BRAZIL KIDSX4400 FBMy favorite story of the week:

Nine days after transgender student Maria Muniz was fined by school officials for wearing a skirt, a group of her Colegio Pedro II classmates decided to stage a protest: both male and female students would all wear skirts on the same day. Soon after their demonstration an ecstatic Muniz learned that the school’s decision was overturned, reports the UK’s Orange News. Pedro II’s principal told Brazil’s Globo that the school will consider relaxing their dress code. After the protest, school officials posted a picture of their male and female students wearing wearing skirts to social media, where it became widely shared. Supporters have been writing their support to Muniz using the hashtag #VouDeSaia.

I mean, how cool is that?

Authored By Mitch Kellaway – See the Full Story at The Advocate

supreme-court-250x250 copyToday is the first day the US Supreme Court could actually choose a case or cases in the marriage equality fight this year.

NBC News reports:

The justices, who will meet in a closed-door conference on Monday, will consider whether to hear any of three same-sex marriage lawsuits during the next term, which officially starts Oct. 6. If they decide to review one or more of the cases, a ruling could be reached by July on whether same-sex marriage must be allowed nationwide. If they choose not to hear the cases, the decision would allow gay nuptials in the ten states covered by the three lawsuits. The court could also wait for a circuit court to disagree with the others and support the state bans. The justice have until January 2015 to make their decision. Both opponents and supporters of gay marriage predict that the justices will hear at least one of the cases.

Which case do you think they will take, if any? Utah, Oklahoma, or Virginia?

reese-ramirezHere are the official details: Saturday, Oct. 4th at The Big Red Church 2131 N. Van Ness in Fresno, CA. will be the date and venue of Reese Ramirez's celebration of life! The celebration will be from 5-10pm. There will be a small service with a speaker on behalf of the family. Appetizers will be provided by the family, and drinks will be sold as a contributions toward non-profit organizations such as: (Trans E Motion, Fresno Pride, Suicide Watch). If you would like to submit pictures for the slideshow, please send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
We are putting on a drag show in Reese's honor, as this is something he loved to watch and do as well! You will be encouraged to tip the performers, as all will be donated to our wonderful organizations. Shirts will be here in about a week, I will post details asap. All are welcome to join us in wearing the shirts at the service. Entry is FREE. Thank you everyone.

 

Comments and memories may be posted by commenting below.  We'll be sure to pass them along to the family.  

us-supreme-court-bwThe US Supreme Court has asked the petitions be ready for all seven marriage quality cases that have reached the court.

Scotus Blog reports:

Matching the speed of lawyers and lower courts in handling the same-sex marriage controversy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set the stage for its first look at all of the pending cases, when the Justices assemble on September 29 for a private Conference. Seven petitions — three from Virginia, and one each from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin — will be submitted to the Justices at that session. There is, of course, no certainty that they will act on any or all of them at that point, but the option is there. With all sides agreeing that the time to rule is now, it would be a surprise if the Court opted to bypass the issue altogether in its new Term… Together, the petitions raise two constitutional questions: do states have power to refuse to allow same-sex couples to marry, and do states have power to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states? In all of the federal appeals courts’ decisions being challenged in these cases, state marriage bans of one or both of those kinds were struck down under the federal Constitution, either under equal protection or due process guarantees, or both.

Another set of cases before the Sixth Circuit could be decided soon.

Towleroad.com reports:

…the Supreme Court could have more cases headed its way very soon. Many are focsued on 4 pending cases before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a court some legal analysts suspect is more likely than others to uphold marriage bans: “If that happens, it’s a virtual certainty that the Supreme Court would step in and resolve the disagreement.”

The cases awaiting Supreme Court consideration on 9/29 are from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

the-normal-heart

TO WIN A WAR, YOU HAVE TO START ONE.

StageWorks Fresno Presents

A Special Performance of

THE NORMAL HEART

in conjunction with the Bulldog Pride FundThurs. Sept. 25th • 8:00pm
Bonner Auditorium • Fresno Art Museum • 2233 N 1st St 
$30 per person • Limited Seating

Purchase your online tickets now
Includes post-performance champagne and dessert reception with director and cast

 

The story of a city in denial, THE NORMAL HEART unfolds like a real-life political thriller—as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. A quarter-century after it was written, this outrageous, unflinching, and totally unforgettable look at the sexual politics of New York during the AIDS crisis remains one of the theatre’s most powerful evenings ever. Winner of the 2011 Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Play.

 

Fresno Premiere. Contains adult content.

Please note: This is the stage play, not a screening of the HBO film.
THE FRESNO BEE review:
http://fresnobeehive.com/archives/36668#more-36668

 

• Additional performance dates of THE NORMAL HEART are September 26-28.
• Tickets: http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/eventSearch.jsp?event_id=1001001

reese-ramirezLocal trans activist and community member, Reese Ramirez passed away overnight.  A facebook post by his mother states:

Friends of Reese Ramirez.......
This is his mom, Denise Michelle Ramirez. Reese has many, many friends throughout CA and beyond, and this is the only way I can reach most of you.

It is with deepest sorrow that I have to let you know of his passing. We believe it to be related to natural causes.

We will keep you updated on the date and location of the service, as I know Reese would want you there to celebrate the wonderful and rich life that you were a part of.

Our family and I truly look forward to meeting each one, of his very special and valued friends.

 

Comments and memories may be posted by commenting below.  We'll be sure to pass them along to the family.  Funeral service details will be available on his page in the coming days.

rainbow-flag-600I picked up my 20-something son, David, at the Metro a few weeks ago. After he got into the car, he put out his hands towards me, and asked:

“Do you like this color? Kind of a deep purple. I get a lot of compliments on it.”
Yes, David wears nail polish — bright, glossy, frequently-changing-colors nail polish. And it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I like the deep purple shade.

When David first told us he was gay in his junior year in high school, my husband and I were somewhat surprised, but when we thought about it, it began to make sense. At first I worried about the increased chances that he would develop AIDS and I was concerned about problems he would likely face being accepted as a gay man in the less tolerant world we lived in a decade ago. But the gay part? We had an inkling. Okay, more than an inkling. (What parent doesn’t?)

As an avid reader and news-watcher, I did have some knowledge of the evolving gay community. I was aware of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, I remember when Barney Frank became the first U.S. congressman to come out as gay in 1987 and when a New York Court ruled in 1989 that it was legally possible for a same-sex couple to constitute a family.

Authored By Nancy L. Wolf – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

Reel Pride

Fresno Reel Pride is gearing up for its biggest year yet!

Grab the one page printable film schedule here.

 


Film Schedule

Friday, September 19

5:30pm - EAT WITH ME - Tower Theatre

5:30pm - BROKEN GARDENIAS - The Voice Shop

7:30pm - TRU LOVE - Tower Theatre

7:30pm - TIGER ORANGE - The Voice Shop

9:30pm - 10-YEAR PLAN - Tower Theatre

Saturday, September 20

12:30pm - THE CIRCLE (Der Kreis) - The Voice Shop

12:30pm - FUN IN GIRLS SHORTS - Tower Theatre

2:30pm - LETTER TO ANITA - The Voice Shop

2:30pm - FUN IN BOYS SHORTS - Tower Theatre

4:30pm - DISCOVERIES: YOUTH SHORTS PROGRAM - The Voice Shop

4:30pm - LILTING - Tower Theatre

7:30pm - APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR - Tower Theatre

7:30pm - CLUB KING - The Voice Shop

9:30pm - HAPPY END?! - The Voice Shop

9:30pm - BOYS (Jongens) - Tower Theatre

Sunday, September 21

1:00pm - 20 LIES, 4 PARENTS AND A LITTLE EGG - The Voice Shop

1:00pm - LIMITED PARTNERSHIP - Tower Theatre

2:30pm - REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG - The Voice Shop

3:00pm - 52 TUESDAYS - Tower Theatre

4:30pm - BORN TO FLY: ELIZABETH STREB VS. GRAVITY - The Voice Shop

5:00pm - Centerpiece Screening: BLACKBIRD - Tower Theatre

6:00pm - TRANSCENDENT: TRANS SHORTS - The Voice Shop

7:30pm - LIFE PARTNERS - Tower Theatre


 
FRESNO REEL PRIDE KICKS-OFF WEDNESDAY WITH "HELICOPTER MOM"
 
HELICOPTER MOM
Tower Theatre 
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
7:30 p.m. 
 
Oh, how far we’ve come from the dark days of rampant homophobia. But teenager Lloyd Cooper (Jason Dolley) may think society—or at least his mother—has progressed a bit too far on this topic. Lloyd’s mom Maggie (a hilarious Nia Vardalos) says she would not only accept a gay son, she actively encourages it, as it would be “really cool” to have one. In fact, Maggie becomes so convinced that Lloyd himself is gay that she “outs” him to his entire high school. Like any good “helicopter mom,” who hovers over every aspect of her children’s lives, Maggie takes control of Lloyd’s social life, setting Lloyd up on dates with boys whom she has approved and filing for a gay student college scholarship. There’s just one wrench in her grand plans: Lloyd doesn’t even know whether he’s gay or not. But the mother is willing to accept her son for who he is—or at least who she thinks he is.

 

An incident happened to begin at a restaraunt in the Tower District. The victim (a member of Trans-E-Motion and Pink Panthers Movement) was approached  by one of four men and sexually harassed. It quickly turned into a physical sexual assault and the victim disclosed to perp she is a transgender M to F. When the victim left she was heading to her car parked behind Tower Theater lot when she was attacked by the 5 men and beaten up. She suffers from 2 broken ribs, a broken bone in right hand along with cuts and bruises. The victim has several years self defense training and so she was able to fight back and two of the agressors are in the hospital with injuries and 3 ran off; however, the authorities know who the 3 are (thanks to the eye witnesses); and are searching for them. There has been a police report made and it has been put in to Hate Crime category.

reel-pride-directors

Festival Passes and Memberships are still available!

For more information, contact Chris Dodd

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Additional reminder: Directors' Club or higher membership is required for this event.
DirecTV did not announce the ad before it aired during Thursday's game, prompting a flurry of generally positive comments on social media after viewers met the cute couple with a "friendly rivalry."

candy-pop

How Andrew Christian has used low self-image and body shaming within the gay community to create an underwear empire.

Andrew Christian is notably known for his very popular line of designer underwear for men. His catalogue extends from swim suits to T-shirts, as well as jock straps to briefs. His underwear line has reached mega fame by being worn by gay men, literally, all over the world. His booth is most frequented at Gay prides, and his models are the most favored stars at Pride and other LGBT events. The muscled hunks, present and past porn stars, are more celebrated than organizations that lead to progressivism within the community.

These organizations would be those that lead to passing the Employment Non- Discrimination Act (ENDA), others that help gay couples qualify for adoptions and other human rights campaigns fighting for equality, whose floats are ignored at pride events. Yes, porn stars and models are idolized from within the gay community by many. Porn stars can be seen as a way of showing a normativity of sexual relations of gay men; however, the lack of intimacy makes it simply entertainment, and not in any way a true representation of intimate gay men's relations. The model industry with which Andrew Christian is most associated with is very much related to gaining off of gay men's insecurities and the body shaming that appears around us day after day.

Body shaming has been a very sure fire way to sell clothing items to people who have a low self-image. The idea is to create an ideal beauty. In Andrew Christian's case, it is making the ideal gay man's body. Which he would believe he has in the models he selects to be ambassadors for the Andrew Christian name. Body shaming is creating an ideal persona or body that all others must now compare themselves to. Andrew Christian and his marketing campaign for muscled and tanned men strictly limit those that could ever be Andrew Christian models, or models of any kind. It is nice to look at a man with muscles, but the overall perception of beauty being only as superficial as muscle and looks sends the message that the gay community is one solely based on our visual perception of others.

gay-pride-250x250DID YOU KNOW that July was ‘Heterosexual Awareness Month’? Now that the month has passed, are you more aware of your own, or other people’s, heterosexuality?

I’m guessing the answer is no – and I’m guessing that most of you probably don’t feel the need for a particular time to be proud of who you are and who you love, because our families and society are usually affirming and supportive, reinforcing heterosexuality without a second thought all the time. In choosing this headline I have assumed, as our society does all the time, that everyone is (or should be) heterosexual.

Click to continue »

 

Kampout Fresno is an annual event in the Central Valley for the Gay and Lesbian community. It's always the weekend after Labor Day. In 2014, it will be September 5-7.

Kampout Fresno is at Texas Flat Campground. It is a little rough to get to, but well worth the 90 minute journey from Fresno. The road is manageable, and large RV's often make the trek. At an elevation of 5,400 feet, the air is clean and crisp. We reserve the entire area alongside McGilvery Creek, so you can enjoy camping underneath a canopy of tall trees with 100 or more of your closest friends! The area is very large, so you can find privacy and solitude if you like.

What is the atmosphere like?
Most of our Kampers have been here many times, and look forward all year to the next Kampout. Fond memories are forever with us, and many new ones will be made this year. Many a great friendship has been made here as well. Everyone is friendly, no "cliques" or snobs. It sounds cliché, but it really is a family of friends, some of them you just haven't met yet.

2014 theme:"THE ANCIENT WORLD"!   See more details at their site.

transgender-flag.ong -250x250There’s a certain amount of run-of-the-mill tact and respect for privacy that starts to vanish when someone comes out as trans*. I’m consistently surprised by the kinds of questions people ask me about my partner, and by the things they say to her or us. One of my favorites is when people tell her how lucky she is that she doesn’t have to deal with periods or cramping.

I always think, “Yeah, she’s really jazzed that she doesn’t get to experience fertility and won’t ever have the ability to carry a child. How lucky!” I wonder if cisgender women who have had hysterectomies experience the same misguided conversation about their “luck.”

A very common experience trans* people have is that conversation can tend to veer rather quickly to their genitalia. While I can certainly understand the curiosity, can we all just agree that conversations about one’s genitals are conversations best left under the “personal/private” umbrella? Transitioning doesn’t somehow lift that social contract.

Authored By Justin Ropella – See the Full Story at SDGLN

CELEBRATE 25 YEARS WITH PRIDE!

September 17th-21st

 

GET YOUR FESTIVAL PASSES TODAY!

Fresno Reel Pride is gearing up for its biggest year yet!

Festival passes are now available! Purchase your festival passes today!

hands
Matthew was tied to a fence in rural Wyoming after being pistol-whipped and tortured — left to die. The moment we heard about his death, long before it was ever classified as a hate crime, in the very pits of our stomachs we knew that’s exactly what it was. But some voices, apparently unfazed by the horror of the crime, tried to rationalize that he must have created “gay panic” by coming onto his attackers.

Bryan’s unconscious, battered body was found in the Castro near dawn, badly beaten. Days later he was removed from life support. While some suggested he was probably just a victim of robbery, the immediate watery eyes and shudder felt by gays and lesbians evoked a knowing that something far more sinister caused his death.

Marichuy, a transgender woman detained among men in an Arizona immigration detention center, was raped — even after she had reported being harassed, bullied and threatened with rape. Many suggested she got what she deserved for her non-normative gender expression. Others, as is the case for many women who are raped, speculated about what she must have done to deserve it.

n-PORTERVILLE-large570
Last week, the city of 54,000 in California's Central Valley once again distinguished itself as an opponent of gay rights. The city council voted to remove the mayor, who during the summer issued a proclamation that Neeley had drafted declaring June 2013 LGBT Pride Month. The city council rescinded the proclamation in July, voting 3-2 to replace it with a resolution declaring June "a month of community charity and goodwill to all in Porterville."

Gay rights supporters vowed to change the makeup of city council in next year's local election.‬

Melissa McMurrey, the head of Gay Porterville, a local advocacy group, said many of the town's gay people have emailed her, threatening to move elsewhere. "I got a lot of emails from people I used to go to high school with, saying, 'I'm so glad I don't live there anymore,'" McMurrey said.

McMurrey, however, is resolved to stay in Porterville and help elect new city council members in 2014.

McMurrey pointed to an interview Hamilton gave in 2009, in which the new mayor said in a YouTube video about Proposition 8 that his stance against gay marriage was tied to an "extreme public health issue."

"If you look at the statistics among the gay community, everything goes up -- cancer to the rectum -- it's not even pleasant to talk about," Hamilton said then.

Continue reading...

 

...

On October 1, California's online health insurance marketplace, known as Covered California, will open enrollment and begin connecting residents with new, affordable health insurance options. This marketplace was created as a result of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and has the potential to drastically improve health disparities among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Equality California Institute educates LGBT people and the public at large about issues impacting our community, and barriers to health care has been one of the Institute's central focuses this year. That's why we launched our "Health Happens with Equality"/"La Salud Ocurre Con La Igualdad" campaign to connect thousands of LGBT Californians with the resources needed to make informed health insurance decisions. 

Click here to sign-up to receive reminders about enrollment or to get enrollment assistance.

The passage of Obamacare will mean more protections for the LGBT community. The new law creates affordable options, bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and guarantees coverage even if you have a preexisting condition such as HIV/AIDS or mental health concerns. 

Learn more about your health insurance options in one of the following ways:

afer-map-250x250AFER has released a new map and a list detailing the current marriage equality initiatives going on around the US.

AFER reports:

After the historic Supreme Court victories in June that paved the way for marriage equality in California and for all legally married couples to receive federal benefits, there is renewed energy from coast to coast to increase the number of states where gay and lesbian couples can get married. Which will be the next state to allow gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married? Here are the ones with active court cases, legislation and ballot initiatives that could expand the number of states with marriage equality.

It’s a great snapshot of just how many states are now in play for marriage equality.

 

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

Editor
Seek out and encourage writers and journalists to contribute to the site.  Proof read and approve submissions.  Seek out new and interesting articles of interest to the LGBT community.

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

Online outreach
Assistance needed with expanding our online outreach via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. 
Our goal is to continue to expend our reach outside of the Fresno/Clovis area to other communities in the Central Valley. This opportunity would include working on helping us more closely interact with our "friends" on social networks to become involved and to expand the existing networks.

Sponsorship assistance
Seeking assistance with making telephone calls and sending emails to potential advertisers.

LGBT Friendly directory
Soliciting companies from our visitors/readers and making phone calls to build an LGBT friendly community directory.

If one or more of these are of interest to you, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for all the details!

The City Council of Porterville, California, removed Mayor Virginia Gurrola from office this week, allegedly due to her declaration that June be regarded as LGBT Pride Month in the town.

The governing body also removed Vice Mayor Pete McCracken from his position, placing city council members Cameron Hamilton and Brian Ward in the mayor and vice mayor seats, respectively.

Porterville, California, has a history of anti-LGBT sentiment and the town is reportedly the only one in California to officially support Proposition 8 in 2008.

When Gurrola attempted to pass a proclamation earlier this year that would identify June as LGBT Pride Month in Porterville, members of the community turned out in massive numbers at a public hearing to object.

One LGBT activist who attended the event noted:

That was one of the scariest and most horrific experiences of my life! I have never been in the same room with people (yes, multiple people) that actually called for my death and the systematic extermination of all LGBT people; I have never been surrounded by so many hateful people; and I have never been so proud of the LGBT community for maintaining respect and decorum and civility (and trust me it was difficult).
Continue reading...

...

Pope-FrancisSix months into his papacy, Pope Francis sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic church on Thursday with the publication of his remarks that the church had grown "obsessed" with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he had chosen not to talk about those issues despite recriminations from critics.

His surprising comments came in a lengthy interview in which he criticized the church for putting dogma before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and marginalized. He articulated his vision of an inclusive church, a "home for all" — which is a striking contrast with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the doctrinal defender who envisioned a smaller, purer church.

Francis told the interviewer, a fellow Jesuit: "It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

"We have to find a new balance," the pope continued, "otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel."

The pope's interview did not change church doctrine or policies, but it instantly changed its tone. His words evoked gratitude and hope from many liberal Catholics who had felt left out in the cold during the papacies of Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul II, which together lasted 35 years. Some lapsed Catholics suggested on social media a return to the church, and leaders of gay rights and gay Catholic groups called on bishops to abandon their fight against gay marriage.

Continue reading at NYTimes

 

Fresno's Reel Pride film festival continues tonight with these great features...

reelpride-2013

Reel Pride Thursday Schedule

 

1990-reel-prideA small, fearless group of Fresno State students – members of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Student Alliance – launched an “International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival” in conjunction with National Coming Out Day.

It showcased 11 films (“Damned If You Don’t,” “Domestic Blues,” “Dry Kisses Only,” “Flames of Passion,” “I Need a Man Like You to Make My Dreams Come True,” “Kim,” “Mala Noche,” “On Guard,” “The Mark of Lilith,” “Urinal” and “Wrestler: East of the Wall”); from 5 countries (Australia, Canada, UK, USA and West Germany); throughout 6 days (Oct. 7-12, 1990).

Since then, the student group has become United Student Pride; the film festival has moved off-campus; and the event is now known as the “Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival.”On the eve of our 24th Annual Film Festival, Fresno Reel Pride salutes our Co-founders – Ken Fries and Peter Robertson; plus founding GLBSA Officers Brad Seiple, Matt Cunningham, Durk Hubel, Manoj Mehta and Caren Thomas; as well as founding advisors Sari Dworkin and Caryn Horowitz.

We also our salute past and present Festival Directors – Jeff Robinson, Dave Houck, Jon Carroll and James Figueroa – plus former and current board of directors, sponsors, donors, festival pass holders, volunteers and audience members. (2013 Board of Directors: Sarrah Soza, Peter Robertson, Ralph Gomez, Jon Caroll, Chris Dodd, Kathleen Reyna, Justin Kamimoto and Augie Blancas).

As we pause and reflect on the past 24 years, it’s been a daunting and miraculous journey – for our GLBTQ community, for our allies, for our nation – and for the Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival. Thank you for your courage and your vision. Because of each of you, we exist today. And, we’re all the better for it.

# # #

FRESNO REEL PRIDE
24th Annual Film Festival
Sept. 18 – 22, 2013
www.reelpride.com

 

rainbow-pc

Two topics this month, hopefully both of interest...
There's a reason "beta" is the second, not first, letter of the Greek alphabet and that's because it's second, but not usually first-rate. The reason I bring this up is I have had the opportunity recently to try the new (and still in beta testing) operating systems (OS) for both the iPhone and Mac computers. There's a certain honor, prestige or whatever word you want to use about having something first, but after this experience, I will also say there's a heavy burden, too, because not only do you get the chance to be first, you also get to experience anything and everything that can and usually will go wrong. This includes, in the case of the iOS7 for the phones, more lock-ups than the county jailhouse and more frustration than imaginable.

As far as the OS for the computer, all I can say is I hope they get it on track as we did download and put it on one of our Macs (a rather new-ish iMac) and after two very trying days, went back to the previous 10.4 version which we'd purchased a year ago. Not only (honestly speaking here) did we not get the beta of the new computer OS to function well, but this writer, at least, finds the name Apple picked for it — Mavericks, named for a surfing beach in Northern California — the height of stupid. Somehow after Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Jaguar and all the other big cats, we just can't (here in the Midwest, anyway) get our heads around the name of a surfing spot.
Back on topic, as far as the OS itself, we had the biggest frustration when trying to surf (there's that word again) the net as Safari flatly refused to load or operate. Not good for the native Mac browser.

Back to the iOS7 for the iPhone. That works somewhat better, though the word buggy comes to mind, and not the kind that the NSA is accused of planting or the kind that describes my garden most years. These bugs are programming ones and often found when one tries to do something on the phone and it either freezes or shuts down. I think I have seen more apples as the system reboots on my screen in the past 30 days than I have any time since I got my first iPhone years ago!

That said, I do like the new look of the OS and I do think that some aspects are better than the current one. Unlike some friends I have shown it to, I like the motion when one texts now, and the colors do add to its attractiveness. That said, the bugs often keep the camera from hitting its full potential, though when it does decide to work, it's very crisp as anyone who's a friend on Facebook can testify as I tend to post a lot of pics. There's also the new Apple iTunes Radio which while still in trial I find to be interesting. That's a polite word to say nowhere near Pandora yet as they seem to lack the depth of library material, especially for an old geezer like me who wants easy listening or classical and not the hits by Billy and the Bing Bongs or whoever's popular this week. It has potential, but as it's also Beta it seems to have a ways to go.

Fresno Reel Pride starts in 2 days!


Did you know that students have benefits at the five day film festival? Click here for a full list of student perks and freebies - yes students get freebies!

More and more, I find myself mulling over the question posed by Rodney King in the wake of his horrific beating at the hands of the L.A.P.D. and the ensuing riots: "Can't we all get along?"

Evidently, we can't.

As I write this, a jury in Florida has just acquitted George Zimmerman of Second- Degree Murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. As a recovering lawyer, I am not prepared to argue with the jury's verdict. For one thing, I didn't watch the trial. And for another, there are elements of a crime that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to justify a conviction. From the bits and pieces I did see, it appeared that the prosecution was struggling to prove Zimmerman had the requisite criminal intent.
But while it may be possible to absolve Zimmerman of legal liability for Martins death, his moral culpability — and what it tells us about human behavior in the presence of difference — is quite clear.

