Smoke

Issue VIII, Vol. XXVII, No. 322

 
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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.

We will have a potluck Sunday May 29th 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

David McGee
 

May rolled in this year with a gentle reminder of the weather we can expect to see daily in just a few weeks—heat! The Central Valley is currently getting some nice wind to clear the air and cool the evenings. We’ve even been given several opportunities to see the Sierra Madre mountains before the smog hangs out for the summer! Let’s hope we can have a day of mild weather when the Pride Parade and Festival happens on Saturday, June 4!

The LGBTQ Youth Alliance continues to meet at the Big Red Church on Friday nights. Attendance continues to be low. We had a few new attendees recently who found out about our youth group at the Tacos Marquitos show on Saturday, May 7. Who knew a dinner and drag show could bring us a couple of new attendees? Let’s hope they stay! The high school seniors who had been attending our group regularly haven’t been showing up lately as they plan for their graduation from high school.

At a recent youth group meeting, our group leader, Rachel, AKA Banana, asked the youth to draw a picture of what they hope to be doing in five years and how they plan to get there.

Everyone seemed to be interested in the assignment! We saw several meandering maps of their plans for the future! We haven’t done that exercise in a long time and it was a good one to pull out of the mothballs! Banana kept the discussion light and lively! When it was time to leave, at 8:30, we had to shoo the kids out! They wanted to stay and chat!

We all look forward to the Pride Parade and Festival on June 4! But this may be the first time ever that we don’t have youth to march in the parade! Most of our youth are under 18, which means they have trouble getting dropped off at events. Even if we don’t have a group in the parade, we’re sure the event is going to be lot of fun this year!

We save the last Friday of the month for our Youth Alliance potluck! Last month, our pizza delivery man, David, couldn’t attend the potluck, but he gave Banana’s fiancé, Jay, money to buy pizza and drinks so that no one would miss out! We didn’t talk about how the potluck went last month, but we bet it was the usual noisy atmosphere with plenty of food!

The LGBTQ Youth Alliance will continue to meet in person at the Big Red Church on Friday nights from 7 to 8:30 PM! We 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!

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Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival: 2022 In Pride!
 

Yes, the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival is still very much ON this year. The parade will still run along Olive Avenue, BUT the festival has been moved to Fresno City College.

It HAD to.

 

We’ve been outgrowing the Tower festival area for years and the new housing development made it even smaller. It’s something that Jeffery and the planning committee have been grappling with since before the pandemic and believe me, it was an exhaustive run-through of possible options. Our best solution was FCC this year, who’s staff has gone above and beyond to accommodate the festival and its astronomical growth.

 

We’re at 150 booths, folks! It’s going to be huge.

 

And yes, the committee understands that it’s not as walkable from the parade area, and that’s been addressed through a partnership with EOC who is providing ample shuttle service to and from the festival.

 

We hear the confusion and even some of the fear that it’s going to transform the experience people may be used to. All the best things about Pride are STILL going to happen. The committee who has been working tirelessly throughout the year and through absolute heartbreak at the loss of Jeff are just asking for a little faith and confidence that when we say, Pride this year is going to be the biggest and best yet, that you believe and you’ll support the efforts of our entire community.


We’ve lost so much this year, but we haven’t lost the spirit of who we are and what it means to come together and celebrate in unity.


Hope we see you June 4th.


In Pride


EVENT PAGE

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Fresno Pacific LGBTQ+ students demand an accreditation investigation
Brody Levesque
 

Last week more than 60 LGBTQ+ students, allies, and supporters gathered on the campus of Fresno Pacific University, (FPU) demonstrating against the university administration’s open discrimination against Queer and Trans students on its campus.

 

The students were joined by campus & alumni organizers from the Portland, Oregon-based Religious Exemption Accountability Project, (REAP) to support and speak publicly against the university’s recurring harmful actions targeting its LGBTQ+ student body.

continue reading at losangelesblade.com

Local

 
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RuPaul’s DragCon makes a splashy return to Los Angeles

David McGee
 

RuPaul’s DragCon made a splashy return in Los Angeles over the weekend of May 13-15. An estimated 50,000 people attended the three-day event and 150 drag queens walked through the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center doors. The last RuPaul’s DragCon was held in 2019 and then the event was cancelled for several years due to Covid-19 restrictions. Proof of vaccination was required for the 2022 RuPaul’s DragCon.

