Issue VII, Vol. XXVII, No. 320
Jeff Robinson – A Legacy
Life is full of moments that stop us in our tracks. Moments that shock us, disorient us and leave us disconnected from the reality we have used to define ourselves.
Jeff Robinson passed away on March of 2022. In an instant, we lost one of the strongest voices and leaders in our Central Valley LGBTQ community. It was sudden and a surprise. The news rippled through the community and devastated so many.
What didn’t Jeff do for the LGBTQ Community? He was CEO of Community Link Inc., a local non-profit, which also ran the Gray Alliance, published the local LGBTQ paper the Newslink, organized and ran local LGBTQ sports groups, ran the Youth Group that was a haven for so many young community members, hosted “It’s a Queer Thang”, a monthly LGBTQ themed radio show, headed Qistory which chronicles the history of the LGBTQ community in the Central Valley, was an Emperor of the Imperial Dove Court and was the man behind the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival which has now been serving Fresno for over 30 years. The accomplishments go on and on, with virtually everyone in the community knowing who Jeff was and what he gave back.
I’ve been an LGBTQ activist in this community for almost 20 years. As such, I’ve worked with Jeff on a number of projects over the years. Not only were we always in the same circles but eventually we came together to pool our resources and work together over and over to benefit the community. I’ve written more articles than I can count for Newslink, guested on Jeff’s radio show many times and when Jeff asked me to step in and become part of his project Qistory, I agreed. At first, I hesitated. I’d just closed the Fresno LGBTQ Community Center, which had served the community for over 7 years. I’d worked as a founder of a local LGBTQ nonprofit for over 9 years, and I’d been active nonstop on so many projects over the years that I was exhausted.
Something about Jeff’s resistance to burnout inspired me. That, coupled with my passion for the LGBTQ history, prompted me to agree to a meeting. That meeting turned into a partnership with Jeff and others who were already on board with Qistory.
Jeff and I weren’t always close. I came onto the scene much later than he did. And Jeff had a “resting bitch face” that made it appear that you shouldn’t go anywhere near him. That was intimidating. So, it took me a while to learn how to navigate him not as someone in the community, but as another leader. Eventually, we became close and were able to get past the things that so often, given gossip and inuendo in our community and many others, tend to push us away from each other.
My relationship with Jeff was strongest on two fronts. One was truth. If you ever challenged Jeff you’d better make sure you brought your A game. Because Jeff knew his stuff. He did his research, and he knew the facts. If you challenged Jeff on the facts, you’d lose. I live my life on the truth. I will always research the facts and I don’t want to debate you unless I have the facts in my back pocket. Jeff was the same. And if we didn’t know all the facts, we’d do the work. Politics was a favorite of Jeff’s, and of mine. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t discuss politics. The reason Jeff talked about it was because politics is not defined by the latest mantra of acceptance. Politics is about civil rights, women’s rights, gender equality, trans rights, laws and taxes. The reason Jeff never walked away from politics is because he understood the impact it had on all our lives. Don’t forget that. Don’t be blinded by the latest double speak that politics is nothing but aggravated debate.
Our other commonality was LGBTQ history. We both understood that especially in the Central Valley, if our histories weren’t documented, they were likely to be lost. The instant we came together on the project Qistory was the moment I saw the light in Jeff’s eyes when we discussed the timelines, stories and photographs that were the foundation of others in our community. We had many a conversation about how important it was to be the historians of a community that was so often overlooked and ignored.
It's not easy being a leader. I think when we looked at Jeff so many of us assumed it was easy for him. He did so much and so often. He was ubiquitous. He was always there, and we didn’t usually question how all this work was for Jeff. In fact, we may have never questioned anything about the effect all of the work may have had on Jeff, we just assumed it didn’t.
I know something about the stress levels that came with the responsibilities that Jeff carried. We had long conversations about the complexities of putting on Pride and other talks about the idiocy of procedure and personalities that often tied up process. Jeff was commonly mired in bureaucracy, procedure, personalities and politics. Still, he moved forward. He didn’t step back. He didn’t give up. He didn’t run for cover.
I admired that.
