brad-angelinaI'm sorry, Brangelina, but real fighters for civil rights don't buckle under pressure when it gets hard

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got married last weekend at their magical fairy castle in France. Mazel tov! I would hate to deny anyone their happiness and tell them they can't get married when they're in love. Oh wait, except that is exactly what the federal government tells countless gay couples every day by refusing to recognize their rights to get married. Angie and Brad spoke out in support of gay marriage many times and even vowed they wouldn't say their marriage vows until everyone could. Guess what, Mr. and Mrs. Pitt, not everyone can get married, so how good is your promise?

Back in a 2006 Esquire article, Brad said that he and Angie "will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able." I can't tell you how much this meant to gays and lesbians all over the country. They were two of the first celebrities to draw attention to the fight for marriage equality and did it before marriage was legal in states like New York, Connecticut, Iowa, California and a growing number every year. This brought international attention to the cause and showed that they were principled people who were willing to put their beliefs before their convenience.

Continue reading at TIME

pill-condoms
The following article contains information about Truvada® and other prophylactics. Opinions expressed in the article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GayFresno, its owners, entities, and subsidiaries. The information given is not an attempt to practice medicine, and all medical information is documented with the American Medical Association, Truvada®, the Centers for Disease Control, and California Board of Medicine. You should always seek the advice of a licensed medical practitioner when making decisions about your health.

 

Back rooms, parking lots, bath houses... A club a here; an alley there. It was the 70s. The era of free-love and sexual liberation...for some people. For the gay community, there was nothing liberating about it. Even though Stonewall had pushed the LGBT community into the public eye in 1969, its members were a long way from finding acceptance. We were living in a time where people were making gay synonymous with pedophile. Being in the closet meant living in the closet. While Anita Bryant's fame and fortune were fueling a growing hatred for our little sub-population, Harvey Milk was fighting to set us free and give us hope. But regardless of the political climate and media uproar, one thing remained constant...the need for human contact.

 

Was it all about sex? No, it never has been, but the reality is, when there are so few of us...when so many of us were living hidden, it made finding relationship partners difficult at best, and many people turned to discrete meetings in shadows or seizing an opportunity when someone like them expressed an interest. Condoms weren't readily available, not like they are today. Chance sexual encounters didn't always give you the opportunity to “prep.” Hell, they barely gave you an opportunity to get your pants down. (I guess some things never change.) People were throwing caution to the wind. I'm sure there were some who played it safe, but most people...they just took what they could get when they could get it. And why not? There was no concern for pregnancy, and at the time, most sexually transmitted infections and disease could be cured with antibiotics or treated with a reasonable degree of success. Nothing was really life threatening. But then, in the summer of 1981 something new stepped into the light... HIV made the headlines. The New York Times ran an article titled “Rare Cancer found in 41 Gay Men” and by the end of the year, 121 people were known to have died from the disease inside the United States. The numbers kept growing, and the mystery disease kept spreading. In 1982, the first case of blood transfusion infection popped up. In 1984, Ryan White was diagnosed with HIV from Factor VIII, a medicine used to treat hemophilia. Numbers were growing. People were panicking. It had become an epidemic. In just 5 years, the casualties of the AIDS-crisis had moved from 121 infections to 15,000 cases and 12,000 deaths. A decade later, in 1995 there were more than 500,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 300,000 deaths related to the disease. And here we are, in 2014...one more decade later...with 11.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. Twenty years turned a handful into millions.

 

victimWhile initially not reporting on this story, due to it not having a Central Valley connection, we are sadden to report that a Valley native has come forward to allege he was also a victim...

San Diego prosecutors say there could be more charges against a man who willingly exposed someone to HIV, this as more potential victims are coming forward saying they were infected by Thomas Guerra.

A Valley native says he was in a relationship with the suspect and is now HIV positive. He says he's coming forward to warn and alert other potential victims who live in the Central Valley. We're keeping his identity anonymous, but he told us, "He was incredibly charming and romantic, very handsome, not the type of person you'd think to do anything wrong ever."

 

 

Additional reporting: ABC 10

A video that alleges to show a self-proclaimed Christian family's reaction to their son, "Daniel," coming out offers a chilling first-hand look at the violence and rejection that can result when parents don't accept their child's sexual orientation.

The video, which claims to be secretly recorded on what appears to be a cell phone, captures the hateful reaction of a family after a child confirms to his parents that he is gay.

The video appears to capture a conversation that was already in progress, and shows the young man's family members citing Biblical opposition to homosexuality before telling the child he must move out of the home, disowning him, calling him a "disgrace," then turning physically violent as a confrontation ensues.

A woman who appears to be the child's mother begins by telling the young man that she has known since he was a small child that he was gay. Nevertheless, the woman tells her son that she believes he has made a choice to be gay, that it is "a path chosen". When he tries to refute her claims by pointing to "scientific proof" that sexual orientation is innate, she says she believes in "the word of God," not so-called science.

 

Medication

My roommate is dying. His body has cancer due to the complications of being treated for HIV, and the way it and the medication for it has ravaged his body for the last thirty years.

When I met Bil, he was still a vibrant gay man. He had a bit of a belly and a fierce beard, along with the quick, sharp tongue wielded by the kind of gay man you want to be friends with (and not get on his bad side). He called it as he saw it, and it was this sort of mannerism that drew me to him instantly. He knew fierce. He knew fabulous. He knew how to mix a goddamned drink.

In the last year that I've known him, though, it's become apparent that so much has changed. He was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his throat over a year ago. Treatments, doctors, and chemo drove him and his partner in search of other options than what they could find in Denver, Colorado, where Bil and I met. He reached out to me shortly after my move to Portland, Oregon and wondered what it was like to live up here. I told him it was like a piece of Eden on Earth, with a lot more weird than perhaps anyone truly understands, but that it was a good place. The trees, the energy, the softness of the air all would be a comfort to him after living for years at the high and dry altitude of Denver. He said that his treatment options were greater up here, and that he and his partner Brandon were looking to move. Portland, at least on paper, had a lot to offer them both, and as they made their decision to take the leap, I caught a sense of what was coming. We made plans to meet up once they got here. I braced myself for what I might see in a man who was facing some medical challenges, but that I didn't fully understand, or completely appreciate from a distance. Photos on Facebook and text messages are often very, very cropped, revealing only the images and thoughts we can handle others knowing.

When I did see Bil, in the flesh, it was as a man changed from everything I had known about him when we first met and took off on a hike through the foothills of Denver. There before me stood a man who had aged thirty years. Gone was the spark from his eyes, the smile lines on his face had softened as his skin hung, slightly sallow. Instead of confident steps of power and poise, now he shuffled around, slightly hunched. He'd lost well over fifty pounds. He could barely eat. All of this took place in one earthly rotation around the sun. That's all. One year. I was in shock, and swallowed hard as I struggled to keep the warm grin of welcome upon my face when I first saw him.

I stood there, unsure how to respond, not quite stable on my own feet as he told me that he could feel the gentle step-back of his own small social circle as they collectively prepared for his death. Immediately, I realized that I was on the verge of doing the same thing, and I gritted my teeth. He mentioned this, as if only in passing, and then slid me a hard cider, one of the only alcoholic beverages his body could handle and that he could actually taste. The radiation treatment had killed not only his salivary glands but also his taste buds in his mouth. The cancer was spotted in his throat, to start, but now has started its journey throughout his body. He knows he only has a limited amount of time. I know my time to get to know him is shortened too. As the gravity of his health and situation sank in, I resolved myself to not pull back. I can't be that guy.

A breakup with the man I moved to Portland to be with had thrown a wrench into my life plans in this new town. I struggled to find work, but when I did, it happened a just the moment when the two of them were considering moving out of their apartment and into a home of their own. Bil and Brandon both recognized that my life had taken a tumble upon my landing up here in the Pacific Northwest, and that extending an offer for affordable shelter was the decent thing to do. At first, I was overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. Now, though, as I have settled into my room in their house, and the schedule of life with these two has found its own pace and rhythm, I know that I am intimately involved in the end of Bill's life due to HIV. I lost my first partner from complications due to AIDS over sixteen years ago. It seems so strange, especially in 2014, to once again be witness to the passing of yet another creative, vibrant, imaginative, powerful, thoughtful, insightful person because of this virus. Though the stories are light years apart, they have that one common thread. They both represent lives that have taken a drastic trajectory change because of one tiny, microscopic half-living entity within their bodies.

Emerson-Collins-250x250Coming out is a right of passage for gay men and women — an experience as nearly universal as it is unique for each person. The process invariably began with the moment where the journey from self-discovery to self-awareness finally coalesces in self-acceptance and the readiness to speak the words. It began the first time we spoke the phrase “I’m gay” aloud to another human being.

Despite the shared experience, the nature of the journey is specific to each of us. Coming out stories run the gamut from those who kicked the closet door off its hinges in six-inch platform stilettos to those who cracked the door open just far enough to let in those nearest and dearest. A nearly infinite number of factors impact how we do it, when we do it, the words we choose, the people we share with and the choices we make once we were received.

That moment draws a line through our lives when our personal timeline suddenly has “Before Gay” and “After Gay” — our own internal birth which allows us to divide the important events, decisions and people on the calendar of our life by whether they happened B.G. or A.G. For the most fortunate among us, it’s a line in the sand. But when the fury of the coming out storm dies down, love and acceptance smooth the sand again and the line is gone. Before Gay and After Gay are one journey with events and people running continuously from one into the other.

Authored By Emerson Collins – See the Full Story at The Dallas Voice

WikipediaAfter a series of incidents where an unknown congressional staffer or staffers made trans-phobic edits to Wikipedia pages, the organization has blocked them from future changes.

Towleroad.com reports:

It’s impossible to know whether the edits are coming from one or multiple users, but the changes come from an IP address, 143.231.249.138, that has repeatedly been linked to House of Representatives computers. In the “talk” discussion section of one article, an individual making the changes has also claimed to be a staffer on Capitol Hill. The anonymous user has demonstrated a relatively specific focus on transgender topics. For example, a Wednesday edit to the “Tranny” article changed the phrase “assigned sex” to “biological sex” — a term that has been criticized as transphobic. Articles on “body integrity identity disorder” and “gender identity disorder” were also edited. Even the Wikipedia article on transphobia was edited on Tuesday to include an external link — since been removed for its reported “hateful or abusive content” — defending transphobia. “This article is too pro-trans,” the user complained after his or her edit was removed. “When I attempted to add an alternative point of view regarding this topic … it was reverted right away.”…

The final straw came on Wednesday afternoon, when someone from the House edited the page for the Netflix hit show “Orange is the New Black” to change the characterization of an actor from “a real transgender woman” to “a real man pretending to be a woman.”

“‘This article is too pro-trans,’ the user complained after his or her edit was removed.” Okay, just as a thought exercise, let’s replace “pro-trans” with “pro-Black”, or “pro-Hispanic”. Would anyone seriously look at that and say that wasn’t racist?

joseph-rodriguezBefore this titled is explained, let me enlighten you with a story. It was a warm summer night, and I had offered to give a coworker a ride home. As we both drove off in my car there was a silence. To break the awkward silence, I decided to turn up the radio to cover the silence, and then he asked the question, "When did you know you were gay?" At that moment, I would have rather dealt with the silence. I did not know how to answer the question. Many joke on being born this way, but we are not GAGA, and that answer is a cliché response. I tried to dig deep within myself to come up with a proper mature response, and it was not achieved. My response was, "I felt different." I regretted it once the response left my mouth. The conversation branched off into other gay-related questions, but only this one remained on my mind. When did I know I was, gay? A timeline of my life played in reverse. Was it when I came out? No, I knew way before then. Could it have been with my first same sex kiss? No, but that did seal the gay title. This question began to sink into my skin, and it would not leave my mind until I found a proper response. Growing up, one feels different and awkward but this is a part of the process. Research shows one is not born gay, sorry GAGA. This does not make it a choice. One cannot choose to be gay. Through time, one develops feelings, and emotions. By puberty, many agree they knew for sure. In that period of life, emotions and feelings are fully blossomed. There is no scientific research to credit this response but it does seem realistic. Some individuals can sense their feelings before puberty, and vice versa. If I am asked the question once again, I can respond with a detailed response instead of the vague feeling different remark.

supreme-court-250x250A whole lot of judges who are being asked to decide whether states may ban same-sex couples from marrying think the Supreme Court clearly gave them the answer last year: no. But a few judges think the Supreme Court provided the answer more than 40 years ago: yes.

That reading comes from a one-sentence order the court issued in a 1972 case, Baker v. Nelson, which said there was no “substantial federal question” in a state’s decision to ban same-sex marriages.

The dismissal of that long-ago case might be the reason that same-sex marriage supporters see their winning streak in federal courts come to an end. And it could give lower court judges, who know the ultimate answer on same-sex marriage will come from the Supreme Court, a way to uphold voter-approved state bans without deciding the thorny constitutional questions that accompany the issue.

Authored By Robert Barnes – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

goproud-150x150One of the most widely discussed issues on the political right is the danger supposedly posed by judicial “activism,” when judges are said to substitute their personal preferences for the clear intent of the law and the Constitution. The Supreme Court in particular has been a target of those who oppose judicial overreach.

Overlooked by these critics, however, is the fact that many of the Supreme Court decisions the right loves to hate (from Roe v Wade to Lawrence v Texas) have actually expanded individual rights and limited government power, making them entirely consistent with the presumption of liberty found in the Constitution.

The latest issue to spark outrage on the right is gay marriage. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, for example, railed against it at a rally for traditional marriage this past spring in Washington, D.C. “Judicial supremacy is a curse upon this great Republic,” he screamed, calling last year’s Supreme Court rulings in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 cases the “greatest heresy of our time.” In the DOMA case, the court overturned that part of DOMA that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the purpose of awarding federal benefits and legal privileges.

By David Lampo – Full Story at Daily Caller

ABA LogoThe 400K member American Bar Association took a stand this week on LGBT rights.

Gay Star News reports:

At its annual meeting in Boston this week, the American Bar Association officially adopted a policy recognizing the rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender as basic human rights. A four paragraph resolution passed by the association’s 560-member House of Delegates condemns laws, regulations, rules and practices that discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of their status and encourages the US government to work to end this discrimination.

The ABA is a powerful ally, especially since most of the battles for LGBT rights in the US are now being fought in the courts.

facebook-250x250Recently, various tech companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, have been releasing diversity reports for the first time in history. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these reports show that the majority of employees at these tech juggernauts are white and male. But perhaps the least progressive thing about these diversity reports is what they leave out: they do not report on sexuality at all, nor do they offer any gender options beside male and female.

These facts stand in contrast to tech’s huge presence in San Francisco’s pride two months ago. Reuters quoted Fred Sainz, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the Human Rights Campaign, saying of participation in the parade: “It’s a dog whistle to their consumer base that these tech firms are cool, with it, and progressive.” A former employee of both Google and Apple said, “Tech companies need to be at Pride simply to be in the game.”

The reports from these companies have come with public statements that say they are working to change these numbers. Apple’s openly gay CEO, Tim Cook, said, “As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page. They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them.”

Authored By Rebecca Ann Schuetz – See the Full Story at Dot429

ApCal Presents
RAY MOORE & THE EXPERIENCE

A benefit for the BULLDOG PRIDE CLUB at Fresno State


Sat. Aug. 16th • Gates: 6pm • Music: 7-11pm

Appellation California Wine Tasting & Events Center
32749 Ave 7 @ Highway 99 • Madera • 559/674-WINE

$10 per person • 21+ only • Please drink responsibly
Bring lawn chairs • No outside beverages • No pets

Details: www.bulldogpride.org 

Tickets: www.apcalwine.com

Reel Pride 2014 Kick OffIt's that time of year again!


Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival is having its annual Silent Auction Kick-Off Party Wednesday, August 13th,starting at 6pm in the Cal Arts Severance Dance Studio.

Please consider this your official invite to an amazing party. This year Reel Pride has secured items totally over $25,000. To date, this will be the largest auction to bid on.


Appetizers provided by The Painted Table & complimentary wine served by the glass.


yvette-cantu-schneiderYup, another one – ex-gay activist Yvette Cantu Schneider is distancing herself from the ex-gay movement and supporting LGBT rights.

Towleroad.com reports:

Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, has announced that no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups, reports GLAAD. Schneider is known for her high-profile start at hate group the Family Research Council and her work with California’s Proposition 8 campaign. She is still one of the key people who anti-gay voices cite in order to prove that “change” works. The American Family Association continues to sell a video, It’s Not Gay, in which Yvette appears as a talking head. Her “personal testimony” still appears on Ex-gaytruth.com. However, Schneider has said that she is sorry for the pain she has caused to LGBTI people, is questioning of the idea of “ex-gay” itself and is now fully supportive of LGBT people and their families.

The ex-gay movement, like the anti-gay marriage one, is crumbling, probably inevitable when you build your house on a foundation of lies.

dadt9While the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military, it didn’t mark radical changes to the way the fighting force looked or behaved. Instead, it brought the possibility of marriage and spousal benefits to soldiers that were previously denied. And, an opportunity to live more freely.

“When you come out and you’ve been out so long, it’s hard to just go back in,” said Spc. Corderra Dews, 24, who was living in Austin, Texas, and openly gay before he joined the Army in 2011.

While there are no solid statistics on the number of gay and lesbian soldiers currently in the military, a group of soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, spoke with The Leaf-Chronicle about life in the military before and after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the Army’s decision to extend benefits to same-sex spouses, furthering the full inclusion of gay and lesbian soldiers in the military.

See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

CELEBRATE 25 YEARS WITH PRIDE!

GET YOUR FESTIVAL PASSES TODAY!

 

Fresno Reel Pride is gearing up for its biggest year yet!

Festival passes are now available! Purchase your festival passes today!

 

Be a Festival Pass member and enjoy five days of perks including:

- Invitation to the 25th Annual Reel Pride Film Festival Kick-Off Party

- Admission to the Opening Night Gala and Closing Night Reception

- Admission to all the films

- Priority seating

- Recognition in the festival program (if purchased before July 30, 2014)

Festival Passes now $95

 

400-readings-250x250
Dustin Lance Black’s play “8″ reached its 400th performance this week.

AFER reports:

“8,” the hit play by Dustin Lance Black about marriage for gay and lesbian couples, continues to sweep the country and the world. Fremont, OH is the 400th confirmed reading, which are taking place at a variety of professional, community, college and high school theaters. The 50 year-old Fremont Community Theatre will stage readings on September 13 and 14 in their 500+ seat performance space located an hour and a half outside Cleveland.

We’ve seen it three times – once from L.A. in the podcast version, once in Davis, California, and once in Sacramento.

 

congresswoman-linda-sanchez-250x250A California congresswoman is pushing a bill to give social security benefits to same sex couples in civil unions too. Metro Weekly reports:

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez is seeking to extend Social Security benefits to same-sex couples whose relationships are lawfully recognized with legislation announced today. The Social Security Equality Act would require the Social Security Administration to provide spousal, survivor and death benefits to same-sex couples who are not married, but are in a civil union. “It is time for our government to stop telling gay and lesbian couples that they are second class citizens,” the California Democrat said in a statement. “Same-sex couples pay into Social Security over the course of their working lives just like other Americans. They should receive the full benefits they have earned. My bill will make sure every American receives a benefit based upon their contribution to Social Security, not their sexual orientation.”

Ummm, shouldn’t we be pushing for full marriage equality instead of coming up with more reasons for states to hold on to civil unions laws?

 

john-kerry-us-secretary-of-stateIt’s official – binational same sex couples now have a way to avoid deportation once and for all. Just get married. The Advocate reports:

Following the lead of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that the U.S. State Department will immediately begin offering visas to married same-sex couples in the same fashion it does to married opposite-sex couples. Kerry made the announcement at the U.S. Embassy in London Friday morning, citing the recent landmark rulings from the Supreme Court in support of marriage equality. “One of our most important exports by far is America’s belief in the equality of all people,” said Kerry. “Now, our history shows that we haven’t always gotten it right.”

It’s refreshing to see something so devastating to so many couples finally settled definitively in their favor, isn’t it?

 

Quist logo black 600A new mobile app called Quist is now available worldwide to engage the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community in their shared history and help isolated LGBT youth feel less alone.

“Presenting LGBTQ history through this interactive medium is one of the most engaging ways these stories have been shared with the world,” says the creator of the project, Sarah Prager, 26.

Each day when a user opens the app on their smartphone or tablet, they will see the events from LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS world history that occurred on that date. Each event entry contains a brief description and an image, links to websites, videos, and products like DVDs or books, and a cited source. Events are searchable by date, year, country, and U.S. state. A Baltimore-based firm, Natural Fusion, did the coding and design of the app, while a team of volunteers from Massachusetts to Belgium collected the historical content.

Events range from LGBTQ individuals’ contributions to the arts and sciences, watershed moments in the LGBTQ liberation movements, milestones of the HIV epidemic, specific love stories from the last several hundred years, significant court cases and executions, and worldwide “firsts” from the first transgender member of parliament’s election to the first time a same-sex wedding aired on a sitcom. Examples of stories in the app can be found at Quist’s website.

There are currently over 750 historical events in the app and new events are being added every day. Quist’s research team aims to curate 1,000 events by October 2013, which is LGBT History Month in the United States. February 2014 is LGBT History Month in the United Kingdom and much of Europe.

Quist’s mission is to educate the world about the roots of the LGBTQ community, make LGBTQ history more engaging and relevant, let LGBTQ youth know that others have shared their struggle, and promote organizations that make LGBTQ history today and every day. The name Quist is a combination of the words “queer history.” The app is free for both iOS and Android.

 

Rhode Island - Rainbow

Same sex weddings are now underway in Rhode Island as the state’s marriage equality law takes effect. ABC News reports:

Same-sex marriages have begun in Rhode Island, and local officials for the first time are issuing marriage licenses to gay couples who wish to wed in the state. Gay marriage became legal in Rhode Island and Minnesota at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, bringing the number of states allowing same-sex marriage to 13. Officials around Rhode Island began issuing licenses when clerks’ offices opened at 8:30 a.m., making marriage an option for gay couples everywhere in New England. 
 

Minnesota - Rainbow

And over in Minnesota, same sex couples started marrying at midnight. TwinCities.comreports:

Standing four miles from where Gov. Mark Dayton in May signed gay-marriage into law, Reid Bordson and Paul Nolle were pronounced “legally married” at quarter past twelve Thursday. The Bloomington couple helped usher same-sex marriage into Minnesota with a midnight wedding at St. Paul’s Como Park Conservatory, with friends and family gathered among the fragrant lilies in the Sunken Garden. “To know we got married and were kind of the official first wedding in the capital city, where all this political action happened, it’s insane. It’s insane. It is just super fun to know that we’re part of history, and we’re really hoping that we represented the hundreds of other people who are getting married tonight and during the day tomorrow,” said Bordson after the service.

Congratulations to the happy couples!

 

please-like-meMeet the lovable and funny Josh Thomas (25), the Australian comedian that every girl will soon want as her best friend. The GQ Comedian of the Year Award winner is the creator, writer, Executive Producer and star of the Pivot Original Series "Please Like Me." Though it doesn't officially premiere until August 1 on the new TV network, you can watch the first episode, "Rhubarb and Custard" right now only at Pivot.tv.

The laugh-out-loud funny and charming coming-of-age show is based on the actual painfully awkward events of Josh, who is clearly going through a quarter-life crisis. The series follows him as he heads towards his 21st birthday and, in the span of 24 hours, is dumped by his girlfriend, Claire, realizes he may be gay and moves in with his mother, Rose, who has just attempted suicide. Although it's a scripted show, Josh didn't hesitate to cast his real-life best friend and dog, John, to star alongside him. Pivot will launch the series with a binge marathon of all 6 episodes on August 1. "Binge watching is universal, I think," Josh said. "Australian's do it, I do it. My dad does it. If a show is good you don't want to turn it off."

 

 

the-fosters-wedding-250x250The Fosters are getting married! The show, which focuses on a lesbian couple with a horde of foster kids (and one biological one), hardly ever makes a big deal about the main characters’ sexuality. Until now. NBC News reports:

On the historic day this summer that Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were married in Los Angeles and Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier exchanged vows in San Francisco, a similar wedding took place in the backyard of a house in Long Beach, Calif. The third nuptials belonged to fictional characters Stef Foster and Lena Adams of “The Fosters”–TV’s first gay characters to say “I do” since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The ABC Family drama’s creators, Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige, credit “universal synergy” with the impeccable timing of the filming of the garden ceremony on June 28, the same day two of the couples challenging Prop 8 in California (which bans gay marriage) became legally wed.

Art imitates life? Or life imitates art?

