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Issue XI, Vol. XXVI, No. 312

News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization. 
EST. September 1995

Smoke
 

Community Link Projects

Gray Alliance News
John Richardson

Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT+ seniors, and after a year and a half of inactivity due to the pandemic, we are finally getting together again!

We will have a potluck Sunday July 25th at the First Congregational Church Fireside Room from 2-4 pm.  It’s located at the south end of the church at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno. Please note that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Hope to see you soon!

Youth Alliance News July 2021

David McGee

Summer officially started June 21, and our Central Valley weather is definitely showing its summer vibe, isn’t it? The triple-digit heat is wearing most of us down and making us grumpy! Even our LGBTQ Youth Alliance members have complained of the heat, and they are more resilient than most of us!

For many members of past generations, there are fond memories of being dropped off at large public pools for afternoons of swimming and summer fun! These days, the apartments where some of our youth members live have swimming pools, and at least one of our members lives in a private home with a pool. And yet, when we asked attendees recently how many had gone swimming, the response was rather low. It seems that our youth group members have body image issues that interfere with their ability to have a good time! Since they are all friends, we have challenged our youth to push through their insecurities and have pool parties while the summer sun is hot!

Food is always a discussion topic for our youth! We asked the group members to name

their favorite fast food a few weeks ago, and we got answers from McDonald’s to Carl’s Junior and obscure Mexican restaurants. With all the commercials on TV for hamburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and pizza, it’s no wonder we all crave fast food!

Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson joined us a few weeks ago to announce that he’s secured a meeting room at the Big Red Church for in-person meetings, starting the end of August! That’s just around the corner! Of course, we’ll have to watch the news on Covid-19,

especially the delta variant, which could hit the Fresno area in a matter of weeks. Our plan is to bring a laptop computer to the church and continue to allow individuals to attend the group via Zoom. We just need to be sure we’ve got access to the church’s Wi-Fi network! It will be fun to see how it all works!

As previously noted, the Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance may soon meet in person in a

meeting room at the Big Red Church! Until we can meet once again in person, the Youth

Alliance will continue to meet virtually on Friday nights, from 7 PM to 8:30 PM, on Zoom!

 

We will be sure to publish the meeting number and the password for our Zoom meeting on Facebook, and now that we’ve got our Instagram account going, we’ve published on Instagram, as well! COVID-19 has changed how people meet, but with its youthful ingenuity, our Youth Alliance will continue to meet! We urge any and all school-aged youth to join us on our new platform, on Friday nights!

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Local

 
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The Source LGBT+ Center Places First in Nation-Wide Fundraising Event 

The Source LGBT+ Center, serving Tulare, Kings, and Fresno Counties, is pleased to announce the results of the nation-wide LGBT organization fundraiser, GiveOut Day.  

Participating in the ‘National Large’ category for the first time and grouped with 130 other local and national organizations, The Source LGBT+ Center took the top spot, after having had won first place in the medium category for 2020, and first place in the small organization category in 2019.  

The Source LGBT+ Center raised $33,600, with over 1,700 individual donations. 

Nick Vargas, Co-Founder and Director of Development said, "The show of support around the country means that we will continue to deliver the vital and unique programs and services we offer. I'm grateful to all of our donors." 

A leaderboard prize of $10,000 will put GiveOut Day’s total raised for The Source LGBT+ Center at over $43,000.  

 

With hundreds of organizations participating, grouped into several categories based on size and location, GiveOut Day raised a total of $1.7 million in 2021’s event. 

Started as a one-day event, GiveOut Day is now a month-long drive during Pride Month, and raises funds for LGBT organizations across the country. 

Wide-spread community support by many individuals, organizations, businesses, and government agencies allows The Source LGBT+ Center to continue its mission to provide spaces within our communities for the LGBT+ population to Learn, Grow, Belong, Transform, Question + Support. 

The Source LGBT+ Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  

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National

 
After Hours

Drag queen arrested for “sexual assault” after audience member complains about twerking stage act
Bil Browning
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

DC drag queen Kabuki Bukkake was arrested for “unwanted sexual assault” after she fell on top of an audience member during a Pride drag brunch. The performer was taken to jail in full drag and held for 38 hours before being released after prosecutors declined to file charges.

The queen had pulled the woman on stage during the performance when the accident occurred and her costume got caught on the woman’s top. One of the straps on the woman’s top ripped, but her breasts were not exposed.

