News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
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Issue IV, Volume XXV, No. 292 | December 2019

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
John Richardson

Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT seniors, and we get to twice a month for social functions.

The second Wednesday of the month we meet at different restaurants.

On Wednesday December 11th at 6 pm we will meet at Hino Oishi Japanese Restaurant at 3091 E Campus Pointe Dr. in Fresno close to the Maya Cinema. Please try to be there by 6 pm because we will not be seated until most of us are there.

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 campus at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno. Please notes that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation .

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

YOUTH ALLIANCE NEWS FROM DECEMBER 2019
David McGee

 

December arrived this year with mild temperatures, mild rain, and even a couple of foggy days! This month, most people are thinking about holiday decorations, holiday shopping, and holiday cheer. But the members of the Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance are not most people. They’re thoughts are on anime games and how many times they are going to watch the new Star Wars movie when it is released this month!

Thanksgiving came and went! Since many of our youth don’t fit in with traditional cis attitudes and attire, they had a tough time at Thanksgiving Day events. In one of our recent meetings, we talked about what they did to survive the holiday. Most of our youth hid out wherever they could, trying to interact as minimally as possible. They said they quickly grew tired of the imposing questions from adults, judging them on their presentation. And since some of our younger members aren’t even out to many of their family members, they were especially stressed by the holiday.

Our Youth Alliance Thanksgiving celebration, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, was completely different from the family events our youth were about to experience. For our celebration, everyone was accepted for whomever they were! There was no judgement and no imposing questions! We had our usual potluck mayhem, with plenty of food and soda! As always, everyone was loud and demonstrative!

We celebrated our Winter Holiday Party early this year, so that our tireless group leader, Rachel, AKA Banana, could attend her first corporate holiday party at her new job! The Youth Alliance met on Friday, December 13, for a holiday potluck and a White Elephant gift exchange. We had 20 participants, which was huge for our group! There was plenty of food, soda, and desserts! And as always, the White Elephant gift exchange was noisy and a lot of fun! Every year, there is one gift that becomes coveted in the gift exchange, so everyone tries to get it! This year the coveted object was a stuffed bear! That bear caused a lot of turmoil, and in the end, it went to craftiest member!

The Youth Alliance will meet on Friday December 20, 2019, for our last meeting of the year. We’ll talk about the latest happenings in everyone’s life and what thoughts they might have for their upcoming holiday events. Then we’ll take a break for a week. We won’t meet on the Friday after Christmas, December 27, so that Banana can have a small break! We’ll be back with a vengeance the following week, on January 3, 2020!

The Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance meets on Friday nights, at 7 PM, in the Fireside Room at the First Congregational Church (The Big Red Church), located at 2131 N. Van Ness, in Fresno. We welcome any and all LGBTQ youth and their allies, ages 14-25, to join us on Friday nights! Check out our Facebook page for reminders about the group! We usually post a reminder about the group meetings on Friday mornings! Just go to our Facebook page, “Fresno

GLBTQ (yes, in that order) Youth Alliance,” to check it out!

Local

 

NEWS FROM THE LIVING ROOM
Toni Harris

 

The Holidays are here and everywhere we are reminded that it is “the most wonderful time of the year”.  Time to be with family and friends and celebrate, joy and wonder, peace and love.

While for many of us that may be true but for others the season is far from it.  We have many in our community who have been disowned or shunned by family and they are out there on the streets alone and scared.  As a community we should and need to reach out to help those in need, not just during the Holidays but all year long, and many do.

There are organizations here in Fresno that want to help.  Here is a short list of just a few of them;

EOC Sanctuary:  Work with homeless youth. (559) 498-8543

Trans-E-Motion: work with the transgendered community.  (559) 464- 5806

Spectrum Center work with the LGBTQ community all ages (559) 319-8471

The Living Room: work with HIV/AIDS individuals (559) 486-1469

Suicide Hotlines works with everyone:  1-(800)-273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/lgbtq/

 

While these agencies are not the only local ones who will help they are a start and will direct you where to go for help if they can’t help you.   These agencies also can all be found on Facebook.   Don’t let yourself be alone or become another statistic of homelessness, hunger, loneliness or suicide.  Ask for help it is out there somewhere.  Keep looking, keep hoping, keep praying and continue to search for positive results for your problems.

We at The Living Room wish everyone a Happy Holiday season, no matter what Holiday you practice and participate in.  Call us if you need help (559) 486-1469.

