives; and, Polling. You can download each map, resulting in a clear, attractive PDF.

Did you know that via our State of the States Map, you can find the 10 states that ban marriage equality via the state constitution and also have a state law banning same-sex marriage?

Or, that on our Legislation Map you are able to see see which 7 states legalized marriage equality via state legislation, not the courts or the ballot box.

By using our Litigation/Lawsuits Map, you can find the 4 states with marriage equality cases at the state court level, and each state with a case at the federal level.

On the Ballot Initiatives Map you can locate the state which banned same-sex marriage via a ballot initiative, and which now has an initiative pending to legalize same-sex marriage.

And, our Polling Map shows you the states that are just about to break 50% support for marriage equality! As well as the 1 U.S. Territory with marriage equality polling on record.

Please check out, use and download these new, interactive maps! Send us your input if you are aware of marriage equality data that would be appropriate for our maps, or, if you have specific questions or suggestions, please let us know! Just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I hope you enjoy perusing our map data – definitely feel free to share this!

Gay Central Valley is pleased to announce that we are a recipient of a Covered California grant, aimed at underserved populations in the state. This grant is part of a larger grant through the Health Access Foundation. The grant money will, in part, pay two individuals from Gay Central Valley's board of directors to reach out to LGBT people and others over the next few months to sign members up through the Covered California program for medical insurance. Outreach will cover Fresno and Merced counties in the Central Valley. Grant money will also be used for office space, equipment, supplies, etc.

From Covered California: "Building on high enrollment in 2014, Covered California launched its community outreach campaign for 2015 on Monday, including new grants to community groups and a comprehensive advertising program aimed at attracting new consumers and encouraging them to enroll in the state's health benefit exchange.

The campaign includes $46 million in new statewide advertising and $14.6 million in new community outreach grant funding. Selected organizations will receive between $50,000 and $750,000 in grants, based on their experience with special populations defined by common characteristics – such as language, ethnicity, geography and employment sector – and their ability to effectively educate and enroll Californians and help individuals with Covered California renew their insurance."

The program runs from October 1, 2014 to June 30th, 2015. Open enrollment is from November 15th 2014 to February 15th, 2015.

Facebook Drag QueenFacebook changed directions on its “real names” policy yesterday in response to continued and blistering criticism from drag queens and the threat of mass defections to Ello and other services.

Think Progress reports:

Facebook officially apologized Wednesday for enforcing its “real name” policy for users against drag queens and other members of the LGBT community. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, acknowledged that the policy has been a “painful” experience for the many individuals whose profiles were suspended and promised to do better. “I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks,” Cox wrote. He explained that an individual user had reported several hundred accounts as fake, and they didn’t notice the pattern of how drag queens and other LGBT people might have been targeted for their identities rather than because they were trying to impersonate, bully, or troll others — as is the case for most fake accounts Facebook suspends.

“an individual user had reported several hundred accounts as fake” — and that, in a nutshell, is the problem with Facebook. Someone can lodge a complaint against you, and you often end up suspended or worse without any recourse, unless you can mount a mass media campaign in your own defense. FB is notoriously terrible at dealing with user issues – ever tried to get help from a FB employee? Which is as much a function of FB’s sheer size and limited staff as anything else. Maybe they should put a few more of their billions of dollars they earn from our information into customer service.

And BTW, has this individual who targeted drag queens been suspended from using Facebook?

The U.S. Supreme Court has just officially turned down all of the same-sex marriage cases it was presented. Here's why this is good news.

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning began its fall session, and in a stunning development announced it will not take up any of the same-sex marriage cases from the five states it was presented, Utah, Oklahoma, Virgina, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Many court watchers had expected the nation's top court would hear at least one same-sex marriage case. 

But now, with today's announcement, all stays on same sex marriage will "disappear," to quote NBC News' Pete Williams, albeit not overnight.

The lower court rulings will now go into effect for all same-sex marriage cases, meaning same-sex marriage is now or will shortly be legal in Utah, Oklahoma, Virgina, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

LOOK: The Same-Sex Marriage Map Just Changed Dramatically – Here's What It Looks Like

In addition, same-sex marriage will become legal in eleven more states, by virtue of them being in federal circuit court regions. 

"Other states under the jurisdiction of appeals courts that struck down the bans will also be affected, meaning the number of states with gay marriage is likely to quickly jump from 19 to 30," Reuters reports. "The other states would be North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado."

The Supreme Court could take up a same-sex marriage case in the future if a Court of Appeals rules a marriage ban is constitutional, which no appeals court has ruled to date.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court leaves in force five favorable marriage rulings reached in three federal appellate courts, ensuring the freedom to marry for millions more Americans around the country," Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement. "The Court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states, representing 60% of the American people. But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the Court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places. As waves of freedom to marry litigation continue to surge, we will continue to press the urgency and make the case that America – all of America -- is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should finish the job.”

To those who celebrate it... Happy Halloween!

 

We hope you enjoy this HILARIOUS clip from the Ellen Show. Me thinks one of them is "family".

 

congress-250x250A new poll shows more than two thirds of Americans support a bill that would offer employment protections to LGBT citizens.

SDGLN reports:

New polling by a prominent Republican pollster shows a supermajority of voters – 68%, including 56% of Republicans – support a federal law protecting gay and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on such a law – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) – in the coming weeks. Currently, there are no state laws prohibiting an employer from firing or refusing to hire someone simply because he or she is gay or transgender in a majority of states.

But does the bill have a chance in the GOP-controlled house?

 

JellyBelly-Logo-250x250Having lost the battle on marriage equality in California, anti-gay groups have found the next target – transgender kids – and this time they’ve got a sweet new sugar daddy to help fund the campaign.

Frontiers LA reports:

Herman Rowland Sr., Chair of the Jelly Belly Candy Company, is a major contributor to the Privacy for All Students initiative campaign–led by Prop. 8 strategist Frank Schubert, who is now the political director for the National Organization for Marriage. Just as he did with the misrepresentations and scare tactics of the Prop. 8 campaign, Schubert is trying to collect enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot to repeal the historic “School Success and Opportunity Act, ” AB 1266, authored by out Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. The transgender student law goes into effect on Jan. 1, unless the measure qualifies, which would put the law on hold.

One more thing to add to my never–ever buy list. No big loss – they’re pumped full of corn syrup anyway.

 

The Garden State has become the latest state to legalize marriage equality, bringing the total number of U.S. states where equality is the law of the land up to 14, plus Washington D.C. While it is not surprising that the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex couples – given the recent court and legislative victories for equality – it is quite surprising that Governor Chris Christie has decided to drop his appeal of the court's decision.

Had he gone through with his appeal, same-sex couples would still have been allowed to wed up until early next year, at which point they would possibly have their rights revoked. But, as one of Gov. Christie's aids told the New York Times, the appeal was a "fool's errand," especially since the court's decision was unanimous and included a justice he considered an ally. Even though he disagreed with the ruling, the governor realized that the tide of history and public opinion was against him. Continuing his irrelevant fight was pointless.

Kudos to the Christie Administration!

Nationally, conservatives could learn an important lesson from Christie's decision to drop his appeal. Once a legal issue has been resolved either through a court decision or legislative action (or both), that's the end of the story. It's done. When one factors public opinion into the equation, it becomes even clearer; you may not like the outcome but it's here to stay. Time to move on.

Editor's note: Gay Fresno welcomes political opinions of all kinds. If you'd like to submit an article regarding politics or any other topic, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The GOP Shutdown of 2013 is officially over. Sixteen days, $24 billion siphoned out of the economy, as well as a slow-down of the economic recovery, record low approval ratings for the Republican Party (lowest in modern history), and the looming threat of default on the national debt finally forced the hand of one of the most ineffective House Speakers in American history, John Boehner. He allowed a vote and got 87 Republicans to join the rest of us in reality to pass the Senate CR, a vote he could and should have held long before the shutdown lasted for over two weeks.

Yep, that's right...after this fiasco and national embarrassment for Republicans, the majority of the Republican caucus (144) in the House voted to keep 800,000 people furloughed from their jobs, cancer treatments on hold, small businesses from getting vital government loans, women and children impoverished and billions of dollars bleeding out of the economy. That doesn't even include their fetishistic willingness to breach the debt ceiling – which does not actually increase the deficit – and send the nation's credibility global economy into free fall and most likely depression.

How has the GOP responded? Well, it's complicated because the Republican Party is deeply fractured and in catastrophic disarray. Tea Party Republicans, all 144 of them in the House and 18 in the Senate, blamed the President for a shutdown that they literally campaigned on and fought hard to get and maintain. Nutcases like Representative Michele Bachmann have gone so far as to say that President Obama and the Democratically controlled Senate "wanted" the government shutdown. Don't you see, America? We didn't shut the government down as a result of our recklessness and extremism – it was all that Kenyan, Marxist's fault!

 

poll-250x199Conservatives are slowly, slowly coming around on marriage equality.

Gay Star News reports:

According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, over the past decade a growing minority of conservatives are starting to support marriage equality. Today roughly three in ten of Republicans (29%) and political conservatives (30%) are gay marriage supporters. Twelve years ago. ’21% of Republicans and 18% of conservatives expressed this view.’

There is even a subtle shift with conservatives who are religious. ‘About a quarter (23%) of white evangelical Protestants now say they favor same-sex marriage, compared with 13% in 2001,’ the Pew Research report said.

And of course, it’s the youth that’s driving the change.

 

I’m getting married in 3 days and I’m having some reservations.

Not about my betrothed (she’s fabulous!) but rather about what’s going to happen when we come home after saying, “I do”.

We live in Arizona, one of the special states that have both a state statute and a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Here’s the thing: when I come home from California next week – married! – the federal government will see me as married; however the state of Arizona will see my wife and I as legal strangers.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has clarified their rules determining that if the state or country you were married in sees your marriage as legal, then the IRS says you’re married! I’m not sure when the last time I was excited about taxes and the IRS, but it was probably the last time I was thrilled by the clarifying rules from the Department of Labor; who incidentally also explained their use of the “place of celebration” determination versus the “place of residence”.

The “place of celebration” basically says if it was legal where you got married, you are married in the eyes of the federal government. The “place of residence” rule, one’s benefits based on where you live. The Department of Labor cited the “place of celebration’ determinant when it comes to benefits extended to spouses – all spouses. So can I cover my wife under my health insurance? Can I be listed as a spouse on our car insurance?

That’s why returning to Arizona is going to be interesting. There are a lot of unanswered questions in this patchwork of policies, rules, laws and how they’re blended at the federal, state and local levels. The trickle down of the rights and responsibilities of marriage are flowing like honey and not the celebratory champagne I expect.

Remember: this is the law now. It doesn’t matter how you feel about it or what you think about it. It’s the law. So what am I to do when my state government and my job see me as legally single? How far do I push for my rights at work since I live in one of the multitude of states where I can be legally fired for being queer? I don’ delude myself to think that I’m special – my family is not unique. Millions of folks are going through the same thing – being treated unequally under the law simply for who we are and who we love.

We’ve seen the issue of marriage evolve publicly from “gay” marriage to same-sex marriage to marriage equality. We all know that we each have our own coming out process and I guess my government is no different.

...so about that government shutdown...

Progressive hero and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren gave an epic speech on the Senate floor a few days ago in which she called out the far-right in the House for its extremism. House Republicans, hijacked by the fringe Tea Party, literally championed a government shutdown and many of them campaigned on it ("If we don't get our way, we'll shut it down!"). To them, Elizabeth Warren had this to say:

"You can do your best to make government look like it doesn't work when you stop it from working. You can do your best to make government look paralyzed when you paralyze it. You can do your best to make government look incompetent through your incompetence and ineffective through your ineffectiveness. But sooner or later, the government will reopen because this is a democracy and this democracy has already rejected your views. We have already chosen to do these things together because we all know that we are stronger when we come together.

"When this government reopens, when our markets are safe again, when our scientists can return to their research, when our small businesses can borrow, when our veterans can be respected for their service, when our flu shots resume and our Head Start programs get back to teaching our kids, we will have rejected your views once again.

"We are not a country of anarchists. We are not a country of pessimists and ideologues whose motto is 'I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.' We are not a country that tolerates dangerous drugs, unsafe meat, dirty air, or toxic mortgages. We are not that nation. We have never been that nation and we will never be that nation"

Here's a video of the awesome smack-down – it's a must-watch:

 

 

 

supreme-court-250x250Is the US Supreme Court set to make more history this session on LGBT rights?

Lisa Keen at Keen News Service reports:

Meanwhile, there are other gay-related cases with the potential to come before the Supreme Court this session -some in follow up to the marriage equality cases, some within the ongoing clash over whether one can claim a right to discriminate against LGBT people by designating that discrimination as part of one’s exercise of religious freedom. Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock out of New Mexico is one of a growing number of lawsuits pitting the constitutional right to free exercise of religion against state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Another gay-related case that could soon be seeking Supreme Court review is Pickup v Brown, which tests the constitutionality of California’s newly passed law to ban “sexual orientation change efforts” (reparative therapy) for persons under the age of 18. A lower court judge had granted a preliminary injunction against the law going into effect, but, on August 29, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed that injunction, saying the law “is neither vague nor overbroad, and does not violate parents’ fundamental rights.”

And Keen speculates that another marriage equality case could reach the Court in the near future:

The farthest along and most likely to reach the Supreme Court first is one by Lambda Legal out of Nevada. That case, Sevcik v Sandoval, was dismissed at the federal district court level but Lambda has an appeal pending before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and briefing closes on or two weeks after November 18. A second lawsuit, Jackson v Abercrombie, against Hawaii’s ban on same-sex marriage, has final briefs due to the Ninth Circuit on December 23 or two weeks thereafter. Depending on how quickly the Ninth Circuit moves on the cases, they could potentially be appealed to the Supreme Court this session but they would likely be heard next session.

Either one of these cases could theoretically open up the rest of the country to full marriage equality, basically overnight.

 

gaywedding-121We had quite a week for same sex proposals and weddings this week.

Grey’s Anatomy actor T.R. Knight married his partner.

Towleroad.com reports:

Former Grey’s Anatomy actor T.R. Knight married his boyfriend Patrick on Friday, US Weekly reports: “It [was] very small and quiet,” an insider reveals to Us. One of the more famous faces to attend? Knight’s former ABC costar and close friend Katherine Heigl flew in for the ceremony, the source says. No other details on the fete were immediately available.

Over in Massachusetts, an openly gay Carl Sciortino married his partner Saturday.

The Washington Blade reports:

A gay Massachusetts politician vying to win an upcoming special congressional election married his partner of more than five years on Saturday in a ceremony he says reflects the progress of the LGBT rights movement. State Rep. Carl Sciortino, who’s seeking to represent Massachusetts’ 5th congressional district in the U.S. House, wed his partner of more than five years, Pem Brown, a consultant for non-profit communications, in Boston at the Old South Meeting House.

At Disneyland, Dot Jones, who plays Coach Shannon Biest on Glee, proposed to her partner.

Dot429 reports:

Dot-Marie Jones, who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on Fox’s “Glee,” proposed to her longtime girlfriend Bridgett Casteen at Disneyland’s Anaheim Gay Days on Friday, October 5, 2013. This is Jones’s first marriage, and her fiancée’s second walk down the aisle. The proposal took place, Disney fairytale-style, in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle. “It’s the happiest day of my life,” the 49-year old Emmy nominee told The Advocate. “I never thought I’d find someone that is so loving and kind.”

Congratulations to all the happy couples!

 

barillaIn the wake of his damaging comments about gays – telling gay customers they could go buy another company’s pasta – Guido Barilla met with gay organizations in Italy to try to smooth things over.

Joe.My.God reports:

Barilla met Arcigay, Arcilesbica, Famiglie Arcobaleno, Gaynet and Equality Italia associations at the Regione Emilia-Romagna headquarters, where former Arcigay president and now regional councillor Franco Grillini has his office. Grillini told Gay Star News: “We spoke about the company’s policies and about the impact on the LGBT community worldwide. Mr Barilla apologized once again and told us they are really worried for the boycotting in North America. The news had a big impact in the United States and they went to the US last week to reinforce their presence in that country.” According to Grillini, “We could say Barilla is going to do a pro-gay campaign in the future, but it’s not sure at the moment. We have to meet again and to discuss their new ads. They’ll probably do something for our community, they have understood that LGBTs have a strong power.”

It’s good to see that the company is feeling the pressure. We’re not buying it again.

 

Lance Bass.jpqHere’s our quick round-up of the stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we just didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

Croatia: Almost 300 European LGBT rights advocates gathered in Croatia this last week to discuss LGBT rights. full story

USA: Two groups are calling for the CDC to reevaluate a policy banning transgender woman from receiving cancer screenings. full story

USA: Singer Lance Bass is considering televising his wedding to Michael Turchin. full story

USA, California: A new project is taking a look at San Francisco’s LGBT past. full story

USA, New Jersey: Democrats are considering their options in the wake of a lower court ruling favoring marriage equality and Governor Christie’s abandonment of an appeal. full story

USA, New Jersey: New Jersey answers some questions about civil unions and marriage equality. full story

 

gaywedding-04When couples marry, eventually some of them will divorce. Lizzie Crocker at The Daily Beast looks at the flip side of the marriage equality debate.

Few couples say “I do” with the assumption that they’ll at some point break that vow. In recent years, marriage-equality advocates have channeled their energy into momentous victories on the state and federal level—Minnesota became the 13th state to legalize gay marriage in May, just before the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Defense of Marriage—but the issue of gay divorce is an often overlooked aspect of the fight for marriage equality.

It seems obvious that anyone who has the right to marry should also have the right to divorce. And yet that right doesn’t always extend to same-sex couples, exposing a fundamentally flawed legal regime that could take years to catch up with heterosexual marriage. “Divorce is by no means romantic, but it is still one of the most profoundly important incidents as a right of civil marriage,” says Allen Drexel, a divorce lawyer specializing in family law.

When compared with the voluminous public debate on the legal intricacies of gay marriage, there has been a relative lack of discussion surrounding gay divorce. Because same-sex marriage is adjudicated differently by different states, countless complications arise in how each approach issues of inheritance, pensions, and divorce.

We’re already seeing these battles pop up around the US, in states that don’t yet recognize marriage equality.

 

ExxonMobilIn a victory that’s been years in the making, Exxon Mobil will finally offer benefits to married same-sex employees.

Pink News reports:

Exxon Mobil Corp announced on Friday that it plans to begin recognising “all legal marriages”, when deciding eligibility for health care plans for its 77,000 employees and retirees in the US. The announcement means that as of 1 October, any gay employee who has been married in a state or country where equal marriage is legal, their spouse will be eligible for the benefits. The company, which faces a same-sex discrimination complaint in Illinois, said on Friday that it was following the lead of the US Government.

In an apparent effort to save face, the company claims it hasn’t changed its policy – it’s just following the definition the US government sets out.

 

If you don't currently have insurance, during open enrollment – which starts TODAY and runs through March 31, 2014 – it’ll be easier to get affordable health insurance. We put together a list of FAQs to help answer any questions you may have about open enrollment . You can also visit www.healthcare.gov to learn more.

There are many reasons that the LGBT community should be excited about the benefits of Obamacare and open enrollment. Here are 5 things we think you should know:

  • Insurance companies are no longer allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. We found in our study “Injustice at Every Turn ” that 28% of transgender Americans have postponed medical care due to discrimination. The Affordable Care Act should put a stop to this discrimination. If you do experience discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights. If you are denied a claim because of who you are, you can appeal it.

  • People can no longer be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions like being a survivor of domestic violence, living with HIV/AIDS or being diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder/Dysphoria.
  • Obamacare also provides free preventive care, including free STI and HIV screening, help to stop smoking, domestic violence counseling, and screening for things like depression, drug and alcohol misuse and diabetes.
  • Health care will be more affordable, and that’s a huge benefit to LGBT people who are disproportionately poor. Previously, according to “Injustice at Every Turn,” 48% of transgender Americans surveyed couldn’t afford health care. Affordability will help many more people get insured and live healthier lives.
  • Young people will be able to stay on their parent or guardian’s plan up to age 26.

 

Over 20 million Americans will be affected by elections directly involving marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

Join us for food, good company, and to help secure marriage equality by urging registered voters to "GET OUT THE VOTE" in the name of equality!

In Fresno, join us on: October 30th from 6pm - 8pm at Denny's, 30 E. Herndon Avenue in the banquet room.

If you feel uneasy about talking to voters about marriage equality, have NO FEAR, we will be simply calling voters to remind them to GET OUT AND VOTE and to vote in favor of equality!

Very easy, very effective and VERY IMPORTANT that voters hear from us!

You DO NOT NEED a LAPTOP or IPAD for this phonebank!

You will need: A) A working cell phone with service or B) A working Wifi enabled cell phone and a Google voice account.

You can also choose to bring: A)Wifi enabled laptop and headphones with a mic or B) Wifi enabled IPad or tablet with headphones with a mic.

 

Ben Gibbard has been very active as a musician supporting marriage equality over the past few months, and recently spoke to Spin regarding his thoughts on the issue and the 2012 election. Check out what he had to say below by clicking “Read More.”

I know there are many issues going around in this election, but I’ve been very active with an organization called Music for Marriage Equality, which is trying to pass Referendum 74, which would approve gay marriage in Washington State. This is an issue that’s close to my heart because my sister is gay. She’s married to an amazing woman and it’s not a union that is recognized by the state of Washington, or many other states for that matter.