 

Join us at The Express, this Sunday for

Free BBQ - Free Pool

$2 Draft Beer - $6 Draft Pitchers

Doors open at 6pm

Never a cover


Sundayfundaylabor

The Express is a proud supporter of Gay Fresno & the LGBT Community.

dream
Since the national ascendancy of Barack Obama, many commentators have tried to make hay out of an alleged rift between gay and black communities in the United States – from conservative groups or commentators hoping to drive a wedge between two typically-Democratic voting blocs, to well-intentioned activists across the spectrum citing racism in gay culture or homophobia in black communities.

(About a month ago, conservative columnist and radio host Colin Flaherty sent an email to me and the rest of Out Front’s editorial staff, and evidently the staff of any other LGBT news organization he found contacts for, asking for perspectives on “black-on-gay crimes” for an article he was writing for Right-wing World Net Daily.

He was cordial, but his questions seemed leading, to say the least:

Is Black on Gay violence something that exists?
Is it racist to notice it?
Does black violence towards gays exist out of proportion with other racial groups and their violent crimes against gays?
Can you think of an examples that are under-reported?

I chose not to use work time to reply, and got around to the email a couple weeks later – after his deadline – but the article he had written on the subject by then, ‘Perfect Storm’ of Black-On-Gay-Violence, is here. In the interest of disclosure, Flaherty’s full email and my response is here.)

The issue came to a head in late 2008, just after the election that elevated President Obama to the nation’s highest office and abolished same-sex marriage in the nation’s most populous (and perhaps its most liberal) state.

Black voters were accused of propelling the passage of Prop. 8, the initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California (though even if the black vote disappeared from California’s electorate, the numbers would have been enough for the initiative to pass) and controversy erupted after The Advocate‘s dramatically-titled cover story that followed, “Gay is The New Black?”

A long-standing point of contention in the conversations has been Hip Hop culture. While the big-time artists with mainstream popularity don’t necessarily reflect the sentiments of the wide variety of artists in places like Los Angeles and Brooklyn – and there is a whole heckuva lot that constitutes “black culture” beyond Hip Hop – many cited homophobic lyrics in popular songs and the popular phrase “No Homo” as evidence of irreconcilable differences.

It was as if the gay and black neighborhoods in North American cities – often walking distance from each other – were different universes. Was it true?

Fast-forward four years. Right when the issue was at its peak just after the 2008 election, Wanda Sykes came out as a lesbian. This year two developments rocked the conversation: The first black president made the the historic announcement that he supports gays’ and lesbians’ right to marry – the first American president to do so – and the NAACP officially endorsed same-sex marriage.

This year Frank Ocean has come out as gay, and dozens of black artists and performers have chimed support and affirmation. Now is the time, many say, that Hip Hop is ready to embrace gay artists – evolving, so to speak.

In recent days, an Associated Press story on the change has blown up across the Internet.

From a UK Press Association story:

Snoop said: “People are learning how to live and get along more, and accept people for who they are and not bash them or hurt them because they’re different.”

Snoop said of Ocean’s revelation: “When I was growing up, you could never do that and announce that. There would be so much scrutiny and hate and negativity, and no one would step (forward) to support you because that’s what we were brainwashed and trained to know.”

Meanwhile, rapper Ice-T said he could see a gay rapper on the scene, depending on what kind of rap he or she performed.

JM-the-JP-190x250I have been a wedding officiant in Massachusetts for nearly nine years. It has been an incredible pleasure and honor to have served over 525 couples – same-gender, transgender, and opposite gender from this region, all over the country and other countries as well.

Many weddings stand out for me in unique ways. Friendships have developed, couples have moved to Northampton once they visited and loved it here, and people have chosen unusual settings and unconventional text.

In July, life imitated art.

The weekend of July 13th was busy as planned, as I signed up for three weddings and agreed to take part on a post-performance panel for Sarah Felder’s “A Queer Divine” on Friday and Saturday evenings at Ko Theatre at Amherst College.

Then on July 10th, I added another wedding ceremony to the agenda, as two local men who are teachers wanted to get legally married before their marriage license expired.

On July 11th, I received a call that my beloved aunt had died and that the funeral would be held on Monday morning in northern Kentucky near Cincinnati.

Yes, I had four weddings and a funeral within 48 hours!

On Saturday, Tim and Paul got married in their backyard in Northampton with their two foster children at 11:30am. At 1pm, Danyelle and Angela got married at the Sanctuary at Look Park. At 5pm, Marci (a colleague of mine) and Charlie got married at 5pm at the Golf Club in Southwick.

Then on Sunday, Ben and Rowena (with parents visiting from Australia) got married in Ben’s parent’s yard at 2pm in Montgomery. I quietly conveyed to Ben’s dad that I would need to leave immediately after the ceremony to drive through the night to Cincinnati, and I asked for the best way to get onto the Mass Pike from his home. He lovingly put his arm around me and showed me the way. He also made sure we started on time.

When I left at 2:45pm, Ben and Rowena hugged me, wished me safe travels, and handed me a beautiful note with a gift card to my favorite local coffee shop. My need to get to my aunt’s funeral did not diminish their joy, nor did this young couple feel usurped in any way by own personal need.

As I made the 850 mile journey solo (my partner stayed behind to tend to our pugs), it occurred to me that there are so many beautiful people in the world. I arrived at 3am, got a little bit of sleep, and attended the funeral and other family gatherings for the following two days.

This particular aunt was the adult in my family who stood by me when my parents were not supportive. She inspired me in subtle but significant ways.

In one weekend in my life, I married a lesbian couple, a gay couple, and two heterosexual couples. Each couple hired me because of my work as a lesbian and activist for equality. Our allies in western Massachusetts amaze me, just as the lifelong ally–my loving aunt Mary who I will always treasure–was always there for me.

J. Mary (JM) Sorrell is a Justice of the Peace and Ordained Minister based in Northampton, MA. She has performed ceremonies from the mountains in the Berkshires to the ocean in Provincetown and The Islands, and she continues to be amazed to get paid for being part of such loving and happy occasions. She is grateful to Purple Unions for the number and quality of referrals for weddings. You can visit her website here: http://www.jmthejp.com

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The best and most hilariously self-unaware quote from Brian Brown's debate with Dan Savage.


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A U.S. appeals court has dealt another setback to the Republicans in Congress who are defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday denied the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group’s request to suspend oral arguments in lesbian widow Edith Windsor’s case against DOMA. Windsor is seeking repayment of estate taxes she would not have owed had her marriage been recognized by the federal government.

Windsor and her lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to review her case, and because of this, the Republican-led BLAG, which has tried to stall several DOMA challenges, proposed bypassing the appeals court. BLAG took up the defense of DOMA after the Obama administration declared it would no longer do so.

However, in the original filing, Windsor’s lawyers noted the importance of the Second Circuit hearing the case, as it is the only circuit in which all states allow same-sex couples to marry. The circuit consists of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.

“Therefore, Windsor suggests it is ‘vitally important that the Second Circuit be heard on this issue and be heard as expeditiously as possible in order to ensure that legally married same-sex couples in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont are protected from the daily unconstitutional burdens and indignities imposed by DOMA’ and ‘this Court may provide important guidance to other courts throughout the country (as well as the Supreme Court) on the appropriate level of scrutiny for laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,’” reports Prop8TrialTracker.com.

Oral arguments in Windsor’s case will be heard September 27.

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The San Francisco folk rocker comes out with Modern Love to push for marriage equality.

Matt Nathanson, the folk rock singer-songwriter who went platinum with his song "Come On Get Higher" is back with "Modern Love," a new video supporting marriage equality that has already had nearly 200,000 views in just a week.

"People deserve to be free to love who they choose, without prejudice," says Nathanson, who toured with Kelly Clarkson earlier this year. "The right to marry is an extension of this love. Until the time comes when this is no longer an issue in our culture, modern love will never be enough."

If you want to catch Nathanson live, the crooner is performing in New York August 24, San Francisco on Sept. 30, Balboa, Calif. on Oct. 13, and Rohnert Park, Calif. on Nov. 2. For more tour info visit MattNathanson.com

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In a TV ad set to air in the Tampa area during the Republican National Convention this week, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders speaks out about his support for the freedom to marry and encourages others in his party to do the same.

“As a Republican, I believe in conservative values like responsibility and limited government,” Sanders says in the ad, titled “Family and Freedom,” a project of the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry.

Sanders, who is also a chair of the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, became a prominent symbol of GOP support for marriage for same-sex couples in 2007, when he had a last-minute change of heart in favor of marriage instead of civil unions. The ad comes amid a firestorm of criticism on the party’s decision to take an anti-marriage stance in its platform, which is expected to be ratified at the conference next week. While much of the GOP leadership remains opposed to marriage for gays and lesbians, Sanders joins people like Dick Cheney, Laura Bush and Cindy McCain as prominent supporters.

“While the GOP’s official position on marriage equality is stale to most Americans, there is a growing movement within the party heading inexorably toward fairness,” said Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign president. “This ad is proof that we’re not willing to leave any group of Americans behind in the national conversation over treating gay and lesbian couples with dignity and respect.”

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, speaks about the issue.

“Republicans talk about values such as freedom, limited government, and personal responsibility, values that support the freedom to marry. Our ad showcases Republicans who are living up to the values they proclaim, pointing the way for the party to get with the majority of Americans and on the right side of history,” he said.

Momentum on marriage is steadily increasing among Americans, including those who identify as Republican. Indicators include polls showing that younger conservatives are increasingly for marriage, as highlighted by the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry campaign, and the fact that a large share of the money invested in state campaigns this year has come from businessmen who are Republicans or have long been associated with them. Additionally, respected conservative attorney Ted Olson, also featured in the ad, is one of the key lawyers litigating for the freedom to marry.

 

 

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Same-sex couples and plaintiffs (from left) Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, Paul Katami, and Jeffrey Zarrillo look on at a news conference following a hearing at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 6, 2010, in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) 

Lawyers for the gay and lesbian plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown and Perry v. Schwarzenegger), the federal case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, today filed a brief asking the nation’s highest court not to hear the case.

If the U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the case, lower court rulings that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional will stand and marriage equality will be restored in California, possibly by the end of this year.

"“The Ninth Circuit found that eliminating the ability of gay and lesbian couples to have their relationships designated as marriages — and relegating them to separate and unequal domestic partnerships — achieves nothing except the marginalization of gay and lesbian individuals and their relationships, and therefore cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny,” plaintiffs’ attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies wrote in today’s brief.

See the Full Story at The Advocate

 

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A poll conducted by Harris International for Logo TV has found that mainstream Americans no longer consider LGBT equality a wedge issue.

A new survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Logo TV found that all political candidates could benefit from supporting LGBT equality. The poll was conducted earlier this month and surveyed nearly 3,000 people — almost half of whom self-identified as LGBT. 

The poll found that a candidate's position on LGBT rights influences a voter's likelihood to support them. When asked if Mitt Romney hypothetically held the same positions as Barack Obama on LGBT rights, 22% of LGBT voters said they would be more likely to vote for the presumptive Republican nominee. A follow-up question concluded that 26% of LGBT voters would be more likely to vote for Republican candidates if the party held the same position on LGBT equality as does the Democratic Party.

Among general population voters, 49% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported legislation to define and prevent bullying of LGBT students. Forty-eight percent said they would be more likely to support a candidate who supported laws prohibiting workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians. 

Another question reaffirmed several recent polls which have found a slight majority of American voters support same-sex marriage. The Logo poll found support for same-sex marriage at 52% among likely voters and opposition at 40%. 

Kenneth Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College at the City University of New York, told Logo, "This survey documents a political transformation of epic proportions. LGBT rights are no longer a wedge issue in American politics." 

 

StoryPlayboy boss Hugh Hefner has shown his support for gay marriage by penning an article for Politico.com.

The publishing icon insists the battle to legalize the union between same-sex couples is a fight for human rights, and he urges politicians not to "infringe" on the freedom of U.S. citizens.

He writes, "The fight for gay marriage is, in reality, a fight for all of our rights. Without it, we will turn back the sexual revolution and return to an earlier, puritanical time. Today, in every instance of sexual rights falling under attack, you'll find legislation forced into place by people who practice discrimination disguised as religious freedom. Their goal is to dehumanise everyone's sexuality and reduce us to using sex for the sole purpose of perpetuating our species. To that end, they will criminalize your entire sex life...

"This is a religious nation, but it is also a secular one. No one should have to subjugate their religious freedom, and no one should have their personal freedoms infringed. This is America and we must protect the rights of all Americans."

 

Take a moment to enjoy this sneak peek of Reel Pride's TV spot, before it hits the air!

 

marriage_dollarx400When it comes to making your union official, certified financial planner David Rae says there are financial reasons it sometimes makes sense to wait for federal recognition of your marriage.

“So I’ve met my future husband, I’ve found the place for our dream wedding. Financially speaking, should we run off to one of the states where it is legal to get married and tie the knot?”  This was the beginning of a conversation I recently had with a gay couple who are both friends and clients of mine.  

First, I gave a big resounding yes to the wedding. But there was quite a bit more to think about and discuss when it comes to the pros and cons of making the nuptials official with any state government.

I often hear from many gay-married couples that they just assume they now have all the rights and protections that their straight counterparts take for granted. But sadly this isn’t the case. In a purely financial sense, marriage as a gay couple really has a lot more cons than pros.   

Same-sex marriage isn’t equal to “marriage” in the eyes of the federal government, which unfortunately is where most of the benefits of marriage are granted.  What this means is that you are getting married only under state laws — which brings financial consequences.

For many gay couples, getting married under state law is going to make both of your tax bills higher while also expanding the cost of having your taxes done. Here in California, your tax professional will have to complete multiple returns. This will often mean you pay a multiple more for getting your taxes prepared.

The extra cost of preparing taxes, though, will often pale in comparison to the extra taxes you likely owe, especially if you are both high earners. Think of it as stacking two incomes on top of each other, which means more income lands may higher tax brackets. That causes you to move closer to income thresholds, thereby putting out of reach various deductions you may be accustomed to taking.

Mortgage interest deduction is one area where people may find trouble.  This tax deduction begins to phase out at $166,000.  For the couple who asked me about getting married, the few thousand dollars lost in extra taxes wouldn't make or break their decision.  But for many couples, who might already be underwater on their houses or simply feeling "house poor" because of a high mortgage payment, any extra expense is unwelcome.  Plus, a variety of smaller deductions exist that are either reduced or not allowed for people at increasing income levels.

Personally I recommend my clients have a wedding when it’s right for them.  However, wait to make it official until we achieve full marriage equality at the federal level.  I don’t think you‘ll have to wait that long. Already the Obama administration has stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act from legal challenges. DOMA is the one law stopping the federal government from recognizing marriages from the states where they are legal for same-sex couples. And several cases started by those couples have made their way to the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Merging finances for any couple is hard, but if acting on false information, you are likely to make decisions that aren’t always in your best interest. That’s all the more reason it’s important to point out that clients who are not getting correct or up to date advice on the intricacies of tax law for “gay marriages” may encounter some tax issues down the line. As always, consult with the appropriate financial professionals (financial planner, estate planner, and tax professional) before making major financial changes.

The Reel Pride 23 website has launched!

Take a look and learn about all the films we have coming in September. 

The new site is up but some places may propagate slower. 
If you don't see it yet you will shortly just refresh your screen.

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Frank Schubert has long been a political strategist for campaigns against marriage equality, working with the National Organization for Marriage to support California’s Proposition 8 in 2008 and Maine’s Question 1 in 2009. He’s fully dedicated himself to the cause this year through his new agency Mission Public Affairs, and Jeremy Hooper notes that he’s raking in a small fortune. North Carolina paid him nearly $1 million to campaign for Amendment 1 earlier this year, and Washington, Maine, and Minnesota have already paid him over $200,000. Apparently, being the mastermind behind obstructing social justice is quite profitable.


Over the past couple of months, we've seen a variety of news items relevant to the status of gay, lesbian, bi & trans people. France and Ireland moved closer to the recognition of same-sex marriage. Anderson Cooper came out (much to the surprise of absolutely no one). In his decorous and moving statement, he acknowledged the importance and significance of that action, saying:

"I've also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people. The tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible."

The reason I say this battle is over however isn't because yet another celebrity has decided that it is safe to be honest, and it isn't because increasing numbers of Western nations have decided that gay lesbian, bi & trans citizens are deserving of equal treatment by their governments. It is because Anderson Cooper's observation about visibility is exactly right, and because that visibility — with its welcome, everyday humdrum, taken-for-granted nature — is increasingly part and parcel of American culture and experience.

My husband and I watched Wheel of Fortune most nights after dinner. (Hey we're old!) Last week, when Pat Sajak asked a contestant if he was married, the young man said "Yes, to my wonderful husband Garrett for seven years." No one raised an eyebrow. You don't get more middle-American than Wheel of Fortune.

I've previously noticed the presence of numerous gay and lesbian couples on HGTV — couples whose family rooms are redecorated or kitchens remodeled, all without comment or any other indication that these same-sex couples are any different from the heterosexual folks whose god-awful bathroom was "crashed" the preceding week.

If you need further evidence that overt homophobia doesn't sell even in a state like Indiana, take a look at the campaign commercials being aired by Mike Pence, the congressional culture warrior who wants to be their next Governor.

Talk about redecorating and rehabbing! As Pence tries to recreate himself into some¬one likable and someone residents might actually elect he is doing everything he can to suppress his real persona.

This hasn't extended to taking any actual policy positions, mind you, but he certainly has abandoned the anti-gay rhetoric (along with reminders of his war on Planned Parenthood, immigrants and people who don't share his brand of "Christian" beliefs) in favor of content-free paeans to "Hoosier values."

This does not indicate a change of heart; it is a strategic decision. If Pence thought homophobia would help him get elected, he wouldn't be soft-pedaling his own.

So I repeat: this battle is effectively over. There's considerable mopping-up left to do, of course. Just as the civil rights movement didn't eradicate racism, there's plenty of anti-gay animus to confront: bullying of schoolchildren, legal discrimination and inequity; gay-bashing... I don't mean to minimize the task ahead. But the cultural shift has occurred.

The law will follow.

 

Monte-Lapka-cheyenne_jacksonx400_2Entertainer Cheyenne Jackson, who was wed to longtime partner Monte Lapka last September, reveals his secrets for maintaining a strong marriage.

Entertainer Cheyenne Jackson, who was wed to longtime partner Monte Lapka last September, reveals his secrets for maintaining a strong marriage in a new interview with activist David Mixner.

It's already been an incredibly busy year for Jackson, who has released two gorgeous pop ballads this summer, filmed a role in Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh's movie about Liberace, guest-starred on Mockingbird Lane, the reboot of The Munsters series, and in November will star opposite Henry Winkler in the Broadway comedy The Performers. Fortunately for the in-demand actor he has an understanding husband in Lapka. He lists the reasons  their union has been so successful:

1. Monte is not an actor.

2. He appreciates what I do and is proud of me. However, he isn't impressed by show business in general, and doesn't get excited to meet famous people or going to fancy events. He doesn't have a twitter account and has no aspirations to be famous in any way. When asked if we would ever be a part of a reality show, he quoted a friend of ours (a young, beautiful dark-haired Tony-winning Broadway darling) who once replied to a ludicrous question with the blunt..."I'd rather s*** in my own mouth." He is more interested in what you have to say about life and the world we live in, than what movie you just did.

3. He puts up with my mercurial actor nature.

4. We both fully realize that there is no perfect person. As soon as you come to the realization that you can't change someone, and truly accept each other for who you are, even if one of you isn't very tidy (me), or one of you noisily eats chips while the other is trying to get some work done (him)...then you are good to go.

5. Not only do we love each other, we actually like each other and would rather hang out together than with anybody else.

6. We talk a lot. Communication is key. Even if I am on the other coast, we speak at least 6-8 times a day.

7. We fight. Then we get over it. It's important to disagree and have arguments and feel safe enough with each other to get it out, but it's also important to be able to let it go. Some just take a little longer to do that. (me.) But I'm getting faster. Every fight is truly just about wanting to be heard. You can thank Oprah for that little chestnut.

8. He has a wicked, dry sense of humor, and doesn't suffer fools. That always gives me a metaphysical boner.

9. Even after 12 years, I miss him when he's not around.

10. SEPARATE BATHROOMS

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About 20 Catholics sat on folding chairs and old sofas in Ed Burg’s basement, snacking on cookies and candy and talking about why they don’t like the proposed marriage amendment.

“It’s a matter of further restriction on gay or GLBT people of whom there are number in my family, particularly my son,” said Burg, 88, who attends St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Bloomington.

Last week’s meeting was one of several recently organized by Catholics who oppose the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, putting them at odds with Catholic bishops and underscoring the deep divide and tension among Catholics over the issue of gay marriage. On Wednesday, several hundred Catholics met in Minneapolis’ Loring Park to sing, dance, pray and show support for same-sex marriage.

Authored By Rose French – See the Full Story at the Star Tribune

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What a scorcher it's been so far this summer, combined with temperatures at or near all-time record highs in many parts of the country and humidity have meant that anything one does outdoors can be fraught with not only sweat, but the threat of heat exhaustion, heatstroke or even death. But what do we know about these illnesses, and more importantly what can we do about them?

First, did you know heat is THE most fatal of all weather phenomena? According to the National Weather Service, "Heat is the number one weather related killer in the United States. In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more titan 1,230 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area alone were attributed to heat. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives..."

So we know heat can be more than just plain uncomfortable — it can be danger¬ous and even fatal. But we still all want to get outside — whether for our workout or just to go for a stroll or bike ride to relax at the end of a workday. But what can we do to prevent that ride along the canal or in the park or evening stroll end up with us being hauled away in all ambulance? Common sense is the first, foremost and leading answer.

Every year people die of dehydration because they "forgot" to drink before they became thirsty or they "forgot" to bring along that water bottle or they "forgot" their sunscreen or their hat or even to reschedule their walk or run or ride to a cooler part of the day. The cooler part is generally before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. However; this year even the lows, have been setting records so caution is needed at any time.

The best way to stay abreast of what's happening outside your air conditioned cocoon and know what's forecast is with a NOAA Weather Radio. You can get one of those at any hardware, supercenter or even the local drugstore for under $25. They not only come in handy when storms and blizzards strike, but hitting that "weather" on .switch first thing in the morning will give you a commercial-free outlook for the day and the coming week. There will also be present temperatures and, even more important, dew-points and heat index readings.

What's the dew point? Simply put the temperature at which dew will form on grass, cars and things outside. Under 60 degrees and most folks are comfy. Between 60 and 70 and it starts to get "sticky". Over 70 and it becomes downright uncomfortable. And anything close to or over 80 is dangerous and rare but feels like a sauna.

The dew point and humidity are also related to the temperature and that's our lead-in to the Heat Index. Years ago it was called the TI-II for Temperature Humidity Index, but whatever name you prefer; think of it as Summer's equal to the Wind Chill — in other words how hot you feel and your body perceives things to be out there. If the index is too high sweat doesn't evaporate to cool our bodies and we quickly overheat.

So what does the Weather Service do to warn us? Here's what their special office of climate has to say: "Each National Weather Service Forecast Office issues the following heat-related products as conditions warrant:

Excessive Heat Outlooks are issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days. An Outlook provides information to those who need con¬siderable lead time to prepare for the event, such as public utility staff, emergency managers and public health officials. Excessive Heat Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hour, A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain.

Excessive Heat Warnings/Advisories are issued when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours. These products are issued when an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent or has a very high probability of occurring. The warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life and/or property."

Only two days left to pre-purchase your Reel Pride membership before this party!

Buy online today and beat the line.

You'll also be able to attend this Wednesday's Exclusive Sponsor & Members-Only Kick Off Party.

You also don't want to miss out on the opening night and closing night parties which are members & sponsors only events.


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It's almost time for Fresno Reel Pride 2012!!

The 23rd annual film festival returns on August 19th

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The "It's Time" video promoting marriage equality and watched by hundreds of thousands across the globe has spurred an offshoot with a different plot but the same message.

The new video, titled "Love is Love," was posted Sunday. The creators say they were inspired by the original Australian video from GetUp! and its first-person camera view. It told the story of a gay couple meeting, falling in love, and getting engaged. The emphasis on love and commitment instead of marriage benefits is said to be more relatable and effective with persuadable voters by think tanks such as The Third Way.

Watch the new version in the video below, with its own window into gay life.

Family_Research_CouncilJoining the chorus of anti-gay conservatives blaming the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” labels for Wednesday’s tragic shooting at the Family Research Council, internet evangelist Bill Keller has threatened to sue the SPLC for $100 million if it does not take him and his ministry LivePrayer.com off its “hate group” list:

KELLER: The sad shooting the other day at the Family Research Council by a man who supports the radical homosexual agenda, was clearly fueled by the left wing group, the Southern Poverty Law Center. I receive at least 4-5 death threats a month for taking a Biblical stand on issues like homosexuality, the false religion of Islam and other cults, and the fact life begins at conception and choosing to end that life is nothing more than legalized infanticide.

Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center give license to individuals who oppose a Biblical worldview to take whatever actions they deem fit, even acts of violence, to silence those they disagree with. Sadly, this intimidation has worked, because there are very few like myself who are willing to go into the mainstream media and promote Biblical Truth that a large percentage of society now rejects.

Authored By Zack Ford – See the Full Story at Think Progress

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Nerd. Jock. Fag. Geek. Brain. Slut. Burnout. Bitch. Loser. Druggie. Freak. In high school, labels were applied as liberally as an emo’s eyeliner. Trying to pigeonhole individuals into a certain category seemed to be an all-encompassing hobby. Even if you were a hybrid, like a brainy loser, one label always won out over the rest.

Some of these were accurate, especially when an athlete showed his mettle on the field or an honor student brought home a straight-A average. Some were merely attached with poison rumor — the drama student who may or may not be gay and the beautiful girl who put out on the first date — or did she?

These are the labels that can tarnish someone’s reputation and turn teenagers into bloodthirsty vipers ready to attack at a moment’s notice. We all know now that high school is not real life — not by a long shot — but the person who we were will always be floating behind the surface of our grown-up gaze. Maybe we were the gay kid or the slutty skank or even the doped-up rocker. The question is: can we escape our past?

In high school, when you finally graduate after what seems like 20 years, you take what you want and leave the rest behind. When I was in high school I went from scrawny quiet nerd to scrawny loud theater geek to scrawny bleached blonde skater boy, all the while being called every variation of fag that you can imagine.

Granted, I was every inch a fag, but I also knew other guys, especially in my theatre and skateboarding experience, who weren’t. But because their ears were pierced or they could sing or their hair stood up in spikes apparently that meant they were supposedly fags, too. How succinct.

The word fag is tossed around quite a bit even now. “Don’t be such a fag” basically translates to “don’t be less than what people may or may not think a man is”, as opposed to what it really means, which is “don’t be such a homosexual who provides the world with beauty, art, drama and culture while wearing $300 jeans and showing off your gym-honed body in tight t-shirts”. At least that’s how I translate it.

So you remember how it was in high school, right? People calling each other names and making fun of the way other people dressed or looked while secretly wondering if everyone else was doing the same to them.

So what makes that any different now when you hear someone called a slut or a drunk or a cracked-out mess or a stupid muscle boy? There is no difference. Maybe it’s true and maybe it isn’t, but the labels could merely apply to your past — that inescapable ball and chain we all drag behind us.

For example, years ago when I was out every weekend tossing back the drinks, snorting up the powder, popping whatever pill made the lights brighter and the music better, you can see how I might have gotten the reputation of being somewhat of a party boy, right? However crazy I might have been acting back then, as opposed to the less altered state I currently reside in, the people I encountered in that haze of narcotics will remember me as that type of person. Once again, just like in high school, my new label is applied with Super Glue. And a brand new past is written, painted over whatever I was in the 11th grade.

I also discovered that labels come with certain, shall we say, professions. Since I used to take my clothes off for a living, people would assume that I was also a trick-turning slut. Anyone who’s shaking their ass in a jockstrap in front of complete strangers has to be willing to do just about anything, right? That’s the presumption that comes with taking on a job which gives you paper cuts from new dollar bills in places that should never have paper cuts, and owning way too many pairs of underwear that have never been worn under anything.

Suffice it to say there were plenty of boys in this revolving stable who lived up to exactly what people assume strippers act like both in the club and outside of it. Me, not so much. But I did learn first-hand about guilt by association as did the other guys who didn’t take it to the next level, so to speak.

Nowadays, people still bring up my halcyon days as a stripper — I’m sorry, I mean, a dancer. Right. To paraphrase Showgirls, I don’t know what I did at this club, but it wasn’t dancing. But I can tell you this: it earned me another label that wasn’t true. And I can guarantee that any girl who has found herself swinging around a pole to Warrant’s Cherry Pie has the exact same label applied to her whether she’s a single mom or studying to be a lawyer or just plain needs the attention. Funny how that works, right?

The past just doesn’t hold who you were or what you’ve done. It also holds the people who remain in your memory; the ones trapped like flies in Kodak amber. They smile in your photographs, their faces frozen forever in eternal happiness no matter how your relationship came to an end or faded away like the stars at dawn.

See, that’s the thing: there are never any pictures of people having a horrible time. When you look at old photos, everyone is smiling and everyone is happy regardless of what was going on behind the scenes. These people populate your background like movie extras, occasionally showing up and bringing memories rushing back with stories you had forgotten and details that had escaped you about the person you used to be.

They are lost friends, past loves and all the people I’ve mentioned in this very column: the one-night stands, the cheating boyfriends, the secret crushes, the too-young lovers who have finally grown up, along with all the people from yesteryear who stare at you vaguely, thinking that they see a shadow of the person you used to be buried beneath the new identities that you’ve created throughout your life.

Just like these people, the places and streets that are painted with your narrative surround you like a studio backlot. They stand like painted facades, the memories of you captured inside. Drive through the city you’ve lived in and the reminiscence about all of the things that make up the pastiche of your character which are hidden behind the brick walls of the apartments you laughed and cried in, the high school you narrowly escaped from and the clubs where you danced the night away. Each place holds a facet of who you were and each persona you adopted adds a new history, a new label and a new character to the person you used to be; the person who haunts your past like an awkward ghost.

With each new experience and new encounter you can rewrite your history and reinvent yourself as someone new. Tired of being a nine-to-five brainiac stuck behind a computer with your head full of binary code? Strip down to your underwear and dance up on a box. Tired of being a gym rat with veins full of supplements and a head filled with reps and sets? Put on some Clark Kent glasses and start studying neuroscience. The opportunities are limitless just like people’s perceptions of you. They will remember you as the person you were when they met you, but that doesn’t mean that they know your true identity.

Past can also be written as p-a-s-s-e-d and just like time, your life story continues onward. You can leave it behind like you left behind braces, acne and high school or you can hold onto it to remind you where you’ve been and who you were. Albert Einstein said that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. And if anyone knows what they are talking about, it’s him. Even though he was like, a total nerd.

RainbowDrinks

Saturday, August 18th

The Party Starts at 8pm, Don't Miss It!

Want a great night out in a great club and want to get out of Fresno? No problem! Join us at Krazy J's (formerly Halfy's Pub) in Tulare as they graciously host a fundraiser for Gay Visalia. With a small cover charge of only $3.00 you will be supporting your local LGBT community, not to mention having fun! Krazy J's has 3 pool tables, 2 beer pong tables, and a ping pong/flip cup table. Game anyone? There is also a huge dance floor and we'll have a DJ throwing down some of your favorite tunes. Did I mention there is plenty of parking that is constantly monitored with security cameras and can be seen in the club? Yep, safe, secure AND welcoming. Maybe one of Tulare's best kept secrets.

For you non-drinkers or designated drivers, they have the best sweet tea around! For those of you ready to party, we will have yummy jello shot specials, with some of those proceeds coming our way as well. As our way of saying thank you for coming out and supporting us, we just might be giving away some FREE stuff to YOU. This is definitely going to be a night for the books. Come OUT with us, have a drink, and have some fun. Lets get down underground!!

A big thanks to Krazy J's for supporting Gay Visalia and its community!

You can help us by spreading the word. Please invite all of your family and friends to this event, thanks!

Facebook event - Directions/Map

Krazy J's 126 E. Kern ave., Tulare, California 93274

A Virginia man charged with shooting a security guard at the headquarters of a prominent conservative organization told the guard “words to the effect of ‘I don’t like your politics,’ ” according to an affidavit filed in the case on Thursday.

The defendant, Floyd L. Corkins II, 28, appeared briefly in United States District Court here, the day after he was wrestled to the ground in the lobby of the Family Research Council here after shooting a guard who tried to stop him from proceeding farther into the building, the authorities said. Mr. Corkins faces charges of transporting a gun across state lines and assault with intent to kill. He was ordered held without bond, and a detention hearing was scheduled for Aug. 24.

The Family Research Council advocates socially conservative and Christian causes. An affidavit filed by prosecutors indicated that Mr. Corkins, who had volunteered at a Washington community center for gay men and lesbians, “has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner.”

Investigators said they found a loaded Sig Sauer 9-millimeter pistol and additional ammunition, including two loaded magazines, at the scene. Mr. Corkins also had 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in a backpack. The president of Chick-fil-A, Dan T. Cathy, has stirred ferocious debate over his opposition to same-sex marriage. His stance has been praised by groups like the Family Research Council, but a few mayors, including Vincent C. Gray of Washington, have told the company it is not welcome in their cities.

Continue reading

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The Michigan assistant attorney general who lost his job after tormenting a gay student body president has been ordered to pay $4.5 million in damages, local news media reports.

Andrew Shirvell was fired in 2010 after repeatedly harassing gay University of Michigan student Chris Armstrong via blog postings. He was even accused of stalking him — which led to being temporarily banned from campus.

On "Chris Armstrong Watch," Shirvell claimed Armstrong pushed a "radical homosexual agenda," called him a Nazi and a representative of Satan. All of that led to Armstrong's defamation lawsuit in 2011. And The Detroit Free Press reports that a jury in U.S. District Court today ordered Shirvell to pay $4.5 million in damages.

The Associated Press reported
before the trial that Shirvell had been offered a deal — apologize and all charges would be dropped. But Shirvell refused and the case went forward.

Congratulations!

You met the love of your life, you made the big decision to get married, and now you’ve taken that gi-normous step together.  Surviving the wedding planning process and the actual weekend of events is only Step 1 of the becoming-married process.  Despite what your credit card statements may be telling you, the wedding was the FUN part.  Real life isn’t as much fun.  And when you get back from the honeymoon, there are five things that are critically important for you to do immediately.  Let’s just call it getting your married house in order.

1)    Make a decision about whether to change your name (or names).  Make the decision ahead of time and figure out what it takes to change it in your state.  If

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gay marriage is legal where you live, it may be easy.  If not, you may have to go through some additional legal hassles first.  But you should discuss your game plan ahead of time because if you are going to disagree, better to solve this before the actual wedding.  Second, when you get back from your honeymoon, if you’re eligible for legal marriage or domestic partner status, you’re gonna have to boogie if you want to change your name in time to register for other benefits that come with enrollment deadlines.  Start at the social security office, and then the receipt they give you there is the pass you need to make the changes at DMV.  If you got legally married, a new driver’s license and social security card and a scan of your marriage license is all you need to change all your accounts and other things.  Don’t forget that frequent flier cards or you’ll be in a hot mess when you try to travel.  I learned that one that hard way.  Keep in mind that if you keep your maiden name and drop your middle name, life is a lot easier when you encounter a name you forgot to change.   More than once I’ve had to show somebody that my driver’s license says I’m Sandra NELSON Malone.

2)    Re-evaluate your health insurance situation.  Not everybody has the same rights, but gay couples are getting more and more of them, state by state.  If you can share the legal benefits of marriage or domestic partnership, this is an important piece.  First, figure out who has the better health insurance offered at work, and who gets the best dental or eye coverage?  Is there a benefit to having more than one policy?   And if you’ve never thought about these things before because you never get sick, talk to your parents or somebody else who has dealt with being a grown up and has managed medical insurance. Research your options pre-wedding and have the paperwork ready when you get home.  Most employers require you to enroll within 30 days of your wedding date or you have to wait until the next open enrollment period.  Don’t miss your window!

3)    It’s time for total financial disclosure if you didn’t go through this hideous process pre-wedding.  No secrets.  Tell each other about every credit card debt (department store cards count) and the car you had repo’d in college.  You’re married and now you’ve absorbed each other’s credit ratings and debt, to some extent.  Honest to God, there is nothing you cannot face together in a new marriage.  You will come out stronger.  Just be honest about it all.

Unless there’s a very good reason not to (one of you is still mired in a bankruptcy or something like that), you should be setting up joint checking accounts and getting at least one joint credit card together (or adding each other to your cards).  You should take a look at your retirement accounts and decide whether you’re doing the best things for yourselves given your new tax status.  You should set monthly contribution goals together as a couple.  You should design your financial future together and consider talking to a professional if you’re clueless.  The decisions you make now will decide what kind of porch your rockers are sitting on in your old age.

It’s time to exchange passwords and make sure you both know where all the money is located.  I know that one of you will be the primary bill payer in your household – it’s the way it works – but that doesn’t mean the other partner shouldn’t also have access to that stash of passwords and know where everything is kept and which accounts pay what bills.  You should both know what bills to which credit card and what comes directly out of your accounts.  Also, most bank accounts have asked you who your “beneficiary” is in the event of your death, and you probably put your mom’s name down (or God forbid, your former spouse) when you opened the account.  It’s time to check on this for every account at each bank and investment company to make the right people will get the money if something happens to you.

4)    Re-evaluate all of your insurance coverage in light of getting married, not just health insurance.  Life insurance and homeowners is relevant too – is all of your jewelry covered or do you need some riders?  What about the cars?  You probably don’t need to retitle anything, but you definitely need to get a joint policy unless one of you has a driving record that prevents that.

Life insurance is one of those things that nobody wants to talk about.  But the fact is that you can buy policies cheaper and with fewer restrictions when you are young and healthy – so do it now.  Also, this is when you really need it.  If you have bought a home together and bought vehicles and maybe started a family, and God forbid, one of you is killed in an accident – what would the other one of you do?  If you’re like most of America, your income and your spending have grown disproportionately.  In this economy, most people are making less and still spending more.  Most people have some credit card debt or college loans they’re paying off.  An insurance policy is just that – it’s there in case of an emergency.  In a “God forbid” situation, at least you won’t be scrambling to pay the mortgage or tuition bill.

5)    Finally, you need to write your wills.  You might have one on file already that needs to be replaced with your new one so there’s no confusion.  You may never have written one before.  You can do it online, if you must, but if either of you has significant assets, use a lawyer.  Please use a lawyer.  Assuming that you’re probably gay if you’re reading this, you know that nothing is easy for gay couples – and nothing is cheap.  Get a really good attorney to protect your assets.  You may have to put some things in an LLC if you’re not in a gay-friendly state.  But for God’s sake, don’t put it off assuming you have plenty of time to get on top it.

Nowadays you should also discuss other things such as Living Wills and Do Not Resuscitate orders in the case where one of you is brain dead after an accident.  It may seem crazy to think about, but I’m pretty sure Terri Schiavo’s husband wishes they’d put this sort of thing in writing so he didn’t spent half of his life trying to end hers.  She wasn’t that old when she was turned into a vegetable by a potassium imbalance that deprived her brain of oxygen.  The law automatically makes spouses or registered domestic partners each other’s primary decision maker in the case of incapacitation in most states, but if gay marriage isn’t legal in your state, you may have a whole host of paperwork to tackle to protect your rights under these circumstances.  It’s also not a bad idea to have a separate medical power of attorney written up, just to cover your bases.  Put a copy of each of your wills in your safe deposit box – and give a copy to somebody else.  If you don’t have an attorney, give it to somebody trustworthy in the event of either or both of your deaths.

Well, that certainly was a depressing list of business items for newlyweds to attend to, wasn’t it?  I’m depressed now with you, and I’ve already gone through the paperwork of starting a marriage.  But it’s the truth.  These are the housekeeping matters that new couples must tackle after the honeymoon.  It’s not fun and it’s not really even that interesting, but these are the things that make up the foundation of married life.  Putting everything into place so that Mr. and Mr. or Ms. and Ms. means more than just a box you checkmark as your salutation when shopping online.  It’s about mingling your lives completely and becoming one – at least on the paperwork.  There’s good news here for those of you who are happily married though – you only have to do most of this stuff once!

frc-shootingA security guard at the D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council, the ultraconservative anti-gay Christian lobbying group, was shot today by an unnamed gunman.

“The police are investigating this incident,” FRC president Tony Perkins said in a statement. “Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family.”

According to police, the shooter was confronted by security upon entering the lobby at 10:45am and proceeded to open fire, wounding a guard in the left arm. The suspect was then tackled and taken into custody.

The FRC opposes gay marriage and abortion, and “champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. Fox News reports that the shooter ”made statements regarding [FRC] policies” before opening fire—and a Wikipedia entry claims he told guards, “Don’t shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for”—but there’s no indication the shooter was gay or a supporter of gay rights.

Full story here: http://www.queerty.com/frc-shooting-20120815/

RobertsMarryMSNBC host Thomas Roberts is set to become the first openly gay news anchor to get married. The New York Observer reports:

Mr. Roberts says his late-September wedding to Patrick Abner, of Merck Pharmaceuticals’ HIV/AIDS division, and his public persona as a gay man, are unlikely to hurt his career at MSNBC—not least because, unlike certain newly out cable newsmen, he makes no claims to objectivity. “I am not objective when it comes to equality. And that means for all. I want it for you, for me, for everybody … It’s written in our Constitution: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and what’s wrong with talking about that? Nothing.” The Manhattan wedding is to have about 150 guests, and Mr. Roberts’s attention has been diverted by the process of shedding unwanted weight. “I was on the treadmill for three miles this morning. I will be on it for three miles tomorrow. I had a Red Bull for lunch and I eat gum. I’m the typical groom!” His desk was cluttered not merely with his lunch—a pack of peppermint—but also an academic text on Loving v. Virginia and an MSNBC briefing packet on Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential options.
Roberts and Abner have been together for 12 years. I met them this spring at the Night Of 1000 Gowns, but dammit it all to hell that photo of us came out blurry.
marriedandcounting1A new documentary about a same-sex couple who got married in every state that would let them takes aim at marriage inequality

After 24 years together, Pat Dwyer and Stephen Mosher decided it was about time they get married. It was 2010 and same-sex marriage was not yet legal in New York State, where they live, so they decided to pack up and drive or fly to the states that would allow them to legally wed. All of them.

From Vermont to New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, California and Washington DC, the couple hosted low-key, intimate ceremonies and captured it all on film as part of Married & Counting. The documentary, narrated by George Takei, premieres August 11 at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. “For any gay couple to get married at this point in our history makes a statement, but what they are doing…there’s something aggressively joyful about it,” says Vince, the officiant of the New Hampshire wedding, in the film. “They’re saying to the world, very loudly, our happiness is not a threat to you, but we are here and we should be counted.”

The idea for the film came when Stephan and Pat, who met at college in Texas in 1985, started thinking about how they would celebrate being in a committed relationship for 25 years. But unlike straight couples, they could not marry in one state and have that one wedding render them legally married in all 50 states, so they decided they would marry in every state that they could. The plan was to culminate the wedding tour by marrying on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington DC on the 25th anniversary of their coupledom on April 26, 2011.

They did just that, but the New York State Legislature threw them an alternate ending when it voted to legalize same-sex marriage on July 24, 2011. One of the most touching moments in the film comes when Stephen and Pat sit, holding hands, on the couch watching the vote, waiting for the legislators to decide their fate. “Our world changed like that,” Stephen says of the vote in the film.

Continue reading at TIME

DadtCaptain Joan Darrah, USN (ret) has written a letter to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell asking to be allowed to address the Republican Party platform committee in support of marriage equality and the freedom to marry when the committee meets in Tampa next week. She wants to explain to the platform committee how supporting marriage equality is in keeping with the ideology of the GOP.

Darrah stated that “If given the opportunity, we will testify in support of the inclusion in the Republican platform of both the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the right of same-gender couples to marry and for those marriages to be recognized by our federal government. Quite simply, these objectives correspond with the ideals of the Republican Party – opposition to government intrusion in people’s lives and a modern military that supports all service members and their families.”

Darrah served for nearly two decades in the US Navy, and on 11 September 2001 she was in the Pentagon attending a meeting that wrapped up at 9:30am. Seven minutes later, American Airlines Flight 77 hit the building and destroyed the room where she had been during the meeting. Seven of her colleagues were killed in that room.

Darrah spent years under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Darrah wrote in her letter “Whenever I recount the events of that day, I think of my wife and how she would have been one of the last people to know that I had been killed, because nowhere in my paperwork or emergency contact information had I dared to list her name. Fortunately, because DADT has been repealed, gay and lesbian service members can now serve openly without the fear of discharge.” She and her wife, Lynne Kennedy, are plaintiffs in McLaughlin v. Panetta which seeks full equality for LGBT couples serving in the military.

Darrah also wrote that “Gay and lesbian service members and their families are making the same sacrifices daily as their heterosexual counterparts. Should they not be afforded the same recognition, benefits, and support services from the country they serve? Should they not receive the same support from their “military family?”

The Democratic Party has already put marriage equality in their party platform.

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1) With the release of the viral “It’s Time” marriage-equality PSA rending hearts across Australia and the world, we thought it might be time to collect some of the world’s best pro-gay-marriage videos. If these moving pieces doesn’t convince your friends to support marriage equality, we don’t know what to do for them.

2) Canada has legalized gay marriage for over five years now, and this adorable love story between an Ontario mountie and a Quebecois officer celebrates that. Note the ad wasn’t actually sanctioned by the Canadian government. It’s something of a joke placed between shows on Canadian television chronicling notable bits of Canuck history.

3) *This is a MUST see!* This touching piece shows the heart-wrenching effects of not allowing non-biological children to visit their LGBT mothers or fathers in the hospital.

4) While it’s not an ad, it certainly helped marriage equality in England when the Prime Minister David Cameron said, “I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”

5) The daughter of a notoriously anti-gay president supports marriage equality in New York State. Is it too much to wish that she had done this while her dad was in office?

6) Hollywood assembled some of its brightest, funniest stars for this hilarious musical parody of California’s Prop 8 battle. And then Dustin Lance Black went and tried to top it with his own Prop 8 play. Oh Dustin, you scalawag!

7) Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old student, speaks to his state’s legislature about being raised by two moms. This nearly year-old video is making the viral rounds again, probably because Wahls speaks so eloquently or because he’s so dreamy.

8) “Everyone wants someone to grow old with,” says Estelle Getty’s character Sophia. “And shouldn’t everyone have that chance?” Yes, Sophia. Yes they do. Even foul-mouthed, old ladies in nightgowns deserve some good, clean lesbian love.

DNC-2The Democratic Party’s Platform Committee unanimously approved language expressing support for marriage equality at its meeting Saturday in Detroit, sending the proposal on for ratification at the national convention next month in Charlotte, N.C.

A DNC source told The Advocate that the full committee accepted the language revealed on Thursday without controversy, and approved an amendment in support of equal treatment of LGBT Americans in immigration and naturalization. The final platform language has not yet been released, but the source said that the LGBT-specific sections, including the new amendment, would not change between now and the convention.

The amendment language approved Saturday and obtained by The Advocate says, “the administration has said that the word ‘family’ in immigration includes LGBT relationships in order to protect binational families threatened with deportation.”

In addition to its support of “marriage equality,” the platform language unveiled two days ago endorsed an inclusive Employment Non-discrimination Act with protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, and it committed the party to “continue our work to prevent vicious bullying of young people and support LGBT youth.”

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More than $1 million in contributions to the organizers behind 2008's ballot initiative to ban marriage equality in California were not properly reported to state authorities.

The California Fair Political Practice Commission ordered ProtectMarriage.com: Yes on 8 to pay $49,000 in fines after failing to report some of the contributions received for the campaign. ProtectMarriage.com did not report several donations over $5,000, and failed to properly dispose of an anonymous $10,000

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The Bulldog Pride Fund at Fresno State is pleased and proud to present $10,000 to the 2012-13 Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars:

• Leo Barajas – a senior from Madera majoring in mass communication and journalism;
• Michelle Swift – a senior from Burney studying recreation administration;
• TimeOut –a junior from Fresno majoring in kinesiology;
• Dausha Calhoun – a junior from Riverside studying nursing; and
• Justin Kamimoto a sophomore from Clovis majoring in business.

Each will receive a $2,000 scholarship on Sept. 28th at the Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars’ reception, to be held at the Smittcamp Alumni House from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. These scholars will also be recognized at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala held at the Save Mart Center later that same evening.

In 2006, the Bulldog Pride Fund was established with one simple mission: “To support student scholarships at Fresno State.” To-date, it has provided 23 scholarships valued at $39,000. Made possible by nearly 400 donors and friends.

Please make your gift to the Bulldog Pride Fund today! And, thank you for your continued support.

GIVE TODAY. FOR TOMORROW AND BEYOND.
www.bulldogpride.org

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Paul Ryan, the budget hawk and conservative darling that Mitt Romney has selected as his vice presidential running mate, has in a number of media appearances shown impatience when asked about LGBT rights issues.

His disinclination to broach the topic should not be mistaken for anything other than nearly absolute fealty to social conservative dogma.

“Actually, I came on to talk about the debt crisis we have and the budget,” Ryan complained when asked his views on marriage equality by David Gregory on “Meet the Press” this past February. “I support the Wisconsin amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman… I don’t know why we are spending all this time talking about this. We’ve got a debt crisis coming and the administration just gave us a budget that simply just charts another path to debt and decline.”

