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 is a group for LGBT seniors and their allies, and we get together twice a month for social functions.
We have a potluck the final Sunday of each month at First Congregational Church Fireside Room from 2-4 pm. It’s located at the south end of the church campus at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno. Please note that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation.
The second Wednesday of the month month at 6 pm we meet at different restaurants. Here’s a list of the next three restaurants we’re going:
July 10, Olive Garden, 389 Shaw Ave, Clovis
August 14, Kaya Korean, 4151 N Blackstone, Fresno
If you have any questions, please feel free to call Linda Schinkel at 559-356-7220 or John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Hope to see you soon!
YOUTH ALLIANCE NEWS FROM JUNE 2019
June blew in with its usual warm weather, but this year with a twist! This year we all had to deal with upper 90’s heat and added humidity! The rains from just a few weeks ago soaked our valley and added humidity! Did anyone recognize “Midwest weather?” How did our intrepid Youth Alliance members respond to the heat and humidity? They dressed in goth black clothing with black knitted beanie caps and then complained about the heat! They reported that their “look” is more important to them than their comfort!
Our youth spent most of last month planning for their involvement in the 29th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival! We discussed a theme for the parade and decided on the theme, “2Gether We Rebel,” in honor of the pioneers who started the LGBTQ Pride movement 50 years ago!
We looked at photographs of the first LGBTQ Pride events and copied some of the original signs that participants were holding at the time! We vowed to carry on the fight for equality for as long as it takes to happen!
On the day of the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival our youth gathered at the beginning of the parade route and marched in the parade! Spectators said that our Youth Alliance contingent was the largest they had seen in years! Our youth were loud and proud for the parade! When they finished their walk, the youth either watched the remainder of the parade or went into the festival site to look around! Several of the youth manned
our Youth Alliance Sweet Spot in order to sell delicious snacks as a fundraiser for our Youth Alliance endeavors! We haven’t heard how much money we earned, but we’re dying to know!
On the Friday after Pride we asked the youth what they liked about the Rainbow Pride event. Our Youth Alliance members reported that they liked the parade, then the drag queens (a lot!) and finally they liked the colorful booths that lined the streets of the festival! They all wished they had more money to buy some of the merchandise that was being sold. What they disliked was the heat! But there isn’t much anyone can do to fix the weather! Interestingly enough, they said they were not attracted to the dance area. They said they didn’t like the music! Go figure that!
Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, attended the Friday meeting after Pride and talked about the contributions this year’s Rainbow Pride Grand Marshals have made, and the importance of remembering the history of the events leading to June’s celebration of LGBTQ Pride! The youth love it when Jeffery joins us and reminds us all of the history of our struggle for equality! The last Friday of the month is saved for our world-famous potluck! May 31st was the night before Pride, so we munched on pizza, sweets, and fresh fruit, and made our last-minute plans for the Pride event! As usual, the noise level was deafening, but everyone had a good time and ate all the food! We didn’t have any newbies at our May potluck, but in general, Potluck Fridays are a great time for newcomers to join us because we just munch and talk…a lot!
The Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance meets on Friday nights, at 7 PM, in the Fireside Room of 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!
Pete Buttigieg in Fresno
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg held a townhall meeting in Fresno, on Monday,
June 3, 2019. Buttigieg was in California for the State Democratic Convention. In Fresno,
Buttigieg made a point of saying that he will continue to fight for LGBTQ equality until it is no
longer a problem for the entire country. He also talked about the nation’s economy and the need
to help families continue their healthcare services. Attendees at the packed event reported that
Buttigieg was articulate and charismatic.
A TRANS STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE WAS MISGENDERED ON THE JOB. STARBUCKS SAYS IT ISN'T HARASSMENT.
Lawyers for the "pro-LGBTQ" company are making arguments that could hurt transgender rights for decades.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Lawyers for Starbucks are arguing that repeatedly and intentionally misgendering a transgender employee don’t constitute actionable harassment under the law.
Starbucks has a reputation for being LGBTQ-friendly. The coffee corporation has earned a perfect score of 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for years.
It even has a policy on transgender workers that says, “A refusal to respect a partner’s request to be identified by the pronouns of choice is considered disrespectful (e.g., intentionally referring to a partner by a pronoun that does not correspond to the employee’s gender identity), and not in alignment with Our Mission and Values.”
But lawyers for Starbucks are making arguments that could hurt transgender rights for decades to come, if accepted by courts.