Merry Christmas

Be safe

Be well

The board of The Fresno Spectrum Center would like to thank everyone who participated in the Holiday drives held. The “Adopt a Grandparent for the Holidays” and the “Adopt a Star for Youth in Mexico” toy and clothing drive were a HUGE success. Many donations were collected, and monetary contributions made. We can only be as successful as the support given to the center. 

Be sure to follow The Fresno Spectrum Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with many new activities, programs and services coming soon for 2020; such as: 

SPECTRUM STORY HOUR, children's story hour, read by drag kings, drag queens, faux kings and queens; and Transgender community members. 2nd Saturdays of the month 2p-3p 

 

YOGA, for lgbtq2+ and allies facilitated by Sophia, starting in January; Monday 27, additional days TBA. 

 

ART NIGHT, on the 3rd Tuesdays of the month from 6:30pm to 9:30 pm, facilitated by Trans-e-motion. 

 

YOUTH TYME, 3rd Saturdays of the month from 2pm to 4pm. 

 

MOVIE NIGHTS, TBA 

 

SENIOR MEET UP, coming on Wednesdays TBA. 

 

QUEER HMONG INTERSECTIONAL PRIDE, group just starting, times being planned, call for details. 

 

HIV/AIDS testing, coming soon. 

 

HEALTH CLINIC, to start in early 2020. 

 

WORKSHOPS, on lgbtq2+ cultural sensitivity, nonprofit start up and grants sharing. 

 

On behalf of the board of The Fresno Spectrum Center and volunteers; may your holidays be fun filled, with many joyous memories. 

 

Thank You! 

Fresno Stonewall Democrats voted to endorse Congressional candidates in CD16, CD21, CD22 at the December meeting. Candidates were required to complete an LGBTQ Questionnaire specific to issues pertaining to the LGBTQ community to be considered. All of the Democratic Congressional candidates completed the questionnaire and sought Fresno Stonewall Endorsement.  

The Candidates were:  

CD16 

Jim Costa, D - Incumbent 

Esmeralda Soria, D 

Kim Williams, D 

 

CD  21 

TJ Cox, D - Incumbent  

 

CD 22 

Phil Arballo, D 

Bobby Bliatout, D 

Dary Rezvani, D 

 

Fresno Stonewall Democrats endorsed TJ COX, CD21 but was unable to reach the 60% threshold  required for endorsement in CD21 or CD22. The candidate questionnaires are available for the viewing at www.fresnostonewalldemocrats.org . You are encouraged to read them to make an informed vote prior to voting March 3, 2020.  

 

Fresno Stonewall Democrats will be considering endorsement for Fresno City Council and Fresno Mayor at the January, 14, 2020 meeting. The meetings are open to anyone, to participate in the endorsement you must be a member. Membership is open to all registered Democrats there are $20 yearly membership dues. 

 

FSD meets the second Tuesday of the month at Yosemite Falls Cafe, 5123 N Blackstone at 6:15 PM. Social gathering is at 5:15 PM. 

 

If you have any questions about FSD, the endorsement process, or how to get involved please contact FSD President Marsha Conant at 559-492-8223 or fresnostonewlldemocrats@gmail.com.  

 

REGISTER TO VOTE! 

National

 

HOUSE DEMOCRAT ALMOST OVERTURNED TRUMP'S TRANS MILITARY BAN

A provision was inserted in a military spending bill to overturn the trans military ban. But it was dropped due to Republican pressure.
Daniel Villarreal
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

Five major national LGBTQ organizations and other groups are “profoundly discouraged” by a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — a major $738 billion 2020 military funding bill — for its exclusion of language overturning Donald Trump’s transgender military ban. The NDAA is expected to pass with bipartisan support.

The final bill does have language encouraging the military to grant waivers allowing trans soldiers to enlist despite Trump’s ban and a provision helping LGBTQ soldiers kicked out under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) to fight for “honorable” discharges on their official records, facilitating their access to federal veteran benefits

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

THE ACTIVIST'S GUIDE TO DIGITAL & PHYSICAL SECURITY
 

While advocating for increased rights and protections, LGBTIQ advocates often have to deal with threats both to individuals and to community spaces. With conservatism on the rise all over the world, our communities continue to come under attack when we speak up for ourselves and speak out against hate.