If we hadn’t lost Jeff, he probably would never have stopped. He may have stepped back, he may have delegated, he may have even passed on the torch here or there. But a leader like Jeff does what he does not because he wants glory, fame or recognition. A leader like Jeff did what he did because he had to, innately, because he had the resources, because he had the knowledge to form shifts in the sand. A leader like Jeff did what he did because he empathized and understood and cared. A leader like Jeff did what he did because he couldn’t not do it. He wanted to help others. And he did that. He did that for so long and so powerfully that others tend to step back in security, knowing someone else is taking care of things. But things don’t get taken care of in a vacuum. Things only get taken care of because someone decides that they’re willing to put aside a part of their lives in order to serve greater good. We all know leaders whose egos precede them into the room. Jeff was not one of those people.
All of our stories are a mixture of things.
I would often think about Juan, Jeff’s husband, who was present at so many LGBTQ events, in full support. I compared it to my own husband James, who has remained steadfastly at my side throughout my years of activism. A leader, an activist, it not only taking their own place in the race to equality and freedom, but they are supported by those who stand by them no matter what, who put up with the insanity that is activism. It takes more than one. The gift of leadership is not only carried by the face of the movement, but by those who stand at their side.
I hold humility in the highest regard. If you’re going to be a leader you need to be humble. You have to know that even though you’re in the spotlight, that you’re the focus of a lot of attention because of your work, you have to still understand that you’re no better than anyone else in the room. You simply have the opportunity to make a difference. You have the talent, the resources and the opportunity to push through the hatred, discrimination and written societal rules or behavior to state the obvious, that change is needed to establish equality, fairness and an even playing field. If you’re a true leader, you do so because you’re able, not because you’re seeking the spotlight. That was Jeff.
Jeff made a difference. We all should.
Whatever you can do, do it. The smallest of gestures can make the biggest difference. Be open to others, to discussions, to conversations. But always do so in the presence of truth.
Everyone has their passions. It’s important we all find ours. Jeff’s passion was in giving meaning and history to a community that was so easily fragmented and displaced by the society at large. Our stories are vital, passionate and revealing. We are, in essence, as so many other communities are, the soul of America. Without a documented history, we are invisible.
Our time is limited. We must make a difference while we are here.
Death is something we will all face. The question is, what do we leave behind?...
“If I had to describe Jeffery in one word, it would be passionate. He was passionate about our LGBTQ+ community. Sometimes that passion could be overwhelming or even at times exhausting, but it was very effective. It was this passion that drove him to give everything to the preservation of Fresno's LGBTQ+ history. Jeffery found the importance of every person's story and wanted to preserve those stories for future generations. The Rainbow Archive at Fresno State and Qistory came out of his passion and commitment to queer lives and histories. Both would not have existed without Jeffery's passion and persistence.”…Katherine Fobear
“I first met Jeff over 20 years ago when we both were involved with The Imperial Dove Court. Jeff was elected Emperor 26 and devoted his time and love to our community raising monies for various charities as well as traveling throughout the state representing Fresno with pride.
I had the great honor the following year to be crowned as Empress 27 by Jeff and from that day forward I always enjoyed working with Jeff. I was very honored to be part of the committee of Qistory an idea that Jeff gave birth to, or the conception to, and we will continue with what Jeff wanted for our community and for future generations to know what we went through to get here today.”…Steve Hagopian (Tiffany Taylor Tate)
“I was 17 when I first met Jeff. I went to the youth group to keep an eye on my little sister, but ended up finding a mentor, a community, and a family. Before I knew it I was being introduced to everything LGBTQ. It started my love of volunteering and working with the queer community.
I didn’t have the best home life but thanks to Jeff I always felt loved and accepted. He would always listen when me and my friends needed a safe person to talk to. And was always there to give advice we needed, even when we weren’t always ready to listen. He continued to be a safe space into my adulthood.
When I look around I realize almost everyone I know and love was brought into my life because of Jeff. I am so lucky to have known him, and I truly know I am a better person because of the impact he had on my life.”…Rachel Wilson
“I met Jeff seven years ago as a newly out transgender man. At first glance I was both in awe and slightly intimidated, timidness that went away the more I got to know this amazing man.
Jeff was everything a friend, mentor and parent should be. His advocacy for the LGBT community bled into his personal relationships with the people he cared for and loved.
He taught me by example, with compassion and care, but he would also at times throw me into situations and let me find my own footing- always letting me know that it was okay to fail as long as I gave it my absolute best. He always had an ear ready when I needed to speak or a booming voice when I couldn’t find my own.
He was a “mama bear” when it came to the queer community, fiercely protective of all of us, and I knew down to my last atom that with him, around him, I would always be safe.”… Jay Sanchez
“Jeffery was more than just another person to me. Hearing stories of him, warms my heart. Just knowing that my mentor, my friend and at times my shady counterpart. Jeffery and I had, what I will call a “Resting Bitch” friendship. In 2014, he took a chance on this young baby queen by allowing me to host the festival Main Stage. I knew my commitment to him and the Pride Committee would forever change.
