Issue X, Vol. XXVI, No. 311 | June 2021
News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization.
EST. September 1995
Community Link Projects
Gray Alliance News for June 2021
Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT seniors, and we get together twice a month for social functions. The second Wednesday of the month at 6 pm we meet at different restaurants.
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, June 27, 2021.
If you have any questions, please call John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Stay Safe!
Youth Alliance News June 2021
After a long, difficult school year, the summer has finally arrived for our LGBTQ Youth Alliance members, complete with triple-digit heat! Semester’s end is so recent, that our youth haven’t even made plans for their summer. But our youth are glad the school year is over and they’re actually hoping they can return to their brick-and-mortar schools in the fall! Everyone is tired of hunkering down in their homes, waiting for the corona virus to pass.
Our youth members gave a hand at the drive-through event that was recently sponsored by the Fresno Rainbow Pride committee. About fifteen information booths lined up in the parking lot at Fresno City College so that LGBTQ and allied groups could pass out information and answer questions. Our group leader, Rachel, AKA Banana, put together packets of information and goody bags to hand out to cars as they drove by. One of our group members, Unicorn, designed stickers that were included in the goody bags. Hundreds of cars lined up for information or merely to celebrate Pride Saturday, June 5! Our youth were so pumped by the interaction with the public that they have already sworn to attend the Pride Parade and Festival next year and to help with our Youth Alliance booth!
At one of our recent Youth Alliance Zoom meetings, several members talked about a get-together they had where they watched movies and ate popcorn. That story led to a discussion of how our group members like their popcorn seasoned. A few of our attendees like their popcorn with butter and salt, but most of our group eats popcorn with Tajin, a dry seasoning with chile, lime, and salt that is often sprinkled on fresh fruit or vegetables. Several folks also mentioned sprinkling their popcorn with Tapatio, a hot sauce that is used to season everything from eggs to meat. One member described adding Tapatio to one kernel of corn at a time to be sure the correct amount of heat is applied each time!
We also had a great discussion about how popcorn should be popped, from heating the corn on the stove in a large pot to allow for plenty of room for the corn to pop, to air popping the kernels. None of our group buys microwave popcorn! It was clear that each member had a precise viewpoint on how corn is to be popped and eaten. Of course, the point of any discussion is not the details that are mentioned, but the opportunity to learn about each other and see what each of us have in common!
In days of yore, before the corona virus hit, our youth group would have a potluck on the last Friday of the month. Now we meet online and talk about food! But we all have hope that we can meet again in person someday, rather than meeting online! It would be great to have a great, big party where we can share food and ideas in person!
The Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance used to meet in person in a meeting room at the Big Red Church! Until we can meet once again in person, the Youth Alliance will continue to meet virtually on Friday nights, from 7 PM to 8:30 PM, on Zoom! We will be sure to publish the
meeting number and the password for our Zoom meeting on Facebook, and now that we’ve got our Instagram account going, we’ve published on Instagram, as well! COVID-19 has changed how people meet, but with its youthful ingenuity, our Youth Alliance will continue to meet! We urge any and all school-aged youth to join us on our new platform, on Friday nights!
Seeking Help for my Community
I am reaching out in hopes of finding support for my city and all the LGBTQ community that finds themselves here.
Our town of Selma, CA has made huge strides forward by deciding to, for the first time in history, celebrate Pride. However, one week into Pride month and all of the oppressors that surround us have made the decision to gather at our local city hall and demand pride flags be ripped down and never be brought back. It is is extremely disappointing, not to mention enraging.
My partner an I have received messages and comments about how "we will surely burn in hell and must repent", "being gay is mental illness", and so much more. I truly hope that you can help the Selma LGBTQ community or at least point me in the direction of someone who can.
Please E-Mail me at email@example.com with any help you may be able to offer.
Pride 2021—A Month of Firsts in Fresno
Excitement filled the air this month when Pride flags officially flew for the first time at Fresno City College, Fresno State, and Fresno City Hall.
