Asa Hutchinson is sending the Religious Freedom Restoration Act back to the legislature for a rewrite, to strike the right balance between religious freedom and tolerance for diversity. The Republican governor's reversal wasn't just about getting the content right: "it's also about communicating that we're a state ... that recognizes the need for non-discrimination'

Dear Dr. Fred:

My partner and I have a dilemma we don't ever recall seeing in your column before ... namely, our best friends are driving us crazy! We'll call them Hank and Harry here for privacy reasons. Hank and my partner are both nurses at the same hospital but work on different units. We all connected at the annual employee Christmas party 10 years ago and hit if off immediately. The four of us had so much in common and enjoyed each other's company so much that we soon became inseparable, dining out, theatre-going, golfing, and even vacationing together at the timeshare we bought with them. That's the good news.

The bad news is that Hank and Harry have some maddening "quirks.'' The most frequent one is that they're always correcting each other's stories, over details that don't even matter. Hank will say "We went to the antique mall last Tuesday," and Harry will butt in and say "No it was Wednesday," like the day actually matters. Then Hank will come back at him and argue the point until they're both shouting, and my partner and I have knots in our stomachs.
Another quirk is that they're constantly keeping score of what the other has done to be helpful. Harry will say "While you're up Hank would you pour me another cocktail?'' And Hank will say "I made the last one, so this one is your turn. '' Then of course, Harry will argue the matter. "Well, I made you three drinks last night and you didn't make me any." And off they go again.

Finally - and here's the biggest issue - for some time now they've been pestering us to have a four way. It all started last summer when we were on vacation at our timeshare, and things got a little flirtatious in the hot tub after a few too many drinks. Nothing really happened, just some switching partners and kissing, till we all came to our senses and stopped. But it seems that started something, and now they often hint about "wanting to finish some unfinished business with us," always after several cocktails. We just laugh and change the subject, but they soon bring it up again, and we're getting tired of it.

We really love these guys and cherish their friendship, plus we own a timeshare with them, so we don't want to do anything to damage the relationship. But how do we tactfully let them know they're driving us nuts, and we need them to make some changes in their behavior?

Sign us, "Over It"

Dear Mz. Pink,

My girlfriend talks to other girls on the phone, Facebook and in texts. I am uncomfortable with this, but when I tell her she tells me that nothing's happening. She says that since she is honest with me that I should just be happy that she isn't keeping secrets and she would never cheat on me. I don't know what to believe. I tell her I want her to stop, but she doesn't or she gets defensive and tells me she will just turn off her phone and delete her social media pages.

How can I deal with this in such a way that I won't look and feel stupid in the end? Should I even deal with this or should I nip it in the bud as soon as possible? I trust her, but I am also a little jealous, I don't know where the happy medium is with those two feelings. Please help?

Potentially cheated on


Dear Potentially Cheated on,

I would say if you trust her to just leave it at that and move on, but I know that answer isn't good enough since you have a lot of skepticism running through your mind right now. That said, if the move on answer is good enough, then you should just do that now, and know that she loves you and you love her; she trusts you and you trust her.
If you want an extended version of my answer here goes:
It is hard to trust someone who is doing things that are "normal" activities tied to people who cheat. I'm not saying all people who use social media, text or talk to the sex they are attracted to are cheating, but when you hear stories of a person cheating, they usually start with texts, secret phone calls and notes back and forth online so yes, I can understand your fears.
With that being said, first things first: Don't go snooping! Do not look for trouble!

You will be sure to find something offensive even if it's not cheating. Maybe the other person feels a certain way and is asking advice that you deem inappropriate for your woman to answer. BAM! Offended!

Do you see where I'm going with this? I have a few questions though. 1.) Are her interactions taking away from you? 2.) Are they interrupting personal time? 3.) How long does she normally chat with these other females? 4.) Does she tell you when or if they are inappropriate to her?
I ask these because if this is the case, then you need to have a real conversation with her and tell her how you feel (and why) and make her listen. Ask her if she'd feel OK if you were doing the same things.

I'm not a fan of ultimatums, but if she isn't listening, give her one. Tell her to choose them or you. It should be an easy decision. If it's not then you need to move on no matter how much you love her. Of course, she could be doing all of this to get a rise out of you. Maybe she likes to see you jealous and wants to make you jealous. If that's the case then don't feed in to the negativity. Try not to fuel any arguments or act a certain way when she tells you it's nothing.

I want you to stay strong in your convictions, but once you open the flood gate to accusations and extreme jealousy then you open the same gate to fights, tears and lies. If her chatting with these people isn't interrupting your lives (other than you don't like it) then maybe it is best you just trust her and take it at face value. Tell her you don't like it, but you trust her so as long as it doesn't get out of hand — that it's OK to keep chatting. I don't want you to make a mountain out of a molehill and then regret your decision, but only you know how you feel, what you can handle and what you want to tolerate so listen to your intuition. If it tells you something isn't right, then something isn't right no matter whether she's cheating or not. If you only have suspicions but you still trust her and love her then go with the flow.

Good luck,
Mz. Pink

rainbow-pc

This is about how much size matters. No, no, not that. Minds out of the gutters, please! This is about a recent 'emergency" call I got from a friend who told me he went from one internet service provider (ISP) to another and was baffled as to why his iPad quit working from his favorite chair.

"Did they change out your WiFi router?" I asked him.
"My WHAT?" he replied as if I'd asked something truly personal.
"Did the new company change your WiFi router and antenna?" I asked again.

Again I got very vague answers which told me he did not have a clue what I was talking about nor was he curious as to why he should care. I pried a bit more: "Did they put it where the old one used to be?" I asked.
"Nope, they told me that was not where their wiring came into my house so now its behind the TV in the living room by the fireplace. The old one was upstairs."

Lights in my head went off and I told him that was the whole issue: there simply was not enough signal to reach his easy chair reliably with the new location for his router. And on top of that, I wondered (and asked him) if their new equipment was as strong as what they took out. I could tell after a bit that I would be getting just as far speaking Swahili if I started to explain (which is what I plan to do for you readers) so in his case I gave up. The explanation, though, is simple (at least on the face of it) — the power and the location of your WiFi router will determine if things work and work well on the net in your house or wherever you are. If there's not enough strength, you will need to relocate the router or add a range extender. It's the same at the local restaurant or coffee shop only there, you don't own the place so if you can't connect (or connect well) just move tables or actually talk to those with you and switch off your computer, pad or other device for a bit.

PecsnCity
As a trainer, I need to keep my body in rockin' shape. Lead by example and all that. Besides, I never know if they're gonna call me for a reunion of Unicorn alumni, so I have to be ready at a moment's notice to strip down to a jockstrap. Like the Boy Scouts taught me: be prepared. Anyway, I try to watch what I eat, but every once in a while, a pizza sounds amazing. So last week, I ordered a pizza and as luck would have it, the delivery guv knocked on my door right when I was getting in the shower.

I wrapped a towel around me and opened the door and the boy who was standing there with my pizza was CW superhero beautiful. Dark curly hair, big green eves, muscles that look like they're ready to explode out of his tight t-shirt and a smirky half smile full of bright white teeth.
"You ordered the pizza with extra sausage?" he asked, his eves raking up and down my wet torso.
"Uh no, it was just a veggie pizza," I replied, my eves skipping down the veins in his biceps.
"I know" he said, reaching down to squeeze the tightly packed crotch of his jeans. "This is the extra sausage." He put his other hand on my towel and...

...

Pat Sajak sent out a tweet over the weekend that has people talking.

The tweet proclaims that the "Wheel of Fortune" host is "declaring" his heterosexuality.

 

Reading around the Internet, it appears this has upset several members of our community. What do you think about this "outburst" by Pat?

church1-250x250These “right to discriminate” bills, which would let just about anyone discriminate against just about anyone because God, have been popping up all across the country, but is there someone co-ordinating all this behind the scenes?

Becca Morn at America Blog may have the answer:

As reported by Al Jazeera America: Cornerstone in Idaho, the Kansas Family Policy Council, and the Center for Arizona Policy, which supports the bill there, are all part of a network of 38 state “family policy councils” pressing for these laws under the umbrella of Citizen Link, the advocacy arm of the conservative Christian powerhouse Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is James Dobson’s hate-mill, by the way, now headed by Jim Daly. Another backer is the American Religious Freedom Program, headed by Brian Walsh — who disingenuously claims these efforts are nothing more than trying to ensure that priests and florists don’t have to participate in Big Gay Weddings. And the ARFP sounds familiar, that’s because it’s part of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think-tank and lobbying organization run by Ed Whelan, former Reagan official in the DoJ and also former clerk for Justice Scalia.

The fact that it’s legal to discriminate against LGBTs in many states is nothing new. Twenty-nine states already have some form of ‘religious exemption’. But now this AFRP group has drafted its wide-reaching bill, and according to reports in the Wichita Eagle, has been shopping it around to state legislatures around the country. Brian Walsh, executive director of the ARFP, which supports religious freedom measures, acknowledges that his group consulted with the legislators on the bill, but he says that lots of other groups did as well: “We gave them suggestions and they took some of them.” Walsh says that ARFP was contacted by legislators who wrote the Tennessee bill and that the group frequently talked to legislators in South Dakota about “religious freedom” but not the state’s specific bill. Julie Lynde, executive director of Cornerstone Family Council in Idaho, one of many state groups that are part of Citizen Link, a branch of Focus on the Family, told Al Jazeera America, “We’ve been involved in working on the language” of the Idaho bill. Another member of Citizen Link, the Arizona Policy Center, has been active in supporting the Arizona bill.

And why are these proposed laws written so broadly? Becca thinks that’s the point:

In my opinion, Whelan’s organization didn’t write a sloppy bill to shop around. I believe the bill does exactly what it means to do, which is something the far-right conservatives have been itching to do ever since the first sweeping civil rights bills were passed in the 1960s: Repeal them. Not just some, and not just to enable anti-gay and anti-trans discrimination, but all of the equal rights laws. Using ‘religious freedom’ as the cudgel to roll back women’s reproductive freedoms is just another prong of the attack.

It’s a great article, going into detail on all these laws, including some I was unaware of. Read the whole thing to get a better idea of what’s lurking below the surface of all these “right to discriminate” bills.

phil-robertson-532x670-250x250Before December of 2013, Duck Dynasty was a network’s dream: an inoffensive, semi-scripted reality program that received little attention outside of its core audience but still attracted millions of viewers. By any standard, Duck Dynasty was a smash. The season 4 premiere drew 11.7 million viewers. Even for a buzzed about scripted drama like Scandal, those numbers would be big. For a cable network, they were enormous.

The Duck Dynasty stars and A&E also cashed in on merchandising and branding, with their likenesses being found on anything from sweatshirts to coffee mugs and even a Chia Pet. This is an operation that could’ve chugged on for years, continued to make money for its network and stars, entertain the core audience, and be pretty much ignored by the rest of us. The nice smooth ride then came to a screeching halt in late 2013 in one of the biggest network PR Blunders in recent memory.

In an interview for GQ magazine, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson had some extremely incendiary things to say regarding gays and the bible. When asked by reporter Drew Magary about what constitutes “sin” he stated: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers–they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Authored By Rob Snith – See the Full Story at Queerty

 

Conventional Beltway wisdom says Democrats will get walloped in November. Reading the pages of The Hill and Politico, one would think the elephant in the Capitol has already trampled its donkey counterpart. Even MSNBC’s screeching Chris Matthews has called the Senate for the GOP.
 
But Why?
 
Based on previous midterm elections during a president’s second term (where his party usually loses seats in both houses of Congress), the prediction is that Republicans will gain a larger majority of the House and possibly take the Senate, even if by a bare majority. There are rare exceptions to this rule: 1998, when the GOP lost ground in Congress after flirting with (and later getting) the impeachment of President Clinton; and 2006, when Democrats took the House after American dissatisfaction with the Iraq War reached new highs. Other than that, the president’s party takes a “shellacking,” as President Obama (in)famously said in 2010.
 
But the future is unwritten. It sounds cliché, but when it comes to historical precedent, we should simply acknowledge that that was then and this is now.
 
The world has drastically changed. That’s an understatement. For one, the unstoppable proliferation of the Internet across the planet has led to previously unfathomable connections. Breaking news, scandals, leaders’ faux pas, grassroots campaigns, Instagram pictures of cats in tuxedos – these have all reshaped how we see ourselves and our world. The fact that the two surprise elections of ’98 and ’06 happened within the last 16 years should only strengthen that point. The stats and recent history back the Democrats up.
 
More of us are connected to a global information network and for better or worse, we’re more aware of what’s going on in the world than we have ever been before. DC bigwigs and VIPs seem to ignore this important little fact. Young adults are at the forefront of this massive change. The elections of 2008 and 2012 brought out record numbers of us, mainly because nearly all of us have a social media account of some sort. When Mitt Romney made offensive comments about the 47 percent or when Rick Perry made a Moral Majority-esque video decrying the inclusion of gays in the military, young people noticed and turned out in droves to vote for President Obama…by 67 percent. As Gallup recently found, a large majority of us identify with the Democratic Party, even more so than previous generations did when they were our age. The challenge this November is making sure we turn out in high numbers, something we usually don’t do.
 
The youth vote isn’t the only necessary ingredient for a Democratic win. It’s no secret that the country is becoming more diverse. Seventeen percent of the nation is Hispanic (myself included) and nearly 65 percent of Hispanic voters cast their ballots for Democrats. In my home state of California, often seen as an “omen” of things to come for the rest of America, Hispanics make up nearly 40 percent of the Golden State’s 40 million residents. In both houses of the California legislature, Democrats have a supermajority and they have the governorship.
 
The Party of FDR also has the upper hand when it comes to registered voters in general. Forty-seven percent of registered voters identify as or with the Democratic Party (compared to 42 percent who are registered/lean Republican). In 2012, more votes were cast for congressional Democrats than Republicans. But thanks to gerrymandered districts, the GOP still held control of the House…but they did lose a chunk of their majority.
 
Since midterm voter turnout is typically older, whiter, wealthier and more conservative, the diversity of the country and Democratic Party don’t amount to much. In 2010, when Tea Party Republicans swept the House and several state legislatures and governorships, the number of registered voters who did not vote was substantially higher than the number who did. That year, four out of five voters were white. Seniors made up 21 percent of the electorate in the “Tea Party Tidal Wave” of 2010 and supported the GOP by nearly 60 percent.
 
The crop of newbies that went to Congress in 2010 pulled the GOP further to the right. From one manufactured crisis to the next, Tea Party extremism and incompetence have resulted in sluggish economic growth, a downgrade of the national credit rating, a government shutdown that siphoned billions of dollars out of the economy, unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on reproductive rights, and millions of low-income Americans left without health care insurance at the insistence of Republican governors. But hey, at least Ted Cruz got his fifteen minutes of fame, right?!
 
The ineptitude of the modern Republican Party has left quite the sour taste in the public’s mouth. Most Americans disapprove of the Republican Party. Though the GOP has largely recovered from the image-battering it got over the shutdown last year, it is still a very unpopular party, particularly in the eyes of young and minority voters. Congressional approval continues to hover at historic lows (it was higher when Democrats were in control of both chambers) and Tea Party quacks in the House and Senate continue to make excellent segments on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
 
To be fair, President Obama’s favorability has suffered, too, thanks in large part to the disastrous rollout of the federal exchange website. But now that the website has (mostly) been fixed and nearly 10 million people have health insurance under the ACA (7 million enrolled in private plans), the president’s approval rating has stabilized and approval of the ACA itself is creeping upward. As more people discover the security of not playing Russian roulette with their health care by actually getting coverage, I’m pretty confident that both the ACA’s and the president’s popularity will continue to rise.
 
But, for a thought experiment, let’s say the President’s popularity declined to the low 30s and the ACA’s approval dipped as well, with even more people misunderstanding/not even knowing its basic provisions. Even in that scenario, it would still be possible for Democrats to retake the House. If enough voters turned out, it could be done.
 
That’s the usual problem – turnout. It is crucial that the young and diverse turn out in mass this November. Historical precedence may be against Democrats, but the possibility and diversity of the future is definitely “for” it. It seems like a Herculean task, but if Democrats can keep the focus on the benefits of the ACA, what it’s resulted in (hint: no commie takeovers or putting grandma to sleep), and continue to point out how extreme and out of touch the Tea Party-run GOP is, they should be able to drive a substantial amount of us out to cast our ballots on Tuesday, November 4th.

glee-proposalHot on the heels of yesterday’s gay marriage proposal out of the UK, we have another cute one – Glee-inspired, complete with Warblers jackets. How He Asked reports:

“It was Easter Sunday and my mom had been in town, visiting, all week. One of my best friends insisted on taking me out for a belated birthday brunch so that she could see my mom. Jackie was off with her family for church (or so I thought). My friend pulled up to pick me up and she had written all over her car, “Honk for the birthday girl” and “Happy Birthday Ann!” We took off and had a fun brunch gabbing over mimosas. Once we paid, my friend said she had one more surprise and that I had to wear a blindfold. Laughing, I obliged. Turns out she forgot the blindfold so she put a blanket over my head instead. Not knowing where we were going I tried to pester my friend and mother to give up the goods. They were tight lipped all the way. Once we arrived to the destination, my friend and mom helped me shuffle my way along until I was told to remove the blanket. I still remember the moment it took for my eyes to adjust to the sunlight and how everything was silent. After I focused on where I was I saw Jackie standing before me in a Dalton Warbler uniform (inspired by a scene in the TV show, “Glee”). Also, I saw 6 girls dressed in a similar fashion. Before I knew it Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” as performed by Darren Criss was being playing on loud speakers and Jackie and these “Warblers” began dancing in unison! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!”

 

 

gaywedding-14Marriage equality is bringing changes to the gay community. Constantino Diaz-Duran details an unexpected one. He explains at The Date Report:

As a Christian, I believe there’s a proper way to lay a solid foundation for a life-long covenant. I believe promiscuity and premarital sex devalue love and water down the sanctity of what I understand as marriage. This was one of the values of my youth that I cast aside when I came out. I believe God calls us to be chaste until marriage, not because sex is wrong or dirty, but rather because it is beautiful–a gift from Him. Sex brings a couple closer together, keeps them strong, and reminds us that God wants us to be happy in this life. Sex is, to use a word some might dislike, holy. It belongs in the context of Holy Matrimony.

Now that I’m comfortable with my faith and my sexuality, I see that while I did not choose to be gay, I can choose to at least try and live as a Christian. I am dating a Christian man I met online. We were first drawn to each other’s pictures (what can I say: he’s hot), but it’s our faith and shared interests that really brought us together. We have prayed together, and we believe God wants us to behave as a Christian couple.

And so, and even though neither one of us is a virgin, my boyfriend and I have decided to abstain from premarital sex–including oral sex, masturbation, and even sexting. Our relationship is young (it’s been less than two months since we made it official, though we’ve known each other for a year) and we don’t know where it will go. What we do know is that living by our values will only make us stronger.

I guess we should have expected something like this…

 

us-congress-250x250Two US Senators, a Democrat and Republican, are introducing a bill that would help level the tax playing field for LGBT citizens. LGBTQ Nation reports:

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Monday introducing the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, a bill that would end the taxation of employer-provided health insurance for domestic partners, as well as the penalty imposed on employers who provide equal benefits to their LGBT employees. The bill, which was also introduced in the 112th Congress, addresses inequality in the U.S. tax code dealing with same-sex partners and spouses.

While the bill is highly unlikely to pass in the current gridlocked environment in Congress, we applaud Senators Collins and Schumer for making the attempt.

 

 

10 years after the US Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in Texas, and effectively across United States, 17 states still have these laws on the books. The Washington Blade reports:

Laws that make it a crime for consenting adults to engage in sodomy remain on the books in 17 states and continue to be enforced in several of those states 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional… According to LGBT activists and gay rights attorneys, most of the cases in which police and prosecutors enforce sodomy or “crime against nature” statutes involve marginalized groups such as transgender sex workers or gay men arrested by undercover police officers for engaging in or soliciting sex in parks or other public places.

According to the Blade, the states which still have sodomy laws on the books are:

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas*, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana*, North Carolina, Oklahoma*, South Carolina, Texas*, Utah and Virginia.

The asterisks indicate states where sodomy laws apply only to gays. Montana is still technically on this list, but the state’s Governor plans to sign a repeal of the law today.

Down in Texas, a bill to repeal that state’s sodomy law just passed out of committee on a 5 to 0 vote. Towleroad reports:

SB 538 would repeal S21.06 of the Penal Code, the Homosexual Conduct Law, which was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision. The bill would also amend the Health and Safety Code to delete the statement that “homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under S21.06, Penal Code.”

Surprisingly, very gay friendly Maryland, which just recently approved marriage equality by a public vote, still has a sodomy law on the books. The Washington Blade reports:

Gay and lesbian residents of Maryland may be surprised to learn that while their state approved a law last year that allows them to marry, it has yet to repeal an antiquated law that classifies their intimate sexual relations as a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. LGBT activists may also be surprised that only one of the eight openly gay members of the Maryland General Assembly confirmed to the Washington Blade that she would introduce legislation to repeal the state’s sodomy law. “I definitely would introduce it,” said Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), who is one of five out lesbians serving in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Why didn’t the others bother to respond?

The-United-Nations-logo-250x250The head of the United Nations says governments around the world need to protect their LGBT citizens. Towleroad.com reports:

We should all be outraged when people suffer discrimination, assault and even murder – simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We should all speak out when someone is arrested and imprisoned because of who they love or how they look. This is one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time. We must right these wrongs. Governments have a legal duty to protect everyone. But far too many still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of homophobic violence and discrimination. We need to document this problem and share information with States on a regular basis for discussion and action.

Although the UN has very real little power, they do have a big platform, and it’s great to see the Secretary General actively advocating for LGBT rights.

 

 

california-representative-jim-costaJust as US Senate Democrats opposed to marriage equality quickly dwindled last month, House Democrats are doing the same. The latest – California representative Jim Costa. Towleroad reports:

“In the San Joaquin Valley, family always comes first but what that family looks like is not always the same. While I respect the opinion of those who might disagree, I support marriage for all couples who wish to make this life-long commitment.”

The six remaining house Democrats? Cedric Richmond (LA), Kurt Schrader (OR), David Scott (GA), Terry Sewell (AL), Bennie Thompson (MS), and freshman Filemon Vela (TX).

 

 

usa-marriage-equality-map-250x196There’s a cool new animated map of the USA showing the fight for marriage equality in the USA from 1970 to the present. The Atlantic Wire reports:

But what our map GIF shows is that this wave of support for gay rights follows two large anti-gay rights wave, first under President Bill Clinton and then under President George W. Bush. Dark gray above shows when states banned gay marriage statutorily. Black shows when states extra-banned it by constitutional amendment. Light red shows when a state adopted domestic partnerships or civil unions. Red shows states with gay marriage. The most recent entry on the map is Delaware, where legislation allowing gay marriage was introduced in the General Assembly on Thursday With Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, supporting the bill and Democrats in control of the state legislature, the only thing keeping the First State from being the 10th state to have marriage equality will be if Illinois, Rhode Island, or Minnesota get there first.

Check out the link above for the map – it runs kinda fast, but it’s really cool.

 

 

rainbow-pcTime for a few questions from the mailbox...and probably the biggest one to arrive from multiple sources lately is actually a repeat of a golden oldie: Do I buy that new (fill it in: computer/iPad/phone/laptop/music player) now or do I wait for the next one to come out?

And despite the playing field changing a lot since I last covered this, my reply has not changed much: buy the device you want when you can afford it and be 100% aware that about the time you get the box open they will come out with a new "latest/greatest" which will make you unhappy you did not wait.

You might be looking at my reply and laughing, but I am totally serious: There will always be something new either out, coming out soon or "in the works." The problem is you can't talk on, surf with or listen to a wudda, cudda or shudda — you need to have that player, computer, iPad or other tablet in hand — and for that you have to make a commitment.
I know what I am saying is not kind and gentle reassurance because the only thing you can be sure of is that someone, somewhere will be out with something newer, faster and better tomorrow. So that said what can you do?

First, be an aware consumer of electronics. Do some research online, in books and magazines or by asking friends. If you want a pc and all your friends are on Macs that might be a message in itself. If you have an iPhone, want a new one and all your friends love their Droids they got for half the price, that, too might be a message.

Also see what device fits. You'd not just walk into a shoe store, point to a pair and buy the sample would you? At the very least you'd ask a clerk for correct sizing then put them on and walk around on the stores carpets a bit. And the same applies here.

Visit Best Buy, the nearest Apple Store or other retailer (everyplace from Target to Kmart and Costco sell phones, pads and computers nowadays) and try out what you are considering buying. And kick the tires, too. If they don't have a demo out to touch, that alone is worth questioning.

And if you really want to go for a ride, ask a friend with that device if you can come over (take him to dinner after or bring a bottle of wine — it's just polite) and play with their laptop, desktop or iPad for an hour or two. See if it will do your spreadsheets, play your music with decent fidelity, stream your movies and Netflix and if it will connect to the internet and stay connected.

And ask the friend whose device it is if they'd buy one again. That will tell you way more than any reviews, magazines or store displays ever can. If they say yes, ask why and if they say no ask why, too. Remember that not everyone uses the same device the same way for the same purposes so if they tell you their partner doesn't like the sound quality but all he listens to is screaming rock turned up so loud that it distorts, don't take that for a final answer until you play your jazz or classical music at the level you like.