Pride and Pete Buttigieg
Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve penned a column! Truth of the story is, I’ve been very busy with graduate school at Fresno State. During winter break, I switched my program from rhetoric and writing studies in the English department to history.
I’m glad I made the change. I was trying to turn the English program into a poor man’s creative writing program and it was like trying to fit an oblong peg in a round hole. History’s a much better fit. I’ve been helping to document local soccer history for the last year plus.
Add to the change my on-going photography on and off campus, playing intramurals, helping behind the scenes, swimming and gym workouts, and running for student senate (I didn’t win). Over the summer, at the ‘suggestion’ of my adviser, I started working on the foundations of my eventual thesis.
June’s been a full month. First on the calendar was the 29th annual Rainbow Pride Parade in the Tower. I decided to help again this year, doing photography. For those who might not be aware, I photographed the parade for many years.
Along the way, I got my husband involved. He spent several years directing the flow of traffic along the parade route, until he got too sick in 2010 to continue. He died later that year, of cancer. Afterwards, I shot the parade for a couple of more years, but it was too difficult emotionally. I took a step back and stayed away for a few years.
I came back in 2017 as a participant with Gay Central Valley. I was ready. Last year, I was out on Olive Avenue again taking photos.
Last Saturday, I was walking down Olive Avenue in the Palm direction, when I glanced towards the center median at Broadway. When I did, I abruptly teared up. That huge sense of loss welled up suddenly. I paused and took a round turn on myself. Then I moved on.
The lesson? Grief comes, at inopportune moments. You just keep moving forward, through it. I’ll be on Olive next year.
Then, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg came to town for a town hall with Hardball’s Chris Mathews on the Third. I wish Tom could’ve been there. Watching Hardball was must-watch television for him.
The town hall was held in the Cheryl Woods Theater at Fresno State. The space can hold roughly 300 people. For the town hall, seats were added on stage for about 100 selected community VIPs. Plenty of seats in the regular seating were set aside for visiting media.
I won’t bore you with the details of my experience getting into the venue, beyond saying I got there a little after the doors were supposed to open and it was hectic. I was fortunate enough to find a spot up high by the sound booth.
The capacity crowd was excited to get a look at Buttigieg. He’s young, unlike most of the Democratic candidates (most of whom are on the far side of 60), mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and he’s openly gay.
Before the questioning started, Mathews showed an interview with Buttigeig in South Bend. South Bend was dying, after the auto industry folded there. Population had dropped to 30,000 and in many respects, the city resembled Detroit economically and physically. Under his watch as mayor, South Bend has made big strides in transforming itself.
Buttigieg told the audience he has more experience in getting things done than the current occupant of the White House who, he said, wants to turn the clock backwards instead of moving forward with the times.
The town hall was carefully choreographed. Nothing unusual about that. Mathews’ stage manager would let the audience know when to clap and cheer. As I expected. Mathews’ questions to Buttigieg were very general, which allowed him to answer with or without giving specifics. So were the questions from the audience. Speaking of questions, a highlight of the event was retired House speaker Dick Gebhardt first asking a question and then praising Buttigieg via live link from Santa Rosa.
Personally, I’m tired of senior-citizen aged professional politicians. It’s gotten to where the two major parties blend together. I’m ready for fresh blood. I’ll be watching how Buttigieg does down the road in the debates and the primaries.
By Zoyer Zyndel
When I think of you the word that comes to my mind is inspiration
Always helping our community for the newer generations
Lavina you will be so deeply missed
For so many reasons, more than I can list
One of the things I appreciated most about you is that there was no shame in your game
You lived out and freely and inspired others to do the same
You never let your barriers limit you
And despite your challenges, you lived your truth
You were part of many communities
And contributed to each
You advocated both for the deaf and LGBT
As you were a person of character, living authentically
I loved how you took initiative
Always so positive and appreciative
You always had a smile and brought good vibes
A good role model of how to live with pride
We miss you, a truly beautiful woman
Inside and out
Representing individuality, staying true, beyond a shadow of a doubt
When we met, I found my choir
Because when it came to helping our people, we both had that fire
I remember hearing you speak at DHHSC
Raising awareness, increasing sensitivity
I loved hearing about your life, your struggles, and resilience
When it came to reaching others you were so intuitive
Thank you for your patience with me
Because I do not know how to sign
But whenever you came to Trans-E-Motion's events we were always happy to write
We would always write paragraphs back and forth
You were just here, so recently, so it's hard to mourn
Thank you for volunteering with Fresno Pride
I remember our last time writing together at the volunteer roundup night
As trans and deaf, you represented an important cross section
Needing more awareness and attention
I remember our conversations at the social
You never let the language barrier make you immobile
You were always so friendly and happy
The memory of your smile is now everlasting
There's so much hate out there
So it's like treasure when we find someone like you who cares
We face so much adversity, so seeing you, a deaf transwoman of color, brings us hope
I know meeting you has personally helped me to grow
You were a sign of community progress
An inspiration to all the groups you represent
A walking example of intersectionality
Standing for justice and fairness to all humanity
It's interesting that you spoke at our 2018 Transgender Day of Remembrance
Because today we remember you
We heard so much good feedback from those in attendance
You spoke from your heart and we were moved
It warms my heart to know that you were happy during your last few days
All smiles and colorful as you marched with us in the Pride Parade
You joined us in celebrating who we are
You were more than just with community, you were part of our hearts
Lavina, you lived to help and to teach
You have no idea how many people you reached
You exemplified staying strong when push comes to shove
But most of all, you showed the power of love
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!
