Issue IV, Vol. XXVI, No. 304 | December 2020
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 DECEMBER 2020
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, December, 2020.
If you have any questions, please call John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Stay Safe!
Youth Alliance News December 2020
The month of December has arrived with mild fall weather and a touch of rain. The fall weather is fine, but California needs more rain! We hope everyone is doing their rain dances to bring rain to our valley and state! Jump on your good leg, people!
Some of the valley younglings have returned to school in their physical locations, but our LGBTQ Youth Alliance group members report that they continue to attend school via teleconferencing. They are tired of the process, but they agreed that teleconferencing is safer, considering the increase of coronavirus infections across the country. Thankfully, our youth will have a three-week winter recess starting very soon. When asked if they are ready for a break, our group members shouted a resounding, “Yes!”
The Youth Alliance continues to meet on Zoom, a teleconferencing platform. Of course, the youth have more skill at navigating Zoom since they use it daily for school. Our adult leaders, on the other hand, cross their fingers and hope for success every time they try to join the meeting! Be patient with us, Unicorn! We’ll catch up to y’all eventually!
Our attendance continues to be a little low, but we’re all thankful for the opportunity to meet! We have an occasional new member, which is exciting! We’re glad folks can find us! Our group leader, Rachel, AKA Banana, keeps us on topic as we chat on Friday nights! Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, has been joining us for group, and he always brings information about current events and LGBTQ history!
We’ve been talking about the holidays in our last few youth group meetings. Last week we talked about which holiday we like best, and there was a tie between Halloween and Christmas. Some people like the overall mood of Halloween, especially the dark symbology and scary movies. Some people like Christmas best, with its bright lights and shiny ornaments.
We’ve also discussed our favorite Christmas movies, and some of our choices were Nightmare Before Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Elf. The elders talked about A Miracle on 34th Street and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Of course, there were a few in our group that reported they watch ghoulish movies throughout the holidays and pass on the sappy Christmas movies! In our group, we’re all about diversity!
Until we can meet in person, the Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance will meet virtually on Friday nights, from 7 PM to 8:30 PM, on Zoom! We will be sure to publish the link for our Zoom meeting on Facebook, and now that we’ve got our Instagram account going, we’ll publish on Instagram, as well! COVID-19 has changed how people meet, but with some ingenuity, our Youth Alliance can continue to meet! We urge any and all school-aged youth to join us on our new platform, on Friday nights!
DROP-IN CENTER CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
The SOURCE LGBT+ Center
We value your safety and health and are responding to COVID-19 with best practices in social distancing.
We know this can feel isolating and hope you can reach out to us by email, Facebook, text, or phone calls.
Our staff is available Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm.
We are moving all support groups to online video chats. Please contact your facilitator to find out more.
We are still here and know we can get through anything together. Stay safe, and be kind.
EVERYONE IS SENDING LOVE TO ELLIOT PAGE AFTER HE CAME OUT ON TIWTTER
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Celebrities, companies, and just about everyone else on the internet is celebrating with Elliot Page today after the actor came out as transgender.
“I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot,” he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.”
SUPREME COURT HANDS VICTORY TO TRANSGENDER STUDENTS IN LOCKER ROOM CASE
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The Supreme Court has declined to take up a case brought by Oregon parents who want to exclude transgender students from school locker rooms and restrooms. The parents demanded that trans students only use facilities that correspond with their sex at birth and not the gender with which they identify.
The court did not give a reason for turning away the appeal, but similar lawsuits have been dismissed by lower courts across the country. The decision to decline the case is a big win for transgender students.
MICHIGAN COURT RULES THAT BUSINESSES CAN REFUSE GAY & BI PEOPLE, BUT NOT TRANS PEOPLE
Reposted from LGBTQNation
A Michigan court has ruled that it’s legal for businesses to refuse to serve gay and bisexual people but not transgender people.
The state’s civil rights law includes neither sexual orientation nor gender identity, but the Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted in 2018 to interpret the state’s ban on discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination against LGBTQ people, an interpretation that federal courts have agreed with and that was later used by the Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County this past year to rule that federal law already bans job discrimination against LGBTQ people.
ELLEN DEGENERES TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS
Ellen Degeneres announced recently on Twitter that she has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Degeneres posted, “Hi Everyone, I want to let you all know that I tested positive for COVID-19,” adding that she is feeling fine for now. Degeneres said that anyone who has been in close contact with her had been notified. Her talk show has been placed on a brief hiatus. Degeneres wrote, “Ill see you all again after the holidays. Please stay health and safe.”
