Issue VIII, Vol. XXVI, No. 309 | April 2021
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
Community Link Projects
Gray Alliance News April 2021
Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT seniors, and we get together twice a month for social functions. The second Wednesday of the month at 6 pm we meet at different restaurants.
Due to the serious nature of the COVID-19 virus, all Gray Alliance events are canceled until further notice. Our age group is especially vulnerable.
We have a potluck the final Sunday of the month 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. We will not be meeting Sunday, April 25, 2021.
If you have any questions, please call John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Stay Safe!
Youth Alliance News April 2021
Easter brought warm, balmy weather to the Central Valley this year! And it looks like the warm weather is going to hang around for a while! We may be seeing an early summer if the warm weather keeps up! Ordinarily, our LGBTQ Youth Alliance would be meeting at the Big Red Church, with the doors open at both ends of the room for natural ventilation! Instead, our group continues to meet virtually, on Zoom. Most of our group members join from their bedroom, where they have their computer set-up for school, but some of our youth use electronic pads to join the meeting, which means they can connect from any room of the house or walk outside on a warm evening!
Recently, California’s governor announced that he was thinking of opening businesses throughout the state on June 15, 2021, depending on the incidence rate of COVID-19 and the number of citizens who have been vaccinated against the virus. That may not apply to our youth though, because our group members are too young to get the vaccine! We may have to wait until the CDC announces that individuals under the age of 18 can get the vaccine, which may still be at least several months away. Our group will continue to meet on Zoom until we get the notification that we are cleared to meet in-person!
At a recent Youth Alliance meeting, we each took turns discussing whether we are night owls or early birds (also known as day larks). Night owls like to stay up late at night and get up later in the morning. Early birds like to get up early in the morning and go to bed early at night. It turns out that we are all a bunch of night owls! We all like to watch movies late at night and get up later in the morning! We all stated we hate getting up early in the morning for our various school schedules (or work schedules for the adults). Even our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, who gets up early to water his flowerpots and read emails, reported that he is a night owl who prefers to stay up late!
The group also discussed whether we are introverts or extroverts, and all the group members agreed that we are introverts who prefer to stay home and watch TV instead of going to large gatherings, like family dinners or parties. Who knew! Most of our youth group members attend various political meetings in Fresno, and yet, we do it for the sake of making a difference for our society rather than attending for the joy of interacting with others! And we all agreed we hate family gatherings!
As previously mentioned, the Youth Alliance used to meet in person in a meeting room at the Big Red Church. Until we can meet once again in person, the Fresno LGBTQ 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
Join in PRIDE for an interactive competition that highlights your creativity.
We want you to show off your pride while you shelter in place. The Fresno Rainbow Pride and The Fools Collaborative bring you this pre-pride event.
Follow THIS LINK for more details, rules, prizes and to meet our Judges!
Housing needs for Fresno's LGBTQ2+ community
LGBTQ2+ are 2x as likely to experience housing instability and homelessness compared to non-LGBTQ2+. We want to know the housing experiences of our Fresno LGBTQ2+ community these past months.
Responses will be used for a community-wide action report and presented to the City of Fresno and Fresno County.
For more information contact Dr. Kat Fobear at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Fill Out the Survey Below
Participants Can Enter To Win A $20 Gift Card
La encuesta también está disponible en español
News From the LIVINGROOM
"Twenty five years ago on this day in 1996, The Living Room was founded by Julio Mastro to provide a place of acceptance, support and assistance to those who were at risk of, diagnosed with or were affected by HIV/AIDS.
In commemoration, we prepared the following video that not only gives a small glimpse of our history, but a virtual tour of our brand new location on 1330 E. Olive Ave. in Fresno! This can also be viewed by searching for WestCare California’s YouTube channel.
To the many friends that we've made throughout the years, we would like to send our most heartfelt thanks for your support of our program and our mission.
To those that we have lost, we dedicate each day of service to you and your lasting memory.
If you would like to know your status, please call our team during regular business hours (8am - 5pm, M-F) at (559) 486-1469 to schedule your appointment for a free and confidential test.
Thank you all for your love and support throughout the years." - The Staff of The Living Room
DRAG FACE WAS A SUCCESS
"So much fun". We heard that over and over this past weekend from the viewers of Drag Face. Yet, we are still over $1,500 from our goal. You have the chance to support The Source and get the same prizes those at the event did. Please click to see the fabulous prizes
We had 6 amazing contestants: Peachy Queen, Eyeesa Layshun, Anita Lighter, Lucy Yale, Anne Tifa, and Gritz. They got into face in 45 minutes and then faced the judges. Finally, the lip synch elimination rounds and the audience eliminated two at a time. In the end only one could be crowned the "Winner of Drag Face".
