Final few hours to enter our annual Pride Month FREE Raffle 

Over $700 in prizes!!!

raffle-prizes To enterclick here and fill out a quick entry form. No cost and no purchase necessary! You can enter daily, but the contest ends at 11:59pm on June 30th, so hurry!




A very special thanks to our donors for this year...

 

Kwirkworld River Park
Gift Bag with various items, valued at $135 

Michael Craghead Stables
Certificate for 3 riding lessons, valued at $125

Ficarra Studios
Certificate for Studio Session & 8x10 portrait, valued at $100

Starbucks - Herndon & Milburn
Four mugs, two bags of coffee beans, two starbucks via coffee bags, valued at over $60

Amenities Day Spa & Salon Fig Garden
Certificate for Spa & Salon, valued at $50 

Frosted Cakery
One dozen cupcakes, valued at $30

Chase Flowers
Certificate for Flowers, valued at $50.

Bobby Salazar's
Gift card for dining, valued at $25 

RWF Company 
2 engraved Beer Steins, valued at $50

Brass Unicorn
Gift box with Aroma burner, oil and discount card, $59 value

Ruben’s Barber Shop
Certificate for Shave & Haircut, valued at $25 

Total US Retail Value of all prizes is $709

This week we mark the one year anniversary of our Supreme Court victory in Hollingsworth v. Perry that returned marriage equality to the nation's most populous state, California.

case-against-8Join us tonight to relive history by watching The Case Against 8 on HBO. The moving film premiers tonight at 9pm in all time zones and is also available on HBO On Demand and HBOGO.

This documentary, created and directed by Ryan White and Ben Cotner, is a unique behind-the-scenes look at AFER's fight to restore marriage equality in California. Produced independently from the Foundation, the film team was given exclusive access into our meeting rooms and the lives of our four courageous plaintiffs. 

Awarded the Directing Award for a U.S. Documentary at Sundance Film Festival, the film offers unprecedented insight into the courtroom battle and the emotional journey we had taking the case to the Supreme Court.

The San Francisco Chronicle calls it "a riveting film," and The Village Voice reviewed it as "highly entertaining and beautifully human."

The film, which tells the story of the four plaintiffs and their families throughout their personal fight for equality, has also won the Audience award at SXSW and the award for Best Documentary at Vail Film Festival.

Make sure to catch this powerful film as we get ready to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Perry decision on Thursday. May it remind us of how tough battles are won and of the tremendous amount of work we have ahead of us. 

Sincerely,


Adam Umhoefer
Executive Director
American Foundation for Equal Rights

rainbow-pc

Quick! What time is it? And if you do know (or don't) what's that got to do with a computer and tech column?
Well, the answer is everything and giving credit where credit is due, we have been struggling with the time on our computers, our phones, iPads, our "atomic clock" and our regular, old watches for awhile now because they all show different times at the same time. So what IS the time?
Oh, and about that credit...just when I thought I was the only one having this issue along comes, in The Telegraph, the British national newspaper I read daily on www. pressreader.com (It's a great paid service with thousands of the world's newspapers available for computer, iPad and Droid and worth checking out.) where in a column entitled "Time has lost all meaning in the digital age" by Alexander Armstrong I see the same issue raised. In it, Armstrong worries about what will become of "the pips." No, not the Gladys Knight ones, but those the BBC has been broadcasting for nine decades to signify the precise top of each hour. There are five "beeps" (to use a different word than pips) followed by a longer tone signifying exactly when the top of the hour has been reached.

The problem, as we sorted out at our house a few months back and Armstrong discussed in his column, is that with all the different media we have these days, no time signal (pips, beeps, that tone CBS Radio uses to start their hourly news or even the NPR top of the hour indicator) really tells when the clock is straight up at any hour for that matter. The reason is the delivery method, and that can cause quite a discrepancy.

Armstrong found out about the problem when he tried listening in Christmas Eve to the annual Lessons & Carols from King's College Cambridge in every room of his home. He reports he put on the broadcast on a regular FM, his internet radio, his iPhone, a digital (in this country called HD) radio and on his computer only to find that he could not listen in even- room of his home simultaneously because his devices were not in synch — off by over a minute from the first to the last to hit the show's 3 o'clock start.

Dear Mz. Pink,

My girlfriend and I have been together for a while now, and I love being with her. But we argue all the time. I mean we argue about everything from the color of an object to the temperature outside. I hate it that we argue all the time, but to make matters worse, she thinks she is always right even when she is wrong. Of course, with this being her thought process I can't make her understand some things and another argument ensues. Please help. I need to be the bigger person and not fall victim to arguments and it's hard sometimes. How can this become easier?

Argued Out

Its a good thing to have some savings. When you put the money in a low-risk account you can be pretty sure it will be readily available when you need it. Nonetheless, "saving" is not "investing" — and knowing the difference could pay off for you far into the future.

Think about it this way: unless that Leprechaun is for real and you manage to find that pot of gold, saving is for today, while investing is for tomorrow.

You need your savings to pay for your daily expenses, such as groceries, and your monthly bills — mortgage, utilities, and so on. In fact, you might even want your savings to include an emergency fund containing six to 12 months' worth of living expenses to pay for unexpected costs, such as a new furnace, replacing frozen pipes so many had this past Winter or a major car repair.

These are all "here and now" expenses — and you could use your savings to pay for them. But in thinking of your long-term goals, such as college for any children you and/or your partner have, a comfortable retirement for yourself and him or her, most individuals typically can't simply rely on their savings — they'll need to invest.
Why? Because, quite simply, investments can grow — and you will need this growth potential to help achieve your objectives — be they a beach house in Key West, a round-the-world cruise or just a relaxing, worry-free retirement when the time comes.

To illustrate the difference between saving and investing, let's do a quick comparison.

Suppose you put $200 per month into a savings account that paid hypothetical 3% interest (which is actually higher than the rates typically being paid today).
After 30 veal's, you would have accumulated about $106,000, assuming you were in the 25% federal tax bracket. Now, suppose you put that same $200 per month in a tax- deferred investment that hypothetically earned 7% a year. At the end of 30 years, you would end up with about $243,000. (Keep in mind that you would have to pay taxes on withdrawals. Also note that "hypotheticals" do not include any transaction costs or other fees.)

This enormous disparity between the amounts accumulated in the two accounts clearly shows the difference between "saving" and "investing." Still, you might be thinking that investing is risky, while savings accounts carry much less risk. And it is certainly true that investing does involve risks — as I always tell my customers (and I am required by law to remind them of this regularly): investments can lose value and there's no guarantee that losses will be recovered.

Nonetheless, if you put all your money in savings, you're actually incurring an even bigger risk — the risk of not achieving your financial goals. In fact, a low-rate savings account might not even keep up with inflation, which means that, over time, you just might lose purchasing power.
That means, for example, if you get a paltry three tenths of a percent which many savings accounts are paying nowadays, you'd be better off to spend that money because by leaving it in the bank you actually will be losing ground. Your buying power with it might well be less in two, three or 10 years than it is now.

So ultimately, the question isn't whether you should save or invest — you need to do both. But you do need to decide how much of your financial resources to devote toward savings and how much toward investments. By paying close attention to your cash flow, you should be able to get a good idea of the best savings and investment mix for your particular situation.

For example, if you find yourself constantly dipping into your long-term investments to pay for short-term needs, you probably don't have enough money in savings. On the other hand, if you consistently find yourself with large sums in your savings account even after you've paid all your bills, you might be "sitting" on too much cash — which means you should consider moving some of this money into investments with growth potential.

Saving and investing — that's a winning combination.

Our annual Pride Month FREE Raffle is going strong
and we're pleased to announce the items up for grabs!

Over $700 in prizes!!!

raffle-prizes To enterclick here and fill out a quick entry form. No cost and no purchase necessary! You can enter daily, but the contest ends June 30th, so hurry!




A very special thanks to our donors for this year...

 

Kwirkworld River Park
Gift Bag with various items, valued at $135 

Michael Craghead Stables
Certificate for 3 riding lessons, valued at $125

Ficarra Studios
Certificate for Studio Session & 8x10 portrait, valued at $100

Starbucks - Herndon & Milburn
Four mugs, two bags of coffee beans, two starbucks via coffee bags, valued at over $60

Amenities Day Spa & Salon Fig Garden
Certificate for Spa & Salon, valued at $50 

Frosted Cakery
One dozen cupcakes, valued at $30

Chase Flowers
Certificate for Flowers, valued at $50.

Bobby Salazar's
Gift card for dining, valued at $25 

RWF Company 
2 engraved Beer Steins, valued at $50

Brass Unicorn
Gift box with Aroma burner, oil and discount card, $59 value

Ruben’s Barber Shop
Certificate for Shave & Haircut, valued at $25 

Total US Retail Value of all prizes is $709

Dear Dr. Fred:

I'm a middle-aged gay male, newly single after a recent, painful break-up. The most helpful person to me in going through this rough time was my co-worker Pam. Pam is a middle-aged lesbian, also single, with a huge heart and loyal as can be. I never could have gotten through the last few months without her.

Problem is, Pam is also one of the most opinionated people I've ever known, and doesn't hesitate to air her very strong opinions anywhere and everywhere, always very loudly.

She's a tea party conservative and proud of it and likes to vent her outrage over the current administrations "total incompetence, dishonesty and stupidity." While I agree Washington is a mess, I happen to like Obama, so it actually hurts my feelings sometimes when she goes off on one of her rants and then gets even more revved up if I try to say anything in his defense.

Things really came to a head recently on Facebook. After the President's state of the union address the other night, Pam went on a true rampage there, trashing him, everything he'd said, his policies, his plans, even his wife and kids. She really got 'out there" over the course of the evening. I posted a response, trying to defend him, but that was a big mistake, because it just got her more agitated, calling him a Muslim, saying he's not even an American citizen, etc., etc. It got so bizarre that I "unfriended" her— not because I don't want to be her friend in real life, but just to end her crazy postings on my FB page.

So now Pam isn't speaking to me. When we cross paths at work she looks the other way or stares me down with hate in her eyes. I want to somehow get across to her that I still want to be friends, just not on Facebook, as that site isn't good for our friendship. Any suggestions?
In spite of her quirks, I really miss my friend.

Signed Me,
Sad Man on Facebook

PecsnCityWhen you step into a boxing ring, you know what's coming. The wet slap of a glove in your eye socket, the jaw-rattling right cross that shakes your teeth inside your mouth guard, even the burn of the ropes on your back when you are corralled by your opponent.

For those of you who will never set foot in a ring, here's another way to look at it: when it's time for a shot from the doctor, you see the needle, you look away and the sharp sting follows like the farewell of a bee on a burning Summer's day. Pain is real and bright and it usually announces itself before it comes so you always know what happens next. But in our day-to-day lives, we spend most of our time avoiding any unnecessary discomfort. Therefore when you meet someone who ignites your heart, you do whatever it takes to avoid any pain.

Everyone has something to hide. Whether it's a secret crush or a hidden rage or a crippling emotional problem, it can lie buried beneath layers of designer clothes, well-honed muscle or a frozen smile that masks the real feeling inside. Sometimes it bubbles to the surface — usually when we least expect it. The crush is revealed after a couple of drinks, the rage is ignited over a tiny slight or the emotional barrier crumbles even though you are in the warm, safe confines of a relationship. So why do we hide the things that make us human? Why do we hide the beat of our heart and the truth in our soul? Because we are all afraid of getting hurt.

Gallupadoption-550x305
A new gay adoption poll shows that it has more support in the US than marriage equality.

Joe.My.God reports:

A clear majority of Americans (63%) say same-sex couples should have the legal right to adopt a child, the most to say so since Gallup began tracking opinions on the matter more than 20 years ago. This is higher than Americans’ support for same-sex marriage (55%). A majority of Americans across all major demographics now say same-sex couples should have the legal right to adopt a child. This includes among all key political persuasions: 80% support among Democrats, 61% support among independents, and 51% support among Republicans. This majority support for legally permitting same-sex couples to adopt a child is also the case among different age groups. Young people between the ages of 18 and 29 are most likely to support the idea, with 77% saying same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children.

I’m kind of stunned by these numbers, in a good way – in France and Malta, gay adoption was the deal-breaker, while marriage and civil unions in and of themselves were kind of shrugged off.

hiv-aidsSadly, Fresno has made a list no city wants to be on.  The top 25 list of cities by HIV/AIDS diagnosis.  But the facts don't lie.  HIV and AIDS are ever-present throughout America. Here are the current HIV and AIDS rates according to the U.S. Census Department:

So, in Fresno's case, their are 13.5 HIV/AIDS cases for every 100,000 people and a total of 1,829 reported cases. These are just the people who are tested and reported.  Know your status, talk to your partner.

HIV RATES Per 100,000/Cumulative number of cases

1 Miami, Florida    37.2/64,573
2 Baton Rouge, Louisiana    30.6 /4,565
3 Jacksonville, Florida    29.1/ 7,292
4 New York, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania   27/ 223,508
5 Washington, D.C.-Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia    26.6 /37,916
6 Columbia, South Carolina    23.5 /3,949
7 Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas   23.3/ 6,018
8 Orlando, Florida   23.3 /10,457
9 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, Louisiana    23/ 9,941
10 Baltimore-Towson, Maryland    22.8/ 23,875
11 Jackson, Mississippi   22.2/ 2,881
12 San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo, Puerto Rico  20 /24,126
13 Lakeland, Florida   18.9/ 2,210
14 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia    18.7/ 27,313
15 San Francisco, California    18.3/ 44,422
16 Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida 17.4/ 13,135
17 San Antonio, Texas 12.3/5,892
18 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, North Carolina-South Carolina    15.7/ 4,123
19 Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land, Texas    15.1 /29,556
20 Charleston-North Charleston, South Carolina   14.4/ 2,423
21 Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina    14.3/ 2,632
22 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro, Tennessee   13.7/ 4,570
23 Fresno, California    13.5/ 1,829
24 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida    13.2/ 2,034
25 Columbus, Ohio    12.9 /3,966

GayGallup-550x340This week featured a major event in the Republican Party’s still-ongoing evolution on gay marriage, with Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) becoming the latest of a handful of congressional Republicans to say he supports it.

But while Democrats have come out en masse for gay marriage in the last couple of years, don’t expect a similar onslaught from the GOP any time soon.

The reason? The GOP is still struggling with the morality issue.

While Democrats have moved quickly away from the idea that gay and lesbian relations are morally wrong, Republicans are moving much more slowly. In fact, they’re barely more accepting of homosexuality today than they were a decade ago, according to Gallup, which has been asking Americans every year whether various behaviors are “morally acceptable” to them.

Authored By Aaron Blake – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

 

poll-250x199A couple interesting new studies out this week on how straight people view gays.

First off, a new Gallup poll shows that 37% still believe being gay is a choice.

Queerty reports:

According to Gallup’s latest results, posted on Wednesday, 37 percent of Americans “believe people become gay as a result of factors such as their upbringing and environment,” while 42 percent are siding with Lady Gaga — people are born gay, y’all. What’s surprising is that people in the “born gay” camp are on the decline, if these stats are to be taken literally. The same poll conducted in 2013 showed that 47 percent of those participating believed people were born gay, which is a a full 5 percent drop that “halted the trend” of “born gay” beliefs on the rise for the first time since 2001.

Is the drop in people believing gays are born that way a fluke? We’ll have to wait until next year to see.

In a study out of Portugal, researchers found that many straight people want to wash their hands after having contact with gays.

Gay Star News reports:

Straight people still think gay men are ‘dirty’, according to new research. According to experiments undertaken across the world, the participants felt the need to ‘physically cleanse’ themselves after imagining contact with a gay person. Researchers believe it proves some people think gay men can ‘contaminate’ them in their subconscious mind. If the participant considered themselves to be conservative in their social views, then they were far more likely to need to consider gay men to be ‘dirty’.

So, taken together, these reports show that we still have a lot of work to do.

Our annual tradition of filming the Fresno Pride Parade continues, feel free to watch the entire parade, in 1080p HD video, below:

Share your videos and pictures on our facebook & check out our YouTube for past Pride parades and other event videos.

You've waited all year for our annual Pride Day FREE Raffle and we're pleased to announce the items up for grabs!

Over $700 in prizes!!!

raffle-prizes To enterall you need to do is stop by our booth and fill out a quick entry form. No cost and no purchase necessary! See you at the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and festival, June 7th. Parade @ 10AM Festival @ 11AM, Fresno's Tower District.

A very special thanks to our donors for this year...

 

Kwirkworld River Park
Gift Bag with various items, valued at $135 

Michael Craghead Stables
Certificate for 3 riding lessons, valued at $125

Ficarra Studios
Certificate for Studio Session & 8x10 portrait, valued at $100

Starbucks - Herndon & Milburn
Four mugs, two bags of coffee beans, two starbucks via coffee bags, valued at over $60

Amenities Day Spa & Salon Fig Garden
Certificate for Spa & Salon, valued at $50 

Frosted Cakery
One dozen cupcakes, valued at $30

Chase Flowers
Certificate for Flowers, valued at $50.

Bobby Salazar's
Gift card for dining, valued at $25 

RWF Company 
2 engraved Beer Steins, valued at $50

Brass Unicorn
Gift box with Aroma burner, oil and discount card, $59 value

Ruben’s Barber Shop
Certificate for Shave & Haircut, valued at $25 

Total US Retail Value of all prizes is $709

Diva XDiva X


Diva X has had the longest running weekly Drag Show, The Xotica Show, in the Central Valley reaching a milestone of 10 years this year.
That is a feat considering all the drag shoes that have come and have gone.
Diva X has always encouraged and welcomed newcomers to put on a wig and strut if their heart longs to strut.
She has donated time and money. Working with The Express to raise/ donate over $1,000 for the Livingroom's Health Education Center.
Diva and her girls have developed skits and PSA's to help educate the community on HIV/AIDS and STD/STI on education and prevention efforts. She has fully endorsed and supported the Fresno Health Department's efforts on getting our community tested for HIV.
She has served on the World Aids Day committee and has joined forces to launch videos that educate with PSA's featuring her group The Xotica Show and the Diva X Show The Toya & Tennisha Show which are not only entertaining but smart.
Her empire doesn't just stop there, She has created venues for discussion regarding stigma, disease and everything under the sun. Her radio show and her blog "My life on the X list" add to this dialog.
She continues to inspire and amaze the Central Valley's LGBT community, both the young and the grey.
It's hard to stay afloat, to stay relevant while being true to yourself in the Central Valley LGBT community and she has proven herself and continues to shine as one of the local figures in our area making a difference.
She has represented Fresno far and wide and even inspired gay outlets in surrounding neighborhoods. She has assisted in helping to launch and hosting U. C. Merced's Gay Pride Week and what is now Club Republic in Visalia Gay Night.
Let us give the girl a little credit cause love her or hate her she continues to do HER and do HER well.

Karen Smiling


KAREN SCOT


Award Winning Teacher, Film Producer/Screenwriter
TRANSGENDER WOMAN


Miss Karen Adell Scot has taught science at Yosemite High School for twenty four years. She has 30 years experience teaching in both junior high and high school.

Karen Scot is a multiple Who's Who in America's Schools teacher, being awarded that accolade over ten times. She has been awarded the Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence in Teaching, and is a California Distinguished Educator. She has been many times a teacher of the month, and has educated over five thousand students. Over her thirty year educational career she has coached and trained California State Champions in Science Fair, Science Olympiad and Odyssey of the Mind, with her OM team taking fifth place in world competition defeating Russia. She has received honors for excellence in teaching science students by the Department of Energy/Cray Research Foundation. Miss Scot's Native American Science team took fifth place in the all tribe western Native Science Championships.

Karen Scot is a Major in the California Cadet Corps, and was a Madera County Sheriff's Deputy for years, graduating first in her police academy class. She has written nine feature films and has produced two feature films that have been in theaters. A diverse woman, Miss Scot plays piano, guitar, sings and writes music, also playing bagpipes. She is a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter and can build hotrods.

Karen Scot has taught AP Physics, Physics, AP Chemistry, Chemistry, AP Biology, Biology, Zoology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Human Biology, Earth Science, Computer Tech, ROP Digital Film Making, among other classes. A Science Specialist, Miss Scot can teach any science offered to students at the high school level.

Karen Scot was born Transgender, and was a female in a male body from her earliest self-aware memories. She begged and continuously demanded to be called a female name and be treated like a girl from a small toddler. She sought out girl’s clothing and wore it as much as possible. She played with all little girl friends and imagined as a girl. Each night, she would strive as hard as she could to make her body awake as a female body the next morning, and did this for years.

Karen lived in male drag for 50 years, getting married and having children with a wonderful intelligent woman. Divorcing, she has two children, a male (33) and a female (31), with three grandchildren (6, 5,and 3 years old). Her greatest hope, and the life goal of Karen Adell Scot is this:

"As you live your life, leave a trail of joy behind you." - Karen Adell Scot

 

 

gaywedding-04Since last year, the progress toward marriage equality has been nothing less than stunning. Nearly a year ago, the Supreme Court granted full federal recognition of married same-sex couples in declaring the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. In rapid succession since then, federal judges in 13 states have overturned their state’s respective bans on same sex unions. The latest was last week in Pennsylvania, when Judge John E. Jones III, a G. W. Bush appointee, overturned the ban, writing, “We are a better people than what these laws represent.” Because Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has declined to appeal the judge’s decision, Pennsylvania is now the 19th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Federal judges have ruled against the bans as diverse as Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Gay marriage isn’t just for blue states anymore.

One of the most eloquent statements against the bans was issued earlier this month by Arkansas federal judge Chris Piazza, who argued that state’s ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “Procreation is not a prerequisite in Arkansas for a marriage license,” he said. “Opposite-sex couples may choose not to have children or they may be infertile, and certainly we are beyond trying to protect the gene pool. A marriage license is a civil document and is not, nor can it be, based upon any particular faith. Same-sex couples are a morally disliked minority and the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is driven by animus rather than a rational basis. This violates the U.S. Constitution.”

Authored By David Lampo – See the Full Story at Politico

transgender-actress-laverne-cox-timeA figurative and literal step forward as transgender actress Laverne Cox is featured this week on the cover of Time Magazine.

Think Progress reports:

Time Magazine has declared that society has reached a “transgender tipping point,” offering up a new feature that includes an extensive “Transgender 101″ article covering the gamut of issues affecting the trans community, a photo essay of transgender individuals, and a personal interview with Laverne Cox, the openly trans actress who stars in Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. The cover story and its other components comprise what is perhaps the most positive and in-depth representation of transgender life experiences ever presented in mainstream print media.

Kudos to Time Magazine for shining a spotlight on this great actress and activist, and on transgender rights issues in general.

 

president-barack-obama-square-250x250The White House on Friday released a proclamation by the President making June LGBT Pride Month. President Obama has proclaimed June as LGBT Pride month since he took office in 2009. Here is the proclamation:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.

Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits — from immigration benefits to military family benefits — to legally married same-sex couples.

aLQvL.AuSt.8Anthony Villarreal rose from the Sanger High track and field program to become the top distance runner for William Jessup University, only to be kicked out, he says, because he is gay.

But the private Christian college east of Sacramento disputed that Friday and stated it has a nondiscrimination policy, even when it comes to sexual orientation.

Villarreal, after revealing his story in a first-person account on outsports.com, detailed in a Friday interview with The Bee his frustrations over an abrupt dismissal that cost him his senior year.
Continued at Fresno Bee & Out Sports.

Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Blue Elijah Riggs, B.S.W. 53, of Emmett, Idaho, formerly of Fresno, died Friday. A long time Transgender LGBT activist in Fresno and part of the original founding of Trans-E-Motion and leader in United Student Pride at Fresno State. A service/memorial is being planned in his honor, details will be posted as soon as they are available.

 

538-chart1-blog480-250x211Out gay statistician Nate Silver has charted how many Americans live in states that now have full marriage equality. Joe.My.God reports:

By August, there will be about 585 million people living in countries or jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal. That is roughly double the 289 million people living in such places in August 2012. Still, that represents only about 8 percent of the global population. No country in Asia, which has well more than half the world’s people, has authorized same-sex marriage. Instead, it’s the New World that has taken the lead. Of the 585 million people living in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage will be legal by August, about 360 million are in the Americas.

In the US, it works out to about 30% of the population now.

 

doma-overThe Pentagon is moving aggressively to give married gay and lesbian soldiers the same rights as their straight counterparts in the wake of the DOMA ruling. AmericaBlog reports:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel just announced that the Pentagon will make marriage benefits available all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 3 of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this morning. DOMA, among other things, forbade the federal government from providing the federal benefits of marriage to legally-wed gay couples.

Will this also apply in states that don’t recognize marriage equality? No word on that yet.

 

supreme-court-gay-marriageWednesday, the United States Supreme Court said that the proponents of Proposition 8 that appealed Judge Walker's decision did not have standing. In other words, they told the Prop 8 proponents: this doesn't affect you. You have no personal stake in the defense of this law. To paraphrase: general "ooginess" at the thought of gay marriage does not count.

The Court also struck down section three of the ironically named Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. No longer will marriages between same sex spouses be unrecognized by the federal government.

I suppose it is the pessimist in me that had to first mourn the fact that the Prop 8 ruling was not farther reaching. I will admit that I had hoped they would go all 14th Amendment on them and make this ruling apply to all the states.

I had to get over the fact that they did not overturn DOMA completely, but only one part of it, the section regarding federal recognition of gay marriage. Arizona is still not required to recognize your California (or any other state) marriage. No state has to recognize it. But, that was not the question before the court, so they really couldn't.

I wanted to scream, "This isn't enough!" I wanted to shake those robed wanna-be gods (who were already on my list after yesterday's Voting Rights Act ruling) and ask them why they couldn't have snuck a little bit more into the decision.

And then I step back and realize, we ARE a step closer-not farther-from full equality. I hate that it is only a step, but it IS a huge step. More than a step, it is a giant domino, ready to crash down on the next one, and the next.

Because, I am sure you all had the same experience I had if you were on Facebook just after 7 am this morning. It exploded in celebration. These times...they ARE a changing. 53% of people now support gay marriage. Compare that with the 52% that voted for Prop 8 just four and a half years ago. People just don't agree with equality and backslide into bigotry; they more FORWARD. WE will not lose ground; we will only gain. That is the benefit to using love and justice as your argument.

Prop 8's proponents are floundering, and they know it. Their arguments have become desperate and shaky. And you know what? They're not so popular anymore. No one of any intelligence really believes that gay marriage hurts families or children. To publicly promote that idea that being gay is wrong is becoming less and less acceptable, while being gay is becoming more and more just another normal way to be.

I personally love the idea of bigotry being forced into a closet, while love stands in the sunshine.

Because, to my mind, there was not other right way for the Supreme Court to decide, except for the side of equality. Anything else would have been a lie. Anything else would have been a mockery of our judicial system.

Anything else would have been un-American.

This is an historic day, to put up there with Brown v Board of Education, Loving v Virginia, Lawrence v Texas, and Griswold v Connecticut. All decisions that signaled positive turning points in our county. All historic stepping stones to bigger and better things. Including this one.

The United States v Windsor. Hollingsworth v Perry. We were here. We all watched as we moved up one more giant step, closer than ever to that goal of complete equality. We were witnesses to history this week.

So, tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow...let's plan our next step.

 

The time has come, much sooner than many of us expected. Instead of a 25-30 day wait, same sex marriages will return to Fresno on July 1st at 8:30am at the Fresno County Clerks office at 2221 Kern Street, Fresno, CA 93721.

Fresno Clerk Services are open Monday - Friday from 8:30am to 4pm

 

Not sure what DOMA means for your marriage?  Questions about getting married?

 

Public License: $49

(anyone can lookup your marriage and your address with a public license)

Private License: $69
(your information is confidential, except by court order with a private license)

Civil Marriage Ceremony: $21
(you must have this done to have a license issued, either in office for $21 or find someone else to perform your ceremony)

Certified copy of Confidential Marriage License: $14
(not needed for a public license)

Payment methods accepted: Cash, Debit Card, Visa, Mastercard are accepted, no checks.  Fee schedule and more information. 

If you do not reside in Fresno, you should contact your local office for exact fees and hours at this link.

rainbow-pcIf you have been following the business news of late, you'll already know that sales of computers are, for the most part, falling. Apple seems to be the notable exception, but as a whole the sector, as they call it in the biz world, is seeing fewer and fewer comput¬ers being sold. This includes both the towers and laptops, which is, I suppose, why some readers have asked me, "Should I buy a new computer or laptop or is a tablet all I need now?" I will attempt to give an answer, but first let me say I have person¬ally crowded out my old laptop by not replacing it, while adding a new desktop and iPad both in the past 12 months. My reasons are simple: I need the desktop to do this and other layouts and I find what programs are out there for tablets lack sufficient computing power for the job. I also find, even when I tried a friends keyboard, doing extensive writing on a tablet to be a challenge.

But that's me and that's only my personal reply to those asking: laptop, desktop or tab¬let? It really depends a lot on what you are going to use it for, what you seek long-term and what you are used to. I find that I, along with many of my "older" friends have a tough time typing on an e-keyboard, which is what I call one which does not exist — save for on a screen. I grew up too many years ago to have ever learned to type with my thumbs, as my younger friends and partners who text a lot do, and I also find the size of my iPad too cumbersome to even try that, to be honest.
That said, I have always typed "hunt-and-peck" and that works just fine on the iPhone or iPad keyboard though it does get chuckles from my thumb-wielding friends. If you can ignore the detractors, I find it works great for a short text, note or e-mail though I'd not wish to do this column nor anything longer that way.

The above said, I find that I need to have both an iPad and a desktop computer with a real, honest-to-goodness keyboard, meaning what's been crowded out of the equation is my laptop — a device which I no longer feel I even need to take on short or medium range trips. I do know many friends say they'd feel lost without a laptop but I am never sure if they are using it to fill the role of a needed piece of gear or a security blanket.

So on a more positive note what do the readers who asked me about a choice of equip¬ment need to consider?
First and foremost what they plan to use their device for. If they have a lot of typing to do, I and many others say they'd prefer the laptop or desktop with a real keyboard, so that's one issue.

Another is how big do they need or want the screen to be. If an iPad or iPad mini (or for that matter, a smart phone or other tablet device) screen is adequate then there's not much reason to buy, pay for, then ante up electric bills for a huge monitor which can't be easily moved or even for a laptop with a 13-inch or larger screen. I always try and over-buy my screen size as I read a lot of newspapers at www.pressdisplay.com and other sites, but again it's all up to the individual's likes and eyes.

Next, practicality of the device needs considering. If you travel a great deal for work or pleasure, how much use will an iMac or other large desktop computer be? Same for those with multiple homes who can't easily lug around a big hunk of kit. But on the other side of the coin, do you even need or want a laptop when these days most of us are doing e-mails, texts, instant messaging and surfing the web on our phones or pads?

There's also the issue of costs associated with mobile surfing and messaging. Recall last month's column about phone firms throttling heavy data users or charging extra if you go over a basic package. If your hotel, coffee shop or 2nd home at the beach has WiFi, that's fine, but remember that's not always free either, especially if you lean toward classier hotels which tend to ask $6 to $14 a day for what's often poor WiFi or have a monthly fee for that 2nd home's DSL.