Source: SF Pride; Generations of Resistance
Pride month is here! As we prepare to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots with LGBTQ+ communities around the globe, we wanted to share some highlights of what is in store at this year's San Francisco Pride.
Over the weekend, we installed the rainbow flags along Market Street, marking the 40th year of this
Today, we joined Mayor Breed at City Hall to officially declare Pride Month in San Francisco. Our city has long been a leader in the LGBTQ+ movement, and that leadership continues today. We are looking forward to our 49th Annual Parade and Celebration, and we hope you are too!
Don't forget, if you can't join us in person for our Parade on Sunday June 30, it will be live-streamed from 10:30 AM on at www.kpix.com/live!
LGBT CENTER UNVEILS VIRTUAL STONEWALL MONUMENT
Take a step into queer history with this interactive experience
Reposted from GayCityNews.nyc
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan has teamed up with the National Park Service and Google to launch a virtual, interactive “living” monument on the web and via an augmented reality app complete with videos and information on LGBTQ history.
The virtual monument, dubbed “Stonewall Forever” and virtually based in Christopher Park outside of the Stonewall Inn — site of the Stonewall National Monument created by President Barack Obama — allows folks to click around to learn about various periods in queer history, even dating back to the years before June 1969 riots at Stonewall. The project also includes a short documentary featuring interviews with LGBTQ people who recalled the atmosphere for queer folks during the Stonewall era and told stories of how people in the community pushed back against police resistance and organized the kind of activism that sparked change in the city and beyond.
CITY MONUMENT TO HONOR MARSHA P JOHNSON, SYLVIA RIVERA
Queer icons slated to receive permanent recognition for their historic activism
Matt Tracy & Paul Shindler
Reposted from GayCityNews.nyc
A monument honoring LGBTQ icons Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera will be erected down the street from the Stonewall Inn, the city announced on May 30.
The monument will reside at Ruth Wittenberg Triangle at 421 Sixth Avenue at Christopher Street and Greenwich Avenue and will be the product of the She Built NYC initiative through women.nyc, a project led by First Lady Chirlane McCray that sought opinion from the public regarding which women the city should honor.
New York Daily News Archive
PRIDE IN PICTURES: ONE HOT NEW YORK NIGHT IN 1969 CHANGED THE WORLD
The Stonewall Riots started a revolution - and there's only one photo from that historic night. This is it.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, members of the Manhattan LGBTQ community stood face-to-face with nine policemen in front of the Stonewall Inn who were raiding the bar.
This, however, was not a typical raid. Instead of dispersing, approximately 150 people who weren’t arrested crowded in front of the bar. Protestors lit garbage on fire, broke windows and threw bottles and rocks at police. Decades of built up systemic oppression was being unleashed.
By about 4:00 a.m., the crowd had dispersed and the Tactical Police Force (TPF) had arrived to get the arresting officers out of the area. Most of them had been injured trying to contain the crowd, or been hit by debris.
HALF-CENTURY LATER, NYPD APOLOGIZES FOR STONEWALL
Commissioner addresses raid targeting blackmail ring that sparked a revolution
Reposted from GayCityNews.nyc
New York City’s police commissioner opened the city’s Pride Month by apologizing for the police raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969 that was intended to shut down a blackmail ring that was victimizing gay men and operating out of the bar.
