Issue III, Vol. XXVI, No. 303 | November 2020
News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization.
EST. September 1995
Community Link Projects
GRAY ALLIANCE NEWS NOVEMBER 2020
Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT seniors, and we get together twice a month for social functions. The second Wednesday of the month at 6 pm we meet at different restaurants.
Due to the serious nature of the COVID-19 virus, all Gray Alliance events are canceled until further notice. Our age group is especially vulnerable.
We have a potluck the final Sunday of the month at the First Congregational Church Fireside Room from 2-4 pm. It’s located at the south end of the church at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno. Please note that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation. We will not be meeting Sunday, November 29, 2020.
If you have any questions, please call John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Stay Safe!
YOUTH ALLIANCE NEWS NOVEMBER 2020
November has finally brought us some fall weather! We’ve had a sprinkle of rain, some cooler days, and even a little frost for a couple of nights. This aging reporter is beginning to understand what our grandparents meant when they would say, “My joints are starting to ache. There must be a storm on the way.” Our LGBTQ Youth Alliance members, on the other hand, are not bothered by the weather. They’re too busy arguing about who embarrassed whom the most in class in the last week! Several of our members attend school together, so they have a lot in common when we meet on Friday evenings on Zoom. They often start the evening talking about what someone said in class or what a teacher said. Of course, they complain that Zoom classes are hard to tolerate. But then, most students complain about attending school regardless of how they attend school!
October was LGBTQ History Month, so over the course of the last few weeks, our unstoppable group leader, Banana, has guided our youth through discussions about various LGBTQ icons. Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, usually prints out the pages from lgbthistorymonth.com, so that the youth can read them during the Youth Alliance meetings. But since we are meeting in virtual reality, the group members just brought up the website on their phones while they were logged onto their laptops and attending group, read about the LGBTQ
icons, and shared about their favorite!
We were recently privileged to have our Grand Poobah join us for group on a Friday night! He’s had a hard time negotiating the Internet, but he managed to join us and share some updated information about LGBTQ current events! We love it when Jeffery joins the group! He always brings such interesting news and stimulates discussion of current LGBTQ events!
Of course, the presidential election has been a source of discussion for our youth group. Our youth are quite tuned-in to politics, and they’ve shared their anxieties and hopes about the presidential election in the last few weeks. At one of our recent meeting, the election had already taken place, and it looked as if former vice president Biden had won, but because some states had still not counted all their votes, the result of the election was still up in the air. In fact, at this writing, twelve days after the election, there still hasn’t been a final report of the election tallies, although it appears that Joe Biden won. We are sure our youth will continue to discuss
this important topic as President Trump refuses to give up the ghost!
The attendance at our Youth Alliance Zoom meetings is still low. We generally have about 4-6 youth attending the Zoom meeting on Friday nights. But thanks to our beloved group leader, Banana, her partner, Jay, and former youth group attendee, Cherish, the youth group now has an Instagram page with pictures and info about the meetings! Way to go, team! We couldn’t have done it without y’all! And hopefully, the Instagram page will help attract youth from all over!
Until we can meet in person, the Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance will meet virtually on Friday nights, from 7 PM to 8:30 PM, on Zoom! We will be sure to publish the latest link to the space on Facebook, and now that we’ve got our Instagram account going, we’ll publish on Instagram, as well! COVID-19 has changed how people meet, but with some ingenuity, our Youth Alliance can continue to meet! We urge any and all school-aged youth to join us on our new platform, on Friday nights!
TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
An event to memorialize and honor our transgender siblings who have lost their lives
this year due to violence and transphobia.
Save the Date: Friday, November 20, 2020 at 6 p.m.
Zoom link will be provided once your RSVP:
All are welcome! If you have any questions or need special accommodations,
please email email@example.com by Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
2020 - "IT'S BEEN A HECK OF A YEAR!"
It’s been quite the year. It began benignly but went sideways in February.