From all accounts, Zimmerman was one of those pathetic wanna-be macho types that gay and lesbian folks — and especially gay men — encounter all too frequently. He'd wanted to be a police officer and had been rejected on more than one occasion — rejections for which we should all feel grateful. He compensated by buying a gun (Feelings of inadequacy are an all-too-common reason for owning a firearm.) and by participating in his neighborhood watch where he could exercise an authority he did not otherwise possess.
In the television interviews that followed the shooting but preceded his trial, his self-righteousness and embarrassing swagger were on display. This was not an individual who was self-reflective. He displayed no remorse about taking the life of an unarmed teenager whom he had voluntarily stalked, despite being told by the police dispatcher to "go home and let us handle it."

Dear Mz. Pink,

I recently moved in with my girlfriend, and it was a great decision but she has memorabilia from her past girlfriends all over the place. She has pictures, movie tickets, decorations, stuffed animals and anything you can think of in her house.

I told her that I feel uncomfortable with the stuff, but she laughs and says I am overreacting. She says that not all of the stuff was hers and theirs. She said she would put the pictures up, but that I needed to not be so sensitive. She said I needed to trust her.


Am I being insecure? Should I not care so much about stuff? How do I deal with the stuff and with her?


Sign me Stuffed

One of the things I hear a lot writing is that the "average reader" is a guy in his late 20s, meaning I often get reminded that I need some columns and suggestions for the beginners reading my words. Guys and gals who are just a year or two out of college, now have good jobs and want to know what they should be doing for their futures. That's why this month I'll look at some of the "basics" and see if I can offer some tips.

First, I understand that if you're starting out as an investor, you might be feeling overwhelmed. After all, it seems like there's just so much to know. How can you get enough of a handle on basic investment concepts so that you're comfortable in making well-informed choices?

Actually, you can get a good grip on the investment process by becoming familiar with a few basic concepts, such as these:
Stocks versus Bonds — When you buy stocks, or stock-based investments, you are buying ownership shares in companies. Generally speaking, its a good idea to buy shares of quality companies and to hold these shares for the long term. This strategy may help you eventually overcome short-term price declines, which may affect all stocks. Keep in mind, though, that when buying stocks, there are no guarantees you won't lose some or all of your investment.

By contrast, when you purchase bonds, you aren't becoming an "owner" — rather, you are lending money to a company or a governmental unit. Barring default, you can ex¬pect to receive regular interest payments for as long as you own your bond, and when it matures, you can expect to get your principal back. However, bond prices do rise and fall, typically moving in the opposite direction from interest rates. So if you want to sell a bond before it matures, and interest rates have recently risen, you may have to offer your bond at a price lower than its face value.

For the most part, stocks are purchased for their growth potential (although many stocks do offer income in the form of dividends) while bonds are bought for the in¬come stream provided by interest payments. Ideally, though, it is important to build a diversified portfolio containing stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), govern¬ment securities and other investments designed to meet your goals and risk tolerances. Diversification is a strategy designed to help reduce the effects of market volatility on your portfolio. Keep in mind, however, that diversification, by itself, can't guarantee a profit or protect against loss.

Risk versus Reward — All investments carry some type of risk: Stocks and bonds can decline in value, while investments such as CDs can lose purchasing power over time. One important thing to keep in mind is that, generally, the greater the potential reward, the higher the risk.

Setting goals — As an investor, you need to set goals for your investment portfolio, such as providing resources for retirement or helping pay for more college education or that home you hope to use every Winter in Palm Springs.

Knowing your own investment personality — Everyone has different investment personalities — some people can accept more risk in the hopes of greater rewards, while others are not comfortable with risk at all. It's essential that you know your investment personality when you begin investing, and throughout your years as an investor.

Investing is a long-term process — It generally takes decades of patience, persever¬ance and good decisions for investors to accumulate the substantial financial re¬sources they'll need for their long-term goals. Do not be in a hurry, but do be prepared to change your strategy and move your money around to get the best results as time passes. What's a great stock or bond now might not be in five or 10 years time.

By keeping these concepts in mind as you begin your journey through the investment world, you'll be better prepared for the twists and turns you'll encounter along the way as you pursue your financial goals. As always, I, and other financial advisors, planners and accountants are around to offer help and suggestions, so do not be afraid to ask!

On this same line of thought, a reader recently asked me what he should do if he wants to change his mind and reverse an earlier decision he made not to go to college. In other words, he now wants to plan on attending. If you are like him or you already attend school, you're keenly aware that it's getting close to back-to-school time. Today, that might mean you need to go shopping for laptops or iPads. But in the future, when "back to school" means "off to college," your expenditures are likely to be significantly greater. How can you be financially prepared for that day?

Dear Dr. Fred: My partner of seven years recently broke up with me and moved out, because ... get this ...he “doesn’t think he’s gay anymore!’’ He was married to a woman when we first met, but he had been having sex with men on the down low for some time. All I can say about him “not being gay anymore’’ is that he sure put up a good act in the bedroom over the years we’ve been together, (although I have to admit, we haven't had much sex at all for a long while).

While I was pretty torn up at first about the break-up and the reason he gave for it, I’ve been working my way through all o f that with my therapist and am pretty proud of the progress I’ve made there so far. So that’s not my biggest problem.

My biggest problem is that my ex and I co-own and operate a business togethera very busy and profitable salon and spa. There’s no way either one of us can walk away from it, as we still owe a substantial balance on a loan we took out to get it started. So now. I’m trapped in a situation where I have to go in to work every day and spend the whole day working beside a man who just dumped me!

Worse yet, he seems to want us to be “just friends" now, spending all day chatting it up with me, making stupid little jokes and acting like nothing ever happened between us, assuming I can do the same thing. But I can’t, and in fact, sometimes I just want to choke him, but I have to act civil for the sake of our patrons.

So my question for you is, how do I cope with working with this man who (I now realize) is completely superficial and about as deep as a mud puddle?

Should I continue as is, and wait for the day when our loan is paid off and we can afford to sell the business or I can afford to buy him out? Also, what are the health/ mental health consequences likely to be for me of having to work under these stressful conditions? I already have an ulcer. Is this likely to make that worse?


Sign me,

“Andy”

 

reelpride-2013

Reel Pride 2013 - Starts in ONE WEEK!

Have you joined or renewed your membership yet? Now is the time -- members receive special perks and first priority during the festival, including learning about all our 2013 festival films in advance. Find out how you can take advantage of all the great benefits of Reel Pride membership - join online today or download the membership form here.

medical-matters
With all of the hospitals consolidating and competing for patients these days, as well as drug firms trying to sell this or that new remedy for a condition we might not even know we had or have, there are a lot of health-related ads out there asking for our attention. Some are in print, some on TV or radio and others on billboards. I think one thing they have done for sure is make each and every one I know a bit of a hypochondriac.

A shrink I used to see told me years ago all of this was merely making us all "a bit more health aware" and that might also be the case, but more and more of us seem to be running to the doctor, the ER or the doc in a box at the local drugstore or shopping center seeking answers to what ails us, even if we do not need to be there. That begs this month's question of when's an appropriate time to get help and what do we worry about and what do we not worry about.

Back in the day, before we had costly "miracle cures" for everything, remedies which have fallen out of favor usually did the trick.

batwoman-gay-marriage-proposal-250x250The writers of the new Batwoman comic are quitting after DC Comics stepped in to block a number of planned storylines, including a wedding to the character’s female partner.

Towleroad.com reports:

Unfortunately, in recent months, DC has asked us to alter or completely discard many long-standing storylines in ways that we feel compromise the character and the series. We were told to ditch plans for Killer Croc’s origins; forced to drastically alter the original ending of our current arc, which would have defined Batwoman’s heroic future in bold new ways; and, most crushingly, prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. All of these editorial decisions came at the last minute, and always after a year or more of planning and plotting on our end. We’ve always understood that, as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC. However, the eleventh-hour nature of these changes left us frustrated and angry — because they prevent us from telling the best stories we can. So, after a lot of soul-searching, we’ve decided to leave the book after Issue 26.

The characters were engaged in the comic several months ago. The coauthors clarified by tweet: “Not wanting to be inflammatory, only factual- We fought to get them engaged, but were told emphatically no marriage can result…But must clarify- was never put to us as being anti-gay marriage.”

 

PecsnCity

I used to think I was interesting. Always quick with a joke, a humorous anecdote or a hilarious story about some bizarre situation that I found myself in. I used to think my unnatural retention of trivia and encyclopedic knowledge of a myriad of subjects was enough to add flavor to any conversation. I realize now that I am not nearly as interesting as I thought.

I can't hold a candle to the fascinating allure of a glowing screen in someone's hand. It seems like everyone I surround myself with is more interested in the banal information scrolling across the face of their phone than they are in what we are talking about or experiencing firsthand. And to be quite honest, it's getting really fucking irritating.

Something somewhere else is always more fascinating than the present. That seems to be the general consensus in our twenty-first century' lives. Something that happened an hour ago on Facebook is much more intriguing than the people or interaction that is taking place around your hunched shoulders and bowed head.

Even major life events and cherished moments are viewed through a phone screen with the reasoning that we want to capture them on film to watch them later.
That's all well and good, but guess what? You ain't gonna watch them later. And guess what else? You just missed the actual moment while you were adjusting your focus or deciding how to widen your shot.

Gone forever while you were trying to get Instagram artistic. Filtering the world through the phone in your hand is not only a detriment to your social skills but also your chances for a true romantic connection.
Gay bars used to be filled with heat and sexual promise. Now they're full of a new breed of gay men whose faces are lit from below like Heather in The Blair Witch Project, reading about what their other friends are doing or scoping out their Grindr feed.

Forget for a moment the fact that staring down at your phone instead of looking around and smiling makes you less attractive, but scoping out your sexual options online is often a one-way ticket to disappointment when there could be a smoking hot suitor just a few feet away.

"It's not always a disappointment,'' is the refrain I've heard from many people who surf the hookup sites. Sure, I agree — there are times when Scruff gives you exactly what you need, but what's the percentage? Twenty-five percent of the time? Ten percent? Three? Someone may be extremely attractive in their photograph but that doesn't translate to sexual chemistry when you meet face-to-face.

Attraction is only ignited when two people talk and flirt in person; when you can hear the person's voice or feel their hand on your arm. That's when you feel the electricity that is written about in poems and love songs. Certainly not when you see their shirtless selfie with their tongue hanging out of their mouth.

The other side of this internet-bred disappointment is the on-going mystery of the fake profile or the use of someone else's picture. I have to know: what do these people think is going to happen when the truth is revealed? Has anyone ever pulled this idiotic move and had something good come out of it? It boggles my mind. The internet is a breeding ground for the worst kind of lies. Don't get me wrong — when you meet someone in person they may be hiding some horrors from you too, but the odds of it happening in an online profile are much, much greater.

People meet through hook-up sites or dating sites and are crushed or angry when they discover someone misrepresented himself. Most of this disappointment can be avoided by meeting someone for the first time face-to-face without the specter of Internet embellishment hanging over your heads. Sure, this means Nev and Max of Catfish would be out of a job, but it would spare a lot of broken hearts.

I know it's hard to meet the right people and it takes some effort to hunt down what you want, but people had been doing it for a long time before the invention of the smartphone. Have some balls. Talk to strangers. Leave your fucking house and go out into the world. You'll be much happier with the results.

Speaking of happy, let's shift gears.

There are 1.1 billion people on Facebook who can tell you about what kind of day they are having, the food they are eating, the new car they bought and where they went on vacation.

Our culture today demands that we trumpet our success and happiness to others or else our achievements lose their merit. Psychologically however, it's the striving for this very success that is supposed to truly bring us joy. The majority of us make ourselves seem happier and more successful in all the veins of social media so we can keep up with others who are doing the exact same thing.
When you spend your time scanning your Facebook feed while engaging in any social activity, you are basically seeing what other people are doing and measuring it against how happy you are with where you are in the present.
Not only that, it is a proven fact that 60 percent of people don't feel better about themselves after surfing through social media. Why is this? Maybe because when you're lonely you see photos of happy couples. Maybe because when you're broke you see photos of brand new houses and designer clothes. Maybe because when you're buried under paperwork or sweating through a double shift you see that annoying, overused photo of someone's feet on a sandy beach.

You see the things you think you need or want when in reality you are seeing the things that people want you to see in order to believe that they have a better life than you do. It's a manifestation of our societal desire for acceptance and the unending coveting of other people's lives.

Maybe you think you are above all of this shallowness, but none of us are. Every photo you post of acquired belongings or exotic vacations while telling yourself it's merely to share an experience holds a tiny glimmer that people will respond with envy or desire.

So why live your life with your eyes glued to a screen filled with the lives and lies of others? I know that in our plugged-in present that there is no reason to leave your house. Anything and everything can be accessed through your phone or your laptop. Socialization, sex, music, movies, food — all of this and more can be ordered and brought to your door.

Our electronic culture is like a bag of potato chips — there is no substance, we consume a great deal and it leaves us wanting more. Our amazing jumps in technology are making us a less social society. If they were to paint the Evolution Of Man now, the last image in the line would not be Man standing erect, but an image of him in mid-stride with his head down, hunched over a phone in his hand.

Life is for living. It's a journey, not a destination. Save your surfing for your alone time and feel the sun on your face. You can ask for directions instead of using Google Maps. You can enjoy an amazing meal without putting it on Instagram.

You can smile and talk to a stranger in a bar or a coffee shop instead of scanning through countless self-aware photos on Grindr. Candy Crush isn't as interesting as the conversation you are having with your boyfriend, even if it's about the new laundry detergent. You know why? Because this is now. This is what life is.

When you look back on your life it is the moments and experiences that you will remember, not how many Likes your summation of these events received on Facebook.
Henry David Thoreau said it best: "You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land. There is no other life but this."

CRAIG-JAMESFox Sports Southwest has cut broadcaster Craig James from its fall lineup of football commentators because of past antigay remarks.

James, a former NFL running back and ESPN broadcaster, made the controversial comments during a 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Texas, when he criticized Tom Leppert, his opponent for the GOP nomination, for marching in a gay Pride parade.

During a primary debate in Dallas, where Leppert was mayor, James argued that same-sex attraction is a choice, rather than inborn or genetic, and claimed he would never march in a Pride parade.

Continue reading...

 

...

Adam Cervantes (in White)

Adam Cervantes (in White) along with Anthony at Day of Decision 2013

ADAM'S HUSBAND AND FAMILY ARE UNITING TO RAISE MONEY FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES!

Adam was known in the community as a person with a heart of gold! His life was tragically cut short due to a random act of violence while attempting to save 2 kids he saw being abused! He was a member of The Big Red Church as well as a volunteer for various mental health programs and The LGBTQ Community! He managed to overcome various struggles including being chronically homeless! He Left behind his Best Friend and Husband as well as his Parents, Siblings and large extended family and So Many Friends he made Long his short journey on Earth!
 
 
Questions can be directed to his husband, Anthony here.

 

 

Sweet-Cakes-by-Melissa-Store-Closing-555x312Remember that bakery in Oregon that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple a few months ago? Well, they’re closing their storefront.

Gay Star News reports:

Sweet Cakes by Melissa owner, who had cited religious reasons for refusing to make the cake, wrote on their Facebook page over the weekend that they were converting into an ‘in home bakery.’ On their Facebook page they state: ‘We here at Sweet Cakes strongly believe that when a man and woman come together to be joined as one, it is truly one of the most special days of their lives.’

You know the religious right will be all over this one. But note that no fines had been assessed yet against the business, and that they closed of their own volition. Also note that Oregon does not yet have marriage equality. Expect these facts to get lost in the next few days.

 

 

NOMlogoBlack clergy members decried President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage during a news conference on Friday as a betrayal of the black civil rights movement as they admitted limited financial ties to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage.

Rev. William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, held the conference standing along with a group of nearly 30 black religious leaders as part of the organization’s annual leadership summit, which this year took place at the Hyatt Regency in Arlington, Va.

“The president sold us out,” Owens said. “He is in the White House because of the civil rights movement and mainly because of the African-American community, who voted for him 97 percent to be president. He sold us out for money — no other way. The African-American community represents 13 percent of the population, the gay and lesbian community represents three percent. So it wasn’t for the votes; it was for the money. I called him Judas then, and I call him Judas now.”

chick-fil-a-folsom-250x250Reports are coming through that Chick-fil-A is continuing to actively raise money for anti-LGBT organizations like the Marriage and Family Foundation. The Advocate is reporting that Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Tweeted a photo from an event raising funds for the anti-LGBT group on Tuesday – a day before LGBTweekly reported that the fast food chain had decided to no longer financially support groups that promote discrimination.

From The Advocate report:

Although the company’s foundation might not be donating directly, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Tweeted a photo on Tuesday from the 2012 WinShape Ride for the Family. He wrote alongside the picture of a pack of motorcyclists: “WinShape Ride for the Family bikers locked and loaded for 200 mile ride to Wilmington out of Charleston.”

ab2356Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to ensure that women in same-sex relationships and single women can access fertility services on the same terms as women in different-sex relationships. AB 2356, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and co-sponsored by Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, allows women using known donors to access certain fertility procedures that are less expensive and more effective.

"Women's issues once again are at the forefront of national debate. AB 2356 ensures that all women have equal access to fertility services," said Assemblymember Skinner. "I am grateful Governor Brown signed legislation that will eliminate barriers LGBT and single women confront when seeking to conceive."

“The decisions regarding building a family are a core freedom in California. Same-sex couples have faced many barriers in forming families, including unequal access to fertility healthcare,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California Board President. “This unequal treatment has, heartbreakingly, denied many couples the opportunity to conceive a child of their own. Signing AB 2356 works to remedy that disparity, putting the joy of having a child and building a family within the reach of all loving families. We thank Assemblymember Skinner for her leadership on this bill and Governor Brown for removing one more barrier to a state of equality.”

“This law allows doctors and providers to provide services that are currently only available to different-sex couples to people using known donors,” said Cathy Sakimura, Family Protection Project Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Many intended parents who would not otherwise be able to afford any fertility services will be able to access safer and more effective procedures under this new law. We applaud the Governor and the Legislature for recognizing that same-sex couples, transgender people, and single women should have equal access to fertility services.”

Increasingly, same-sex couples and single women are asking trusted friends to be donors to help them conceive a child. With this signing, women who seek fertility services with a known donor who is not their partner are no longer subject to time-consuming and costly repeat testing that decreases the chance of successful conception. Now women who have unsuccessfully attempted to conceive at home with a known donor have access the same fertility services available to different-sex couples.

 

To learn more about Equality California-sponsored legislation, visit www.eqca.org/legislation.

the-campaignAlthough a comedy, The Campaign is a refreshingly candid assessment of the current political climate in the United States.

Actually, the film is more than just candid. It is an unrelenting and scathing attack on the moral hypocrisy and financial corruption inherent in American political campaigns.

If The Campaign weren't a comedy it probably would never have been made. Or it would have been an independent film, produced by George Clooney, eking out a two-week run in a handful of art theatres before being condemned to overstock baskets in
video stores.

Boasting the talents of director Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents, Dinner for Schmucks) and lead actors Will Ferrell and Zach Galifanakis, The Campaign is a very funny film.

Yet the raw and often slapstick comedy occasionally detracts from the film's serious political message.

No one needs to be reminded that this is an election year and that big money will play a role in deciding who sits in the Oval Office come January A recent cover of Time magazine ran the header, "How to Buy the White House" and featured a "For Sale" sign under which was written, "Asking: $2.5 billion."

The Time issue could have been The Campaign's startling point. The film delves deeply into the issue of election financing. Its conclusions are stark but also - as the Time story makes clear - not too far from the truth. Campaigns are won or lost long before people go to the polls.

North Carolina congressman Cam Brady (Will Farrell) is brash, boorish, amoral and none too bright. His campaign platform is "America, Jesus, Freedom." In one scene he says, "Shit, I don't know what it means, but people sure love it when I say it."

Eager to be seen as an Everyman, Brady appears in campaign commercials with workers of every snipe, claiming that each group is the "backbone of America." With a group of teachers, Brady strays from his script: "Schools is this nation's backbone," has says, partly channeling Dan Quale and partly Ferrell’s own Saturday Night Live George Bush persona.

After a potentially campaign-ending gaffe involving a tragically misplaced (and very sexual) phone message, Brady and his campaign manager, Mitch Wilson (Jason Sudeikis), have to do a little damage control. Not a big problem. Brady has run unopposed in his congressional district for years.

That situation changes when two powerful businessmen, Glenn and Wade Motch (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), stir things up by entering a candidate of their own to run against Brady.

Tourism director for the city of Hammond, Marty Huggins, has a well-connected father (Brian Cox) who is a close friend of the influential Motches. But while he is a well-meaning family man, the younger Huggins is a disaster as a potential politician. He is overweight, uncoordinated, and whiny. "He looks like Richard Simmons crapped out a hobbit," says his obnoxious father. Not exactly great candidate material in the media-conscious arena of American politics.

But as the Motch Brothers (clearly a satirical take on the powerful and influential – as well as right-wing - Koch Brothers) say, "We are job creators; we are also candidate creators." In politics, money talks. Everything else walks some distance behind.

At stake is North Carolina land that the Molch brothers want to develop. In order to do so, they need a congressman in their pocket who will support their plans to build factories that not only pollute the environment but also pay workers only 50cents an hour. Of course, no American would work for that amount. So the brothers intend to move their business interests in China to the United States, importing low-paid Chinese workers as part of the deal. "It will save a fortune in shipping," says one of the brothers. “We call it ‘in-sourcing.’ When we tested the idea with focus groups it went through the roof."

Even though the Brady campaign initially views Huggins as a political lightweight, Brady comes out fighting dirty. Huggins is clearly no match for the seasoned campaigner. So the Motch brothers enlist Tim Wattley (a creepy Dylan McDermott) as Huggins’ campaign manager. Imagine Karl Rove, Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy remade as a Hollywood hunk and you have Wattley. He whips Huggins into shape,
making him leaner, meaner and tougher.

The campaign gets even dirtier. Jockeying for position in a crowd to kiss a baby, Brady takes a swing at Huggins with disastrous results (resulting in a dip for Brady in the polls); Brady retaliates by painting the heavily mustachioed Huggins as a potential Al Oaeda or Taliban operative (a similar dip for Huggins). And so on. The two candidates yo-yo in the polls until the day of the election when they are neck and neck.

The Campaign cleverly avoids partisan politics. While Cam Brady is portrayed as a John Edwards-style Democrat (he appears in a photo with a smiling Bill Clinton), the film manages to be critical of both parties without pointing a finger at either one. There are no images of elephants or donkeys anywhere to be seen and neither party is identified by name.

prop8.2This Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court released the first list of cases it will hear this Term and AFER’s challenge to Prop. 8 is not on this week’s list

The Justices meet nearly every week to determine the cases they will take up. The next time we could hear something is Monday, October 1 at 9:30 a.m. EDT / 6:30 a.m. PDT, when the Court is expected to release a list of cases it is not hearing this Term.

Some have speculated that the Supreme Court may wait to consider our case until later this fall when the Justices will decide whether to grant review in several cases challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.


Join the Gay Fresno Text Alert list by sending the word "Fresno" to (559) 862-4559

club-papi-2012

Get ready CENTRAL VALLEY, cause we are bringing in some of our HOTTEST PAPI BOYZ to help us celebrate our 1 year Anniversary in Fresno @ The Express Nightclub. One year ago in September, CLUB PAPI came to Fresno for the very first time and packed the club with over 600 people.

Saturday, September 29th
Doors @ 9PM
The Fresno Express
708 N. Blackstone Ave

 

15 SEXY PAPI GO-GO's LIVE
LA DJ'S ROCK DA HOUSE & BEN

 

1st 500 people will get our new Live at Club Papi Anniversary CD and a free pass to our PAN DULCE SF or West Hollywood event. Ms. Lola will also be spreading the LOVE with free tequila shots all night long.

This party will be just as big as our last one, so make sure you arrive early to beat the line and to take advantage of our $5.00 off before 10:30pm discount with flier, text or VIP card.

WIN AN EXCLUSIVE PAIR OF MADONNA CONCERT TICKETS

FFflier12b

Family Fest, Visalia’s Pride event, will be happening on Saturday, September 29th from 11-3:00pm at Mooney Grove Park. This is the fourth year of celebrating our community. We will have vendors, local groups and organizations, entertainment, games, raffles and more! As part of our events this year, and if we can find the participants, we will be holding a Karaoke contest. Get up there and show us your stuff! Maybe get your friends together and do a group performance. The winner will walk away with CASH and prizes! Returning this year is the crowd favorite, Waiting to Wed Game. It’s always a riot! Guys, I challenge you to participate. We’ve never had a male couple join in on all the fun. Represent yourselves! We have several guest performances this year, but I'm gonna keep you in suspense a bit longer... A tease? Who? Me? :)

Got kids? They will be entertained as well with the bounce house, games, piñata and craft stations. We will also provide bread to feed the ducks in the huge pond located right beside us. Family Fest has something for everyone! You can bring a picnic or buy food at the celebration, either way, come spend the day with us! There is plenty of shade, a covered arbor with tables and an entire section of the park, just for us! Pets and alcohol are allowed, please be responsible with both.

If you have a special talent you would like to showcase at the event, let us know! Or if you want to sign up for any of the games. Vendor booths are still available. If you are interested or have any questions, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A special thanks to Gay Central Valley. Their support helps make this event happen. We do have a continual need for donations and/or raffle prizes if you find that you are able to help us. Please contact me and THANK YOU!!

Family Fest really is Pride at its best, see you all in September!

bpf-9-28

Please join us on Sept. 28th!