Here in Washington, the governor, Chris Gregoire, voted [gay marriage] into law earlier this year, and the religious righters began to accrue enough signatures to basically put it to a popular vote.

 

A new ad from the National Organization for Marriage instructs viewers that same-sex marriage is like incest, pedophilia, and drug use and should be prohibited, arguing that it harms society.

Like most NOM videos, comments are disabled at YouTube and the clip has a majority of ‘dislikes’, a sentiment with which I’m sure you’ll agree.

See the Full Story at Towleroad

Today Buzzfeed posts a series of maps showing, among other things, how many Americans would have access to same-sex marriage should we win all the states in play.

buzzmap1

catholic-church

Forget that vow of poverty: The Roman Catholic Church has shelled out more than $1 million to fight various marriage-equality initiatives, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign.

The study shows that the millennia-old institution has donated more than $1.1 million to anti-equality efforts, including ones fighting gay-marriage measures in Washington, Maryland and Maine–and one supporting a gay-marriage ban in Minnesota, where it has given more than $608,000 to support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. (That’s more than half of the anti-equality effort’s budget.)

Today, the Church is now the top religious donor for anti-equality efforts, with more than $640,000 coming from the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights.

s-ROMNEY-GAY-RIGHTS-largeWe've witnessed many Mitt Romneys, but the one unearthed by the Boston Globe's Murray Waas yesterday is perhaps the most vicious and cruel: a zealot who, as Massachusetts governor, became hellbent on stigmatizing the children of gay and lesbian parents, labeling these kids as outcasts and causing them to suffer hardship throughout their lives.

Waas reveals how, after gays and lesbians in Massachusetts won the right to marry in 2003, Governor Romney wouldn't allow the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics to revise birth certificate forms for babies born to same-sex couples. The plan was to have the box for "father," for example, relabeled "father or second parent." But according to documents obtained by Waas, Romney rejected the plan, demanding the agency continue using old forms. Romney then demanded hospitals get permission from his office each time a child was born to a same sex-couple in order to cross out, with a pen, the label "father" or "mother," and write-in, with a pen, "second parent." (Romney also required gay male parents to get a court order before any birth certificate was issued.)

Those children would then go through life with birth certificates that marked them as strange, abnormal, less than everyone else, punished because Romney didn't approve of their parents. As a Department of Health attorney warned Romney, the children would be disadvantaged and would have trouble applying to school or getting drivers licenses as adults, particularly in a post-9/11 world where they might be considered security risks, having birth certificates that appeared altered. It was a "violation of existing statutes," the attorney warned Romney. But Romney waved off the warnings, not caring about the the legal, psychological or personal ramifications.

 

Continue reading on Huffington Post

Frenchie_Davis

Frenchie Davis, a contestant on the first season of NBC’s talent contest The Voice, has posed for the NOH8 Campaign, which raises awareness and funds for gay rights causes, including ending California’s 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.

In a recent interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Davis, 33, discussed for the first time her relationship with another woman.

“I wasn’t out before the relationship, but I wasn’t in,” she said. “I dated men and women, though lesbians weren’t feeling the bisexual thing. Now I’m in love with a woman I think I can be with forever.”

halloween_2012

THE EXPRESS
is proud to present 
the return of
THE ROCKY HORROW PICTURE SHOW

This live stage show is brought to you by Express Staff and Friends of the club

This event will feature a Rocky Horror Costume Contest.
and 
The drink special of the night is $5 Time Warps.

SO LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN!

Halloween Night
at The Express
will be a night full of
Tricks and Treats

With...
Costume Contest
$4 Zombies
$4 Brain

DJS Fresh & Dizzi
bring you the hits to get that body moving and GOULING.

Frank-Schubert

Forget Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Forget Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage. Forget even the American Family Association’s bilious Bryan Fischer. The most potent force pushing anti-gay bigotry in America is Frank Schubert, a man whose name is relatively unknown but who has empowered each of those individuals and many more in their anti-gay crusades, a man who stripped his own lesbian sister and her children of their rights in exchange for big money.

Schubert clearly knows he’s peddling distortions and is demonizing gays in his own lucrative cottage industry of homophobia, and now he also seems to sense that he’s on the losing side of a civil rights battle. This week that became more evident than ever in a lengthy interview with me in which he couldn’t adequately answer basic questions about his mission, becoming so frustrated and agitated that he eventually lashed out and called me a “dummy.”

Schubert is the strategist who ran the campaign that convinced voters to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008, using ads that, among other things, framed gay marriage as dangerous to children. He moved on from there to other states and helped in the campaign that got three judges who had ruled in favor of marriage equality removed from the Iowa Supreme Court in retention elections in 2010. He successfully beat back marriage equality in Maine at the ballot box in 2009, and he got the marriage amendment passed in the brutal battle in North Carolina last May, a battle that inspired anti-gay preachers to call for violence and even death for gays.

 Continue reading

mdna_tour
Madonna’s latest tour is an incredible, out-of-this-world spectacular. The high-energy, exciting show is yet another reminder to us all that the cultural groundbreaker is still the Queen of Pop.
On October 10th, I had the incredible privilege of seeing the one and only Queen live at the Los Angeles Staples Center. As a die-hard fan, the experience was both visually stunning and one of the best times of my life. As soon as the lights went down, I joined the stadium in ecstatic cheers and calls of “Yeah! Madonna!”
Aside from seeing my favorite artist and performer, I was amazed at the amount of detail and energy that went in to the show. The sets and screens pushed the technological envelope as did the 54-year-old superstar’s endless amount of energy and toned physique that puts women half her age to shame. The show progressed through different themes, beginning in a gothic cathedral and ending in a Benny Benassi-mixed dance number. It had
everything: bare-chested, chanting monks… in heels, a Kill Bill-esque fight scene, vintage majorette uniforms, gender-bending models strutting their stuff to “Vogue,” and even a Joan of Arc-inspired outfit - all designed by long-time Madonna-collaborating designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (Madonna’s iconic coned bra and various tours).
Nobody puts on a show like Madonna. She is one of the great musical performers of our time, up there with both Michael and Janet Jackson and Prince.
She began touring in May and has been performing in sold-out arenas and stadiums all over Europe and North America since. The MDNA Tour is the superstar’s ninth concert tour in her 30-year career and is on track to become one of the highest grossing tours of all time. The last time she toured the world, four years ago, her Sticky & Sweet Tour raked in a record-breaking $408 million dollars, the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist and the fourth
highest-grossing tour of all time.
Madonna also got political in the middle of the show, and urged concert goers to register to vote and never “take [our] freedom for granted.” She spoke of the human rights violations in Russia, where over 70 men were arrested for simply being gay and a band was jailed for speaking out against the government.  She even dedicated a heart-felt song to Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for blogging about the importance of education for women.
She told the audience:
“…support the people that support your freedom…register to f***ing vote, ok?! Take responsibility for your future and your destiny…support the people that support education and support the people that support women, and being gay, or being Muslim, or Christian, or a Jew…none of you have any business being complacent and all of you have a responsibility for the person standing next to you, and don’t you ever forget it!”
This take-charge-of-your-life-and-future idea is the very thing that has kept Madonna on top and relevant since the 1980s. Many artists have come and gone since then, some who many thought would outlive the “outrageous,”
“one-hit-wonder” Madonna. It’s 2012 and she has sold over 300 million albums worldwide. She is the top-selling female artist of time. Billboard has her at the top of the “Top 10 Singles” list, ahead of Elvis, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.
Her in-charge attitude has inspired a generation, including many of today’s leading artists like Lady GaGa, Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Katy Perry. We wouldn’t have “Mother Monster” or “Sasha Fierce” or even the “California Gurl” had it not been for the trailblazing legacy of Madonna and her unapologetic style.
Sure, she stays with the times and is often slightly ahead of them; she collaborates with fresh, up-and-coming artists and DJs. Her look and sound are routinely reinvented throughout a single decade. But catchy, dance-inducing music and style is not the only thing that has kept her relevant all these years.
This is the woman who spoke out for LGBT equality during the height of the AIDS crisis. This is the woman who broke sexual and cultural taboos during the conservative time of Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority.” The
Catholic Church had a field day with her video for “Like a Prayer,” which depicted stigmata, burning crosses and romance with a saint. Her music video for “Justify My Love” was banned by MTV in the early 1990s because of its depictions of bisexuality, gay couples kissing, and nudity. Her reaction to the establishment’s outrage: in 1992, she released a tongue-in-cheek, soft-core pornographic coffee table book that sold out in a matter of days. Her
provocative style spurred discussions on sexuality, censorship and the role tradition plays in society.
Throughout her career, the critics and culture warriors declared her “finished” and derided her as a bad influence. They scapegoated her and did their best to end her career. By the late 1990s, her image had softened – she had become a mother and embraced spirituality. But her feminist message of equality and inner strength have never ceased.
Her drive and bravery are still clearly seen today; in June, while performing her 1994 hit “Human Nature” in the predominantly Muslim, very conservative country of Turkey – where many women have to wear burqas – she
briefly exposed her right breast. No apologies. No regrets (as the song says).
Madonna is a force of nature within the music industry. Her legacy and bold attitude have paved the way for many of the artists we consider “innovative” today. At 54, she’s still vibrant, healthy, energetic and unapologetic. Seeing her perform in LA was a surreal experience for me and an experience I’ll never forget. In the vocally-morphed words of Nicki Minaj, “There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna, b*tch!” I’m pretty sure she’ll
outlive us all. Wink 

STONESTREET_FERGUSONX400-250x250

On Monday, Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson posted a photo to his WhoSay.com account of him and his on-screen partner, Eric Stonestreet, in their wedding best, holding hands, beneath a pink and white flower-covered canopy.

Sure looks like a wedding to us, but Ferguson was cryptic with his post, which read: “It’s not what it looks like. Or is it? Guess you’ll have to wait to find out!”

Catch the next Episode on ABC, Wednesday October 24th at 9pm

AnneHathawayWhen Anne Hathaway married Adam Shulman last September, every entertainment magazine in the country wanted the pictures.

Now, according to Adam Polaski at Freedom to Marry, “Hathaway is doing her part to ensure that same-sex couples across the country can enjoy a fairytale wedding like hers; this week, she announced that she’ll be donating some of the sales from her wedding photographs to non-profits advocating for marriage for same-sex couples, including Freedom to Marry.”

While she may be splitting the proceeds between Freedom to Marry and other charities (includng the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and The Girl Effect), Polaski says the donation to Freedom to Marry is just the “latest way that Hathaway has taken a stand for the freedom to marry.

Gay Fresno is proud to join with Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) and 50 local and national partners in the Campaign for 20 Million More - a growing coalition working to win the freedom to marry and to defeat anti-equality ballot initiatives in Election 2012.

 

 

 

"The Campaign for 20 Million More is a powerful example of what is best about our community and allies when we all work together towards big goals. I am so thankful to our almost 50 local and national partners for their contributions, and to the many MEUSA volunteers and staff for their work in managing this initiative," said Brian Silva, MEUSA Executive Director.

"Over 20 million Americans will be affected by elections directly involving marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington," added Stuart Gaffney, MEUSA Media Director. "Polls nationwide are showing majority support for equal marriage rights, and the Campaign for 20 Million More is now harnessing that tremendous grassroots support in order to win the freedom to marry."

Gay Fresno will join the campaign by co-hosting multiple phone banks for the states this Fall working towards marriage equality for all Americans. In Fresno, join us at Fresno, CA on:

October 23rd 6pm - 8pm at Carrows, 4228 N. Blackstone Avenue. If possible please bring A) wifi-enabled laptop & headphones with/ mic OR B) wifi-enabled iPad and a cell phone.

And

October 30th 6pm - 8pm at Denny's, 30 E. Herndon Avenue. If possible please bring A) wifi-enabled laptop & headphones with/ mic OR B) wifi-enabled iPad and a cell phone.

The 20 Million More Campaign is a coalition effort supporting our marriage equality partners in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington as they face their own state battles this fall, by helping to educate the voters in those states regarding marriage equality. The campaign does this through phone banks organized across the country, and via canvassing weekends in the four election states.

Questions? 559-862 4559

Full details of the campaign can be found at www.20MillionMore.org.

hrc-logo

The Human Rights Campaign announced it has committed nearly another $1 million to the four states facing marriage-related ballot measures next month, bringing the organization’s contributions this to $4.4 million on the marriage initiatives and $7.3 million overall during this election season.

The Friday announcement follows $1 million in contributions this past August, which the organization said would be split evenly into amounts of $250,000 between the four states.

This time, a spokesman for HRC said $950,000 would be split “fairly evenly,” with $225,000 for Maine and Washington, $300,000 for Maryland ($150,000 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality and $150,000 to the NAACP Maryland Marriage PAC), and $200,000 for Minnesota.

While Martha Raddatz was masterful last night actually moderating a genuine and thoughtful debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, she failed to pose a key question to the contenders: What is your view on same-sex marriage?

Some will say, well, there are a long list of issues she had to get in the mix — Afghanistan, the Libya debacle, abortion a few times, the economy, Medicare — and that is true. But the issue of gay marriage is one that matters in this election, and it was not mentioned at all in either the first presidential debate or the standoff between Biden and Ryan.

Biden was the person who kicked open the door on this subject in this election by stating he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriages. For a couple of days at least, the public divide between Obama and Biden was wider than on any other issue since they had been in office — a greater chasm between them than on Afghanistan policy where their differences were known but sewn together as a process leading to a conclusion everyone supported.

 

gaywedding-06For more than a decade now — 14 years to be exact — supporters of gay marriage have longed for that breakthrough win at the state level, where citizens go to the polls, and in the privacy of the voting booth actually endorse marriage for same-sex couples.

But it has never happened — not in 1998 when nearly 70 percent of voters in Alaska and Hawaii affirmed traditional marriage, not in 2004 (Oregon) or 2006 (Wisconsin) when two left-leaning states did the same, and not since. Precisely 32 of 32 states that have put the issue on the ballot have voted to uphold marriage as between a man and a woman.

That streak appears to be in serious jeopardy. On Nov. 6, voters in three states — Maryland, Maine and Washington — will decide whether to legalize gay marriage. A fourth state, Minnesota, will have a marriage amendment on the ballot to define marriage as between a man and a woman. All four states are “blue” states that tilt left politically.

sign-250x250

This November, four states (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington) have marriage definition questions on their ballots.

Within the LGBT community and society at large, we often think of the effects of these elections in terms of whether or not marriage equality will expand to another state, or whether yet another state will ingrain discrimination into its constitution.

What we don’t consider — but we ought to — is the toll that these referendums can take on LGB people during the election season itself. To understand the effect, flash back to 2006, when nine states had marriage amendments on the ballot.

See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

poll-250x199

A bare majority of voters in Florida and Ohio, and nearly half in Virginia, support the right of same-sex couples to wed, according to September Washington Post polls showing that the national trend toward accepting such unions has taken hold in these swing states.

The growing support is a sharp departure from eight years ago, when opposition to gay marriage was so widespread that it may have helped tip the scales in favor of President George W. Bush’s reelection. Today, the politics of the issue is murkier.

In Florida, 54 percent of voters think same-sex marriage should be legal, while 33 percent say it should be illegal. In Ohio, 52 percent say it should be legal, while 37 percent say it should be illegal.

Paul_Ryan_IS-250x250

In an interview with Jim Daly, the president of noted gay haters, Focus on the Family, Paul Ryan reaffirmed his and Mitt Romney’s dedication to denying equal rights to LGBT people nationwide.

Right Wing Watch reports:

It’s the foundation for society and for family for thousands of years. First of all, Mitt Romney and I — I’ll just say it, it’s worth repeating — we believe marriage is between one man and one woman, that’s number one. Number two, you know where I come from we had one of those amendments in Wisconsin, I was a big supporter of it and we passed it like you say, where it’s put on the ballot it passes.

The second point is, President Obama gave up defending the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts, I mean, not only is this decision to abandon this law the wrong decision, it passed in a bipartisan manner, it is very troubling because it undermines not only traditional marriage but it contradicts our system of government. It’s not the president’s job to pick and choose which laws he likes. A Romney administration will protect traditional marriage and the rule of law and we will provide the Defense of Marriage Act the proper defense in the courts that it deserves.

 

NOMlogoThe National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which has spent tens of millions across the country to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying, is ramping up their campaigns in Minnesota and Maine with two new television commercials that make some pretty surprising claims.

During elections, 30-second sound bites are designed to prey on people’s fears and prejudices. But in a court of law, as we saw during the 2010 federal district court trial of Prop. 8, their arguments fall apart when witnesses are compelled to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Let’s take a look at their claims and the real facts.

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Former NFL player Matt Willig has been retired from football since 2005, having won two NFC Championships and a Super Bowl ring with the St. Louis Rams. Willig is now an actor, and he has also come out for marriage equality. He spoke with OutSports about negotiating his support for LGBT rights with his Catholic beliefs:

WILLIG: When you grow up in a Catholic upbringing, and the conservativeness of that, and I’m still a practicing Catholic, I struggled with how the Church stood on that. I also see the complete hypocrisy that goes on with the Church, and their stance on gays, and the things that go on with the Church. That was the struggle I dealt with.

SAM_CHAMPIONGood Morning Americaweatherman Sam Champion has come out as gay and announced plans to marry his partner.

Champion came out in a New York Times story published online today on the wedding of journalist Thomas Roberts and pharmaceutical executive Patrick Abner last weekend.

Champion, one of about 170 guests at the New York City ceremony, “took a turn on the dance floor with his partner, the photographer Rubem Robierb,” the Times reports. Champion turned to a reporter and said, “We’re getting married New Year’s Eve in Miami,” but Robierb added, “We’ll do it here officially, and then have a party in Miami.”

Champion is the first cohost of a network morning program to announce he is gay, notes the TimesMedia Decoder blog. He is likely to discuss his wedding plans on GMA Monday.

His sexual orientation was well known to his colleagues and competitors, Media Decoder reports, but he had never acknowledged it publicly. “He exuberantly showed off his engagement ring to colleagues the day after becoming engaged and brought Mr. Robierb to parties with fellow co-hosts,” the blog reported.

Champion issued a statement on the ABC News website today saying, “We are thrilled and so excited and thank everyone for their good wishes.” Meanwhile, GLAAD president Herndon Graddick noted, “Sam has been a good friend and longtime supporter of GLAAD, and I wish him and Rubem the absolute best.”

He's removed all doubt. Anyone who may have been harboring a forlorn hope that Mitt Romney might revert to the persona he wore as Governor of Massachusetts can "fuhgeddaboudit," as they used to say on Seinfeld.

 

He's not using that famous Etch-A-Sketch to shake up his newfound Tea Party allegiance; to the contrary, with his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate, he has signaled his complete capitulation to and identification with the furthest reaches of the right.

What does Romney's doubling-down tell us about the choice facing the country — and especially the choice facing those of us who aren't old white heterosexual males?

Let's look beyond issues of character and personality. Let's ignore suspicions that Romney has lacked the savvy to assemble a competent staff. Let's choke down the bile that we taste when we look at his "team." composed of George W. Bush's worst leftovers. Let's even ignore his proposal to end Medicare.

Let's just look at the policies that Romney and Ryan (the "Rolls Royce" team) explicitly support.

Perhaps you've heard, as I have, that Ryan's voting record is substantially identical to that of Michelle Bachmann. Allow me to share some of the details of that record.

Ryan opposed the DREAM Act — legislation that would have allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children to remain in the country and provided them with a path to citizenship. Instead, despite his professed identity as a deficit hawk, he supported spending millions to build a border fence to keep "them" out. (Him: the fence wasn't between us and Canada.)

In addition to his desire to privatize Social Security and eliminate Medicare, he has proposed to give Medicaid back to the states. This would almost certainly mean an end to the payments that currently keep millions of seniors in nursing homes after they have gone through all their assets and savings.

The Ryan budget proposes to gut programs that support neighborhood health clinics, to eliminate most student loans and to slash funds for elementary and secondary education.

Ryan wants to de-fund Planned Parenthood, criminalize abortion, and grant "personhood" to fertilized eggs (a measure that would outlaw most popular forms of birth control). In a particularly egregious vote, he supported a bill allowing hospitals to refuse to perform abortions even when those procedures were necessary to save the life of the mother.

Adding insult to injury, Ryan has voted against equal pay for women.

On gay, lesbian, bi & trans rights, the story is the same. Ryan opposes same-sex marriage and voted twice for a constitutional amendment prohibiting it. He voted to keep same-sex couples from adopting children in Washington D.C.

He voted against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And while the Log Cabin apologists will point out that he once voted for ENDA (the Employee Non Discrimination Act), he later reneged on his promise to do so again, saying he saw no need for "special" legislation.

Mr. "Fiscal Conservative" would abolish taxes on Capital Gains — giving wealthy individuals a windfall — and would recoup the lost revenue by cutting programs that benefit the poor and middle class.

Ryan also agrees with Romney that we don't need to fund Amtrak or PBS (bye-bye, Big Bird...), but we cannot take a penny from the defence budget or allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire.

That is what the Rolls Royce team has to offer. It is as mean-spirited and radical a set of proposals as we have seen in my lifetime — not to mention thoroughly unworkable and unrealistic. (When Paul Krugman and David Stockman agree that Ryan's package of proposals are a "fantasy" and wouldn't begin to balance the budget even if enacted, that's a pretty good sign that it isn't a serious effort.)