We make living with HIV easier
People Living with HIV: AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) enrollment and easy recertification (available evenings and weekends too). ADAP helps cover cost of HIV meds and covers private health insurance premiums. We also offer personalized pharmacy services and co-pay assistance for those with private health insurance. Ryan White services, food pantry, patient advocacy, education, social groups and peer-support. Our HIV program is run by people living with HIV. LGBTQ+ and straight people on staff. Services provided regardless of immigration status. Email or call 559-429-4277.
The Tower Theatre Sale
Barring a less than one in five chance being successful, the iconic Tower Theatre—the symbol of the Tower District—will become Adventure Church.
Superior Court judge Rosemary McGuire ruled March 18th that the sale could proceed after Sequoia Brewery argued it had not been informed of it in violation of their lease. The brewery said their lease contained a clause saying they had first right of refusal. The judge agreed they had a first right but that in fact they had been extended a timely offer.
The judge also decided the equities favored allowing the sale to proceed. The offer to the brewery requires its part of the land to be split off from the rest of the property. The City of Fresno has to approve the parcel split in a process that could take, worst case, years to complete. She said it was uncertain whether at the end of the day the City would approve the land division—there is no requirement it has to. In the meantime, if the sale was held up, the church would likely back out.
Escrow was expected to be completed by the end of March. Sequoia Brewery’s lawyers filed an appeal of McGuire’s decision on the last Friday in March.
There’s an allegation floating out on the internet that Judge McGuire is a member of Adventure Church’s congregation. If true (I’ve seen no proof), she should have recused herself from the case.
Opponents claim the transformation will destroy the economic vitality of the area by adversely affecting property values. They point out it would be difficult if not impossible for nearby bars and clubs to either renew or sell their liquor licenses, citing distance requirements.
I did a little investigating. Turns out those distancing rules are made by the City of Fresno, not the State of California.
The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Act contains no provision mandating denial because a licensee is within a certain distance of a church. It turns out the state leaves the nitpicking regulation of liquor establishments to the cities and counties. As a part of Fresno’s alcohol conditional use permit process, the city council established distancing rules.
Those rules can be changed in a heartbeat by the same city council. That would solve that problem very neatly.
My pointing that out on a Tower District Facebook page attracted the ire of several “keeping the Tower weird” supporters.
The church says it has no intention of seeking a rezoning. It claims the City said, before the neighborhood got upset, one wasn’t required, church services will be merely an “incidental use,” and, in any event, federal law preempts Fresno’s zoning ordinances and the Tower District specific plan.
The jurisprudence surrounding the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act is clear as mud, but the law says local land use planning rules can not unduly burden the practice of religion. Some cities have won in court. Others haven’t.
It appears Adventure Church plans to play a game of chicken with the City. If the church opens for services without a rezoning in place, that puts the ball squarely in the City’s court. Would the City then take legal action against the church to close the building? If it did, assuredly the church would then sue the City in federal court.
A lawsuit could ultimately move the survival of the specific plan into the political realm. Oh, I’m sure the City would vigorously defend itself in court if a lawsuit was filed. However, if a ruling went against the City, would the city council then vote to throw in the towel and allow the church to operate sans normal land use approvals?
My assessment of the sale opponents’ current strategy is that it sucks. Their strategy was initially very sound—they mobilized the area’s elected officials, got city officials involved, and sought visible support from area residents and those who love the Tower District. They also got the news media to cover the story.
That’s the game plan I used to defeat an ill-advised apartment building proposal near Fresno State several years ago. That strategy led to a unanimous vote of the city’s planning commission to deny the project.
The street theatre that’s currently in play is what sucks. One wins land use planning battles in front of the planning commission and the city council, or in court, not on the street.
I know the Tower supporters think I don’t know what I’m talking about when I describe the longstanding neighborhood rift that—surprise—has surfaced again. Unfortunately, I do. A significant percentage of area residents will welcome the church being on Olive. Why? Because they detest the ‘weird’ reputation the Tower has and want the bars, night clubs, homeless, mentally ill, and the LGBTQ+ community gone.
A conservative org tried to mock Pete Buttigieg for denouncing racism. It blew up in their face
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The conservative Young America’s Foundation (YAF) tried to mock Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg this weekend because he called out racism in government policy.