Please join family, donors and friends in honoring the 2012-13 Bulldog Pride Fund scholars ­
TimeOut
, Justin Kamimoto, Dausha Calhoun, Michelle Swift, and Leo Barajas
­ on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Jensen Library of the Smittcamp Alumni House.

This academic year, $10,000 will be awarded equally to these fine scholars.
A short program with Jared Lindo (2009), the inaugural Bulldog Pride Fund scholar and master of ceremonies, begins at 4:00 p.m.

Free admission. Donations welcome. Won’t you please join us? Thank you!

Bonus Intra. Melior Exi.
www.bulldogpride.org

The Supreme Court on Tuesday omitted challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop. 8 case in its first listing of lower court decisions it will review in its new term.

 

The justices still could decide to review the Perry v. Brown case later this year. This means October 1 at 6:30 am our time continues to be the earliest that Court-watchers believe the Court would announce that they are NOT taking the Prop 8 case, although it could be later.

 

Be the first to know!

Text "Fresno" to 5598624559 and we'll let you know the moment the decision from the Supreme Court comes down.

ht_Zach_Wahls_petition_nt_120530_wg_0Less than 48 hours ago, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality,launched a campaign on Change.org supported by GLAAD and signed by more than 30,000 Americans urging Intel to pull funding from the Boy Scouts of America after an American Independent report revealed that the company gave nearly $700,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010. According to theAmerican Independent, the Intel Foundation has a policy that it will not fund “organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran or disability status.”

Today Intel announced that it has stopped funding BSA troops that follow the discriminatory national policy.

In a statement released to Think Progress today, Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer, Rosalind Hudnell, said that the company could no longer fund the Boy Scouts of America, so long as the Scouts stand by their long-held policy barring gay troops and leaders from participating in the organization. She said:

“Intel has not provided funding to the National Boy Scouts of America organization.  The $700,000 in funding from the Intel Foundation was donated to local Boy Scout troops or councils where our employees volunteer their time, through our volunteer matching grants program . . . Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding."

Continue reading at Glaad

social_security_administrationQ. I am a 61-year-old gay man who is about to retire. I have a 60-year-old partner. We have been together now for 38 years.

I have worked all my life. My partner has spent most of his life as a stay-at-home husband and father. (Yes, we raised a son and daughter, both of whom are now very successful.) I really enjoy your column and have learned a lot from it. But I have never seen a column in which you have discussed Social Security issues that impact gays and lesbians, especially with respect to benefits for spouses. What can you tell us about this?

A. Frankly, there isn’t much to tell you that doesn’t apply to everyone else. In almost all respects, Social Security is the same for straight people and for gay people.

See the Full Story at the National Ledger

poll-250x199For the past two years, polls have fairly consistently shown that a majority of Americans support marriage equality for same-sex couples, but not every specific poll had quite as strong a result.

One prominent survey, conducted regularly by the New York Times and CBS, had shown a plurality of support (46-44) as of July, but this month, it too now shows a majority of support for the first time.

When asked if it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry, 51 percent said it should be legal, and only 41 percent said it should be illegal.

LeVar_BurtonActor-director LeVar Burton has joined the NOH8 Campaign, which raises awareness and funds for gay rights causes, including ending California’s 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.

 

Burton first came to prominence playing Kunta Kinte in the ABC miniseries Roots. He is best known for his portrayal of Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Reel Pride concludes with some of the best movies, including ...

Sundayay September 23rd

2:30pm - MorganThe Voice Shop


Day 4 of Reel Pride continues with more not to miss films, including ...

Saturday September 22nd


12:30pm - Fun in Girls Shorts - Tower Theatre (Sponsored by Gay Fresno)


Featuring: The Queen of my dreams, Do you have a cat?, The lady paranorma, Fluid, Answers & questions, Coffee & pie, Mary mae, and The maiden and the princess. 

 

12:30pm - Inspiration in Action -Youth Program: Mississippi I Am - Starline Lounge

In 2006, ‘NSync’s Lance Bass came out publicly as gay. Once the “most beloved son” of his home state of Mississippi, he was instantly rejected and his hopes that Mississippi could ever embrace change were dashed. 

 

2:30pm - Fun in Boys Shorts - Tower Theatre

Featuring: Shabbat dinner, One more night, Something real, The eyes and the ice, It's consuming me, Sabbatical, and Little ones 

 

2:30pm - Mother Tongue (Lengua Materna) - Starline Lounge

It comes as quite a surprise when Estela learns that her 40-year-old daughter Ruth is a lesbian, and that the “friend” that she has been living with for the last 14 years is in fact her girlfriend. 

 

4:30pm - TRANS - The Movie - Tower Theatre

TRANS is an extraordinary documentary feature about boys and girls, men and women, and all the variations in between. 

 

4:30pm - The Invisible Men - The Voice Shop

While the Israeli urban center of Tel Aviv may arguably be the most LGBT-friendly city in the Middle East, it is still a space where gay Palestinians have a very difficult and sometimes dangerous time living legally and getting by. 

 

7:00pm - A Perfect Ending (Women's Centrepiece) - Tower Theatre

Director Nicole Conn (ELENA UNDONE) returns with this touching and evocative story of one woman’s struggle to find what moves her. 

 

7:00pm - Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads - The Voice Shop

After years of performing in New Orleans’s best dive bars to sagging audiences, semicelebrity and cabaret chanteuse Varla Jean Merman (Jeffrey Roberson) decides to go after a younger crowd—kids. 

 

9:30pm - BearCity 2: The Proposal - Tower Theatre

With enduring appeal and outrageous wit in the style of Sex and the City, the cast and characters from BEARCITY are back, and they’re headed for Provincetown for Bear Week!

2012-02-20-HUFFMEUSAMarriage Equality USA (MEUSA) is excited to announce an important new resource that voters can use now and over the next four years. Today MEUSA published the first streamlined, side-by-side comparison of the new political platforms just adopted by the major parties regarding marriage equality and related LGBT issues. MEUSA now offers a 1-page comparison table summarizing 94 pages of party platforms into an attractive, bird’s-eye view that’s easy to copy, print, and mail at http://www.marriageequality.org/platforms.

“This information on the national political party platforms is a critical part of Marriage Equality USA’s commitment to education so that all Americans can make informed decisions on Election Day. It is clear from the research that how each of us votes has a profound impact on not just our own lives, but the lives of our LGBT friends and families,” said Brian Silva, MEUSA Executive Director. “Analyzing the party platforms is essential to understanding the political parties’ philosophies and plans; their effect on LGBT Americans has not been documented in one place until now.”

“This comparison contains everything you want to know at one glance,” added MEUSA Projects Manager Ned Flaherty. “It’s invaluable for everyone who hasn’t seen the plans for LGBT people described in the political parties’ 4-year platforms.”


Reel Pride continues with another fabulous night of films, including ...

Facing Mirrors 5:30pm at Tower Theatre

The first narrative film from Iran to feature a transgender main character, FACING MIRRORS is a story of an unlikely and daring friendship that develops despite social norms and traditional beliefs. Rana drives a cab in order to survive financially and pay off the debt that keeps her husband in prison. By chance, she picks up Eddie, who’s on the run and desperately awaiting the passport he needs to leave the country. When the religious and inexperienced Rana learns that her wealthy passenger is FTM, conflicts arise, but could they eventually help each other out of their dire situations?

Call Me Kuchu

7:30pm at Tower Theatre

 

Elliot Loves

7:30pm at The Voice Shop

"Elliot Loves" 5-minute trailer from Terracino on Vimeo.

 

North Sea Texas

9:30pm at Tower Theatre

 

 

chick-fil-a-folsom-250x250Could Chick-fil-A be turning over a new leaf?

A Chicago-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy group reports that the restaurant chain — which was at the epicenter of a media firestorm this summer after its president confirmed his company’s anti-gay stance — has agreed to cease donations to right-wing groups that oppose same-sex marriage.

In a press release, the Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) cites Alderman Moreno as confirming that Chick-fil-A officials declared in an internal document that the company “will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation.” TCRA reportedly served as an advisor to Alderman as he negotiated these concessions with Chick-fil-A executives.

See the Full Story at the Huffington Post

After reading several facebook comments regarding this tweet from the Valley's own Chris Colfer...

We want to know what YOU think of it, comment below and let us know.

chris-colfer-twitter

prop8.3White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to directly answer a question about whether the Obama administration wants the U.S. Supreme Court to take up litigation challenging California’s Proposition 8 or allow a lower court ruling striking down the same-sex marriage ban to stand.

In response to a question from the Washington Blade, Carney deferred to the Justice Department on whether the White House wants the high court to take up the case as a way to obtain a national ruling on same-sex marriage, or, as the plaintiffs have asked, let the ruling from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stand to allow gay couples in California to marry immediately.

“That’s quite a question and I will ask you to direct it to the Justice Department,” Carney said. “I’m not going to make policy toward Supreme Court cases from here.

 

See the Full Story at The Washington Blade

Reel-Pride-Welcome

Don't miss tonight's feature film: Struck by Lightning

7:30pm at Fresno's historic Tower Theatre

 

2days


That's right ... Just two more days until the

23rd annual Reel Pride Film Festival begins!


www.reelpride.com

Brandi-Carlile

For years, acclaimed singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile kept her personal life exactly that – personal. As other gay entertainers made pronouncements about their relationships, Carlile, while not hiding her sexuality, kept the public focus on her music.

But with gay marriage embroiled in the political landscape, Carlile is taking a stand, and on Saturday, she will do it with the biggest step of her life by getting married – to her partner, Catherine Shepherd.

“It was a crazy feeling while I was filling out the paperwork because I felt like I was breaking a law, like somebody was going to come in and say, ‘You know you can’t have this,’” said Carlile of getting her marriage license. “It was so exciting. And her mom and dad were there and it was just really special. So we have a marriage license in Massachusetts.”

 

See the Full Story at USA Today

Chase-250x250You can help AFER win part of a $5 million grant to achieve marriage equality. All you have to do is vote in the 2012 Chase Giving Program.

Hundreds of non-profits across the country are competing and the top vote-getters will share the prize.

Everyone gets at least two votes and voting ends Wednesday, September 19.

Gay_Wedding_RoseThe greatest roadblock to marriage equality has been the ballot box. In less than two months, voters will determine the fate of marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Voters will also have their say on a state constitutional prohibition against same-sex marriages in Minnesota. For the first time, however, I have little doubt that all four of these states hold real potential to break the heart-wrenching losing streak that marriage equality has suffered in election after election.

At the same time, I see governors and legislators standing at the ready to do what is right, fair, and just. A handful of politicians in Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island are committed to pushing for marriage equality in 2013 and join states like New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. But then there are the states that remain. The overwhelming majority of those states have constitutional bans on same-sex marriages. The few that do not, perhaps save Hawaii, lack any political will to join the right side of history.

If by 2013′s end, marriage equality is successful in every instance where it is promising, same-sex couples will enjoy the freedom to marry in 15 states, including California, plus the District of Columbia — a powerful jump from the seven jurisdictions that recognize marital rights for same-sex couples today.

See the Full Story at the Huffington Post

Stop in for tickets, passes, and festival catalogs.  

1211 N Wishon Ave (Just north of the Tower Theatre)

reelpride-2012-box

s-ANN-ROMNEY-largeAnn Romney, the wife of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, repeatedly declined to answer questions about gay marriage or employer-provided contraception in an interview with Davenport, Iowa, television station KWQC conducted Friday.

The interview was scheduled to air Friday night on KWQC-TV, an NBC affiliate, but a transcript of the segment was posted on the station's website Friday afternoon.

Romney was talking about her message to women voters, who largely support the president, polls show.

"Here in Iowa, as you know, same-sex marriage is legal. Do you believe a lesbian mother should be allowed to marry her partner?" David Nelson, a KWQC anchor asked.

"You know, I'm not going to talk about the specific issues," Romney responded, adding that "hot-button issues" distract from the economy.

Nelson then asked whether employers should be required to provide health insurance that covers birth control. The Romney campaign has attacked the Obama administration for adopting a rule requiring most religiously affiliated employers to provide coverage for contraception in their health plans.

She declined to answer. "Again, you're asking me questions that are not about what this election is going to be about. This election is going to be about the economy and jobs."Nelson later countered with, "You just told a reporter who was questioning you in Cleveland that you want women to have a secure and stable future. I asked you about marriage and whether lesbian mothers should be allowed to marry. Isn't marriage a part of creating a stable future?"

She didn't take the bait. "You know, again, I'm going to talk to you about the economy and about job creation, and about how my husband is the right person for the right time. This is going to be an election that is very important for women, and we are going to make sure that their economic prosperity is more certain under a President Romney."

Her husband has publicly opposed gay marriage and civil unions but supports domestic partnership benefits. He also supports a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, but if elected president, Romney said he would not play any formal role in its passage.

250px-PrettyLittleLiarsIntertitleI have been watching Pretty Little Liars. It’s a guilty pleasure. It’s trite, cliché, teenage nonsense. Teenage girls do not dress like that, nor should they. Nor should they date their young teachers, or run around town trying to catch killers. However, the show is like crack. Once you sit down and get sucked into it, there’s NO turning back. However, after watching last night’s episode (spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen this addictive show) I had a realization. The show’s depiction of lesbian characters sort of disappoints me.

So, so far there have been four (at least that I can remember) lesbian characters on the show. There’s Emily, a lead, Maya, Paige, and some blonde girl from season one that I don’t remember much about. So far, they’ve killed off one, Maya. As of last night, they insinuated that another is a psycho killer or accomplice of a killer (Paige), because she would do anything to have Emily. Emily however, is a compassionate, artistic, classy individual. However, after coming out to her folks as gay and dealing with the fallout in school, as well as the murder of her girlfriend Maya, she is shown to be confused by her attraction to Maya’s male cousin Nate.

On one hand I understand this. Sexuality is fluid. Many women experience attraction to both sexes or simply fall for a person, not gender. I find this to be an acceptable angle from which to look at this situation. On the other hand I can’t help but ask, does the fact that she’s attracted to boys as well as girls make her character more acceptable in pop culture? An attractive, intelligent, classy young woman who is a lesbian has not been depicted yet in the show. These women exist and it upsets me that to make Emily’s character more appealing, and accessible to a male audience, they make her ‘fluid.’ So ultimately we have a dead lesbian, a psycho lesbian, and a young woman who seems to be a bit on the fence about where her attractions lay. So my question is where is the collected, classy, intelligent young woman who is, in fact, a lesbian as well? Isn’t it ok to be a confident woman who is attracted to other young woman? You know, one that isn’t psycho…or dead.

What sort of message is this sending to the shows targeted audience? What does this say about our society? Some interesting questions.

Don't forget to watch or record The New Normal, tonight at 9:30pm on NBC. If you haven't already seen the pilot, you can watch it right now:



About the show: These days, families come in all forms - single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors... It's 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, "Girls," "The Book of Mormon") and David (Justin Bartha, "The Hangover") are a Los Angeles couple, and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed, loving partnership, there is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, "One Day"), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (Emmy and Tony Award-winner Ellen Barkin), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious eight-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke - but also fertile - Goldie quickly becomes the guys' surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family. Ryan Murphy serves as creator/executive producer and director along with creator/executive producer Ali Adler ("Glee," "Chuck") and executive producer Dante Di Loreto ("Glee," "American Horror Story").

Today Grindr officially announces its plan to mobilize gay men as a political bloc in the 2012 elections by delivering geo-targeted messages about equality issues to its 1.5 million U.S. users — and to call those users to action. Grindr for Equality, a social effort developed by Grindr, is this call to action, informing gay men in the United States about the issues, urging them to vote for candidates based on those issues, and getting out their vote in order to have a decisive impact on this upcoming election.

Grindr for Equality will work to enhance GLBT rights this election season by doing the following:

Creating awareness regarding GLBT equality issues being voted on in November;
Encouraging Grindr users to register to vote, providing them with sources that’ll show them nearby poll locations, and prompting them to vote when the time comes; and

Promoting knowledge of those presidential candidates and state and local candidates who support GLBT initiatives.

See the Full Story at Echelon Magazine

rp2012
With only 9 days until the 2012 Reel Pride film festival kicks off, now is the time to watch the film trailers and choose which films you'll be going to.  Or better yet, purchase your festival pass so you can see every film and won't miss out on the fabulous parties!  Passes start at only $90!
    VIP Members get:
  • Admission to all screenings and Opening Night Gala
  • Entrance to the VIP Opening Night Pre-Party and the VIP Closing Night Reception
  • VIP priority seating line

Wednesday 9/19
Thursday 9/20
Friday 9/21
Saturday 9/22
Sunday 9/23
2:30pm - MorganThe Voice Shop


Gay_Wedding_TopperA tall, hulking man in his late 70s, William Rehnquist, then chief justice of the United States, crawled down on all fours to say hello to the two little girls who had scurried under the table when he approached at a luncheon.

Sally Rider and her partner Betsy had tried to teach their two preschool-age daughters how to shake hands with Rehnquist. At the time, Rider was his top aide.

Recalling the episode nearly a decade later, Rider, 55, said the late conservative chief justice was as understanding of the girls' shyness as he was accepting of Rider's lesbian relationship and family. He never said a word.

Such acceptance didn't change his view of the law. Around that same time, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute criminalizing private homosexual relations. And Rehnquist signed on to a stinging dissent that referred to Americans "protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive."

This year, for the first time since that 2003 ruling, the nine Supreme Court justices - four of whom were not on the court then - face major gay-rights disputes. The court will decide, possibly as early as the end of September, whether to review a U.S. law that bars marriage benefits, such as Social Security survivor payments, for same-sex married couples. Separately the court will decide whether to take up California's ban on same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 2008 and known as Proposition 8.

The cases come before a court that has shown increasing acceptance of the gay men and lesbians employed there. Inside the marble walls - as at many U.S. workplaces - there has been an evolution from secrecy about sexual orientation to awkward and anxious comings-out, to an atmosphere in which sexual orientation is not an issue.

In an institution where social rituals hew to centuries-old tradition, gay men and lesbians openly bring their same-sex partners to the Christmas party and the court sing-a-long.

But as the Rehnquist incident showed, it can be difficult to draw conclusions about how a justice's personal involvement with gay people might influence rulings. Recent studies suggest that people who have close connections to gay individuals are more likely to support gay rights. But Supreme Court justices are supposed to uphold the Constitution and follow legal precedent, not personal preferences.

Individual justices clearly read the law differently. The more liberal members, for instance, say consensual gay relations are covered by the Constitution's implicit right to privacy. The more conservative justices find no such privacy right in the Constitution. Personal experience could exert a subtle effect, though, on the thinking of justices in the middle of the court's ideological spectrum, such as Justice Anthony Kennedy - who has previously taken the lead in gay-rights cases.

"It may not change (a justice's) views at all on what the Constitution requires," said Rives Kistler, who was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell in the 1982-1983 term and is now an Oregon Supreme Court justice. But Kistler, who came out after his clerkship and is now 63, added, "Hopefully, it allows judges to view the issue more objectively, without apprehension or being driven by a fear of the unknown."

Continue reading at Reuters


prop8.2A campaign contribution of $142,000 to a committee battling 2008's Proposition 8 - the state's same sex marriage ban - by La Jolla billionaire homeowner Ron Burkle plays a featured role in a stipulated agreement made public today between the "No on 8" campaign and the California Fair Political Practices Committee.

Due to be voted on by the commission at its regular monthly meeting next week, the 16-count stipulation requires the "No on 8, Equality for All" committee to fork over a total administrative penalty of $42,500. ...

In addition to "No on 8", two other political committees opposing Prop 8, Equality California Issues PAC and the Human Rights Campaign California Marriage PAC – No On Prop 8 Committee, reached separate agreements with the commission.

According to the documents up for consideration, Equality California has agreed to pay a $31,500 penalty. The Human Rights Campaign will have to come up with $6,000 under its own deal with the FPPC.

The agreements come less than a month after the Fair Political Practices Commission levied $49,000 in fines on the pro-Prop 8 committee, ProtectMarriage.com -- Yes on 8, for various reporting violations.

20MillionMarriage Equality USA has announced The Campaign for 20 Million More a coalition to win the freedom to marry & defeat anti equality ballot initiatives in election 2012. Brian Silva, MEUSA Executive Director stated, "This fall, over 20 million Americans will be affected by decisions surrounding marriage equality.

We can all recall the joy & excitement felt by millions last spring when New York passed state-level marriage equality. Today, Marriage Equality USA is taking a bold step to help spread that joy across the nation by launching The Campaign for 20 Million More."

Stuart Gaffney, MEUSA Media Director added, "Voters are going to the ballot box in November to vote on marriage rights in Washington, Maine, Minnesota & Maryland. Marriage Equality USA members nationwide are eager to join grassroots efforts, both locally & in these four states, to share our personal stories with voters so they understand that our marriages mean the world to us & our families."

See the Full Story at Outtake

TransViewWe all have prejudices, bigotries, preferences, choices, and biases; some more – some less.  All humans are raised with different views, different tastes, and different perceptions.  What one does with all of these makes us “civilized” – the ability to form social connections to others of natures’ beings.  In the world of LGBTQI, the community has had to endure unusually strong emotional reactions from other’s bigotries, but what about other “worlds”.  Even the community of LGBTQI experiences all of these bigotries even amongst themselves.  What is your “Bigotry” and how do you justify it with yourself and others?  It is one thing to cry, moan, and whine about being targeted by bigotry but what about YOUR bigotry?

Humans have a tendency to put labels and signs on things and others to help them to try and understand and comprehend others roles and positions.  This can be a help but more often leads to misunderstanding and bigotry.  The one thing that facilitates most bigotries is fear and that comes from being uninformed or ill informed.  Do you really understand the labels and signs that YOU use?  Do you really understand the ins and outs of, say, the label of “Felon” from the incarcerated community or even the meaning(s) of the word incarcerated?  What about some of the terms used in the Mental Health field, sex offender terms, Persons with Disabilities, or the language of Gangs?  What to do?  You fight mightily against bigotry and you yourself are bigoted.  Do you champion against bigotry just to show others you are a bigoted, bullying, hypocrite?  You say all inclusive but do you really include everyone – regardless?  Do you say all are welcome but are there certain ones that maybe just are not feeling welcome?

Some alarming statistics have raised the public’s awareness of bullying, especially in elementary schools.  What to do about these bullies?  A good place to start is with one’s own self, how you perceive others, labels, signs, and/or processes.  Do you choose to reject, exclude, and work against?  Or do you choose to accommodate, cooperate, and try to work along with?  It’s easiest to “let someone else do it” or to use “not in my back yard” to remove your problems.  Remember that your problems do NOT go away – they follow you around.  When you choose rejection and exclusion that is what you earn.  Your reward becomes that very same rejection and exclusion.  Choose accommodation and cooperation, your reward will be the same.

To choose accommodation use your years of training, education, and experience to find ways of encouraging others to show advancements and self-improvements.  Cooperate in furthering the best efforts of others in making good choices.  Try your best to work along with others in support and encouragement.  Look around, there may be and are those who are able to be accommodating, cooperating, and willing to try and work along with all.  Ask them how they do it.

We face an abundance of prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry from a great many sources, groups, movements, and individuals.  We fight to stop and correct a lot of the misinformation.  We must not succumb to the rantings of some individuals and groups that have agendas against some other labels and signs.  Whether you think them right or wrong, don’t become the bigot you fight against.

More information about this subject can be found in articles referenced from the American Psychiatric Association, the Trevor Project, and internet searches.

R0034754-702131On Wednesday, August 29th at the Gazebo Gardens parking lot Mr. Craig Scharton, Director, Downtown and Community Revitalization Department, City of Fresno addressed around 60 to 80 people about concerns and issues of Fresno’s Tower District citizens.  The meeting started at 6:00 p.m. and went until about 8:00 p.m.  Mr. Eskq Siipola of Code Enforcement took notes on large sheets.  Also speaking was Captain Greg Garner, Fresno Police Department, Southwest district (South of McKinley).  Officer Bridget Morgan, Community Service Officer with Crime Prevention was on hand as well as Scott Wilson and representatives of Neighborhood Watch/ Business Watch.

Mr. Scharton made comments that indicated his surprise that there was not an assessment district or other formal organization for the Tower District.  He indicated that it was quite rare to see just a Marketing Association.  He thought that was quite extraordinary.  Other communities usually for formal regulatory and/or assessment districts.


Obama-LGBT-Pride-Logo-e1307656008140-300x300-250x250Barack Obama made history on May 9 when he became the first sitting US president to declare support for same-sex marriage. Mitt Romney has said he is against it. But gay issues extend beyond same-sex marriage. Here are the positions taken by the two candidates on gay marriage, gay adoption, HIV/AIDS research and prevention, and antidiscrimination legislation. 

 

President Obama is seen on a White House television in Washington during an interview with ABC News on May 9, 2012, in which he said he supports gay marriage. (Carolyn Kaster/AP/File)


1. Same-sex marriage

On May 9, Mr. Obama became the first US president to back same-sex marriage when he told ABC News, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” and the Democrats have included this position in their national party platform.

In contrast, Mr. Romney signed a National Organization for Marriage pledge a year ago in favor of a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage solely as between one man and one woman. Further, the former Massachusetts governor does not support civil unions.

As for whose campaign will benefit more from this social issue, it is worth noting that Obama’s campaign raised $1.5 million within 90 minutes of the broadcast announcement. And at a fundraiser held shortly afterwards at the Los Angeles home of actor George Clooney, the campaign took in some $15 million.