So we have a choice: Mr. Inauthentic and Michelle Bachmann in pants, versus Obama and Biden.

I'm hiding under my bed until it's all over.

Lawsuit is the first of its kind in California

Parents and physicians sued the Clovis Unified School District over its high school abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education. The lawsuit charges that the district is violating California law and putting teens’ health at risk by teaching students misinformation and denying them critical instruction about condoms and contraception.

The lawsuit is brought by two parents in the district, the American Academy of Pediatrics California District IX (AAP), and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network). The plaintiffs are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), with pro bono assistance from the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

The textbook that Clovis Unified uses for high school sex education does not mention condoms at all, even in chapters about HIV/AIDS and on preventing STDs and unintended pregnancy. Instead, for example, the textbook lists that the ways to prevent STDs are to respect yourself, get plenty of rest, go out as a group and practice abstinence.

The curriculum teaches that all people, even adults, should avoid sexual activity until they are married. Additional materials compare a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe and suggest that men are unable to stop themselves once they become sexually aroused.

“Our kids need complete, accurate information to help them protect themselves against STDs and unintended pregnancy. That’s information they’ll need at whatever point in their life they become sexually active,” said Aubree Smith, a plaintiff in the suit and mother of a 17-year-old daughter at Clovis High School.

“We can really save lives with comprehensive sex education. The Central Valley has high rates of STDs and unintended pregnancy. Sexual health education in schools is the only way to reach many teens and should be a place where they can get reliable health information,” said Tonya Chaffee, an AAP physician who treats teens needing sexual health information and care.

The rate of STDs among California teens has been on the rise over the last decade. In Fresno County teens account for nearly a third of chlamydia cases and a quarter of gonorrhea cases, both which can have serious health consequences if they are not detected and treated. Fresno County also has one of the highest rates in California of chlamydia infection among 15-24 year olds.

Teen birth rates are dropping across the state, but they remain high for rural areas. Fresno County has had one of the highest teen birth rates in the state for over a decade. The Guttmacher Institute reports that a sexually active teen who doesn’t use any contraception has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year. “Clovis provides a top-notch education in so many ways, and it’s important that students get the most up-to-date sex education too,” said Mica Ghimenti, a plaintiff and the mother of three children.

A 2007 congressionally mandated report found that abstinence-only instruction did nothing to reduce teen sexual activity. The report also found that teens who received abstinence-only instruction were less likely to believe that condoms are effective in preventing STDs than students who had no sex education at all.

“The sex ed in Clovis high schools violates state law and gives inaccurate, biased information to students,” said Phyllida Burlingame, Reproductive Justice Policy Director at the ACLU of Northern California. “Schools should teach teens about building healthy relationships, the benefits of delaying sexual activity, and accurate information about condoms and birth control. That’s what state law requires and that’s what meets the needs of teens.”

This lawsuit is the first of its kind in California since the passage of the state’s 2003 law requiring that sexual health education in public schools be comprehensive, medically accurate, science-based, and bias-free. Comprehensive sex education includes instruction about condoms and contraception, as well as abstinence.

A 2011 report by the University of California San Francisco showed that although California's public schools have made great strides in the quality of sexuality education and HIV/AIDS prevention, many districts still fail to provide students with the complete, accurate information that they need and that the law requires.

The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court in Fresno County. The lead attorney for the ACLU is Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. The ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties are representing the plaintiffs, with pro bono assistance from the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

About the plaintiff organizations:

AAP is the leading organization of pediatricians who treat teens needing sexual health care and information. The GSA Network works to ensure that sex education is accurate and relevant for all students, regardless of sexual orientation.

Two-Spirits-231x300The award-winning documentary about two-spirit people in Navajo culture.
Inspired by the Coquille and Suquamish Tribes’ recent landmark decisions to recognize same-sex marriage, a cutting-edge legal guide has been developed to help tribal legislators strengthen LGBT equality in their governments and communities.

The guide, “Tribal Equity Toolkit: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two Spirit and LGBT Justice in Indian Country,” is a first-of-its-kind collection of legal resources that helps tribal government officials identify discrimination in tribal codes and regulations and offers draft language to strengthen and promote LGBT equality.

The toolkit was developed by the Indigenous Ways of Knowing Program at Lewis and Clark College in partnership with the Native American Program of Legal Aid Services of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, and the Western States Center. The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians also offered technical support to the project.

 

See the Full Story at Think progress

freedom-to-marryIn the fight for marriage at the ballot this November, a few good neighbors lending a hand in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, or Washington could be the difference between winning and losing.

That’s why Freedom to Marry is teaming up with the ballot campaigns in those four battleground states and the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to invite supporters like you to take a “volunteer vacation” to one of the ballot states.

A volunteer vacation is you volunteering to spend a week or more in one of the battleground states to help the campaign win.

Be the good neighbor who makes a difference. Get started with your volunteer vacation now:

Yes, sign me up now!

No thanks, but I’d like to sponsor a volunteer vacationer by donating frequent flyer miles.

We’ll assist you in arranging your travel, housing, and transportation plans. You’ll receive a full orientation and training and then work with a dedicated team on a state campaign to win at the ballot.

It’s up to you if you want to spend a week, two weeks, or even a month on the campaign trail – but there has never been a more pivotal moment in the movement to win the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples.

You are formally invited to attend the third annual "Be the Change" event at Fresno State. This event will be on Tuesday, October 9th from 10am-2pm in the Free Speech Area and Peace Garden, along the Henry Madden Library. The 12pm-1pm hour will include entertainment in the "Pit" area. This event is to increase visibility and support for LGBT+ students, their allies, and our community. This event is being hosted by United Student Pride, the LGBT+ student organization working to advocate for and support LGBT+ students and their community.
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BE THE CHANGE
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
California State University Fresno
Free Speech Area and Peace Garden

From 10:00am-2:00pm

The Bulldog Pride Fund at Fresno State presented $10,000 equally to the 2012-13 Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars on Fri. Sept. 28th at the Smittcamp Alumni House at a reception attended by nearly 40 donors, guests and family members.

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Attendees were welcomed by Jared Lindo (2009), the inaugural Bulldog Pride Fund scholar and master of ceremonies. He thanked the donors for their support and shared his personal benefits of receiving the first-ever Bulldog Pride Fund scholarship in 2006.

Lindo introduced Peter Robertson, founder of the Bulldog Pride Fund. He thanked the donors and presented small, Bulldog trophies some of them. He also announced that total donations to the Bulldog Pride Fund had surpassed $234,000!

Later in the program, each scholar was introduced, presented a small Bulldog trophy with the Latin inscription “Bonus intra, melior exi,” which translates to English as “Enter good, exit better,” and gave a short statement of thanks to all of the guests in attendance:

Dausha Calhoun – a junior from Riverside studying nursing said “I am honored to be selected a Bulldog Pride Fund scholar and to be given the opportunity to continue my studies at Fresno State.”

Justin Kamimoto – stated “I am blessed to be selected a Bulldog Pride Fund scholar for a second year and am grateful for the financial assistance.” He is a sophomore from Clovis majoring in business.

Leonel Barajas – a senior from Madera majoring in mass communication and journalism, said “Thank you to everyone involved in supporting the Bulldog Pride Fund who has seen me grow as a person and student these past four years.”

Michelle Swift – stated “The Bulldog Pride Fund’s support is essential to me completing my education at Fresno State.” She is a senior from Burney studying recreation administration.

TimeOut –a junior from Fresno majoring in kinesiology, whose identity is kept a secret until graduation and is unable to speak, thanked everyone with a “GO DOGS” sign made of cut-out bones that said G-ood-hearted and O-riginal, with D-etermined, O-utstanding, G-ood natured, and S-tudent.

Later that same evening, the scholars were recognized a second time at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala held at the Save Mart Center. There, each scholar received their $2,000 scholarship.

In 2006, the Bulldog Pride Fund was established with one simple mission: “To support student scholarships at Fresno State.” To-date, it has provided 23 scholarships valued at $39,000. Made possible by more than 400 donors and friends. Thank you for your continued support of the Bulldog Pride Fund.


GIVE TODAY. FOR TOMORROW AND BEYOND.
www.bulldogpride.org­

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The Prospect​ tells you what's in store for election day, when three states are slated to consider allowing same-sex nuptials.

If you've ever read an article about a gay marriage ballot initiative, you've almost certainly seen an anti-marriage-equality advocate proclaim confidently that every time the question has been on the ballot, "traditional marriage" has won, and this time will be no different. That isn't precisely true—in 2006, Arizona voters rejected an initiative that would have banned both same-sex marriage and civil unions—but very nearly so. Ballot initiatives have banned same-sex marriage in 32 states over the last 15 years, so the "traditional" marriage side has some reason to gloat. But this fall, that run of success could come to a screeching halt. There are four marriage initiatives on the ballot in November, and at the moment it looks very possible, even likely, that on election night three more states will allow all their citizens to marry. We may well have reached an electoral turning point.

It has been a very good couple of years for advocates of gay rights. The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was repealed in 2011 (and the resulting catastrophe of morale predicted by conservatives failed to materialize, to no one's surprise). After a long period of "evolving," President Obama came out in support of marriage equality in May. This year's Democratic Party platform will for the first time include a provision pledging support for marriage equality. Nevertheless, 32 states still have discrimination written into their laws or state constitutions.

 

 

See the Full Story at Prospect.org

Mitt_Romney_and_Barack_ObamaWednesday's presidential debate could mark the first opportunity for President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to face off on marriage in a race in which LGBT issues have figured less prominently than previous elections.

The debate — the first in a series of three for the presidential candidates — is set to take place on Wednesday at the University of Denver. The topic for the 90-minute debate is domestic policy, and LGBT issues and marriage equality would fall under that umbrella.

The moderator of the debate is Jim Lehrer, the executive editor and former news anchor for PBS NewsHour. It’s unclear if he’ll ask a question on LGBT rights or marriage at the debate. But a question on LGBT rights could create an opportunity for Obama, who endorsed same-sex marriage in May, to attack Romney for not only opposing marriage rights for gay couples, but supporting a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said if a marriage question was posed to the candidates during the debate, he’d like to hear Obama “repeat the same heartfelt personal explanation” that he offered in May when he announced he completed his evolution in support of marriage equality.

“And I’d like him to point out that just as it was wrong to deny couples of different races — like his parents — the freedom to marry, so under our Constitution, it is wrong to exclude couples of the same sex from the commitment of marriage and the freedom to marry under the law,” Wolfson said.

Even though marriage will be on the ballot in four states and lawsuits are pending before the Supreme Court that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, both candidates have remained largely silent on marriage and other social issues and have focused more on the economy and national security.

Crosby Burns, a research associate on LGBT issues at the Center for American Progress, said the two candidates’ differing views on marriage could “not be more stark.”

“You have Mitt Romney who supports a Federal Marriage Amendment that would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman,” Burns said. “And Barack Obama, on the other hand, as you know has come out in May in favor of full marriage equality. If he’s asked a question at next week’s debate in Denver, I fully expect him to reiterate his unyielding support for marriage equality.”

But Dan Pinello, who’s gay and a political scientist at City University of New York, predicted that if the candidates are asked a marriage question during the debate, they would give “very abbreviated answers” because neither Obama nor Romney sees political gain by elevating the issue of marriage.

“If Jim Lehrer does say something about it, I think Mitt Romney will say this is an issue the states have to decide — nothing a president will have any authority over, but a state issue,” Pinello said. “I think Barack Obama, if he’s forced to address it, will say what he’s said before: it’s a personal issue … whatever he said a few months ago. But they’ll try to step around the issue as much as they can.”

Continue reading at Washington Blade

gaywedding-13In one TV ad, a husband and wife talk fondly of a lesbian couple who moved into their neighborhood. In another, a married couple speaks of wanting fair treatment for their lesbian daughter. A third features a pastor talking supportively about gay unions.

Each of these ads ran recently in states with gay marriage issues on the November ballot. What’s missing? Gay people speaking for themselves.

Four states are voting on gay marriage this fall, and gay rights groups are pouring tens of millions of dollars into key TV markets in hopes of breaking a 32-state losing streak on the issue. But even as gay people and same-sex relationships gain acceptance through pop culture staples such as “Modern Family” and “Glee,” the idea is still seen as dicey by media strategists involved in the ballot campaigns, resulting in ads that usually involve only

See the Full Story at the Seattle PI

Devin_NunesU.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is one of 14 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California who received a "0" rating on LGBT issues from the Human Rights Campaign's 2010 Congressional Scorecard, which has a rating scale of 0 to 100.

 

Nunes and most of the other U.S. House members with a 0 rating in the state — all Republicans — represent districts inside or bordering on California's Central Valley, a vast rural and agricultural region in the interior and eastern part of the state.

The region has traditionally elected conservative Republicans to Congress and to the California Legislature.

"The rabid homophobes come from rabid, red homophobic districts," said Mark Leno, a gay State Senator from San Francisco and longtime LGBT rights advocate. "They're going to get re-elected. So to waste time, energy and resources in those districts is just that, a waste," Leno told the Blade.

"You have to look at party registration where it's most possible for a Democrat to win, and that's what the Democrats are doing," he said.

The newly redrawn district includes precincts that voted overwhelmingly for Sen. John McCain in 2008, leading many observers to label the seat "safe" for Nunes.

But gay activist Jason Scott, a resident of Clovis, Calif., a small city that borders on the much larger City of Fresno, said he's troubled that the national Democratic Party and national LGBT organizations appear to have written off the 22nd Congressional District and other Central Valley districts.

Scott is one of the organizers of Gay Fresno, an online LGBT news and resource service that covers Fresno and nearby cities and towns in the Central Valley region. Although he agrees that Nunes is likely to win re-election this year, Scott told the Blade residents of Nunes' 22nd District have changed their views on LGBT issues in recent years.

"I don't feel like the people he represents have the identical mindset that he does on gay rights," Scott said.

Lesbian activist Robin McGehee, a Fresno resident who teaches communications at the College of the Sequoias in nearby Visalia, expressed a similar view. McGehee is co-founder of the national LGBT direct action group GetEqual and one of the lead organizers of the 2009 National March on Washington for LGBT Equality.

"It would be great if more of our state-based organizations and even national organizations were putting boots on the ground and resources in these congressional districts," she said. "I think we can swing the vote because Nunes is really not liked as well as what would be expected in a farming community like this."

McGehee added, "There are lots of liberal Democrats that are here. Nunes is the one who's gotten all the resources. That's the reason he's been in that seat as long as he has."

Nunes has voted against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the U.S. military. According to the HRC Congressional Scorecard, Nunes has declined to back all of the LGBT supportive bills pending in Congress, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which calls for banning private sector employment discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation and gender identity.

He also opposes legal recognition of same-sex marriage and has declined to support or co-sponsor legislation to repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Jack Langer, director of communications for Nunes' congressional office in Washington, said he would make inquires to determine if Nunes has changed his position on LGBT issues since the release of the HRC Scorecard in October 2010. Langer didn't get back with a response by Wednesday afternoon.

Continue reading at Washington Blade

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Join Gay Central Valley for a night of fun and laughter with comedian Bill Maher!

Bill Maher will perform at the William Saroyan Theater at 8:00 pm on October 30th

Here’s your chance to see the legendary comic FOR FREE in three easy steps!

Step One: Follow the directions below to request your free ticket from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meet Gay Central Valley Leadership in front of the theater at 7:00pm to collect your ticket.

Enjoy the show!


Details: Free tickets are limited to the first 150 requests.

One free ticket per email

Email Requests MUST include: First Name, Last Name, City

By requesting you will be added to our monthly email list. Unsubscribe at any time.


No emails will be accepted past noon on Sunday October 30th

Hope to see you there!

 

Free tickets made possible by 

Rick Bartalini / Rick Bartalini Presents

SLDN

It's been coming since the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and now it's here. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund has filed a federal lawsuit suing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, on behalf of current and former service members seeking equal recognition, benefits and family support for equal sacrifice and service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The lawsuit goes after DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as other titles in the military code which do not provide equal rights to the legal spouse and family of service members.

“This case is about one thing, plain and simple.  It’s about justice for gay and lesbian service members and their families in our armed forces rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices, and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure at home and abroad,” said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.  “These couples are in long term, committed, and legally recognized marriages, and the military should not be forced to turn its back on them because the federal government refuses to recognize their families.”

Given that the military has reversed DADT and has even approved military personnel officiating at same sex marriages in states where it is legal, the inevitable lawsuits against the discriminatory federal law known as DOMA were easy to see coming. Congress itself is currently debating the reversal of DOMA.

READ MORE HERE...

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Linda_Perry__Lincoln_Center

Linda Perry is the former lead singer and songwriter for the band 4 Non Blondes. The band had a huge hit single in 1993 with "What's Up". Perry has also produced music for Pink, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and Courtney Love.

Perry has now formed a new band, Deep Dark Robot, who will be performing locally at Audie's Olympic / Club Fred on North Van Ness Avenue in Fresno CA. on November 4, 2011 @ 7:00pm.

From the Deep Dark Robot Website...

Linda Perry and Tony Tornay are rad. If you want to keep reading the story of how their band DEEP DARK ROBOT came to be, that’s cool, but we wanted to let you know up front, pretty much all of these words are gonna end up saying that they are rad.

Linda and Tony met through a mutual friend who dragged Tony along to hang out at the show of an all-girl Journey tribute band. At their first meeting, Tony and Linda didn’t exactly hit it off. Tony might have been, kind of, sort of, a jerk about it. But after a few months, they started hanging out.

The two of them spent more and more time talking about music, eating popcorn, doing cool shit, eating more popcorn and talking about the future. Linda mentioned she might want to start another band. It had been 15 years since her previous band and it seemed like the right time to throw her proverbial hat back into the ring. As she started laying out some of her ideas she asked Tony if he was interested in a collaboration with her. Nine months later, the project was born and started to see the light of day. One night, Linda called Tony up to see if he wanted to swing by the studio and jam. Within a few minutes Linda realized “Wow, this already feels like a band.” During that first night, they recorded three songs.

Tony and Linda realized that what they were doing was made up of equal parts magic and awesome, so they kept moving forward and let everything sort itself out. Not only did they work really well together, but also they were able to work quickly. An entire song could be written, recorded and finished in half a day. With Linda’s writing/producing schedule and Tony’s full time job in wizardry and playing in the cult favorite, Fatso Jetson, they had to record when their schedules permitted, sometimes going weeks without playing music together. Though when they did, they recorded at an alarming rate and it became clear what this album was becoming. There was a story about a relationship — a story about a girl — that needed to be told. When they had recorded a song that was destined for the record, Tony and Linda just knew it. They could feel it in their bones.

That’s all the two of them ever really wanted to do. Enjoy their time spent together making music that they liked. And what materialized out of that first meeting is the band DEEP DARK ROBOT.

graveyard_by_kona4tacos

The North Tower Circle teams up with Femz N Studz for THE RISING...THE HALLOWEEN PARTY on Saturday, October 29th at the Circle. Costume Contest with Prizes...NTC Ghoulish GoGo Dancers...Haunted Nightclub...Sweet Treats and Halloween Cake courtesy of IndulgenceFresno.com...Devilish Drink Specials...Demonic DJ...Horrific Videos...Dead Bodies...Fog...Screams...Coffins...Bats...Spiders and Spells...

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Morrissa Holzman L.C.S.W., of Mariposa, is spearheading a new and desperately needed hotline for Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ Youth AND Seniors, as well as the community at large of the Central Valley.

Cities that will be served are Merced, Madera, Fresno, Clovis, Hanford, and Visalia,

The center will be operational by January of 2012. The hours and days will be open 24/7, 365 days. The staff will be made up of extensively trained Crisis Workers, Graduate Students of College/University, and Volunteers.

Morrissa has been issued a grant that will fully fund this service for three years.The funds allocated by her to Kingsview Corp. will add to what lacking resources are available due to the specific needs of the LGBTQ youth, that is stationed in our central valley location.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer for such a wonderful cause, is urged to contact: Morrissa Holzman, L.C.S.W. at (559) 256-0100 ext 3034.

The Fresno LGBT Community Center is launching new group meetings in our continuing effort to provide resources for the LGBT Community in the Central Valley.

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Starting Tuesday, November 1st, and every Tuesday afterwards from 7-8PM will be the LGBT Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting .

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Starting on Wednesday, November 9th from 7PM-9PM will be the Coming Out Support & Social Group.  Open discussion and socializing… a place to come no matter where you are on your personal coming out journey. Get advice, support, and fellowship from your community. There will be regular themes, games, and occasionally even food! This group is open to all ages and genders.

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Also starting on November 3rd will be our Women's Social Group From 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Women's Coming Out Social and Support Group
1st Thursday of every month
7 to 8pm at the LGBT Community Center

This group provides a safe and comfortable environment for women in the coming out process. If you already identify as gay/lesbian/same-sex attracted, this is a place to informally meet other people and support them.

 

All meetings occur at:

Fresno LGBT Community Center
1055 N Van Ness Avenue, Suite A
Fresno, California 93728

 

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If you are interested in hosting a social or support group at the Fresno LGBT Community Center please contact us at the Center by calling 559-325-4429. We are also open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from Noon-5PM.

