Smoke

Issue V, Vol. XXVII, No. 318

Smoke
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Gray Alliance News December 2021
John Richardson
 

Gray Alliance, a group for LGBTQ+ seniors , will not be meeting for a potluck at the First Congregational Church (Big Red Church) Sunday, January 30th from 2-4 pm .  The Fireside Room is at the south end of the church, which is located at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno.

 

In addition, members of Gray Alliance go to movies every Wednesday at either the Maya Cinema or Sierra Vista Theater.  If you would like to join us, please text Dmitri De la Cruz at 559-480-3314.

 

If you have any questions about any of these activities, please contact John Richardson at 559-260-1565.  Happy Holidays to you all and hope to see you soon!

Youth Alliance News January 2022

David McGee

It’s already the middle of January! Doesn’t time fly? It seems like only a few days ago that we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas! Of course, some people really enjoy the fall and winter holidays, and others are glad when they’ve come and gone. A good test of how much people enjoy the winter holidays is how long they keep their holiday decorations up after the holidays! How long does your family keep their holiday decorations up after the holiday?

 

Our Annual LGBTQ Youth Alliance Winter Holiday party was held the week before Christmas. Attendance was a little low, but those who attended had a good time and there was plenty of food! Our White Elephant gift exchange was a little tame compared to days of yore, but everyone seemed to have fun playing the game and the gifts were thoughtful and abundant.

 

Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, would have liked to see more stealing of gifts, but we think that due to the low turnout, people were less likely to be devious.

 

Did everyone set a few personal goals for the year? At our last Youth Alliance meeting, Rachel (AKA Banana) passed out pens and paper, asking our attendees to write down some goals for the year. Some of the youth really got into the assignment. A few were shy and didn’t write anything down or chose not to share their goals. But those who shared had realistic goals and were excited to consider their plans!

 

Banana called in sick for our most recent youth group meeting, and she is planning to be unavailable to lead the group for the next meeting as well, so we’re going to see if the old folks (David and Jeff) can keep the young people engaged for an hour and a half in Banana’s absence. The youth love Jeffery! They seem to tolerate David when Banana is out, but they fall all over her when she returns! Most Friday nights poor David is relegated to trying to make the Wi-Fi connection work!

Our next potluck is scheduled for the last Friday of month, as always! We plan to have our usual spread of food and drinks, so if anyone knows a young person they think would like to attend our group, potluck nights are a great evening to get started! They don’t even have to bring anything—just themselves!

 

The Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance is now meeting in person at the Big Red Church on Friday nights from 7 to 8:30 PM! We will continue to work on our virtual meeting, as well, so that youth members who can’t attend the meeting in person can attend online! We will be sure to publish the meeting number and the password for our Zoom meetings on Facebook, and now that we’ve got our Instagram account going, we’ve published on Instagram, as well! We urge all LGBTQ school-age youth to join us Friday nights, whether in person or online!

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Community Link Projects

 
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Local

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Drag Queen Bingo is BACK after a two-year-long hiatus! Join us for an *outdoor* Brunch show from 11am - 1:30pm on February 20, 2022. Star Wars-themed, brunch served, amazing prizes, raffles, and the opportunity for bottomless mimosas — All at The Woodlands Venue! Tickets will be on sale to the public this Sunday but tickets are available for supporters like you NOW!

 

*General Admission, VIP Tables, AND Reserved Tables are all nearly SOLD OUT so act fast before sales go public!*
 

Drag Queen Bingo has been a favorite for The Source and the community since its inception 4 years ago. Hundreds of people have attended and enjoyed Drag Queen Bingo — many more than once — and can now accommodate even more people at The Woodlands venue! This is the first time that we will be premiering Drag Queen Bingo in this format and at this location. 

There is a lot of excitement for the return of this event, especially because of its new location at the beautiful Woodlands venue. This will be the first outdoor Drag Queen Bingo and our attendance capacity is much larger than our previous venue. Even with the larger venue, we still plan on selling out the show. 


Drag Queen Bingo Tickets Here!

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At the Parade

5 good things that happened to the LGBTQ community this year

Molly Sprayregen
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com

 

It has certainly been a challenging year for LGBTQ rights, but it’s important to take a moment to recognize the wins. It’s easy to get bogged down in the difficulties, but a lot of great things happened for the LGBTQ community this year, too.

Now, it’s worth taking a moment to remember a few.

continue reading at LGBTQNation.com

Federal Court Orders Indiana School to Provide Equal Privileges to GSA

Arthur S. Leonard
Reposted from gaycitynews.com

US District Judge James R. Sweeney II, who was appointed to the US District Court in Indianapolis by President Donald J. Trump, issued a preliminary injunction on December 22 requiring that the Gay-Straight Alliance, or GSA (GSA also tends to stand for gender-sexuality alliance) at Pendleton Heights High School in South Madison, Indiana, be provided all the same privileges as another non-curricular club at the school, the Outdoor Adventure Club. The school argued that the Outdoor Adventure Club was a curricular club, and thus entitled not only to meet at the school but also to post notices on the bulletin boards, announce its events on the school’s radio station, raise funds for its activities, and be listed in the student handbook. Non-curricular clubs are not provided these privileges, although they can meet at the school. 