Today on #HumanRightsDay we are seizing the opportunity to assert our vision for a better world, and equipping members of our community with the tools they need to protect themselves.

When fighting for the rights of people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, it is key that you and your community know your rights! LGBTIQ people exist all across the globe, and it is time for countries to uphold their commitments to protect, respect and fulfill the human rights of all.

Physical and mental well-being are paramount to our work as activists, and it is important that we adequately plan to protect our safety. Watch our new videos below for some tips on how to safeguard the physical and digital security of your organization, how to react to threats, and how to protect your community members.

GENDER-NEUTRAL 'THEY' IS MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S WORD OF THE YEAR

People were looking up the pronoun "they" a lot more in 2019 than they ever did before.
Bil Browning
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has named the personal pronoun “they” as the word of the year for 2019. The pronoun can be used to refer to a person of non-binary gender identity.

Earlier this year, the publisher announced that three new words related to transgender issues were being added to the dictionary: gender nonconforming, top surgery, and bottom surgery. The gender-neutral pronoun (along with “themself”) was also added this year.

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

PLEAS FOR DONATIONS FROM GLSEN
 

With the new year approaching, many of us are reflecting upon the last 12 months. For LGBTQ youth, it’s been a challenging year marked by increasing number of direct attacks by the Trump administration—GLSEN’s work has never felt more urgent.

We’re committed to ending anti-LGBTQ bias and discrimination in our schools. Friend, your donation today will help maintain the progress we’ve made in that last 30 years and expand outreach to LGBTQ students.

Sometimes the work we do is more that we can bear. We mourn the loss of LGBTQ youth to suicide. We regret the tragic stories of bullying, discrimination, and violence. However, we take solace in the knowledge that our work is making schools safer for millions of LGBTQ youth thanks to your support. With your help, we’ve shown up for students:

  • We hosted 3,000+ students at youth summits—to build community while developing organizing and leadership skills; 
     

  • We trained 10,000+ educators—to support LGBTQ students. Many of these teachers risk their jobs to serve as role models and confidants for queer youth;
     

  • We organized 1,000,000 students around days of action—creating renewed momentum to carry our mission and our message through 2019 and into 2020; and
     

  • We collected data for the 11th edition of our landmark National School Climate Survey—our flagship report on the experiences of LGBTQ youth in our nation’s schools. 

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, our local chapters can be there for students, educators, and communities when they need GLSEN’s help most. Friend, making a donation to GLSEN is one of the most impactful actions you can take on behalf of LGBTQ youth—and a critical investment you can make in their futures.

Thank you for your generosity today and your continued partnership in the year ahead.

TRUMP DREAMS ABOUT BUTTIGIEG
David McGee

President Trump told attendees at a campaign rally in Hershey, PA, this week that he dreams about Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg. He said, “This guy, Buttigieg—can you believe he’s doing well? He’s like the leading fundraiser. I dream about him! It’s true! No Boot-edge-edge!”

Buttigieg responded to Trump’s comments in a live-streamed December 13 interview with The Washington Post’s Bob Costa, saying, “I don’t know what goes on in the president’s dreams, but I’m sure I want absolutely nothing to do with them.”

Source: advocate.com





UNITED NATIONS HONORS CYNDI LAUPER'S LGBTQ ACTIVISM
David McGee

The United Nations presented LGBTQ ally Cyndi Lauper with its first-ever High Note Global Prize, on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. The honor was bestowed during Lauper’s Home for the Holidays concert, in New York. The UN made particular note of Lauper’s work through True Colors Unlimited, a nonprofit organization founded to combat homelessness in LGBTQ youth. Fellow LGBTQ icon Cher recorded a video message congratulating Lauper on her award.


Source: advocate.com

TEXAS JUDGE REPRIMANDED FOR REFUSING TO CONDUCT SAME-SEX MARRIAGES

David McGee


A Texas judge is standing her ground after being reprimanded by a state commission for refusing to conduct same-sex weddings. Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley, from McLellan County, in central Texas, says she’s done nothing wrong by turning away same-sex couples because of her conservative Christian beliefs. The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct published a public warning against the judge on Monday, December 9, 2019, stating her behavior casts doubt on her capacity to be impartial.