“Hollywood is overwhelmingly progressive when it comes to gay rights issues,” says Michael Federici, a political analyst at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania.

Beyond that, at least 33 – or nearly 1 in 16 – of Obama’s top fundraisers, known as bundlers, are openly gay, according to a CNN analysis. The Washington Post estimates that the ratio is actually 1 in 6, while the gay issues publication The Advocate puts the figure at 1 of every 5. Between January and March, they collectively raised at least $8 million.

On the other hand, hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage galvanize conservatives, says Republican strategist David Johnson, who consulted on Sen. Robert Dole’s 1988 presidential campaign. “These issues tend to get social conservatives to open up their donor lists,” he adds.

Perhaps surprisingly, Romney has some powerful fundraising muscle from supporters of gay rights. One of his largest bundlers is billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer, who helped him raise $5 million at one event in May. Mr. Singer has also given $10 million to gay-rights advocacy and pledged $1 million to launch a political-action committee called American Unity to encourage GOP candidates to support same-sex marriage.

2. Gay adoption

Obama has stated his unequivocal support for the rights of same-sex couples to adopt. In a proclamation issued last November for National Adoption Month, the president said, “Adoptive families come in all forms. With so many waiting for loving homes, it is important to ensure that all qualified caregivers are given the opportunity to serve as adoptive parents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status.”

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer prior to his 2008 presidential run, Romney said his position on gay adoption was integrally connected to his opposition to same-sex marriage. “Marriage is primarily not about adults, but about kids. A child and their development and nurturing is enhanced by access and by the nurturing of two parents of two different genders,” he said. “So, as we think about the development of children, and the future of our nation and its ability to raise a generation, we need to have homes where there are moms and dads.”

According to his campaign, Romney favors leaving adoption decisions to the individual states. Currently, according to Human Rights Watch, state laws vary widely, and the decision in many places is left up to a judge.

  • At least two states – Mississippi and Utah – expressly ban same-sex couples' adoption. 
  • State courts in Michigan have ruled that unmarried individuals may not jointly petition to adopt.
  • State courts in Kentucky, Nebraska, and Ohio have ruled that second-parent adoptions are not available under current law.  
  • Sixteen states plus the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to jointly petition to adopt.

DNC-250x250The Democratic Party on Tuesday voted to support the freedom to marry as an official plank in the Party’s platform, putting the party on record as the first major political party in U.S. history in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples.

 Official language of the platform, released Monday evening, also calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), supports the Employment Non- Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and protections for LGBT bi-national couples threatened with deportation.

Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

“I will never forget this moment. Today is the day our Party and our President said what we have been saying for years – everyone deserves the freedom to marry and we will not deny that right to loving and committed same-sex couples. It’s now our job to get out there and make that ideal a reality,” said Jerame Davis, Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats.

In May, President Obama declared his support for marriage equality for gays and lesbians, becoming the first sitting president to do so.

“Like the marriage plank in the Democratic platform, the fact that the President is on the right side of history will help more Americans rise to fairness, even as Freedom to Marry presses for more wins in November battleground states such as Maine, Minnesota, Washington, and Maryland,” said Evan Wolfson, Founder and President of the advocacy group, Freedom to Marry.

The Democratic platform stands in sharp contrast to the Republican blueprint that the GOP adopted at its convention in Tampa, Fla., last week. The Republican plan supports a federal, constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

This comes from December of 2011, but is making the rounds again.  Quite a contrast to the Democratic platform, being inclusive of same sex marrage.

The Supreme Court docket page for Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 case, has a new notice that the case has been “DISTRIBUTED for Conference of September 24, 2012.” The September 24 conference is the first time this term that the Justices will meet privately and look at petitions for certiorari to decide which cases they will accept for review. Usually, the Court announces its orders from conferences on the Monday following the conferences, however if they do take up the Prop 8 case on September 24, they could announce as early as the next day whether the full Court will review the case. It takes four votes to grant review.


We'll keep you up to date on the two following outcomes that may occur:

1. If the Court denies the petition, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision stands, and Proposition 8 will be invalidated, though the case won’t set a nationwide precedent. Marriages in California resume immediately after such a decision.

2. If they decide to review the case, they’ll reach a final decision on the merits at the end of June 2013.

no_on_prop_8

Join our text messaging list by sending the word "Fresno" to (559) 862-4559 and we will send out a text the moment the case decision occurs.

images4-250x153Romney campaign chair John Sununu sat down for a radio interview with Michelangelo Signorile yesterday, but was apparently unprepared to discuss the Republican Party’s platform. When he was informed that it called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage — which Mitt Romney supports — Sununu was at a loss for words, explaining the issue is “much more complicated” than a “two-sentence” answer could encompass. Instead, he offered to share two cases of beer and talk about it in a different setting, presumably not while being recorded.


gopThe Republican Party just ceded much political clout to extreme right-wing forces, and formalized new goals to oppress LGBT citizens via its official party platform. Even before the vote, evangelical Christian Dominionists from anti-LGBT hate groups were bragging how their Family Research Council wrote key planks of the platform which was adopted on August 28 at the national convention in Tampa, Florida.

Using both new and revised language, the party says it will permanently restrict the lives of all LGBT Americans in ten major areas, including: marriage, taxes, human rights, employment, civilian worker compensation, military/veteran compensation, religious freedom, scouting, adoption, and immigration.

Wherever it can take control of legislatures, courts, or agencies, the Republican Party just vowed, in its new platform, that it will:


 

1. Restrict marriage to opposite-gender couples, and outlaw it for same-gender couples (page 10).

2. Waive inheritance taxes for opposite-gender couples, but keep taxing same-gender couples (2).

3. Grant human rights only as defined in the Christian Bible, and never to any LGBT people (9).

4. Continue civilian federal employee family benefits, but exclude LGBT people (10).

5. Continue cutting military/veteran pay up to 40% for any soldier with a same-gender spouse (43).

6. Use religious freedom for other people as an excuse to deny civil rights to LGBT people (12).

7. Continue Boy Scout discrimination against LGBT scouts, volunteers, and employees (12).

8. Prevent discrimination by adoption agencies, but allow it against LGBT couples (12).

9. Allow immigration for opposite-gender spouses, but never for same-gender spouses (10).


Log_Cabin_RepublicansThe Log Cabin Republicans believed their presence at this year's GOP national convention would help move their party toward equality. They, as many predicted, were wrong, because the Republican platform is just as discriminatory and hateful as ever.

"The platform affirms the rights of states and the federal government not to recognize same-sex marriage," reads the party manifesto. "It backs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Now that their dreams have been dashed, Log Cabin leaders are lashing out at the GOP for its completely unsurprising bigotry. "The platform is ugly and harmful," the group's director of programs, Casey Pick, told NPR.

Pick also says that social conservatives' tenacious commitment to discrimination was only bolstered by her and her colleagues' involvement. "We lost," Pick said. "And you could say the social conservatives in our party dropped the hammer harder because we were there."

Or you could say that LCR were on a quixotic mission to nowhere.

Mark_LenoFlying in the face of the conservative right’s  anti-same-sex marriage argument is proof that the proponents of same-sex marriage are delighted to legislate “security” for those who purport to fear that same-sex marriage could impact their right to practice their religious beliefs in freedom.  Today in Sacramento legislation that protects the religious freedom of clergy members in California has passed the Assembly.

Senate Bill 1140, authored by Senator Mark Leno, reaffirms the separation of church and state and clarifies under state law that no member of clergy will be required to perform a marriage that is contrary to his or her faith. SB 1140 also protects churches from losing their tax-exempt status if they refuse to perform a marriage that is contrary to their faith.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental value that is protected by both the U.S. and California constitution,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “However, in the debate surrounding Proposition 8, which denied same-sex couples the right to marry, some members of clergy expressed concerns that their religious freedom could be infringed upon if they were forced to recognize marriages contrary to their faith. While we never believed this to be true, this legislation makes it perfectly clear that churches and clergy members have solid protections under state law.”

Many states that allow marriage for same-sex couples have passed similar laws clarifying that religious denominations and individual clergy members are free to determine which marriages they perform.

SB 1140 is sponsored by Equality California and California Council of Churches IMPACT.

“Some opponents of equal marriage rights for all couples have attempted to create a shadow of ambiguity to cast a pall over the freedom to marry,” said Clarissa Fligioun, Equality California board president. “We thank Senator Leno for helping to make clear that these false claims made by anti-equality advocates are just that—false—and for clarifying that allowing loving same-sex couples to marry will never require clergy or places of worship to compromise their religious beliefs.”

“Senator Leno’s bill is essential to protecting our freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment,” said The Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director of California Council of Churches IMPACT. “It is as imperative that we protect the religious freedom to not solemnize marriages between same-sex couples for clergy and congregations who oppose it on the basis of their faith tradition as it is to protect the religious freedom of those who do support marriage equality. California Council of Churches IMPACT represents faith traditions on both sides of this question and this bill perfectly codifies legal protection for all our faith communities,” he said.

Senator Leno’s religious freedom bill passed the Assembly with a 41-23 initial vote. It returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote before heading to the Governor’s desk.

470_2489748Nils Pickert's 5-year-old son likes wearing dresses. If anyone thinks that's odd they can take it up with Nils. He's the guy in the skirt.

The German dad has become a role model not only for his son, but for parents around the world, after a photograph of the pair holding hands in red skirts spread across the internet.

"Yes, I'm one of those dads, that tries to raise their children equal," he explained in an essay published alongside the photo in Emma, a German feminist magazine.

Pickert never minded that his son liked dressing in little girl's clothes, but when his family moved from West Berlin to a small southern town in Germany, he learned that other people did. In fact, it became a "town wide issue," according to Pickert, whose essay was translated by Tumblr user steegeschnoeber.

A new school didn't make life any easier for his young son. Shortly after his first day, he stopped reveling in his own tastes and Pickert worried about the damage it could wreak on his self-confidence.

"I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts," Pickert explained. "He didn't make friends doing that in Berlin... so after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself."


Kristen-Bell-and-Dax-ShepardKristen Bell and Dax Shepard
, who just happen to have a new movie coming out, told CNN this week that they wouldn’t get married until their gay costars friends could.

That’s very sweet, dears, but don’t wait on our account. We’re trying to get more people married, not less.

The stars of Hit and Run have been engaged for two years, but Shepard says tying the not when so many can’t is in bad taste. “We’re not going to have a party when half of our friends… can’t do that thing we’re doing. We’re not going to ask them to come celebrate a right they don’t have. That’s just tacky! Forget like anything else, it’s like really tacky for us.”

That’s probably the most genuine explanation we’ve heard from straight folks waiting to make it official—and we’re blown away it came from the guy from Punk’d—but are these two showing true solidarity or jumping on the latest celebrity PR trend? We decided to take a look at other star couples who promised to forgo marriage until gays could tie the knot, and see how they’re doing with that vow.

Note: there were a few names we were surprised didn’t make the list, actually, like Kathy Griffin (who won’t have sex until we can marry), Jennifer Aniston (who apparently won’t have a child till gays can adopt either), Cher (who keeps remarrying until we have full equality) and Queen Latifah (not to infer anything about her sexuality.)

Meet 10 stars avoiding the altar until gays and lesbians can get m arried. Known other celebrities refusing to exchange vows for our sake? Name names in the comments!

Charlize Theron

Theron, who’s played everything from a lesbian serial killer in Monster to the glam queen in Snow White and the Hutnsman poo-pooed marrying her longtime beau, actor Stuart Townsend. “Right now the institution of marriage feels very one-sided, and I want to live in a country where we all have equal rights,” she said. “I have so  many friends who are gays and lesbians who would so badly want to get married, that I wouldn’t be able to sleep with myself.”

Status: Theron and Townsend broke up in 2010, but the stunning blond didn’t let singlehood keep her from having a family: She adopted son Jackson earlier this year.


Natalie Portman

The former child star once told reporters she wasn’t into marriage: “Why are they making rules that say my lover can stay in the United States if they’re foreign or share my health care benefits because I’m straight — but if you’re gay, you can’t have that?”

Status:  Portman married her babydaddy Benjamin Millieped in March 2012.

Jason Mraz

The soulful crooner seems like one of those straight guys who is sooo comfortable with his sexuality he’d cuddle with you as you watch Beaches together for the fourth time. In the winter of 2010, he asked girlfriend Tristan Prettyman to marry him but said they were holding off on sending invitations: “The wedding would be nice for our family, our friends, our community—our moms especially— [but] we can’t get married until marriage is legal and equal.”

Status: Mraz and Prettyman broke up in 2011. Hope  we didn’t have anything to do with it!


Howard Stern

After divorcing his long-suffering first wife, Alison, shock jock Howard Stern swore off commitment. But when leggy blond Beth Ostrosky walked into his life, he opened his heart. Still, in 2007 the King of All media swore he wouldn’t wed “unless gays can get married.”

Status: Well, she goes by Beth Stern, now, so you do the math.

Ricky Martin

An international superstar, Martin could jet off to any number of countries where marriage equality was legal to marry his honey, economist Carlos González Abella. But the Latino singer said he was waiting until gay marriage is legal in Puerto Rico: “Unfortunately, we don’t have the option of marriage in our country. We could go to Britain or Spain or Argentina and do something symbolic, but that’s not what I want. I want to have the rights of anybody else in my home country. I don’t want to be a second-class citizen.”

Status: Martin and Abella got Spanish citizenship in 2011—prompting some to think they would marry there. But in January 2012, they tied the knot in New York City.  At the time Martin said he was primarily concerned with securing the welfare of his twin boys, Matteo and Valentino.

Jodie Sweetin

First the Full House star gained notoriety for her drug habit, but last year she made a stand for same-sex marriage when she got engaged. “We are in no hurry as far as dates or anything like that,” she told the press. “We want to wait until there’s equality for everybody to get married.”

Status: There ain’t no ring on Stephanie Tanner’s finger.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Brangelina have been eschewing marriage since they first hooked up in 2005: “To be in love with someone and be raising a family with someone and want to make that commitment and not be able to is ludicrous. Just ludicrous,” Pitt said.

Status:Brad and Angie got engaged! “We made this declaration some time ago that we weren’t going to do it till everyone can. But I don’t think we’ll be able to hold out. It means so much to my kids, and they ask a lot [about it]. And it means something to me, too, to make that kind of commitment.”

The Moneyball star says he still hopes marriage equality will become the law of the land before he takes his bride.



Full story here: http://www.queerty.com/10-celebrities-avoiding-the-altar-until-same-sex-marriage-is-legal-20120826/#ixzz24nmEN7Rr

JuliaAndDavidKoch_400x300Although David Koch and his brother Charles are spending millions to elect Republican candidates, David has a significant difference with the party.

Billionaire businessman David Koch, who with his brother Howard is spending millions to elect Republican candidates, made a shocking statement today: He supports marriage equality.

This means Koch differs in a major way with the official platform the Republican Party adopted this week at its national convention. In an interview with Politico, he said, “I believe in gay marriage,” and he stated that he disagrees with the party platform.

In 1980 Koch was the vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, which is “socially liberal — but fiscally conservative,” as Politico notes. He considers himself a dedicated Republican now, however, despite his break with the party on some issues. He told Politico that in addition to favoring marriage equality, he departs from the Republican orthodoxy by believing it may be necessary to consider raising taxes and cutting defense spending to balance the federal budget.

Koch, a delegate to the convention from New York, spoke to Politico after a reception today in which he was honored by Americans for Prosperity, the political action group he chairs. In hopes of electing Mitt Romney as president and numerous Republicans to Congress, the group has bankrolled numerous ads attacking President Obama and Democratic congressional candidates.

jimmy_lasalvia_cnn_rnc_august_2012 

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of gay GOP group GOProud, has said his group backs Mitt Romney because gay people need jobs before they can marry.

GOProud was the first gay conservative group to endorse Romney for president. The GOP candidate opposes recognizing gay and lesbian couples with either civil unions or marriage.

The group's Homocon party at the Republican National Convention took place on the same day Republicans ratified a platform which supports a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union.

During a CNN appearance, Piers Morgan asked, “How can you really support a ticket which is so resolutely opposed not just to gay marriage but to most gay rights?”

“Right. I know, but look, here's the deal,” LaSalvia explained. “The answer is you gotta have a date before you get married. Everyone knows you can't get a date without a job. … Gay Americans are living in the Obama economy and that's the reality that all voters are facing when they go into the voting booth.”

rp2012

• 47 films and shorts

• 23 consecutive years

• 5 fun-filled days

• 3 different venues

• 3 simply smashing parties
(Only included with festival pass holders+ this year!)

• 1 amazing and spectacular LGBTQ+ film festival: Sept. 19 – 23

in Fresno’s Tower District


All yours with a VIP PASS. Available for only $90 per person

Tell me! What are you waiting for?

• “LIKE” US ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/ReelPride/events

• GET YOUR VIP PASSES + DIRECTORS’ CLUB PASSES ONLINE: www.reelpride.com

Happy Friday! Happy last day of September. Are you ready to pay rent tomorrow?

September was a super busy month with Visalia Family Fest, Health Awareness Day, Modesto Pride, and the Reel Pride Film Festival. (All hugely successful!)

But now it is October… time to start planning your Halloween costume! (I’m either going as a sexy Rainbow Bright or a Dr. Who character, what about you?)

Anyway, here are a few notes on this week’s news to help you pass the tine while standing in line at the costume shop!

First off, did you know that October is National LGBT History Month? And to help you get all edified and provide the answers to Trivial Pursuit questions for years to come…. Check out these new Oral History Resources!

The backlash against gay slurs in sports has been established. The NBA has been quick to fine players for anti-gay language… but what about Hockey? Sean Avery, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, has accused Wayne Simmonds of using a gay slur during a recent game. So far the NHL hasn’t issued any fines due to the lack of proof of the incident. Simmonds is on record as both denying using the slur and also that whatever he said was in “the heat of battle” and didn’t cross a line. Several LGBT groups are calling for the NHL to step in and issue a ban against homophobic language. And yes, there is video…..

Marriage Equality Rhode Island has launched a new campaign to get Senator Reed to support the repeal of DOMA. (We wish them the best of luck!)

Walmart has passed provisions in its employee non-discrimination policy to protect transgender employees

A stall in the release of the Prop 8 trial tapes : A federal appeals court has put the brakes on unsealing video recordings of last year's trial on the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban.

Guess who’s coming to dinner? At the huge Human Rights Campaign dinner next week that is… President Obama will be one of the key note speakers!

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a married binational gay couple in California who were denied a marriage-based green card by immigration officials. The decision was based on precedent from a 1982 case involving a Colorado gay male couple denied immigration sponsorship rights (in the rejection of the couple's petition decades ago, officials wrote that their attorney had "failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots").

A panel advising New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on ways to revamp Medicaid has proposed that the program that pays for low-income residents' health care cover surgery and therapy for transgender New Yorkers.

Hopeful news from across the pond… Britain Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone has recently announced that she, with the support of British Prime Minister David Cameron, will begin presenting the idea of incorporating same-sex marriage into British law by the end of the Parliament session in 2015.

And in the “Who Came Out This Week” Category we have…. Sean Maher. (Who you might remember from Firefly and Serenity (He was Simon, the doctor)

And lastly, not related but still fun…. Now that fall, and our favorite fall TV shows are back, I thought it might be fun to share this with you: SNL’s take on The Office… Japanese style

!

That’s it for me, have a fun, and safe, weekend!


Win a set of tickets to the Curiously Strong Comedy Show, happening at the Tower Theatre this Friday!

Starring ALEC MAPA, VICKIE SHAW, GLORIA BIGELOW and JACKIE MONAHAN.

How to enter? Simply "Like" our page on Facebook: facebook.com/gayfresno
If you already like us, encourage your friends to like us and increase your chances.

Double your luck!

Join our email list: gayfresno.com/mailinglist.html


Good Luck and be sure to tell your friends!
 
No purchase necessary.  We have 3 sets of tickets and the deadline to enter is 11:59pm on September 28th, so HURRY! Around 12:30AM on September 29th, we will enter all subscribers to the Gay Fresno email list and all those who "like" the Gay Fresno facebook page as of 12 midnight.  A randomzier system from an independant website will be used to pick 3 winners of 2 tickets.  The winners will be contacted by email and/or facebook messaging by 1am.

 It is important to remember to be skeptical.

Skeptical of petition pushers who sound like they really are making the world safer.

Skeptical of ballot referendums that sound like they are being fair.

Skeptical of “natural transitioning” methods that sound easier and cheaper than Testosterone injections.

Critical thinking skills are more than just that section that you coasted through on the SATs. They are the little voices in your head that make you stop and ponder what you just heard, that make you fact check the Presidential Debates, that make you click on the Sources link in the news article you just pulled up off of Yahoo. At least they should

Let’s take a look at a few things that warrant a double take...

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FREE HIV Testing...Tabling from local Health Organizations...FREE Info & Resources...FREE Rainbow Delegation Wristbands...FREE Condoms...AND FREE Lunch & Refreshments...

hivaidstestingday2011a

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Trans e motion will host a CAR WASH FUNDRAISER at the Fresno LGBT Community Center on Saturday, October 1st, from Noon to 4PM. Come get your car washed and in turn support fundraising for the Transgender Day Of Remembrance, an annual event put on by Trans e motion.

car_wash

The Fresno LGBT Community Center is located at 1055 N Van Ness Suite A, Fresno, CA 93728. The center's phone number is 559-325-4429.

Happy Friday!

The biggest news of the past week is of course the end of DADT! Gayness in the military is here… and so far the world hasn’t ended. Well, okay, REM’s world has ended as we knew it , but I digress. Also this week, the autumnal equinox. Are you looking forward to shorter days? Halloween? Christmas is only about twelve weeks away!

But before that, this weekend the Survivors of Suicide Loss Walk and Festival will be held in Woodward Park … and in Visalia, Family Fest ! Hope to see you there! And then on Tuesday, the Health Awareness Event at the LGBT Community Center!

Ok, but the demise of DADT wasn’t the only thing that happened this week… .. GLEE returned! And, yes, there were other pieces of news as well…

Briton still has. a long way to go for gay equality A new report released this week in Briton says that only 45% of Britons support gay marriage.

Micah Jesse joined the No8te Campaign this week.

Legislation was introduced on Thursday in both chambers of Congress that would . amend existing federal law to protect LGBT people in the housing and credit markets

About 100 black LGBT leaders and activists from across the country were participating this week in a series of meetings and events in D.C. associated with the National Black Justice Coalition’s Second Annual Out on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit 

Some harsh, but understandable, reactions to the misuse of quotations marks over the word transgender in a Daily Mail article last week.

Thanks to the end of DADT, gay and lesbians can serve in the military… but transgendered folk are still deemed unfit.

A very cool article about the Broadway play “8” that features actual snippets from the Prop 8 trial.

Two employees from two Southern California school districts are alleging antigay discrimination on the part of their employers.

It makes a certain amount of sense, but still nice to read… The Fonz loves his gay fans and Lady Gaga!

Gamers might be the key to new AIDS research!

Kudos to Google for telling Rick Santorum to get over it (his objections to the frothy mix search results). Read about it here

And lastly… not related but too funny to skip, especially with all the overblown hoopla with the recent Facebook changes (honestly, if Facebook changes are your biggest problem, you need to look around.) here is a great video that asks, “What if computer problems were actual problems?”

That’s it for me, have a fun and safe weekend!

It was Tuesday night and a small but mighty (and loud) group of us had gathered to celebrate the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell at the corner of Shaw and Blackstone,

matt_cam_208

In a white pick-up truck a man tried to ignore us, but the woman in the passenger seat insisted on honking in solidarity.

FFflier11

Family Fest is an annual, family friendly, Pride event which takes place in Visalia and is hosted by Gay Visalia and Gay Central Valley. All ages are welcome, and there are activities for adults and children alike...

If you are interested in having a booth, please contact me! Also, we are always in need of volunteers to help out at the festival so contact me for that as well!

The Waiting to Wed game will be returning this year. The crowd favorite asks couples some pretty funny questions about each other. Some of the answers we get are definitely funnier than the questions, however! The highest scoring couple takes the grand prize.

New this year, is the first annual Pants & Pumps Showdown. Teams of 4 will compete against each other in a series of events and tasks. Not to give too much away but there may be things involving hammers and bananas....yes, you don't want to miss this! The two highest scoring teams will then face off in a final competition. Winner will receive a cash prize, trophy and bragging rights of being the areas "top" dogs! We are limited to only 5 teams, so sign up today!

You asked for it, we made it happen. This year at Family Fest, we will have FOOD! Various groups will be raising funds for their causes by selling you some yummy grub! So don't worry about packing your lunch buy one instead! There will be hot dogs, frito boats, baked treats and more!

For your entertainment pleasure this year, we are featuring Sam & Andrew from The Utha Side. Her voice is great so you don't wanna miss out on this soulful lesbian. We also have Landon who is going to give us a treat with her lasso.....Wonderwoman ain't got nothing on her! And for the kids and kids at heart, we will have Clowny the clown, with face painting and balloon animals, possibly even a magic show!

FemzVill

Football anyone? At the festival close, we all have the pleasure to watch these two teams go head to head in a scrimmage. Possibly even a tournament if others are interested in playing. Contact me for more info!