However, the leadup to the City Hall flag event was not without drama.
The city hall ceremony was originally set for June 1st. Then it was suddenly postponed. Mayor Jerry Dyer abruptly began floating the idea of using Eaton Plaza, two blocks from City Hall, as a flag-flying and free speech venue.
There was instant blowback from the community but it appeared the flag raising might not happen.
Mayor Dyer wound up being shamed at the Fresno City College flag ceremony on June 5th. Several speakers, including FCC President Carole Goldsmith and Kingsburg city councilmember Jewel Hurtado, shared their stories of discrimination and pain.
What Dyer heard during the FCC event had a profound impact on his thinking. Over the weekend afterward, after hearing from a broad spectrum of the community, he changed his mind and announced the Pride flag would fly after all at City Hall.
Both the FCC and Fresno State events stirred emotions for me. I’m an alumnus of both colleges (and currently a student at each of them). When I was an undergraduate (and a graduate student the first go-around) during the 1970s and 1980s, I had to suppress my sexual orientation. Many did. It wasn’t safe to be ‘out’ then.
The City Hall flag raising was awesome! Several hundred people were there—on a work day to boot. Jeffrey Robinson honored the activists who laid the ground work that led to the day—so many of them have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But there’s more work to be done.
Meanwhile, flying flags at City Hall continues to stir controversy. Activists are upset that Dyer did not include flags for indigenous people in a draft list he released on July 12th.
The City of Fresno is floating the notion of using eminent domain to acquire Tower Theatre from Laurence Abbate. Abbate has blocked city appraisers from entering the building to evaluate it. In response, the city attorney is seeking an inspection warrant from the Superior Court. A hearing is presently set for July 15th.
I’m dubious about the idea. Not because I favor Abbate or Adventure Church. I do not support either of them. However, the City’s track record on maintaining its buildings isn’t exactly sterling.
During a recent city council workshop about potentially selling Selland Arena, Valdez Hall, and the large parking lot at the Convention Center to be converted into an entertainment, soccer, and sports complex, it was revealed there was $128 million of deferred maintenance at the facility.
A few years ago, the poor condition of the city-owned Memorial Auditorium became rather public. The eight-decade old historic building has structural issues and portions of the backstage are not safe to use. Conditions were considered so dire that the Children’s Musical Theatre which rents the auditorium for its productions was nearly evicted.
I fear the Tower Theatre will go the way of the Convention Center and the Memorial Auditorium—wrack and ruin.
Reel Pride and Fresno Filmworks announced the two organizations have parted ways from the Tower Theatre until the ownership situation changes. I hope they take a serious look at the Old Administration Building auditorium as a venue. The space is beautifully restored and would be, in my opinion, a wonderful place to watch films.
Speaking of the Tower: it’s time for the Sunday morning protests to end. While they allow activists to blow off steam, they don’t accomplish anything (planning battles are won in front of the planning commission and the city council, not on some street corner) and they’ve become farcical. Let’s save energy for the actual battlegrounds.
A special Pride message from President Joe Biden & the First Lady
Reposted from & by LGBTQNation.com
President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden have recorded a special Pride message for the LGBTQ community.
The heartfelt statement of support and celebration doesn’t just touch on the accomplishments queer people have made over the past couple of decades, it acknowledges the pain our community has felt over the past year as Republicans launched attacks nationwide.
San Francisco Giants make sports history wearing Pride-themed uniforms
Juwan J. Holmes
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The San Francisco Giants became the first team in Major League Baseball to wear Pride colors onto the field on June 5 for their Pride Day game against the Chicago Cubs. The Giants updated their logo’s colors to incorporate Pride into their uniforms and caps.
The groundbreaking night in baseball will go down in history. The cap worn by Giants manager Gabe Kapler is being sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
Nevada will start teaching LGBTQ history in K-12 school curriculum
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Nevada will become the sixth state in the nation to require school curriculum to include history lessons on LGBTQ people and historic events.