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

Supreme Court hands victory to transgender students by declining to hear critical bathroom case
Molly Sprayregen
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a big win for transgender rights today by declining to take up a critical Virginia bathroom case that had already been won in the lower courts.

In 2018, a federal district court ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm, a transgender man who sued Virginia’s Gloucester County School District in 2016 when he was told he couldn’t use the boys’ bathrooms in high school.

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com
Court
Planning Travels

California bans state-funded travel to five states with anti-LGBTQ laws
Molly Srayregen
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

On Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) announced a ban on non-essential state-funded travel to five more states that have passed anti-LGBTQ laws.

Florida, Montana, Arkansas, West Virginia, and North Dakota have joined 12 other states already on this list, which includes North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

ACLU steps in after school employees punished student for saying, “I’m a lesbian”

David McGee
 

The ACLU of Kansas requested that a school district take action to avoid prolonged litigation following an internal investigation that found two school employees in violation of internal policies and federal law when they suspended an eighth-grade student for simply saying, “I’m a lesbian.”

Izzy Dieker was on the school bus on her way to school in January, 2021, when her bus driver heard make the remark to another student. For that comment, she earned a referral to the principal’s office and was banned from riding the bus for using “inappropriate language.”

While the two employees were punished as recommended by an internal investigation, the ACLU of Kansas said that the school district needs to do more to make sure this kind of harassment doesn’t happen again.

 

Source: lgbtqnation.com

US to add third gender option to American passports

David McGee
 

Nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming Americans will be able to choose a gender option other than “male” or “female” when applying for a US passport, the State Department announced recently. It is not yet known when the third gender marker, reportedly to

be an “X,” will be available.

Once the US has a third gender option in place, it will join the growing number of countries with such a passport option, including Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Nepal, and New Zealand.

Source: nbcnews.com

High school valedictorian says his speech on LGBTQ identity was cut off

David McGee

 

Bryce Dershem claimed his principal cut off his microphone and crumpled his written speech in front of 2,000 people, in New Jersey, when he spoke about his struggles with LGBTQ issues and mental health struggles. A video showed the principal disconnecting the mic and crumpling and tossing the written speech. Dershem reported the principal told him previously that his speech was not his “therapy session.” The school district is finding a government agency to conduct an independent review. Dersham reported that his goal was to encourage other students to find their own identity.

Source: goodmorningamerica.com

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International

Digital social media

China just deleted dozens of LGBTQ pages from one of its largest social networks
Daniel Villareal
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

WeChat, China’s largest social media platform, has deleted dozens of LGBTQ-related accounts run by non-governmental organizations and student groups. While the platform said these accounts “violated” the platform’s policies, it provided no further details, raising fears of a growing crackdown on LGBTQ groups and content in the country.

“After receiving relevant complaints, all content has been blocked and the account has been suspended,” the platform told users of pro-LGBTQ accounts. The accounts’ pages – many of which were run by students at China’s largest universities – now lead to blanks pages that say “unnamed.”

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

Brazilian presidential hopeful comes out as gay
David McGee

 

Brazilian governor and presidential candidate Eduardo Leite came out as gay during a TV

interview in early July. A critic of President Jail Bolsonaro, Leite is the governor of the southern

Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. He would be the first openly gay candidate in Brazil.

Leite came out in an interview with Brazilian journalist Pedro Bial on TV Globo.

Leite told Bial, “I am a governor who is gay, not a gay governor, as former President

Obama in the US was a president who was Black, not a Black president.” Leite will run for the

social democratic party primaries to be held in November, 2021. The winner will be the center-

right party’s presidential candidate for 2022.

Source: advocate.com

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Enlighten Me

The lesson of the fly and the invisible barrier
Mark Lang

 

The other day, I saw a fly in my house trying to get out through the window. The fly kept hitting against the glass over and over seemingly unable to find a way out. The glass had become an invisible barrier preventing freedom and imprisoning the fly. To assist, I opened the window to let the poor fly out.

Surprisingly, the fly did not recognize the new opening as a path to freedom. It just continued its old ways of banging against the unseen obstruction. Finally, with some gentle nudging from me, it found the exit and ventured out into the world. Whew!