Also to consider is who will be using what you buy. A family can easily share a desktop computer so long as mom and dad make use of passwords to separate junior from their stock portfolios or racy content, but it's harder to share a laptop and very prob¬lematic to co-use an iPhone, pad or tablet computer. If you think of it, this is some¬what like deciding if you need a car or a motorcycle. It's easily possible to carry one passenger on the back of that Ninja with the driver, but for the most part motorcycles are solo vehicles and cars, SUVs and vans can carry a whole gaggle of folks and luggage. Get the right device for the load it needs to carry!

Also, there's the matter of price. Laptops and desktop computers have, for the most part (especially if you are pc and not Mac) come down considerably in recent years.

Howard K. Watkins

You can view additional photos and share yours! on our event page on facebook. Or the Gay Fresno page.  A full video of the event speakers is available here.

 

photo-copy-4-250x250Hey all,

So we decided to head down from Sactown to The City for the big marriage equality rally last night. It was amazing – they closed the whole Castro down, and it filled up with people.

State Senator Mark Leno and the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Kate Kendall spoke, along with a number of others, and then the music kicked in and it was a big street party.

But what we felt there, most of all, was love. It’s an amazing thing, suddenly being fully married and having the dark clouds of DOMA and Prop 8 lifted – and the sun shone in on what was an amazingly warm, clear evening in the Castro.

Everyone was smiling, laughing with each other. Some folks said “Happy Gay Day”, and the sense of community was unbelievable. There were folks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and orientations all mixed together.

In the words of Kate Kendall  ”Fuck prop 8!”

Here are a few of our photos from the evening – enjoy!

 

BREAKING NEWS - The United States Supreme Court has ruled the following:

Proposition 8: The petitioners did not have standing to appeal the district court order. Dismissed on lack of standing. (WE WON!) Marriages may resume in California.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): 

DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
(WE WON!) Federal government must recognize, valid, married couples. Full decision text.

 

 

Gather at Fresno's City Hall TONIGHT at 6pm

Legal explanations of what these decisions mean to you will be provided this evening.

We'll also have local speakers and opportunities to meet organizations and, of course, your friends and neighbors who support the freedom to marry.

 

Please SHARE this flyer and text your friends to join you!

Final-D-Day-Flyer-Today

A divided U.S. Supreme Court gave a victory to the gay-rights movement, striking down a federal law that denies benefits to same-sex married couples and potentially clearing the way for weddings to resume in California.
The court stopped short of declaring a constitutional right for gays to marry, or even ruling directly on California's voter-approved ban, as the justices considered the issue for the first time.

The challenge to the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage: After the two same-sex couples filed their challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court in California, the California government officials who would normally have defended the law in court, declined to do so. So the proponents of Proposition 8 stepped in to defend the law, and the California Supreme Court (in response to a request by the lower court) ruled that they could do so under state law. But today the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, it held, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. 

(WE WON!) Federal government must recognize, valid, married couples. Full decision text.

Please consider purchasing your fireworks from us this year. 25% of your purchase will be donated directly to Gay Fresno.

Fireworks will be delivered right to your door July 1st. Online ordering ends June 30th at midnight.

If you would rather donate your time we are looking for volunteers to help staff this booth July 1st - July 4th. 

The location is in Visalia and the shifts are 4 hour slots but we welcome any and all available. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

 

102196-Captain-Kidd-Bag-f44e256d6cabb3b1c74144aa85c03c6e

Captain Kidd Bag - $9.99

 

102151-Pyro-Pak-Bag SS-ddcbea19a3d95acbf4cd2116ed2c3b5b

   Pyro Pak Bag $19.99

 

101299-Big-Value-Bag-c9bf91f4f73d017e3393e3782d660275

Big Value Bag $29.99

 

101300-TNT-Family-Fun-Pak-1336e01719918f78ea6596d412b4c575

Family Pak $39.99

 

102188-49er-c0e145c100eb85715541169dc5f6a52a
49'er $49.99

 

102189-All-American-e6033ccc0b7e32dd2de62176184b4612

All American - $79.99

 

102190-Perfect-Show-816f6ab6c36881d2ac91887c05b47a80

TNT Perfect Show - $99.99

 

 

102191-Big-Timer-84aceca79fd99d0d1f6985180818047e

Big Timer - $149.99

 

102192-The-Big-Deluxe-7c2e571c544d78ec56a626033ecf0cc5

The Big Deluxe  - $199.99

 

101206-Big-Bang-884f3441eb4f5226f8da210983013912

The Big Bang - $500

 

For free delivery, you must reside in the city limits of Porterville, Visalia, Hanford, Clovis or Fresno.  If you would like to pickup the items from us, we can arrange pickups in Hanford, Visalia and Clovis.

 

 

Rulings to be delivered at 10 EST on 6/26/2013
Final-D-Day-Flyer-6-26-13

 

prop8The US Supreme Court is widely expected to overturn California’s Prop 8 next week, even if they do it on a technicality. But if the court declines to do so, marriage equality activists plan to take the issue to the ballot again. The LA Times reports:

“If we lose, we’re going to fight like hell to make sure we return marriage equality in California in 2014,” said Adam Bink, director of online programs for the Courage Campaign. Bink made the remarks while speaking at California’s caucus meeting on the opening day of Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of thousands of liberal activists and bloggers taking place here through Saturday. Bink said that if the Supreme Court overturns the 2008 voter-approved ballot measure that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, same-sex couples should be able to wed within a month. But if the court upholds the measure, Bink said, activists would immediately begin working on a measure for the 2014 ballot.

The most recent polling, taken earlier this month, shows 58% of Californians now support marriage equality.

 

Summer with its prides in so many area cities and Speedo season is finally here, but before you immerse yourself in your local pride or in that pool or at your favorite beach let's take a minute to learn a few valuable lessons from swimmers — the profes¬sional kind, not we beach or pool-side loungers.

We all know that for many people, the arrival of summer means it's time for swim¬ming and if you're just a casual swimmer as I am, you probably don't have to adjust your diet before jumping in. But that's not the case with competitive swimmers, who must constantly watch what they eat and drink, particularly in the days and hour's preceding their races.
While you may not ever have to concern yourself with your 400-meter individual med¬ley ''splits," you can learn a lot from swimmers' consumption patterns — particularly if you're an investor.

For starters, to sustain energy and stamina for a relatively long period of time, com¬petitive swimmers need to eat easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as whole wheat, whole grains, apples and bananas. When you invest, you want to build a portfolio that is capable of "going the distance.'' Consequently, you need investments that provide carbohydrate-type benefits — in other words, investments with the potential to fuel a long-term investment strategy.

Such a strategy usually involves owning a mix of high-quality stocks, bonds, govern¬ment securities and certificates of deposit (CDs). By owning these vehicles, in propor¬tions appropriate for your risk tolerance and time horizon, you can help yourself make progress toward your financial goals — and lessen the risk of running out of energy "mid-stream."
Of course competitive swimmers have to be diligent not just in what they do eat but also in what they don't. That's why they avoid sweets, such as sodas and desserts, when it's close to race time. These items do not provide lasting energy — in fact; they actu¬ally sap energy once the sugar wears off.

As an investor, you, too, need to avoid the temptation of "sweets'' in the form of high- yield or "hot" investment vehicles. You may find some of these investments to be al¬luring, but you will need to carefully weigh the extra risks involved. For many people, these types of investments may not provide the long-term stability needed to help maintain a healthy, productive investment portfolio.

While what swimmers eat or don't eat is important to them, their drinking habits are also crucial. The competitive environment — warm pool water, warm air temperatures and high humidity — can quickly lead to dehydration, so swimmers need to drink sizable amounts of water and sport drinks before and during practice. And you, as an investor, need your own type of liquidity, for at least two reasons.

Mz. Pink,

My girlfriend cheated on me, so in an act of anger, I cheated on her. We have been together for awhile and when this happened we had a few years behind us. Now that the cheat¬ing has passed and we have had some time to heal, we still can't seem to get over it. We fight about it constantly, we have no trust for each other and we are always jealous of one another. What can we do to make this better? Can we be fixed?

Before She Cheats

Hello Before,

I do believe that things can work out between the two of you, but it is just going to take a lot of work and trust. So, if you are willing to do that then you can take the next step in repairing your relationship.

The key is to remember that you love each other and want to make it work, even on your darkest days together. Try to keep that in mind. It will help to clear some of the animosity and anger from the past.

The first thing you need to do is sit down and talk. Communicate the occurrences (with or without detail — whatever you are comfortable with) letting each other know why the cheating happened, what made it happen and, most importantly, what things both of you can do to avoid cheating in the future.

Find out if you meet each other's needs or not. If not, then, sad as it is separating may be the best choice. You don't want to stay together out of hope that you will get back to where you were. You want to put forth the effort to make sure you not only get back to where you were, but even in to a better place.

When you are communicating, do not drink alcohol; keep the surroundings light and comfortable, so you don't fight. The key is to talk, listen, talk, listen etc. When you start to get angry you start to lose focus and then all the progress you hopefully were starting to make will go down the drain.
Discuss where you were, what your mental state was when you cheated and where your mind is now. Tell her you love her and want to get past this for the sake of your relationship. Make sure she feels the same.

It is important to remember to be completely honest, no matter how uncomfortable it might make you. Remind her that you want the same from her. Get everything in the open. Once it is there, then you can both recommend coming up with solutions to each problem. Compromise on what might work. Plan weekly dates, plan sex (if it isn't happening), set a night aside to spend intimate time together, have a movie night; even plan a night out separately with complete trust.

kinseyYou and your trick might think of it as a "booty call" but with privacy concerns addressed, Indiana University has re-released the free Kinsey Reporter app, a global mobile survey platform for collecting and reporting anonymous data about sexual and other intimate behaviours.

The Kinsey Reporter app is available for
free from both the Apple iOS and Google Play (for Android) stores, so now you can tell that trick that it's all "for research" just so long as you report after you give him breakfast and send him on his way.

The initial pilot project for this app was announced in the Fall. But researchers from IU's School of Informatics and Computing and project partner The Kinsey Institute delayed public release until the university could fully review the project for any potential privacy-related legal issues. The reporting app had already been reviewed and approved bv the university's information technology division and IU's Institutional Review Board, which reviews all research involving humans — and that includes you and whomever you might meet at the club or online.

So what does the app do and where does it get sent?

Kinsey Reporter allows citizen observers around the world to use free applications now available for Apple and Android mobile platforms to not only report on sexual behaviour and experiences but to share, explore and visualise the accumulated data. The app is free from Apple iOS and Google Play (for Android) online stores, and reports made by anonymous citizen scientists (that's you and your tricks) will be used for research and shared with the public at the Kinsey Reporter website.

Filippo Menczer, director of IU's Centre for Complex Networks and Systems Research, or CNetS, and a School of Informatics and Computing professor, said the designers did make one change to how information is reported: Reports will wait in a geographically defined queue until a quantity threshold is met in order to remove any fears that reports from low-population areas might be recognisable.

"In the past version we had intended on using a pre-determined time delay on reporting from low-population areas, but now it is a quantity delay,' he said. "Delays will be longer from low-population areas, but users may select a lower geographical resolution to decrease the delay."

Users have the option of selecting their own geographic preference for the report by choosing city/town, state/region or country.

 

Dear Dr. Fred: I’m a successful middle-aged professional male just getting back into dating after a messy breakup. I’ve mainly been meeting guys online and I've had pretty good success, though no one has emerged as "Air. Right" so far. Recently I thought maybe I had met "that guy " but it turns out, not so much.

“Frank" is a handsome, sexy 40-something career Army officer. We met for dinner several times, found that we were compatible in countless ways, then decided to see if we were compatible in bed too ... and OMG were we ever! I thought I'd had some pretty good sex before, but I’ve never experienced anything like sex with Frank. I was in heaven for several weeks, and Frank seemed to be too, as he began to talk about wanting to "deepen our relationship. ” That’s when the bomb shell dropped — after he arrived late one night at my place for an impromptu roll in the hay ... and he had forgotten to remove his wedding ring.

I was feeling somewhere between thunderstruck, hurt, angry, self-critical and guilty. One of my cardinal rules has always been to never mess around with married men, but now here I’d just done that because of his lying to me about his marital status.

He was incredibly ashamed and apologetic, saying he wanted to tell me about his wife when we first met but couldn’t bring himself to do it. He said he was so attracted to me, he just had to have me in his life and figured there would be a better chance of that once we had gotten closer. He professed that this was the first time he’d been unfaithful to his wife or been with a man and that it was just all so “exhilarating” he kind of lost his head for a bit. He also begged me to keep seeing him because he’d decided he was going to leave his wife.

I never wanted to compromise my principles so bad in my life, but I didn’t. I gave him my ironclad rules about not being a side interest for someone already in a relationship — especially a married man — and showed him the door. Then I lost it and went into a complete funk for days.

That was about two weeks ago, and I’m beginning to climb out of the depression. But here’s the problem ... I can't get him out of my mind and I’m wondering if I’ve made the right decision. I've been tempted dozens of times to call or text him and tell him to come back over so we can talk things through and hopefully figure out some way to be together. My head knows this isn’t a good idea, but my heart says something else.

So what is your advice? Can a married man who's just begun exploring gay sex really be trusted to leave his marriage and make good relationship material? Or should I continue to keep my distance from him?

Sign me,

"Lost"

City council meeting from June 18th 2013:

 

 

Agenda items covered were: Proceed with rescinding the June "Pride Month" proclamation and replacing with non-LGBT inclusive proclamation.
The city attorney denied the request for an immediate vote on rescinding and approving the new proclamation on legal grounds that the items were clearly described as a vote to place them on the NEXT meeting's calendar.

- First, a vote was called to remove the "Non inclusive" Month of Community Charity and Goodwill to All in Porterville proclamation for the July 16th meeting. 
Mayor Gurrola and vice mayor McCracken voted Yes. Ward, Shelton and Hamilton voted No. (Failed)

- Second, a vote was called to add the "Non inclusive" Month of Community Charity and Goodwill to All in Porterville proclamation for the July 16th meeting. It will be added to the next meeting for a vote.
Mayor Gurrola voted No. McCracken, Ward, Shelton and Hamilton voted Yes.

- Third, a vote was called to add a "rescind the pride month proclamation" to the July 16th meeting. All council members voted Yes. It will be added to the next meeting for a vote.

Get INVOLVED and up to date at http://www.GayPorterville.com You may also Donate to help their efforts.

PecsnCity

Surrounded by clicking keyboards and bustling co-workers, he dwells in a mundane day job, concealing himself in a shirt and tie, changing his voice, his mannerisms and his every personality trait in order to blend in.

But when he leaves the office, he reveals the man underneath. Muscles wrapped in skintight fabric, he becomes who he was born to be — the very essence of truth and strength.

Now even if you're not a comic book nerd like me, I'm sure you think I'm talking about Superman, right? But what if I told you that this wasn't Krypton's last son but a man like many others who live their lives in a Clark Kent existence while hiding their real identity?

Every day across this country people put on a disguise that is used as a shield from the scorn and violence which comes from the narrow-minded. Whether it's a homophobic workplace, a deeply religious family or even the mindless brutality of high school, the need to hide who you truly are can literally be a matter of life and death.

Sometimes in order to fit in with a certain kind of group or a type of environment you have to adopt the character of a swaggering straight boy — just like Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne pretend to be a clumsy nerd and a vapid playboy so no one will suspect they're the Man Of Steel and the Dark Knight. Dual identities, one life.

The mythology of superheroes goes hand-in-hand with the reality of homosexuality; the masks, the secrets, the yearning to be accepted as a “regular" human being even though we are different — even hiding our true selves to protect our family from harm.

This analogy is clearest in the pages of Marvel's X-Men. Persecuted for a genetic anomaly that makes them different from "normal" human beings, they are looked down on, perceived as a threat to the youth around them, even attacked in varying degrees of violence merely for being different.

They seek refuge at the Xavier Institute For Higher Learning where they can be with others like themselves. Protected from a world that hates and fears them, they are also tempted by the government's development of a cure — a cure for something that is decided from birth, like blue eyes or brown hair.

Sound familiar?

The Internet is clotted with true testimonials about how different “cures" for homosexuality are successful. None of these so-called cures hold water, however, but what if there really was a cure? Would you take it if it were offered to you? Would you change who you were born to be if it meant you would avoid persecution?

The simple fact is this: being gay is not who you are, it's merely a part of who you are. Not a choice, not a lifestyle and certainly not a mutation. It's the same as having a brain for math, a talent for music or the predisposition for thirty-yard touchdown passes.

Being gay can’t be explained away by gamma rays or the bite of a radioactive spider, but unlike the Hulk's green skin or the Beast's blue fur, being gay can be hidden from the public at large.

Even though we have made huge strides in our equality, we still have the option to hide who we are. Racism, ageism and gender bias still exist in our brave new world, but unlike homosexuality we can conceal what makes us different.

But is that a good thing?

It's impossible to hide your gender or the color of your skin, but your sexual preference can remain a mystery. So the real question here is if you can hide it from others does that mean you can hide it from yourself?

If you don’t have to face the simple fact that you are different in what can often be a cruel, intolerant world, does that make it easier? Can it make you forget who you really are underneath your mild-mannered disguise?

Speaking of mild-mannered, let's take a look at another figure that mirrors the experience of homosexuality: Superman.

I don't mean because he's muscle-bound and sexy with a colorful skintight outfit, but because just like us, he has the choice to live his life in secret. He has the choice to deny who he was born to be. Even though he's not human, he looks and acts just like everyone else, belying his true nature as an alien god.

He could live his life as Clark Kent and no one would ever know the difference. What makes this man so super is that he chooses not to stand idly by when injustice rears its scaly head.

He does this because not only does he see it as his responsibility to use his powers to protect the world he calls his home, but because when he was just a boy, his father told him to forget his fear that he wouldn't be accepted and become the man he was destined to be: “One day you're going to have to make a choice — whether to stand proud in front of the human race... or not. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, he's going to change the world."

These words resonate with our shared experience, not only with who we choose to be in our lives, but especially during pride. The choice of who you want to be is yours and yours alone, but once you choose your path, you can use that strength and power to lead others into the sun.

It is our duty as part of the gay community to disavow the myth that being gay is some ill-fated plight that needs to be hidden because as soon as we try to separate our lives into mutually exclusive territories, it gives credence to homophobia.

In this day and age we would never suggest that someone's color or creed has any effect on who they are as a person, but there was a time when being Black or Jewish or a woman was treated as a stigma.

That kind of thinking seems archaic now, doesn't it? If we can't accept who we are and be proud, we give power to those people who use sexuality as an excuse for discrimination.

We all have secrets and we all wear masks, even with the people we hold close to our hearts. Maybe there are some things that should never be revealed, but the true facets of your identity shouldn't have to be one of them.

Fear will drain you like Kryptonite but only if you let it. Pride means being conscious of one’s own dignity. Pride means holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. And courage is what makes you do it.

This summer as we celebrate pride with parades and festivities all across the region is the perfect time for you to step out of your Batcave and into the light. Don't lose sight of who you are. Don't be afraid to show your true self to the world. Shed that secret identity and let everyone see the hero beneath. Be strong. Be beautiful. Be powerful. Be proud.

The Fresno chapter of Marriage Equality USA submitted the following written request to the City Attorney for Fresno to request a free speech waiver of $378 in "Police Review" fees for the Day of Decision event.  The organization is asking for support from the community to help with this and other event fees.

 

From Jason Scott with Marriage Equality USA to City:

In response to your questions regarding the police review fee waiver. This event has occurred three times in the past and has had the police review paid three years ago. This event is identical to that event and does not merit a new review and fee, in our opinion. Our attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union in Northern California informed us that such costs must be limited to real costs, such as hourly staff wages, copies, etc.

We respectfully request a police waiver. The fee represents an undue burden on our small non profit. The funds available in our Fresno chapter are not sufficient enough to cover this cost.

Response from City Attorney, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:

We have discussed the fee issue. Because of the size of the group, 150-300 people, the potential need for police presence, the area being reserved, and the need to treat each group similarly, we think the fee is supported and appropriate. The City will incur time and costs easily exceeding the amount of the fee. Thanks.

 

 

We believe that emails and letters to the City Attorney will help our case and have linked the email address above.  Your support of the event by making a contribution in advance and at the event are also greatly appreciated. (When making a donation online, plus enter the name "Fresno" in the gift recipent box and the email "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.". -Thank you.

We'd also like to thank MyLGBTPlus for being a financial donor to our event and GayFresno for covering the costs of our decision day text messaging.

Back in the heady early days of the womens movement, activists fashioned a slogan: the personal is political. It was a rejoinder to those men and women who denied the political nature of social attitudes that kept women "in our place," social attitudes that dictated "proper" and decidedly unequal feminine behaviors and occupations. That slogan is equally applicable to the struggle for gay and lesbian rights.

When basketball player Jason Collins became the first major league athlete to come out, there was a predictable chorus from the anti-gay right: Who cares? Why do these gays insist upon flaunting their personal sexual "preferences"? We don't announce our hetero­sexuality so why do they insist on telling us about their homosexuality?

Who cares? Obviously, they do. And why is it important that gay, lesbian, bi and trans people everywhere "announce" who they are? Because only by doing so — only by com­ing out — have they been able to make progress toward civil equality. Coming out has probably been the most successful political tactic in the history of civil rights.

It's easy to demonize people you don't know. When most people didn't know that they knew gay people, the popular images of gavs were of what a friend of mine calls "the feather-boa crowd" — cross-dressers in gay bars or limp-wristed, lisping stereotypes. (To the best of my recollection, there weren't any stereotypes of lesbians. They were invis­ible.) Whatever the image, those unknown gays were "other." Not like us.

The coming out movement has changed that reality forever. When people realized that they had gay friends and relatives and co-workers, it became much harder to stereotype and hate.

Coming out was an incredibly powerful, successful political tactic — and it worked. (It worked so well, in fact, that some atheist organizations are considering adopting it, athe­ists having largely replaced gay and lesbian folks in most surveys as most distrusted and "un-American.")

There is another reason to applaud Jason Collins' revelation. It is impossible to separate homophobia from sexism. Men (and it is almost always men) who sneer at or denigrate gay males generally do so bv investing them with feminine characteristics. The terminol­ogy is telling: pansy, sissy, girly-boy. In my experience, most homophobes are also sexists who equate women with weakness and manliness with macho behavior. When a 7-foot- tall, aggressive, muscular spoils star comes out, it makes it difficult to cling to the theory that gay means girly.

A number of columnists and spoils writers are predicting that the Collins announcement — and the generally positive reaction to it from other spoils figures — will open the last remaining closet door; the door that has hidden gays playing major-league spoils. We can hope. There has been amazing progress toward equality for the community over the past couple of decades. I am absolutely convinced that the primary impetus for that pro­gress was the courage of those thousands of individual gay men and lesbians who made the personal political by insisting on living authentic lives, by coming out.

It's easy to forget when you turn your television to Rachel Maddow and Anderson Coop­er, when you watch a lesbian couple house-hunt on HGTV, when you read that ENDA is being re-introduced in Congress and the Supreme Court is on the verge of striking down DOMA, how hard it was for those who went before, and how much today's gay commu­nity owes to those first brave souls who made the personal political.

domaMore thoughts, analysis and speculation on the upcoming Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

John Gallagher at Queerty wonders if the Supremes follow marriage equality polling:

One way or another, public opinion has to count. It did in the past, to our detriment. It was public opinion on homosexuality that led the court in 1986 to uphold criminalization of gay sex because to do to otherwise would be to “cast aside millennia of moral teaching.” … every day it becomes clearer that the public has the Court’s back on marriage equality. The question is, does it have ours?

Yahoo! News profiles a lesbian couple getting married in New Jersey in the shadow of the pending rulings:

…the couple ultimately decided to keep the debate surrounding same-sex marriage out of their June 1 ceremony, held at a rustic farm in Holmdel, N.J., in front of 120 friends and family members–and even a few pets–on an uncharacteristically hot spring day. “I felt like it wasn’t the right place,” Angie, 31, says. “The people there didn’t need to hear that message–they already support it.” Yet with the Supreme Court expected to deliver its opinions on a pair of pivotal gay marriage cases later this month–one challenging California’s Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, the other the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even in states that allow them–the politics were hard to ignore.

It will be beautiful day when we can get married without having to think about the politics of it – just like every straight couple. Our own wedding, on Nivember 1st, 2008, was a beautiful celebration, but it was done under the gun of Prop 8, the passage of which forced our hand and meant that we had a much smaller and earlier celebration of our wedding vows than we had hoped.

At the Huffington Post, Chris Weigant makes a couple of predictions. On Prop 8:

My prediction all along — ever since the cases were initially heard by the Supreme Court — is that the Proposition 8 case is going to win on very narrow grounds. California took a unique path to where it stands today, with gay marriage being legal for a certain time, and then becoming illegal. I am aware of no other state that has trod the same legal path, so the Supreme Court can easily limit their ruling’s effectiveness to California alone.

On the Defense of Marriage Act:

I think the Supreme Court is going to create this waiting period, so that it can wait a few years before making the type of sweeping ruling many are hoping for this month… I think that DOMA will be struck down — completely, I hope, but perhaps just partially. I think that the federal government will begin treating gay married couples like all other married couples. Since I’m going out on a limb here anyway, I’ll even predict that Chief Justice John Roberts joins the winning side in each case for two 6-3 decisions. But I don’t think that this month is going to see the Supreme Court even rule on the basic question of whether gay marriage is a fundamental constitutional right.

Lisa Keen at Queerty also focuses on Chief Justice Roberts:

His potential to sit squarely on the conservative wing on gay-related matters is probably mitigated by his age (58) and the fact that he has an openly gay relative, 48-year-old Jean Podrasky of San Francisco. Roberts felt comfortable enough with Podrasky to include her as his invited guest during his confirmation hearing in 2005 and to provide her with tickets for special guest seats at the marriage oral arguments.

Eric Schulzke at Deseret News thinks the Court will choose caution:

One reason the Court may be reticent to decide Proposition 8 is that justices are historically very sensitive to the Court’s unelected status, and consequently want to avoid making a sweeping decision overturning laws in the majority of states prohibiting gay marriage. “Some people could say this is the way the trend is growing, let’s just ride the wave,” Infanti said, “but others could say, the trend is still early. We are not talking about more than half the states, or three quarters of the states having adopted same-sex marriage.” It’s easy to forget, Infanti noted, that the Supreme Court did not decide until 1967 that state laws against interracial marriage were unconstitutional, at a point when relatively few states still had them on the books.

Over at The Hill, Sam Baker agrees that these decisions are likely to come at the very end of the term:

The marriage rulings will likely be the last ones released before the justices leave town for summer vacations and teaching positions, although the specific timing is hard to predict. The court doesn’t announce when specific decisions are coming, or even set a fixed end date by which all decisions will be released. But the last rulings, which are usually the most controversial, tend to come out at the end of June. (The court’s ruling on ObamaCare, for example, was released June 28.)

And finally, LGBT Weekly has a new infographic from HRC showing possible outcomes in the two cases:

Take a look below at the Human Rights Campaign’s infographic which shows some of the more likely outcomes from the Supreme Court arguments in the Prop. 8 and DOMA cases.

DOMA/Prop 8 HRC Infographic

Can you believe it's been two weeks since the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival?!  Well... it has!

And we've gathered some of the best photo sets from around the web and placed them in one convenient place for you... Enjoy!

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Photos contributed to Gay Fresno

Photos by MyLGBTPlus, Set 2, Photos by Leah Canseco-Decker - Photos by Slade
Photos by C.Hill Photography - Photos by Howard Watkins

gaywedding-071Dear opponents of marriage equality,

As the time for SCOTUS to weigh in on DOMA and Prop 8 nears, I’ve noticed that y’all are becoming slightly shriller (if such a thing is possible) in your insistence on the dire consequences of permitting same-sex couples to marry. All of these objections are ludicrous. They would have to be, since there are no legitimate, compelling reasons to deny loving couples the ability to legally commit to one another.

The most offensive of these objections comes in the form of the slippery-slope argument. It goes something like this: “If we allow same-sex couples to marry, we’re going to have to allow polygamy! We’ll have to allow people to marry children! And their pets! And toasters!”

Setting aside how offensive it is to compare gay relationships to pedophilia, bestiality, and polygamy (and it’s incredibly offensive), this argument is easily deconstructed — so easily, in fact, that it has been thoroughly debunked countless times before, but I’m going to go ahead and do it again, just this once.

Authored By Jessica Gerson – See the Full Story at The Huffington Post

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Ah, June! After a long, long winter the sun is shining and we have a myriad of excuses to get outside — from the many prides to trails to bike, run, skate or walk on the summer beach or camping and bicycling events are all over the area.

But wait!

Are you ready to be outside in the heat and sunshine? I mean really ready?

After spending many months indoors, a lot of us are pale to say the least. Others are used to a few sips of water at the office water cooler plus a coffee or tea with breakfast and not a lot more liquid. And almost everyone has been indoors and not getting as much exercise as they'd like during these past chilly months.

All of this means we have to get ready — mentally and physically — to be outdoors in the June, July and August heat and sunshine. Some things are obvious and some not so much so.

It's pretty obvious, for example, that in summer sunshine we need some protection.

 

 

prop8.2The US Supreme Court has announced the dates on which it will make rulings this month. They are next Monday, and Monday, June 24. This means that it’s possible that California could return to marriage equality as soon as Monday, although many court watchers believe that the decision on Prop 8 and DOMA will not be made until the final day. Our friends Stuart and John are planning a rally in San Francisco for the day of the decision. Edge Boston reports:

“Not knowing what the day or the nature of the decision will be, everything feels like a placeholder,” said Stuart Gaffney, who along with his husband, John Lewis, is arranging a public rally in San Francisco. “From couples who would love to exchange their vows ceremonially that day to entertainers and even people who have equipment and sound systems, we can't say with any certainty whether anyone can be there.”

Even if the court does overturn Prop 8, one way or another, it may be 30 days before gay and lesbian couples can actually begin to marry again. Edge Boston explains:

If gay marriage backers get the ruling they are hoping for, it is likely to take about a month before couples could start getting married in California, according to San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The losing side has 25 days under court rules to petition for a rehearing, and the decision would not become final until that period elapses.

We are most likely 12 days or less away from this decision.

poll-250x199A new pew poll says that almost three quarters of Americans think gay marriage is now inevitable. Queerty reports:

According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans believe you can’t stop the same-sex marriage beat. 85% of that number identified as gay marriage supporters and 59% as opponents. Interestingly, Republicans (73%), Democrats (72%) and Independents (74%) all seem to agree equally on the inevitability of legalization.

And we await the Supreme Court decision.

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The City of Fresno Attorney has been in contact with the ACLU of Northern California and all signs are pointing to a favoriate resolution to the approval of a permit for City Hall Plaza.