During an Imperial Dove Court event Jeffery and I developed a bond. He then eventually became my mentor. We would sit next to one another and gossip! He sure did love his TEA. We would talk about the event ideas and fundraising ideas. The year I ran for Empress, I remember him telling me that how much respect he had for me and how I would be this breath of fresh air to our community. During my reign he helped me out, like a lot. From helping with a program, donating to an event, having him and Juan coming over to take my empress pics for coronation, he was literally in my corner. I remember the night I stepped down, I had invited him and a few others that meant the world to me that had served before me. I just remember seeing his smile and if you knew Jeff, he rarely smiled. That year I also donated $3000 to the gay pride parade and festival at the beginning of my reign, which he told me later on ended up help saving pride that year. I was also a Grand Marshal.
Our friend loved to push me to my limits. I always felt like he would challenge me to make more creative ideas to fundraise for pride. We would go back and forth and he would eventually get me on somethings so insignificant at the time. Jeff was my mentor but more importantly my friend. I’ll truly miss you friend.”…Leilani Price
“Jeffrey Robinson was many things to many people.
In the recent weeks, many people have tried to describe exactly what Jeff meant to them: A pillar of the community. An activist. An ally. A mentor. A husband. A friend. A father figure. To me, he will always be an icon and a shining example of what the LGBTQIA+ Community of Fresno needs.
I met Jeff when I was 19 when I first attended the Youth Group in 1996. As a kid from the small conservative town of Exeter, meeting someone like Jeff was life changing. Initially, I was terrified of Jeff. He was not afraid to ask tough questions in the Youth Group to get us talking about ourselves; nor was he afraid to share his opinion and call someone out. It took me years to figure out that Jeff was actually a teddy bear of a human being and everything he said and did came from a place of love. I learned so much from him. He was setting us all up to be the brave, unapologetic, proud leaders of tomorrow. He was passing along all the parts of himself that made him so special to us so that we could someday be role models like him - role models to the youth that our younger selves needed. When I look at other friends that I’ve met through the Jeff, I see him. I see a loud, proud ball of fire in Binx. I see loving, caring parents to a child in need in Liz and Carol. I see selfless acts of community togetherness, a sharp wit and fabulous sense of style in Leilani. And I see the love, support and perseverance in his husband Juan.
If you had the chance to meet Jeff, you knew the bigger-than-life presence he was. The impact that Jeff has left on the Community and all of us is profound and will not be forgotten. I call on each and every one of you that knew him to honor Jeff in your own way. Volunteer. Support the Community. Try and give back in anyway you can. And for the love of God, tip your queens! Be that out, loud, proud person so that someone else can feel comfortable with who they are. Be that role model that Jeff was to me.”…Brian Carnes
“I worked with Jeff on many things, starting in 1998 when I began copy editing News Link for him, something I did for 15 years. That led to my long running column “The Waterhouse Report” in 2000. Jeff immensely enjoyed my tweaking of politicians’ tails even though it occasionally led to recriminations in the community. I also helped him with Rainbow Pride for many years. I occasionally represented him at a few press conferences during our 24 years of friendship.
Memories? There are so many I shared with him. His bringing the local news media with him to a contentious meeting with Fresno police after a lieutenant tried to sabotage Rainbow Pride several years ago. Him refusing to buckle to political blackmail by Fresno mayor Bubba Autry during a heated meeting at Irene’s in 2004. Him honoring my late husband Tom during Rainbow Pride the year after Tom died of cancer. Jeff always remembered Tom and what he did for the parade and for the community. His being the master of ceremonies for the annual Golden State Bear weekend at The Den—I had a wonderful time playing ‘straight man’ to his humor as Wyoming. And, there are so many more.
I already miss Jeff. The parade won’t be the same with him gone. His massive presence in so many things made our community what it is today. Jeff was very humble despite his fame as “Mr. Gay Mayor of Fresno.” He often reminded me there were many other activists in our community who led the way alongside him. Much to my surprise, he included me in that list. His passing is a great personal loss because so many of our friends have died since 2010.”…Dan Waterhouse
“During last week's memorial one of the speakers asked us to close our eyes and remember the first time we met Jeff.
