Gray Alliance News
Gray Alliance is a group for LGBTQ+ seniors, and we get together for potlucks the last Sunday of each month.
We will have a potluck Sunday, October 29th at the First Congregational Church from 2-4 pm. We will meet in the Fireside Room of the church, which is 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, please contact John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Hope to see you soon!
Youth Alliance News October 2023
With the temperatures cooling down and the days getting shorter, one can definitely tell we have entered our fall weather season in the Central Valley! The days of shorts and Birkenstock sandals is about over! We will be breaking out our sweaters and sweatpants very soon. Can we look forward to temperate weather for Halloween this year? One can only hope!
October is National LGBTQ History month, so our LGBTQ Youth Alliance group has been discussing some of the icons that have paved the way for LGBTQ individuals in the past few decades. We got help with our discussion from lgbtqhistorymonth.com, which names and discusses a queer icon daily for the month of October. The website also has a listing of all the icons it has named over the past several decades. We took some time recently to look at the list of queer icons through the years to discuss individuals we didn’t know were queer, like Eleanor Roosevelt. Many of the icons mentioned were quite closeted, but nonetheless they were important to the history of LGBTQ individuals!
October is also the month of Halloween, which is loved by so many queer people! Community Link recently sponsored its second annual Trunk or Treat event, and some of our youth helped pass out candy and supervise games for the young people who attended the event! We haven’t heard an estimate of how many kids attended the event, but the flow of kids through the parking lot was constant throughout the evening! The adults who oversaw the event, Gracie and Tracie, were happy with the outcome and have already stated we will have another Trunk or Treat event next year! Gracie was dressed as Ursula, the Sea Witch, from the movie, The Little Mermaid, and she looked fantastic!
We save the last Friday of the month for our world-famous potluck! Last month, Jay and Banana brought two types of Indian pizza, Butter Chicken Pizza and Tikka Masala Pizza! They were delicious! We also had regular pizza, chips and dips, and some brownies for dessert. We played Cards Against Humanity, a hilarious card game, as we ate pizza and drank soda. That game is always a hoot! We’ve played it several times, and each time we play it we enjoy the laughs!
This month, of course, we will have our annual Halloween Party for Potluck Friday! We encourage people to come in costume, but it's not required. We want everyone to be comfortable! Some of the adults from the Pride Committee joined us last year for our Halloween Potluck and added to the fun! We plan to invite them this year, as well!
The LGBTQ Youth Alliance meets in person at the Big Red Church (First Congregational Church) on Friday nights from 7 to 8:30 PM. We continue to post on our Facebook page and Instagram! We urge all LGBTQ school-age youth to join us Friday nights at the Big Red Church, located at 2131 N. Van Ness, just up the street from Fresno High Schoo.
Community Link Projects
"The beautiful, cultural fabric of Fresno is interwoven with threads representing the LGBTQ+ rainbow community and allies." -- Robin McGehee
FRESNO MAYOR DYER APPOINTS ROBIN MCGEHEE AS INAUGURAL LGBTQ+ LIAISON.
Robin McGehee (1998) has joined the City of Fresno’s Office of Community Affairs (OCA) as a liaison for the LGBTQ+ community. Appointed by Mayor Jerry Dyer, she will work to connect the LGBTQ+ community with services and resources, both within City Hall and in the city at large. McGehee’s first day with the OCA is Sept. 28, 2023.
“Today’s announcement is another step forward in Mayor Dyer’s vision of a true #OneFresno,” McGehee said. “My goal is to work with the Mayor are to uplift the City of Fresno in becoming a more inclusive place for all citizens, including our members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. The beautiful, cultural fabric of Fresno is interwoven with threads representing the LGBTQ+ rainbow community and allies. My sincere hope is that together, we can work to make our city a better place for all the cultures and communities that call Fresno home."
The recipient of numerous accolades and citations, McGehee has been honored twice as a grand marshal for Fresno Pride Parade and Festival (2011 and 2015), received a Top Dog Alumna Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association (2015), was selected as the keynote alumnx speaker for Fresno State’s Rainbow Graduation Celebration (2018), and named to the “Made in The CSU,” a project of the Office of the Chancellor, California State University (Current). Recently, she was included in the prestigious Obama Presidential Oral History Project at Columbia University.
