Gay Fresno - Opinion

Opinion

Drag Show Etiquette: Celebrating Pride With Drag Entertainers

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Wednesday, 29 May 2019 09:13
  • Written by Claudia Chavez

Rupaul Queens 1With pride here and in full force, there are several different celebrations going on everywhere for everyone of all age groups. Visalia Pride kicked it off this year, and Fresno Pride follows next. There are many other local events and functions to attend, places to explore and things to learn about like the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, as well as all of our local LGBTQ+ organizations. Many people will often go out to the clubs to celebrate, party and dance the night away. Some will attend local events like Drag Story Hour with Leilani Price and friends where the kids get to see, interact and chat with them, as well as take pictures, play games and munch on snacks all while being able to sit and listen to children’s books being read to them. There are also events like Drag Bingo every other month at the Cellar Door, ART HOP events centralized around the LGBTQ+ community monthly in Downtown Fresno and Tower District, as well as Fresno Drag Festival (October 5th and 6th 2019) that have different strokes for different folks.

One thing is certain, that when attending shows that feature these Drag Queens, Drag Kings and all LGBTQ+ entertainers in between, keep in mind that a lot of work and effort was put into a performance to entertain people. It takes an average of 3 hours for some local entertainers to get ready at times. In those 3 hours a person transforms their entire face to a work of art, shapes their body, gets dressed in clothing, accessorizes, and their hair (for some styles can take over a week to make), time to coordinate and detail their outfit(s) from head to toe, as well as hard earned money that is used to put back into their craft. Many people these days are learning more about the world of drag, some have started getting into drag recently thanks to shows like Rupaul’s Drag Race and Dragula, not to mention annual events like DragCon, and Austin International Drag Fest. Regardless of how big or little, how popular or unknown, how amateur or experienced an entertainer is if you enjoy watching them perform, if you smile while they perform, if you sing along to their number, if you catch yourself thinking during their number about what they are doing on stage, it is imperative that you show them your appreciation by cheering them on and paying attention, support them by buying their merch, tipping them on their electronic account like PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, etc., or even cash tips will do.

Read more: Drag Show Etiquette: Celebrating Pride With Drag Entertainers

So…..What EXACTLY IS Truth...No….Seriously…?

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Thursday, 23 May 2019 15:46
  • Written by Jim Forston

truth 2069843 1280It would seem these days, children, that some have forgotten what that particular five letter word means. I know, you’re saying to yourself, “I think we know what that word means, Jim.” But the scary thing is, most people I talk to, have no idea about truth, much less facts.

I know that we live in a world where certain right wing propaganda machines pour out daily diatribe about what particular person has been slighted by A.O.C. and how she doesn’t care about anything. But here’s the T kids, if you are taking what these glorified “reporters” are telling you as THE word, we have a problem you and I.
Let me explain. Too many news outlets these days are not giving us the FULL story as it relates to ANYTHING! They tell you about the Mueller report, then when that man who is supposed to be the Attorney General, looking out for ALL Americans, gives what should be the CORRECT summation, we see that he is nothing more than the personal mouthpiece of number 45. Yes, my politics are showing.

We were told by the Attorney General that there was NO collusion, I would agree on that point. But he, Mueller, CONTINUES and states that on several occasions, Mr. number 45 WAS HOWEVER, by definition of law, guilty of OBSTRUCTION of Justice…..let that sink in a moment. What the Attorney General stated was that Mr. Mueller’s report EXONERATED 45. THAT children is a BOLD FACE LIE! It did exonerate him of collusion; it DID NOT exonerate him regarding obstruction of justice. Let that sink in for a moment. There is another truth here that the Attorney General does NOT want us focusing on, these other obstruction charges that 45 has been accused of that have been passed on to “other agencies or bodies”. Again….let that sink in…

So, what have we learned so far? We know that what was allowed to be released of the Mueller report has been WRONGLY summarized by the Attorney General. The Attorney General was testifying before a senate committee on May 1st, because of a letter that Mr. Mueller sent to the Attorney General telling him that he was not pleased with his misleading the American people. Wasn’t it this same Attorney General that told the legislative body that he knew NOTHING of Mr. Mueller’s concerns? That he knew nothing of misleading the American people? OF COURSE it was him! He then is sat last week, trying desperately to cover his parts because he could be found in contempt. Lying to the senate or congress by the way, a FELONY!

Read more: So…..What EXACTLY IS Truth...No….Seriously…?

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?

Is It Something I said?

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 30 April 2019 13:58
  • Written by Jim Forston

Let me start by saying that this should be fun, but informative.  My idea is to get our community united, in one mind set, and that mindset is to UTILIZE that grey matter that we all are notorious for NOT using.  Relying instead on the easy, social media related BS to cloud our own thoughts.  So, BIG idea from a small man. 

Let’s just get this out of the way; I am a married Gen X’er who chose to marry a Millennial.  Most of my Gen X family might find that a little crazy.  I however, found this to be most enlightening.  I have learned some things about these crazy little millennials; they DO NOT believe what the mainstream media tells them about politics, they rely on other ways of finding answers.  They search for the truth, they do not believe everything they see or hear.  They DO NOT trust our generation or our mothers and fathers generation, the Baby Boomers. 

Now, to be fair, they are still a little whiney, still a little in need of constant recognition, at least that’s what I tell my husband anyway!  In all seriousness, they actually are more progressive, more “human” than some of the rest.  I admire their ability to process through the bull and come out with the truth.  It’s a quality my generation is all of the sudden lacking.  No more imagination, no more truth. 

So you ask yourself, “O.k. Jim, what’s the point?”  Well I am getting to that; I am a Gen X’er who believes in long winded point making!  The point is I hope to show you through this next election cycle some humor, some candidates, some policy, and a LOT of TRUTH. 

Let’s get through this and get our country back!

Editor's note: Welcome Jim! (pictured right) Can't wait to read your upcoming pieces.

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.