What's odd is that I couldn’t remember the first time I met Jeff. I think this is mostly because I can't remember a time where I didn't know him. It seemed like he was everywhere all the time.
I recall his presence being comforting and inspirational. Jeff organized and hosted many events but what made him amazing is that he truly knew that all things took an army to be successful. He never failed to thank everyone involved and praise those who worked hard. It was undeniable how proud he was of those who wanted to participate and make a difference.
I remember when he asked me to be Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade and I recall my first thought being, "Why me? I'm no one important." Jeff explained to me the importance of my influence and presence in the community and how even the smallest gestures can make a large difference in a single person's life. Before that conversation, I thought I was just a silly youngster trying to find friends by creating a social group for lesbians. Jeff helped me realize that I was helping others find family within our rainbow community. He really saw all the greatness and potential that existed in what others might perceive as pointless efforts. He made me proud of what I was creating because I knew it made him proud. As many will tell you, once you get to a point where you're making Jeff proud, you work hard to never let him down.
I will miss him and his leadership. He truly was a leader who focused on the efforts of the team and the wellbeing of the community he fought for. He didn't do it for notoriety or popularity. He did it because he sincerely loved everyone and wanted so much for us to realize we were worthy of it.”…Tiana Perez
“There will never be anyone who had a greater impact on the Fresno LGBTQ+ community than Jeffery Robinson or held more secrets! The major accomplishments we associate with Jeffery, CEO of Community Link, Fresno Rainbow Pride, Qistory, "It's A Queer Thang", the Imperial Dove Court, do not compare to me, as the impact he had on people.
He recognized and treasured people! I will always treasure serving as Grand Marshal of the Pride Parade in 2017 and recognized for my contributions to gay Fresno. If you look at the diverse Grand Marshals of Fresno Rainbow Pride for the last 30 years, you will see the historical evolution of our very diverse gay community.
He cared about people! He was kind, thoughtful, saw both the big picture and the details. How many lives did he save, by seeing and hearing people who were lost, suffering, or in need? Whether they were children or seniors, Jeffery had a referral and could point you in the right direction. He was there for you!
WWJD - What would Jeffery do?
He would be caring and kind, a great model to follow!
Thank you, Jeffery, for your inspiration! “…Marsha Conant
“As I stood in front of the Tower Theater, looking at the hundreds of people who gathered to celebrate the life of Jeffrey Robinson, I tried to take in all the different ways Jeff has inspired this community. The ripple effect of his leadership was clear in each set of folks who gathered. From the opening speech, by Fresno pioneer Peter Robertson, reflecting on their times organizing and fighting back together at Fresno State, to the final LGBTQ+ Ally who was inspired by Jeff to use her voice for change, it was clear that this wasn’t just a celebration of a life well lived, but a legacy that will live on. This was a celebration of what had happened and what can still continue to happen in honor of a person who gave so much. Our community was so very fortunate to be gifted the life of Jeffrey Robinson. His determination to live a life of dignity as an out and proud gay man living in the Central Valley of California is clear. Each group gathered, each speaker who took the stage and every Pride sign in between represented the crashing wave reality that his ripple effect had gathered people from our youth to our seniors.
There are few LGBTQ+ community events that you can participate in or attend that Mr. Robinson didn’t help found, create, support, inspire or lead. That’s right, just to mention a few, if you have attended an LGBTQ+ event at Fresno State, bought tickets to REEL Pride, gathered in the Tower District in June to celebrate Pride, been lucky enough to hold a copy of NewsLink or hear Jeffrey’s on-air personality on KFCF’s 88.1’s “It’s a Queer Thang” radio broadcast, you have been touched by that amazing wave of leadership. And, that is just mentioning a few of his contributions of greatness.
Looking out at that crowd, I struggled to find the words. How do you remember a legend, an icon, a god among people, especially when you don’t want to live with the recent reality that you HAVE TO live without him in your community any longer? And then it struck me, Jeffrey Robinson was such an amazing inspiration to so many that we aren’t truly living without him - he is in each of us. And, the only way we can truly remember him is to do our best to live like he lived - to love, “In Pride," and fight like hell when they try to challenge either. The love affair that Jeffrey and Juan shared with this community is inspirational. They met over what was supposed to be a short weekend visit, and the connection was so strong they stayed together for nearly 3 decades. There were few times you saw Jeffrey, without Juan. But, when you did, it was generally when Jeff had been asked to speak at a class event, local community meeting, political negotiation or press conference. It wasn’t his job to give back in that way. He wasn’t getting paid to volunteer his time and perspective - he did it because he loved his community, and he was called to fight for the dignity we deserve. What Jeff and Juan gave up in moments together, we gained in the pride our community continued to build with his leadership. My heart breaks for Juan, he was robbed of decades more of loving, we all were.