How often do we find ourselves in a similar predicament? For some reason, we are not able to find our way out even though an alternative path may be right in front of us. This type of concrete thinking is an inability to think outside the box. We seem to lose the insight needed to come up with creative alternatives. So often, we have fixed concepts about how things should be or have always been.

It’s like we lock ourselves into only one perspective. And that perspective is usually our stubborn point of view. In our minds, our opinions become the truth as if they were facts. Then we conclude that since our opinions are true for us, they must be true for everyone. So, of course, if anyone disagrees with our truth, that person must be wrong. And we all know that people who are wrong deserve punishment, right? Watch out! This type of thinking is how fanaticism, intolerance, and bigotry start.

Take religion for example. (Yea, that’s a safe topic to discuss, right?!) Your perception of the Creator was probably shaped, to a large degree, by fixed images and concepts which were handed down to you as a child by your parents and religious leaders. In other words, your concepts about God are most likely the result of religious programming and cognitive conditioning. You may think of yourself as a free spirit which functions independently, but face it, chances are you learned not to question the concept of God—lest you be deemed wrong and subject to punishment!

So here you are now still walking around with preconceived ideas about the Giver of Life that limit your mind’s ability to see a broader spiritual perspective. Take a moment to do some personal reflection. What sort of limiting concepts do you have about the concept of God? Do you think of this deity as male? Why is that? Is that a reflection of your upbringing? Is your male concept of God based on ancient religious teachings and scriptures? If so, who wrote those scripture, men, women, or both? Doesn’t it make sense that the people who wrote (and rewrote) those scriptures had a gender bias in their favor?

So how does all this affect how you think of men and women today? What role do you think men should play in our society? What about women? Are those roles different? Why is that? Where did you get those concepts? Are they limiting beliefs? Are those beliefs holding you back from progressing to a higher spiritual plane?

 

Just as the fly on the window needed some gentle nudging to escape the invisible barrier, you, too, may need to seek out an open-minded spiritual sage. This person may be able to give you a little nudge of encouragement to break free from those unseen (and often unspoken) conceptual barriers.

 

How do you know who a compatible, enlightened, spiritual mentor for you is? Your spirit will tell you. Let your inner wisdom guide you. Learn to listen to that soft voice inside you. In time, the voice will grow stronger and clearer.

Something to meditate on today. Find a place in nature where you can have some privacy to do some spiritual work. Any natural setting will do—the beach, woods, City Park, a stream, or even your backyard. Once you have found a quiet place free from interruptions, stand up tall and extend your right arm with your index and ring fingers pointed out like a dagger.

Calling upon your creative intelligence, imagine a blue beam of light shooting from your two fingers pointed toward the ground. Turning clockwise, draw an imaginary circle around you with this blue laser beam. Within this protected circle, sit down and let your mind have a conversation with the source of all life. You will be surprised how this experience broadens your mind. (When you finish, don’t forget to take down the circle by turning in a counterclockwise motion before leaving the space.)

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New Wellness

ROUTE # 12-044 

Soda jerks, elevator operators, and bowling alley pinsetters were jobs from a bygone golden era. If you were too young to get work as one of those, you likely found your first job delivering newspapers.  

 

That’s how three young boys in a large Polish-Irish family began their storied work careers. Their collective efforts have been touted as maybe the all-time greatest accomplishment in the modern era of paperboys.   

 

A trio of Blake siblings in Hobart, Indiana had the same Gary Post-Tribune paper route in the family for almost 20 years. Nearly half a million papers delivered during that idyllic time to so many close-knit neighbors in charming ranch houses throughout their little part of America’s heartland.  

 

Let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane. No really. That’s one of the actual streets where fifteen of their long-time customers lived. You see. Even the street names were out of a Disney movie. In this Chicago bedroom community. 

 

Back in those simpler days there was no Google and information superhighway. Cell phone stuff was only on The Jetsons. And social media wasn’t born yet. Neither was Mark Zuckerberg.  

 

Just three scrappy brothers with an up and at ‘em attitude. Ron and Matt and Mark and lots of moxie. To get the news of the world and the day’s horoscopes out there. To customers’ doorsteps. Or on occasion. Missing the target. And into a powdery snow bank. Every morning for over 7,000 consecutive days. 

 

Those fierce fellows were responsible for keeping their suburban Midwestern neighborhood in the know. From news of the fantastical to the fanatical. And daily drop-shipping of the follies and filibusters from two Presidencies of Reagan, one with H.W. Bush, and two involving Commander-in-Chief Clinton.  

