Issue VI, Vol. XXVI, No. 306 | February 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 February 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, February 28, 2021.
If you have any questions, please call John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Stay Safe!
Youth Alliance News February 2021
The Central Valley is being blessed by early spring weather! Daffodils are blooming, as are some of the flowering trees. The foothills are green with grasses and we hope to see some California poppies soon! Are we done with the frost? One can only hope!
February brings the renewal of hope and love, culminating in Valentine’s Day. Did any of our readers get lovely Valentine balloons, gifts, or candy? Hopefully, everyone is happy with their current romantic partner, and there is plenty of love to go around! As for the members of the LGBTQ Youth Alliance, there has been little talk of love and Valentine’s Day sentiment. Most of our current bunch are single and some are even claiming no interest in things such as love and relationships. Of course, they have plenty of time to change their minds several times over. After all, they’re young!
So instead of discussing Cupid’s arrows, we’ve been spending our Friday evening discussing the difficulties of attending class using teleconferencing platforms. Our youth group members attend school via Zoom, which is the same platform we use for our youth group meetings. Unfortunately, during school hours, they are expected to listen and only talk when called upon. They also complain that having to do calisthenics in front of a camera is icky. On the other hand, on Friday evenings, during our youth group, everyone is welcome to share their opinion at any time, and they do!
At a recent meeting, our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, joined us for group, and we started a discussion about what everyone was going to do over the three-day President’s Day weekend. A few of the group members will have to catch up on homework assignments over the weekend, but most of our youth planned to watch a lot of reruns on platforms such as Netflix and Hulu. Jeffery and Banana were both able to join in the discussion, naming their preferences and all the new offerings from those platforms. David, our Zoom meeting host, unfortunately, was lost in the discussion, as he is stuck finding things to watch on DirectTV or DVDs.
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 Friday nights!
THE SOURCE LGBT+ CENTER JOINS HUNDREDS OF ORGANIZATIONS IN SUPPORT OF DR. RACHEL LEVINE’S NOMINATION AS ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HEALTH
More than 350 groups have signed a letter in support of President Biden’s nominee
Visalia, CA, January 27, 2021– The Source LGBT+ Center, serving Tulare and Kings County, joins hundreds of organizations across the United States to urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm the Biden Administration’s nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health.
More than 350 organizations from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, led by the National LGBT Cancer Network, Fenway Health, and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, have signed a letter detailing Dr. Levine’s impeccable credentials and preparedness to serve as Assistant Secretary of Health. Additionally, Dr. Levine would make history as the first transgender person ever confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The letter touts her as “the best possible candidate.” To view the full letter, visit bit.ly/LevineSupportLetter.
Jen Psaki shuts down Fox News’ transphobic question with “Trans rights are human rights”
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shut down a Fox News reporter who tried to start an argument about President Joe Biden’s LGBTQ executive order.
“Trans rights are human rights,” Psaki said, ending the discussion.
New York City now officially recognizes LGBTQ businesses as minority-owned enterprises
Juwan J. Holmes
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
This week, New York City announced that it was officially recognizing businesses owned by LGBTQ people as part of their minority & women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) programs.
The decision will allow LGBTQ business owners of all sizes to access billions of dollars in city contracts, contract procurements and opportunities, in addition to accessing priceless resources for historically-disadvantaged enterprises in the Big Apple.
31 anti-transgender bills filed in 20 states as GOP targets schoolchildren nationwide
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
At least 20 states are currently considering at least 31 bills that would attack the rights of transgender people – mostly attacking transgender youth – as more state lawmakers file bills to tear away as the limited rights and protections that currently exist for transgender people.
Georgia Rep. Philip Singleton (R) filed a bill yesterday that makes the state the seventeenth in the nation to consider a bill that would ban transgender girls and women from competing in school sports as their gender.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi Talk About Love
In a recent interview with People Magazine, Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi discussed their relationship for “The Love Issue.” Despite rumors about the pair over the years, they describe their relationship as strong as ever. The couple, who have been together for 16 years, talked about how they first met, and the strength of their relationship. They also described the sweet things they do to keep their marriage going. The interview was filmed and can be viewed on YouTube.
Student Banned from Riding the Bus for Saying, “I’m a Lesbian”
On her way to school, eighth-grader Izzy Dieker was overheard telling another student she was a lesbian. For saying that, she earned a referral from the bus driver and was banned from riding the bus by the principal, citing her “inappropriate language.” By the time she got home, Izzy’s parents had received a call from the school, saying she was kicked off the bus.
