Issue V, Volume XXV, No. 293 | January 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
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 January 8th at 6 pm, we will meet Sweet Tomatoes at 7114 N Fresno St in Fresno.
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 JANUARY 2020
January arrived with its typical valley fog, but also some bright sunny days once the fog burned off! Thank the goddess we don’t live in an area that gets snow! Can you imagine getting up in the morning and having to drive or walk somewhere in the snow?
New Year’s Day came in with a bit of a whimper this year, didn’t it? Did anyone stay up to ring in New Year’s Day? It seems that the New Year’s celebration has been dwarfed by the extravaganza of Christmas, and there’s no energy left to celebrate the start of a new calendar year! Our Youth Alliance members had everything to say about Christmas, and nothing to say about the New Year! But what they had to say about Christmas was sad!
Our LGBTQ youth didn’t anticipate the joy of Christmas day! They worried about being misgendered, being called by their dead name, and being asked stupid or condescending questions by insensitive family members. They planned to spend as much time hiding in their room as possible, in order to avoid all the unpleasant questions and comments. They even formed an Instagram chat connection so that they could bolster each other during the Christmas holiday since they knew the youth group wasn’t meeting on the Friday after Christmas!
Luckily, the youth survived the holiday season and came back to group on the Friday after New Year’s Day, talking about the movie marathons they watched on Netflix during their last week of holiday vacation! They chose not to talk about Christmas, which was fine! They wanted to talk about supernatural Internet series, love stories, and anime! They were thrilled to be done with the holidays! A few of our members even talked about how glad they would be to return to the normalcy of going back to school!
At our most recent meeting, our beloved group leader, Rachel AKA Banana, brought her box of question cards and we all sat around a table, taking turns asking questions of each other. One of our youth members went through the box of cards and pulled out the questions that were too obvious for our members—like the question about whether individuals had ever thought of changing their name and what they would change it to. Since most of our current group members are transgender, gender fluid, or questioning, they’ve already changed their name—at least several times! So once we got all of those ridiculous questions based on gender stereotypes put aside, we were able to focus on the rest of the questions, which were also silly! We had a lot of fun asking questions and listening to each other’s answers!
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
STORYCORPS IS COMING TO FRESNO!
The San Joaquin Valley is a place rich with stories. Especially stories from the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBTQ+ individuals have shaped the history and landscape of the Central Valley for generations. Their stories deserve to be preserved.
Qistory is proud to announce that it is teaming up with StoryCorps to collect and record stories from our LGBTQ+ community to be preserved in the National Archives, the StoryCorp website, and in the Qistory archive. We want you to be a part of this movement by sharing your story with us through StoryCorps.
You might have heard of StoryCorps from their frequent programs on NPR and This American Life. StoryCorps has been around for over fifteen years collecting the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs. By preserving and sharing stories, StoryCorps aims to build connections between people to create a just and more compassionate world.
StoryCorps mission perfectly aligns with the mission of Qistory to record the stories of our LGBTQ+ community in the Central Valley. We believe in the power of stories to not only challenge harmful perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community, but to celebrate the richness and diversity of LGBTQ+ lives. We want you to join us in this by signing up to share your story with StoryCorps.
The StoryCorp recording booth will be located from February 12 to March 20th in front of the CMAC office (1555 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA 93721). The recording booth has room for up to three people to sit down for an interview. It is ADA accessible. You can also record in several languages.
You have an option of bringing a friend, loved one, or a colleague to either interview you or be interviewed by them. A StoryCorp representative will be there to help you get set up in the booth and will be there for assistance. The interviews last forty minutes. Think of it like having a good conversation with a friend. You can talk about specific moments in your life or theirs. You can also explore deeper questions about your life or your identity. You get to decide what you want to talk about in those forty minutes.
Once you are finished recording, in a couple of weeks you will receive a link to your interview for your own personal use. You will then be able to find your interview on the StoryCorps online database and in the National Archives. If given permission by you, Qistory will also receive a copy of your interview for us to display in the future on our website.
You might think that you do not have anything interesting to tell. You might think that your story is not exciting or important enough. That is the furthest from the truth! Here at Qistory we believe that every story has value. We encourage everyone to participate in this great opportunity to share your story and have it preserved for future generations.
If you are interested in recording your or another person’s story for StoryCorps, please visit the StoryCorps website to book for a slot or email Qistory. The bookings for San Joaquin Valley will be available after January 28th. The slots will fill up fast, so please make sure to do so quickly. Qistory can also reserve a slot for you, but please email us as soon as possible.
For more information about StoryCorps, please visit the StoryCorps website:
Or you can email Qistory at email@example.com
NEWS FROM THE LIVINGROOM
Happy 2020! The Holidays are over and the New Year begun with much promise and hope. We all made plans and resolutions to change things about ourselves for the better. I don’t know about most of you but I know personally those resolutions don’t last long. The first time I see a cupcake I am going for it.