Cher speaks out for transgender rights
Cher has sounded the alarm about the unprecedented number of anti-trans bills that have been introduced by Republicans in state houses across the country this year. While promoting her first-ever holiday album, “Christmas,” which will be released to the public
within weeks, the “Believe” singer seemed aghast when asked about the GOP’s anti-trans crusade ahead of the 2024 election.
“It’s something like 500 bills they’re trying to pass,” she told the Guardian. “I was with two trans girls the other night—and of course, my own child,” Cher continued, referring to her son, Chaz Bono. “I was saying, ‘We’ve got to stand together.’ I don’t know what their eventual plan is for trans people. I don’t put anything past them.”
Matthew Shepard’s Murder Remembered 25 years later with a renewed call to fight LGBTQ hate
On October 12, 1998, 21-year-old gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard died in a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, of injuries he’d sustained six days earlier in Laramie, Wyoming. He was savagely beaten by two men he met in a Laramie bar and was left hanging on a fence on the city’s outskirts.
Shepard quickly became the face of the victims of anti-LGBTQ crimes, or as it was put then, anti-gay crimes. In the years since then, there has been more recognition of the community’s diversity and of hate-crime victims’ diversity, but he remains the most famous victim of such a crime.
Much has changed since Shepard’s death. His parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, established the Matthew Shepard Foundation and have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of LGBTQ hate- crime victims and to promote LGBTQ equality. In the years since Shepard’s death, marriage equality has become the law of the land, LGBTQ individuals can serve in the military without hiding their identity, and coming out is occurring at younger ages.
But LGBTQ advocates are quick to point out that equality rights have slid backward in the past few years, and more bills have been sponsored in the past year that remove LGBTQ rights than in any other year.
Janet Jackson to headline World AIDS Day concert
Pop icon Janet Jackson will headline the annual World AIDS Day concert sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation of Houston, Texas, on December 1st, 2023. Proceeds from the concert will be used to combat HIV/AIDS.
The event will be held at the NRG Arena and will feature a full-length concert by Jackson. In addition, The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will honor actor and activist Blair Underwood for its lifetime achievement award, and choreographer Debbie Allen will speak.
Jackson is a longtime LGBTQ ally and AIDS activist. Her eighth Number 1 single, “Together Again,” released in 1997, paid tribute to a friend who died of AIDS and honored those lost to the disease.
President Biden interrupted by Israel-Hamas War Protester During LGBTQ rights speech
President Biden, addressing attendees at the 2023 Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, DC, recently, was momentarily interrupted by an audience member’s shouts. The dinner was held in the expansive dining room of the Washington Convention Center with over 2,500 guests. Because the room’s acoustics made it difficult to hear for many attendees, most guests couldn’t hear the protester’s shouts of “Let Gaza live. Ceasefire now!”
Responding to the interruption, the President remarked, “I can’t hear her. What’s she saying? Well, thank you, whatever you’re saying.”
He continued with his address, passionately championing LGBTQ rights, emphasizing, “At this pivotal moment in our history, Jill and I have come here tonight to say thank you for your courage, thank you for your hope, and thank you for your pride.”
Later in his speech, Biden addressed the recent events in the Middle East, describing the attacks as “the worst massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust.”
THE HANGOVER CURE
It was a summer morning back in the late aughts. Ten hours earlier we’d watched Matchbox Twenty perform at the electrifying sold-out pavilion. All eight of us were just waking up from our concert hangover. But it wouldn’t be coffee or a jolt of expresso that breathed life back into us.
An unforgettable game show moment would rally and rejuvenate us.
One by one our overnight house guests sluggishly made their way from throughout our four-bedroom home into the master suite. Joining me and my partner on our roomy, cushioned California king bed. Our cozy gang of eight thus began recalling highlights of our alternative rock musical evening.
During these recollections, one of the friends got up and opened the doors of the oaken armoire. Clicked the remote. Ordering the TV to attention.
After running up and down the channels, she finally landed on the Game Show Network. An episode of the Family Feud was in full swing. Providing comfort television. Especially needed given our fatigued conditions.
There’s nothing quite like a familiar long-standing show to bring folks together. All eyes went to the screen. We became enthralled with yelling out the most popular answers for the questions asked. Cheering the good responses from the contestants. Heckling the bad ones put forth.