Heeelloooo after party!! We will see you all at the Firkin & Hound Pub located at 4023 S. Mooney Blvd. There will be a DJ, drink specials and us gays! Don't forget the pub offers a free shuttle service to anywhere in Visalia. Call em and they will pick you up AND take you home, safe and sound! See you there!

"I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens," he wrote Sept. 9. "What do I have to do so people will listen to me?"

Those were the words Jamey Rodemeyer published online, a week before he killed himself. He was 14 years old. Jamey had been questioning his sexuality for a year, all the while being submitted to personal and online attacks. The current habit of posting every thought online might be a plus in cases like this, as it allows us actual evidence as to the torment that kids go through while dealing with the impossible teen age years. We don't have to question what Jamey went through or why he did what he did. It's all available online.

LOCALRODEMEYER

On Sept. 8, he wrote: "No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you're the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down."

He put up a separate post that day letting everyone know it was National Suicide Prevention Week.

On Saturday night, he posted a lyric from Lady Gaga's song "The Queen" on his Facebook page: "Don't forget me when I come crying to heaven's door."

Comments from others to Jamey included...

"JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!" read one post.

Another read: "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"

Jamey is the second student to commit suicide at Williamsville High School in Buffalo.

READ MORE HERE...

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OBAMAX390(1)

Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed.  As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love.  As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.

I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans.  Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.

For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens.  Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans.  Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals.

Source

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ends today!

As of today, the Pentagon will now allow openly gay and lesbian servicemen dn women to serve in th US military. The doors are open for those who were discharged to join bak up, and the military is taking a hard stand against LGB harassment.

For the past 18 years DADT has kept thousands of qualified military volunteers from its ranks. The discharge of hundreds of soldiers and the fear of discharge has weighed heavily on the military as recruiting numbers are holding steady after a large boom in 2001 and 2002 and a major drop off in 2004-2006.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director and army veteran Aubrey Sarvis: “Today marks the official end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT equality in America’s military. Thanks to veterans, active duty, leaders, allies and supporters everywhere, this is a monumental day for our service members and our nation. Indeed, we have taken a tremendous leap forward for LGBT equality in the military."

A few more notes:

* The lifting of the 18-year-old ban also brings a halt to all pending investigations, discharges and other administrative proceedings that were begun under the law passed during Clinton's administration.

* Existing standards of personal conduct, such as those pertaining to public displays of affection, will continue regardless of sexual orientation.

* There also will be no immediate changes to eligibility standards for military benefits. All service members already are entitled to certain benefits and entitlements, such as designating a partner as one's life insurance beneficiary or as designated caregiver in the Wounded Warrior program.

* Gay marriage is one of the thornier issues. An initial move by the Navy earlier this year to train chaplains about same-sex civil unions in states where they are legal was halted after more than five dozen lawmakers objected. The Pentagon is reviewing the issue.

If you would like to be part of the celebration, Gay Central Valley is hosting a rally this evening in Fresno. Event Page found here From 5:30 to 7:00 at the corner of Blackstone and Shaw, come join us as we celebrate and draw together.

The CURIOUSLY STRONG COMEDY show will happen on Friday, September 30th at the Tower Theater here in Fresno. The LGBT comics performing include Alec Mapa, Vickie Shaw, Gloria Bigelow and Jackie Monahan. Tickets are $35 & $25.

Curiously-Strong-Comedy2

Tickets can be purchased by calling The Tower Theatre Box Office:
485-9050. Hours are Mon - Fri, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Tower Theatre
on the corner of Olive & Wishon or online.

 

Order Tickets ONLINE Here...

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This documentary airs Monday at Midnight and Tuesday at 8PM on HBO. Tomorrow (Tuesday the 20th) marks the OFFICIAL END OF DON'T ASK DON'T TELL...

Tonight in New York City, a star studded cast will perform in a one night only presentation of "8", Dustin Lance Black's play about the Prop 8 trial in California. This is especially ironic, since today a federal judge ordered the release of video from the Prop 8 trial itself. This has been a month's long struggle between pro and anti gay groups.

Groups trying to keep the video "in the dark", claim that releasing the video will put those who testified in favor of Prop 8 in danger of retaliation. I know, it's unbelievably ironic in its own right.

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Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware agreed with lawyers for two same-sex couples who sued to overturn Proposition 8 and with a collection of news outlets – including The Associated Press – that no compelling reasons exist to keep the recordings secret.

His order will take effect on Sept. 30 unless a higher court overrules him.

"Foremost among the aspects of the federal judicial system that foster public confidence in the fairness and integrity of the process are public access to trials and public access to the record of judicial proceedings," Ware wrote in his 14-page order.

READ MORE HERE...

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Join us to celebrate the FINAL repeal of the homophobic policy

that prevented gay and lesbian servicemembers from serving

openly and freely in the US Military! Since 1992, gays & lesbians

have had to endure unfair discrimination in the military, and on

September 20, the policy that legalized that discrimination will

end. Please join us to mark this historic occasion!*

 



If you are active duty or veteran military and would be willing to speak to the media on that day, please send a private message to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The military rule of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" OFFICIALLY ENDS THIS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH. In this video MSNBC's Thomas Roberts covers a documentary highlighting the last 15 months of the failed policy.

In Iran, where being an open homosexual is punishable by death, it's more than a bit ironic that the Iranian government will cover half the cost of a sex change for anyone. Oh, and they have the highest number of sex changes in the world.

Here’s what’s on for Saturday at the Reel Pride Film Festival…

This Is What Love In Action Looks Like @11:30AM

       

 

Lust Life - Women's Shorts @ 12:30PM

The Green @12:45PM

 

Bedfellows - Boys Shorts @2:30PM

Married in Spandex @2:45PM

We Were Here @4:30PM

Wish Me Away @7PM

 

Going Down In LA LA Land @9PM

The Central Valley Pagan Pride Day happens tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 17th, at the Sunset View Shelter in Fresno's Woodward Park. The event is free, but there is a $5 charge to enter the park. Everyone is welcome, and there will be workshops, speakers, demonstrations, ceremonies and dances. The day starts at 9AM and runs until 8PM.

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Gay Central Valley was pleased to be able to provide a grant to Central Valley Pagan Pride for this event and we look forward to working with them in the future. The group also had a successful fundraiser at the North Tower Circle in August.

Check out this great write up about the event courtesy of The Provocation.

Happy Friday!

Are you fully entrenched in Reel Pride? If yes, then you might understand why I am a bit sleepy this morning. If no… well why not? Check out the schedule!

Tomorrow, if you aren’t watching film after film, feel free to join us in Modesto to support the Stanislaus Pride Foundation with their family oriented Pride Festival

But in the mean time, let’s look at some of the news and notes for this week.

Gay rights activist Arthur Evans died this week at age 68.

Residents of North Carolina will get the chance to vote in May on a constitutional amendment that would bar same sex marriage and also bar the state from sanctioning civil unions.

The white House had a briefing yesterday to discuss that North Carolina anti same-sex marriage amendment and also DADT. Read more about it here.

Not all that surprising, but still nice to know, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood all support gay marriage.

Also not a big shock with this bit of news… The GOP debate that took place on Monday night was. absent any real discussion of LGBT issues

But here is a twist… Former Dick Cheney and his wife were on The View this week and came out in support of gay marriage. No more silence from these two!  Serriously!

As I’m sure you saw on our blog yesterday, there is going to be a gay wedding in the Archie Comics!

Gay Marriage is in danger in New Hampshire … a new bill has been proposed that would repeal the current law moving same sex unions out of the “marriage” box and back into the “civil union” box.

Australian citizens now have another choice in terms of how to label their gender on their passports. The inclusion of a “Indeterminate” choice is seen by many as a great step forward in transgender equality.

Britan’s Channel 4 will be showing a documentary about the trials and tribulations faced by the transgendered community this fall. The working title of this multi episode series which will follow sever transgendered people as they undergo surgery and major lifestyle changes is “Boys will Be Girls and Girls Will Be Boys.”

And lastly, in honor of the Reel Pride Festival going on right now, I thought it might be fun to look at AfterElton’s list of the 50 Greatest Gay Movies.

(Also, what a great list to use as we start to plan a movie night at the Community Center…..)

Here’s a tease…

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

Last night was the first night of the 22nd annual Reel Pride Festival. Like in years past, the festival draws in a diverse crowd from locals to out of town-ers, long time community supporters to first timers. Everyone with two common goals; enjoy some great films and reconnect with their community.

I talked to several people both outside the theater and inside the almost packed auditorium. Almost all were excited about the chance to reconnect with people and friends who they don’t get to see all that often. Again and again I was told that outside of Pride, this film festival is the highlight of the year.

As the crowd filled the room the buzz of anticipation and outright glee was almost palpable. There were shouted greetings, joyful reunions, hugs, waves and “You look great!”s from every corner.

It felt like a huge family reunion. And it should. For twenty two years this film festival has been bringing our community together for art and fellowship. No longer a small local event, the Reel Pride Festival brings people from all over the county. I was encouraged by the diversity in ages represented and by the warm welcome that even a new-to-town person, such as myself, received.

The movie itself was Dirty Girl and won’t be officially released to theaters until next month. Director Abe Sylvia’s first film is a love story, but not the typical one. It is a story about two teens, Danielle (Juno Temple) the high school slut and semi-closeted Clark, played with perfection by newcomer Jeremy Dozier, who find more than just an adventure when they road trip from Oklahoma to California in 1987. The script is well written with enough silliness to keep it light even while it deals with some very profound issues of family, love, bigotry, and faith.

The acting is superb, most notably with Mary Steenburgen who plays Clark’s mother, Peggy. While Danielle’s accent, high handed snark and overall Bitch attitude towed the line almost to the point of repetitive shrillness, the script did an outstanding job of dealing with Clark, his anxieties, his homophobic father, his sense of self worth, and his journey to self acceptance. The preaching, and there is a bit, against intolerance is almost heavy handed but there is just enough balance and some well timed sight gags that allow the movie to stay hopeful and sentimental.

But last night was more than just a good movie. It was about the experience. Over six hundred people all cheering, crying, and laughing together in a shared context of art…. Now, that’s something worth going to the Tower for. After the film both Abe Sylva and Jeremy Dozier came on stage and talked briefly about the film including the inspirational music of Melissa Manchester. And then, much to the delight of the audience, Melissa Manchester herself appeared and preformed two songs. The standing ovations went on and on.

As the crowd surged out of the theater, with many heading to the after party, you could hear people still humming the refrain of Manchester’s second song; “Whenever I call you friend.” It seemed the perfect note to end the night on; a song about a relationship that is loyal, sweet, and long lasting. Like the characters in Dirty Girl, our community is made up of those relationships as well.

If you have never been to a film festival, I strongly encourage you to remedy that fact in the next few days. Celebrating art is a wonderful thing. Celebrating art with your extended LGBT family,… that’s priceless. For more information about the Film Festival including a schedule of screenings…. Click here!

Kevin Keller is the oft discussed, openly gay character of the Riverdale gang featured in Archie Comics. Now, the comic book is taking it a step further. In the upcoming January issue of "Life With Archie", Kevin Keller will get married to the man of his dreams.

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Introduced last year in an issue of the Veronica series, Kevin Keller is an aspiring journalist who also wants to follow in his father's footsteps by joining the U.S. armed forces. The character has earned lots of attention and praise for tackling the subjects of gay teens and gays in the military, but as Kevin's creator Dan Parent told ComicsAlliance in May, Archie Comics readers -- like the Riverdale gang themselves -- just simply love the guy for who he is.

Kevin is the all-American teenager who just happens to be gay. We wanted it to be an important factor, yet it doesn't completely define him either. The reaction from the Riverdale gang is basically a non-reaction, because Riverdale is an accepting and tolerant community where it's OK to be gay.

READ MORE HERE...

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Following are the links and information for the California LGBT Community Centers we visited this week. We plan to visit more California LGBT Centers in the future.

Please take a moment to visit their websites and to remember and recommend them for you and those you know who may visit or live in these areas.

We were inspired by all of them and are already discussing the ways we can implement many of the ideas they shared with us during the trip.

These centers have been added to our LINKS AND COMMUNITY list.

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Stanislaus Pride Center - Modesto

The Stanislaus PRIDE Center (SPC) was founded in 2005 to provide resources to strengthen and support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons in the Stanislaus and surrounding counties.

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Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center

The Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center is dedicated to serving the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual community of the Greater Sacramento area and surrounding counties and its allies by providing space, diverse programming, advocacy, and cultural competency awareness in an affirming, compassionate and safe environment.

rainbowcenter

Rainbow Community Center - Concord, CA

The Rainbow Community Center (RCC) is the only organization in Contra Costa County that is solely focused on serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning  (LGBTQ) community; our current priorities are to build services for LGBT youth, seniors, people living with HIV/AIDS and to develop community building efforts that will diminish the sense of isolation and promote  greater acceptance of all LGBTQ people.

Our goal is to provide a safe, supportive and respectful environment for LGBTQ people of all ages, socio-economic status, races, cultures and religions.  We strive to create services and activities that will promote the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of our community by providing professional services, peer support, referral services, social opportunities and educational programs of interest to our community as well as to the community at large.

billydefrank

Billy DeFrank Center - San Jose

The Billy DeFrank Community Center strives to be the community's premier resource hub and a recognized leader in promoting health, strength, diversity and inclusiveness. Through collaboration and unity, our center provides a diverse platform for our community to meet, learn, be challenged and grow.

Tonight is the first night of the 22nd Reel Pride Film Festival. One film will be featured tonight, "Dirty Girl" @7:30PM

4 Gay Central Valley Board Members

15 hours

520 miles

Uncounted sodas and coffees and slices of pizza

Dozens of pages of notes

4 Community Centers in 4 –somewhat- distant cities (Modesto, Sacramento, Concord, San Jose)

1 epic battle with seagulls

Whew!

Yesterday morning before the sun was fully up, Chris, Jason, Jaymi, and I set off for a Tour De Centers Road Trip. Sticking to a schedule that allowed for very little deviation and facing a rental car check in that added a layer of stress that couldn’t be ignored, we drove the highways of California (mostly staying on track) in order to visit other LGBT Community Centers.

Happy Friday! (Sorry for the delay in posting today, I promise the reason is both awesome and understandable. Let’s just put it this way, a cat, a modem cord, an early morning trip to the dentist.) Anyway!

Lots of coo stuff is coming your way this month, Reel Pride starts next week and on the 27th (mark your calendars now) there will be a Health Awareness Event at the Community Center (1055 N Van Ness Ave Suite A) from 9 am to 4pm. Come by beforehand to check out our awesome new digs! But just in case you can’t wait, this Saturday night is the Taste of River Park event with wine tasting, fashion shows, and yummy food. Or you know, you could stay at home and watch the new Dr. Who. Or head to the Starline for a live show by Olivia May. Whatever you decide to do this weekend, you must first be edified with a few news and notes from the past week!

Glee favorite and Wicked star Kristin Chenoweth spoke out this week about being both a Christian and a gay rights supporter.

Maryland’s governor Martin O’Malley (D) has promised his support to a gay marriage bill if it gets to his desk.

Another reason (as if you needed it) to hate the proposed North Carolina anti- gay marriage bill.

Prop 8 Update: As you might have heard the current issue in front of the CA Supreme Court is whether or not supporters of Prop 8 have the right to argue for it (since our governor and our attorney general both declined to support the bi). Arguments were heard on Tuesday in which supporters of Prop 8 argued that they, regular people not publically elected people, should have the right to do so… in this case only. If the Supreme Court agrees with them, a new trial will begin. If the Supreme Court finds that they don’t have the right, the case will be dismissed meaning that Judge Walker’s overturn of Prop 8 wil stand, ie, gay marriage will be legal again here in CA. The Court has 90 days to rule. We will keep you posted.

A campaign to legalize gay marriage in Maine has gathered more than 25,000 signatures in only 3 weeks.

Some more good news from the Obama Administration: The Department of Health & Human Services on Wednesday unveiled a new policy to enhance hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples

The fight for gay men to be allowed to donate blood in the UK just took a small step in the right direction. Instead of being barred for life, the new policy says that gay men can donate as long as they haven’t had gay sex in a year. (Go ahead, raise your eyebrows, but the local GBT groups are calling this a move in the right direction, even if it is a small one.)

A new study says that the distinctive health issues faced by the LGBT community are not given enough attention in medical school curriculums.

In Scotland, a soldier has been the first to be convicted for “transgender prejudice.”

In Texas a college professor is suing the school that didn’t allow her to interview for a full time position because she is gay.

So there you have it, a bit of a mixed bag this week as always.

And lastly, something too good (?) to pass up…. Schweddy Balls. This new flavor of ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s pays homage to an old SNL skit with Alec Baldwin and is vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and loaded with fudge-covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls. I… really can’t add anything to that. Click here for more details and a video of the original skit.

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

We've officially moved into our new, larger office space in the same complex...

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Our new address is 1055 N Van Ness Avenue, Suite A, Fresno, CA 93728

Phone: 559-325-4GAY or 559-325-4429

Available 7 Days A Week for Groups & Organizations...Staffed & Open to the Public Wednesday through Saturday from Noon - 5PM.

Labor Day has come and gone… making it officially fall to many people. With fall comes cooler weather (right???), football games, the turning of the leaves… and TV shows! Whether back from summer hiatus or brand new, let’s take a look at a few of the shows in this fall’s Fall Line Up… through the lens of how LGBT friendly they might be.

First up, Dancing With The Stars comes back with a bang and makes history with the inclusion of Chaz Bono . I doubt he needs an introduction on this site, but here goes: Chaz, formerly Chastity Bono, is the sole child of Sonny and Cher. His female to male transition has been public for the past three years and has been supremely instrumental in bringing the idea of transition into the day to day lives of a lot of Americans who had never heard the term before. He is, I think, one of the most famous transgendered men in pop culture and is an activist and a lecturer. Transgendered groups, as well as Cher herself, are loudly supportive of this casting choice, and while there has been a flurry of “The sky is falling” rhetoric from the Christian right, one can only hope that the more often the general public is reminded that trans people are not just present in our society but also dramatically active and useful members to boot, the better. DWTS premiers on September 18th.

Next up we have The Playboy Club which many are calling NBC’s answer to AMC’s Mad Men. Also set in 1961 (but in Chicago) this period piece will showcase the changing American world through the lens of, you guessed it, a Playboy Club. The tag line for the show is “Where the men hold the keys but the women hold the power” and for us skeptical women out there, the show promises to dwell on the positive aspects of being a bunny. Like the money. And to bring it back to our LGBT theme, there is a lesbian bunny. Alice a closeted lesbian bunny who is married to a gay man. Together, they pool money for theMattachine Society Chicago chapter, which was a huge LGBT rights group in the 1960s. Although this storyline was only a small part of the pilot, the producers say it will definitely be a big part of the show."

Glee returns on Tuesday the 20th . With new cast members and the eventual story arcs involving the winners of the Glee Project ( including Alex who performed in drag a good part of the time) we have high hopes for the third season of this very LGBT friendly show.

Attempting to market to those a bit too old for Glee but who still love musical theater, NBC offers Smash which promises to deal with LGBT related themes as well as appeal to a broad LGBT audience. Only time will tell if they can hit the high notes on this. (Smash is a midseason show and won’t premier until 2012.)

On The Good Wife, Owen will finally get a long term love interest moving this gay side character into the gay limelight. Producers want to be realistic… gay brothers aren’t always single, apparently. Also a reoccurring guest spot will go to out actor Harvey Fierstein The Good Wife already gets a nod of appreciation for a series regular bisexual character, Kalinda. (Archie Panjabi won an Emmy for her portrayal.) The next season begins on September 25th.

On FX, Archer, home to two regular gay and bisexual characters, will premier its 3rd season In late September but keep the rest of the season for 2012. If you need to catch up on this animated twisted espionage show that is really like no other, the episodes are available on hulu.com

Gossip Girl returns on the CW on September 26th. This fan favorite broke ground with its gay character and GLADD has repeatedly showered praise on the CW for its portrayal of its queer characters.

And lastly a random tid bit of information from GLADD and The Advocate : ABC Family: The only cable network to receive an "excellent" rating [from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's annual report on the media's portrayal of LGBT people]. ABC Family was initially founded in 1977 as an extension of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network. Nowadays the channel is nothing like Robertson's network, with a history of gay-inclusive shows like Kyle XY and Greek, which have attracted a young, loyal viewership. Fifty-five percent of the network's prime-time programming was LGBT-inclusive, thanks to shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Huge, and Make It or Break It

ABC Fall Preview:

 

CW Fall Preview:

NBC Fall Preview:

FOX Fall Preview

I know this list isn’t complete, but I hope it helps you figure out what to watch while procrastinating whether it be your homework or your laundry. Happy viewing!

Happy Friday! Happy Labor Day Weekend!

So we all know Labor Day is a day for BBQ, hiding our white shoes in the back of our closets, and the national herald of “back to school.” But I am here to edify you with the help of Wikipedia as to what Labor Day really means….

The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York. The origins of Labor Day can be traced back to Canada when, in December 1872 a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. Ten years later, American Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was asked to speak at a labour festival in Toronto, Canada on July 22, 1882. Returning to the United States, McGuire and the Knights of Labor organized a similar parade based on the Canadian event on September 5, 1882 in New York City, USA. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

Ok, history lesson done, let’s move on to more recent events, namely this week’s news and notes!

You have probably been following the trial of Brandon McInerrney, the 17 year old accused of shooting his gay classmate. After eight weeks of testimony and three votes, the jury was unable to deliver a verdict and the judge ruled a mistrial.

In Alaska, a group called One Anchorage is working on a ballot imitative that would add gay and transgendered residents to the city’s anti discrimination protection laws.

Despite the fact that North Carolina has a statue on the books banning gay marriage, Republicans in the state are concerned about a future court ruling and therefore are working on getting a constitutional ban of gay marriage on the state’s November ballot.

Just in case you can’t wait another year for Pride… or haven’t yet made weekend plans, Oakland will be hosting its Pride Celebration on Sunday, this year’s theme is “We Are Family.”

September 20th marks the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell… but it also marks the date when gay themed magazines will start hitting Army bases. These magazines, written for and about gay servicemen and servicewomen feature photos and essays… some of which will “out” soldiers.

Speaking of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell… remember Lt Dan Choi? Here is an update on his current trial.

National Suicide Prevention week starts next week, and what better way to kick it off than by announcing the new project form the awesome minds that brought us the Trevor Project (It Get’s Better). The new campaign is “Talk to me” and focuses on the other side… those of us not at risk being willing to listen and help those in trouble or crisis. Glee star Kevin McHale (Artie) is a big part of the launch.

New Jersey’s latest polling puts support squarely behind legalizing gay marriage.

The drama surrounding FL teacher Jerry Buell gets worse … Now it isn’t even a question of his personal thoughts on his personal (and maybe private) webpage/Facebook… evidence coming to light now points to flagrant religious rhetoric in the classroom and in public statements to local media. LGBT groups are calling for more investigation.

And lastly, an interesting breakdown of views on same sex marriage broken down by religion or non religious affiliation.

But back to Labor Day. I hope you all have a great weekend, and if my earlier history rant didn’t do it for you, check out this video from the History Channel about the origins of Labor Day.

Have a fun, and safe, weekend!

FStonewallD

The Fresno Stonewall Democrats announce the release of their new logo~
our own Historic Water Tower proudly clad with the Rainbow flag!  A copy
is now on display inside the Water Tower.


The public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite work of
art from among various entries featuring the Fresno Water Tower.  The
winner will receive a $50.00 cash award and bragging rights to the
title, "People's Choice".

Show your PRIDE!  Stop by the Water Tower and vote Thursday evening, September 1st between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. If the
Stonewall logo design wins, the prize money will be donated to the
Fresno Stonewall Democrats.

Thank you!

Dan Choi has been on trial in Washington since Monday. The trial stems from a protest in 2010 during which Choi, along with other activists, handcuffed themselves to the White House fence. All the other activists arrested chose to plead guilty in exchange for no jail time. Choi was the only one that chose to go to trial over the charges.

Now, developments involving the treatment of Choi, particularly in light of the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT officially ends on September 20th), have hinted at a dismissal.

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On Wednesday, the judge presiding over the current case said he believes Choi has shown, at least preliminarily, that he is being treated differently because of the subject of his protests: "don't ask, don't tell." President Barack Obama put an end to the policy in July. As of Sept. 20, gay service members will be able to acknowledge their sexual orientation openly.

Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola said the testimony presented at trial suggested that "the nature of his speech or what he said," meant Choi was prosecuted differently, according to a transcript of the proceedings.

READ MORE HERE...

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Another student t-shirt is creating a controversy and a possible lawsuit, this time in Alabama. Sara Couvillon showed up at school wearing a t-shirt supporting gay sexuality, and the proverbial shit hit the fan.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter Wednesday to Hoover High School and the city's board of education threatening a federal lawsuit on behalf of a student prevented from wearing a T-shirt that sparked controversy in school.

The black T-shirt Sara Couvillon wore says 'gay? fine by me.'

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Sara responded to the school asking her to remove the t-shirt, supposedly on the grounds she might be endangered, although she received no threats...

"There are kids at my school who really want to be themselves, but they don't have the strength they need," said Couvillon.  "It isn't easy being singled out, but if I ca ngive someone else the courage to be who they are then it's worth it to me."

READ MORE HERE...

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Monday, September 27 marks National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — a perfect day to go out and get tested.