Also read a bit to be an informed buyer. Go see what the pundits have to say about a replacement for what you are about to buy. Is there a strong rumor that a new pc, pad, phone or gadget is about to be released? If so, what will it do or have that the one you could walk in and buy today can't?

We no sooner got used to our latest iPad than Apple came out with a newer, faster one. Do we regret buying when we did? Not at all as trying one of the newer ones we found the changes were barely noticeable for us who read newspapers on Pressdisplays app, magazines on Zinio's app, play Words With Friends and enjoy a spot of internet radio. Maybe if we were using the iPad for other things we'd feel differently, but for us the one we got almost a year ago (the first with retina display) is not only just fine, but still great. Remember those shoes — it's all about fit and chances are what fits your needs just fine today will still be pretty much perfect in a year or two.

Also, and finally on this topic, go into a new purchase looking at a life span. From past experience, we know that GUI's for a computer is about 4-6 years. For our iPhone, two years till we get a new subsidized replacement from our carrier. I'm on my 3rd iPad but only my 2nd laptop as I rarely even use my laptop which dates from 1999. It all depends what you personally need, want and use the device for and how often.

Our second question is closely related to the first and that's the calls we get asking about extras. "Should I buy personal training on my iPad?" and "Do I want AppleCare, Geek Squad or the pc equal?''

goproud copyWill the next Republican nominee for President support gay marriage? It is a question that was unthinkable years ago, but amid a rapid shift in public opinion and demographics, it is being seriously considered in GOP circles.

“At the rate this issue is changing within the party, I think it’s not out of the question,” said Margaret Hoover, a former George W. Bush White House aide and one of the leading Republican Party operatives calling for the recognition of same-sex marriages. “It’s not if, it’s when — 2016 or 2020,” said another Republican operative.

The confidence to even ask the question is buoyed by a sea change in Republican Party thinking on the issue over the past several weeks. Dozens of top party operatives and former politicians — including six former aides to Mitt Romney and seven current or former members of Congress — have signed onto an amicus brief supporting the legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8 in advance of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the gay-marriage ban. Ohio Senator Rob Portman endorsed gay marriage on Friday after revealing that his son is gay. And new polling has brought to light a clear shift in the opinions of Republicans and the nation at large.

Authored By Zeke J. Miller – See the Full Story at Time Magazine

 

poll-250x199Another detail from that new NBC News/Wall Street Journal marriage equality poll that came out this week. Think Progress reports:

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that nearly two-thirds of voters (63 percent) support the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages when they’re legal in states, while only 34 percent oppose this recognition. This is the question the Supreme Court is weighing in a case about the Defense of Marriage Act. The poll also found that a majority (53 percent) continues to support same-sex marriage, while only 42 percent oppose it.

Is the Supreme Court listening?

Picture-6-550x528A new chart released by the Williams Institute at UCLA shows the huge increase in Mexico party support state-by-state between 2004 and 2012. The Dallas Voice reports:

The study found that the country’s overall support for marriage quality had an average increase of 13.6 percent, with more than 50 percent of citizens in 12 states and the District of Columbia supporting it. Based on the current trend, the study estimates that 20 states and the District of Columbia will support same-sex marriage at or more than 50 percent by the end of 2014.

This is the same study that we reported on last week, but this new chart makes it easier to see the shifts by state, and where each state falls overall.

medical-matters

April is here and that means the seasons are about to start changing...for some it's a pleasant relief because those days when depression hits with clouds and snow and rain will soon be on the wane. For others it means spring allergy season is almost upon us and with the first buds will come the runny noses and watery eyes. Others will be hap­py to see more sunny days to get outside and run or work out, while others will start planning those summer pool parties, half marathons, bike tours and other events.


What we're trying to say is that this time of year, more than almost any other, presents plenty of challenges for our bodies — whether it be mental as days lengthen or physi­cal as some try too hard to get set for Speedo and Spandex season. Here are a few thoughts and things to watch out for:


—If you are planning to boost your physical regimen with the change of seasons, start with a visit to your doctor’s office and get checked over. After a long winter, you might need to start more slowly than you’d like, plus muscles and bones unused to all that work might need to be checked to make sure you don’t end your season before it begins with a sports injury.


Be sure to get your doctor's OK before you start that new activity — be it biking, run­ning, lifting, boot camp or whatever. Also, Spring is a good time to think about losing a few pounds you might have picked up in front of the TV this Winter, so ask the doc for some diet recommendations. Just remember that fad diets are just that — fads which rarely work, often can cause harm to your body and all-too-regularly don't allow you to eat properly so you keep weight you might lose off. This is also a good time to visit http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ and calculate your body mass index (BMI).

supreme-court-250x250Lisa Keen at Keen News Service focuses on Kennedy’s questions:

In the Proposition 8 argument, Kennedy asked three questions concerning legal standing and five concerning constitutional issues. On legal standing, he sent mixed signals. He expressed discomfort with the idea that the governor or attorney general of California could seemingly “thwart the initiative process” by refusing to defend a voter-approved initiative all the way through the appellate process. He also rebuffed a statement by Chief Justice John Roberts–who said a state “can’t authorize anyone” to press an appeal. Kennedy said the Yes on 8 proponents were “different from saying any citizen.” Those two points seemed to support allowing Yes on 8 standing to appeal. And yet, he acknowledged there is a “substantial question on standing.”

So what happens if the case is decided on a technicality? keen notes:

If the court finds a problem with legal standing or jurisdiction on either of these cases, it will likely issue that decision in the near future. Discussions of legal standing do not generally require a great deal of rumination. If it decides on the merits, the decision or decisions will most likely come out–as they have with past major gay-related opinions–in the final week of the session–the last week in June.

Interesting. So there’s at least a small possibility that we might have a decision in these cases before June.

 

 

The times, they are a changin'. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder whether gay, lesbian, bi & trans folks are todays canaries in the coal mine.

For those of you unfamiliar with the canaries' function, the phrase refers to the fact that well into the 20th century; coal miners would bring canaries into the mines to serve as early-warning signals for toxic gases — primarily carbon monoxide. The birds were more sensitive to the presence of the gas and would become sick before the miners had been exposed to dangerous levels.

I began to consider this (admittedly odd) analogy when members of the Indiana General Assembly — as retrograde a group as one could find outside, perhaps, Mississippi or Alabama — announced that they would not hold a vote during this year's session on a measure to amend the Indiana Constitution by inserting a ban on same-sex marriage.

To appreciate the magnitude of this announcement, you'd have to have lived in Indiana the past several years.

Legislative homophobia has been a given and the prospects for this particular piece of bigotry had been considered bright. Those who oppose the measure had settled for strategies meant to "kick the can down the road."

Indiana is one of those states where amending the constitution is difficult; a proposed amendment must be passed in identical form by two separately elected legislatures, after which it goes to the public in the form of a referendum.

Opponents focused on getting changes in some of the more ambiguous and mean-spirited language of the proposed amendment; changing the language would delay what seemed inevitable.

The working assumption has been that the ban was a slam-dunk to emerge from the General Assembly, and that an eventual public vote would lodge discrimination solidly in the state's charter.

The vote could still occur during next year's session, of course. The 2012 election ushered in Republican super-majorities in the Indiana House and Senate. Worse, the state elected a dyed-in-the-wool culture warrior as governor. Prospects for defeating or even delaying the ban looked even more hopeless.

But that's where it gets interesting.

A couple of statewide polls show a solid majority of Hoosiers — whatever their position on same-sex marriage — oppose amending the constitution.

And The U.S. Supreme Court accepted two significant cases: one involving a challenge to DOMA and one an appeal of California's Proposition Eight. The President was reelected handily, even after his very public endorsement of marriage equality.

What I find interesting is that the sea change on gay rights issues is only part of the story — only one indicator of a broader social/political shift that is just becoming visible.

Here's my current analysis (and it's worth every penny you are paying for it — in other words, probably nothing): The upheavals we now refer to as "the sixties" created an enormous backlash.

All of a sudden, there were uppity black folks, bra-burning feminists, anti-war activists and other troublemakers undermining the natural order of things.

Those various movements: the womens' movement, civil rights movement, antiwar movement permanently changed American society, but they also engendered huge resentment and push-back. That backlash was what ushered in the so-called "Reagan revolution," and energised the culture warriors and "family values" organizations.

Just as the 60s movements became excessive and spawned reaction, the GOPs rightward march has now gone much too far.

Women, minorities, young people and other reasonable folks are abandoning the party in droves. Except for a remaining fringe of old, white, Southern heterosexual men, Americans have become comfortable with diversity and the other results of the disorienting sixties — at the same time they are getting increasingly uncomfortable with the extremism and "us versus them" worldview of today's conservatives.

Gays are among the first to benefit from what is beginning: a swing back from the precipice and a long-overdue reconsideration of what America should look like.

The canaries are breathing. It's a good sign.

 

Two weeks ago, Hillary Clinton announced her support for gay marriage. Placid and well-coiffed, she looked at the camera with Clintonian firmness, and said, “L.G.B.T. Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage.”

That Monday, she joined the ranks of prominent Democrats–and even a share of prominent Republicans–in the righteous chorus seeking to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which her husband signed in 1996. (Not known for his penitence, Bill Clinton published an op-ed asserting that the law “is itself discriminatory” and “should be overturned.”) Whether the law is struck down now, as DOMA is challenged before the Supreme Court, or years later–when the seventy per cent of under-thirty voters who support marriage equality rise up in age and power–there is no doubt, as Jeffrey Toobin wrote last week in the magazine, that nothing now “can reverse the march toward equality.”

There is a question, however, in the language Clinton used, the particular lip service she chose to pay. The United States moves inexorably toward granting equality to the L.G.B., but in the process–while still pronouncing that satisfying final consonant–we often, in practice, drop the “T.”

Authored By Emily Greenhouse – See the Full Story at The New Yorker

mariam-gomaa-250x250Over the course of Spring Break, my traditionally blue Facebook page was turning red. My friends, it seems, are overwhelmingly supportive of gay rights, changing everything from their profile pictures to their banners in response to the recent Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor. Likewise, thousands more rallied outside the high court to show their support for marriage equality, hoping that change will come with the ruling.

But the case in its original context is not about legalizing gay marriage. Instead, it is a dispute about taxes. Edith Windsor, the plaintiff, and Thea Spyer, her partner of 41 years, married in Canada six years ago. When Spyer died two years after the marriage, Windsor received her partner’s estate, along with a tax bill for more than $300,000. According to the federal court, the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, prevented Windsor’s eligibility for a spousal tax deduction because it can only be awarded to opposite-sex couples, even if a same-sex couple is legally married under state law.

I have been watching this debate from afar, weighing my opinion, not quite willing to change my Facebook photo to the red equal sign that has so quickly became a symbol of the debate. I say this, not because I am interested in protecting the sanctity of marriage (having studied the history of marriage with Lane Fenrich, I have learned that this sanctity is nearly nonexistent in America), but because I have been grappling with the debate in the context of my politics (liberal) and my religion (not so liberal).

Authored By Mariam Gomaa – See the Full Story at the Daily Northwestern

 

Mz. Pink,

I've never been to a Gynecologist. How important is it for me to go see one? Since I don't have sex with men is it necessary to go?

Pap Fear

 

Read my answer by clicking read more ------------------->

 

PecsnCity

When I was a scrawny little pup, I dreamed of the day I would be older, bigger and free to come and go as I pleased. The world seemed to be waiting for me to claim it as my own. I would be able to drive wherever I wanted, eat cake for dinner, have a body like that of my beloved comic book heroes and live in my own apartment where I could blast my Duran Duran music as loud as I wanted.

Then as the years flipped past and I grew up and out, I found myself longing for the sweet simplicity of childhood. No responsibilities, no bills, no dramatic relationships, dinner on the table every night and summers off. It's the eternal conflict that all of us face in every aspect of our lives: wanting what we cannot have.

It's human nature to desire the things that we don't have and if we are told we can't have them, we want them even more. When we see someone leading a seemingly perfect life, we feel a twinge of envy at the things they have that we do not. The hard truth is, however, that we don't know the true nature of their lives and what they have done to get these things which seem so fantastic. A person with many amazing material possessions may be thousands of dollars in debt. Someone with a perfect body may have sacrificed their deeper health to achieve that physical ideal. Not only that, but the odds are pretty good the person you envy is missing something that you have taken for granted, such as a family that loves you, the comfort of anonymity or even a clean bill of health.

Every day we are bombarded with images of people who are seemingly better than we are, have more than we do and live their lives in a manner we can only dream of. This country has become so adept at making any entitled moron or screeching hillbilly into an overnight celebrity that it leaves many of us wondering: "Where's my television show? I'm much more interesting and easier on the eyes, so why am I not getting paid six figures to have people watch me complain about my love life and throw drinks in people's faces?"

The culture of celebrity is a fertile ground for breeding the "grass is always greener" mentality. We see these talentless nobodies rise to fame, fortune and People Magazine covers and we resent them for having the fame and wealth they obviously don't deserve.

It should be you, right? But when you realize they can't even go to the grocery store without being followed by paparazzi who love taking unflattering snapshots of them how will you feel then?

Speaking of snapshots, it seems that everywhere you turn there are images of perfect bodies splashed across billboards and in magazine layouts. We secretly think: "I wish I looked like that", but there are many factors that are part of those carved abs and pumped-up biceps.

Let's start with how these bodies are created. Take it from me, it's not easy. Even without whatever hand you've been dealt on the genetic level, there are the grueling workouts, the strict diets and the sweat-soaked cardio — and that's all before the Photoshop is brought in. Contrary to what the media will have you believe, it's not just Hydroxy- cut and Skechers Shape-Ups.

Being unbelievably good-looking and carrying around a warrior's physique is a double- edged sword. Sure, everyone thinks you're beautiful and can't wait to get you between the sheets, but that's all you have to offer right? When you've got a face like Will Grant who cares about your views on all the facets of life? Who needs a brain when you've got a 44-inch chest and a 30-inch waist? So once again: would it be worth it?

Would you trade brains for brawn? Don't get me wrong, I know for a fact you can have both, but the way beauty in all its forms is perceived is that you must be a one-trick pony. And this feeling is prevalent in the gay community more than anywhere else.

In our culture there is always a race to have a prettier face, a better body, a sleek new car or dazzling home and the impossible ability to hold on to the fragile gossamer of youth. Maybe it's because in a dark comer of our mind we believe if we have all of these things plus the material touchstones of perfection, then we will finally be loved. Sure, not everyone feels this way, but when you have grown up in an environment where who you are is deemed unacceptable, it also seems to mean that you are unlovable as well. This leads to overcompensation and the desire for things that may be out of reach: A beautiful body, a beautiful boyfriend, barrels of cash, an expensive home and all things that are newer, better and shinier.

The desire for the things we can't have is a familiar monster that rears its ugly head in our sexual and romantic lives and can consume you if left unchecked.

Remember all those girls who had crushes on you in high school and college? Remember all the straight boys you had crushes on in high school and college? These are two peerless examples of wanting what you can never have. As far as wanting to be in a stable loving relationship when you're a singleton in a world of men, that is something that is not out of reach — unless of course the object of your affection is connected to someone else.

When you desire a person you can't have, whether they are already in a relationship or simply not interested, it may be because you see in them qualities that attract you. Maybe it's their smile or their body or their sense of humor or even their commitment to their current boyfriend.

But just because you have a fondness for someone's mate or someone who has no romantic interest in you doesn't mean you can't find someone equally amazing with many of the same qualities if you just put forth a little effort. The truth is that even if you do find that someone, they won't have the delicious danger of the forbidden, and if that is what really turns you on, you're in for a world of hurt. Not only could you cause the demise of a relationship when you pursue one of its pair, but once you chase something down and finally get it, the thrill is gone and your gaze will shift elsewhere.

On the flip side, you have the people who are in relationships but who see the freedom and variety of the single life as something to be missed. Instead of appreciating the emotion, sanctity and security of their relationship, they see the world as missed opportunities and a constant parade of temptations.

Many people deal with this by deciding an open relationship is better than a traditional one-on-one relationship, thereby reducing the importance of the emotion that falls into monogamy. Why not have your cake and eat it too? That isn't happiness. That's greed. And if you are in a monogamous relationship and give in to the seductive power of forbidden fruit or you are the one that seduces someone away from their partner, will either of you be able to move any further with your union? Or will you merely turn to the next seemingly unattainable conquest now that the excitement has peaked?

There is nothing wrong with ambition, confidence and having high hopes for yourself in this life. When you look at something you want that is seemingly out of reach, you need to take a step back and ask yourself if it's truly something that is unattainable or if it is even worth aiming for.

None of us can go back in time to our youth or fly like Superman, so those are merely fantasies and dreams of things we will never have. To have fame and fortune may be attainable for some, but is that truly something that you can handle? Living comfortably is one thing, but having more money than you know what to do with opens up a Pandora's box of woes, as does having a camera crew follow your every move.

What about your appearance? If you want to have a great body, you have to be willing to work for it, and if there is something about your looks that you want to change, the science is out there. But before you do something drastic, you have to realize that everyone in the world sees beauty differently. The very thing you want to change may be the one thing your true love finds most desirable.

Speaking of true love, if you're in the habit of coveting other people's boyfriends maybe it's better to find someone who is unattached to set your sights on. The room for heartbreak is a lot less on all fronts. And if you're lying next to your partner at night thinking about all the fun you used to have when you were single, I can guarantee you that when you were flying solo you day dreamed about having someone to come home to every night.

Our culture saturates us with stories and images of people who have more than we do. It tells us that we need a beautiful mate, more money, better clothes, sharper abs, faster cars and all the trappings that will finally, truly make us happy and loved by all.

If you look closer you will see that more often than not, you have many, many things that already make you happy and to want for trivial things merely because you are made to believe they are important or because they are forbidden is a road to disappointment.

So the next time you see something or someone you feel may greatly improve your life ask yourself this: Are these things really better than the things I already have? Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now?

usa-washington-dc-04Why has the last month seen such a rush of Senators supporting marriage equality? Nate Silver, our community’s statistics guru, explains. From 538.com:

The hypothesis implied by the model is that this timing reflects when same-sex marriage began to reach a national majority (or at least a plurality) in some polls. Otherwise, it is hard to understand why same-sex marriage endorsements increased considerably in the Senate in 2011. Democrats had just come off a very bad election year, in which they were punished by voters in part for being too liberal. President Obama had not yet endorsed same-sex marriage. It had not yet won any victories at the ballot booth (as it would in 2012). However, by 2011, it had become possible to argue that support for same-sex marriage had become the majority position. By extension, it was also reaching majority status in more and more states. The perception of majority status may influence the politics of the issue in profound ways. Mr. Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage last year may have been typical in this sense. Once it became arguable that support for same-sex marriage represented a majority view, it became harder for a blue-state Democratic president not to support it.

So basically it’s because marriage equality is now perceived to be be the majority position, and the Supreme Court hearings just goosed the whole thing along. But will it last?

While there will almost certainly be a few more endorsements over the next year or two, it’s very likely that the rate of increase will slow down. Some of this is just a mathematical necessity: a bounded quantity (there are only 100 senators) cannot continue to grow exponentially forever. More than that, however, if the recent cavalcade of endorsements is caused in part by senators perceiving that same-sex marriage has potentially become the national majority position, endorsements will begin to decelerate once it has become unambiguously the majority stance. Some senators will continue to oppose it, either because it does not yet constitute a majority position in their states (like Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, they may say it should be decided at the state level), or because they oppose it on moral grounds, or because they are more concerned about a primary challenge than the general election.

So let’s keep the pressure on the Democratic Senators now (strike while the iron is hot, and all that)!

Politico says that even with the change of heart, Senators are being remarkably careful about how they’re endorsing marriage equality:

There’s clearly a new playbook for senators just now coming out for gay marriage: quietly post something on Facebook, slip it into your Tumblr feed or release a statement to friendly media outlets. What most lawmakers are not doing is talking for the cameras… But for all the hoopla over their announcements, combined with media coverage of last month’s Supreme Court arguments on the issue, these moments are scripted to be public — but not too public. There’s little footage available for opponents to use in the next campaign or live interviews with reporters who might ask difficult or inconvenient questions. The fact that so many of these announcements are coming from lawmakers who are retiring or just reelected helps make it even safer for them to take a stand.

Gotta be gay friendly. But not too gay friendly, if you know what I mean.

Which GOP Senators might be next? Elahe Izadi at the National Journal has some guesses:

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – What she’s said: If there’s only one more Republican that flips, it’s probably going to be Murkowski. She told the Chugiak-Eagle River Star that her views are “evolving” but stopped short of endorsing gay marriage. “I think it’s important to acknowledge that there is a change afoot in this country in terms of how marriage is viewed,” she told the paper.

The political calculus: Murkowski indicated that where she falls on gay marriage could depend on where Alaskans stand. The state passed an amendment in 1998 that defines marriage as between a man and woman. But there are signs that it’s not political suicide to support gay marriage even in a heavily Republican state like Alaska. Her Democratic colleague, Sen. Mark Begich, has come out in favor of gay marriage, and he is up for reelection in 2014.

Hit the link above for the other four.

gaywedding-06From Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas over at WonkBlog:

Is gay marriage winning? It would seem so.

As this graph from Dylan Matthews shows, support in the Senate has risen at a genuinely exponential pace, rocketing from 11 supportive senators in 2011 to 50 in 2013. The flip in the country has been almost as impressive, though not quite as swift. According to the Washington Post/ABC News poll, support for gay marriage has gone from about 40 percent of the population in 2004 to almost 60 percent today.

Amidst all this, it’s become popular to say that gay marriage has actually “won.” At Bloomberg View, Josh Barro brushes this away as glib triumphalism. “It doesn’t feel that way to gay men and lesbians,” he writes. “Unless the Supreme Court rules in our favor this summer, we will likely have to spend more than 20 years fighting to repeal provisions in 30 state constitutions before national marriage equality is achieved. Many of us will be dead, or at least old and unmarriageable, before then.”

Recall that even if the Supreme Court invalidates California’s Prop 8, only about 28 percent of the country will live in states that recognize same-sex marriages. If Prop 8 stands, then only 16 percent of the country will live in such states.

Authored By Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

Even though the fight will go on for some time, you can just feel the shift in momentum. It’s an exciting time to be alive.

 

nom-logo-250x250While NOM keeps its hands relatively clean, they want others to do their dirty work. On Top Magazine reports:

When asked why NOM, the nation’s most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, is not taking “a hard stance” against gay relationships, Brown said “different groups need to do different things.” “It’s concerning to a lot of people that the arguments being used in the various court cases concede that homosexual relationships are legitimate and not a perversion or what have you, we just don’t like them,” said Brian Camenker of MassResistance. “And we wonder if there was more of a hard stance that they are not legitimate, that it is perverse, unnatural and what have you, that we might have some better success in some of the cases.”

In an age when folks are becoming more and more comfortable with the LGBT community, calling us perverts seems like exactly the wrong strategy to win over converts. But hey, that’s just me.

 

gaywedding-111I’ve had to do some soul searching recently regarding marriage equality, not because of where I stand on the issue (I firmly believe that every American should have the right to marry the person they choose) but because of where some of my friends stand.

This week I had the awesome privilege of witnessing history: hundreds of gay men and women and their straight allies rallying on the steps of the Supreme Court, while inside the justices listened to arguments on the legality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Like many others, I changed my Facebook profile photo in solidarity. I tweeted news articles and my personal thoughts on the issue. Then, on Thursday morning, I received a message from a college friend of mine. She wrote, “I hope you know, that even though we have different perspectives on this issue, I still love you.” I was excited to hear from her but saddened and angered by her response.

My friend and I graduated from Asbury College, a small, Christian liberal arts school about 15 miles from Lexington, Ky. We both graduated with the same degree in media communications. We’re both journalists. And although we’re both Christians, we apparently differ in our beliefs about homosexuality and gay rights. But how could someone I care about not support my right to choose whom I marry? And how should I respond?

Authored By Clay Arnold – See the Full Story at The Huffington Post

 

dump starbucks bsLast March (2012), after Starbucks backed a Washington state ballot initiative legalizing same-sex marriage, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) organized a "Dump Starbucks" campaign in response during the annual shareholders' meeting. The goal was to get closet-cases and people who despise the LGBT community to stop buying cups of coffee at Starbucks, which would cause Starbucks' market value to tank until they recanted their support for equality. You could almost hear NOM's Brian Brown say, "Mwahahaha!"

What was the economic effect of Dump Starbucks? Well, the NASDAQ, a barometer showing the health of the stock market, was already in the midst of a dip – it ended up dropping over four percent; Starbucks ("SBUX" as listed in the NASDAQ) only dropped a little over one percent. In other words, as "The New Civil Rights Movement" pointed out last year, the entire market took a little dip during that time and despite that, Starbucks remained strong. Speaking as a Starbucks barista, this is no surprise to me; people find a way, any way, to pay for their addictions.

This ridiculous campaign then mysteriously disappeared from the news faster than a Newt Gingrich marriage....until now.

CEO Howard Shultz (my boss) recently told a shareholder, who was protesting the company's stance on marriage equality, that he was free to sell his shares and invest in a different company. The far-right's reaction: Dump Starbucks...2.0! Yes, the failed and hilarious faux campaign is back.