“The family is back together again, and we’re looking good,” RuPaul told the crowd when cutting a pink ribbon to ceremonially open the convention on Friday, May 13. “This is really a labor of love for us, and we’ve been gone for a few years now, but we are back, back, back

again.”

The convention floor was full of vendors and exhibitors that represented a large swath of the LGBTQ community. But most of the convention floor was set aside for former contestants from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” who set up elaborate booths to meet and greet their fans. Some eager attendees waited in line for hours to meet their favorite drag queens.

Source: nbcnews.com

Karine Jean-Pierre makes history as first lesbian White House press secretary

David McGee

Karine Jean-Pierre took over the role as White House Press Secretary on Monday, May 16, 2022, with a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket on Saturday, May 14.

Jean-Pierre is the first out member of the LGBTQ community to be the press secretary for the Biden administration. She is also the first Black person in the job. Previously the Principal Deputy Press Secretary, she succeeded Jen Psaki, who left the position to join MSNBC. Jean-Pierre has filled in for Psaki at daily briefings before, but Monday marked her first appearance in her new post.

Jean-Pierre described the victims of the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, pointing out that the attack by gunman Payton S. Gendron, an 18-year-old White man, appeared to be a racially motivated hate crime. She noted that the President and his wife would be visiting Buffalo on Tuesday to meet with the victims’ families, first responders, and community leaders.

Source: advocate.com

Transgender medication law in Alabama blocked by judge

David McGee

A federal judge on Friday, May 13, blocked part of an Alabama law that made it a felony to prescribe gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones for transgender minors. US District Judge Liles Burke issued a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the medication ban, which took effect May 8, while a lawsuit goes forward. The ruling was a victory for families and advocacy groups who challenged the first-of-its-kind law as an illegal intrusion into family and medical decisions. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey referred to the ruling as a “temporary legal roadblock.” Alabama’s attorney general indicated he will appeal the ruling.

The Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act made it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to prescribe or administer gender-affirming medication to transgender youth. The judge left in place another part of the law that banned gender-affirming surgeries for youth.

Source: abcnews.go.com

 

 

 

 

Oreo launches Pride Cookies alongside PFLAG Partnership

David McGee
 

Oreo is showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community with a limited-edition pack of cookies. The press release noted that “Oreo is proud to continue its long-standing commitment to the LGBTQ+ community through our partnership with PFLAG National with the limited-edition Oreo Pride Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.”

The “ally pack” will feature chocolate wafers that have been embossed with the word “Proud” on one side. The packaging is colorful and covered with positive comments. Starting May 11, the limited-edition cookies will be available for presale online at oreo.com/pride and the cookies will be available at retailers nationwide starting May 18, while supplies last.

Source: pride.com

National

 
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Un Mr International USA fait son coming out pansexuel
Charles Gagné
Reposté du fugues.com

 

David Barta, le Mr International USA 2019, vient de faire son coming out pansexuel durant un épisode de l’émission de télé-réalité «Ex on the Beach».

David Barta a annoncé qu’il était pansexuel durant le premier épisode de la saison 5 d’Ex on the Beach, une émission de télé-réalité américaine qui réunit des filles et gars en recherche de l’amour… ainsi que leurs ex ! 

continue a fugues.com

International

 
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Fight or flight; that is the mindful question

Mark Lang

 

The human brain is a wonderful thing. It allows us to process information both consciously and unconsciously. Naturally, the brain has the older, primal part known as the amygdala and the more cerebral, higher functioning part known as the frontal lobes.

Both the amygdala and the frontal lobes have a useful purpose. The amygdala is involved in the fight-or-flight response. The frontal lobes deal with executive functioning such as logic, future planning, and moral reasoning.

 

Incidentally, just because the frontal lobes are a higher evolved part of the brain does not mean the amygdala is no longer needed. I almost had a face-to-face encounter with a bear because I did not listen to my amygdala. Instead of fleeing, I tried to analyze the situation logically using my frontal lobes.

 

Here’s what happened: I was jogging with my dog down a country road at night when I heard something scurry off through the bushes and up a nearby tree. When I jog at night, I carry a flashlight, so I shined the light into the branches and saw a pair of glowing eyes looking down at me. I was trying to decide (with my analytical brain) what kind of an animal it was. I thought it could be a raccoon or maybe a bear cub. They were both about the same size.