I did however decide to make one change that I hope everyone will consider that could help our entire community. During the Holiday season people are more generous, giving to charities, volunteering their time, helping each other to have a better day. I decided that that isn’t enough, I need to do more, and maybe we all could do more.
We have multiple agencies and events that could use our help. Pride Parade meetings have begun and the amount of work that is put into it is incredible. Fund raisers are done, events planned, meetings to suggest what could make it better and how to help make it better than last year.
Spectrum and LGBTQ+ both could use volunteers to help, the new EOC center for youth could do amazing things with the help of the community. The IDC, that helps could use volunteers to make events bigger and better. The Fresno AIDS Walk could be bigger and better and get a much needed message out to the community. How can we help? Simple, volunteer. Help set up tables for an event, pass out flyers, serve dinner to needy folks, pick up garbage, many things can be done that don’t cost money. Yes, each and every organization can always use extra money but we all can use your spirit to help us keep the spark alive.
Take some time to think about it and consider helping your favorite organization.
Meanwhile, The Living Room, A Project of Westcare continues to work with individuals who are HIV+ or at risk for HIV. If you haven’t been tested please call us at (559) 486-1469 to arrange to be tested for both HIV and HCV. If you are HIV+ you may be eligible for one of our programs. We help people remain compliant with care through case management by removing those barriers. We have some services that may help with finding permanent housing or short term rental assistance, if you qualify.
We continue with an open AA meeting every Monday evening at 5:30, an open LGBTQ support group every Tuesday at 1:00pm and an HIV support group, that is open only to those who are HIV+. The HIV specific group is Thursdays at 1:00pm. We have lunches on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00pm to 12:50pm, bingo games once per month and recently we have been reading the bio of Ryan White and just watched the movie of his life. Stop in and visit, talk with staff, ask any questions you want about HIV/AIDS, become aware and educated and help stop HIV in our community.
We are open Monday to Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm, or address is 901 E Belmont Ave, corner of Belmont and Fulton. The building has a great mural on the windows! Our phone number is (559) 486-1469. We hope to see you soon.
Be safe, be well
This New Year, for me, is different. I come to 2020 with a mixture of hope and dread. After 3+ years of the stress of living under this administration I can see both a light at the end of the tunnel and a black hole, each of them vying for the heart of the American people.
At the same time as I’m focused, I’m also dulled, as I think we all are, by the consistent rhetoric and bullying that has, at times, gone far enough to morph into some kind of nonstop white noise. Eventually, we have to turn it into static so that we can get through our daily lives.
Just as disturbing as the words and actions that come from the White House is what comes from those who support them. Realizing that I live among so many Americans ready to look the other way in the face of hate, prejudice, misogyny, xenophobia and elitism is difficult to say the least. It wears on me, in a way I didn’t think it would. It reminds me of many years ago in this country, not when it was great, but when it was blind, with a small group trying to shed light on a wealth of truths.
Our foundation of principal and integrity in this nation has been trampled many times and by many factions. We have had the best intentions from the beginning, but intentions laid out under the cover of darkness have no choice but to fail. It’s only light and transparency that make ideas work.
Our words, from the very beginning, have been inspiring and poetic, but our actions have often failed and worse. We’ve often manipulated deceptively in the background while waving the flag in public. There’s a reason so many fight for what’s right and true. It’s because we should practice what we preach. We believe image is not substance. We are patriots to the written principals, and we don’t care if it makes us popular or not.
Living through the current reign of mythology, lies and division is exhausting. Not only is the minute by minute onslaught of the diatribe of the child running the White House draining, the debate and back and forth with the cult that has deemed him omnipotent is as well. I honestly don’t know if I can do it anymore, and that’s saying something, coming from me.
I’m tired, as so many of us are, of debating those trampling on who we are supposed to be, all while being labeled traitors or being told to leave the country we’re fighting for. Opinion is one thing, truth is another. We all have opinions, but truth and facts aren’t up for colorization. Truth is truth and it is nowhere in the lexicon of this administration or its followers. That’s not being partisan, that just, ironically, the truth.
The truth doesn’t always make things happier, but it definitely makes things stronger.
So here’s to a new world in 2020. Here’s to a collaborative future where the racists and bigots are pushed back into the shadows, to be closely watched, not allowed to run free without consequence and carry torches, as they seem to now. No more restricting the rights of ethnicities, women, the middle class and poor, LGBTQ and others who don’t measure up to the white washed, financially superior and morally bankrupt standards this White House has inflicted on all of us. I don’t know how any American can look at what’s happened and be proud.
If a candidate of my liking was President, and granted every single freedom and right to LGBTQ Americans that they deserve and are long overdue, if they brought wealth and security to my life in a way I’d never had, but uttered a constant barrage of racism and hatred such as this administration has, I would not hesitate to march to have them removed and replaced. It’s not about what’s best for me, it’s about what’s best for everyone in the county. How can you call yourself an American and not know that?