See the Full Story at Gay City News

If you missed out on Phi Phi O'hara at The Express this Friday, shame on you. But, we've collected videos to share with you to see what you missed or just want relive it, if you were there!

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Don't miss Yara Sofia - September 28th.  Pre-sale tickets are NOW available. Don't miss out on the $10 rate!

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Manny Castro, the L.A.-based artist who claimed responsibility for the graffiti spray-painted on the side of a Torrance, California Chick-fil-A last week, has not been arrested for what he did despite his coming forward, and offers a statement to the Huffington Post about why he did it:

My statement painted on the side of the Chik-Fil-A in Torrance was not born out of hate. It was born out of frustration. It was meant to further a discussion about tolerance and acceptance. My Facebook wall was simply not large enough to do this. Contrary to popular belief, I am a proud Christian and I wholly subscribe to the verse: “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

I didn’t use violence. I used paint. Artists for centuries have expressed their opinions through this medium and I am no different. The word "FAG" spray painted on anything has never garnered the media attention that my cow with a paintbrush did. And that’s unfortunate.

Castro says he'll gladly pay for the cost of repainting the wall but won't sit at the back of the bus.

 

Unknown3The language supporting marriage equality agreed upon by the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee was revealed earlier today.

BuzzFeed reports that the draft reads as follows:

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

Although this language may be tweaked when the Platform Committee considers the plank for approval at a meeting this weekend in Detroit, it appears certain the Democratic Party will officially endorse marriage equality.

Responding to the wording of the platform plank, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin prasied the strong language present in the platform. 

"Marriage equality has quickly become a mainstream American value and it’s a sign of the times that the Democratic Party has included language affirming the ability of gays and lesbians to marry in its draft platform," Griffin said in a statement. "We encourage the Platform Committee and the delegates to the convention to adopt this strong statement that all loving and committed American families deserve equal treatment."

Although historic in nature, as Metro Weekly reported earlier today the platform plank, which will be voted on by delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. next month, may have limited broader impact.

It remains highly unlikely there will be any federal campaign for marriage equality and that marriage laws, which have almost always been left up to the states, will continue to be debated at the local level.

According to out gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a federal right to marry would only come if the Supreme Court were to rule that a state's refusal to grant same-sex couples the right to marry violates the constitution.

 


“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

It seems like a good milestone to stop and pause in wonder at how amazing Twitter is, and how delightfully generous, loving, and healing total strangers can be, even as friends are being cruel.

I’m simply gobsmacked by the response a little blog post intended for a few friends can receive, and I feel honored to have found a place on your Twitter feed, your Facebook feed, your website.

After the events of the past few days, I’m simultaneously undaunted, hopeful, and amazed, and want to share with you some of the reasons why.

Undaunted

Chick-Fil-A had a cable TV network and phalanxes of church-based political operatives supporting them, virtually guaranteeing a day of record-breaking sales. Lines around stores make for easy, TV-friendly shots. The short-terms gains for the restaurant and for the network of “religio-political” organizations they support will no doubt continue for a time.

To Get to the Other Side

Cartoon by Joe Parrie at joeparrie.com

But, in the long run, it matters how we nourish ourselves, and there was not much nutritious going on at Wednesday’s Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. There was little on the menu that was good for their bodies, little in the crowd that was good for their souls, and little in their big day that was good for their movement.

I do believe that some people were there in well-intentioned defiance of perceived government over-reach, but the celebratory atmosphere turned the day into a feast of smugness disguised as faith and anger disguised as cheer, and I have good reason to believe that neutral people noticed.

Smiling to wound is its own punishment; over time, it erodes a smile’s sincerity. That’s Sarah Palin’s future, and it’s the eventual future of the church-based arm of the anti-LGBT movement. You can’t disguise hatred as love and expect your love to go untarnished.

So, while they were gorging on empty calories, assembling the usual partygoers for the easy win of a fast-food lunch to publicly celebrate the right to fund inequality, we who oppose Chick-Fil-A’s harmful giving were feasting on more wholesome fare. We were doing the better, harder work of creation, connection, and persuasion. We were challenging our friends, and, yes, losing some friendship, but also forging newer and more productive ones, and establishing relationships that will last for years to come.

We refused to be told how to feel or that it wasn’t important. We refused to keep quiet. We kept telling the truth, and we began to connect in ways that will last long after Fox News has moved on to something else.

Hopeful

The comments came in trickles, then in waves, then in oceans. It became impossible for me to read and respond to each of them in a timely way, but I read as many as I could.  Sure, there was hate mail, but not much. The responses were overwhelmingly positive and positively overwhelming. Many, like this one, contained stories of changed hearts and minds:

“I was kind of stuck in the middle on this debate. I have lots of gay friends and I understood why they were upset but didn’t understand why it became such a huge issue…. Last night I commented on someone’s post that it is spiraling out of hand and someone linked your article. I just felt that I needed to tell you that…I am no longer lost in understanding why its such an issue and I will not be eating there again. I think that this is just the start of something big and I hope that Human Rights wins out against hatred in the end.” – Rev. Jason Pitman

That is so cool. There were many such sentiments, some from Christians who have embraced our dignity and equality, some from opponents of Same-Sex Marriage who nonetheless don’t wish to support Chick-Fil-A’s harmful giving, and some from people who  simply didn’t know the extent or scope of that giving.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the open minds among us, and to everyone who refused to be silenced or give up. In this polarized time, it’s sustaining to know that we can still reason together.

In addition to frank statements of changed minds and opened hearts, there were responses so sweetly personal that they moved me to tears, like the mother who engaged her young daughter in a conversation about Dan Cathy’s statement that we are “prideful and arrogant” to try to define marriage.

“Do you have a definition of marriage?” the mother asked.

“It’s when you mean so much to a person you can’t get enough of each other,” the daughter replied, and together they decided to eat elsewhere from now on.

Some of you were not quite convinced. You truly grappled with the points I made and wanted to share my post, but would be challenged on the veracity of my claims about Chick-Fil-A’s giving, or about Christianity’s compatibility with LGBT rights. For you, here’s a page a friend and I put together with more detailed information and resources on Chick-Fil-A’s harmful giving.

For those who contacted me with good-faith attempts to engage on the topic of Christianity and same-gender love, I have a very special resource to share. This courageous young man, Matthew Vines, does an incredible job of explaining why his very respectful, very devout approach to the Bible is not incompatible with same-gender love. I urge anyone who is truly interested reconciling the Bible and Homosexuality to watch, in its entirety, this video by this astonishingly articulate soul.

Some people shared more pointed questions and reservations. Some didn’t like the vulgarity of the title (here’s another version with the title cleaned up). Some were outraged by the mayors who are trying to keep Chick-Fil-A from their towns (my post was about what I expect from my friends, not what I expect from Rahm Emmanuel), and some simply wanted to hurl Bible verses at me, which invites rebuttal, since anyone can do it to anyone else (“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” – Ezekiel 16:49).

Amazed

I’ve been amazed by the frankness and openness with which people have shared their personal struggles. These stories have already broadened my perspective and I’ve so many more yet to read.

“First of all, let me say I agree…with your basic opposition to Chick-fil-A’s actions and I have decided to join the boycott of CFA restaurants. I am heterosexual, but a close family member is lesbian. I love her dearly…and I can’t imagine why someone would want to get in the way of someone else’s love and family.

“That said, I did want to answer your question about ‘What has CFA ever done for you?’ Well, actually, quite a bit.

“I am a single mother with limited resources. Eating out in restaurants is not something I get to do a lot. In fact, even if I could, it’s very awkward for me to go into a fine restaurant where mostly couples are dining, and be the only one who is without a partner, dragging along a small child. I choose my eating out days carefully and over time I found that the best option for me was CFA. Every Tuesday, my daughter eats free at CFA. We eat there for almost the same price as if I made a home cooked meal. I get to sit back and relax, play on my cell phone, read my mail, whatever, while my daughter gets to play with other children in the enclosed play space. There are children of every race there and they all play together.

“So, there you have it. That is what CFA has done for me. I didn’t know, until know, about what CFA was doing against gay people and I’m very sorry to hear it. Please know, however, that though narrow-minded and bigoted, they do have some goodness mixed in with the intolerance and have in fact helped a lot of people.

“So I make the decision to boycott them with mixed feelings, but I weigh the freedom and safety of my gay and lesbian fellow citizens more heavily than I weigh the benefits of what CFA has done for me. I just wanted to let you know my perspective, in case somehow, the virulence of the rage against CFA could be mitigated.” – [Name Withheld by Request]

My initial post was a search for common ground among some pretty diverse friends. That circle of friends has grown exponentially and I still found the common ground I sought: Most everyone who responded realized that, late-night comedians aside, this issue has never been about chicken. Fast-food’s ubiquity and the growing visibility of LGBT people have suddenly demanded that many everyday, non-activist people pick a side and take a stand, suddenly rendering this issue personal. For a wide array of people, this issue is no longer one of ideas, but of family, friendship, community, kitchen table economics, freedom, respect, love, faith, betrayal and, for some of us, sacrifice.

We in the LGBT community are always challenged to let our own oppression teach us empathy for those who have been, and continue to be, oppressed or even gunned down as economic, racial, ability, gender, religious, or cultural minorities.

Likewise, when we call ourselves Christians, no matter how we hurt in those moments when we feel persecuted by society or even government, we are challenged not to appropriate the language of the oppressed to describe our mere inconvenience, but to let those moments teach us empathy for the truly downtrodden.

Empathy isn’t just some feel-good term. Empathy takes strength. It’s like a muscle that needs nutrients and exercise or it atrophies into uselessness. So, as an exercise in empathy, I’d like to make a commitment to you. With the permission of those who wrote to me, I want to share with you some of the many passionate, funny, honest correspondence I’ve received about the very personal struggles they face every day around issues of homophobia, family, and society. I’ll share one every few days, with a few of my thoughts, until there are no more to share.

Let’s nourish one another with “unarmed truth and unconditional love” wherever we can find it, making sure there’s enough room at the table for everyone who’s come to believe in equality and dignity for all people.

And, when our political foes get tired of waiting in long lines to chow down on tasty but ultimately empty self-satisfaction and willful ignorance, let’s be quick to call them over, kick out a chair, pass them a plate, and welcome them home.

Twitter: @owldolatrous

Wayne Self is a playwright and composer whose current project is a musical tribute to the 32 LGBT and allied victims of the 1973 arson fire at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, LA. Considered by many to be the largest hate crime against LGBT people in U.S. history, the fire is sometimes seen as a lesson in the perils of silence. ”Upstairs” will give voice to the victims of the fire–many of whom self-identified as Christian–and is scheduled to premier next year, in time for the 40th anniversary of the tragedy. For more information about the Upstairs fire, please visit http://www.bilerico.com/2012/02/new_orleans_inferno_the_upstairs_lounge_fire.php. Republished with author permission.

Brad-Bell-Sean-Hemeon-Husbands1When Husbands, the online sitcom about a professional baseball player and a TV star who get married in a drunken weekend in Vegas and decide to stay together in support of marriage equality and because they think they might actually be in love, premiered last year, I wrote that “setting yourself up as a model minority may be an important way to argue for legal rights, real equality means the right to make mistakes and bad decisions—and to work your way out of them.” While that’s true of the show’s main characters Brady (Sean Hemeon) and Cheeks (Brad Bell, also the Husbands co-creator, writer, and executive producer with TV veteran Jane Espenson), when it comes to experimenting to discover the future, it’s also true of Husbands itself, one of the pioneering high-quality ongoing shows to live online rather than on a broadcast network.

What’s exciting about about Husbands, though, is how quickly the show has grown in scope and emotional ambition from its first season to its second, which premieres on August 15. A year’s acquaintance has richened the on-screen chemistry and affection between Hemeon and Bell, and Husbands has grown in confidence both in terms of the ideas it’s exploring and the team behind the show’s sense of the skills they’re developing by working on it. And the show is becoming an important example of how television distributed online fits into a larger pop-culture ecosystem, not simply as an alternative means of distribution for content networks are too timid to make, but as a rich idea lab that could breed a new generation of pop culture tropes and show-runners.

For a sense of that, I have an exclusive first look at the behind-the-scenes material the Husbands crew shot to accompany the second season, which goes inside the table reads and Bell and Espenson’s writing sessions, and also provides some perspective on how large the team involved in the show is:

 

And it is large: the $60,001 the Husbands team raised through their Kickstarter campaign helped pay the more than 40 people who worked on the second season of the show, let the production move from its cramped initial setting to a rented house that gives the scenes and actors room to breathe, and helped upgrade the cameras from commercial hand-held DSLRs to Steadicam rigs with Scarlet cameras that improved the quality of the images. “It looks like big TV,” Espenson joked when I visited the set in May. “It’s the new big TV,” Bell said, and it’s true. Husbands is an illustration of the narrowing gap between online sitcoms and their broadcast siblings.

The set and the crew aren’t the only way Husbands is bigger in its second season. The show has a large roster of major guest stars, most notably Joss Whedon as Brady’s clueless agent Wes. He’s the kind of man who declares “You know I’d gay-march on hepatatis-infected glass to change things,” even as he tries to get Brady to tone down Cheeks, explaining that “acceptable gays are overweight, over forty, overly professional with their lovers in public,” the show’s painfully accurate swipe at chemistry-free couples like Cam and Mitch on Modern Family. And in a sequence that will make fanboy hearts everywhere go pitter-patter even as it makes a point, Dichen Lachman and Tricia Helfer appear in a brutal parody of straight-guy fantasy about pillow-fighting college girls experimenting with lesbianism.

Husbands‘ emotional palatte is deeper, too, this time around. Cheeks sets off the action in the second season when he snaps a picture of himself and Brady smooching in bed on their three-week anniversary and imprudently Tweets it, prompting frantic calls from Wes about the morality clause in Brady’s contract with the Dodgers, splutteringly angry condemnation from the Billion Moms, and fights between the newlyweds. The show walks a careful line and walks it well: the public reaction to the picture is absolutely wrong, hysterical, and stupid. But it’s deeply insensitive of Cheeks to have Tweeted it without consideration for Brady’s feelings or sense of control over his public image. It’s the kind of argument couples who have just moved in together or just gotten married have about dishes in the sink and joint finances, but played out and amplified by the national media.

The show deftly weaves together those threads with an exploration of a thornier issue that broadcast sitcoms that involve gay couples refuse to explore deeply, in part because it’s a dichotomy that they depend on for humor: the gendered performances of men, be they gay or straight, and the kind of condemnation or approbation they attract. “I’m audi, girlfriend! Pride!” Wes declares when he hangs up with Brady, conflating gayness and femeness, an air of condescension in his aping of the latter. “Be a little less gay,” Brady tells Cheeks, a reminder that discomfort with femenized gender performance is not only a way straight men express homophobia. “Less gay like you? Because you’re less gay. You do get what gay means, right, Brady?” Cheeks asks him bitterly. “The only thing that makes you gay is having an exclusive membership to the same-sex sex club.” It’s an important reminder that there’s something self-deluding and self-denying about the belief that gay people can convert the most stringent, ugly homophobes if only they perform masculinity or femininity well enough.

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The New England-based LGBT group responsible for the most successful lawsuit to date targeting the Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday filed a formal request asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the anti-gay law.

The filing from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders responds to petitions from the House Republican-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group and the U.S. Justice Department calling on the Supreme Court to take up the lawsuit — the consolidated case of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services.

In a historic decision on May 31, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, as a result of this litigation.

BLAG, which is defending DOMA under the direction of House Speaker John Boehner, had filed a request with the Supreme Court in June asking justices to overturn the ruling and uphold the constitutionality of the anti-gay law.

In the 39-page brief filed Thursday, GLAD’s lawyers say they agree that “the arguments for a grant of review in this case are strong.” The plaintiffs also present the same question for the Supreme Court to answer as other petitions: does Section 3 of DOMA violate the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for legally married same-sex couples?

But GLAD and BLAG have wildly different conclusions on what the Supreme Court should determine with regard to this question. In its filing, GLAD says the court shouldn’t “be persuaded by the distorted analysis” put forward by BLAG, and, instead, affirm the First Circuit’s ruling.

“The Court should not be swayed by the arguments on the merits that BLAG chose to present in its petition,” GLAD writes, “[A]s multiple courts have recently recognized, there are compelling arguments that Congress violated the equal protection guarantee when it decided for the first time to deny all recognition to a single class of state-sanctioned marriages.”

GLAD notes BLAG devotes much of its petition to contending the First Circuit was “inventing” a new standard of review in its decision to overturn DOMA. Disputing this argument, GLAD says BLAG “does not accurately characterize the First Circuit’s holding or analysis” and the First Circuit had correctly applied rational basis holdings from earlier cases.

GLAD lays out several reasons why the First Circuit ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional, saying Congress could only have passed DOMA out of animus toward gay people.

Additionally, GLAD says the Supreme Court should take up the case to establish that laws targeting gay Americans should be subject to heightened scrutiny, on the assumption that they’re unconstitutional.

“Because DOMA imposes indisputable de jure discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, this case presents an ideal vehicle for this Court to clarify how courts should scrutinize such laws going forward, and to ensure that lower courts afford gay men and lesbians the constitutional protections to which they are entitled under a proper application of the Equal Protection Clause,” the brief states.

The Obama administration announced it held the view that laws related to sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny at the same time it announced it would no longer defend DOMA in court in February 2011. BLAG, under the direction of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) following a party-line vote, has since taken up defense of DOMA.

GLAD is now one of several groups asking the Supreme Court to examine the constitutionality of DOMA. The Justice Department has asked the high court to take up the Massachusetts case as well as a California lawsuit known as Golinski v. United States. Additionally, New York widower Edith Windsor has asked the Supreme Court to take up her lawsuit against DOMA filed by the American Civil Liberties Union as has New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a jointly filed friend-of-the-court brief.

The Supreme Court won’t decide whether it will take up DOMA until Sept. 24. The high court will begin hearing arguments for its 2012-2013 term in October.

In the meantime, Aug. 31 is the last day for BLAG to respond to or oppose the Justice Department’s petition, and Sept. 10 is the last day for the Justice Department to reply to BLAG. Additionally, BLAG can choose to reply to GLAD’s filing. There’s no set deadline for that, but normally, that would occur within 10 days.

The shockingly cruel letter below, from a father to his newly-out gay son, has been spreading like wildfire through social media. I knew I had to share it with you because it serves as a stark reminder of why the fight for LGBT equality and against religious extremism is so critical. Family Research Council and the rest like to claim that it is the "gay orientation" leads to negative behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse. Of course, they never tell you that it's letters like the this one which really leads to such mess. It's a heartbreaker and the sad thing is that so many LGBTQs have a story like the letter tells.

horrible_letter

The father’s letter reads:

“James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past. Don’t expect any further conversations With me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house. You’ve made your choice though Wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand. Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad.”

The son’s thoughts, via Reddit:

“It’s important to know just what this zealotry from Bryan Fisher, Maggie Gallagher, Dan Cathy, et al., does to everyday people. I’ve never done drugs, was an excellent student, an obedient child (far less trouble than many of my classmates), didn’t drink until I was 22 because it terrified me, and have had just 1 speeding ticket in my life. Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another. 5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while. When it does, I say without hesitation: F**k you, Dad.”

eqca-250x250

Hear that deafening silence? That’s the sound of Equality California, the once highly regarded and legislatively active state LGBT lobbying organization, thinking about its next move. And thinking, and thinking, and thinking: the organization has become so inert, so ineffectual with only an interim executive director, Laurie Hasencamp, administratively holding down the fort that EQCA has become the hollow org – and no one seems to care.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, the Bay Area Reporter broke a story confirming that EQCA spokesperson and senior staffer Rebekah Orr is leaving next week. Orr has been the behind-the-scene voice of EQCA since joining the flailing organization on July 11, 2011 under then Executive Director Roland Palencia, who officially started his job six days earlier, on July 5. She served as the intermediary between Palencia and the LGBT press when serious questions were raised about the ED’s messaging skills as the California FAIR Act came under attack from the Religious Right. Since Palencia’s resignation effective Oct. 14, 2011, Orr has been the primary public face of EQCA, though Hasencamp did present a thank you on June 1 to the LA City Council for passing a Resolution supporting the EQCA-sponsored “ex-gay therapy” bill SB 1172, authored by State Sen. Ted Lieu.

This is pure speculation – but I can’t help but wonder if EQCA had seriously promoted SB 1172 – and worked with other state LGBT organizations similar bills in their areas – perhaps gays stymied during the Chick-fil-A controversy might have been able to point to this bill as something that helps repair the harm done by “ex-gay” organizations that the Chick-fil-A foundation WinShape funds.

Orr, who is joining Goodwin-Simon Strategic Research, told BAR that the organization’s board is no closer to naming a new, permanent ED. “The board is in the same position it has been in,” she told BAR, and is “going to take whatever time it needs to make the right choice.”

Editor's note: Another EQCA related article, not to miss:  Mission Drift at Gay Inc.

This post is all I have to say about the Chick-Fil-A controversy. It sums up various posts on the issue and various points made by my friends and I. From now own, rather than spend time debating this issue person by person, I’m going to point people here.

My hope here is to find common ground with those who have disagreed with me on the issue, and maybe to persuade. It’s not to ridicule or to best.

So, in the interest of common ground, let’s start here:  I acknowledge the absurdity of all this debate.

It’s definitely strange to have days-long Facebook debates flare up everywhere over a chicken sandwich. The anger, sarcasm, and hurt feelings on display seem strange or even laughable because most people have seen Chick-Fil-A as just a restaurant with a funny ad campaign. I’ll get into some of the whys and wherefores of that later. But, for now, let’s just say that, yes. It can seem ridiculous to get all worked up over fast-food chicken.

Let’s also agree that this isn’t about curtailing anyone’s rights under First Amendment. The Constitution is a legal document. This is not a legal argument. No one is arguing that Chik-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy should be put in prison, or silenced, or censored by the government. This has nothing to do with government censorship or government abridgment of Freedom of Speech. So don’t worry: the ability of this millionaire to legally spend his millions as he sees fit is not in jeopardy. You need not defend it.

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of things. Please read carefully. These things have been said before, but not by me, and not all in one place. Please read with an open mind. If you can’t read with an open mind, please leave, take a minute, come back, and try again. If you can’t do that, then please don’t bother. Please read all of the words here, rather than just reading half of the argument and assuming you know what I’m saying. Read these words as they are written. Again, if you don’t want to read my words, then don’t continue.

So here goes:

1. This isn’t simply about marriage. Shocker, right? It’s extremely frustrating that same-sex marriage is the great continental divide. People are judged according to how they stand on this issue, as if no other issue matters. Did you know that a person can be for same-sex marriage and still be homophobic? Did you know that a person can be against same-sex marriage and be gay? We all get categorized very quickly based on the marriage issue and maybe that’s not fair. But here’s what you should know:

- In 29 states in America today, my partner of 18 years, Cody, or I could be fired for being gay. Period. No questions asked. One of those states is Louisiana, our home state. We live in self-imposed exile from beloved homeland, family, and friends, in part, because of this legal restriction on our ability to live our lives together.

- In 75 countries in the world, being gay is illegal. In many, the penalty is life in prison. These are countries we can’t openly visit. In 9 countries, being gay is punishable by death. In many others, violence against gays is tacitly accepted by the authorities. These are countries where we would be killed. Killed.

- Two organizations that work very hard to maintain this status quo and roll back any protections that we may have are the Family Research Council and the Marriage & Family Foundation. For example, the Family Research council leadership has officially stated that same-gender-loving behavior should be criminalized in this country. They draw their pay, in part, from the donations of companies like Chick-Fil-A. Both groups have also done “missionary” work abroad that served to strengthen and promote criminalization of same-sex relations.

- Chick-Fil-A has given roughly $5M to these organizations to support their work.

- Chick-Fil-A’s money comes from the profits they make when you purchase their products.

2. This isn’t about mutual tolerance because there’s nothing mutual about it. If we agree to disagree on this issue, you walk away a full member of this society and I don’t. There is no “live and let live” on this issue because Dan Cathy is spending millions to very specifically NOT let me live. I’m not trying to do that to him.

Asking for “mutual tolerance” on this like running up to a bully beating a kid to death on the playground and scolding them both for not getting along. I’m not trying to dissolve Mr. Cathy’s marriage or make his sex illegal. I’m not trying to make him a second-class citizen, or get him killed. He’s doing that to me, folks; I’m just fighting back.

All your life, you’re told to stand up to bullies, but when WE do it, we’re told WE are the ones being intolerant? Well, okay. Yes. I refuse to tolerate getting my ass kicked. “Guilty as charged.”

