Issue I, Vol. XXVII, No. 314
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
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 September 26th 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.
If you have any questions, please contact John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Hope to see you soon!
Youth Alliance News September 2021
September has arrived with its promise of slightly cooler and shorter days. Labor Day, the first Monday of the month, usually signals the beginning of the school year. But in modern times, school starts in August so that students can have a longer break at Christmas. The members of our LGBTQ Youth Alliance are attending school in person for now. They are both excited to be back at school and irritated by the inconvenience of wearing a mask all day.
The first day of autumn comes mid-September, and the Big Fresno Fair is just around the corner, starting the first week of October. It looks like Fresno will have its fair this year, despite the presence of high numbers of new Covid-19 infections. No doubt the Fresno County Health Department will sponsor Covid-10 vaccinations and testing this year at the Big Fresno Fair.
Most adults who have grown up in Fresno have fond memories of the fair. But not our youth group members! They don’t normally attend the fair, complaining it’s a waste of money, which in the case of this year’s fair, is probably a good thing.
Our youth group is meeting once again at the Big Red Church! We practice social distancing and wear masks for our meetings, but no one seems to mind. The adult group facilitators are still trying to figure out how to boost the church’s Internet signal so that we can simultaneously have an in-person group and provide the opportunity for members who can’t come in person to be able to attend via teleconferencing technology. We came pretty close to making it work last week! We managed to boost the Internet signal enough to keep the Zoom meeting open, but we couldn’t get the sound to work. Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson, compares our attempts to connect to the Wi-Fi to the story of the three blind mice, trying to find their way through the maze!
Our group leader, Rachel, AKA, Banana, brought an art project to group for the last two weeks so that group members could express their inner artist. She reported that it had been over a year since we worked on a similar project. For the most part, our attendees were excited by the opportunity and seemed to really enjoy the experience. Of course, while everyone worked on the art project, we talked about day-to-day activities, like attending school once again, how many of the group had friends who had been vaccinated, and whether the governor was going to be recalled in the special election.
Many moons ago, before the great Covid wars, our group used to have a potluck on the last Friday of the month. Last month, we were able to have a small potluck party, with pizza and sodas. Most of the gang didn’t remember that it was Potluck Friday, so we are hoping that this month the group members will bring some dishes as well! We have always had a good time on Potluck Fridays! We hope to have many more!
As noted, the Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance is now meeting 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 meeting 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!
We are so excited for this line-up! Whether you watch alone for some much needed self care or put on a fun watch party with friends, we curated a group of 20+ of films and shorts for you to enjoy starting Friday, September 17!
Access all films this weekend by purchasing your All-Access pass today: https://fresnoreelpride.festivee.com
The Source LGBT+ Center’s first annual AIDS Walk is a fundraiser to support our HIV program that serves People Living With HIV (PLWH) and those seeking prevention services to remain HIV negative. Our HIV program has grown to include temporary housing assistance, utility assistance, emergency financial support, nutritional services (grocery vouchers, food pantry) gas vouchers, simplified pharmacy access, copay assistance, health insurance premium assistance, case management, patient advocacy and referrals, free mental health access, free rapid HIV testing, free rapid HCV testing, PrEP assistance programs, and more. With your help, we can continue to offer the whole-person client-centered level of care that our community has come to rely on.
Pride Visalia 2021 will be on October 23rd at 11am (10:30am for Early Gurl Tickets) at Valley Strong Ballpark (home of the Visalia Rawhide) in Visalia, CA! Due to the circumstances of last year, we are doing Pride Visalia 2021 bigger and better this year. It will be a Fall and Halloween-themed PRIDE. The weather will be cool and the festivities will be absolutely fabuluous.
Everyone is welcome. Children are free and families are highly encouraged to come and enjoy a day of celebration. We are also welcoming vendors, organizations, partners, and entertainers that wish to be involved with our 2021 Annual Pride Visalia. There will amazing food, fantastic entertainment, drag shows, and a beautiful setting at the Valley Strong Ballpark. This is our first Pride Visalia at the iconic stadium and we're excited to showcase this event at a larger space with a lot more room to play while staying safe within CDC Guidelines.
The Source's 2nd Annual Halloween Gala, presented by Tucoemas Federal Credit Union is our fresh and inclusive update of the traditional nonprofit fundraising gala. The purpose of the Halloween Gala is to raise funds to sustain operations of one of our nations fastest growing LGBTQ+ centers, The Source LGBT+ Center is located in the conservative and rural South Central Valley of California. What's different about our gala are costume contests, tables made up of teammates, escape rooms, and the ability to fundraise on your own or with someone else to earn your way into the gala AND earn additional valuable prizes. Like other galas there will be highlights of our work, an honoree, auctions, food, drinks, and drag queens. Last year people wrote and phoned us to say how much fun they had.