I don’t know what’s coming, but I hope its change. I hope we stop accepting that all opinions are valid, because many are not. If you’re not reading, if you’re not educating yourself, then get out of the conversation. If you choose to not commit to science because science, by its very definition, is our best guess, and that bothers you, then you need to step aside and let reasonable people take over. If you’re not someone who understands that there is not fair, equal opportunity for everyone, and thinks those less successful are “lazy”, then you need to step aside. If you think that immigrants are a bad thing and are taking our jobs and are criminals, you need to walk away. If you think that you have a right to control a woman and her reproduction, then you are wrong. Facts refute every one of those arguments.
Freedom comes at a price. It doesn’t mean you agree with everything, it means you respect that it’s not your place to tell others what to do and what they are allowed to have.
It’s time for us to set this right. To do that, we have to vote, we have to encourage others to vote. We have to challenge prejudice, misogyny, hatred, elitism, bullying and ignorance everywhere we find it. We have to confront what’s wrong, no matter how worn we are, because we are fighting for ourselves, for each other, for the nation…
Damn, I just talked myself back into the fight…
FRESNO STONEWALL DEMOCRATS CONGRESSIONAL ENDORSEMENT
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:
Jim Costa, D - Incumbent
Esmeralda Soria, D
Kim Williams, D
TJ Cox, D - Incumbent
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 . 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
REGISTER TO VOTE!
LGBTQ HISTORY IS BEING TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS NOW. BUT WHAT'S IN THE TEXBOOKS?
Have you seen an LGBTQ History textbook? Do you know what's in there?
Katrina C. Rose
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Finding out which states have legislation allowing trans people to ensure that our birth certificates reflect the reality of our post-transition lives has long been relatively easy – even without access to paywalled legal databases.
But finding out how certain states passed their laws is a different matter.
NEW ILLINOIS LAW REQUIRES ALL PUBLIC SINGLE-USE RESTROOMS BE GENDER NEUTRAL
The Equitable Restroom Act mandates that single-occupancy facilities shall be labeled "All-Gender."
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
A new Illinois law requiring all public single-use restrooms to be gender-free went into effect on January 1. The Equitable Restroom Act mandates that single-occupancy facilities shall be labeled “All-Gender.”
The law defines “single-occupancy” as “a fully enclosed room, with a locking mechanism controlled by the user, containing a sink, toilet stall, and no more than one urinal.”
COURT TOSSES OUT CASE AGAINST SOCIAL WORKERS ACCUSED OF IGNORING TORTURE OF 8-YEAR-OLD "GAY" BOY
The D.A. sought to blame child protective services' employees for allowing the brutal ongoing torture that eventually killed Gabriel Fernandez.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
California 2nd District Court of Appeals has thrown out a case accusing four employees of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) of criminally mishandling the case of Gabriel Fernandez, an 8-year-old child whose parents subjected him to gruesome, ongoing and ultimately lethal torture because they thought he might be gay.
Though Fernandez died in May 2013, Los Angeles’ District Attorney Jackie Lacey brought charges against DCFS employees Kevin Bom, Stefanie Rodriguez, Gregory Merritt, and Patricia Clement in 2016, charging them with a felony count of child abuse and a felony count of falsifying public records.
PHILIPPINES SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST MARRIAGE EQUALITY "WITH FINALITY"
The Supreme Court in The Philippines will not entertain 'further pleadings or motions' regarding same-sex marriage.
Juwan J. Holmes
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The Supreme Court of the Philippines has decided against hearing any further arguments or appeals on Falcis III vs. Civil Registrar-General, meaning that same-sex marriage will remain banned in the country.
This is the second time the petitioner, out gay lawyer Jesus Falcis had brought his argument to the court. His petition argued that the Family Code of the Philippines discriminated against his civil rights because the law “define[s] and limit[s] marriage as between man and woman.”
A GAY BAR IS HOLDING A 12-HOUR DRAG EVENT TO RAISE FUNDS FOR AUSTRALIA'S DEADLY BUSHFIRES
The blaze has already killed a billion animals and destroyed over 25 million acres of land... and this gay bar is doing something about it.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Two Brewers, a London gay bar, will host a 12-hour drag fundraiser on Sunday, Jan. 26 to raise money for the Australian bushfires that have already killed over a billion animals and 24 humans while destroying 2,000 homes and over 25 million acres of land.
The event will occur from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on “Australia Day,” an annual Australian holiday commemorating the arrival of British fleets to the island continent. The bar — which resides in Clapham, a southwestern suburb that has a large number of Australian expats — will host 17 drag and non-drag acts during the day.
WE ARE SEPARATE, YET INTERCONNECTED
There is a duality which exists in our existence. As humans, we are individuals, while at the same time, comprised of other parts. Yes, we are separate entities, but we are also biologically the manifestation of your parents. And they are the manifestation of their parents, and so on and so on. We can accept both aspects of our existence—separate yet interconnected.