But what are you guilty of? When you see a bully beating up a smaller kid and you don’t take a side, then you ARE taking a side. You’re siding with the bully. And when you cheer him on, you’re revealing something about your own character that really is a shame.

3. This isn’t about Jesus. I have a lot of Christian friends. Most of them are of the liberal variety, it’s true, but even this concept seems lost on some of you. Most of them are pro-LGBT rights. Pro-gay and Pro-Christ are NOT mutually exclusive. They never have been, in the history of Christianity, though it’s been difficult at times. It’s not impossible to be both.

If someone is telling you it is, then maybe you should wonder why they’d do that. I see divorced Christians, remarried Christians, drug addict Christians. I see people with WWJD bracelets bumping and grinding on TV and raking in millions to do it. I see greedy, rapacious, vengeful people who are Christians. And these people are accepted in the Church, and the Church does very little to combat them. Sometimes it seems like being gay is the ONLY thing certain modern Christian movements won’t allow. Why’s that, I wonder?

Jesus had almost nothing to say about sexual behavior of any kind. He was too busy teaching more important things. Empathy is at the heart of his teachings. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Remember that? It’s in red. So let’s examine that:

4. If things were reversed, I’d stand up for you.

Please think about this: How would you feel if KFC came out tomorrow and said they were spending money against equality for Asian Americans, or African Americans, or religious people? Really. Think about it. What would you do? How would you feel? How would you feel if, after their announcement, there was a big increase in KFC sales and I was all over Facebook supporting KFC. Please stop reading right now and imagine this. I’m serious.

You can stop now because it’s ludicrous. It would never happen.

Oh, I don’t mean the part about KFC being against some group. That COULD happen. I mean the part about me supporting them. Let me tell you something, and you can damn well believe it: I’d sign on for the boycott IMMEDIATELY.

Why? Well, because I believe in equality for all people, that’s why. But also, personally, from the bottom of my heart: because you are my friend, and I don’t willingly support people who harm you for just being you. How could I? How could I, really? But, more importantly for our purposes, how could you?

Seriously, how could you? What has Chick-Fil-A ever done for you? Sold you some fatty chicken at a ridiculous mark-up? Made you chuckle at semi-literate cartoon cows? You mean more to me than KFC possibly could. If I, in turn, don’t mean more to you than a chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A–if my life, my quality of life, and my dignity are such afterthoughts to you that you’d not only refuse the boycott, but go out of your way to support someone who was hurting me? if I let this stand, if I don’t stand up to the bullies and if I let my friends egg the bullies on, what does that make me?

Well, it makes me a Chikin.

Yeah, so suddenly it is cause for anger, ridiculous or not.

But I’m not going to stop being Facebook friends with anyone over this issue.

Instead, I will remain. And, when you see my face with my partner’s in my profile, maybe you will examine not simply what your opinions are about gay people, or gay marriage, or the first amendment, even; maybe you’ll  examine not merely your opinions but your values. What is friendship to you? What is loyalty? How important are human life and dignity to you? Are they more important than fitting in with your social group? Are they more important than loyalty to a corporate brand, or a political party, or some misguided church teaching?

That’s why we’re so angry. This is personal for us. There are times in your life when you have the opportunity to stand up for your friends. When you let that opportunity pass, your friends notice. It doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, but it diminishes you, and it diminishes the friendship. That’s how it is, no matter what the issue or what the venue.

So stand up. Stand up for us. Do the right thing. You don’t have to agree with us on everything, but repudiate Chick-Fil-A. Unlike them on Facebook. Withdraw your support for them. Join us in the boycott. If you can’t do that, then please ask yourself whether I’m your friend. In fact, ask yourself whether anyone is.

This is all I have to say. If you’d like to debate the issue further, I’ll do it, but I’m not going to go around and around on the same points. If you’re just going to repeat yourself, save us both some time. If you haven’t taken the time to actually read this carefully and actually consider carefully what I’ve said, then I see no reason to waste further words.

The ball is in your court. Again, I urge you to do the right thing.

Gay Animals

I've been hiding from all the controversy lately. Well, not so much hiding as just ignoring it, or trying my best to anyway. I had a huge realization on my drive home from work today. I recently had a friend tell me that they are liking animals much more than gay people lately. Even though it was said about a week ago, it really hit me today. I guess you could say the profoundness of it finally sank in.

In this lovely valley that we call home, there has been a lot of drama, for lack of better terminology. Whether it be about chicken, kissing, organizations splitting, fundraisers, what have you. I'm so done with all of it. I seriously want to walk away from my life as a gay activist and become a more avid animal activist. It would appear to be time better spent. Let me explain.

First point: With as limited as funds are, have you ever seen an animal shelter tell the public to donate to them instead of a person who rescues animals from there home? Um, no. Why? Because they believe in the act of saving lives, educating the public about animal responsibility and general animal welfare. Who cares who's getting the money as long as the greater good and ultimate goals are being accomplished. Different groups do different things and would have strong points and abilities others might not. Individuals should be encouraged to spread their money around for a more diverse way of helping their cause or community. Who cares who's a non-profit, not for profit or even a for profit? The bottom line is, believe in the work that whatever group does and support them, regardless.

Secondly: Have you ever seen animal shelters fighting over who gives the best care to the animals? Have you ever seen animal shelters competing for all of the animals? Again, no. In a world that has so many different shelters, rescues, groups etc. They ALL completely work TOGETHER. Why is the gay community so opposed to this mindset? Within the animal world, you have no kill shelters, high kill shelters, breed specific shelters and so on. Are we really that different? We have groups that are gay, lesbian, transgender, bears, political, social and so on. Why do we find it so difficult to communicate, get along and work as one cohesive unit for all of our greater good? It baffles me. I was at the shelter the other day and saw another shelter loading their truck with a ton of dogs to transport and try and help. This happens so rarely in our community and if it does, there's a clique and sometimes that means others are left out. We should be embracing EVERY organization, person or group who is wanting to lend a hand. Period. Stop acting like "your kind" are the enemies, we have much bigger foes and injustices to fend off.

Third point: You will never find an animal complaining about helping them or the manner in which you helped them. If you stood on a corner and kissed for hours, even if you accomplished very little, that animal would have nothing but gratitude for what you tried to do for them. They would never chastise you, degrade you, harm you, etc. You would be greeted with enthusiastic, unconditional love. You will never find an animal complain about being stuck bored in a cage the entire day but not leave its cage when allowed. You can bet that animal would be bursting with energy and appreciation. An animal never takes a human for granted. They appreciate the small things, even something as simple as tossing a ball can mean the world to them. I think we can often get caught up in life and so many things are taken for granted. I hear people all the time complaining about how there is never anything going on. They just so happen to be the same people I never see out at community events. There are some great organizations in the valley that do great things for this community. Take advantage of that, support that. I also don't think the general public is aware how much work is involved in putting on those events, protesting for that cause, etc. There are countless hours involved. Time away from family, loss of sleep, frustration, stress and so much more. I'm not specifically talking about me, there are so many people that do so much for the gay community. So many organizations and groups who work countless hours to make our lives a little bit better, a little bit safer, a little bit brighter. Let's not forget those people. Say thank you now and again. Remind them why they do what they do.

Lastly, I think there is a lot we can learn from the animal kingdom and those who support it. We need to have MORE togetherness and LESS infighting. We all care about the same thing, we just have different ways of doing it. Respect that. Show appreciation for all that is done for this community. Get out there and help. Volunteer, bring new ideas to the table, get involved and make a difference. Animals don't have a voice but you do. Don't take that for granted.

With love, respect, admiration and hope…

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In 2008, Connecticut’s Supreme Court made the Granite State the second in the country to offer equal marriage to all citizens.

In 2012, voters overwhelmingly approve of that decision, according to a recent poll from Public Policy Polling.

Connecticut citizens endorse the equality law by an enormous 55-33 margin, which balloons to 68-18 for those under 30.

See the Full Story at Think Progress

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When Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told a reporter that he supported the “biblical definition of the marriage unit,” it was a shot heard ’round the world. In addition to the reactions from activist groups and non-activist consumers, corporations large and small have jumped into the fray by showing their support of marriage equality. But will such demonstrations hurt their bottom line?

Good politics or bad business?

Value-focused consumerism is not a new concept. Environmentally conscious consumers drove the proliferation of natural and organic products. Socially responsible investors actively search for stocks that meet their screening qualifications. A company’s policies, lobbying activities, and conservative or liberal leanings, once made public, are all fair game for customers and investors who care about such things. (And some don’t.)

In the days following the Chick-fil-A episode, Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife pledged $2.5 million toward the fight to legalize gay marriage in Washington state. General Mills (NYS: GIS) CEO Ken Powell has publicly stated the company is against a gay marriage ban up for vote in Minnesota, saying the ban is not in the best interests of the company’s employees or Minnesota’s economy. And Target, (NYS: TGT) , which from the earliest days has positioned itself as a community-focused chain, has launched a series of ads welcoming same-sex couples to the company’s wedding registry.

Authored By Molly McClusky – See the Full Story at Daily Finance

After pressure earlier this week from Rep. Nancy Pelosi and a coalition of more than 80 Democrats, Homeland Security says it will consider the partner status of gay potential deportees. Chris Geidner reports at Buzzfeed:

The department has issued a new policy governing the issuances of “Notice to Appear” documents, which is the step that starts removal proceedings, which can lead to deportation. The new policy will put the policies of U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services — which considers green card applications — in alignment with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement policies for “low priority” enforcement cases, according to the department — which means that USCIS won’t likely issue the notices unless other negative factors, like a criminal record, are found. A spokesman did not respond to an immediate request for a copy of the policy.

See the Full Story at Joe.My.God

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A billboard posted by a dating website expressing support for same-sex marriage was “unintentionally” placed adjacent a Florida Catholic Church, says the creator of the dating website.

Greg Hodge, creator and managing director of beautifulpeople.com, had billboards posted in communities like Clearwater, Fla., to promote support for same-sex marriage and the new LGBT versions of his dating site.

These posters featured notable public figures in doctored photos; one of these billboards was placed right next to St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Hodge told The Christian Post that the move was “unintentional.”

Authored By Michael Gryboski – See the Full Story at the Christian Post

This Saturday marks the two year anniversary of AFER’s first major legal victory. On August 4, 2010, the Federal District Court in California ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

A lot has happened since then. And now that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld that 2010 ruling, the case is headed to the US Supreme Court.

 

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The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage fervently hides its 501(c)(4) donors, but still has to disclose the donors to its Education Fund (the Ruth Institute), its 501(c)(3). Last year, ThinkProgress reported that NOM had received $500,000 from Douglas DeVos, president of the Amway company. Fred Karger, fresh off the presidential campaign trail, has launched a boycott of Amway and all other subsidiaries owned by the DeVos family. In his letter to DeVos, Karger invited Amway to settle the boycott by donating comparable funds to LGBT equality organizations so as to be ”a good corporate citizen and work toward full equality, fairness and respect for everyone in our great country.”

It was warm, but not as hot as it had been all week. When I arrived a crowd was just starting to build but by the end of the protest there had been well over 200 hundred people participating. In a community like Fresno that says alot! We are an agricultural based community and tend to keep to ourselves. Things like gay marriage and equality are hot buttons even in here. The support for this event was amazing. It was electrical and energized. The best part is people on both sides were polite. Nothing got out of hand. - Audra Taylor


Media coverage:

KSEE NBC 24KMPH Fox 26KFSN ABC 30, KGPE CBS 47, Fresno Bee, The Business Journal, CNN iReport, KMJ 580 AM.


Photos:

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428 photos available to view

Videos:

The large crowd still out, after the "official" event had concluded:


Interview with members of Friday's protest:



Interview with a gentleman who opposes the protest:



Q & A with those who came out to dine on Wednesday and why they say they did:


As seen on facebook:

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See many more comments and reactions (both pro and con) on the facebook event page.



Follow us on twitter @GayFresno and Get on our monthly event newletter.

We welcome your comments, below. Both for and against this event.

When President Barack Obama said same-sex couples should have the right to marry, it was national news for a few days before the presidential campaign and the country went back to business as usual.

Yet weeks after a fast-food executive doubled down on his opposition to gay marriage, debate rages on about equality, religious values and free speech. "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" on Wednesday, with supporters flooding the chain's franchises around the country, was countered with "kiss-ins" by same-sex couples at assorted locations Friday, long after Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy's initial comments to a religious publication touched off the clash.

That's an unusual amount of staying power for what initially looked like just another skirmish over a hot-button question.

Coursing throughout the conversations on social media, in letters to the editor and in long lines to buy chicken sandwiches is the sense among proud Southerners that the outcry over Cathy's comments smacks of regional stereotyping. When public officials in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago tell a Southern icon such as Chick-fil-A that it's no longer welcome, and that Cathy should keep his opinions to himself, many in the Atlanta-based chain's home region hear more than a little northern condescension.

"Maybe the reaction is just because we're Southerners," said Rose Mason, who was lunching Friday at a Chick-fil-A in suburban Atlanta.

Mason, who described herself as Christian, said she grew up in New York City. Now, she said, "I deal with my sister telling me we're a little backward. People have this idea that we're just behind on everything. So they view anything we say through that (perception)."

Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist whose family has always been outspoken about its faith, sparked the controversy by telling the Baptist Press that he and his family-owned restaurant chain are "guilty as charged" for openly — and financially — supporting groups that advocate for "the biblical definition of a family unit." He later added that the United States is "inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage."

 

Continue reading

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The Human Rights Campaign has compiled a searchable database of where members of Congress stand on marriage equality, and it indicates Congress’s support lags that of the public.

A total of 181 Congress members — 36 senators and 145 representatives — are supportive; they account for 34% of the body’s membership. In contrast, recent polls have indicated that more than 50% of Americans support gay couples’ right to marry.

“It’s time for more of our leaders to get on the right side of history,” said HRC president Chad Griffin in announcing the database.

Authored By Trudy Ring – See the Full Story at The Advocate

My name is Barbara Strauss. I am a 25 year old straight Christian. I went today to apologize for how the church and "Christians" treat the gay community. You are all amazingly strong and encourage me. You face more adversity in a single day than I will probably face in my entire life. I look up to you all in awe and am proud to have met the people I met today! I love your kindness and love and would love to start volunteering every week. Thank you for standing up in a world that is trying to make you sit down!

 

We at Gay Fresno asked for contributions from those who attended the Chick fil A action today. ·Here is one of them, if you'd like to tell us about your experience at the event, write us.

You might recall last month we reported on a new study that claimed that kids were worse off with gay parents.

At the time, a number of us noted that the study didn't appear to have anything to do with gay parenting at all - in fact, it's not entirely clear if the study looked at more than two gay parents in toto.

Well, the scientifically journal that published the study launched an internal audit to review whether the study was approved in the appropriate manner.  They found, in their own words, that the study itself is "bullsh-t."

Chronicle of Higher Education:

The peer-review process failed to identify significant, disqualifying problems with a controversial and widely publicized study that seemed to raise doubts about the parenting abilities of gay couples, according to an internal audit scheduled to appear in the November issue of the journal, Social Science Research, that published the study.

The highly critical audit, a draft of which was provided to The Chronicle by the journal’s editor, also cites conflicts of interest among the reviewers, and states that “scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.”
Like Regnerus, the editor of Social Science Research, James D. Wright, has been at the receiving end of an outpouring of anger over the paper. At the suggestion of another scholar, Wright, a professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida, assigned a member of the journal’s editorial board—Darren E. Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale—to examine how the paper was handled.

Sherkat was given access to all the reviews and correspondence connected with the paper, and was told the identities of the reviewers. According to Sherkat, Regnerus’s paper should never have been published. His assessment of it, in an interview, was concise: “It’s bullshit,” he said.
Sherkat goes on to explain that the peer reviewers had conflicts of interest and that he believes the study's author, Mark Regnerus, is pushing a political agenda:
Sherkat considers Regnerus to be “a bright young scholar,” and, years ago, he wrote a letter of recommendation for him. Sherkat believes that Regnerus, whom he has known for two decades, made a decision to push a conservative political agenda in his academic work a number of years ago, and that this paper is evidence of it

See the Full Story at AmericaBlog

 

prop8Supporters of California’s “Proposition 8,” a ballot measure adopted by voters four years ago to ban same-sex marriage in the state, urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to uphold the ban and thus put it back into full effect. The petition and appendix (a file of nearly 500 pages) are HERE.

The document raised a single question: whether the Constitution’s guarantee in the Fourteenth Amendment of legal equality prohibited California from “defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court split 2-1 in early February in striking down the proposition, finding that it was motivated by hostility to gays and lesbians. The filing of the petition by “Proposition 8″ backers completed a round of new appeals to the Justices on same-sex marriage issues. The other new cases involve the constitutionality of the 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, that permits federal benefits only for marriages of a man and a woman.

Presumably, the cases will be ready for the Court to consider later this summer or early in the new Term that starts October 1. While there is no guarantee that any of the cases will be granted, it seems highly likely that at least some of them will be. The Court has never decided, after full review, a case on gay marriage. It also has never specified the constitutional test to be applied to laws that are claimed to discriminate on the basis of sexual identity.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas Nammour, founder of Nick’s Mixed Drinks. I had originally heard about Nick in terms of his charity work associated with his mixology business. I must admit I was skeptical. Mixology? Charity driven drink naming contests? After a few emails and some Facebook chat, I met up with Nick, along with his boyfriend, in the Tower Starbucks so he could explain how it all comes together.

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Nick, a bubbly friendly guy who is more apt to hug you hello then shake your hand, gets downright giddy when talking about his passion: mixology. “For years I have been mixing drinks for my friends,” he says with a smile, “I love making someone a drink and having them go ‘WOW!’, it makes me happy to make other people happy.”

What, I asked, is mixology? How is it different from bartending? They are similar, he assured me…. But mixology takes the whole process to the next level and is all about being tailored to the taste preference of the consumer. Bartending is making drinks, Mixology is creating drinks, and can be done on a very personal level.

And to Nick, making drinks is personal. He thrives on the connection that a drink maker should have with the consumer. “If you are serving drinks,” again with his ever present smile, “you are part therapist part provider. You want people to have a good time, but to be healthy and safe.” For Nick that means listening to what people want, knowing how to interpret that into a drink they will love, and being patient as they try new things. It also means sometimes telling them “no” (like the guy who wanted meat in his drink) and being TIPS certified. TIPs is Training in Intoxicated Persons and covers knowing how to help people who might otherwise have problems and being aware of the health needs of the consumers. For example, an old bartender trick of pouring weaker drinks as the night goes on for those who might not know their limits. “More flavor, less alcohol, plenty of water. I want them to remember the awesome drinks I made.”

Again, it isn’t just about mixing ingredients to Nick, it is about the overall taste experience. He uses organic locally grown fruit as his garnishes, makes drinks on a theme, and has built a business, Nick’s Mixed Drinks, doing so. He told me excitedly about the upcoming wedding he would be facilitating. He will be creating a few brand new drinks just for the occasion and they will all have wedding themed names.

By working weddings, retirement parties, fundraises, and other events in the LA area where he is located, Nick’s Mixed Drinks is catching on and has quickly gotten a reputation for being a sign of good taste and guaranteed good times.

So, how does any of this relate to charity? When a new drink is created, it needs a name. What more fun way to name a drink than to have a drink naming contest? But wait, it gets better. The winner not only gets the bragging rights of naming a delightful new drink, but they get to pick the charity that all proceeds and tips from the sale of that newly named drink will go to.

Most recently, a new drink was named Arabian Nights Nick will donate all future tips from that drink to The Children’s Hospital. Another recent drink, the Lady Lupus, inspired by Lady GaGa, will support the Lupus Foundation. There is even an LGBT drink name in the works (all very hush hush until it gets announced in September with dramatics and flair). All proceeds and tips of that drink will go to support a local LGBT Community Center.

Nick is big on following your passion, finding what makes you happy and finding a way to make it work. The fact that he can support some of his favorite charities while making people drinks that they love, well, he will be the first to tell you that he is doing exactly what he wants with his life.

Of course, any business could use expansion… and Nick is quick to point out that he doesn’t mind coming to Fresno for events. His business cards are proudly on display at our community center and he is available for events, fund raisers, or private parties

“Cocktails came from Prohibition.” He tells me, “People were making gin in the bathtub and it tasted awful, so you added fruit and other stuff.” We’ve come a long way from those sorts of experiments, now the mixing and flavor combinations are done with precision and almost scientific intensity. “It’s a serious thing, to create a new drink,” he says, “But it is a fun process and the rewards are totally worth it… for that ‘Wow!’ moment.”

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For more information you can visit Nick’s Mixed Drinks. on Facebook or email Nick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fresno State GLBTQ+ Alumni & Friends Reception in San Francisco!

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Fri. Sept. 2nd • 6 - 8:00 PM
Anzu at Hotel Nikko • 222 Mason St. • San Francisco

Peter Robertson and Thomas Gaffery invite you to join Fresno State GLBTQ+ Alumni & Friends for a two-hour reception at Anzu located in the Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco, adjacent to Union Square. Free admission. No-host beverages, full-menu available.

This reception is being held the evening prior to "Battle by the Bay," where the Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Cal Golden State Bears at Candlestick Park.

Remember fun times. Celebrate diversity. Reminisce about the struggles and successes. Re-connect with class mates. And, recall fond memories of our alma mater, Fresno State!

(Golden Gate Bridge photo by Tony Crapo, Class of 2000. Used by permission).

FIND US ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=113979952024374

Happy Friday!

It is the last weekend of August and many of our readers are back in school. Real quick, HAPYY NEW SCOOL YEAR to all the students out there. I know the transition back to the grind can be both thrilling and, at times, overwhelming. Keep your chins up and check out this article that tells you how all those “naughty” study habits might actually be good for you!

Ok, moving on… here are a few notes about the LGBT news for this week.

A Republican Indiana State Representative is refusing to resign after getting caught in a same-sex sex scandal. He maintains that he isn’t gay, and that he doesn’t know why he arranged via Craigslist to meet a young man in a hotel where he exposed himself… He has said he won’t seek reelection.

Trends of same sex couples reporting for state agencies and census beures continue to surprise. From CNN: a 50% increase in {reported} same-sex couples since 2000. This link will take you to the article as well as other stories that are more state specific.

As you probably already know, Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of apple leaving the way paved for Tim Cook who was “outted” earlier this year on numerous tech blogs.

A follow up on the Facebook/Teacher/Rant/Free Speech drama we talked about on this blog earlier this week. The school board has found that teacher, Jerry Buell, was not in violation of their code of ethics. He must comply to a list of directives before returning to his teaching position. (The directives are not going to be made public, but one can hope they include sensitivity training.)

The change in policy for immigration of same sex couples is mostly good news for the LGBT community.

A good article detailing why it isn’t always good when a (presidential candidate) politician remains mum on certain issues…

Some disquieting statistics from the Advocate: “According to a report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released in July, transgender women of color experienced hate violence far disproportionate to their actual numbers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected community. People of color represented 70% of all LGBT-bias-related murder victims in 2010, and some 44% of LGBT murder victims were transgender women. “

But in happier news, gay marriage comes to the gaming world.

Lastly.. if you are like me and have a huge crush on Jane Lynch, you are avidly looking forward to her return as Sue Sylvester on Glee, her hosting of the Emmy’s, and her new book! See the promos and more here!

That’s all for me. Have a fun, and safe, weekend!

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It's not supposed to last

But it’s not supposed to stop

So soon

So shockingly

 

It’s been so long now

It can be difficult to find someone to talk to

Someone who understands

I don’t want to explain it

To someone who wasn’t there

I don’t want to paint a picture

With colors that illustrate nothing

That expose nothing

Colors only visible to those

With glasses

I don’t want a watered down moment

Replacing substance

 

But day by day there are less

Those that feel the chasm

To have so much removed

At such an age

It's ugly

 

I was...

We were...

Unprepared

 

To be bathed in plague

Misunderstood

Something none of us felt

Before

 

Now miles away

I revisit my path

And find it

Occasionally crumbling

 

So many voices

Gone

They should be

Here

 

I have washed

But cleansings

Are fragile

And repeatedly

Temporary

Well, it’s been less than a year, but Gay Central Valley’s Fresno LGBT Community Center has already outgrown our space…so we’re moving, but not too far.

As of September 1st, 2011 the Fresno LGBT Community Center will be moving to a larger office space in the same building. We’ll still be on the first floor, just down the hall, in Suite A.

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Our new address, as of September 1st, 2011 is

Fresno LGBT Community Center

1055 N Van Ness Avenue

Suite A

Fresno, CA  93728

559-325-4GAY or 559-325-4429

 

Our new office will provide with a much larger public space up front and 2 separate offices behind that. One office will house the Gay Central Valley's base of operations and the other office will be for guests and visitors, meetings, etc. We will also be adding a TV to our new space so that videos and DVD’s can be viewed. The new office has a large storage area so that we can continue to expand our media lending library.