Performances of the Heart:
Female and Male Impersonators,
Drag Performers, and Artists of Fresno
Phebe Conley Art Gallery
Refreshments will be served
September 25, 2021
Join us for a magical evening at Phebe Conely Art Gallery as we celebrate the history and performers from the Imperial Dove Court and Imperial Sequoia Empire. The evening will highlight the history of the Imperial Dove Court, the oldest LGBTQ+ organization in Fresno. See a spectacular performance by the founder of the Imperial Dove Court, Empress Jesse I and IV and the founder of the Imperial Sequoia Empire, Emperor El Daña I, IV, & XIV.
Join us for a night filled with artistry and talent by members of the court and LGBTQ+ community, hosted by Empress Tiffany Taylor Tate VII & XXVII of the Imperial Dove Court and II, VI, VII, X, & XIII of the Imperial Sequoia Empire.
The evening will conclude with a tour of Phebe Conely Art Gallery’s exhibition, “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall. A traveling exhibition highlighting the artwork of queer artists and activists born after the famous 1969 Stonewall Uprising.
You can also watch this through zoom:
First Indigenous City Council Member in Madera?
Madera will decide who’ll be the new District 5 representative for its City Council on Nov. 2. There are two female candidates for the post that became vacant in January 2021 when Santos Garcia, who had been the District 5 representative, took over as mayor of the city. Currently, Madera has three Latinos, one Latina and one African American on its City Council.
Lupita Infante, Nieta Del Ícono Pedro Infante, Se Consolida Como Cantante
“La música ha sido una gran parte de mi vida desde pequeña, pero no fui una niña a la que subían al escenario de una forma profesional, pero siempre fue parte de mi historia. Tomaba clases desde muy niña, entonces tengo un gran aprecio por la música y por la educación musical”, dice a través del teléfono Lupita Infante. “Poco a poco me fui animando, es que esta carrera puede ser muy difícil, especialmente para mí, saber de mi abuelo, saber que fue una gran figura y también la tragedia de su muerte… En cierta manera también vivo con eso”.
How the Texas abortion law could lead to rollbacks of LGBTQ rights
Jake Duke Mason
On September 1, Texas’s S.B. 8 – which the Texas state legislature passed and the governor signed – went into effect, banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. That’s a moment before many women are even aware they are pregnant.
It’s not the same as other abortion bans, and the key difference could put LGBTQ rights in jeopardy as well.
continue reading at LGBTQNation.com
California poll notes that most LGBTQ voters voted “no” on the governor’s recall
An NBC News Exit Poll found that 7 percent of California recall voters identified as LGBTQ and of those voters, 83 percent voted ‘no” to the recall of the governor. According to NBC, Newsom has long been seen as an LGBTQ ally. In February 2004, Newsom, then the mayor of San Francisco, defied federal law when he and other city officials wed 4,000 LGBTQ couples.
Had Newsom been removed, the likely candidate for governor would have been Larry Elder, who vowed to reverse Newsom’s efforts to combat the Covid pandemic. Elder is also known to have made anti-transgender statements on Twitter, and frequently misgendered Caitlyn Jenner, another candidate for governor.
In his victory speech Tuesday night in Sacramento, Newsom said that California voters voted “no” to the recall and “yes” to science and vaccines. He stated, “We said ‘yes’ to ending this pandemic.”
Caitlyn Jenner continues to irritate the LGBTQ community and most socially aware individuals
Caitlyn Jenner, who campaigned as a Republican candidate for governor in the recall election in California this month, continued to demonstrate her elitism and lack of social concern in her statements during and after the election. Jenner told an interviewer at the Bay Area station KPIX, “I can’t believe that this many people actually voted to keep him (Newsom) in office. It’s a shame, honestly, it’s a shame.”
Jenner has alienated many of her fellow transgender people during her election campaign with her statement that transgender girls shouldn’t participate in girls’ sports. She alienated others by bemoaning that people who own private planes are leaving California because they don’t like seeing homeless people on the street.
Overall, Jenner received only about 1 percent of the vote.
Why we need to make sports activities more inclusive for LGBTQ youth
New research from the Trevor Project has shed light on the benefits and challenges LGBTQ youth face while participating in sports. An online survey of 34,759 LGBTQ youth, ages 13 to 24, found that only 32 percent said they had participated in school/community sports.
A number of youth reported choosing not to participate in sports due to fear of LGBTQ-based discrimination. However, a growing number report that they’ve had positive experiences with sports in affirming environments with supportive peers and coaches.
According to Jonah DeChants, a researcher for the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth who had positive experiences with sports often talked about the benefits of being part of a supportive team, of being connected to their peers, and feeling connected to their coaches. Youth who participate in sports build confidence and learn skills that could help them navigate the workplace or higher education.