 

The ACLU recently stepped in to assist Marriage Equality USA in obtaining a rolling-date permit to use the Fresno City Hall plaza space for a "Day of Decision" rally when the Supreme Court issues it's ruling on the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases, which is expected to happen before the end of June.

 

 

A request has been made for an updated Permit Application and both parties are in negoiations for a resolution.  More will be posted as it becomes available.

 

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The Pentagon has identified some benefits that can be extended to gay and lesbian spouses of military members in spite of DOMA. Matthew Tharrett at Queerty reports:

Beginning September 1, LGBT servicemember spouses will be eligible to receive identification cards allowing them to claim education, survivor, commissary, travel, counseling and transportation benefits. Although the Defense of Marriage Act currently restricts health care and housing to heterosexual couples, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the benefits will most likely be extended to same-sex couples at some point. “These benefits shall be extended to the same-sex domestic partners and, where applicable, children of same-sex domestic partners, once the service member and their same-sex domestic partner have signed a declaration attesting to the existence of their committed relationship,” Panetta added.

Of course, the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA may make this whole thing moot.

As the US Supreme Court gets ready to rule on marriage equality, likely later this month, articles about the pending rulings and what they will mean are starting to pop up again.

Lambda Legal chimes in with a new infographic on how the rulings might go down. Joe.My.God reports:

On Monday the Supreme Court will issue its next round of rulings. There’s no hint as to whether the marriage cases might be unveiled in that round.

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First off, from Dot429 – five things gay and lesbian couples should be aware of ahead of the rulings, including:

1. Tax returns: Because federal law under DOMA doesn’t currently recognize same-sex marriage, couples in states that do recognize their partnership must file two tax returns, as it stands. “The tax return situation forces same-sex partners to file multiple returns; a state one, a mock federal one and an actual federal one,” Koh told 429Magazine. Should the Supreme Court broaden the definition of marriage and rule that same-sex marriages fall within the scope of federal law, it’s expected that gay couples will no longer face this problem.

Over at Edge Boston, GLAD has a great post on the hearing and the likely outcomes:

In terms of case outcomes, the most favorable outcome is obviously a ruling striking down DOMA Section 3 in toto on equal protection grounds. Such a precedent would be a condemnation of sexual orientation-based double standards from our nation’s highest court. “It could also be a split decision where it’s four justices ruling against it on equal protection grounds and one justice striking it down on federalism grounds, but five of them agree on the invalidity of DOMA,” Bonauto theorized. “It could also be five – or more – for equal protection. We have to wait and see.”

Zachary Roth at The Maddow Blog warns that a narrow Prop 8 ruling would still leave many gay and lesbian couples without rights:

…if you’re part of a gay couple in, say, Austin, or Salt Lake City, or Atlanta, that kind of historical certainty probably doesn’t come as easy. Who knows when, if ever, the reddest states will get on board? And most gay couples can’t afford to spend decades missing out on benefits while they wait around. “We can’t stay here if we’re not allowed to have all the rights of married folks,” one lesbian woman told MSNBC’s Drew Katchen recently.

The Washington Blade wonders if we are nearing the end of a movement:

Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur: I do not ever envision an “end of the movement” because as soon as we are done securing our own equality, we move on together as a community to address and tackle inequality every place it exists – poverty, racial bias and gender discrimination, to name a few. We will continue to work collaboratively, putting our community’s best talents forward, to affect positive social change for everyone.

Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez: Though we have made many gains, we are still severely unequal under United States law. We only have 15 percent of the rights of our straight counterparts. In my home state of Florida, I can be denied work, credit, housing, a marriage license and all manner of other rights essential to living the American dream. These issues become even more magnified when taking into account the multiple oppressions of race, immigration status, gender, etc. We have much ground to cover and waiting around is not an option.

And The Washington Post says the political fight may be over, but the cultural one is still being fought:

The second point — how gay marriage and homosexuality fit into the broader cultural fabric — is a fascinating window into how the debate over legal/illegal differs from the conversation about right/wrong. Forty-five percent of those tested said it was a “sin” to engage in homosexual behavior, the same numbers that said it was not a sin. A majority (56 percent) said that same-sex marriage would “go against my religious beliefs” while 41 percent said it would not. In both cases, the number of people calling homosexuality a sin or saying that it would go against their religious beliefs has dropped since the same question was asked in 2003. But it has dropped less quickly than some other measures of opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage.

Supreme Court decisions are usually released on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 AM, so it could be 6/11 or 6/12, 6/18 or 6/19, or 6/25 or 6/26. Some say it could even stretch into early July.

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I am not entirely sure how to start this article or which direction I want to start from. What I do know is that I hope to instill enough courage and confidence when you finish reading this article.

The City of Visalia has now issued a proclamation for their LGBTQ population for two consecutive years honoring the people and their various contributions to the City. President Obama signed a proclamation declaring June LGBT Pride month nationally, and thousands of cities across the country, every year, have similar proclamation. This has inspired a resident of Porterville to push for the same. Earlier this year this resident requested I submit the paperwork but I will admit I dropped the ball given the hustle and bustle of everything else going on. And to be honest, never in my wildest dreams think they City of Porterville would even consider it. Not that this made this a low priority for me it just meant that I had a whole other series or organizing to do assuming we’d have to mobilize a protest. But, I digress.

I received a phone call from the Porterville resident Brock Neeley whom had submitted the paperwork late last week. Brock had called to tell me that the Mayor would be honoring our proclamation. The news was met with sheer joy. Excitement and tears of happiness rang from both sides of the phone line. The proclamation was to be addressed at the next City Council meeting Tuesday June 4, 2013. I want to note that anyone, regardless of their cause is able to request a proclamation honoring whatever subgroup or cause. It is solely at the Mayor’s discretion to sign off on the proclamation and not necessary for the City Council members to sign off on for it to stand. However, it is customary for the City Council members to sign off on the proclamation as well. The sole signature on the proclamation last night was our Mayor Virginia Gurrola. Each Council member refused to sign and then made it a known on public record that they do not approve of this proclamation.

I want to be brief with my personal accounts of last night’s City Council meeting because I would like to encourage you to watch some of the video’s from the event as well as view the articles listed below. I can assure you that the YouTube video’s does no justice of the physical feeling sitting shoulder to shoulder with the people you will watch say those things to our Mayor and to the LGBTQ population as a collective. I want to encourage you to be safe out in our streets but do not be afraid. It has proven an effective method that telling our personal stories have a big impact on those who claim not to know anyone that is gay. I was shocked and appalled sitting in a room with people feeling completely free and justified spewing hate speech just feet from me. I am mad! I want you to feel empowered. I too want you to be angry that this went on last night and at little to no repercussions toward the people stating such hurtful things. When it was my turn to get up and speak I felt pure terror. I am not an expert at public speaking but I am far from a newbie at it. But, last night speaking with my back toward the crowd had me literally shaking. Not because I feared what the foes behind me thought but more so feared that I would be physically attacked. I am not one for exaggeration nor story telling but I cannot stress enough how difficult it was to formulate complete sentences last night but it happened and I still encourage you to be brave for us.

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(Trash found outside City Hall after the meeting)

Hate:  To dislike somebody or something intensely, often in a way that evokes feelings of anger, hostility, or animosity.

Of all the miracles we can witness in a lifetime, the birth of a child has to rank right there at the top.  Our first human touch, first taste of oxygen, seeing people for the first time, seeing the stranger whose heart beat has brought comfort, feelings of hunger, feelings of pain, cold and fear.  With as much intensity our senses are experiencing, you would have to think we could remember every moment and second of this.  Try as we might, those memories are not to come, not with out some nudge from hypnotherapy, which I feel is suspect in itself.

I would be safe in my opinion that every child born, isn’t born knowing hatred.  Hatred, whose pure definition is intensity by nature, for which there shoul be some remembrances of.   As infants, we don’t have the basis of hatred, it is taught to us by those for whom we are supposed to love and trust, and those they deem as a reliable source of knowing right from wrong, what is sacred and what is unholy.  From governments, to the clergy, from news articles to news casters, from parents to friends, our fragile minds are robbed of the ability to think and decide for ourselves.  The point is we didn’t experience an epiphany and start hating our fellow earth travelers.  We didn’t have a break through during therapy and remember Pat Robinson making monster sounds under our bed as a child.  Fox news sulking around the dark attic of your home and scaring you with their ghoulish march, Hitler rattling chains in the closet and Westboro Baptist waiting in the dark basement breathing heavily.  No, we are taught.

We are taught by those who are still in search of that euphoric feeling that never has come from hating.  That spiritual high, the sense of accomplishment, that heroic feeling of saving the day, never comes.  They were told the same lies and are left unfulfilled by their hatred, and anger rears it ugly head if they are surrounded by other people told the same lies and they have to mask their disappointment and their shame and guilt that echo’s from the back of their minds.  Searching for the rewards promised from  hatred is very much like unrequited love.  Regardless of the depth of our commitments and dutiful following, hatred will never love us.  It will always leave a dark seizing black hole in our soul, which if not fixed, will devour us, and leave us to be digested within the insane hell of purgatory.

We are told insanity is repeating the same actions that leads to failure, expecting different results.  Instead of continuing running head long into the brick wall, expecting the door four feet to the left to magically move four feet to the right, I suggest your make the move.  Make the move to tell those thought to be trusted, that they are wrong.  You will not be used as a surrogate for the need for fulfillment.  You will no longer make the lay away payments on a note of promised happiness that will never be satisfied.  You will not mold your life based upon other beliefs or misunderstandings.  You will stop being your own boogieman.

The new concept will be hard at first, but if you can carry hate for this long, you can carry this even further.  When you see a person you were taught to hate, hug them.  With your mind racing with vile words implanted in you years ago, say out loud that you love them.  If they are quirky and you feel yourself stumbling, love them that much more.  When you feel a need to say your God is right, try saying I respect you and your following of your higher spirit.  When their skin color seems to rob you of feeling superior, go get a tan in a show of solidarity.  When words are spoken you don’t understand, trying learning what they are saying before you label those words as hateful, and war provoking. It might be surprising to know that they are respecting you and your differences, and could be sharing and bestowing a blessing upon you and your family.  Be an example for others, when your friends kick someone to the ground, be the first to pull them up and dust them off.  When your child is born, stop the growth of the family tree of hate, let it’s roots wither up and die with you.

You can spend a lifetime hating others and be unfulfilled and die hating yourself, or give yourself a chance to open love’s door and find the rewards waiting within.

Pacific Justice Institute logo CNA US Catholic News 11 5 12-250x250An anti marriage equality attorney has admitted to feeling same sex attraction as a teenager, Gay Star News reports:

Pacific Justice Institute president Brad Dacus has admitted to past same-sex attractions in a discussion with gay rights activist and YouTube personality Jeff 4 Justice and has apologized for a 2008 speech he gave which referenced Nazism and Adolph Hitler in speaking about same-sex marriage. ‘We all have our things we’re working through. I have my dark closet like everyone else,’ Dacus said while speaking to Jeff about human sexuality. Asked if he had ever experienced same-sex attractions Dacus said ‘In early adolescence that’s very common.’

As we learn over and over again, we are our own worst enemy.

poll-250x199It may seem surprising given the masculinity and violence often displayed by professional hockey players, but they are the most supportive of all the major sports of marriage equality, according to a new survey. Chicago Now reports:

Should the U.S. Legalize Gay Marriage? 62 professional athletes from the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB, responded to this survey done by ESPN. 61 % of NFL athletes and 92% of NHL athletes responded “yes”, while 46% of NBA players and 45% of MLB athletes agreed. This research was reported on October 14, 2012 by Jim Buzinski in SB Nation Outsports, an online news magazine, which writes on GLBT issues and the sports world.

While the small survey size means it may not be representative of the leagues as a whole, it’s still a fascinating glimpse into pro sports and gay marriage.

Missed the parade, were a participant or just want to enjoy it again?  Below you'll find the entire parade, in full 1080P high defination.
Also, be sure to visit our facebook page and don't forget to view and upload your photos to our group. 

 

 

Our pride parade and festival photos are coming soon & our full HD video of the entire pride parade is uploading now...

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There is also a side to my post I deliberately left out.  I wanted the ruling and the possible concept to set in and see if anything came across your mind, something obvious.

The conclusion is this, who is going to look out for the best interest of homosexual boys in the closet or out, while they are in shark infested waters? The new rules clearly say Once the child turns 18 years of age, he can no longer be a scout. Meaning if they haven’t turned the child, he will be gone and there will not be any adult homosexuals.

So who’s going to be there to stand up for these kids? Intervene when hatred pops it’s little head up, or a bully starts to push?   Part of the no adult rule is clear, they don’t want to give away the key to club house and their secretes gets exposed. but the other part of keeping them away from protecting the kids they are trying to change? Brain wash?

A lot of young kids need positive influences and role models to guide them, if that child is gay wouldn’t it make sense to have not only a straight role model, but one who is also gay.  Sort of showing how two people from different sides of the coin can work together for a better future for the children.

But this ruling takes that away, takes the protection, and the takes away the peace of feeling of not being alone.  I wonder if anyone has mention a way of regulating this injustice, so that maybe a child will have the chance and not end up a hash mark on a statistic sheet in some police department somewhere.

This ruling is nothing short of sending our kids off to the asylum and the lunatics still are running the place.

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In the nineteen-fifties, the State Department went through something like a purge, systematically seeking out and firing gay employees, who, given the times, had been living closeted lives. Linda Hirshman, writing about the episode in her new book “Victory: the Triumphant Gay Revolution,” quotes the former head of State Department security: “The only thing I regret, was within minutes and sometimes maybe a week, they would commit suicide. One guy he barely left my office and … boom–right on the corner of Twenty-first and Virginia.”

The gay-rights movement in the United States has made great progress since then, and recently the pace of change has been breathtakingly fast. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed, multiple federal-court decisions have struck down anti-gay laws as unconstitutional, and President Obama has announced that he supports same-sex marriage–all in the past eighteen months. This Sunday, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage in New York. It might seem as if full equality for gay and lesbian Americans were now a foregone conclusion.

This is the theory at the heart of “Victory”–not that we have already achieved victory, but that it is at hand. What’s clear from the book is that that success did not happen overnight, but rather, like any political progress, was the result of a lot of hard work, individual effort, and much sacrifice over a lengthy period.

Full Story from the New Yorker

When I first met Alyssa, I thought she was my dreams made real. I could see no one else in the room. Her feminine shape and delicate facial features, her boyish haircut, lopsided smile, and large doe-like brown eyes had me from the moment I laid eyes on her. As I got to know her, her sense of humor, her wit and her willingness to help anyone completely charmed me. The fact that she seemed just as interested in me was astounding. I fell head over heels in love with her. I was hopelessly gone within the first few months, as she seemed to be with me.

The first year I spent with her was bliss. I wanted to be with her as much as possible, unfortunately to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. We laughed, we learned about one another. As the story of her rough past unfolded, I loved her all the more. She was abused and neglected as a child and teenager. Her father was an alcoholic; her mother had been in and out of her life since she was five years old. Yet she had pulled straight A's in high school and was accepted into a competitive Social Work program at the University I attended. During that first year we were together, she lived with her aunt while she attended college. She called me in close to tears often telling me of arguments that she and her aunt had gotten into. At the time, I couldn't understand why her aunt seemed to be treating her poorly. I hadn't realized I was only getting one side of the story.


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As that first year drew to a close, I began to start seeing some warning signs that she wasn't as together as I had thought she was. My twenty-first birthday was approaching and we often got into arguments about it. I have never been a drinker. Ever. Neither had my friends ever been terrible drinkers. The plan was simple and innocent, dinner at Applebee's with said friends, perhaps a drink or two to celebrate. As my birthday drew closer, my casual reassurances to her that I was not going to get crazy or turn into an alcoholic like her father began falling on deaf ears. Her gentle protests turned into long punishing silences and eventually into angry outbursts. To calm her, I finally gave in and said, 'fine, I'll order one to appease my friends, and just sip on it." However, when the day came and I sat in the Applebee's booth, Alyssa to my left, and four of my closest friends since childhood to my right, whom I had shared everything with, whom had been there for me through thick and thin, I felt extremely uncomfortable. I wanted to have fun with them. I didn't want to go nuts, I just wanted to have fun on my birthday. Yet I felt an oppressive weight where Alyssa sat beside me, stoic, uncompromising, and rude to my friends. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri and drank none of it. After the whole uncomfortable affair of my birthday dinner was over, Alyssa informed me that she didn't like my friends because she felt they were pressuring me into drinking. She wrote them off like they were nothing, and expected me to do the same. I fought her to an extent, but somehow she always managed to confuse me, to turn the situation around in a way that I believed I was wrong.

Regardless of these warning signs, when Alyssa asked me to marry her, I accepted eagerly. Another year passed, this one miserable. I was hopelessly in love with her and my self-esteem and self-image has always needed work. I believed that if I could just somehow love her enough, things would be ok. When she put me down, I took it. When I fought back and threatened to leave just to see if she cared, she told me I was worthless and asked who else could possibly want me or love me or take care of me the way she did. I began to believe her. She began seeing a counselor for her anger issues. There were moments where she was sweet and really seemed to try to show me she cared and wanted to be with me. These moments were few and far between and I used them as excuses to stay with her. At our two year mark, we went public with our engagement.

My mother was horrified. There were countless nights she came into my room and stroked my forehead as I cried after another terrible argument with Alyssa where she made me feel worthless. My mother tried talking to me. "Lissy Lou," she would say, "if she loved you, you wouldn't feel this way. She wouldn't make you beg for forgiveness for something you didn't do." But I would protest, "I love her, mom," and then I would make excuse after excuse for Alyssa's behavior and treatment of me and how she really was trying. Others protested our engagement, my sister, my friends who I had once been close with. During this time, Alyssa monitored my behavior, if she wasn't going with me, I wasn't going anywhere.

Within the third year I spent with her, I realized how angry I was at her, at how much life I was missing out on. I still loved her with all my heart and still wanted to be with her, and yet I didn't want to go on the way we were. Our end was complicated and painful. It's been almost a year since I managed to end it with her. I was broken for a few months afterwards. I had lost sight of who I was in the relationship I had with Alyssa. My identity was so tied up within her. However, I've managed to mend broken fences with old friends, with my sister, with my mother (who grew tired of seeing me lie down and take the abuse). I started painting again. I began building a portfolio for attending grad school. I started seeing a counselor to help deal with the fall out and my insecurities. I met someone new who treats me well and while we argue now and then, she never makes me feel like I'm worthless.

Abusive relationships are just as real in LGBT relationships as they are in heterosexual relationships. Emotional abuse is often not taken as seriously as physical abuse. However, emotional abuse should be taken seriously. It can often lead to physical abuse. If you believe you are in an abusive relationship, don't brush it off. I know it's painful to face, especially when you are so in love with your partner, and are made to feel as though you are worthless. But believe me, you are worth it. Seek help. Get out. There's hope and there's the kind of love that you deserve out there waiting for you.


Additional information on abusive relationships:

http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/types-of-abuse/emotional-abuse/

http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/warning-signs-of-abuse/

http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/types-of-abuse/emotional-abuse/

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If you were to follow the polls put forth by most American media, you’d guess same-sex marriage divides the country wretchedly in half.

As it turns out, America is certainly divided. But a new national poll commissioned by iMediaEthics that accounted for intensity of opinion has found the issue decidedly less divisive than widely reported. The country may be split, the poll shows, but same-sex marriage is surprisingly a non-issue for many who are often said to oppose it.

While just more than half of Americans support gay marriage in a forced-choice question, the poll found, the proportion of Americans who tolerate it is above 70 percent. When iMediaEthics broke from the either/or question format, it found that 47 percent of respondents — a dominant plurality — didn’t really care one way or another, suggesting that the narrative of same-sex marriage as a wedge issue either has been overblown or has played itself out in the American public sphere.

Full Story from Marketwatch

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President Barack Obama’s support of gay marriage has not translated into more backing from Michigan voters overall, a new poll shows, and four in 10 self-described independents say they are less likely to vote for him because of it.

“The fact that only 17 percent of polled independent voters were supportive of the President’s stance on gay marriage – and that 41 percent indicated they were less likely to vote for him as a result – may be some cause for concern with this crucial group,” said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of public relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates.

“President Obama needs to focus his electoral efforts on other issues – like job creation – if he wants to gain the independent vote in Michigan.”

Full Story from MLive

Jamie Nabozny agreed to this interview shortly after testifying to the bullying task force established in Minnesota by Governor Mark Dayton in an executive order . Jamie Nabozny won a Landmark Lawsuit in Federal court which rocked the public education system with the message that no child should be bullied. This does include people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered. The Governor's Bullying Prevention Task Force aims to have individuals and panels speak in "listening sessions" about the issue of bullying. Through listening, they seek to gather information on effective measures to stop bullying. But, the question I find more curious, is how did Jamie Nabozny go from bullied teen, to a full time activist rockstar?

Q: What were the main points covered in your testimony to the task force on bullying?

A: I spoke about the need to involve students in the process of dealing with bullying.  I explained that students know who's being bullied, who's doing it, where, when, how and usually why.  Most adults have very limited information. I told them if students are not part of the solutions they come up with they won't succeed.  I also talked about the need to teach empathy in grade schools and felt it should be mandated.  I asked they not advise criminalizing the behavior of bullying and to avoid zero tolerance approaches. That about covers it.

Jamie_Nabozny

 

Q: When did you start realizing that speaking up/testifying and advocating was something you could do full time? Was the transition from being a bullied teen to activist abrupt or gradual? And what was that change like? Any defining moments?

 A: Well I spent several years speaking out after my case.  I then stopped abruptly because I no longer wanted to be that kid from Wisconsin that got beat up.  That's how I saw myself.  Making the film "Bullied" helped me to see things very differently and I could no longer continue working my corporate job when so little had change and I knew I had more to add to the conversation. So I left Wells Fargo in the Summer of 2010 and started working full time as a Safe School Advocate.

Q: In school, during the time you were being bullied, did it occur to you that you would consider being involved in activism? Most people don't expect a documentary to be made about them nor a landmark case to be brought through the courts, but, did you ever consider being an outgoing and outspoken educator to any extent?

 A:Never.  I was quiet and shy and really only thought about surviving.  I thought very little about my future, I just knew it wouldn't be in Ashland.

Q: When speaking to students and educators on bullying, or preparing for your next educational tour, do you get at all anxious or fearful?

 A: I don't get anxious or fearful.  I am constantly going over what I do and making sure I'm as effective as possible.  I also have learned that students and educators are different depending on the area of country and if I'm in a rural, suburban, or inner city.  I do spend most of my time in small towns and rural areas. 

Q: (For me, as someone who also grew up and attended high school in a rural area, imagining overcoming the fears and anxieties attached to going to school in a toxic environment, and the fears and anxieties in public speaking while approaching powerful policy makers, is terrifying. The gut fear would be one in the same. Has that feeling subsided with experience?)

A: Yeah.  I am much more confident and less anxious now.

Q: As you are  working to educate and advocate, who motivates you and what drives your activism? How did the transformation from bullied to activist really take shape in the context of your work?

A: What drives me is my contact with youth on Facebook and my website.  Hearing that my film or presentation made a difference for them, helped them come out, or changed their school to be more accepting.  I feel so inspired and ready to take on my next challenge. 

 Q: Bullying in schools is a very precise topic to address amongst all the tribulations Queer identified folks face. What advice do you have for other aspiring activists who want to make a powerful impact? Should the topic be personal, and how much can the little things like just calling people out and educating friends, family, peers help?

 A: I think the most important thing is to be yourself, connect with the audience, and don't be afraid to ask people to change their behavior and thinking.

Q: Do you think you will continue your career of changing lives for the better? Or are there some "other fish to fry" so to speak?

 A: I don't know how long I will be blessed enough to keep doing this but I have no plans to stop.  The students need me and as long as I'm making a difference, I will keep doing what I'm doing. 

Q: Has anyone from your school back in Wisconsin apologized for either bullying you or for being an innocent bystander who never spoke up? If so, what did they have to say?

 A: Most of the apologies I've received have been from the bystanders.  They say they wish they had stood up or at least reached out to be friends with me.  I've also heard from the step-son of a former bully who told me that he is still a bully.  He now bullies his mother, his siblings and himself.  

Q: I see on your website you will be getting married in September 2012! (Congrats by the way!  Is marriage something you had long hoped for, something you saw in your future when you were still coping with the traumas attached to being bullied? What did you think of marriage then? And now in terms of the Minnesota amendment proposed?)

A: I never thought about getting married either legally or otherwise. It really wasn't on the radar when I was growing up.  I knew I wanted to have a family some day but that even seemed out of reach.  I'm so grateful we are having the debate in Minnesota and I'm very optimistic that my fellow Minnesotans will vote No.  I hope eventually I will be able to legally marry here.  I won't leave or get married anywhere else though.  This is my home and I will stay and fight for the right to marry the person I love.

 To sum up: any information that helps to form the story from bullied to activist is appreciated. That story is very modest in your biography on your website and that transition is a huge part of who you are and what inspires me the most. The documentary Bullied seemed to sort of skim that transformation.

 A: I believe I have a responsibility to continue the work I'm doing.  I know what young people feel like when they are targeted for who they are. They feel so  isolated and alone.  Knowing that,  I can't sit back and say it's up to someone else to help them.  I am that someone else.  Many gay people don't get involved because they want to forget about their painful memories of their own childhood.  I am so much stronger and more whole because of the work I do.  The little kid inside of me who felt worthless and afraid gets a bit stronger every time I speak out and help others.  It's truly both a calling and a blessing to do the work that I do.  

 Thanks for taking the time to answer Jamie,

It's both a pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to hear from you.

Q: One last question. What's next on your agenda of accomplishments?

 A: I'm working to get corporate sponsorship right now so I bring my message full time to middle and high schools all over this country who need to hear it.

For more on Jamie Nabozny visit his website.

Jacob Woods blogs at Good as Gay and his Facebook Page can be found here.

Just hours after the LGBT advocacy group “Truth Wins Out” published an interview in which a senior Salvation Army official in Australia said the belief that gays must die is part of the Salvation Army’s “Christian doctrine,” the organization issued an apology to the LGBT community.

Major Andrew Craibe, Territorial Media Relations Director for the Southern Territory in Victoria, made the incendiary comments in an interview with LGBT journalists Serena Ryan and Pete Dillon for the Australian radio show “Salt and Pepper.”

Ryan noted that the Salvation Army handbook cites Romans 1:18-32, a passage claiming that “God’s decree” is that homosexuals deserve death, and asked Craibe if the Salvation Army took that passage literally. Craibe replied in the affirmative, and continued to do so throughout the interview.

Below is the interview with Salvation Army Major Andrew Craibe in full:

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Read the full article at Truth Wins Out

Suze Orman is doing a Saturday night show on marriage equality and the financial reasons it is so important, at 9 pm ET on CNBC.

Says Orman in a preview of the show.

“Here I sit in front of you. A 61-year-old woman who has been gay my entire life. Who has been in a committed relationship for the past 12 years.”

David Blankenhorn, a national figure in the movement against same-sex marriage, has recanted his opposition, saying "the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do."

Mr. Blankenhorn, the founder and president of theInstitute for American Values, wrote an influential book that argued against same-sex marriage in 2007, called “The Future of Marriage,” and served as an expert witness against the constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which limited marriage to heterosexuals. On Friday, he said in an opinion article for The New York Times, published online, and in an interview on NPR that his concerns about same-sex marriage remained, but that “the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over.”

“I opposed gay marriage believing that children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world,” he wrote in the article. He said he still held that conviction. But he added, “Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.”

Mr. Blankenhorn’s onetime allies said they were troubled but unimpressed.

“He’s dead wrong,” said the Rev. Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, Calif. “I am a student of history. Christianity has made clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. And what we have seen is that when you change marriage for some, you change marriage for all.”

The focus on same-sex marriage has grown rapidly in recent years, both legislatively and legally. Two requests for review of same-sex marriage rulings in federal courts, including the Proposition 8 case, are headed to the Supreme Court this summer. Other cases are being argued in lower courts, and referendum initiatives will be on the ballots in November in four states — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

Listen to an interview with Mr. Blankenhorn from last week.

Whilst my mother has improved exponentially in her tolerance of, if not acceptance of my sexual orientation, I know that this is an issue that most of us face every day. In a way this casual dissonance from close family members harms more than the blatant hate that is directed our way from the general, ignorant masses.

As a child I sensed that I was different. I wasn’t the pink wearing, doll playing, daughter my mother wanted and yet, I wasn’t the athlete my father wanted either. From the time I was very small I was drawn to individuals of the same gender. Very early on there were nights I laid awake asking God if he could somehow please make me a boy overnight so that my attraction to other girls would be acceptable. My first love was my preschool best friend. I remember vividly holding her hand, shadowed closely by our chatting mothers, as we walked across the “Rainbow Bright Bridge” (as we had dubbed it) to the Presbyterian Church where our small preschool class was held. I also remember her chasing me around the island in my family’s home trying to kiss me goodbye. The excitement and yet unease that I felt at this gesture at age four was accurate foreshadowing at how my adolescence would be spent.  I remember wanting to let her kiss me and yet, I remember knowing that somehow, my parents would probably not appreciate the sentiment as much as I would.

In high school, I developed a mad crush on a girl in my homeroom class. Her long dark hair and talent with a paint brush had me mesmerized. I sought solace in my guitar, my books, and my own art work. Disappearing into my room and my imagination for hours on end in the evenings made living in reality during the day time bearable. I was lucky enough however, to have a great group of supportive friends that embraced me my sophomore year of high school when I revealed my secret to them.

My freshman year of high school I attempted to come out to my mother. I told her I was bisexual. I knew in my heart that this wasn’t true. I had never had any interest in boys. Yet somehow, telling her that I was interested in girls as well as boys seemed a softer blow. She shook her head condescendingly and told me to, “date a few boys, honey. You’re not gay. You’ll see.” Thus, upon kissing my forehead, she left the room. My mother and I have always been close. I told her everything. In a way, having her dismiss my fears was almost reassuring. Maybe she was right. However, as my crush for the dark haired painter intensified in the following two years, remaining even as I experimented with boys, I knew that she had been mistaken. My junior year I attempted to come out to her again, her response was more reassuring. “Well, if that’s the case, it is what it is. We will deal with it.” When I finally left for college and started dating girls, my mother’s disapproval deepened. She spent her time trying to keep my father from disowning me (and divorcing her, because he was somehow under the impression that she supported my ‘alternative life style’ choice) and trying to convince me that I was mistaken.  Eventually, her hurtful, angry comments turned into strategic snide remarks in general conversation. No less hurtful of course, and jarring yes, but I gladly took it over the anger she had openly displayed. My parent’s feelings about my sexual orientation affected my relationship with my girlfriends, one in particular, my now ex-fiancé.

During the painful break up that I had with this particular ex, my mother was supportive in all the ways one hopes a mother would be during such a time. My relationship with this girl had been borderline abusive. My mother told me often during the time I spent with this girl that she just wanted me to find someone who treated me the way I deserved to be treated. Man or woman no longer mattered to her. She just wanted someone to treat me well.