So you can see through this non-sequitur, here's what Shultz actually said at the annual shareholder meeting last week:

"If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."

See?! Can't you just hear and see the anti-Christian drivel oozing from Shultz's mouth?? Outrageous...we must all boycott this hippie-pinko-commi-faggy corporation at once! Gays are recruiting our children! They're gross! And something about gay sex!

It really is astounding that in 2013, there are entire organizations devoted to making sure loving, committed couples who happen to be the same sex cannot marry because it would somehow damage their members' own insecure marriages. Somehow, committed, same-sex couples have a magical power to turn others gay...don't catch "the gay," people!

What's even more astounding is that the cultural tide is turning rapidly. Poll after poll shows public support for same-sex marriage well over 50 percent. Some polls go far into the 60s. Support for marriage equality is even more pronounced and strong with members of my generation ("millennials"), where the number is between the high 70s and low 80s.

The be-afraid-of-the-scary-gay-couple tactic is even failing to work on growing numbers of young Evangelicals and conservatives, maybe because they're able to tell the difference between equal rights under the law vs. specific religious belief, as opposed to their parents and grandparents.

The Supreme Court is gearing up to hear two landmark cases in the struggle for equal rights and if the make-up of the court is any indication, along with increasing public support, things are looking good for marriage equality.

NOM's Brown recently compared marriage equality to slavery and vowed to go for an amendment to the U.S. constitution if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of equality. Good luck with that, Brian. Keep fighting the losing, bigoted fight.

What exactly is the end game of these groups? Most of the products we use in our modern society come from corporations that support equality. Will bigots like AFA's Bryan Fischer or FRC's Tony Perkins simply live on farms outside Atlanta, hiding from the equality-supporting zombies (Yes, that was a "Walking Dead" reference....)? Unless they plan on living like the Amish, their ridiculous boycotts will accomplish nothing more than making them look like the narrow-minded bigots they are.

supreme-court-012-250x250We’ve always looked to the US Supreme Court as the final arbiter of legal disputes, sorting out the arguments, and then, for better or worse, settling the matter. But what if they decide to take half-measures in the marriage equality cases? Doyle McManus speculates at The Los Angeles Times:

The court seems ready to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, while ruling quite narrowly on California’s Proposition 8, allowing a lower-court decision to stand. Such an outcome would make gay marriage legal in California without deciding whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional… What happens to two gay men who marry in New York and then move to Salt Lake City? Will they still be married? If they have children, will the kids have two parents under Utah law? And will their federal benefits, such as survivors’ Social Security benefits, travel with them, even though they’ve moved to a state where their marriage isn’t valid? Will they file their federal tax returns jointly but state returns separately? And don’t even think about the issue of divorce.

He also suspects it will divide the GOP further:

And when the question is changed from marriage to equal rights, the wedge potential is even clearer: Republicans divide right down the middle as to whether homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, 49% to 48%, with young people again more permissive than older voters. One leading GOP fundraiser described the conflict to me as “between the Christians and the donors” — Christian social conservatives who want the party to stand forthrightly against gay marriage, and donors who want the GOP to broaden its appeal to young people and moderates as a path toward winning the next election.

Unless the Court surprises us and rules for an unambiguous right for gays and lesbians to marry across the country, we’re likely in for another 5-10 years of state-by-state fighting over the issue, a prospect I hadn’t really considered unless the Supremes had issued a clear no on both cases.

And although the Justices voted Friday in the two cases, we’ll have to wait until June or maybe July to hear the results. And I don’t know about y’all, but I suck at waiting.

new-york-catholic-archbishop-timothy-dolanThere’s just so much to report today on our opponents – we’ll start with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who says gay and lesbian couples only get to be friends, sorry. Think Progress reports:

Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.” But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally. We gotta be – we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that.

Think he’s a bit bitter that he’s only “entitled to friendship”, too?

In a slightly less condescending tone, the new head of the Anglican church has called for graceful disagreement on marriage equality, Gay Star News reports:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who wasted no time in speaking out against gay marriage equality on his first official day in office this year, today gave an interview calling for Anglicans to demonstrate to society they can agree to disagree. ‘We need to understand reconciliation within the Church as the transformation of destructive conflict, not unanimity,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t mean we all agree, it is that we find ways of disagreeing, perhaps very passionately but loving each other deeply at the same time, gracefully and deeply committed to each other.

In closely related news, 69% in the UK think the Church of England is out of touch, a new poll says. Pink News has the details:

More than two-thirds (69%) of the population believe that the Church of England is out of touch with society and half (54%) believe that it does a bad job of providing moral leadership. Almost half disagree with its stance on same-sex marriage. The Easter Sunday YouGov poll for the Sunday Times also found than four in ten respondents believe that priests and vicars cannot be trusted to tell the truth. More of the public disagree with the Church of England’s objections to same-sex marriage than agree with it. 49% said that the Church is wrong to oppose same-sex marriage, while just 37% said they agree with the Church’s stance.

Pastor Joel Osteen also softpedals his approach. From On Top Magazine:

“Where do you draw the line?” host Jake Tapper asked. “Do you think that it’s important for those individuals who are in same-sex relationships to at least have the same rights as more traditional couples?”

“It’s a fine line,” Osteen answered. “We’re for everybody, but, of course, as a Christian pastor my base is off what I believe the Scripture says. Marriage is between a male and a female. But again, we’re for everybody. But that’s where I draw the line.”

Over at Fox News, wingnut “psychiatrist” Keith Ablow repeated the tired old like about the slippery slope to polygamy. On Top Magazine reports:

“The government should never have been involved in these personal matters and that’s why it’s coming back to bite us. Because frankly Laura, it’s just completely illogical to me and I think highly prejudicial that a state or the federal government would say two men can marry but not two women and a man. Three people can be in love. If love is the arbiter, then three people can marry.”

Right-wing blowhard Charles Krauthammer (yes, the one who looks like Dracula), forsees a coming assault on religion. Newsbusters reports:

“But it gets really sticky. If the Court were to decide that to deny same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, then you’ve got Georgetown University, a Jesuit university, married housing. It’s a Catholic university. So it says that it’s only going to allow heterosexuals. It will get sued. This will become an assault on religion. And the religions, which I think are sincere in their beliefs, are going to be under assault and under attack.”

Joe.My.God reports on a white supremacist who fears gay marriage will mean fewer white babies:

Gay marriage is bad because it means fewer white babies will be born. “I will not give in to your homofascism! You’ll have to kill me first!” (This guy is probably BFFs with Tony Perkins.) The crazy really gets uncorked in the last three minutes.

 

In Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh spoke out against gays in particularly nasty terms. LGBTQ Nation reports:

“Homosexuality is anti-humanity. I have never seen homosexual chicken, or turkey..0 If you are convicted of homosexuality in this country, there will be no mercy for offenders. We will put you in the female wing of the prison,” Jammeh said.

Almost every one of these objections are grounded in religion, and yet, there are many people of faith who have come to embrace gay and lesbian couples.

In the end, love is love.

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Linda Perry. If you don’t know her, you should. She is a successful singer, songwriter, producer and an out lesbian. Originally known as a musical force with her band The 4 Non Blondes, Linda is one of the most sought after names in the music industry. The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center holds an annual event called An Evening With Women. Linda Perry and Brent Bolthouse, along with Shannon Del, Annie Goto and Kelly Lynch, have co-chaired this event at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel for the past five years.

Linda_Perry_with_Pink_3

PWB:  How did you come to be involved with An Evening With Women?

LP:  The Center had come to me a couple times about participating in an event; I also received a Creative Integrity Award from them. I think it was the 4th time they invited me, I decided to do it and it was held at a place called The Music Box. The event had been going on for years but was much smaller then, at a different type of level. I decided if I was going to be involved with it then I would have to make it over so it could be a bigger, more solid event that would help make more money for The Center; to get the word out to more people, more advertisements, get more celebrities involved. Basically, to team up to make more money for The Center was my number one goal and it is really a fun event.

PWB:  Do you do other work with the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center?  Or is this your primary focus there?

LP:  No, this one event is pretty time consuming. I have my work that I do and I’m pretty busy all the time. Besides GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and obvious things, I’m always a part of The Center. I dedicate my time to this event for the women’s portions of the programs and services there because, you know, the women struggle more. It’s just the way it is. We don’t have as much going on as a lot of the men’s services; they get a lot of money. There are a lot of gay men out there that are so awesome, they’re out, they’re spending money, and they are being a part of things. They go out and support gay bars and events; they’re wonderful. But part of why women’s bars can’t stay open is because women aren’t like that; we don’t go out as much. We want to hibernate, be in bed at 8:00pm with our girlfriends, snuggling, drinking tea and watching a movie with our dogs.  We don’t want to go out, go to bars, and be out there “doing” the nightlife. This event is that one time a year where I go after them and say, “Hey ladies, can we seem to gather up the momentum to be a part of this and make it happen?”  It’s not so much a male/female thing, but, if you go to the (The Center’s Anniversary) Gala, it’s huge, it’s massive, and it’s very male-dominated in attendance. The guys are out supporting the bars, the scene, you know?  Women, we’re not like that. We want to pack up the U-Haul and move into our new girlfriend’s house that we’ve known for three days. That’s what we do. (laughs)

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

 

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Click the COMMENT link below for more pictures... ...

glenne

on_these

“On These Shoulders We Stand”
With Filmmaker Glenne McElhinney
Thursday, April 26, 2012
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

·        Free screening takes place in the Henry Madden Library, Room 2134.


Open to the public.

Not everything began with Stonewall. On These Shoulders We Stand is an illuminating historical account of early gay life and activism in Los Angeles told by the people who lived it.

Synopsis: Eleven elders of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community in Los Angeles chronicle gay life from the 1950s into the early 1980s. The film brings to light Los Angeles' hidden gay history by interweaving first person accounts with narration and unprecedented access to seldom-seen archival materials.

For more information call the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute at 278-6946

bethechange

Be The Change…Tuesday, May 1st…California State University, Fresno…Free Speech Area…5200 N Barton (off of Shaw & Barton)…10:30AM – 1:30PM…A project of United Student Pride…click on the Comments link below for a full size flier…

fair_education_act

The FAIR Education Act: Extending FAIRness in Our Schools

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

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

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

Panelists include:

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

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

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

prideparty
Click on the COMMENT link below for a full size flier...
FCC_pride
Click on the COMMENT link below for a full size flier

Courtesy Metro Weekly...

The White House today announced that President Obama is endorsing the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), two bills pending in Congress to address bullying and discrimination faced by students across the nation.

obama-bullying-thumb-350x232-2551

The SSIA would amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include bullying- and harassment-prevention programs, including ones based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The SNDA, modeled after Title IX, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal education nondiscrimination law.

The news comes, Inouye wrote, as "the White House Office of Public Engagement is holding a screening of the documentary Bully at the White House with bullying prevention advocates from a wide range of communities."

More than a year ago, the president held the first White House conference dedicated to discussing bullying prevention and sharing ideas and strategies for combating the problem.

Read More HERE...

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springtini

Celebrate at Springtini!
Sat. April 28th • 6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Park Place Shopping Center • Palm & Nees
Food, beverages & fashion • $25 advance • $30 day of
Partial proceeds benefit the Bulldog Pride Fund

• PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS ONLINE:
LINK: http://www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/CAF/geventcal/

• Unable to attend, but would like to make a donation to the Bulldog Pride Fund:
LINK: https://secure.www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/CAF/onlinegiving/showGivingForm.jsp?form_id=860
SELECT: “Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund”

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

bpfcinco

Enjoy Cinco de Mayo!
Sat. May 5th • 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.
Swiggs Burgers & Wings • Shaw & 6th
Live bands, party gifts & more • $5 cover
Partial proceeds benefit the Bulldog Pride Fund

• PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS ONLINE:
LINK: http://www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/CAF/geventcal/

• Unable to attend, but would like to make a donation to the Bulldog Pride Fund:
LINK: https://secure.www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/CAF/onlinegiving/showGivingForm.jsp?form_id=860
SELECT: “Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund”

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

"Mom, you don’t know how it feels to be hated." That's the message 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. had for his mother, shortly before he killed himself. The 14 year old had recently come out of the closet and was ostracized by others in his school. A Facebook page was started to persecute him and he was receiving death threats on his cell phone.

"People that were originally his friends, they kind of turned on him," said his sister Kayla Weishuhn.

Teasing started in school, according Kayla, a sophomore.  She says it was the boys in her class, that bullied her brother over his sexuality.

"A lot of people, they either joined in or they were too scared to say anything," she said.

Read More HERE...

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The Fresno LGBTQ group started as a dining group in 2004 and after about a year, transitioned into a social activity group for all ages. The group currently meets on the second Friday evening of every month and our attendees are typically aged 18-40, men and women. But, with our current leader unable to continue the group is in danger of closing down. We need at least one dedicated person to chip in a couple of hours a month to help plan future events. Won't you please join us?

We're at a crossroads and desperately need some help to keep the group running!

The group needs new ideas and some new leadership. I'm still willing to be active, come to events, and help when possible. But, it needs some TLC. I know we are all very busy and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Your few hours of time per month will help to keep this valuable group going. Many of our attendees have no other outlets to meet other likeminded people.

Please call or text (559) 862-4559 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** Men AND Women are welcome and encouraged to join us, takes only a couple of hours per month. **

Jason Scott


michelleS

Good afternoon!

It is joy and delight to introduce the inaugural Harvey Milk Hope Award recipient and scholar: MICHELLE HENDERSON SWIFT, Class of 2013. She will receive a $2,000 scholarship in the 2012-13 academic year and will be publically recognized at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala on Sept. 28th at the Save Mart Center. A recreation administration major, Swift is also in the process of completing the Humanics Certification Program at Fresno State.

Congratulations!

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/TheHarveyMilkProjectatFresnoState

ONLINE: www.theharveymilkproject.org

DONATE: www.bulldogpride.org

Click on the Comments link below to see a full size flier

stopthehate

Jenna Talackova, the transgender woman recently at odds with the Miss Universe Pageant, looks to have been successful in her efforts to have the rules of the pageant changed so that transgender females will be allowed to participate in the competition. Talackova and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, plan to move forward in hopes of getting pageants internationally to change their rules as well.

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Courtesy Huffington Post

NEW YORK — A rule change that would allow transgender women to participate in the Miss Universe beauty pageant next year is a step forward for equality, advocates said Tuesday after pageant officials announced the policy shift.

Pageant officials said they are working on the language of the official rule policy change but expected final word to come soon. The rules will have to be approved by Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, and NBC. Trump and NBC co-own the contest.

The announcement of the policy change comes a week after the organization decided to allow Jenna Talackova to compete for Canada's spot in the Miss Universe pageant this year.

While the move is clearly a win for the transgender community, some, including Susan Stryker, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona, wishes progress would be more focused on the day to day lives of transgender people, such as employment and housing rights.

"The next question is, can't we move beyond beauty pageants and make changes in areas that have more relevance," she asked.

She pointed out that while trans people should be able to take part fully in society, there are issues with beauty pageants overall, questions of "whether beauty pageants are the best way to advance the cause of girls, of women."

Read More HERE...

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About Feeding the Hungry ~~ Project

In partnership with Vons, Smithfield and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, ABC30 is proud to help usher in the largest combined food drive the Central Valley has ever seen, "Feeding the Hungry." All Central California Vons, ABC30 and the Community Food Bank will be collecting non-perishable food items starting Friday, April 6.  See below for locations and help us celebrate this historic donation by dropping off your donations today!

Then, on April 24, Smithfield and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union are pulling up two big rigs full of 70,000 pounds of quality protein to the Community Food Bank.  The Vons Foundation is also donating $25,000 in cash to the Community Food Bank.  Action News anchor Graciela Moreno will join all of the "Feeding the Hungry" partners at the Community Food Bank for the media event on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. to kick off the distribution.

To learn more about how you can help donate or to receive food, call the Community Food Bank at 559-237-3663.

(NOTE; to apply for assistance you will be directed to call 211, United Way,)

Food Dropoff Locations

Vons

5638 E. Kings Canyon (map)

Fresno

93727

Vons

1650 Herndon Ave. (map)

Clovis

93611

Vons

7733 N. First St. (map)

Fresno

93720

Vons

8949 N. Cedar Avenue (map)

Fresno

93720

Vons

4343 N. Blackstone (map)

Fresno

93726

Vons

3100 Fowler Avenue (map)

Clovis

93611

ABC30

1777 G Street (map)

Fresno

93706

Community Food Bank

3403 E. Central Ave. (map)

Fresno

93725

Courtesy.... ABC 30 - ABCLocal.go.com

800px-Transgender_Pride_flag.svg_1-480x210

Hello,

We are gathering data on the employment status of the trans population. The survey in the following link is anonymous and will help Trans-E-Motion to focus their efforts to better aid the transgender population. Please feel free to share this link with anyone you feel may be able to contribute.

Please only fill this survey out once, if you already filled it out we thank you for taking the time to help Trans-E-Motion do their job better.

You can find the survey Here.

Thank you for your time, The Trans-E-Motion Staff

Trans-E-Motion Official Website

obamalgbt

The White House is seeking video submissions from the LGBT Community on topics ranging from Unsung Heroes to The Arts to Storytelling...all with a focus on the LGBT Community...

Courtesy WhiteHouse.gov

Across the country, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.  They are parents and students, neighborhood and business leaders, artists and advocates, all united in the fight for equality.

We know that the American people are the source of some of the best ideas and most innovative solutions.  That’s why the White House Champions of Change series spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens.  And in that spirit, we are launching the LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge to explore the stories of unsung heroes and local leaders who are leading our march towards a more perfect union.

If that sounds like you or someone you know, then we want to hear from you – and we want to see you in action!

Here's how it works.  You have until Friday, May 4 to submit video entries online.  A panel will review submissions and select a group of semi-finalists.  Then, in early June, the public will have a chance to weigh in and help identify finalists that will be featured as Champions of Change at an event at the White House.

Each video should fit one or more of the following categories, some of which may be used to organize semi-finalists and finalists:

  • Storytelling (stories of coming out or overcoming adversity)
  • Culture & Identity (interesting intersections with race, national origin, religion, and disability)
  • Unsung Heroes (individuals and organizations that haven’t been recognized for their contributions)
  • The Arts (music, art, photography, poetry, and prose that inspire courage and acceptance)
  • Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation (individuals and organizations that are testing new approaches and demonstrating results)
  • Community Solutions (local initiatives that are solving local challenges)
  • Friends & Allies (family members, teachers, faith leaders, and other allies in the fight for equality)

Videos will be accepted in any form (including music video, PSA, short film, video blog, and interview) but must be no longer than 3 minutes.  Essays no longer than 750 words will also be accepted if video production is not possible.  Submissions should be creative, innovative, and inspiring and must be submitted by Friday, May 4, 2012.

Enter the contest here... http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/pride-month-champions-change-video-challenge

Article Courtesy Examiner.com

Hamlets_Women

The New Ensemble is set to open a female-driven version of Shakespeare's Hamlet next week at the Broken Leg Stage.

The production not only features TNE founding member Brooke Aiello in the typically male lead, but showcases the talents of four other women in the eleven-person cast. This, too, is rare for a play usually performed with as few as two actresses.

TNE Artistic Director Heather Parish said her casting selections were as simple as “I had several incredibly talented women audition, and they were cast.” However, once it became obvious that the show was going to end up taking on a feminine mystique, there were issues that needed to be immediately addressed.

“We adjusted things like giving the society more matriarchal themes and making sure it was one that would be open to a lesbian relationship,” said Parish.

This meant lifting the text out of Elizabethan England and placing it in a post-modern, dystopian world; a concept that not only allows for the mostly out-and-open gay love story between Hamlet and Ophelia, but also helps get the best use out of the confined space that is the Broken Leg Stage.

The girl-on-girl love affair is one of the more obvious modifications to Shakespeare’s script, but according to Aiello, at its core, it’s not much different than what the Bard originally intended.

Hamlet_One

“Love is love and people are people,” she said. “The betrayals are still the same.”

Cast members agree that most of the changes brought on by newly female perspectives are subtle, yet beneficial to the storytelling.

Hamlet_and_Ophelia

According to Gabriela Lawson, who plays Hamlet’s BFF Horatio, “It’s been fun to discover the nuances of affection between girlfriends not readily provided in the traditional telling where both characters are male. The bond of sisterhood allows for a tenderness, a closeness and an intimacy exclusive to the love between female friends.”

TNE founding member Kristen Lyn Crase plays Hamlet’s mother Gertrude. “Playing opposite a female Hamlet allows a certain amount of rivalry to develop between the characters,” she said. “A mother-daughter relationship has such a different feel to it than a mother-son one.”

Parish said that in order to make this vision work, she and her cast had to “come to terms with the idea that these female characters are not always going to be Heroines…they’re flawed and confused and occasionally unsympathetic-but that is a way in which we need to come to grips with women’s equality. Women are as allowed to be fully flawed people as much as men are, even while their strength can see them through.”

Hamlet opens April 13th at 8 p.m. at the Broken Leg Stage and runs for three weekends. Additional shows are: April 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 8 p.m. and April 14, 21, and 28 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: www.newensemble.com

Will Call Reservations: (559) 457-9613

Fri/Sat Evenings: $15 Walk Ins/$12 reservation or online in advance. Thu eve/Sat Matinee: $10.

Broken Leg Stage
1470 N. Van Ness at Home Street between Floradora and McKinley in Fresno’s Tower District.

*Appropriate for high school and up, parental guidance suggested. No latecomers admitted. For questions, email Artistic Director, Heather Parish at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Examiner Article

The following letter appeared Friday (Good Friday, no less) in the Fresno Bee. The writer claims that new laws making school bullies take responsibility for their actions are in fact, unwanted government intervention. Completely absent from her observations of these new laws, and the new film Bully, is what is happening to bullied kids in schools across America. Click the link to check out the comments as well...not much support for bullied kids...

Courtesy Fresno Bee

With all of the recent acclaim about the new film, "Bully," I can't help but wonder why I have seen no public exposure of possible ulterior motives behind its implied message. Could it be possible that this film is an elusive means to implement more government control over our lives?

In Arizona, new anti-bullying legislation (HB 2549) is a blatant violation of our First Amendment rights. It states that a person cannot "annoy or offend" another person. Who is to determine what is annoying or offensive? This law is overtly designed to restrict Arizona residents' free speech rights and, ultimately, criminalize just about everyone. If you think that this is solely Arizona's problem -- don't worry, anti-bullying legislation will surely be coming to you.

If we want to stop kids from persecuting others, maybe the answer is not allowing bureaucrats to turn our country into a police state. Maybe the answer is for parents to promote a strong family structure, a religious foundation, and a sense of morality so that our kids don't have a psychological need to bully someone else. I suppose this has become too radical of an idea.

Kathryn Shahbazian - Fresno

A former bully reached out to me on Facebook, even going so far as to arrange a face-to-face meeting. She was one of several girls in elementary school who had harassed me about my weight, my sexuality, and my choice of friends. Jennifer was not the ringleader but simply one of a crew headed by a perky blonde girl by the name of Coralie. Coralie also reached out to me on Facebook, sending me a long list of her joys and sorrows, and I could not bring myself to respond. Not a word of apology or even recognition of her actions was present in her message.

Jennifer and I met at a coffee shop called Irene's, just down the street from my current home to discuss where we had been in the intervening 40 years. We were both married, we had both completed our degrees, we both had children. Jennifer said she had been trying to find me for years. She had felt pretty awful about the way she and others had behaved toward me and wanted to know if I was okay. Did her behavior make my life harder? Where there lingering issues or problems?

The truth is that I'd been abused by my parents in this way. Abused by friends in this way. Abused by lovers in this way. It had become a pattern, and this pattern did have consequences. Long term depression for one. Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction for another. Job problems. Self-esteem problems.

The abuse I had hoped to leave behind when I left elementary school was picked up by a whole new set of classmates, but by ninth grade I had had enough. I started dressing and talking tougher. Rather than trying to escape from them when the teasing began, I just waited until they got bored and left. I wouldn't give them the satisfaction of disturbing me any longer. I eventually overcame my victimhood.

It has been harder to push away people whom I love very much but who also get something out of making me feel small and worthless. I see that characteristic in people earlier and earlier in friends now, but I'm still painfully attracted to those who would enjoy mocking and belittling me. At least I have the good sense now to cut it off right away when it appears.

When I thought more deeply about what had taken place, I realized that I could not even remember isolated incidents of harassment. All I can recall is pain, running home to the comfort of my family, and finding no comfort. "It will pass," they said, "when you are older." That is small comfort to someone who is hurting, but I'm not sure anything further could have been done.

Deeper still, I imagined the kind of pain Jennifer must have experienced that drove her to seek me out and offer a heartfelt apology. It was then that I began empathizing with the bullies. When pain is brought, it is brought on both sides. I imagined the people who bully LGBT children to death, and what kind of mark that leaves on them. I began to forgive. And I began to think that when we take on the issue of bullying in earnest in this country, we should think not only of the victims, but also of the perpetrators. I would not want to carry the shame of destroying a life with me to the end. Whether Coralie admitted it or not, she was probably hurting too.

