Issue XI, Vol. XXV, No. 299 | July 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 JULY 2020
Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT seniors, and we get together twice a month for social functions. The second Wednesday of the month at 6 pm we meet at different restaurants.
Due to the serious nature of the COVID-19 virus, all Gray Alliance events are canceled until further notice. Our age group is especially vulnerable.
We have a potluck the final Sunday of the month at the First Congregational Church Fireside Room from 2-4 pm. It’s located at the south end of the church at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno. Please note that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation. We will not be meeting Sunday, July 26, 2020.
If you have any questions, please call John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Hope to see you soon!
YOUTH ALLIANCE NEWS JULY 2020
July is upon us with its unrelenting heat. Most of us have to run our air conditioners 24 hours a day in order to have some relief. And because of COVID-19, we have limited locations where we can go to get away from the heat. For some of us, local movie theaters have been a welcome distraction from the heat and sun. They were cool and dark, and the cost of watching a movie was reasonable. Now, as movie theaters have started to open back up after a 4-month hiatus, many of us don’t trust that the theaters have done enough to protect us from the dreaded airborne virus. Many of us will opt to stay home rather than place ourselves at risk.
Of course, school is out for the summer. The federal government and school districts are battling to determine how to and when to reopen schools in a few months while the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to increase exponentially. Our LGBTQ Youth Alliance members are hopefully tucked away at home for the summer, but they always complain that the summer months are boring. They will be especially affected by boredom this summer. Luckily, many of LGBTQ youth are video gamers, so hopefully, they are finding games to play.
Our LGBTQ Youth Alliance meetings continue to be on hiatus. The leaders of the First Congregational Church, where our Youth Alliance members have met for years, contacted our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, about a month ago, stating that they were aware that our group needs to meet and that they are considering options, such as using a larger room, so that our youth group can eventually meet. We haven’t heard anything since then. We understand that the church needs to consider the risk of allowing the group to meet and the liability they could share if a young person were to get infected on their property.
Meanwhile, Jeffery Robinson has asked that our youth leaders figure out how to offer a videoconferencing version of the LGBTQ Youth Alliance. Videoconferencing seems doable, right? But although Jeffery and his sidekick David use videoconferencing at work, neither currently have the proficiency to develop a videoconferencing project on their own. We may have to tap into the ingenuity of other members of the LGBTQ community to make that dream a reality.
Until we can meet again, whether by videoconferencing or in person, we hope our LGBTQ Youth Alliance members will continue to use masks, wash their hands, and exercise social distancing so that they remain safe. We want all of our youth to come back to our weekly meetings, healthy and alive! We look forward to the Friday night when we can once again meet!
The LGBTQ Youth Alliance has traditionally met on Friday evenings, at 7 PM, in the Fireside Room of the Big Red Church, located at 2131 N. Van Ness, in Fresno. Our goal is to restart our weekly face-to-face meetings someday! Until that time, we will work on the goal of videoconferencing. We will continue to post occasionally on Facebook so that folks know we haven’t gone away! We look forward to the day we can once again meet face-to-face!
Financial Aid Available
Every year The Source awards three $500 scholarships to local LGBT+ or allied students that prioritize LGBT issues and give back to their community. If you or someone you know could use some help paying for school or supplies, apply today. Deadline is July 31, 2020. Scholarships awarded in August.
COVID Relief Fund Round 2
LGBT+ folx have been hit hard by COVID-19. Sierra Health Foundation and San Joaquin Valley Health Fund understand. That is why we are partnering with them to deliver over $100k in financial assistance. Whether it's the loss of a job, rental assistance, food assistance, or utilities... The Source has got you covered.
POLYAMOROUS RELATIONSHIPS GRANTED LEGAL RIGHTS IN MASSACHUSETTS
An estimated 3 percent of the U.S. population is in some sort of non-monogamous arrangement. Could this be the future of marriage in the United States?
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
At a June 25 city council meeting in Somerville, Massachusetts, council members broadened the city’s definition of domestic partnerships to include relationships between three or more adults, according to The New York Times. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has signed the changes into law, and it’s thought to be the first of its kind in any U.S. city.
Among the subtle languages changes in the city’s ordinance, a domestic partnership is now defined as an “entity formed by people” rather than just “by two people.” The phrase “he and she” has been replaced with “they,” and “both” has been replaced by “all.”
