Gay Fresno - Opinion


Do We Judge a Book By its Cover?

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 19 March 2019 14:44
  • Written by Bryan T. Clark

book cover mar 19We have all heard the expression, “never judge a book by its cover”. As human’s, once upon a time, long ago, it was likely a survival mechanism to quickly assess ‘friend’ or ‘foe’. Get it wrong, or being too slow at it, there was a real possibility it would cost you your life.

I don’t believe in today’s world such an immediate assessment is as dire as it once was. But do we still do it, and why? Sure, people are killed everyday at the hands of a stranger, and I would never advocate being naïve or unaware in your surroundings, but do you assess everyone in your day to day life with a strong first impression? Consider the following situations.

• The woman in public, dressed in a burka, walking with her husband?… Are we quick to assess judgement on how we perceive their relationship, her self-esteem, or maybe even the man’s views on women?
The white guy with a shaved head who is covered with tattoos?…. Thug, ex-con, or white supremacist? With knowing little else, do we attempt to put him in box with a label?

Even in each of our own cultures, we have developed a spectrum of opinions where others fall somewhere along the line. I know that in the ‘brown skin’ cultures, some have the attitude that to be darker than your peers is less desirable than those with a lighter complexion.

When I was about eight years old, I remember learning that skin color mattered within the African American community where I lived. Within my own race I was often teased by other children because of my light skin and blond hair. They had many names for me that all had to do with the color of my skin. One of those nicknames was Cornbread. Laughing at me, they said the color of my skin was the same color as cornbread. Albino, High Yellow, and Half-Breed were other words used to humiliate me. Ridiculed for talking proper English, the African American kids accused me of trying to act ‘white’.

To judge a book by its cover is to form an opinion about someone or something based purely on what is seen on the surface. However, after taking a deeper look, the person or thing may be very different than what was originally presumed. As adults, what can be shocking is how quickly we are ready to make the determination of ‘friend’ or ‘foe’, even when it’s not a matter of life or death?

Speaking of judging a book by its cover, and on a lighter note, I bet some of you even do this when looking for a book to buy and read. The first thing that will probably grab your attention is the cover of the book. Based solely on the cover, you may decide whether a particular book is for you or not.

I was talking shop with a very well-known author several months ago and the topic of book covers came up. I noticed that in the twenty-five plus books she has written, that although every one of her covers were different, they all had two things in common. She made sure the position of the title of the book and the placement of her name were in their own designated spot on the cover. In addition, the font size and type were all matching on every cover. She found something that works for her and created her brand. Her books are easily identifiable just by the cover. You can tell a James Patterson or Nora Roberts book when you see it because of the consistent look of the cover.

Read more: Do We Judge a Book By its Cover?

Happy New Years

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 15 January 2019 17:35
  • Written by Bryan T. Clark

coupleCan somebody please pinch me! Is it really 2019? I have to say, 2018 brought me more excitement then I wanted. You know what they say, “be careful what you ask for.” Good and bad, I came through it all this year and believe I am a better man for it today. How much “stuff” was thrown at you in 2018?

I was once told that there are no ‘good experiences’ or ‘bad experiences’, just ‘experiences.’ Each experience means something, and it us up to me to learn and understand the value of the experience. Sometimes, I have found this difficult to do in the midst of what I once would have called a ‘bad experience’. Often times, once some time has passed, I am able to reflect back on the incident and say, “Oh I get it now. Had that not have happened, this (something good) couldn’t have happened.” I think a good expression to better sum this reflection up is Phoenix Rises From The Ashes.

Is it Karma, Destiny, Faith, or God’s will that moves our life experiences forward? It is an individual choice about how we choose to define it in our own lives. It does make me wonder though, what if I hadn’t been where I was on the day that I met my spouse? How much of my life right now would be different had we not met? I don’t believe I can actually answer this question, but I do see the beauty in my life because of the life we have made together. It was just one of those chance meetings, where two people happen to be in the same space, at the same time and something beautiful happened!

Many years ago, when I wrote my first book, I had no inspiration to be a published author, nor did I know I would be writing a second, third, or fourth book. I just enjoyed writing. Now, five years later, with the loving encouragement and support of my husband, I am publishing my fifth book! In the beginning, I had no idea this was to be my journey.

In my next book, titled, Escaping Camp Roosevelt, I tackle the notion of Rising from the Ashes. The journey is a look into some of the darkest and most challenging corners of the human condition through the eyes of a homeless LGBTQ youth. This novel manages to contrast the anguish of depression and hopelessness with the loving light of humanity and generosity. It is a story of one’s own journey from despair to finding love.

The more I researched and wrote this story, the more my eyes were opened to the magnitude of the problems of youth homelessness, specifically, the lack of resources available to the community of homeless LGBTQ youth who are living on the streets. Twenty six percent of gay youth who come out before the age of eighteen are kicked out of their homes and end up living on the street! LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth. These statistics are staggering and alarming!

I didn’t want to just write another fictional story about this problem, I also wanted to do something about it. I believe that at the end of this very short amount of time that any of us have on this earth, we each should be able to ask ourselves a very simple question, “Did I make a difference?”