Now I'm in my late forties, and I have found a life partner who always lifts me and never tries to bring herself up by pushing me down. It is possible to escape the life of the victim. I told Jennifer about all of this, and I could see the relief on her face. I hope she can forgive herself.

Cross-posted at Open Salon

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Fresno Stonewall Democrats will meet on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at Carrow's Restaurant, 4280 N. Blackstone at Ashlan in Fresno. Dinner and social 6:00 P.M. meeting 7:00 P.M. This is our candidate endorsement meeting for the June primary election. Members can renew or join and participate in the endorsement process after paying $20 annual dues. Results of the candidate questionnaires that have been completed will be presented and endorsements will be conducted by secret ballot. We will also be discussing our May 5th fund raiser and arranging details for this and our participation in the 2012 Pride Parade and Festival.
Fresno Stonewall Democrats represents the interests of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Fresno and the surrounding area through the Democratic Party.
For more information visit www.fresnostonewall.org, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or call 559-266-9237.

Watch what happens at a mall in New Jersey when the children of a same sex couple are bullied by other kids...

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This coming Saturday, April 7th, the Fresno LGBT Community Center will host our first Game Day at the Center. The event will be directed by the staff of Crazy Squirrel Game Store , and will run from Noon-4PM.  The event will include some classics like Cribbage and Chess, as well as new games like Shadows Over Camelot, Ticket to Ride, Small World, etc. Everyone is welcome at this first Game Day at the Center, regardless of age or gaming experience. There will be something for everyone.

Facebook Event Page

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I visited the Crazy Squirrel Store to see what they have to offer. I sat down with Jennifer Ward, who owns the store with her husband, Scott. Jennifer moved to Fresno in 2003 from Missouri, while Scott is a Fresno native. The store has been open since October of 2009 and is located at 464 E Bullard Avenue here in Fresno. The store houses a large selection of games, including some old school choices like Scrabble and Boggle, as well as Dungeons and Dragons and a wide variety of new games. Connected to the main store is a large, open gaming room, filled with tables and chairs, which hosts various gaming groups six days a week. The long wall of the room is taken up by many connected white boards, detailing weekly events. Some nights are official tournaments, while others are associated with international gaming events. Each day is themed to expand the possibility that gamers can find what they're looking for.

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Jennifer and her husband made what some may call a radical decision to open the niche store in 2009, when the economy was in a freefall.  She was working at the Fresno Bee and decided she'd like to go back to school to get her Masters and eventually the two would move back to Missouri so she could teach. A week after Jennifer quit her job, however, Scott lost his.

"It was a couple of weeks of sheer panic," she says, "and then we sat down and talked about what we were going to do."

They reassessed their goals, did the research, and chose to open the gaming store.  At one point they considered making an offer for the Game Preserve, a Tower District game store which has since closed, but they really wanted a larger space to accommodate a separate gaming room to bring people together.

"More than building a game store, we wanted to build a community center for gamers. We wanted to build a place where we nerds could come together and really have a lot of fun. I like to see people come together."

The move seems to have paid off. They've connected with a large gaming community in Fresno and are considering expansion.

"It's doing far better than we originally planned for it to do, and that's kind of what our issue is," Jennifer explained. "It's so successful that we're always kind of playing catch up. When we opened we planned on a slow growth, and we've instead had a very quick growth."

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So here is Part 2, or the conclusion of my recent pondering on femininity versus femme-ininity.  In case you missed part 1, I posted it yesterday so it should not be hard to find, but here's the link.  At the end I was explaining how I came to love the word QUEER....and why.

...Merriam-Webster includes this meaning (2a) of the word queer:  “differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal. “ Praise be to the Goddess!!  I don’t want to be usual or normal!  Odd is OK.  Queer is me.  I am Queer.  Here’s my personal logic:  every group or letter within the rainbow--lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual-- has unique issues and needs.  Looking for commonalities in issues and wants makes us sometimes seem more unalike than alike.  We don’t all have sex with same-sex people and contrary to the hetero-majority assumptions we are not interchangeable.  Each letter does not have that much in common with the other letters except for the fact that we are each different from the heterosexual norm.  I have seen this alphabet with even more letters; an extra Q for questioning, an extra A for allies.  I would love to see everyone unite behind Queer.  It seems like a better platform to say “we are different than you, we are human beings, and we deserve the same rights as all human beings” than to continue to add letters to an ever-growing continuum of people who are different that serves to divide us by our differences.  And then try to explain all those differences to the rest of the world.  I’m not suggesting the labels, needs and issues of each group go away or should, just that as a rallying force and a way to unite for equality, queer is simple and inclusive.

In the meantime, until I can convince everybody to use the word "queer", I decided I would go with it for myself! Yes I am lesbian.  Yes I am a femme lesbian, but ultimately I am proudly different and proudly queer and I purposefully, intentionally go out into the world each day as a Queer Femme now.  See how I circled us around back to intention?  LOL

To intentionally be queer in my femme-ininity I take it to a different place than I used to with femininity before I came out.  Queer Femme is to mix up my very girly side with that inner butch twist .  I started off by wearing dresses with Doc Marten’s; then femmy skirts with men's jackets.  I moved past that years ago, but you get the drift.  Feminine clothes but with a masculine edge where I can, whether it’s chunkier more edgy jewelry, harder-edged makeup, a sassier lip color.  Clothing that hugs and flatter curves (even bulges) that women-loving-women love instead of wearing clothes that hide curves.   I’ve joked many times about having to tattoo an “L” on my forehead so people would know that I’m gay.  I am so gay.  I can’t help it that I don’t look what people think gay looks like.

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I’ve been pondering all things “femme” of late. As my pondering turned to writing on this topic, the post got a little lengthy so I'm splitting it into two parts.  So don't be surprised when you get to the end and...well you'll just have to get there and you'll see.  Read on.

Since bursting out of the closet, I considered myself a femme lesbian as did all the people in my life--once they got used to it that is.  I went through a period of figuring out what my identity was in the beginning and I got definitive feedback that I am not a butch.  I’m not androgynous or tomboy-ish; those terms don’t quite fit either.  I’ve always presented as very feminine and I liked all the standard girly toys as a kid.  Of course, so did my gorgeous gay brother but that is another story.  Dolls, dollhouses, EZ Bake ovens, playing dress-up, “toy” nail polish and perfume.  I thought it was all great.  My favorite present ever received for Christmas was when I was about 9.  My mom, I mean Santa, presented me with a box about 3 feet high and 3 feet wide that was filled with many smaller boxes and packages.  Inside each was some type of feminine beauty product:  mirrors, lip balms, barrettes, headbands, perfumes, powders, jewelry, bubble baths, beauty bags to put the stuff in and more.  I thought I was in heaven. I would love to receive another box like that right now---but from Sephora : )!  The appreciation of all things feminine carried over into adulthood and I cannot have enough beauty products to this day.  But are beauty products what make me a femme?  I’ve known butch women who had as many products as me, if not more.

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This week's word from the valley is 'lo.
No, not low, down in the valley so low...just 'lo. ·It's southern; it means good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and hi...but not hello, that would be ludicrous. ·My level of southern tends to vary from day to day, and my accent runs the gamut from nondetection to "were you born in a barn", mostly depending on how many times I've talked to my mother. ·Today was a very southern day. ·It started with the herd of cattle in my front yard this morning, which led to my palm tree now being flush with the ground, and ended with a conversation I had with a woman telling me about "the biggest watermelon she had ever seen," which was about the size of "a basketball." ·If you throw in a two hour conversation with my mother and both sisters, what you end up with is me speaking as though I just stepped out of Deliverance. ·It's not always a bad thing really, in fact, there are many parts of my southern heritage of which I am quite proud. · My two favorites are wearing funny hats and telling colorful stories. ·The cows and the watermelon reminded me of one such colorful story from my childhood about a local man named Verne. (Name changed to protect him from looking like a complete idiot.)


Dear friends, Well, it finally happened. Family Research Council's Tony Perkins finally got something right.

In a recent press release, Tony got all hot and bothered that GetEQUAL DC organizers decided to call out Bancroft PLLC -- the bigoted and discriminatory law firm that has taken up the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case -- after another law firm, King & Spalding, decided it was too hot to handle:

[G]roups like GetEQUAL and others are forming what is basically a mobile protest unit. [Monday], its activists rallied outside the offices of King & Spalding--only to learn that its attorneys had bailed on the case. So what did they do? Hopped in the car, drove across town to Paul Clement's new firm, and started demonstrating there.

I don't know if Tony's ever encountered discrimination in his life, but I can assure you that spending the night in jail is not for the faint of heart...and attacking brave equality activists via a press release doesn't sound very lion-hearted to me. And, if Tony had any idea what he was talking about, he'd know that we didn't jump into a car and drive across town -- we walked a few blocks.  :-)

All that being said, here's where Tony is right -- we are, indeed, creating the "mobile protest units" that he references, organizing in states across this country from North Carolina to Texas to Wyoming. After launching our Organizing For Equality campaign, we've seen incredible organizers spring forward in Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, and more -- and we're just getting started.

But we need your help.

Watch this video explaining Organizing For Equality (OFE), then pick a state that you want to support financially. We'll split your donation 50/50 between our national organizing and the organizing happening in the state of your choice, supporting the "mobile protest units" that can form rapid response teams when groups like the Family Research Council decide to stand in the way of our equality.

We're going to get equal, whether Tony Perkins likes it or not. But we need your help. Watch the video, pick a state, and help us get there.

Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!

Robin McGehee, Director

Happy Friday!

 

According to Rebecca Black today is all about fun, fun, fun, fun, but before you rush off to celebrate the royal wedding/ or get dolled up for Saturday's ICD's "An Evening Under the Stars" event, here are a a few highlights from this week’s news. You know, in case they somehow missed your Facebook feed.

Because of concerns that a same-sex marriage bill wouldn’t get past the State Senate, it was announced today that Rhode Island will instead be introducing a bill next week championing marriage-like rights for gay couples through civil unions. More Here

In Pennsylvania, State Representative. Dan Frankel (D) is introducing legislation to prevent discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

 

Lady Gaga will donate $1 million to the Robin Hood Foundation which in turn will distribute those funds among five New York City-based groups that aid homeless LGBT youths.

 

In San Francisco, a June 13 hearing has been scheduled on whether the ruling by Judge Walker  that struck down California's gay marriage ban should be thrown out because the judge is in a same-sex relationship.

 

In Japan, the first openly gay man was elected to public office.

 

Dallas voted to add transgender protection to the county’s employment nondiscrimination policy. In Nevada, however,  news was split; Two bills passed that would prohibit discrimination against gays and transgender individuals in housing and public accommodations, but rejected a third bill that would have added gender identity and expression to Nevada’s hate crimes law.

 

And lastly, not related to anything but still worth a chuckle, a man in Virginia stole milk from a Wal-Mart  while dressed as a cow. Apparently, since he was the cow, he figured that he should get the milk for free.  He was caught by police who recognized him due to the costume not covering his face.

 

That’s all folks, don’t forget to have fun, fun, fun, today! Have a great, and safe, weekend!

The Express brings back the HIP-HOP Room in Starrz Lounge this and every Friday.

FREQUENCY FRIDAYS!
2 Room - Main (Dance, House, Top 40) - & Starrz (HIP-HOP/R&B)
3 Bars - Main, Starrz, Patio

1/2 off drinks all night long

Doors open @ 8pm
$6 Cover begins at 9pm

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England: Catholic Cares, a Catholic run adoption service agency, just lost what might be a landmark appeal regarding their right to discriminate. The agency, run by the Diocese of Leeds, maintains that it shouldn’t have to consider same-sex couples. The organization has been fighting for an exemption to current equal rights laws since 2009. According to Catholic Care, if they are unable to have the exemption, their funding (donations) would suffer since most are generated from Catholic Churches that don’t condone same-sex families.

 

The Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival is the Central Valley’s largest LGBT event of the year. Every year approximately 3,000 people – all ages of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight allies converge on the Tower District in Fresno to march and celebrate the diversity of our community. June is Pride month and celebrated as such the world over.

The first Pride march was in June of 1970, commemorating the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, widely considered to be the start of the modern gay liberation movement, and regarded as the single most important event that led to the modern movement for LGBT civil rights.

We all enjoy this incredible event every year and in these tough economic times, Community Link, which organizes and produces Pride every year, needs your help in raising funds.

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This Saturday, the North Tower Circle is hosting a Fresno Pride Fundraising Party and we urge the community to come out and support this cause…

@The North Tower Circle…Party starts at 10PM…

A Fresno Pride Fundraiser...Hosted by DivaLicious...$5 Donation for Fresno Pride Parade & Festival...Exclusive Drag Performances – including DivaLicious * Margo Starr & Jerry Empress 9...NTC GoGo Dancers...Drink Specials & Giveaways...Win a Personal GoGo Dance by playing GoGo Musical Chairs...DRAG TAG competition - Share the Wig and Sing the Song...DJ Chris...Come and party with us as we prepare for the next Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival...

RAFFLE PRIZES SO FAR…

Starbucks Gift Basket...Starbucks Gift Certificate...2 Director's Passes to Reel Pride Film Festival...Reflections Salon Gift Certificate...Indulgence Fresno Gift Certificate...North Tower Circle Gift Certificates...and more to come...

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

In New York State Planned Parenthood has set up billboards which declare support for LGBT citizens and show images of same sex couples with such phrases as “Someone you know is in love.”

Well, could conservative objection be that far behind?...

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While Planned Parenthood says the billboards aim to engage isolated rural LGBT people in managing their health, state senator Thomas O’Mara, a Republican who represents the area, interprets the billboards as a state-sponsored advertisement for marriage equality. WETM TV, which first reported on the controversy, included his comments about one of the billboards on Route 352 in Big Flats near Elmira.

“I object to this message that seems to be in support of same-sex marriage and using taxpayer dollars to support that political agenda,” he told the station.

READ MORE HERE

The conservative battle against Planned Parenthood continues…

Indiana may become the first state in the country to ban Medic aid reimbursements for low income people seeking the services of Planned Parenthood.

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The bill specifically targets abortion rights, even though there is already a federal law on the books which prevents tax funds from being used for abortion.

House Bill 1210, introduced by state Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero) in January, takes a number of swipes at abortion rights and includes a provision that would prohibit the state of Indiana from contracting with "any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed." While the provision does not name a specific health provider, it effectively singles out Planned Parenthood, which receives $3 million dollars a year from the state.

Planned Parenthood Indiana currently serves about 22,000 low income patients.

Opponents of the bill say costs for the state will go up if low income funding is cut off, due to increased pregnancy and the care provided for those cases. Republicans have decided that analogy is false. Additionally, since Federal Medicaid prevents states from provider discrimination, the passage of the bill could result in the restrictions of other funding to the state.

READ MORE HERE

Check out the first photo of Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in the upcoming HBO film, Game Change.

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The actress nails Palin's look with a bright suit, patriotic flag pin and similar glasses. She also ditched her trademark red hair for Palin's brown style, which she wears in a look-alike updo.

Production begins on Wednesday for the movie, directed by Jay Roach and written by Danny Strong. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are executive producers.

Ed Harris plays John McCain in the film, which follows the Arizona U.S. Senators failed 2008 Republican presidential bid. Woody Harrelson plays Steve Schmidt, McCain's senior adviser. Temple Grandin’s Melissa Farman will play Bristol Palin, The Hollywood Reporter first reported Tuesday.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Fri. May 20th

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Please join family, donors, alumni and friends in honoring two-time Bulldog Pride Fund scholar Julia Scott on Friday, May 20th at Black Angus Steakhouse (Cedar & Shaw Avenues; Fresno, Calif.) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (21+ only). A short program begins at 6:15 p.m.

A Dean’s Medalist nominee from the College of Arts & Humanities, Julia Scott will be conferred a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art at Fresno State’s 100th Commencement Ceremonies held at the Save Mart Center the following day.

Give today. For tomorrow and beyond.

www.bulldogpride.org

Today, the sixth annual Pride Celebration at Fresno City College was hosted by the on campus Diversity Club. Under a balloon rainbow and the occasional overhead jet, almost a dozen organizations and around a hundred students came together to celebrate the LGBT community.

And what a celebration it was!

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A case of arson connected to a hate crime in Ohio, has killed eight horses. "FAGS" and "FREAKS" were spray painted on the property where an ignited barn fire killed the helpless horses.

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Seven adult horses and one foal died as a result of an arson fire at 874 West Richards Road in McConnelsville just after 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Owner Brent Whitehouse said he woke to discover the barn engulfed in flames and immediately called 911, but it was too late.

"I couldn't get the door open I could still hear the horses kicking and I tried as hard as I could to get them out and I just couldn't get them out in time," he said.

An investigation is in process...

READ MORE HERE

From the Associated Press

NEW YORK – Phoebe Snow, a bluesy singer, guitarist and songwriter who had a defining hit of the 1970s with "Poetry Man" but then largely dropped out of the spotlight to care for her disabled daughter, has died.

Snow, who was nominated for best new artist at the 1975 Grammys, died Tuesday morning in Edison, N.J., from complications of a brain hemorrhage she suffered in January 2010, said Rick Miramontez, her longtime friend and public relations representative. She was 60.

Snow's manager, Sue Cameron, said the singer endured bouts of blood clots, pneumonia and congestive heart failure since her stroke.

"The loss of this unique and untouchable voice is incalculable," Cameron said. "Phoebe was one of the brightest, funniest and most talented singer-songwriters of all time and, more importantly, a magnificent mother to her late brain-damaged daughter, Valerie, for 31 years. Phoebe felt that was her greatest accomplishment."

Known as a folk guitarist who made forays into jazz and blues, Snow put her stamp on soul classics such as "Shakey Ground," "Love Makes a Woman" and "Mercy, Mercy Mercy" on over a half dozen albums.

Not long after Snow's "Poetry Man" reached the Top 5 on the pop singles chart in 1975, her daughter, Valerie Rose, was born with severe brain damage, and Snow decided to care for her at home rather than place her in an institution.

READ MORE HERE


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Hello!

My name is Kaylia Metcalfe, and I am thrilled to join the blogging staff here at Gay Fresno! I will be blogging pretty regularly. My topics will include general life stuff, written reviews, relevant interviews, political “you should know” type things, and local events coverage

For my first entry, however, I thought I would give you a quick background of who I am.

As a writer: I have a BA in·Creative Writing·from Sacramento State University. I published a·short story collection·in 2009 and am currently writing two fantasy novels. I also write two personal blogs: a review blog (books, movies, and TV shows) and a general life blog that deals with politics, personal adventures, and general amusement.

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King & Spaulding, the legal firm that had agreed to take up the defense of DOMA in federal courts, has backed out of the deal with Congress.

"Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act," King & Spalding chairman Robert D. Hays, Jr. said in a statement. "Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal."

“In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate," he continued. "Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created."

Paul Clement, who would have led the defense for King & Spaulding, immediately resigned after the decision and joined another firm , Bancroft PLLC. Clement has vowed to carry on the case within the new firm. Clement's letter of resignation contained the following explanation...

"Please accept my resignation from the firm effective immediately.

My resignation is, of course, prompted by the firm's decision to withdraw as counsel for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives in defense of Section III of the Defense of Marriage Act. To be clear, I take this step not because of strong held views on the statute.

My thoughts about the merits of DOMA are as irrelevant as my views about the dozens of federal statutes that I defended as Solicitor General," he wrote in the letter. "Instead, I resign out of the firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client's legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do."

Courtesy The Huffington Post

The lead sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA -- Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO) and John Conyers (D-MI) issued a statement on King & Spalding's announcement:

King & Spalding's withdrawal from their representation of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives is yet another blow to House Republican Leaders’ efforts to defend DOMA in court. Whatever the firm's reasoning -- whether they now agree with the President and Attorney General that the law is legally and factually indefensible or have decided that defending DOMA is unacceptable to many of their partners and employees -- their withdrawal confirms what is increasingly obvious: it is patently wrong to defend this harmful law. Congress should pass the Respect for Marriage Act and repeal DOMA once and for all.

READ MORE HERE

I used to say "What's wrong with Texas?" since the conservative landscape there is hard to take. Now, unfortunately, I tend to say that about the whole country, as we continue to slip farther and farther back in time and logic.

But Texas is heading up the pack again. Now, Republicans (who else?) there are doing their best to overturn a 2009 law which allowed transgendered persons to marry a person of the opposite sex as long as they had obtained a court ordered re-designation of their gender. Now, Republicans in Texas want to declare that whatever gender you're designated at birth is a done deal and there is no re-defining it.

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Most states allow transgendered people to get married using a court order that also allows them to change their driver's license, experts said. Some advocates for the transgendered say the Texas proposal would not only prevent future transgendered marriages but also open up the possibility that any current marriage could be nullified.

"It appears the goal is to try to enshrine a really horrifying ruling and making it law in the state of Texas," said John Nechman, a Houston attorney whose law firm does work for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.

READ MORE HERE

If you weren't able to attend the Fresno Stonewall Democrats 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Tafoya Gardens on April 16th, you can now listen to the audio portion of the program, which includes speeches by Robin McGeHee, co-founder and Executive Director of GetEQUAL and San Francisco Superior Court Judge Kevin McCarthy. Also included are speeches by Jay Hubbell and Chuck Krugman of the Fresno Stonewall Democrats.

Photos are coming soon...

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Visit the Fresno Stonewall Democrats Website and click on EVENTS at the top of the page...

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Watch Stonewall Uprising on PBS tonight, Monday, April 25th at 9PM...

Through eyewitness interviews and archival footage, documentary filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner recapture a pivotal moment in time that mobilized a generation of gay activists and marked the dawn of the modern Gay Rights Movement. Much like Rosa Parks's symbolic refusal to move to the back of the bus, gay bar patrons' refusal to comply with a police raid at Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn in 1969 would change the course of history.

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When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.

This documentary will also be available on Netflix starting April 26th. You can purchase the DVD HERE


WARNING: The attached video is very violent and difficult to watch but illustrates the violence trans people face every day. Use the link in the attached text from Bilerico Project to contact McDonald's about this incident.

Courtesy Bilerico Project...

This is absolutely disgusting. After an unidentified transwoman tried to use the bathroom at a Baltimore McDonald's, two patrons started attacking her in full view of other customers and employees. What did the employees do? They filmed it on their phones.

While you can see the manager yelling stop at the two women attacking the customer, none of the other employees even try to intervene or keep the women from dragging the victim across the restaurant floor. Instead, it's the elderly female customer that seems to do the most to help. The manager and employees simply watch as the victim starts to have a seizure and offer no help whatsoever.

You can let McDonalds know how you feel about their employees reprehensible actions - especially since they filmed it and promptly put it on the internet to degrade the victim further.

The video is after the jump. Trigger Warning: The video is extremely violent.

UPDATE: County police have confirmed that the attack happened April 18 at a McDonald's in Rosedale, in the 6300 block of Kenwood Ave.

Just as California sits on the edge of becoming the first state in the country which will mandate the inclusion of LGBT Americans and their contributions during school history classes, Tennessee is heading in the opposite direction. A bill, the so called Don't Say Gay Bill will make it illegal to discuss any sexuality with students other than heterosexuality. It's now passed the Tennessee Senate.

Tennessee already has a "family life" policy at schools, making it a misdemeanor to discuss sex at all in their schools prior to the eighth grade. That made for some conflict as the bill made its way through, since some pointed out the sort of "protections" the bill seeks are already in place. After the bill passed the Senate, Senator Brian Kelsey (also Republican...I know, I don't really have to point that out, do I?) proposed explicitly excluding homosexuality from the state's family life curriculum, because, you know, we don't have families...

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All of this comes from Senator Stacey Campfield, a 43 year old, unmarried Republican, who describes himself on his blog as "Just an average guy with a real cool job". And, oh, of course, his favorite book is the Bible. Campfield is a real winner, stating things on his website like banks are not evil and don't want people to lose their homes to foreclosure. Who's the real winner in the foreclosure crisis? According to Campfield, it's the newspapers (media) which gets paid for the foreclosure notices they list. Who knew all this time the newspapers were the real demon behind failed mortgages and foreclosures?

As far as this issue, he posts...

"Don't teach gay" bill passes senate ed

The bill saying parents, not teachers, should be the one deciding what and when a child (Pre k - 8) is prepared to learn about homosexuality passed the full senate education committee today.

7 years in the making and it finally gets out of the first subcommittee or full committee.

There was some twists and turns but in the end it came out in a very acceptable form.

Grammar isn't his strong suit...

He's also for issuing death certificates for aborted fetuses and permitting guns on college campuses.

I don't know about you, but I see an airport bathroom or a truck stop in "Campfield's" future...

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What a difference a high profile case makes...

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King & Spaulding, an international law firm, has stepped right in the middle of controversy, and is receiving a lot of grief from the LGBT Community because of its recent decision to take up the defense of DOMA in a federal court case. In February the Obama administration decided to stop defending in court the parts of DOMA it deems unconstitutional. This left a void in DOMA defense in at least a couple of federal court cases, rightfully so.

Then comes John Boehner, Speaker Of The House. He decided that Congress would step in to defend the indefensible DOMA, and to also hire King & Spaulding to the tune of $500,000.00 in taxpayer dollars.