My mother’s tolerance of my sexual orientation has been a long time in coming. Things aren’t perfect. She and my father still have a long road to travel down to complete acceptance. However, I can now have a girlfriend home and they will respectfully treat her as such and not ignore that she is more than just a friend to me. I don’t have to hide those glances or touches from my parents that any happy couple shares, just to keep them feeling comfortable at my own expense, and at my partner’s expense.

Last night I went to visit my mother for my birthday and it was the first time in a long time that she uttered those words. “You know, you could still always find a nice boy.”  However, instead of those words being tinged with regret, pain, and anger, a smile curled the edges of her lips and there was humor there. I know she still has a vague hope that somehow I will turn into the straight daughter she imagined me to be most of my life. However, I believe that she is beginning to understand that just because I am programmed to love a woman instead of a man, does not make me unable to have the family or the life she imagined for me.

Coming out is painful for all parties involved. It is healthy, however. Pain allows personal growth. It is a difficult road to tolerance and it is a long road to acceptance, but lean heavily on love and patience and lots of time (and perhaps a vivid imagination) and eventually, we will make it to acceptance with those people who we care about most and who’s approval and words affect us the most deeply.  In turn, we can teach them what it means to be true to one’s self in the face of adversity.

If you missed out on Sharon Needles at The Express this past Saturday, shame on you. But, we've collected some photos and videos to share if you want to see what you missed or just relive it, if you were there!

 

CAUTION: Turn down your audio, these videos are loud!

 

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My mother has been watching her grand-kids this past week. During the summer of 2011 I babysat my nephew Logan. Like any child, he was afraid of thunderstorms. My mother came back to me with an interesting story about how his parents are reacting to his fear of thunderstorms amongst other scary topics. The key to my brother and sister in law in regards to managing the fear of the unknown, is to not talking about it. Sounds familiar.

My mom tells me, “When I start telling Logan about the lightning and the thunder, they holler at me and tell me not to talk about it. I tell them to hush and then, when they aren't around I tell Logan about how the lightning comes before the thunder. I tell him that it can be scary sometimes when you are sleeping and you don't know where it is coming from.”

I think to myself about how many things that we fear today that we resist discussing. Homophobia is all about fear. There is a fear of just discussing it. The topic can make some uncomfortable. Then, there is a fear that someone will be offended when we speak. A fear that something, “politically incorrect” will be said that there will be no recovery from an embarrassment. A simple mistake made when walking on activist egg shells. Like when news anchor Ashleigh Banfield from CNN accidentally referred to orientation as being a choice. The LGB T activists jumped on her attacking her for her mistake. And not tactfully either. She apologized relentlessly after the mistake was made calling it a misunderstanding. Like something we all have had. A simple misunderstanding. Something that can be tactfully corrected. A moment to educate and inform. (Ashleigh Banfield - Calls Being Gay a Lifestyle Choice)

Can you imagine sitting in a bedroom when an unexplained light flashes through closed blinds and an inexplicable bang shakes the foundation of your house. Mom and dad were not the ones responsible for it. If they didn't cause it, who did? What did? These questions must banter through my nephews mind in a rudimentary way when a storm hits. The way a two year old would try to understand such indescribable phenomenon. Beyond comprehension. A primordial palpitation of the heart. A concern. A series of whimpers and cries and erroneous explanations. What is this noise? This misunderstanding.

Grandmother follows her instincts and answers. She reasons with Logan when the thunder storm awakes him. When the rain pounds unforgivably against the cold pane glass of the windows. The wind shuddering waves of water. An insidious noise. I can just imagine the way Logan's grandmother, my mother would describe this to him. The way she would explain and talk with him. Telling him everything is ok. “What are clouds made up of? Are they made up of water?”

“Wawa?” Logan would answer.

“Yep. And what happens after lightning strikes? What is that noise called? Is it called thunder?”

“Thunder?”

“Yah. Should you be afraid of thunder?”

“I no know.” his hand would go up in the air as if he has been speaking for years. His face contortion would ask a question.

“No, we don't need to be afraid of thunder.” grandma would say calmly.

As another boom shook the foundation of the earth, Logan would jump off his bed and skedaddle over to grab “gamma”. “Woah, that was pretty loud hugh? Did that scare you?” granma would say as she caught her grandson.

“Ugh hugh.” his eyes would be a bit red with tears.

“Thunder won't hurt you. It's just a storm. Nothing to fear. Rolling rolling rolling, keep that thunder rolling.” grandma would start singing, making a parody out of the blues brothers.

Another flash of lightening would light up the world and Logan's eyes would bolt wide open.

“WOW” he would say.

And as the storm went on, “gamma” would continue talking to him about the big storm outside. Comforting him. Giving him the language used to cope with the unfamiliar. Very kind, soothing, tactful language. No bickering or hollering. No, “We don't talk about it.”

Because without the language to talk about it, without the knowledge to explain it, with the fear of discussion and making a mistake, there is no learning. Only useless arguing. Blaming. Confusion. Crying. “WOW”

“Don't try to understand them, just rope, throw and brand 'em. Soon we'll be living high and wide. My heart calculatin'. My true love will be waitin'. Be waiting at the end of my ride.” - Rawhide – Blue Brothers.

Jacob Woods blogs at http://goodasgay.blogspot.com

JCPenney_ad This Father's Day, Todd and I received one of the best gifts any person, father or not, can receive — the gift of overwhelming love and support.

 

Earlier this year, we were approached by representatives from JCPenney about our family being part of their Father's Day catalog celebrating the diversity of real-life dads. We instantly agreed, knowing that this would be a great opportunity to "normalize" families like ours in the minds of millions of everyday Americans. Little did we know that it would create the media frenzy that it has, or a tidal wave of love and support.

Since the beautiful two-page photo spread of us laughing and tickling our children Claire and Mason went public, our picture has spread like wildfire across social media, has been flashed on TV screens in just about every media market in the country and has been covered by international press, including CNN, MSNBC, Time magazine and London's Daily Mail.

Advocate


Eriq_Escalon

Eriq Escalon was raised in Clovis, he was tragiclly murdered·early Tuesday evening in the Diamond Heights district of San Francisco.·He was a member of the Concord Blue Devils Colorguard. The family also ordered 1,000 rainbow wristbands in his memory, and money raised from selling the wristbands will be used to set up a Blue Devils scholarship fund in his name.·

·here will be a car wash at Kimmies Tavern in old town Clovis from 8a-12p and a Cut-A-Thon right across the street at Salon Innovation, to raise funds.

There will also be a bake sale on June 20th from 12-6pm. ·"Please stop by and buy baked goods to help. Any amount of money will help. If you would like to donate some baked goods for us to sell that would be great too!! Message me if you need any other information."


Funeral Arrangements have been made for Friday 6/22 at 10am at Peoples Church in Fresno. There will be a reception to follow. More information on the reception will be posted later. Eriq's family has requested that you wear something colorful in his honor. Please refrain from wearing black.

A Citi Bank account has been set up for Eriq's funeral arrangements. The account number is 42002248096.·Routing #321171184

All checks need to be payable to his mother Esmeralda Escalon. ·If you're a Citibank member you can donate/transfer online, here: https://online.citibank.com/US/JRS/pands/detail.do?ID=InterInstitution

On behalf of the Escalon family, thank you so much for your donations and kind words during this difficult time.

 

Additional information: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/crime/2012/06/loved-ones-share-their-grief-diamond-heights-homicide-victim#.T9tuESWfzls.email

gaywedding-06 When a member of the president’s staff said that his view on gay marriage had “evolved” and when the president explained this evolution during an interview, I felt a peak moment of empathy. Gay marriage is such a complex issue and I completely understand the idea of having evolving opinions regarding it. I also felt an empathy with the president since many of our steps in this evolution as well as our current views are very similar.

When I first became old enough to understand the idea of two men or two women getting married, I wholeheartedly supported the idea and didn’t see why anyone would be opposed to it or would even suggest an alternative.

It seemed to me that those who opposed gay marriage simply felt uncomfortable with the thought of gay people sharing their rights and I saw this as an insufficient reason. However, as I left my high school where nearly half of the males were gay, I met more and more people who had gay friends and were comfortable with gay people but still opposed gay marriage.

Full Story from the Huffington Post

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The head of the campaign to defend Maryland’s same-sex marriage law stressed on Wednesday that he remains confident that voters will support nuptials for gays and lesbians in the likely November referendum.

“We feel pretty good,” said Josh Levin, campaign director for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, told the Blade in an exclusive interview during a fundraiser for his organization at Bay Cafe in Baltimore.

“The story since the beginning of the year has been momentum growing; whether that was passing the bill, signing it into law, the president’s announcement [in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples,] the NAACP nationally coming out in our favor. We’re just trying to build upon that as we go forward.”

Full Story from The Washington Blade

As President Obama and Mitt Romney articulate competing visions for the future in their presidential campaigns, most LGBT rights advocates agree the choice couldn’t be more stark given the advances the community has seen over the past three-and-a-half years and the anti-gay positions espoused by the Republican candidate.

On one hand, President Obama has endorsed marriage equality, capping off a first term of efforts at the legislative and regulatory levels aimed at benefitting the LGBT community. On the other, Romney signed a pledge with the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage to back a Federal Marriage Amendment and defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. Last month, he backed off his earlier stated belief that adoption by same-sex couples is a right by saying he simply “acknowledges” the legality of such adoptions in many states.

Obama has made “forward” the theme for his 2012 campaign. The extent to which Romney has adopted anti-gay views and aligned himself with anti-gay groups raises a key question for LGBT voters: Under a Romney administration, how far “backward” could the LGBT community go?

Full Story from The Washington Blade

gay_cake_decorationOpponents of gay marriage have an unblemished track record in U.S. elections, chalking up 32 victories in 32 public votes.

They’ve won in blue states and red ones, among the most heavily religious areas and among the least-churched. North Carolina punctuated the winning streak just last month by comfortably approving a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.

Gay marriage supporters are optimistic that they can end their losing ways this year, with four states voting on the issue in November. They’re particularly encouraged by the prospects in Washington and Maine. Meanwhile opponents have taken steps to maintain their unflawed record and believe their side will be motivated to hold the status quo.

Full Story
 

By the end of the year, either the freedom to marry will be restored for gay and lesbian Californians or our federal case for marriage equality will be on its way to the highest court of the nation.

The Prop. 8 Proponents now have at least 90 days (September 4, because of Labor Day) to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear our federal legal challenge for marriage equality. They can also ask the Court for up to two 30-day extensions.

Prop8CaseInfo

When I was 22 and just stepping out of the closet, I knew that choosing to embrace my sexual orientation meant not choosing other options available at the time to gay men. Marrying a man wasn't a legal option. And the integrity I asserted by accepting myself allowed no place for a half-baked heterosexual marriage, the default for many older gay men who hoped for some kind of a "normal" life.

Fortunately, I was also aware of other options that were much more appealing to me. Reading the work of gay men who had lived years before me -- Andre Gide, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde -- planted images in my mind of men who were as "openly gay" as they needed to be in their era. They celebrated their love of men. But their homosexuality was simply part of their eccentricity, part of what made them "different." Embracing their different-ness was how they asserted what we'd call "gay pride."

What a contrast to today's fundamentalist-like insistence that being a "proud" gay man requires buying into a defined set of political values and tastes, living in an urban gay ghetto surrounded by like-minded men, even dressing and cutting one's hair in the "right" way.

Gide, Whitman and Wilde must spin in their graves over the cookie-cutter conformity of vast numbers of today's homosexuals. I doubt they'd recognize themselves in the men, even the activists, who want nothing more than to be accepted as "no different than" heterosexuals.

Yes, I support someone's right to legally wed the male or female partner of their choice. But honestly, I find it extremely odd to hear men talk about their "husbands." To my mind, a husband is the partner of a wife -- and vice versa. They are, by definition, heterosexual words.

I still kind of like the word "lover" that was widely used when I came out in the early '80s. It was definitely a "gay" word. Everyone knew that a lover was a man's partner, his special someone, distinguished from boyfriends and more casual relationships often called "tricks," an abominable word from the sex trade.

So even though my father teased me when I was a boy that I would "make someone a good wife some day" -- because I knew how to cook, wash my own laundry, grow plants and flowers and do many of the things that many competent, independent people of both sexes are able to do for themselves -- I can't imagine calling myself anyone's wife. I also can't imagine calling another man my husband (even if there were a man in my life in that special role).

In this month when we celebrate gay pride and recall the struggles our people endured in the fight finally to be treated equally under the law, I'd suggest there is still a place in this world -- and in the gay equality movement -- for independent-minded men and women who don't need others, gay or not, to define who we are.

I have found a great deal of wisdom, and a kindred spirit, in the life and writing of a more recent -- and happily, still very much alive -- gay man who, for me, seems to channel his great hero Walt Whitman.

Arnie Kantrowitz, one of my own heroes, was one of the founding members of the post-Stonewall Gay Activists Alliance, in New York City, and a marshall in the first Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, as the first pride parade, in 1970, was called. In his 1977 memoir Under the Rainbow: Growing Up Gay, Arnie talked about his personal liberation, what it was like to be a "nice Jewish boy from Newark" who found his freedom -- at first, anyway -- in New York's gay scene, but then moved on.

Instead of providing genuine liberation, Arnie eventually found that gay life in the ghetto had created another sort of oppression with its pressure to conform to social expectations of what a gay man was "supposed" to be, believe, wear and do. The "safety" of the ghetto began to seem too artificial for Arnie and others, with the price of "belonging" one's renunciation of the belief that there could be fulfilling gay life outside the ghetto. Arnie wrote, "We had come in search of protective anonymity, and we had all wound up in the same gigantic closet."

As a veteran of the political and sexual revolutions of the '70s, Arnie said, "I had explored my sexual fantasies enough, and I was ready to return to the life I had once led, but as a new person."

For some of us, being a new person -- an out and proud gay man -- may mean settling down with a special partner and building a life together, and being happy enough about it to tell anyone who cares to know. For others, it may simply mean asserting ourselves as independent, even eccentric, "free men" rather than what Nobel Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck called "herd men."

Adopting the herd mentality of the highly materialistic, celebrity-obsessed, we're-just-like-everyone-else "homosexual lifestyle" being pushed at us in today's gay media isn't proud or liberating. Buying a bill of goods because the salesmen happen to be gay is simply trading one oppressor for another.

PecsnCity

It gets better. That’s what all the videos from celebrities and a myriad of other people from different professions across the globe are telling our gay youth. “It gets better.” My question is probably the same as every kid out there who sees these video messages: Does it? Really?

Don’t get me wrong here — I think it’s amazing that so many people from all walks of life, both famous and non-famous, are rallying around the gay youth of our nation. But words can only do so much. It’s similar to trying to tell someone who has just gone through a painful loss that everything will be okay. They’re just words.

Saying “I know how you feel” has an artificial ring to it that someone in pain can sense a mile away. Sure we can identify with the struggle against bullies and the uphill climb to become who we truly are, but just like the details of a death in the family or an excruciating break-up, every situation is different.

How can a gay kid from Dogpatch, U.S.A. Feel that a celebrity ensconced in a Bel-Air mansion can possibly know the pain and the isolation of being the only gay person in a hundredmile stretch of corn and ignorance? What these young people need is a physical manifestation of what they can become, but the problem is that it may not exist. And if it does, the person who may be able to help them is still hiding in the closet afraid of what might become of them if they step into the light and tell the world who they really are.

Bullies like to use strength or power to intimidate those who are weaker. And when you hide your head in shame it makes you weak. If you want to show our gay youth that it gets better you need to make sure the world knows who you are and who you love.

Be an example to someone who may have no one to turn to in their time of need. Let them know that bullies will never win and that bullies are just sad, brainless products of our society and their own cowardice. The funny thing about the word “bully” is that is comes from a Middle Dutch word boele, which actually means “lover”. As Alanis would say: isn’t it ironic?

So what makes a bully a bully? Bullying isn’t something that appears out of nowhere. It is bred into people who believe they need to lash out at things they perceive as different or things they fear. Let me cast a wider net by saying you can see a bully’s violent stripes in terrorist cells. You can see their fear of diversity in the religious right. You can even see the pleasure they take in tormenting others in the Legion Of Doom. But heroes stand up against these bullies and show them they can’t win. Bullying won’t end because we expel vicious football players or lock up religious extremists. The reason they are bullies in the first place is because that’s the way they were raised.

When parents decide to raise their children to embrace diversity — whether it’s the colour of someone’s skin, who they choose to love or even the waist size of their classmates — then bullying will die a lonely, well-deserved death. Along with teaching our children that people who are different are just like everyone else, we also must teach our youth that there’s no need to jump on a bandwagon when other, less educated kids are bullying those who are different. Even if you fall into the category of what this world considers to be normal, it’s okay to stand up, speak out against hate and be exactly who you are.

The media is flush with reports of how schools and communities are finally going to put an end to bullying. The sad news is it will never end. Bullies will find a way. They always find a way. It’s the same as saying that one day we will win the war on crime or the war on drugs. It won’t happen. Not until the entire world somehow shifts their way of thinking. The death penalty hasn’t stopped people from murdering each other and prison time hasn’t dissuaded drug dealers from pumping our nation full of poison, so what hope does an anti-bullying crusade have? The hope that teenagers decide they would rather graduate or play basketball as opposed to torturing their classmates? Does anyone really think about the consequences when they are caught up in the moment? Not always. And by then the damage is done.

We are all scarred by what happened to us in high school. Whether you were an acne-spotted theater geek or an all-American running back, if you are gay, back then you lived a lie to survive. Maybe you bullied someone who was more like you than you’d care to admit because you saw your reflection in their frightened gaze and even though you weren’t on the receiving end of taunts and harassment, you were stuck in your own prison of denial and deception.

Was I bullied in high school? Constantly. I was 98 pounds of skin, bones and braces who barely looked up in the hallways. That Matt still lives inside of the confident 190-pound muscle-bound lothario I am today. But I haven’t forgotten him. And the fact that my training and knowledge has blessed me with the ability to cripple or kill a man only fuels my fire of rage when I hear about my young brethren being tormented by half-witted, weak-willed oxen.

Does it make me the same as them when I think about teaching these pathetic bullies a lesson by giving them a bloody taste of their own medicine? Maybe. But I think it makes me more of a champion, a vigilante, a hero who wants to protect and save the children he will never have. I look at it this way: how do you feel about someone who kills for the fun of it compared to a person who kills someone in self-defence? If I thought giving some Cro-Magnon bully a black eye or a busted molar would prevent a gay teen from killing himself, I’d say wrap my knuckles in some tape. Sometimes it’s the only language bullies understand.

I firmly believe that violence is never the answer to anything, but sometimes fighting fire with fire may be the only solution. Unfortunately some kids who are bullied believe the same thing and that’s when tragedies like Columbine happen. When violence breeds violence it can escalate and spin out of control. On the flip side of this violent coin, when kids are afraid to be who they are in the town where they live, they seek out companions on the internet. These predators are often not who they say they are and sometimes these trysts end in murder. Because of these unfavourable consequences people who truly want to help are wary of how they will be perceived. If I said that my home was open to any teenager who was lost and scared how would that make me look? Like a Good Samaritan or someone from To Catch A Predator? Unfortunately the sword cuts both ways.

My parents always taught me “living well is the best revenge”. I never really knew what that meant until I saw one of my bullies where he belonged: pathetic, broken-down and working behind the counter at a fast-food restaurant. Did I take pleasure in this? You bet I did. But when he was shoving me into my locker and spilling my lunch tray I had no idea that I would have this moment of clarity. The other thing my parents taught me was to stand up for myself, but that was a harder road. If I knew then what I know now, I can guarantee there would have been a lot of broken bones and an expulsion for yours truly.

No matter what happens, there will be a continuing wave of young people emerging into a world that fears and despises them. There’s no way anyone can stop it or beat the gayness out of any of them. The time for ignorance is over. It’s time for all of us to rise up — just like our brothers at Stonewall did — to show the world that we are not going anywhere and that we will protect our young like a lioness on the African veldt. There’s a new era coming and I am going to do whatever it takes to gay it forward and cement my legacy. What are you going to do?

So… What do I have to say to young gay people who are out there feeling scared and alone? Yes, it does get better. But don’t take my word for it. Stand up and see how beautiful and amazing you are. Life isn’t for hiding, life is for living. Life gives you the chance to laugh, to love, to dance and even time to look up at the stars. Follow your heart and jump to your feet because when you finally stand up and take a stand for what you believe in, that’s when people will show up and stand with you to take your side. If no one’s around to help you, help yourself. Do your push-ups and make sure you keep your left up when you deliver that right at eyebrow level.

If you think you can’t fight, then pack your bags and run to a place where your gay brothers and sisters will help you. Remember that strangers aren’t always a threat but use your common sense and let people earn your trust. Most importantly, if you are thinking about ending it all, please, please don’t do it. Hold on. Don’t let those dicks win. Show them how wrong they are by becoming who you want to be. Who you dream of being. The world needs you. Have you ever seen a Christmas tree with one light missing? It throws everything off. We need your light in this world to make it complete.

I know it hurts and I know it feels like there is no one out there who cares about you, but you are wrong. Someone’s waiting to be your friend. Someone’s waiting to be a part of your whole new family. Someone’s waiting to hold your hand and kiss your lips and show you that every ounce of pain you’ve ever felt has been worth it. Maybe our churches and our government want you to believe that you don’t matter, but they are spineless cowards hiding behind words they twist to suit their needs. Don’t listen to them. Instead, heed the words of all the people out there who care about you by saying: “it gets better”. Better yet, take a look at yourself in the mirror and tell that person you see and the person you will become: “I’m going to make it better.” It’s a long, hard road to get to the Emerald City where all your dreams will finally come true, but we are here waiting for you. So, come and get it. I can’t wait to meet you.

rainbow-brush-bubble The theory behind freedom of speech was pretty simple: a robust consideration and debate of all ideas will lead to adoption of the better ones. When all points of view can be examined, people will opt for those which are best for that society.

The history of civil rights in the U.S. would seem to support that thesis; despite some pretty grim periods, the nation has consistently — if sometimes painfully — moved to a more inclusive, more humane interpretation of equality.

During the past several decades, however, the advent of an ever-more pervasive electronic media has brought on more and more spin and micro-targeting. As a result, political operatives have been able to target their respective base voters with messaging that rarely breaks through to the general public, depriving that public of the sort of arguments that free speech advocates believe are essential to good policy decisions.

Thanks to Barack Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage, however, we are going to have one of those truly public debates.

Obama has come out (no pun intended) for the equal protection of the laws, for a government that applies the same rules to gay, lesbian, bi & trans folks that it applies to heterosexuals.

Romney has endorsed a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and has personally contributed to anti-gay and anti-marriage equality organisations.

Perhaps more importantly, this stark difference of position comes at a time when those who do not follow politics closely are beginning to see just how radical the Republican base — to which Romney is in thrall — has become.

In Indiana, the 2-1 defeat of Richard Lugar by a Tea Party yahoo has been a wake—up call.  Despite being routinely characterised as a moderate, Lugar was a very conservative Senator (probably a great deal more conseniative than many of his supporters realised).

As EJ. Dionne noted, he wasn't "moderate" — he was civil. He actually engaged in conversation with people he disagreed with. To the rabid know-nothings who currently contnol the GOP, that was evidently sin enough.

And Indiana is not alone, unfortunately. The radicalisation of the once Grand Old Party has been proceeding for a long time now. But that radicalisation has occurred largely out of view of the people who are simply going about their everyday business. What has been obvious to us political junkies is just now becoming obvious to the general public.

With Obama's announcement, the "agendas" of base voters, Republican and Democrat alike, are receiving widespread attention. The choice is stark and it isn't limited to same—sex marriage. If you think about it, positions on same—sex marriage are indicators of political and moral philosophies. People who favor civil liberties and equality for lesbian, gay, bi & trans people tend to believe in separation of church and state, in government neutrality and even-handedness.

People who are adamantly opposed to the extension of equal rights to gays and lesbians, on the other hand, tend to believe in authoritarian government, tend to support the GOP's "war on women," and tend to reject the principle of separation of church and state in favor of a belief in America as a “Christian nation."

Diversity makes them uncomfortable, and — let's be honest — so does the presence of a black man in the White House.
Bottom line? Different positions on same-sex marriage are proxies for dramatically different world views.

What Obama's endorsement of same—sex marriage has done is shine a very bright light on these differences. It was a decision to reject the continued micro-targeting of messages — the “wink—wink" approach favored by political operatives of both parties — in favor of the very public, very robust debate envisioned by the founders.

It's a debate worth having. I just hope the founders weren't overly optimistic.

NOMlogoIn a surprise move, the state of California’s ethics office announced Wednesday that it will investigate Fred Karger’s complaint against the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

In his sworn complaint of May 17, Karger alleged that NOM did not report over $340,000 that it raised to pass Proposition 8 four years ago. California joins the state of Maine which is in its third year of its investigation of NOM, the leading anti-gay marriage organization in the country.

Karger received a notification letter dated May 28, 2012 on Tuesday from Gary Winuk, the Chief Enforcement Officer of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

Full Story from LGBTQ Nation

The issue of marriage equality is currently a hot topic. Political leaders, celebrities and proponents from many disciplines are publicly lending their support in favor of equal treatment, and admirably so. These people are making the headlines. These headlines, however, are illustrating a growing trend. Everybody’s calling it “gay marriage.” I’m asking, by using the phrase “gay marriage,” are we advancing the cause in search of equality? We must remember; we are pursuing marriage equality as a human right, not as a gay right.

We are all familiar with the fact that “gay” used to mean “happy” in everyday language. The meaning of the word has undergone notable change. It means something completely different to its traditional definition. And some of us are fond of our “traditional definitions.” Just ask any marriage equality opponent. “It has always been between a man and a woman,” they’ll tell you to justify their opposition. Is it ironic then that the word “gay” can illustrate how definitions can change? Possibly, and perhaps inadvertently we’re taking it too far with our “gay marriage” campaign.

It is worth considering that phrasing it “gay marriage” may be operating to strengthen the illusion that some narrow minds are under. Those same minds see equality as a threat. They think the institution of marriage is in danger. What they don’t understand is that marriage won’t change. What will change is who enjoys the privilege and legal right to enter it. Our celebrated institution will remain the same. It will simply be available to us all, regardless of sexual orientation, to guard our committed love with the law. We won’t have “gay marriages.” We’ll have marriages, just like now.

Full Story from the Huffington Post

Gay Marriage vs Marriage Equality

It is said that takes a village to raise a child, BUT I call tell you it takes a community to raise a pride. People, their time, energy, efforts, and spirit are irreplaceable.

There are so many people to thank for making Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival such a success. There is no hierarchy or order that would be appropriate to show my and Community Link’s gratitude. So I will use the term “First off” I would like to thank everyone involved we could not have made Pride Bright and colorful without all of you.

To put on such a large and expensive event Community link’s Fresno Rainbow Pride has to relay on an array of individuals for planning, implementation, and execution. From brain storming, organizing, purchasing, reserving, ordering, networking, staffing, attending meetings, and all of the physically hard work.

Fresno Rainbow Pride depends on the majority of the Community Link Board of Directors who also play-roles during the planning and or are the day of the event staff. We have Fresno Rainbow Pride committee coordinators who play the major role of planning and organizing the festivities. And finally we have many individuals that are the day of the event staff that are significant key factors in making the day go smoothly and finally all of the Pride volunteers that come out to set up the festival, act as safety monitors, work the gate, coordinating the parade entries, taking pictures of the event, work with getting the venders to their spots and getting them their tables and chairs, working our concession stands, being stage managers, and hugely importantly helping us tear down and clean up the parade and festival areas.

I could not possibly do the work I do without my husband, Juan Bustamante’s support and assistance. I lean and depend on him to keep me moving and going. Every Year he has consistently taken on more and more for me and the community. It is truly only for the love he has for me, and truth be told he would rather give up all of this community organizing to have a simpler life and to be able to just sit back and enjoy this unique cultural event. He will often tell folks that he has not been able to watch the parade since 2003. The year Community Link took over the annual Pride Celebration. 

I have a female co-chair at Community Link, Lorraine Wing, she handles delivering all of our permit applications to the city and securing police signatures for the California Alcoholic Beverage Control applications for our special one day beer and wine license, two huge headaches. She runs interference between these bureaucracies and the organizing committee. This means lots of running back and forth to get all the concerns they come up with addressed so that we can move forward. She is our “honey-do,” catching all kinds odds and ends like repairing the rock work on the old ornamental fountain at our Rainbow Parkette, dead-heading the spent blossoms, planting, weeding, trimming the Parkette plantings. This year she ran over town to find the best rate for new trash cans and tables something that was within our limited budget. She found a new trophy shop for our grand marshal plaques and pride awards. Lorraine and a group of volunteers folded the couple hundred t-shirts and labeled each volunteer’s shirt based on size and committee duties. She is our ice deliverer and spends the whole day working our concession stand and stays to help pack everything up.

Kirk Caldwell, while not working as a committee member this year, is irreplaceable. He is our graphics designer, our web-master, T-shirt layout artist, program coordinator, ad designer, poster and flyer and billboard and banner layout artist. Festival site plan designer, develops the booth layout map, chalks out the individual festival spaces, develops our PSAs for radio promotions and most of the time catches all of my spelling and grammar errors. This is just a sampling of what he does for Fresno Rainbow Pride. He does tons of other stuff for community Link such as the website, News Link and the Radio show “It’s a Queer Thang.”

Kevin Caldwell, Kirk’s husband, does all of the running for Kirk and there is a lot of it. Kevin is the secretary for Community Link and is one of our distributors for the News Link.

Mark McKay, Andrew Strambi, Ron and Jerry Community Link Board members who donate their time the whole day at the beer and wine booth. These four work their asses off to safe guard our ability to have the beer garden and to serve the thirsty crowds. Jerry and Carol personal friends of Mark and Andrew’s have been trusted and dependable beer attendants for at least the past three years.

Roy a former Community Link Board member continues to help make sure that no underage person gets any alcohol. He is our carder extraordinary. He is a very vital component in safe guarding our liquor license. He helps move the lines along quite quickly. He also gives up his whole pride day to make us successful.

Rachel Joy Bowman handles of the equipment rentals, logistics, and items needed for making the festival happen. She is totally amazing about getting us the best deal possible and getting businesses in the festival area involved with Pride. She is extremely dependable and she keeps me on my toes.

Sara Martinez, while not a committee member this year, was a life-saver for us this year. Taking her “final” class exam early to free up her Saturday to be able to come work Pride. She single handily organized a new check in/check out process to make it easier for all concerned. She also brought her wife Sabina, family and friends to help our younger person in training, Tiff, our official booth coordinator, who was pressed into service due to a huge shortage in staff. Tiff showed a lot of courage to jump in and take on a job she had never done before. Tiff is a young person with a huge amount of potential. She is also being trained to be a board operator/producer for “It’s a Queer Thang.”

