Issue III, Volume XXIV, No. 279 | November 2018
News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization.
EST. September 1995
Community Link Projects
Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT seniors and their allies, and we get together twice a month for social functions.
We have a potluck the final Sunday of each month at the First Congregational Church Fireside Room from 2-4 pm . It’s located at the south end of the church campus at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno. Please note that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation.
The second Wednesday of the month at 6 pm we meet at different restaurants. Here’s a list of the next few restaurants we’re going to.
November 14: El Cochinito Contento, 88 E Olive, Fresno
December 12: Hino Oishi Japanese Restaurant, 3091 E Campus Pointe Dr, Fresno
January 9: Santa Fe Basque Restaurant, 3110 N Maroa, Fresno
YOUTH ALLIANCE NEWS NOVEMBER
By: David McGee
The holidays are upon us! Fall weather is creeping in. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and evening weather is just a little bit chilly! We’re all starting to break out our sweaters, jackets, and umbrellas in preparation for the weather changes! Our intrepid LGBTQ Youth Alliance members continue to come to group in shorts, but at least they’re wearing a jacket for warmth!
As usual, they seem practically unaffected by the weather!
October was LGBTQ History Month nationwide. Our group was a little distracted at the beginning of October, and didn’t start talking about LGBTQ history until the end of the month, so we’ve added a few extra weeks of queer history discussion to the group this month. Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, brought queer icon pages from an LGBTQ history website to the group recently so that we could discuss the obstacles and successes our LGBTQ leaders experienced over the years!
At a recent meeting, our group leader, Rachel, AKA Banana, lead the group in a discussion of our favorite queer icons and how we relate to them. We’re also planning to make collages in the next few weeks to honor our favorite LGBTQ icons. We’re hoping our energetic youth can focus long enough to create a collage and discuss it with the group!
Our Halloween party was a success! The youth came in costumes and brought their usual energy and noise levels! There were a lot of zombies, but we also had some cosplay characters and imaginary animals! Attendance was a little low this year, but the youth who attended the party made up for the small numbers with their usual enthusiasm! There was plenty of food and drinks! We all were stuffed at the end of the evening! We played a couple of mad rounds of musical chairs! The youth become so competitive when it comes to games, so the rest of us had fun watching the musical chair participants fight for chairs! Musical chair winners got a grab bag with Halloween goodies!
This month our end-of-the-month potluck will fall on November 30th, the last day of the month. We’ll all have celebrated Thanksgiving in our own way, so there’s no need for a theme party, but we’ll bring our vim and vigor to the party, nonetheless! We also look forward to our Christmas party, in December, where we will have our annual White Elephant gift exchange! Potlucks are a great time for newcomers to join the group, since we just nosh and chat for the evening! On potluck nights, there is no pressure to think up answers to brain-involved questions!
The Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance meets on Friday nights, at 7 PM, in the Fireside Room of the First Congregational Church (The Big Red Church), located at 2131 N. Van Ness, in Fresno. We welcome any and all LGBTQ youth and their allies, ages 14-25, to join us on Friday nights! Check out our Facebook page for reminders about the group! We usually post a reminder about the group meetings on Friday mornings! Just go to our Facebook page, “Fresno GLBTQ Youth Alliance,” to check it out!
You are invited to attend the 2018 Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on Friday, November 16th. Doors open at 6pm; the event begins at 6:30pm and ends at 8:30pm. TDOR will be hosted by Trans-E-Motion and Fresno State's Cross Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State 5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, CA 93740 in North Gym room 118.
The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance is an event to honor the lives of transgender individuals who died from murder or suicide. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about transgender existence in our own community. This event is intended to provide a safe space for transgender people and their allies to embrace their identities while memorializing those whose lives were cut short.
The event will feature singing, poetry, and an art display. Inspirational speakers will address the topic of transgender experiences, gender diversity, inclusion, and the importance of raising awareness about violence and transphobia. Information on supportive crisis services, local resources, and organizations will be present at our resource fair.
Finally, a reading of the names will be held to honor transgender individuals who have died by violent crimes or suicide this past year (November 2017-November 2018).