Missouri museum staff tried to defend LGBTQ history exhibit before its removal from the state capitol
Kansas City, Missouri State Museum employees defended an LGBTQ history exhibition that was taken down four days after installation in the Capitol Building. “Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights” was scheduled to be displayed until December 26, 2021, but it was removed on September 2. The exhibit, which explored the history of the LGBTQ rights movement in Kansas City, was removed after complaints from a legislative aid for state Rep. Mitch Boggs, who wrote on Facebook that “our taxpayer-funded museum is pushing the LGBT agenda in our state capitol.”
A spokesperson for the state’s Republican governor, Mike Parson, initially said the exhibit had been removed because it hadn’t been approved by the state board. However, according to State Senator Greg Razer, a Democrat, there was never any evidence that the board
had approved or disapproved any museum exhibits in the past nine years. Following the removal of the art installation, Museum Director, Tiffany Patterson, emailed museum staff, stating she was “profoundly sad” about the decision.
Cuba publishes draft family code that opens door to gay marriage
HAVANA, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Cuba published a long-awaited draft of a new family code on Wednesday that would open the door to gay marriage if approved, in a move that LGBT rights activists applauded cautiously as they remained wary of whether it would actually be implemented.
The new code defines marriage as the "voluntary union of two people" without specifying gender, as opposed to the current definition as the "union of a man and woman."
continue reading at reuters.com
Finding pure love in the darkest abyss
I had the privilege of attending a lecture by a monk on the topic of spiritual light. After his talk, there was time for questions. I asked about the differences between spiritual light and darkness. I also mentioned that I had experienced positive energy in the darkness.
The monk raised my awareness by saying that there is also light in the darkness—black light. White light is not better than black light. (Think of the yin and yang symbol; one side is white and the other black.) Light cannot exist without the darkness because light needs something with which to contrast. Everything in the universe is connected. Nothing can exist in complete isolation by itself. Therefore, the light only can exist in relationship with the contrasting darkness. What is important is that there is love in the black light.
I have heard many different religious groups express a negative, even fearful, interpretation of darkness. They say things such as, “Move out of the darkness and into the light. God will deliver you from the darkness.” They seem to forget that God/Mother Nature is life energy and life energy is everywhere, including in the loving darkness. (More on that later.)
There is no legitimate need to be afraid of the darkness. Keep in mind that we were all conceived in the dark. We weren’t afraid of the dark when we were in the womb. And besides, before the Creator gave birth to light, She created darkness. So, it couldn’t be all bad.
Consider this: if darkness is so terrible, then why did the Creator exist in the dark for all eternity before creating light? And why didn’t She just destroy the darkness when She created the light if it was so evil? Instead, She kept them both. Why?
Look at it this way: metaphorically there is a spiritual garden in our souls. There are some areas in that garden which are full of light were beautiful things grow, things such as love and compassion. We give some of these things away to others with acts of kindness like a pat on the back, hugs, bright smiles, or just sitting with someone. The spiritual garden gives bloom to positive actions which usually take the form of verbal support such as kind words, compliments, and friendly encouragement.
And then, there is a dimly lit area in this metaphoric garden where there are shadows. However, it is not a hole; holes have a bottom. This dark patch has no bottom because it is a tunnel—a time tunnel that leads to the places where we preexisted. Looking into the tunnel is like looking into the abyss. (I know we are getting deep here; just hang on for the ride.)
This patch of night keeps us connected to the loving source of the darkness, and it reminds us of where we dwelt before conception. It is a place of timelessness. The source of spiritual love is the darkness, and the darkness is the original source of life. The source of life comes from the darkness because that is the place where the Creator started creating. Therefore, the loving source of darkness is life itself! (I’m sensing some of you beginning to pull away from me right now.)
Allow me to explain. Before anything existed, there was darkness. From that darkness, all things came forth. That energy gave birth to all there is. That dark spot in the garden of our souls reminds us of our connection to the source of life. That life force took us out of the abyss and allowed us to take physical form in the womb. And thus, we were born. (Now wasn’t that easy to understand?)
Many years ago, I was encouraged to do a special trance for personal insight. The trance involved closing my eyes and imagining I was peering into the black abyss. Well, I’m not one to just sneak a peek, so I envisioned myself jumping into the abyss as if it were a deep, dark pool and swimming to the bottom. (I figured, hey! In for a penny, in for a pound, right?)
That is when I discovered the abyss has no bottom—rather it is a dark tunnel of spiritual black light. I swam through this tunnel and came out the other side into the white light. (It reminded me of being in the womb.) What I concluded from this experience was that since I came from the darkness of the womb and was born into the light, I am, therefore, a child of both black and white light—yin and yang. (Make sense?)