Since people are all members of the human race, it is not difficult to understand each other’s basic needs. You simply need first to understand yourself. Get in touch with your feelings. Be aware of your basic biological and psychological needs, and realize that across the globe other people share those same emotions and needs.
There seems to be a common misconception in modern society that some things are created from nothing while other things can be destroyed and cease to exist. Scientifically, this is impossible. Something cannot come out of nothingness. Since everything is something, nothingness does not truly exist because it is not possible for a thing to become a non-thing.
You, too, came from something. After death, you’ll become something else. In that way, you are eternal; you simply change form. Everything that exists now is a continuation of what had once existed—including you. (Are you still with me? I understand that this is getting deep, but try to stay with me.)
Within your veins, flows the blood of your ancestors. You are a continuation of their DNA. If you trace your ancestral roots all the way back to the first few humans, you get a much better understanding of how all humans are related. (Now that’s interconnectedness!)
Since you have the inherited lineage of your ancestors within you, you can communicate with them mentally and spiritually. You can call on this cellular wisdom when you are in need because the ancestors had life experiences that they passed down to you on a genetic level. Don’t believe it? Well, how do you explain your instincts, then? Aren’t instincts a form of genetic wisdom from the ancestors? (Bet you didn’t see that one coming!)
I needed to call upon the wisdom of the ancestors one day when I got lost hiking in Northern Minnesota near the Canadian border. I was at a friend’s cabin miles away from any town or houses. My friend stayed at the cabin while I walked into the woods for, what I thought would be, a short hike. I was so mesmerized by the beautiful pine trees in the dense, wetland forest that I wandered off the trail and got lost.
At first, I tried to use my wit to find my way out. I attempted to determine which way was North, South, East, and West. Unfortunately, that did me no good at all because I had no clue which direction to go to locate the cabin.
I, then, had the bright idea to climb one of the tallest pine trees to hopefully see my friend’s cabin or the dirt road at least. I climbed up so high that I was hanging onto the very top part of the tree. The wind was starting to blow, and I began to sway back and forth with the breeze. Since the tree was already beginning to bend, the top might break under the stress of my weight. The last thing I needed was to fall and break bones.
I quickly looked around to get my bearings. That is when the fear truly hit me because all I could see was a canopy of green treetops and nothing else—no cabin roof, no roads, and not even distant structures on the horizon. No landmarks were visible at all! I was so panic-stricken that I just clung to the swaying treetop not knowing what to do.
For some reason (I know not why), I started thinking about my ancestors. Maybe it was my instincts kicking in. With my mind, I called out for the wisdom of the ancestors to help me. Certainly, a few of them have had their adventures getting lost. But, more to the point, I was only interested in communicating with those ancestors who were able to find their way back!
No sooner did I make my request for help then I looked down and noticed there was a slight dip in the spacing of the brush beneath me. Was it the path? Yes! I immediately climbed down and followed the trail back to the cabin. Lesson learned—never lose sight of my path in life, or I could become an ancestor, myself, sooner than expected.
Something to meditate on today. Take a stroll in nature today. (Make sure you do not get lost!) Perhaps you would like to walk through a neighboring park, flower garden, or stream. Sit under a tree if you can. (If you are unable to leave your home, just sit near a window and look at the trees. If you do not have a view of trees from your window, simply enjoy the sky.)
Clear your mind of all your worries and concerns. Become aware of your breathing. Focus on your physiology. Feel your heart beating in your chest. Deeply experience what it is like to be an organic being. Fill your mind with thoughts about your ancestors. Imagine how they looked when they were alive.
Let your mind go back further now. Picture the smiling face of your great, great, great grandfather or grandmother from 100 generations before you. How far back can you go? Allow your mind to wander freely. Follow the ancient footsteps all the way back to the origins of the human race. Recognize the biological connection you have with all humans. This biology is your heritage; it is your interconnectedness to all people who have ever lived. Embrace your global family and realize we are all one people. With this new perception, treat everyone kindly as you would your brothers and sisters.
Sanjay opened the car door and looked down in astonishment at the money sparkling before him. There were many coins doing that area of the parking lot. The copper and silver pieces rejected the bright sunshine that was beaming upon them.
It looked like a pirate lost some of her loot from her travels on a swashbuckling adventure. Sanjay bent over and picked up all twelve shiny pieces of that unexpected treasure trove that were spread out next to his vehicle.
He counted one quarter, one dime, three nickels, and seven pennies. Fifty-seven cents.
He always carried debit and credit cards in his wallet. It was so unusual for him to actually hold real money. He jangled the coins in his hand and heard the sounds of youthful chatter around a wishing well plenty of years earlier.
The Lakefront Park in his hometown has a magnificent fountain. It has served as a gathering place where generations of dreamers have been coming to toss coins into it with desires of having wishes granted.
As a child Sanjay went there many a night with his pals as they deposited numerous coins into that wishing well. They’d sit around that circular genie with their ice cream cones and talk starry-eyed about all the hopes and dreams of what they wanted their lives to be.