BURGER KING WORKERS STRIKE AFTER TRANS EMPLOYEE DIES FROM COVID. BK BLAMED "HORMONES" FOR HER DEATH.
The woman worked for a week with severe symptoms after management allegedly told her to keep working. She died.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Workers are on strike at a Burger King in Santa Monica, California, after a transgender woman died from COVID-19. Angela Martinez Gómez, a 15-year employee of the company, worked for a week with severe symptoms and now at least one other employee is infected.
Even worse, workers at the location say management blamed Martinez’s death on “injecting hormones.” They say no other employees have been quarantined, the store hasn’t closed for deep cleaning, and management has allowed another worker showing symptoms to continue on the job.
INSTAGRAM WILL BAN ANY CONTENT ABOUT CONVERSION THERAPY
Starting Friday, July 10, 2020, Instagram will ban any content promoting LGBT conversion therapy. They had already banned ads for conversion therapy earlier in the year. Instagram’s EMEA public policy director, Tara Hopkins, told the BBC news on Friday, “We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and [we are] updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.”
NEW PRIDE FLAG BEING USED
For the last 42 years, the internationally recognized LGBTQ Pride Flag has been six stripes with rainbow colors, created by Gilbert Baker, in 1978. But this year, Pride activists across the globe have adopted “The Progress Flag,” designed by Daniel Quasar, in 2018. It
added black and brown stripes to represent people of color, and baby blue, pink, and white, to include the transgender flag. The new flag represents a drive to be more inclusive of the expansive breadth of identity within the LGBTQ community.
PAT ROBERTSON WARNS THE PASSAGE OF EQUALITY ACT WILL CAUSE GOD TO DESTROY AMERICA
On Thursday, July 9, 2020, Televangelist Pat Robertson, who is famous for his outrageous claims that LGBTQ people are responsible for natural disasters in America, prophesied (again) that the passage of the Equality Act will cause “a righteous God to do to us
what he did to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Earlier this year, Robertson blamed the introduction of COVID-19 in America on same-sex marriage. The Equality Act is a bill in the US Congress that prohibits discrimination based on sexual identity and gender identity.
COMEDIAN RANDY RAINBOW GOES AFTER TRUMP ONCE AGAIN
Comedian Randy Rainbow has changed the words to “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” from Disney’s musical, The Little Mermaid, to “Poor Deplorable Troll,” in his latest attack on President Trump, highlighting Trump’s hate, racism, and poor handling of COVID-19 in the United States. “He’s terribly annoyed by all the dead and unemployed because he only cares about his own PR,” Rainbow sings. Rainbow’s comedy, including his latest music release, can be viewed on YouTube.
COVID WOULD BE UNDER CONTROL WITHIN TWO MONTHS IF EVERYONE JUST WORE A MASK
The simple COVID precaution has become a political flashpoint in recent months, stirred by Donald Trump.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The coronavirus pandemic would be under control in the United States within two months if citizens would only start wearing masks. The simple COVID precaution has become a political flashpoint in recent months, stirred by Donald Trump.
While Trump has continually downplayed the virus, with disastrous results, health experts have regularly contradicted the president’s unscientific (and frequently deadly) advice like consuming cleaning products to kill the virus. All government health agencies recommend wearing a mask and it is required in several states and by some businesses.
NETHERLANDS PLANS TO REMOVE GENDER FROM ID CARDS ENTIRELY
National ID cards will stop showing any gender marker at all, making paperwork easier for non-binary and transgender people.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The Netherlands will stop including any gender marker at all on identification cards.
Several countries – including India, Australia, and Canada, as well as the Netherlands – already allow people to choose an “X” gender marker in the place of “M” or “F” if the latter two don’t fit them. But with this move the Netherlands will stop including any gender marker at all on ID.
LET THE SOURCE OF LIFE FLOW THROUGH YOU
Obviously, anything alive has life energy. What is not so clear is the source of that life energy. Where is it? What is it? How can we measure it? Is it physical or metaphysical? Is God the source? I don’t have the answers because I don’t think it is possible for any human to understand the source of life fully.
Be wary of the self-admiring spiritual mentor who claims to understand the source of life completely. This misguided adviser might even profess to speak on behalf of the Creator, and the followers believe the guru’s opinions are facts. Unfortunately, the believers who join this merry band of self-appointed “chosen people” realize too late that the spiritual leader had much more talent at manipulating the followers and far less knowledge of the source.