Students Sitting on Staircase
continue reading at gaycitynews.com

VA adds gender identity to medical records

David McGee
 

Veterans’ health records can now include their gender identity, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced recently. The department said it began including gender identifiers in its national medical record system last month “to help VA providers better understand and meet the healthcare needs of veterans,” including transgender and gender-diverse veterans. Dennis McDonough, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, said in a statement that the VA’s goal “is to align the department’s policies and procedures with the president’s vision of a more inclusive government.”

Source: nbc.news.com

“Jeopardy!” champ Amy Schneider responds to anti-trans comments

David McGee
 

“Jeopardy!” champ Amy Schneider is not letting the Twitter trolls get her down. Schneider responded to all the anti-trans comments she has received since appearing on the beloved quiz show in a single tweet on New Year’s Eve. Schneider has been named the highest- earning woman with the most consecutive wins.

Schneider wrote, “I’d like to thank all the people who have taken the time, during this busy holiday season, to reach out and explain to me that, actually, I’m a man. Every single one of you is the first person to make that very clever point, which had never crossed my mind.”

While Schneider’s tweet has garnered thousands of retweets and comments, it was a response from Broadway star Harvey Feinstein that affected her most. Feinstein wrote, “Can this statement by Amy S be improved upon? I don’t think so! I couldn’t be prouder if she were my own daughter.” A shocked Schneider replied, “I…I can’t even process this. Am I dreaming? Thank you so much.”

Source: goodmorningamerica.com

Anti-gay pastor claims that casual sex is more sinful when gay people do it

David McGee

Steven Gallagher, pastor and founder of Pure Life Ministries, an organization that offers conversion therapy for gay men, commented recently in his Internet blog that “within the legal structure of God’s kingdom…homosexual promiscuity is ‘worse than’ heterosexual promiscuity.” Luckily for the LGBTQ community, he generously acknowledged that “a man raping a woman is far worse than two men hooking up for casual sex.”

 

Source: metroweekly.com

Senators urge lifting of restrictions on gay and bisexual male blood donors

David McGee
 

With a national blood shortage recently announced due to COVID-19, US senators are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to lift restrictions on blood donations by gay and bisexual men. The senators, led by Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin, wrote a recent letter to the

FDA urging it to “quickly act on the best available science and update its outdated and discriminatory blood donor policies for men who have sex with men.”

In 1983, early in the AIDS crisis, the US barred men who have sex with men from ever donating blood. In 2015, a deferment period of 12 months was put in place, meaning gay and bisexual men could donate blood if they had not had sex for 12 months. And in 2020, the deferment period was dropped to 3 months. But 3 months is still too long, according to Richard Benjamin, former chief medical officer at the American Red Cross. According to an NBC News interview, Benjamin suggests that 10 days to two weeks is sufficient to test positive for HIV with modern testing methods.

The senators’ letter added that “any policy that continues to categorically single out the LGBTQ+ community is discriminatory and wrong.” They wrote that instead of categorical deferral guidelines, “we must adopt evidence-based policies focused on assessment of an individual’s risk, not inaccurate and antiquated stereotypes.”

 

Source: advocate.com

National

 
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La Canadienne Denise Ho relâchée
Chantal Cyr
Reposted from fugues.com

L’activiste et chanteuse Denise Ho, qui a grandie à Montréal, a été relâchée jeudi (30 décembre) après avoir été arrêtée lors d’un raid contre la presse à Hong Kong. Sur les réseaux sociaux, les comptes officiels associés à la chanteuse populaire indiquent qu’elle est « de retour à la maison ». 

« Je suis un peu fatiguée, en ce moment, mais je vais bien physiquement et mentalement. Merci pour votre amour » peut-on lire sur sa page Facebook. 

continue reading at fugues.com

International

 
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I think; therefore, I am… confused. (I Think?)
Mark Lang

 

It seems like we overthink everything way too much. Is it because of our insecurities, worries, fears? In any case, we usually end up confused. Which is the best product to buy? How do we decide on a soul mate? What is the healthiest way to discipline our children? Are we really on the right path in life? How do we know for sure?

 

So, what can we do to reduce this cognitive, electrical storm called overthinking? Well, if it is an answer to a problem we are seeking, it helps to calm down the prefrontal cortex located just behind the forehead. That’s the part of the brain which deals with analytical reasoning and other executive functioning.

 

You see, when we are analyzing something, our prefrontal cortex tries to block out anything that it finds distracting. However, here is the rub: those very same distractions may contain bits and pieces of information which could be useful in solving the problem the prefrontal cortex has been struggling with to no avail.

 

Have you ever had the experience of having an idea pop into your head when you were tired and had already put the problem out of your mind? That’s what can happen when you give your analytical mind a well-deserved sabbatical. Taking a little break from struggling with the problem may be just what you need.