 

Then I heard the mother bear in the bushes just a few feet away from where I was standing. She was snapping her jaws angrily and making a huffing sound which reminded me of a snorting bull. My dog was smarter than me; she stayed back on the gravel road barking. She didn’t need frontal lobes to tell her there was a danger.

 

Meanwhile, I just stood there wondering what to think of it all. Instead of moving back, I was trying to figure out if that truly was a bear in the brush, but I could not see very clearly; I just heard the noises. Finally, my amygdala got the message through to me—I was in danger! I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up and got the hell out of there!

Later, I spoke with a knowledgeable person who understood the behavior of bears. Based on my description, he confirmed for me that the smaller animal up the tree and the much larger animal in the bushes were indeed a mother bear with her cub. It made me shutter when told mother bears usually do not back down when defending their young. If that baby bear started to bawl, I hate to think what could have happened to me. Obviously, the more enlightened response was to become aware sooner of the danger signals my amygdala was sending me.

 

Typically, though, the danger is not from a wild animal but, rather, from a hostile work environment. About thirteen years ago, my coworkers and I shared a small office. They had made up their minds they didn’t like my “kind” and seemed to take great pleasure in treating me coldly. They would not speak to me and, instead, would talk to each other in Spanish knowing I did not speak that language. In other words, they were cutting me out of their conversations and wanted me to know it. I did my best to be kind and courteous to them. I would greet them every day with a cheerful, “Good morning.” They never replied—not even once.

I eventually realized that I could not change them to suit my needs or force them to like me. I chose not to fight the situation. Instead, I sidestepped the battle. I felt sorry for them actually because they seemed very unhappy. It was at that moment I decided not to think with my primal amygdala but, rather, used my frontal lobes for moral reasoning. I just made up my mind to be a compassionate person, not only to them but everyone. It was a conscious decision to have a positive attitude no matter what.

 

Specifically, one enlightenment technique I would do with those two coworkers involved mental imagery. I would sit at my desk and visualize a glass heart filled with pure love and glowing white light. Then I would picture myself sliding that heart across the room to them. In this way, I was sending them spiritual love and compassion.

So what effect did this enlightenment technique have on them? Well, I did not see any change in their behavior. But here’s the thing: it changed my mood which made it all worthwhile. Even if they did not feel the spiritual love I was sending them, I felt it. And it gave me a sense of inner tranquility. That whole experience of working with nasty coworker taught me how to be a more compassionate person. That’s the benefit.

Something to meditate on today. Be mindful of both your primal instincts and your moral reasoning. Raise your awareness and realize you are already using both parts of your brain every day. Every part of your brain serves a purpose. Instead of unconsciously reacting to a situation, mindfully make a decision which part of your brain you want to use. Then take action. Don’t wait for the proverbial bear to make the first move.

Enlighten Me

 
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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.

Horoscopes

 
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IDC Fresno Coronation XLIX: We Believe in Fairies & Monsters
May 27 at 5 PM - May 29 at 10 PM
 

You are cordially invited to attend the
Imperial Dove Court de Fresno's (IDC) Coronation 49: WE BELIEVE IN FAIRIES AND MONSTERS.

Purchase tickets, tables, and ad space today using this link:

https://www.idcfresno.org/.../idc-fresno-coronation-xlix...

We celebrate Emperor 48 Zack PowerHowz and Empress 48 Phyllis Hole for completing their successful year of service to, and fundraising for, the community and the crowning of new Monarchs.

Thursday, May 26, 2022, 8:00 PM
In Town Show
Location: The Red Lantern

Friday, May 27, 2022, 7:00 PM
Out of Town Show & Bus Bar Crawl
Location: La Maison Kebab

Saturday, May 28, 2022
Hospitality & Voting 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Location: Host Hotel

Coronation XLIX Gala:
We Believe In Fairies and Monsters
Doors 5:00 PM
Final Voting 5:00 PM - 5:59 PM
Location: Double Tree by Hilton

Sunday, May 29, 2022
Victory Brunch 11:00 AM
Location: Splash

Victory Show & Rail Party 8:00 PM
Location: The Red Lantern

We hope you join the Imperial Dove Court de Fresno for their most grand event of the year.

Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Parade in the Tower District at 10 AM
Festival at Fresno City College at 11 AM - 3 PM ($5 Donation)

 

Shuttle Service available! See discussion feed for details.

For volunteer opportunities, visit www.fresnorainbowpride.com

Events

 
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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