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed the legislation into law – along with three other LGBTQ rights bills – at the Henderson Pride Festival.
Department of Education says Title IX protects LGBTQ students
The Department of Education will interpret Title IX, a federal law that protects students from sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools, to include protection of LGBTQ students from discrimination, according to a federal notice that was published on June 16, 2021. The directive will allow the Department of Education to pursue Title IX complaints from LGBTQ students—reversing the Trump administration’s 2018 announcement that it would not investigate civil rights complaints from transgender students prohibited from using school facilities that aligned with their gender identity.
The policy could also affect states that have passed laws barring transgender student athletes from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender. Nine states have passed such measures—eight of which passed in 2021.
Global survey finds nearly 1 in 5 young adults say they are not straight
A global survey of more than 19,000 people in 27 countries aged 18 to 74 questioned respondents about their gender identity. Respondents in Generation Z, which includes people born after 1997, were nearly 4 times more likely to identify as transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, gender-fluid, or “in another way.” For Generation Z, that means that 18 percent identified as LGBTQ+.
Previous surveys of young Americans have pointed out the same details. A Gallup poll that was conducted last year found that 5.6 percent of all respondents identified as LGBTQ+, while 16 percent of those in Generation Z reported being LGBTQ+.
Evangelicals complain that Pride month rivals Christmas
According to Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins, Pride month now “rivals Christmas,” and this year is especially bad because President Joe Biden is flying the rainbow flag and hiring too many LGBTQ people. According to Perkins, “You can’t turn on the
television, shop for cereal, or scroll through Facebook without being hit over the head with LGBT Pride.” Perkins, who was appointed to a Congressional commission on “religious freedom” under the Trump administration, suggested that “Pride is the new religion,” and advised his followers to pray for the United States’ freedom from indoctrination by LGBTQ groups.
Ireland issues special Pride Month stamps—Americans are still waiting.
The Irish postal service is wishing citizens a happy Brod (Pride) by issuing a stamp specifically for Pride Month. Proceeds from the stamps will benefit two Irish LGBTQ organizations.
A booklet of stamps will cost 6.40 euros, or about $7.75, at local post offices. They are also available online, at anpost.com, along with other merchandise like first day covers, t-shirts, pins, and framed stamps.
The United States has never issued a special Pride stamp. It has honored only a handful of LGBTQ Americans, including poet Walt Whitman, artist Ellsworth Kelly, astronaut Sally Ride, politician Harvey Milk, and author James Baldwin. It is time for a US Pride stamp.
Learn wisdom from your inner animal
It dawned on me one day that much of the struggles I go through in life are a direct result of my acting counter to my nature. For instance, during those times when I tried to be what other people wanted me to be, I was unhappy and stressed. On the other hand, when I did what I felt was natural for me, I was more joyful and free-spirited. Consequently, I have learned to pay close attention to my instinctual feelings to keep me on my true path.
Have we become desensitized to our instincts? It’s as if our whole society has slipped into a state of numbness. Comforts, luxuries, and conveniences of modern-day life dull our senses. Whatever happened to stepping outside the comfort zone?
To truly benefit from the wisdom of nature, you need to engage with it. Engage means to take an active role. Being engaged is not the same as being connected. The fact is, you already are connected to nature and always have been because the human race is a part of it, not separate from it. Now that doesn’t mean you cannot be unaware of your connection to nature if you do not recognize the connection that already exists.
You cannot learn the teachings of nature unless you take an active role in it. For example, you can immerse yourself in the environment by going for a walk and noticing all the living things around you—from the beings that crawl on the ground to the beings that fly in the sky.
