Gay Fresno - Opinion


Looking Back at My Own ‘Ray of Light’

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Thursday, 15 March 2018 12:27
  • Written by Micah Escobedo

ray of lightTwenty years ago today, Madonna's seventh studio album, Ray of Light, debuted and was instantly praised as her best work to date. Spiritual, reflective, and nurturing, three words the world had never really associated with the Queen of Pop prior to the album, were the most common points made by media critics and fans alike. It broke the mold, brought electronic music into mainstream pop, and produced truly great works of music-video art.

But this post isn't really about the history and impact of the album as a whole. For that, I highly recommend the following posts:

No, this post is about how this gem influenced me. As I've written before, I love Madonna. You might even call me a student of Madonnaology. I love studying the context in which albums and videos were released, how her sound has evolved, etc. Since day one, she's been in charge of her image and sound and is intimately involved in every aspect of production. Every step of the way, she's rubbed traditionalists the wrong way and sparked discussions on sexuality, censorship, and what it means to be famous in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In short, she's a badass.

Read more: Looking Back at My Own ‘Ray of Light’

Community Letter about Responses to Casey Haggard

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Saturday, 10 February 2018 09:54
  • Written by Trans-e-Motion

TEMTo Our Beloved Community:

For those who have yet to hear the news: on February 5th, the Fresno Police Department announced that they had a suspect in custody for the murder of Casey Haggard. She was a newly out and becoming a part of the community,
slowly beginning to open up. She had waited all her life to finally be her real self, and that opportunity was stolen in the most vicious and cruel way.

For others who see representatives of Trans-E-Motion as splitting hairs for focusing on pronouns and the dignity of the deceased, we feel compelled to respond.

We are very disappointed that some of our supposed allies have missed the entire point of our movement and the work we do.

Being grateful for an arrest in a three year long case should not give way to complacency or failing to appreciate the progress that we still have to make. This doesn’t mean we should ignore how trans people are consistently
marginalized in everyday language and conversation.

It’s interesting that most of those who praise the Fresno Police Department or claim that this was not a hate crime have not attended a Trans-E-Motion event in the last two years, if at all. We would like the community to know that ever since Trans-E-Motion became aware of her death and misgendering by the police and media, we have done everything in our power to educate and enlighten the authorities involved in her case. There is a LGBTQ liaison to the police department, we have asked to help in cultural competency training, and we have given endless free workshops on transvocabulary, medical issues, and cultural impact. We are therefore appalled at these responses and how they imply that transgender people have no right to their own identities; that we should be grateful for every scrap of superficial acceptance that we get.

It’s great that the alleged murderer was caught but our work is not done. From the sounds of it, there’s much work to be done within our own community. We challenge you all to not downplay the pain of the transgender community, especially those who take on the mantle as “ally”. Give transgender people a right to their feelings and dignity (and please note that most of these conversations are NOT being had by transgender people and therefore have very little claim to reference).

To suggest that the larger LGB part of the community just needs time, or that the wishes of the family are somehow more valid than the truth of Casey’s authentic self is a thinly veiled attempt at policing the oppressed. Martin
Luther King Jr. said in his letter from Birmingham jail that they (the oppressors) will never be ready for progressive change, so there is no point in appeasing those who are offended by our requests for understanding and respect.
We understand the family has wishes of their own, yet we find that to be no excuse to not honor Casey as she would have wanted to be honored – because we in the trans community knew her no other way than as herself.

Zoyer Zyndel

Jess Fitzpatrick

Jordan Fitzpatrick

Happy New Year

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Friday, 05 January 2018 16:40
  • Written by Bryan T Clark

cheersDid we really just come through a whole year?  Is it really time to shout from the rooftops, Happy New Year?  If your 2017 was anything like mine, you’re shouting louder than an Unbalanced Religious Freak on a street corner!

This past year we’ve seen it all, at least I hope so.  We have experienced hurricanes that pounded Texas and the East coast, earthquakes in Mexico, California Wildfires, an attempt to institute a ban on Muslins from entering the United States, transgender rights rolled back to Pre-Obama times and an assault on health care for some of the poorest people in our Country. As if this wasn’t enough, we’ve witnessed white supremacy marches and rallies like we haven’t seen since the 50’s and 60’s.


Today we live in a country like no other country in the world. In 2018, we are a melting pot of different races, ethnicities, religions, and economic levels. We are a democratic society where everyone gets a say, even if it’s harmful, hurtful, or dangerous. History has shown that with every great stride this land of ours has taken for the poor, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized, it came with a fight. I am a firm believer that in order to take those ‘Two Steps Forward’, an occasional ‘One Step Back’ unfortunately sometimes has to happen.