 

Source: huffpost.com

ACTIVISTS SAY FACEBOOK PrEP ADS PUSH MISINFORMATION

David McGee

LGBTQ advocates say that Facebook ads which focus on the side effects of PrEP, the medication meant to prevent the transmission of HIV, have scared potential candidates from utilizing the medication. The ads, which have been viewed millions of times in recent months, appear to have been purchased by personal injury lawyers, warning readers not to take the medication, even though health officials and federal regulators have said that the medications are safe. Groups such as GLADD, an LGBTQ rights organization, have asked Facebook to take the ads down—to no avail. GLADD, the Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, and 49 other LGBTQ organizations intend to step up their efforts immediately in order to affect changes on Facebook.

Source: washingtonpost.com

International

 
continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

HOW TO HELP HOMELESS QPOC YOUTH THIS CHRISTMAS
Devin Randall

Reposted from InstinctMagazine.com
 

People are trying their best to give homes and spaces of rest for queer black youth this Holiday season.

According to the Independent, a new campaign is raising funds to give queer Black youth proper Christmas celebrations. Writer and youth worker Tanya Compas, whom Amnesty UK named one of the UK’s most inspiring women, is spearheading the crowdfunding campaign that aims to offer 35 queer black youth a “chosen family” this Christmas season.

continue reading at InstinctMagazine.com

MOTHER WHO BRUTALLY STABBED HER SON TO DEATH FOR BEING GAY, GETS 25 YEARS IN PRISON

The mother admitted she stabbed her son, drove his body out to a deserted cane field, and set it on fire.
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

A mother who was convicted of killing her son because he’s gay has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The December 2016 death of 17-year-old Itaberli Lozano at the hands of his mother shocked the world. Investigators accused the mother, Tatiana Lozano Pereira, 35, of stabbing her son, burning his body, and burying him in a cane field near Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Enlighten Me

 

WE ALL HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN FROM NATURE
Mark Langfeld

 

As we explore the wisdom of nature, it would be most beneficial first to release preconceived notions and be open-minded to new ideas and concepts. Most of us, including myself, fall into a kind of mental mind trap that psychologists call, confirmation bias; this means that once we have formed a belief about something, we tend to look for information that will confirm it while dismissing any information that contradicts it.
 

That said, it stands to reason that if we want to open our minds, we need to free ourselves from what we already think we know. This process of learning to unlearn our dogmatic beliefs is a mental acknowledgment that we all have much to learn about any topic, even the ones of which we consider ourselves to be experts.

I first learned this lesson when I was just finishing my graduate work and about to put the credential, “Dr.” in front of my name. One of my older, wiser, and most beloved professors spoke to my graduating class.

She peered over the podium at the crowd of students dressed in formal graduation gowns and looking so smart—doctors now! She spoke of the intelligence of the earth and how nature does not try to be wise. That is what makes it truly wise. With a solemn tone to her voice, she spoke of the difference between possessing the knowledge and having wisdom. The latter encompasses compassion. Without compassion, raw knowledge could be misused to exploit others.

The one statement I remember most vividly is when she leaned forward, adjusted the microphone down to her mouth and said, “People are not going to care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Those words have stuck with me ever since that day. And they are just as valuable today as they were then.

We can learn to trust the earth, and let nature run its course without human interference. It seems whenever humans try to control the forces of nature, it makes things worse. Far better it would be if we learned to adapt and adjust to these natural forces. When we embrace the planet as it is without trying to change it, the wisdom of the earth will be in our hearts. Perhaps then, we will better understand our human nature in the process.

Why is it that some people want to change Mother Nature? Could they be projecting their flaws? If people believe that they are in need of improvement, they may just project that issue onto nature in a futile attempt to “correct” the earth.

However, this endeavor is an impossible mission. Humans cannot improve the wisdom of nature. If people meddle with it, they could damage it. And if people try to exploit the earth for their selfish gains, they could disrupt the delicate balance of nature. Intelligent people learn from nature and grow wiser. Irrational people try to control nature and fail.
 

Whenever people have disturbed the laws of nature, devastation eventually ensued; this has been seen countless times over the course of human history. The smog and carbon which pollutes the air, toxic waste dumped into the soil, litter scattered across the land, oil spills contaminating water supplies, and the devastation on wildlife are all consequences of human interference on the natural order of things.
 

As a positive step, we all need to follow the wisdom of nature to save ourselves; this requires us to practice humility (not a very popular subject among humans). None of us are superior to nature. We are part of nature, not above it. The fact is that we are all organic and, therefore, subject to the same laws of nature as every other being on the planet. Our bodies will grow old, die, and decay just as the decomposing leaves on our lawns. (Now there is a sobering image that can keep us humble.)
 