Animals, including humans, adapt to the ever-changing environment. The key to adaptation is to keep instincts sharp. So how sharp are your instincts? How well do you adapt? When an eagle is being pestered by smaller birds, the eagle flies to a higher altitude where the little hecklers cannot go. Can you rise above your problems like the eagle who sees the big picture? Are you quick like the hummingbird who flies from blossom to blossom finding opportunities everywhere? Do you have the stamina of the bear who endures the long winters? Are you as graceful as a cat which moves through the day so smoothly it resembles liquid motion?
Are you keeping the animal in you alive? Unlike what you see in popular movies, you do not need to be the fierce lion that fights to be king of the jungle. After all, a lion doesn’t need to rule the environment to thrive in it. So, you do not have to strive to be the alpha beast by dominating others. Instead, you can simply keep in touch with your animal instincts and listen to its wisdom for guidance.
We need to learn how to live simply. Animals know how to do this. They do not complicate their lives with unnecessary busyness and hoarding possessions. However, humans so often do. Why? Do all these needless activities and possessions make our lives better or worse? Sure, it may feel good at first to buy that little something which catches our eye in a store, and we convince ourselves we just can’t live without it. But we soon discover those shiny objects lose their appeal after a time, and then we are out shopping again for the next piece of glitter.
Here is something to keep in mind: the less you have, the less you can lose. You cannot strengthen your inner animal by accumulating possessions. In fact, being surrounded by needless objects weakens your ability to focus on your instincts because all that clutter distracts you.
Furthermore, society seems to be obsessed with staying eternally young. Instead of cooperating with the natural order of things, advertisers act as if we can live forever if we just use the right anti-wrinkle cream, drink expensive spring water in fancy designer bottles, and get a good facelift.
Do you think nature meant for you to stay young forever? Physical immortality is a separation from the natural world. Since you cannot truly separate yourself from nature, you might as well just accept the fact you will eventually die. True, all animals have an instinct to survive. So just live your life as healthy as you can and don’t worry about it.
Something to meditate on today. Engage with nature. Be mindful of your instincts and follow the wisdom of your inner-animal; this will give you a deeper sense of peacefulness. Please don’t misunderstand—peacefulness is not passiveness. When you experience this new type of inner peace, your spirit will soar higher than an eagle, and you will accomplish more than you thought possible. Just don’t expect applause. After all, most people are so wrapped up in their concerns that they don’t even notice the majestic eagles up in the sky. So, don’t be surprised if they don’t notice your accomplishments either.
THE FRECKLE-FACED BOY
Bienvenido a Pride season. Let’s get our stories out there. Those words are what scatter the shadows and releases the stranglehold of Darthness. Uniting us in colorful and unshakeable bonds of truth.
My late coming out story involved a bathroom mirror, the raised fist, flashes of Edgar Allan Poe madness, just a splash of water, and 10,000 Maniacs.
It wasn't just that I came out so much later in my life. It was a peculiar twist of fate that changed everything for me on that particular third Sunday in May of 2004.
Picture it. The scene. A megachurch in suburban Chicago. The guest of honor I was that morning.
The 10,000 frenzied members gave me a standing ovation. Applauding my exciting primary election win that pushed me one step closer to being County Commissioner. They additionally threw in bravos of best wishes for my success in the general election. It was my race to lose.
After everyone sat down, the preacher walked up to the pulpit. Paused with purpose. Everyone all agog for his start. Then with raised fist to heaven. He unleashed an unforgiving fire and brimstone sermon on the evils of homosexuality. Castigating the abominable gays perpetrating it all.
The massive fawning claque of attendees once more all around me leaping to their collective feet. All throughout that chamber of judgment. I sat frightfully frozen in place. Feeling like the tortured character in Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart. Ya know. The one with the guilty conscience.
That was it. My come to Jesus moment. I knew I could no longer do it. Lie to myself about who I was. After that service ended, I would tell someone for the first time. That I was gay.
Not long after that, I withdrew my candidacy for that powerful position. Moving to Phoenix with my brand-new boyfriend. Only two duffel bags each and a scant $300 between the two of us.