Often he would wish he was older and had the huge house. The Ferrari. The spouse and familia. The fancy tropical vacations. The early retirement. And above all he had just hoped for happiness.
Sanjay stood next to his car today and looked at all those coins in his hand. He wished he was young again and siting next to that fountain with all his friends. How amazing it would be to go back in time and be just a kid in that place for one more enchanted night.
An exciting idea flickered in his mind. He dropped the coins and grocery list into his pocket, jumped in his vehicle, and drove to Lakefront Park. It was unusually quiet when he arrived and there was no one else there as he sat down on the fountain’s marble ledge.
He gazed into the water of the fountain. In the reflection Sanjay saw a boy with a handful of coins wishing for his dreams to come true. Wanting to be someplace else. Older and successful. He also saw a man holding those coins today wishing to be someplace else. Younger and full of dreams.
Sanjay squeezed those twelve pieces in his hand and closed his eyes for a minute. He felt something profound that he had not experienced before. He already had the most important thing he had wished for long ago. He was simply enjoying the moment he was in at that precise time.
He looked once more at his visage in that water. He threw all the coins in that fountain. It wasn’t for any more wishes. It was gratitude for finally getting his greatest wish: happiness. And to his great surprise, it had always been there with him every day of his life.
Happiness is right there in each moment. Sanjay finally realized this…through the discovery of fifty-seven cents.
This story of a penny for your thoughts is brought to you by that change in your pocket guy. That dime store divo is Ron Blake and he can be activated with Buffalo nickels at email@example.com.
Your Intellectual Whore
"An effervescently gay
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:
Dear Uncle Barbie,
I am currently taking a psychology course at a nearby college ,and your opinion column has become a major part of our coursework. With this being stated, we were a little confused at what your psychology credentials are. If you could just let me know it would help out a lot with our class discussions and better our understanding of your advice column. Thanks.
Signed, Inquisitive Student
I am glad that you contacted me. As soon as you mentioned that you were in a psychology course, I checked my class roster to see if you were one of my students. You see, I am also employed as a psychology professor at a nearby college. You said that my advice column has played a part in your class. How so? Did your instructor have the students discuss the topics covered in my column? Were there test questions about the column? Or did the professor give some other kind of assignment? If I were to give my class an assignment, it would be to have the students write each other psychologically based questions, and then take turns answering them--using your best psychological understanding. (Hey, maybe you could suggest this assignment to your instructor. I probably know him or her, anyway.)
Well, let me answer your question about my credentials. I was born and raised in Minnesota, and went to California to get my doctorate in clinical psychology (referred to as a Psy.D.). I worked as a therapist for many years while going through graduate school. After graduating with my doctorate, I worked as a clinical psychologist in California until my student loans were paid off. Then, I moved back to my home state because I missed this area--even the snow. I have worked as a professor ever since. I’ve been writing my column for over 20 years (including the time in California). The biggest challenge for an advice columnist is to make the column both educational and entertaining. When a person submits a very serious question dealing with mental health issues, I try my best to be informative. Yet, I realize that the general public would get bored reading it unless there was something humorous about my response. So, I always try to add comedy to my replies. Let's face it, humor can be a very healing element for mental health. Feel free to write back, and let me know what you and your classmates think.
Dismissing Conventionalism, Uncle Barbie
ARIES (Mar - Apr 19)
Now is the time when your hard work starts to pay off. The ball is in your court so now is the time to push forward. Watch your spending.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
You can accomplish a lot if you apply yourself. Make sure you are right or you will be redoing some projects.
GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
Very frustrating time. No one seems to agree with you on anything. Go to things you like to do to keep your sanity.
CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
You really are starting to feel a little insecure. Work problems, money problems are taking a toll. Lean on your friends for insight into what is going on. This will pass.
LEO (July 23 - Aug 22)
Some unsettling news calls for action on your part. This will clear the air for you to move forward. Treat yourself.
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
You are being motivated by others for action. You know what to do to make everything work out. Very productive time.
LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22)
You are getting tired of the hard work transformations and spending money. You really have control here to change things in your life so be kind to others.
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
You are really grounded now and you can create your own opportunities if you just let it happen. Very satisfying time in your life.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
You have a very aggressive attitude this period. Don't throw the baby out with the batch water or you may hurt some feelings. Be aware of what you do or say.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
You are handling a lot in your life. Do what you can and let the rest go. Its for your sanity.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
After the holidays everything seems really peaceful now. Your focus is on friendships and examining yourself. A change out of the blue is in store for you.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
Kaboom. You are going for a little roller coaster ride. It will be fun and you will accomplish a lot. Personal improvement is in order here. There is work to be done.