The Advocate Magazine started  "A Day In Gay America" last year, a photo project chronicling the LGBT community across the nation on a given day. This year, the second annual effort, is another cross section of LGBT American life.

Often lost in all the debates this year over same-sex marriage and “don’t ask, don’t tell” was the reality that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans are people—not a category. And what a wonderfully diverse people we are. For our second annual photo project we asked readers from across the United States to send us a photo taken on August 12. There were so many fantastic contributions we couldn’t print them all here (keep watch on Advocate.com for many more). Each photo we received is both a stark reminder of our multiplicity and incontrovertible proof that we are everywhere — from Alaska to Maine — and deserve the right to live and love and celebrate ourselves as we choose.

Chris Jarvis and Jaymi Morgan, both board members of Gay Central Valley, got together on that day to take a picture and submit it to the project. That photo has been accepted and appears in this year's issue. Photo, taken by Chris Jarvis, is of Jaymi Morgan working on her scheduled day at the Fresno LGBT Community Center.

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  advocate

"I was raised that way."

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When people say it to me, I want to scream. That has started to morph into another reaction, one which is very difficult for me, to end the conversation and walk away. What is the point of having a conversation with someone whose foundation is based on what someone else told them to think? To me, it's the ultimate, apathetic cop-out. Tell me you believe something, you practice something or you've chosen to treat others a certain way. But saying you were "raised that way" translates into you being a simplistic blob of molded plastic who is unable to form an opinion and who will only put out a pre-programmed list of answers if someone dares to pull the string at the back of the neck.

Three scenarios...

1...A person is raised with hands on parents who teach right and wrong, in the most open minded of ways. Live your life, let others live theirs, we are all the same underneath and everyone is equal.

2...A person is raised in a strict, Christian home and is taught that there is only one god, the bible is truth, hell is real and no questions asked.

3...A person is raised by parents who believe that rules are for authoritarians, made to be broken and that everything belongs to everyone.

Then, a conversation with each person, individually, which questions their belief system. Each time the reply is the same..."I was raised that way."

Now, how do we react when we hear the phrase "I was raised that way" as it pertains to each of the above examples? Chances are, for the first example, we accept it. Isn't it nice that this person's parents raised them the right way, the way that is fair to everyone. But the second and particularly the third example? We're likely not to accept it, even argue with it. What do you mean "you were raised that way" when it's clear your parents only value Christians? What do you mean "you were raised that way" when you don't value the rules we all live by and the property of others?

Clearly, people are raised in various ways. We all know that. But if we allow a person, say the person in example #1, to say "I was raised that way" instead of "I believe that all people are created equal" then don't we have to allow the same latitude to the others? When we as a society hold up being raised a certain way as the end of the thought process, then we are not throwing out the value of critical thought and individuality?

President Obama may still waffle on marriage equality (which, I believe, if he's re-elected, will fall by the wayside and will be replaced by a full support of the issue. Presidents generally save the really groundbreaking stuff for the safe, second term.) but he does support the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). DOMA restricts the granting of over a thousand new legal rights to opposite sex married couples. Legally same sex married couples still have no federal benefits afforded to them. This, despite the rallying calls of some of those opposed to same sex marriage, that it should be left up to the states. Even if we hold to that standard, why then does the federal government, which has historically left marriage laws up to individual states, now choose to dole out their marriage rights only to those they see fit? Doesn't make much sense, does it? And it never did.

DOMA

Still, DOMA has been in effect since 1996.

But maybe times are changing...

Next month, a vote will be taken to repeal DOMA, setting the stage for another LGBT civil rights battle in Congress.

"Next month, I will call up the Respect for Marriage Act for debate and a vote in the Judiciary Committee," said committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in a statement on Friday. "The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents thousands of American families from being protected by laws that help secure other American families. This is part of the nation's continuing fight for civil rights for all Americans."

"This markup is an incredible step toward ending federal marriage discrimination that causes real harm to American families," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "Chairman Leahy and Senator [Dianne] Feinstein have been leaders in this fight, and we applaud them for continuing the momentum against this unjust law."

Leahy held the first-ever hearing on DOMA repeal in July, and the Respect for Marriage Act now has 30 Senate co-sponsors. Feinstein (D-Calif.) is the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. In the House, the legislation has a record bipartisan group of 129 co-sponsors.

READ MORE HERE...

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Happy Friday!

So many awesome things going on! Tonight, join Gay Central Valley and the LGBTQ group at the county fair! Tomorrow, head south to wrap up 2011’s Pride Season with Bakersfield Pride! And on Monday, head over to the center for the monthly Stings N Things Crochet/Knit group! Whew!

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at some of the interesting news and notes for this week!

This past week was National Coming Out Day… and while it is important to come out, it is also important to be safe and smart about how much you share. There are still 29 states where you can be fired on the spot just for being gay, or 35 states if you're transgender . We still have a lot of work to do…

On that topic… as you might have heard, Jerry Brown signed 2 new laws into being this week.. both add protection and support to the transgender population.

Also, the group trying to get rid of the Fair Education Act failed in their attempts to get enough signatures to put a referendum on next year’s ballot.

Gay rights pioneer and hero Frank Kameny died this week at 86

Last week we told you that EQCA would not be trying to get gay marriage on the CA ballot next year… this week Love Honor Cherish , a grassroots organization, announced plans to go ahead with an attempt to repeal Prop 8.

Another teacher is in hot water for anti gay hate speech on their personal Facebook profile ….this time in New Jersey.

If you were ever a victim of “Conversion therapy” the Southern Poverty Law Center would like to hear your story.

Anna Grodzka was elected last week to Poland’s lower house of parliament, the Sejm, making her Poland’s first openly trans MP.

And lastly, in honor of all those who have come out and all those who will come out… here is a list of the Top 5 “Coming Out” movies. (Preview included!). Feel free to disagree or post your favorite.

That’s all for me. Have a fun, and safe, weekend!

While Equality California has decided to not move forward with a repeal Prop 8 ballot measure for 2012, the group Love Honor Cherish, which helmed an unsuccessful signature gathering campaign in 2010, has decided to submit ballot language and start the process of getting a repeal Prop 8 measure on the ballot for 2012.

prop-8

Currently, Prop 8 is in the hands of the courts in California. Most recently the California Supreme Court heard the case for whether Prop 8 supporters have standing to appeal Judge Walkers ruling to overturn the proposition. We’re still awaiting their decision. If they find no standing exists then Prop 8 goes away forever. If they find Prop 8 supporters have standing then the appeal case goes back to the courts to decide if Walker’s ruling will stand.

It’s possible the court case will be over by the end of this year and the likely outcome is that Prop 8 will indeed be overturned by upholding Judge Walker’s historic ruling, and that legal same sex marriage will become enshrined forever in the state of California.

Certainly Love Honor Cherish is acting now because of pending deadlines and time frames which will permit them to proceed with a signature gathering process if this all falls apart in the courts. The real question remains, do we want to continue to vote on our civil rights? I stand by my position, which is no. I won’t say I’m certain Walker’s ruling will win the day, but I can say for certain that dealing with this travesty of equality by putting it in the voters hands seems to be a losing battle. Remember, we put it on the ballot, then they put it on the ballot, and over and over and over again.

We have much more power and chance of success by sticking with the courts, as history has proven, as well as the recent demise of DADT, which was sent into overdrive when federal judges ruled it unconstitutional. It’s also unfortunate that so much is made of recent polls which show that the “tide has turned” on the issue of same sex marriage and gay rights. We never mention how that fails to translate to the voting booth, which is very different from random polls and historically dominated by a conservative citizenship. We all need hope, but we need a good dose of reality far more.

READ MORE HERE...

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It looks like the Stop SB48 campaign has failed. This groups was gathering signatures to get a repeal of the recently signed SB48, or the Fair Education Act, on the ballot.

SB48 will insure that the contributions of LGBT Americans are recognized and acknowledged in our public education system.

Equality California on Tuesday, announced that opponents of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act — also known as SB48 — have failed to collect the required number of signatures to place a referendum on the November 2012 ballot to overturn the law.

Speaking withLGBTQ Nation on Tuesday, Equality California’s Director of Communications, Rebekah Orr, said that the group leading the efforts to overturn the FAIR Act — Stop SB48 — had sent out an e-mail at 12:45 a.m. PT Tuesday that essentially said that there were serious problems with the signature gathering petition process and that “it would take a miracle” to collect enough valid signatures in time to meet the state law’s mandated deadline.

Even if enough signatures could be gathered by the deadline, the validity of those signature, given the tactics of gathering signatures, would likely throw out enough to make the effort invalid.

READ MORE HERE...

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Statement by National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director, Michael Mitchell, on the passing of Dr. Frank Kameny:

Last night, we lost a hero and a champion for LGBT rights. Dr. Frank Kameny was a courageous and undeniable force in our movement. In 1957, he was fired from his US Government job for being gay. The peaceful demonstrations he spearheaded predated the Stonewall Riots by several years, and no doubt opened a door to wider acceptance that allowed the fateful nights of 1969 to grab hold. He lived his life as an example of what it is to be tenacious and fearless.

kamenymitchell2

In 2009, John Berry, on behalf of the US Government, apologized to Dr. Kameny for his firing and awarded him the Office of Personell Management's highest honor for his service. National Stonewall Democrats honored him as one of our Capital Champions as well -- In 2010 -- on the day before his 85th birthday. His body was frail, but his voice was powerful as he contextualized how far we've come as a movement in his lifetime.

I am saddened beyond words at the loss of this courageous pioneer.  He holds a very special place in our hearts not only as a long-time activist, but also as a co-founder of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, which is a member of the Stonewall Democrats family. Frank Kameny's legacy lives on in the hearts of the many and diverse activists who continue in our collective fight for equality every day. He is already missed, but I am grateful for the time he spent with us.

Domestic_Violence

We need your help! We have been asked to collect data from the LGBT Community regarding LGBT Domestic Violence. The information gathered would then be used by other organizations in Fresno to work toward a better understanding of the issue, as well as to provide better assistance to the LGBT Community in terms of Domestic Violence.

We would appreciate you taking the time to fill out a survey. It’s very brief, only 3 questions, but your input would be invaluable to this project.

Here is the link to the survey.  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N6WFXS9

Gay Central Valley would like to send out a big THANK YOU to the Fresno Imperial Dove Court for their generous grant donation to our nonprofit organization. The money granted will assist us with daily operating expenses for the Fresno LGBT Community Center.

Special shout out to Russell McCarty aka Margo Starr!

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Please visit the link above to access the IDC Website and support them throughout the year as they rasie monies for various Valley charitable organizations.

LGB….T

The T, the final letter in the acronym, the group that some think shouldn’t be included, the group at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to understanding, support, and equality.

There is a stigma to the T; a sort of misunderstanding or refusal to understand. A bit of the “them” vs “us” under this rainbow umbrella. Why?

First off the T is the last letter to be added to the acronym. It stands for Transgender which in turn stands for such a variety of things… transsexual, transvestite, cross dresser, drag queen, intersexual,… The T is about gender identify, not about sexual orientation and for this reason, more than any other, the group is often pushed aside… even by their rainbow allies!

What we in the LGB part of the umbrella need to remember is that equality for all means equality for all the disenfranchised, for all those labeled by mainstream or the religious right as freaks, all those who aren’t afforded equal rights based on popular vote or opinion. We need to be reminded that while being gay, lesbian, and even bisexual has gained ground in terms of acceptance over the last few decades, being trans has much further, in some ways, to go.

We need to remember that there is still no protection for the trans community in the military, that in many, if not most, states there is little, if any, protection for trans people in terms of jobs, housing, medical benefits, or safety. California has made strides… but we still have a long way to go.

Which is why I was so excited to read about the two, (2!) new bills signed into law yesterday.

The first is the Gender Nondiscrimination Act which makes “gender identity and expression” its own protected category at work, at school, in housing, at public accommodations, etc. The second bill, the Vital Statistics Modernization act will make it easier for transgender people to get a court-ordered gender change and updated birth certificate.

Here are a few more details from the press release :

The Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) takes existing protections based on gender and spells out "gender identity and expression" as their own protected categories in our nondiscrimination laws. By making these protections explicit, people will more clearly understand California's nondiscrimination laws, which should increase the likelihood that employers, schools, housing authorities, and other institutions will work to prevent discrimination and/or respond more quickly at the first indications of discrimination.

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433) will alleviate the confusion, anxiety and even danger that transgender people face when we have identity documents that do not reflect who we are. The bill will streamline current law and clarify that eligible petitioners living or born in California can submit gender change petitions in the State of California. The Vital Statistics Modernization Act conforms California's standards to the standards set by the United States Department of State for gender changes on passports, and it makes common-sense changes to the law that ensure the process is simple for qualified petitioners to navigate.

Kelly Lynn Campbell vice president of Trans-E-Motion, a local trans advocacy group , who personally lobbied for these laws earlier this year, was ecstatic about the news when I interviewed her last night.

“AB 887 (the Gender Nondiscrimination Act) is really important for the state at large, but for the central valley specifically, For many, the term “gender” was not understood as gender identity or expression, Basically, this law clarifies the existing nondiscrimination laws allowing trans employees a resource and a recourse if there is discrimination.

She continues, “As for AB433 (The Vital Statistics Modernization Act), this is a really really big deal. Most trans individuals can’t afford the $20,000 (minimum) costs associated with having gender reassignment surgery. This law allows trans individuals to have legal paperwork that accurately reflects who they are prior to having surgery. This is especially important in terms of employment by keeping your trans history private. Background checks will now be able to reflect the correct gender and thus avoid confusion or the possibility of being outed.”

  Thanks are due Governor Brown, Assemblymember Atkins and Assemblymember Lowenthal who championed these laws into being. And big thanks are due to the tireless work of the trans community and their allies for striving to make CA a safer more equal place to live… for all the letters!

Courtesy The Advocate...

Governor-Jerry-Brown

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of bills last week that got props from LGBT organizations around the country. Those bills included Seth’s Law, an anti-bullying measure named after 13-year-old student Seth Walsh who hanged himself after he had been hounded at school by classmates who perceived him to be gay. A federal investigation later concluded that the Tehachapi Unified School District failed to properly respond to the teen's ongoing harassment. According to On Topmagazine, the new law mandates that schools post anti-bullying policies throughout campuses, provide complaint forms on their websites, and give schools a timeline to investigate and resolve complaints.

Brown also signed two important transgender rights bills into law as well. The Gender Nondiscrimination Act makes “gender identity and expression” its own protected category at work, at school, in housing, at public accommodations, and in other settings. The second, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, “will alleviate the confusion, anxiety and even danger that transgender people face when we have identity documents that do not reflect who we are,” says Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. The bill makes it easier for transgender people to get a court-ordered gender change and updated birth certificate.

READ MORE HERE...

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Happy Friday!

I hope you had a splendid week!
As we head into this weekend (Oktoberfest on Sunday!!) , here are a few news and notes to help whet your appetite.


Remember that horrible horrible referendum that is due to be on the May North Carolina ballot? (Last month, the General Assembly voted to put a question on the May primary ballot that would prohibit same-sex marriage in the North Carolina Constitution) Well a gay rights group in that state is gearing up to fight back.


EQCA is accusing the conservative groups that are trying to put a stop to the SB48 Fair Education act of. deliberately hiding the size and source of campaign contributions (They have until October 10th to get their petitions in to the county offices; we will keep you informed.)


EQCA is also in the news this week for finally saying what we all hoped and thought they would say…. They are not pursuing a repeal on Prop 8 on the November 2012 ballot.


A good recap of the global struggle for gay rights can be found here.


Russian police say they have detained dozens of anti-gay protesters and gay rights activists during a gay pride rally in central Moscow.


This is interesting… the GOP Presidential Candidates and the Gay Right Agenda… some of the backers might surprise you.


Again, Yay for Google who has pulled the app “Is My Son Gay?” from the android markets after a twitter campaign of offended gay and straight alike.


Australia's highest court has ruled that two, transgender people can be legally recognized as men even though they have not had complete sex changes.


And it’s not too late to sign up for the LGBTQ Earthquakes event coming up on the 22nd!


And you still have time to vote for your choice in this year’s PETA’s Sexiest Vegetation Over Fifty Contest!

Earlier this week Miss Kadenan Umatuiya was crowned Miss Guahan in the transgender beauty pageant held in Guam. How freakin’ cool is that?

guam


And lastly, not related but oh, so funny… You know those Amazon arrows inviting you to “look inside” to get a sneak peek of a book? Well, I have no idea if the cover art department of this book was thinking ahead or if this is just an unfortunate coincidence… but it is by far one of the most unintentionally funny things I have seen in a while.


And that’s about it… have a great, and safe weekend!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2011

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Equality California Launches ‘The Breakthrough Conversation' Project to Build Support for LGBT Equality and Marriage, Opts Not to Return to Ballot on Marriage in 2012

(San Francisco) Equality California announced today that it is launching a new public education project, “The Breakthrough Conversation,” designed to overcome the psychological, cultural and emotional triggers around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and kids that continue to impede securing full equality, including the freedom to marry.  While it pursues this essential work, Equality California said it will not lead an effort to return to the ballot in 2012 to repeal Proposition 8.

“For decades, opponents of equality have used prejudicial and dehumanizing myths about LGBT people being a harm to kids and families as a weapon against us in the legislature, in the courts and at the ballot,” said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia. “We have to address this wrong to effectively have this 'Breakthrough Conversation' in the public sphere and confront major societal barriers that prevent us from securing full and lasting equality, including marriage.”

READ MORE HERE...

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Sometimes I am proud to call him President

While his views on gay marriage have been “evolving” and it doesn’t appear likely that he will move from his support of civil unions to support for same sex marriage, President Obama has, as he is proud to say, made a lot of progress for the LGBT community over the last two and a half years.

At the Human Rights Campaign gala dinner held Sunday night, Obama was a key note speaker and he reiterated his cause of helping the LGBT community move towards equality. After listing such important steps as the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crime legislation, his administration’s refusal to defend the “so called” Defense of Marriage Act, and the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he was all encouragement for the future. “[T]his fight continue now. And I'm here with a simple message: I'm here with you in that fight.”

Obama is a master orator. He had humor, he started off with a joke about meeting with “your leader Lady GaGa” and her 16 inch heels, but he also had time for a not too thinly veiled campaign jab at the Republican presidential candidates who stood silent at a recent debate when a soldier who posed a question about "don't' ask, don't tell" was met with boos from the audience. "You want to be commander in chief, you can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States," Obama said.

His speech was electric. It hearkens back to the oratory skills of the African American preachers during the Civil Rights Movement. Like them, he encourages us to keep fighting, to know that this is a period of colossal change, and to change hearts and minds one at a time.

 

I believe the future is bright for that young person. For while there will be setbacks and bumps along the road, the truth is that our common ideals are a force far stronger than any division that some might sow. These ideals, when voiced by generations of citizens, are what made it possible for me to stand here today. (Applause.) These ideals are what made it possible for the people in this room to live freely and openly when for most of history that would have been inconceivable. That's the promise of America, HRC. That's the promise we're called to fulfill. (Applause.) Day by day, law by law, changing mind by mind, that is the promise we are fulfilling.


Here is a video with highlights…

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the whole transcript of the speech.....

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The article below speaks directly to the expressed concerns of some that the “Occupy Movement” lacks focus. The first of a series of Fresno area one hour protests takes place this Thursday, October 6, from 4:30 to 5:30 in front of the Federal Bldg. on Tulare Street downtown, Fresno. Maybe this will inspire you to make you own theme appropriate signs and banners for the “Occupation”. “People are dying for Profits”, The Greedy Rich are squashing the Needy Poor, One World Corporate Govt.: of, by & for the Rich. Democracy, NOT Plutocracy, Chant:  “Hey, hey, what do you say? What politicians have you bought today? ARRESTED: Protestors 700 +, WS Banksters: 0

--- Jay Hubbell

occupywallstreet-davidshankbone

Wall Street protesters approve ‘Declaration of Occupation’

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, October 2, 2011

The New York City General Assembly — the decision-making body for the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in lower Manhattan — approved a statement of purpose on Friday amid concerns that the movement lacked a clear message.

As corporations enjoy near record profits and Americans face staggering unemployment, protesters have pledged to occupy Wall Street in lower Manhattan until something is done about corporate greed and the influence of the wealthy on American politics. The protesters have been camped out in New York’s old Liberty Plaza, now called Zuccotti Park, since September 17.

“As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together,” the declaration stated. “We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.”

“As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.”

“We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.”

The NYC General Assembly describes itself as a “horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based system.” The body tries to achieve the most agreement possible and prioritizes under-represented groups. The general assembly keeps track of its meetings on its website.

The New York Times had described the protest as a “noble but fractured and airy movement of rightly frustrated young people” whose purpose was “virtually impossible to decipher.” Other media outlets repeated the criticism that the protest had no specific purpose or demands.

Fox news co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle bashed the protest, saying it was composed of “people with absolutely no purpose or focus in life.”

Many progressive and liberal groups did not initially embrace the protest but that changed after a large coalition of unions and liberal groups announced their support for the “Occupy Wall Street” protest more than a week after it began.

READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE...

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You want an idea of the scope of what's going on in New York City during Occupy Wall Street? Take a look at this video and the masses of those invested in this very American protest...

