Smoke

Issue X, Vol. XXVII, No. 324 | July 2022

 
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Gray Alliance News

John Richardson

Gray Alliance is a group for LGBTQ+ seniors, and we get together for potlucks the last Sunday of each month.

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We will have a potluck Sunday July 31st at the First Congregational Church from 2-4 pm. We will meet in the Fireside Room of the church, which is 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.

If you have any questions, please contact John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Hope to see you soon!

Youth Alliance News July 2022

David McGee
 

Summer is in full swing in the Central Valley, with hot summer days and warm summer nights. We are all hoping our cooling systems hang in there and keep our homes comfortable. Meanwhile, the fire in Yosemite—the first fire in the Sierras for the season-- is destroying historic trees and rolling smog down to the valley floor.

Of course, school is out for the summer and LGBTQ Youth Alliance members are trying to find things to do at home to stay out of the heat. Those who are lucky enough to have a swimming pool are swimming daily. Those who don’t have pools are staying indoors. We’ll all soon be complaining about how bored we are with nothing to do!

A couple of weeks ago we had our first movie night in a long time. Our friend, Gracie, was kind enough to bring her projector, film screen, a sound bar, and even a popcorn popper! Because of poor Wi-Fi in our meeting room, we couldn’t stream a full movie, so we chose to watch short videos from YouTube. The theme for the night was horror, so we watched short horror videos, like zombie videos, and munched on popcorn and other snacks! Everyone agreed we should have a movie night occasionally.

Last week, Banana’s fiancé, Jay, lead us in a discussion of current events, such as the Supreme Court’s decision to end the federal protection of abortion rights and transfer the power to the states to decide those rights. We all agreed that the decision will create chaos across the country, as an estimated 25 states will outlaw or severely reduce abortion options. We also talked about the LGBTQ rights that are being challenged across the country. Our discussion was frank, and folks’ comments were thoughtful and intelligent. We don’t have many political discussions, but the timing was right last week!

We save the last Friday of the month for our world-famous potluck! Last month, attendance at the potluck was good, the food was good, and the comradery was great! We had a great time talking about anything and everything! We don’t discuss topics on Potluck Friday! We just do introductions and then jump into the party! Potluck nights are a great time for newcomers to join us!

The LGBTQ Youth Alliance meets in person at the Big Red Church (First Congregational Church) on Friday nights from 7 to 8:30 PM! We have given up on using Zoom to provide our group meetings online for now. The church’s Wi-Fi signal just doesn’t reach our meeting room continuously—we’re connected one minute and disconnected the next! But we will continue to post on Facebook, and now that we’ve got our Instagram account going, we’ve published on Instagram, as well! We urge all LGBTQ school-age youth to join us Friday nights at the Big Red Church, located at 2131 N. Van Ness!

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QISTORY RECEIVES GRANT AWARD FROM CALIFORNIA HUMANITIES 

Katherine Fobear Co-Chair & Chris Jarvis Co-Chair 

qistoryfresno@gmail.com 

  

FRESNO, CA — California Humanities has announced the recent round of Humanities For All Quick Grant awards. Qistory has been awarded 5,000 for its project entitled “Mapping Queer Fresno: Community History Talks and Digital Mapping of Fresno County” 

  

The Humanities For All Quick Grant is a competitive grant program of California Humanities that supports locally-initiated public humanities projects that respond to the needs and interests of Californians, encourage greater public participation in humanities programming, particularly by new and/or underserved audiences, and promotes understanding and empathy among all our state’s peoples in order to cultivate a thriving democracy. 

  

“We are excited by the opportunity to bring Fresno’s LGBTQ+ History to our community and the wider Central Valley. This project is meant to get people interested and excited about local Queer history. It will bring an innovative learning platform through a digital map and a new Qistory website full of archived oral histories and materials to preserve our history for future generations. This project is very much in line with the missions of Qistory and our founder, Jeffrey Robinson”—Katherine Fobear, Co-Chair 

  

Qistory was founded by the late and great Jeffery Robinson. It was his passion for preserving Fresno and the Central Valley’s LGBTQ history that the “Mapping Queer Fresno” project sprang forth. Qistory will be hosting a series of filmed public talks in the fall of 2022 with historians, activists, and community members on the local LGBTQ+ History of Fresno. Topics include the history of the Tower District and the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade, Transgender and Nonbinary Histories of Fresno, LGBTQ+ Social Spaces and Bars, The History of HIV & AIDS in Fresno,  The Imperial Dove Court, and Queer Indigenous, Black, and Communities of Color Activism and History. 

 

These talks will be open to the public and will be digitally recorded to be put on the new Qistory website that is currently in development and will be publicly launched in March 2023. As a way to create a more interactive way to engage with local Queer history, Qistory’s website will be creating a digital map of Fresno in which visitors can engage with local spots of queer history, listen to oral histories, and explore an extensive archive of uploaded photographs, writings, news articles, and other materials. This map will continue to grow as Qistory gathers more materials. 