Not To Be Missed
The LA LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre, in Los Angeles, will debut Joanna Gleason in her acclaimed hit solo show, Out of the Eclipse, on February 15 and 16, 2020. In a deeply funny and intensely moving musical journey through life’s mysteries, she will light up the stage in a theatrical memoir of storytelling and glorious song! Gleason is a writer/actor/director who is best known for her theater roles, such as her roles in Into the Woods and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. She has won several Tony Awards for her theater work. The Renberg Theatre is located at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles, CA, 90038. Tickets for this event are $35. For more information go to lalgbtcenter.org.
Emily King will perform at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in Los Angeles, on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 8:00 PM. King is an American singer and songwriter. In December, 2007, she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album
for her debut album, East Side Story. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90038. It is a full-service cemetery, and Hollywood giants such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney are buried there. The cemetery has an area that is used for cultural events, such as movie showings and musical events. Tickets for the Emily King show are $35. For tickets, go to hollywoodforever.com and follow the lead to Eventbrite, or contact your favorite ticket seller.
Hamilton, the musical, continues at the Orpheum Theater, in San Francisco, during the month of February, 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, and the first week of the month is already sold out, so get your tickets soon. 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.
San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony will perform on February 7, 2020, at 8:00 PM, at the Davies Symphony Hall, in San Francisco. The orchestra will be performing music from Blomstedt, Beethoven, and Brahms. The Davies Symphony Hall is located at 201 Van Ness Ave, in San Francisco, CA, 94102. Tickets for this event start in the $140 range. For tickets, go to sfsymphony.org or your favorite ticket seller.
Blake Shelton will bring his Friend & Heroes tour to the Save Mart Center, in Fresno, on February 21, 2020, at 7:00 PM. Shelton is an American country music singer and television personality. He made his singing debut in 2001, with the release of his self-titled album, Austin. The Save Mart Center is located at 2650 E. Shaw Ave, Fresno, Ca, 93710. Tickets for this event start in the $50 range. For tickets, go to savemartcenter.boxofficeticketscenter.com or your favorite ticket seller.
Sleeping Beauty Ballet
The Valley Performing Arts Council will present The Sleeping Beauty at the Saroyan Theatre, in Fresno, on Friday, February 28, at 6:30 PM. This ballet performance is a modern take on a favorite fairy tale. Performed to Tchaikovsky’s celebrated score, this joyful premiere features intricately designed sets, visionary costumes, and virtuosic dancing. The Saroyan Theatre is located at 700 M Street, Fresno, CA, 93721. Tickets for this event start at $35. For tickets, go in person to the box office at the Selland Arena, at 700 M Street, or purchase tickets online through your favorite ticket seller, such as Ticketmaster
3rd Annual Big Gay Cabaret
Saturday, Jan 18 at 3 PM
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church
2101 N. Fruit Ave, Fresno, CA 93705
Tickets: Available at the door.
Suggested donation: $10 (No one will be turned away due to lack of funds)
We’re raising money for the 30th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival through music, dance, poetry, and more! Come witness some of Fresno’s most talented LGBTQ+ performers and allies, as we celebrate our Pride and raise money for a worthy cause.
Free Transgender Community Monthly Art Night
Tuesday, Jan 21 at 6:30 PM
Fresno Spectrum Center
2817 N Blackstone Ave, Fresno, CA 93703
Facillitated by Trans-E-Motion. Come and experience the creativity, fun and socializing with others in the community.
PFLAG Fresno Matinee: Real Boy
Sunday, Jan 26 at 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Fresno Spectrum Center
2817 N. Blackstone Ave, Fresno, CA 93703
PFLAG Fresno FUNDRAISER,
In partnership with The Fresno Spectrum Center, present a PFLAG Matinee screening of REAL BOY on Jan 26 at The Fresno Spectrum Center. Doors open at 1:30 PM and the movie will start at 2:00 PM (72 minutes). There will be a discussion after the screening for anyone that has questions or insight to share. PFLAG is suggesting a $5 donation to attend this event and they'll also have reasonably priced drinks, snacks, and popcorn to go with your Sunday matinee. :)
Thursday, Feb 6 at 5 PM - 8 PM
Fresno EOC Sanctuary LGBTQ Resource Center
1250 Fulton Ave, Fresno, CA 93721
Art Hop is a monthly event where artists, vendors, food trucks (and more!) are featured at venues in the downtown Fresno and Tower District areas.
It's a FREE event, rain or shine. Our resource center is an official Art Hop destination and will be featured in the Art Hop guide as a place to stop by and check out.
More info here -->
We are currently taking inquiries for vendors and artists for the 2020 Art Hop season. QTPOC and youth *highly* encouraged to participate.
Trans-E-Motion's Monthly Social
Friday, Feb 7 at 7 PM
1414 N Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93728
The first Friday of every month, come out to Ming's in the Tower District at 7pm for our monthly social!
Fresno Rainbow Pride Pageant
Saturday, Feb 8 at 5 PM - 9 PM
The Big Red Church of Fresno
2131 N Van Ness Blvd, Fresno, CA 93704
The category is... Ballroom!