On the heels of a disturbing report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that one in five men living in urban areas is HIV-positive and about half of them are unaware that they are, the HIV/AIDS Awareness Day comes as budgets have been slashed, new infections are on the rise, and renewed focus turns to HIV in the gay community.

SOURCE: ADVOCATE.COM 

ImagePastor Eddie Long, the Georgia Pastor who's been accused of sexual misconduct with several young men, has made his first statement in the matter, however vague it may have been.

"I have never portrayed myself as a perfect man," he told the massive congregation that turned out to support him over the weekend. He did not, however, deny any of the claims or say much more on the issue. Cryptic remarks did seem to indicate there is truth to the story. "We are all subject to face painful situations," he said.

His congregation has grown from a small group of followers to a massive group of thousands over the past few years. Ironically, given that virtually all those in the public eye who have been threatened by sexual accusations have eventually been revealed as guilty, Long's congregation is passionately standing by him.

Since Georgia has an age of consent of 16 years old, there will be no federal investigation into the matter. The boys were all over 16 at the time of the alleged misconduct.

READ MORE HERE

According to a new federal study, one in five sexually active gay and bisexual men are carrying the HIV virus, and almost half of those don't even know it. The study, released Thursday, is the largest to look at gay and bisexual men who are at high risk for contracting the virus.

More than 8,000 men were tested, and 44% of those infected didn't realize it.

The study is part of a government effort to concentrate on a particular group of Americans when applying HIV-AIDS education and prevention, men who have sex with men and other certain high risk groups. This is due to the fact that while less than half of 1 percent of Americans are infected with the HIV virus, certain groups are at a much higher risk factor.

According to the study, black men had the highest infection rates, at 28%, followed by Hispanic men at 18% and white men at 16%. For those who didn't realize they were infected, black men again had the highest percentage rate, at 60%, followed by 46% for Hispanic men and 26% for white men.

Read More Here

The US Department of Justice has filed a plea to stop the recent ruling by a federal judge finding Don't Ask Don't Tell to be unconstitutional, from taking effect. The ruling stated that since DADT was unconstitutional that the practice of discharging soldiers because they are gay or lesbian must stop immediately.

In their filing with the court, Federal attorneys stated..."A court should not compel the executive to implement an immediate cessation of the 17-year-old policy without regard for any effect such an abrupt change might have on the military's operations, particularly at a time when the military is engaged in combat operations and other demanding military activities around the globe."

Now, just on the heels of this, comes a shocking, landmark decision by a federal judge, ruling today that the Air Force violated the constitutional rights of a highly decorated flight nurse by discharging her for being a lesbian. The judge stated that the discharge of Maj. Margaret Witt was unwarranted and that her re-instatement "would do nothing to hurt unit morale". This follows a ruling in 2008, in which a federal appeals court ruled that the military cannot discharge anyone for being gay "unless it proves their firing furthered military goals".

At the rate federal courts and judges are moving forward, it's possible that we may not have to rely on the Congress to remedy this violation of constitutional rights. Just as in the current California same sex marriage case, due to be heard again in December, the courts may finally be stepping up to the plate to put the cuffs on politicians trampling of the constitution for their own career motivations.

Read More Here 

 

National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed each year on September 27 to focus on the disproportionate effects of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic on gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). In 2007, the estimated HIV diagnosis rate among MSM was 692 per 100,000, which was 44 to 86 times the rate for other men and 40 to 77 times the rate for women (1).

Although MSM represent approximately 2% of the U.S. population (1), in 2006 they accounted for 57% of all new HIV infections (2). From 2005 to 2008, estimated diagnoses of HIV infection increased approximately 17% among MSM in 37 states (3). In 2008, black MSM had the highest estimated number of diagnoses of HIV infection, followed by white and Hispanic MSM (3). In recent years, new HIV diagnoses have increased significantly among young black MSM (4).

CDC supports a range of efforts to reduce HIV infection among MSM. These include HIV prevention services that aim to reduce the risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV and to increase the linkage of infected MSM to treatment. Additional information about these efforts and National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day activities is available at http://www.aids.gov/awareness-daysExternal Web Site Icon, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm, and http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth.

Source

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Miss the first episode of the new season of GLEE? Watch It Here

 

President Obama was loudly heckled Wednesday night during a New York speech. The protestors shouted him down for cutting AIDS funding and for his failures on Don't Ask Don't Tell. Obama's response to AIDS funding was that he's actually increased it, and on the subject of Don't Ask Don't Tell, he recommended to the group the same thing he's recommended in the past, that they should be shouting down the Republicans for their blockage of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. He also reminded them that if the upcoming election is not focused on, more conservatives could come into office and we will suffer even more, saying "The people who will take over if we don't focus on the election, I promise you, will cut AIDS funding."

It is confusing why more protests are not going on at Republican rallies instead of Democratic ones. While the Democratic party is failing at virtually everything they attempt, it is still the Republican party that is working to destroy all aspects of LGBT rights. I would kind of like the answer to that myself...

Read More Here

ImageA state appeals court in Florida has overruled Florida's ban on gay adoptions, and starting immediately, gay couples will be allowed to adopt children. In fact, the couple that brought the case was instantly granted the right to adopt.

Charlie Crist, the closeted, gay Governor of Florida, came out in support of the overturn, as he has come out in favor of many gay restrictions being overturned, most of which he supported in the past. It is hoped the case will move to the Florida Supreme court in order to make the law more solid.

Read More Here

T-Mobile has been told by a judge to respond by Sept 22 and to appear at a Sept 30th hearing to explain their actions in blocking a text "short code". Short codes are abbreviated cell phone numbers used for special campaigns. Weedmaps.com was one of the customers using the particular short code to notify their clients of pricing specials.

While T-Mobile claims the shutdown was due to a procedural issue, while EZ-Texting, which has filed the suit, claims they have information which states that T-Mobile shut it down because of Weedmaps, calling it  "an unsanctioned and inappropriate service." Medical marijuana is legal in California, which would counter the statement by T-Mobile. Justin Hartfield, co-founder of Weedmaps explains it's not the first time he's encountered companies reluctant to co-operate with the legal operation of marijuana dispensaries in California because of the conflicting federal laws against it.

EZ-Texting CEO Shane Newman warns of the ramifications of companies deciding which organizations they are willing to work with. "If T-Mobile takes a stance on blocking lawful content on Medical Marijuana, does this mean they are going to take a stance on all issues? What about gay marriage? Does T-Mobile plan on blocking information on that? Where does it end?"

Read More Here

Thanks to Republicans (can they really do anything right...anything??) the attempt to get Don't Ask Don't Tell repealed failed today in the Senate. The vote was 56-43, falling just short of the 60 votes needed. Harry Reid actually voted against the bill, although it was a strategic move which allows him the possibility of bringing the issue back up at a later date.

The bill was attached to the defense bill, which funded the troops, including a pay raise, but that wasn't enough to get it to pass. Two Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the bill, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor.

This leaves the repeal of DADT on shaky ground, at best.

Read More Here

Click Here to watch a video of General James Conway explaining that if DADT were to be repealed, it's likely they would have to house the soldiers in a different manner than they do now, since so many soldiers would object to being housed with open homosexuals. So soldiers that have never had their personal preferences considered in terms of military policy, would in this one case be granted the opportunity to make the rules instead of merely following them. All because of the terror of being in the same room with a homosexual, which is a situation that already exists, and has existed since the dawn of the military.

Real Time With Bill Maher is back, starting tonight, Friday, September 17th. His show tonight features Michael Moore, actor Jon Hamm, journalist Martha Raddatz, Republican strategist Mark McKinnon and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Real Time is still one of the most honest and open shows on television.

In the meantime, here's a clip from Maher, catching up on the news he's missed covering while on hiatus...

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A national study by the Q Research Institute for Higher Education has released its  Campus Pride 2010 National College Climate Survey, which looks at the atmosphere of National Colleges as it pertains to LGBT students. The study found that approximately 25% of lesbian, gay and bisexual students experienced some form of harassment, while for transgender students the level is at about a third. The study covered about 5,150 students at 100 colleges.

Click the link above to access the study, or visit the Campus Pride Website

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- A gay rights organization that won a federal court ruling declaring the military's ban on openly gay troops unconstitutional wants the judge to immediately stop the policy from being used to discharge military personnel.

Lawyers for the Log Cabin Republicans say their proposal filed Thursday in the Riverside, Calif., court asks Judge Virginia A. Phillips to impose a worldwide injunction on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

She ruled last week that the policy violates the due-process and free-speech rights of gays and lesbians.

Phillips asked the group for input on drafting an injunction.

The government has a week to respond. Department of Justice attorneys said they would object to an injunction and the issue should be decided by Congress.

Source

Contact: Joe Sosa
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                                                                                                                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

BROADWAY SMASH HIT “RENT” MAKES VALLEY DEBUT
Proceeds to Benefit local AIDS Foundation

 

 

Fourth Wall Theater Company is proud to announce that they will be producing the musical RENT in Hanford next July.  The show, which will be under the direction of Corey Ralston and Cabrilla Ravalin-McGinn, is a first for the Valley.

 

“No community theater group has performed this show locally and we are very excited to be the first,” Ralston said.

 

RENT made headlines when it went to Broadway after the sudden death of its creator Jonathon Larson. The show is a remake of Puccini’s “La Boheme”, it follows a group of friends dealing with poverty, drugs and AIDS in New York City in the early 1990’s. In the face of so much adversity each character learns that LOVE is what gets them through the rough times.

 

Auditions will be held in February and all local actors and vocalists are encouraged to come. In addition to the cast of 20 there will be a need for band members and technical stage support.

 

All proceeds from the show will be given to the LGBTQ Wellness Foundation, a startup non-profit that is giving assistance to those infected and affected by the HIV virus.

 

“Since this show deals so heavily with HIV/AIDS we thought it was only fitting that we give all of our profit to people that are wanting to reach out a loving hand to survivors of the virus,” Ralston said.

 

In the coming months before the production gets underway there will be a series of fundraisers held in hopes to raise money to pay for the cost of the production. Local businesses are encouraged to advertise in the playbill and show their support.

 

RENT will be playing at the Stratton L. Tarvin Presentation Center in Hanford on July 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 , 31.  Tickets will be $15 and sold at the door.

 

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If you would like more information on the production or the LGBTQ Wellness Foundation please contact Joe Sosa  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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On the eve of the 21st Annual Reel Pride Film Festival, we offer this glimpse into the past, with the original program from the very first film festival... (click on the images to enlarge to full size)...Courtesy Peter Robertson...

The inaugural Reel Pride film festival was produced by the GLBSA, a student club at Fresno State, now known as United Student Pride. The 1990 film festival featured 12 international films (and videos) from six countries shown throughout five days. It was the brainchild of Ken Fries, who was a student here at the time. He picked the movies and arranged the rentals, I booked the rooms and raised some much-needed funds. Together, with a great team of club leadership and advisors, the first film festival was a success.

Peace and pride, Peter Robertson

This is Christine O'Donnell, one of those tea-party nut jobs, who just won the Republican senate primary in Delaware. During a television interview with George Stephanopoulis, she used the non-word "un-factual", but she's also made this wacky statement...

 

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ImageThis story was originally published in May, 2006. I thought it was pertinent to re-post it given the recent idiotic behavior of local authorities and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors...The article has not been revised. As you can see from the length of the piece, I did extensive research on it the first time..Since it's been 4 years, I apologize if any of the links are no longer valid...

How much truth do we expect from the American government? What exactly are we supposed to believe in these days filled with scandal and revelation, and how much of an influence has our government had over the years in shaping our beliefs and opinions?
 
We all have ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, much of which has been influenced in no small part by the United States Government, through our leaders, public schools and public service announcements. Historically, government stamps of approval meant we didn’t have to think. Likewise, governments disapproval and warnings told us to stay away, there was danger. If you went to school in the 60’s and 70’s but have forgotten those scratchy black and white Super 8 films with the accent of a loud and overused projector, check out SOMETHING WEIRD . Their collection of classic school scare films (also available through Comcast On Demand Cable under the heading “The Cutting Edge”) will remind you of those important government sponsored teachings of the past, such as hiding under your desk in case of a nuclear attack or that masturbation can make you go blind. 

As we gained access to information and began questioning government policies we rarely dared to before, we saw Americans work to reverse oppressive civil rights policies such as illegal abortions and the lack of worker rights. Leaders and activists awakened us to the possibility that we may not be getting the whole truth from those we’d given power. People of integrity and strength forged alliances to demand truths be revealed, to create laws of fairness driven by the standards of the constitution, not personal opinion and prejudice. Once the veils of deception began to be  lifted, it seemed unthinkable that America could return to the days when information was siphoned off as the government saw fit. 

ImageThe Fresno County Supervisors passed an ordinance on Tuesday banning outdoor growing of medicinal marijuana. They did this because there have been recent shootings as a result of people attempting to steal outdoor plants. One man was killed when he was shot by a property owner after the plants were taken. The District Attorney has filed criminal charges for the man responsible for the shooting. Oh, and there's the fact that the ordinance started becoming enforceable immediately after the meeting.

What can I say about this "decision" by the County Board of Supervisors other than "Really?"

Does this mean that the next time there's a shooting during a liquor store robbery that we will shut down the liquor stores? Or how about designating Fresno a "No Christmas Zone" since during the holidays so many citizens of Fresno are robbed of their gifts as they leave the stores? You see that I could go on and on with other examples which follow the same "logic" as the Supervisors used on this "emergency decision".

What other situation can you imagine where criminals in the process of committing a crime were shot at and the result was punishing the victims of the crime? Go ahead, I'll wait...

Isn't it time we started demanding reason and honesty from our officials? Do they even know the facts or do they simply refuse to see them? This is not about protecting anyone. This is about the irrational and illogical fear of marijuana. Here are some COLD HARD FACTS for you to consider...marijuana has caused ZERO deaths in all of recorded history, while alcohol kills around 100,000 deaths annually, tobacco in the range of 400,000 and deaths related to prescription medications hovers around 100,000.

Marijuana is not a "gateway drug", in fact, it's not a drug at all, it's just a plant that grows in the ground.  Smoking marijuana does not lead to violent or criminal behavior. And get ready for this one... Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.

Yes, really.

And what about the fact that California already voted to approve medical marijuana use? And what about how Fresno authorities are constantly working to close down dispensaries or not let them operate at all, even though the Federal Government has stated they will no longer pursue such businesses based on the federal law they don't even care to enforce anymore?

Really? Is this the way we're going to continue to operate in this country? Are we so comforted by our mythologies and cliché's that we simply don't see a reason to start thinking rationally? Marijuana is dangerous? There's absolutely no evidence to support that, in fact, the opposite is true. Gay Marriage is a threat? There's absolutely no evidence of that, in fact the opposite is true. Prostitution ruins people's lives? Only if it's illegal. In Nevada, where it's legal, there's no problem. In fact, the entire Drug War is by all accounts a massive failure. Legalize everything and regulate it the way we do liquor and cigarettes. Come on, does it really take a lot of in depth thought to figure this stuff out?

Evolution is a funny thing. In the physical sense, it will happen regardless of what we do. But our mental evolution? The evolution of our thoughts and decisions, the fact of whether we choose to live by the truth or by mythology, that's something else. That  could be the difference between a safer, more equal world or a world where we'll continue to restrict other's rights, stall medical research, and battle and kill each other. That's something we have a great deal of control over. And we're failing over and over again.

Or maybe you're one of the ones who thinks Obama is a Muslim. Or you think that Mosques are okay as long as they don't go up at Ground Zero, despite the fact that it was never going to placed at Ground Zero and that there are rebellions against Mosques all across the nation, not just in New York.

Go smoke some pot, you might feel better.

Fresno ranks 14th on the Men's Health List of the 100 most sexually active cities in the nation, while Bakersfield comes in at #9. The list is based on condom sales, birthrates, sex toy sales and rates of sexually transmitted diseases as determined by state health departments.

Men's Health Study With Details

1.) Austin, TX

2.) Dallas, TX

3.) Columbus, OH

4.) Durham, NC

5.) Denver, CO

6.) Indianapolis, IN

7.) Arlington, TX

8.) Oklahoma City, OK

9.) Bakersfield, CA

10.) Houston, TX

11.) Lubbock, TX

12.) Fort Worth, TX

13.) Charlotte, NC

14.) Fresno, CA

15.) San Antonio, TX

ImageEver wonder what's going on in Times Square in New York City? Or anywhere else at any time of the day? You can check out a live video feed by visiting Earth Cam. Earth Cam has a wide variety of choices from around the globe, and it's all totally free.

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I sat down in a local Starbuck's with Abby Dees, the author of Queer Questions, Straight Talk, a book which works to bring people together to talk frankly about what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. The book offers " 108 frank & progressive questions it's OK to ask your lesbian, gay or bisexual loved one".  Abby is a civil rights attorney who doesn't feel that writing this book is that far removed from the issues she dealt with in her legal practice. Communication is a critical element for her in the legal world, as it is when trying to come to terms with the confusion that can arise when a loved one comes out to those around them.

The book is filled with humor as well as guidance on how to deal with what can be a very delicate and, at times, intrusive entry into a person's personal life. But communication is the key to moving beyond the stereotypes that invade our daily lives. It's through communication that we will find our way through this current maze of misunderstandings and misinformation. Abby wants to help us open up to each other and share our experiences, which can allow us to conquer prejudice and injustice.

Abby and I had a great discussion about the book and the current state of LGBT rights in America...

CHRIS JARVIS:   So how do you go from being a civil rights attorney to writing this book?

ABBY DEES:         It's not that different. The last thing I was doing was working with HIV positive inmates, helping them get access to medical care and programs and services. Very often they'd call me up and I could see that there was a legal problem, but the solution wasn't always a legal solution. Really, the first solution was communication. And there was a moment when I was working and I realized, you know, 75% of what I do is talk to people about how to tell their story, and how to find the right person to talk to and how to articulate what you're experiencing and what you're feeling. So it's actually not that big a leap. And on this issue there's a great divide, and the only way to fix that divide, to transcend that divide, is to start talking to each other, and it's hard to know where to start sometimes.

CJ:          Yes, and I love the quote from the book, "Silence keeps people apart". That really struck me, because so many people don't talk about things, and I'm one of those people who likes to talk about everything.

AD:         Right. So the point of this book is to sort of give people permission to talk. It's a small guidebook on how to talk about this stuff. There's permission to ask stupid questions, and really, there are no stupid questions if you need to know the answer. And you don't have to answer if you're not ready to answer or if it is too personal a question. And from our community's standpoint I think it's very easy for us to feel exhausted when we do hear the same questions over and over.

CJ:          An example of that kind of question is in your book, and we all still get it from time to time, "Who's the man and who's the woman?"

AD:         That question is a good opportunity to talk about bigger issues. It's a good opportunity to talk about gender, and how sexual orientation and gender are different and how they're related.

Next week, the Senate will take on the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill extending the funding for military operations. The bill will include a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office confirmed the matter.

There are statements on either side of the issue, some saying that enough votes are there to overturn the controversial policy, while others feel it can't succeed. Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, issued a statement applauding the decision.

Read More Here 

Message from Paul at the Den, via the Den's WEBSITE

View the Den's webpage on the fire HERE

   

ImageThe 21st Annual Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival kicks off this week, with a wide variety of films and entertainment. Visit Reel Pride for all the information on the Film Festival. Below, you can click on the individual links for the films and events for more details.

Wednesday, September 15th

Opening Night VIP Party @6PM at the Reel Lounge next door to the Tower Theater. VIP Pre-Party, for all Sponsors, Director's Club (and above) members, and VIP members!...A Marine Story @7:30PM...Reel Lounge Party Pavillion following the film.

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Thursday, September 16th

The Last Summer of La Boyita @5:30PM...We Are The Mods  @6:30PM...Rivers Wash Over Me @8:30PM...After Party @The Red Lantern after the film

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Friday, September 17th

Howl @5:30PM at the Tower Theater...Bandaged @5:30PM at the Starline Lounge...Elena Undone @7:30PM at the Tower Theater...Strapped @10PM at the Tower Theater...After Party @The North Tower Circle after the film

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Saturday, September 18th

Out In The Silence @12PM at the Tower Theater...Is It Just Me? @12:30PM at the Starline Lounge...Sasha @2:30PM at the Tower Theater...Hens & Chicks: Girls Shorts @2:30PM at the Starline Lounge...International Male: Boys Shorts @4:30PM at the Starline Lounge...The Four Faced Liar @5PM at the Tower Theater...Directors Club/Filmmaker Reception 6:30pm-8:30PM at Vini Vidi Vici. Filmmakers, Director's Club Members and Sponsors ONLY!  Mix and mingle with our attending stars and filmmakers on the back patio of Veni Vidi Vici's from 6:30 to 8:30pm...Violet Tendencies @ 8:30PM at the Tower Theater...After Party @The Express after the film

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Sunday, September 19th

Members Only Brunch Reception @11:30AM in the Reel Lounge at the Tower Theater...The Adults In The Room @1PM at the Starline Lounge...Eyes Wide Open @3PM at the Tower Theater...My Normal @3:30PM at the Starline Lounge...The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister @5:30 at the Tower Theater...From Beginning To End @5:30 at the Starline Lounge...Undertow @8PM at the Tower Theater...Closing Night Gala & Awards in the Reel Lounge Party Pavilion after the last film

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The fire at the Den showed up on JoeMyGod today, a nationally popular LGBT news blog that I read regularly. Interesting to read some of the comments by those who came out in Fresno years ago... Check it out...

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UPDATE: Much of the damage to the interior ceiling/roof structure is due to the Fire Dept. tearing down drywall in the process of making sure the fire was out. It also appears (since when the firefighters arrived they saw the outside fence was on fire) that the fire originated in the outside fence area, not inside the building. Estimates of financial damage is currently at $130,000.

Click here to read the...

FRESNO BEE STORY

CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO ENLARGE

A fire broke out at The Den early Sunday morning, around 4-5AM. The fire started in the front corner of the club and damaged much of the interior, as well as collapsing the roof. At this time the fire is thought to be electrical, however no official cause has been determined as of yet. 

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We will keep you posted as details become available. No estimate on damages is available at this time.


From the L.A. Times...

A federal judge in Riverside declared the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members unconstitutional Thursday, saying the “don't ask, don't tell” policy violates the 1st Amendment rights of lesbians and gay men.

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the policy banning gays did not preserve military readiness, contrary to what many supporters have argued, saying evidence shows that the policy in fact had a “direct and deleterious effect’’ on the military.

Phillips said she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the policy. However, the U.S. Department of Justice, which defended “don’t ask, don’t tell” during a two-week trial in Riverside, will have an opportunity to appeal that decision.

Read More Here...

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ImageCommunity members,

You are invited! Join us, the members of Trans-e-motion, for a festive community picnic on Sunday, September 19th from 6pm to 9pm. As a budding organization in the GLBT+ Community, we have always pursued our mission and outreach with hope and determination. When we attained our official 501(c)3 (non-profit) status the experience was nothing less than a monumental victory. This community picnic is a celebration of that major milestone. Please come celebrate with us and enjoy games, music, food, and fun.

Trans-e-motion is an organization that puts on the annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance every November 20th, as well as offers resources, education, support, and understanding to the transgender community and their allies. Our recent success of being awarded official non-profit status will further ensure that our mission is carried out and increase the number of people we help in our community.

Get to know us at this relaxing picnic which will be held at 1754 N. Temperance. For more information, or directions, please contact Zoyer at (559) 285-0795 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone and everyone who you think would be interested in celebrating this monumental success with us.  Attached is the flyer for this event. Please R.S.V.P. if you plan to come. Hope to see you there!

Best, Zoyer Zachary Zyndel - Trans-e-motion Chair

ImageThe Fresno LGBTQ Social Group is hooking up with those attending KampOut Fresno for this year's event, "The Wild, Wild West". This is an annual event which is scheduled the weekend after Labor Day, each year. Check out the schedule for this year's event here...KampOut 2010 Schedule

ImageThis video has more than enough proof that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is...let's face it, crazy.

The problem with Arizona's Governor, Jan Brewer, is not that she supported and endorsed the recent, radical new laws in the state which give more power to authorities to profile citizens in the hopes of corralling the rash of illegal immigrants. This, mind you, in a state where crime rates have actually gone down...NO, the reason behind Brewer's obvious meltdowns is her Christianity. When she came into office she said she not only saw no reason for the separation of church and state, but that she would do everything she could to bring the bible and God into the political arena. She didn't even try to hide it. She was empowered by the recent success of conservatives to align religion with reason, supported by the millions of Americans who at some point, long ago, decided that truth, logic and reality were too harsh to deal with, and therefore easily abandoned. In the midst of all the recent Arizona controversy about the new immigration laws, it was only a matter of time before Jan Brewer, simplistic, Christian opportunist that she is, would be revealed for who she really is...an idiot.

The tide is turning. With the advent of the video age, it's becoming easier and easier to participate in the public revelations of radical Christians as who they really are...misguided, uninformed and ultimately lazy pawns of a system they don't even have the most basic understanding of.

Rachel Maddow continues to hit the nail on the head...

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ImageStephen Hawking has issued a newly declarative statement as to the origins of the universe, and to put it simply, creation doesn't need a creator.  While in previous books, Hawking has made statement suggesting there are ways to better understand God, he has now made it clear that God does not need to included to understand the origins of the universe. This is yet another step in the ever growing movement in the world to abandon the mythology that is religion and face our problems with rationality and reason, rather than fantasy.