“I’m not an expert on what occurred at Stonewall,” Commissioner James O’Neill said at a June 6 community briefing held at police headquarters in Lower Manhattan. “But I do know that the actions taken by the NYPD were wrong. The actions were discriminatory and oppressive and for that, I apologize.”
AN ARSONIST'S HAVOC IN GAY NEW ORLEANS
Forty-three years before Pulse massacre, tragedy struck French Quarter bar
Reposted from GayCityNews.nyc
The Up Stairs Lounge was a refuge and an unofficial community center for the LGBTQ community in New Orleans in the early 1970s. And a Sunday beer bust that featured “two hours of unlimited suds for one dollar” was “an irresistible affair for a certain cadre of gay men,” Robert W. Fieseler writes in “Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation.”
On June 24, 1973, an arsonist started a fire in the bar during the beer bust that killed 32 people and seriously injured another 15. As tragedies often do, the fire galvanized the nascent LGBTQ rights movement.
RAINBOW FLAGS BURNED AT HARLEM GAY BAR
“The timing of it is quite disturbing,” the bar’s owner said
Reposted from GayCityNews.nyc
Patrons at a gay bar in Harlem on May 31 were met with a terrifying scene outside the establishment when, suddenly, two Rainbow Flags were set ablaze.
Alexi Minko, who owns Alibi Lounge at 2376 Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard near West 139th Street in Manhattan, recalled the moment when the flags were set on fire just hours before LGBTQ Pride Month kicked into gear.
“You could see the flames,” he said. “We rushed out and contacted the fire department.”
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR LGBTQ-FRIENDLY SENIOR HOUSING IN BROOKLYN
Ingersoll Senior Residences set to open in Fort Greene this coming fall
Reposted from GayCityNews.nyc
Lottery applications for the city’s first LGBTQ-friendly senior residential building. Ingersoll Senior Residences in Fort Greene, Brooklyn — will open on May 29 at 11 a.m.
The building at 112 Edwards Street near Myrtle Avenue, which is on pace to open in the fall, is a product of a partnership between Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and BFC Partners and will boast 145 units in a 17-story building, with a lounge, a reading and card playing room, laundry facilities, and roof decks lined with plants on several floors.
STRAIGHT MAN'S PICKUP GOES VIRAL FOR SUPPORTING PRIDE IN RURAL OKLAHOMA
Cody Barlow, a resident of Hulbert, OK, decided to show his support for LGBTQ folks by putting a rainbow and a message on the back of his pickup: “Not all country boys are bigots —Happy Pride Month.” Barlow intends to display his rainbow message for the month of June, 2019. On his Facebook post, Barlow wrote, “It doesn’t matter what negativity I receive for supporting this. I hope that this can help even the slightest bit to encourage and support at least one person that needs it.”
TRUMP WON'T LET US EMBASSIES FLY PRIDE FLAGS
The Trump administration is denying requests from US embassies to fly Pride flags.
Diplomats from Israel, Bazil, Germany, and Latvia told NBC News that their applications to fly the Rainbow Pride flag on embassy flagpoles were rejected by the State Department. Previously, the Obama administration issued an annual blanket approval for Pride flags. According to Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global at the Human Rights Campaign, the State Department’s rejection of flying Pride flags on embassy poles is another example of Trump’s attack on LGBTQ people.
Screenshot from VH1
DRAG GOES MAINSTREAM AS McDONALD'S COMMERCIAL FEATURES "DRAG RACE" STAR SHANGELA
Shangela's serving up something hot, and it ain't just a breakfast sandwich.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
While RuPaul’s Drag Race just crowned its season 11 winner as America’s Next Drag Superstar, one of the show’s most accomplished queens, Shangela, recently popped up in a funny commercial for McDonald’s breakfast items. It’s the latest example of how drag has turned from a queer fringe art form to an increasingly mainstream form of entertainment.
Shangela — who has competed in four installments of RuPaul’s Drag Race but just narrowly missed the crown — walks into the commercial clad in a bright red and yellow dress, contrasting with subdued colors of settings where sleepy-eyed people unhappily slurp cereal, cover themselves in crumbs and fight with a vending machine just to eat breakfast.
BOSTON HAS ISSUED A PERMIT FOR A 'STRAIGHT PRIDE' PARADE IN AUGUST
The organizer is part of a group with a track record of white supremacism and anti-Semitism. Of course.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
If there are Straight Pride t-shirts, can a Straight Pride parade be far behind? The answer, of course, is no. Matt Sahady has strong-armed the city of Boston into giving him a permit for a Straight Pride parade in August.
