- Written by Jose Hernandez
Movies, popcorn, and good times! The Fresno Reel Pride LGBT Film Festival was held last week, showcasing a variety of different films.
Starting from Sept. 18 and running until the 22; several movies were played each day in the Tower and Vistas Theatres. There was a genre for everyone; ranging from comedies to documentaries. For example, there was the dramedy Tucked, a movie about a drag queen who makes an important friend while dying of cancer. There was also the documentary Scream Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, chronicling the experience of actor Mark Patton who was the star of A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy’s Revenge.
A viewer of Tucked, said it was a “good story” and described it as meaningful. The movie was liked by many as the whole theatre was roaring with laughter during the comedic bits, and completely silent during the tear-jerking moments.
This marked the film festival’s 30th anniversary, making it one of the oldest LGBT film festivals in the country; it also has the achievement of being one of the biggest. Attending a screening makes it obvious why it has both achievements.
The film festival has friendly service as soon as one walks up to buy a ticket, and it continues during the entire night; with volunteers helping people out if they don’t know where to go. As soon as one steps into the lobby, they are surrounded by laughter and smiling faces; creating a welcoming environment for first-time attendees. Ivan Manriquez is one of these attendees.
Manriquez went to the screening of Scream Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street. He explained that he came to be a part of his community; which is what the film festival is all about. Even if one is not a part of the community; they are welcomed with opened arms. The Fresno Reel Pride LGBT Film Festival slogan is, “Films for Everyone.”
The following was posted on the Common Space page:
The past two and a half years have been an amazing experience. The memories we have created together are ones we will never forget. Each moment has planted a seed of an equitable Fresno based off of collaboration that we know is important to our city’s future.
As we look toward the future, we are searching for how COMMON SPACE can continue to make a difference in the community. Our idea has been said to be “revolutionary,” however, it simply is not the right time for our concept in Fresno. We have made great strides and witnessed a movement begin to build. With that being said, our brick and mortar location on Fulton Street will close to the public on November 15, 2019. The last day in our building will be November 30, 2019.
Know that this letter and our closing is not the end of COMMON SPACE. It will be business as usual as we push to have a strong finish. You will still get the same quality service and programming, and we are working with our partners to ensure services continue in a new capacity. Our key signature events such as Drag Story Time and our 2nd Annual QueerOut Awards Gala on October 12, 2019 will continue as planned.
What is next for us? COMMON SPACE will leverage our current donations and proceeds, as well as those from our QueerOut Awards Gala, and start a foundation. Our new foundation will create an endowment with the sole purpose of providing funding and support to nonprofit organizations and other philanthropists that have great ideas of social change.
Again, thank you for all of your support throughout the years. COMMON SPACE marks eleven years of advocacy for me and I truly am ready to get back on the ground floor and advocate alongside you. I am also excited to get married next year, settle down and begin a future with family as a priority. Our all volunteer team are also at points in there lives where next chapters are beginning (grad school, starting families, opening businesses and working on new passion projects).
Thank you for joining us on this life-changing journey.
- Written by Jess Bear
Content Warning: Talking About the Inherent Violence of White Supremacy and supporting them through the politics of politeness.
A good friend of mine posted the image below. It is a flyer for the counter protest of the White Supremacist- er, I mean "Straight Pride" event that occured this last Saturday in Modesto.
Featured on it is a silhouette of a gun, with flowers growing out of the barrel. Bold print says
Not in our Community, Not in our -lives-
Stop Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry
Smash White Supremacy
Make Proud Boys Piss Themselves.
I want it clearly stated for the record: I LOVE THIS POSTER. It is clear, concise in its position to have folks show up to stop the spread of White Supremacy, mocking them through solidarity.
The very first comments on my friend's page were to the tune of "A gun on a protest poster? Surely they invite violence on themselves with such imagery." Several people agreed that the gun was a bit much.