Now her parents are frustrated with the Americus, Kansas school district. “She’s 13 years old and these are adults acting like this toward her,” her mother, Tasha Cooper, said in an interview with the local TV news. Her father said, “It makes me upset to think that people go through this every day and also that kids are growing up thinking it’s a horrible thing and they shouldn’t be talking about it at all.” The school district refused to publicly discuss the case, but classmates and teachers are showing their support, both privately and publicly.
Arizona State Legislators Facing Ethics Complaints for Comments Made about Nonbinary People
Two Republican legislators are facing ethics complaints after one likened identifying a nonbinary person to identifying a chicken and the another referred to a nonbinary youth as “it.” State Representatives John Fillmore and Kevin Payne made comments at a recent House Government and Elections hearing on a bill that would bar the state and local governments from offering gender options that only include male or female on official documents.
Fillmore’s comments particularly shocked observers. “What’s going to happen when someday someone wakes up and they want to go to a far extreme and identify as a chicken or something, for crying out loud? Where do we draw the line?” Fillmore asked.
The complaint against Payne came because of a comment he made while a 15-year-old individual was testifying. Payne continuously disrupted public testimony and in a comment to himself, said, “So it doesn’t know who it is?” Results of the ethics complaints are not yet available.
CDC Report Finds LGBTQ People at Greater Risk for Severe COVID-19 Symptoms
A report published in the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” found LGBTQ individuals were more prone to risk factors that led to worse outcomes after contracting the novel coronavirus. The risk factors included asthma, stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and hypertension.
Additionally, the studies that contributed to the report noted that LGBTQ people, like other marginalized groups, face greater risks of unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse, and greater obstacles to medical care access, which lead to poorer health outcomes.
Ricky Martin Partners with Foundation to Build Pulse Memorial
Ricky Martin will be the national spokesperson for a foundation that is building a memorial and museum to honor the 49 victims of a mass shooting inside a gay Florida nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016. The internationally renowned music star and humanitarian is partnering with the nonprofit onePulse Foundation to raise $49 million dollars for the project.
Martin will make public service announcements promoting tolerance, foundation officials said. Starting on Valentine’s Day, Martin and onePulse Foundation will kick off the OUTLOVE HATE campaign, with the goal of getting one million people to donate $49 to the project, which will build a permanent National Pulse Memorial and Museum, and sponsor education, community outreach, and 49 legacy scholarships, according to foundation officials.
Puerto Rico declares state of emergency over murders of multiple transgender people
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro R. Pierluisi has declared a state of emergency as transgender people continue to be murdered on the island.
Attacks on transgender Americans rose at an alarming rate in 2020 – both on the mainland and in the U.S. territory. The violence has continued through the first weeks of 2021.
YOU DON'T HAVE THE FUTURE, ONLY THE PRESENT
My guess is you work hard, don’t you? I’m curious though… what kind of thoughts go through your mind when you are working so diligently?
For me, two thoughts guide my sense of work ethic: the first is I pretend that whatever I am doing is the most important task in the whole world; the second is I realize that whatever I am doing doesn’t matter in the long run.
Does that sound like contradictory thoughts? Well, maybe at first. However, what if we dig a little deeper to discover what lies beneath the surface of those two thoughts. The confusion comes in our perspective of time. It’s not an issue of what matters; it’s an issue of when it matters.
Perhaps an example would help. A while back, I was helping some friends do some yard work. I looked at the property and noticed all the chores, repairs, half-finished projects, and piles of this-and-that. These outdoor projects had been building up for years, and it was about time things got done.
My friends and I all labored many hours. It was heavy work which involved shoveling piles of dirt, moving lumber, lifting large stones, and other materials. When the sun had set, the others went inside the house. However, I continued to work until the dim, twilight sky was too dark to see what I was doing.
Washing my hands at the kitchen sink, one of my friends asked me why I worked so hard. Picking up a dish towel to dry my hands, I told him about those two work-related thoughts described earlier. The two are not conflicting thoughts if viewed from a timeline perspective. Accomplishments are important in the here-and-now timeline. However, those same accomplishments are not going to matter in the eternal timeline.
That is why it is so important to live and work in the present moment—that’s all we have. Everything we build will eventually be torn down. Whatever we design, paint, write, or create will eventually come to an end. What matters right now is working together and building friendships.