After a commercial break we were back to the next round of excitement. The host explained that the top nine answers were on the board. He asked the question, “What is an afternoon snack that kids love to eat?”
One of the families gave answers while the other one prepared a well thought-out response in their huddle. Hoping for a steal. The obvious replies came quickly. Popcorn, apples, and cookies. No wrong answers had been given. The Smith Family was on a commanding roll.
Then came the moment. The Smith matriarch was up. Before her reply, the whole crew of us were shouting our favorite kids’ snacks at the TV. Encouraging the contestant to use what we’d given her.
There was an extended period of silence. The host reminded the flummoxed contestant that she had three seconds to say something. Or she’d risk forfeiting her turn and receiving a strike. Suspense heightened. Right before time elapsed, she blurted out two words. Spare ribs.
What happened next was akin to when you light the fuse of a firecracker. There are those two; maybe three, seconds of calm. As well as great anticipation. Just before the lit fuse makes it way to the bomb for the explosion.
Our friends, my partner, and I briefly went quiet after that response from the Smith grandmother. The fuse had been lit. Looking from one to the other. We were scratching our heads. Processing the ridiculousness of her answer. And then ignition. The big bang. We riotously erupted into laughter.
We fell about the place. We just kept laughing. And laughing. Some members of our party were really rolling on the floor laughing. It was one of those infectious moments of high hilarity. Just when we thought it was over and we gained control. Someone giggled. Starting another bout of hysterics.
We never even got to see the end of the show. Instead we created our own game. Taking turns between guffaws, we named off dozens of afternoon snacks that kids actually do eat. Frequently revisiting that knee-slapper as we’d come together to gesture and collectively shout, “Spare ribs!”
On any given day that offbeat answer would’ve been pretty funny. But never ever as silly, slaphappy funny as on that specific morning. The stars must’ve been perfectly aligned. Gathering the eight of us upon that giant bed. It was just the perfect storm with all the right ingredients to successfully start off that Friday.
It seems the best moments of our lives aren’t usually scheduled on a calendar. When they pop up. You’ve simply got to go with it. Laugh. Smile. Maybe dance. And hold on tight as the Electric Light Orchestra says.
This fast money round is brought to you by that guy who loves fall off the bone ribs. That guy of belly laughs is Ron Blake and he and his pals can be a real hoot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is your Monthly Tarot for the next 30 days.
Love: The Devil.
It's all too easy to talk someone into doing exactly what you want them to do when this card appears. It's a given that you'll get exactly what you want from them - you're quite powerful now. The question, however, is this: Do you want what you want so much that you're willing to lose your principles to have it? Think that over before you begin manipulating someone whose respect you really cherish.
For the first time in a long while, it's suddenly become clear to you: what you really want to "do" with the rest of your life. So from now on, even if you need to clear away some things, and perhaps even some relationships that are dear to you, thanks to Justice, you'll now understand that it's time, and that whatever needs to be done is what you'll have the strength and courage to do.
Wellness: The Hanged Man.
Getting through the past few weeks - and the next few as well - won't be easy. In fact, what might feel best for you now would be to surrender... to give up entirely, and throw in the towel. In your heart, however, there's something that's telling you to "hang in there" - no pun intended - and to wait just a little longer. If you can do that, success is just about guaranteed.
If you have a query that needs some insight and would like your Tarot read, drop us an email HERE with the information of that which you seek here and come back to see if your fortune is the next chosen!
Reign 50 The Court of Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformation in conjunction with the Imperial Dove Court de Fresno (IDC) present:
Pre-Thanksgiving: We Are Family
🗓: Saturday, November 4, 2023
⌚: Doors 5PM | Dinner 6PM | Show 7PM
📍: Fresno City College, 1101 E University Ave, 93741 (Cafeteria)
Join IDC for an evening of Thanksgiving indulgence with all your favorite fixings and iconic dishes; opportunity drawings and auctions; and astonishing entertainment. We are family!
Be thankful. Gather 'round and count your blessings. Keep calm and gobble on. Gratitude is the best attitude. Here for the stuffing. Silence of the yams. Fifty shades of gravy. Got turkey. Thankful for elastic waist bands. Feast Mode. It's a family gathering.
VIP tables and tickets available now. Get your tickets today.
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