Something to meditate on today. Don’t be afraid to dive into the spiritual abyss in your mind. Swim down deep and see what’s there. You may discover, as I did, it turns into a tunnel. Yes, it’s a dark tunnel, but it’s full of loving black light. It can lead to a deeper sense of spiritual awareness.
Tonight, as you are lying in bed about to drift off to sleep, close your eyes and picture yourself entering into the loving darkness. Imagine you are back in the womb, warm and safe. Let yourself experience the love and be open to whatever spiritual lessons you may learn from this experience.
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:
Troubled Transgender Trainee
Dear Uncle Barbie,
A longtime friend, constantly on the verge of suicide, finally told me his real problem: he's a woman trapped in a man's body. He wants to get a sex-change operation but he's low-income. He expressed frustration in finding any guidance; support groups only introduced him to more people as desperate as himself. I'd heard Minnesota is the only state that subsidizes TS operations, so I contacted the University of Minnesota Program in Sexuality (which took a LOT of web searching to find--it seems they want to stay secret). They told me that the state only provides financial aid for people who have started on therapy before 1994, and it costs $170 alone to enroll. I also contacted a support group in Minneapolis and they never returned my calls. I see why there's a 70 percent suicide rate for people like him. Any suggestions?
Signed, Trying to be Supportive
It sounds like you are a true friend to this person. I am glad to see that you are so compassionate towards him. I have heard that to qualify for sexual reassignment surgery, the person who is transgender needs to have at least two years of psychological therapy. Part of this therapy involves dressing as the opposite sex, 24 hours a day, for a full 12 months. This is so that the transgender person can experience what it is like to be the opposite sex on a continuous basis and in many different settings (like at work, at home, in the stores, on the street, and other public places).
If this type of therapy is required, then you might want to suggest to your friend that she start her personal therapy now. That way, when she does find a surgeon, she will be prepared and ready to undergo the sexual reassignment procedure. There is a lot of psychological preparation that goes into emotionally preparing oneself for such a major life-changing step as this one. This is not a decision to be made lightly.
By the way, you indicated that your friend had low income and was having a difficult time financing the surgery. I was talking to a transgender friend of mine, and she said that she had her sexual reassignment surgery done in Thailand because the cost of the operation was more affordable, and the physicians that do that type of procedure are very experienced and well trained. If I remember the dollar amount correctly, I think she told me that sexual reassignment surgery done in the U.S.A. costs about 20 thousand dollars. However, the same operation done in Thailand costs only 5 thousand dollars. (If you would like to email me privately and give me your home phone number, I can pass your number on to my transgender friend. She can talk to you on the phone and may be able to assist you.)
Now let’s address the issue of suicidal ideations. Since your friend has a history of making suicidal gestures, I strongly suggest that you convince her to seek mental health treatment as soon as possible. Suicide is nothing to fool around with. Get her psychological help right away! I wish you all the best. I hope you continue to be such a supportive friend to her. She is lucky to have you in her life.
Love & Understanding, Barbie
By Eric Biglione
ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 19)
You are ready to rock n roll and tackle any challenges before you. Calm down, make a plan then charge on.
TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20)
Here we go again. Been there done that. You need to rethink what you are doing and come up with a new plan to solve your ongoing issues.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
You are dealing with a lot of people this month. This can drain you mentally so watch what you say. It may not mean what you think.
CANCER (June 21-July 22)
You feel a little lost during this period. Look to others for guidance to get you thru this period. Be calm. Be cool.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
There are some who really want to give you a bad time. Don’t react but do something totally different. This will pull them to your side and you will feel good.
VIRGO (Aug 23-Sep 22)
No obstacles this month. You get things done with ease while others wonder how you do it all. Tell them its magic.
LIBRA (Sep 23-Oct 22)
It’s up to you to fulfill your destiny. Rely on others won’t work. You will be much happier on your won here.
SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21)
Here we go again with the same old problems. Your overwhelmed. You need some downtime to spend alone. Then everything will come into focus.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21)
This is really a happy period for you. You didn’t see it coming but its here. Enjoy yourself socializing. You’ve earned it.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22- Jan 19)
Your hard work is finally beginning to pay off. Don’t be surprised if an opportunity comes your way.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18)
Lots of energy and spending going on here. You feel you can accomplish anything you want. Very satisfying
PISCES (Feb 19-Mar 20)
You are in a very contented mood. Enjoy life in its simplicity. The world is frantic around you but you are happy in your realm for now.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2021 AT 9 AM PDT
Fresno Women's March
Put your Marching shoes on and join us for a peaceful March on Blackstone and Nees for Women’s Reproductive rights!! Bring your signs, your mask, water bottles and be read to make our voices heard!!! We will peacefully occupy all 4 corners on Blackstone and Nees by Riverpark!
*Due To COVID guidelines please wear a mask*
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