When 2020 opened, it seemingly was going to be just another year, one with a Presidential election that shaped up to be one of the nastier in U.S. history. The Fresno Rainbow Pride and Reel Pride organizing committees were busily making plans for marking major anniversaries.
As for me, I was still recovering from a concussion from playing intramural soccer and debating my degree plans at Fresno State.
Then the pandemic arrived. In response to it, decisions were rapidly made. Fresno State shifted from in-person to online courses. Faculty had crash courses in how to teach online while campus computing staff set up the instruction infrastructure in record time.
Campus was essentially closed. All but a few students living in on-campus housing went home. The Madden Library and other major buildings were closed. All events were canceled, including athletics, live music and theatre performances, and Vintage Days.
Fresno City College also went into shutdown mode, along with most businesses. Bars and nightclubs had to close. One couldn’t get a haircut or nail manicure. Restaurants were open only for takeout. And everyone was urged to wear face masks, frequently wash hands, and socially distance at least six feet from one another.
Despite scenes—of bodies being bundled into mass graves back East--I had not seen since the dark days of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s and 1990s, some of our politicians derided the seriousness of what was happening. The U.S. government’s response under President Donald Trump was woefully incompetent and criminally negligent. So was the response of several of our local leaders. To them, it was all about right wing politics.
In May, Black Lives Matter became news again. The killing of Floyd George in Minnesota ignited a rage against policing that spread across the nation. Despite repressive actions by government, it was obvious law enforcement had lost much of its legitimacy.
The cops were stunned by the anger. They were used to the masses swallowing their propaganda and could not understand why they were now regarded as scum by a significant percentage of the citizenry. In response, cops openly aligned themselves with Trump and upped violence against protesters, particularly targeting people of color for brutality.
Fresno became a small battleground between right wing agitators fueled by a county supervisor and a city councilmember and people perceived as ‘socialists’ or ‘communists.’ Right wingers attempted to force their way into the home of Fresno’s city council president and routinely harassed BLM supporters and LGBTQ+ people.
The furor led me to expand my political education. In the course of reading, I learned that early gay liberation borrowed much from the anarchist movement in the way of tactics and theory. I also concluded from my reading that the American capitalist system had largely failed in the face of the pandemic. Capitalism was failing already, as witnessed by increasing homelessness and the growing numbers of young people forced to work several jobs in order to make ends meet, but the pandemic appeared to be the final nail in the economic system’s coffin.
As the year went on, events were canceled. Fresno Rainbow Pride 2020 was postponed until 2021 and Reel Pride eventually switched to a scaled-down selection of films that were streamed online. Both Fresno State and Fresno City College opted to continue with mostly online courses until the middle of next year.
As the election got closer, tempers really frayed; Trump and his supporters behaved horribly. We got ready to vote in record numbers to evict him from the White House. The election proved to be closer than many people believed it would be. On election night it appeared Trump might be reelected. However, Joe Biden gradually took the lead. The election was called in Biden’s favor four days later.
I joined an impromptu celebration of Biden’s victory in the Tower a few hours after the announcement. The crowd was on the small side but the joy was huge. The tunes were pumpin’ from a small boom box and horns were a honkin’ supporting. Later I watched the dance party in the Castro on social media and wished I and Tom were there to be a part of.
BIDEN ADDS TRANSGENDER VETERAN TO PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The Biden transition team has named several LGBTQ people to oversee and review various public agencies – and transgender veteran Shawn Skelly has been tapped as part of the group that will evaluate the Department of Defense.
President Donald Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military. Joe Biden has pledged to immediately undo the ban.
NEW YORK WILL SOON ALLOW NON-BINARY "X" GENDER MARKERS ON DRIVERS LICENSES
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
The state of New York announced that it will soon allow residents to identify as non-binary on their drivers licenses, although it may take a year for the Department of Motor Vehicles to update its computer system.