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing," the excerpt says. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to... set the Universe going."

Read more here...

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There is no doubt that candidates for public office are afforded a bit more opportunity to be heard than the rest of us. Getting on the ballot as a candidate in a local or regional election draws the attention of the media and of the many groups and organizations that are involved in the social and political issues that confront us. In spite of this, we see few people exploring becoming a candidate as a method of raising awareness of alternative positions and ideas. This is unfortunate because becoming a candidate for public office is not as difficult as one may think.

In 2010, there are no less than 22 political offices in Fresno County that will be filled in the Primary election in June or the General election in November:

 

  • U.S. Representative for the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st districts

  • State Senator for the 14th and 16th districts

  • Member of the State Assembly for the 29th, 30th, and 31st districts

  • Fresno County Supervisor for the 1st and 4th districts

  • Fresno City Council Member for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th districts

  • Assessor-Recorder

  • Auditor-Controller/Treasurer Tax Collector

  • County Clerk

  • District Attorney

  • Public Administrator/Coroner

  • Sheriff

  • Superintendent of Schools

 

Some of these offices—such as Sheriff, District Attorney, Auditor-Controller/Treasurer Tax Collector, and

Assessor-Recorder—require that the candidate meets certain qualifications to be eligible but other offices do not. The other offices, mostly legislative, merely require that a person be registered to vote and be a resident of the district the candidate wishes to represent to be qualified.

 

ImageThe NATIONAL EQUALITY MARCH is approaching fast, taking place on Saturday, October 11th in Washington DC. Some of the latest NEWS & UPDATES on the march...

Cleve Jones recently sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to join them at the rally. There is also a posting of the latest list of EVENTS to be taking place during the weekend. Having received their official permits, an official march route has been designated and released. You can check it out here: MAP OF MARCH ROUTE. Through the website you can take advantage of SPECIAL AIRLINE DISCOUNTS FROM JET BLUE

There are various SOLIDARITY RALLIES planned throughout the country and around the world, including a Solidarity Event in Visalia. MARRIAGE EQUALITY USA is hosting the San Francisco Bridge Walk For Marriage Equality on the same day, October 11th. In Fresno you can hook up with the group heading up by clicking here: FRESNO GROUP - SAN FRANCISCO BRIDGE WALK OCT 11

If you would like to donate to the march, you can by clicking here: NATIONAL MARCH DONATIONS

There's been a good deal of conflict over the National March, on all sides of the issue. We have to remember that although we call ourselves one community, we remain individuals with different opinions. However we're after the same goal, equal civil rights for all LGBT Americans. Clearly, none of us knows the answer as to how to obtain those rights, as we've faced failure on so many fronts. But I hope at this point we can put aside current arguments and wish nothing but success for the March. Because this March is not just about the people who are organizing it or the people that can be there. This March is for all LGBT Americans, and was always intended as such. This March, as with other efforts on a National level, demonstrate to the opposition that we won't play State by State forever.  It says loud and clear that we're willing to up the ante.

We are not who the opposing side paints us to be. We know that. Many of them know that. Still, we're forced daily to be verbally abused and debased by hateful words and lies. We are confronted by physical and emotional abuse. Yes, it's painful. Yes, it wears you down. Yes, we thought this would be over by now. But YES, our rights WILL be granted. We may not be able to say when, but they will be granted, and the National March, as all efforts which will come after it, are working toward that goal. This is America, and even faced with another day of injustice which has become difficult to understand, we must continue standing with confidence that eventually, we will have our equality.  

As it's been said many times for many years, the single most important action for any LGBT American is to come out into the open, to be who we are in all aspects of our lives. For some of us there's not a lot of sacrifice to being out. For others, the sacrifice is great. But sacrifice, on various levels, is necessary to move ourselves forward. Visibility is our strongest weapon in tearing down this inexcusable tyranny our community lives through every day.

As a liberal, I think I try to look at other viewpoints than my own. I don't mean that I always agree with them, but I look at them. If they feel like they might have some truth, I look again. And if I find something in them that IS true, I admit it. But, sometimes I look at it, see it's full of shit and I say so. But, I DID look at it. I just don't feel the need to pretend I agree with it.

That being said, I don't think that all viewpoints are valid. I think some ARE full of shit. For instance, teabaggers are full of shit. What are they upset about? They say it's taxes and debt, but you know part of the reason we have all this debt? A war. A war that these SAME PEOPLE called us liberal whackos and un-American for opposing. So, it was okay to run up a stomach-churning debt in the name of killing people, but not for making sure that people, working people, can have access to health-care? Oh no, well health care? That's just like Hitler!

Uh huh. Full 'o shite.

By Dan Waterhouse, “Queer Eye....”

Community Alliance Newspaper, Fresno

“Queer Eye…”
learned on Thursday that the first effort to hire a permanent police reviewer for the City of Fresno failed. A second search effort is reported to be underway.

The source, who was close to the process, revealed the first search could find just one potential candidate. “We had a highly-regarded firm helping; we made phone calls, trying to get people to interview. We could only find one person.”

He said that, despite an offer from the City to raise the salary, the sole candidate finally said “no.” He added there are very few people experienced in auditing law enforcement agencies; it’s a new area of auditing.

The source also said no one was that interested in the Fresno job. Doing police review is difficult in the best of circumstances, even more so in a conservative community like Fresno . People in the community say it would be hard to convince anyone to leave where they’re at already, to take a job where there was little support for it behind closed doors in the local City Hall.

The auditor position is being filled on an interim basis by Robert Aaronson, from Santa Cruz , where he is the city’s police auditor. He also serves as police auditor for the City of Davis .

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Christians, as leaders, both in politics and political activism...

There are so many ways for me to finish that sentence. Most of them, though, after years of frustrated debating, would be rather harsh. Harsh, only because Americans remain, to this day, programmed into acquiescing to quiet respect for those of faith. For the most part. Even for those who enter the public arena, dragging their mythology along with them.

It's still controversial to confront the insanity which is faith mixed with politics. Despite our claims to the separation of church and state, Congress still utilizes the Bible, even drags preachers in to lead prayers. All of our Presidents, including Obama, consistently include God in their speeches, make sure they're recorded in church, and invite priests to speak at their events. Obama included one homophobe preacher and one gay preacher in his inaugural proceedings. Is that progress? I don't know, but I doubt it. I guarantee you though, that not all politicians are Christians, far from it. They're simply managing their job security, pacifying their base. Why can't America keep religion out of government? And why are Americans who are the most flag waving and patriotic the same ones who scream when someone suggests taking "God" out of the pledge of allegiance? Rhapsodize all you want, but religion and faith entangled in virtually every aspect of our government and politics is a direct assault on everything this nation supposedly represents.

When are we going to learn? We're losing ground regularly, with everything from restricting abortions, to Pharmacists able to deny medication based on their beliefs, to the current threats to the latest LGBT marriage victories in...well, everywhere. The responsibility for all backward evolution in America when it comes to rights and freedoms lays at the feet of religion and faith. Yet the LGBT equal rights movement, for example, continues to this day to covet more and more religious influence. Condemning those of us who denounce religious intervention or choose occasional vocal confrontation over silence or prayer, is now common, even routine. Meanwhile, religious Americans spew fabricated lies all over us and have, for the most part, been quite successful by doing so.

ImageFrom the New York Times: Austin didn’t know what to wear to his first gay dance last spring. It was bad enough that the gangly 13-year-old from Sand Springs, Okla., had to go without his boyfriend at the time, a 14-year-old star athlete at another middle school, but there were also laundry issues. “I don’t have any clean clothes!” he complained to me by text message, his favored method of communication.

When I met up with him an hour later, he had weathered his wardrobe crisis (he was in jeans and a beige T-shirt with musical instruments on it) but was still a nervous wreck. “I’m kind of scared,” he confessed. “Who am I going to talk to? I wish my boyfriend could come.” But his boyfriend couldn’t find anyone to give him a ride nor, Austin explained, could his boyfriend ask his father for one. “His dad would give him up for adoption if he knew he was gay,” Austin told me. “I’m serious. He has the strictest, scariest dad ever. He has to date girls and act all tough so that people won’t suspect.”

Austin doesn’t have to play “the pretend game,” as he calls it, anymore. At his middle school, he has come out to his close friends, who have been supportive. A few of his female friends responded that they were bisexual. “Half the girls I know are bisexual,” he said. He hadn’t planned on coming out to his mom yet, but she found out a week before the dance. “I told my cousin, my cousin told this other girl, she told her mother, her mother told my mom and then my mom told me,” Austin explained. “The only person who really has a problem with it is my older sister, who keeps saying: ‘It’s just a phase! It’s just a phase!’ ”

Read the rest of this story HERE

 

ImageFred Karger is the man behind the boycott of the Manchester Hotel in San Diego, motivated by the hotel owner's donation in support of Prop 8. He moved on to 3 other boycott campaigns for the same reason, and then went after the Mormon Church and the National Organization for Marriage. Lastly, he filed a complaint in Maine regarding the organizations and monies used to fund the campaign to ban same sex marriage.

Now Karger has been subpoenaed in a federal case brought by ProtectMarriage.com against California election officials, in an attempt to end reporting of contributor names in the state of California. Karger is simply an individual, a citizen activist, who felt a responsibility to fight for justice. With the cost of a lawsuit in California, he faces a difficult road, although he's already being reached out to by many people who want to help, including Cleve Jones.

Read his story  HERE

Has the town hall fervor gone farther than we thought? Has the crazed, irrational rhetoric we've all seen recently directed toward the Federal Government sparked murder? A census worker was found hanged in Kentucky, with the word FED scrawled on his body. The FBI is investigating, and while the crime scene is described as "disturbing" and all census taking in the area has ceased, there still is no word on whether this is a murder motivated by hate. Just how far have things gone?

The first video is the brilliant testimony by Barney Frank. The second is the touching testimony by Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her Georgia state legislative job when she told her supervisor she was transitioning from male to female.

ImageImage(SACRAMENTO - September 24, 2009) - Today, a diverse group of Californians filed ballot language with the State of California for an initiative to repeal Proposition 8 in November 2010, and restore equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“Starting today, there is new hope for committed gay and lesbian couples who want to get married,” said John Henning, Executive Director of LOVE HONOR CHERISH, a grassroots group that is spearheading the effort to place the measure on the 2010 ballot. “We’re back on the path toward full equality.”

Love Honor Cherish is one of more than 40 groups that support repealing Prop 8 at the next general election in November 2010. The groups include Stonewall Democrats, the Latino Equality Alliance, the Mexican American Bar Association, and the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality, among others. For a full list, go to www.RepealProp8.com.

Today’s filing is the first step in a process that will place the measure on the November 2010 ballot. In November, the broad coalition of groups supporting the initiative will begin circulating petitions to gather the 1 million signatures needed to qualify the initiative.

The proposed measure reads as follows:

This amendment would amend an existing section of the California Constitution. Existing language proposed to be deleted is printed in strikeout type. Language proposed to be added is printed in underlined type.

Section 1. To protect religious freedom, no court shall interpret this measure to require any priest, minister, pastor, rabbi, or other person authorized to perform marriages by any religious denomination, church, or other non-profit religious institution to perform any marriage in violation of his or her religious beliefs. The refusal to perform a marriage under this provision shall not be the basis for lawsuit or liability, and shall not affect the tax-exempt status of any religious denomination, church or other religious institution.

Section 2. To provide for fairness in the government’s issuance of marriage licenses, Section 7.5 of Article I of the California Constitution is hereby amended to read as follows: Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Marriage is between only two persons and shall not be restricted on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

For more on this story, or to make a donation or offer assistance to this effort, follow this link... REPEAL PROP 8

I'm telling you, Christians consistently provide a never ending source of material for me, but this week is a bonanza. Check out the first video from Kirk Cameron, you know, the actor from the TV show "Growing Pains". After being an atheist for most of his life, a friend convinced Kirk he was guilty of "sin" and he'd face harsh punishment if he didn't make the shift from atheist to Christian . (Kirk actually says in his testimony that he turned to God to "take the punishment for him", so he wouldn't have to take it himself) He's become a Christian sensation, spouting PCP (Pure Christian Propaganda) on the internet, in books and on television and in movies. And by the way, just as so many Christian videos have started to do recently, Cameron doesn't allow any comments on his video. How brave, how very brave.

The second video is from a young Romanian woman, Christina, (my new hero) who hilariously yet  seriously rebuts all the points in Cameron's video, which, of course, is incredibly easy to do. The videos will explain everything, but basically Cameron has set November 19th of this year as the date he will be passing out free copies of Darwin's "Origin of Species" at 50 colleges across the country. Oh, I almost forgot, a friend of his has added a 50 page introduction to the book, in order to decimate Darwin personally, so that, of course, college students will see that the theory of evolution is all a big hoax. Enjoy...

You can download the "special introduction" to Cameron's version of the "Origin Of Species" here: 50 PAGE INTRODUCTION

And remember, all those invested in the fight for LGBT equal rights in America, Christians are the leaders in our discrimination and injustice. Just a heads up...

...

 San Francisco Bridge Walk

 

San Francisco Bridge Walk - Oct 11 - Round Trip from Fresno to SF

Space is Limited! Snacks Provided! No cost

Sunday, October 11, 2009
5:00am - 5:00pm
 
Pickup location provided via email after RSVP

RSVP via
email, via facebook or call/text (559) 862-4559.
(please provide name, phone number and email of each person in your party)
 
Join us for an exciting time! We have passenger vans to transport you from Fresno to San Francisco for the 6th annual BridgeWalk on October 11th.

This is a great event for kids, grandparents and the whole family. We will have speakers and cake to toast our efforts thus far and a short conference call with the National Equality March happening simultaneously in Washington D.C.

- Leave Fresno at 5:30am (don't worry, you can sleep on the way)

- Arrive in San Francisco at 9:30am to Crissy Field and together we will march the span of the Golden Gate Bridge.

- Leave SF at 1pm and arrive back in Fresno at 5pm

We are looking for donations of food/water for passengers

All monetary donations for gas/van rental costs are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible. But, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Seeking individual, company and group sponsors.

A BIG thank you to The Express for their sponsorship of an entire Van and snacks/water for the passengers

I came across a couple of video clips from "Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria", a documentary directed by Victor Silverman & Susan Stryker, about a San Francisco transgender uprising that predated the New York transgender uprising at the Stonewall Inn. The documentary was released in 2005, and you can purchase a DVD here... Frameline - "Screaming Queens"

This year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, but check out other Pre-Stonewall LGBT Actions In The United States

ImageWho was the driving force behind California Prop 8. Well, what a surprise, it was the Catholics. The Catholics, who've violated more morality than you can imagine throughout the centuries. The Catholics, who've condoned child molesting and protected the molesters for who knows how long now (and continue to do so to this day). The Catholics, who's current leader has ties to the Nazis. Yes, I know their ceremonies are "beautiful", blah, blah, blah...and I know that's why so many people I've talked to still go and support this regime of violence and hatred. High standards, people. Here's the story of the genesis of Prop 8 in California and one Catholic in particular who delights in his leadership on that issue...Chris Jarvis

From the East Bay Express...

"Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment that deprived gay men and women of the right to marry one another, was perhaps the ugliest and most divisive electoral moment since Proposition 187, which denied illegal immigrant children access to health care and public education. All across the state, gay men, lesbians, and their friends picketed hostile churches and boycotted businesses that backed the amendment. And as they contemplated their fate, they asked themselves: Who did this to us? Was it the Mormons? The National Organization for Marriage? Black voters? White evangelical mega churches?

Now, eight months after the election that broke so many hearts, the truth has come out. It was the new Catholic bishop of Oakland."

Read the rest of the story here...THE FATHER OF PROP 8

ImageImageOn Sunday, Sept. 20, I had signed up with Courage Campaign to volunteer with Anthony Ash’s group; starting at 4 pm. I had a great time. I got to meet more people who volunteered as well, and in chatting with them; we got to become more acquainted than just another face/person in the group. Jessica, The leader for Porterville’s group was a riot. She can talk about incidences or issues that aren’t even newsworthy but have come to pass. She is very knowledgeable and I hope to one day sit and talk more with her regarding such cases. Gavino, was very quiet but very alert and friendly. He greeted every movie go-er with a smile.

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Jason and Jackie, the two leaders of the night were very helpful in getting the information to those who weren’t aware of Courage Campaign and even acquired some appointments to be speakers to some classes at Fresno State. (Good Going Guys). Solomon, very outgoing and cheerful had a smile and joke for everyone. I hadn’t seen him in over four years so it was nice to sort of catch up with him and other friends I hadn’t seen in about the same time; who came to see certain movies during the day. Bev and Rosa were very friendly and helped a great deal in getting people to sign a promise to repeal prop 8 at the next election and even received some contributions for C.C. GOOD JOB!

There were a few others there who volunteered and it seemed to me that everything went off smoothly. There were smiles and laughter in abundance from everyone. I hope to volunteer again for next year. (First group photo: Bev, Rosa, Gavino. Second group photo: Ghost, Daina, Charles)

The Values Voter Summit 2009 Conference, which just concluded its run in Washington DC, was filled with what you'd expect from conservative, "faith based" Americans. Take a look at their List of Exhibitors and you can see the focus of this farce. Or check out their List of Speakers and you may need a shower. They openly state on their site that "The war is raging..." and see a path to Christians "taking back this country". You can call this a conservative gathering, but as we've all noticed, it's much more accurate to call it a "faith based" gathering, as most conservative gatherings have become.

I can't say it enough, and I won't stop saying it, that we must work diligently to purge our government of "faith", as it relates to the work of day to day governing. The real problem is that faith based Americans are not just filling up the base for conservative America, they've also merged into our own political actions and groups, groups committed to securing equal rights for all LGBT Americans. How did this happen and how is it continuing? I'm not saying Christians or any other people of faith shouldn't be involved in the fight for equal rights. Quite the contrary. What I'm saying is that within that battle for rights, that portion of any activist, their faith, should remain silent. It works against us, holding up the arguments of the other side. And frankly, as I've said before, I look at anyone who constantly promotes themselves as "a person of faith" as someone not playing at the adult, rational table of dialogue. Keep that for your church group. We're dealing with reality here.

"Faith" is defined in the dictionary as "a belief in something for which there is no proof". Again, fine for anyone in America to choose that method of thinking, but it has no vocal place in our government or politics, where reason and logic are the steadfast building blocks of debate. We're working on factual, concrete issues of a rational nature, yet we continue to fluff up our ranks with the voices of Americans whose primary system of day to day operation is driven by "a belief in something for which there is no proof". Forgive me, but in a battle which must operate from a foundation of reason and logic, I'm not comfortable with those who might make decisions based on faith. If you think these faiths don't color every other motive in a person's life, take a look at the following videos.  

The first video is from Lila Rose, who says that abortions should be conducted in the public square until we're so horrified that we see (what else?) angels. Then there's an incredibly twisted interpretation of the Constitution's separation of church and state. Finally, there's Carrie Prejean, displaying what little brain power she has to make her right foot follow her left on a daily basis. Another example of how faith twists a person's reasoning. How does she not see the unbelievable irony in her statement about intolerance? Delicious? Yes. But if there's one thing people of faith have taught us historically, it's that no matter how crazy it sounds, these systems of belief can, and do, easily restrict the civil rights of others.

 

This video is from a recent appearance by Charlize Theron on ABC's THE VIEW. Toward the end of this piece, she's asked about marriage plans and explains, as she has courageously done in the past, why she has no current plans to marry Stuart Townsend.

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

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


Sept 2 6:00PM - Sept 9 8:20PM - Sept 16 6:00PM - Sept 23 7:10PM - Sept 30 7:10PM - Oct 7 7:10PM - Oct 14 6:00PM - Oct 21 7:10PM - Oct 28 8:20PM - Nov 4 8:20PM

We encourage all to come to the games to show support for this local LGBTQ team. (Group photo courtesy Eva Falk)

Surprise, surprise, the very same lies used in the past are being rehashed in an effort to stop the movement toward legal, same sex marriage. The group, Stand For Marriage Maine, a group fighting to strip Americans in Maine of their equal rights, released an ad filled with lies and misinformation, just as we've seen before. Today, the group Protect Maine Equality, a group working to maintain the equal rights of Americans in that state, countered with an on the mark, direct commercial which tells the truth. Watch them both, below.

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Gay Central Valley has a supply of DOG TAGS left over from this year's Pride Festival, and we're offering them for sale to those who are interested. You can see the 12 different dog tags that are available in the pictures attached to this article. All tags are original designs of Gay Central Valley and come with a silver chain attached.

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Our DOG TAGS are $3 each and are available at one location only, The North Tower Circle. We have a limited supply, so if you'd like to purchase one or more, visit the North Tower Circle at 2777 N Maroa Avenue, Fresno, CA 93704 (559) 229-4188 on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, anytime after 7pm, starting this Friday, September 18th. Ask for the manager, James, and he can get the tags you're after.

ImageImageImageImage 

All proceeds go to Gay Central Valley, and are used to fund our efforts in the Central Valley for the benefit of the LGBT Community. Gay Central Valley and affiliated websites are strictly not for profit operations. All money goes back to the community. (Click on images to enlarge)

ImageVideo of a speech and protest in Atlanta, Georgia, over the recent event of an Atlanta bar The Eagle was raided by police.

And how the police explain the incident

Do you know someone who makes assumptions, particularly tired, cliche assumptions about homosexuals and our "lifestyle"? We've all heard the same ones, like "we chose to by gay" or "how do you know you're gay if you've never had sex with the opposite sex?"...Well, copy this questionnaire and take it to them, or mail it to someone who refuses to evolve. In my opinion it's brilliant, and the truth in it cannot be refuted...Let's see how many of us can get a copy of this to Jim Franklin over at

Cornerstone Church...1545 Fulton Street  Fresno, CA 93721 Phone: 559-442-0122 Fax: 559-442-3068

In fact, let me challenge you to print copies and spread the word around, paper up a few parking lots, other churches, Republican headquarters...the list goes on and on...

Chris Jarvis

The Heterosexual Questionnaire was created back in 1972 to put heterosexual people in the shoes of a gay person for just a moment. Questions and assumptions made of Gays and Lesbians that are unfair, are reversed and this time asked to the straight people:

HETEROSEXUAL QUESTIONNAIRE

( ©1972, Martin Rochlin, Ph.D.)

This questionnaire is for self-avowed heterosexuals only. If you are not openly heterosexual, pass it on to a friend who is. Please try to answer the questions as candidly as possible. Your responses will be held in strict confidence and your anonymity fully protected.

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?

3. Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?

4. Could it be that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?

5. If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how can you be sure you wouldn’t prefer that?

6. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?

7. Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyle?

8. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be what you are and keep it quiet?

9. Would you want your children to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they’d face?

10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual men. Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual male teachers, pediatricians, priests, or scoutmasters?

11. With all the societal support for marriage, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?

12. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?

13. Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual?

14. Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective? Don’t you fear s/he might be inclined to influence you in the direction of her/his own leanings?

15. Heterosexuals are notorious for assigning themselves and one another rigid, stereotyped sex roles. Why must you cling to such unhealthy role-playing?

16. With the sexually segregated living conditions of military life, isn’t heterosexuality incompatible with military service?

17. How can you enjoy an emotionally fulfilling experience with a person of the other sex when there are such vast differences between you? How can a man know what pleases a woman sexually or vice-versa?

18. Shouldn’t you ask your far-out straight cohorts, like skinheads and born-agains, to keep quiet? Wouldn’t that improve your image?

19. Why are heterosexuals so promiscuous?

20. Why do you attribute heterosexuality to so many famous lesbian and gay people? Is it to justify your own heterosexuality?

21. How can you hope to actualize your God-given homosexual potential if you limit yourself to exclusive, compulsive heterosexuality?

22. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that might enable you to change if you really want to. After all, you never deliberately chose to be a heterosexual, did you? Have you considered aversion therapy or Heterosexuals Anonymous?

SACRAMENTO , Calif.-- (Business Wire)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the operator of the largest non-government HIV testing program in California , today praised the California Legislature for its passage of Assembly Bill 221, which cleared the Assembly on final concurrence (61-0) today and moves on to the Governor`s desk. AB 221 updates and streamlines the training of counselors for rapid HIV testing by exempting persons administering finger stick rapid HIV tests from the requirement for certification as a limited phlebotomy technician (LPT).It is widely expected that Schwarzenegger will sign the bill. However, as AB 221 has been designated an urgency bill and will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it rather than early next year, AHF is reiterating its call on the Governor to swiftly sign the bill.

The bill, authored by Assembly Member Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) and co-sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, eliminates barriers to expanding access to HIV rapid screening by reforming outdated, unnecessary and excessive training standards for HIV counselors who administer the finger stick rapid test.

"Over the past three years, the California Legislature and the Governor have led the charge to foster widespread routine HIV screening. One after another, barriers to screening have been erased so that California can ensure an optimal environment for people to learn their HIV status and get into life-saving treatment. AB 221 removes yet another barrier," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, co-sponsor of the bill. "We encourage Governor Schwarzenegger to quickly sign this pragmatic and money-saving bill into law." 