We are seeking donations for the new space besides our continuing effort to expand our media library. We are in need of more seating, pillows & tables for the public space. We are in desperate need of more brochure racks and magazine holders. We are also looking a microwave oven donation.

Our new space will facilitate more social and network gatherings. On Tuesday, September 27th we will be hosting a Health Fair which will include tabling by local organizations and free HIV testing through the Fresno County Dept. of Health Mobile Unit, which will be on site for the day to provide those services. For that event we will be open from 9AM-4PM and will provide free lunch and refreshments. Anyone wishing to participate in this event, please click on the above link for more information.

We have also started a new Facebook group titled Central Valley HIV/AIDS Education & Awareness, in hopes of bringing together a forum of knowledge and information around the topic of HIV & AIDS in the Central Valley. Please feel free to join, post relevant notices and links, and invite others who can expand the voice of this very important issue.

We will continue to have regularly scheduled events such as Strings & Things and Community Book Groups. We are working to expand those events and welcome any suggestions and organizational assistance in those efforts.

As always, although the Community Center is currently staffed and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, we are always open and available 7 days a week for groups and organizations to hold meetings and events. Simply contact us for scheduling.

Moving into a new, larger space has caused our rent to almost double from what it currently is. Since we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit, we rely on fundraisers and donations to maintain our operating budget. There are many ways to contribute…simply visit our Donation Page

Gay Central Valley is excited about expanding the Fresno LGBT Community Center less than a year after opening our doors. We thank the community for your continued support and promise to work to bring you more exciting and educational events in the coming months.

I mentioned it on Friday, but have you been following the story of the teacher who found himself under fire for a recent Facebook quote?

The status,: “"I'm watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about the New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up." was listed on his personal page.

The school officials received a complaint and immediately began looking into whether or not his post violated their code of ethics. The teacher was reassigned while the investigation continues.

Here’s the thing.

This is an individual who has a personal opinion which he expressed on the “privacy” of his own personal Facebook wall. We don’t know if his page was accessible to his students or not.

What he said turns my stomach. What he said is bigoted, rude, demeaning, and stupid. But just like I have the right to say what I just said, he has the right to say what he said.

It isn’t always easy, but don’t we have to accept that in our free society, we have to allow bigots and dumb asses to say their piece?

Sort of, back to that in a second.

Let’s look at a similar thing. Recently there has been a rash of celebrities spouting homophobic, hate filled rants geared against the LGBT+ community. From Tracey Jordan and Adam Carolla’s “comedic” rants to pro athletes and actors using the word “gay” and “faggot” as insults, these incidents usually have the following life span.

Celebrity shoots his/her mouth off.

TMZ or other media sources light up like Christmas trees and the story goes viral

Organizations like GLADD call for an apology.

Facebook statuses around the county abound with anger, sadness, and tirades galore. People talk about boycotting or protesting. Bloggers wax poetic or deliver their own rants.

Celebrity, though publicist, issues an apology usually containing phrases like “I never meant to hurt anyone…” or “I’m just a comedian…”

Organizations like GLADD call the apology “hallow” or “empty” etc

The news cycle finds some new and even more sensational story to dwell on.

Rinse and Repeat

Now, along with most of you who read this, I stand alongside GLADD when they ask for the apologies from the celebrities.

We ask for an apology when they use demeaning language, when they use “gay” as an insult, when they step over the line of decency. We call celebrities out on such behavior because they are supposed to be role models, because they influence people, because they have a higher level of responsibility to project positivity into the world.

Of course, they have the right to say what they say, and we have the right to ask for the apology.

But this is really important to remember: they have the right to not apologize.

Usually they go ahead and make the public statement of remorse. Celebrities have a vested interest in keeping themselves on the “good” side of public opinion.

But let’s not forget that some celebrities don’t apologize. To my knowledge Bill Maher hasn’t apologized to the Catholic Church or NOM despite their offense at many of his comments.  NOM certainly hasn’t apologized for the rampant lies that they told during the Prop  8 campaign.

Maybe that is why the apology of a celebrity so often rings hallow. We collectively know that they are in some way pandering to someone most, if not all, of the time. We know that those in power, those with influence use their words to maintain it, reenergize it, or to just plain get attention.

Which brings us back to the school teacher in Florida. When asked if he would apologize, he maintained his right to express his opinion. He is quoted as saying that his status wasn’t hateful, it was just sharing his personal beliefs.

And a lot of people agree with him and his sentiments.

This is where it gets murky. Should this man potentially lose his job because he spoke his mind?

If we punish him, don’t we have to punish anyone who says anything that someone finds offensive?

I personally struggle with this. I abhor what he said, but I do feel he has the right to say it.

Except…

Except he is a teacher. He is highly influential to his students. He is in a position of power and thus should be held to a higher standard.

The law is slow to catch up to the issue of Facebook, but harassment laws for years have struggled with this issue. As far as I can ascertain, the rules break down like this. Those in positions of authority, even when off duty, must be aware of their influence and their responsibility to protect others from the perception of harassment. This means that since he is a teacher, he shouldn’t go on Facebook and spout anti LGBT, anti Semitic, or anti African American rhetoric unless he has a reasonable expectation that none of his coworkers or subordinates will have access to it and thus be potentially offended.

Again, he can say what he wants, as long as he has the reasonable expectation that his co workers or subordinates won’t hear it.

Right or wrong, we are basically living in a world of limited free speech… Your ability to engage in free speech is limited by your position of authority , power, or influence.

Which basically means that we have different rules or expectations for different people.

Again, I struggle with this. I understand the idea behind “holding them to a higher level of responsibility due to their higher level of influence,” but it still smacks of inequality.

Of course these types of stratified levels of inappropriateness are tied into the anti-bullying laws. You do have the right to say you think all gay people are evil sinners who should burn in hell if you are a pastor, a protester, or a politician. (People might ask for an apology; you don’t have to give it.)  But you don’t have the right to say you think all gay people are evil sinners who should burn in hell if you are a teacher and you are saying it to your students, or to your student’s parents, or to your coworkers… You could, of course say it privately to your friends. Or even publically as long as you were sure none of your students, your student’s parents, or your coworkers were likely to hear it.

Is that muddled enough for you?

Any of you can hold a sign at a gay man’s funeral and harass the mourners, but if you want to make a blurb on your Facebook page spouting bigotry and hate, you better be damn sure you aren’t in a position of power, authority, or influence.

Weird.

But sort of understandable.

We need to have the right to speak out against things we find disgusting. We need to challenge the status quo and fight for new rights and changes in tradition. However, in guaranteeing us this right, we have to allow others to have the right to argue their side, to shout out heralds for the olden days, to call us sinners, etc

But, we have a social contract. We have the expectation that at work and at school we will be in a safe place where we won’t be shouted down, where we won’t have to live in fear.

We give up a bit of our freedom, to ensure that safe place.

Which is why this particular issue with the teacher strikes a chord. He violated that safe place by bringing in his outside opinions.

Or, he may have. Again we aren’t sure if his Facebook was accessible to his students, which would of course add weight one way or the other to the outcome.

Only time will tell… and we will be watching.

The 22nd Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival is less than a month away. This year, the film festival runs from Wednesday, September 14th through Sunday, September 18th.

TowerTheaterReelPride_Home

Reel Pride is the sixth oldest gay and lesbian film festival in America. Presented in the landmark historic Art Deco Tower Theatre and the intimate Starline Lounge in Fresno's historic Tower District, Reel Pride has matured into one of Central California's largest cultural events. Each year with five days and over fifty films, the  film festival presents movies that can't be found in your local multiplex and appearances by filmmakers and stars, signature events, receptions and parties.

It's Central California's most popular gay and lesbian event: Five days of films for everyone to enjoy... a premiere cultural event in central California attracting thousands of attendees to its five-day festival of international features, documentaries, and short films.

After looking over the films to be offered this year, I can honestly say that you'll find it difficult to remember a year in Fresno Reel Pride history that will compare to the roster of films on tap for this year. It's a varied and well chosen festival of entertainment.

The Reel Pride Film Festival for 2011 includes...

 

"Dirty Girl"

When the local bad girl gets paired with a lonely gay boy, sparks fly, wheels spin, and the good times roll!

                          

 

HIV/AIDS Documentary "We Were Here"

WE WERE HERE documents what was called the “Gay Plague” as it hit San Francisco in the early 1980s.

                

 

"Finding Identity" Youth Shorts Program

The kids are all right in this inspiring collection of short films showcasing the everyday issues and triumphs tackled by LGBT youth around the world.


Women's Centerpiece "Hannah & The Hasbian"

Hannah gave up everything to be with Breigh: her family, her religion, and men. But now Breigh’s decided she wants to go straight – as in hetero – and Hannah’s left wondering: WTF?


"Romeos"

Lukas is a young transgender man who moves to Cologne to study and work in the big city.

   

 

"Leave It On The Floor"

Get ready to get down with this modern mix of PARIS IS BURNING and RENT.

 

"This Is What Love In Action Looks Like"

Closeted 16 year-old teen Zach Stark's worst fears came true in 2005, when his parents sent him to a camp run by the ex-gay Christian reform group ‘Love In Action’ against his will.

 

Men's Centerpiece "Going Down In LA LA Land"

Attractive young gay man moves to L.A. seeking his big break in showbiz, while living with his best friend, a straight woman who spends her time shopping and chasing men

 

"Gun Hill Road"

When Enrique returns home to Gun Hill Road after a three year prison sentence, he finds his family transformed.

 

 

"Circumstance"

Atafeh and Shireen are best friends and rebellious teenage girls exploring Tehran’s underground art and music scene and their own burgeoning sexuality—including their feelings for one another.

 

Please visit the Fresno Reel Pride Website for all the details on this year's monumental event.

Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival Links...

Fresno Reel Pride Mailing List

Fresno Reel Pride Press Inquiries

Fresno Reel Pride Volunteer Information

Reel Pride Membership Information

hivaidstestingday2011a

September 27 marks the third annual National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), a national initiative to focus attention on the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS in the gay community in the United States.

Gay Central Valley's LGBT Community Center will be OPEN on Tuesday, September 27th from 9AM-4PM in honor of this day. (We will be located in our NEW office at that time. Same building, but we'll be in Suite A at 1055 N Van Ness Ave in Fresno as of Sept 1st. Suite A is an expansion from our current location, which will allow us to expand our offerings to the community).

The Fresno County Dept of Health will have their Mobile HIV Testing Unit just outside our offices for the entire day, offering FREE HIV testing to anyone requesting it.

Inside the Fresno LGBT Community Center, we'll offer a variety of free health information and brochures, free condoms, tabling & advice from a variety of local health organizations & complimentary lunch and refreshments.

Please contact the Fresno LGBT Community Center at 559-325-4429 or email Chris Jarvis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read my blog at www.kenego.com

email comments or question to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Two of the most hotly followed topics seem to be colliding.  Gay and Immigration rights rarely intersect.  However, it should be noted that, in the past, organizers of both causes have come together to show a united front.  This is all about to change though.  Recent developments seem to be bringing these issues within striking distance of each other.  As a gay immigrant I could not be more delighted.

I am constantly in a two-front war.  Either I have to dodge anti-immigrant or anti-gay legislature and rhetoric.  And the victories seem to come in small increments but only to remind me that my other important cause is being left behind.  Rarely do I get a victory that advances both causes.

Late last week it was revealed that Obama has instructed the Department of Homeland Security, which overseas U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency in charge of deportations, to exercise discretion when determining which cases to prosecute.  It was revealed that the Government will seek to focus on those immigrants who pose a threat to national security.  This means that individuals who do not fall under that category may have their cases dismissed or set aside indefinitely.

Another recent development is the Department of Justice declaration that it can no longer defend the indefensible (Defense of Marriage Act).

These two recent developments will almost certainly require that Immigration Judges set aside any deportation proceedings in cases involving bi-national gay couples (especially if the non-citizen is considered a non-threat to national security).

This is evident by ICE’s decision to close the case involving a San Francisco gay couple.  This will allow Alex Benshimol and Douglas Gentry to stay together.  You can read the story here.   Yet another example is the case of Violeta Pando and her Mexican national wife Sujey.  Colorado Judge Mimi Tsankov halted the deportation case entirely.  You can read the Advocate’s story by clicking on this link.

While a sweeping and definitive win would be ideal I still celebrate the incremental victories.

DOMA, with its obviously bigoted intent, should have been repealed a long time ago.  Never has a law been so out of touch with its “intended” purpose.  How is it that a law that is supposed to defend marriage does not address the number one threat to marriage – divorce?  Neither the law nor its defenders have ever identified how it is that gay marriage is a threat to opposite sex marriage.

For government to have on its books a law that does nothing more than to inscribe into law religiously fueled bias is utterly un-democratic.

For all of those who cry patriotism and who self describe as conservative.  I ask them to take a look at DOMA and explain to me, or themselves at the very least.  How is it that you can stand for small government, freedom of religion, and liberty and justice for all and yet defend a law that spits on the face of every single one of those constitutional pillars?  DOMA is un-American.  And it is time that conservatives recognized this.

Happy Friday!

Are you all set for tonight’s Art Potluck at the Center? How about the North Tower Circle’s Bewitching Night Fundraiser? Need more? How about tomorrow’s LGBT themed Open Mic night also at the Center? Come on out! We have snacks!

It’s still summer and that means a whole slew of summer type movies are coming out this weekend ... Did we really need a Conan remake? Sigh.

In other entertainment news, the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, James Ross aka Tyra Sanchez, was arrested on Tuesday for possession of marijuana.

In less fun news, VA is considering a delay in new rules for adoptions that will affect the LGBT community.

Most of our readers know how volatile the subject of same sex marriage going back on the CA ballot is… well, Oregon is facing the same sort of issue.

In an update to a post I wrote earlier this week , the Advocate reports that a judge ruled on Thursday that the State of Illinois does indeed have the right to terminate its relationship with Catholic Charities.

Have you heard the anti-LGBT rant from Adam Carolla in which he mocks the acronym, wonders when we started “giving a f” about trans people, and tells gays to shut up already about marriage equality? His two line apology citing his profession as a comedian and not a politician has done little to quell the anger and hurt that his comments inspired. GLADD says his apology is “empty.” (If you click on the link you can hear his rant, but I warn you, it is hard to listen to.)

From CNN: A former "teacher of the year" in Lake County, Florida, has been reassigned while school administrators investigate comments posted on his Facebook page about same-sex marriage. The Facebook comment in question was this one: “ "I'm watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about the New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up."

A New Jersey bridal store attenedent refused to work with a lesbian bride citing that she didn’t want to participate in anything illegal. (The wedding was planned for New York but the purchase of the dress would have taken place in NJ.) Read this heartfelt response to the story for a glimpse at both a horribly bigoted woman (the sales clerk) and a wonderful straight ally (the author.)

The Obama administration has taken a step in protecting same sex couples … at least in terms of deportation. In a letter from homeland security, the administration calls for a new working group to help determine which immigration cases should be ignored or more carefully considered. Special consideration comes when the illegal person is married to a citizen, the sole caretaker of a citizen, etc. From SF Gate: Sexual orientation is not specifically mentioned, but Mary Kenney, a senior staff attorney with the Legal Action Center arm of the Immigration Policy Center said the administration has indicated that same-sex marriages are included in the definition of family for the purposes of the enforcement memo. She called the move "very encouraging.

And lastly, proof that the internet can help you learn something while bending your mind … this optical illusion and explanation is definitely worth the 3 minutes of your life.

That’s it for me. Have a happy, and safe, weekend!

This AIDS Documentary may end up being one of Reel Pride's 2011 selections...

...

Illinois is back in the news. A Sangamon County court heard arguments from both sides today in the ongoing saga of Catholic Charities. As you might recall, Illinois made civil unions available to gay and straight Illinoisans on June 1st. As you might also remember, as had been previously documented, Catholic Charities refuses to place children in adoptive or foster homes of civil union couples.

catholic-charities-logo

The question being argued currently is whether the state had the right to discontinue its 40 year relationship with Catholic Charities without notice. The State has been considering the issue since March and terminated the relationship on June 30th by not renewing… the renewal procedure usually happens automatically and the Catholic Charities feel that their termination was unfair.

State officials say that despite the longevity of the relationship, they were under no obligation to give notice and that the relationship has to change due to the change in legal landscaping. Arguments about religious exemption fell on deaf ears as the state’s Attorney general noted that religious exemptions only adhere to clergy who are not mandated to marry same sex couples, this “protection” does not extend to government supported organizations who wish to treat civil uion couples as less than hereto married couples.

For more, read the articles from the Advocate or the  Chicago Tribune.

FFflier11

Family Fest, our local pride event, is just around the corner! We have something to offer everyone, including the kiddies. There is a special area designated just for them that includes: bounce house, craft stations, free prizes and a carnival area. We will also provide bread for them to feed the ducks in the nearby pond.

For us adults, the crowd favorite Waiting to Wed game will be returning this year. It’s our spin on the Newlywed Game where couples answer some pretty funny questions about each other in hopes of winning the grand prize. New this year is the first annual Pants & Pumps showdown. Teams of 4 (2 pants & 2 pumps) will compete in various challenges. The top 2 scoring teams will battle it out in a final competition for the cash prize and bragging rights of being “top” dogs! We are only accepting 5 teams, if you are interested be sure to sign up early by contacting me.

I hope you will come OUT and join us. Dessert will be provided so bring a picnic, your family and friends and come spend the day with us!

~Our event is always FREE but the park has a $6.00 entrance fee per car~

If you’d like to have a booth at the event, for more information or to sign up for the games, contact me! (559) 697-5GAY, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The following is my submission in the upcoming USP Anthology: “Our Stories; Voices of the LGBT Experience”. Join us this Saturday night at the LGBT Community Center (1055 N Van Ness ave) for an open mic event that will feature other voices from the anthology as well as creative input from our community at large.

A Different Kind of Story

I am sitting in my living room, Cher is on the stereo. I am eating popcorn and trying to figure out what my experience as a bisexual person has been. People keep asking me, I guess they wonder how it compares.

Yes, I have faced discrimination. Yes, I have had adventures of bigotry, clashes of culture, loud moments of radical anger during protests, terrifying moments where my personal safety was at risk.  Yes, I have felt the awkwardness of trying to figure out if a potential love interest played for the team that I do. Yes, I have felt alienated, alone, bereft of a role model.

But I have also felt welcomed into many different Queer communities; the Queer Straight Alliance in high school, the Diversity Now group in college, the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community in San Jose, the Rainbow Pride in Santa Cruz, and now Gay Central Valley.

I have felt the charge, almost electrical, of a shared moment of community with a person wearing a rainbow bracelet, sporting a rainbow flag sticker on their binder, or happily applying a bumper sticker that called for people to vote no on H8te. I have felt the awesome power of people who cared when news of Prop 8’s overturn came in and my office erupted into hugging, crying, and celebrating.

I’m lucky I guess. Being bi has been a part of my life, but it has never had to be the dominant part of my life. I can pass. I have always been able to. The default position for people is to label me as straight. I don’t even get asked unless I am participating, being active, or surrounded by my LGBT extended family.

So, I have been lucky. But with that comes guilt. I know I have no idea what many of my friends and loved ones have had to go through. Coming out for me was almost a nonevent. I have gay uncles. I have gay half brothers. Gay cousins, gay best friends, gay teachers. My dad’s best friends are gay. Being bi just didn’t even register.

And then I got married. To a man. Passing again… in the extreme.

Ultimately the marriage didn’t work out. For a lot of reasons, but I can honestly say I don’t think I was ever truly honest with him about who I was, about what mattered to me, about how I saw myself in the world.

I slipped back into the dating pool. I slept with and courted both men and women. Eventually, I fell in love again… and again it was with a man. I was back in the place of passing, the place of flying under the radar.

But this time I refuse to stay quiet. I flaunt my rainbow bracelet. I take a perverse pride in questioning people’s ideas about who and what I am. I delight in telling stories of past female loves to closed minded fools who sometimes can’t keep their jaws off the floor. I bring it up. I work it into conversations. I don’t look down or to the side. I am proud of who and what I am, and I make it known.

I feel a responsibility, a responsibility to challenge stereotypes, to push the envelope, to use my ability to pass to my advantage.  I feel indebted to the past generations of my family who came out to an unforgiving and hostile world, who paved the way. I feel an unwavering respect for the LGBT youth who are struggling now, kids and young people who can’t pass, who are afraid, who feel alone. It is my responsibility, my privilege, to continue to make the world a better place for them through action, through understanding, through tireless efforts.

I had it easy, but I know I am in the minority. Now it is my turn to be there for others, to fight for our rights, to clear the way and to be supportive.

From the CD, Cher sings, “This is a song for the lonely/Can you hear me tonight?.For the broken hearted, battle scarred/I'll be by your side/And this is a song for the lonely/When your dreams won't come true/Can you hear this prayer?/Someone's there for you“ and I nod along.

Dear world, I want to proclaim, I am Kaylia, I am bi, I am a fighter, and I am here for you!

Peter Robertson, a three-time graduate of Fresno State (BA ‘92, MA ‘95 and MBA ‘05) will be presented the “Arthur Safstrom Service Award for “outstanding service to the Fresno State Alumni Association, Fresno State and the community at large” at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala on Oct. 13, 2011.

probertson


A resident of Fresno, Calif. since 1984, he has volunteered for several non-profits organizations for nearly 25 years including United Student Pride, Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival, Central California Alliance, Fresno Pride Parade and Festival, Fresno Youth Alliance, GSA Network and the Rainbow Delegation.

He currently serves as the Director of Alumni Marketing and Engagement at California State University, Fresno.


In April of this year, Robertson was humbly honored with receiving the “Spirit of Caring Award,” sponsored by James and Coke Hallowell and presented by HandsOn California. He also was bestowed a President’s Volunteer Service Award from Barack Obama.


He founded the Bulldog Pride Fund in 2006, a $199,500 endowment that has provided 18 scholarships valued at $29,000 to Fresno State students.


Five years ago, Robertson spearheaded the nationally recognized and award-winning annual “I am Fresno State!” student video contest.


A life member of the Fresno State Alumni Association and a graduate of Leadership Fresno (Class XXV), a program of the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce, he attended Fresno City College.

Robertson also graduated from Mount Vernon High School (‘81) and Skagit Valley College (‘84), both located in Mount Vernon, Wash.

He and his partner of 28 years, Victor Kral, were married in 2008. They live in a historic home near Fresno’s Tower District that has been featured on several home tours.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and takes place at the Save Mart Center. Tickets are priced at $100 per person. To make a reservation, call 559.278.ALUM. RSVP by Sept. 22nd.

This Tuesday, August 16th, Gay Fresno will hold our first DINE WITH US event at Irene's Cafe here in Fresno.

Come to Irene's Cafe at 747 E Olive Avenuein the Tower District on Tuesday, August 16th from 6PM-9PM to participate. Here's how it works...

  irenescafefull

Stop at the table just outside Irene's front doors where a Gay Central Valley representative will be seated with an ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)  - Gay Central Valley table sign. Pick up an ACLU Membership form, fill it out and pay the Gay Fresno representative the $20 annual ACLU membership fee. Once completed, you'll be handed a card which will designate you as a guest of Gay Fresno for dinner. Gay Fresno will cover up to $15 per person for you meal. After dinner, Gay Fresno will pay Irene's Cafe for up to $15 per person and you cover any additional cost, if any.

The ACLU will make a donation to Gay Central Valley for your participation, making this a reasonable and easy way for you to support both the work of the ACLU and the local efforts of Gay Central Valley, including the Fresno LGBT Community Center.

A second DINE WITH US event will be held at Irene's Cafe on the following Tuesday, August 23rd from 6PM-9PM.

There are many other ways to participate during the month of August in Gay Central Valley's ACLU Fundraising efforts. Click the above link to find out how...

...

by Reynaldo Pulido
contact via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or read blog at www.kenego.com

U.S. Appeals Court Rules Against Obama's Health Care Law

I have a question for those who applauded the ruling.  The same people who are up in arms every time a judge declares discriminatory law unconstitutional or require that government afford gay people the right to marry.  The cries are all the same:  Oh judges are creating law! Judges should simply interpret law not dictate moral code! Activist judges!

To these people I ask: what do you think of the judges that declared the part of the Obamacare which mandates insurance unconstitutional, by your reasoning these are activist judges right?  Why are they dictating law from the bench?  They should stick to interpreting Obamacare not overturning it! Right?

When I asked this question to my facebook friends one them responded: these judges are interpreting law, they are not making new law about gay rights.

To him and all of you who may think the same way I say you cannot have it both ways.

You cannot say that judges who overturn laws you don’t like are within their duty and those that overturn laws you like (or uphold laws you don’t like) are activist.