But instead of people laughing at Buttigieg, people laughed at YAF. It was brutal.
A clinical trial for a HIV vaccine has been an overwhelming success
Juwan J. Holmes
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
A newly developed vaccine candidate for HIV recently completed its first clinical, in-human trial, and the results are being widely regarded as exciting and optimistic.
The trial results, finalized by scientists working with Scripps Research and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), were first published in February. 48 “healthy” and HIV-negative adults took part in the trial, and 24 received the vaccine candidate over two months while the other 24 received a placebo.
4th grader shames GOP TX senators who have been “attacking me since Pre-K”
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Ten-year-old Kai Shappley testified in front of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday and schooled the legislators on how to be better adults. Shappley spoke against a proposed law that would brand her mother as a child abuser for supporting her daughter.
“I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices,” she said. “Texas legislators have been attacking me since Pre-K. I am in fourth grade now.”
President Biden Honors Transgender Day of Visibility with a Proclamation
On March 31, 2021, President Biden honored the achievements and resiliency of the transgender community by issuing the first-ever presidential proclamation. The President noted in the proclamation that transgender Americans “of all ages face high rates of violence,
harassment, and discrimination.” According to Rachel Crandall Crocker, a Michigan-based transgender activist and founder of Transgender Day of Visibility, the President’s move provided the ultimate mark of legitimacy to the day.
Disney Parks Drop Gendered Requirements for Hair, Nails, Jewelry
The Disney Corporation announced on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, that employees at its theme parks will be allowed greater flexibility and more opportunity for expression through their costumes, hairstyles, jewelry, and nails. According to Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, the loosening of gendered presentation at the parks is part of an initiative to modernize Disney’s approach to customer service by adding “inclusion” to make the company’s diverse employees and customers feel more welcome.
Secretary Buttigieg Hopes to Bring Back Cruising by Mid-Summer
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in his first briefing since joining the Biden administration, was asked by reporters about the possibility of the cruise industry opening for business again. Buttigieg stated, “The CDC is hopeful that a lot of these operations will be able to be cruising by mid-summer.” He added, “We want to do this as soon as we responsibly can but we want to be safe.”
Buttigieg’s comments came just one day after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and the CDC, demanding they reopen the cruise ship industry. Cruise ships were shut down over a year ago because of the ongoing global pandemic.
Trans People Can Now Openly Serve in the Military and Get Gender-Affirming Medical Care
Pentagon officials announced new guidelines recently, allowing transgender people to enlist and serve freely in the US Military, as well as receive gender-affirming medical care. The new policies effectively sweeps away some of the last vestiges of the Trump administration’s ban on transgender troops serving openly.
John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wanted the military to recruit the best possible service members, regardless of their gender identity, and to reflect the diversity of the country it defends. Kirby said the guidelines will go into effect in 30 days.
Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage 20 years ago
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
On April 1, 2001, three gay male couples and one lesbian couple got married in the Netherlands, the day that the country’s law recognizing same-sex marriage went into effect. This makes today the 20th anniversary of marriage equality, since the Netherlands was the first country to legalize it.
“There are two reasons to rejoice,″ then Amsterdam Mayor Jacob Cohen told couples when he presided over their marriages just after midnight that day. ″You are celebrating your marriage, and you are also celebrating your right to be married.″
YOU NEED TO LOSE YOURSELF TO FIND YOURSELF
From time-to-time people will ask me, “Are you sure you know where you’re going in life?” That question has always baffled me because I don’t have the answer. Furthermore, I don’t think there is just one right answer. I think the answers change from person to person. In response to their quire, I usually blurt out, “Not only am I not sure where I’m going, but I’m not even sure where I have been!” This response typically gets a blank expression from the questioner who wanders away looking more confused than me.
Ultimately, you must decide what to do with your life and what meaning to give it. Don’t let other people tell you what meaning you should have for your life. Most of the time when someone is trying to convince you what you should do with your life, they are just trying to satisfy their need to feel important by giving advice. Keep this in mind when considering their guidance.
To make things more complicated, factor into the equation that your purpose in life changes as you age—it must. You wouldn’t expect your life purpose at age 20 to be the same as it was when you were ten? Life experiences change and shape you. How do you imagine your life situation ten years from now?
Granted, we do have some control over a portion of our lives. For example, we make choices every day, and those choices all have consequences—some favorable, others not so much. Those life choices accumulate as the years past. Before we know it, we find ourselves with careers and kids, houses, and spouses, and wondering how we got there. What happened? (Hey, a lifetime of choices adds up.)