So who is Matt Sahady. Oh, just your average Trump-loving, commie-hating extremist who wants to throw America’s enemies from a helicopter.
To mark 50 years of remarkable advancements in LGBTQ culture since Stonewall, our friends at Queerty are honoring 50 trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people.
From politicians to artists, activists to authors, Pride50 is composed of people who not only affect real change outside of our community, but also challenge it from within to inspire growth and evolution from all angles. And that is something to truly be proud of.
New honorees will be announced daily, so keep coming back to see who they celebrate next.
ITS PRIDE MONTH & I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO AFRAID. I LIVE IN MALAYSIA.
Our situation has only deteriorated - and we are terrified. We don't get the privilege of celebrating Pride. We need help.
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Every year, when the month of June rolls around, butterflies of anticipation start to flutter in the hearts of the LGBT community. It is our month to celebrate, our month to raise awareness, and our month to demand change.
Let me tell you something as a young gay man living in Malaysia in 2019… we have a very, very long way to go. It is easy to be fooled in the Western world as you sit
on your Instagram feed and scroll through pictures of the Pride parades that stretch from New York to Taiwan. The never-ending flow of colorful flags and flamboyant characters creates the illusion that we have finally reached a generation that allows people to be themselves and celebrate their differences.
UNIVISION WILL SOON SHOW ITS FIRST-EVER GAY LED TELENOVELA
The show will be called "El Corazón Nunca Se Equivoca" ("The Heart is Never Wrong").
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Univision is in the process of filming a new telenovela entitled El Corazón Nunca Se Equivoca (The Heart is Never Wrong), the first in the network’s history to be led by a male same-sex couple.
The show — which will have 20 episodes and air on June 24, 2019 — is spinoff of the telenovela Mi Marido Tiene Más Familia (My Husband Has More Family) and will follow the young gay couple from that show, Cuauhtémoc or “Temo” (played by Joaquín Bondoni) and Aristóteles (Emilio Osorio), as they start a new life together in Mexico City, the fifth largest city in the world.
YOU DON'T FIND PEACE-- YOU CREATE IT!
You can only truly create peace of mind from within. You cannot find it outside of yourself. Therefore, don’t demand that the police deliver peace to you on a silver platter. Don’t look to your religious leaders to hand you peace tied with a pretty bow. Don’t expect peace to come down from the heavens on a puffy cloud. That isn’t going to happen. Life isn’t a fairy-tale. You are not going to be rescued by a prince on a white horse. You have to do the work yourself.
People ask me, “But it’s so hard to have peace in my busy life. Isn’t there an easier way?” Look; the best way out is through, not around. A person has to work through it. One way to create inner-peace is to let go of unhealthy desires such as addictive cravings. Having listened to numerous people tell their stories during counseling sessions, I found that many people let their desires rule their lives. Then the desires take control. Inner peace cannot exist so long as unhealthy desires are in charge.
I will share with you a personal story about how I created peace within myself. I was hiking deep into the darkness and thickest part of the forest. Standing there as a separate individual I felt disconnected from nature. Sitting down on the soft, mossy ground, I closed my eyes and disappeared. Then, from nothing, I became something—I became silent. It had been a long time since I experienced silence.
Mentally, I started letting go of things. I let go of my expectations—expectations that other people live by my standards. I let go of my desires—desires for ever more material things. I let go of my thoughts—thoughts that I am separate from all other humans. I let go of my feelings—feelings of isolation and loneliness. I let go of my beliefs—beliefs about human superiority over nature. I let go of my fears—fears about change, transformation, and death.
I felt that I was becoming more aware of the source of life within me, so I kept on letting go of things. I let go of my hopes—hopes that anything in this world would be permanent. I let go of my faith—faith that medical science can help me live forever. I let go of my attachments—attachments to people and things. Lastly, I let go of myself—my self-concepts, self-image, and self-importance. It was a that moment that I finally recognized my connection to the source of life. (It had been there all along.) Having let go of everything else, all that was left was inner peace.
You see? Once you surrender to the natural order of things, your ego disappears and you spiritually become one with everything. Put another way, by breaking free from the restrictive concepts of self-image, you mentally join with all things and create a sense of inner peace.
When you are no longer constantly defending your ego, you are set free to do things you might have been too afraid to try before. You can make changes without worrying about how it makes you look to others. For example, you may associate the act of quitting with losing. Consequently, you may think that if you quit a task or project, it makes you look like a looser and everyone will think less of you.