Rachel “Banana” Wilson is another young person with amazing potential. She is a Community Link Board member, Fresno Rainbow Pride committee member in charge of volunteers, and the future facilitator of the Fresno GLBTQ Youth Alliance. Rachel is probably the most amazing young person I have worked with in many years. She organizes herself and all other youth who make up the biggest part of our festival volunteers. She and JoJo her boyfriend/ally really took total responsibility to water our Parkette and keeping it green.

Crystal Macias is another Fresno Rainbow Pride committee member-at-large. She was asked to fill any need that the committee had. Stuffing envelops helping to create mailing lists, creating email address lists, loading and unloading trucks, and helping with the Partkette. Crystal is also a peer facilitator with Rachel of the Fresno Youth Alliance, helps with mailing out the News Link every month, and an assistant with maintaining the community achieves. 

These young people were our parkette volunteers: Banana, JoJo, Crystal, Tiff, Bobby, Luna and OZ. Also helping with the parkette were Juan, Lorraine, Rachel Bowman, Jane and me this year.

Our Parade coordinators who make the Parade smooth and professional Patty Colucci, Cindy Williams, Elizabeth Dayton-Williams, Susan Kuhn, and Jon Pace. This group showed up year after year and makes sure that everyone is organized and that the parade starts on time. Starting on time is a miracle in the gay community and they get it done every tear.

Artemis Recovery Motorcycle Club, the L-Riders, and the Sacramento Dykes on Bikes had the biggest turn out we have seen in years for our motorcycle contingent. Somewhere between 20-25 bikes. They brought back the days of old and it was great to see such a large turn out.

Peter Robertson who has been my co-emcee since 2003 of the parade. He also works quietly behind the scenes and helps hold people accountable. His contributions are numerous, but he is humble and does not look for recognition.

Chris and Luis have become godsends as they are true work horses and bust their assess off to help get the festival set up and ready to be opened at 11am. They then stick around and help disassemble the whole festival site including taking down the fence.

Our concession stands were ran by long time volunteers Kat and her daughter, David McGee one of Community Link’s Fresno GLBTQ Youth Alliance’s adult facilitators, Lorraine, Juan and a new helper.

The Fresno GLBTQ Youth Alliance’s “Sweet Spot” bakery goods booth was coordinated by Ryan Rickert and Kristen Rodriguez. They are two of the youth group’s other adult facilitators. They were crazed baking queens extraordinaires helping raise money for the youth prom in July. 

Zoyer wrote all of our press releases and was the back stage manager of the entertainment tent with Frank Delgado who also developed some Pride outreach materials directed to the progressive straight community. 

A big part of the festivities is the Unison Dance Party Tent that DJ and Grand Marshal Binx organizes. Unison,with an amazing array of Local DJs and GoGo boys from Unzipped and Club Papi is the main attraction for many. It’s “The Hottest Dance Party” in the valley and the thanks go to Binx.

Jonny O did a fantastic job of emceeing the Entertainment tent and was a real trooper in problem shooting problems that arose and putting in a full day of gab for everyone enjoyment.

This year two groups truly saved at the entertainment tent. The California Ground Pounders, The nationally awarding winning country cloggers, and a new group the Fresno Cali Drag Kings without them we would not have had much of a show. Both of these amazing groups revved up the crowds and put on fantastic show. Rounding out the show was Patsy Del Rey, FeFe “D” Channel, and Anthony Alvarez aka Lady Gaga, Maylisha and Raging Grannies. Of the scheduled performers only 40% actually showed up.

Our sincerest apologies go out to Anna-Knee-Cola who received an emergency call and had been told she would go on next before she had to leave. But communication between our stage manager, the emcee, and myself was totally screwed up and none of us not the message correct. Anna-Knee-Cola I am truly sorry for not getting you on stage before we started to hand out the Grand Marshal presentations and awards. 

The awards ceremony is the one aspect of the entertainment tent that must be conducted on schedule due the dignitaries and politicians that are present at that time. The Grand Marshals Bianca “Binx” Lopez, Empress Chantal Del Fuego Huntley (who was not able to be present), Justin Kamimoto of MyLGBT+, Veronica Salmeron and the LGBTQ Task Force of Fresno County, Brian Bishop (who was also not able to be present) and Judge David A Gottlieb were gracious in sharing their time and were well received by the audience. Thanks to Shay Ashton who worked on the Grand Marshal bios, along with MyLGBT+ and myself.

A federal appeals court said Tuesday it will not rehear arguments on California's Proposition 8, meaning the final word on the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage will likely come from the U.S. Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in February that the ban discriminated against gays and lesbians and served no purpose other than to “lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians.” It rejected the key argument by ban supporters that Prop 8 furthered "responsible procreation." Prop 8 backers appealed the ruling to the full 9th Circuit, which on Tuesday declined to review it with a larger panel of 11 judges. That clears the way for Prop 8 backers to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They have 90 days to do so.

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03GRAYMATTER

"GAYDAR" colloquially refers to the ability to accurately glean others' sexual orientation from mere observation. But does gaydar really exist? If so, how does it work?

 

Our research, published recently in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, shows that gaydar is indeed real and that its accuracy is driven by sensitivity to individual facial features as well as the spatial relationships among facial features.

We conducted experiments in which participants viewed facial photographs of men and women and then categorized each face as gay or straight. The photographs were seen very briefly, for 50 milliseconds, which was long enough for participants to know they'd seen a face, but probably not long enough to feel they knew much more. In addition, the photos were mostly devoid of cultural cues: hairstyles were digitally removed, and no faces had makeup, piercings, eyeglasses or tattoos.

Even when viewing such bare faces so briefly, participants demonstrated an ability to identify sexual orientation: overall, gaydar judgments were about 60 percent accurate.

Since chance guessing would yield 50 percent accuracy, 60 percent might not seem impressive. But the effect is statistically significant — several times above the margin of error. Furthermore, the effect has been highly replicable: we ourselves have consistently discovered such effects in more than a dozen experiments, and our gaydar research was inspired by the work of the social psychologist Nicholas Rule, who has published on the gaydar phenomenon numerous times in the past few years.

....

Should you trust your gaydar in everyday life? Probably not. In our experiments, average gaydar judgment accuracy was only in the 60 percent range. This demonstrates gaydarability — which is far from judgment proficiency.

But is gaydar real? Absolutely.

 

Continue reading at The New York Times

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Photos by: Brian Putnam. For Gay Fresno. If republishing, seek photographer permission.
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Hundreds of photos already added from the parade and festival!


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Don't forget! Print your $10 off $50 coupon to use at our location @ Palm & Olive in Fresno.

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Take a stroll through Paris Pride…check out the HOT men and women coming up at SupermartXe Gay Pride…here’s a cool slide show from New York Pride...there are a lot of great pics in this San Francisco Pride Slide Show, including a lot of hot women & dykes on bikes…SF also hosted a float by Whole Foods with the tag line Baked This Way…and this next bit is NSFW or for anyone offended by virtually anything, but if you have a sense of humor and like it bawdy, check out a raucous reading by Princess Janae at NY Pride…followed by performances from Stacy Layne Matthews , Manila Luzon , and Jessica Wild , all from RuPaul’s Drag Race…then watch Princess Janae tear it up as Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj…check out all the BEARS and more at Houston Pride…yes, there’s even a gay Pride event in Istanbul…here are some Street Interviews from Chicago Pride…take an up close & behind the scenes look at some of San Francisco’s Gay Pride…there are some really cool shots here of NY Pride…HOT men and women riding a Pride float somewhere in France…huge crowds in the clubs for Mexico Pride…check out these recycled outfits during Seattle Pride…and yet another Born This Way Pride montage…

Rhode Island is set to put the worst kind of discrimination into law: the kind that masks itself and pretends to be equality.

From the HRC website:

The Rhode Island Senate is set to vote on and pass a Civil Unions bill (HB 6103) tomorrow, June 29th. The current bill now before the legislature would create discriminatory hurdles for same-sex couples that no other state has ever put in place. Many states have sought to secure equality for same-sex couples while vigilantly maintaining religious liberty protections, but the religious exemption language in Rhode Island goes too far.

In the recent debate in New York, the legislature struck the right balance, ending discrimination against same-sex couples in civil marriage, while reaffirming that clergy and religious entities remain free not to solemnize any wedding they do not wish to. The Rhode Island bill, however, goes far beyond this limited and reasonable assurance to allow religious organizations and their individual employees to completely disregard the validity of a civil union in any context.

In practical terms, this law would allow religiously affiliated hospitals to deny a civil union spouse’s right to be by their spouse’s side and make medical decisions for them, and would allow religiously affiliated agencies to deny an employee’s right to leave in order to care for their civil union spouse under Rhode Island Family and Medical Leave.

This is why HRC and Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI) are opposed to this Civil Unions bill, and why we ask that residents of Rhode Island join us in sending a message to Gov. Chafee and the state legislature that this bill is not acceptable.

Read more here.



As June, Pride month, winds down, I thought it might be worth taking a quick look at one of the major turning points for our community, the birthplace of Gay Pride and in many ways the Gay Rights moevment: The Stonewall Riots.

From wiki: The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.

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TNT-BBQ

Grab your friends, family, a lawn chair and join us for all American food and a TNT Fireworks sampling show! Food and fun begins at 7:30pm, fireworks begin at dusk. Games and Prizes, all 100% FREE!

After you see the show, you'll have the opportunity to purchase your favorite items at the ONLY LGBT+ operated stand in Fresno County, on site. Open until 10pm this night and June 28-July 4th for all your firework needs.

Food & BBQ items donated by The Express.  Event volunteers provided by PG&E Pride Network

 

This is a brilliant new documentary about tort reform, malpractice and the general trend of politicians and judges over the last few years to remove and restrict the power of individuals to sue corporations when damaged.

You really won't believe all that is in this film, including the fact that in probably involves you...that is, if you have a credit card or a job where "mandatory arbitration" is included in the paperwork, restricting your rights if you're wronged.

You think you know the story of the woman who sued McDonald's over the hot coffee?...You dont...

Don't miss this amazing documentary now playing on HBO...

Hot Coffee The Movie

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The 4th Season of TRUE BLOOD premiers tonight on HBO...and if you have a subscription to HBO you can sign up at HBOGO.com for free to immediately watch next week's episode following the premier...

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If you couldn't make it to San Francisco for Pride this year, or if you want to see them kick it up at New York Pride after the state legalized same sex marriage in an historic vote, click on the following links on Sunday, June 26th to watch the parades LIVE...the San Francisco Parade kicks off at 10AM Pacific time and the New York Parade starts at Noon Eastern time (9AM Pacific)...

Watch the 2011 San Francisco Pride Parade LIVE

Watch the 2011 New York Pride Parade LIVE

 

Check out some of the party outside the Stonewall Inn after same sex marriage was legalized in New York...when huge groups sang "Going To The Chapel"...here's some video of Napoli Gay Pride...some boys and girls shaking it up at Pride in Lyon, France...and it was a beautiful day for Gay Pride in Paris...you can get an idea of just how big Paris Pride is by watching this...here's some major coverage of Portland Gay Pride...here's some reaction to Tracy Morgan's rant at L.A. Pride...huge crowds came out for Pride in Columbus Ohio...here's a wild and well lit drag performance of Katy Perry's "E.T." by Demi Whore from Pride in Dublin...followed by another over the top performance by the same drag queen...take a look at some fabulous HD Video from Pride in Toulouse (see how much better video is when it's not from a crappy cell phone?)...here's an excellent video of Long Beach Gay Pride with some great commentary...there's come very colorful video from Pride in Angers...here's a great Lady GaGa Drag Performance from another very colorful Gay Pride celebration... Denver Gay Pride faced some rain this year as well...check out the boys on the Hombre's Lounge Float in Jackson Heights, NY...where there were also some awesome cheerleaders...it was pretty overcast for Pride in Ft Lauderdale Florida...check out Pride in Louisville...and here's a montage from L.A. Pride...

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For the first time in US history, a Republican controlled legislature has passed the legalization of same sex marriage in the state of New York. After a religious amendment passed, two Senators announced their vote would be yes, which put the number of Senators voting yes over the required 32. The final vote was 33-29.

Mark Grisanti, who’s been previously opposed to legal same sex marriage, made a speech just prior to the vote about how his vote was now, after doing the research on the issue, a definite yes. He said he just can’t come up with a reason to deny other equal rights, while citing the religious exemption amendment as something that helped him change his mind on the issue.

New York becomes the sixth state, after Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts and New Hampshire (plus Washington DC)  in the US to legalize same sex marriage. Hopefully California will become the seventh.

Independence Day will be here before we know it. It’s always a great day for food, friends, family and fun. Oh yes, and we can’t forget….. setting stuff on fire!

Next week, on June 28th, Gay Central Valley will start selling fireworks at our stand in Fresno. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we really need your support. The money we make allows us to continue our work all over the central valley. It also keeps the doors open on our Fresno LGBT Community Center. So, if you are purchasing fireworks this year, please consider getting them from us. You can visit the TNT website and get a $10 off of $50 coupon instantly emailed to you by clicking HERE.

"There's HOPE for a better world. There's HOPE for a better tomorrow. I know that you cannot live on HOPE alone. But, without it, life is not worth living.
You gotta give 'em HOPE!"
– Harvey Milk

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The Harvey Milk Project is currently raising funds to endow a scholarship that would provide $2,000 on an annual basis as the “Harvey Milk Hope Award” to a Fresno State junior or senior who is enrolled in the American Humanics (non-profit organization management program) and exemplifies the life of Harvey Milk. The “Harvey Milk Hope Award” would be bestowed by the Bulldog Pride Fund, a scholarship under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association. This scholar would also be recognized at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala held at the Save Mart Center each fall. It is our hope to begin accepting applications for the “Harvey Milk Hope Award” in the fall of 2011, to be awarded for the 2012-13 academic year.

Thank you for your support.

• PLEASE “LIKE” US ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/TheHarveyMilkProjectatFresnoState#!/TheHarveyMilkProjectatFresnoState?sk=info

• AMAZING “HARVEY MILK” VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pvfexvihri8&feature=player_embedded

www.bulldogpride.org

The View has had many, many infamous discussions over the years regarding same sex marriage. Here's the problem, they tend to frame it as a "belief" argument. My civil rights are not a "belief". The fact that although I am legally married to another man in the state of California still does not get me and my husband the critical federal tax breaks afforded to straight couples. That's not a belief, that's a fact. Until they start framing this as a civil rights issue, we will not prevail. It doesn't help either that Dan Choi was on the news last week saying that legal same sex marriage is a matter of "love". No, it's not, and I really wish Marriage Equality USA would end their ridiculously defeating and incorrect framing of this issue. Why do they insist on framing this as an issue of "love" and claiming we are all "love warriors"?

Really? Everyone is legally allowed to love. That's a fact. Everyone is not legally allowed to marry. That's a fact. Marriage Equality and Dan Choi need to stop playing cute word games. You know why? Because anyone with a brain, including our opponents, can absolutely point their finger at that "love" argument and be absolutely right when they shout "You are allowed to love, right now, go ahead!" And they're right. Marriage Equality USA is wrong. Dan Choi is wrong. The idiot football player referenced in this clip is wrong. Ironically, even Sherri Shepard catches on to that.

Good morning!

Today I wanted to talk briefly about some of the stuff that has gone on and will be going on at the Community Center.

But first, a reminder. The Community Center is there for YOU! If there is an activity, a group, or something that you want to happen, please let us know. Having an idea doesn’t mean that you have to organize the event (that is what the cheerful staff is for). We want to hear what you want at your Community Center. More social events? More workshops? More fund raisers? More hobby related themed evenings?

Again, the Community Center is a place for us to come together as a community. I know a lot of people are a bit splintered off into their own Activist groups,, which is fine (more than fine, it is awesome), but let’s not forget that before we can actively work for social change we need a strong community base. Before we can change the world, we need to make there a safe place for our youth and for those fresh out of the closet.

So thinking caps on! Feel free to leave a comment with your idea or call the center during normal business hours (Wed-Sat, 12-5).

Last Friday there was the art potluck. This is a monthly event that encourages you to find your inner artist while hanging out is a fun and safe environment. Your artwork can either be left at the Center to help us decorate, or taken home.  (The next Art Night is TBD, keep checking back and we will let you know as soon as it gets scheduled.)

On Saturday we hosted a Writers Workshop to assist those interested in submitting their stories for the LGBT Anthology set to be published later this year. It was not only a useful time in terms of writing and working, but it was really nice to bond and for people to meet and interact. We will be having one more Writing Workshop on July 16th (noon to 3pm) and the deadline for submittals is August 1st. Again, sharing your story (maximum of 1000 words) can be a powerful thing not only for the potential youth and other community members to read, but for yourself as well.

Another activity that happened at the Center recently, Strings and Things! There were knitted pride scarves, there was an epic Dr. Who scarf, there were a few crochet type objects that are still undergoing transition from unknown-crochet-object into something-more-practical. You don’t have to know anything about knitting or crochet to attend a Strings and Things, again the point is to meet your fellow community members. Our next Strings and Things will be July 18th at 6pm. (We are going for the 3rd Monday of the month.) Mark your calendars!

A few upcoming events: on Sunday, Leslie is back due to popular demand with a workshop featuring the EFT Method for relieving stress and dealing with negative emotions at 10:30. The workshop is broken into two parts with a half hour lunch break and will end at 2pm. Then, at 6:00 the first Community Book Group meeting will occur where we invite anyone who loves to read to come out and talk books with your fellow book worms.

If nothing else, the Center is usually air conditioned…

So, once again I encourage you to come to an upcoming event, mark your calendars for next month, and to think about what you want your LGBT Community Center to offer you and let us know.

There is no I in TEAM, but there is definitely a U in COMMUNITY!

Happy Friday!

Father’s Day is in two days…. Are you ready? If your dad is local consider an activity like tomorrow’s Chile Festival in downtown Fresno. Or you know, a tie or BBQ equipment. Either way, I’m sure he’ll love it. But before you do a mad dash shopping trip or call your siblings as a last ditch effort for that group gift…. Here are a few tid bits of news worth noting.

Breaking News this morning: From CNN: “In what the U.S. State Department is calling a "historic step," the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva passed a resolution Friday supporting equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.”

In KY, a public swimming pool barred two gay men from using the pool. citing the Bible as their authority

In LA this week the bankruptcy court declared DOMA a violation of the constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

In San Francisco, BART will be showing its Gay Pride with 100 Gay Pride Posters that will adorn the cars for the month of June. They will also be running extra cars during pride (June 26th).

Good job to Safeway for not letting it slide…. The store has fired an employee who used a gay slur to insult a gay couple in DC.

While we are still waiting on NY to vote regarding same sex marriage, the NY Assembly passed a bill this week that is designed to add gender identity and expression to the state's nondiscrimination laws. The bill, known as GENDA, passed in a 78-53 vote.

More on the continuing sad saga of the Gay Girl in Damascus.

And just in case you missed it… Judge Ware ruled on Tuesday that Judge Walker’s ruling on Prop 8 (that it was unconstitutional) can’t be challenged due to Judge Walker’s status as a gay man.

And lastly.. not related but still fun, The Green Lantern opens today. Here’s the trailer!

That’s all for me… have a great, and safe, weekend!

THIS EVENT LISTING COVERS  6 EVENTS, SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS:

June 17: 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Art workshop & Potluck - Don't be shy, we encourage you to bring your old magazines, news papers, comic books, etc to share. Decoupage is a collective mural of scrap paper and pictures that when set and sealed become new amazing and beautiful pieces of art. We also encourage you to bring a snack or creative dish you would like to share.

June 18: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Writer’s Workshop - Come join community members to get help or guidance in crafting your submission for the USP's LGBT+ Anthology! USP is currently accepting submissions of personal stories of the LGBT experience (either directly or peripherally) for an anthology that will be published later this year. The anthology will be available in local public and school libraries as well as the LGBT Community Center here in Fresno.

June 20: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Strings and Things - Calling all Knitters, Yarn Buffs, and Crochet Mavericks! Come join in the fun with fellow community members at this month's Strings and Things event! Whether you are a beginner who wants help throwing stitches or a long time pro with oodles of yarn under your belt, come join us in an evening of fun!

June 26: 10:30am - 12:00pm
Wellness workshop, Tapping into Your Best Self: An Introduction to EFT - Do you find yourself thinking about the past and holding onto negative emotions like sadness, hurt, anger, or fear? Do negative emotions keep you from feeling good? Would you like to learn a quick and simple practice that allows you feel better in minutes? In this introductory workshop, you will learn what the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is and how to use it to free yourself from emotional blocks that keep you from being your best self. There will be an opportunity to try EFT and experience the benefit of this practice.

June 26: 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Unleashing Your Power -- Putting EFT into Practice (part two, based on workshop above (advanced technique)

June 26: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Community Book Group - Do you love to read? To you enjoy talking about books? Does the phrase bibliophile make you giggle? Come join your fellow book lovers for an evening of fun and discussion. Come ready to talk about books you love, books you hate, and books you want to read!

ALL EVENTS OCCUR AT:

Fresno LGBT Community Center
1055 N. Van Ness Ave. Suite C.
Fresno, CA in the Tower District.

 

Questions and Suggestions?: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

THIS EVENT LISTING COVERS 4 EVENTS, SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS:

June 17: 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Art workshop & Potluck - Don't be shy, we encourage you to bring your old magazines, news papers, comic books, etc to share. Decoupage is a collective mural of scrap paper and pictures that when set and sealed become new amazing and beautiful pieces of art. We also encourage you to bring a snack or creative dish you would like to share.

June 18: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Writer’s Workshop - Come join community members to get help or guidance in crafting your submission for the USP's LGBT+ Anthology! USP is currently accepting submissions of personal stories of the LGBT experience (either directly or peripherally) for an anthology that will be published later this year. The anthology will be available in local public and school libraries as well as the LGBT Community Center here in Fresno.

June 20: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Strings and Things - Calling all Knitters, Yarn Buffs, and Crochet Mavericks! Come join in the fun with fellow community members at this month's Strings and Things event! Whether you are a beginner who wants help throwing stitches or a long time pro with oodles of yarn under your belt, come join us in an evening of fun!

June 26: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Community Book Group - Do you love to read? To you enjoy talking about books? Does the phrase bibliophile make you giggle? Come join your fellow book lovers for an evening of fun and discussion. Come ready to talk about books you love, books you hate, and books you want to read!

ALL EVENTS OCCUR AT:

Fresno LGBT Community Center
1055 N. Van Ness Ave. Suite C.
Fresno, CA in the Tower District.

If you RSVP "Yes" or "Maybe" we'll send you a facebook message 24 hours prior to an event day with further details as a reminder.

Questions and Suggestions?: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CBS Local News Channel 47 covered the Judge Walker story, with our own Dan Waterhouse...

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Catch the report here...KGPE News Story

Sacramento – Yesterday Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom submitted letters to the state legislature in support of three Equality California-sponsored bills designed to secure greater protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians.

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“I am proud to strongly support the FAIR Education Act, Seth’s Law and the Gender Nondiscrimination Act,” said Lieutenant Governor Newsom. “This package of legislation is an obvious and necessary step in protecting those vulnerable to discrimination, abuse and bullying. I applaud Equality California and the bill’s authors, Senator Mark Leno, Assemblymembers Toni Atkins and Tom Ammiano, for their work in advancing equality in California.”

“Lieutenant Governor Newsom has long been one of our staunchest allies supporting full equality for LGBT Californians, and we are truly grateful that he has once again stepped up to advocate for legislation that will advance groundbreaking protections and equality,” said Jim Carroll, Interim Executive Director of Equality California.

Lt. Governor Newsom expressed support for the following bills:

The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, SB 48
SB 48 would require schools to fairly and accurately portray the historic contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in social science instruction and would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s existing anti-discrimination protections that prohibit bias in school activities, instruction and instructional materials.
Author: Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)
Sponsors: Equality California and Gay-Straight Alliance Network

Seth’s law, AB 9
AB 9 would require that every school in California implements updated anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies that include actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, and religion or association with one or more of these groups. It would also inform students and parents of their rights and how to address incidents of bullying. The bill is named in memory of Seth Walsh, a 13 year-old gay student from Tehachapi, California, who took his life in September 2010, after facing years of relentless anti-gay harassment at school.
Author: Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
Sponsors: Equality California, the ACLU of California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and the Trevor Project

Gender Nondiscrimination Act, AB 887
AB 887 will strengthen employment, housing, and other civil rights protections for all Californians, especially those who face discrimination based on gender identity and expression. AB 887 takes existing protections based on gender identity and expression and enumerates them as protected categories in non-discrimination laws. In addition, while California non-discrimination laws already define "gender" to include a person's gender identity and gender expression, the bill clarifies that gender identity and expression are included in the definition of gender and sex in all California codes.
Author: Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego)
Sponsors: Equality California and the Transgender Law Center

For more information on Equality California-sponsored legislation, please visit: www.eqca.org/legislation .

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org

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For youth ages 13-18. Takes place at the University of Southern California.

Cost: $0-$100 - Pay What You Can (Includes food, housing & training materials)

New deadline to register is July 1st

CONTACT

Victoria N. Benavides

Central Valley Program Coordinator

Gay-Straight Alliance Network

1295 N. Wishon Ave #6

Fresno, CA 93728

ph: 559.268.2780

fax: 559.268.2781

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

www.gsanetwork.org/

Boy, the other side is scared stiff. Maybe not the best way to put that...

Today a federal judge upheld Judge Vaughn Walker's right to rule in the California Prop 8 case. This only means that Walker cannot be recused from the case because he himself is gay and in a long term relationship. This is what the opposition was trying to do, to say that since Walker stands to personally benefit from the overturning of California's Prop 8, that he should not have been allowed to rule in the case.

Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware said former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker did not have to divulge whether he wanted to marry his own gay partner before he declared last year that voter-approved Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Ware said the ruling by Walker, who did not attend Monday's hearing, raised important questions and called it the first case in which a judge's same-sex relationship had led to calls for disqualification.

He said there probably were similar struggles when race and gender were the issues.

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By almost all opinion, this was a ridiculous attempt to disqualify Walker, who most have stated has created one of the most detailed and finest cases in U.S. history. This leaves the case where it stood before this sideline, in the hands of the California Supreme Court, who will rule later this year as to whether those appealing Walker's decision have the standing to do so.

I hate to make predictions at this point, after we've lost so much ground, but here I am, sticking my head out again. We will win this case, and by the end of 2011, same sex marriage will very likely be legal, once again, once and for all...

READ MORE HERE...

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I want to talk about labels, but first a quick context placing of us and the need for such things.

What’s the point of a label? Isn’t it to provide some sort of description, some sort of understanding or explanation? Some sort of context? How can I explain why all these things on the table should go together… I can classify them as all being grown from the ground, all plants, all with seeds in the middle, thus: fruit!

Of course, labels get more complicated when it comes to people. We want to label ourselves in ways that we appreciate or support. We shy away from other people labeling us, especially if we doubt their motives or don’t agree with their classifications.

When I was young there was Gay. There was Lesbian. Then, there was Bi. Bi was relatively new, at least in my experience. It wasn’t really mainstream, and there were a lot of notions of what it meant. (Namely that it was a label for fence sitters who were afraid to go all the way to Gay-dom.)

One of the things labels do is attach or confirm stigma or stenotypes. Even to his day the label of Bi is a double edged sword. Bi people are many times not fully trusted in either camp.

But this article isn’t about Bi… it is about self labeling vs societal labels and where the line between the two can get blurred.

I have a friend who doesn’t want to be referred to as “religious” or “Christian.” And yet. She goes to a Christian church. She teaches her children the Bible as truth. She believes in God, vehemently. If you ask her about her beliefs, she call it a matter of faith and the explanation of why this label and not that label can go on and on.

Another example. I have another friend who is male, progressive, considerate, pro-choice, pro-woman’s equality, pro-women’s empowerment, etc. But he shies away from the label of “Feminist.” His argument is that the label of “feminist” is so charged with negative emotions, that he would rather not claim it.

I am torn. On the one hand we should be allowed to label ourselves. That, shouldn’t be contested. On the other, if it walks like a duck… talks like a duck, looks, smells, quacks, eats, and poops like a duck… Then me calling it a duck even if it wants to be called Near By Pond Dwelling Specimen of Feathers and Awesome, is, well understandable. But out of consideration of the Near By Pond Dwelling Soecimen of Feathers of Awesome, I can try to adapt.

Of course, in my idealized world, people would claim the label warts and all and work from within in the in-group to change the connotation.  Show the world that Feminists aren’t all evil tyrants bent on world domination. Prove that people can be religious and yet open minded.

This brings me to the LGBT community where we are constantly working to redefine our labels. Gay doesn’t mean pedophile. Lesbian doesn’t mean man hater. Bi doesn’t mean slut. Trans doesn’t mean freak. We label ourselves these things despite the negative (in some places) connotations so that we can come together as a community, give support to each other, and claim the good qualities for each label.

I know there are readers out there who haven’t yet claimed one of these labels. Maybe you are afraid that you aren’t the right kind of gay. Maybe you are afraid of what it will mean to your relationships with others, with yourself, to claim the title lesbian. It is okay to be afraid

Let me say that again because it is important.

It is okay to be afraid.

But is okay to be brave too. If you aren’t ready to tell the world you are gay, you can still self label. Try it. Come out to you. In the mirror, to your shadow, in the dark, alone in the park,… whisper it to yourself.

You can start with a whisper. Someday you will say it loud enough to be heard.

That is why your fellow community members are here, that is why the LGBT Community Center is here, that is why GSAs are here.

We don’t care which of the alphabet soup letters you want to align yourself with. Some of us don’t care if you want to make up new words to describe yourself. The point is, whatever you label yourself, or want to label yourself someday, you deserve to be listened to.

Labels are important and we invite you to share ours.

Label me: Bi, Sister, Feminist, Carnivore, Skeptic, Agnostic, Pagan, Geek, Bookworm, Wine Snob, Democrat, Progressive, Volunteer, Writer, Activist, … Ready To Listen.

It may have rained all day, for the first time in Fresno Pride history, but the 21st Annual Fresno Pride Parade & Festival was still a success. Here's the beginning of our video coverage of this year's parade...

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Tracy Morgan has once again stepped up his apology over his recent comedic rant condemning the LGBT community. He's also now agreed to partner with GLAAD to protest the "Don't Say Gay" bill coming out of Tennessee.

Morgan now says...

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"I know how bad bullying can hurt," Morgan said. "I was bullied when I was a kid. I'm sorry for what I said. I didn't mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987.... Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that."

READ MORE HERE...

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We have worked to standardize the days and hours the Fresno LGBT Community Center is open for operation. Our new days and hours are as follows:

OPEN on WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY from NOON - 5PM

CLOSED Sunday through Tuesday

As always, regardless of our days open or operating hours, the Community Center is available for groups and organizations 7 days a week. Simply call to schedule your event, meeting or gathering.

FRESNO LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER

1055 N Van Ness Avenue Suite C, Fresno, CA 93728  559-325-4GAY or 559-325-4429

Courtesy HUFFINGTON POST

ZAGREB, Croatia -- Stone-throwing extremists disrupted a gay pride march in Croatia on Saturday, a day after the Balkan country was given the green light to join the European Union.