What's odd is that, at least until now, the law firm has been so supportive and responsive to the LGBT community that it received a rating of 95 out of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign on its Corporate Equality Index. The law firm has also been a national sponsor of the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, provided pro bono work for Lambda, sponsored the organization, works to connect LGBT law students to law firms and even has an LGBT Lawyers page on its website where they post the following mantra...

King & Spalding is committed to having the brightest and most diverse lawyers it can find, including members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. We work hard to foster and maintain an environment where our lawyers can provide the highest level of legal service while being true to themselves in the process. The firm's non-discrimination policy prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Further, domestic partner benefits are offered for same-sex couples.

Now, due to the law firm's decision to take on the case defending DOMA, the ramifications have already begun. Lambda Legal and the National LGBT Bar Association are considering breaking ties with King & Spaulding. Many of the top law schools in Washington D.C. are prepared to respond to student complaints about the law firm and expect protests when the firm shows up for annual activities.

How does a law firm apparently so devoted to LGBT equality turn in an instant and take on the defense of such an unconstitutional and prejudiced based law? At this time, no one knows, because King & Spaulding simply aren't talking...

READ MORE HERE

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Greetings from the Outreach Department of Fresno Reel Pride Gay and Lesbian Film Festival! I just wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself as Reel Pride's new Student Outreach Representative. I am honored and very excited to get the chance to work with you, and youth across California for this years festival.

JustinK

Many of you may already be familiar with the Reel Pride Film Festival, but for those of you who are not, let me take a moment to take you through the astonishing history that Reel Pride has. Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival is the sixth oldest gay and lesbian film festival in the United States. Started in a classroom at California University, Fresno in 1990, five to ten films were previewed for the community to come see. In 2011, Reel Pride celebrates it's 22nd annual film festival located in the historic Tower Theatre, known as a celebration of gay and lesbian cinema and is a premiere cultural event in the Central Valley.

For 2011, the Reel Pride Film Festival will run from Wednesday, September 14 to Sunday, September 18. All you youth out there: a special youth screening and party will be held just for you! From now until September, I will be sending periodic email updates about this years festival to keep you up to date about the happenings here at Reel Pride. Be sure to keep your information current with me so I can continue to do so! Wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun!

As always, if you ever have any questions about the Reel Pride Film Festival, never hesitate to ask! I am only an email, a phone call, or a "Tweet" away! Below in my signature you will find information on how to contact me, as well as access to the Reel Pride website and Facebook page where updates are periodically sent out.

I look forward to working with you very soon! See you at the festival!

Justin Kamimoto, Student Outreach Representative

Reel Pride Film Festival Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

PO Box 4646, Fresno, California 93744

mobile: 408.857.3524

The Huffington Post has added a page specifically tailored to report on bullying...

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Check it out HERE

Courtesy The Advocate...

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Filming of new episodes of the British cult hit Absolutely Fabulous has been confirmed by one of the stars, Joanna Lumley, according toThe Guardian.

Lumley will again play Patsy Stone opposite Jennifer Saunders as Edina Monsoon in the enduring comedy series, with three new episodes scheduled to being shooting this summer. Lumley ignited speculation about a new season last year, when she told a reporter that Saunders had written her about relaunching the series.

A statement released by the BBC reads, "We're putting the finishing touches to the deal to bring it back and as soon as we're in a position to confirm it we will."

AbFab, as it was dubbed by fans, was first broadcast in 1992 and was a huge hit among gay audiences. New seasons and occasional specials were filmed periodically until 2005.

Source

Here comes the first major threat to iPhones (well, not the first, the Droid by Motorola is already performing impressively against the iPhone, and in many areas surpassing its initial breakthrough). It appears the phones track your every movement and it doesn't take much for someone else to get that information. Android devices are riddled with a similar tracking capability. Will it effect anyone? Who knows? When was the last time you didn't know where anyone was? People now "check in" at McDonalds. Despite the obvious factor of "Who cares?", these people better hope they locked all their doors and windows, since everyone on Facebook and Twitter now knows where you aren't, namely, home...

Al Franken is pushing Steve Jobs from Apple for an answer...here's a piece of his official letter to Jobs...

franken

Dear Mr. Jobs,

running the iOS 4 operating system-sometimes logging their precise geo-location up to 100 times a day. The researchers who discovered this file found that it contained up to a year's worth of data, starting from the day they installed the iOS 4 operating system. What is even more worrisome is that this file is stored in an unencrypted format on customers' iPads, iPhones, and every computer a customer has used to back up his or her information. See Alasdair Allen & Pete Warden, Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is Recording Your Moves (Apr. 20, 2011), available at http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/04/apple-location-tracking.html.

READ MORE HERE

Okay, at least there are some women in the latest lip synch from American troops, because I've never understood men lip synching to a woman singing...but all I can say is DADT better end soon, cause they're busting out at the seams...


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After local bar THE DEN was forced close last year due to a devastating fire, plans immediately started to take shape to re-open the historic location with new owners and new name, which is aptly, The Phoenix. Bryan Beckstrand, one of the new owners, keeps the community up on progress through their blog as well as their status page. Here are the latest developments...

Over the weekend, we got the siding put up.
First, the old falling away, burned stucco was removed:

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The going theory is (I haven't bothered to verify for certain) the bar used to be some sort of housing for agriculultural employees back when it was built. We believe it was built in the 1950's. The somewhat bizarre door-shaped and window-shaped framing lends creedence to that theory so we'll go with it.

And, now the siding:

2011-04-16_17.01.34

This isn't quite what we expected even though it matches exactly what our engineered plans show. We thought it would be vertical rather than horizontal. We're not complaining -- the siding is a lot more secure than the plain wallboard you see in the "Before" picture -- but it really does make the bar look like a barn. A bright, sunshine yellow barn.

Next on the list: Buy paint that isn't bright, sunshine yellow.

(The grey paint on the door is covering even more graffiti. It was just a tag and nothing like the graffiti that brought ABC 30 out earlier.)

Bryan Beckstrand

getequal

Dear friends,

Over the past week, GetEQUAL organizers have been busy!

We confronted Maggie Gallagher, founder of the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage, to present her with the "First Annual Anita Bryant Award for Unbridled and Unparalleled Bigotry." (If you haven't seen the video, you should join the 12k+ folks who have watched it: http://www.youtube.com/getequal.)

We also organized Tax Day actions across the country at post offices and other locations to draw attention to the 1,138 rights that LGBT Americans are denied while paying the same amount in taxes each year as heterosexual Americans.

And, complementing the momentum we're seeing on the ground for marriage equality, we also saw a CNN poll that -- yet again -- indicated marriage equality is still rising in public opinion…meaning that groups like the National Organization for Marriage and others are on their way to extinction.

However, when we looked at the CNN poll, we saw something weird -- Americans under the age of 35 weren't polled. That's right -- in a national poll of likely 2012 voters, not one person under the age of 35 -- the most progressive and LGBT-friendly generation in history -- was included in the poll results!

What does that mean? It means that the 51% of Americans who favor marriage equality are actually -- if CNN had bothered to ask enough young people for a representative sample -- more like 54% or 55%. Why didn't CNN ask people under 35 what they thought? Who knows -- but we're tired of seeing media outlets continue to peddle a narrative that says that LGBT equality is a "controversial" issue.

Tell CNN that equality isn't divisive -- let young people be heard!

We're heading into an election season that will undoubtedly use LGBT Americans as a convenient "hot button issue" rather than respecting us as people who deserve more than headlines and poll numbers. It's time to start pushing back on outlets like CNN who continue to foster the notion that equality is a divisive, controversial issue.

To get ahead of this before the 2012 election begins dominating the news 24/7, we're partnering with Our Time to make sure that CNN doesn't undermine our community by making equality a more divisive issue than it actually is. Our goal is to collect 5,000 signatures demanding that CNN include the 60 million Americans under 35 in their polling. Once we've made our goal, Our Time will send 17 cell phones to CNN -- one to call the 18-year-olds they ignored, one for the 19-year-olds they ignored, etc. Snarky, right??

Help us make sure that millennials -- the most progressive generation ever -- aren't cut out of the political narrative. And help us make sure that media outlets like CNN don't get away with under-representing the vast majority of Americans who support equality. We deserve better than that!

Media outlets shouldn't be screening out progressive millennials -- tell CNN that we deserve better!

Thank you!

Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!

Robin McGehee, Director

localheroes 

“Celebrating Local Heroes”

(Fresno, Calif.) – The Central California Alliance and the Bulldog Pride Fund proudly present “Celebrating Local Heroes” on Wed. May 11th at the Smittcamp Alumni House on the Fresno State campus. The evening’s activities begins at 5:30 PM with a reception, which will be followed by the presentation of heroes – Robin McGehee (Meet in the Middle + GetEQUAL), Matthew Mazzei (Rainbow Delegation) and Andrew McIntosh (NCAA athlete, coach and educator).

Tickets are available for purchase now at the Fresno LGBT Community Center, located at 1055 N Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728. At the Community Center we accept cash or checks.

Current ticket prices are

Advance Tickets:

$5 Student / $10 CCA Members / $15 Non CCA Members

Event Day Tickets:

$10 – Students / $15 CCA Members / $20 Non CCA Members

You can also purchase tickets online at either…

www.ccafresno.org  OR  www.bulldogpride.org

FREE WORKSHOP

at Fresno LGBT Community Center

1055 N Van Ness Ave., Suite C
April 30th - 10:30am to 12:00pm

Tapping into Your Best Self: Discovering Emotional Freedom

  • 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.

About the Presenter:  Leslie Weiser, Psy.D.  is a Clinical Psychologist in practice at the Student Health Center, California State University Fresno (CSUF). Leslie earned a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in 1986 and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1999. She has previously worked in college counseling centers and in community mental health clinics serving low income people with serious mental health issues. Leslie currently provides services for students at Fresno State, including an LGBT+ personal growth group called Common Ground; she is also chair of the Allies Network Task Force, a group working to create safe space on campus for LGBT+ students.

 

Do you or someone you know want to do a workshop, regular activity or have suggestions for the center?  Please let us know!

I can't say enough about this article. Keli Goff nails the advanced and increasing claim by the rich and powerful that hard work is what got them where they are and that the rest of us just aren't doing enough to further ourselves. In a country more and more controlled by corporations and a government focused on making the rich richer and the poor poorer, it's amazing so many wealthy people, like the vacuous Gwyneth Paltrow continually bitch that others are just "jealous" of her...wow...

Sometimes the truth hurts -- especially when it's an embarrassing truth and someone calls you out on it in public. Gwyneth Paltrow, whose image, particularly in cyberspace, has taken quite a drubbing in the last year or two, recently called out her critics (or anyone who doesn't appear to be her biggest fan) with her version of truth telling.

In an interview with Popeater, Paltrow addressed just why she believes she has so many critics by saying:

GWYNETH

"I think my work ethic is the reason why I'm successful. I think that a lot of people don't want to put in effort and it's easier to not change, not do something good for you... [They're just] pissed off at someone else doing that. Everything in my life that's good is because I worked my ass off to get it and to maintain it."

Who can argue with that logic?

Actually allow me to do just that.

Let me start by saying that I happen to be someone who does not hate Gwyneth Paltrow or "GOOP" (whatever that is). I think she's pretty and talented, and on a side note her Oscar gown this year happened to be one of my favorites, but this interview finally made me understand why she engenders such enmity among so many. It's not because she's pretty and talented (okay, that may be part of it). It's because, like a lot of privileged people, she's under the delusion that she earned everything that she has, and then has the audacity to gloat about it.

In an age in which America's class-divide is greater than it's ever been, our patience has simply waned for the George W. Bush's and Gwyneth Paltrow's of the world -- people who were born on third base and act like they hit a triple. America was founded on the idea that everyone has equal opportunity to carve out their piece of the American Dream, but increasingly that's becoming less and less of a reality. And there's something infuriating about listening to people born into the Dream -- silver rattle in one hand, silver spoon in the other -- lecture the rest of us on how easy it is to obtain -- if we're just willing to "work our asses off" like they do.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY KELI GOFF HERE

Our government is one fu**ed up piece of work. We all know that the Obama Administration recently stated they will no longer defend parts of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) in federal courts because it's unconstitutional. Then tanned tool John Boehner declared that he'll (congress) defend it for the administration.

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Now, in the midst of some of the worst economic times this country has faced (unless you're a CEO or in the top 2% of America's wealth structure) Boehner has hired a legal team to the tune of $500,000 (to start with) to defend the unconstitutional law...

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans plan to pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement and his legal team from King & Spaulding as much as $500,000 of taxpayer money to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of House of Representatives, according to a document obtained by the Huffington Post.

"The General Counsel agrees to pay the Contractor for all contractual services rendered a sum not to exceed $500,000.00," the Contract for Legal Services obtained by The Huffington Post says. The cap could be raised "by written agreement between the parties with the approval" of the House, the document states.

The hourly rate that King & Spaulding will be receiving a "blended rate" of $520 per hour -- which could actually be considered a deal. Some reports say that the firm's top attorneys receive as much as $900 per hour. It will also be getting "75 percent of the Contractor's usual and customary rates for all reasonable non-attorney time expended in connection with the Litigation," as well as reimbursements for "reasonable expenses" related to the case.

READ MORE HERE

6th ANNUAL DIVERSITY CONFERENCE
California State University, Fresno

April 29, 2011

8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Henry Madden Library Rm. 2206

Theme: Campus Activism: 40 Years of Struggle, Setback, and Triumph

DETAILS: http://www.csufresno.edu/cvchi/ # # #

PDA (Progressive Democrats of America) is bringing its road show to Fresno, Santa Rosa, and Sacramento

Fresno, Apr 27, 2011, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Denny's Meeting Room
1110 E. Shaw Ave, Fresno CA 93710

Join National Director Tim Carpenter and Field Director Conor Boylan as they stop off in Fresno during their Healthcare NOT Warfare road show through California. This is in anticipation of the upcoming State Democratic Convention in Sacramento. They will have an open discussion about organizing inside and outside the party, talk about PDA’s plans in Sacramento and hear from you about organizing in Fresno.

Please RSVP here
http://www.pdamerica.org/events/view/california-healthcare-not-warfare-roadshow-comes-to-fresno

In light of the recent news that the Fair Act, which will include the contributions of LGBT Americans in school studies should it pass the State Assembly and is signed into California law by Governor Brown (it's already passed the State Senate), a Columbia University study came out today which shows that teen suicides are more common in conservative parts of the country. This means, more specifically, that school in such areas, which tend not to have programs supporting gay rights, contribute to a higher rate of teen suicide. The study takes into account already known factors such as depression and bullying, and still, in conservative areas, the suicide rate is higher, even among straight identifying teens.

GAY-SUICIDES-large570

So when Mark Leno, the author of the current bill weaving its way through California, states that teaching about LGBT Americans can help decrease bullying and teen suicide rates, he knows what he's talking about.

The study's social index rated counties on five measures: prevalence of same-sex couples; registered Democratic voters; liberal views; schools with gay-straight alliances; schools with policies against bullying gay students; and schools with antidiscrimination policies that included sexual orientation.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens living in counties with the lowest social index scores were 20 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than gays in counties with the highest index scores. Overall, about 25 percent of gay teens in low-scoring counties had attempted suicide, versus 20 percent of gay teens in high-scoring counties.

READ MORE HERE...

READ STUDY DETAILS HERE...

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Queerty, an internet website posting news and entertainment focused on the LGBT Community, and often a source of controversial commentary, has shut down after 5 years...the following message is from Queerty...

queerty

A message from Queerty

After more than five years of serving the LGBT community with news and entertainment, Queerty has come to a close. The decision to shutter the site was not an easy one to make, and it is with great pain that we say goodbye to our loyal readership. From all of Queerty's writers and contributors, from our first unto our last day, thank you for spending some time with us.

—Queerty and 353Media

Delaware's House of Representatives voted 26-15 Thursday night to grant legal status to same-sex civil unions, giving those couples the same rights, protections and obligations now granted only to married couples.


California may soon require the inclusion of the historical contributions of LGBT Americans to classroom teachings.

A California education bill requiring that notable gay, lesbian, bisexuals and transgender persons be added in social studies lessons under a landmark bill has passed in the California Senate. The legislation, called the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act passed on a 23-14 party line vote.

As sponsor Mark Leno points out in the attached video, "Since the 1970's, our education code has required that the role and contributions of women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans be included in our history studies."

Leno also cites the current rash of LGBT teen suicides as a result of the lack of inclusion of LGBT Americans in the discussion of Americans and their contributions.

The bill still has to clear the State Assembly and be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, which seems like a slam dunk as far as Brown is concerned. The bill may be signed into law by the end of the summer.

READ MORE HERE


Gay Central Valley was pleased to present Peter Robertson (BA '92, MA '95, MBA '05) with the "Spirit of Caring Award", sponsored by James & Coke Hallowell, at the HandsOn Central California Volunteer Of The Year Awards ceremony, held on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011. He also received a Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama.

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Robertson was nominated by Gay Central Valley, who also nominated volunteer Jaymi Morgan and the volunteers of the Gay Central Valley Community Engagement Team.

Peter Robertson was presented with the award by Chris Jarvis, Vice President of Gay Central Valley, during the luncheon awards ceremony.

Peter Robertson was a founding member of United Student Pride and co-founder of Fresno Reel Pride. He also founded the Bulldog Pride Fund, an endowment that provides student scholarships at Fresno State. A member of the Central California Alliance, Peter has been a board member and editor and currently serves as its secretary. He has held positions on many non-profit boards including Tree Fresno, the Fresno Ballet and the Fresno Grand Opera.

Peter is currently the Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Programs for Fresno State, as well as the coordinator for the nationally and internationally recognized and award winning "I am Fresno State" social media and video project.

During his introduction, Chris Jarvis said, "I've known Peter for 20 years, but it's only been in the last 6 years that I've come to know Peter on the level of a volunteer and activist. When HandsOn asked who we'd like to nominate, I could think of only one person, Peter Robertson. He gives everything he's got, every day, to a variety of volunteer and nonprofit efforts."

Gay Central Valley is proud to see all of our nominations honored.

The Fresno Stonewall Democrats present…

“MOVE FORWARD FRESNO – TOLERANCE THROUGH EQUALITY” Campaign Launch

moveforward

Spring Brunch – Saturday, April 16th 2011

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

Special Guests: Judge Kevin McCarthy & Local Activist Robin McGeHee

1044 N Van Ness Avenue Fresno, CA 93728

Purchase Tickets & Advertising ONLINE by visiting the

Official Fresno Stonewall Democrat Website

http://fresnostonewall.com/wordpress/

heroes

• Robin McGehee: Meet in the Middle + GetEQUAL
• Matthew Mazzei: Rainbow Delegation
• Andrew McIntosh: NCAA Athlete, Coach & Educator

Wed. May 11th • Smittcamp Alumni House • Fresno State
5:30 PM Reception • Appetizers provided • Wines by the glass available
6:30 PM Introductions & Presentations • 7:00 PM Q & A Session

Advance tickets:   $05 students • $10 CCA Members • $15 Guests
Event Day tickets:          $10 students • $15 CCA Members • $20 Guests

Purchase tickets online: www.ccafresno.orgwww.bulldogpride.org

(Fresno, Calif.) – The Central California Alliance and the Bulldog Pride Fund proudly present “Celebrating Local Heroes” on Wed. May 11th at the Smittcamp Alumni House on the Fresno State campus. The evening’s activities begins at 5:30 PM with a reception, which will be followed by the presentation of heroes – Robin McGehee (Meet in the Middle + GetEQUAL), Matthew Mazzei (Rainbow Delegation) and Andrew McIntosh (NCAA athlete, coach and educator).

“Fresno is lucky to have three nationally-recognized heroes,” said Gary Mykins, CCA president. “Each has made positive impacts on behalf of the GLBTQ community.”

Advance tickets are priced at $5 for students, $10 for CCA members, and $15 for guests. Ticket prices are increased by $5 on the day of the event. Purchase tickets online @

About ROBIN McGEHEE
Robin McGehee is a transplant from Jackson, Miss. who received her M.A. in human communication, with an emphasis on public speaking, interpersonal and intercultural communication, from Fresno State. She is an instructor at College of the Sequoias and believes that “When We Speak, We Shape the World!”. She received the Martin Luther King, Jr. award for her work with Youth Empowerment, as well as a Freedom of Speech award from the Fresno Free College Foundation which operates KFCF 88.1 FM. She worked for four years with the GSA Network and Fresno Reel Pride Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

McGehee helped organize Meet in the Middle for Equality, a statewide reaction to the passage of Prop 8; and co-directed the successful National Equality March in Washington D.C. Recently, she co-founded GetEQUAL – a direct action organization. She has been arrested twice after being handcuffed to the White House fence as a way to draw attention to the needed repeal of Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. Robin McGehee may be contacted via GetEQUAL @ www.getequal.org.


About MATTHEW MAZZEI
Matthew Mazzei, a native of Fresno, is the founder of the Rainbow Delegation, a campaign which has quickly become an international effort to provid pport for the LGBTQ community by wearing rainbow-colored wristbands. Since the fall of 2010, the Rainbow Delegation has managed to provide, free-of-charge, more than 45,000 wristbands to people in some 50-plus countries. He has been selected by Advocate magazine as “A reason to have pride” and will be featured in the June 2011 issue.

“The rainbow is a universal symbol of pride, strength and community,” says Mazzei. “Simply wearing a rainbow wristband shows others d that they belong.”

He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in music at Fresno State. When he is not focusing his   efforts on the administration of the Rainbow Delegation, Mazzei performs his duties as concertmaster of the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, and as a violinist in the Fresno Philharmonic and Fresno Grand Opera. See Matthew Mazzei and the Rainbow Delegation @ www.rainbowdelegation.org.


About ANDREW MCINTOSH
Andrew McIntosh graduated from State University of New York College at Oneonta with a B.S. in adolescence education. As a student, he was a co-captain on the Men’s Lacrosse Team.
During his senior season he “came out” on an online essay featured on OutSports.com. This essay touched the hearts of many people across the world and he was featured in many notable publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

In June of 2010, Andrew was featured in Advocate magazine as “One of 150 reasons to have pride.” This was followed by being named to Out magazine’s Out 100 list – an honor that recognized “100 influential men and women that have inspired, changed and shaped the world in 2010.”  Currently is a teacher, coach and professional speaker. This fall, McIntosh will pursue a master’s degree at Fresno State for counseling.  Andrew McIntosh is represented by CampusSpeak @

Saturday, April 23 · 1:00pm - 5:00pm
The Big Red Church, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd.
This year's event will once again feature Dakota Draconi, activist, parent, abuse survivor, and dynamic public speaker. Her topic will be Child Abuse in America. Dakota is a powerful speaker, who addresses over 2500 people per year in her fight to end the epidemic of child abuse in this country.

If you've heard Dakota speak in the past, this is the perfect opportunity to hear her again, and to bring your friends and family.

Even if you are not interested in participating in this event, we hope that you will let others know about the opportunity to hear this moving speech. In addition to Dakota's talk, we will provide an opportunity for survivors to speak about their experiences, and hold a Survivors Medallion ceremony to honor those who have broken their silence. If you or your organization are interested in helping to spread the word about this event, please let us know and we will provide promotional materials.

THIS EVENT IS FREE & FREE CHILD CARE WILL BE PROVIDED.

bts-2011-flyer
Facebook event page

Club Legends hosts The "RED" Party. April 17th from 4-8pm
A Fundraiser for WeC.A.R.E. Fresno with a special Cover Girls Show at 9pm
Tickets are available at WeC.A.R.E., The Livingroom, or Community Specialty Health Clinic

Tickets are just $5.00 at the door.
With door prizes, information booths, BBQ, and faffles sponsored by: ONE Next Generation Condoms, Gay Central Valley, Reel Pride, Rainbow Delegation, Fresno Celebrity SockMonkey®, Reflections and Suzie's Adult Superstore.

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday in welcoming the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, those who donated sponsorships, prizes and especially our wonderful Volunteers.

Channel 30's clip of the event:

San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus This Sunday in Fresno
Today's the day!

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus will be performing at

Fresno State this Sunday, April 10th at 2:30 PM


Tickets are available at the Satellite Student Student Union box office on Sunday starting at 1:45pm


$15 for Students, $25 General Admission and $40 Front of House VIP Tickets



Parking is relaxed (FREE) that day, too. The closest parking lots are LOTS O and P, which are located behind the Satellite Student Union. Enter the campus from either Barstow and Cedar or Barstow and Chestnut: http://www.csufresno.edu/ucomm/maps/pdf/CampusMapLTR.pdf

Time is RUNNING OUT! If you'd like to get your advanced tickets to see the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus THIS SUNDAY at Fresno State, visit GayCentralValley.org right now...Currently ticket prices are $10 Student, $20 General Admission and $40 VIP (Premium Seating)...Those prices are only in effect for TWO MORE DAYS...the prices GO UP on the day of the event...

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So many humans spend their lives working to promote their frame of reference, their belief system, their thought processes and the way they think others should behave. Why, on this one planet, are we as humans, a single species, so inept at accepting each other?

Watch the attached video and imagine yourself on Earth, even your own particular corner of Earth. Watch as the camera pulls away and moves farther and farther away from our home planet. Watch and revel in just how vast a universe we are lucky to live in, to survive and even thrive in.