When judges overturn discriminatory law they are not creating new law, they are holding the government to the standard set by the constitution, the part that requires that government treat all citizens equal. When the judges require that government stay out of people's bedrooms they are not creating new law they are holding the government to the standard set by the constitution, the part that ensures every citizen's privacy.

These judges are not giving gay people new rights.  Gay people already have rights, given to us by the constitution of this country.  What these judges are doing is recognizing that gay citizen’s have the same rights that all other citizens have.

These judges have been unable to find a legally supported reason why gay people should continue to be treated differently.  They may seem like radical activist judges.  However, they are behaving no different than judges have behaved for centuries - applying the law and its principals to new facts.

Our Country does not have a law for every possible scenario therefore our legal system allows for judges to apply law and its principals to new facts.   And yes this creates new law and standards.  And that is how we got rid of slavery, allowed women to vote and changed the voting age.

Regardless of how I personally feel about healthcare and the ruling I am glad to see the judiciary is doing its job. The judiciary is making sure that government is not infringing on individuals rights even to the extent of declaring certain laws unconstitutional.

Next time you find yourself disagreeing with a judge’s decision ask yourself is she applying principals of law to new facts? And most likely you will have to say yes.  Then instead of calling her an activist judge find joy in the fact that we live in a country where judges have the freedom to apply the law to new facts.   This ensures a vibrant and constant growing legal system and more importantly an ever more inclusive democracy.

Happy Friday!

I spent the week out of town wrangeling nieces… I hope you all had as much fun in the past five days as I have. I have a whole slew of news and notes for you, so let’s jump right in!

Paul Oetken is set to become the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench. His Senate confirmation sailed through with even ardent conservatives voting for him. While this is a landmark, the fact that it didn’t garner more attention can be seen as a sign of the times.

Are you following the Bert and Ernie drama? A Facebook petition to Sesame Street calling for the duo to wed or for there to be LGBT characters on the show has met with resistance… from the Christian right, of course, but also from Sesame street itself who’s spokesperson is reported on stating that the two are “just best friends, created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves".

Allen West, the Tea Party backed Republican Congressman took a rather confusing stance on gay rights: “Everyone has the same basic rights, and no one is telling people in the gay community that they don’t have the same basic rights that any American has,” he noted. [H]e elaborated that while he believed it to be a choice, he did not think it an inferior one that should be changed. “No, I don’t think that!” he cried upon being asked. (From the Mediaiate). No sign yet on how his belief will translate into the subject of rights.

From the LA Times: Gay presidential candidate Fred Karger has a message : The longtime political advisor knows he stands no chance of becoming the Republican nominee, but he wants to let other homosexuals know it's OK to be gay and to aim high in life.

The White House has designated Raul Alvillar, a gay administration official who currently serves as associate director for public engagement at the Office of the Vice President to the position of the interim point of contact for the LGBT community. Alvillar will replace current LGBT liaison. Brian Bond, who is leaving later this month for a position at the Democratic National Committee, and will serve this position temporarily until a permanent liaison is named,

Activists in Michigan are working hard to include LGBT protection in new hate crime legislation.

Good news for the transgendered community, at least for those incarcerated in Wisconsin: “A federal appeals court upheld a ruling striking down a Wisconsin law banning publicly-funded hormone therapy for transgender inmates, saying denying the treatment amounted to torture.” One can only hope this precedent will have far reaching consequences.

Now playing a hauntingly alluring witch in Conan the Barbarian, in theaters August 19, Rose McGowan talks to The Advocate about her activism for LGBT equality, her LGBT family, her dream lesbian crush and her desire to do a guest spot on Glee.

And lastly… in honor of Jani Lane, lead singer for Warrant (you know, from the 80s?) who died yesterday

… here is Cherry Pie!

That’s all for me. Have a fun, and safe, weekend!

sos

It's that time of year again...

Fresno Survivors of Suicide Loss

will host our 9th Annual Fun Run/Walk Event on Saturday, September 24th 2011

at 8:00AM, Woodward Park, Mountain View Shelter

2 Mile Walk/4 Mile Run

$20 for Adults (18+) and $15 for 17 years and under

Fresno Survivors of Suicide Loss (Fresno SOS) asks that you mark your calendars for our 9th Annual event.  This is our largest fundraising event of the year and all proceeds raised will be used towards continuing to spread our mission -- "to support those who have lost a loved on to suicide and to educate our community about issues related to suicide and it's prevention." The day of the event will include freebies and giveaways, entertainment, a community resource fair, food, music, memorial signs and remembrance ceremony, dove release, and SILENT AUCTION!

Fresno SOS needs YOUR help!  We need... Event sponsors, event volunteers, donated food items, silent auction items and teams of walkers or runners at the event (team discounts are available)!

Join us on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest information on our upcoming events:www.facebook.com/fresnosos.

Visit THIS PAGE for registration form…

Leann M. Gouveia, M.P.A., Exec. Dir.
Fresno Survivors of Suicide Loss, Inc. (Fresno SOS)
2585 E. Perrin Ave. Ste. 102
Fresno, CA  93720
559.322.5877 office, 559.322.1140 fax
www.fresnosos.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Disappointing news from San Francisco.

Even though the Obama Administration has said that they will no longer defend DOMA because it is unconstitutional, they are still enforcing it.

A San Francisco couple is being split apart due to a deportation proceedings that are being carried out because of DOMA.

Bradford Wells, a U.S. citizen, and Anthony John Makk, a citizen of Australia, were married seven years ago in Massachusetts. They have lived together 19 years, and Makk is the sole caregiver for Wells, who has severe health problems.

Defense of Marriage Act was cited as the reason for the denial of an I-130 visa, or spousal petition that could allow Makk to apply for permanent U.S. residency. "The claimed relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary is not a petitionable relationship," the decision said. "For a relationship to qualify as a marriage for purposes of federal law, one partner must be a man and the other a woman."

Like I said, disappointing.  

obama

Part of the fun of being in this community is the sense of, well, community that can be easily accessed by a shared sense of questing or purpose.

Yesterday I was alerted to some anti-LGBT rhetoric that was listed on a website maintained by Porterville College for a campus Christian club. It appears that after our intrepid GayPorterville writer Melissa alerted us via the GayPorterville.com blog, other community members chimed in, shared it on Facebook, wrote in their own blogs, wrote open letters, made calls, and worked together to spread the word.

More than just some of the more mundane “The Bible says gay is wrong” propaganda that many of us are almost used to from certain Christian groups, this information was presented as factual evidence and statistics about the choice of gay… presented by a club who’s faculty advisor is a current Anatomy and Microbiology professor.

The page in question contained the following…

Homosexuality, at its root, is not a sexual problem – it is a gender-identity problem. Four gay myths 1. 10% of the population is homosexual 2. A person can be born gay. 3. Once gay, always gay. 4. Homosexuality is normal in every way.

It went on from there, but you can get the gist. It breaks down the reasons that someone might decide to be gay… such as a bad relationship with one’s parents or a bad example of love from one’s parents, etc.

Again, our community acted quickly with a call to action. And within hours the page had been removed.

Hours.

Wow!

Now, a few caveats, there is a bit of evidence that the page had not been maintained for over five years. It wasn’t easily linked to the college’s pages but was embedded there. A google search early in the day could find it if you had direct quotes, but again it wasn’t easily connected to the current One In Christ page.

Still, our community reacted quickly and with purpose. The page has been removed which means that an impressionable youth or community member won’t stumble upon it and be led to incorrect conclusions.

A big “tip of the hat” to Melissa over at GayPorterville for her diligence.

I would like to end with this, as part of the page’s diatribe of negativity and soul crushing wrong information presented as fact, there is this little gem… The Gay Agenda! (Now, in my world the Gay Agenda is usually a rainbow colored list of things to do in a day, but they find it much more sinister….)

Top Ten Strategies to promote gay agenda:

1. Promote victim status; exploit safety rhetoric.

2. Start with very young children

3. Discuss alternative families / Celebrate diversity.

4. Enact school nondiscrimination codes

5. Promote coming out and”GLBT pride.

6. Encourage (and fund) pro-homosexuality student clubs.

7. Adopt homosexuality-affirming curricula.

8. Use openly homosexual teachers and role models.

9. Pro-homosexuality counseling for troubled youth.

10. Equate opposition with hate, bigotry, and prejudice.

All I can say is Yes, Yes Yes Yes… Ten times, YES! That is a great agenda! Let’s actively work on that agenda, every day!

The now removed page: can be found here

Melissa and the awesome GayPorterville.com entry: is here!

UPDATE: I received a message from the faculty advisor on record for the club. As suspected, the page was old and reflected the notes taken at a Love Won Out Conference in Fresno. The page had been taken down years ago and was only accessible via an old embed. So, it shouldn’t be searchable and no one should accidentally stumble upon the “facts” contained there.

As you might have seen, the CDC just released a report that the increase in new HIV cases is relatively stable. According to the new estimates, there were 48,600 new HIV infections in the United States in 2006, 56,000 in 2007, 47,800 in 2008 and 48,100 in 2009. The multi-year incidence estimates allow for a reliable examination of trends over time. They reveal no statistically significant change in HIV incidence overall from 2006 to 2009, with an average of 50,000 for the four-year period.

These numbers are disappointing on their own, but here are a few numbers that hit a little closer to home.

In Fresno county the number of HIV cases has risen to a cumulative 447 ( as of March 31st 2011). What is shocking is that the cumulative number for Fresno county as of December 31st 2010 was 417.

This means that in the first three months of this year, we have had 30 new cases of HIV, and that number is only going to get bigger. The number of new cases in Fresno County jumped by over a hundred from the end of 2009 to the end of 2010, (307 to 417).

Of the 447 reported cases in Fresno, 55% reflect individuals 26-44. If you add in the 83 cases of individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, you see that nearly 80% of those infected in our county are below the age of 45. Surprisingly, the group with the highest rate of infection is the 25-34 year olds with a whooping 161 cases reported. This is troubling because if you are in that age range you grew up hearing about AIDS, knowing about HIV, and should have a basic understanding of the awesome power of condoms to help sex be less risky.

One is tempted to wonder… what can I do to help?

Gay Central Valley and our allies have the opportunity to help make those numbers move in the opposite direction. By helping our community be educated, prepared, and active we can make a difference. Obviously we need to do something… here are a few ideas to help get us started…

Let’s start with education. Let’s spearhead a campaign of sex education aimed at the 15-24 demographic. By working with the local GSAs, youth groups, and holding our own Health Awareness events and workshops, we can spread valuable information.

Another idea… What about a task force of volunteers to go into the clubs and bars on a regular basis to hand out condoms, literature, and support. Bowls of condoms aren’t cutting it; we need to be more active on this front.

Along with that, let’s make the testing process easier for our community. Having one day a month be a testing day at the Community Center would help bring home the point that AIDS comes to you. Letting our community get tested in a friendlier “home turf” sort of place might help people get tested sooner and thus curb the unintended spread. I have talked briefly with Fresno’s Health department. They are looking at mid September to be a perfect time to start a partnership with us in terms of doing this.

Those are just a few ideas… what we need is YOU. What do you think? How can you help? What are some of your ideas in terms of dealing with this problem? HIV is no longer a death sentence, but it is a life shortening condition that can be avoided.

Let’s work together to bring the numbers down.

Forwarded by Chuck Krugman...thanks, Chuck!

The Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center would like to
immediately speak with gay and lesbian couples who are registered
domestic partners with the State of California (and who did not get
married duirng the 2008 marriage equality window for whatever
reason). The LAS-ELC is seeking a class representative to advance the
constitutional rights of such couples in a case about partner benefits
available to public employees in California.

legalaid

In Dragovich v. CalPERS, a class action lawsuit, the Legal Aid Society–
Employment Law Center represents gay and lesbian employees of the
state of California and their legally recognized spouses and domestic
partners who have been excluded from equal access to the popular
CalPERS long-term care program. The couples are suing CalPERS and the
IRS to challenge the constitutionality of federal law that prohibits
the enrollment of legally recognized same-sex partners (whether
married or RDP).

The Dragovich plaintiffs are all couples in which one person is
eligible to apply for the plan and the other person is not eligible.

Any state, local, or regional public employee in California is
eligible to apply for the CalPERS long-term care plan.

CONTACT:
Claudia Center
The Legal Aid Society -- Employment Law Center
180 Montgomery Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(415) 864-8848 (voice)
(415) 593-0093 (fax)
(415) 593-0091 (TTY)
(415) 531-2874 (cell)

Opening today, Gun Hill Road, offers a look at the trans experience in the Bronx during the 80s. The Advocate says that actress Harmony Santana “elevates the film with a remarkable and very raw performance.”

Santana herself says, “As a transgender [person] I didn’t know if I wanted my life out there like that, but I know what I have to do and I’m going to do it.””

Here’s the preview

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Sadly this movie isn’t showing here in Fresno… but once it becomes Netflix-able I anticipate a movie night!

Happy Friday!

I hope you all had a good week. Did you remember to send President Obama a birthday card? He turned 50 yesterday. I could do my own “Happy Birthday Mister President” ala the late Marilyn Monroe, but trust me, no one wants to see that. Speaking of the lady in the white dress, today marks 49th anniversary of her death (1962).

And on that note, let’s turn to some other news and notes of this week…

From CBS: Mitt Romney has signed a pledge promising to support a federal constitutional amendment “defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” The pledge was sponsored by The National Organization for Marriage.

Remember the 2008 murder of a gay teen in Oxnard CA? The trial is still going on and heated up this week when a teacher testified that the victim had taunted his soon to be killer by wearing and family members of the defendant testified to his ongoing abuse at the hands of his father.

The US 9th Circuit Court of appeals heard arguments this week that challenge an LA prosecutor’s decision to remove a lesbian juror in a case involving a gay federal inmate. A favorable ruling could extend constitutional discrimination protection to homosexuality as it already does for race, gender, and creed.

GLAAD released its fifth annual Network Responsibility Index this week giving both MTV and ABC both Excellent rating for their programming.

Miley Cyrus’s new tattoo got a lot of attention this week. Her new finger tattoo is yet another way the actress is showing her support for gay marriage.

The Advocate has an article up right now that takes a look at some of history’s greatest unsung gay heroes.

In Washington on Monday, (and by an unanimous vote) the tribal leaders of the Surquamish tribe legalized same sex marriage.

And lastly, not related but oh so very bizarre… a new art installation in Germany is causing a bit of a stir. The statue of a giant woman in the lake is… well, worth a click through at the very least. Yikes!

That’s all for me for now. Have a fun, and safe, weekend!

In 1973 The American Psychiatric Association removed the classification of disorder from homosexuality. The American Psychological Association followed suit in 1975. Now, in 2011, the American Psychological Association has unanimously (157-0) thrown its support behind same sex marriage.

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"Now as the country has really begun to have experience with gay marriage, our position is much clearer and more straightforward — that marriage equity is the policy that the country should be moving toward," says Clinton Anderson, director of APA's Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.

The resolution points to numerous recent studies, including findings that "many gay men and lesbians, like their heterosexual counterparts, desire to form stable, long-lasting and committed intimate relationships and are successful in doing so."

They added that campaigns working to overturn or ban same sex marriage are having detrimental effects on the psychological state of mind of LGBT Americans.

This new pronouncement is expected to have far reaching effect on public policy throughout the nation.

READ MORE HERE

1.lack of concord or harmony between persons or things: marital discord. 2.disagreement; difference of opinion. 3.strife; dispute; war.

Now that is a weird headline, and what is worse the implication is downright scary.  It implies that a person like dispute strife and war.

Yes the word has negative connotation and it is understandable that anyone in their right mind would want to stay away from discord.  But in our effort to distance ourselves from war and strife we may be losing much more than we realize.

While the ideas presented here apply to just about any part of our lives and society at large I write this with our current political atmosphere in mind.  And more specifically what inspires this writing is the recent decision by  the board for the American Conservative Union which voted to deny GOProud the opportunity to co-sponsor the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.  This to me singles and highlights a very dangerous attitude which seems to be taking hold in American politics.  Namely - our way of thinking is the right way and we will not allow or tolerate disagreement.

I have added Mr. Barron, Chairman of the Board at GOproud to my friend list on facebook.  Recently I criticized his position on an issue on his wall.  In response I received what seemed like logical critique - if you don't like what he has to say why are you his friend?  My answer: because I believe in the value of disagreement, I <3 discord.

What is the value of disagreement?  First let us look at two possible consequences to complete agreement and harmony.  For one one we will end up with a homogeneous mind set.  That means that what is believed to to be true shall not be questioned.  And any new thought and or information that may shape and yes even change perceived truth will not be allowed.  The result of this will be an unchanging mind set.  This is extremely dangerous because the key to growth is change.

Growth requires change, and change creates growth.  Examples of this in our history are extremely obvious yet we seem to forget them and more importantly forget the immeasurable value that change has awarded our society.

Had someone not challenged the then conventional truth that the earth was flat we may have never discovered America.  Had someone never challenged the conventional (and even Biblical supported) concept that slavery was the norm we would continue to treat our fellow humans as less than and ended the most extremely harmful actions taken by our society.  Had someone not challenged the truth of the day that women are as capable as men we would have a society that would be lacking the benefits of women in leadership.  These examples are extremely simplistic yet if one takes time to analyze and study them it will be life changing to realize the power of change and discord.

When the above mentioned ideas were first proposed they were extremely unpopular.  Some were imprisoned and others had to die for daring to go against the norm.

The current mind set, and yes I will be specific that of the conservative movement seems to be that of “our way or no way”.   They subscribe to the notion that “our way of life, our moral code and our political opinion is the right one and opposing it means that you are wrong and unwelcome in the discussion”.

To them I say take a look at what you are proposing and I don't mean the ideas you are proposing, I mean the philosophy you are proposing.  And then understand the logical consequences of of your concept taking further control of the political discussion.  It stands to reason that the result will be that individuals and organizations will either have to fall in line with your view or fall out. Therefore we will end up with either a homogeneous society which will limit growth.  Or we will end up with a society of one (or few) since those who do not agree with your view will be cast aside, or worse.

I am Chris Barron’s friend on facebook, because he thinks radically differently than I do.   Not that I may agree with him 100% of the time.  And not to get him to agree with my opinion or point of view.  But rather so that his point of view added to my view and life experience may bring me to a greater truth.  And that is the true value of discord.

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sierraaids2

The 15th Annual Sierra AIDS Walk will take place on Saturday, September 24th, 2011 at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The event runs from 9am-11am, with a picnic lunch included and a raffle. To register for the walk call 209-736-6792 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit online at www.sierrahope.org

All pledges over $100 receive a free t-shirt. Proceeds benefit Sierra HOPE programs serving Amador, Calaveras & Tuolumne Counties.

More information and registration forms are available at the Fresno LGBT Community Center located at 1055 N Van Ness Suite C Fresno, CA 93728 559-325-4429

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The CDC has released a report indicating that in the U.S., the rate of new HIV infections is “relatively stable at approximately 50,000 new infections each year between 2006 and 2009”. It’s unnerving that 30 years into this epidemic, with information instantly available to anyone, anywhere as to how to prevent infection, that this number of new infections is listed as “relatively stable”. While that’s nothing more than a statistical statement, it sheds light on the consistent danger of HIV.

“More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, about 50,000 people in this country still become infected each year.  Not only do men who have sex with men continue to account for most new infections, young gay and bisexual men are the only group in which infections are increasing, and this increase is particularly concerning among young African American MSM ,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D.  “HIV infections can be prevented.  By getting tested, reducing risky behaviors, and getting treatment, people can protect themselves and their loved ones.”

MSM (Men who have sex with men) are still the most infected group (new infections), even though the CDC estimates that population at 2% of the U.S. population. Youth were most severely affected, with black MSM the only group with a significant increase in new infections (an increase of 48% over three years).

“We are deeply concerned by the alarming rise in new HIV infections in young, black gay and bisexual men and the continued impact of HIV among young gay and bisexual men of all races,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.  “We cannot allow the health of a new generation of gay men to be lost to a preventable disease.  It’s time to renew the focus on HIV among gay men and confront the homophobia and stigma that all too often accompany this disease.”

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

HIV-Infections-Persons-2009

HIV-Infections-MSM-Race-2009

For local information on FREE HIV testing and prevention information, contact the Fresno County Health Department HIV/AIDS at…Phone: (559) 445-3434 & Address: 1221 Fulton Mall Fresno, CA 93721

aclu

There are many ways to participate during the month of August in Gay Central Valley's ACLU Fundraising efforts. In return for Gay Central Valley gathering support for the ACLU in the Central Valley, the ACLU will then provide financial assistance to our local nonprofit.

Here in Fresno, Gay Fresno is hosting two dining events at Irene's Cafe, located at 747 E Olive Avenue in the Tower District. The first event will take place on Tuesday, August 16th and the second on Tuesday, August 23rd. Both events will take place from 6pm-9pm. Come to either event, sign up for a year membership with the ACLU and Gay Fresno will buy you dinner at Irene's Cafe! (Gay Fresno will cover a maximum of $15 per person for dinner, alcohol and gratuity not included)

irenescafefull

A representative of Gay Central Valley will be seated just outside the front door of Irene’s where you can complete the ACLU form with each $20 individual payment and then go inside Irene’s and enjoy your complimentary meal courtesy of Gay Fresno.

These events, as well as similar events in Visalia , along with local opportunities to sign up online , at the Fresno LGBT Community Center or at the North Tower Circle , will result in twofold fundraising. First, you'll be supporting the ACLU, a vital organization which upholds the Bill of Rights and the Constitution for all Americans. As a result of supporting the ACLU, you will also be financially supporting Gay Central Valley and its affiliated divisions, including the daily operation of the Fresno LGBT Community Center.

Remember, join us at Irene's Cafe on August 16th or 23rd, join the ACLU, and Gay Fresno will buy you dinner...(Gay Fresno will cover a maximum of $15 per person, alcohol and gratuity not included)

Remember 7th grade science? Do you remember Newton’s third law? “For every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction.” This is true, but more pertinent to our daily lives is that rather “regular life” sort of law that tells us that sometimes the effects of our actions have unintended consequences, unforeseen things that we could never have planned for.

This occurred to me over the weekend as I read two articles that talked about some of the interesting and possible unforeseen consequences of gay marriage becoming more accepted both socially and legally: gender disparity in who is doing it and the eventual decline in the homosexual population because people are doing it.

The first idea was discussed in an article that came to me via my good friend Chuck (Hi Chuck!) who sent me David K Li’s New York Post article in which the disparity between the number of female same sex marriages and male same sex marriages is painted in stark relief.

Connecticut (2008): 3,252 female couples and 2,053 male couples.

Massachusetts (2004): 8,404 female couples and 4,911 male couples.

New Hampshire (2010): 1,113 female couples and 411 male couples.

Iowa (2009): 1,376 female couples and 772 male couples.

Vermont (2009): 1,157 female couples and 597 male couples.

Now, some will argue that wanting to get married is more of a “female thing” and that men, whether straight, gay, or other, are more hesitant to commit.

I don’t think we have quite enough data to call it one way or the other, but one thing is for sure. Once the right to marry is established, same sex couples have to deal with the question of “should” as well as “can.” Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you want to.

Of course, same sex marriage activists are quick to point out, and justly so, that the point of the right to marry is the choice, not a mandate to action. I hope that all couples, same sex or not, take the time to evaluate if they are getting married due more to social pressure or actual emotional drive.

And, as same sex marriage becomes more and more common, so will same sex divorces. While it is way too early to compare divorce rates between the rainbow contingency and their hetero counterparts, I’m sure that data will e just as interesting.

Again, to all those same sex couples out there, welcome to the turmoil should/shouldn’t faced by many, many different sex couples.

The other article came to me from the online Scientific American blog and my handy google alerts. In his most recent article Jesse Bering argues that the prevalence of gay marriage could ultimately lead to a decline in the homosexual population.

He builds his case with a series of claims and assumptions, some of which I am wary of. First off, he cites numerous studies that pinpoint or attempt to pinpoint the “gay gene” as it were. Homosexuality is a genetic component, at least according to his work cited page. To actually quote him: “there are indeed clear, contributing genetic factors underlying homosexual orientation”

He cites a few popular twin studies but I would caution you, my gentle readers, to remember that biological variants are not the same as genetic creations and that so far the studies looking for the “gay gene” have not been as widely reproduced as we might wish. In fact there are several studies that link homosexuality to hormonal levels in the womb and others that link birth order to the likelihood, and still others that point to other factors or some combination of any of these… My point is that there are no definitive answers. Yet.

But okay, if we accept the claim that there is some sort of genetic reason for all the gay, the next step in his logic is pretty easy to follow. He basically says that due to social pressure and lack of options, gay people have been mating with straight people for eons and thus passing on these genes, somewhat recessive genes apparently but no matter, in to the general population.