The development came from state officials in response to a lawsuit brought by New York resident Sander Saba, who argued that the state’s requirement that everyone identify as either male or female on their state-issued ID is discriminatory against non-binary people.
KAMALA HARRIS' UPDATED TWITTER PROFILE SHARES HER PRONOUNS & HER NEW TITLE: VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
After the AP and other major media outlets called the presidential election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidates wasted no time updating their social media profiles to reflect their status as president-elect and vice president-elect.
And Harris’s followers noticed something more: she’s the first Vice President-elect to list her pronouns on social media.
DONALD TRUMP STILL REFUSES TO CONCEDE
Donald Trump refuses to concede the presidential election to Joe Biden. But Trump’s temper tantrums and lies about election fraud may be having the opposite effect of what he intends. He’s making himself irrelevant.
Since the election night, Trump has had to face a new reality. He’s a lame duck and lame ducks aren’t very interesting. His advisors have recommended he stay out of sight while they challenge the results of the election, but judges are throwing out his legal challenges with barely concealed contempt.
Soon, despite Trump’s barrage of tweets, the media’s attention will turn to Biden and his choices for cabinet positions, his political strategy, his transition plans. Like it or not, Trump is entering the phase of gone-but-not-forgotten.
JOE BIDEN IS THE FIRST PRESIDENT-ELECT TO INCLUDE TRANSGENDER PEOPLE IN HIS VICTORY SPEECH
Addressing a jubilant crowd in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the new president-elect declared it was now America’s “time to heal” and vowed to unify the nation once again. He began by thanking “the broadest and most diverse coalition in history” for backing his campaign—“Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives,
young, old, urban, suburban, and rural, gay, straight, transgender, White, Latino, Asian, Native American.”
Amid a chorus of cheers, applause, and cars horns, he continued. “I mean it. Especially for those moments when the campaign was at its lowest ebb—the African-American community stood up for me.” He added, “I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America and I think we did that. Now that’s what I want the administration to look like.”
OVER 220 LGBTQ CANDIDATES CELEBRATE ELECTION VICTORIES
From a congressional race in New York to a state House contest in Kansas, LGBTQ candidates scored victories and made election history across the US. Shevrin Jones, who won the election on November 3rd to become Florida’s first LGBTQ state senator, noted that the number of LGBTQ candidates who won their elections “is a direct pushback on the hatred and bigotry over the last four years.”
According to NBC News, more than 220 candidates have already claimed victory, with dozens of contests yet to be called. Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund said in a statement, “As our nation grapples with racism, police brutality, and a pandemic that disproportionately affects people of color and LGBTQ people, these are the voices that can pull us from the brink and toward a more united and fair society.”
MELISSA McCARTHY APOLOGIZES FOR BACKING CHARITY WITH ANTI-LGBTQ TIES
Hollywood star Melissa McCarthy is doing damage control after mistakenly supporting a Christian organization whose founder has publicly opposed abortion and LGBTQ rights. On Tuesday, November 10, it was announced that McCarthy had teamed up with HBO Max for a new holiday-themed humanitarian effort. As part of the “20 Days of Kindness” campaign, HBO Max will donate $20,000 to a different charity daily for the next 20 days. The list of charities, however, included Exodus Cry, a conservative evangelical group dedicated to working with sex trafficking victims. The group’s founder and CEO, Benjamin Nolot, has reportedly deemed abortion a “holocaust” and referred to same-sex marriage as an “unspeakable offense to God.”
By Thursday, November 12, McCarthy announced that she and HBO Max were removing Exodus Cry from their campaign. McCarthy stated, “We made a mistake and we backed a charity that, upon proper vetting, stands for everything that we do not.” McCarthy went on to thank her fans for “helping us be better,” adding, “We’re sorry for our mistake—oh boy are we sorry for it.”