This is the opening to one of my all time favorite movies, CONTACT. The opening is built off of scientific study of the universe. It's backed up by fact, and although it's created digitally, it's an accurate depiction of our known universe.

After watching it, try to rationalize to yourself the inequity of our world. Reason through the injustices, the hatred, the prejudice and the economic and political imbalance mired in the foundation of America and other countries. See if you can explain to yourself why we are so divided when in fact, we are very much alone.

We are an un-noticed speck buried in a vast expanse. We are, as it stands now, insignificant, at least in terms of the whole. It's hard to fathom, since the volume of space is literally too complex for the human brain to comprehend.

So how do we, being such an insignificant speck of dust, work so hard at destroying those who are different than us?

It tends to give you a good dose of perspective...

...

Dear friends,

We did it!!

I just got off the phone with Petty Officer Derek Morado, the servicemember who was facing discharge today in California despite "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" having been repealed 100 days ago.

derek

In short, I have great news to report -- by a vote of 3-0, Derek was recommended for retention. With your help, Derek gets to not only save his career, but walk prouder -- without the burden of discrimination on his shoulders.

This is good news for a few reasons -- it shows the power of grassroots efforts to apply pressure and the reality that, when we expose the truth and stand up for our dignity, we win. We don't know how many other servicemembers are facing discharge, but we will not rest until all Americans -- LGB and T -- are free to serve their country freely, openly, honestly, and without danger of discharge.

Today was a victory, and we're grateful to Derek for lending his story and his voice to highlight the fact that servicemembers are still facing the discharge process, even 100 days after the law was repealed. We're also grateful to our friends at AMERICAblog Gay, who partnered with us to send Derek into the courtroom with the names of thousands of supporters who were unwilling to let this happen without pushing back.

This was a good day and I thank each of you who supported this effort. The GetEQUAL community means the world to me, and I know that, tonight, Derek will hit the pillow with a lot less stress and a lot more PRIDE because of you. Thank you!

Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!

Robin McGehee, Director

getequal2


Send us your pet peeves, your rants against insanity, your bitches. We're looking for what ticks you off on a daily basis. Please, no obscenity, and keep it rational. We're not looking for things you just dislike, we're looking for those annoyances that drive us crazy on a daily basis, things others do without any thought to the rest of the world. Send submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There are truly too many things that bother me throughout the day to list here... however, as a nurse working with not only patients, but families as well, I will bitch about this one thing: telling the nurse how and when to do her job. Really, we go to school for 4 years (if you count all of the prerequisites), and then we train for a specific amount of time. And many of us go on to work in specialties which require further education and training. So do you think we need the opinions and evaluations of lay people? No.

Example: A patient is going to go to surgery to have his gallbladder removed. During the preparation for the surgery, a small bag of Ancef, an antibiotic, is hung next to the larger IV bag. Ancef is used often prior to surgery as a prophylaxis to infection (our skin is literally crawling with cooties that when the skin is cut with a scalpel, ooze into the newly created wound). By infusing Ancef within 60 minutes of cut time, the risk of infection drops considerably. So back to this patient… once the preparation is complete, and the patient awaits his turn in the OR, the patient’s family starts discussing the fact that the nurse has yet to infuse the antibiotic. “Should we tell her?” the family is overheard saying. “She probably forgot.” “Maybe we should just turn it on”, another says. At this point I intervene and ask is there anything they need, are they cold, etc…

“You forgot to turn on the antibiotic.” No, of course I didn’t because I do this damn job everyday… how could I possibly forget? But instead I say, “No, I haven’t forgotten. We actually will turn it on just before he goes to the OR”. And I explain why. I recognize that education is a major component in nursing. It’s one of the facets of nursing I most enjoy. But the thing that really bugs me is! when people tell you what to do. It seems that people have lost the ability to be humble (and quiet). I understand the idea of being an advocate for your family. We have all heard too many stories of people being mistreated or misdiagnosed; however, there is an appropriate way to address your concerns without questioning the professional abilities of the nurse. Just be considerate… is that too much to ask?

 

Hi my name is José I'm 24 and Latino. I was only 23 when I came out to my mother this is how it happened. We went shopping at Manchester mall and she was about to go to Mexico and I seed she might not come back so I said "Mom I'm gay" and while saying it this guy was giving me a look like hey come here and let's do something. I was laughing in my head but yeah that is my coming out story. Later when she came back she outed me to everyone and that's how all my family found out about me.
(((~*Joser*~)))

    

Hello my name is Sarah Waters and I want to tell you my coming out story.

Well here it goes, "I was 15 years old and I was in a bad car accident. My grandfather was killed and I was badly hurt. Well my grandfather had told me that morning he knew what I was and live my life the way I would be happy. Well the morning after my family came to get me from the hospital it was so hard from me to say anything to my family but it take me two weeks and I asked my mom to sit down with me and I told her that I was different then most girls. And I came to say mom I don't like boys that way and I like girls. Well it took about a year later to tell my father I was a lesbian. But my family was okay with it and some of them said they knew that I was a lesbian when they saw me at my grandfathers memorial, back in 1998. And I have not looked back!
Thank you
Sarah waters

ImageAccording to Barney Frank, a vote for ENDA in the House will happen in the next couple of weeks. He states that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has promised him that.

On the subject of LGBT Equality, Frank said, ’’We’re gonna win this battle, there’s no question.... I know people are frustrated, ’Well, we’re always fighting.’ Of course we’re always fighting, because we have taken on a major task: eradicating one of the great prejudices of human history. ’So, of course, we’re going to keep fighting until it’s all over.’’

Read more here... 

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(Send us your pet peeves, your rants against insanity, your bitches. We're looking for what ticks you off on a daily basis. Please, no obscenity, and keep it rational. We're not looking for things you just dislike, we're looking for those annoyances that drive us crazy on a daily basis, things others do without any thought to the rest of the world. Send submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I'll start the ball rolling with a couple of my own...)

Right Lane Without a Brain...

I'm shocked how often I mention this to people and get a confused look in return. Basically, I'm saying to stay out of the right lane of the freeway unless you're just getting off or just getting on...the freeway, that is. We all seem to be aware of the right lane, left lane rule if we're on a windy mountain road. The right lane is for driving, the left lane is for passing. So what happens to everyone when a third lane is presented? Well, in Fresno, people grip the right lane for miles as if there are military tanks and monsters coming after them if they move over.

This is how it works with 3 lanes on the freeway, people, so listen up...The right lane is for getting on and off the freeway, the middle lane is for driving, and the left lane is for passing. It's simple. Just as simple as that mountain road 2 lane thing. So why do so many people in Fresno drive nonstop in the right lane of the freeway. You know what that does? It slows everyone down and is very dangerous on top of it. When the right laners are forced to move over, they interrupt the traffic flow of everyone else, and when the rest of us need to get over to exit, we have to fight to do it. How many of us have had the experience of trying to get on the freeway, just to have a whole line of right laners on top of us? And I can't count the number of times these right lane no brains have been forced to move to the middle lane (I do my best to block them if I see it coming) to let someone on, only to move immediately back to the right lane again, so they can play dodge ball at the next onramp? Get out the way!

Fearless and Clueless

I don't know when it started or how it started. When I was a kid, we were told certain things and expected to follow certain rules. One was to stay out of the streets if you weren't in a car. We walked on the sidewalks. No one ever tried to step outside that boundary as far as I can remember, because there were simple reason for it. Roads are for cars, and sidewalks, or at least the very edge of the road, was for people. Why? Because cars will kill you if they hit you. And they're in the right place, on the road, so what are you going to do about it. For me it falls under the same category as don't stick your hand in the toaster, don't hit yourself in the head with a hammer, and don't jump over the fence at the zoo to pet the pretty lions.

Now, if I see anyone walking on the sidewalk, I'm taken aback. In my neighborhood, virtually everyone walks down the middle of the street. Any time, day or night, as if the sidewalks are unrecognizable to them, as if they can't even imagine what they're for. The other day two teenagers were strolling down the street, straddling the middle line. I had room to go around them, but I chose not to. I slowly drove up behind them and it wasn't until I was literally on their tails that they noticed me. They looked back, I raised my arms as if to say "What the hell are you doing in the street?" and they just looked angry, like I was the idiot, and stepped about a foot to the side. When I looked in my rear view mirror, they were right back on the middle line.

Add to this, that now, as opposed to when the sane generations grew up, parents place their kid's basketball nets not at the top of the driveway, by the garage door, but at the very bottom of the driveway, facing the street. It's almost as if parents are thinking of ways to have their kids killed. I actually stopped four kids from tossing a baseball back and forth down the very middle of the street last year because two parked cars were hit with the ball. When I yelled and explained to them there was a park literally one block away where they could throw in a big open area, what do you think they did. Right, looked at me confused, having no idea what a "park" was.

Now, tell us what ticks you off...

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ImageAll over this nation, and the world, individuals are making their way into court after court, attempting to use their religious belief systems as a way to circumvent the law. Specifically, laws on discrimination. It's at the forefront of the battle here in the U.S. over same sex marriage. Basically, those with religious beliefs claim they cannot be expected to abide by various laws if it conflicts with whatever construct of mythology they've chosen to use as a foundation for their everyday lives.

Now, there's a judge in the UK who's made the case against this sort of litigation crystal clear. I've never heard a judge issue such a brilliantly sensible argument against the claim that religious belief should allow exemption from the laws everyone else must adhere to.

A counselor in the UK, who worked with straight couples regarding sexual intimacy issues, was terminated from his position because he refused to treat same sex couples due to his religious beliefs. He went to court, claiming "religious discrimination". A tribunal threw out his case, so he approached the High Court, who has now, under the leadership of Lord Justice Laws, has now also thrown the case out.

The judge stated that religious beliefs cannot trump the law when it comes to individual protection against discrimination.  He said 'We do not live in a society where all the people share uniform religious beliefs. The precepts of any one religion - any belief system - cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other.'

When the judge was confronted with the notion that he was suggesting that religious belief homophobia, an irrational fear of homosexuality, were equal, he was setting a dangerous precedent. The judge was quick to shoot that idea down, firmly denying he'd ever made such a comparison and that there clearly was a misunderstanding about the laws protecting people from discrimination.

He stated, 'In a free constitution such as ours there is an important distinction to be drawn between the law's protection of the right to hold and express a belief and the law's protection of that belief's substance or content.'

He went on to say, 'But the conferment of any legal protection of preference upon a particular substantive moral position on the ground only that it is espoused by the adherents of a particular faith, however long its tradition, however long its culture, is deeply unprincipled.'

Finally, he issued the following, genius bit of wisdom...

'The law must be clear that anti-discrimination laws exist to protect people, not beliefs.

'The right to follow a religious belief is a qualified right and it must not be used to legitimise discrimination against gay people who are legally entitled to protection against bigotry and persecution. Fundamentalists are mounting one challenge after another in courts and employment tribunals. They are trying hard to undermine the laws that protect gay people from discrimination.  They are seeking to create a hierarchy of rights that places Christian dogma over the rights of people to fair treatment.

They must not be allowed to succeed.'

Amen...now if they would just take off those ridiculous wigs...

Read More Of This Story HERE...

 

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A new scholarship, the TimeOut Spirit Award, will support the student(s) portraying Fresno State’s mascot in perpetuity. It has been established under the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund, an endowed scholarship of the Fresno State Alumni Association.

“We’re thrilled to provide an academic scholarship that demonstrates true Bulldog loyalty, pride and spirit,” said Peter Robertson, Fresno State alumnus and founder of the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund. “In just five years, we’ve raised nearly $173,00 in donations and will, by fall 2010, have distributed $21,000 in student scholarships.”

The inaugural TimeOut Spirit Award of $2,000 will be granted on Oct. 15, 2010 to coincide with Fresno State’s Centennial Celebration and the Fresno State Alumni Association’s Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala.

• Check out the TimeOut Spirit Award on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TimeOut-Spirit-Award/115585001803881

• Details: www.bulldogpride.org 

 COPYRIGHTED TIMEOUT PHOTO BY SEANCLICK.COM. USED BY PERMISSION.

 

"Beyond Monogamy (Lessons From Long Term Male Couples in Non-Monogamous Relationships)" is a new study published in February of this year. The study was conducted by a same sex male couple, Blake Spears and Lanz Lowen, who've been in a non-monogamous relationship for the past 35 years.  They decided to conduct the study of 86 male couples because of the lack of information available about the issue. While there are many claims as to the percentage of same sex male couples who are involved in some form of non-monogamous relationship (some say 50%, some higher) the couple found no available "road map" for couples who choose this form of relationship.

According to the authors, “Most research shows that approximately two-thirds of long-term male couples who have been together for five years or more are honestly non-monogamous,” and that “Multiple studies have found no differences in relationship quality or satisfaction between samples of sexually exclusive and non-exclusive male couples.”

One of the surprising finds in the study was the maintenance level required for non-monogamous relationships. While it may seem that such an agreement would make things less defined and thus, easier, in an open relationship, the study suggests otherwise. Many couples referred to a long list of maintenance variables in such relationships, from adapting specific rules and boundaries, to consistent attention to the main couple's personal well being, as in dealing with feelings of jealousy and resentment. So while it may at first appear that an open relationship takes all the pressure off, the study tends to suggest the opposite.

A disclaimer sits on the main page of the couple's website, acknowledging the possibility of such a study being used by the Religious Right to illuminate the "dangers" of same sex marriage. An honest concern for anyone providing this kind of information, but irrelevant to those who are thinkers. The civil rights of marriage and the sexual practices of those involved are irrelevant to one another. Does that mean this sort of information couldn't be successful for the other side? Of course not. Their side has succeeded so far by basing their entire premise on lies and mythology. Those tactics, however, should not prevent the dissemination of information of any kind.

Visit the website here: The Couples Study  A copy of the study can be found here: The Couples Study pdf

 ImageImage

(above, center, me in 1981 - above, far right, current picture)

I graduated high school in 1980, in Chugiak, Alaska. Early the next year, I moved back to California.

Soon afterwards, things changed dramatically for me. I met someone and began a relationship, moving in with him and his roommate in a house in the Tower District. While I had obviously come out to the new man in my life and our friends, I said nothing to my family, or to most of my other friends. I dodged questions about girlfriends and at work I kept my personal life to myself.

In the spring of 1981 my new partner and I had been given an opportunity to move to the east coast, stay with his relatives in New York, and start a life there. Seeing New York had always been a dream of mine so I wasn't about to pass it up. I'd be able to start fresh and not worry about coming out to my family and friends. I couldn't really leave without seeing my parents again, so I trekked back to Alaska for a couple of weeks.

I wanted to tell my mother I was gay. But running through the scenario in my head a million times, it didn't usually end well. I felt I should tell them since I'd be moving across the country and would, in some ways, be shielded from the repercussions. On the other hand, it was also a perfect excuse to not tell them, which is what I decided after about a day back in Alaska.

Later, only a couple of days before I was to get on the plane and head back to California, I started not feeling well. It began early one morning with some pain just below my stomach. I brushed it off most of the day, but it soon became apparent that something was very wrong. By late afternoon I was doubled up in agony, the kind of excruciating pain I'd never felt. Before I knew it, less than 12 hours after the pain started, I was being rushed to the hospital.

 

We want your Coming Out stories and videos...send submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

June is right around the corner, bringing another Gay Pride Month for all. Gay Pride Parades and Festivals began in 1970 as a way to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City. While many actions over the years have propelled the Gay Rights Movement forward, the Stonewall Riots are commonly referred to as the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement. Last year was the 40th anniversary of the Riots, and we'll provide more on that and much more of the Gay Rights Movement's history as June approaches.

But we want to hear from you. We want your coming out stories. It's not as difficult as it once was to come out of the closet, but it's still hard. We're looking for interesting, moving and funny stories of what it's like for people from this community to come out, both past and present. Length is not a factor, so don't feel it has to be a novel. A simple paragraph will do, more if you're so inclined. It's important that those in the community focus on this shared experience from time to time, both to remember how far we've come as well as to give hope to others, particularly the younger generation, and show them that while it may be a hard thing to go through, we endure.

Not comfortable writing? Send us a video clip in which you tell your story.

Send your submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and please send a photo if you like. Coming out, for all of us, is now and always has been vital to the forward momentum of our civil rights movement. The more stories and faces that make themselves known as "just like anyone else", the less people will continue to misunderstand us.

In an effort to get things started, I am posting my own story...as well as posting a coming out video I found online...

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ImageSo closing arguments in the Prop 8 trial will happen during Pride month. Ironic. I'd always hoped a decision in our favor would happen in the month of June, to add a whole lot of symbolism to it, but now it's not likely. We still don't know how long after hearing closing arguments that Judge Walker is expected to hand down a decision.

Another factor takes play in May, when a motion to strike Dr. Tam's testimony by the defense will be considered. Tam's testimony certainly weighs in our favor, but should it be stricken, we still have plenty on our side of the case to warrant a victory.

Read More Here......

 

According to the latest report by the American Lung Association, the air in California sucks, and specifically, Fresno ranks among the worst cities in terms of air quality in the nation.

And of course, the recommendations of the ALA consistently suggest that individuals reduce such things as driving and using their fireplaces, while corporations get little mention. This, despite the fact that corporations are responsible for our poisoned environment. Why is the focus on individuals? Because no one is rushing to put any restrictions on corporations, just individuals.

The recent report by the ALA shows that there have been many improvements in air quality, but California isn't in that list. We breathe some of the worst air in the nation, with 74% of California counties receiving a grade of "F".

Our air results in higher rates of asthma and cardiovascular disease. Believe it or not, more Californians die each year from dirty air than die in auto accidents. On the list of worst cities in terms of ozone, annual particle pollution and short term particle pollution, Fresno ranks 4th, 6th and 2nd. That's a national figure, not a state wide figure...

Read more here...

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I found this story today on Huffington Post, and through reading the comments I found this related video clip. If you visit the YouTube page where the video clip is located, you'll find many, many others on the same subject. These are about Bank of America and the way they treat their customers, but other banks are just as guilty. The video is courtesy of a woman fired by B of A for putting customers into programs which allowed them to make their payments, and the following link is a harrowing story of how a B of A practice sent a man to the nut house...

HUFFINGTON POST - The Ballad Of Francis Timothy Coleman

ImageArizona's Governor, Jan Brewer, Republican, who we've outlined here before as having radical ideas about merging government and religion, has done it again. She's signed into law the controversial immigration bill in here state which will do the following:

Police may detain people they "reasonably suspect" are in the country without authorization. Police can charge immigrants for a crime if they are not carrying their citizenship documents with them. It allows residents to sue cities if they believe the law is not being enforced to their liking.

Brewer signed the bill, despite the fact that her office received over 15,000 calls and letters, 85% of which were opposed to the bill. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva supposedly closed his office at Noon today after receiving threatening calls. Grijalva has been very public in his opposition to the bill, even suggesting economic sanctions against his home state, and telling groups with pending events in Arizona to take them elsewhere if they too are opposed to the legislation.

The Obama administration is investigating the law, to see whether it's constitutional. 

Read more here...   and here...

 

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A major decision was reached this week by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison. In a case brought by the group Freedom From Religion, the judge ruled that the National Day Of Prayer, established 58 years ago, is unconstitutional. Crabb stated, "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."

Now the Obama administration has decided to appeal the ruling, after several members of Congress condemned the ruling. The administration has stated that the National Day Of Prayer simply "acknowledges the role of religion in the United States."

Laurie Gaylor, the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, criticized the administration and Obama in particular. "I would have expected something better from a legal scholar," she said.

The ruling will only go into effect after all appeals have been exhausted.

These kinds of rulings, which strive to keep religion out of government, are vital to begin to break the influence of religion over all aspects of our lives, such as the current struggle for LGBT civil rights. If we begin to enact these sorts of legislative measures, it will have a positive influence on the nation, restricting the mythology that is religion from influencing our political process. It's unfortunate that the Obama administration bows down to weak minded Congressional representatives who clearly don't understand the concept and the critical reasons for the separation of church and state.

LGBT activists should see this as an opportunity to speak out in favor of the judge's ruling. Keeping religion out of government may end up being the only way we ever see our civil rights obtained.

Read More Here...

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It's hard to believe, but the Archie comic book series is introducing a new character...a gay one. Archie comics, which has been around since 1941, says it's creating the new character to "keep the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive." I read Archie comics growing up. I remember waiting for the all important Archie digests to come out, putting the comics in book form stock full of stories and images. While there are a multitude of comics with gay characters, I couldn't have predicted this one, although we all kind of thought Jughead might be gay...

Read more here......

ImageDear Ryan,

Twenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter.

I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured.

When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know.

When the media heralded you as an "innocent victim" because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded America that all victims of AIDS are innocent.

While making a speech tonight in Los Angeles in support of Barbara Boxer, President Barack Obama was shouted down by a group of LGBT activists, organized through GetEqual.org. Several times, the President stopped to respond to those shouting out, at one point asking them if they'd like to come up to the platform to speak. The protest was for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and equal rights for LGBT Americans. The President responded with various comments, regularly reminding those present that both he and Boxer agreed with them, that the work has already begun on those issues, and that they might be better served by shouting at those that disagreed with their stand, adding at the end that Barbara Boxer didn't even vote for DADT.

Read more here...  and here...

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More video on our YouTube page...click the link in the menu on the left...more to be uploaded soon...

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ImageImage  click on images to enlarge for viewing...

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! We invite you to join us for our first LGBT Open House and Dance Class at BallroomLIVE Dance Studio.  

 

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 is hosting an OPEN HOUSE on April 21 & 28, 2010 from 7:30 PM to 9 PM. During the Open House you may tour the new studio, enjoy refreshments and participate in an LGBT dance class. $10 per person.

Visit the studio website here: 

BallroomLIVEFresno.com

DANCE HERE. DANCE NOW. DANCE LIVE.

BallroomLIVE 5721 N. First St. Fresno CA  93710

Washington (CNN) -- President Obama has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation privileges to gay and lesbian partners.

It's something all of us can understand. Having a loved one in the hospital and being restricted from being near them because of our sexuality or gender identity. For those of us who've actually faced this situation, regardless of when and where, a mention of the circumstances is all it takes to bring that emotion back in full force. Today, hearing about President Obama's directive to institute policy which will change hospital rules in order to allow LGBT partners to be with their loved ones and to allow the patients themselves to designate their own "circle of intimacy" so that anyone the patient sanctions can be allowed in the room with them, I myself was taken back to a time when I faced this situation.

In my situation, I was luckier than most.

In the early 1990's I lived with my partner at the time in the same house I live in today with my current, legally married husband. Michael and I had lived together here for only a year before our lives fell into chaos. Michael began feeling badly, having trouble breathing, and in an extremely short period of time, I was rushing him to the emergency room.

I can't say any of it is a blur, since it's all still very clear to me. I knew that Michael had HIV, but he'd made the decision to tell virtually no one else. He even made me promise not to tell hospital staff, which I reluctantly agreed to at first just to keep him calm. The year was 1993-1994 and HIV and AIDS was a very different animal. This was just before the "miracle" drugs came out, when the destructive AZT was the drug of choice and when doctors were still very much in the dark about the disease. Michael was robust and healthy up until the day I took him to the emergency room. No one could have seen it coming. He'd also chosen to treat himself with handfuls of vitamins, minerals and herbs rather than the toxic alternatives offered at the time. The stigma for someone living with HIV/AIDS was also very different. I disagreed with Michael keeping it secret from those treating him, but it was a simple fact that at that time you had to be very careful who you told.

ImageRoy Ashburn, the GOP Senator who was recently exposed as gay after he was pulled over for drunk driving after leaving a gay club, has pleaded no contest to the charges. He was sentenced to two days of jail time, three years probation, $2,000 in fines and had his license suspended for 30 days.

Ashburn came out of the closet shortly after the event and will not be seeking re-election.

Read more here... 

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(Hucakbee) also affirmed support for a law in Arkansas that prohibits same-sex couples from becoming adoptive or foster parents. “I think this is not about trying to create statements for people who want to change the basic fundamental definitions of family,” Huckabee said. “And always we should act in the best interest of the children, not in the seeming interest of the adults.”

“Children are not puppies,” he continued. “This is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out, how does this work?” http://tcnjperspective.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/huckabee-rips-steele-romney-lgbt-activists-4/

 

Okay, first off, that is awesome that Arkansas has so many foster and adoptive parents that they simply do not need anymore.  Wow!  So, there is not a single child in Arkansas that does not have a safe and loving home?  Amazing!  Good for you, Arkansas!

Hmm, “best interest of the children, not the seeming interest of the adults.”  Wow, that one is a stumper.  I guess in Arkansas, the “best interest of the children” is to remain parentless, if the only parents available are gay or lesbian.  Oh, wait!  There ARE no available children in Arkansas, remember?  And, those great heterosexuals who took them in have no “seeming interest” in them, I guess.  Wow, I wonder how they get them to fill out the forms with so little interest?

(San Francisco) Gay rights activists say they have failed to qualify a measure that would repeal California’s same-sex marriage ban for the November ballot. Restore Equality 2010 chairman Sean Bohac says the volunteer-run group fell short of gathering the nearly 695,000 signatures needed to put the initiative before voters. Monday was the deadline for submitting the signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Bohac says Restore Equality’s failed effort was undermined by the decision of more established gay rights groups not to participate in the campaign.