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Even after approximately 700 citizens were arrested on Saturday for blocking the Brooklyn Bridge, the numbers of people stationed in New York to protest Wall Street and the economic collapse of the United States, continues to grow...

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Chris Jarvis, Vice President of Gay Central Valley, speaks to Jaleesa Vickers from The kNOw Fresno, a magazine and media site written by and for the youth in the Central Valley...

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NOW ONLINE: www.theharveymilkproject.org

The Harvey Milk Project’s goal is to endow a new $50,000 scholarship that will provide, on an annual basis, the “Harvey Milk Hope Award” to a Fresno State junior or senior who is enrolled in the Humanics Certificate Program (community benefit organization).

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The “Harvey Milk Hope Award” will be bestowed by the Bulldog Pride Fund, a scholarship established under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association.

The inaugural “Harvey Milk Hope Award” of $2,000 will be presented in the 2012-13 academic year.

Donations welcome. Thank you for your support.
SPECIAL THANKS TO NETRICKS. Fresno, Calif.

Time
Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 6:30pm - Monday, February 7, 2011 at 6:30pm

Location To Be Determined
Visalia, CA

Created By

More Info Fourth Wall Theater is proud to present the hit musical RENT.

Audition Dates are February 6 & 7 at 6:30 PM

Vocalists, Actors, Dancers between the ages of 17-40 are encouraged to audition.

Please come prepared with a song from RENT or something similar with a rock/pop edge.

Performance Dates are July 22,23,24 29,30,31

Rehearsals will start in May.

This is a benefit production and all proceeds will be given to a local HIV/AIDS charity.

Contact Corey Ralston or Cabrilla Ravalin-McGinn for more information.

PLEASE PASS THIS INVITATION ON TO OTHERS!

ImageTwo big rallies hit Washington DC this weekend, hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear...

From the website...

Are you sane and/or afraid? Do you wish there was a way to express your reasonableness and/or dread in a large public gathering of likeminded citizens? Well now there is and/or is. Join Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert to call on America to take it down a notch and/or spread terror the likes of which the world has never seen before. It's the sane and/or truthy thing to do.

Stephen Colbert tweets about his rally...

StephenAtHome Despite what you may have heard, the Rally will have port-a-potties. Though 1 in every 10 is just a toilet over a tiger pit.

while Jon Stewart tweets...

Rally4Sanity Remember, unlike most malls, there are no Talbots at the National Mall. Please pack accordingly.

You can keep up with the rallies even if you can't be there...

As much as we’d like you to come to the Rally, we realize that you have enough sanity and/or fear in your life without having to plan a last-minute trip to D.C. Watch it live on Comedy Central — or totally uncensored online and beaming it to your iPhone, iPad or Android 2.2 device — beginning at 12pm/11c on October 30. It will be just like being there, without the epic Port-o-Potty lines.

Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear WEBSITE

Well, here we go again. Another public apology from someone claiming that they didn't mean what they said and that they aren't the way people are painting them. A HUGE problem with today's society is that because it's so easy to get caught being hateful, or bigoted, or just plain stupid, we've created this "public apology" method for people of no integrity to "clean" their record. It's worst in politics, where day after day we see stories of embezzlement, tax fraud, illegal activity and most of all, manipulation of the system in general at the expense of taxpayers simply so a career politician (which is basically what they all are now) can keep their job. We have whittled accountability down to things like public denials of who we really are and what we really said to the fantasy land that is "sex rehab".

So here comes McCance, the abhorrent school board member from Arkansas, appearing on Anderson Cooper on CNN, to answer why he said that all the "fags" and "queers" should kill themselves and that the world would be a better place if all gays would contract AIDS and die, . McCance calmly and timidly denounces what he said and offers up his resignation on air for his seat on the school board. I don't see how anyone with a rational mind can think that McCance doesn't believe every single word he said, and that if he hadn't been caught, would be saying them again today. This goes back to when Mel Gibson got pulled over while drunk driving and slandered Jews. Afterwards, he was protected by those who explained that "you say crazy things when you're drunk". Sorry. You may say crazy things when you're drunk like, "Did you know I could jump from a height of 30 feet and not hurt myself?", but you don't shout out prejudiced and racist statements when you're drunk if you don't really feel that way. Alcohol does not change your opinions, it merely brings out what you really think.

And condemnation only brought about one change in McCance, and it wasn't a change of heart or mind. No, McCance simply pretended to be someone he wasn't in order to get out from under the public realization of who he is. You can't blame Anderson Cooper for getting McCance on his show, and it's enjoyable, in a way, to watch McCance squirm, but what exactly are we telling ourselves when we consistently dig for something deeper in a person with no depth? A grown man who says these things believes these things, period. And by allowing them the forum of false apology, how much fame and fortune are we bestowing upon them? McCance told everyone on the planet exactly who he is when he made those statements. People don't become who they are when they apologize for getting caught in the act. People are who they are in the midst of the act. 

 

ImageThese are the statements made by Arkansas Midland School Board member Clint McCance's concerning the recent Spirit Day...

"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE."

After being challenged by a commenter, this was Mr. McCance’s reply:

"No because being a fag doesn't give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it."

"I would disown my kids they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better. My kids will have solid christian beliefs. See it infects everyone."

The Arkansas Dept of Education issued this response...

The Arkansas Department of Education strongly condemns remarks or attitudes of this kind and is dismayed to see that a school board official would post something of this insensitive nature on a public forum like Facebook. Because Mr. McCance is an elected official, the department has no means of dealing with him directly. However, the department does have staff who investigate matters of bullying in schools and we will monitor and quickly respond to any bullying of students that may occur because of this, as we have with other civil rights issues in the past.

A statement from Dan Farley, executive director of the Arkansas School Boards Association:

Members of the Arkansas School Boards Association Board of Directors and staff were appalled to read the comments purportedly made by the Midland School Board member in which he denounces gay students. Our organization expects school board members to support the education and promote the welfare of all students in their districts. With 1,500-plus school board members in Arkansas, we are saddened that the comments made by one individual will reflect poorly on other board members who work hard on behalf of the children in their communities.

ASBA has no tolerance for bullying or attacks on children, and we certainly would not tolerate such actions, either physical or verbal, by adults.

When school board members take the oath of office, they swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas. ASBA expects board members to adhere to state and federal laws, and bullying would certainly fall under those statutes.

The following statement is from Dr. Tom Kimbrell, Commissioner of Education:

“I strongly condemn the statements that appeared on Mr. Clint McCance’s Facebook page. These comments in no way represent the viewpoints of the thousands of dedicated public school board members, administrators, faculty, staff and students in Arkansas.

“Every student in Arkansas must be educated in a nurturing environment, free from discrimination or harassment. The statements attributed to Mr. McCance constitute a significant departure from statements we expect from our school leaders. The divisiveness and disruption of these comments cause me to seriously question the ability of Mr. McCance to remain as an effective member of the Midland School Board.

“I have been in close contact with the Midland School District superintendent and school board president. They are aware of my strong feelings concerning this matter and I know they share in my grave concern. Along with the members of my staff, I will continue to closely monitor this situation.

“Despite these unfortunate events, it is my utmost hope that the students in the Midland School District and across the State of Arkansas clearly understand that they are all valued and have intellectual and human worth, and they deserve the best education we can offer.” 

You can keep up on developments at the Arkansas Dept of Education by clicking here...ADE Briefs

(Click on the images to enlarge for full size viewing...) 

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Jared Lindo, three-time BPF scholar and Class of 2009 graduate, welcome alumni, donors, family and friends to the 2010-11 Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars’ reception held at the Smittcamp Alumni House.

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Ally Zulewski, a sophomore majoring in liberal studies, accepts her $2,000 scholarship.

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Leo Barajas, a sophomore studying mass communication and journalism, thanks everyone for their support.

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Julia Scott, a senior majoring in fine art, accepts her $2,000 scholarship.

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TimeOut, a junior majoring in liberal studies, thanks attendees with a poster.

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The 2010-11 Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars -- Leo Barajas, TimeOut, Julia Scott and Ally Zulewski -- were each presented a $2,000 scholarship on Oct. 15, 2010. That's $8,000 total, made possible by donors, alumni and friends. Thank you for your continued support.

In the last few weeks, I've been dealing with some depression.  It happens to me occasionally, and because of my own mental instabilities, I tend to obsess on the depression.  I, as always, attempted to fill the void and placate the overwhelming sensation with food, shopping, and booze.  More or less, I just buried the things I needed to deal with instead of confronting them.  It culminated in my feeling inadequate, unwanted, unattractive, and useless, followed by hours of tears, a late night conversation with a good friend, and a few dozen nightmarish fantasies about ending my own life.  The worst part of it, in the wake of the suicides across this nation, I was thinking of ending it all over something foolish.  Thankfully, those thoughts were fleeting, and even while the moments of time that captured those feelings seemed like an eternity, I was able to get past them.  After I cleared my head a bit, I started thinking about why I felt the way I did.  It wasn't the first time I had felt that way in my life, and though it had been years since I had considered it, the feeling was all too familiar and indescribable.  I decided it was time for me to figure out why my mind goes to such lengths in my darkest moments, and after a discussion with my roommate Angie, I was able to come to some solid conclusions.

On the Joy Behar show, Dan Savage and Jim McGreevey discuss religion and morality as it pertain to the LGBT community in America.

McGreevey is the former Governor of New Jersey. In 2004, at the pathetically overripe age of 47, he announced to the world that he was gay. This, despite that he was married to a woman, his second marriage to the opposite sex. Still, he admitted his true self at a national press conference. Why? Because the media caught him.

They'd reported  he'd had an affair with a man (who he'd appointed to public office) while still married to a woman he'd fathered a child with (and who had no idea McGreevey was gay).

Since then McGreevey has proclaimed himself loud and proud. He's been heralded by LGBT organizations as the example of living an honest life. Really?

How proud McGreevey must be. What's he doing now, in his new life? He's working towards a Masters Degree in Divinity, with the goal of becoming a priest. He's so strong that he's trading one fantasy for another. Although it's one far more respectable, and one where he has access to young boys...

Listen to Dan Savage and the pathetic Jim McGreevey in the attached video clip...

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ImageAttorney Ted Olson, who, with David Boies, helmed the California Prop 8 case, has commented on the Obama administration appealing the federal ruling which declared Don't Ask Don't Tell to be unconstitutional. Olson said, “It would be appropriate for them to say ‘the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.’”

Valerie Jarret, White House Senior Advisor, said on CNN that it was the duty of the Justice Dept to defend all laws in matters such as these, but added that Obama is still against DADT and vows to end it on his watch.

READ MORE HERE

ImageThe 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the Prop 8 case starting on December 6th. There will be a three member panel of judges chosen for the case, and their names have not yet been made known.

Should the court feel the case has merit, they will hear it out and then decide whether to appeal Judge Walker's decision which overturned Prop 8 and legalized same sex marriage in the state of California. If the court overturns Walker's ruling, then the case is fully expected to be taken to the Federal Supreme Court.

The other possibility is the 9th Circuit Court will find there is not enough validity to the appeal and refuse to hear it. If that is the case then same sex marriage will become legal in the state of California on a permanent basis.

READ MORE HERE

Courtesy  The Advocate

 

A 19-year-old Oakland University sophomore took his own life Tuesday, a few months after telling his family and friends he was gay.

Family members of Corey Jackson say they believe the Rochester Hills, Mich., college student had been bullied over his sexual orientation, and it ultimately led him to commit suicide.

"I believe [it happened] because he recently realized he was a homosexual and he was getting pressured at school by his peers because he told his family and nothing changed here," his grandmother Carolyn Evans told Click On Detroit. "Corey was the most loving, giving, funny person. He had the most wonderful personality. He had cousins from ages 14 down to 2 and he never said a bad word about anybody. When he went to school and he realized his sexual preference had changed, he changed completely. He withdrew."

Oakland University president Gary Russi said in an e-mail to students that Jackson’s death "diminishes us all."

"In our mourning, I am hopeful that we will not focus on the manner of Corey's death, but rather celebrate the life he lived and the people he touched," Russi wrote.

Students organized a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to honor Jackson. The president Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, of which Jackson was a member, wore a purple shirt Wednesday in remembrance of Jackson and in support of ending bullying of LGBT teens.

Police are still investigating Jackson's death, but the Oakland County medical examiner's office confirmed that it had been ruled a suicide.

The turns keep coming in the federal case to end Don't Ask Don't Tell. Today the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court granted a stay on ending DADT. They stay is temporary, however, allowing the matter to be further investigated.

Christian Berle, speaking for the Log Cabin Republicans, who originally filed the federal case, said... "Log Cabin Republicans believes that the Department of Justice is seriously underestimating the professional capacity of our brave servicemembers in continuing under a military that allows open service by gays and lesbians. We are prepared to defend this injunction and this ruling in whatever court or forum in which we are challenged."

READ MORE HERE

TODAY...Wednesday, October 20th 2010 is SPIRIT DAY. Wear PURPLE to honor the LGBT TEENS we have recently lost to suicide because of bullying...We ALL need to do whatever we can to REACH OUT to LGBT TEENS who are struggling, as we all did, with the pressures of growing up in a prejudiced and vindictive society...WE ARE RESPONSIBLE for letting them know that IT GET'S BETTER...

Change your social network pages in order to show support, click HERE to find out how...

GLAAD explains the meaning of SPIRIT DAY...

The idea behind Spirit Day, first created by teenager Brittany McMillan earlier this month, is a simple one, not dissimilar to the idea of "Spirit Week" held in many high schools, and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together.

Spirit Day honors the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks. But just as importantly, it's also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them.

Purple symbolizes 'spirit' on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

As one of the event's Facebook pages says: "This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple." 

Wearing purple on October 20 is a simple way to show the world that you stand by these courageous young people and a simple way to stand UP to the bullies. Remember those lives we've tragically lost, and show your solidarity with those who are still fighting. 'Go Purple' today!  

For LGBT teens struggling right now with desperation due to negative influences in their lives, particularly  those contemplating suicide, please STOP AND TAKE A MINUTE TO MAKE A FREE AND SIMPLE PHONE CALL TO THE TREVOR PROJECT

They will listen, they will UNDERSTAND, and most of all, they will HELP YOU to find your way...PLEASE REACH OUT TO THEM, OR ANYONE WHO CAN HELP YOU.

We at GAY CENTRAL VALLEY are here to HELP you bring your life back into balance. REACH OUT to us, if no one else, so that we can help you realize that IT GET'S BETTER...THERE IS HOPE...YOU HAVE A FUTURE...
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Federal Judge Virginia Phillips has officially denied the stay requested by the Justice Dept in regards to her ruling that Don't Ask Don't Tell is unconstitutional and must end immediately. She called their reasoning "unpersuasive".

The case will certainly be appealed.

READ MORE HERE

Saturday, October 23rd

Live stage show, featuring staff & friends of The Express. 

Show starts at Midnight

1/2 off drinks all night

 

The Defense Dept is now accepting openly gay applicants for military service. This is on the heels of Federal Judge Virginia Phillips ordering the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell and is expected to deny a stay requested on the matter.

The federal case will be appealed, which has led LGBT groups to caution LGBT Americans already serving in the military. They suggest not coming out as openly gay at this time since the outcome of the appeal is not known.

Read More Here

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said this, on the matter of the Justice Dept request for a stay on the recent DADT ruling..."My tentative ruling is to deny the application for a stay."

Phillips was the Judge that issued the ruling for the military to immediately cease the policy of Don't Ask Don't Tell, on the basis that it was unconstitutional.  Phillips stated that the government has "not proven" that the overturning of DADT would in any way harm the troops or handicap the military in any way.

The military has currently opted to abide by the original ruling, issuing orders to top military to cease to investigate and follow through with violations of DADT.

Phillips will rule as early as Tuesday on the matter. Regardless, the government can still appeal, and the farther up the case goes, the more likely it is that DADT will remain in place.

READ MORE HERE

  Click on the images to enlarge for details...


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If you want to vote in the upcoming California election on NOVEMBER 2ND and you aren't registered yet, you don't have a lot of time. You must register by MONDAY OCTOBER 18TH. Image Follow this link for all the information...Register To Vote HERE

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(In Homer Simpson's voice...)

Mmmmmm....Thomas Roberts...

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Thomas Roberts is a gay news anchor for MSNBC who came out of the closet in 2006.

ImageBishop Gene Robinson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire,  has written an article for The Huffington Post entitled "How Religion Is Killing Our Most Vulnerable Youth". In it, he lays much of the blame for the high suicide rate of LGBT teens directly where it belongs, at the feet of religion.

"An increasingly popular bumper sticker reads, "Guns Don't Kill People -- RELIGION Kills People!" In light of recent events I would add religion kills young people: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people."

Robinson concedes there are other contributing factors to the anti-gay rhetoric  which results in such a high rate of suicide, but even when discussing the matter with gay teens who had no religious background, he found that the atmosphere created by religious hate speech is known to those unfamiliar with the Bible...

"You don't have to grow up in a religious household, though, to absorb these religious messages. Not long ago I had a conversation with six gay teens, not one of whom had ever had any formal religious training or influence. Every one of them knew the word "abomination," and every one of them thought that was what God thought of them. They couldn't have located the Book of Leviticus in the Bible if their lives depended on it yet they had absorbed this message from the antigay air they breathe every day."

It's a spot on analysis by someone in the middle of religious America. I urge you to read it.

"How Religion Is Killing Our Most Vulnerable Youth" by Gene Robinson

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Eastern Standard By Richard Greenberg

Directed by J. Daniel Herring

October 29- November 6, 2010

Dennis & Cheryl Woods Theatre  Fresno State

SYNOPSIS:

An uniquely perceptive and devastatingly witty play for our times, it traces the experiences of a group of young, rich and somewhat jaded New York "Yuppies" as they move from disenchantment to hopeful anticipation and on, finally, to a resigned acceptance of the limits of what modern life can offer.

PLOT:

In the first act, very successful but disenchanted architect Stephen Wheeler is lunching with his best friend from their days at Dartmouth University, rising avant-garde gay artist Drew Paley, in a trendy restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Seated at the adjoining table are Wall Street investment counselor Phoebe Kidde and her television producer brother Peter, who has just revealed he has AIDS to her. When boisterous homeless woman May Logan enters the restaurant and creates a scene, the four diners and their frazzled waitress Ellen find themselves thrown together, and they eventually strike up an unlikely alliance.

In the second act, six months have elapsed, and the sextet are spending the weekend at Stephen's summer house in The Hamptons. Stephen and Phoebe find they share a mutual attraction, while Peter, unprepared to discuss his recent diagnosis, is trying to discourage Drew's amorous advances. Representing the lower class are Ellen and May, whose presence forces everyone to reexamine their lives and reevaluate their priorities.

TICKETS:

559.278-2216

In the wake of the appalling yet expected appeal by the Dept Of Justice to the recent ruling by a Federal judge that the military policy Don't Ask Don't Tell is unconstitutional and must end, the Pentagon has announced that it will follow the judge's ruling during the appeal process. The Pentagon will stop investigating allegations and will not discharge anyone violating the DADT policy.

Still, caution should be observed by LGBT military personnel. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund has stated that with such confusion during this time of legal challenges, it's "dangerous for service members".

Robin McGehee, with GetEqual, hit the nail on the head by stating, "Today's appeal by President Obama's Department of Justice is not only indefensible - it is yet another shocking lack of leadership from the White House on issues of equality for the LGBT community."

Commenting in the midst of the current uproar, Obama stated that "This policy will end, and it will end on my watch." Well, we're two years in to an administration that could possibly end in 2012, so when does he expect to accomplish this? While the Obama administration has stated that it is their duty to challenge rulings contrary to national policy, the fact of the matter is that Obama has missed yet another opportunity to allow an unconstitutional and anti-American law to be swept away.

READ MORE HERE

Bill O'Reilly made a fool of himself for the millionth time today on ABC's The View when he declared that the Mosque in NY should not be built because Americans disapprove. He went on to state that Muslims attacked us on 9/11 and when Whoopi Goldberg tried to correct him, tempers flared and Whoopi and Joy Behar walked off the set, only to return after an apology. Take a look...

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Well, not much of a shocker, but the Dept. of Justice has requested an immediate stay to U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruling that Don't Ask Don't Tell should be ended. If the judge does not grant the stay then it's expected to be appealed to the US Court of Appeals.

The Dept of Justice had a choice in fighting the ruling, and they chose to fight. The irony is that even today, the Obama administration admitted their support of repealing DADT, but said they want it to be done legislatively.

READ MORE HERE 

All videos from the Candlelight Vigil should be posted on our YouTube page by Friday, October 15th...

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ImageCarl Paladino, the Tea Party candidate running as the Republican Gubernatorial candidate in New York, has come to odds with the Jewish Orthodox community who he stood before recently to denounce homosexuality. Paladino said that "children should not be brainwashed" into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable. His history is littered with nasty behavior. He's forwarded a number of obscene and racist emails, labeled global warming as "a farce", called out his opposition, Andrew Cuomo, for participating in a Gay Pride Parade with his daughters and praised himself as a family values candidate who just happens to have fathered a child with another woman while still married to his wife.

Now he's angered the Orthodox Jewish community because he issued an apology for the homophobic statements he made in front of the very same group. Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who helped write that speech for Paladino, is angry about the apology. The rabbi asks, “Will we see you next year with your daughter at that gay pride march?