 

Mother Nature threw her harshest weapons of weather at those teen paper carriers. Like the historical Arctic top o’ the mornin’ on January 20, 1985. The coldest wake-up call in Chicago history at 27 degrees below zero. Guess what headline was delivered up on the dawn of the following day? 

 

Some called this brotherly succession a monopoly. The jealous ones perhaps. But most called it good old-fashioned nose to the grindstone. In the beginning days, earnings purchased the necessities. Bubble gum, baseball cards, and firecrackers. In the later years, they went to pay for proms and college tuition.  

 

Unsubstantiated reports had it that Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers in addition to cases of beer were some of the later expenditures from those paper route profits. Like the saying goes. Loose lips sink ships. Probably best we move on. 

 

At the end of the reign, there wasn't the fanfare of a ticker tape parade down Main Street. A gold watch and fishing pole weren’t presented to each of the guys on their final day of work. Absent too was the symbolic retirement of route # 12-044.  

 

Nope. Those strapping young Blakes were just proud to deliver the obituaries, Dear Abby, and the funny papers each day. With ear to ear smiles. Donning Cubs hats and Bears stocking caps. And wearing gobs of ink smudges on their cherubic faces as a badge of honor. 

 

Legend has it that their very supportive parents Ron and Rita still have in their basement an heirloom belonging to the ages. The classic fire-engine red Radio Flyer wagon that was used to transport those newspapers in the heyday of the epic odyssey.  

 

Here's to remembering two incredible decades of three blue-collar lads pitching papers on porches. What an historic passage through the years of headlines it was. They just don't write 'em like that anymore! 

 

This classified section of help wanted is brought to you by this rise & shine newsy. That guy with an opinion piece on sports, weather, and TV listings is Ron Blake. He can be sent a letter to the editor at rblake5551@hotmail.com. 

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Uncle Barbie

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Your Intellectual Whore
"An effervescently gay advice columnist."

 

Disclaimer: Although the author of this syndicated column holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, the tongue-in-cheek advice given is for entertainment only and is not a substitute for therapy. Barbie responds to all emails...whether you deserve it or not. Send your questions to Uncle Barbie at:
askunclebarbie@aol.com

The Changing Face of Psychiatric Disorders

 

Dear Barbie,

In old psychology books, homosexuality is referred to as a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, and I’ve read that Freud opposed the criminalization of homosexuality (good for him) because he considered it an illness that needed treatment (not so good for him). Things are different in the mental health world now, aren’t they?

Signed, Neither Criminal nor Sick, Just Wondering

 

Hello Just Wondering,

Yes, the American Psychological Association dropped homosexuality from their list of disorders in the early 1970s. The only currently recognized sexual orientation-related mental disorder is “ego-dystonic homosexuality,” where the problem isn’t homosexuality itself, but rather the distress and anxiety over it and the persistent desire to be heterosexual. Although sexual behavior is a choice, a person’s sexual orientation is not a choice. There are varying degrees of sexual feelings ranging from heterosexual to bisexual to homosexual—with most people fitting into the bisexual continuum. Remember, I am talking about the sexual feelings, here, and not the lifestyle. Most people live a socially acceptable heterosexual lifestyle even though they secretively experience sexual feelings for both men and women within the privacy of their own thoughts. I sincerely hope that you learn to accept yourself completely. Perhaps you could even learn to celebrate the spirit of your own sexual orientation in your heart. You are a special person—be proud!

Loud and Proud, Barbie

 

Monotonous Message

Dear Uncle Barbie,

Hi, it’s me again, Waterloo. I'm that irritating guy who writes and asks you where I want to go. I read your column in and out trying not to get too loose. Reading you makes it an ever-so-busy, yet refreshing, day. It helps me grasp! I lounged around the group home today. A cute guy asked me if I do it!!! I was asked if I was in need. What ever should I say? I didn’t act my usual self because I didn’t know who he wanted me to be. What do you think? Analyze me. (Sometimes, I feel that Uncle Barbie is remodeling my mind which is an achievement in itself considering I'm on a cloud-cuckoo-land course.) I’m working really hard with this guy with a big basket, which turns out to be a hanging basket. You should try it; it can be fun! This past weekend I was gonna come, but that was quickly put to an end by the house staff. But we still rock at Trivial Pursuit! It didn't hurt that we angered the gods if we were able to pick up right where we left off. I clash with a man that I know in the home, where I often battle this guy. It shouldn't be so uneven. No person deserves that. Over dinner, we clashed about pieces of pie. That was our first battle, and we've been scrapping for pie ever since. That was a purely random thing. Luckily for us, I got my eight hours of sleep. My philosophy--hibernate your problems away. I personally am going to bed right now.