If we let go of our self-defeating beliefs, nature can guide us. One of the many things the earth can teach us is how to be yielding. When the wind blows, look what happens: the trees sway, the grass bends, and the clouds peacefully drift across the sky. We, too, can learn to roll with the punches. As we face the trials and tribulations of the day, let’s be flexible and yield to the laws of nature. Resisting the natural order of things is analogous to a child resisting physical growth. The more we resist nature, the more we produce stress in our lives.
 

Everything has its time. The sun rises and sets only to repeat the same cycle the next day over and over again. The sun is not in a hurry; it does not need to rush. We need to take that lesson from Mother Nature and slow down. The commonly heard phrase, “Life is a circle” is not just a truism. It is a lesson for us to learn. We, too, will someday return our bodies to the earth.
 

Something to meditate on today. Pay attention to the cycles of nature. Notice the current season. Is the earth sleeping as it does in winter, just awakening as it does in the spring, growing and flourishing as it does in summer? Or is the earth preparing to slow down and yield its harvest as it does in the fall? What is nature trying to teach you in this current season? Having a greater awareness of nature is the first step in understanding the wisdom of the earth.
 

New Wellness

 

TENSE MOMENTS

Dan Waterhouse

 

Things got tense in a Fresno State classroom on Friday the 13th as English graduate student Megan Bronson presented her paper looking at the local Drag Queen Story Hours organized by Common Space.

Bronson explained to the small audience the story hours were intended to give LGBT kids or LGBT parents a safe place. She added organizers wanted to introduce attendees to the concept of gender fluidity.

An audience member pushed back at her, asking if the story hours were really necessary and questioned whether the events pushed a particular political ideology at children. He argued that children should be allowed to be kids and left out of the culture wars.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the room until the moderator encouraged others in the audience to continue asking questions.

Bronson also explained why there wasn’t one this year. After the event outgrew Common Space’s original space on Tulare Street in 2017, it was held at Bitwise South Stadium’s theatre the next year.

According to Bronson, Bitwise faced backlash from Ben Bergquam, Brooke Ashjian and other local conservatives before the 2018 story hour. Extra security had to be hired to keep the venue safe. When Common Space approached Bitwise to host a story hour this year, they were told, regretfully, no.

Bronson’s presentation did not address the controversy surrounding Common Space the last few months following its second annual fundraising gala. Charges and countercharges have swirled since the event. Common Space’s brick and mortar space on Fulton Street downtown abruptly closed down and the nonprofit’s founder announced he was leaving the Central Valley for the Bay Area.

Fresno State has a ticking timebomb that’s buried in a lawsuit filed in November. A Fresno State student filed the lawsuit in Superior Court claiming she was raped by another student during a domestic violence incident three years ago.

The district attorney’s office filed a battery charge against the man but declined to file the rape charge due to lack of evidence. According to court records, the battery charge was resolved with a conditional plea of no contest on the condition that if the defendant kept out of trouble for six months, the court would change the plea to one of not guilty and then dismiss the case.

The ticking bomb revolves around the woman’s claims that there was a group of fraternity men out and about sexually assaulting women. According to her, the group was known as “the Wolves of the Mall’ and was all about raping women.

She also claimed neither Fresno State or the university’s Greek system took action against the man.

As of this writing, court records indicate the lawsuit has not been served.

The same woman also got into a social media tiff with the owner of a local night spot during the Thanksgiving holiday and accused him of sexual improprieties. In response, he claimed she was stalking his business and staff online.

A campus spokesperson said that, as far as the university was concerned, the incident was closed three years ago. She added the school had been providing resources to the woman student for her recovery.

Uncle Barbie

 

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

SURVIVING A CHAOTIC CHILDHOOD

 

My Dearest Uncle Barbie,

I am a near forty-something woman who was taken away from my parents as a small child and given to my aunt. My other six siblings were sent to foster homes. My mother was a raging alcoholic, and my father was present but not present. Anyway, due to health issues, no foster home would take me (thankfully things have changed a bit since then...). Growing up, I always wanted to be a part of a family. My aunt would always introduce her two biological daughters, and then introduce me as "my brother's girl.” After a decade and a half of this, you kind of get the idea that "YOU ARE AN OUTSIDER!" Thankfully, my cousins have always treated me as a sister, for better or for worse.