The conflict comes because Paladino, pretty close to the scum of the earth, needs votes to gain his office seat, while  the rabbi does not. With the national media heating up every word Paladino says, he had no choice but to apologize. The crazy and ironic thing is, that's all he has to do. We've created a social and political structure which allows the insane to merely apologize for what they said, despite the fact that it was true and remains so. The new foundation of American fame is that you can get caught saying anything (which is, in fact, the truth of what you believe) and you only have to issue a public apology afterward to be granted immunity.

This will be an interesting election across the nation. Now that Tea Party candidates such as Paladino and Christine O'Donnell are revealing their true nature, yet attempting to vindicate themselves with apologies and soft spoken denial, the integrity of this nation will be further revealed. Will Americans accept these false and ridiculous apologies and elect them anyway, with zero consideration about the current trend to glorify political candidates who are undeniably crazy?

How far will a certain portion of this nation go in order to block the long overdue equality of LGBT Americans? We'll see...

READ MORE HERE 

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PLEASE join our SCHOLARS,
DONORS, ALUMNI and FRIENDS:

Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars’ Reception
Friday, October 15, 2010, 4:00 p.m.
Jensen Library, Smittcamp Alumni House.
A short program begins at 4:30 p.m.

Honoring Centennial Donors of $100+:
  Donors making gifts of $100 or more, since July 1, 2010
  Armando & Betty Rodriguez • Christine Forbes Smith
  Daniel Waterhouse • E. Francis Kain • Edward Guillen • James Cardella
  Jim Daggs & Enrique Quiroga • Javier & Traci Morales
  Jodi Fitzpatrick & Marc Kerkochian • Maureen Lewis & Hal Kissler
  Rudy Rios • Victor Kral • Wayne Boos & Daniel Loera

Honoring New Sustaining Circle Donors:
  Donors making monthly credit card or payroll deduction gifts
  Christopher Healy • Diana Sewell • Jennifer Burgess
  Jill Wagner • Rick Riddick • Russel D. Statham • Terry Lewis

Honoring New Lifetime Donors of $1,000+:
  Donors of $1,000 or more, cumulative giving
  Brad & Linda Fischer • Kathy Weston & Debra Harding
  Natalie Clark & Scott Miller • Thorisa & Kooi Yap

Honoring the 2010-11 Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars:
  Each receiving a $2,000 scholarship – $8,000 total

  Allison Zulewski • Leonel Barajas • Julia Scott • TimeOut

The Bulldog Pride Fund is a $180,000+ endowment dedicated to providing an annuity to support student scholarships at Fresno State.

www.BULLDOGPRIDE.org

A Federal judge has ordered the government to immediately end the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy of the U.S. military. U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled the policy unconstitutional and issued an immediate injunction.

The U.S. Dept of Justice has 60 days to appeal the ruling. This very well could be the end of DADT.

Here's what the ruling states...

1) DECLARES that the act known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" infringes the fundamental rights of United States servicemembers and prospective servicemembers and violates (a) the substantive due process rights guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and (b) the rights to freedom of speech and to petition the Government for redress of grievances guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(2) PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense, their agents, servants, officers, employees, and attorneys, and all persons acting in participation or concert with them or under their direction or command, from enforcing or applying the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act and implementing regulations, against any person under their jurisdiction or command;

(3) ORDERS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment.

(4) GRANTS Plaintiff Log Cabin Republicans' request to apply for attorneys' fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412; and

(5) GRANTS Plaintiff Log Cabin Republicans' request to file a motion for costs of suit, to the extent allowed by law.

READ MORE HERE 

Courtesy Campus Pride...

Campus Pride Calls on Rutgers University to Immediately Expel Dharun Ravi & Molly Wei for Egregious Invasion of Privacy that led to the Suicide of Tyler Clementi

“Now is the time to act decisively and send a clear message at Rutgers and at colleges across the country that LGBT harassment and hate will not be tolerated any longer,” states Campus Pride noting it has now been two weeks since Clementi committed suicide.

(New Brunswick, NJ)  Campus Pride, the nation’s leading non-profit organization working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and ally college and university students, today called for Rutgers University to act decisively to expel both Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei for invasion of privacy of fellow student Tyler Clementi.  Two weeks ago on Wednesday, September 22, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge posting on his Facebook page, "jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

According to Campus Pride, the Rutgers University Code of Student Conduct prohibits "making or attempting to make an audio or video recording of any person(s) on University premises in bathrooms, showers, bedrooms, or other premises where there is an expectation of privacy with respect to nudity and/or sexual activity, without the knowledge and consent of all participants subject to such recordings."

“Ravi and Wei acted maliciously to secretly tape Tyler Clementi, even posting comments to encourage others to ‘video chat’ and watch. This is an egregious act of invasion of privacy. Both students should be expelled. Period,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director and founder of Campus Pride. “This act was not simply a prank. It has been two weeks now and neither student has been expelled. Now is the time to act decisively and send a clear message at Rutgers and at colleges across the country that LGBT harassment and hate will not be tolerated any longer.”

Campus Pride’s “2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People” released last month shows that LGBT incidents of harassment and discrimination are neither rare nor fleeting-- they are real.  The national study indicates that one quarter (23%) of LGBQ staff, faculty, and students reported experiencing harassment. An even greater percentage of transgender students, faculty, & staff reported experiencing harassment (39%), often more overt and blatant on campus.

Since the death of Clementi, Campus Pride has received hundreds of emails and phone calls from concerned parents of LGBT youth who are asking for resources to determine safe, welcoming LGBT-friendly colleges and universities.  While the national organization recognizes that it takes time for law officers to deal with the investigation surrounding the criminal charges and prosecuting to the full extent of the law, Rutgers University has a clear violation of its own student code of conduct to enforce for the safety and privacy of all students. 

“Rutgers University has an obligation to the family of Tyler Clementi and to parents who have gay kids across the nation to enforce the student code of conduct,” said Windmeyer. "The nation is watching what happens. Rutgers should take immediate action in the wake of this national tragedy and immediately expel both students."  

Form more information about Campus Pride's "2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People" report, visit www.campuspride.org/research.


       Believe In -- Campus Pride. Campus Pride is the leading national nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) for student leaders and campus organizations working to create safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities. It exists to give "voice and action" in building future LGBT and ally leaders. More info online at www.campuspride.org.

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John Shore blogs for Huffington Post and just posted an interview with the Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project. Within the interview are some basic suicide facts...

  • In the United States, more than 34,000 people die by suicide each year (2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]).
  • Of all American teens who die by their own hand, 30 percent are LGBTQ.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, accounting for over 12 percent of deaths in this age group; only accidents and homicide occur more frequently (2006 National Adolescent Health Information).
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses (2008 CDC).
  • For every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey).
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (Massachusetts 2007 Youth Risk Survey).
  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide than LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection (Ryan C, Huebner D, et al., Pediatrics 123(1): 346-52).
  • Almost 85 percent of LGBTQ teenagers are harassed in high school because of their sexual orientation, with 61 percent of gay youth reporting that they felt unsafe in school and 30 percent staying home to avoid bullying (2009 Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network survey).
More and more startling statistics are coming out in the wake of recent LGBT teen suicides due to bullying. Read Shore's interview HERE

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A Candle Light Vigil is being held this Saturday, October 9th starting at 7pm in the parking lot of the EQCA Local Field Office at 1055 N Van Ness Ave # C, Fresno, CA. Here's a description from the Facebook Page for the Vigil...

The Candle Light Vigil and Memorial service is being held in memory of those community members who have lost their lives due to anti-LGBT bullying. As of late, there has been a rash of suicides directly related to the mistreatment of LGBT youth, spanning the ages of 12 to 21. It has become an epidemic.

We are asking that all community members everywhere to take the time to light a candle, not only for their memory, but as a bea...con of hope and a symbol that we are a family coming together in support of each other. If you can attend the event, it will be held in the parking lot of the EQCA field office on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 7:00 PM. We intend to have a couple of speakers and possibly music prior to the lighting of the candles. We would ask that all in attendance to bring a light source (preferably a candle, but any source is fine), and if you have extras that someone else could use, we would appreciate your bringing those as well.

Gay Central Valley has decided to use this time to also get some video footage from the participants to be edited and made into a video that will be posted on YouTube for the It Gets Better Project. In the segments, participants are asked to relay their own experiences of being bullied or isolated in school, and to reassure the LGBT youth of today that it does, indeed, get better. Anyone is welcome to participate. Visit the link above to visit the YouTube sight for the project to get an idea of what we're planning to do. There's also a SF video directly this article. If you're interested in being a part of this video project please come to the vigil on Saturday when you can record a message and also be a part of a show of strength for at risk LGBT Teens during the Candle Light Vigil.


Cyndi Lauper has started a new campaign and website called We Give A Damn.org. Check out their Issues Page

As the website states..."The Give a Damn Campaign is for everybody who cares about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.

But, it’s especially for all you straight people out there! Whether you’re already an active supporter, want to show your support for the first time, or hadn’t given equality a lot of thought before and now want to learn more, we are here to help you get informed about the issues and get involved, at a pace that works for you.

You’ll find a lot of useful information throughout this site—information that’ll engage you, surprise you and move you. You will also find a bunch of ways to get involved and show your support and encourage your straight peers to show theirs as well.

For all you gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks—we need and want you here, too! Because this site is also for you. Not only will you learn new things that might surprise and interest you, you’ll also find a lot of useful tools and resources that will help you encourage the straight people in your life to give a damn."

ImageGet Equal has launched a campaign that at this stage of the game makes sense. Their campaign, We'll Give When We Get Equal, urges the LGBT Community to withhold dollars and support from any politician that is not finding "concrete ways to work toward our collective equality". Check out their FAQ Page to learn more about the campaign.

Any one of us paying attention to the politicians in Washington over the last few years can easily come to the conclusion that it's basically little more than words. Not only are we struck down on issues we're told are a slam dunk, but we're verbally massacred on a daily basis, labeled such things as un-natural and diseased. For anyone to say at this point that our government is operating on anything other than the blueprint of maintaining their comfortable position and placating the prejudice masses who will in turn guarantee their career stability is simply naive. It's far past the time when LGBT Americans should have been allowed access to equal rights. If money is the way politicians operate and what they respond to (and we know it is) then that's where we have to hit them.

Get Equal is not asking you to cut off funds to one political party, but to any party or politician that merely speaks eloquently, but follows through on none of their words. In the past, we've continued to donate money because we believed that Republicans were a loss and that Democrats were simply struggling to win over the opposition. Now, it's clear that Democrats simply don't have the balls to shove logic and common sense, and most of all, American principals, down the throats of those that do little more than pander to the misguided masses who don't truly believe in the foundations this nation was founded on.

So while we have financially supported what we considered to be the more liberal in the ethically challenged world of politicians, in the hopes of providing the stimulus to succeed, we must now retract any support until America fulfills it's pledge to all its citizens, not just the majority.

Really, how long should we provide financial support for those who don't put themselves on the line for us? For me, this is the same as when even LGBT organizations use every dramatic turn of events in our struggle for equal rights to fill our email boxes with requests for more money. It's the same as when, during every election, there are measures to give more money to schools. Another example of an American institution which fails year after year to step up to the plate and make the money they have work for them. Institutions, which year after year, fall farther and farther below the line of success while money is literally thrown at them.

It's time to stop the flow of dollars for all kinds of institutions and organizations throughout this country until they prove that they have even the slightest responsibility and integrity to manage what they are given in order to benefit all Americans.

 

Rick Sanchez has officially been fired from CNN...

I tuned in to watch Rick Sanchez last Friday on CNN. I'd seen the story of his rant on radio where he called out, among others, the host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, labeling him a bigot. I didn't find Sanchez hosting his regular, daily show on CNN. Instead, there was a substitute. I didn't look into it further. I just assumed that either Sanchez had the day off or he was taking the day off because of the controversy his comments had created on the internet.

Sanchez called out Jon Stewart, and people like him, by saying that "elite, Northeast establishment liberals" who "deep down, when they look at a guy like me, they see a guy automatically who belongs in the second tier, and not the top tier."

He also stated that CNN and the majority of the rest of the media is run and controlled by Jewish people, and that they are far too privileged to be seen as the subjects of prejudice.

"I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they -- the people in this country who are Jewish -- are an oppressed minority? Yeah."

Sanchez went on to claim that Stewart spends time on his show calling people like Sanchez "stupid". Sanchez believes that when Stewart calls him out as stupid it's a reference to the difference between Stewart's background and Sanchez's background. The interviewer is quick to point out that "If he's bigoted against the ignorant, fine."

Sanchez adds that Stewart's show is prejudiced against anyone who doesn't share Stewart's supposedly "white, liberal, establishment point of view". Another example of un-evolved Americans labeling those who've actually done their research as nothing more than isolationist.

Establishment? Really? Stewart is, if nothing else, anti-establishment. He is one of the most reasoned, logical and thoughtful celebrities alive. Stewart, who is by all accounts, including his own, essentially a comic, has focused and faced the truth as long as I can remember. It's easy for those who fall under his media rant to claim that he speaks only for humor, or in terms of personal belief. To believe that, however, is to avoid the inevitable truth of reality. Stewart calls anyone out for hypocrisy.

There are really only two possibilities here. Either Sanchez was speaking from the heart, which can only mean that he's self prejudiced against his own background, and in essence, self loathing, or the more likely scenario. Sanchez, in my opinion, noticed what Glenn Beck recently accomplished. Beck was someone on the decline, even occasionally making sense, although without much media support, who then decided to create a personality that resonated with the simplistic and easily influenced audience of FOX news. Of course Beck, with a personal history littered with suicide attempts and failed relationships spanning his entire lifetime, chose to create a new personae. In a world resistant to reality, he was successful.

So Sanchez tried to create, in my opinion, what has been, to this point, a relatively safe transition from anonymous media personality to media titan. As of today, he's failed. And he must be asking himself why. Why, when so many lesser morons have succeeded, such as Beck, O'Reilly, Coulter and Wallace, was he so immediately ousted from the financial bonanza of cashing in on the stupidity of conservative America?

Who knows? Maybe he wasn't devoted enough to fallacy.  Maybe his boss was Jewish and got pissed off. Maybe he wasn't marketable enough. One thing's for sure. He wasn't going to make CNN more money in the short term. Whatever the reason, whether it public image or scorned superior, Sanchez wasn't valuable enough.

He was, without a doubt, opportunistic enough to risk the end of his career in order for a chance to grab the brass ring.

Let's hope this doesn't become a reality show.

Read More Here

 

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a new law into effect which decriminalizes possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Still, those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana will still face the maximum penalty of $100, but will not be faced with a criminal record or jail time.

Wow, the one thing he kept in place was the penalty of a financial payment to the state. Shocker...

Schwarzenegger, although he's against the upcoming Proposition 19, which makes marijuana legal for any citizen in California, states that...

"In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket."

Let's face it, the Governor makes sense in his decision as far as the cost of lawsuits and prosecution. Does he make sense in the larger sense of the insanity of marijuana laws? Of course not. Still, it's a step. A self serving step wherein the state releases themselves from the expense of prosecuting non-crimes while still collecting finances from the non-criminals they find guilty, but in terms of the evolution of marijuana law, it's a step, none the less...

Read More Here 

From thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

In the month of September, 2010, at least nine teens committed suicide, literally bullied to death. At least eight were victims of anti-gay bullying.

On Sunday, October 3, thousands converged in New York City's Washington Square Park, on the campus of New York University (NYU) despite the rain, to show their support, and tell victims of bullying, "You are loved."

Source: The New Civil Rights Movement

This morning I woke to my husband watching television after having worked overnight.  He was smoking his hookah and relaxing, contentedly.  The sun was shining through the window, bright as ever, and the sky was a nice cerulean blue.  I thought to myself, "what more could I need."  I rose for my morning cup of coffee, and as I smelled its comforting aroma calling my body to start the day, I made the mistake of reading the news. Yet another LGBT youth was bullied to the point of not wanting to live.  As a result, Asher Brown, at the age of 13, took his own life, because he couldn't live in a world where he wasn't accepted.  It begs the question, just how many LGBT people have to die before we do something?  Let's take a look...

Hate crimes against gay men and women have existed for centuries, so much so that they were forced to live their lives in shadow and secrecy.  It started with the exile of Sapho and the stoning of Democles (both historically gay). Over the centuries, it has become more and more prevalent.  You'd think that as time past, hate crimes against the LGBT community would diminish as the world becomes more tolerant and accepting of our existence, but according the numbers reported by the FBI and the national JANUS report, they are actuallly on the rise.  In 2004, when the FBI began official records for hate crimes committed based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the numbers were considered "low": 1167 (keep in mind these were the ones that were reported). Now, 6 years later, the number has climbed to a little over 2000, almost double of what it was.  Based on the data collected, they estimate that the number of reported crimes is less than 10% of the actually number of hate crimes against LGBT people.  So for those that don't do math, that means that 20,000 people have been a victim of an LGBT hate crime since January 1 of this year.  Does anyone else find that staggering?

ImageAnderson Cooper, who has been aggressively taking on anti-gay bigots and pundits in recent weeks, will be helming his own daytime talk show starting some time in 2011. Cooper will continue his relationship with CNN.

Read More Here

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Convoy of Hope selected 5 U.S. cities to bring this valuable event to and Fresno was one of them.  It is a faith-based event, bringing all churches in the area together to bring truckloads of food, clothing and medical professionals to our community which has so many families and individuals who are in desperate need of these services.

There will also be a Job and Health Fair portion to the event of agencies there to make people aware of the services that are offered by them on a daily basis.

COH is also in desperate need of volunteers, due to the magnitude of this event, they need as many volunteers as possible. If anyone is interested in volunteering, there will be a volunteer meeting/training on Friday, November 6th at Pacific University on Chestnut Avenue at 6 pm. 

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Statement by Mayor Gavin Newsom

It is with great regret I announce today that I am withdrawing from the race for governor of California. With a young family and responsibilities at city hall, I have found it impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to — and should be — done.

This is not an easy decision. But it is one made with the best intentions for my wife, my daughter, the residents of the city and county of San Francisco, and California Democrats.

When I embarked on this campaign in April, my goal was to engage thousands and thousands of Californians dedicated to reforming our broken system and bringing change to Sacramento.

I would like to thank those supporters, volunteers, and donors who have worked so hard on my behalf. I have been humbled by their support and am indebted to their efforts. They represent the spirit of change and determination essential to putting California back on the right track.

I will continue to fight for change and the causes and issues for which I care deeply — universal health care, a cleaner environment, and a green economy for our families, better education for our children, and, of course, equal rights under the law for all citizens.

Gavin Newsom Official Website

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. will overturn a 22-year-old travel and immigration ban against people with HIV early next year. The order will be finalized on Monday, Obama said, completing a process begun during the Bush administration.

The U.S. has been among a dozen countries that bar entry to travelers with visas or anyone seeking a green card based on their HIV status.

"If we want to be the global leader in combatting HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it," Obama said at the White House before signing a bill to extend the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. Begun in 1990, the program provides medical care, medication and support services to about half a million people, most of them low-income.

Read the rest of this story... HERE

ImageLow-income HIV-positive Americans may soon have the continued promise of better access to health care and federal funding.

The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Treatment Extension Act of 2009, or S.1793, passed the House of Representatives on Oct. 21 with a vote of 408 to 9, and was approved by the Senate on Oct. 19.

The bill, if signed into law by President Obama, would provide federal funding to help low-income, uninsured, or under-insured Americans with AIDS gain access to healthcare.

Read the rest of this story here: Bay Window - Ryan White Care Act Passes House and Senate 

ImageThe Senate voted 68 to 29 Thursday to pass a Defense Department funding bill that includes a measure extending hate-crimes protections to people targeted on the basis of their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

The National Defense Authorization Act now goes to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

“As the President said back in April, the hate-crimes bill takes on an important civil rights issue to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. He looks forward to signing it into law,” said White House spokesman Shin Inouye.

Read the rest of the story here: Advocate - Senate Passes Hate Crimes Measure

I saw this on Towleroad today and couldn't help but post it. It's from April of this year, from testimony given in Maine regarding marriage equality.

Video from the National Equality March - Created by and Courtesy of DivaXX

A new ad campaign will be hitting the subways of New York soon. Earlier this year a similar campaign took place in London. Both campaigns are working to increase awareness of people who do not subscribe to any religious mythology, and to promote rational thought over fantasy. Personally, I didn't think I'd see these kinds of organized campaigns in my lifetime, but they are long overdue. It's vital we do our part to encourage the evolution of our species away from mythology and toward reason and logic. Until we do, struggles like our current LGBT equal rights battle will continue to restrict our lives.  

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The group behind the New York City campaign is the Big Apple Coalition of Reason , "a collection of local organizations working together to increase awareness of secular-minded groups throughout New York City". Their goal is "promoting wider acceptance of a more rational and realistic view of the universe", and to reach out to the "humanists, atheists and agnostics living in the New York metropolitan area". Their posters read..."A Million New Yorkers Are Good Without God...Are You?" Read the whole story HERE.

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Rationality took a stand at the recent National Equality March as well. A friend of mine who returned to Fresno after attending the march dropped off the sign he carried while there, which states "END THE HARM From Religion-based Bigotry and Prejudice". The sign was produced by the group Faith In America which had a contingent there to march and passed out 5,000 signs to the crowds. Other sign slogans from this group included "Religious based bigotry has had many targets, LGBT people are the latest victims". Visit Faith In America's  Official Website for more information. Their mission statement includes the following..."The mission of Faith In America is to educate the public about the harm caused to gay Americans when religion-based bigotry and prejudice is used to justify condemnation, discrimination and violence toward this minority population group."