He says same-sex marriage supporters now are turning their attention to trying to repeal Proposition 8 in 2012.

A lawsuit to overturn Prop. 8 also is pending before a federal trial judge.

Source: Associated Press

ImageDrag Queen in the Court of Death

Author : Caro Soles

Review By: Leon Velasco

Rating: One Thumb Up- One Down

For a murder mystery I thought that it would be a great read. It reads as if a high school student wrote it. It has a simple formulated plot. Not many characters and not very many different scenarios. For a book that had received many awards, I was sure it was going to be more elaborate, but it wasn’t very complicated to follow. I thank god this book was given to me; I would have been more disappointed had I bought it. If you need a book just to pass the time like at the DMV or the line for paying a traffic ticket at the court house, then this would be the book.

While cleaning out is ex-lover Ronnie’s apartment, staid history professor Michael Dunn-Barten makes a grisly discovery- a mummified corpse in a trunk. Suddenly Michael must travel back 25 years to find the answers by revisiting everyone who knew Ronnie. Back to the 1960’s, back to the realization of his sexuality and the boy he loved. Back to the troubling time when his wife threw him out and his family disowned him. Back to uncover disturbing answers amidst drag queens and murky memories- and to reveal whether or not his first real love was truly a twisted killer. DRAG QUEEN in the COURT of Death is a taut thriller about a man who needs to face his past in order to forge a future. He must unravel a mystery that’s a quarter century old- no matter how painful the truth may be.

--“A First Rate Mystery…A great read and well worth a special trip to the bookstore.”

     -- Mark Zubro, author of the Tom and Scott mystery series

--“A Seductive Blend of Camp Humor, Pathos, and Anticipation”

     –Anthony Bidulka, author of Russell Quant mystery series

--“Be Prepared to Clear Your Schedule for a Few Days…This is one of Those Books That Once Begun, Can’t Be Put Down”

     –Marcy Scheiner, author of Sex for the Clueless & Perfectly Normal: A Mother’s Memoir

A San Mateo judge has rejected an initiative petition signature captured using an iPhone touch screen, dealing a setback to the technology's proponents, who say it could help low-cost, grassroots initiative campaigns qualify for the ballot.

In line with a tentative ruling issued last month, San Mateo Superior Court Judge George Miram ruled that the initiative petition signature submitted by a founder of Verafirma does not meet the requirements for petition signatures set out in the state's election code.

Miram wrote in the order, dated last Friday and filed Monday, that the electronic petition did not meet requirements for "an elections official to determine whether the voter personally affixed their signature to the petition" without additional information.

"Merely viewing the virtual 'petition' without an explanation of the technology prevents an election official from determining whether the voter personally affixed their signature or some other technology was employed whereby a third party affixed the signature," Miram wrote.

But Verafirma co-founder Jude Barry, a Democratic political consultant, countered that reviewing a signature captured electronically should be considered no different for an election official than viewing one on a paper petition. If anything, he said, the technology creates safeguards nonexistent in paper petitions, such as stroke data as well as the time and location that the signature was recorded, making it more secure.

"If the court standard were applied to paper, no initiative would qualify," Barry said.

Barry also disagreed with the judge's argument that a digital petition contained in a USB drive or electronic file does not meet certain election code specifications, including a requirement of 1-inch margins around the text on each page of the petition.

"Anyone who's adjusted margins on a Word document program knows that an electronic document does indeed have margins," he said.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who filed an argument in support of rejecting the signature, welcomed the judge's ruling.

"The court was very clear and its ruling coincides with what I've said from the beginning. The law requires original initiative petitions containing original signatures on them to be submitted to elections officials, not virtual petitions with copies of signatures," she said in a statement.

Barry said the company plans to appeal the ruling. "We know this is a temporary setback, but we've always felt that this was the beginning not the end of a legal process that we would have to go to," he said.

Click here to read the judge's order. Source - Sacramento Bee

Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease which is expected to reach 700,000 cases this year alone, may soon become impossible to treat. It's already resistant to most treatments and may soon be immune to that. Unless new drugs are created to fight it, experts predict a health disaster in our future.

It's not the only STD becoming difficult to treat. Chlamydia and Syphilis are showing signs of resistance to drugs.

Of course, the best way to be safe is to always use condoms and to be checked regularly. Some STD's are alive and well in people who don't even know they have a problem. Please visit our LINKS & COMMUNITYpage by clicking the menu on the main page. Under local links, you'll find links for THE FRESNO COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, which provides services and information on these matters.  

CLICK HERE to read more about this issue...

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After a CNN segment earlier in the week when Kyra Phillips spoke with CA Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and "Ex-Gay" Richard Cohen about a pending bill, both she and CNN were denounced all over the internet. The discussion concerned Lowenthal's sponsorship of a bill (which was just approved by the Assembly) to strike some language from the Welfare and Institutions Code which mandated research into a cure for homosexuality. Cohen has zero integrity or truth on his side of the debate, and faced no counterpoint during the segment.

The outrage continued to flare, causing GLAAD to issue a call to action against the network.

Kyra has taken up the challenge, however, and aired a follow up segment filled with truth, an admission of poor choice of guests, and an affirmation of her support for LGBT civil rights. Bravo, Kyra.

ImageJust a day after the news of a Washington state man being arrested by federal agents for threatening Senator Murray, comes the story of a man being arrested by federal agents for doing the same to Nancy Pelosi. All this over health care.

Read more here......

5th Annual Diversity Awareness Conference

California State University, Fresno

Wed. April 26th: Afternoon Session:  LGBT+ Allies Network Training (Learn about the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender+ community and gain strategies/resources to help you be an effective ally)

DETAILS: http://www.csufresno.edu/cvchi/

SAVE THE DATES
Details to Follow---Watch for Updates
Diversity Awareness Week 2010
April 26 - May 1

"Leading with Diverse Voices"
SCHEDULE

Monday:   Noon   Opening Ceremonies   Location to be announced
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Tuesday:   1 p.m. - 3 p.m. An Interactive Process:  Assessing Our Campus Commitment to Social Justice and Inclusion  UC200
(Call 278-6946 if you are interested in participating. Faculty, Staff, Students, and Administrators are all welcome.)
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Wednesday:  8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 5th Annual Diversity Conference  HML2206
(Call 278-6946 to register)
Morning Session:  "Honoring the Japanese American Experience in the San Joaquin Valley"
Afternoon Session:  LGBT+ Allies Network Training (Learn about the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender+ community and gain strategies/resources to help you be an effective ally)
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Thursday:  2 p.m. - 7 p.m. Latina Leadership Conference  HML2206
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Friday and Saturday:   2010 Cesar Chavez Conference "Literacy and the Role of the Professional Teacher"
  SSU
(For details go to the Kremen School of Education at http://www.csufresno.edu/kremen/home/documents/ChavezflierwT.pdf or contact Dr. Glenn DeVoogd @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (559) 278-0279. )
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Saturday:  8:30 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. "Welcoming Diversity Workshop" UC200
An upbeat interactive skill building workshop. No costs for Fresno State students, faculty, and staff. Call 278-6946 to pre-register)

ImageAn action has finally been taken against a conservative American for going too far as a reaction to the passage of health care reform.

Charles Wilson, 63, was arrested in Yakima, Washington after Federal agents confirmed that he left aggressive and threatening messages, from a blocked number, on the phone of Democratic Senator Patty Murray over her support of the health care bill. An FBI spokesman said the arrest was the first in the country under these circumstances.

Messages left by Wilson to Murray include such enlightened statements as "There's a target on your back now" and "I do believe that every one of you (expletive) socialist democratic progressive (expletive) need to be taken out."

This is the kind of proactive action our Federal agents need to continue to make in order to calm the vigilante mentality of Americans who believe that only they are entitled to health care. The evolution of this country seems to now hinge on the reactions of Federal officers to these irrational and illogical acts of Americans who refuse to spend one minute tolerating anything which they don't agree with.

For hundreds of years in this country it's been the more liberal, open minded people who've been silenced by the government and law officials, simply to maintain some antiquated way of thinking, to keep citizens from "rocking the boat". Over the past few decades this has resulted in an unnatural sense of justice in the minds of conservatives. The constant support of the law against anyone with a theory which contradicts social tradition, has given conservatives an overwhelming sense of self. They've come to the point where they don't feel it necessary to educate themselves or to consider an opposing viewpoint. With the backup of the law, they now feel their hands are not hindered in any way, and they can do whatever they want.

It's about time that conservatives became the victims of law enforcement, particularly since the arguments of those against health care reform are nothing more than the self serving, selfish, and unintelligent rants of mental patients. At least when the hippies and more liberal Americans yelled out in prior years it was for the freedom of all, not the freedom of some.

Read more here...

 

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ImageBradley Lopez, a health instructor at Fresno City College, who's been embroiled in controversy since students complained that he used his teaching position to religiously and morally influence his students, has been issued a notice of correction by the school.

Lopez intends to contest the decision, which could allow the school to discipline Lopez more sternly, making it easier to terminate him.  

Read more here......

Support Gay Central Valley without spending a cent!

GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. It's a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it's powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers — the users and the organizations do not spend a dime!

In addition to the regular offer by GoodSearch, which is to donate 50% of earnings back to nonprofits, they are running a SPECIAL OFFER between April 6th at 9am Eastern and April 9th at 9am Eastern. During that period they will donate $1 for every toolbar downloaded. So if you download and install the toolbar on those days, Gay Central Valley will receive an additional $1 donation for each one.

To download the toolbar please, go to this link:

http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/gay-central-valley 

ImageAfter all was said and done in the case of Constance McMillen, the lesbian student who requested to take her girlfriend to her school prom, resulting in the prom being cancelled, now it turns out she was directed to a fake prom, and not the prom parents had put together to make up for the cancellation.

Read the story here... 

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How many claims of sexual abuse within the Catholic church would you imagine have occurred since the year 1950? I can tell you that just last year, the number of claims reported in the US was around 400. So how many, according to a survey commissioned by the bishops, would you say have been claimed since 1950?

 

14,000

The cost to the Catholic church, in the US alone, in legal fees, litigation and settlements, has reached an astounding 2.7 billion dollars. Yes, billion.

And now, here we go again. In the last few months, what the US went through in 2002, when the Catholic sex abuse scandals exploded here, is being replayed on a global stage. The claims are reaching the top of the Vatican this time around, with allegations raised against the sitting Pope himself. Seems the latest defensive act from the Vatican and other Catholic sources, is to condemn the public for suggesting that the Pope himself is in any way culpable in any sex abuse case or cover up. The Vatican had to recently scramble to clarify a statement by the Pope's personal preacher, who suggested that claims railed against the Pope are similar to the "collective violence" that the Jewish people have suffered.

And of course the Catholic League has thrown their (or should I say "his") voice into the mix, making a tour of media outlets to suggest that any Catholic sex abuse scandal is less about abuse and more about homosexuality, despite the fact that the theory has been rebuked and denounced by researchers. Abuse and sexuality are not bound together, and the fact that most of the victims have been boys is explained by researchers as the factor of availability. Boys are more easily available to priests than girls. Bill Donahue, of the Catholic League, calls the whole thing a big gay cover-up

The fact that sex abuse in the Catholic church has been reported since the 50's, that the number of cases to date is 14,000 and that there seems to be no end, not even so much as a waning in the number incidents, none of this seems to be that much of an issue with the Catholic League, who lists their number 2 purpose for existing as...

When Catholics are the victims of a bigoted portrayal by the media, the Catholic League issues news releases bringing the matter to the attention of the public. It may also encourage a boycott of the program's sponsors.

Recently on Real Time With Bill Maher, this topic came up and Bill was asked if he was actually saying he'd like to see the Catholic religion shut down. His answer? A resounding "Yes!" And I agree. The thing I still can't understand is the complacency of Catholics in general. Children are being abused on a regular basis, the Vatican has no interest in putting a stop to it, and in a country that spews nonstop about how important children are, why haven't Catholics stepped up to the plate and stopped attending Catholic church? It's stunning to me, particularly when the most common response to that question is "The services are beautiful".

Tell that to all the children who will live with aftermath of their abuse for the rest of their lives. Go tell them you still support the Catholic church because "it's beautiful". Americans are quick to talk about what's right and wrong, but when it comes to making a sacrifice in order for the greater good, most often they just really don't care.

Read about the latest Catholic scandals here...

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While Campagnia has always been one of my favorite restaurants in the city, now that my workplace is near it, I have been eating their much more often. I have never gotten to try their dinner yet, but lunch alone is amazing and probably a bit lighter on the pocket book.

 

Campagnia is stylishly decorated with wooden tables, straw chairs and an industrial ceiling. I prefer the patio though, with the sunlight, white tables and surrounding plants, a very peaceful place. Campagnia is one of those places you can go and everything you order will be exceptional.

For lunch one has a choice of the many sandwiches with an option of macaroni salad, a fresh green salad, or if in a less healthy mood, thin cut crispy fries, fried to perfection. I have recently tried the chicken wrap with avocado salsa, chipotle aioli and feta cheese, as well as the phyllo wrapped crab and shrimp melt with pasta primavera and three aiolies. Both were incredibly fresh entertaining dishes with inventive twists.

For my latest visit I ordered the New York steak with three pepper butter sauce, baked potato and sour cream, and sautéed spinach. I ordered the steak medium rare and actually got it that way and it was very tender as well. The sour cream on the baked potato, though still not enough for me, was more generous than most restaurants and the potato was very soft. Spinach is something that takes an excellent chef to not overcook, but Campagnia was up to the task. Instead of butter they serve their bread at the beginning of the meal with an Italian dressing, something that is rarely found in Fresno. I usually order tea so I can stay awake. The tea has a rich flavor and a natural sweetness with no sugar added. The staff is some of the most attentive in town.

Campagnia is certainly one of the top three restaurants in the city.

Fresno welcomed Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco and candidate for California Governor in 2010, to a Town Hall on Wednesday, April 29th, at Wawona Middle School.  Gavin participated in a youth meeting, a meeting with selected guests, and a Town Hall open to the public.

Image  click on image to enlarge

Newsom spoke at the Town Hall for about 30 minutes before taking questions from the audience. He addressed many issues, including the economy, energy, the school system, health care and same sex marriage, for which he received a standing ovation for his views.


 

To view the video FULL SCREEN, click in the lower right of the screen...

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ImageThe Maine senate voted 20-15 on Thursday morning to pass a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Senators also voted 22-13 to reject an amendment that would send the marriage-equality question to voters in a referendum.

Today's votes follow a firm recommendation for the marriage-equality legislation from a joint judiciary committee on Tuesday. Legislators voted 11-2 in favor of the legislation.

Read the story HERE 

In New Hampshire the bill has passed both the House & Senate and awaits the Governor's signature. Read about the New Hampshire battle HERE

EQUALITY WANTED

Want to get the same-sex marriage issue back in the media in a positive way?
Want to make a memorable statement in a way that’s never been done before?

Join us in taking over statewide newspapers on Sunday, May 3rd!

Imagine the look on people's faces when they open the newspaper and turn to the classifieds section but only see ads like this:

LOST AND FOUND
Lost - my right to marry the person I love. Last seen on November 4th, 2008. If seen, please return to law abiding, taxpaying citizen. It is dearly missed.

LOST AND FOUND
On Nov 4th, 2008 over half the state of California lost their minds! Please return ASAP so that we can start focusing on issues such as the state deficit, ending the war, homelessness, hunger, etc.

WANTED
The right to marry the person I love. If anyone has a right to marry that they are not using, please let me know. This right must be non-revocable and available to all people regardless of their sexual orientation. Please call ASAP if you can help me secure equality for all.

This is a unique and creative way to bring the discussion of marriage equality into people's homes. Please take part in this historic movement by submitting your own ad to your local newspaper in time for the May, 3rd publishing. You can create your own unique ad, or use one of the ads found

HERE or HERE

ImagePurchase tickets IN ADVANCE of the sale to the general public! Presale is active NOW until TONIGHT (April 23rd) at midnight. Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 8:00 PM (Doors open at: 7:00 PM)

The Indigo Girls perform at the Tower Theatre Special Guest: Justin Vernon of Bon Iver

Tower Theatre 815 East Olive Ave., Fresno, CA 93728 (559 485-9050) All Ages. $35.00 Advance. $40.00 Day Of Show. Tickets available from Tower Theatre Box Office. Tickets range in price for $35.00 - $42.50 in advance, all seats are $5.00 Higher Day of Show! Don't miss your chance to see them in Fresno!

Buy your tickets NOW! PRESALE PASSWORD: REESE

ImageImageIntroducing the new Red Beaded Pin from UNTIL THERE'S A CURE

Handcrafted by women in South Africa and other African countries severely affected by AIDS, the Beaded Pin is a beautiful statement in the fight against HIV & AIDS. At just $10, this dazzling 2" pin is the perfect accent for any lapel.

To order, please visit UNTIL.ORG or call 1-800-88-UNTIL

 

We mourn the loss of Angel Moreno, please see the flyer for a tribute to his life.

Services will be held:
Thursday April 23rd @ 7pm - Rosary at Wallin & Son Funeral Home, 1524 9th St, Sanger

Friday April 24th - 10am - St. Mary - Sanger
 
Please feel free to leave memories in the comments below.

ImageImage

Gavin Newsom, who just announced his bid for Governor of California, is coming to Fresno for a Town Hall Meeting. Gavin has championed equal rights for LGBT Americans and is dedicated to a progressive, forward thinking platform for the state of California.

FRESNO TOWN HALL WITH GAVIN NEWSOM

DATE:             April 29, 2009

TIME:             6:00PM to 8:00PM

LOCATION:   Wawona Middle School - Gymnasium

STREET:         4524 North Thorne Avenue

CITY:              Fresno, CA 93704

CLICK HERE FOR THE MAP

CLICK HERE to RSVP and for CONTACT information

Image"A town hall meeting is an informal public meeting derived from the traditional town meetings of New England. Similarly to those meetings, everybody in a community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials, although attendees rarely vote on an issue. In today's heterogeneous communities with large populations, more often, town hall meetings are held so that people can influence elected officials in their decision making or to give them a chance to feel that their voices are being heard." From Wikipedia - "Town Hall Meeting"

A town hall meeting took place at FCC on Thursday, April 16th from 6-8PM. The purpose of the meeting was to question EQCA about statewide strategies prior to the election, voice opinions, and discuss the future.

The format, which according to promotional materials was to be one hour of speaking and then one hour of Q&A, was changed at the last second to a few minutes of each speaker, some Q&A, and so on. Rather than just EQCA officials, Geoff Kors - Executive Director, and Marc Solomon - Marriage Director, at the head of the room, there were an additional 8 speakers, all local, who were given speech time during the two hour window. Since the focus was to be on EQCA, with questions posed to them from the audience, the additional speakers cut heavily into audience time and hampered what could have been a livelier, more in depth conversation about statewide strategies. Questions were also limited among individuals, with most of us getting to ask only one.


ImageAiming to stake his claim to the tech-savvy young voters who helped elect President Obama, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, 41, today took to the new media to formally announce he's running for governor - by directly addressing hundreds of thousands of supporters simultaneously via his site, Facebook and Twitter.

Read the rest of story HERE.

Jena Adams, a representative from the Fresno County Department of Public Health, joined the gang on Wednesday's (April 15th, 2009) KMPH Great Day to talk about some of their testing programs. According to the Centers for Disease Control one in every five people living with HIV has not been diagnosed.

Mobile Unit/ Rapid testing: Wednesday, April 15, The Red Lantern nightclub 4618 E. Belmont Ave. 4-7pm -Saturday, April 18 King of Kings Block Party 2302 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 10am-3pm

Specialty Clinic/ DPH, 1221 Fulton Mall: Anonymous Testing: every Tuesday 8-11am and Thursday 1-4pm - Confidential Testing: every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8-11am and 1-4pm and Tuesday 1-4pm

Contact: Fresno County Department of Public Health at 559-445-3434

Deadline is to apply is April 30th, apply soon!

Organization Description: Equality California (EQCA) and its sister organizations (Equality California Institute, Equality California Issues PAC, and Equality California Candidate PAC) share a common mission to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. For more information about EQCA, visit www.eqca.org.

Position: The Field Organizer is pivotal in engaging community members in Equality California’s campaign to win back equal marriage rights for all California couples, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The Field Organizer will ensure that volunteers are appropriately engaged in meaningful activities likely to enhance EQCA’s grassroots lobbying campaign, aid in the local development of EQCA action teams, and seek to engage key business and civic leaders in ways likely to influence support for our marriage rights.

           

Come out and join the Courage Campaign in the battle to restore MARRIAGE EQUALITY!

Join us today at 3:15 at the Democrats in Action office (255 N. Fulton, Belmont and Fulton) to help Fresno County win our battle.

Please call/text County Coordinator Anthony Ash at 559-288-7537 for directions or more information.

 

If you are unable to join us today, we have MANY more volunteer opportunities available. Please email Anthony at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Thank you Fresno for your help!

 

Local activist Robin McGehee is interviewed in a very interesting article in the Bay Area Reporter:

"On March 26, McGehee said that she and others had a call with Shorter and others from EQCA. The organization had wanted to check in to learn more about Meet in the Middle, and McGehee told the B.A.R. she was asked what she needed.

McGehee said that she explained to them that she was receiving support from the Courage Campaign and Whiteknot.org – both organizations are helping bus people to the event – and she asked EQCA for financial support.

As of Tuesday afternoon, April 14, McGehee said she hasn't seen any from the group, which according to the Washington Blade has annual revenue of $24.5 million. EQCA did not provide a budget figure by press time."

Read the rest of the article here.

For some, meeting with a legislator can be a bit intimidating. You CAN learn to effectively speak to your legislator. I had the opportunity to do just that at a training session on Wednesday, March the 18th, at 4:00 p.m. Two representatives of the San Francisco Transgender Law Center came to Fresno to meet with and help a few of us effectively speak to one of our legislators.

The meeting took place at the Fresno Center For Non-Violence.  Kristina Wertz, Legal Director, along with an associate, Alexis Revera, advocate, opened the meeting with introductions. Rachel Bowman and Sherry Donegan of Rachels Projects Foundation, Diana Feliz Oliva, MSW, Community Worker, of California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., and Dr. Jennifer A. Burnett, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF Fresno, were there to learn some etiquette and protocols for a meeting with United States Congressman Jim Costa, House of Representatives District 20.


 

On Monday morning, February the 16th (President’s Day), Rachel and I departed the Amtrack train station about 6:30 a.m.  A few hours later we were delivered to the front of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The Amtrack bus ride from Stockton was unpleasant but direct.

There was an excitement in the air; the front lawn and steps were already being transformed with booths, signs, and crowds.  The weather was not real cold but there was a little drizzle, enough to warrant umbrellas.  We were early enough to walk the length of the park to drop off our overnight bags at the hotel.  We had lunch and arrived back at the steps about 11:30 a.m.

PFLAG’s, equality groups, and other organizations were represented.  A first aid, face painting, and food by Allstate Insurance were other booths.


 

ImageImage

Robin McGehee at Fresno City Hall, "No on Prop 8" Rally 

FRESNO, Calif. -- Gay-marriage proponents in California, anticipating another loss, this time in court, have turned their focus to trying to win over potential voters in some unlikely places.

Last month, 200 gay-rights activists gathered at a Holiday Inn in this city at the heart of California's conservative Central Valley for a two-day training course on how to pair Internet-based social networking with old-fashioned canvassing to promote a gay-friendly agenda. It is part of a wider effort to reach out to the state's more conservative precincts, with polls showing Californians are evenly split on the issue.

"If you want to win in this, you have to change people's minds through contact," said Rick Jacobs, a former Democratic Party organizer and founder of the Courage Campaign, the online-organizing network for liberal causes that sponsored the Fresno event, one of several across the state dubbed Camp Courage. "It isn't a message as much as a method."

Event organizers say the campaign against Proposition 8, the voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage, failed in November because it preached to the converted in big cities like San Francisco. But it ignored places like Fresno.


EQCA Logo
Thursday April 16th, 6pm. Fresno City Colleges Health Sciences Building: Room HS-150

As the California Supreme Court considers legal arguments for overturning Prop 8, LGBT community centers, in partnership with Equality California and allied organizations throughout the state, are joining together to host a series of Town Hall meetings in early April.  The meetings will include updates from Prop 8 legal experts and open discussion on the future of the movement

Moderated by Minister Bryan Jessup of the Unitarian Universalist Church

Speakers to include:

Danial Martin,  President of the Stone Wall Democrats
Beverly Senkowski, president of the CCA
Robin McGehee, of the GSA network and Meet in the Middle
Jay Matthew, ErasetheH8
Bill Stout of S.A.F.E. (not confirmed yet)

There will be a second panel of leaders throughout the community to discuss what is going on, and how you can help.

EQCA team:

Geoff Kors - Executive Director EQCA
Amy Mello -  Field Director EQCA
Michael Kaiser-Nyman - Executive Assistant EQCA
(more to come)

MAP
Call 559-776-5630 For Directions or Questions.
Jay Matthew 

The audition tapes behind the National Organization For Marriage's new anti-gay ad are being continuously posted, pulled and re-posted...here they are while they last...

...

ImageGay Central Valley has launched our latest website, Gay Hanford. The site has just launched and will be evolving as we find contributors. If you or anyone you know lives in the Hanford area and is interested in participating, please contact us through the ABOUT US page on Gay Fresno.

