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Fresno Bee releases video of Ashjian deposition

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Thursday, 17 August 2017 17:16
  • Written by Jason Scott

If video does not load, view along with full story at: The Fresno Bee

Support the LGBT community - Make your voice heard

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Thursday, 17 August 2017 16:41
  • Written by Jason Scott

Brooke Ashjian“My biggest fear in teaching this – which we’re going to do it because it’s the law – but you have kids who are extremely moldable at this stage, and if you start telling them that LGBT is OK and that it’s a way of life, well maybe you just swayed the kid to go that way. It’s so important for parents to teach these Judeo-Christian philosophies.” -Fresno Unified School Board President Brooke Ashjian

Brooke Ashjian made this comment to the Fresno Bee regarding the California Healthy Youth Act, a law requiring schools to teach unbiased and medically accurate sex education. He is a devout Mormon and Trump supporter who has been vocal about his stances on abortion, premarital sex, and LGBT relationships (spoiler: he's against all of them).

At a school board meeting on August 9th, the community came together to voice their concern at this derogatory comment. Ashjian responded:
“For you to come all the way down here, whether you agreed with me or didn’t, it’s truly in my heart an apology to you that you many have been slighted. That was never the intent. My position here is about the children. I’ve never distinguished between whether they were gay or this or that or white or from north Fresno, south Fresno, whatever. They were always children.”

First, that’s not an apology. He is only “apologizing” that feelings were hurt, NOT for what he said. His apology is really, “I’m sorry you were offended that I don’t want gay kids to exist.”

And second, he DID distinguish gay kids. In fact, he distinguished them as his “greatest fear.” His greatest fear is not an unplanned pregnancy, an STD, or a dead child (three of which could be prevented by this law), but a gay child (which would not be prevented OR caused by this law, as this law will not change someone’s innate orientation).

This is on top of a bizarre series of posts made on the site Ripoffreport.com about Gay Fresno (the former name for LGBT Fresno) that were tracked back to Ashjian’s computer (he did not use his real name in the posts). In a series of depositions, he admitted to making comments (he was upset that Gay Fresno was calling for a boycott due to him having donated to Prop 8), but couldn’t recall what they were (although they were only two years prior and he had clear memories of events that took place even earlier) or what language he used (only three comments regarding Gay Fresno were on the site, all were derogatory, and all were of a grammar level that one expects to find in the bathroom of a middle school that caters to sexually-repressed remedial English students with anger issues, not a school board president). All three comments were also of an oddly sexual nature. And finally, when attorneys were going to do a forensic examination of his computer, it was mysteriously stolen from his office (although, not the cash that was in there). Weird.

To sum it up so far: 
• His biggest fear is a gay child (not a dead one)
• He said this out loud to a reporter (maybe thinking it was still 2008)
• It is 2017 (he may have missed the memo)
• He has admitted to being an internet troll, albeit not a very good one

In the last week, human rights organizations have called for Ashjian’s resignation. His response was to tweet “NO!!” His follow up was that he would never resign. “And second of all, I don't back up. I don't even have reverse in my car. I'm not backing up,” he stated.

Putting aside the ludicrous analogy of a car that cannot go backwards, is this how we go forward? We have a school board president that cannot see how his words will affect children in his schools, cannot see how stubborn and divisive he is being, and has no idea how to diffuse the situation. How do we go forward when he has pushed himself into a position and refuses to rethink it based on an admitted inability to do so (“I don’t back up”)? And, using his car analogy, how can he not see that he’s been going in reverse this whole time?

We need your help.

We are asking you to call, email or write (details below) Fresno Unified School District board trustees and demand that Brooke Ashjian be removed from the Fresno Unified School Board, both as president and as a member. He is toxic to our youth, both gay and straight. Between his obvious contention for the gay community (of which some of his students belong) and his inability to take either ownership for his words OR to learn from them, he has shown himself to be incapable of leading our youth towards the kind of world we all need: an honest, inclusive, and fair one. 

We invite you all to ​show up on August 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm for the Fresno Unified school board meeting at 2309 Tulare St., Fresno, CA 93721. Bring small signs to show your support for his removal or resignation. Be emotionally prepared for anti-LGBT supporters.

We know. You’re tired. You’ve probably spent the last decade fighting about this and thought it was time to rest. Me, too.

But, I really, really don’t want to tell a Fresno Unified child who needs someone to talk to and, because the teachers at his school feel emboldened to share their homophobic views, doesn’t have anyone. I don’t want to tell any kid that. 

rainbow telephoneLastly, as many of you know, the LBGT center has recently closed. LGBT Fresno is stepping up to begin a referral/resource line, but we need to raise $2500 to get it going. This will be an important resource in an area that (while it’s come far) is lacking in LGBT resources. Your donation will provide us with the needed funds to open and maintain the line for one year. The IT provider fees that will allow us to offer multiple volunteers the connection to those who need help and resources. Imagine a teen will be able to call, text, facebook message and get a friendly and helpful reply to connect them to the resources they so desperately need.

Will you please chip in $5, $10, $50, anything you can, to help us make this new resource a reality?

Stand strong. Lean on each other. And keep going forward.