As the ball culture emerged so did the the civil rights movement in the 1960s. It created a space of acceptance and pride. We will be honoring those nights as we crown the new Mr., Miss. and Mizz. Fresno Rainbow Pride 2020 and celebrate the current title holders as they present their finale step down performance. Which house will you represent?
All proceeds will benefit the 30th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival. For table, sponsorship opportunities and interested candidates, contact Tracie at or (559) 331-4656
Save the date! More information to be announced soon.
LGBTQ&A Support Group
Friday, Feb 14 at 5:30 PM
4867 E Kings Canyon Rd, Fresno, CA 93727
The second Friday of every month from 5:30PM - 7PM at Holistic Wellness Center, we hold a support group for Queer, Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay, Genderqueer, pansexual individuals, and everyone else accross the gender and sexuality spectrum!
Meet us at the Holistic Cultural and Education Wellness Center of Fresno at 4867 E. Kings Canyon (Northwest corner of Kings Canyon/Winery, next to Big Lots).
Contact us if you have any questions.
The Grand Marshal Ball 2020
Saturday, March 14 at 5 PM - 9 PM
700 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721
Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival presents: The Grand Marshal Ball
“Celebrating 30 years of Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival”
March 14th 2020 BITWISE industries 700 Van Ness Ave. Fresno CA 93721
Appetizers will be provided
Doors open at 5pm
Cocktail hour from 5p-6p
Commencement of celebration 6pm
Limited tickets will be available
Please dress to impress/this will be a formal event.
Hear some past experiences from Grand Marshals, guest speakers and some LIVE entertainment. We will also be sharing our events for the next few months and how YOU can help out.
Please contact Leilani price at 559-273-1601 for more information.
MeMosa Drag Brunch Designed for You: CIRCUS
Sunday, March 22 at 10:30 AM - 1 PM
Fresno Breakfast House
2085 W Bullard Ave, Fresno, CA 93711
Tickets go on sale 1/13/2020 at at 5pm
General admission $30 and VIP admission $50
For Table reservations please contact Leilani Price at 559-273-1601. Only table reservations of 8 tickets are a guarantee for premium seating.
Special Guest Performances by Priscilla McNamara, Betti Rage and Justin Cider. Hosted by Leilani Price.
Purchase tickets early, this event will SELL OUT.
Mindfulness Meditation & Support Group
Sunday, Jan 19 at 12 PM
The Gender for Sexuality & Gender Diversity
902 18th St., Bakersfield, CA 93301
Time: Sundays at noon - 1:00 pm
Where: The Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity, 902 18th St, Bakersfield CA 93301
The class includes spiritual readings, guided meditation and silence followed by Metta.
Improve mental and physical well being, slow down, relax....your life depends on it. Everyone is welcome. Join us! It's free!
For more information please contact the Center or call (661) 843-7995.
Clothing Swap/Gender Rebels Social
Saturday, Feb 8 at 3 PM
The Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity
902 18th St, Bakersfield, CA 93301
This monthly clothing swap is in support of our trans and gender non-conforming community members. Come join us to grab some clothes, socialize with others in the community, and have some snacks! We are here every second Saturday! All are welcome!
21+ LGBTQ+ Night at O'Ryleigh's Tavern
Friday, Jan 17 at 9 PM - 1:30 AM
1730 Canal St., Merced, CA 95340
The ONLY queer dance club experience in Merced (for now!) At O’Ryleigh’s Tavern - 1730 Canal St in Merced. No cover before 10 PM. 21+ only.
This is O’Ryleigh’s fourth LGBTQ+ Night and we’re so grateful they’ve decided to move it from its Thursday spot to a FRIDAY NIGHT.
We lovingly deck this place out full of rainbow flags and LGBTQ+ signs while O’Ryleigh’s and their DJ’s do the rest. For 4 1/2 hours this bar becomes transformed into a place of visibility and pride. There’s no need to hesitate dancing or connecting with the person you want to because it’s OUR time and place now.
Start off 2020 with some excitement. We welcome ALL in the community (straight allies too!)
LGBTQ+ Men's Night at Pizza Factory
Thursday, Jan 23 at 6 PM - 8 PM
Pizza Factory Merced
3146 G St. Suite 147, Merced, CA 95340
For all gay, bisexual, pansexual, trans and gender non-binary individuals who identify as male (at least sometimes.)
Expect a casual evening of hanging out and getting to know each other. We hope you join us!
LGBTQ+ Rainbow Circle Time (0-5 years old)
Saturday, Jan 25 at 10 AM
Merced County Library
2100 O St. Merced, CA 95340
The Merced LGBTQ+ Alliance and the Read and Succeed Literacy Program at the Merced County Library is proud to present Rainbow Circle Time. Finally, an inclusive group for those who identify or are allies of the LGBTQ+ Community. This is a great way for parents and guardians to engage their child through group playtime, singing, dancing, storytime and more. Invest in your children and in yourself!