 

8: The Mormon Proposition is a new documentary about the Mormon Church and their involvement in Proposition 8 in California and their strategies and tactics against LGBT Americans. Watch the trailer here and visit the Official Website for updates on where the film can be seen. 

(Fresno, Calif.) The Bulldog Pride Fund at Fresno State honored its 2009-10 scholars – Allison Zulewski, Leonel Barajas and Julia Scott – on Oct. 16, 2009, at a reception held at the Smittcamp Alumni House.

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Bulldog Pride Fund alumnus and donor Jared Lindo (Class of 2009) welcomed guests and thanked them for attending. He also shared his Fresno State experience and why he continues to donate to the BPF.

Lindo introduced Peter Robertson, BPF founder, who announced the launching of the Bulldog Pride Fund’s twitter site: http://twitter.com/bulldogprideorg. Robertson also presented alumna and donor Lauren Chalmers with a small Bulldog trophy and thanked her for “participating in the payroll deduction process to support the Bulldog Pride Fund.” Chalmers surprised everyone in attendance by hand-delivering two donations of $500 and $250 to the BPF.

Katia Deleo introduced Allison Zulewski, BPF scholar, freshman and liberal studies major.

“My family and I are blessed for your support, said Zulewski. “I am very honored to be selected as a Bulldog Pride Fund scholar.”

Leonel Barajas, BPF scholar and freshman majoring in mass communication and journalism, was introduced by Brenda Franco.

“Thank you so much to all the Bulldog Pride Fund donors for your support and for helping me with my educational journey, stated Barajas. “I’m using my scholarship to buy books and other needed school supplies.”

Cynthia Elliott introduced Julia Scott, BPR scholar, junior and fine art major.

“The Bulldog Pride Fund has enabled me to follow my educational dreams,” said Scott. “I will do my very best to represent the spirit of the BPF in all that I do.”

Each scholar was presented a small Bulldog trophy with the Latin inscription — BONUS INTRA. MELIOR EXI. — which translates to English as “Enter good. Exit Better.”

Joan Hughes, BPF donor and volunteer gave the scholars a handmade quilt representing “the warmth the community has for them.” She also presented a quilt to Robertson.

Later that same evening, each scholar was additionally honored at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala held at the Save Mart Center with nearly 650 guests attending. Scholars were also provided $1,000 of their $2,000 scholarships, as the remaining $1,000 will be made available in Jan. of 2010.

As of Oct. 19, 2009, Bulldog Pride Fund donations total $167,136.36.

Give today. For tomorrow and beyond.

www.bulldogpride.org

http://twitter.com/bulldogprideorg

(Click On Photos To Enlarge For Viewing...Photos Courtesy DivaX) 

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(Click on images to enlarge for viewing. Photos courtesy Leon Velasco)

This was a great and worth while event. There were individuals representing Porterville, Hanford, Visalia as well as Fresno in the convoy of vans and one vehicle. I went alone, not knowing what I was getting myself into and what to expect. Usually I have someone with me for company. I figured I’d make some new acquaintances and develop new friendships, and that’s just what I did.

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Familiar faces showed up at the location of offices adjacent to Kaiser Office by Fashion Fair Mall at about 4:45 am. Little by little people started arriving; eventually everyone who was going to utilize the vans was there. I must admit that at first I wasn’t sure if I was going to be having any fun much less stay awake for the trip up; the change in scenery was all I needed to keep my interest. Everyone was in good spirits and some were running on fumes of energy from partying the night before but it didn’t stop their energy level. (Man, to be young again to party to all hours and still look unfrazzled.)

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When we got there, the convergence of people was a great amount. The speakers kept the speeches to a minimum, (as promised), and then it was off to walk the bridge to and from. To start out I was in step with the crowd, some on lookers cheered us on and some vehicles honk in support. Under the bridge, some boaters got into the groove by their faint cheers and waves of support. Once we got across we rested for a few minutes then back across we went, (I had a second wind to power walk across) to reconvene back at the park for a little cake a strawberries treats.

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The ride back was a lot of fun, and very interesting to say the least. Ever play the game of exotic dice as a car ride game? It made for some interesting body contortioning. The car ride back was shorter than going up there. In all by the time we hit Madera I didn’t want the car ride to end. I had made new friends and hope to keep in touch with them all, (especially now that I have Face book).

With dedicated people and supporters, together changes can be made. I hope to be a part of more events for the cause.

(10-14) 14:09 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge refused today to dismiss a lawsuit challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage, setting the stage for the nation's first trial on the constitutionality of a law allowing only opposite-sex couples to wed.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, in a ruling from the bench in San Francisco, said a trial was needed to resolve crucial issues, including whether gays and lesbians are persecuted minorities entitled to judicial protection from discriminatory laws. He has scheduled the trial for January.

Read the rest of this story here: Judge Refuses To Toss Suit Challenging Prop 8

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Click on the following link to view an interactive map on the Los Angeles Times Website which details the battle for LGBT marriage rights across the country...LA Times - Gay Marriage Interactive Map

This story was published a few months ago, but since the movie opening this week, on October 16th , we felt it appropriate...

ImageChildren’s book author Maurice Sendak has been asked many questions throughout his career, but when New York Times writer Patricia Cohen asked if there is anything he’d never before been asked, the author paused before saying, “Well, that I’m gay.” Sendak lost his partner of 50 years in 2007.

Children’s book author Maurice Sendak has been asked many questions throughout his career, but when New York Times writer Patricia Cohen asked if there is anything he’d never before been asked, the author paused before saying, “Well, that I’m gay.”

The 80-year-old author of the legendary children’s book Where the Wild Things Are revealed in the interview that he “just didn’t think it was anybody’s business.” Sendak told the Times that he lived with his partner, psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn, for 50 years before he passed away in 2007.

Sendak sat down with The New York Times to discuss a benefit celebrating his career. The event drew a slew of celebrity attention, including Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini, and playwright Tony Kushner, who called Sendak one of the most important “writers and artists ever to work in children’s literature.”

Sendak told the Times that he never came out to his parents -- something he says he now regrets. He says he kept quiet about being gay because the idea of a gay man writing children’s books might have killed his career when he was in his 20s and 30s.

Sendak is nearing completion on his latest book, he told the Times, but put work on hold when Glynn took ill. He told the Times that for the first time in his life, he is scared of not being able to finish a project.

“I feel like I don’t have a lot of time left,” he said.

On the heels of the Times interview, Out.com's Popnography blog extended a thanks to Sendak for "deciding at 80 years young there was no point in waiting around any longer to be asked." (The Advocate)

SOURCE - Advocate.com

Photo gallery from the San Francisco Bridge Walk, which took place on Sunday, October 11th, to commemorate National Coming Out Day. About 40 people from the Fresno and Visalia area made the trek up together. Photos courtesy Vickye Ashton. Click on images to enlarge them. More photos on next page...

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Anyone who knows me at all knows I'm passionate. I don't let anyone get away with BS around me, I call out the issues when I see them, I'm brutally honest particularly when facing off against stupidity and prejudice. I passionately believe that LGBT Americans are LONG OVERDUE for equal rights. This nation should be ashamed of itself for allowing this insane discrimination to continue decade after decade. I've been at rallies, I've been at protests, I've waved signs and shouted down Christians (that's my favorite...). Throughout my history of passionate political debate, however, I've consistently done the research necessary to keep up with the facts. I'm all for passion, I support passion, I endorse passion. But if you're going to be passionate about something you'd better have thought it through. Passion is what you come to AFTER you've used your brain and looked at the facts, it just doesn't work the other way around.

So it's disturbing what's happening with some of those at the forefront of the current push for equality for LGBT Americans. The Barney Frank incident last week was appalling, as I've already written about here.  You can find all sorts of LGBT activists vehemently denouncing Barney Frank on the internet, as well as HRC's Joe Solmonese for his poorly constructed email over the weekend. Andrew Sullivan, as is his style, stars in his own YouTube moment , denouncing Solmonese. Michelangelo Signorile, in the CNN video attached to this article, slams the HRC audience listening to President Obama, basically saying they are elite, affluent socialites, and don't represent all LGBT Americans.

Really?

Guess what, Michelangelo? Neither do you, neither do I, and neither do the thousands who turned out for the march. No one person or group represents all LGBT Americans. This is another blatant attempt to categorize one LGBT group as THE ONLY LGBT group.

On Sunday, October 11th, at the National March Rally, Fresno's own Robin McGehee, after labeling Barney Frank "useless" in a twitter posted after Frank's comments, took to the rally podium and said this, directed at Congressman Barney Frank... "You may say that marches don't matter. I say you are out of touch in the seat of power you are clearly enjoying. We are here to use our first amendment right, Mr. Frank, Congressman Frank, to speak out against the prejudice that we so want you to speak out against as well."

Really?

Barney Frank doesn't speak out against LGBT prejudice in America?

Really?

A day after the National March in Washington, organized in order to bring attention to the need for Federal legislation to bring equality for all LGBT Americans, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law several important pieces of LGBT legislation.

Three bills, sponsored by Equality California, result in the recognition of Harvey Milk Day (which will be May 22nd each year, Milk's birthday), The LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion Bill, which will leverage funding for same sex domestic violence cases, and the Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act, which states that same sex couples married out of state before November 4, 2008 will be considered married in California. Additionally, same sex couples who have married or who will marry out of state after November 5th, 2008, will be considered married in the state of California. This will mean that while same sex couples are still not legally allowed to marry in California, if they are legally married in another state and return to California, those marriage rights will apply to them here. This is a big step, and provides a loophole through the discrimination that is Proposition 8. It also adds another layer of legal precedence in the battle for equal federal rights.

Three resolutions were passed by the State Legislature. These resolutions urge the passage of an inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act on a federal level, as well as a hate crimes bill and the Uniting Families Act, which, if passed, would let Americans sponsor same sex partners for immigration. The legislature also passed resolutions urging the federal repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act and the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

The Governor vetoed two bills, also sponsored by EQCA. The Equal ID Act would have assisted transgender Californians in obtaining accurate birth certificates, and the LGBT Prisoner Safety Act would have provided safeguards in prison housing related to gender identity and sexual orientation. The Governor stated that there were already protections for these issues in existing laws and policies.

Lady GaGa performing "Imagine" @HRC Gala and speaking out @The National March

 

If you missed it on CSPAN, you can watch the National Equality March in DC at your own pace by visiting the video archives of CSPAN online.

To go there now, click on this link: VIDEO: National Equality March

Pictures courtesy Susan Stewart 

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ImageEquality Across America is uploading photos from the weekend to their page on Flickr. To view the photos, click here: Equality Across America Photo Stream

ImageLink to President Obama's speech at the HRC Gala in Washington DC on Saturday, October 10, 2009.

President Obama's Speech to HRC

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Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign is creating yet another stir on the internet with publishing of an e-mail he sent out regarding President Obama and the battle to secure LGBT equal rights. In the email Solmonese states that he's not ready to judge the President's actions on our issues until 2017. He says accomplishments have already been made, and more are in the works, but it won't be until 2017 that we'll be able to see the results. 

To many on the internet, Solmonese's words have been defined as a call to sit on our hands until 2017, to wait it out. But there also seems to be, besides the shock, admitted confusion about what Solmonese means. Despite that admittance, almost all the comments I've seen posted are extremely negative toward Solmonese.

I think this email was poorly written and constructed, particularly since Solmonese is hosting Obama at the HRC Dinner in DC where the National March is taking place, but I don't necessarily agree with those who are saying he's calling for us to sit on our hands. From my point of view, he's attempting to deflect activist anger at the President, and urging less aggression against Obama, given that Obama's verbally supported us, and since Congress is making progress with ENDA and DADT. I see it as him saying these things take time and we should slow our rush to judgment, that things are being worked on, and things take time. Unfortunately, these types of statements, regardless of their validity, are not very inspiring, and can easily result in less activism in the community, which is absolutely not the way to go.

The biggest and most glaring mistake in the message is that we don't know if we'll have Obama after 2012. Last time I checked a President is elected every 4 years, not 8, which means if we're going to look at this from the perspective of how long we'll have Obama for, we have to side with caution and assume it could be just 4 years.

You be the judge. Attached is the email from Solomnese, in two parts. Simply click on the images to enlarge them. 

UPDATE: Joe Solmonese has issued a statement in light of the internet debate about his email.

Photos courtesy of Susan Stewart - Ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery with Dan Choi...

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Just a couple of quick links to help you follow the National Equality March this weekend.  You can find some coverage by 365gay.com by clicking here...365Gay - National March Coverage

I also saw a posting today stating that CSPAN was planning to broadcast a portion of the event, although I haven't been able to find it on their schedule as of yet. But check back, I'm sure it will updated...You can visit the website here: CSPAN

If anyone is aware of any other live feed or broadcast please let us know so we can post it.

ImageBoy, Barney Frank is getting hammered. Barney was interviewed by Michelangelo Signorile about a number of things, including the National March in Washington. Frank, a Congressman from Massachusetts, called the March "useless" and said "I literally don't understand how this will do anything. People are kidding themselves. I don't want people patting themselves on the back for doing something that is useless." He added that people would be better served by staying home and lobbying their members of Congress.

Well, thanks to Twitter, activists immediately went into hyper drive, condemning Frank for his words, in a flurry of hate from all corners of the internet, people one by one labeled him with profane names and demanded he step down from his position in Congress. Visit sites like Signorile.com or Towleroad or JoeMyGod and sample the comments posted. If you're on Facebook check for postings there, which have been some of the most vitriolic. There are comments, on all those sites, which are rational and thoughtful, and remind others who Barney Frank is. Those, however, are far overshadowed by the childish rants of angry and petulant activists.

Put this into perspective for a moment...Barney Frank is not some right wing, republican windbag, he's on our side. Not only is he on our side, but he's an openly gay Congressman who's currently instrumental in the Hate Crimes Bill, which just passed the House and now moves to the Senate, and if it makes it all the way to the President's desk and is signed, will be the first federal protection for LGBT Americans. Frank is also the key figure in the Employment Non Discrimination Act, which is currently in process, and if it succeeds will be the first federal protection for LGBT employees in the workplace in America.

ImageANCHORAGE, Alaska – Levi Johnston is going for the ultimate exposure — the 19-year-old father of Sarah Palin's grandchild will pose nude for Playgirl, his attorney said Wednesday.

To get ready for his close-up, Johnston is training three hours a day, six nights a week at an Anchorage gym with a local body builder.

A formal agreement hasn't been reached with the online magazine, but the photo shoot is a "foregone conclusion," said Johnston's attorney, Rex Butler.

Read the rest of the story here

This is the last segment of an hour long episode of "Countdown With Kieth Olbermann" which aired Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, and dealt exclusively with health care reform. This man continues to amaze me with his words and reason. Don't miss this...

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Anderson Cooper and Dan Choi face off against Elaine Donnelly, who, as usual, has nothing to back up her stance against gays and lesbians serving in the military. She does her best to act as if she's the victim here, to act as if she knows more statistics than Anderson and Dan do, but of course, as usual, Elaine didn't even bother to research her position on the topic. She simply believes cliche rhetoric will win the day. Watch her get taken down...

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ImageImagePresident Obama may be speaking at the HRC gala in Washington DC this Saturday, October 10th, the night before the National Equality March, but it won't be without protestors outside. Gay Liberation Network along with Queer Liberaction (Dallas) has announced a jointly organized picket of the event to take place at 6pm.

The Gay Liberation Network has issued a statement on their website, criticizing the organizers of the National March, saying "Their current focus on cajoling Congress and the President to do the right thing ignores a very basic fact – this approach has never won civil rights gains." They added something which I've been in support of, and promoting, for some time now, which is that we need more aggressive actions and less "respectful pandering". They added, "By contrast, uncompromising street protests led by ACT-UP and others gave us the Ryan White AIDS Care and the Americans With Disabilities Acts – despite a very reactionary political climate during the first Bush administration. An era of such protests – the 1960s – caused the radical change in consciousness among LGBT people which thereby gave birth to our modern LGBT movement."

Although the majority of our movement has morphed into a politically correct and far too controlled mindset, all evidence leads to a conclusion that this is not the way to go. I've been especially amazed at this continued path, given the unbelievable defeats we've recently endured, when logic, reason and the constitution of the country were completely on our side. For some reason, these blatant acts of anti-American discrimination and restrictions placed on us by even the very court systems which should be overturning our inequality, has not resonated with the majority of our movement. Instead, those who voice any opposition to the continued strategy of the recent past, which has failed, are denounced.

I have to say, reading about this protest and more importantly, the statements on the websites which urge a return to demands, rather than requests, are refreshing, even hopeful. I've been surprised that since the courts upheld Prop 8, and conservative and religious groups have now gone after all states which have approved same sex marriage, that not one radical action has taken place from our side. Don't be influenced by the majority groups who categorize any suggestion of a radical act as a regular strategy which "sets us back" or "derails the movement". All civil rights movements have used occasional radical acts in order to move the battle forward.

Also don't be influenced by the majority who characterize "radical" as "violent". It's upsetting to see groups so quick to applaud their own efforts then use the political tactic of re-defining a word or words in order to deflect an opposing idea. Radical acts are unexpected, aggressive and often result in arrests. Radical acts are acts which refuse to, for that day, follow the rules. No one is suggesting setting anything on fire. Radical acts are singular, and used to punctuate the dialogue. No one is suggesting that we throw gas on the fire day after day after day. But without an occasional heating up of the issue, we may be doomed to forever be second class citizens.

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Review By: Leon Velasco

Insight to Group

In 1990, over 200 representatives of Indigenous nations from throughout the western hemisphere met for the first time in Quito, Ecuador. There they witnessed the unfolding prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor. It is the inspiration of spiritual running, to re-unite the nations from North, Central and South America. They remember and talk about a prophecy foretold, how we will come together and reunite as one. “We are like a body that was broken up into pieces and this body will come back together to be whole again.” Hundreds of runners from throughout the Northern and Southern continents leave  Chickaloon, Alaska on the 1st of May to Panama and meet the runners of the southern most point of South America “Tierra del Fuego”  coming together to fulfill the ancient prophecy.

Each time Peace & Dignity Journey passes, the prayers conducted during the run focuses on an energy or spirit:

In 1992, the first Peace & Dignity theme was based on the children.

In 1996 the elders were the focus of the run, bringing in knowledge of our past and participating in the prayers.

In 2000 the run had a particular focus on the family.  

In 2004 runners focused on the spirit of the Woman. To the struggle and the power of mothers and grandmothers whom give life to our very existence, and to our mother earth and its constant struggle with the environmental changes that we humans are putting her through.

In2008 the run was dedicated to sacred grounds. Too many sacred grounds are being taken over by corporate America.  They are turned into biohazard waste dumps and propose to build nuclear plants on them.  Many of these lands host the burial grounds of our ancestors.

ImageCrutch - Based on a True Story

Rated R - Director: Rob Moretti - Starring: Robert Bray, James Early, Jennifer Katz, Frankie Faison, Eben Gorban

Review By: Leon Velasco  Rating: One Thumb Up/ One Down

I thought I’d do a review to a movie that all the Students and Instructors would relate to when discussing attraction of one to the other. I am guilty of such desires and let me tell you; there aren’t enough restraints in the world that could have held me back, had I the opportunity to fulfill my student and teacher fantasy. Of course the professor I fantasized of is very attractive, (sigh) if only. But that’s never going to happen, that was two semesters ago at city college. Crossing boundaries can be so delicious; with the right person, hot desires… Is it me or is it getting hot? Get ready for some hot scenes in what may have been your fantasy.

Behind a façade of suburban middle class perfection, a compelling tale of love, loss, lies and lust unfolds… Sixteen-year old David’s (Eben Gordon) Home life is falling apart. As he tries to cope with his impossible situation, the troubled, impressionable teenager falls under the spell of Kenny (Rob Moretti), a gorgeous, thirty something, has been an actor turned theater coach. And when Kenny’s “support” escalates into seduction, David slowly descends into an abyss of drinking and drug addiction from which he must escape if he is to survive. Based on a true story, Crutch is a captivating, powerful look at exorcising private demons and exposing dark secrets.

Like the scribblings in a teenager’s diary, the film vacillates between insight and exaggeration.” – Don Wilmott, Filmcritic.com

(More reviews on the next page...)

ImageOctober is GLBT HISTORY MONTHhighlighting, annually, the achievements of 31 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Icons—one each day—with a free video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources.

Visit the GLBT HISTORY MONTH WEBSITE where, beginning October 1, 2009, "a new GLBT Icon is presented daily. Each day you’ll have access to his or her video, bio and resources, along with information on all the preceding Icons. Just click on the Icon's name, corresponding with the day of the month." This year, those profiled include filmmaker Gus Van Sant, early gay activist Harry Hay, television anchor Rachel Maddow, financial guru Suze Orman, professional basketball player John Amaechi, author Paul Monette and singer kd Lang.

We have embedded the daily video at the top of the main page of GayFresno.com. The video profile will change each day in October, highlighting a different person each day. You can also visit the website by clicking on the link above. You can download a PDF file containing the biographies of all this month's profiles by clicking HERE

From the New York Times...