As much as I mourn the loss I am feeling and struggle to accept what Juan must be going through, I know our youth are hurting just as much. While working with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, I learned of Jeff’s work with our youth. Every Friday night, without fail, Jeff would host youth meetups at the Big Red Church or the Center for Non-Violence or wherever the group needed to meet that week. Youth from every walk of life would enter that door looking for community, support, love. Some would come in not willing to admit that is what they were there for, but Jeff had a way of pulling them in to their comfort zone with his witty sarcasm and that oh so cute wink and grin. If you never saw Jeff with his youth, you missed out on a treat - it was life changing. At Jeff’s celebration of life, there were countless young adults I saw in that crowd who drove and flew in from wherever they were to honor the man that had shaped them. Many of those youth saying that "he literally saved my life.” So many of those youth are now doing their own good work, serving in communities all over the country - giving back and making that ripple effect an undeniable wave of change. My heart breaks for them, honestly it breaks for all of us. But I am grateful that we were given the gift of Jeffrey Robinson, and I pray we will all continue his work of love, “In Pride,” and fight"…Robin McGehee
”Jeffery Robinson and I met 35 years ago when we were both undergraduate students attending Fresno State. In 1987, when the Fresno State United Student Pride booth was burned, Jeff was there. In 1989, when the KKK was on-campus to protest our student club, Cleve Jones and the Fresno City Bulldrags, Jeff was there. Later that same semester, when 25 students protested the misuse of power within student government and were subsequently arrested, Jeff was there. Throughout many incidents such as this, Jeff was “a bridge over troubled waters.” He inspired my social justice activism and advocacy which remains to this day.
Jeff was a humble leader whose tireless efforts touched the lives of so many of us in our community. A handful of these examples include:
• Coordinating the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival when no one else would;
• Keeping the Reel Pride film festival up-and-running when it was on the brink of extinction;
• Hosting “It’s a Queer Thang” radio show on 88.1-KFCF for three decades; and
• Holding the title of Emperor 26 with the Imperial Dove Court De Fresno.
In 2015, Jeff was selected for the honor of being the keynote alumnx speaker for Fresno State’s 2nd Annual Rainbow Graduation Celebration. Recently, he also donated to and volunteered with three additional LGBTQ+ related projects at Fresno State:
• Rainbow Archives with the Madden Library;
• Qistory Project of the College of Social Sciences at Fresno State; and
• Zoyer Zyndel MSW Memorial Scholarship Fund with the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State.
Thank you, Jeff, for being a part of the solution, leading by example, and uplifting our community. Finally, thank you, Juan Bustamante, for sharing him with all of us since the very beginning of your relationship together. We are all the better for it.
Dear Jeff, thank you for being our “Bridge over troubled waters.” We love you. We miss you. Rest in power.”…Peter Robertson
The future of the LGBTQ Community in Fresno and the Central Valley depends on all of us. What we do, how we do it and when we do it. Jeff can’t be replaced. None of us can. That’s not the goal. The goal is to contribute in our own way, to do what we can do, with our motivations and talents. Jeff would want us to move forward not in his reflection, but forming our own paths, leaving in place our own shadows.
Jeff’s legacy will live on. His work in the community was to let others know that they can take up the torch as well, that everyone has the power within themselves to step into the fray and to create change. If we want to honor Jeff, we need to work like Jeff did, always thinking about others, and how we can help others on their journey.
In the grand scheme, life is short. We’re here and we’re gone. It’s what you can do to help other that creates a legacy.
What do we leave behind?
Take charge of your journey.
Step in when you witness injustice.
Stand up for others.
Speak your mind.
Find the truth.
Share the truth.
Demand the truth.
Gray Alliance News
Gray Alliance is a group for LGBTQ+ seniors, and we get together for potlucks the last Sunday of each month.
We will have a potluck Sunday March 27th 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 March 2022
The month of March started out as any other month of March, with mild weather and
occasional rain. Concerned LGBTQ citizens were probably watching for news of Russia’s
invasion of Ukraine, Queen Elizabeth’s health, and LGBTQ issues. Life was going along as
usual until we heard the news that Jeffery Robinson, LGBTQ community leader, and our youth
group’s creator and group leader, had died. Jeffery started the LGBTQ Youth Alliance group
over 33 years ago! He ran the group for most of that time, and until recently, usually attended
group even when he wasn’t running it.