At least 100 people were detained and many others were injured after opponents of the march in the coastal town of Split attacked about 200 participants with rocks, bottles and firecrackers, state TV reported.

Riot police prevented direct clashes between the two groups, which were also separated by iron fences. Police said thousands lined the streets in protest of the march.

READ MORE HERE...


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(Photo courtesy of World Pulse)

Tracy Morgan might have just ruined 30 Rock for me (and several others as well.)

In Tennessee (in the news lately for the Don’t Say Gay and other anti LGBT policies) it is reported that Mr. Morgan went on a tirade during a comedy performance… a homophobic violent offensive tirade.

Here are a few things the comedian reportedly said according to eye witness Kevin Rogers.

-Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that “Born this Way” is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because “God don’t make no mistakes” (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake).

-He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man. He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying.

-He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it. He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.

-He mentioned that Barack Obama needed to man up and quit being all down with this just because he has a wife and two daughters. All of this being followed by thunderous cheer and “You go Tracys”. Tracy then said he didn’t fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass… they can take a fucking joke.

Stunning.

Tracy Morgan plays Tracy Jordan on the NBC show 30 Rock alongside actress Tina Fey who is notoriously pro-LGBT rights. After an outpouring of dismay Mr. Morgan’s PR machine had this to say: “I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others…”

His choice of words? Not a hateful person?

Only time will tell if his rant affects his working relationship with Tina Fey, 30 Rock, or NBC. As for me, I skipped the 30 Rock rerun last night and rewatched a Modern Family episode instead.

For more on the story, click hereandhere.

Alec Baldwin's resonspe via Twitter, "Oh, that Tracy."

Tina Fey was a bit more articulate: 

"The violent imagery of Tracy's rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community. {the rant} doesn't line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person, I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers on 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket."

Here are two of the performances recorded during the Fresno Pride Festival...More will be available, including a complete video of the Pride Parade itself, by this weekend...

Stay on top of all Fresno Pride Parade and Festival Video Coverage by visiting Gay Fresno's YouTube Page

Performance by DivaLicious...

Performance by JoAnna...

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Writer’s Workshop!

Saturday June 18th, Noon – 3pm.

Fresno LGBT Community Center 1055 N. Van Ness Ave Suite C Fresno CA

Come join community members to get help or guidance in crafting your submission for the USP’s LGBT+ Anthology!

USP is currently accepting submissions of personal stories of the LGBT experience (either directly or peripherally) for an anthology that will be published later this year. The anthology will be available in local public and school libraries as well as the LGBT Community Center here in Fresno.

At the Writer’s Workshop you can

*Use the Center’s computer to submit your story.

*Get hands on writing advice from experienced writers (Help with anything from grammar to creative diction, to narrative flow!)

*Discuss and workshop ideas.

*Get typing assistance if needed.

*Have a safe place to talk about coming out issues, bullying issues, or anything else that relates to your experience as a member of the LGBT+ community.

To find out more about the Anthology (submission guidelines etc) please visit THIS LINK

-- The workshop will feature David (current leader of the Clovis Writer’s Group), Jessica (current Creative Writing grad student at Fresno State), Kaylia (BA in Creative Writing, writer for gayfresno.com), and Chris (long time writer for gayfresno.com).

Dear friends,

getequal

Last week, we asked you to call on President Obama to support full equality for LGBT Americans. We understand that's not a popular stance for everyone, especially heading into an election year. But when a President hides behind religion to justify discrimination, we're not OK with giving him a pass. The President has said repeatedly that his refusal to recognize marriage equality is rooted in his faith:

"I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe in that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman." [1]

So, while we will continue to press the President to "evolve" on marriage equality, what we haven't fully explored and called out yet is the fact that the President -- and so many others -- have rooted hesitation around marriage equality in their understanding of religion. And it is clear that religion-based bigotry helps to offer political cover to those who want to hide behind the confines of religion, pushing many into the destructive confines of the closet.

While we have seen some religious groups take positive strides toward full equality, groups like the Southern Baptist Convention -- known for institutional discrimination against many different groups -- take that misuse of religion to the extreme.

That's why we're asking you to join us -- and join other groups like Faith In America, Truth Wins Out, Soulforce, Welcoming & Affirming Baptists, Believe Out Loud, and others -- in fighting the root cause of much LGBT discrimination in this country, religion-based bigotry. We're calling on the Southern Baptist Convention to issue an apology to the LGBT community for its repeated and reckless discrimination, and for the very real pain and destruction that discrimination has caused.

Read more about the harm that the Southern Baptist Convention has caused the LGBT community, and join us in the call here: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6535/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7147

I identify as a person of faith. And sometimes, because of the immense harm that religion-based bigotry has caused my friends and neighbors, it's harder to come out as a person of faith than as a lesbian. It's time for that to change. It's time to call out religion-based bigotry for what it is, and to remove religion as a crutch for discrimination.

We're starting with the Southern Baptist Convention, whose clergy has for years terrorized LGBT youth and their families with promises of hellfire and brimstone. Your signatures will be delivered directly to church members and leaders at their big annual convention in Phoenix next week.

Join us in calling on the SBC to apologize here: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6535/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7147

We cannot continue giving cover to those intent on injuring our community or just not courageous enough to stand up for us. Join us in calling out the Southern Baptist Convention, and asking them to join the hundreds of thousands of fair-minded people of faith across the country who speak out for equality because of their faith. I'm one of those people who believes whole-heartedly that religion calls on us to work toward justice and equality -- and we intend to do just that as organizers with GetEQUAL Arizona, H.E.R.O., No Longer Silent, and others deliver these signatures to Phoenix next week!

Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!

Robin McGehee, Director

[1] "Obama And Religion: Where Will He Stand On Same-Sex Marriage In 2012?" -- http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201103100012

More on this series airs tonight on CNN...

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fresno-eqca-town-hall
Last night Andrea Shorter the Director of Marriage and Coalition from EQCA (Equality California) joined approximately 25 locals at Fresno City College for a Town Hall meeting to discuss the practicality of puting a Same Sex Marriage initiative on the 2012 ballot. She assured us that EQCA wouldn’t be making a decision regarding this issue until the fall. *(And yet….)
In an informal poll at the start of the evening, the group was pretty split regarding the question of returning to the ballot. However, by the question and answer portion of the event, most of the people who spoke up did so against the idea.
One participant I spoke with afterwards said he didn't have a full opinion one way or another at the start, but by the end he didn't see how it made any sense to go back to the ballot.
For those of you who missed the meeting: here are a few highlights.
First off we were given a quick update of the Prop 8 court case. As, I’m sure you know, Judge Walker overturned Prop 8. The case then goes to Appeals, and the question before the court currently, is who has the right/ability to defend Prop 8. Both our Attorney General, Kamala Harris and our Governor, Jerry Brown have declined to defend it. If no one is found who can legally defend the appeal to the CA Supreme Court, Judge Walker’s ruling will stand. If someone can be found to defend it, and they are vetted by the court, then the appeals process continues and some say it might go all the way to the US Supreme Court.  We don’t expect to know one way or another until possibly the end of the year.
Next up we discussed polling. A lot of polling. The same poll was given to Californians in May 2009 and May 2011 and the numbers were stark in their comparison. I won’t give you the whole breakdown (unless you email me) but here are a few statistics worth noting: In 2009: 47% approval for same sex marriage, 48 % opposed, 5% unsure. In 2011 the numbers had moved to read 45% in favor, 45% opposed and 10% unsure.
Now, many people will applaud the increase of the “unsure/undecided” portion, but since that is more wild card than anything and it is usually better to count that as votes for your opposition and hopefully be pleasantly surprised, I’m not sure that these particular polling stats give us much to be happy about. The rest of the polling data that EQCA shared with us last night went pretty much the same way.  There were areas were the support gained a few points, many cases where it simply hovered still, and a whole lot of increase in the “unsure/undecided” part.
Yes, it is nice to see the opposition moving into the “unsure” category… but there seems to be plenty of supporters moving that way as well. Democrats that were polled, for example, moved from 65% approval with 4% unsure in 2009 to 59% approval and 9% unsure in 2011.
You read that right.
The rest of evening was spent discussion the pros and cons (mostly cons) of the ballot imitative. People talked about how horrible it would be to lose again. People talked about how civil rights haven’t historically been granted via popular vote but by the court systems.  People talked about the dangers of tapping into an already tapped out community in terms of finances and energy. People talked about how if the court case goes our way, the question become moot. People talked. Andrea, EQCA, listened.(She didn't take notes. I wondered at the time if it was because we were all saying the same things she had heard at the other Town Hall meetings. When asked, she did tell us that she was getting pretty much the same feedback everywhere, but I am not sure if that refers to the split feelings or the actual arguments against.)
There was also a lot of discussion about the mishandling of the 2008 campaign. EQCA acknowledges that and hopes to do better if/when there is a next time.  However there was no real sense of a better plan for the next time. In fact, it all boils down to the fact the EQCA doesn't seem to have much of a plan at all.
Officially, that is what the Town Hall Meetings are for; to help EQCA figure out what the next step should be. If they listen closely, I can’t imagine how they can possibly decide that going back to the ballot makes any sort of financial or morale sort of sense.
*But wait… THERE’s MORE! Despite ongoing Town Hall meetings … the EQCA website has the following to say on the matter:
Many believe we should wait until we are guaranteed a victory before proceeding. We do not agree. We believe it is essential that we select an election and build a campaign for that election. 
We believe the 2012 election gives us the clearest path to victory
Equality California reached its position through extensive feedback from our members, donors, community partners and political experts.
Well, there you have it. Are the Town Hall meeting simple pandering to the community? To read more about EQCA and how they came to this decision, read for yourself.
The Town Hall meetings are still going on and the EQCA survey is still open, let your voice be heard.here
******UPDATE******
I emailed Andrea about the quote on the webpage. Her response" 

"Thanks for pointing this out. This language was lifted from a message in 2009. We will correct it."

While it is gratifying to be told that they are still looking for feedback before making a decision, Mistakes like this one do little to bolster the confidence of the community. And, yes, the language might have been lifted from a message in 2009, but things have dramatically changed in 2009. It is also important to note that Love Honor Cherish is currently gathering signatures as a “just in case” for any future ballot measure.

Again, please take a moment to take part in the survey and let your own opinion be known to EQCA.

While it is gratifying to be told that they are still looking for feedback before making a decision, Mistakes like this one do little to bolster the confidence of the community. And, yes, the language might have been lifted from a message in 2009, but things have dramatically changed in 2009. It is also important to note that Love Honor Cherish is currently gathering signatures as a “just in case” for any future ballot measure.

Again, please take a moment to take part in the survey and let your own opinion be known to EQCA.

 

 

While we process all the video from the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival, here are some videos of other Pride events around the world...

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Here's a clip from Long Beach Pride 2011, a Performance from Kansas City Pride where Out Country Singer Chely Wright also performed...looking for a major Pride event overseas? Here's a Promo for Amsterdam Gay Pride...our drag friend, who recently performed at the North Tower Circle, Stacy Layne Matthews performed at Gay Pride in Utah...the big boys turned out for Bear Scots Pride in Edinburgh...the same weekend we were having Pride in Fresno, there was also Sacramento Pride...take a look at some great cheerleading men and women as you watch Cheer New York at Queens Pride which also included  beautiful drag queens and hot hunks in underwear and sexy sailors...

More Pride videos all month long on Gay Fresno, and coming soon, all video from our own local events...

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pridelogo2011

The 21st Annual Central Valley & Fresno's Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival takes place TOMORROW, SATURDAY, June 4th 2011 in the Tower District.

The Parade happens between 10AM-11AM - The Parade is FREE

The Festival happens from 11AM-3PM - Admission to the Festival is $5

The Grand Marshall's are

ROBIN MCGEHEE, MATT MAZZEI, ANDREW MCINTOSH, BILL WELZENBACH, CALIFORNIA LEGISLATIVE LGBT CAUCUS.

Click HERE for Location, Map and Parking Instructions

Click HERE TO VOLUNTEER

Here's what's on hand for ENTERTAINMENT

Click HERE TO MAKE A DONATION

Gay Central Valley will be marching in the parade as well as manning 3 booths during the Festival. Special thanks to the North Tower Circle for donating their booth. If you're interested in marching with us or volunteering for us during the festival please meet us at the corner of Palm & Olive (the setup location for the parade) look for our banner, and let us know.

HAPPY PRIDE!

Happy Friday!
As I’m sure you know, tomorrow is Fresno Pride Festival which will take place in the Tower District starting at 10am. But before you deck yourself out, take a moment to read some of thhe other news worth note from this week.
In honor of the LGBT community, the white House this week launched its first ever LGBT centered webpage.
Are you up to speed with the drama surrounding Urban Outfitters? They have been scrutinized lately for sharing profits with anti-LGBT groups. The president and founder Richard Hayne has reportedly donated $13,150 to the political campaigns of Rick “gay sex leads to man-on-dog love-making” Santorum. Earlier this week Miley Cyrus cried foul and tweeted about it . She received a bit of clack but was quick to defend her position, "Not only do they [Urban Outfitters] steal from artists but every time you give them money you help finance a campaign against gay equality."
In Illinois, an additional bit of trickle down due to the new same sex civil unions. The Rockford Diocese, who runs Catholic Charities for many counties in Illinois announced that they were terminating state contracts because lawmakers did not pass an amendment exempting religious groups from provisions in the state’s civil union laws. In other words, Illinois told the Catholic Charities that they didn’t have the right to discriminate against same sex couples with taxpayer money.
Moscow’s LGBT Pride was banned, but when marchers came out to protest the ban, the day took a turn for the worse. More than 30 people were arrested and criminal cases have begun regarding the assaults that took place. (Lt. Dan Choi who has been influential in the repeal of DADT was on of the many who were assaulted and arrested .)
I need to start a “Who Came Out This Week” column. This week it is Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) who became the first self-acknowledged gay man in Georgia’s state's Legislature. An African American Democrat, Taylor came out after being threatened to be outed by the former partner of Taylor’s current partner. No one should be forced to come out until he/she is ready…. But kudos to Taylor for taking the power of the blackmail away from that cretin.
Time is running out in New York and there are still 8 “undecided” votes. As the vote stand now, there are 26 to 28 in favor of same sex marriage. The bill must pass with 32 votes, making these last 8, 5 Republican and 3 Democrat, votes critical.
And now, a bit of a mixed bag announcement. The Good: Old Navy has announced a new line of Pride Wear featuring rainbows and the tag line “Love Proudly”! Ten percent of all proceeds will be donated to Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign! The Bad: Unfortunately, they won’t be sold online and are only available in three stores in CA... These limitations make me wonder if this is more publicity stunt than actual support…. Here’s hoping that Old Navy eventually makes the shirts available everywhere. (There is already a Facebook page working on this, of course.) I contacted Old Navy and was told that this campaign is a tester campaign, if enough shirts sell they will expand their markets. I was, of course, encoraged to order (by phone) a shirt from one of the stores who sell them and have it shipped to me.
And lastly, one of Hollywood’s most respected lesbian actresses, the amazing Jane Lynch, has agreed to host the 2011 Emmy Awards.
That’s all for now… have a great, and safe, weekend! See you at PRIDE TOMORROW!!!!!!!

Remember how we told you that the San Francisco Giants were going to make history by being the first professional sports team to take part in the “It Gets Better” campaign?

Well… they did!

Here’s the video!

Presidential Proclamation--Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

white-house-logo

The story of America's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation's history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.

My Administration has also taken steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans in Federal housing programs and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the Federal workplace will not be tolerated. I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified, openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration stands with advocates of equality around the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation in the international system. We led a global campaign to ensure "sexual orientation" was included in the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution -- the only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT people -- to send the unequivocal message that no matter where it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love, and my Administration has mobilized unprecedented public commitments from countries around the world to join in the fight against hate and homophobia.

Read the FULL PROCLAMATION here...

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Come celebrate pride and join us for FREE civil commitment ceremonies inside the Fresno Rainbow Pride festival! Since our location is not given in advance, please look for the Marriage Equalty USA booth with banner once you enter the festival area. "Wedding" packages will also be available!  Raffle prize - tickets only 25c

Two different alternative couples in two different states (Maine and Virginia) were crowned Prom King and Queen!

In Maine, a gay couple won and in Virginia a trans female won Queen. In both cases there were original issues with even being allowed to run, write in campaigns, and big steps forward in terms of acceptance.

Hello world… this is the future! For the rest of the story and photos of the happy winners, click here.

Let me just say, with utmost confidence, that EQCA's decision to conduct Town Hall Meetings to discuss the relevance of organizing a voter referendum to install a ballot measure which will repeal California's Proposition 8 (which is currently still in the jurisdiction of the highest courts in the state) is the crowning of the self-destruction of an organization that flaunts it's desire to waste LGBT dollars.

eqca

EQCA does good work, on some things. They manage to sponsor and get some important and vital legislative efforts passed. But how does this organization explain its latest bout of insanity? Do we support it on valid efforts when this Town Hall BS is so obviously designed to snag more money from an LGBT population which is already suffering from the economy and failed campaigns?

To believe, in any way, that these town hall meetings represent the tiniest bit of understanding on the part of EQCA about the struggle for same sex marriage in California, is to believe in unicorns. It's predictable, at least in terms of every day, money grubbing, political tactics that exist in California in the year 2011. It's appalling, however, to realize EQCA resigned itself to old, failed tactics rather than coming up with something new.

EQCA was raked over the coals by Central Valley activists, myself included, only a few short years ago, when they visited Fresno on a campaign of goodwill. During the Prop 8 battle, EQCA, by their own admission, ignored and abandoned the Central Valley, an area they and others labeled as "critical" in the fight for marriage rights.

The local meeting was a virtual roasting of EQCA headliners. Folks like Geoff Kors and Marc Solomon (both have left the group at this point) were put to the fires of truth. We in Fresno had done our homework and knew clearly what their lack of support precipitated. They sat, almost comatose, and took our critique, clearly uncomfortable with the required groveling. They knew what they'd done, and the media had been relentless in pointing out their guilt. On top of it all, they'd done it consciously, evidenced by those in the room who pointed out that many in the valley had sought their assistance, only to be ignored. And they knew, despite how much money (contributed by others) they'd spent on such an incredibly failed campaign, that their miscalculations were huge.

They humbly, although not convincingly, apologized for their mistakes. Then EQCA installed field offices around the state, including Fresno, only to shut them down just after the historic decision by Judge Vaughn Walker, ruling California's Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. The Fresno office shut its doors in the fall of 2010.

Why?

If EQCA's stand is that this issue, which is currently, and from most standpoints, successfully, working its way through California's courts, is another failure waiting to happen, then why close the offices only a few months ago? If their opinion is that this should go back to the voters in 2012 (which virtually everyone else disagrees with) then why did they shut down workers in areas like Fresno, which they admitted were key to winning this issue?

LOVE HONOR CHERISH failed miserably in an effort to get the issue of same sex marriage back on the ballot after Prop 8 was upheld. Despite their overabundance of confidence, they couldn't get enough signatures throughout the entire state of California to get the repeal of Prop 8 back on the ballot in 2010. They never released their figures, which indicates just how failed that campaign was. Add to that the number of LGBT groups, even back then, who thought the ballot was a bad idea, and you begin to see how wrong some groups are in the forward history of this issue in California.

Even if you discount the likelihood that California courts will in fact enshrine legal same sex marriage into the state constitution, once and for all, by the beginning of 2012 (and most people predict that will happen in this fairly slam dunk court case), the argument for taking this issue back to the voters makes no sense. It's a Neanderthal and ultimately self destructive way to deal with this issue. It can't succeed simply because it allows the other side to gather their own voter base to overturn it. Over and over again, and again and again. Factor in the historical precedent of civil rights issues being ultimately decided by courts and not voters and it's easy to question, even condemn EQCA for trying this again. At this point in time, after countless and continuing losses in the arena of voter approved civil rights, LGBT equality will no doubt be granted by the courts.

But let's stand on the side EQCA is standing on (even though, logically, they can't be, but let's play along). Suppose the courts uphold Prop 8 and deny Walker's historic ruling. Then what other choice do we have but the ballot box? And we have to start now to plan for the ballot in 2012. As I stated above, the ballot box, after so many abysmal failures, just doesn't make sense. So to propose that a slam dunk of a court case will fail still does not warrant a trip back to the ballot box. That is, unless you look at from EQCA's point of view. If they get enough people to believe in them, they'll get your money. Ah, it all becomes clear...

Hear what they have to say...and tell them what you think, just as others are...

An EQCA Town Hall Meeting will take place in Fresno on June 6th

Location:  Map Weather

Fresno City College

Staff Dining Room

Fresno, CA 93741

Event Contact Info

Andrea Shorter
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 4155810005
Website: Click to Visit

 

"Bulletproof" by LaRoux provides the backdrop for a pride video from Syracuse, NY...there's a lot of color in this video from Edmonton Pride...Get a glimpse of some fireworks from New York Pride from the barge launch point...see what it's like to be in France for Pride in Paris...or maybe you'd prefer Napoli, Italy...or maybe Pride in Mexico City...it's estimated that 300,000 people showed up for Pride in Chicago...and they all checked out these sexy studs and hot chicks...or maybe they came for these studs...or maybe these...there were some wacky outfits at Pride in Berlin Part One...and here's Pride in Berlin Part Two...Brittany Blaze of Pussy On Wheels TV runs into a whole cast of characters at Pride in Minneapolis...there were some body-painted, nude bicyclists at the Pride Parade in Seattle...where there was also a GLEE Flash Mob...the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, who recently appeared here in Fresno, marched in the SF Pride Parade...as did the Barabary Coast Cloggers...while the Backstreet Boys were part of the entertainment...as well as the Parade, where they waved to the crowd...check out a video of one man's search for sexy studsduring San Francisco Pride...as well as some video from Pride in NYC...and more video from Pride in NYC...as well as a CNN Reportdetailing members of a welcoming Catholic church who've marched in the parade for 10 years but were told by the church this year that they cannot march with their usual banner proclaiming the name of the church...and still more video from NYC Pride, with lots of color and music...here's the very beginning of the NYC Parade, with a massive arch of balloons...

Then there's the violence... Things were ugly enough in Croatia that police had to escort marchers... then there's what looks like some excessive force by police during NYC Pride...and a slow moving, strange girl fight during Chicago Pride...and lastly,here's a little bit of the chaos in the Castro following the shooting at Pink Saturday in San Francisco...

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At his Kentucky elementary school, kids taunted Brent on the playground about being gay, whatever that was. By eighth grade, he realized what they meant and came out to a friend — and vice versa.

She was an avid writer, he a voracious reader. They headed to their school library in search of stories that spoke to their lives: gay, gay in the South, gay and fearing stereotypes like "disgusting" and "worthless."

"There were tons of books about gangs and drugs and teen pregnancy and there were no LGBT books. I asked the librarian about it and she was like, 'This is middle school. I can only have appropriate books here,'" said Brent, now 15 and heading into his sophomore year of senior high.

So they went to their public library, where they discovered plenty of romantic gay steam between covers — for adults. "We weren't complaining," said Brent, who asked that his last name and hometown not be used.

Turning next to bookstores, they finally found what they'd been looking for — a recent explosion in the publishing world of reads that speak to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning teens.

Read the rest of this article by clicking HERE

 

Thank you to all those who participated in Gay Central Valley's first official Community Engagement Action. On Saturday, June 19th, our team volunteered at the Community Food Bank. Details of our next Community Engagement Action will be posted soon...

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Dear Friend of The Trevor Project in Tulare County,

I want to sincerely thank you for expressing an interest in volunteering with The Trevor Project as a Lifeguard Workshop facilitator.  This wonderful program takes volunteers into schools to assist youth in better understanding the negative consequences of their language and actions on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people, as well as train the youth about the warning signs of suicide and what they can do as youth lifeguards to help.  Through our partnership with county agencies and the Suicide Prevention Task Force, we look forward to launching this program in the summer of 2010 and expanding over the following school year.

To those ends, if you are interested in being part of our dedicated corps of Lifeguard Workshop Facilitators, please read over the attached position description.  If this volunteer opportunity seems like a good fit for your interests and talents, please submit a resume/CV and a cover letter outlining why volunteering in this program at The Trevor Project interests you to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The deadline to apply is 10 July 2010.

Upon receipt of your resume/CV and cover letter, the application process to enter the training class is as follows:

(1)    Our program staff will review your letter and resume/CV to ensure on our end it is a good match for the program

(2)    A member of our Program Staff will call you in the coming weeks to set up a phone interview that will last approximately 30 minutes

(3)    The interview will be completed

(4)    Following the interview, we will let you know if you’ve been accepted to the training class

(5)    If you are accepted into the training class, please block out the evening of Wednesday July 21 from 6:00 pm to 7:30pm and Saturday July 24 from 10:00am to 6:00pm

Please forward this welcome letter to all you know who might be interested and share this widely.  Thank you again for your interest and I look forward to hearing from you,

Dave

Dave Reynolds, MPH, CPH
Advocacy and Education Manager / The Trevor Project
9056 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 208 / West Hollywood, CA 90069
310.271.8845 x258 p / 310.271.8846 f

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

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

You can help save a life each month with an affordable monthly gift of just $15. Become a lifeline donor today! 

Are you a fan of Trevor? 

This is a good discussion about the recent decision to retain the ban on gay men donating blood...but I'd watch it again and again just for Thomas Roberts... ...

ImageForgive me if I don't feel sorry for Constance McMillen.

She's the teenager who created a nationwide controversy when she requested that she attend her high school prom with her lesbian girlfriend, and that she wear a tuxedo. She was denied that request, which led to an uproar, resulting in a court hearing and a manipulated and subversive series of events that ended up with Constance being purposely separated from the rest of the school during the prom. The ACLU was involved, local courts and a whole group of parents who have no clue what America represents but are working diligently to undermine it. All the while proclaiming some patriotism that is antithetical to all things American.

I realize what Constance has gone through is more than any teenager should have to go through on an emotional level, let alone a lesbian teenager from a backwater town in the middle of nowhere. What has come out of this, however, is a legacy that Constance, despite her intentions of participation, will be able to look back on for decades to come. She'll pass the story down to the next generation of LGBT Americans about how a simple request to follow your heart can create an uproar in a country which, for the time being, only pretends to honor it's foundational principals of freedom for all Americans.

ImageThere are several choices if you want a great breakfast in Fresno, but the number one choice is BJ’s Kountry Kitchen. There are several of these restaurants here, but the one I frequent is on Blackstone just south of Shaw, and the food is better than the one in Clovis.

BJ’s is in a building that looks like an old fashioned diner and you walk in the door to a country ambiance. The service can be slow if the place is crowded, but is otherwise decent.  I usually order the BJ’s Special Omelet. I pick the hash browns over the country potatoes, and the biscuits and gravy over the toast. The omelet is a flavorful combination of of bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, and sausage drowning in a mixture of jack and cheddar cheese.  The hash browns are golden brown and the crispiest in town or anywhere else I have ever had. The biscuits are light and fluffy with rich cream gravy. The food is hot and the Tabasco is already on the table for those who like their food a little more spicy.

Other delicious choices are the steak with eggs and the linguica with eggs. The huevos rancheros, a dish composed of eggs cooked over easy, on top of warm tortillas, drowning in salsa and cheese, is great if you are in the mood for a southwestern style breakfast.  BJ’s is a terrific choice when you are on vacation from more healthy fare and have a craving for some good old fashioned comfort food. 

Take a walk down Santa Monica Blvd during L.A. Gay Pride...where Sharon Osborne and daughter Kelly were the Grand Marshalls, even grabbing a microphone to yell back at protestors...then check out a slide show of the parade & festival...and here's a better video of En Vogue at L.A. Pride...or watch 97.1 AMP Radio do some interviews on the street...looks like fun was had by all at Pride in beautiful Montpellier, France...a huge crowd showed up amidst the gorgeous architecture for Gay Pride in Lyon, France...take a look at a short video of some of the things you can do in the U.S. that could get you killed in Uganda, courtesy of  "Too Much Pride Makes The Baby Go Gay"...here's a collection of quotes related to the LGBT Community and others...check out a wrap up and review of Gay Pride Circuit Events from thecircuitdog.com...here's another great video from Metro Weekly on DC Pride with my favorite dance music vocalist, Inaya Day...there was a quaint Pride Parade in Key West, Florida...the Wisconsin Gazette covered Pride in Milwaukee...the Island House dominates the video of Pride in Key West, Florida...Shannon and Taylor Dayne were among the performers at Pride in Albany, NY...and Alexis Arquette did some body painting at Boston's Pride event...and count your blessings that you don't live in some of the countries that still criminalize homosexuality. The results are horrific, as evidenced by the trailer for the documentary Beyond Gay...more Gay Pride Videos next week...

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ImageWell guess what? The proponents of Prop 8, arguing in court to keep the hateful, bigoted Proposition 8 legal, told Judge Walker on the final court day of the case, that they didn't need to provide evidence as to the purpose of marriage. This came from Charles Cooper, leading the defense in the case.

Judge Walker pushed both sides in the day of closing arguments, asking Ted Olson, who is arguing to toss out Prop 8, why the majority of voters, who've clearly already had this debate, be overruled. Olson answered as briefly and brilliantly as he has throughout the case. People are allowed to discriminate privately but they cannot write discrimination into law.

Cooper, on the other hand, follows the lead of conservative Americans in general, a group for whom reality, logic and reason have long ago been abandoned. This is a man who said in court during the same trial, weeks ago, that he "didn't know" how same sex marriage would harm traditional marriage. He didn't know. Now, he stands and says that no evidence is required on his part to warrant the discrimination and restrictions placed on LGBT Americans. Ultimately, the point is to prove that Prop 8 was put into place simply because a group of Americans "wanted it". In other words, if there is no logical reason as well as no real threat, if it's all based on people's "feelings" and fears, then it has to be thrown out.

Walker pushed on our side as well, mentioning that by the time the Supreme Court ruled the ban on inter-racial marriage was unconstitutional, that several states were already aligning themselves with that idea. Currently, legal same sex marriage in the U.S. is still rejected by the vast majority of states. There's not much you can say to that. The fact that the majority of Americans have turned out to be closed minded, bigoted and irrational is fairly inexplicable. It's hardly, though, a valid reason to allow mass levels of discrimination against other Americans. This is a lesson the courts need to learn, since the American people have stopped evolving on the issue. You cannot uphold the will of the people on all issues, and certainly not on this one.

The judge is expected to reach a decision in a few weeks. You can read the entire court transcript by clicking HERE

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ImageAccording to a new study by Patrick J Egan PHD, Dept of Politics at New York University, the millions and millions of dollars spent on campaign both for same sex marriage and against same sex marriage has been pretty much a waste of time. The study, which looked at 35 states over a ten year time period, also states that pre-election polls typically underestimate the number of voters who are against same sex marriage by about 7%.  

According to the study, neither side has done much over the last decade to change anyone's mind on the issue of legal same sex marriage.