NORWAY BANS HATE SPEECH AGAINST BISEXUAL & TRANSGENDER PEOPLE
Reposted from LGBTQNation.com
Norway just banned hate speech against bisexual and transgender people, expanding protections passed in 1981 to protect gay and lesbian people.
“I’m very relieved actually, because [the lack of legal protection] has been an eyesore for trans people for many, many years,” Birna Rorslett of the Association of Transgender People in Norway told Reuters.
IN THIS LIFE, WE KNOW NOTHING COMPLETELY
People tend to speak as though they know the absolute truth. They don’t. Nobody does. The vast majority of statements people make are merely opinions, not facts. Since it is impossible for people to know all the facts about something, they are not capable of understanding all there is to understand about it. Therefore, people only know things partially, not completely.
When you look around, you read and hear the most outlandish notions being passed off as absolute truth. Dogmatic thinking like this is especially true in the highly volatile worlds of politics and religion. Extremists will close their minds to any other possibility and refuse even to consider another point of view.
The issue of faith is a prime example. Those individuals who claim to know the “truth” believe that their spiritual beliefs are facts. They seem to forget that faith by its very definition means believing in the unproven. If it were possible to verify those beliefs scientifically, then it would not require faith, now would it? Remember that there is a great difference between faith and facts.
Think of all the so-called “facts” that historical figures thought they knew for sure. Well, guess what? The world is not flat. The earth is not the center of the universe. Incredibly, people were often put to death if they held an opposing view. History books are chockfull of examples of killing people who did not believe the fanatical opinions of political and religious leaders. No doubt those leaders were quite sure they were completely right. How could they be wrong? After all, they believed they were the keepers of the “truth!”
These blemishes on the face of humanity serve as a reminder that no human holds the absolute truth; no one completely knows all there is to know about any topic. And if you think your opinions are right, you are treading into dangerous waters. Think of your childhood; weren’t there some things taught to you as facts which were later disproven when you grew up? Aren’t there some things you used to believe in very strongly that now seem so silly?
We need to be more humble and face the fact that we do not know as much as we think. Many of the things we currently believe came from our childhood teachings. However, unless our beliefs are scientific facts, they are just opinions. We need to let go of our intellectual arrogance and stubborn defensiveness surrounding our opinions. It would benefit us all to stop clinging to inflexible ideas and predetermined impressions. After all, most of our perceptions are a reflection of our attitudes and biases, not scientific facts.
Take, for instance, our way of life in this country. Most of us believe, perhaps strongly, that our standards, values, culture, and lifestyle are the best way to live. We project those thoughts onto other countries and cultures. Our projections are not facts; rather, they are manifestations of our egocentric nature.
The majority of us have a desire to think of our way as the right way. Unfortunately, this usually means we simultaneously think that any other way is wrong. We convince ourselves that any opposing point of view must be wrong because we “know” that we are right. Well, if we are right, then anyone who disagrees with us must be wrong and, consequently, disserving of punishment. We declare them to be our enemies and are ready to take action against them. (Insert the sound of marching boots here.) And so, the illogical thinking pattern snowballs; before we know it, families are arguing, lovers stop returning phone calls, neighbors stop saying hello, and nations start arming for war. Sometimes we need to take a step back and realize that the prayer, “God bless us” doesn’t mean God should damn everyone else!
Going to the extreme seems to be the scourge of the century. Whether it is extreme diets, extreme advertising, or extreme sports, it all adds up to the same thing—a dysfunctional way of thinking, a system out of balance. It’s all about balance. How about having a mindset of reasonableness? If you think rationally, your thoughts are more likely to be balanced. If you live a balanced life, you will be happier. If you increase your happiness, you can reflect that joy to your fellow human beings.
Something to meditate on today. Incorporate humility into your belief system. Accept the truth that you do not know the absolute truth. Realize that the human brain is not capable of knowing all there is to know about something. Additionally, set aside your strong need to be right and acknowledge that the opinions of others are equally valid. Believe deep down in your heart that on a spiritual plane, your fellow human beings have the same value as you. Open your mind, and you will simultaneously open your heart.