LGBTQ+ Youth Social & Support Group
Saturday, Jan 25 at 12 PM (Noon)
Merced Multicultural Art Center
645 W Main, St. Merced CA 95340
Hey you! Come join our LGBTQ+ youth support and social group. We are a super safe space to talk about all the things, and also just to play board games and get to know everyone. This group is for anyone 10-25. Run by youth, for youth!
PS, this is not childcare. If you or your kid is on the lower end of the age range, they must be mature, and able to interact appropriately with teens, and be very motivated to socialize with potentially older kids. Parents will remain on-call to pick up their child if any problem arises. That said, it is so important for people of all ages to be able to socialize with people who look like them, this has been shown to improve mental health outcomes across our lifespan. Please see our Kids group for those under 10, and our Friends and Families group where parents can find support for themselves.
Come join our new group, already forming with super inclusive people of all genders committed to supporting our community.
LGBTQ Yoga (Free)
Monday, Jan 27 at 6:30 PM
Merced Adult School
50 E 20th St, Merced, CA 95344
An ongoing and free resource. 6:30 PM Monday January 13th will be our first Yoga and Mindful Movement session. Meets in room 5 of the Merced Adult School located at 50 East 20th St. We suggest parking on 20th street and looking for the rainbow flag. All levels of expertise welcome. We will be exploring both Vinyasa and Kundalini yoga. Bring your own mat or borrow one of ours. Judgement free zone and a safe space.
Depression & Anxiety Support Group
Friday, Jan 17 at 5:30 PM
Central Valley Pride Center
400 12th St, Suite 2, Modesto, CA 95354
Depression and anxiety effects many of us, especially in the LGBTQ+ community. You are not alone in your journey, join our support group for a safe space to discuss how depression and/or anxiety effects your life.
This group is open to anyone who deals with depression and anxiety. Learn skills while finding support and understanding from your peers.
Grief & Loss Support Group
Monday, Feb 3 at 6 PM
Oakland LGBTQ Community Center
3207 Lakeshore Ave (Rand Ave Entrance), Oakland, CA 94610
Description:Grief & Loss Support Group
An open grief support group for anyone who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, partner, family member or close friend.
Participants will be invited to share about the loss in a safe space and receive resources to help them along the journey of moving through their grief.
The group is offered free of charge and open to people of all ages, ethnicity and gender presentation.
Lead by culturally competent, experienced, bereavement support counselors.
Free Test Friday
Friday, Jan 17 at 3 PM - 5 PM
The Source LGBT+ Center
208 W Main St, Suite B, Visalia, CA 93291
FREE CONFIDENTIAL RAPID HIV TESTING @ THE SOURCE!
Appointments from 12pm to 2pm
Walk-ins from 3pm-5pm
-to schedule your appointment go to
Drag Queen Bingo: Winter Wonderland
Sunday, Jan 19 at 11:30 AM - 7 PM
101 W. Main St, Visalia, CA
January the 19th will be our Winter Edition of Drag Queen Bingo. It may be freezing but the queens are bringing the heat!
We will have two games: Brunch Bingo and the regular evening show. Valuable prizes, food, drinks, and DRAG.
Brunch Bingo: Doors open at 11:30am. First game at noon and we go strong till 2pm.
Evening show: Doors open at 4:30. First game at 5pm and we wrap it up at 7pm.
Tickets will go on sale 12/19/19 at 5pm!
Transgender Resource Group
Tuesday, Jan 21 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM
The Source LGBT+ Center
208 W Main St, Suite B, Visalia, CA 93279
We love the "T" in LGBT! Transcending Gender and Trans Parent Groups contain vital peer support, community, and resources for transgender and gender non conforming individuals as well as their families. We are here for you. For more information contact
Trans Ed Night: Being an Ally!
Thursday, Jan 23 at 6:30 PM - 8 PM
The Source LGBT+ Center
208 W Main St., Suite B, Visalia, CA 93279
All are welcome to come learn and share experiences about what it means to be an ally to the transgender community. There will be discussions on helpful tools to assist allies to understanding gender equality and social movements that effect the transgender community.
TC Stonewall Monthly Meeting
Monday, Feb 10 at 6 PM
Pizza Factory Visalia
3121 W Noble Ave, Visalia, CA 93277
Join us for our monthly meeting and be apart of engaging discussion on LGBTQ+ issues here in the Central Valley!
Meeting Agenda is available here:
Visalia Pride Lions Annual Valentines Dinner & Dance
Saturday, Feb 15 at 6 PM - 12 AM
9000 W Airport Dr, Visalia, CA 93277
JOIN US! GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY
Our Annual dinner dance will be on February 15, 2020
at the Wyndham Hotel, Visalia CA. Come join the fun at the only LGBT themed Valentines event in the area and help us raise funds to help our community!
Tickets are just $40 and include dinner and dancing till 12:00 am
Dance only tickets are $10