Signed, Waterloo

 

Hello Waterloo,

I do not know what it is like to have a psychotic mind, so pardon me if I can’t keep up with your cognitive blathering. Since you clearly have a psychological disorder (and I have sympathy for people inflicted with your condition), I feel the need to reiterate my advice column disclaimer to you. The American Psychological Association (APA) clearly points out that when a therapist gives advice in a casual/social setting, he or she needs to clarify that the advice given does not constitute a therapeutic relationship between the giver of the advice and the receiver. Therefore, let me make it crystal clear to you that writing to Uncle Barbie should, in no way, be misconstrued as being a therapeutic relationship.

 

If you have mental health issues (and you do), you need to find your own private therapist who is licensed in your state (for you, Waterloo, that would be the state of confusion). That therapist can treat you for your psychological disorder with the combination of medications and one-on-one therapy. Personally, I think you need to have your meds adjusted. Based on your writings, it sounds like your blood levels are off. way off!

 

Too Many Voices, Barbie

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Horoscopes

by Eric Bigleone
Astrology Map

ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 19)
You are ready to rock n roll and tackle any challenges before you.  Calm down, make a plan then charge on. 

 

TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20)
Here we go again.  Been there done that.  You need to rethink what you are doing and come up with a new plan to solve your ongoing issues. 

 

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
You are dealing with a lot of people this month.  This can drain you mentally so watch what you say.  It may not mean what you think. 

 

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
You feel a little lost during this period.  Look to others for guidance to get you thru this period.  Be calm.  Be cool. 

 

LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
There are some who really want to give you a bad time.  Don’t react but do something totally different.  This will pull them to your side and you will feel good. 

 

VIRGO (Aug 23-Sep 22)
No obstacles this month.  You get things done with ease while others wonder how you do it all.  Tell them its magic. 


LIBRA (Sep 23-Oct 22)
It’s up to you to fulfill your destiny.  Rely on others won’t work.  You will be much happier on your won here. 

 

SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21)
Here we go again with the same old problems.  Your overwhelmed.  You need some downtime to spend alone.  Then everything will come into focus. 

 

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21)
This is really a happy period for you.  You didn’t see it coming but its here.  Enjoy yourself socializing.  You’ve earned it. 

 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22- Jan 19)
Your hard work is finally beginning to pay off.  Don’t be surprised if an opportunity comes your way.   

 

AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18)
Lots of energy and spending going on here.  You feel you can accomplish anything you want.  Very satisfying 

 

PISCES (Feb 19-Mar 20)
You are in a very contented mood.  Enjoy life in its simplicity.  The world is frantic around you but you are happy in your realm for now. 

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Events

Drag Face Season TWO
 

DRAG FACE SEASON TWO IS HERE ALREADY!

Watch as a group of contestants compete LIVE to put on their best "drag face" makeup!


The Source presents Season Two of our hit springtime event "Drag Face" –

Loosely based on Ru Paul's Drag Race, The Source invites 5-7 contestants to put on their best "drag face" within 1 hour. All contestants are given the same kit of make-up so the only thing that matters is how good your drag face and drag performance are. And how good you are at charming the judges. During the hour, Priscilla McNamara (our professional drag queen) will coach them and narrate LIVE.

Priscilla and a panel of judges will then pick two contestants to have a “drag face off” i.e. showing off their best “lewks” and lip-syncing. They will perform for a 60 second song chosen by our drag queen host, Priscilla. Based on the contest, the audience will vote on a winner by tipping $1. If at the end of 60 seconds, no contestant has a $5 or more lead over the other, they go into a sudden death round of another 60 seconds of a new song and whoever gets the most is the winner of “Drag Face” and will receive our GRAND PRIZE.

Join us on July 31st for a virtual event that you can't see anywhere else, all from the comfort of your own home!

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Contact Us

P O Box 4959, Fresno, CA 93744

newslnk@aol.com  |  Tel: 559-266-5465

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