JK ROWLINGS SAYS 90% OF HER FANS AGREE WITH HER TRANSPHOBIA BUT ARE AFRAID TO SAY SO
JK Rowlings has spent the better part of the last year arguing that transgender teens are being pressured to transition and transgender women are a threat to cis women. And now she claims that 90% of the letters she has received responding to her views on transgender people have been supportive, but the letter writers are afraid of vicious, pro-equality advocates. After being attacked for making anti-transgender comments last year, Rowlings published a rambling 3700-word essay on her website in June, 2020, saying she was afraid of transgender women because cis men have hurt her. She also made additional anti-transgender comments on Twitter. Despite her continued attacks, Rowlings earns millions from her books annually, and has even released a new book about a cis man who dresses up as a woman so that he can get close enough to women to kill them.
MIKE PENCE MOCKED FOR HIS "PENCE PRANCE" ON TWITTER
Mike Pence is being mocked for his exuberant entrance to a recent campaign event. The Vice President “prance-clapped” across a tarmac to the tune of Free’s “All Right Now.” Pence was stumping for Georgia Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Pence’s strange moves were spotted by The Recount, a video-first political media provider, which shared the video on Twitter. Just a few days later, the video has accrued over 2 million hits. Pence’s prance follows bizarre moves from President Trump, who would gyrate to the Village People’s “YMCA” at rallies during the lead-up to the presidential election. Pence is known for his anti-LGBTQ stance, and yet the song, “All Right Now” was co-written by Andy Fraser, the out bass player from the Free band.
HARVEY FIERSTEIN PAYS HOMAGE TO BELLA ABZUG IN A ONE-PERSON SHOW, BELLA BELLA
The one-person show, Bella Bella, was originally written and performed in front of a live audience by Harvey Fierstein, starting in October, 2019, but with the theater shuttered for the foreseeable future, the play has found a second life where it can reach even more people, on Audible, the online audiobook and podcast service owned by Amazon. Laced with searing humor that is part Fierstein and part Abzug, and anecdotes from Abzug’s life as a civil rights attorney, a crusader for women’s rights, and ceiling-cracking politician, Bella Bella translates seamlessly to its new iteration as an Audible Original under the direction of Kimberly Senior.
SWITZERLAND IS SET TO BE THE NEXT COUNTRY TO LEGALIZE MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Switzerland is moving forward with a bill to legalize marriage equality, which could make it the next European country to do so.
The Council of States – the upper house of Switzerland’s legislature – passed a law that would legalize marriage equality with a 22-15 vote, with seven abstentions. The lower house – the National Council – passed the bill this past June.
MEXICO'S HIGHEST-RANKING BISHOP BACKS POPE'S SUPPORT OF CIVIL UNIONS FOR LGBTQ COUPLES
Cardinal Carlos Aguiar, archbishop of Mexico City, said in a recent interview that he backs the pope’s comments from a documentary that aired in October, 2020, in which the pope advocated for legal protection for gay couples. In the interview, with Mexican broadcaster, Televisa, the pope said, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family; they are children of God.” He added, “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.
The pope’s comments did not signal any change in church doctrine but may predicate an eventual acceptance of LGBTQ rights by the Catholic Church.
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, SO LEARN TO ADAPT
Nothing in this world is permanent. Everything changes. That is the way of life. It is the natural order of things. If you understand the earth’s history, you realize that any species that did not adapt to change became extinct. Nature is in a perpetual motion of change.
The environment is not exactly as it was yesterday. Oh, sure, it may look the same from a distance. However, upon closer inspection, one sees that there are minuscule transformations taking place regardless of the season. The trees, bushes, yards, clouds, and creatures are all in constant flux. Even the buildings and streets are slowly breaking down.
It is completely irrational, therefore, to expect things in your life to stay the same. Children grow up, friends come and go, careers change, etc. To desire permanence is to hope for the impossible. It is comparable to trying to stop the passage of time. Such desires only lead to frustration and cause stress.
Far better it would be to graciously accept the inevitability that everything in life naturally transforms into something else. Summer turns to fall, people age, loved ones depart, and so it goes. Surrender to the laws of nature, and let your heart be at peace.
When you recognize this fact of life, you can better cope with the unexpected. Perhaps you suddenly lose your job, or your life partner leaves you for someone new. Whatever the unforeseen event might be, if you acknowledge that nothing in life stays the same, you are better equipped to emotionally and spiritually adjust to the new situation. Nothing lasts forever. Permanence in this world is an illusion. Take a deep cleansing breath and accept that fact.
Refusing to accept the inescapable changes in life inevitably results in problems. An instance that readily comes to mind is the way society seems to be obsessed with looking younger. It’s as though adults want to turn back the hands of time and return to an earlier state of existence. Impossible!