The announcement of Jeffery’s departure produced a lot of sadness for the adults who
took over the job of running the weekly youth group, Banana, her partner Jay, and David. All
the adult leaders have known Jeffery for years, and all three were very attached to Jeffery.
Needless to say, the adults will be affected by Jeffery’s passing for a considerable amount of
time. The youth group was Jeffery’s. The adults who have been running the youth group were
doing it with Jeffery’s blessing and any time he showed up for group we let him do anything he wanted! After all, he was our Grand Poobah!
At our most recent youth group meeting, we offered the youth an opportunity to talk
about their feelings about Jeffery’s death. The youth who attended the meeting had not been
attending the group for long, so their relationship with Jeffery was nominal—they had little to
say about him. The youth who had known him for a while and saw him as a mentor skipped the meeting, so we may have to revisit the subject in the future.
For the previous weeks, prior to Jeffery’s passing, the youth group members took turns
picking random numbers from a book of questions and then answering the questions. It’s a
simple way to stimulate discussion without going into a lengthy discussion about a single
subject. Answering random questions is a fun way for everyone to share a little about
themselves without having to go too deep.
The youth group has a potluck on the last Friday of the month. Our last potluck was not
very well attended but it was a fun evening with a lot of talking, noise, and food. We have a
potluck so that people can have one Friday a month where youth can just hang out and not have to answer questions for the group. Potlucks are a good time for new people to join us!
Despite the passing of our Grand Poobah, the Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance will
continue to meet in person at the Big Red Church on Friday nights from 7 to 8:30 PM! We will
continue to work on our virtual meeting, as well, so that youth members who can’t attend the
meeting in person can attend online! We will be sure to publish the meeting number and the
password for our Zoom meetings 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, whether in person or online!
Community Link Projects
Fresno Pacific's off-campus pride club calls for campus inclusion during accreditation review
Reposted from abc30.com
Dozens of people marched across the Fresno Pacific University campus Wednesday to call attention to school administrators rejecting a student government-approved gay pride club.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges is Fresno Pacific's accreditation agency and it has representatives on campus this week, which is why Birds of Pride scheduled their demonstration when they did.
continue reading at abc30.com
Christian school forces teachers to sign contract swearing they’ll always be straight
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
A Christian K-12 school is under fire for making teachers sign contracts committing to being straight.
At Brisbane, Australia’s Citipointe Christian College, a K-12 school, the employment contracts reportedly state teachers may only express sexuality “through heterosexual, monogamous relationships, expressed intimately through marriage” and says violating these terms could result in termination.
continue reading at LGBTQNation.com
Biden Administration meets with Florida LGBTQ students over “Don’t Say Gay” bill
US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Dr Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health, held a virtual meeting recently with several LGBTQ students and their families about the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The legislation, officially titled the Parental Rights in Education act, would prohibit discussion around sexual orientation or gender identity in Florida primary schools.
In the meeting, Cardona and Levine (who is the first openly transgender Senate- confirmed official) reaffirmed support for LGBTQ youth and their families.
“Laws around the country, including in Florida, have targeted and sought out to bully some of our most vulnerable students and families and create division in our schools,” Cardona said. He added, “My message to you is that this administration won’t stand for bullying or discrimination of any kind, and we will use our authority to protect, support, and provide opportunities for LGBTQI+ students and all students.”
Disney CEO apologizes to employees for response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill
Disney will pause all political donations in Florida after intense criticism over the media giant’s response to state legislation that would limit discussion of LGBTQ issues in primary schools, CEO Bob Chapek said in a recent letter to employees.
In an earlier memo, Chapek said that Disney could make the “biggest impact” by “creating a more inclusive world through the inspiring content we produce.” Employees and consumers attacked Disney for its passive response to the bill.
In this week’s memo, Chapek apologized to his colleagues for not taking a more forceful stand against the anti-LGBTQ legislation. “It is clear that this is not just an issue with a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry,” Chapel said in the letter, which was published on Disney’s website.
Chapek said the company would immediately increase support for advocacy groups fighting against similar legislation in other states. Chapek told employees, “We are hard at work creating a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects your values.”
Disney employees in California and Florida had planned a gradual walk-out strategy starting the week of March 14 and culminating in a complete walk-out on Tuesday, March 22. Disney employees over 10,000 people. It is not yet known if the CEO’s letter will be enough to keep employees from walking out in protest of the Florida legislation.