It didn't matter that we were nearly penniless, had no jobs lined up, no apartment, and no cars. We would make it happen. With my true identity as a solid foundation. For the first time in 35 years of my existence...I was able to finally be me. And truly exist as a real human being.
Despite the two time zones of separation, that move forever transformed my life and eventually brought me closer to family and friends back in the Midwest.
Who would’ve thought? Thousands of folks with their loving hatred would help me realize something that always seemed mission impossible. Those rabid oxymorons were my muse. For me to utter those three monosyllabic words to someone. For the very first time.
But you see. There's no manual for this kind of thing. It's different for each of us. I heard stories of gays coming out to a best friend. A teacher. A counselor. A neighbor. A parent. A sibling. A colleague.
Nope. As for my story. There was someone else I’d tell. Closer than I ever could've imagined.
That late spring morning in the church seven years and a decade ago. After the services ended. I hurriedly excused myself from and artfully dodged all the jubilant glad-handers. Making like a determined running back for the bathroom in the basement. I thought I was gonna be sick.
I locked the door. Walked up to the sink. Splashed cold water on my face. Looked up. That scared freckle-faced boy in the mirror with tousled hair trusted that the seasoned thirty-something politician looking back at him knew just what needed to be done.
That moment. Staring into the looking glass. Truly for the first time to anyone. I let out those words that evaded me for 12,881 days. I finally said out loud, "I am gay."
Lie about who I am again. Nevermore. Some Edgar Allan Poe tales do get their happy endings.
This Disney fairy dust is sprinkled around for good luck by that guy of crazy cool candor. That guy of bold first steps is Ron Blake and he’s encouraging more truths to be spoken out 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:
Dear Uncle Barbie,
Are people so bored with their own perfect lives that they need to meddle in the lives of others?
Signed, Get a Life
Unfortunately, yes, some people are that bored with their lives. To put it simply, these people feel that they need to meddle in others’ lives because their own lives are not so perfect (as your question indicates)—that’s why their lives are so boring! Maybe they think that interfering in your life is more interesting than the soap operas on TV.
The advice that I have for you is to unsympathetically cut off any and all personal information that you have been sharing with them. I can find no better way to put an end to their snooping. In other words, don’t feed the fire, and it will eventually burn itself out. Some people ask questions because they want to use that information against you later in the form of some kind of verbal ambush--SURPRIIIIIISE! Before you answer any more of their questions, consider their motives for asking. Are they truly interested in your life, or just trying to find fault with it?
Eyes Wide Open, Barbie
Suicidal Transgendered Brother
Dear Uncle Barbie,
I’m very worried about my brother, who is also my best friend. He has a long history of emotional problems, which have only got worse since our Mom died. He has a nearly successful suicide attempt in his past. He is transgendered (heavily closeted) out only to me. He calls himself “a lesbian trapped inside a man’s body,” and has expressed a wish to be “a slender young blonde girl named Jennifer” (which is the name he would’ve got had he been born female). Lately he’s talked about how he might be able to fulfill his wish in Heaven or in a future life. And the most recent development is he just bought a book about angels and has been talking a lot about how androgynous they are, and how pretty they look. Knowing how his mind works, I’m very worried that he’s going to kill himself, so he can be a pretty little angel named Jennifer. If he did, I don’t know how I could live with myself, considering I promised our Mom I’d look after him. What can I do?
Signed, Raging Against the Dying Light.
Hello Dying Light,
You need to act on your concerns—immediately. Don’t wait, and don’t try to guess what your brother is thinking. Talk to your brother and ask him if he has any plans to hurt himself. If the answer is “yes,” take him to the nearest psychiatric unit of any hospital. Tell the hospital staff about your concerns regarding his suicidal ideations. They are trained to deal with this type of crisis. They can evaluate your brother and determine if he is suicidal and if he needs to be hospitalized. From there, the mental health staff can care for his wellbeing and make sure he has proper “follow-up” care and counseling.