Facelifts, anti-aging creams, and hair coloring to take away the gray are all futile attempts to fight against nature and go against the natural order of things. No wonder there are times when we feel in conflict with ourselves. When we fight nature, we fight ourselves. Go with the flow. Age graciously and be an example of serenity. Instead of modeling youthful vanity, model calm acceptance.
The political arena is ripe with individuals who resist change and progress. Some speak of their burning desire to return to the good-old-days when they were younger. They seem to forget that the so-called good-old-days were not always so good. Any period in the past was originally radically new and part of the changing times that were moving forward, not backward. Longing for the past is analogous to trying to drive a car by looking in the rearview mirror. Such actions are awkward at best and reckless at worst. They often result in collisions.
Just take a look at some of the world governments. Inevitably, there are some leaders (usually dictators) who dig in their heels and refuse to give up power. They resist the will of the people and, more importantly, the natural flow of progress.
It seems we cannot talk about politics without including religion. Here, too, we see a fear of change and a flight to past times—at least among the more conservative religions. What exactly are the conservatives trying to conserve—the past? It is ironic, almost humorous, how some Christian conservatives sharply criticize and judge the new ways, beliefs, fashions, and lifestyles of people today.
Why is this ironic? Well, because one only need look at biblical history to learn that Jesus, himself, was a liberal. He held revolutionary beliefs, disagreed with the conservatives, promoted changing the old ways, and constantly spoke of love and peace. Face it—Jesus was a long-haired hippie! (By the way, if you are not laughing right now, you are probably a conservative.)
Something to meditate on today. Live by the natural order of things. Stop resisting inevitable change. You are growing older—just accept it! Stop struggling. Go with the flow of nature. All things change. Notice this in the environment around you. Go outside. Walk through the woods, City Park, yard, or garden. Irrespective of the season, be aware of the changes in your environment.
Perhaps you could visit the same spot or piece of ground each week to note the specific changes. Notice what is new and different, the growth, temperature, wind changes, etc. Be a part of the progress.
DAMN. IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A GANGSTA.
My beautifully bespoke therapeutic plan to end this crazy messed up year all came about from witnessing a meltdown moment when I was out buying water, mouthwash, and blueberries one simmering afternoon.
I was waiting in a long line this past summer at the grocery store. Watching yet another argument over mask wearing erupt between Covid-rattled shoppers during this pandemic. Ughh.
I simply could not take one more of those shouting matches. So to protect myself in those situations, I’ve conditioned myself to go into a daydream mode. Entering an imaginary world. One that I have created. Where I am safe.
And it all starts with that scene of Sally Field breaking down at the cemetery in Steel Magnolias. Her young daughter just died. She just wants to hit something. And have it hurt as much as she was hurting right then.
My land of make-believe moves on to the Along Came Polly cathartic film moment when Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller happily destroy all those excessive and annoying throw pillows on the bed.
In this made-for-me movie, the next directed sequence is from the cult sensation Office Space.
The boys in the field venting their frustrations. Destroying the antagonistic printer while taking turns with a Louisville slugger. Accompanied in their batting practice with just the right music. Sort of like selecting the perfect Sauvignon Blanc to go with the Chilean Sea Bass dinner.
Finally, my kith and kin. This exceptional Walter Mitty experience wraps up by having Macauley Culkin in Home Alone jumping up and down on his parents’ bed. Yelling excitedly. Zapatos on.
So naturally I put that all together and created some totally awesome artistry in my head involving all those silver screen moments. Spectacular editing work. Maybe Academy acknowledged.
As it turns out. This is helping me get through the difficulties of this one-of-a-kind year. My therapist on the spot when I’ve needed it. And I’ve had to break the glass often. To enter my little escapist motion picture world.
It’s also assisting me in dealing with an unexpected move. And to process my little brother’s Stage 4 cancer diagnosis from earlier this spring. As if the last 12 months weren’t bad enough.
I made a fun decision last week. Bring it all alive. Yes Doctor Frankenstein. It’s alive. Well. It will be soon. I don't want to only imagine this therapy in my head anymore.
My friend is having me come over and house sit over the holidays. He has lots and lots of throw pillows on every bed and each couch. Far, far too many. I will be there. Home alone.
So…with five minutes to go before the ball drop in Times Square. It will be time to let my hair down.
I will walk into my pal’s master bedroom. Ask Alexa to play Still by the Geto Boys. You know. The song playing while the Office Space guys reconfigured that printer out on the grassy knoll.
I am mad, hurting, and ready to hit something Sally Field. Of course I am. It’s been a dastardly year.