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR
I walked into my downtown Chipotle restaurant. This has been a regular culinary haunt for me. Much of the staff knows me by name. I’m kind of like Norm from Cheers in that place.
This particular high noon visit began as something really ordinary.
It was the crowded lunch rush. In the long winding line, there were lots of suits from the high-rise professional buildings. Hard hats representing the adjacent construction projects. Students carrying backpacks from the university. A good mix of the neighborhood. And there was me.
I was getting my favorite menu item on this bustling weekday. A bowl of steaming brown rice with hearty black beans and savory chicken.
You could barely hear the jolly Christmas music over the buzzing of discussions coming out of the multitude of hungry and excited patrons. The dozen or so fast-paced employees knew how to keep the line flowing efficiently though.
Halfway through my meal preparation, one of the workers looked up and graciously greeted me with a bright smile and a friendly nod. It’s what he said next which changed the course of that festive season. For me. And many others there on that given day.
The young lad let me know that he and his colleagues loved seeing me in there getting burrito bowls almost daily. But he added, “Don’t you ever get tired of eating the same food so much?”
My remarkably candid reaction to his inquiry actually surprised me. Without hesitation I answered, “I experienced a trauma that nearly killed me one night. I lost next to everything. I’m just happy to be eating.”
Those words glided out of me so quickly. Basic. But yet profound and beautiful in its simplicity and delivery. The thing you would expect a kid to say. Out of the mouths of babes if you will.
My words did not go unnoticed either. The entire group of employees serving the food paused their duties. The people ahead of and behind me in line ceased their activities completely. The nearby tables with customers directed their attention on me. I was the magnet attracting all the eyes in the room.
There came silence except for the overhead holiday music that kept playing. It was Whitney Houston triumphantly caroling the lyric Do You Hear What I Hear. Incredible timing that was. It soon became apparent the entire store did indeed hear exactly what I heard come out of my boca grande.
I turned and focused on the people behind me. A woman started to cry. People down the queue were craning their necks at me to get a better look. The guy beside me kindly put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Thank you. We needed to hear that.” Guys and gals around him nodded in agreement.
The line resumed its way once more. I moved along to the cashier and paid for my food. She displayed gratitude for my vulnerable moment. Several crew members told me I was always welcome there.
I received hugs and even a kiss on the cheek from numerous strangers prior to exiting the restaurant. I was a rock star. I was a poet. I was an inspiration. Just for sharing those words reminding people to appreciate the simple things we have in our lives. Nothing else matters…without those.
From this grateful trauma survivor, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
This joyous story of home for the holidays is brought to you by that guy who knows we need a little Christmas. That guy of peace on Earth is Ron Blake and he is wrapping gifts using pretty paper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Intellectual Whore
"An effervescently gay advice columnist."
Disclaimer: Although the author of this syndicated column holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, the tongue-in-cheek advice given is for entertainment only and is not a substitute for therapy. Barbie responds to all emails...whether you deserve it or not. Send your questions to Uncle Barbie at:
Dear Uncle Barbie,
Some kind of a comedian, are we? The Devil's name is dullness. The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason. The monarchy is a labor intensive industry. To do the same thing over and over again is not only boredom: it is to be controlled by rather than to control what you do. Force is not a remedy. The master's eye is the best fertilizer. Screw up your courage, you screwed up everything else. The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference. When in doubt, wear red. When you put faith, hope, and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world. An army of deer would be more formidable commanded by a lion, than an army of lions commanded by a stag. O lyric Love, half angel and half bird. And all a wonder and a wild desire.