I countered that the gun with flowers growing out of it is a pretty iconic image from Vietnam-era protests in this country, where non violent anti-war activists put daisies into the barrel of the guns of soldier and police lines. I also offered that the gun with a flower growing out of it is a straight forward message of peace: If a gun has a flower growing out of it, it can no longer be used for it's designated purpose. It is now a flower pot instead. Modesto and the Central Valley coming together in solidarity against such an event could and would drown out that hate rhetoric. I supposed that the only people who would see violence in this image are people who seem to think that it would be the protesters fault if violence were to occur against them for holding this sign or sharing it on social media.
Now, I am sure that there have been replies to that message, but I decided that I do not wish to start a debate on someones page who probably wasn't asking for that to happen. So I am doing it here. Because I realized that my original response was not adequate to the situation at all. I was focusing on the wrong part of the responses.
When someone, anyone, in this year of our gods 2019, finds it acceptable to suggest that White Supremacists will only commit violence unless they have been unfairly provoked is.... so deeply ignorant of what is going on in our country at this moment that I cannot begin to find words for it. But I'm gonna try.
Men, women, and children are dying in concentration camps in the US.
ICE literally ran over people last week who were doing a peaceful protest in front of detention centers.
Our fascist president has recently called Democrat- voting Jews traitors.
Violence against all minority groups has risen to insane numbers, I believe the largest number I have seen is something like 30% since LAST YEAR.
White Supremacists do not need a reason to inflict violence upon others. Their whole ideology, their function in the past and the here and now, is to kill and "cleanse" the US of people like me, Jordan, and every single one of my queer, disabled, POC, poor, minority religious friends AND to enslave child baring people.
A flower pot shaped like a gun is not the problem. And choosing to accuse activists trying to protect our communities through PEACEFUL PROTESTS of bringing violence upon themselves smacks of victim blaming ("what did you expect for choosing to hold hands with your husband in public?") and just plain wrong.
Saturday's rally in Modesto, attracted ten times as many counter-demonstrators as attendees.
Don Grundmann, director of the National Straight Pride Coalition, had originally asked to hold the event in the Mancini Bowl in Graceada Park. On its website, the coalition states that its mission is to prevent civilization "from being destroyed by the inherent malevolence of the Homosexual Movement."
Grundmann's request was ultimately rejected by the city council, despite Mylinda Mason being a co-organizer for the rally. (Mason's son, Matthew, who is openly gay, spoke against the rally at a meeting earlier this month.) The council cited "security concerns" and insufficient insurance for the event as its reason for denying the permit.
Early Saturday morning, a call went out notifying attendees the rally had been moved to Durrer Barn, a private venue. The Bee estimates a few dozen people came to the barn, with more than 200 counter-protesters gathering nearby at Enslen Park.
Insisting they were not notified the event was promoting straight pride, the Durrer family promptly shut it down, according to the Los Angeles Blade. Grundmann, however, claimed it was broken up by the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department "for fear of protests and violence."
Shortly after 12:30pm, he relocated the event again—this time to the parking lot outside Planned Parenthood offices on McHenry Avenue, which were closed at the time.
"Masculinity, femininity, the natural family of man, woman children, babies, born and unborn western civilization, Caucasians and all people—all of those are basic foundations that are under attack," Grundmann stated.
Grundmann had predicted some 500 attendees, but reports put the number closer to 20. Counter-protesters arrived several minutes later, chanting "No Hate, No Fear, Straight Pride is not welcome here!"
A national "Straight Pride" rally is set for August 31st in Boston.
The LGBT Resource and Community Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, August 3, 2019. The Fresno Spectrum Center is currently open Tuesdays through Fridays 1pm-6pm, with the hope of expanding the days/hours. Seeking volunteers for office help.
"We're going to be doing some partnering organizations to other community organizations that are non-profit that provides services either victim services, domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, immigration, sometimes maybe it's family services," said Leon Velasco-Stoll. "We're actually trying to get those partnerships here at the center."
Apart from the services, the center will provide, they also offer their building as a community space to gather for support groups.
CARNIVAL August 10th
ALL ages and gender identities are welcome to attend this public event brought to you an benefiting Trans- E- Motion, a non profit organization. Pride season is here all summer long! Get one last Family Style Summer In! Get your picture taken with Fresno State Mascot, Victor E. Bulldog! An evening full of games, face paint, music, dancing, activities, family involvement, cake walk, wine walk, dunk tank, games, carnival style food, haircut booth and more!