Then. If I may (and I will) steal a one-word epic line uttered from Lord Voldemort to initiate the battle of Hogwarts. Begin. And so it shall. Begin for me.
To hit and punch those throw pillows. Without the knives from Along Came Polly. C’mon. That’s a little too Tarantino for me. Just my frustrated fists. That should do just fine Jennifer and Ben.
For the big finale. To celebrate like eight-year-old Kevin by jumping up and down on that California King just after the pillow drop at midnight. Yes. Shoes will be on.
No more daydreaming. The countdown is on Major Tom.
Yeah. It’s goofy. But it’s mine. That’s my grown-up Christmas wish. I truly can’t think of a better isolated way for me to let off steam and say goodbye to 2020. Damn. It feels good to be a Gangsta.
This release of toxins is brought to you by that guy of four, three, two, one. That guy of sometimes you just gotta say what the f*%# is Ron Blake and he’s probably not housesitting at firstname.lastname@example.org anymore.
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:
VIOLENCE IS VIOLENCE
Dear Uncle Barbie,
I am disturbed by the recent incidents of violence in our country. Hate crimes seems to be in the news nearly every day. People are protesting and taking to the streets, people are shooting each other, getting into fights, and acting more aggressive on the roads, too. My question to you is: “Do you think that being violent to animals leads to being violent with people?”
Signed, Cynthia S
Hello Cynthia S.
Yes. Violence is violence! It is harmful in any form—verbal, physical, psychological, passive aggressive, severe neglect of a child or vulnerable adult, etc. There have been many studies done on violence, and it is well established that violent behavior done to animals is a clear indication that those same violent tendencies can be directed toward fellow human beings. This pattern of violence can also be seen in children. A perfect example is Jeffery Dahmer who, as a child, started torturing animals and then, later as a young man, began torturing and killing humans. I, too, am disturbed by all the violence I hear on the news. It’s tragic anytime someone is the victim of violence—especially when it could have been prevented with some simple anger management techniques (such as taking a timeout and/or counting to 10 to cool off).
Love Is the Answer, Barbie
By Eric Bigleon
ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 19)
You are ready to wrap everything up and get the show on the road. Just a little while longer so make plans now for what you want.
TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20)
You are very creative and ready to take on new projects. Don't overload yourself because you are in for some responsibility coming your way.
GEMINI (May 21-June 21)
Others have different ideas on how to get things done. Pick and choose new ways to solve old problems. You are on your own so get with it.
CANCER (June 22-Jul 22)
Change is in the air and you are welcoming it. It's a breath of fresh air. Time for fun and new challenges.
LEO (Jul 23-Aug 22)
Get your ducks in a row because you are going to need it. You have unexpected challenges and you welcome the change.
VIRGO (Aug 23-Sep 22)
You feel stable but your energy seems to be misplaced. Give it time and you work out the details to get you back on track.
LIBRA (Sep 23-Oct 22)
You feel like you have been put through the ringer but you are on the last leg of this ordeal. All becomes clear and you know what you have to do.
SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21)
Don't make any promises you can't keep. They will end up more than you bargained for. The holidays can be a very enjoyable time.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21)
This is a time to listen to others to keep the harmony. You lack some stability but an anchor is on its way. This will be a good thing.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 19)
Time to reflect on the lessons learned and know you can't control everything. Enlist help from friends as to push to a new period in your life.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18)
You are about to embark on a labor of love in your life. New problems arise and you are ready fot them along with the rewards.
PICES (Feb 19-Mar 20)
Your daydreaming makes others think you are delusional but it is a way to recharge your batteries. You are in your element and that prpares you to take on the challenges coming your way.
Not To Be Missed
Despite Governor Newsom’s December 11, 2020, tweet that suggests California residents should “go to the beach,” the state has placed most counties on stay-at-home orders--which means we really should stay home this holiday season. Most coastal counties are urging California residents to not visit their communities since their ICU beds are dangerously full already and additional intakes would overwhelm their hospitals.
The governor’s tweet was meant to draw awareness that people’s mental health is important. His recommendation that we consider our mental health is valid, and we can all follow some of his other suggestions, like going for a hike (in an area that is still open) or
walking the family dog (or just walking ourselves if we don’t have a dog).
With the weather getting colder and wetter, we may want to get out the board games and Uno deck or plan on spending time in front of the TV watching series such as Snowpiercer or reruns of Frosty the Snowman. For those who can bake, this winter break may be a good time to bake some cookies. Let’s make hot chocolate and put marshmallows on top! We can read books, listen to music, or listen to podcasts!
The governor may have been off a little to suggest we go to the beach, but he is right to suggest that we are all growing weary of the pandemic and we need to take care of our mental health.