If you no longer concern yourself with what other people think of you, you can create that sense of inner-peace. Then, you can have the courage to finally quit that non-productive task that you really didn’t care about and have been wanting to stop for some time. In that situation, quitting can actually be a winning move.
As a bonus, I think you will find that when you create peace in your heart, your desire to judge others will also diminish considerably. Strong opinions can lead to judgments. However, when your heart is at peace, those strong opinions will seem to soften. You won’t feel the need to defend every opinion you have. You will not be so threatened when other people disagree with you because you are secure in yourself and feel at peace.
Today’s Loving Suggestion: Find a quiet place where you can sit and be still. Close your eyes and imagine that your ego disappears. Just picture your self-concepts melting like an ice cube in the sunshine.
Now, think of someone that you disagree with. It doesn’t matter what about. Let go of your desire to judge and make that person wrong. Let go of your desire to be right. Notice the peacefulness you just created as you dwell in the center of your being. This is the mental place you can return to whenever you need peace.
REMEMBER THE MAINE ON THE 4TH OF JULY
The Fourth of July is Fresno’s most fun summer holiday. It’s also a day that commemorates one of worst disasters in the United States. On that holiday in 1866 in Portland, Maine there was a fire that burned down half of the city. It all started with a firecracker that landed in the wrong place.
This tragedy can help us discover that healthy and happy exists on the other side of the smoke and flames that unexpectedly happen in all our lives.
The famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a Portland resident at the time of this destructive conflagration. Longfellow wrote to a friend that although his home was spared; he stated that his city was “desolation, desolation, desolation.”
How do you get past something so bad? What do you do when you’ve experienced a trauma that has profoundly changed your life and all those around you? Where do you start to overcome a moment like this?
You start with the great stories of survival and the human spirit to build out from the rubble and ruins. This is what gives us the hope that we will become stronger and find wellness once again. Here are stories passed down through generations that still excite and inspire something astonishing within us.
We look to the cat Muff who jumped from his owner Rob’s hands on that day. He was spooked on the street by all the commotion from the flying embers. He ran away and back into the home which later burned to the ground.
The family found Muff alive and buried in the ashes and debris of the house the next day. All but one of his nine lives being extinguished with that fateful event in Maine. There was even a book created for charity about Muff and his awesome survival. Que gato tan increible!
There’s the story of resilience from the richest Portland resident back then. John Bundy Brown had a wealth of 16 million dollars in today’s numbers. He lost most of his fortune in the destruction. He decided to stay and rebuild. He served as a beacon for others to stay and do the same and remain in their beloved coastal hometown.
We’re inspired to hear how a prisoner was found untouched from the flames after being trapped in his City Hall jail cell. It was told in the local paper by Police Deputy Marshall Sterling of how all the prisoners were accounted for and freed before the fire consumed the building. All except one. The fire miraculously burned over and around this man. Leaving him alive…somehow.
And then there’s the hero who first alerted people of the fire. William Wilberforce Ruby was from a prominent black family in Portland. He is also credited with saving from that blaze a popular meeting house which stands to this day. He went on to become a firefighter and city leader.
These are the amazing stories that are still told today in Portland, Maine and now in Fresno’s LGBTQ community. They give us hope and faith in humanity.
I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past. There is healthiness and happiness on the other side of trauma. You will always find it. I promise you.
Happy 4th of July! And watch where you throw those firecrackers. Remember the (Portland) Maine!
This article of We Didn’t Start the Fire is brought to you by that guy with a Burning Love. That Disco Inferno guy is Ron Blake and he can be sent Smoke on the Water at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN
Dear Uncle Barbie,
Why do people procrastinate when they know better? I go to high school, and I put off my summer homework until the last minute. Now, I have a ton of schoolwork to do. How can I keep myself from doing this in the future?
How’s Toto? Shouldn’t you be asking the Great Oz? Your question is a twister, Dorothy, a twister! A lot of people have this problem of procrastination…and not just high school students--everyone! As long as you are in the mood for procrastination, why don’t you just procrastinate your procrastination? In order to properly address this issue, we need to get down to the basics; this is essentially a question of motivation. Put in its simplest form, motivation comes down to moving toward pleasure and away from pain. People procrastinate because they are trying to move away from the pain of doing whatever task they are avoiding, while at the same time, moving towards the pleasure of doing another more desirable activity.