On Tuesday, November 20th at 4:30pm Trans-E-Motion will hold a rally and protest against transgender violence at Blackstone and Nees in Fresno (we will meet at the northeast corner by In-N-Out). Join us as we demand justice for our fallen transgender community members. Now is the time to advocate for the transgender community. Signs will be provided but you are encouraged to bring your own. We will hear a few speeches from local community organizers educate and speak out against malevolence towards our transgender community members. Join us - your visibility is your support!
MY UNCLE GLORIA: A Memoir; How a Life-Changing Male-to-Female Transition at age 66
Transformed a Fractured Family
By: Sharon Kersten
My Uncle Gloria digs deep into the core of a dysfunctional family, as they find a way to not only cope with each other, but also how to accept each other.
The backdrop of My Uncle Gloria: A Memoir is the true story of how Steven Shulman’s Uncle Butch, an abrasive, gruff and homophobic junkyard operator, underwent sex reassignment surgery at age 66, transitioning into his glamorous Aunt Gloria. Yet, unlike other accounts of family turmoil often accompanying the acceptance of a transgender relative, “My Uncle Gloria”
is told from Shulman’s perspective; how Butch’s transition led to the eventual reconciliation of a fractured family.
The book begins with a phone call from Shulman’s sister, in which she says, “Uncle Butch is gone,” and he was ecstatic, as he had not seen or heard from his abrasive uncle in decades. The ensuing words,”We now have an Uncle Gloria,” set in motion a years-long transformational journey for Shulman. In his memoir, he recounts how the metamorphosis of his belligerent uncle into a loving aunt opened up very dark and dirty old secrets, but eventually helped to heal those deeply held wounds.
The inspiring “from the outhouse to the penthouse” story of Shulman’s life is recounted in explicit, often gritty detail, as he recalls his childhood as a bullied, throw-away kid, battling drug addiction and incarceration. The one bright spot in his childhood had been the time spent with Uncle Butch and his family, a welcome respite from his tumultuous, abusive home life.
When the weekend visits abruptly ended, Shulman blamed himself, and he didn’t learn until he was an adult that his “loving uncle” had had a secret life filled with salacious sexual exploits and involvement in a stolen car ring. Facing a lengthy jail term, Butch decided to go underground and live his life incognito as a full-time woman.
It was years later that Shulman received the life-altering call from his sister, telling him about his “new” Aunt Gloria. By then, he had won his battle with addiction and destructive behavior, and established a successful career in insurance and real estate. Through his reconciliation with Gloria, Shulman learned the truth about how she had to go through years of overcoming her own demons, as they embarked on healing deep and painful wounds.
My Uncle Gloria is truly a story of transformation, healing and reconciliation. “For those struggling with life’s challenges,” said Shulman, “Through communication and a willingness to forgive, anything is possible.”
HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS FIGHT BACK AGAINST TRUMP'S ATTACK ON TRANSGENDER RIGHTS
By: David McGee
More than 3,250 healthcare providers in Louisiana have signed an open letter against the US Department of Health and Human Services proposal to narrow the definition of "gender," at the behest of Donald Trump, effectively erasing transgender people from federal law. The providers who signed the letter agree that narrowing the definition by the HHS is not scientifically sound. The letter is being sent to officials from both HHS and the Department of Justice, as well as key Louisiana government officials.
CAITLYN JENNER LOSES MALIBU HOME IN WOOLSEY FIRE
By: David McGee
The fast-moving Woolsey Fire in Malibu, CA, has destroyed dozens of homes including
Caitlyn Jenner’s home, which was featured on her reality show, “I am Cait.” Other celebrities, including Alyssa Milano, Lady Gaga, and Melissa Etheridge, were forced to evacuate their homes.
KIM DAVIS, KENTUCKY CLERK JAILED OVER MARRIAGE LICENSES, LOSES RE-ELECTION BID
By: David McGee
Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail in 2015 for refusing to issues marriage
licenses to same-sex couples, lost her bid for a second term of office on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Davis, the Republican incumbent, was defeated by Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr. After his win, Caudill stated, “I believe that as a community we must continue to work together toward a more prosperous and cohesive Rowan County.”