~Jason Scott


Reach out to Fresno Unified School District board
Email:
https://www.fresnounified.org/sites/board/Pages/members.aspx
Postal Mail:
(trustee name), 2309 Tulare St., Fresno, CA 93721
Call:
(559) 457-3727
Complaint form:
https://www.fresnounified.org/sites/board/cs/forms/Personnel-Complaint-Form-English.pdf
In person:
August 23, at 5:30 pm for the Fresno Unified School Board meeting at
2309 Tulare St., Fresno, CA 93721 (3 min or less allowed per person)

Last Chance: Enter to win! Pride month Free Raffle

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Wednesday, 28 June 2017 17:20
  • Written by Jason Scott

Final few hours to enter our annual Pride Month FREE Raffle

Over $1,000 in prizes!!!

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



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

 

StageWorks Fresno: The Full Monty
8 tickets, valued at $216

Crazy Squirrel Game Store
5 board/card games, valued at $115

Ficarra Studios
Photo session and 8x10 print, valued at $100 

Valley Animal Center
Two Gift Baskets valued at $100
Pet microchip, Calendar, Large safety leash, Treats, Jar and Toys.

Fab Fresno
Patron Silver Tequila 1.75 L, valued at $100

Suzie's Adult Superstores
Two Curious Wands, valued at $100

Starbucks - Milburn Ave
Various coffee products, valued at $99
Whole bean coffee, Via Instant, Narino 70 Cold Brew Coffee, Five Verismo Starter kit

Amenities Day Spa & Salon
$50 gift certificiate

Chase Flowers
$50 Gift Certificate
(local orders only)

Starbucks - Tower District
Mug, Cup, Via instant coffee, Valued at $47

SCC Designs
Handmade Necklace, valued at $30

The Dragon's Treasure
Handmade Necklace, valued at $30

Neighborhood Thrift
$25 Store Credit

40 Minute Massage, valued at $20

Total US Retail Value of all prizes is $1,082

Gay Central Valley Ceases Operations

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Sunday, 30 July 2017 16:19
  • Written by Gay Central Valley

Gay Central Valley officially formed as a nonprofit in January of 2009. Prior to that, we were a group of Central Valley websites run by volunteers from their homes. Once we were granted official 501c3 status by the IRS, Gay Central Valley forged ahead with a force, opening the first LGBT Community Center in Fresno in 20 years as one of our first projects. The Community Center opened officially in January of 2010 and has been going strong ever since.

Led by Chris Jarvis, a veteran LGBT rights activist, Gay Central Valley has faced an uphill battle from the start. Issues such as funding, staffing, volunteer / leadership changes and our ongoing philosophy of an all-volunteer organization (where no one receives compensation and all money raised is funneled back into the community) presented ongoing challenges.
Keeping a community center open to the public for 5-6 days a week for seven years is a massive accomplishment in itself. But we didn't stop there; we have done so much more. From countless outreach events, over a hundred support group meetings, and spearheading unique projects like the first ever Central Valley Transgender Clothing Closet and the international awareness program The Rainbow Delegation, Gay Central Valley continued to expand itself to match the ever changing needs of the Fresno LGBT community.

Running a community center with a 24 hour phone line, supporting and mentoring another center in a city an hour away, creating and providing social and political events and actions, participating and partnering with other organizations, publishing and updating websites and blogs, training others in cultural competency, and hosting the most successful one day LGBT fundraiser in Fresno history (NO H8 2012) has been both an honor and a privilege.

We have been successful year after year. Board members and volunteer staffs have come and gone, but through all the changes and the challenges, we've persevered. Our primary foundation has been to serve the LGBT community.

Now, we're announcing a change.

Gay Central Valley will be closing the Fresno LGBT Community Center as of August 1st, 2017. The organization itself will cease operations by the end of the year.

Read more: Gay Central Valley Ceases Operations

Enter to win! Pride month Free Raffle

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Tuesday, 20 June 2017 17:20
  • Written by Jason Scott

Our annual Pride Month FREE Raffle is going strong
BUT don't miss your chance, only days left to enter!

Over $1,000 in prizes!!!

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



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

 

StageWorks Fresno: The Full Monty
8 tickets, valued at $216

Crazy Squirrel Game Store
5 board/card games, valued at $115

Ficarra Studios
Photo session and 8x10 print, valued at $100 

Valley Animal Center
Two Gift Baskets valued at $100
Pet microchip, Calendar, Large safety leash, Treats, Jar and Toys.

Fab Fresno
Patron Silver Tequila 1.75 L, valued at $100

Suzie's Adult Superstores
Two Curious Wands, valued at $100

Starbucks - Milburn Ave
Various coffee products, valued at $99
Whole bean coffee, Via Instant, Narino 70 Cold Brew Coffee, Five Verismo Starter kit

Amenities Day Spa & Salon
$50 gift certificiate

Chase Flowers
$50 Gift Certificate
(local orders only)

Starbucks - Tower District
Mug, Cup, Via instant coffee, Valued at $47

SCC Designs
Handmade Necklace, valued at $30

The Dragon's Treasure
Handmade Necklace, valued at $30

Neighborhood Thrift
$25 Store Credit

40 Minute Massage, valued at $20

Total US Retail Value of all prizes is $1,082