Read more: Happy New Year

Trans-E-Motion statement regarding Fresno Women's March

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Sunday, 21 January 2018 10:19
  • Written by Jason Scott

Trans-E-Motion supports the national Women's March, which encourages uplifting and supporting all feminine people's and the family and friends that love them. Unfortunately, the Fresno Women's March falls short of that ideal. We encourage those who participate in today's event to be safe and enjoy themselves, but consider who is not there. Consider that no trans women were asked to speak until they were pushed to do so a months ago, and even then they only reached out to one out the five women suggested.

This is not how an inclusive event should be handled, and we are extremely disappointed by the lack of outreach done on the committee's part. Trans-E-Motion will be following up with this and keep the community aware of what's going on.

Never be afraid to make that "good kind of trouble", as John Lewis says.

Robin McGehee was a speaker at the event.

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In defense of jerks - only a little bit tho

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 19 December 2017 15:41
  • Written by Sheila Suess Kennedy

The public reaction to allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and so many others is welcome and long overdue. The public revulsion to the disclosures, the almost daily revelations about other prominent figures, and especially the #metoo movement that encouraged women to add their own experiences of harassment to the public discourse have caused a lot of men to review their past behaviors, and to consider whether and when they may have gone over the line.

That said, if this particular moment in time is going to usher in a lasting, positive change to both private behaviors and public reactions to those behaviors, it is important that we recognize that a line exists and agree about where it should be drawn. As Ruth Marcus cautioned, in a column for the Washington Post, having under-reacted for so long, we need to take care not to over-react now.

It isn’t really over-reaction that is the danger; we clearly need to act-firmly and punitively-when we are faced with evidence of sexual harassment or worse. The danger lies in neglecting to make important distinctions. We are really dealing with three categories of (mostly male) conduct: people who are engaging in criminal behaviors, people who are abusing positions of power, and still others who are simply behaving like jerks.

Some of the allegations against Roy Moore fall in the first category. His reported encounter with the 14-year-old is textbook molestation. His other behaviors probably rose to the level of stalking. Those actions aren’t simply wrong, they’re illegal. Similarly, the unwelcome touching Donald Trump bragged about on that notorious tape are sexual assault, not "locker room talk.” (Unfortunately, when you’re a "star”-excuse me while I puke-”letting you” do it means they don’t bring charges.)

Sexual harassment occurs when a person in a position of power or authority abuses that power in order to get some sort of sexual satisfaction. The satisfaction may “just” be bullying- creating what lawyers call a hostile workplace, and taking some sort of sick enjoyment from making a subordinate uncomfortable. (I recall a case where several male employees constantly posted raunchy posters and told foul jokes in order to torment the lone embarrassed female employee.) More often, harassment is a demand for a sexual quid pro quo-if you want that raise, that promotion, that film role, here’s what you need to do... The key to sexual harassment is disparity of power. If the person acting inappropriately is in a position to help or harm the object of his advances, the line is definitely crossed.

That leaves us with “jerk" behavior. This is the category where changing cultural norms really do play a part. When I was the sole female partner in a small law firm in the early 1980s, two of my male partners occasionally engaged in "joking around” that would undoubtedly be considered offensive today. But we were peers, we exercised equal authority and I’m confident that had I been offended, they would have apologized and stopped. The culture at the time encouraged verbal banter that would be frowned upon today. (Emphasis on verbal.)

Today, in most places, the culture has changed. As women have participated in the workforce and civic life in greater numbers, we’ve stopped making excuses for jerk behaviors-verbal or physical- that “gross out” or diminish the women who experience them. This post is certainly not intended to defend jerks who engage in boorish, sexist conduct.

What I am defending is the importance of distinguishing between categories of transgression.

There are reasons to be careful before equating jerk behavior with rape, or with Harvey Weinstein masturbating in front of unwilling women. There is a significant difference between Roy Moore asking a 14-year-old to touch his erect penis, or our reality "star” President grabbing a woman’s private parts, and an unwanted pat on the butt from someone you can call out loudly and publicly without fear of repercussion.

I repeat: none of these behaviors are acceptable. A "good old boy” culture that permits or encourages any of these kinds of conduct needs to be changed-and it is, finally, being changed. But if we fail to distinguish between the boorish and the unforgivable, if we fail to calibrate the sanctions to the gravity of the offense, we risk trivializing the meaning of inexcusable.