SCOTLAND BECOMES FIRST COUNTRY TO MANDATE LGBTQ CURRICULUM IN SCHOOLS
By: David McGee
Students in Scotland are about to get some new lessons about LGBTQ people and historical events. Deputy First Minister John Swinney is quoted as saying, “Our education
system must support everyone to reach their full potential. That is why it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.”
BREAKING UP ISN’T REALLY SO HARD TO DO
By: Mark Lagenfeld
I know it may sound strange, but you do not have to find fault with your romantic partner in order to leave the relationship. This mindset seems to go against the popular story line in romantic movies and on TV soap operas. Most people I have talked to are of the opinion that you need to find fault with your partner in order to justify the breakup. They seem to have the fixed concept in their heads that if a couple breaks up, one of them has to be condemned.
This type of blame game is not only destructive and hurtful, it also blocks a cordial relationship between the two people in the future. But what if you could go your separate ways without the blaming and shaming? What if you could part company amicably? Do you think that is possible? Let’s take a look at what leads up to a couple turning against each other, and then see if we can reconstruct that break up in such a way as to end it civilly without all the animosity that usually engenders separation.
Expectations: With few exceptions, it is almost always our expectations of each another that result in hurt feelings and disappointments. We build the person up in our minds to be the ideal romantic partner who will be understanding at all times and never let us down—just like in the romance novels. It should come as no surprise, then, that such thoughts lend themselves to disillusionment and eventual conflict once reality sets in. (Seriously, what did you expect?)
One of my early spiritual mentors told me, “Expectations are a delicious recipe for disappointment.” That statement has served me well over the years. It made a lot of sense to me then and still does today. It’s all about keeping an objective point of view.
When we have expectations about someone, we are searching for certain traits, behaviors, and characteristics in that person. Of course, it goes without saying that the things we are looking for are things that we need to satisfy our desires, not theirs’. I’m talking about emotional desires, such as the need to feel validated, loved, nurtured, secure, etc.
These are not necessarily negative desires in-and-of themselves. However, they can quickly become problematic when we place the responsibility to meet these desires squarely on the shoulders of the other person by requiring them to live up to our secret expectations as a condition to staying in the relationship.
The catch is that we never actually tell our romantic partners our expectations in words, do we? No, we don’t. We expect them to figure it out on their own, and then blame them for not understanding us when they don’t get it. We say things like, “Well, if you don’t know why I’m upset, I’m not going to tell you.” Or, “If you really loved me, you would know.” Or, “I shouldn’t have to explain myself.” Do any of these phrases sound familiar? I thought so.
There’s a better way. Instead of having all these expectations, it is better to view someone objectively without requiring anything from that person. I understand this may sound impossible. How do you look at your romantic partner objectively when you are in love? Try this: imagine that you are the observer, not the analyzer. Pretend that you are seeing the person for the first time. Try your best to forget, at least for the moment, all that you already know about the person. Let your mind be open to whatever your senses detect. Then, just see the reality of what is there. Do not wish for what is not there. Face reality with eyes wide open.
Perhaps, you have been on the receiving end of harsh criticism. When this would happen, I’ll bet it was almost always because your partner had expectations about you that were unmet. Realize that those expectations were the cause of the anger, not you. Unless you violated someone’s basic human rights or committed some hymnist crime, you didn’t deserve that harsh criticism.
When situations like this arise in a relationship, it is time for both of you to examine your expectations toward one another without judgment. How do you know when you are being judgmental? Well, typically judgments spring up when you compare yourself to other people to determine who is right and who is wrong. When you let go of these judgments, it is easier to go through the breakup process without all the bitterness. Harboring resentment in your heart hurts you not the other person.
Today’s Loving Suggestion: Whether you are thinking about breaking up, in the middle of separating, or getting over a relationship, you need to let go of past hurts before you can be fully mindful of the joy in the present moment.
Ask yourself how much of your hurt is the result of your expectations? Forgive yourself first, then your present/former partner. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection. When you let go of that expectation, you will feel better immediately.