Although I am still in talks with various organizations that provide services to homeless LGBTQ youth, my plan is to donate the first year’s royalties of Escaping Camp Roosevelt to an organization that recognizes and directly serves our homeless LGBTQ youth.

I’m excited about this project and can’t wait to share more with you in the months to come about the organization I select, as well as how we, together, can hopefully lift the darkness from the lives of homeless LGBTQ youth. If you want to be a participant in this wonderful journey, all you have to do is buy the book. It is my hope that this is one of those movements, where collectively, we will make a difference in the lives of our community’s youth who so desperately need our compassion, love and support.

What is Your Gift?

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 18 December 2018 13:54
  • Written by Bryan T. Clark

xmas boxAs a kid, we are told to go to bed early on Christmas Eve because Santa Claus doesn’t visit houses if little children are awake. In our PJ’s, we traipsed off to bed because we believed Santa would soon be here.

To think Santa Claus flies around the world and visits every house on Christmas Eve would be like believing in magic or miracles. Children can process things in the simplest form. Yes, we can call it naïve, or that they haven’t yet been exposed to the hard truths in life. As adults, we should all be just a little jealous.

As we grow up, we learn and understand about the good and the bad that exists in the world. Because of the internet, we are exposed to so much every single day, including the truth and the untruth. For some people, their truth can be the TV channel they are watching, the church they attend, or the people surrounding them.

But, how do you know the truth if you have nothing to compare it against? I’ve traveled the world and I know I live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. In other countries, I’ve visited villages that have far less than I do, and yet the people there pull out all the stops to ensure that I am welcome. My skin color or sexuality is of little importance to them. They often offer me the last of whatever they may have, believing I am worthy of such grand and generous offerings. This act of kindness is their truth, not mine. My truth is that it is hard for me to receive their gifts as I believe I am better off than they, and it should be me who is bringing such offerings to them.

A woman in Thailand once told me that to reject such offerings is telling the people their gift is not worthy enough and that it is insufficient to you. In Mexico, to not look at an elder who is talking to you is a sign of disrespect. I learned in Greece the Greek culture values the elderly. They believe older members have wisdom they’ve gained throughout their years, leading society to treat them with respect. You see the respect given to them everywhere, even by children. It is amazing to watch.

Whose truth is the truth? Today, we live in a world where the term fake news can apply to so much of what we hear every day from those sources we once upon a time viewed as credible.

How does one stay sane in a world of chaos, especially during this time of year? While we all understand good physical health, it is just as important to keep tabs on our mental health. It is important to understand what makes you happy, or at least, makes you smile. If you do, then ask yourself, if you are getting enough of it, or what you can do to get more of it? I am a firm believer your moods and feelings can be influenced by the people that are around you. So, surround yourself with positive people. Of big importance for me is doing something nice for someone else. There is no act of kindness too small. There are things we may do in life that will make a world of difference for someone else. Maybe we won’t even know we had an effect on the person. To offer generosity and compassion for others will always come back to you, rarely in the same form it was given, but it will come back to you.

In closing, be a believer in Santa Claus and that good things come to good people, even adults. Let your gift to the poor, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised, be one of support, generosity, and kindness during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

15 must-read LGBTQ good news stories of the year

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Saturday, 29 December 2018 09:19
  • Written by Jason Scott

From an engagement at NYC's Pride March to a professional athlete announcing "I'm gay," here are some of NBC Out's top good news stories of 2018. Including a local story from right here in Clovis!

happy new year gay lesbian


In the midst of the march— which included tens of thousands of participants and an estimated 2 million onlookers — Trudy Bermudez, an FDNY emergency medical technician, proposed to her girlfriend, FDNY paramedic Tayreen Bonilla.


In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Martin said his teammates already knew that he was gay before he came out publicly. “It was so comfortable for me to then let them know that I wanted to take another step,” he said.


Category is: Washington realness. Nancy Pelosi will be appearing as a guest judge in an upcoming episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars."

Read more: 15 must-read LGBTQ good news stories of the year

Keeping It Cool

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Sunday, 25 November 2018 10:06
  • Written by Bryan T. Clark

guy waving carIt seems like today many people are like simmering pots ready to boil over. It doesn’t take much, perhaps a simple commercial showing the opposing candidate for an election, the evening news, or heavy traffic that can send someone into a fit of rage without notice.

Today, Road Rage is not just two people flipping each other off or madly honking their horns. All too often these days, the rage is ending in serious bodily injury and/or death. We have all been behind the wheel and less than attentive to what we are doing as the vehicle is traveling down the road. I might be thinking about the list of things I have to do, paying bills, the disturbing conversation I was just in with a colleague or friend, or perhaps something even more serious such as a loved one’s illness or a recent death. Then, I make the mistake of cutting someone off as I accidently travel into their lane. What is it about this simple act that sends people over the deep end?

All of a sudden, we have a madman tailgating us, honking their horn, flashing their high beams, racing in front of us only to slam on their brakes, or any of the other crazy things people are doing these days. Let me be clear when I say this, ‘This behavior is out of proportion to what just happened’. This person is ‘REACTING’ to something deeper, and you’re just the trigger.

Read more: Keeping It Cool