President Obama will speak to a gathering of gay rights activists this weekend, a day before thousands of people are expected to march on Washington in a demonstration calling for greater legal protections for gays, lesbians and transgendered Americans.

Mr. Obama’s appearance on Saturday at the annual dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, represents a significant show of support for gay rights at a time when many prominent gay and lesbian activists have been questioning the president’s commitment to their issues.

Many gay rights activists have become increasingly vocal about their frustration over what they see as tepid support from Mr. Obama. While the president has professed support for overturning the ban on gays in the military and called the law that precludes federal recognition of same-sex marriages discriminatory, he has not engaged on gay rights issues as actively as some had hoped.

Read the rest of this article by clicking here... NYT - OBAMA TO ADDRESS GAY RIGHTS ORGANIZATION

ImageIf you missed seeing it at Reel Pride this year, you can catch the documentary OUTRAGE, about closeted gay politicians, starting tonight, Monday, October 5th, on HBO.

From the New York Times...

ImageWASHINGTON — In an unusual show of support for allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, an article in an official military journal argues forcefully for repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which requires homosexuals in the services to keep their sexual orientation secret.

The article, which appears in Joint Force Quarterly and was reviewed before publication by the office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that “after a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly.”

Although the article, by an Air Force colonel, Om Prakash, carries no weight as a matter of policy, it may well signal a shift in the official winds. It won the 2009 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay competition.

To read the rest of this article...click here: Rare Source of Attack On Don't Ask Don't Tell

Next week, LGBT people from across the United States will be joined by family and friends in a historic journey to Washington DC to take part in the National Equality March.

In 1979, we marched on Washington to tell America we would not go away. In 1987, we marched to fight for our lives.  In 1993, we marched to prove we would survive. In 2000, we marched to claim our place in the new millennium.

On Sunday, October 11, we will once again march on Washington with the ultimate demand:

Full Equality Now.

We go to Washington to address the nation as a whole. We believe America is ready to accept LGBT people as full citizens, deserving of all rights afforded any other citizen.

We make this demand in the tradition of all those in America’s past who were told their gender, race, or ethnicity defined them as less than equal to other Americans. Each, in their own time, came to Washington to speak to the nation and its leaders, and to fight for full equal rights. We gratefully recognize that without the example of their leadership and sacrifice, it is unlikely we would be on our way to Washington at all.

ImageIt seems the “Yes On 8” campaign will stop at nothing. They’re okay with lies, slander, manipulation, hate, prejudice, anti-American practices, etc. The list goes on and on. Now, at a recent “Yes On 8” rally, a spokesman compared legal same sex marriage with the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany.  Watch The Video

ImageJoin now! 2008-09 season under way! League plays weekly on Thursdays (7:15pm warmup, 7:30pm games start) at Cedar Lanes, 3131 N. Cedar Ave in Fresno. The season will end in March 2009. Sign up or more info: Richard (559) 681-2491.
www.CommunityLinkFresno.com
Fun with balls! (Click on the poster image to enlarge...)

ImageThe campaign supporting the passage of Prop 8 have used children in their TV ads without permission of the parents. On top of that, the parents are vehemently opposed to the passage of Prop 8 and are demanding the ads be taken off the air. It’s a disgusting manipulation by the Vote Yes On 8 campaign which claims to be supportive of families while at the same time prostituting those families against their wishes. Added to the blatant lies which inhabit their rhetoric, it reveals again just how far prejudiced, bigoted and closed minded Americans will go to sway voters in order to restrict the civil rights of their fellow Americans.

SACRAMENTO – The parents of the two children most prominently featured in the latest multi-million dollar Prop 8 political spot today termed those ads “distasteful and exploitative” and demanded that the ads be taken off the air immediately. Click on the following link for the story and video…  Outraged Parents Demand Justice

ImageThere was a large and very visible presence at Blackstone & Shaw on Saturday to voice opposition to California Proposition 8, which will be voted on November 4th. The crowds took up all four corners of the busy Fresno intersection and prompted a rally of car horns in support of their efforts. The rally came one day before the Mayor will hold a “Yes On Prop 8” rally at City Hall.

To watch this ABC Local News video click on the following link: ABC Local News - Prop 8 Rallies

ImageImageFor the 2009-10 academic year, the Bulldog Pride Fund expects to award three scholarships of $2,000 each ($6,000 total). Scholarships are awarded to incoming or returning, undergraduate or graduate, full-time Fresno State students, from any major, that have "demonstrated pride in the community."

Applications for the Bulldog Pride Fund and all scholarships at Fresno State will be accepted from Oct. 1, 2008 to Feb. 28, 2009 with the Scholarship Office, Division of Student Affairs.

Details online @ http://www.bulldogpride.org

Image(The following is a statement from the Editorial Board of the Fresno Bee concerning Proposition 8) Proposition 8, which would define marriage in California as only between a man and a woman, raises a number of issues. But one question stands out: Should we use the state constitution to take the right to marry from a particular group of people? We believe that notion is wrong, and recommend a "no" vote on Proposition 8.

We understand that many Californians, because of religious or personal convictions, oppose same-sex marriage, and these are deeply held beliefs. But there are others who believe that marriage should not be limited to heterosexual couples.

In May, the issue took a legal turn. Same-sex couples won the right to marry when the state Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22, the ballot measure that banned gay marriage in 2000.

 

ImageImageDemocratic vice president candidate Joe Biden has taped an interview with Ellen DeGeneres where he comes out against Proposition 8, the ballot measure that threatens to ban gay marriage in California. The interview is scheduled to run on Ellen's show Monday.

According to Variety, Biden also criticized the initiative at an event in West Hollywood Thursday night: At the event, Biden told IN Los Angeles magazine journalist Karen Ocamb that he opposes Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California. He had just finished taping an episode of The Ellen Show that will air Monday, and expressed his opposition to the measure to host Ellen DeGeneres.

At the vice presidential debate with Sarah Palin, Biden said that he opposes same-sex marriage. Obama holds the same position, but also has said he opposes Proposition 8, citing the fact that it would write a restriction into a state constitution. Biden plead with the crowd gathered at the $500-per-person fund-raiser at the Pacific Design Center to talk to their friends and family and "make the case for us."

"There's a great deal at stake, so my plea to you is, we have less than three weeks to go, so this is the time to focus like we never have before." BGay.com  Website

ImageConnecticut has become the third state to legalize gay marriage. Read the story HERE

ImageImageStory from the New York Press:

Turns out all those pent-up men who make their money gambling with other people's money, also need anonymous, online companionship when the going gets tough. Stories circulated about people turning to Craigslist and other outlets to get their nut. But we received a tip that Manhunt, the most popular online "dating" resource in NYC for men looking for a hookup, saw record membership numbers the day of the stock market crash. So we got on the phone with Ken Herron, chief of marketing, and Tim Feeley, head of product development, to discuss the numbers that spiked when the Dow dropped. For the rest of this story, click HERE

ImageImageImageUpcoming events at Deja Vu. Click on the images to enlarge for viewing. Visit the Déjà Vu Nightclub Web site here:  http://www.fresnodejavu.com/

Image Watch the latest No On 8 Television Ad HERE

Click Read More to view more WEB VIDS against Prop 8! Ellen Degeneres, A Mac commercial parody, and the new commercial produced by No On Prop 8!

As November 4th approaches, fighters against Prop 8 worry after finding out Yes on 8 is ahead in the polls. Following Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg, more and more celebrities are speaking out against Prop 8 with their wallets. Click Read More to see a list of celebs to recently donate to Prop 8…

 

ImageImageThe Los Angeles Times has picked up the story of Fresno's own Father Geoffrey Farrow, who recently came out of the closet and denounced Prop 8. The following is from the article in the Times. A link at the bottom provides access to the full article...

A week ago, Father Geoffrey Farrow stood before his Roman Catholic parishioners in Fresno and delivered a sermon that placed him squarely at odds with his church over gay marriage.

With Proposition 8 on the November ballot, and his own bishop urging Central Valley priests to support its definition of traditional marriage, Farrow told congregants he felt obligated to break "a numbing silence" about church prejudice against homosexuals.

"How is marriage protected by intimidating gay and lesbian people into loveless and lonely lives?" he asked parishioners of the St. Paul Newman Center. "I am morally compelled to vote no on Proposition 8."

Click on the following link to read the rest of this article:  LA Times - Stand Against Prop 8 Cost Priest Dearly

ImageImageThe 2008-09 Bulldog Pride Fund scholarsAlisia Lopez, Amanda Junge and Jared Lindo—were each presented $1,000 scholarships on Oct. 10, 2008 at the Fresno State Alumni Association's Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala held at the Save Mart Center.

A reception family, friends, donors and volunteers at the Smittcamp Alumni House was held prior to the gala. Bulldog Pride Fund alumnus and donor Adrian Quintero served as Master of Ceremonies for the more than 30 donors and guests in attendance.

Lopez (Class of 2011), a sophomore majoring in political science, was introduced by Robin McGehee. Junge (Class of 2012), a freshman studying music education and performance, was introduced by Matthew Mazzei; and Lindo (Class of 2009), a senior majoring in civil engineering, was introduced by Benjamin Adams

ImageImageImageFor the first time since the Advertising Council was founded in 1942, the organization – which direct and coordinates public service campaigns on behalf of Madison Avenue and the media industry – is introducing ads meant to tackle a social issue of concern to gays and lesbians.

The campaign, which is scheduled to be announced by the council in Washington on Wednesday, will seek to discourage bullying and harassment of teenagers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The campaign, created pro bono by the New York office of Arnold Worldwide, urges an end to using derogatory language, particularly labeling anything deemed negative or unpleasant as “so gay.” That is underlined by the theme of the campaign: “When you say, ‘That’s so gay,’ do you realize what you say? Knock it off.”  

 

ImageThe latest ABC follow up on the Father Farrow story has an interview with Farrow’s brother, who supports him, as well as further explanation from Farrow himself. Watch the story here:  ABC - Reaction To Father Farrow's Statements

ImageImageImageLocal ABC News aired a follow up to the Father Farrow story today, with a representative speaking for the Bishop of the church. Father Farrow has evidently cleared out his desk and left the church, reflecting for a time before he begins a new chapter in his life. He’s considering writing a book. There’s also been both a live chat on ABC about the incident, as well as a message board discussion about Proposition 8 specifically. Click on the images to enlarge for viewing, and click on the following links to access the stories.

ABC News Follow Up Coverage  

ABC Live Chat With Viewers About Father Farrow's Revelations

ABC Message Board Discussion On Prop 8

ImageAfter 23 years as an ordained Catholic Priest, Father Geoffrey Farrow has likely given his final mass. Sunday morning he invited us to hear his message, a message that shocked many parishioners.

That line heads a local news story by ABC 30 about Father Geoffrey Farrow, an unbelievably brave man who decided to stand up to the doctrines of his church in the wake of Proposition 8, a California ballot measure to be voted on in November, which, if passed, would strip the recent historical advances for LGBT Americans, granted by the California Supreme Court, legal same sex marriage. Not only did Farrow make a brave declaration against Prop 8, he also came out of the closet during the news story. Those two stands are likely to result in the end of his presence in this or any other Catholic church.

Reaction from the congregation was mixed. About half of them gave him a standing ovation. The other half sat quietly, some leaving in tears. Afterward, the news team interviewed a couple of parishioners who’d witnessed the revelation. The first was a woman who did nothing but recite what she’d been taught to recite, admitting she’d been made to "follow commandments” and then gave up the tired, manufactured mantra of “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”. (Put her to bed, she's done...) The other parishioner gave an honest observation and came to his own conclusions, something about half of the Catholic congregation was unable to do.

When ABC News approached the Bishop who heads the diocese in Fresno for a comment, he was not only uninformed, but said he'd heard “rumors” about the incident, and added that “Proposition 8 is not a homosexual issue, rather about the institution of marriage, which is the basis of our society.”

This statement, as put forth by many who declare themselves “religious” or “conservative”, is actually a statement which supports voting NO on Proposition 8, since the measure only allows more Americans to marry. If marriage is the “basis of our society” and Prop 8 would exclude millions of Americans from marrying, isn't that a move against marriage, against the “basis of our society”? They would say no, of course, in order to mask the plain truth, which is that support of Prop 8 is not about protecting anything, except the self serving hatred and prejudice which the measure is really about. That doesn’t sell very well, even to the converted.

After numerous questions from his parishioners about direction on Proposition 8, Father Farrow felt compelled to make a statement against the position of his bishop and church, a statement based in honesty and truth, and what he feels is right. “What most Catholics hear about being gay or lesbian from their church, is silence. I know that these words of truth will cost me dearly,” he added, “but to withhold them would be far more costly, and I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian people not only of their civil rights, but of their human dignity as well.” A stunning and striking moment of truth from a true hero.

Watch the story HERE

ImageThank you to all who attended Ducal Ball 35 A Red & Wild Extravaganza last night. It was our honor to have in attendance the Reigning Monarchs From Modesto Matthew and Tequila, Also in attendance from Modesto was Mama Cantrell, Stockton was in the house as well Regent Emperor Wesley and I.C.P. Princess.
We are honored to announce the 35th Elected Grand Duke & Duchess Alvin Marquez & Angelina
For those of you who do not know them please take the opportunity because they are both exceptional people when you see them out. Ball Coordinator Imperial Crown Count Carol Lozano & Empress 34 Patsy Del Rey and the Ducal Ball Committee did a magnificent job. We Salute you.

With much Gratitude & Appreciation,
The Heavenly Dark Chocolate Emperor With Nuts
Emperor 35 Big Anthony & The Jaded Dove Schorching Empress From The Flames Of Hell Empress 35 Diva Licious

ImageNEW YORK - The AIDS virus has been circulating among people for about 100 years, decades longer than scientists had thought, a new study suggests. Genetic analysis pushes the estimated origin of HIV back to between 1884 and 1924, with a more focused estimate at 1908.

Click on the following link to read the story: Study Puts AIDS Origin At 100 Years Ago

Did you know there are over 21,000 HIV positive Californians as of September 30, 2007? well it’s true, according to the current California HIV Surveillance Report.

HIV is most prevalent amongst White people (49%), Hispanics (28%) and African Americans (18%), where in that community it is currently spreading rapidly at a disproportionate rate. Of course it's not demographics that is the cause of transmission, it's a persons behaviors that ultimately put them at risk for contracting the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

My name is Jamie Richie. I live in the small town of Porterville, CA. Two months ago, I was just another concerned, but quiet member of the community.  Like a lot of people, I often thought of myself as an activist at heart, but I wasn’t really doing anything besides complaining.  In part because I didn’t really know what to do, and wasn’t aware of the resources available. I was looking for leadership in my area and found none.  I was sure there were more people here that had to be thinking the same thing. Then I met someone who inspired me to the point of action.

 

   

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Jason & deMarco
Jason & DeMarco, The Fresno Gay Men's Chorus, and guest speakers ranging from city council members to local political organizers from the gay community joined an audience of roughly 200 people to commemorate National Coming Out Day at the Tower Theatre last Thursday evening. The musical portion of the program opened with the chorus, followed by Chrisitian singer-songwriting duo Jason & deMarco. The program ended with a finale number featuring Jason & deMarco, with the chorus providing backing vocals. The end of the event was greeted with an enthusiastic, standing ovation from the audience.

Image Donors and guests are cordially invited to a reception honoring the Bulldog Pride Fund scholars-- Jared Lindo, Sara Martinez and Adrian Quintero-- on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Jensen Library of the Smittcamp Alumni House at Fresno State. The reception is being held prior to the Fresno State Alumni Association's Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala held at the Save Mart Center. That evening, each BPF scholar will be presented a $1,000 scholarship. The BPF scholars represent some of the best and brightest students attending Fresno State. You'll enjoy meeting them. Free admission; donations always welcome.
DETAILS: http://www.bulldogpride.org/
RSVP:
https://www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/CAF/events/CAF2098979.html 

             For the Bible tells me so is a wonderful documentary. It has won several awards, such as, the HBO Audience Award at the Provincetown Film Festival and the Audience Award for best documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival. I personally wanted to see the film because I am heavy on religion and have had some drawbacks because of my sexuality. This film gradually addressed all my concerns and none of my drawbacks plague me any longer.

vote_nov_7.jpg
An election is approaching, on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006. While we can’t vote to abolish the current administration at the highest levels, we have a chance to in some way begin to change the structure responsible for the current devastating destruction of American principals and integrity. We’ve been force fed lie upon concept upon affiliation upon diversion. This election is our latest chance to help true Americans to reclaim power. True Americans are those who value the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights. True Americans are those who realize that the principals put forth in those documents are not merely grandiose imagination, but absolute imperatives to maintaining freedom and equality.
Keith Olberman, over at MSNBC, is a true American. He chooses, regardless of public sentiment, to instigate controversial political dialogue.  Most importantly, he isn’t a partisan thinker, he operates from facts and presents them as evidence in order to call to task the management of this country by an inept administration. True Americans, usually not those waving the little flags, believe that the rights of American citizens are more than speeches and talking points.
gibson_mug_shot.jpgReality in America is fairly out of focus. We tend to accept words from any source as reality, without so much as a follow up question. With celebrities it’s far easier, since our knowledge of them is based on an act, or a publicity interview. It’s rare that any of us ever gets to know who a celebrity figure is in real life, not the personality they’ve carefully crafted for us with the assistance of a group of handlers. I’d heard about Gibson’s anti-gay comments from years past. In America, however, that’s not an uncommon sentiment, so I filed it away as inconsequential. As is usually the case in life though, things tend to be what they appear to be.

qallanbrocka.JPGWriter and director Q Allan Brocka received an achievement award at this year’s Fresno Reel Pride Festival. Allan has been contributing to and coming to Fresno’s film festival for years. He’s currently in Toronto, Canada working on a gay themed series, Rick & Steve, The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World,  which is scheduled to air on MTV’s LOGO channel next year. I sat down for a phone interview with him during a break in his schedule.
Chris Jarvis: So what’s going on in Toronto?
Allan Brocka: I’m shooting a TV show for  LOGO . It’s Rick & Steve The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World , it’s animation.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY USA DISAPPOINTED WITH INTERMEDIATE COURT DECISION; LOOK TO CALIFORNIA SUPREME CT TO END DISCRIMINATION

San Francisco – In a series of community events across California today, Marriage Equality USA will come together to express disappointment in today’s appellate court decision, but is optimistic that the California Supreme Court will right this legal wrong.

128 page Court decisision
In recent weeks three fires have occurred in the Tower District, all within the same proximity, Two of the fires took place at either gay owned and operated, or formerly gay operated and still gay owned nightclubs.  The first fire took place on September 26th at the North Tower Circle, the second on October 1st at Club Dance (formerly the Fresno Express), and, most recently, a third fire, which has been ruled arson, occurred at a bail bonds business in the area.
The Red Lantern was host for the show “Too Hot Too Handle”, on Friday, October 14th. The show, conceived and arranged by Elaine Beringer, Tatiana and Patsy Del Rey, was a benefit for the employees of The North Tower Circle, recently closed to a devastating fire.

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Hey there it's Becki, my mom, Marti, wrote an article for us here at gayfresno.com
It is the nicest thing she has ever done or said to me and I wanted to share it with everyone...
The third suspicious fire to strike the north Tower District area occurred Sunday night, October 16th.
A bail bond office was heavily damaged by a fast-moving fire shortly before 7 p.m. The Bail-U-Out office was located on Wishon just south of Shields near the underpass.

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Benefit show at The Red Lantern on Friday, October 14th
to benefit the North Tower Circle & Employees due to the devastating fire which closed the club.  The show is called "Too Hot To Handle" and it is scheduled to start at 9pm.
Hope to see you there...
By the way, Indulgence Fresno will be providing a free holiday cheesecake tasting during the show...
Chris
National Coming Out Day was celebrated October 9th here in Fresno. It was celebrated on the front plaza
of our own City Hall. This is the second year we’ve celebrated NCOD there. It seems only right to hold the
venue there since last year Mayor Autry used the plaza to discriminate against our brothers and sisters in
the LGBT community. What better place to have our very own celebration?

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Video: (modem) (dsl/cable)
Use the link below...
email here
Clicking the link above with paste the default action message and contact email addresses of police and fire officials into your default email program.  If this does not work, please click "read more" below and copy and paste the message into your email program.

Please add your own closing, your name and contact details at the bottom of the message.
The closed Dance nightclub was the scene of an early morning fire on Oct. 1st.

A Fresno fire investigator said the exterior of the building was involved. He added that an investigation into whether this latest fire is tied to Monday morning's fire at the North Tower Circle is underway.

Dance has been closed since the end of June. The club was shuttered after Fresno police filed accusations with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency that owners Jose Lopez and Herb Fisher had failed to "abate objectionable conditions" there. The allegations were leveled a few days after a fatal shooting in a nearby parking lot Memorial Day weekend.
Fisher moved his Fresno Express bar to the Maroa building four years ago. He then changed the format from gay to straight in 2003. He later sold majority ownership of the club to Lopez.

Stay tuned to this website and NewsLink for more in this continuing story.
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Image After a turbulent few months between the gay and lesbian community and Mayor Autry the GLBT community came together for Fresno’s first ever National Coming out Day celebration on Sunday October 10th members of the gay and lesbian community.