I went on to tell him that the work we did that day only mattered in the short-term. It will not matter a thousand years from now—neither will I. Eventually, I will die, and all the people who ever knew me will also die. Then the memory of me will be forgotten as well.
In a similar vein, the entire planet upon which we all live (and take for granted I might add) will die. Do we think anyone will remember us billions of years from now when our sun no longer gives light? There won’t be people left to remember anyone, and the entire human race will be forgotten!
All life comes to an end eventually. That is the way of things. That is the way it is meant to be. Call it the law of nature if you will. The human body was not physically designed to regenerate cells indefinitely. Some say death is sad and depressing. But really, that is just the egotistical voice of human arrogance which thinks people should live forever. It’s just a scientific fact that everything eventually decomposes and changes into something else. It is neither good nor bad. It just is.
Something to meditate on today. You matter and are valuable in the here-and-now. Once you appreciate yourself, you can value the other people in your current life. Give the people you care about a hug today. Don’t wait until tomorrow. You cannot guarantee you will have the opportunity to show your appreciation in the future because the future never arrives. It is always the current moment. When that long-awaited future date comes, it is not the future anymore; it is the present. You have no guaranteed future. (No one does.) That is why it is so important to act as though whatever you’re doing now is the most important thing in the world—at least temporarily.
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:
DOING THE NASTY
Dear Uncle Barbie,
I know a guy who likes to be tied up and spanked. He is into all that sadomasochism stuff. Since he is a friend of mine, I don’t want to say anything to him about it for fear of offending him. A few days ago, he told me about getting together with a “date” that he met on the internet. He told me about all the sex toys that they used and techniques they tried. I don’t need to hear all this, but he seems to want to tell me every little detail. I just sit and listen to him politely. I am trying to understand him and all this sadomasochism stuff. Help me figure him out!
It’s nice that you are such a loyal friend. However, do not think that you need to fake niceness in order to keep him as a friend. Be sincere in both your words and your facial expressions. If you do not feel like smiling, then don’t. You always have the right to say how you feel—that’s the type of right that you give to yourself. I think it is high time to tell him how you feel about his sexual stories. If your friendship with him is truly genuine, then he should be able to handle being told that you are uncomfortable with his tales of sexual escapades.
Now let me address your question about figuring out what motivates someone to practice sadomasochism (S & M). Although sadists have a need to dominate others, while masochists have a need to be dominated by others, I think that S & M behavior really stems from a desire to form a connection with another person. I am not saying that this type of a union is healthy, though. All people have the need to join with our fellow human beings; we just need to find a constructive method to achieve this feat. Some have theorized that people have anxiety when they experience the sense of being alone in the world. (By the way, this sense of separation is a feeling that tends to increase in tandem with the rise of economic and political freedoms. In other words, the more money and freedom you have the more independent you become which can lead to feelings of being detached from others.) To temporarily escape from this anxiety, people use many different means. The most common escape mechanisms that I have seen takes the form of such behaviors as: domination over others, self-destructiveness by allowing yourself to be mistreated, and conformity by going along with whatever the group is doing or blindly following traditional values even if you do not agree with them.
In regard to the interpersonal characteristics of S & M, the meaning behind the behavior lies in the dynamics of how the people involved relate to each other. The masochist relates to the sadist by letting the sadist dominate the situation. Playing the role of the masochist gives that person a sense of security because he/she knows what to expect in this type of degrading relationship. On the flip side, playing the role of the sadist gives that person a sense of security, as well, because he/she is playing the role of the one who is in charge. Relating with another person in this way may seem like a symbiotic relationship on the surface because it temporarily satisfies their need to unite; however, this manner of bonding is insalubrious since it retards a person from reaching their full potential. In a general sense, any relationship that does not promote personal growth and development is detrimental.
If it is not too much of a stretch, let me add a metaphysical perspective on this issue. In my opinion, some humans hear the spiritual calling to transcend—to rise above. Like most things, this can be accomplished in a positive or negative fashion. For the people who engage in sadistic behaviors, I believe that they are actually trying to transcend themselves, spiritually, by rising above the person they are dominating. Of course, this is not a beneficial way to transcend, but who ever said that the journey of transcendence was totally free of contaminants. Now there is something to think about the next time you roll on your back—spread eagle—and allow someone to stake you down.