The reinforcement of procrastination is being able to escape from the anxiety that you feel when you think about doing the undesirable task. It’s really an issue of association. If you associate pain with doing homework, then you will unconsciously recoil from it. On the other hand, if you change your thoughts so that you start associating pleasure with doing your homework and pain with not doing it, then you will naturally be motivated to do your schoolwork. So here is what I want you to do, Dorothy: click your ruby slippers together three times and start thinking about all the benefits of your education. Likewise, think about all the pains of being under-educated. This should get you going on the right foot. Just remember, there’s no place like home--for doing your homework. Procrastination will get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too! By the way, Dorothy, you might want to see if the Great and Powerful Wizard will grant your wish to be rid of procrastination. (Just don’t pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.)
Living in Oz, Barbie
A PERVERTED PLAYGROUND IN THE HUMAN PSYCHE
Dear Uncle Barbie,
I was verbally abused and occasionally touched in a sexual way as a child by members of my family. Now, as a grown woman, my sexual experiences have been in a BDSM relationship. I enjoy being submissive and sexually abused. Is this because of my childhood or just the type of sex I enjoy?
Signed, Ms. Puzzled
Hello Ms. Puzzle,
I’m sorry to hear about the verbal abuse and incest that you experienced in your family. Unfortunately, that type of familial problem is all too common in our society (and worldwide, too, for that matter). When incestuous relationships are multigenerational (in other words, having gone on for many generations), the family members may start to think that this type of behavior is acceptable, especially if they were raised that way, learning from parents and grandparents. When this happens, the dysfunctional dynamics of the sexual behavior can start to feel “normalized” within the confines of that particular family. Although the abuse is still destructive, it often becomes a predictable pattern, which can be mistaken as a “normal” familial experience by the participants.
Based on your question, it sounds as if you have already made great strides in understanding the abuse, and hopefully have started your healing process. The fact that you have identified the inappropriate behavior in your family as abuse tells me that you recognize that it was destructive. Now, perhaps, you are also better able to understand and recognize the destructive patterns of behavior in your current sexual relationships that involve bondage, sadism and masochism (BDSM). I’m not saying that all S&M activities are destructive for everyone. However, in your particular case, you might want to closely look at your motivation for saying, “I enjoy being submissive and sexually abused.” If you don’t mind my rephrasing your statement a little, perhaps what you really mean to say is that you are used to being abused.
Here is how I understand the process of the formation of sexual associations. We learn to make associations based on our personal experiences. (By the way, developing a sexual association is a much different process from your sexual orientation because sexual orientation is based, in part, on genetic, biochemical and pre-natal development interacting with social learning). So when you learn to make an association whereby you pair pain with pleasure, you are basing this association on past sexual behaviors that have become familiar (and therefore comfortable) to you. Basically, what I am trying to explain here is that you seem to have linked up the experience of abuse with the experience of sexual expression. You have been taught since childhood to sexualize an abusive situation.
Now, in your adult life, you look for these “comfortably familiar” experiences because, not only do you feel content with what is predictable, but you also feel a certain false sense of control with what you perceive to be an ordinary sexual experience. After all, you did say that you “enjoy being sexually abused.” A couple of sentences back, I used the phrase, “false sense of control.” I chose those words because you are really not in control of your S&M encounter. Rather, you are surrendering your personal power over to the other person/s. (From what I have been told by people who practice S&M, the exchange of power and control is usually shared equally between the individuals involved. Of course, those people I talked to were only sharing their personal experiences, and not speaking for all people who practice sexual bondage. So I’m sure there is some degree of variation.)
You asked, “Is this because of my childhood or just the type of sex I enjoy?” Actually, it is both. You apparently enjoy this type of sex because you formed sexual associations to S&M experiences that stem from your roots as an abused child. The really big question, which you did not ask, is how to express your sexuality in a more healthy way. I suggest breaking the old pattern of S&M bondage, and developing some brand new sexual associations to romantic intimacy that involves gentleness, tenderness, and kindness. Obviously, this change will take a lot of time and therapy. And since the type of therapeutic support you require goes beyond the boundaries of this advice column, I strongly suggest you seek individual (as well as group) counseling from your local mental health service center. I recommend cognitive/behavioral therapy because, based on research studies, it tends to be the most effective form of therapy for your type of situation.
Shout, Shout, Let It All Out, Barbie
ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
A lot going on around the home. Your relationship with relatives may be in for a big change. It's all good.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
A lot of day dreaming going on. The good ole days are not as exciting as the new ones. You are about to get real busy on something unexpected.