It's not something a lot of people want to hear. I think that those LGBT citizens out there who continue to press for another ballot measure as quickly as they can get it together, need to really listen to the data from this study. There are those of us, myself included, who've been saying for some time now that the citizens of this country have already made up their minds, and they aren't going to change it. During the debate over whether to proceed in 2010 those of us who felt it was bad timing were simply dismissed by those who wanted to get a measure on the ballot. We were labeled as lazy, un-committed and told we lacked insight. Now it appears that 2012 may not be the right time either. Still the campaign to get enough signatures to get a measure on the ballot failed miserably. Afterward, those who disagreed with the timing were blamed by the campaign which failed. A campaign, mind you, that was so sure of itself and so passionate that they were right and they would succeed.

The reason they failed, and the reason any future ballot measure might fail as well, is that the American people are steadfast in their opinion that we are a threat, that we don't deserve equal rights. We are not changing their minds. But what if we did succeed with a ballot measure? Then another ballot measure to strike our rights would rear its head and we'd lose them again. And back and forth and back and forth. That's why this issue should not continue to be decided at the ballot box. At some point, LGBT activists who continue to pursue ballot measures to regain our rights have to deal with this reality.

ImageFinal arguments in the Federal Court Case on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 will finally take place this Wednesday, June 16th.

Both sides are predicting victory, although Proposition 8 co-author Andrew Pugno may be admitting a likely defeat since he states,  "We have a solid record built up for an appeal."

Judge Walker has also issued questions to the attorney's that they must provide a written answer to prior to Wednesday. He's asking such questions as "What does it mean to have a 'choice' in one's sexual orientation?" and  "What does society have to lose?" by allowing same sex marriage. Also, "Can the court find Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional without also considering the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act?"

There's not a clear answer when it comes to when the Judge will issue his decision.

Read More Here...

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While it's a small victory, it is also unprecedented. The Mormon Church is now the first religious organization to be fined for political malfeasance. They failed to report late, non-monetary contributions to the Yes On 8 Campaign. They have been fined just over five thousand dollars for the error, which they attribute to "an oversight".

The church is still in the midst of other lawsuits regarding their contributions to the Yes On 8 Campaign.

Read More Here... 

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ImageThe sexual content available to young viewers online is extremely alarming. This objectionable content is available because it has been found by the courts to be protected by the first amendment freedom of speech and parents just imagine that their kids are angels and would never watch a sexual act online in the first place. To the contrary of the court’s rulings and parent’s beliefs adolescents do not see the point in the page that says, Do Not Enter. They usually continue by clicking the enter button directly below the adult site warning. This is when things get really erotic. To say curiosity kills the cat would not be enough.

        The internet gets worse than just providing pornography. Technology has made it extremely easy for anyone to post nude photographs of themselves online. Through forums and various social networking sites many people across all sexual identities and all sexually active ages participate in the sexual thrills of trading pictures with multiple partners. There is very little resistance by administration out there to prevent such activities. Many sites actually promote the behavior if not at least make it extremely easy to participate.

To whom it may concern;

On Tuesday May 18th 2010 at The Living Room, a Project of West Care, an announcement was made by Toni Harrison, Program Coordinator. All clients that were present were informed that on Wednesday June 30th 2010, the doors of The Living Room will be closing for good.

This came as a shock to many of us that look to The Living Room for services not provided anywhere else within Fresno County. We look forward to eating a warm meal twice a week. We look forward to having breakfast every morning, to seeing warm smiling faces of people who care and who are there for us on a daily basis. Some of us will no longer have case management services; help with housing, benefits, linkage to medical care and substance abuse. We will no longer have food pantry twice a month. This may not seem like much to those that have a steady income but, to those of us that are on a fixed income and can barely make it these services mean the world to us and keep us going on a daily basis.

We are asking help to keep the doors open to The Living Room. A fair review of contracts that affect our future. We would be more than happy to help out in anyway possible.  This would also include volunteering as we do already. All we ask is that you please reconsider and know that this decision is affecting hundreds in our local community.

Sincerely,

The Clients of the Living Room a Project of West Care

 

Even though it just happened today, as I post this, check out some video from Gay Pride Parade in L.A....which included some hateful "Christians" making a scene...which many on our side shouted down...while others ran into James Franco...while singer Kelis was in L.A. for Pride Weekend where she performed a mash-up of "Milkshake" & Madonna's "Holiday" as well as covering the Black Eyed Peas hit, "I Gotta Feeling"...En Vogue also performed, and one of their numbers was "Proud Mary"...and doesn't every gay man have to try walking in heels at some point in his life?...Watch hot as hell fitness model Scott Herman talk about being Grand Marshall in the Boston Gay Pride Parade...then zoom over to Pride in DC to see the Shirtless DC Cowboys dancing on their float entry, to such songs as ABBA's "Mama Mia"...the theme for Boston Pride this year was "Riots To Rights"...There's some great High Quality video from Indianapolis Gay Pride...doesn't look like they even block the street off for Edmonton Pride...lots of men showed up at the beach for Gay Pride in Tev-Aviv...looks like huge crowds and flashy performances at Gay Pride in Maspalomas...watch a video mash-up of Pride in Milan...a slide show of Gay Pride Events from around the world...watch some flag twirlingin the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade...some street interviewsat Gay Pride in Asbury Park...and as a flashback to this Pride posting, check out Liza Minelli at Pride in Paris, France from 2009...STAY TUNED, MORE PRIDE VIDEO LINKS TO COME...

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The HHS, or Health and Human Services Advisory Committee has voted to keep the ban on blood donated by gay men. Forget that this decision is against all scientific fact. Forget that Congress urged them to drop it. Forget that the American Red Cross, the AMA, America's Blood Centers and the American Association of Blood Banks have all urged them to drop it, and certainly forget that the ban on gay men donating blood is irrational and has no foundation in truth or logic.

So if you're a man who's had sex with another man at least once since 1977 you cannot donate blood.

And we continue to slide backward into oblivion.

Believe it or not, there actually is a Gay Pride Parade in Salt Lake City, UT ,and it's just as stocked with Trans & Drag & Activists & Hunks as any other parade...this is a confusing world...In Athens, the Pride Parade had a Stonewall Theme ...People packed the streets in Lille, France ...with no less action at Pride in Montpellier, France ...In Austin, Texas, Pride works both the Dayand the Night ...Naturally, it's a beautiful day for Honolulu Pride ...while in Ireland they were faced with dark clouds overhead for Cork Gay Pride ...there's a brief glimpse of the Pride Festival in Zurich ...There's a decent Boy George impersonator at Birmingham Pride ...and who wouldn't want to share the beauty of the landscape and the people at Gay Pride in Sitges, Spain, as they display in their Official Gay Pride 2010 Promo Video ...and New York's club Matinee promises fun at Pride 2010 with their Promo Video ...while in Kansas City, Gay Groups Protested a location for Pride 2010... Sharon Osborne tells the crowd to get ready for Pride in West Hollywood, while giving too much information about her daughter, Kelly's absence...and, check out this amazing slide show of pictures from Gay Pride in the 1980's in San Francisco ...We'll have more GLOBAL PRIDE VIDEO LINKS for you next week...Happy Pride!

Sao Paulo is the largest Gay Pride gathering in the world...

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Leave it to Fresno, a city in which weather, yes, weather, is the biggest story on every local newscast. Every day of the year, all 365 of them. Who cares if there's actually no weather in Fresno? We just want to talk about it. We tune in to the local news so that in the first five minutes, we can be told how many degrees we've shifted since the day before.

In a city that obsesses about weather, despite the fact that there isn't any, it isn't difficult to believe that the Fresno Bee has now published an article intended to create sensationalism and controversy around a day of voting. It doesn't matter if it all actually adds up to anything. These days, you just have to write words on paper to create interest. Even if there's absolutely no substance to what you write, you'll at least get 2 or 3 days publicity out of it. Right? Drama works, right? We love drama.

Tuesday, June 8th. Primary day. Time to vote. Time to be a responsible American.

Tuesday, according to the Fresno Bee, goes more like this...(get ready to head to the bomb shelter...because stuff is about to fly...)

First , there are accusations that someone associated with Mike Briggs offered something in exchange for votes. Then, evidently,  a poll worker denied people the right to vote. And evidently, Mike Briggs intervened. Evidently, Rick Morse, recently highlighted in the local news for being arrested for operating a legal, medical marijuana clinic, is the initiating culprit.

Why? Well, because he...well, because he, uh, transported people who were without transportation, to a polling place, so that they could vote. Morse explained to the police that he was simply helping out. Yes, he bought them burgers, but not in exchange for particular votes, but because they'd be missing regular, provided meals by taking the trip to vote. The police were satisfied. Morse even apologized for the misunderstanding.

But of course, that's not a very good ending...so,

The Bee reports that Victor Salazar told them some volunteers didn't show up on time, so he had to fill in with reserve workers. (Insert terrified scream) In a separate incident, a Fresno precinct ran out of ballots. (Second scream) They did resolve it in less than an hour, but, hey, they ran out of ballots. AND, you won't believe this, but a voter emerging from a church (a CHURCH, people!) told the press that "everything went smooth".  

Are you serious? Everything went "smooth"? How can that be? I mean, the title of this article is "Brigg's Campaign Faces Voter-Fraud Investigation".  Isn't the sky falling?

Fresno media has had a self respect issue for a very long time, but this is about as red flag as it gets. None of this is a story. The Bee offers no summation. They make no offering as to the cliffhanger in this Central Valley based reality show. Not only does this story not hint at anything to look forward to in terms of charges or ramifications, but it ends with a senior American. A senior American who offers a commentary about his methods of voting. Something to charm the reader which has NOTHING to do with the story, but which will provide a "non-ending" capable of satisfying the novice. This senior American  says he makes his decision by who's in office. Whoever is, he votes out.

Fresno media are willing to make something out of nothing, as is all media these days. Let's face it, they want a reality show. Unfortunately, it won't be about us. They'll have to write some interesting and intriguing characters. But I guarantee you, the word "FRESNO" will be out there, and in the end, isn't that all that matters?

Does anyone know if there's a storm warning tomorrow? Because I have a volleyball game planned.

Read the "story" here... Fresno - The Mini-Series

Created in 1992 by Stepping Out Studios of New York, OUTdancing is a comprehensive same-sex Latin, swing, and ballroom dance program. The Valley’s own Franco Peraza now brings OUTdancing to Fresno!

BallroomLIVE encourages students to lead or follow, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. At BallroomLIVE it's common to see both gay and straight students and teachers dancing outside of traditional gender roles. The decision to lead or follow is your own. For beginners, we suggest you stick with either leading or following. Once you have the basics, you can try the other, or start switching back and forth!

BallroomLIVE invites you to join them for an LGBT OPEN HOUSE & DANCE CLASS at their studio on Saturday, June 19th, 2010 from 3:30 to 4:30PM. The cost is $10 per person and includes an LGBT Latin Rhythms Dance Class.

Check out this video from this year's Rainbow Pride Festival, and see just a taste of what you can learn and enjoy by signing up for OUTdancing at BallroomLIVE. BallroomLIVE is located at 5721 N. First Street in Fresno. Their phone number is 559-435-5678. Visit the studio's website here... BallroomLIVE

Part 1 of our complete High Definition Video Coverage of the 20th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade. Check out our YouTube Page for the rest of our videos. (As of Monday at 6PM, Parts 1,2 & 3 of the Parade are up on our YouTube page. Parts 4 & 5 will be available no later than Tuesday morning. The entertainment videos we were able to capture have been posted.)


Long time Fresno HIV/AIDS provider The Living Room will have to close June 30th. However, director Toni Harrison didn’t waiting for that miracle to materialize—she hit the bricks at this year’s 20th Pride Parade and Festival to hopefully make the miracle happen. Harrison had supporters working the crowd at the parade, buckets in hand collecting donations.

“We don’t want this to close, because of what we do,” Harrison emphatically said.

The organization is threatened with closure due to fallout from the recent decision by the county board of supervisors to close the Specialty Clinic at the health department. The clinic provided medical care and testing for people affected by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“When the board of supervisors voted to shut down the Specialty Clinic,” Harrison said, “65 people lost their care there. They were referred to Community Regional Medical Center, who told the county the hospital would not provide care for them unless CRMC got more money. So, our contract with the county was cancelled.”

That translated to a loss of $69,000 a year.

On Wednesday, June 2nd, a group from The Living Room went to the health department to deliver a letter protesting the decision to county officials. After delivering that letter, the group walked to CRMC to deliver a similar letter there. Harrison said no one from hospital administration was available to accept the letter. “All the doors were locked,”

She added that CRMC was on alert because hospital security had been told a “mob of angry people” was going to show up and there was going to be a “riot.” Neither happened.

Health Department officials sat down with Gay Fresno and explained what happened from their perspective.


 

Click on the images to enlarge for viewing...Complete High Definition Video of the 20th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade will be available on Gay Fresno's YouTube Page by late Sunday or Monday, plus videos of some of the performances at the Entertainment Tent at the Festival.

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Barring a miracle, long time Fresno HIV/AIDS provider The Living Room will have to close June 30th. However, director Toni Harrison isn’t waiting for that miracle to materialize—she’s hitting the bricks at Saturday’s Pride Parade and Festival to hopefully make the miracle happen.

Harrison says she plans to have supporters working the crowd at the parade, buckets in hand collecting donations. Donations can be made at The Living Room’s booth at the festival following the parade.

“We don’t want this to close, because of what we do,” Harrison emphatically said.

The organization is threatened with closure due to fallout from the recent decision by the county board of supervisors to close the Specialty Clinic at the health department. The clinic provided medical care and testing for people affected by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“When the board of supervisors voted to shut down the Specialty Clinic,” Harrison said, “65 people lost their care there. They were referred to Community Regional Medical Center, who told the county the hospital would not provide care for them unless CRMC got more money. So, our contract with the county was cancelled.”

That translated to a loss of $69,000 a year.

On Wednesday, a group from The Living Room went to the health department to deliver a letter protesting the decision to county officials. After delivering that letter, the group walked to CRMC to deliver a similar letter there. Harrison said no one from hospital administration was available to accept the letter. “All the doors were locked,”

She added that CRMC was on security alert because hospital security had been told a “mob of angry people” was going to show up and there was going to be a “riot.” Neither happened.

A follow-up story will be posted on Gay Fresno.com as soon as possible.

Police say 7 arrested for public intoxication; one man remains hospitalized with brain injury incurred during incident

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Between 150 and 200 people gathered on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse Sunday, June 28 — the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion — to protest a police raid on a Fort Worth gay bar, The Rainbow Lounge, at about 1 a.m. that day. Gay Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns told the protesters he has called on Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead to conduct a thorough investigation into allegations of harassment and police brutality against bar patrons during the raid. One man remains hospitalized with a brain injury after, witnesses said, several officers threw him to the ground while arresting him. TAMMYE NASH/Dallas Voice

Read the full story by clicking here: Rally In Fort Worth Over Gay Bar Raid

Read what people who were there had to say by clicking here: Eyewitness Accounts

ImageBy Kenneth R. Bazinet
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON - President Obama launches a fence-mending offensive today with a deep-pocketed and well-organized gay and lesbian community divided over whether the White House is moving fast enough to keep its campaign promises to fight for gay rights. Obama invited hundreds of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to a first-of-its-kind East Room reception marking the 40th anniversary of the start of the gay rights movement.

"To me, today's event is more than just a reception honoring LGBT Pride Month," said Brian Bond, the openly gay deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in a message posted on the White House blog. "It is an opportunity for the Administration to provide the world with a snapshot of the real heroes across the country that do the day-to-day work fighting for equality," Bond added.

But the gathering also comes as many in the gay community are angered over seeing little movement toward doing away with the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, or the Defense Of Marriage Act which says states don't have to recognize same-sex marriages consummated in other states.

Obama plans to tell the group his administration is currently working on an effort to repeal DOMA. But there is still much anger among many in the gay and lesbian community over the language Obama's Justice Department used in a legal brief filed this month in support of the act. The Justice brief argued that DOMA should remain in force because heterosexual marriages are the "traditional and universally recognized form of marriage."

New York Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is attending the Obama event, called the Justice Department's legal brief "inexcusable," but said she is confident Obama's top legal minds are working on legislation to repeal DOMA. "I take President Obama and his administration at their word," Quinn told the Daily News. "If he says he is working to reverse DOMA, I believe him."

Polls show Obama received the support of more than 70% of openly gay and lesbian voters in the presidential election.

ImageAs much as LGBT Americans have against them in 2009, it seems almost insignificant compared to life in the 1960's. Social repression in the 1950's and before resulted in a wave of rebellion in the 1960's. LGBT Americans migrated to larger cities, and established a sizable population in Greenwich Village, NY.  The city had laws against homosexuality in public and private business, but policing all places of business was a strain on authorities. Since there were few places LGBT people could gather safely, bars were the hangouts.

A harsher crackdown on homosexuality began with the approach of the 1964 World's Fair. Wanting the city to appear pristine, the mayor ordered authorities to clean up the streets. Police worked to entrap homosexuals as often as possible, posing undercover in parks and public places. Raids on gay bars were frequent. Police seized alcohol, lined up customers and demanded IDs. Men dressed in full drag were immediately arrested. Women not having at least 3 pieces of feminine clothing on were arrested. Bars were so used to the procedure that they often kept more alcohol hidden, sometimes in a car down the street, so they could re-open. Homosexuals were arrested simply over a perception they could become disorderly. Coming out in 1969 was virtually unthinkable.


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Gay Fresno is happy to help sponsor The Fresno Skittles, a local LGBTQ softball team. The skittles play other teams locally at the Regional Sports Complex , located 1707 West Jensen , on Jensen just past West Avenue. Their games are an hour in length. The game schedule is:

June 3, 2009 8:00PM - June 10, 2009 6:00PM - June 17, 2009 7:00PM - June 24, 2009 8:00PM - July 1, 2009 6:00PM - July 8, 2009 8:00PM - July 15, 2009 BYE (no game) - July 22, 2009 7:00PM - July 22, 2009 9:00PM

We encourage all to come to the games to show support for this local LGBTQ team.

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Seen some wild outfits in Pride parades over the last few years? As Pride month comes to a close, check out a slide show of some of the wild attire of Pride participants by clicking HERE

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Farrah Fawcett died today, losing her battle with cancer. Read the story HERE

Michael Jackson also died today, the apparent result of a cardiac arrest which resulted in a coma. Read what there is of the story at this point HERE

A second article can be found HERE

LGBT Community of the Central Valley,

ImageMy name is Chris Jarvis and I'm beginning a project which requires the participation of the Central Valley's LGBT community. "The Project", as I'm currently calling it, involves documenting the history of the LGBT community in Fresno and the Central Valley.  I feel we may lose our history if it's not recorded. While the scope of the project will be determined by the information I find, I hope to at least focus on the Central Valley from the 1950's to the present. 

At this early stage, I'm unsure what the result of this effort will be. My hope is to end up with a written history as well as a short film. The written portion of the project may end up in the form of a book, or at the very least, a series of essays or articles. The short film is something I am equally passionate about, and hope to submit to film festivals. I can't anticipate at this point which parts of my research and interactions will be included in the film portion of my plan. This project is a labor of love and passion on my part, and offers no financial compensation for participation. I'm doing this on my own, at my own expense and labor.

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 marked the one year anniversary of the brief legalization of same-sex marriage in California. Same-sex couples and their supporters met at the historic Water Tower in downtown Fresno to renew their vows and take group photos. The celebration continued throughout the night at the popular North Tower Circle club and bar where guests were offered complimentary flowers, appetizers, champagne, & cheesecake courtesy of various organizations in the community that support marriage equality. It was a well planned event complete with entertainment by singer Lily Dale Murray and Andalee's Eastern Sun Dancers.

The history of The North Tower club and bar was a common topic as guests who hadn't been to the club since its reopening in October of 2008 spoke of the hate inspired arson that literally burned the club to the ground, and remarked at how the establishment has flourished since then. Couples came from all over to share their stories and in that intimate setting, the tales of love, marriage, hurt, pain, and redemption caused one to remember exactly why we as a community continue to come together. One couple drove out from Lemoore and told the story of how they met only two years ago. When asked why they chose to get married the gentleman replied, “We felt like it was now or never, you never know when you are going to get an opportunity like this again.”

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These are the photos taken during the Anniversary Party at The North Tower Circle on Wednesday, June 17th. These are not the full size files. If you would like a copy of any of the pictures seen here in their full size format, please copy the pictures (right click and save to your computer) then email them to Chris Jarvis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and full size copies will be returned to you via email.

 

(San Francisco) After a lesbian was barred from visiting her partner and giving advice about her treatment at a Fresno hospital, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a letter to the hospital today urging that it adopt policy changes respecting same-sex relationships.

“We just couldn’t believe this was happening to us. This was the nightmare that we hoped we’d never have to live through,” said Teresa Rowe, who grew up in Clovis, California, but now lives in the Bay Area with her partner of four years, Kristin Orbin.

Read the rest of this story HERE

ImageImageImageCalifornia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed, and the California Legislature is considering, draconian cuts to all types of HIV-related funding in the near-bankrupt state.

In the worst-case scenario, which is still not off the table, slashes to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program could result in thousands of Californians who make less than $41,600 per year losing access to the state-provided drugs that suppress HIV and keep them alive.

In the apparent best-case scenario, not all HIV drugs would be available via ADAP and patients would have to pay part of the cost of the ones they could get. That is problematic because some HIV-positive people have developed resistance to some HIV drugs, and need access to the full arsenal of therapies to stay alive.

Click HERE to read the rest of this story...

Watch video of the rally by clicking HERE and HERE

ImageJune 10, 2009 (AP) LOS ANGELES - Miss California USA Carrie Prejean, who stirred up trouble for herself when she said gays shouldn't be allowed to marry, got two dreaded words from pageant poobah Donald Trump on Wednesday: "You're fired." Trump and other pageant leaders said Prejean was being sacked not because of the remarks but because she hadn't been holding up her end of the agreement she signed when she entered the pageant. [Semi-nude photos of Prejean, a self-proclaimed born-again Christian, that turned up online were also a controversy for her]

"Carrie is a beautiful young woman and I wish her well as she pursues her other interests," Trump said. Prejean spokeswoman Melany Ethridge declined to comment, saying she hadn't been able to reach the former beauty queen since the announcement of her ouster.

"This was a decision based solely on contract violations, including Ms. Prejean's unwillingness to make appearances on behalf of the Miss California USA organization," the California pageant's executive director, Keith Lewis, said in a statement.

He had complained at a news conference last month that Prejean was skipping Miss California USA events while speaking out against gay marriage at unsanctioned appearances. After the complaints reached Trump, who owns Miss California USA's parent organization, the mogul decided to give her a second chance and keep her on. On Wednesday, he changed his mind.

"I told Carrie she needed to get back to work and honor her contract with the Miss California USA Organization and I gave her the opportunity to do so," Trump said in a statement. "Unfortunately it just doesn't look like it is going to happen."

Pageant officials said Prejean would be replaced by the Miss California pageant's first runner-up, Tami Farrell, 24, who was crowned Miss Teen USA in 2003. They had announced last month that Farrell was being named a special ambassador to fill in for Prejean at any events she didn't attend.

During the Miss USA competition, Prejean was first runner-up after answering a judge's question about gay marriage by saying wedding vows should be reserved for men and women. "No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised," she said.

After the response drew heavy criticism she began speaking to crowds opposed to gay marriage, violating a section of her contract that required she clear unsanctioned appearances with pageant officials. About the same time, seminude photos of her began to surface on the Internet.

Although the photos were mild, pageant officials said she also violated her contract by not disclosing their existence to them.When Trump initially decided to keep Prejean on, Lewis' co-executive director, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler resigned in protest.

"My faith has been restored in the Miss Universe Organization and with Donald Trump," Moakler said in a statement after Wednesday's announcement. She didn't say whether she planned to return to the organization.

On the Net: http://misscaliforniausa.com

Following is the list of winners of raffle prizes offered by Gay Fresno this year at the annual Fresno Pride Festival. We will be contacting the winners about getting their prizes to them. If you are a winner and you think we may not have the information to contact you, please use the ABOUT US page to contact us.

We thank all the local businesses who generously donated for our raffle, and encourage all our readers to patronize these businesses. You may visit their various websites by clicking on the links provided in the list below.

CANDLE HOLDER / The Brass Unicorn ($29)
Sheyna Mooney

$25 GIFT CERTIFICATE /  Irene's Cafe
Jacob Posey

$25 BAR GIFT CERTIFICATE /  The Red Lantern
Anthony Paredes

$25 BAR GIFT CERTIFICATE / The North Tower Circle
Courtney Roger

$40 GIFT CERTIFICATE / Chase Flower Shop
Dennis Harris

$50 GIFT CERTIFICATE / Four Seasons Tanning
 Matt Cornell

$50 GIFT CERTIFICATE / Mark & Son Repair
Jessika Ceballos

$200 GIFT CERTIFICATE / Michael Craighead Stables
(FIVE HORSE RIDING LESSONS)
Lori Todd

$15 certificate for Tower Health
Sarah Conway

Pictures from the Fresno Pride Parade 2009. The North Tower Circle & Red Lantern parade float, with special guest Andrew Christian and his troup of underwear models. PHOTOS BY DAVID SCOTT.

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Lee Morris, co-owner of the Express nightclub, has released the following statement to explain their absence from the Fresno Pride Parade this year...

ImageThe Express formerly (Déjà vu) NO FLOAT IN PARADE reason

Rumors are abounding, and you know how that happens, when you don’t have the facts.

The reason the Express did not have a float in the parade this year is the Fact that Hertz/Penske Truck rental in Fresno did not have a replacement truck for us since the one we reserved broke down. We spent two days calling around the central Valley for a truck, and none were available.

Thus the Reason for our last minute drop from the Parade. We were not prepared to do anything else at last minute, our staff and many friends of the club worked on our float since Jan as we always do, sewing costumes, building props and gathering the supplies, all by the way is still in my living room and backyard.

We all were so disappointed that we could not b e there, but we will next year as we will have a plan B in place just in case. Even though the Express was not there with a Float we were there in Support and Spirit, and we will be a major sponsor of the Pride Parade in 2010, as we have been since we took over the old Express building in 2003,

Thank You for your support over these last

6 years and looking forward to many more

Lee Morris

Co-Owner

Express Nightclub.

ImageImageWe've uploaded all video from the 19th Annual Fresno Pride Parade to our Gay Fresno YouTube Page

Click on the link to visit the page. 


Pictures from the 19th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade, held in the Tower District on Saturday, June 6th. Photos by Chris Jarvis.

A complete video of the Pride Parade will be posted shortly on Gay Fresno's YouTube page...check back...

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ImageAt this point, we're all justified in any disappointment we might have over President Obama's current reluctance to address the civil rights of LGBT Americans or "Don't Ask Don't Tell", but at least we have a President who recognizes and addresses us in a genuine way. In honor of Gay Pride Month, President Obama has released an official proclamation.  

To read Barack Obama's statement click on the following link...Presidential Proclamation - LGBT Pride Month

In May 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed eliminating state funding for California's HIV/AIDS programs. If approved by legislators, the cuts would mean the loss of vital programs that save thousands of lives. Take action now-- join the fight against HIV cuts! Visit this website for information: STOP THE HIV CUTS

Please join us in Sacramento on Wednesday, June 10, to protest on the steps of the Capitol against the elimination of state funding for HIV programs! Buses will be traveling from Los Angeles and San Francisco. For more information click HERE

ImageAll Over the Guy

Rated R / Director Julie Davis / Starring Dan Bucatinsky—Richard Ruccolo -Sasha Alexander—Adam Goldberg

Review by Leon Velasco / Rating: Two Thumbs Up

This movie is a great light comedy of attraction, awkwardness of dating and getting to know each other, gay or straight.

“4 friends – 3 guys – 2 couples… you do the math”

I loved how it gives you a sense of rollercoaster context, you want to root for the under dog but you want to choke the under dog to give up and cut his losses and search else where. It also can make for a fun date movie or a night in with your partner and a bowl of popcorn.

A contemporary romantic comedy about the universal for that one true love, All Over the Guy, centers on an unlikely pair of two twenty-somethings, Eli (Dan Bucantinsky) and Tom (Richard Ruccolo), who are thrown together by respective best friends. They do everything they can to not fall for each other, but ultimately it’s in the small moments of truth – the talk among trusted friends and the fear between new lovers- that the two ultimately find their way to a love that will last.

Special appearances by Andrea Martin—Joanna Kerns—Christina Ricci - Lisa Kudrow—Doris Roberts

ImageMy partner Joshua Ross and I were the first couple to arrive in the sign in station for Selma carpool.  The group there was very kind, supportive and welcoming as we walked up to the booth. Everyone as they arrived was very friendly and accepting of us although we all had never met before. As we carpooled to Selma the group we traveled with was very anxious to get there although we were all still a little half asleep.

At the pep rally, Joshua and I found the speakers to be very motivational and emotionally moving. A few moments we found ourselves choking back on our tears of joy and inspiration. The unity of love, faith and hope that our efforts can and will make a difference at a pivotal point for history.


 

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This is a picture of a car from our side that was keyed after the Jim Franklin rally on Sunday in front of City Hall. If anyone has any information about the incident please contact us here at Gay Fresno through the ABOUT US page.

ImageImageMany more MITM videos have been added to our YouTube site, many available in High Definition. Visit our YouTube page here... Gay Fresno - YouTube

Image(AP)  New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed into law a bill making the state the sixth in the nation to allow gay marriage.

Legislators approved the measure earlier Wednesday, incorporating religious protections at the governor's behest.  Lynch had promised a veto if the law didn't clearly spell out that churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate at gay marriages or provide other services.

The Senate passed the measure Wednesday, and the House - where the outcome was more in doubt - followed later in the day. The House gallery erupted in cheers after the 198-176 vote.  "If you have no choice as to your sex, male or female; if you have no choice as to your color; if you have no choice as to your sexual orientation; then you have to be protected and given the same opportunity for life, liberty and happiness," Rep. Anthony DiFruscia, R-Windham, said during the hourlong debate.

New Hampshire's law takes effect Jan. 1. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa already allow gay marriage, though Maine opponents hope to overturn that state's law with a public vote.  California briefly allowed gay marriage before a public vote banned it; a court ruling grandfathered in couples who were already married.  New Hampshire opponents, mainly Republicans, objected on grounds including the fragmented process that required three bills.

"It is no surprise that the Legislature finally passed the last piece to the gay marriage bill today. After all, when you take 12 votes on five iterations of the same issue, you're bound to get it passed sooner or later," said Kevin Smith, executive director of gay marriage opponent Cornerstone Policy Research.

Lynch, a Democrat, personally opposes gay marriage but decided to view the issue "through a broader lens."  Lynch said he would veto gay marriage if the law didn't address churches and religious groups.  The revised bill added a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage.

It also clarified that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same sex spouses of employees. The earlier version said "charitable and educational" instead of "charitable or educational."

The House rejected the language Lynch suggested two weeks ago by two votes. Wednesday's vote was on a revised bill negotiated with the Senate.  The vote was supporters' last chance this year in New Hampshire.