Emma Watson takes a jab at JK Rowling’s transphobic views
During the recent British Films Awards (BAFTA) ceremony, Emma Watson took a dig at the Harry Potter author JK Rowling and her transphobic comments. At the ceremony, host Rebel Wilson introduced Watson, who is best known for playing Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter films, to the stage to announce an award winner.
“Here to present the next award is Emma Watson. She calls herself a feminist, but we all know she’s a witch,” Wilson said.
As Watson approached the podium, she smiled and said, “I’m here for all the witches.” Social media users took the comment as a direct jab at Rowling who has consistently shared transphobic remarks to the media for several years, including a comment she made on International Women's Day.
Wilson also joked about Rowling’s transphobia at the ceremony. Referring to her own weight loss, Wilson said she was “looking different” after a “transformation.” “I hope JK Rowling still approves,” Wilson said.
Drug companies shut off Botox and Cialis shipments to Russia
LGBTQ Nation announced this week that due to Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, several US pharmaceutical companies are cutting their delivery of non-essential medications to Russia, including Botox and Cialis shipments. The announcement went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin has benefitted from regular Botox injections and cosmetic surgeries to benefit his appearance.
Eli Lilly and Company, Novartis, Abbvie Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Bayer, and Abbott Laboratories have all announced that they will cut back operations inside Russia while still providing medically necessary drugs for diseases like cancer and diabetes. They will continue to provide vaccines. The pharmaceutical companies have also assured that the profits from distributing lifesaving drugs will be donated to humanitarian efforts.
HOW DO YOU SAY COMO SE DICE?
Conversations with my spouse can be a lot like being contestants on that exciting game show The $100,000 Pyramid.
My first language is English. His is not. He is fluent in Spanish. I am not. Communication between us can be exhilarating, suspenseful, and maddening. Our body language often resembles adorable Pug dogs tilting their heads sideways when trying to understand humans speaking to them.
I felt that we were in the winner’s circle on that game show just the other day. Andres was chosen to give the clues to me. I was to guess the word or phrase he was seeking. He knew the expression in Spanish but didn’t know how to say it to me in English.
The whole conundrum began when someone broke into his car one day. He called me and explained this caper to me. It seems the determined bandit focused on only one item when he entered the vehicle. Andres had left his jacket on the passenger seat.
He said the perpetrator was seeking something from inside that jacket. I asked him how he knew that someone was even in his car. He stated it was obvious because this fellow went into all the numerous jacket pockets searching for something to steal.
This is when our back and forth unleashed the mighty kraken of miscommunication. Andres said the burglar searched one pocket and then tried a different one. I heard him tell me this several times in which I kept asking how he knew the bad guy was rummaging through all those pockets.
He explained that after he went into the pockets; he then just left them that way. But what way? Andres said the thief went into each pocket to look. Then he came out and that was it. But what was it?
That he pulled his hand out of each pocket is what he repeatedly told me. But Andres was not there so how did he know that each pocket was searched? In complete frustration, Andres briefly yells something in Spanish that can’t be repeated here. Those words I understood.
I wanted to wave the white flag and give up. I wasn’t walking away though. I gathered up my moxie. It seemed that we were down to our last clues in the remaining seconds. Everyone in the studio audience and at home watching on TV is on pins and needles. It is up to me to shout out the answer if we are going to win this challenge.
Andres is by this time going all Latin on me and giving me a very passionate tutorial about what happens when you go into something and pull out. And then just leave it that way. So much pressure. This garrulous gringo is blurting out words. None of them work. The clock continues to tick away. Andres is getting louder. He feels I’m so close. My pulse is racing with anticipation.
He keeps saying that you know. But I don’t know or I would have said it by now. Ay dios mio! How could I have missed it? Just before the clock hits zero; I let out the answer. Inside-out! The thief left all the pockets inside-out after he went through each of them. That’s how Andres knew someone was in the car.
Andres excitedly shouts, “Yes…inside-out!” We did it. I imagine applause, confetti, and flashing lights. Instead we simply get successful communication.
Spouses with different first languages. You have no idea. It’s a game show every day.
This article of tell ‘em what they’ve won is brought to you by that guy with Colombian connections. That guy with grand prize money is Ron Blake and you can send him Spanish lessons at email@example.com.
Is our brain wired for enlightenment?