Board Games and Snacks! August 7th
Come play board games, and enjoy some snacks with us! No outside food, please. We have been having some pretty good turn outs for the monthly game nights. You can play with library board games, or bring your own. LGBTQ+ and Allies of all ages with positive and friendly competition views are welcome. See you there! ♥
All Festival Members and Sponsors are invited to join #ReelPride30 for the Annual Kick-Off Party & Silent Auction at The Painted Table in Fresno's Historic Tower District, 1211 N Wishon Ave, beginning at 6:00 p.m ??✨!
Come & enjoy light appetizers prepared by Master Chef's from The Painted Table and visit our Reel Pride Lounge for signature cocktails!
Drag Bingo is an event you DON'T want to miss.
There will be refreshments and adult beverages available for sale; as we escape into about two hours of food, fun, laughs and entertainment.
Many great prizes; GRAND PRIZE: 32" Roku TV
The MC's and hostesses are:
Rosio De LaRosa
Isis De Luna
GREAT Entertainment line up:
Isis De Luna
Rosio De La Rosa
VIP Tables are also available, call for details.
$10 tickets get you the first pack
($5.00 for additional packs at the door)
BUNCO Night August 17th
Come out for another fun night of FPLC Bunco!!! For those of you that have been to our past events, you know they are crazy fun!!! This will be held at the Round Table Pizza, Southeast corner of First and Bullard!!!!
Saturday, Aug 17, 6PM
Beer/wine available for purchase
LGBTQ+ Meet & Greet August 28
Let us have a Meet and Greet with fellow LGBTQA Plus community members and Allies. We will be in the Banquet Room to make new friends and have a no-host dinner. Hope to see you there!
- Written by Bryan T. Clark
I received some exciting news last month which I want to share with all of you!
The International Book Awards announced the winners and the finalists of the 2019 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS (IBA) on May 11, 2019. My novel, Diego’s Secret, is an Award-Winning Finalist in the LGTBQ Fiction category!
This news was especially gratifying to receive, as I never felt this book gained the attention that it so deserved. When I wrote the book, my intent was to reveal a love story between two opposites—extreme opposites, in this case.
Winston is a conservative wealthy white man and Diego is an undocumented Hispanic man born in Mexico. These two wonderful characters couldn’t be more opposite from one another. Like olive oil and balsamic vinegar, separately, they each have a purpose and together, they blend into something really wonderful.
After releasing the book, some accused me of having an agenda by writing it. They were absolutely right, I did. In all of my books I have wanted my characters to have to overcome some type of moral dilemma in their pursuit of love. I also want my readers to read something that is magical and yet, authentic. My hope is that each one of my books gives you a moment of pause, not for sympathy, but for empathy.
I was never attempting to change someone’s view on illegal immigration, but, rather, to show the reader this character’s personal story. I wanted people to experience the ‘feelings’ of the character, and his experience, like I do for the characters in all my books. Sadly, some didn’t want to feel it. Maybe Diego’s scenario is just too current for them.
We, as a nation, are polarized in some of our views and thoughts. Unfortunately, immigration is one of those polarizing points of view. Changing this is beyond my paygrade, but I can certainly take part in the conversation.
Just recently, I had someone leave me the following review: “B T Clark is one of today’s brightest and significant writers of gay genre novels. Taking taboo subjects and weaving words into some of the most beautiful novels of this generation.”
This review is exactly why I write the books that I write. I want to immerse you, the reader, into a story in which you can not only feel the pain as it is unfolding on the page, but also, experience the triumph of love winning out. In my latest release, Escaping Camp Roosevelt, I take on the issues of homelessness, sex work, addiction, and mental illness. These are dark issues—but real issues, woven into forgiveness, hope, and triumph.
Writing romance is beautiful. It allows the reader to see the dance that two people do when getting to know one another; including the butterflies they feel in their bellies with just the thought of the other person, as well as their fears of rejection and distorted thinking. We all have baggage. Life is rough, but isn’t it grand when love prevails!