 

Now comes the fun part! My biological siblings and I have always held each other at arm’s length. I have watched them drink themselves into oblivion, beat their children, go in and out of jail, and use every person they have come into contact with. When I left my aunt's house and got out on my own, I allowed myself to be pulled into only one situation where my oldest brother tried to use me to get drugs and booze, and I said, “Forget it.” I felt the only way to keep out of all of their drama was to just remove myself from the situation. So I got a job on the other side of the world, met my husband, moved back to the states, and now live here in Minnesota, far removed from their craziness.

 

As I am getting older, I think I'm emotionally mature enough to try to bridge the gap with my biological family. I talk to my mom by email (she is no longer drinking and has been dry for years). I have tried to get in touch with one of my brothers and his new wife, but he won't answer any of my emails. Now, a different brother is in the last stages of his battle with AIDS, and my mom has told me that he doesn't have long to live. This brother is an interesting fellow; he insisted he got the disease through IV drug use and told me many years ago that he hated having the disease because everyone thought he was a "fag." I told him, at that time, that I didn't care how he got it. The cause was irrelevant to me. Well, as the years passed, it came out (or should I say, he came out?) and told us he was bisexual. He is divorced from his wife, but they still live together. Apparently, my wonderful biological siblings set upon him like a pack of wolves when they heard this news, and he has withdrawn from the family (much like I did). My mom tells me that he is now withdrawing from her, as well. She has been trying to bring him back into the family for years.

 

So, after all that, my question is this: How can I reconnect with my brother? I have a feeling that he will take my attempts to contact him as pity and will get annoyed. I don't want to get him worked up. I just want to let him know that I'm sorry we haven't been closer. I don't want my brother to die feeling like his family doesn't love him.

Soooo. Any thoughts?

Signed, Confused in the City

 

Hello Confused City Girl,

Thank you for having the courage to open up your heart and share your personal story with me. It takes a special person to have that kind of strength. One of the nice things about being an advice columnist is that I have the privilege of being able to read the deeply touching narratives from readers. If the people from your childhood did not appreciate you, that’s their problem--not yours. Based on your description, your siblings are a bunch of sociopathic users who treat others as objects to be exploited. (Yeah, chemical dependency and narcissism make for an ugly mix.) If some of your brothers don’t return your emails and refuse to reconnect with you, then accept that. You have done your part in the communication process by letting them know that you would like to re-establish contact. The rest is up to them. If they do not respond, don’t push it--it will only drive them further away.

 

I am proud of you for showing support to your brother who is dying of AIDS. I have seen many cases where families have turned their backs on their own kin because of HIV and AIDS. When I was finishing my doctoral dissertation on hypnotic pain management, I did a year of volunteer work serving people living with AIDS. It was especially heartbreaking during the holiday season because most of them would not even get so much as a card or a phone call from their parents. I truly do not understand how a mother or father can abandon their own child just because that child is dying from a disease (like AIDS) that carries a negative social stigma. It’s NOT shameful to have a family member with HIV/AIDS; it IS shameful to have so much prejudice and condemnation for a loved one that you turn away when that person needs you the most. Regardless of what religious institution you subscribe to, every major religion in the world teaches that we should all love one another. Maybe AIDS is not so much a curse as it is a test of our love.

 

You asked how you can reconnect with your brother. There is no magical formula. Just send him a letter expressing your compassion and your love for him. If he writes you back, great! If he does not, there is really not much else you can do. Be at peace knowing that you have told him how you feel. Once again, congratulations for having survived such a crazy childhood. You are a beautiful soul.

Compassion with Pride, Barbie

Horoscopes

 

ARIES (Mar  - Apr 19)
It's spend, spend, spend for the holidays. You just can't control yourself. Don't over extend here if you can. Could be an opportunity coming up.

 

TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20) 
You are not sure what to make of what is going on. On one hand others seem to work against you and on the other they are attracted to you. Lay low for a while. 

 

GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
The holidays are uneventful then you run in to a brick wall. That will wake you up. Plow through your work and don't expect anything. 

 

CANCER (June 22 - July 22) 
Lots of interaction with others this holiday. Very creative time and a good time to start a health routine. 

 

LEO (July 23 - Aug 22)
It's full speed ahead for you. Your motto is out with the old and in with the new, You feel refreshed. 