GEMINI (May 21- June 21)
It's not all about you. You are bottling too much up. If you let your emotions go it won't be that big of a deal.
CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
You are going through a lot of changes here. Out with the old and in with the new. Also check your health and don't be afraid to ask for help.
LEO (July 23 - Aug 22)
You really feel in charge here and you show it even if it means stepping on some toes. Go for it but remain flexible.
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
It's time to pat those people helping you out on the back. Throw a party to let them know you care. Enjoy the time here.
LIBRA ( Sep 23 - Oct 22)
Feeling stressed. Tendency to speak your mind. Hold back and life will go more smoothly. Some things are just too petty if you think about it.
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
Unexpected drama enters your life. It's all smooth then it gets under your skin. A lot of misinformation is going to go on. Indulge in a hobby if you can.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
Your enthusiasm is spilling over. Try to contain yourself. Others are not ready for it. Just be your happy self for now.
CAPRICORN (Dec 21 - Jan 19)
After a little opposition you are ready to roll. Hold on to your horses and work out a new plan for whatever you want to do.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
This is a time to take care of yourself. Your physical health and picture self. Minor makeover here. This will keep you occupied and away from disagreements with others.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
You feel really resourceful here but go over plans for what you want to accomplish now. Be compassionate to ward others. It will fuel who you are.
Not To Be Missed
Groundbreaking Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning songwriter and performing
artist Cyndi Lauper rocks the stage, joined by The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra on July 12, 2019,
at 8:00 PM, at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles. Her iconic voice, punk glamour, and
infectious feminist strength catapulted Lauper to stardom 40 year ago. Tickets for this event start
at just $14. The Hollywood Bowl is located at 2301 N. Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90068.
For tickets or more information, go to hollywoodbowl.com.
Queen with Adam Lambert
Queen will perform their Rhapsody tour with Adam Lambert at The Forum Arena, in Los
Angeles, on July 19 and 20, 2019, at 8:00 PM. Queen is a British band formed in the 1970’s
with frontrunner Freddie Mercury. The movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, brought the band back in
popularity, and Adam Lambert has demonstrated his extreme talent as their lead singer! The
Forum is located at 3900 W. Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA, 90305. Tickets for this event
start at $290, so save your pennies! For tickets or more information, go to
Legendary singer/songwriter Joan Jett will perform at the Marin County Mart, in
Larkspur, CA, on July 6, 2019. Jett is best-known for her work as the frontrunner of her band,
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The Marin County Mart is located at 2257 Larkspur Circle,
Larkspur, CA, 94939. Tickets for this event start at $100. The Marin County Mart is like a fair,
so you may have to purchase a ticket to the fair, as well. To purchase tickets, use your favorite
ticket seller, such as Vivid or Seat Geeks!
Breakout artist Shawn Mendes will perform his world tour at the Oracle Arena, in
Oakland, CA, on July 13 and 14, 2019, at 7:30 PM. Mendes is a Canadian singer/songwriter,
who started his career by posting song covers on the video-sharing application, Vine. The
Oracle Arena is located at 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA, 94621. Tickets for this event start
at $77. For tickets or more information, go to oracle.arenaoaklan.org.
Clovis Freedom Fest
Clovis Kiwanis Club hosts their annual Fireworks Show event at Lamonica Stadium, at
Clovis High School, on July 4th. 2019. The event will feature food, drinks, games, activities, and
live entertainment. General Admission is $5. Children aged 5 and under are free. The gates
open at 4:00 PM, and the show starts at 9:00 PM. Clovis High School is located at 1055 Fowler
Ave, Clovis, 93611.
World Chocolate Day Run
In order to celebrate World Chocolate Day, on July 7, 2019, a group of Fresno folks have
organized the second annual World Chocolate Day 1 mile, 5K, 10K, 13.1K, and 26.2K run, in
conjunction with a similar run, in Minnesota. This is a virtual run, which means you can run it
anytime or anywhere and then report your finishing time to the organization. When you register,
you will be given a medal which reads, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate ant
that’s kind of the same thing." If you want to run in Fresno, folks will be meeting up at 1:00 PM
at 2811 W. California Ave, Fresno, 93706. The cost for the event is $20 plus shipping from an
out-of-state vendor, in St Paul, Minnesota. Of course, you can always celebrate World
Chocolate Day in our own way!