When all else is lost, the future still remains. A specialist is someone who does everything else worse. The old know what they want; the young are sad and bewildered. I must, in the face of a storm, think, live, and die as a king. To live is like to love--all reason is against it and all healthy instinct for it. In the advance of civilization, it is new knowledge which paves the way, and the pavement is eternal. We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death. Evangelical faith without Christian ethics is a travesty on the gospel. Inhabit ourselves that we may indeed do what we want to do. If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him. Do you think I should have lived comfortably so long, if ever I had been married? Baggage! The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Atheism is easy in fair weather.
What the f~#*! Are you psychotic? I swear; I receive the most bizarre questions. Why do I get all the weirdoes? Save some of your psychotic incoherencies for your psychologist. With a therapist, you don’t need to worry about rejection. The only question in your sprawling vernacular rambling was the very first sentence which asked, “Some kind of a comedian, are we?” To answer your well thought out question—yes, I am some kind of comedian; how anal of you to notice. The rest of your comments were not questions at all! Still, your words echo in the ventricles of my brain. These statements are reminiscent of phrases that I have encountered throughout my life. They sound like typical, long-winded, dogmatic blathering—like the kind of verbal vomit I used to hear from religious fundamentalists. (Their monotonous messages may fade, but their trailing scent still lingers. Meow!)
By the way, do you even have an original thought in your entire head? All you are doing is plagiarizing popular quotes that have been published by other authors, and then trying to pass them off as capricious creations of your own whimsical wisdom. I suspect that you are doing this because it is your thwarted way of assembling an attempt to appear clever by spewing intellectual quotes (and thereby appearing important). However, the problem is, you have a plethora of loose associations in your flow of thought which, unfortunately, comes off sounding like the totality of your personality is comprised of an accumulation of flaws (and therein lies the rub). In the field of psychology, we refer to this verbal deprivation as “cognitive slippage.” (It’s kind of like a brain fart.) In my professional opinion, it sounds as if you are in a state of psychological decomposition. I really think you need to get back on your meds. Otherwise you are headed for a psychotic break! (That is, if you are not already in the throes of one, right now.)
Poetically Put, Barbie
By Eric Biglione
ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 19)
You are ready to wrap everything up and get the show on the road. Just a little while longer so make plans now for what you want.
TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20)
You are very creative and ready to take on new projects. Don't overload yourself because you are in for some responsibility coming your way.
GEMINI (May 21-June 21)
Others have different ideas on how to get things done. Pick and choose new ways to solve old problems. You are on your own so get with it.
CANCER (June 22-Jul 22)
Change is in the air and you are welcoming it. It's a breath of fresh air. Time for fun and new challenges.
LEO (Jul 23-Aug 22)
Get your ducks in a row because you are going to need it. You have unexpected challenges and you welcome the change.
VIRGO (Aug 23-Sep 22)
You feel stable but your energy seems to be misplaced. Give it time and you work out the details to get you back on track.
LIBRA (Sep 23-Oct 22)
You feel like you have been put through the ringer but you are on the last leg of this ordeal. All becomes clear and you know what you have to do.
SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21)
Don't make any promises you can't keep. They will end up more than you bargained for. The holidays can be a very enjoyable time.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21)
This is a time to listen to others to keep the harmony. You lack some stability but an anchor is on its way. This will be a good thing.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 19)
Time to reflect on the lessons learned and know you can't control everything. Enlist help from friends as to push to a new period in your life.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18)
You are about to embark on a labor of love in your life. New problems arise and you are ready fot them along with the rewards.
\PICES (Feb 19-Mar 20)
Your daydreaming makes others think you are delusional but it is a way to recharge your batteries. You are in your element and that prpares you to take on the challenges coming your way.
Not To Be Missed
From November 30 through December 30, Woodland Hills is turning into the North Pole. The crafty team behind Haunt’Oween is bringing WonderLAnd next, flipping its jack-o-lantern tunnels and spooky surprises into a drive-through holiday experience that involves millions of Christmas lights, a holiday-tree forest, and even an appearance of Santa Claus. The site is located at 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, 91367. This holiday event is family friendly and entry is priced per car. The price for a vehicle with up to 8 passengers is $60. For information and tickets, go to socalwonderland.com.