The source of life is too vast to simplify into human words. We can feel the life energy inside us yet cannot describe the original cause which sparked that energy. Vocabulary has its limits. Ironically, the more we try to explain the unexplainable, the more confused we get. Wisdom teaches that the more we learn, the less we know with certainty.
The challenge is to stay connected to the source. One suggestion for doing this is to simply be aware that you already have life energy within you. Therefore, you have a connection to the source of that energy. (If you didn’t, you would not be alive!) Once you acknowledge this connection which has always existed inside you, you can let the energy from the source flow through you and out to others.
One of the most frequently asked questions on this topic is just how exactly you let this energy flow to other people. Well, let’s say you were hosting a dinner party at your home. Let’s also say that you care about your guests very much and their feelings; you want them to have a relaxing and enjoyable time.
Your concern for them is a form of love. When you show this love for other people, life energy from the source automatically wells up within you. It radiates from you like the emotional glow a grandmother gets when she holds her newborn grandchild. This energy affects everything you do and say.
In the dinner party example, you can show this positive energy with a bright smile as you greet your arriving guests which makes them feel comfortable and right at home. Eventually, they take their seat at the table, and your smile becomes infectious. Soon all your guests are smiling and laughing as they enjoy each other’s company. The life source energy continues to flow through you as you serve them food, fill their glasses, and make sure they have everything they need for a satisfying meal.
Your guests can sense you care about them and can feel the positive life energy in you. This compassion is something you cannot fake. If you try to pretend, you end up looking insincere because that is exactly how you are acting.
In restaurants, you may have experienced being served by overworked and frustrated waiters/waitresses. Despite the artificial smile on their faces, you can tell they do not want to serve you. It is probably more accurate to say that those servers resent having to wait on you. You can see it in their eyes. If the servers truly had the energy of the source of life flowing through them, they might appreciate the opportunity to bring joy to other people. In that sense, servitude is a gift.
Your attentiveness is also a gift you can share with those around you; this is, yet, another way to let the source flow through you. When you pay attention and listen to someone, you communicate to them that they are important. They can sense you care about them without you even having to say so. Listening is loving.
The next time your children, significant other, friends, coworkers, etc. approach you with something on their minds, let them know how much you care by turning off the TV and give them your full attention. Turn your back to the computer monitor and focus instead on the living person right in front of you; this is called being in the present moment, and it is a beautiful thing.
There are so many opportunities to share life energy with people. This type of sharing does not mean you need to deplete your physical energy. Rather, you can tap into the source of life. Allow that positive energy to pass through you and enrich the lives of everyone you meet. In that way, you do not get burnt out because you are not draining your internal resources. You are relying on an external resource to supply you with loving energy.
Something to meditate on today. Before you go to bed tonight, please recognize the connection you already have with the source of life. Once you have acknowledged this connection, open those valves of loving energy and let the source radiate out to all those around you.
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HE FRATERNITY INTERVIEW
A guy invited me to his fraternity house at Indiana University. It would be my chance to impress those members during rush week in September 1988. This particular house was coveted for its distinguished image and reputation. Many eager guys on campus wanted to get in there. I was one of them.
I went there to visit for a casual event one night. During the party, a group of classic All-American fraternity brothers took me to a quieter private room to have a more intimate chat.
This jovial impromptu committee surrounding me was full of probing questions. What is my major? Where am I from? Do I have a girlfriend? And that last question started a dizzying dialogue I will always remember throughout my lifetime.
I told the half dozen Greek-lettered boys that I was single. To which I was asked how long had I been a single man. I told them that I hadn’t really had any girlfriends. Yet.
The balloon deflated right then. There was the sound of silence for several seconds. All eyes were fixated on me. Then one of them simply inquired, "Are you gay?"
I was in a corner. There were six guys in a semi-circle between me and the only exit from that isolated room. Adrenaline surged within me. I was scared. I wasn’t sure I could speak. So much was going through my head in a mere split second. I needed to answer though. And quickly.
I blurted out that I was not. The explanation I gave was that I had just been busy with my AP schoolwork and dual sports in high school. So I could get a scholarship and an acceptance letter. I did not need any distractions from getting to my goal of attending college.
Then I reflected on my response. Did I respond too slowly? Did I sound confident? Did I overcompensate? Please don’t let this feeling of vertigo get worse I thought.