  

Please follow Qistory on Facebook and Instagram to find out more information about the upcoming public talks and our new projects. Facebook:/Qistory  Instagram:/qistoryfresno 

  

“ We want to sincerely thank California Humanities and the California Humanities Quick Grant for giving Qistory the support it needs to build this program. We invite everyone to come to our upcoming talks and join us in this endeavor. Queer history is Fresno’s history. Please contact Qistory through our email (qistoryfresno@gmail.com) if you are interested in getting involved” –Katherine Fobear, Co-Chair 

  

“These projects will bring the complexity and diversity of California to light in new ways that will engage Californians from every part of our state, and, will help us all understand each other better,” said Julie Fry, President & CEO of California Humanities. “We congratulate the grantees whose projects will promote understanding and provide insight into a wide range of topics, issues, and experiences.” 

  

A complete list of all Humanities For All Quick Grants can be found on the calhum.org website here

  

California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment of the Humanities, promotes the humanities – focused on ideas, conversation, and learning – as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect us to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more visit calhum.org, or follow California Humanities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

  

Please follow Qistory for the latest information about these upcoming events on Facebook and Instagram.  

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Kampout is Coming 

Janet

 

Well summer has finally arrived, and we all know what that means…yes… Kampout is coming…time to get out of the heat and head up the hiIl to our beautiful site across from Texas Flat Campground.  If you’re like me, you can’t wait to get out of the heat and relax by a creek, enjoy a campfire…and even wear a jacket. 

The last few years have been challenging with fires, winds and Covid, but Kampout has persevered and the Kampout Committee is dedicated to bring you another fabulous weekend.   

This year’s theme is Mardi Gras…yes just when you thought you were done with masks…LOL…but now you can add feathers, beads and glitter. 

Kampout is, as always, the weekend after Labor Day, this year will be Sept. 9-11. The cost for the weekend is just $40 per kamper.  This includes your kampsite,  2 beer busts,  Progressive Koctail Party, 2 breakfasts, Saturday dinner and much much more.  You can relax or join in the fun and games we have scheduled…and compete for prizes. There’s the Yacht Regatta, the Needle in the Haystack, and the always popular and hilarious Kamptown Races. And don’t forget the fabulous Saturday night show Kampstravaganza where you can compete for the titles of Kamp King and Kamp Kween.  

Camping in the Sierras can cost over $27 a night just for a campsite, at $40 for the entire weekend, Kampout is the best bargain for your entertainment buck. 

For more information, please check out our website  www.kampoutfresno.com  or our Facebook page. 

Local

 
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House passes bills to protect abortion access in the US
David McGee

The Democratic-led House of Representatives has already passed a pair of federal bills aimed at protecting access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

The first bill, HR 8296, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, is aimed at preserving access to abortion nationwide. The second bill, HR 8297, the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022, is intended to protect the right to travel to seek access to abortions and would prohibit anyone from restricting or hindering an individual’s ability to cross state lines to obtain an abortion in a state where it is legal.

Unfortunately, the bills will probably not pass the Senate, where there is not enough support to overcome the filibuster’s 60 vote threshold.

Source: cnn.com

Florida schools roll out LGBTQ restrictions due to Don’t Say Gay law
David McGee

As Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law went into effect recently, school officials have notified teachers to not discuss LGBTQ issues in the classroom. But some schools have apparently gone even further. Representatives of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association accused school officials of verbally warning educators not to wear rainbow articles of clothing and to remove pictures of same-sex spouses from their desks. Teachers were also told to remove LGBTQ safe space stickers from classroom doors. The district’s legal department confirmed in a statement provided to the teachers’ association, which covers Orlando, that staff members who have contact with children in kindergarten through grade 3 were cautioned about LGBTQ issues. Critics and legal experts have said that the broad language of the law could open schools and teachers to lawsuits from parents who believe any conversation about LGBTQ people or issues is not age appropriate. Governor DeSantis has been quoted as saying the law would apply beyond the third grade and added that “things like woke gender ideology have no place in schools, period.”

Source: nbcnews.com

Bette Midler clarified her “Anti-Trans” tweet
David McGee

Bette Midler went on Twitter recently to complain that women are being erased and stripped of their name when they are referred to as “birthing people, menstruators, or people with vaginas.” Thousands of people responded to her comments, stating that the tweet was anti-transgender in nature.

Following the backlash, Midler explained that her comment was not transphobic and was based on an opinion piece from the New York Times. The op-ed, titled, “The Far Right and Far Left Agree on One Thing: Women Don’t Count,” noted that even today, women are treated as second-class citizens. Midler added that if people wanted to dismiss her over a tweet when she’s been fighting for marginalized people for 60 years, “so be it.”

Source: buzzfeed.com

First confirmed case of Monkeypox in Fresno County
David McGee

Fresno County health officials have confirmed the first case of Monkeypox in Fresno County, just days after a case of Monkeypox was confirmed in Tulare County. The disease has been considered a rare one, but there has been an uptick of cases in the United States in recent weeks. Large cities, like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have seen the most cases so far.