**The audition tapes for this commercial were released April 8th, which showed that all those in the commercial were actors, but the National Organization For Marriage forced YouTube to pull those ads from the internet on April 9th...

...

Ask Your Representative to Sign On in Support of an LGBT Question on the National Health Interview Survey

Many LGBT Community Centers offer health services, and our entire community needs this health information in order to fund services for our community!

Our champions on Capitol Hill are leading the charge to rally support for appropriating the $2 million necessary to add a question on the LGBT population to the federal government's most important and comprehensive health survey, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), and Donna Christensen (D-VI) have begun circulating a sign-on "Dear Colleague" letter in the House to show support for adding $2 million in increased funding to the budget for the National Center for Health Statistics, which will pay all costs associated with adding a question about sexual orientation and gender identity to NHIS. This survey helps set the federal government's priorities in funding health programs, so gathering data on LGBT demographics is vital for demonstrating the impor tance of LGBT health concerns and pushing for increased funding for services for the LGBT community.

Contact your Representative today to ask them to sign onto the Baldwin-Weiner- Christensen Letter in the House.

To contact your Representative, please call the House of Representatives switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give your zip code, and ask to speak to your Representative. You can also visit this link.

When you are connected to your Representative' s office, ask for the staff member who works on Health and Human Services appropriations. Tell them that you are a constituent who supports appropriating an additional $2 million for the National Health Interview Survey and that you would like them to sign on. In order to sign on, they need to contact:

Rebecca Fox at the National Coalition for LGBT Health
email at Rebecca@lgbthealth. net
phone at (202) 436-0228

ImageWhile we in California await a decision from the Supreme Court which looks as though it will be another defeating blow to our movement, Vermont has become the 4th state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage. This, even after a veto by the state's Governor. The legislature stepped in to overturn his veto. Read the story HERE

ImageTUSH - A Novel - Author: Jaffe Cohen - Reviewed BY: Leon Velasco

Rating: Two Thumbs Up

This book was very well written. All the characters just pop in your imagination and take on a life of their own. Each person is clearly described and so you see them vividly. There are very funny parts that leave you wanting to laugh out loud. There are very detailed intimate parts that make you feel you right there in the same room watching. The main character is ready to do just about anything to get himself a good piece of ass, how about you? Would you pull out all the stops to feel the creamy soft skin of a nice bubble butt? What sort of lies or schemes would you come up with? This book is a very entertaining read.


 

ImageD-List comedian Kathy Griffin is on her way back to Fresno.

The star of "My Life on the D-List" on Bravo will perform July 25 at the Saroyan Theatre.

Tickets for the show go on sale at 10 a.m. April 17 and cost $35.25-$50.25.

Griffin previously performed in Fresno in October 2007.

Tickets will be available at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center box office, at Ticketmaster locations, including many Save Mart supermarkets, online at ticketmaster.com or by calling (559) 485-8497

"As someone who attended her last show here in Fresno, I can say you won't be disappointed. Kathy killed, as usual, and we all had a GREAT time..." Chris Jarvis - Gay Fresno

ImageDES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa's Supreme Court legalized gay marriage Friday in a unanimous and emphatic decision that makes Iowa the third state _ and first in the nation's heartland _ to allow same-sex couples to wed.

Iowa joins only Massachusetts and Connecticut in permitting same-sex marriage. For six months last year, California's high court allowed gay marriage before voters banned it in November.

The Iowa justices upheld a lower-court ruling that rejected a state law restricting marriage to a union between a man and woman.

Click HERE to read the rest of this article...

...

(Stockholm) Sweden on Wednesday became the seventh country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Following a five-hour debate in Parliament, the legislation was overwhelmingly passed on a 261 to 22 vote, with 16 abstentions. The new law will go into effect May 1, replacing a 1995 law that allowed civil partnerships.

Click HERE to read the rest of this story...

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Image In Episode 12 "Don't Call Me Ma'am", I take a walk to the park with 19 year old Andrea who I affectionately call "the little one".  As we respond to Afterellen.com viewer letters we talk about the fear of failure, aiming for perfection, and how MOCA is selling "straight pills". Andrea talks about her first gay role model, why she isn't dating right now and the book she wants to write called, "Everything is Stupid".Oh yes, Comet and Lucia join us too...  but guess who's on the leash...Enjoy! Cathy
www.cathydebuono.com
www.myspace.com/cathydebuono

Image Fresno City College's Diversity Club hosted a week long Pride Celebration this week, culminating in a Pride Festival on Friday, April 25, 2008. Many groups from Fresno had booths at the festival, including the FCC Diversity Club, Central California Alliance, United Student Pride, The Big Red Church, Imperial Dove Court, Community Link, Knights of Malta, PFLAG, and Gay Fresno. Performances included offerings from the Fresno Gay Men’s Chorus, the Imperial Dove Court, as well as personal poetry readings and speakers on topics from being the parent of an LGBT person to the issue of being transgender. Click on READ MORE to view a PHOTO GALLERY of the day’s events… 

This is the first in a series of health articles by Dr. Maninderjit Singh M.D.

What is AIDS?

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which kills or impairs cells of the immune system and progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. HIV is most commonly spread by sexual contact with an infected partner.

The term AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of an HIV infection. Official criteria for the definition of AIDS are developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is responsible for tracking the spread of AIDS in the United States . The 1993 CDC definition of AIDS includes all HIV-infected people who have fewer than 200 CD4+ T cells. (Healthy adults usually have CD4+ T-cell counts of 800 or more.) In addition, the definition includes 26 clinical conditions that affect people with advanced HIV disease.

Image My Vlog: "What's Your Problem?" Episode 11: "The Vlog With No Guest & No Name"
After a series of technical difficulties, scheduling conflicts and computer freezes, Episode #11"The Vlog With No Guest & No Name" features me getting some input from two 19 year old girls, a couple of new musical performances by Janet Robin (she was my guest in episode 2), and actress, Jill Bennett makes an appearance just because the camera was there...I  spend more alone time with you this time around as I respond to 4 Afterellen.com viewer letters. 
For more information on Janet Robin and her tour dates, please visit www.janetrobin.com or www.myspace.com/janetrobinmusic

Enjoy! Cathy
www.cathydebuono.com
www.myspace.com/cathydebuono 

Image The Dinah Shore party officially ended two weeks ago, but you can catch tons of recap, including video footage of the weekend's comedy, high jinks and coordinated chaos, at AfterEllen.com. To view the coverage, including several great stand up performances, click here: AfterEllen - Dinah Shore 2008 Recap 

Image Local Nashvillian and host of The Remix, a popular Christian youth show, Azariah Southworth, announced today that he has come out. Read the story here: Popular Christian Host Announces He's Gay  

Image Check out this hilarious comedy music video... 

The Whitest Kids U Know - Totally Gay For America 

Image The state of Oklahoma is starting to see the financial consequences of Sally Kern's vicious anti-gay tirade, as one company has already said they're reluctant to set up in house in the state due to her comments. Read the story here:

Anti Gay Remarks Could Cost Oklahoma Major Corporation

ImageImage The Déjà Vu nightclub was the scene of a fire early Monday morning. According to the fire department, the fire was started around 6:30AM and burned a small section of wall next to the old back door to the kitchen and office, the old Cabaret entrance off Blackstone by the freeway. Damage is around 2 feet wide and 10 feet high. No evidence of any accelerant was found. It seems there may be video surveillance of those involved, more of which will be known shortly, and then released to the media. Lee Morris of Déjà Vu is emphasizing that this was not a hate crime.
Photos courtesy Dan Waterhouse.

Image I'll refrain from stating my opinion about the anti-christ, oops, I mean the Pope, regarding his visit this week to the United States. There will be plenty of groups, including gay activists, who will by saying enough as they protest him and the policies of the disgraced Catholic church. Click on the following link for details...

Demonstrations Await The Pope

Image Okay, I can't help it, but I miss this show like crazy, and I thought I'd share the latest news on the upcoming film, including (finally) a decent trailer...

Sex & The City Movie Trailer & News

Sex & The City The Movie - Official Website

Sex & The City Movie Blog

Image

"I think everybody's got to relax on all this gay stuff." -- Bill O'Reilly,
The O'Reilly Factor, August 15, 2007

From his suggestion that the "secular progressive movement" would like to have "poly-amorphous" marriage ("you can marry 18 people, you can marry a duck") to his statement that it would be "insane" and "inappropriate" to "cluster" gays near children, Bill O' Reilly has never been one to "relax on all this gay stuff." It's time to tell O'Reilly and Fox News that enough is enough; if anyone should "relax on all this gay stuff," it's Bill O'Reilly. I hope you'll take a moment to contact Fox News and The O'Reilly Factor today and make sure your voice is heard. Click on the following link to see Bill O'Reilly's history of statements against the LGBT Community and to contact O'Reilly and FOX News to complain.
Media Matters - Bill O'Reilly & The LGBT Community
Tell Bill O'Reilly that his homophobic fear-mongering has to stop.

Review by Leon Velasco

April 11, 2008 was a night of fun for everyone who showed up. To our surprise and advantage Boomers was celebrating their anniversary and had a special rate for unlimited rides for $10.00 cards.

Image Big Eden
Big Eden - TLA Video

Rated PG-13 / Director Thomas Bezucha / Starring Arye Gross / Eric Schweig

This movie is one of my favorites. It is great for those times when you feel lonesome and that you’ll never find love. This is one of those films that show that no matter what love will find you when and where you least expect it. I can watch this movie over and over and over and still give me that feeling of hope and happiness it did when I first saw it.

Image Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says he will fight against a gay marriage ban initiative if it happens to make it to the ballots in November. Read the story here: 

Governor Vows To Fight Marriage Ban Initiative

Image Barack Obama says if elected president he won't require that his appointees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff support allowing gays to serve openly in the military. Read the story here: Obama On Gay Issues

Image A federal judge in Maryland on Thursday ordered liens on the Westboro Baptist Church building and the Phelps-Chartered Law office. Read the story here 

ImageImageThe 12PM shift of the protest of the Exodus International Conference drew about 20 people here in Fresno on Saturday, April 5th,  along with a multitude of well wishing vehicles, who honked horns in support as they passed. The conference is a gay conversion program, offering speakers and guidance about “overcoming homosexuality”. I spoke to Christa Lisbon, one of the protest organizers from Wesley Celebration , an LGBT service at Wesley United Methodist Church

Exodus Protest - ABC Local News Coverage

Exodus Protest - Local NBC Coverage

Image Here are some recent letters to the editor of the Fresno Bee regarding the topic of marriage equality, which also deal with Christians and the bible, just as Exodus International winds down their first International gay conversion conference in our city...

Fresno Bee - Question Of Absolutes

Fresno Bee - Tolerance For All

Fresno Bee - The True Hypocrites 

One evening in late 2004, while I was at work and my wife was home, our then 27 year old son tearfully called us in California from Washington, DC and told his mother he was gay. His mother’s response was very simple and very much to the point. She said: “So?” She assured him we loved and accepted him and that the fact of his being gay wasn’t going to change that. When she asked why he was crying, he said that he knew how “disappointed we would be” that we wouldn’t have a grandchild from him. Her reply was that we had him as our son and we were lucky.

This information has also been added to our LINKS page...

Image UMC Community Special Services 2008

English Support Group 1st/3rd Tuesday of the Month 5:00-6:00 PM:
Group for HIV/AIDS infected people interested in support and education. Location: UMC 6th Floor Education Room
Spanish Support Group/Grupo de Apoyo 2nd/4th Miércoles de Cada Mes 10:00-11:00AM: Grupo de apoyo para personas con VIH/SIDA. Lugar: UMC 6th  Piso Education Room
Mariposa Azul/Transgender Support Group 1st/3rd Thursday/Jueves of the Month 6:30-7:30 PM
: Bilingual transgender support group. Location: UMC 6th Floor Lobby
WeCare 2nd/4th Thursday of the Month 4:30-5:30 PM
: Advocacy group for HIV positive people.Location: UMC 6th Floor Lobby
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Every Thursday of the Month 6:00-7:00 PM
: Support services for people who desire to stop using drugs. Location: UMC 6th Floor Education Room

Patient Lecture Series Once a Month 11:30-1:00 PM: Educational topics offered to patients and families. If interested in attending please contact Darcie Evans 559-459-4052. Location: UMC Education Room  6th Floor

University Medical Center (UMC) is a 274-bed teaching hospital that provides a broad range of inpatient and outpatient services. As the principal teaching hospital in the Central San Joaquin Valley, it is closely affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, Fresno Medical Education Program. 

Image Have you ever wanted to roll up your sleeves to help defeat some of the most vile, anti-gay bigots in the nation? Are you interested in participating in a once in a lifetime experience during the 2008 election year? There is so much at stake in 2008. Voters will choose a new president, one-third of the U.S. Senate, all U.S. House members, and thousands of state legislators.  GLBT equality must be a top priority.

Members of Fresno's community respond to a recent article published in the April 22nd edition of the Fresno Bee

Original Article: Girl who would be a prom king loses

Good for Fresno High

The April 22 article about the transgender person at Fresno High School running for prom king was very disappointing. It seems the media was unhappy with being shut out of the proceedings and focused on her loss, as reflected in the headline, rather than the fact that she was able to run at all in her chosen gender.

Throughout the recent years I've heard many straight people casualy use the word "gay" while describing something undesirable or of less importance. Many times I've tried to look the other way or even put on an expression as if I didn't hear it.  I did hear it, we all heard it.


 

 

Image These are photos from Fresno City College's 2nd Annual Pride Day, celebrated on Tuesday, April 24th. Local groups and organizations manned booths and tables. There were also mock marriage ceremonies, poetry readings, music and dance and LGBT speeches. The event celebrated the common humanity of Fresno City College GLBT students and their straight allies. For additional information contact club President Katrina Rios @ 559-519-0470 or advisor Jerry Thurston @ 559-442-4600 ext 8455.

donimus

I suspect most of us recall the rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Like much of what we’re force fed as children, Americans abandon the message in favor of political and social control. Other lessons are equally false, such as “all people are created equal” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” or even “all good things come to those who wait”. American history literally overflows with adages we inflict on undeveloped brains to foster the illusion of a perfect country. It’s easier on the heart than the truth, but it’s misinformation, nonetheless.

Please proceed to our updated links page at: http://www.gayfresno.com/links-and-community

 

Fred Phelps is denied his chance to erect a hateful, homophobic statue in condemnation of Matthew Shepard…gay groups in Quebec rally together after a gay bashing…Bill O’Reilly is called out regarding his insane “lesbian gangs” story…the Bush administration subpoenas Michael Moore…and if you missed the last Democrat debate, you can watch a clip of their comments on same sex marriage here…and if you’d like to submit a question to the Democratic candidates for the historic LGBT based debate on August 9th, click here

 

 

eric alvaThe Bulldog Pride Fund, a scholarship fund at Fresno State, recently announced receiving anonymous donations totaling $625 in honor of Eric Alva, a soldier wounded in Iraq. The following story about Alva and his coming out is provided courtesy of Bulldog Pride. As always, for more information or to make a donation to the scholarship fund, visit Bulldog Pride

gray matters logoReel Pride’s next Night OUT! will take place at the Tower Theater at 8pm on Friday, April 20th. The film being screened is the comedy “Gray Matters”, with a cast that includes Heather Graham, Tom Cavanaugh, Molly Shannon and Alan Cumming. A summary of the film follows, as well as a link to watch the trailer for the film. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Reel Pride Website.

 GayFresno.com is seeking volunteers.

We are Fresno's only not-for-profit LGBT community website.

Contribute your writings about politics, community news, movie reviews or choose your own topic... We can also assign local events for you to cover. Write as frequently as you wish, on your schedule.

We are also looking for regular feature columns on any subject. If you have ideas for articles feel free to let us know.

We're also looking for volunteers to help with the website, calendar, etc.

If you are interested, please write us for more details.

Back in October of 2006, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center launched an advertisement campaign targeting MSM's (Men Who Have Sex With Men) which had a message that "HIV is a gay disease".  Now I knew back then that this sort of campaign was going to stir up some type of controversy.

We are having the First Ever Pride Day on Fresno City College's campus, Monday May 1, from 10am -2pm. If you go to FCC, went to FCC, or just support us, please come out and join us...

The event will be in the Free Speech Area between the cafeteria and the bookstore. There will be students reading coming out stories and more.
Parking will be relaxed in lots"K" and "L".  The event will take place between buildings "3" and "6".  Both are on This MAP
We are proud to say that organizations like Westcare, PFLAG, Planned Parenthood, EQCA, Stonewall Democrats, and other groups will take part.

GayFresno.com will have a booth, hope to see you there!
prideflag_blocks.gifOn Saturday morning, June 3rd  at 10am you can be standing with the crowd on Olive Avenue in the Tower District, anticipating the traditional leaders of the Pride Parade, the Dykes on Bikes, who’ll rev up their engines and drive past the crowd to open the 16th Annual Fresno Pride Parade.
 
While other cities have been parading down streets in celebration of pride for much longer, Fresno’s pride history is more recent. Our first gay pride parade was held on a warm Sunday morning in 1991. I have a fairly focused memory of it, primarily because my partner at the time got involved in a loud verbal argument with a fully robed member of the KKK contingency who’d come to condemn homosexuals. What began as a few choice words back and forth soon escalated to the possibility of a full blown brawl, as more and more people gathered around and tempers flared. I urged my partner to let it go, pulling at him, just as police rushed in from all sides to avoid a conflict. My partner wasn’t much for confrontation but seeing the robed KKK at Fresno’s first pride gathering was all he needed to throw him over the edge.
Due to an unforeseen personal emergency, the Stephanie Miller live broadcast from Vintage Days at Fresno State on Friday, April 21 has been postponed.
The broadcast will be rescheduled for a later date, and tickets that have been previously picked up will be honored at that event.

Let me know if you have any questions...

Thanks,

Erin Deis
Marketing and Promotions Director
Y101-KWYE
www.790kfpt.com

EQCA.gif
Sunday, April 2nd marked the grand opening of offices to be shared by Equality California (EQCA) www.eqca.org and the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)  www.gsanetwork.org here in Fresno. To celebrate the opening, a Warming Party/Mixer/BBQ was held at the site of the office, located at 928 North Van Ness Avenue. 
 

A large, enthusiastic crowd attended to make the event a great success. A live DJ provided music during the complimentary barbecue, as people toured the new office space and mingled together.
ImageO.U.T. L.O.U.D. stands for Open and Understanding Team, Loving Ourselves and Uniting Diversity.

Starting in January of 2006, O.U.T. L.O.U.D. began its planning phases with seven members.  The inspiration for O.U.T. L.O.U.D. began several years prior to the actual establishment of the group by those who had aged-out of GSA Network and other community advocacy organizations.  These individuals felt a strong need to continue their works in social activism and also address other community issues.  In the initial three month planning period those seven members grew in exponential proportions into a team of seventy individuals between the ages of 17 and 24; and membership continues to grow with each new meeting.  Out of the Closet Book Store has been a great support to O.U.T. L.O.U.D. by offering a venue to conduct meetings.  Acc epting and embracing ourselves for who we are; while confronting social injustice as a united front became the standing mission statement; encompassing, in short, who we are and what we want to accomplish.  As a community oriented organization our main goals are: to create discrimination awareness around society's taboos, developing a safe and comfortable environment for extra-curricular activities, and equipping our peers with a voice against intolerance and a mind to make a difference.  These three goals are based on, but not limited to, advocative, supportive, and social issues in and around our community.  Our first short-term goal is to create a resource and social group for peers who identify as queer or straight-ally.  Our second goal is to create a means for individuals who identify as transgender or have emotional disturbances with their given name to have it changed in the legal system.  In the future, O.U.T. L.O.U.D. plans to be involved with oth er community minorities. 

All questions and comments can be directed to the planning committee by visiting www.myspace.com/outloud_fresno or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or by calling Lu'kas at (559)776-2798 or Ty at (559)736-0379.
(Pictured above from left to right Scotti Maldanado, Ty Ryan, Raisha Pacella, Lu'kas Porter, & Jesse Knotts)
O.U.T. L.O.U.D. next meeting is April 13th at 6pm at Out Of The Closet Bookstore and then April 27th at 6pm at the GSA Network office.
Image  Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig comes out to support Traditional Values Coalition

At a TVC Rally against gay rights, civil unions and marriage Mayor Magsig was heard supporting the TVC message.
Unfortunately the roar of the crowd and the singing and chants from the demonstrators were too loud to make his message audible.

If you are upset that a city Mayor used his position to promote unequal treatment of residents please read on...

...
Image  Traditional Values Coalition Rally…………not all it was summed up to be. Why you may ask? Well, along with myself and 25-30 other “love warriors” in attendance, we let it be known they were not welcome in our town. They probably figured going to out sister city Clovis, the LGBTQ community would not show up. Well, we did. Our presence was huge. They had about 200 ppl. There and they were roped off “for their safety”, I say they were rats in a cage for the safety of whomever. The police tape gave us a bit of a directive where to stand.   We were very loud and very clear. We were NOT happy they were here and we were not going to let them intoxicate Clovis and the people of the Central Valley.
ANTI-GAY RALLY COMES TO THE VALLEY

Saturday, April 23rd at 10 AM - Come out to protest the anti-gay rhetoric that will be spread at a Traditional Values Coalition rally.  The rally/protest will be held at the park on W. Alluvial Ave at N. Peach Ave, in Clovis.

Map to the location
Satellite image (in case you want to scope out the area in advance)

*Parking will be enforced, please pay close attention to parking signs*
Friday, April 22, 6-6:45pm - "Love Welcomes All" Dinner & Speaker - Seating is limited, cost is $20 at the door - after dinner, a conference guest will give a brief speech to get you all ready for the workshops on Saturday. As a dinner guest, you will have 1st choice of seating.
** (Please email Robin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Noon, Thursday to RSVP for the dinner) **

Friday, April 22, 6:45-9pm - FREE to ALL - Keynote speech discussing the ethical responsibility of interpreting The Bible.

Saturday, April 23, 8:30am-4pm - $20 fee at the door, BUT scholarships and reduced pricing are available for those with low income

We will offer workshops throughout the day that address how to offer support for the LGBTQ community, examine the issue of gay marriage, focus on sexuality, as well as offer the opportunity to build connection and coalition.

Workshop topics include:
*Someone I love is Gay
*Straight thinking about Gay marriage
*Understanding the underlying gender issues of homophobia and responding to anti-gay marriage
*Getting it Straight; what the research states about the LGBT community and outreach tips that
teachers/counselors/pastors/family members or friends should know
*The voice; the pain and the scream of the ex-gay movement
*Why is what they're teaching so dangerous?  How should we respond?  How can we stop the suffering?

Sunday, April 24 with Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto - FREE TO ALL
8:30am-9:30am - service
9:45am-10:30 - question and answer
11:00am-12:00pm - service

WHERE:
Wesley United Methodist Church
1343 E. Barstow Ave., Fresno

Download the registration form and have it completed in advance to save time:
http://www.gayfresno.com/content/view/52/2/

Date: April 15, 2005  (Bring U.S./Rainbow Flags and Children Are Welcome)
Time: 6:00 P. M. to 12:00 A.M. (Stay An Hour or The Whole Time)
Location: Fresno Main Post Office, 1900 E Street, Fresno
Sponsors: Marriage Equality California (Fresno and Tulare) & GayFresno.com
Organizers: Jason, Baltimore and Becki
Come and get your dirty car washed!!!!

When: April 16th (This Saturday) 11AM-3PM
Why: To support a great cause
Price: Donation

On Barstow between First and Cedar:
Wesley United Methodist Church
1343 W. Barstow
(in the parking lot)

The event benefits the Love Welcomes All conference which begins next
Friday. To read more about it please visit:
http://www.gayfresno.com/content/view/52/2/
The Imperial Dove Court de Fresno/Madera, Inc. Presents
Rummage in the Tower
You are cordially invited to participate in the first community rummage sale hosted by The Imperial Dove Court de Fresno/Madera Inc. (IDC). The IDC is hoping to make this an annual event, allowing all of the GLBTQI
organizations/clubs an opportunity to raise money for their respective organizations/clubs. Not only will this allow you to raise some money for your organization/club but will also give us an avenue to unite all of the
organizations/clubs in the Fresno community. It is the hope of the IDC that this will be a small move in the direction of bringing all of the communities/ organizations/clubs together, working together and showing a united community.
An upcoming event in the Fresno area is offering a loving and inclusive perspective to the church debates about homosexuality. Wesley United Methodist Church, Wesley’s Committee on Reconciliation and Love Welcomes All has organized to present the upcoming LOVE WELCOMES ALL weekend conference.  During the weekend of April 22-24, participants will be able to experience the “BOLD WITNESS of GOD’S LOVE!”
By Whitney Douglas-Weddell

Background:
I learned on Wednesday night that religious bigot Lou Sheldon was bringing his anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition(TVC) to my hometown of Bakersfield the following Saturday.  Our local State Senator, Roy Ashburn was to host a rally to promote an agenda against marriage equality, domestic partnerships, and gay & lesbian rights in general.   Assemblyman Bill Maze and City Councilman Mike Maggard were also scheduled to speak, along with some local religious leaders.