Winter Park at Civic Center
San Francisco’s Civic Center’s Winter Park is back for its second season. Modeled after the Wiener Eistraum in Vienna, Austria, a 6,000 square foot skating rink and 400 square foot track, woven among the plaza’s trees, are at the center of this winter wonderland. Special events like Drag Queens on Ice and Sunday morning curling lessons ($20) are planned throughout the month of December. General admission for a 75-minute skating session are $15-$20 and includes skate rental. Tickets can be purchased in advance on winterparkicerinksf.com or at the ice rink ticket window at 355 McAllister St, San Francisco.
Field of Lights Display at Sensorio
Bruce Munro’s artsy super-bloom of thousands of solar-powered stemmed lights has wowed visitors for almost 2 years. The art installation, which closed temporarily in March, 2020, due to COVID-19, reopened in June, 2020, with new social distancing rules. Visitors now take a one-way path through the 15-acre outdoor art installation. Group size is limited to six people, and visitors will have to purchase tickets in advance, practice social distancing, and wear face coverings. Food will continue to be served from a mobile kitchen and food trucks, with reconfigured seating. The Field of Lights is located at 4360 E. Highway 46, Paso Robles, CA, 93446. Tickets cost $30 to $40 per person. Check availability and buy tickets at SensorioPaso.com
Christmas Tree Lane
Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane will still light up in 2020, but the 98-year holiday tradition will not include any walk nights. The lights are scheduled to switch on December 1, on Van Ness Boulevard, but the event will only be open to cars this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event’s chairperson, Dean Alexander stated, “We’re upset at not having the walk nights, but we’re still going to have Christmas Tree Lane and it’s going to be as great as ever.” Christmas Tree Lane is open from December 1 through December 25. Cars will enter the display from Shields avenue and proceed north up the road. The event is paid for by the Van Ness homeowners and by donations from the folks who drive through the display.
Downtown Fresno Christmas Parade
The 91st Annual Downtown Fresno Christmas Parade is set to take place on December 12 from 5 PM to 8PM on Fulton Street, in Fresno, with some modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s parade will be a reverse parade, with participants decorating on-street parking stalls on Fulton Street, between Tulare and Tuolomne Streets. Visitors will be able to drive down Fulton Street to experience the parade from the safety of their car. The theme for this year’s parade is “a Night at the Drive-In.” Parade participants will pick their favorite holiday movies and use them to inspire their decorations. Participants will create a scene with props, backdrops, and costumes and can also bring a vehicle to use as a base for their decorations. Look for the Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade Committee’s parade entry!
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2020 AT 2 PM PST – 3 PM PST
FREE! Spectrum Story Hour - LIVE FEED
Fresno Spectrum Center
LGBTQ children’s books are critically important for children, for a myriad of reasons:
- For kids that are grappling with who they are, how they identify, and who they have feelings for, seeing characters like them in stories is like finding a trusted confidante. Books provide safe spaces for children, allowing them to exhale freely knowing they aren’t alone with their feelings.
- For kids who may struggle because their families look different from the “norm,” books help children recognize that love makes a family, and if love is the foundation of a home, nothing else should ever matter — especially not how parents and siblings identify.
- For LGBTQ youth who are met with disapproval at home, books may be the only resource to help them feel supported through a challenging time, helping to prevent serious harm to a child’s mental health and self-esteem.
Books are powerful, life changing tools, and when a struggling child reads a story and finds himself within the pages, the effects are profound. Worlds open, walls come down, and a child who was floundering suddenly feels a ray of light shining just for them. We cannot underestimate the value of LGBT children’s books that so proudly celebrate all people, because there are children that need to see their realities reflected in books so that they don’t just feel less alone, but valued and important, too.