 

VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
You really are a worker bee during this time especially around the home. Try to look at the bigger picture to see where you want to go. 

LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22)
Others pull at you in different directions. You are not sure what to do then all of a sudden you do. It's magic. Change course if necessary. 

 

SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
All that energy an no place to go. Short fuse but it's all good when you realize it. Enjoy what's happening around you and it will be fun. 

 

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
Life is whatever you want to make of it. You are going to have to create your opportunity now. Lots of introspection going on. 

 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
You are one busy beaver during the holidays. Time to make new traditions in your life. A new life awaits you. 

 

AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
The past is coming back to haunt you. You need to change the way you look at life. Work and play are highlighted during the holiday. 

 

PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
With spending finally under control you can concentrate on being just you for the holidays. Very perceptive and practical time in your life. 

Not To Be Missed

 

 

Rose Parade

LA

The Honda Corporation presents the 131st annual Rose Parade on January 1, 2020, in Pasadena, CA, starting at 8:00 AM. For millions of people around the world, the Rose Parade is an iconic New Year’s Day tradition. The Rose Parade travels 5 ½ miles down Colorado Blvd, in Pasadena, featuring four types of entries: floral-decorated floats entered by participating corporations, non-profit organizations, equestrian units, bands, and Tournament Entries. Rose Parade participants have long histories of involvement with the Tournament of Roses. This year’s theme is “the Power of Hope.” 2020 Grand Marshals include Rita Moreno, Gina Torres, and Laurie Hernandez. Curbside viewing of the parade is available on a first-come basis. For information about the parade or Tournament of Roses events, go to tournmentofroses.com

 

 

 

Women Laughing Out Loud

 

LA

 

The Los Angeles LGBT Center Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Center will present Women Laughing Out Loud, the 20-Year Anniversary Show, on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 7 PM. Women Laughing Out Loud features some of the funniest lesbian comedians ever! The show will be hosted by Vickie Shaw and features Jackie Loeb, Jennie McNulty, Ebony Toliver, and Sandra Valls. General admission for the show and after-party with dinner and dancing is $40. VIP tickets are $60 and include preferred seating and a hosted VIP reception. The Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Center is located at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles, CA, 90038. For tickets go the lalgbtcenter.org.

 

 

 

Cirque du Soleil

 

SF

 

Cirque du Soleil will present its latest extravaganza, AMALUNA, starting January 2, 2020, at the Oracle Park, in San Francisco. Cirque du Soleil is known for its acrobatic and musical combination shows. Cirque du Soleil shows are super colorful and absolutely amazing. They perform all over the world. The Oracle Park is located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA, 94107. Tickets start at $109. For tickets go to ticketscirquedusoleil.com or your favorite ticket seller, such as vividseats.com.

 

 

 

Hamilton

 

SF

 

Hamilton, the musical, will be presented at the Orpheum Theater, San Francisco, during the months of December, 2019, and January, 2020. Hamilton is a musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Tickets for this event start in the $200 range. The Orpheum Theater is located at 1192 Market Street, San Francisco, CA, 94102. For tickets go to Orpheum.ticketsoffice.org or your favorite ticket seller.

 

 

 

Enzo’s Table Food Truck Fair

 

Clovis

Enzo’s Table harvests and produces estate-grown extra virgin olive oil, organic balsamic vinegar, handcrafted pestos, jams, almond butter, and holiday gifts. On Saturday, January 11, 2020, from 10:30 until 2:30, you can also purchase food from a collection of food trucks, which will be located at Enzo’s Table retail store, at 1959 N. Willow Ave, Clovis CA, 93619.

 

 

 

Finding Neverland

 

Fresno

 

Finding Neverland (Touring) will be presented on January14 and 15, 2020, at 7:30 PM, at the Saroyan Theatre, in Fresno. Finding Neverland tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters, Peter Pan. Playwright JM Barrie was inspired by a chance meeting with four boys and their widowed mother. Inspired by the boys’ make-believe adventures, Barrie set out to write a play that would astound London, England theatergoers. The result of his inspiration is pixie dust and magic. The Saroyan Theatre is located at 700 M Street, Fresno, CA, 93721. Tickets for this event start at $35. You can purchase tickets at the Convention Center Box Office, or go to ticketmaster.com.

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Contact Us

P O Box 4959, Fresno, CA 93744

newslnk@aol.com  |  Tel: 559-266-5465

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