Why? Because taking a short break can help you generate new ideas. When you take the focus off the analytical part of your brain for a while and do something calming, subtle pieces of information that the prefrontal cortex disregarded as irrelevant can enter your peaceful mind. And wham! The light bulb goes off with a new idea.

When you are calm, your mind can recognize the subtle connections which can help you solve whatever problem you are exploring. It helps to engage in a new, non-analytical activity to clear your mind. After all, you’re not exactly taking your mind off the problem if you engage in another cognitively challenging endeavor which addresses the same type of issue. (Personally, one of the best ways I have found to rejuvenate my mind is to get out in nature such as a walk in the woods, stroll on the beach, slow jog, or meditate under a tree.)

Here is one example: several years ago, I had a major decision to make regarding my career. I needed to decide whether to stay in my current job as a therapist or switch to some other line of work within the field of psychology.

At the time, I was fortunate enough to be living within driving distance of a beautiful mountain range. So, on a Saturday, I spent the whole day meditating by a sky-blue lake up in the mountains. Along with food and water, I also brought with me a notebook for journaling.

I spent hours casually wandering along the shimmering shoreline clearing my mind. Then I sat down and made a list of my resources—external and internal. For example, I made a list of the material things I had at my disposal to use in launching a new career. Things such as money, a diploma, vehicle, resume, letters of recommendation, and even work clothes.

The internal resources I listed consisted of such things as self-confidence, intelligence, compassionate nature, sense of humor, and other social skills. These, too, are employable skills which are valuable in providing a useful service. My big question was: what can I do to serve the community best?

Only when I relaxed my mind and opened myself up to new possibilities that I recognized options which I had not seen before. Strange how those options were there all along, yet I just did not recognize them when my mind was busy worrying. The peaceful tranquility of Mother Nature calmed me and allowed my cognitive mind to take a backseat while my creative mind illuminated the otherwise dimly-lit path which lay before me.

Something to meditate on today. Whatever problem your mind is struggling with, take a break and do some activity completely different from what you were just doing. Give your prefrontal cortex a rest and let your more creative right-brain express itself for a while.

If you are able, take a meditative walk out in nature. Focus on your loved ones. Fill your thoughts with images of people in your life who have shown you kindness. Feel the gratitude in your heart. Let that gratitude warm you and relax your troubled mind.

When your mind feels refreshed, return to your previous, analytical task of problem-solving. With a fresh perspective, you may just find you are open to new ideas which you had not even been aware of before the walk.

New Wellness

 
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Zodiac Chart

ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 19)
Friends seem to be a disappointment here. Or is it just a misunderstanding? your nerves are fried but keep pushing forward.
 

TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20)
Time to review your options. Your mind is crystal clear to make plans for your future. Implement. You'll know when the time is right.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Other people are getting on your nerves again, don't engage, do your own thing..  
 

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Indecisiveness takes a toll. Put your emotions aside when making decisions.  

 

LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
Some relief in the money area but now it's time to focus on your health. Listen to your friends, take the advice and move on.
 

VIRGO (Aug 23-Sep 22)
A lot of hard work here. Be flexible and stay the coarse. It'll work out. 
 

LIBRA (Sep 23-Oct 22)
You are off balance. Focus on your projects one at a time to find that balance again.
 

SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21)

Your finances are finally under control but there is still work to be done. Clean the closet out and move on. 

 

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21)

Concentrate on work and let the chips fly for now. You've done enough. 

 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22- Jan 19)
You are ready for new beginnings but all is now what it appears to be. Use your energy wisely.  
 

AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18)
It's a new year with new possibilities. Do your research, make plans and proceed.
 

PISCES (Feb 19-Mar 20)
You're a mover and a shaker and others take notice. Keep your priorities straight and enjoy the attention. 

Horoscopes

by Eric Biglione
 
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A night of transformation, reveal, and glamour. Join the Imperial Dove Court de Fresno on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022 to see some amazing transformations!

Have you ever wanted to come out with a Drag persona? Ever wanted to try something new?

New look, new drag, new year, who dis?

The time to metamorphize, (within an hour) is here! A pageant for people who have never done drag before who are ready to transform into something different.

The IDC will pair a candidate up with a seasoned local drag queen or king and undergo a transformation!

Dinner/Raffles/Entertainment

Purchasing presale tickets and arriving early to the event is recommended.

Presale Tickets: $25
Door Tickets: $30
Ad space in program: $50
VIP Table: SOLD OUT
$250 seats 8 with priority seating 2 bottles of wine included and a full page black and white ad space.

Tickets on sale now!! VIP tables SOLD OUT! 


https://www.idcfresno.org/.../closet-ball-2022-glamour-hurts

Doors @ 5:00 PM
Dinner @ 5:30 PM
Show @ 6:00 PM

If you would like to be a contestant for Closet Ball, and you have never done drag before, contact Emperor 48 Zack PowerHowz, Empress 48 Phyllis Hole, or Empress 43 Isis de Luna the event advisor

Events

 
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Contact Us

P O Box 4959, Fresno, CA 93744

newslnk@aol.com  |  Tel: 559-266-5465

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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