The other day I was sitting within earshot of a group of intellectuals who were pontificating on the difference between the brain and the mind. As I was eavesdropping, one of the men said, “People only use 10% of the brain.”
In truth, we do use our entire brain. Maybe not all at once, but there’s no part of the brain unused. What the man probably meant was that we only use a fraction of the mind’s potential. There is a difference between the brain and the mind. The brain is the physical structure; the mind is the mental process. We use 100% of the physical brain. If we didn’t, nature would not have designed us to grow a brain several times larger than what we needed.
Doesn’t that make sense? Do you think the human brain would evolve larger and larger over the course of human history if only 10% of it were needed? Nature doesn’t work that way. Evolution develops in response to adaptation to the environment; it doesn’t just give you nine times more of some bodily organ just for the hell of it.
Even so, I believe it is a fact the average person does not use the full mental potential of the brain—particularly in the area of creativity. Think about it this way. What is the limit of a person’s creativity? Is there any? I don’t think so. The mind’s potential is limitless in any number of mental domains.
Can you imagine the things you could do if you focused your mind on developing just one of your mental capabilities? Say you wanted to work on becoming more enlightened. If you spent your entire life developing that area of your brain, you might reach that goal by the conclusion of your life.
The thing is, you do not have enough time to develop your mind’s potential in every arena fully. You need to prioritize. What topics, skill, and talents do you want to develop the most? If your mind did not limit your unlimited potential, you would not be able to do much of anything at all. Make sense?
So, don’t get all “guilted-out” because you haven’t, yet, become all you can be. You cannot be all things to all people in all situations. Give yourself a break. Most people have one category they can claim as an area of expertise.
And by the way, those same experts are probably completely inept in other fields. That’s why they pay a mechanic, layer, computer technician, surgeon, farmer, or another professional when they need something done outside of their competency.
So, what about the physical brain? Why does it seem to conflict at times? Why are we sometimes selfish—then giving? Why are we sometimes angry—then forgiving? There is a physical structure in the brain for each of those emotions above.
Brain scans reveal a region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens which activates when a person is selfishly thinking of extreme pleasure like gambling or winning the lottery. The nucleus accumbens is the pleasure center, and it drives addictive behaviors.
Another part of the brain, the posterior superior temporal sulcus, activates when an individual is showing concern for the well-being of others which demonstrates social consciousness. It’s the part involved with altruistic thinking.
When someone is infuriated, it’s the amygdala firing off in the brain. Later, when that person is ready to forgive, the prefrontal cortex takes over. That’s the region which houses moral reasoning and ethical behavior. Neuroscientists are continuing to discover the connections between the brain, mind, and body. It can all get pretty confusing. (Personally, I like to look at it this way: my brain is part of my physical identity; my mind is part of my essence, and my essence is my true nature.)
Something to meditate on today. Realize your brain has the capacity for enlightenment, yet you also have limits. You are not expected to reach your full potential in every aspect of your life. Focus your attention on developing your abilities in a few select areas you have chosen for your life. Be satisfied with that. Relax; you do not need to be perfect.
And the next time you hear someone make the false statement that we only use a fraction of the brain, realize that person is getting the terms “brain” and “mind” mixed up. Try not to judge them too harshly.
Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19)
If you are feeling pressure it is now. Indulge in some physical activity to burn off energy. You have a lot on your plate now.
Taurus (Apr 20-May 20)
Aren't you the center of attention. The hard work is starting to pay off. Enjoy it.
Gemini (May 21-June 22)
Still spending more money. You don't have a clear sense of direction. Just the same learn from the experiences.
Cancer (June 23-July 22)
For now it seems like one road block after another. You understand it but it still happens. Maybe you need to get out and enjoy yourself.
Leo (July 23-Aug 22)
Others are wanting more of your time. It can be a little draining so take your time to indulge yourself.
Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22)
Financial news isn't real good. Hold off any decisions until a later date when it all becomes clear.
Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22)
You feel like you are being tested and life is getting on your nerves. Think about what you want and plan for it.
Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21)
Life is not moving fast enough for you. You feel you have done the work but the results are slow incoming. Sit back and chill for a while.
Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21)
You really need to watch the spending. But then again the home may need repairs. You need to have some fun.
Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19)
You are pushing ahead and getting things done. Enlist new ideas from friends and all goes easier.
Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18)
Working hard and moving ahead but old problems keep coming up. Be flexible and try new ideas. Relax and it all becomes clear.
Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20)
This is a very peaceful and happy time for you. You attract others to you so enjoy it for now.
by Eric Biglione
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