A big thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read and appreciate Diego’s Secret. I can’t be more ecstatic over its latest recognition. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, now there is one more reason to read it.
LGBT Resource and Community Center
2817 N. Blackstone Ave.
Fresno, CA 93703
Join us on August 3rd, 2019 for the ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:00 AM
Your Connection to Local Resources
Space available for Group Meetings
From Leon Velasco-Stoll: "Pride Panthers Coalition Inc is officially a 501(c)3! Just got the IRS certificate today! I know mom is just gleaming with joy down to me from heaven, what we worked so hard together toward is now complete."
The PRIDE Panthers Coalition is formed as a community benefit organization in order to advocate to bring awareness for the prevention of bullying,
discrimination, victimization and harassment towards the LGBTQ+ individuals, Women, and Children of same-sex parent households that often lead to bullying, hate crimes, or suicide. We also help make connections to local resources.
The projects under PRIDE Panthers Coalition are:
The Fresno Spectrum Center—Resource and Community Center
The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement of Fresno
The LGBTQ September Spectacular Resource Fair
Modesto approved a public event application and parade route for a Straight Pride Parade, whose organizers plan to protest what they view as "(Americans being) destroyed by the inherent malevolency/evil of the Homosexual/Sodomy Movement".
It is scheduled for Aug. 24th from 12pm to 4pm, ending at Graceada Park.
The flyer with a pink border states, “Join us to celebrate heterosexuality, masculinity, femininity, babies – born and unborn – western civilization, our wonderful country, Christianity — Celebrate Life!”
The man behind the effort is Modesto Chiropractor, Don Grundmann of the National Straight Pride Coalition. He has also run, unsuccessfully, for senate.
The event was raising funds via Go Fund Me, when we reached out for comment, the campaign was pulled and the following statmenet was issued:
"The campaign was removed as it violated our terms of service.
When reached for comment, the parks department at the City of Modesto would only comment "The event has been issued valid permits". We've reached out for further comments from the city and parks department leadership, no reply was received at time of publication. Article will be updated if a reply is received.
What can you do?!
- Written by Janet
After an impressive winter, it has finally warmed up. Summer is here, and we all know what that means...YES... Kampout is coming! It's just a month away, and if you are like me, you can't wait to get up the hill, sit by the creek and enjoy the beautiful weather.
The Kampout Committee has been busy since last year’s Kampout, working on bringing you another fantastic weekend, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
This year’s theme is Kampout Goes to the Circus. Yes, there will be bearded “ladies” and strong “men”. The carnival, the midway...we just ask that no clowns due to legitimate fears that some have. As always, we will be having a contest for decorating your site, and we can’t wait to see what you clever kampers come up with. Compete by yourself...or with a group...have a lot of fun and win some great prizes
Kampout will once again be held at our alternative site, which is just across the road on the left of Texas Flat Campground. Texas Flat is closed for the 2019 season, but we are fortunate to have a beautiful site for Kampout.
Kampout is, as always, the weekend after Labor Day...this year Sept. 6-8. The cost of the weekend is $40 per kamper. This covers your kampsite, 2 beer busts, the Progressive Koctail Party, Saturday dinner, 2 breakfasts, and much, much more.
You can relax, or join in all the fun and games that are planned throughout the weekend...and win prizes!! We have the Needle in the Haystack contest, the Yacht Regatta, and the always popular Kamptown Races. Don’t forget the fabulous Kampstravaganza Show on Saturday night. We encourage everyone to participate in this fun show...and compete for Kampout King and Kampout Kween.
Camping in the Sierras can cost over $20 a night, just for a campsite. Kampout costs just $40 for the whole weekend...it is definitely the best bargain for your entertainment buck.
We want to advise you, that because we are on private property, there is no garbage service. Be prepared to “pack it in, pack it out”. Private campfires will be allowed only if they are in an above ground (backyard type) pit. You must also have a fire extinguisher, water bucket and shovel. All dogs must be on a leash at all times. This is for everyone’s safety.
So, mark your calendars. We hope to see you all at Kampout!
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