ImageA gay-straight alliance in our Central Valley is a dream we are trying to make a reality. A dream that we hope one day will consume our entire nation and, ultimately; the world. This alliance isn’t just a desire, but a necessity in order to establish equality and freedom from intolerance and bigotry for all. Our central valley has numerous GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) clubs dispersed throughout it. The purpose of these clubs is to do just what it says; form a gay-straight alliance by extinguishing hate and homophobia by promoting love, acceptance, and equality for all. More so, GSA clubs benefit our youth that suffer from hate and homophobia each day, whether it is at school, at home or anywhere else for that matter. These clubs establish a group of youth both straight and gay that gather together not to change the world, but to influence each other’s lives. This is a sort of haven where our LGBT youth could meet, interact, share their stories, help each other and just be themselves. In a complex world it’s nice to interact with people that share the same struggles as you; this is why it is important to keep the GSA network alive and active in the Central Valley.

Recently, Robin McGehee stepped down as the administrator of the GSA network in the Central Valley. Our community had no choice but to stare at one another and ask, “What now?” Many of us were concerned that the position may not be filled, as we should be in an area like Fresno. Back in March proponents for marriage equality “met in the middle,” which landed them in Fresno; the center of the “Yes on 8” territory. They did this because they understood that our full attention should be given to conservative areas like Fresno that forget views will and do differ from their own. With Robin gone, how are we to ensure that our LGBT youth receive our full attention, in such a conservative area, during a time they may need it most? Not to worry, the position has been filled; and in a very timely matter.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler will introduce legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act next week.

By Kerry Eleveld

The Advocate has learned that Democratic representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Jared Polis of Colorado will be introducing legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act next Tuesday. A Democratic aide confirmed that a press conference to announce the bill will be held September 15 at 11 a.m. at the House Triangle.

The source said the bill currently has just over 50 cosponsors, but Congressman Nadler’s office has not yet officially circulated a letter to his fellow House members.

Nadler told the Bay Area Reporter in July that the bill would amount to a full repeal of DOMA, including Section 2, which advises states to disregard same-sex marriages that have been legally performed in other states, and Section 3, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

President Barack Obama supported full repeal of the legislation as a candidate and has reiterated that support in the White House. “I believe it's discriminatory, I think it interferes with states' rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it,” Obama said of the 1996 law during an Oval Office signing ceremony in June.

Eleveld is The Advocate's Washington correspondent.

Original Story

To anyone who challenges you on the rights of LGBT Americans, anyone who says that we are able to obtain the same legal, undeniable rights that straight couples have, rights which are PROTECTED by law, wave them over to this story. Until LGBT Americans are protected from discrimination on a FEDERAL level, these kinds of things will continue to happen, with or without the "law"...Chris Jarvis - Gay Fresno

Image(Phoenix, September 8, 2009) — Lambda Legal is profoundly concerned and disturbed by a move by Arizona lawmakers on Friday to strip health benefits from the domestic partners of state employees.

State legislators for months had taken aim at the equal benefits plan approved last year by former Governor Janet Napolitano, now Department of Homeland Security Secretary. On Friday, current Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a budget bill with the provision revoking the health insurance coverage for domestic partners.

The elimination of vital benefits for a small, politically vulnerable group of public workers emerged from a protracted and bruising battle over the state budget. The new law strips gay and lesbian state employees of the ability to obtain health benefits for an unmarried life partner. Because health coverage for an employee’s committed life partner can be a critical lifeline for family stability and financial security, this budget denies 'equal pay for equal work' and inflicts severe hardship upon a targeted group of Arizona families.

To read the rest of this article, CLICK HERE

This video, from host Tucker Carlson, concerning a recent battle between LGBT community members and conservative community members, is one of the best examples I've seen of the way that LGBT issues are twisted and misrepresented by not only the people of the community, but the media. A couple of minutes in, Carlson puts up some statistics which he uses to represent the integrity of a speaker on the LGBT side of the issue, but which have absolutely nothing to do with it. He quotes BIAS statistics, while the issue is BULLYING. Then, at a town meeting, a black pastor stands to declare he's not requiring the school to use certain learning guides to help his daughter avoid being harassed, completely ignoring the fact that children in schools are already learning about black history, and that black Americans are not hidden from the conversation, as LGBT Americans are. We all know LGBT kids and children of LGBT parents don't get harassed, right? And certainly they would never get harassed by their own teachers. And of course, WE have the agenda, not THEM. Take a look at the blatant misdirection and manipulation of this issue by the townspeople and Carlson...

...

ImageBy Andrea Stone, USA TODAY

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Judy Shepard steps to the ballroom lectern, dangles her reading glasses and waves a folding fan. Necessities, she explains, for "a woman of a certain age." The state employees chuckle.

Soon they — and their guest speaker — will weep.

The story of how Shepard's son Matthew was beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead near Laramie on a clear October night in 1998 is well-known. The murder of the college student sparked protests, vigils and calls for legal protections for victims of anti-gay violence. Shepard says she became "a mom on a mission."

Some 500 speeches later, Shepard has rarely cried in public, but on this day, she does.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she says as she clears her throat. "There's a hole in my life," she sobs. "Deep breath, everybody." The 150 people in the room inhale as one.

One of the most approachable faces of the gay rights movement may finally see her mission fulfilled this year as Congress moves closer to passing the hate-crimes bill she has lobbied for a decade to pass. The Matthew Shepard Act would extend federal protections to people victimized because of sexual orientation. To give lawmakers an added push, Shepard begins a tour this month to promote her book, The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed.

For the rest of this article, CLICK HERE  

BURLINGTON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ben & Jerry’s, known for its euphoric ice cream flavors and dedication to social justice, celebrates the beginning of the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in Vermont with the symbolic renaming of its well known ice cream flavor "Chubby Hubby" to "Hubby Hubby" . In partnership with Freedom to Marry, Ben & Jerry’s aims to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality and, to show its support, will serve “Hubby Hubby” sundaes in Vermont Scoop Shops throughout the month of September.

Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of commitment to social justice, including gay rights. Its partnership with Freedom to Marry, a national leader in the movement for marriage equality, aims to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality and to encourage other states to follow the blazing trails of Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Maine. Freedom to Marry promotes the national conversation about why marriage equality matters and brings together partner organizations into a larger whole – a shared civil rights campaign.

“At the core of Ben & Jerry’s values, we believe that social justice can and should be something that every human being is entitled to,” said Walt Freese, Chief Executive Officer of Ben & Jerry’s. “From the very beginning of our 30 year history, we have supported equal rights for all people. The legalization of marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Vermont is certainly a step in the right direction and something worth celebrating with peace, love and plenty of ice cream.”

Read the rest of this story HERE

ImageA Scarecrow’s Bible

Author: Martin Hyatt

Review By: Leon Velasco

Rating: One Thumb Up, One Thumb Down

I had read this book and somehow would get lost in text. In some parts I would read 2-3 times just to make sure I had read it right to get it to connect with the next topic matter. A small book but if you get side tracked, you’re lost. With that in mind, it took me a little longer than normal to read 201 pages. Unless you’re a very avid and focused reader then I’d say go for broke; but if not, try a different one.

In a house trailer in rural Mississippi, Gary, a married Vietnam veteran, addicted to drugs, haunted by memories of the past, is on the brink of collapse. Just when he thinks the dream of another life is over, the unspeakable happens. He falls in love with a frail, ghostly younger man who reminds him of youth, beauty, and the possibility of a life beyond the prison he has created for himself. A Scarecrow’s Bible is about what happens when love occurs at the most unexpected moment. It is the story of how working-class men and women in a small town adapt to changes that somehow seem impossible. It is a novel of hope and transformation that challenges our ideas about diversity and social change, breaking your heart all the way.

Michael Steele, the Chairman of the Republican Party, and, at best, a disjointed and self destructive politician, has been caught, yet again, spewing the ramblings of a mental patient, this time on the subject of health care. Watch Rachel Maddow's report...

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ImageImageAfter a long renovation and some difficult obstacles, the North Tower Circle Bar & Nightclub will re-open for business this Friday, October 3rd at 7PM. The Circle was forced to shut its doors in September of 2005, when it was destroyed by arson, one of a series of fires set throughout the neighborhood.

The North Tower Circle is an historic Fresno LGBT nightclub which first opened its doors more than 25 years ago. The Circle will be open 7 days a week from 7PM-2AM, with a new staff and a live DJ Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The club has a large, circular main room with an expanded dance floor, with pool tables and two bars, serving the main club as well as the outdoor patio.  Theme nights and specials are in the works, and may include a Latin Night and a Women’s Night, and will be announced later.

Everyone associated has worked long and hard to re-open the nightclub, and are proud to once again be a destination for Fresno and the Central Valley. They look forward to serving the community.

The North Tower Circle is located at 2777 N Maroa Avenue, at the railroad tracks. Click on this link for directions: Mapquest - North Tower Circle Telephone: 559-229-4188.  Visit the North Tower Circle My Space Page

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LAWN BOY

 

Author: Paul Lisicky

 

A Novel

 

Review By:  Leon Velasco

 

I thought it was wonderfully written. In some scenes I could actually remember finding myself in the same predicaments. Some cases you’d find yourself laughing out loud and rooting for; “The Lawn Boy,” then finding yourself anxious to see what happens next.

 

The writer did a great job. I don’t want to give it away too much, but,  haven’t you found that you’ve moved in with a lover only to find, you feel out of place because nothing is yours except for; your clothes in his drawers. Now add your estranged, non-supportive parents and a lover almost three times your age, with a pinch of mischievous revenge. Put it all in a pot, mix well and you get….”LAWN BOY. I didn’t want to put the book down.

ImageThe movement to pass Proposition 8 in order to overturn the legality of same sex marriage in California, has launched its first television ad. Seems it's not enough to appeal to those who for whatever crazy reason, think gay marriage is a "threat", but the ad spews three blatant lies. It asserts that Prop 8 will create gay sex education in schools (FALSE), that churches could lose their tax exempt status (FALSE, churches aren't even required to perform gay marriages if they don't want to. Remember, in America, marriage is a CIVIL act, not a religious one) and that people may get sued for personal beliefs (FALSE).

If you enter into any discussion with someone in support of Prop 8, know that the Proposition is very simple and has one result and one result only if passed. It will amend the California State Constitution to state that marriage is only between a man and a woman, thereby ending the current legality of same sex marriage in the state. 

Watch the video HERE

ImageI might just be a sucker for sexy political pundits, but I have a huge crush on Rachel Maddow. This TV show host, and still popular radio personality, is keepin’ up with the big boys with the new Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Taking the number six spot, Maddow’s show is number one at MSNBC, beating out Olbermann and even Larry King! Click read more to find out why Rachel Maddow is the progressive media’s next mainstream star.

 

ImageThe GLAAD organization has recently reported an increase in LGBT characters on scripted network television this season, which marks an all-time high. Click Here to read more about how, surprisingly, Fox was awarded most-improved, and now has the most LGBT characters of the rated networks.

ImageBarack Obama recently sat down with Philadelphia Gay News for an exclusive interview. Click Here to read the interview or Click Here to hear the interview with Obama talking about all things gay.

ImageNO!  You’re kidding! A celebrity with a huge, obsessed (and highly delusional) following, couldn’t possibly be coming clean…but yes, Clay Aiken, the big ol’ American Idol queen who not only wouldn’t admit it, but condemned journalists who addressed it, has finally COME OUT OF THE CLOSET. Now that he has a child, he’s decided to admit just how gay he is. Let’s hope he addresses his tragic wardrobe and bizarre philosophies. If this one isn’t a Michael Jackson in training, I don’t know who is. Clay says “I cannot raise a child to lie or hide things”, even though he was perfectly comfortable lying about his own identity, which clearly he was ashamed of. Read the story HERE

ImageAnd Lindsay Lohan publically confirms her relationship with Samantha Ronson. Read the story HERE

ImageSteven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw have followed Brad Pitt as the latest big-name donors to join the fight to defeat California's Proposition 8, the initiative to ban same-sex marriage. The Spielbergs have cut a $100,000 check for the fight, as did Pitt last week. Read the story HERE

ImageWatch the first Vote No On Prop 8 Television Commercial.

Click HERE

ImageThe theater company involved in the original research of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, and in the interviews of the townspeople of Laramie, Wyoming, which resulted in “The Laramie Project”, are conducting new interviews to examine what has changed in the last decade. Read the story by clicking on the following link: Laramie Killing Given Epilogue A Decade Later and watch a slide show regarding Shepard's murder as well as subsequent events and updates on the town of Laramie and its citizens by clicking here: Revisiting Laramie - Slide Show 

ImageHollywood A-lister Brad Pitt announced on Wednesday he's donating $100,000 to fight Proposition 8, the November ballot initiative that could ban same-sex marriage in the state. The Los Angeles Times reports that Pitt's contribution is the largest anti-Prop. 8 donation donated by a celebrity. Read the story HERE

Image“We all walk in different shoes,” states Kenneth Cole in his current advertising campaign, which celebrates individuals who choose to redefine the roles society gives them in order to be themselves.

What makes Nina Poon, one of Cole’s latest faces, extraordinary is neither her fame nor her celebrity nor her beauty, but the fact that she’s a 30-something illustrator–who happens to be a transgender woman. Born in 1975 in Saigon, the oldest son of traditional Chinese parents, Poon immigrated with her family in 1978 to Florida, and soon realized that her body didn’t match her gender. It was a battle between her anatomy and her gender.

Now, an applauded illustrator and artist, Poon and her boyfriend Robert Jason appear in Kenneth Cole ads, sharing Poon’s journey and battle as a transgender woman in American society. The ad campaign also features Sharon Blynn (ovarian cancer survivor), Matisyahu (Hasidic Jew and reggae artist), Kenosha Robinson (african american with albinism) and Jay Bakker (punk evangelist).

Click the following link for more… Kenneth Cole - We All Walk In Different Shoes

ImageCongratulations to Ellen Degeneres, not only for being just married, but also for landing a new deal with CoverGirl. She will be the face of the new make-up line for this brand-name cosmetic corporation. It has been reported that CoverGirl will be dishing out over $1 million for Ellen to use her smiling face to market their new line. Ellen will be joining famous CoverGirls like Christie Brinkley, Faith Hill, Queen Latifah, Rihanna, and Drew Barrymore. It is very awesome that Ellen, an out lesbian, will be the face of a major company like CoverGirl. This perfect-skinned woman had really been a fantastic model for women and girls as a famous out lesbian in the media. She has really paved the way towards acceptance, not just in celeb-world, but from everyone. Again, Congrats to this easy, breezy, LezzyGirl!

ImageImageI am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.  (From The Huffington Post: To continue reading, Click HERE )

ImageI didn’t decide to run for President to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be President because it had become my ambition to be President. I was sixty two years old when I made the decision and I thought it was my one shot at the prize.John McCain (Excerpt from his book, “Worth Fighting For: A Memoir” 2002)

UPDATED ON SEPT 12 - MORE ON SECOND PAGE

After a major Sarah Palin media love fest last week, things have begun to focus on the unprecedented lies being spread by the McCain-Palin ticket. It’s quite something to see unprecedented lying being spewed by the Republican ticket after 8 years of the most dishonest and anti-American administration in our history. Calling McCain and Palin liars is not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact that anyone with an internet connection can look up. 

There are two truly astounding and bewildering facts about John McCain and his campaign. First is this self declared “maverick” has done a complete 360 on all the principals which allowed him that honor. Something remarkable happened, something quite provable and clear for anyone who can research and think.  McCain, in a nosedive of a campaign, morphed into someone else, coming out with a platform more to the right than GW. In order to become President, McCain reversed everything he stood for and went after the Republican base, a group of Americans so afraid of evolution and truth, that they simply deny it, both literally and figuratively.

ImageSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome made a speech recently regarding how important it is for all Californians to come together to defeat Proposition 8 in November. Newsome notes that this is a close race at this point, and in order to make history for all LGBT Americans, all our involvement in this election and this Proposition and it’s campaign is crucial. You can view the video of Gavin Newsome, as well as make a donation to the cause of defeating Proposition 8 HERE

ImageGus Van Sant's latest film, "Milk", due out in November, tells the story of California's first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk. Sean Penn plays the lead. Milk was assassinated after being elected. The film costars James Franco, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsh and Diego Luna. Watch the trailer HERE Learn more about a great LGBT hero, Harvey Milk, HERE

Image The origins of the Employment Non Discrimination Act, a bill which would protect LGBT Americans from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, go back more than 30 years. New ENDA bills are currently moving through Congress, and with an LGBT community far more visible and vocal, along with a Democratic majority in Congress, the prospects are better than they’ve ever been. One major hurdle has occurred, however, with the addition of gender identity. Opposition based on that has resulted in a plan to introduce 2 separate bills , the first without gender identity and a second that addresses it. Read Barney Frank’s account of the battle, an insider’s look at the years long struggle to bring about protection in employment for all LGBT Americans. Barney Frank - Our Fight For Anti-Discrimination Laws 

                Reel Pride is undeniably more than just a film festival. This is a venue where films that wouldn't be shown anywhere else in Fresno are seen, but Reel Pride also offers people a chance to meet and enjoy the company of other members of the LGBT community in a healthy, proactive, inclusive environment. What is even more distinctive about this four day film event is that it is not overtly political, yet it succeeds at supporting LBGT people and changing their image in the eyes of those outside the community in a quieter, but no less impacting way.  For some, it can be a life changing experience.

Image Conservatives, the Media and Catholics, oh my! A poster for Folsom Street Fair has fallen under the infantile microscope of the media, with FOX News, while not alone, leading the pack. The poster is a parody of the Last Supper, leather bound for all to see. Even CNN pushed the issue today, calling the picture out for being offensive to all Christians. Of course this is only happening because gay people are involved. And of course the media, as dim as they are, should have seen the obvious hypocrisy in it, but failed to. To prove it I searched the internet for only a short time to come up with a sample of what’s out there, none of which the media or the Catholic church, who is also up in arms, are complaining about. Also, check out this Dan Savage Column (scroll down the page to see it) which is hilarious, as usual. (Read More to see pics)

Almost exactly two years to the day (September 26, 2005) that the local gay club the North Tower Circle was destroyed at the hands of an an arsonist, the landmark Fresno nightclub was struck again.

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Around 4:30AM on Tuesday, September 25th, 2007, an arsonist set a motor home, parked in the back lot of the club, on fire. The blaze completely destroyed the motor home and then spread into the adjacent club. Witnesses reported seeing someone in the parking lot just prior to the fire and notified the authorities. With quick response from the Fresno Fire Department, damage to the building was isolated to back rooms in the rear of the club. Anyone with any information is urged to contact Fresno authorities. We’ll provide updates as they are available.

ABC 30 Local Coverage

CBS 47 Local News Video

Image The San Diego City Council recently voted 5-3 to join other California cities in supporting an overturning of the state’s ban on same sex marriage, a matter currently pending in the state Supreme Court. The case resulted from court decisions to invalidate marriage licenses issued in 2004 in San Francisco with the approval of  Mayor Gavin Newsome.

The Mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, a Republican, has reversed his earlier position, which was to veto the City Council decision. The following link accesses a video of the Mayor’s public statement regarding the reversal of his stand on the issue. The video is stunning as Sanders shows the integrity and honesty we rarely see from  politicians. He’s emotional and moved to tears as he explains his change of heart. This is something the gay community has been waiting for a very long time. I urge everyone, but especially those in the LGBT community, to watch this video. While we are continually degraded and denied day after day in this country, this brief moment is a gift that we all very much deserve and should be thankful for.

San Diego Mayor Endorses Gay Marriage

Image Cathy DeBuono is one of the stars of "Out At The Wedding" , directed by Lee Friedlander, and one of the films being showcased at this year’s Reel Pride here in Fresno. Cathy, a west coast transplant from New York, started her adult life as a much sought after athlete before stepping into acting with a variety of television and film roles. Another shift in her life led her to earn a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and open her own practice before being courted by the entertainment industry to return. She’s now made acting her focus, and besides “Out At The Wedding” she also has a role on the upcoming LOGO series, “Exe’s & Oh’s” as well as film projects in the works. I sat down to speak to her about her career.

(Cathy’s website is at http://www.cathydebuono.com. She also welcomes contact on her MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/cathydebuono )

Image Recently I watched the documentary Inside Deep Throat, currently showing on HBO. It explores the making and release of Deep Throat , an X-Rated film released in 1972, the first pornographic film to cross over to the mainstream. Only two pornographic films had been released in mainstream theaters prior to Deep Throat, which is easily the most famous pornographic film ever made. The real intrigue behind the film, however, lies behind the scenes, in the political and legal worlds of America. Controversy over the film resulted in changes to obscenity laws in this country, as well as the attempted prosecution of the filmmaker and one of the stars.  

Image In conjunction with gatherings held all over the state of California on Tuesday, September 18, to bring about awareness of pending same sex marriage legislation, Fresno participated with a rally at the corner of Blackstone & Shaw Tuesday evening. Holding signs declaring that “We All Deserve The Freedom To Marry”, the group engaged the community and interviewed with the media, including KMPH. Response at the rally was generally positive.

 

The New York City Health Department has issued the following, concerning the rise of HIV rates among young men in NYC.

HIV infection is on the rise among young men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City , according to preliminary data from the Health Department. New HIV diagnoses among MSM under age 30 have increased by 33% during the past six years, the agency reported today, from 374 in 2001 to almost 500 in 2006. New diagnoses have doubled among MSM ages 13 to19, while declining by 22% among older MSM. The under-30 group now accounts for 44% of all new diagnoses among MSM in New York City , up from 31% in 2001.  

Image High School Musical has become a monster in the entertainment industry. Is it possible, however, that there’s a danger for kids watching? Is it possible this flamboyant musical wonderland is a gateway to becoming gay? Follow the link… High School Musical 

California State University, Fresno will be hosting a panel discussion on September 17th on the subjects of Gay Rights & The Constitution as well as Urban Music. Discussions are open to the public. Details below:
Constitution Day California State University, Fresno: September 17, 2007 Satellite Student Union
Panel Discussion:  Gay Rights and the Constitution 10:00 - 11:30am
Panelists: Dr. Yishaiya Abosch, Political Science Department, Dr. Thomas Holyoke, Political Science Department, Dr. Erin Rand, Communication Department, Dr. David Schecter, Political Science Department, Moderator: Dr. Jeff Cummins, Political Science Dept
Panel Discussion: Urban Music: A Form of Expression or Hate Speech 1:00 – 3:00pm
Panelists: Dr. Julius Bailey, Africana and American Indian Studies Program, Dr. Michael Becker, Political Science Department, Dan Payne, Member, Fresno County Republican Committee, Michael Risher, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Moderator: Dr. Kenneth Hansen, Political Science Department

 

Image LGBT history has been made once more, as the CA legislature passed a bill on September 7, 2007, that grants same sex couples the right to marry. California’s governor must sign the bill by October 14th for it to become law, and Schwarzenegger has indicated a possible veto. He vetoed a bill with virtually the same language that passed the state legislature in 2005. This comes on the heels of a court judgment in Iowa stating that not allowing same sex couples to marry violates the state constitution. Of course, that decision has become a matter of contention and may eventually end up in front of the Iowa Supreme Court. The following is a press release from EQCA regarding the California decision.

YOU CAN TAKE ACTION NOW BY SIGNING A PETITION TO URGE GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER TO SUPPORT THIS SAME SEX MARRIAGE LEGISLATION... Sign The Petition Now

Image The BULLDOG PRIDE SCHOLARSHIP FUND (BPF) at Fresno State is accepting applications for a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded to a student in the 2008-09 academic year. The BPF scholarship criteria is that a Fresno State incoming or returning student with good academic standing that has demonstrated pride in the community be selected as its recipient.

The BPF will also bestow the newly-established GSA NETWORK AWARD of $1,000 to a student affiliated with the GSA NETWORK in the 2008-09 academic year. For the 2008-09 academic year, the “priority window” deadline to apply for all scholarships at Fresno State, including the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund, is from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 2007
Details online: http://www.bulldogpride.org

 

Image Watching Republicans must be what it feels like when the first stages of insanity start to set in. You realize you’re still in the same world, your feet are on the ground, yet things don’t make sense like they used to. Other Americans see the same things which astound you, yet they’re not only comfortable with it, they’ll actively defend it. It’s like the cartoons when someone gets hit on the head with a hammer and those annoying, noisy birds circle your head, with visible trails and stars in between, while your eyes roll around in their sockets.

 
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As many of us in the community of Fresno, have likley heard already, there was a fire at one of Fresno's most frequented and well know gay dance clubs/bars, the North Tower Circle. 


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Coming out day will be celebrated on October 9th from 4pm to 6pm on the front plaza of Fresno’s City Hall.


Join us for free entertainment, inspirational speakers and an update on LGBT issues.

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Featured Guest Speaker, Christine Chavez, Granddaughter of Caesar Chavez

Please bring a chair or blanket

City Hall is located at: 2600 Fresno St.
Admission: FREE


DJ services provided by: A Spin This DJ! (559) 441-7746
On October 5th, members of Equality California, and from local gay and lesbian groups/organizations held a joint press conference with Fresno's Police and Fire department to seek information regarding recent fires at two night clubs.

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Wednesday evening, September 7, 2005, less than 24 hours after the California state assembly voted 41-35 to approved marriage equality legislation AB 849, the governor has issued a press statement announcing that he will veto the legislation when it reaches his desk.
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"This individual is willing to say and do almost anything to advance his own opportunistic career."
State Senator Jim Costa wasn’t speaking of Fresno mayor Alan Autry, but he could’ve.