The group remained silent. They stared stone-faced at me for what seemed an eternity. I remember hearing a clock ticking. It was an interrogation. They wanted me to break under pressure. I could tell.
The clock continued ticking. Even louder it seemed. Like it was taunting me. I remained calm. I'm not sure how.
A preppy-dressed guy finally spoke. He told me that their house had a proud tradition. They could not afford to ruin that by allowing the wrong type in. They had to get rid of the undesirables is what he informed me. They all slowly and carefully nodded in agreement.
Then the guys loosened up, smiled, and began making jokes about gays and AIDS.
As soon as that interview was done we all walked back toward the main room where the loud party was in full effect. One brother stayed back with me. He walked alongside me, put his arm around my neck, and explained how relieved he was that I wasn't a homosexual.
He said some of those guys really despised fags. And would have beaten me mercilessly right there and thrown me out of the house if I was. He laughed. I did too. Nervously. Then he told me he was serious. I believed him. Sadly; I believed him.
I didn’t join that fraternity nor any other one. This experience has stayed with me for the last 32 years. It would not be until 2004 when I would finally come out of the closet. Moments of hate like that affect you in a profound way.
I never forgot that evening. That pain was always kept bottled up inside me. But today I’m proud of myself. Finally, I am sharing this story publicly for the first time. I never thought I could or would.
I decided it was time. It feels good to take back that night.
This alpha and omega story of the genie is out of the bottle is brought to you by that guy with no regrets. That guy creating his own consequences now is Ron Blake and he has tres wishes left at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
Paranoid Movie Goer
Dear Uncle Barbie,
I’m not completely anti-social; I don’t completely hate people. I DO, however, get completely irritated when I go to the movies and other movie goers decide to occupy seats directly in front of me, behind me, or to the side of me, when there are many other vacant seats in the theater. Why do they do this to me!? And why does this bother me so?
Signed, Thumbs Down
Hello Thumbs Down,
It bothers you so because you are paranoid--thinking people are doing this to you intentionally. Believe me, there is no Universal conspiracy out there plotting against you. (Well, okay, maybe there is...) Perhaps it’s just your charming personality that people find irresistible.
It could be that you have the type of charismatic attraction that is found only in great leaders of nations. (Nah, I think movie goers are just out to get you.) Either that or you have a tremendously bright aura that draws the public to you like a moth to a flame. By the way, what kind of cologne do you use? Oh, never mind.
You don’t need to worry. I’m sure people just sit in front of you in the theater because they are too unaware of their surroundings to notice you, and too self-absorbed to care. (No, but seriously though, they really are out to get you!!!)
Playing Mind Games, Barbie
I See Fat People
Dear Uncle Barbie,
Why are there so many fat people in this town? I know there are probably better things to think about these days, but this seems to be a topic that just won’t leave my mind.
Signed, Need to Know
Let me address your insensitive comments. I have nothing against woman and men who are overweight. I do not try to judge them or change them. It’s an issue of tolerance and acceptance.
To response to your question, you give me the impression that yours is a very small world. Just how rigid are you, anyway? Perhaps you need to redefine what it means to be overweight and ease up on your demeaning assessment of those individuals. You have all these narrowly defined roles that people are supposed to play, and tight-fitting social molds that people are supposed to fit into. Acting that anal retentive is like trying to hold onto a dime between your butt cheeks. It may be time to let the coin drop.
I have an assignment for you; loosen up a bit. You seem way too serious. Learn to laugh. In fact, every day, set aside some time to laugh for at least 30 seconds nonstop. Form a joy/luck club where you and your friends can lighten up and act silly for a while without resorting to criticizing other people. Try wearing a humorous costume occasionally. (Hell, I do. Just look at me.) Now, that can reduce stress--and fast. Sometimes, I crack myself up. (Yes, that’s right--I’m a self-amuser.) You need to learn how to get your tickle off someone without making fun of them.
Last, try to see things through the other person’s eyes. When you understand the people that are different from you, then you will start to feel more comfortable around them. The moment this happens, you will feel less need to judge and put others down for being unlike you because you will be focusing on the similarities, rather than the differences.
Live & Love, Barbie
ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
Its full speed ahead for you. Go for it and don't let anything slow you down. You will be able to relax later.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
If you were any more stable you would be boring. Push yourself here so you can accomplish what you want. This really is easy.
GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
With a lot of activity in the recent past it all becomes clear what you want and need to do. Seek some counsel and move forward.
CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Your mind is thinking a mile a minute. Slow down and do something physical. Your patience is being tried and this will help to bring some peace in your life.
LEO (July 23 - Aug 22)
Even though all seems to go smoothly you need to reexamine your goals and yes, your attitude. You can be a little demanding right now.
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
You are a stable force now but you lack a clear sense of direction. Perhaps you should just enjoy yourself now.
LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22)
You just can't seem to get any traction. Its like obstacles keep getting in the way. Use your resourcefulness to manage these problems.
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
Its the little things that count so pay attention to details and don't fret. It's all in the game.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
You need to bite your tongue for a while and get your finances in order. This is your problem so don't take it out on others.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
You have your plate full but you can handle whatever is thrown at you. Enjoy time with friends and push forward.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
If you do not do the right thing there is a price to pay in the near future. Be open and honest in all of your dealings, then you can rise to new heights. Expect the unexpected.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
Your mind is kind of all over the place. You're daydreaming. Do busy work to keep you grounded for now. You will be on track soon enough.
Not To Be Missed
Walt Disney World Reopens
Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida, reopened its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on Saturday, July 11, 2020. Guests are required to apply for park reservations online, which means that attendance is closely monitored. Tickets for the month of July are already sold out. Face coverings are required. Guests are required to maintain social distancing. Hand sanitizer is required throughout the park. Parades and nightly fireworks remain cancelled due to social distancing requirements. Despite all the requirements, guests who entered the Magic Kingdom on Saturday reported that they were thrilled to be back in the park after its 4 month
closure and that they felt safe and secure. EPCOT center and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen on July 15, 2020.
Meanwhile, California’s governor has declared that theme parks in California will remain closed at least until August, 2020, while the state Department of Health defines appropriate guidelines for the reopening of theme parks throughout the state. Downtown Disney, the Disneyland shopping mall located adjacent to the theme park in Anaheim, California, reopened on Thursday, July 9, 2020, including the Disney Store. Yahoo News reported that people lined up to go into the Disney Store to purchase Disney merchandise.
Yosemite National Park
According to a recent article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Yosemite National Park is seeing larger-than-expected day-use visitors since it reopened a month ago. The park has not announced any plans to limit the number of entry passes it will issue. The new day-use reservation system will remain in place, at least until October, 2020. To date, Yosemite park staff have remained COVID-19 free.
Our Favorite Coastal Towns
Our favorite towns on the Central Coast, such as San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Cayucos, and Cambria, are open for business. During the summer, expect beaches and restaurants to be packed. But if you’re dying to get over there and get out of the heat, you can alwa ys take a picnic and spread out on the beach! Look for the out-of-the-way beaches that only the local residents know about!
Gaming casinos in the Central Valley are open for business. All of the casinos require patrons to wear masks at all times unless dining or drinking. Some even require that a patron’s mask must cover the person’s mouth and nose (we’ve all seen shoppers who are wearing a mask but it’s below their nose so they can “breathe better”)! Some of the gaming casinos allow patrons to smoke, which means that people will be removing their face mask and blowing smoke and airborne viruses! Watch out for the smokers!
The federal government has recently proposed rule changes that may impact health care and housing access for the trans community.
Confused? Anxious? Wondering what's next?
If so, come to our next PRIDEnet Cafe on July 24, 2020 from 10-11:30 PDT to hear from a panel of legal experts and advocates and find out what actions are being taken to combat these measures, as well as what you can do to advocate for yourself and your community.
Register at http://bit.ly/TransCivilRights
From Isis De Luna:
I need your help to spread the word
As you may know, I host a monthly virtual story hour for the Fresno Spectrum Center.
We are adding a new segment:
We need our child viewers to send us mail!
They can write to us about anything: favorite books or activities; suggest a book for us to read; their life in quarantine; how to deal with bullies; or make suggestions about what content they’d Like to see during Story Hour!
Every episode we will pick a letter and read it on the show. The writer of the letter will receive a special gift from The Fresno Spectrum Center to promote literacy.
Join us Saturday August 8th for our next episode, live from the Fresno Spectrum Center Page and Zoom."
Please send all letters to:
Spectrum Story Hour
PO BOX 5378
FRESNO, CA. 93755
Drop us a line!