If, on the other hand, your brother says that he is not planning to hurt himself, then just be a good friend to him. Stay in contact with him and be emotionally supportive. Let him know that you love him, and that you are concerned about him.
Keep in mind that there is only so much you can do. If your brother does suicide (despite your efforts to help him), then you need to know that you did your best, and that you were a good brother to him. People have free will, and you cannot control them—especially when they already have a mental illness that may be interfering with their cognitive functioning and distorting their perception of reality.
You have my compassion. Caring for someone who has mental health issues is often a very emotionally draining experience. My thoughts are with you.
We are Only Human, Barbie
by Eric Biglione
ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
You're rearing to go but everyone else is on a different timeline. Perplexing. Just do the Dance and walk the walk for now.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
You think you have everything figured out then all of a sudden you don't. Other peoples issues are getting in the way you feel. Time to recharge and rethink what is going on in your life.
GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)
You're spending money like water here and you can't figure out why except you feel a need to. It's the holiday. Accept it even though some of it doesn't make sense.
CANCER (June 21 - July 22)
You feel like others around you are going through a transformation and you are being left out. Take it in stride because you are alright.
LEO (July 23 - Aug 22)
You are lacking a sense of direction here. Your old ideas aren't working. Look for new ways to tackle old problems. Take pleasure in your ability to see new avenues to take in life.
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22)
Your nerves are about to bust. You will need to go sit in a corner alone for a while. Try working alone when possible or just take some well deserved breaks to recharge yourself.
LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22)
You feel free to do what ever you want this holiday season. You are going to get on some people's nerves though. Include everyone in your plans so everyone can enjoy the season.
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
You are in a very peaceful and enjoyable time in your life. You don't sweat the small stuff and you seem to be in your own happy world.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
You are ready to go full steam ahead for the holidays. Be careful not to step on any toes getting there. You may not like the backlash.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
Boy aren't you happy this holiday season. Kick back and enjoy the day. Put off today what you can do tomorrow. You'll be happier for it.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
Your spending can get out of control here. It's the thought that counts and this will make you happier in the end. Personal relationships are more enjoyable at this time.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
You are full of energy this holiday. Make sure what you do is what you want. You are going to have fun here.
The Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee invites you to join us on the northeast corner of Wishon & Olive as we protest the sale and potential rezoning of our beloved Tower Theatre.
The peaceful demonstration* will begin at 8am and end at 12:00pm.
Please wear a mask and keep your distance from other protestors who are not in your household.
WHAT’S GOING ON:
Adventure Church is in the process of purchasing the Tower Theatre at the heart of the historic Tower District. The district has served as a cultural and artistic hub of Fresno (and the greater San Joaquin Valley) for decades and a sanctuary for all the wonderfully weird misfits that call this place home.
The Tower District has a vibrant night-life and is home to some of Fresno’s most prominent cultural and artistic events including the Rogue Festival, Good Company Players, Reel Pride (LGBTQIA+ Film Festival), Fresno Rainbow Parade and Festival, Fresno Film Festival, The Mardi Gras Parade, and countless other concerts and pop-up events.
If the sale goes through, a rezoning of the Tower Theatre and surrounding blocks is eminent which will threaten the small businesses that have called the district home for years and years.
For a fact sheet that thoroughly explains what is happening and why we are opposed, visit bit.ly/THETOWERFACTS
*We have had an increased presence of anti-protestors, and we ask that you please do NOT engage with them. The committee has a plan in place to handle these antagonizers. We remind you that this is a PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION.
Annual LGBTQ+ camping trip is on this year with some slight modifications. $40 entry for the weekend. Early arrival Wed or Thurs will be an additional $10 per person per day. Progressive, beer busts, breakfasts and dinner, and the Kampstravaganza games and show will be as always!
Facebook Event Link