Bonding Without Bondage, Barbie
LEAVE YOUR EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE AT THE DOOR
Dear Uncle Barbie,
I was wondering about some advice you gave me earlier about "forgiving and forgetting." I get the forgive part. It’s to keep an incident from gobbling up a person's energy. [Hate/anger takes a lot of energy to maintain]. But the forgetting part--doesn't that kinda set a person up to repeat the same mistake? Thanks.
Signed, Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Hello Bitten Shy Person,
You are right. You don’t want to set yourself up to take a fall. I always thought that the metaphor, “forgive and forget” referred to letting go of the anger, as well as not obsessing about it any longer. I certainly do not believe that an offended person should lose their memory of the abuse. Rather, the person needs to leave the hurtful memories of the past in the past. When I use the metaphor “forget,” it implies leaving your emotional baggage behind you and moving on. Personally, I like to use visualizations to help heal old, emotional scars. Let me share with you a particularly effective guided imagery technique that I use with clients as well as with myself. (By the way, this technique should only be used for past memories—not for abusive situations that you are currently in. This is because if you are in a situation that is destructive, you need to deal with that situation directly by taking action, and not just using visualizations to picture things as better.)
Step 1. Close your eyes; take a deep breath and picture that person who hurt your feelings in the past.
Step 2. Change the way you view the offensive person by making him or her look ridiculous. For example, picture that person having big, floppy ears and a long nose like that of an elephant. Additionally, remove the color from the visualization by picturing the scene in black and white. This will reduce some of the emotional associations you have to the memory.
Step 3. Change the sound by imagining the offensive person (who now looks like a ridiculous elephant) speaking in a tiny, squeaky voice as if he or she were a chipmunk. Furthermore, push the scene far back into the distance as though you were watching it on the horizon. Research has shown that when you picture a painful memory as though it were up close, the emotions are stronger than when you push the image to the distance. Somehow, visualizing a disturbing memory far away seems to take away the emotional charge.
Lastly, Step 4. Repeatedly replay this memory, in its new form, using the updated imagery. Go ahead and laugh at the silly scenario. Every time you think of this memory, visualize it in its new, comical structure. What you are basically doing here is replacing the old, painful, memory with a new, humorous memory. Not only are you altering the images, you are also shifting how you feel about it. Try this technique, and see how it works for you.
Live & Love, Barbie
by Eric Bigleon
ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
You thought you knew what you wanted but now you are not so sure. Reflect on the past and plan with your new found freedom. Watch your spending.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
Talk about chaos in your life. You're not sure which way is up. You are trying too hard to do things. Back off and let life take its course.
GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
You feel really secure in your knowledge and what needs to be done. This is a time to make plans and execute at a later date. Others seek your impartial advice.
CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Finally a break in life. Pamper yourself and reconnect with friends. This is a time to think about what you want.
LEO (Jul 23 - Aug 22)
Too much information and others trying to tell you what to do. This is not you so for now, surround yourself with people in tune with you. You need to take some downtime here.
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
Well Virgo, you are doing pretty good here. Good time to make plans and go over them until it all comes clear. You will know when in good time.
LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22)
You feel a big weight has been lifted and now its time to make some real plans for the future of your happiness. You really want to get the show on the road.
SCORPIO (Oct 22 - Nov 21)
All of a sudden everything seems to be turned upside down and appear to work against you. Instead of holding a grudge work to connect with others on a different level or change the goal and take it.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
It's way to easy to assume what is going on in your life. Take people and things for what they are and life will go a little easier this time around. Speculate down the road.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
Well you made it so go ahead and make plans on what you want to do this year. Be willing to change those plans if necessary. Happy Time.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
Some of you have been knocked around a little but you maintain your drive to push forward. This is a time for planning not doing. This may irritate others but so be it.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
You are going through a lot of emotions here. It's confusing but don't try to make sense of it. Indulge in hobbies and the rest will become clear next month.
About the Event:
Join us virtually, learn about gender and LGBTQ+ identities, and EARN A CERTIFICATE! Our Gender 101 and Identities 101 is part of Educational Services that LGBTQ+ Program provides.
We offer in-class and departmental presentations upon request.
On March 16, we are offering a great opportunity to witness both presentations AND earn a certificate upon completion! This is a great addition to a resume or CV and above all, it is a great way to learn about how to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
Date: March 16, 2021
Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
RSVP at http://bit.ly/certificate21
If you have any questions or need special accommodations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by March 10, 2021