This is some of the video from our local protest at Sundays "Still Standing in the Middle For Marriage", a rally organized by Jim Franklin of the Cornerstone Church to celebrate the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8, which stripped same sex couples in California of the right to marry. See these videos and much more by visiting our YouTube page at... YouTube - Gay Fresno

 

After all kinds of distortion by the local media as to what actually occurred at Sunday's "Standing In The Middle For Equality" rally, the Fresno Bee comes around to, kind of, admitting that they all got the numbers wrong. As someone who WAS THERE and talking with others who WERE THERE, it's hard to imagine how the numbers could have been so vastly over estimated. I find it incredibly insulting that virtually all local media vastly overestimated the crowd, even saying it was equal to Meet In The Middle attendance on Saturday, given that anyone with at least one eye in their head could easily discern the difference. Meet In The Middle's crowd was MASSIVE by any stretch of the imagination, a crowd compiled and dedicated over months of organization, effort and support. Sunday's crowd was little more than a last minute, word of mouth church group.

Should we also mention that Saturday's Meet In The Middle rally, a rally organized in response to the CIVIL RIGHTS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS BEING STRIPPED BY A SIMPLE MAJORITY, is being blandly compared to Sunday's rally, a rally of GLOATING, SELF CENTERED, PREJUDICED ANTI-AMERICAN BIGOTS? Gee, I think I just did...

Maybe there's something else going on here... Read the Fresno Bee's step back to reality, here: Fresno Bee Article

(Be aware that virtually all media reports about this event have been somewhat skewed, especially in terms of attendance. Franklin's event came nowhere near the amount of people at MEET IN THE MIDDLE, although several media outlets are representing it that way. We estimated the turnout for Franklin's camp at around 300-400, far from estimates of "thousands" which, due to the acceptance of anything published on the internet, were widely accepted, rather than actual reporting.)

Although I have a great deal of respect for the local media, who have remained steadfast in their dedication to covering the LGBT movement in the Central Valley for equal rights, their coverage Sunday night of the chaos that ensued during our protest of the Jim Franklin rally at Fresno City Hall earlier in the evening was nothing short of a whitewash. While the event was inundated with dozens of media cameras, everything reported on the local news Sunday night reveals nothing close to what actually transpired there.

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Each channel covered our protest, but just barely, and concentrated on statements made from the Cornerstone camp. Let's be clear here, the story, the ONLY story in this battle, is that a minority group of California citizens had their equal civil rights stripped away from them simply because a majority of Californians and a shameful Supreme Court allowed it to happen. The story here is the lack of equality of millions of Americans in the year 2009. Simply put, the story here was the PROTEST.

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There were two groups present to protest. One was organized through Gay Central Valley and was intended to be a confronational, loud disruption and counter to the Cornerstone event. The other protest was organized with Courage Campaign support as well as local activist Robin McGehee. This group chose to be a peaceful, loving and faith based protest, which remained on the other side of the street from the Franklin event, locking hands in a circle while singing and praying.

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(It should be noted that members of this faith group went so far as to verbally disassociate themselves from members of our group during our shout outs across the street, stating to the Franklin  crowd, "They don't speak for us." I spoke to Robin after the event and we each support the other's right to speak out in different ways. Robin feels that our methods of confrontation can ultimately be used against the movement by the opposition, and I believe that using faith or religion in any manner in the debate simply reinforces the notion that this is about religion, instead of civil rights, and that can be used against our movement by the opposition.)

(What's especially disturbing is the reaction of some of the LGBT Organizations in regards to tonight's event. Some are calling it "pointless" and "devisive", since it doesn't gel with their plan of quiet opposition. Most of those making negative comments online were personally nowhere near the event, and relied on word of mouth or shoddy internet and local news reports for the "truth" of the event. Highlighting this are groups who believe that only a pre-plotted, prescribed and worst of all, non confrontational "activism" are the way forward. Let's continue to tell each other that it's better to weave ourselves into the web of mythology that is Christianity, than it is to deal with the issue of equal civil rights as what it is, an issue of CIVIL RIGHTS. Mythology, which includes Christianity, has NOTHING to do with the conversation.)


Image Click on "Read More" below for the Mr. Golden State Bear 14, 2008-2009 Application Form

BEAR FRENZY 14 - "BEAR ROUND-UP"

Bear Frenzy 14 is just around the corner, and as plans are being made ready for a fun-filled week-end August 15-17, we are looking for contestants for Mr. Golden State Bear.  Contestants will be judged in "Everyday Bear Wear, Bear Minimum, Cruis Wear and also undergo a screening process by a panel of judges.  Contestants must reside in valley or mountainous areas from Stockton to Bakersfield.  For more information on Bear Frenzy please see the Golden State Bears website at www.goldenstatebears.net, or by e-mailing events coordinator Larry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ImageThe Zoo Keeper   A Novel   Author Alex MacLennan

 

Review by Leon Velasco   Rating:  Thumbs way up

This story has you go through the life of a Zoo Keeper; it’s not as dull or boring as you may think when it comes to a gay Zoo Keeper. There are many things that entangle to the many problems that surround, and involve us. It was a very touching piece. I thought it to be grounded.

You go through the many obstacles that plague not only the main character but the lives of those around him, his friends, and family. Don’t presume to think you know how it’s going to end because it surprised me. This is the author’s first novel and it was wonderfully written.

The number of young homosexual men being newly diagnosed with HIV infection is rising by 12 percent a year, with the steepest upward trend in young black men, according to a new report. The double-digit increase in young gay men is about 10 times higher than in the homosexual community overall, where the number of new infections is going up about 1.5 percent a year. Read more of the story here 

 

By: Eva Falk

So Fresno State won another big sports event. That may have been an exciting evening for some, but not so much for me. I will however make exceptions for the right crowd and some cold beer on a rare occasion. I have a deeper appreciation for the arts, and CSU’s summer arts program turns out some amazing performances every year. Plus it gets me out of the house and still out of the heat. Alix Olsen, a witty and amusing folk poet will be performing on July 8th with Kimberly Dark at the Wahlberg Recital Hall at 7pm for only 10 bucks. Not only will this be an evening of passion, art, and politics being expressed, but also plenty of intellect and insights to go around. Heated topics that will keep you thinking and discussing for weeks. Topics like consumerism, hairy armpits, and plenty of references to female genitalia, pubbies, and sex toys...yay! Very liberating! This is the kind of evening that makes the perfect date or an outing with a group of friends who enjoy having their views challenged. I’ve never seen Alix Olsen perform in person but I did watch her on Def Poetry several years ago. I loved her work so much I bought her album, Built Like That. On Built Like That, Olsen tackles topics like lesbianism, defying traditional feminism, The Walmart generation, and even sexual orientation in the military. But don’t assume Olsen is your typical anti-establishment lesbian activist artist. She will surprise you when you least expect it and all while entertaining you and subtly seducing your mind with her charming personality and highly developed rhyming skills. Olsen also has a dvd called Left Lane On The Road, which is still on my amazon's wish list. Anyway, I have not watched it yet so i’ve attached the product description from amazon.com below. Alix Olson is an internationally touring folk poet and progressive queer artist-activist. One part peace vigil one part protest rally and one part joyful raucous concert Alix ignites audiences everywhere as she performs. LEFT LANE chronicles life on the road with Alix Olson and her road manager/filmmaker Samantha Farinella as they tour the country connecting the dots from a high school visit in Lincoln Nebraska to a CD release party in New York City. LEFT LANE highlights spoken-word performances from around the country and a plethora of behind the scenes glimpses at the search for independent thought grassroots defiance passionate connection organic food and clean laundry. Sounds enticing, I just ordered it. I love the freedom to shop without dealing with crying kids and crowded lines.

ImageThe FX series 30 Days is embroiled in controversy over false, anti-gay rhetoric spouted on the show by Peter Sprigg, of the Family Research Council. During the recent episode, where a woman who is against gay parents raising children moves in with them for a month, Sprigg rattles off the dangers of homosexuality, all manufactured lies to demonize gays. The FX network was approached by GLAAD prior to the show’s airing to urge either editing the comments or adding an expert to refute the falsehoods. FX refused. Click here to read GLAAD’S statement and read more on the story. You can watch the controversial video clip from the show here

ImageI’m the first to challenge any awe directed toward celebrity.  To anyone paying attention, it should be clear that any version you have of a celebrity is, at best, a produced image. So when celebrities pass away, as they do, I’m usually no more than mildly affected. I may have enjoyed their work, but I didn’t know them, and so while I may miss what they did in terms of their profession, I don’t have a lot invested otherwise. This week, for me, was another matter. George Carlin died. It isn’t often when hearing about the death of someone I didn’t know that I'm deeply effected, but this one brought tears to my eyes.

ImageThose wacky, magic underwear Mormons are at it again...The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking California congregants to join the effort to amend that state's constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. A letter sent to Mormon bishops and signed by church president Thomas S. Monson and his two top counselors calls on Mormons to donate ''means and time'' to the ballot measure. A note on the letter, dated June 20, says it should be read during church services on June 29, but the letter was published Saturday on several websites.  Read the rest of the story here

Image(London) Heinz Co. said viewer complaints prompted it to pull a British television advertisement for mayonnaise that showed two men kissing. Read the story here and click on the following link to watch the commercial Heinz Ad (Video)

ImageGay rights activists asked California's highest court Friday to keep off the November ballot a citizens' initiative that would again ban same-sex marriage. Lawyers for Equality California filed a petition arguing that the proposed amendment to the California constitution should be invalidated because its impact was not made clear to the millions of voters who signed petitions to qualify the measure before the state supreme court legalized same-sex unions. ''This court has recognized that gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry, and as of June 16 such couples have been getting married across the state,'' the petition states. Read the story here

"Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery...all the things we hold near and dear to our hearts..."

How can you not want to see a play based on that story?

We’re thrilled to announce that Roger Rockas Dinner Theater is going to be showing one of the most popular plays ever, Chicago ! The return of this jazzy musical has produced some of the best songs in theater including my all time favorite: “All That Jazz.”

Directed by Scott Hancock, this play has an amazing cast and crew aboard. Featuring Julie Lucido returning as Roxie Hart (she played her back in 2002); this play is bringing jazzy back. More of the cast includes: Kat Dorian, Anthony and Ashley Taylor, and the very talented Pete Allwin as Billy Flynn. With a cast like this we are definitely in for a treat!

Pete Allwin, who plays the smooth talking Billy Flynn, tells us what makes the musical worth skipping a lame night at the movies:

“It's got great singing, fantastic dancing, and hot people in very little clothing. How can you beat that?”

I just checked off every single item on my ‘What I want in a good show’ list. See you there!

The show opens on July 24 and runs through September 14 at Roger Rockas Theater in the Tower District. Tickets for the show only are $25, and can run from $40 to $45 for dinner and show tickets depending on the day and time. Tickets should be purchased before the show, but you can buy them the day of. Call the Box Office at (559) 266-9494 or go to the theater’s website: www.gcplayers.com for more information.

After the long wait, the Grey’s Anatomy 2-hour finale premiered not too long ago and ended with a kiss that will be replaying over and over in my head until the 5th season begins.

The foreshadowing of Dr. Callie Torrez (played by Sara Ramirez) and Dr. Erica Hahn’s relationship being more that “just friends” has been so intense for the past couple of episodes. From Callie’s noticeable uneasiness when Hahn (played by Brooke Smith) is around to Hahn kissing Callie “for show” to get McSteamy all hot and bothered, the tension has been building up. Obviously these little steps toward an intimate relationship led up to the finale, where in the last scene Callie plants one of the most passionate kisses I have seen on primetime television since… well since forever!

Many conservatives have been complaining that “Grey’s” has a social agenda these days. In fact, when Ramirez appeared on The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a well-known conservative, actually asked her if her character on the show was “going to switch teams and go for the lady.” Ramirez responded:

ImageAbout 20 new Gay Pride Videos have been added to our ongoing compilation. Check them out here...

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ImageCheck out the videos and the coverage by the Fresno Bee of the events at the County Clerk's Office on Tuesday...

Fresno Bee Multi-Media Coverage of Gay Marriages

 

ImageAs a writer for Gay Fresno, and someone who religiously follows LGBT political news, I knew about the California case before the Supreme Court regarding same sex marriage. I’d posted the details of the story as it started to happen, and an update here or there afterwards, but in reality, it ended up slipping my mind. For years, I’d tracked court case after court case on the constitutionality of denying LGBT Americans equal marriage rights, and case after case was ruled against us. So I wasn’t registering internally with every step as I’d done so often before. It’s almost as if I knew the end before it happened.

 It all started at 7:00am when I mounted my bike to head down to the county clerk’s office. I had no idea what to expect, so I was kind of excited and scared at the same time. The night before, my friend, who just moved back to the Bay Area, asked me if I would be safe out there. I told him I would, that nobody was going to come and threaten our safety because this fight (the fight for our equal human rights) is a war of words being fought in the courts and at the polls. It’s possible that conversation left me a bit unnerved as I headed downtown, but I shook it off because I knew I needed to be there for my friends (old and new) today regardless.

ImageA reception was held at 6pm Tuesday night at theThaiphoon Restaurant in the Tower District. Thaiphoon provided free appetizers, with Spin This DJ in the booth, and incredible support from Central California Alliance. It was standing room only as couples and supporters toasted with champagne (courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott @the Fresno Yosemite International Airport) cut into wedding cakes (provided by CCA and Chiffonos Gourmet Desserts -http://chiffonos.biz/ ), and celebrated this monumental, historic day in LGBT history and the state of California. 

Watch local news coverage of the reception here, ABC 30 Local Coverage Of Wedding Reception and here,  CBS 47 Local Coverage of Wedding Reception

Click on Read Moreto see the photo gallery...and check back, as we're still adding photos from various sources...more photos just added...

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ImageClick on the following links to view local news video regarding the historic first day of legal same sex marriages in California and the Central Valley…

CBS 47 News - Gay Marriages Performed Across The State

ABC 30 Local News - First Gay Marriages Performed

NBC 24 Local News Same Sex Marriage

Fresno Local News Univision 21 Gay Marriage

Image(San Francisco, California) Dozens of gay couples were married Monday after a landmark ruling making California the second state to allow same-sex nuptials went into effect. At least five county clerks around the state extended their hours to issue marriage licenses, and many same-sex couples got married on the spot. Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 84, pioneers in the gay rights movement, and in a decades long relationship, were married by SF Mayor Gavin Newsome. Read more of the story here: CA Gay Marriage Now Officially Legal

Kern Supervisors Hear Public Arguments On Gay Marriage
The public gave their input at the Kern County Supervisors meeting held Tuesday, June 10.  Ann Barnett was both praised and criticized for her decision to halt civil marriage ceremonies in her office.  People also spoke out in favor and against a proposed ordinance that would ban handing out licenses to gay couples wanting to get married.

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ImageAfter the first day of same sex marriages has completed please gather on June 17th at Thaiphoon at 609 E. Olive Ave., Fresno, CA 93728 at 6PM to celebrate the couples who have married, will marry or spent the day out supporting those who were.

Free appetizers provided by Thaiphoon

Free wedding cake

DJ will be spinning from 6pm to 11pm provided by A Spin This DJ

Free Champagne provided by Courtyard by Marriott Fresno Yosemite International Airport

See the Flyer HERE

OROVILLE, Calif.—Couples can no longer tie the knot at the clerk's office in Butte County. Butte County Clerk Candace Grubbs says the county can't afford to continue performing wedding ceremonies. About 200 couples a year marry at the clerk's office. Read the story here

Image(Oslo) The gallery at the Norwegian Parliament erupted in applause and cheers on Wednesday with the passage of legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry. Read the story here

ImageThe Advocate has received a rush of letters concerning the actions of Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett. Barnett has stated her office will cease performing all marriages, both heterosexual and homosexual on June 13th. Read the letters here  

The North Tower Circle, located at 2777 N Maroa in Fresno, will be re-opening for business in July. The nightclub is currently seeking applications for the following employment positions:

Bartenders / Bar Backs / Security / Door Persons / DJ

Anyone interested please apply in person any day after 2PM at The Red Lantern, located at 4618 E Belmont in Fresno (559)251-5898.

ImageHere are a few questions and answers and more information about the marriages that will begin next Tuesday, June 17th.  * Please do not download the marriage application on the county website, this is an old version and will not be accepted on the 17th. *  Doors open at 8:30AM until 5PM.  You’ll need to pay a license fee, ($49 for public license or $69 for private license in Fresno County) and if you  have your marriage ceremony performed at the office, there is a fee of $21.  They accept: Cash, Visa or MasterCard (NO CHECKS).

FRESNO COUNTY CLERK 2221 Kern Street Fresno, CA 93721

YOU MUST HAVE A VALID: Drivers License, Passport, or ID with photograph and birth date. Naturalization certificates OR a valid DMV issued identification card.  IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE ABOVE, YOU MUST PROVIDE US WITH: A certified copy o/your birth certificate. adoption papers or baptismal certificate and a picture ID (for example: School or Employee ID).

ImageImageWhile we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.” — Senator Barack Obama

Check out Obama’s Pride page here 

Image More lines are being drawn in the battle for legal same sex marriage in California. Now, county clerk's and others are doing all they can to block access to marriages for same sex couples.

In what has become a national news story, making an appearance on The Today Show, Kern County Auditor-Controller-County Clerk Ann Barnett has created a controversy with her announcement that her office in Bakersfield, California will cease performing any marriages, heterosexual or homosexual, as of June 13th, 2007, just before the implementation of legal, same sex marriages takes effect.

In emails, it’s indicated that the office requested support from the Alliance Defense Fund in regards to the original cut off time of 5pm on June 16th, just before same sex marriage becomes legal. Barnett, who was elected in 2006, is not required by law to perform marriage ceremonies, only to administer marriage certificates; however her offices have been performing marriages until the announcement of the legalization of same sex marriage. Barnett’s personal emails have been obtained, as well as others involved, shedding some light on the controversial move. The latest news, as of Monday night, is that an Anti Same Sex Marriage Meeting will be held in Kern County tomorrow, Tuesday, in support of denying same sex couples marriage at the County Clerk's Office, and it promises to go further, with groups now stating they want to deny the Supreme Court Ruling completely...

Click on the following links for the latest on the story… 

Kern County Clerk Dodges Questions (Video)

Bakersfield Californian Story 1 (Including Video)

Bakersfield Californian Story 2

Kern County High School District Trustee Ken Mettler appeared on
Channel 17 at 5pm (6/09/08) to encourage his followers to appear at the County Supervisor Board meeting on June 10.  Here is a YouTube clip:

Anti Same Sex Marriage Meeting Planned (Video) 

Channel 23 reports that Kern County High School District Trustee Ken Mettler has sent out requests to all his supporters to pack the meeting to demand that NO civil marriage licenses even be ISSUED to same gender couples. Watch it all on YouTube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IN1dw-xKsc


ImageImageFollowing is the Gay Fresno Photo Gallery for the 2008 Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival.

While this has nothing, at all, to do with gay rights, it does concern human rights.  We have our very own immigration drama playing out right here in Fresno, and it is vital that the voices of every concerned citizen be heard by our elected representatives. 

ImageHollywood stars such as Jay Leno and TR Knight came out Wednesday night in West Hollywood for a wild party, kicking off Pride month and more importantly, celebrating the legalization of gay marriage in California starting June 17th. Judy Shephard, mother of slain Matthew Shephard, was one of the speakers. Click on the following link for the full story and photo gallery…West Hollywood Gay Marriage Pre-Party

The effort by several anti-gay groups to get enough signatures to put the issue of gay marriage to California voters has officially qualified for the November ballot. Therefore, this November, California voters will have the chance to restrict California marriage to one man and one woman, despite the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage. Theoretically, if voters restrict marriage, the legalization of gay marriage will be overturned; however members of the Supreme Court have stated that the courts may step in again at that point to overturn the vote, since it clearly violates equal civil rights. Read the story here

ImageMay 30, @ 9:00 pm, the Knights of Malta had a Beer Bash along with a Memorial Day/Gay Pride 2008-09 show at 10:15pm. The Knights of Malta had hosted a great show. The producers of the show were Ms. Lisa Marie LeGrand and Ms. Paris Nicole. A little before the event, Ms. Lisa had called me to join her for the event in a performance. We both settled on a duet by "England's Fabulous Fag", Elton John and Kiki Dee; Don't Go Breaking My Heart. I was very thrilled and honored and couldn't wait for show time. Photos By Kirk - Newslink

The Knights Of Malta will stage the Central California Cheeks & Chaps contest at The Red Lantern (4618 E Belmont) on Friday, July 27th starting at 9pm. Along with the contest there will be a live show and raffle. Those interested in being contestants are encouraged to apply. For information please contact Paris Nicole at 559-355-6163 or visit the Knights Of Malta website at www.kofmfresno.com

The Fresno County Dept. Of Community Health has a mobile unit which they use to test Fresno citizens for HIV in various locations. The Dept. has decided to make a change to these monthly locations, and until further notice will be utilizing the parking lots of The Den (4538 E Belmont) and The Red Lantern (4618 E Belmont) to provide this service.  The testing is completely free and the whole process can be completed in 30 minutes. Typically the test dates are in the middle of the month, but they do vary, so to find out when the testing at those locations will be available next please contact the Health Department by calling 559-445-3434 or by visiting their website at www.co.fresno.ca.us

OPINION
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s a Fresno native I’ve been away in a larger metro area for the last two years, I was proud to attend the Pride Parade 2007 and was looking forward to the family oriented event.  In our celebrations  here we do something that the larger metropolitan areas do not, we bring our children, our mothers, our family members, and we are able to do this because our little city has not yet become corrupted by the awe inspiring uninhibited "anything goes" mentality that you might find in San Francisco. or so I thought....

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 Images provided by Jim Daggs, and our friends at CCA.

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Click Read More to see the complete set of photos.

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Pride Parade 2007 Video:
  (DSL/Cable)

Click "Read More" to see our first set of photos. To be updated, please signup for our mailing list Gay Fresno is your most complete local source for Pride coverage. Check out our GLOBAL PRIDE 2007 article for all things PRIDE...

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One of the things that disappoints me as I look out into the HIV community here in Fresno is the lack of male involvement in the fight against AIDS.  Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that there have been no men involved in the fight but I can count on one hand as to how many guys I’ve seen working in this field.

earth_rainbow_wrapped.gifPride month for 2006 has wound down to a close. Many parades and festivals were held this last weekend throughout the country and the world.
 
Following are are links for PRIDE VIDEOS from America and around the globe…check back for more postings as they become available...

New AMERICA & WORLD PRIDE VIDEOS added on July 5th......
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Kevin Aviance , singer of such club hits as “Din Da Da” and “Give It Up”, made good on his promise to celebrate Gay Pride in the New York Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25th. Aviance was the victim of a severe and violent gay bashing  in NYC earlier this month, which left him in the hospital with his jaw wired shut. Aviance stated that he would make it to the Pride event regardless of circumstance, otherwise the attackers would have “won”.

Click here for further details on Aviance, along with coverage of New York City Pride and other Pride events happening throughout the country.

Despite the fact that in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association officially declared that homosexuality was not a mental disorder, the Pentagon disagrees. Displaying an unbelievable level of prejudice and denial, a Pentagon memo addressing gays in the military lists homosexuality as a defect alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.
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Read the article at MSNBC

centralvalley.jpgThe Bay Area Reporter, founded in 1971, is San Francisco’s oldest and largest publication serving the LGBT community. In August of 2005 the newspaper launched a companion website known as EBAR.

The website’s current edition, dated June 22, 2006, includes an article by Matthew S. Bajko which focuses on the state of the LGBT community in the Central Valley. Covering LGBT growth, organizations and events, along with local politicians and the level of acceptance in the conservative valley, the article is an in depth look at the Valley’s current position in the continuing battle for LGBT civil rights. 
 
The Bay Area Reporter website can be found at www.ebar.com and the Central Valley article can be accessed here.
VIDEO LINK AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE...male_female_symbols.jpg

Gay Fresno
was contacted by local television station KMPH  Channel 26 on Wednesday, June 7th, requesting our participation in an on air political debate that same night. The subject was the Federal Marriage Amendment, which had just been defeated in the Senate. The vote was 49 for the amendment and 48 against. Not only did the Republican party fall far short of the 60 votes needed, but 6 Republican Senators voted against it, indicating a shift in the conservative party.

Republican Senators who voted against the amendment were McCain from Arizona, Campbell from Colorado, Collins and Snowe from Maine, Sununu from New Hampshire and Chafee from Rhode Island. The three Democrats voting in favor of the amendment were Miller from Georgia, Nelson from Nebraska and Byrd from West Virginia.
If you missed the first page of photos and video, please go here.

Parade photos, continued
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Entertainment:

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Festival:
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prideRibbon.gifAgainst the ironic backdrop of a radio message from the President of the United States which re-ignited debate of a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, the Fresno Pride Parade & Festival stepped out into the warm, sunny Fresno day to become a great success. Over 50 floats and groups marched in the parade with thousands of people lining the streets and attending the festival afterwards. After setting up our booth, Gay Fresno marched down both sides of Olive Avenue and distributed hundreds of Pride flags to those in attendance. They were eagerly taken by the crowd and provided a backdrop of Pride from every angle as they were waved in support as the parade marched down the street.

There are pictures from Comcast here . Local news channels also covered the event with pieces on the Saturday evening broadcasts.  You can see the coverage by Channel 30 here . You can view a slideshow from Janeen Sanders here. Watch the Political Pride Video by the Fresno Bee, including our own Jason Scott here . Continue reading for more about the day, more photos and a video of the parade from Gay Fresno.
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Headlining the main stage entertainment for the 2006 Fresno Pride Festival was Lipstick Conspiracy, a four member band hailing from San Francisco. The band, which saw it’s first CD, A Perfect Alibi  released on June 1st, is on a Pride Tour which after Fresno takes them to Santa Rosa, Portland, San Francisco and San Diego. They’re promoting themselves as any up and coming band must do, one city and one bar at a time. After their raucous performance I had a chance to talk with them backstage.

UPDATE: THE AMENDMENT WAS DEFEATED IN THE SENATE ON WEDNESDAY JUNE 7THlgbt_petition.jpe 

While the LGBT community and our heterosexual supporters gathered on Saturday, June 3rd in the Tower District to celebrate the 16th annual Fresno Pride Parade & Festival, the President of the United States had a much different agenda on his mind. On the June 3rd edition of his weekly radio address, President George W Bush   resurrected a campaign  that, although we may have thought was forgotten, never left his mind for a second. This edict from GW was issued at the start of June, the one month out of every year that is devoted to Gay Pride. Coincidence? It’s also at the top of the list for the returning Senate on Monday morning, June 5th. They won’t be giving terrorism, or the war in Iraq, or health care or alternative energy any priority on Monday. No, they’re worried about gay people.
Gay Fresno would like to thank the following businesses who donated raffle prizes for this year’s Pride Festival.
Chase Flower Shop
($40 certificate won by Michele Alvarez)
1405 N. Van Ness Ave / 559-233-8631
Chase Flower Shop is family owned and operated. They are committed to offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, backed by service that is friendly and prompt.
www.chaseflowershop.com
The Red Lantern
($25 certiciate won by Michael Hernandez)
4618 E. Belmont  /  559-251-5898
21 & Over /  Bar & Dance Club / Open 7 Days A Week 2PM-2AM
The Red Lantern has been serving the LGBT community in Fresno for 3 decades, celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary this year. Check our Calendar page for events.
The Million Elephant Café & Bar
($25 certificate won by Raisha Pacella)
Fine Thai & Lao Cuisine, 1153 N. Fulton Street  /  559-237-3832
Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30pm
Dinner Mon-Wed 5:30-9:30pm & Thurs – Sat 5:30-3:00am
The restaurant offers a delicious and unique menu, along with a friendly and attentive staff. The menu is very reasonable and a full bar is available.
Indulgence Fresno
(One free item won by Jacob Rueea)
Gourmet Cheesecakes & Desserts
www.indulgencefresno.com
Central Valley Power Summit – LGBT Activist Training taking place July 16-17 in Fresno

In the 2004 Election cycle, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community faced the biggest attack at the ballot box this country has ever seen.  Through ballot initiatives in 13 states, 22 million Americans voted to amend their constitutions to ban marriage of same-sex couples.

(The following has been contributed by the author and contains language that may be deemed inappropriate in the opinion of some individuals)

I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my life the past several
weeks.  It's been a time of soul searching for me...thinking about
the present, trying not to dwell too much on the past, but mainly
looking towards the future...

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Community Link’s Fresno Youth Alliance & the Gay Straight Alliance warmly invites everyone to their Lavender Youth Prom


A Faerie Prom on A Mid Summer Night’s Dream Saturday, July 9, 2005 6pm - 10pm
To be held In the Courtyard of the Big Red Church


Everyone is encouraged to come as their favorite mystical creature or in formal wear, but neither is required.
Suggested donation is $10 per person, but no youth will be turned away due to lack of funds.
All ages are welcome, including us older folks...
Dancing, Food & Beverages, Prom Pictures, The Double Prom, King & Queen
For more info call GSA at 453-9040 or Community Link at 486-3464 or visit
www.communitylinkfresno.com

Image     Those of us who frequently browse the www.gayfresno.com site were recently informed of, and, likely, appalled by the events that took place at Tracy High School in Tracy, CA...
From the Fresno Bee (Saturday, June 18th 2005):
Recently on TV, I saw a commercial for the Fresno Gay Pride Parade, held on June 4. After encouraging everybody to come out, showing videos of "Gay Pride" demonstrators and featuring more rainbow colors than a hippie music video, the commercial finished with the statement, "Comcast proudly supports Fresno's Gay Pride Parade..." Later, Comcast sponsored and hosted a segment interviewing one of the leaders of the parade.

How far have we come as a society, if a company as reputable as Comcast openly endorses homosexual "pride" gatherings, especially in such a conservative area as this, without any fear of reprisal? They aren't going to get bad press; they aren't going to lose their customer base. It's sad; Christians are reduced to mute observers and non-believers are given a megaphone.
Image    In a close vote in which conservative Democrats allied themselves with the Republicans Right, Assembly Bill 19, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles), and 30 co-authors fell short by just four votes on June 2nd.

You saw it here first!  Before the news, before any other websites,
checkout the photos of this event by clicking "read more"

Folks from all over the Valley were called into action when it was rumored
Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church would be protesting the GSA
at the Tracy High School Graduations...
OutFresno is a new event/networking group.
You can checkout their website at:
http://www.geocities.com/toqtobstr8/outfresno.html

Photo from recent BBQ:
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Fresno’s Gay Pride Parade
June 4th, 2005
Saturday June 4th, as you may know was the Pride Parade and Festival down in the Tower District. If you were unable to attend, you definitely missed out this year. Personally, I think this year was the best ever...
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
We present to you Firecrackers Season 2.....

           We are proudly sponsoring the Firecrackers slow pitch softball team again this summer. The season kicks off June 3rd at Einstien park (Millbrook and Dakota). Game time is 7:10.
Please come and show your support. Look for the rest of the season schedule on the calendar.

Becki