It’s so ironic how I’ve spent most of my childhood trying to find myself, and now I’m spending most of my adulthood trying to lose myself. How strange is that? In my childhood, I pretty much did what I was told to do. I relied on adults to not only tell me what to do but also who I was. It was a struggle to develop a separate sense of identity. Slowly, as the years went by, I discovered hidden talents and abilities which helped me define myself as an independent person.
What’s odd is that the older I get, the more I recognize the interconnectedness I have with all people. I do not feel all alone in the world anymore. I realize that no one goes through life completely autonomous without needing anyone else. Humans are social beings and need each other.
Some spiritual sages teach that people do not have a permanent self. In other words, we do not stay the same day after day. We are constantly changing; this is not to say we have no identity or will of our own. It does, however, indicate we adapt to the changes in life—and life is always changing! The more we experience and learn, the more we change ourselves. And the more we change ourselves, the more we realize we don’t have a permanent self-concept.
Moreover, our identities are not as separate as we may have previously thought. We all share the planet of Mother Earth and Her resources. We cannot separate ourselves from the fact that we are all humans. And, as humans, we share certain biological traits and needs which connect us. The same life energy exists in all of us.
Let me share with you a personal example of how I interconnect with people. When I meet someone for the first time, I look for similarities, not differences. If the person happens to belong to another culture from mine, I get in touch with my spirit and think about a past life when I used to be a member of that person’s culture. Since I believe I have had countless past lives, it is not difficult for me to picture myself being a member from any culture in the world regardless of skin color, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, etc.
I may not know what it is like to be them. However, I can recall what it felt like when I was a member of that culture in a past life—which causes me to feel connected to them with compassion. This way of connecting with people helps me view the whole human race as my extended family.
Something to meditate on today. The next time you are in a public place, look around at everyone and imagine they are all members of your global family, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins—you name it. Notice how this change in perception strengthens the empathic connection you feel toward others. Practice this daily.
EL MAGO & THE HOLLYWOOD MOVIE
The pandemic isn’t the problem. It is an opportunity. It’s a brainstorming session. It is a Eureka moment. It’s life-changing. It is a time to stand tall. When many others are sitting down.
Earlier this year one of my friends told me, "If you ain't making money doing it; then it's just a hobby." OK. So I started a hobby during the pandemic. Making a movie. As it turns out...a real Hollywood movie.
I just might make money on my little home-based hobby. Maybe a lot of money. Here's what happened.
I've been housesitting in a townhome during the last seven months. The shutdowns have kept me inside much of the time.
I used to work on a therapeutic project of meeting strangers face-to-face every day for more than five years. While working toward a symbolic goal. The health crisis put an abrupt end to all that.
I wanted to stay engaged and busy though. An idea appeared one morning last summer. Give movie making a try. I put on a ball cap. Because I thought that's what a film producer like Spielberg would do. Then I went to work on my new pastime.
I began mailing out handwritten letters in the mail. Sending emails. Messaging through social media. Phone calls. In search of a film director. Someone who would connect with the uplifting story idea of my quixotic odyssey of rape recovery and my ten-year pursuit of justice. And bring it to the silver screen.
Gosh. If it were only that easy. Actually it sort of was. It just took an incredible amount of my time. That temporary home on Cochise Drive became Studio 1045 as I called it.
There I would sit at that big oak dining room table day after day like an el mago. Putting forth my best effort to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Hours turned into days. Turned into weeks. Turned into months. Until...abracadabra! I did it.
All the research. The dead ends. The grim gatekeepers. There were 54 filmmakers that interacted with me. Often through other people. They gave me a variety of responses. Too busy. Not my genre. No reply. Who are you? Get lost. Etc.
But number 55 was my golden ticket. Camilla said I do. We both cried. It was meant to be. I couldn't find the champagne in that townhome. I grabbed a pop can instead. Walked out into the courtyard. Shook it up. And victoriously sprayed it everywhere.
Then I came inside and felt like the dog that finally caught the car. Now what?
More work was ahead. Zoom meetings from the sofa. Phone calls walking up and down the hallway in my boxer-briefs and black socks. And extensive grant writing on the balconies. This has all been taking my leisure activity to another level. Pre-production is where this activity is at today.
I have a talented filmmaker/director named Camilla and a producer named Inbal now. They have designated me as an Associate Producer. Kind of cool. Check that. Super cool!
They’ll soon sign an agreement with me. One that gives me a portion of the profits when they likely sell the completed feature length documentary film to a streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon.