Officials have said the disease has been primarily spread through sexual contact where individuals have direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. A CNN report has noted that most cases in the US have occurred in men who have sex with men, and prostitutes, and due to a shortage of vaccine, most large cities are targeting those populations for testing and

vaccinations.

Source: msn.com and science.org

National

 
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Saudi authorities seize rainbow toys in crackdown on homosexuality
Reposted from TheGuardian.com

Saudi officials have been seizing rainbow-coloured toys and clothing from shops in the capital as part of a crackdown on homosexuality, state media has reported.


The kingdom opened to tourism in 2019 but, like other Gulf countries, it is frequently criticised for its human rights record, including its outlawing of homosexuality, a potential capital offence.

 

continue reading at theguardian.com

International

 
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How does your energy affect other people?

Mark Lang

 

Every time you say something, you are adding energy to the world. Is it positive or negative energy? Well, that is up to you. Do you want to become a more loving person? Then you need to speak in a loving way. That means thinking loving thoughts.

Okay, let’s get practical. How exactly do you train your mind to think loving thoughts? Well, it all starts with what you focus on in life. We are talking about your perception here. If you perceive humanity as one big family and view other people as your brothers and sisters, then you will be more likely to speak kindly to them and less likely to harm them intentionally.

Before you can perceive something, you need to conceive it first. If you cannot conceive the notion of kindness in the world, then you will not be able to perceive the kindness which already exists around you. If you cannot imagine yourself radiating compassion to your fellow human beings, it is highly unlikely you will speak compassionately to them.

When we receive so many negative messages and images from the news media every day, it can affect the way we perceive things. After a while, the world looks like a hostile and dangerous place. We react to this threat by seeking safety. Typically, we withdraw from others and become guarded against anyone who is different from us; this sows the seeds of prejudice.

However, there is another way of perceiving the world, another way of thinking. You can train yourself to think more positively and minimize the negative view. You can look for the good in others. Oh, yes, it’s there. You just need to keep looking for it. It may take a while with some people, but you will eventually find it.

Here’s a real-life example of how a negative thought pattern can be turned around: as you are sitting at home in your living room watching TV (as most of us do), notice how your mind responds to the violence you see on the screen. This response is most likely the result of cognitive conditioning by the media onto the public. Once you are aware of it, you are in a place where you can do something about it.

So what can you do? One idea for improving your thoughts is to ask yourself more constructive questions. When you see these violent images in a TV show, ask yourself, “What can I do to make things better?” Perhaps that could mean turning the channel to a comedy program. Better yet, turn the TV off and spend some time with your loved ones. (Now there’s a novel idea.)

It can benefit you greatly just to realize the extent to which your mind plays an active part in your level of happiness. The quality of your thoughts directly affects your perception which eventually impacts the quality of your life. If you want to see a dramatic improvement in your life, keep asking how you can make things better. Ask yourself this question all day long, day after day. When you do, you will not only think differently, but you will also feel differently, too. And those closest to you will notice the improvement in your character.

Okay, now that we have covered the areas of speech and thoughts, let’s dive right into the topic of behaviors. (Did you think we were going to skip that arena? Really? You are not getting off the hook that easily.)

If you are serious about becoming a more loving person and having a greater positive influence on the world, then taking action is required. You cannot just sit there thinking happy thoughts while the house burns down around you. It is time to put what you have learned to practice.

Of course, we are starting with the premise you have already accomplished the task of conceiving loving thoughts and perceiving everyone as your brother or sister. The next step is to act in the other person’s best interest. This step does not mean you neglect your needs, nor does it mean you allow someone to take advantage of you. It simply means to be concerned about the wellbeing of the other person.

What could you do differently the next time you are in a store waiting in the checkout line and notice that the person just behind you has only a few items? This scenario is one of those opportunities to show kindness. You could let that other shopper go ahead of you.

Regardless of whether your kindness is accepted or rejected, you have succeeded in turning your loving thoughts into loving actions.

You do not need to try and force it. In fact, you do not need to try hard at all. Once you have loving thoughts in your mind, you need only let the energy flow from you. Compassion is not a sales pitch you push on others. Just let the love in your heart shine through naturally as if it were water seeking the lowest and most humble place.

In time, you will see more and more opportunities to show kindness. These opportunities are everywhere: at home, school, shops, public places, and on the job. The more you recognize them, the more you will act positively. And the more you spread the positive energy, the more it will come back to you because love loves to love more love. It is the law of attraction.

Something to meditate on today. Pause before you speak or take action. Make the decision you want to put more positive energy into society rather than negative. Hold thoughts of love in your mind by thinking about what would be best for the other person. Then let the kind words naturally flow from you. And if you see an opportunity to show compassion, by all means, do it!

Enlighten Me

 
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Contact Us

P O Box 4959, Fresno, CA 93744

newslnk@aol.com  |  Tel: 559-266-5465

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News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization. 
EST. September 1995

Community Link Projects