Imagine opening your arms up wide and releasing all the anger, resentment and hurt you have for those who have hurt you in romantic relationships. Picture your former partners standing far off in the distance on the horizon. Wish them well and let them go while always keeping peace in your heart.
Your Intellectual Whore
"An effervescently gay
Disclaimer: Although the author of this syndicated column holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, the tongue-in-cheek advice given is for entertainment only and is not a substitute for therapy. Barbie responds to all emails...whether you deserve it or not. Send your questions to Uncle Barbie email@example.com
IS SEXUAL ORIENTATION A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE MATTER?
Dear Uncle Barbie,
What's the best way to find out if someone is gay? Should I just ask them? What if they get offended?
I guess, the first thought that crossed my mind when I read your questions was, “Well, is it any of your business to know the sexual orientation of someone else?" I mean, really! Is it? Your question does not go into much detail about how well you know the person in question, or what your relationship is to him or her. If the person is a close friend, then you probably already have a pretty good idea about whether or not the person is gay. Of course, the person could have a bisexual orientation which admittedly can get a bit confusing when you see that person dating a woman one day, and then a man the next.
Are you romantically interested in this person? Is that why you are so curious about his or her sexual orientation? Well, to be blunt, if you really want to know, then why don’t you tell that person your sexual orientation, and see how he or she reacts? If the person gets all homophobic on you, then you can probably guess that they are not openly gay. However, they could still be a closet case and just hiding it.
Okay, to answer your question, “What’s the best way to find out if someone is gay?” The very best way to determine your sexual orientation is to examine your sexual fantasies. If you fantasize about members of the same sex, then your sexual orientation is in the gay “range.” If you fantasize about members of the opposite sex, then your sexual orientation is in the straight “range.” And, of course, people with a bisexual orientation are sexually attracted to both sexes.
Personally, I would not ask people about their sexual orientation unless they were seeking my counsel or advice. People are usually very private when it comes to their sexual fantasies—unless the person is your sexual partner. As I stated at the beginning of this writing, I really think you need to ask yourself, “Is the sexual orientation of this person really any of my business?”
Loving yourself & loving others, Uncle Barbie
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.
Not To Be Missed
Barry Manilow will perform at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles, CA, on Dec 14, 2018. The show is titled, “A Very Barry Christmas,” but expect to hear a few oldies like, "Mandy," "Can’t Smile Without You," and “This One’s For You,” as well. Manilow is 75 years old and has been performing for more than 50 years! Tickets for this event start at about $80. The Microsoft Theater is located at 777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles, CA, 90015. For information and tickets, go to microsofttheater.boxoffice-tickets.com
John Legend will perform “A Legendary Christmas Tour,” in Los Angeles, CA, on December 23, 2018. Legend is a world-famous singer/songwriter who has collaborated with other musical legends over the years. Did anyone catch him in the remake of “Jesus Christ Superstar?” Tickets for this event start at about $70. The Microsoft Theater is located at 777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles, CA, 90015. For tickets or more information, go to microsofttheater.boxoffice-tickets.com
ROSEANNE CASH WITH RY COODER
Roseanne Cash will perform with Ry Cooder at the War Memorial Opera House, in San Francisco, CA, on December 6, 2018. Cash is the eldest daughter of country legend Johnny Cash. Although Roseanne Cash is often classified as a country artist, her music draws on folk music, pop, rock, and blues. Tickets for this event start at about $120. For tickets, go to your favorite ticket seller or warmemorial.operahousesanfrancisco.com.
Justin Tiberlake will perform his “Man of the Woods Tour,” at the Save Mart Center, in Fresno, on December 3, 2018. Timberlake has come a long way since appearing on the All-NewMickey Mouse Club in the 90’s and his role as a lead singer for the boy band, NSYNC! Tickets for this event start at about $30. Go to savemartcenter.com for tickets and information.
The legendary band, Fleetwood Mac, will be performing at the Save Mart Center, in Fresno, on December 6, 2018. Fleetwood Mac was formed in London, in 1967, and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. Tickets for this event start at about $70. The Save Mart Center is located at 2650 E. Shaw, Fresno, CA, 93710. For tickets, go to ticketmaster.com.