The pandemic. The 3-bedroom townhouse. The unsuspecting neighbors and HOA. And that little hobby that started out as a Spielberg dream while mixing my breakfast in the blender on that ordinary weekday.
I'm getting an entertainment lawyer. To help me sign the paperwork. And to truly give me the documents letting my buddy see that this ain't a hobby no more. I'm ready for my close-up Camilla!
There’s lots of darkness during this pandemic. But you see. That’s when the stars shine the brightest.
This story of the little engine that could is brought to you by that guy chugging along the tracks. That guy of I think I can is Ron Blake and his optimism can be shared at .
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:
A Complex Computation of Confusion
Dear Uncle Barbie,
It’s Waterloo. Last night at the group home, we watched some reality TV with my close friends. I think these reality shows are like traveling down a paved road; of course, it has potholes, but it also has more. But no problem, I don't mind. Believe it or not, I kind of like it. I’m permitted outside. I can be found at the park where I read your column over and over again; I’m still loose though. Sometimes, I feel that I want to, but then, I don’t. Again, Uncle Barbie remodeled my psyche (which is a cousin to my brain). After Saturday, my family took me out for a bite; it's worth it though. I'm getting some cool stuff out of him, huh? Looking back, I lucked out--I got a permanent welfare account! I thought about it and went back to where I met up with another friend (which makes it a good day). Yeah baby! A couple times it was possible to go all the way with my friend, but it didn’t happen. What an interesting life I have. Haven't had anything to eat and a few times I wished a belated birthday so many times just for cake. Speaking of food, I can smell what the staff is cooking for dinner tonight…mmmm. Gotta go!
Mr. Waterloo, you are a never-ending source of astonishment. Your psyche is like a gold mine--the deeper I dig, the more I find. However, you didn’t ask me a question. You were rambling so much I started wondering if you were trying to work through a brain blockage? Your every commentary is a complex computation of confusion. Let me try my hand at it, and see how you like it; here’s a quote from Marilyn Manson, from the song, “Cryptorchid,” off the album, Antichrist Superstar, “When the boy is still a worm, it’s hard to learn the number seven.” Try to figure that one out. Confused? Good; now you know how it feels to read one of your letters.
Perhaps you need a referral. Let me direct your psychotic mumblings to your local, neighborhood psychic chums. I’m sure they could find something capricious to say about your whimsical perspective on life. Furthermore, Mr. Waterloo, you should consider undergoing regressive, false memory therapy, so you can uncover some erroneous, memory fabrications to write me about in my next issue. You’re a real piece of work!
Sniffing the Daffodils, Barbie
by Eric Bigleon
ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
All the focus in on you at this time. Enjoy but be sure to include others. A very productive and satisfying time.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
Life is not boring as you put your nose to the grindstone. Recharge with meditation then keep pushing forward. There is life at the end of this tunnel.
GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
Busy. Busy. Busy. Others are not on the same page and think you are being pushy. You surprisingly are enjoying this.
CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Work seems to be occupying all your time. This is a bit much for you now. You want to slow down for a while. Spend quiet time to recharge. It all comes to focus in a short while.
LEO (July 23 - Aug 22)
You feel empowered now. Just make sure your ducks are in a row before you push forward. There may be some unexpected surprises here.
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
Others are rattling your cage. Don't let it get to you. Everything will calm down shortly. Put the time in.
LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22)
The ball is in your court so do what you want to do. Your interaction with others goes smoothly so use up that bottled up energy.
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
Spending more enjoying less. There just doesn't seem to be an anchor for you right now. You just can't get it together. Try a little brainwork now then move forward.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
You have a little friction going on in your life right now but you are in a good place and grounded so you can handle it. Very mental time.
CAPRICORN (Dec 21 - Jan 19)
You can do whatever you want now. Very fulfilling time and you can accomplish whatever you want to. It's good to be alive.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
Very creative for you now. You come up with new ideas to improve your life physically and mentally. There is a lot to be learned here.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
Its about you and others flock to you for guidance. Recharge and engage others. There may be a surprise in it for you personally.
TRANSGENDER RIGHTS WORKSHOP
hosted in collaboration with the Cross Cultural and Gender Center, LGBTQ+ Programs and Services and Trans-E-Motion.
Learn about your rights within housing, employment, healthcare, and more from a group of legal and policy experts. All are welcome to attend and learn!
RSVP HERE: bit.ly/transrights21
All participants are welcome.
Friday, April 23, 20217
5 to 7 p.m. (Pacific Time)