Ok, moving on… if gay marriage becomes the norm, the number of same sex couples that procreate biologically and thus pass on the genes, will dwindle due to the cost of insemination and surrogacy, the only real biological option for same sex reproduction. Also we must take into account the lack of unplanned pregnancies, a trend that leads to a lot of hetro couples procreating, which wouldn’t be an issue for same sex couples.

His argument is basically that unless there are significant advances in reproductive capabilities, the gay genes might become further and further recessive due to the lack of gene mixing leading eventually to a dwindling population of homosexuals. That is rather a big leap, but it does make a certain amount of logical sense.

I am not a scientist, just a skeptic and an avid reader, and so even if I am wary of his final hypothesis, I do see merit in continued research into the biological and genetic components of homosexuality.

It is a frightening thought though, is it not, that the very act of global acceptance might lead to the global diminishment of our community? Only time will tell, of course, and there are advances in terms of reproduction just waiting in the wings. In the meantime, let’s brush up on our 7th grade science and continue to watch for unexpected consequences.

The 22nd Annual Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival is September 14-18th.

reelpride2011

From James Figueroa of Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival...

Reel Pride Volunteers Needed...

Would you like to help with the Reel Pride Film Festival?

Whether you're a returning volunteer or a newcomer, we welcome you!

Some of the positions needed include:

USHERS/LOBBY OPERATIONS

BOX OFFICE OPERATIONS

FACILITIES CREW

BARTENDING

FILMMAKER & VIP HOSTS

SILENT AUCTION OPERATIONS

If you're interested please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

 

Sweet Lips
A Novel

Author: Mel Smith

Rating:

Two Thumbs Way UP

 

 

Set in a country westernized theme, the author brings to life two characters that are full of personality. Surprisingly, the author is female but yet catches the essence of man to man sex. She is very detailed from scenery of the open plains to boner popping male action. This book was a page turner; I read it in 4 days. This book is so, for lack of better comparison; “ Brokeback Mountain ”. I was all engrossed in the story line that there were times that actual time passed by the hours. She sends you on a continual roller coaster ride of experiences of all the characters and the ending, such like the beginning, is captivating. This book is a, “MUST OWN”, for your personal library.

Vampire Transgression
--A Novel--
Author: Michael Schiefelbein

Rating: Two Thumbs Down

I had taken too many months to read this book; probably because I’m not one for a “Vampire” story. Towards the end I was getting into it and when it came to the end I was like… NAH! It didn’t just end like that! And unfortunately it did. I don’t know if it is to make a sequel book but it didn’t look like it would end a way to do one. I was very disappointed and let down after all the lead up it just left one hanging. Like a 90 year old mans penis, (no offense, I’m headed that way). The detail for imagery is fine although I have never been to the places described but the author was really descriptive. He tried to make it a little erotic but he was too quick to get the act over with. I wonder if that’s how he is in real life.  In my opinion pass the stake; this vampire book needs to be obliterated.

 

Join our Community Engagement Team and spend time each month giving back to Central Valley nonprofit organizations and representing the LGBTQIA community! We will spend one day a month volunteering to improve the lives of others, as a team alongside others in the Fresno area who are making a difference. Team Members will receive a free Gay Central Valley tee shirt to wear at volunteer events. Gay Central Valley  will do the leg work to set up volunteer days with friendly organizations and send you a reminder to attend and help. Our second volunteer day will be  September 25th, staffing the Family Fest for Gay Visalia on September 25th, where they are excited to managing activities, working a booth, setting up, etc. Because of the distance to Visalia and in order to make sure that everyone participates who wants to, if we get at least 10 people to make firm commitments to go, I will rent a van and drive us down.  GCV will bring your tee shirt and  we will all have a fun evening getting to know one another while doing some good. For more information and to sign up today to be a team member (and give us your shirt size!), send an email to our volunteer coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Photos from August's activity:
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Image **Author's note:  I've heard it said on more than one occasion that the current equal rights movement is similar to that of the plight of women in this country before the 1920s.  As my great great grandmother was a teenager during one of the most troubling and horrifying times for women in the United States, I can tell you, her story is nothing less than a tragedy turned miracle.  I can only pray that the current movement learns from those women, and that we, as the LGBT+ community, can enjoy the same outcome. For those of you who don't know much about the Women's Rights movement, allow me to relate some of the history my maternal progeny experienced first hand.

 

If you think its tough being gay in the 21st century, you couldn't have survived as a woman before 1920. Women back then, were more or less, still considered property.  It wasn't until one group of women stepped up and said, enough is enough. Suffragists began picketing the White House during the Wilson Administration, stating emphatically that President Woodrow Wilson was against women.  This, of course, came after they protested his campaign for president and his election.  Many of you remember people like Susan B. Anthony, Joan of Arc, and Lady Godiva as popular icons of Women's Liberation, but do you remember Lucy Burns?  She was a friend of my great great grandmothers during the late 1910s, and was one of 33 women who were later imprisoned for their protest of Woodrow Wilson.  She (great great grandmother) wasn't with them, she was fighting her own battles in rural west Tennessee, but their story is one my great grandmother remembered well.

 

I have to admit, there are very few TV shows that I care to pay attention to these days. In fact, I can think of only two and one is on hiatus. Real Time with Bill Maher, and the current sensational season of True Blood, on HBO. I've been into vampires my entire life, but this Alan Ball HBO series is beyond engaging, especially with the knowledge that the show is an allegory for the gay rights movement.

Charlaine Harris, the author of the books the series is based on, said her initial characterization for the vampires was "...a minority that was trying to get equal rights." Ball has stated that is the take he chose for the series, which has included phrases with a similarity to those uttered within the LGBT rights movement, such as "God Hates Fangs" instead of "God Hates Fags" and "Coming Out Of The Coffin" instead of "Coming Out Of The Closet". Ken Tucker, of Entertainment Weekly, wrote that the show is built "around a series of metaphors: Vampire rights stand in for gay rights".

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The picture attached is what may be a controversial cover for an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone.

Faced with regular questions about the graphic nature of the show and the amount of sexuality seen in virtually every episode, Ball says, "The idea of celibate vampires is ridiculous, True Blood creator Alan Ball says. "To me, vampires are sex," he says. "I don't get a vampire story about abstinence. I'm 53. I don't care about high school students. I find them irritating and uninformed."

I've watched since the beginning, and I can say, in my opinion, the series has only gotten progressively better with each year. True Blood is broadcast on HBO every Sunday at 9pm. As of this writing, there are only 3 episodes left in the current third season.

We could all probably use a laugh or two with the marriage stay being upheld until an appeal, so why not laugh at some Christian album covers. After all, they're the reason we're in this mess...Click on the images to enlarge...Courtesy of Funny Album Covers

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No same sex marriages in California for now. So don't rush off to the County Clerk's Office this Thursday. The court has issued a ruling to have the appeal in this case heard quickly, with the hearing scheduled for the week of December 6th. The ruling is below...

I read an interesting theory on this issue today. Seems some right wingers are presenting the opinion that it might be better to let California have legal same sex marriage since an appeal would eventually take the issue to the Supreme Court. If the appeal had been denied and same sex marriage was legal in California, it might have been better for our opponents since the issue would not be taken to a national level nearly as fast. But it looks like that's exactly where this is headed now...

Filed order (EDWARD LEAVY, MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS and SIDNEY R. THOMAS) Appellants' motion for a stay of the district court's order of August 4, 2010 pending appeal is GRANTED. The court sua sponte orders that this appeal be expedited pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 2. The provisions of Ninth Circuit Rule 31-2.2(a) (pertaining to grants of time extensions) shall not apply to this appeal. This appeal shall be calendared during the week of December 6, 2010, at The James R. Browning Courthouse in San Francisco, California. The previously established briefing schedule is vacated. The opening brief is now due September 17, 2010. The answering brief is due October 18, 2010. The reply brief is due November 1, 2010. In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. See Arizonans For Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 66 (1997). IT IS SO ORDERED. [7441574] (JS)

My headache is back. Not because the final court filing by Protect Marriage to keep the marriage stay in place until an appeal holds any water, but because it goes over the same landscape as before, with some new twists.

They start off by saying that it simply isn't true that proponents of traditional marriage are restricting that civil right simply out of disapproval. Their reason? Well, "there are millions of Americans who believe in equal rights for gays and lesbians, but who draw the line at marriage". No kidding. So these millions of Americans want us to have "equal" rights, just not "totally equal" rights. How fair and American of them.

And of course, it's still all about the children. Who are these people who think that people are going to stop having children if gays can get married? Are you kidding me? I even heard a woman on a YouTube video say this weekend that if same sex marriage is allowed, then our species will "become extinct". Seriously? Children are a fairly hot commodity right now. Seems that's all anyone talks about anymore. I mean, even gays and lesbians are raising kids now. America is based on what's best for children. Censorship has done nothing but increase in recent years in order to protect the children from hearing a dirty word or seeing an accidental nipple in the middle of the barbaric game of football where men violently attack each other. And given that the world population never comes close to decreasing, but only increases, this is a pretty insane argument to start.

But I digress...kids do it to me every time...

So, according to Protect Marriage, since heterosexuals can produce children "often without forethought, through casual sex", then they must have legal, sanctioned marriage so that when the irresponsible father walks out on the irresponsible mother and she is forced to care for the child on her own, then the state steps in and helps out. I'll point out that they don't bring up the situation of a single straight father raising a child, because I guess that doesn't exist, or maybe they don't see their own misogyny when they imply that only a woman would be left alone by an irresponsible man and would need state assistance since apparently women can't take care of themselves alone like men can. Hmmm...

They point out a couple of places that straight people are subject to "accidental" children. Have they ever seen a condom? They also stick to their argument that infertile couples should be allowed to marry since in their opinion only one person in the couple is infertile and that protects the fertile member, always a man in their scenarios, more misogyny, from straying and fathering children out of wedlock. Yeah, because THAT never happens. Hold on, I'm getting a call from JOHN EDWARDS...

Easily the most insulting passage in the document is on the subject of whether the defendants are operating through the morally judgmental eyes of religion. They are not, they say, but they welcome those voices in their alliance. The religious and "moral" opinion on same sex marriage is just as useful to them as it is in matters of...get ready for this..."prostitution, gambling, capital punishment, physician assisted suicide, abortion funding, and other public policy issues that are inextricably entwined with moral values".

A decision is expected by the Ninth Circuit as early as Monday, August 16th.

 

Target just keeps getting deeper and deeper...This is just the beginning of what may backfire for a lot of corporations as a result of the January ruling by the Supreme Court which insidiously granted corporations the rights of citizens, allowing them to make unlimited donations in the political arena. This "ruling" by the Supreme Court is one of the greatest blunders of all time. It has the possibility of closing what small gap may have existed between corporate America and our government. If you're not aware of this tragedy, start to look into it. Examine how many companies control how much of our lives. While monopoly laws used to be something politicians enforced, there's little of that left. In the end, how many corporations will there be to control virtually all access and content to information, legislation and goods? Big Brother is not just a television show anymore...

Target is currently at the forefront of LGBT protest when it comes to corporations that financially support anti-equality candidates, but they will certainly be joined by a host of others as these new corporate rights are utilized to influence the very fabric of the country. But wait, democracy isn't quite dead, and there's only ONE THING corporations ultimately care about, and it isn't workers rights or what's best for the environment. It's money. So the people, as this video demonstrates, can still have an impact.

Target made a $150,000 donation to the campaign of an anti-gay candidate for Governor in Minnesota, Tom Emmer. Target says they donated to the campaign because Emmer is "pro-business". (Are there candidates anywhere that are "anti-business"?) Target also recently issued an apology and said they'd enter into discussions about making donations to pro-LGBT and workers candidates. It doesn't seem to be helping. Last week 250,000 people pledged to boycott the retail giant, and now one of their stores has been hit by a Flash Mob with a very creative and well written version of "People Are People" by Depeche Mode. Take a look... 

UPDATE: Target has announced it will not make counter donations in response to their support of Tom Emmers.

ImageImage

Fresno's own Reel Pride Film Festival is kicking off its 21st year (running September 15th-19th at the Tower Theater & Starline) with a Members Only event on the patio at the Fresno Express on Wednesday, August 25th from 6-9PM. Enjoy a summer barbeque, complimentary cocktails and a Silent Auction of exciting prizes to benefit the Reel Pride Film Festival. There are over 50 films scheduled for this year's festival.

This event is only for Members of Fresno's Reel Pride. Membership forms are available online HERE. You can also visit the event's Facebook Page

ImageShortly after the appeal in the Prop 8 case was filed by the proponents of the law, the plaintiffs filed their own brief with the Ninth Circuit Court, countering the appeal for a stay with their own take on the matter. They've stated that the defendants plea "does not come close to showing they have a strong chance of winning on appeal".

They go on to argue that...

• Proponents cannot possibly make a “strong showing” that they are likely to prevail in their appeal.

• There is significant question as to whether Proponents even have standing to pursue an appeal.

• Proponents have failed to establish that they will likely suffer irreparable injury in the absence of a stay.

• A stay will cause substantial irreparable harm to Plaintiffs.

• The public interest favors immediate enforcement of the judgment.

And it looks like the Ninth Circuit Court is paving the way to rule on the stay before Wednesday, August 18th, which is the date (at 5PM) that Judge Walker's stay expires, opening the door to legal same sex marriage in California. They've set a deadline of 9am on Monday, August 16th, for the defendants to respond.

Meanwhile, State Attorney General Jerry Brown has repeated his request that the legalization of same sex marriage begin "immediately" in California.

It's going to be an interesting week.

 

 

Well, the appeal has been filed in the Prop 8 case, and it's something to read. Facts? They don't need to refute the facts in Judge Walker's case, since they will do enough just by telling you how his opinion runs contradictory to so many court opinions before him. (Way before him). They offer quotes and cases all way back to the 1600's. How progressive.  

Their "dictionary" argument is embarrassing, to say the least. They claim that since dictionaries have long "understood" the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman, then hey, that's what it is. Okay, forget about societies maturing and making some changes, let's just look at the fact that they're implying that dictionaries decide what words mean through some philosophical meditation on the matter, rather than just writing down what the word means. AT THE TIME!. Wow.

At one point they quote John Locke from, get ready, 1690, who explained that marriage was vital for, of course, the "continuation of the species". It's so strange to me that the opposition continues to argue this matter as if legal same sex marriage means that straight people have to stop having kids. Not to mention all the children that same sex couples will have, adopt and take care of. There will, be, uh, you know, probably, like, more kids if same sex marriage is legal, not less.

On the subject of infertile straight couples being allowed to marry and how that undermines their argument that marriage is about procreation? Well, you've got to read it for yourself...

And even where infertility is clear, usually only one spouse is infertile. In such cases marriage still furthers society’s interest in responsible pro-creation by decreasing the likelihood that the fertile spouse will engage in sexual activity with a third party, for that interest is served not only by increasing the likelihood that procreation occurs within stable family units, but also by decreasing the likelihood that it occurs outside of such units.

I'll wait while your head explodes.

Ready?

They go on to argue that since no biological reason for homosexuality has been found then of course, we aren't necessarily who we are. Riddled at great length, probably the bulk of the document, is that marriage is about children. They say that it's okay for gays to adopt children because they're taking care of children who'd been abandoned by their parents. The "threat" to traditional marriage, in this case, is on a few levels. Gays are using it to be "subversive", the "unknown" long term effects, the weakening of the meaning and importance of marriage to (again) have children. It's all the same argument, all baseless, all idiotic, but still, fascinating. It definitely shows how a lawyer's mind works, in twisting and manipulating irrelevant facts to make them seem relevant. They're basically saying that since Judge Walker didn't agree with judges of the past, nothing should change. You know, like they argued all civil rights cases in the past, "this is the way it is and that's all there is to it".

The document is about 95 pages, but it's worth a look. Read it HERE


That's how it feels to me. After the last few years of constant stress over the issue of marriage equality, it's as if I'm in some movie where the smoke clears, the sun comes out and the air is once again breathable. And that's just the last few years of battling actively, not to mention all the years of my life spent living as a second class citizen for no reason other than prejudice.

On Wednesday, August 4th, we got the news that Judge Vaughn Walker ruled to overturn California Proposition 8. That same evening we held a Decision Day Rally in front of Fresno's City Hall, as so many other cities across the nation did. It was glorious to have such a celebratory gathering after so many defeats brought us together only to share grief and to discuss moving forward. The same day Walker issued his clear, considered and powerful ruling, he also issued a stay for same sex marriage until the opposing side could present their case for appeal.

**To see complete video of the Decision Day Rally in Fresno, click on YouTube link in the menu on the main page of GayFresno.com

On August 12th, Walker issued his next ruling, ending the stay and allowing legal same sex marriages to begin in California, even though he added a short waiting period, until August 18th, so the opposition could make their case for a stay to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

ImageJudge Vaughn Walker has ended the temporary stay on legal same sex marriage in the state of California. It's expected that the opposition will attempt to have this overturned in the next few days but the merits of that plea may not hold up for the 9th District Court.

Judge Walker has ruled that same sex marriage will once again be legal on August 18th at 5pm.

LET'S GET MARRIED!

Read the ruling here: Judge Walker Lifts Stay On Marriage

ImageJudge Vaughn Walker, the federal judge who issued the monumental ruling last week which overturned CA Prop 8, says he will issue his decision by Noon on Thursday (August 12, 2010) as to whether the stay he placed on the ruling will remain in place or will be removed. 

Currently same sex couples are not allowed to marry in the state of California, despite the ruling. A stay was placed by Walker so that the opposing side could convey their case for appeal. In the meantime, both Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown have filed court papers requesting that the stay be lifted and that marriages could begin immediately. Recently the ABA, the American Bar Association, the largest legal group in the world with over 410,000 members, have come out in favor of marriage equality.

If Judge Walker removes the stay tomorrow, then same sex marriage will be allowed to start in California immediately.

ImageThere should be a great uproar of joy today as another federal judge in California has come to the aid of the state's citizens. District Judge William Alsup went as far as to accuse Wells Fargo Bank of "profiteering" in his class action ruling against the banking giant.

The issue was a change in Wells Fargo policies, when the bank made it the rule to process customer's checks, debit card charges and bill payments each day from the highest amount to the lowest amount, rather than chronologically. This practice resulted in a huge increase in overdraft charges for customers, who, after a large debit was posted, could then be subject to $35 in overdraft charges for purchases of miniscule amounts. Not only that, but the practice virtually assured that customers who went over the amount in their account for any given day would be subject to multiple overdraft charges, at over $30 per charge. Use your debit card to charge $5 and it would cost you $40.

The Judge found that customers were not made aware of the change in policy, especially since their online statements listed charges in chronological order. The ruling will cost Wells Fargo upwards of $200 million dollars, as the ruling orders overdraft charges to be returned to customers who suffered because of this policy, from November 15, 2004 to June 30, 2008.

Wells Fargo vows to appeal, and states that the bank changed its policy earlier this year. According to the bank, customers can now face four overdraft charges per day at the most. Let's remember that an overdraft does not incur any charge to the bank. Nothing is different for the bank in processing whether your account covers the amount or does not. The only difference is that the bank, which could be reasonable and charge $5 for a matter which does not inflict them in any way. They, however have chosen to charge $35. It's fairly apparent that if they appeal they'll lose. For now, I'm just pleased that more of these blood sucking banks are being punished financially for preying on American citizens.

Read More Here

This Saturday, August 14th, "Friends Family & Community" will be hosting a Benefit Show at The North Tower Circle to raise money for The Living Room, a project of West Care. The Living Room, a local project that provides services and assists those living with HIV/AIDS, recently faced a closing of their facility.

Image 

The cuts came from the Fresno County Health Department, and were due, in large part, to a decision by the local Board of Supervisors to close the Specialty Clinic, a local project which provided medical care for those with HIV/AIDS. Community Regional Medical Center took on those displaced patients, but at a higher cost to the Health Department. Therefore, the Health Department was forced to cut their funding of The Living Room.  

Since then, West Care has stepped in with support and The Living Room has made efforts to raise money on their own. You can learn more about the plight of The Living Room by reading Dan Waterhouse's article by clicking  HERE.

We urge the community to come out in support of the cause. Doors open at The North Tower Circle at 6pm and the Benefit Show starts at 7pm, with a great line up of performances, which will be emceed by DivaLicious and Angelina. Admission is $10 at the door, and all proceeds benefit The Living Room. There will be food, fun and entertainment, as well as raffle prizes.

 

BIG NEWS! - Lee Morris at The Fresno Express has generously agreed to make a cash donation for every customer attending the event. They are also promoting the event throughout their media sites. So the number of people coming to support the event will now have even more of an impact for The Living Room. Also, Virgil Wigley of The North Tower Circle & The Red Lantern, has purchased and donated a 32" Phillips LCD Flat Screen Television, which will raffled off to one lucky winner on the night of the event. Raffle tickets have been on sale at The Circle for some time now and will also be available for sale on the night of the event. Tickets are $1 each or less when purchased in multiples.

So please come out to support The Living Room and enjoy a night of great performances and fun. With such drastic cuts to HIV/AIDS care all over the county and state, it's vital that we all do our part to assist organizations which provide care in these areas.

 

Out New York college lacrosse player Andrew McIntosh joined Community Link’s Youth Alliance and supporters at The Red Church the evening of July 30th, and spoke about college athletics and coming out.

Youth Alliance facilitator Jeff Robinson formatted the event like a normal Friday evening group session: everyone introduced themselves, gave their age, and (for this event) gave when they first knew their sexual orientation.

McIntosh says he’s known since 13 that he’s gay, but didn’t feel good about it and tried to mask it. He said he immersed himself in sports and academics in junior high and high school to hide his feelings—he thought he could “beat being gay” that way.

His attempts to mask his sexuality led him to transfer colleges two different times, finally landing at Oneonta State University in upstate New York. In May 2009 after learning he was going to be team co-captain next season, he decided his efforts to run away from his feelings were “driving me crazy; I’m going to live with this—or not.” He said he realized he had nothing except lacrosse and classes, and he felt terrible about his feelings towards his best friend. Suicide became a real option.

McIntosh said he thought, “How will people remember me after I take this bottle of pills so I can just die and no one will ever know I ‘m gay?  I could see my funeral being played out: The images brought me to tears as I watched my father, brother and former team mates as pallbearers, all of them wondering why I decided to end my life. ‘How could Andrew do this to himself? He had it all’.

Wow...It's really something to watch Tony Perkins, with the Family Research Council ("Research"...? They can't even spell "research") even after Judge Walker's highly detailed and factual ruling to overturn Prop 8, continue to speak in a bubble devoid of truth. Fortunately, we have David Boies, one on the winning attorneys in the Prop 8 case, present and accounted for, to obliterate the fairy tales coming out of Perkin's mouth. It's fascinating how truth and fact just bounce right off all those opposing marriage equality. It was easy to understand in the past. Conservatives made up reality because they were allowed to, so it didn't make them look like fools. Now, when anyone can simply access the truth from home, exactly what is it about conservatives that makes them happy to look like the court jester?

ImageThe stay on same sex marriages in California, issued by Judge Walker just after his ruling which overturned Prop 8, may not be here much longer.

Both Governor Schwarzenneger and Attorney General Jerry Brown have filed with the court to allow same sex marriages to begin immediately. Ted Olson and David Boies, the successful attorneys in the landmark case, have filed the same. Protect Marriage, a group fighting to keep same sex marriage illegal, have filed an opposing opinion.

Judge Walker is expected to rule any day now on whether to keep the stay in place. If his recent ruling and direct approach are any indication, it's likely same sex marriages will be legal in California very soon.

Read More Here

Ted Olson, the man who is finally accomplishing what so many have failed to do, very calmly and rationally destroys all the rhetoric pouring out of Chris Wallace's ignorant mouth...

On Wednesday, August 4th, 2010, Judge Vaughn Walker issued his ruling to overturn California's Proposition 8. Shortly after releasing his decision he also issued a Stay on same sex marriages in California in order for the opposing side to make their case for appeal. An official appeal was filed on Thursday, August 5th, which will send the case to the 9th District Court of Appeals, and perhaps on to the Supreme Court. That process could take anywhere from 2-3 years, and that's only is if the Federal Supreme Court agrees to hear the case. If the case does make it to the Supreme Court and Prop 8 is ruled un-constitutional, as it was with Judge Walker, then there's a possibility that legal same sex marriage would not only begin in California but across the nation as well.

All across the nation "Decision Day" rallies were held in celebration of this historic ruling, and Fresno was no exception. Fresno's rally began around 8pm and was well attended. Several speakers and performances were included and we have a complete video record of the event.

We are currently editing the video, which will result in about 5 separate, smaller videos. They are currently being processed and uploaded to our YouTube Page. Since they are all High Definition Videos it takes a bit longer to process them, but they should all be up by sometime on Friday, August 6th.

We've included the first video here...as of the posting of this article, this first video is still being processed by YouTube, so the quality is not yet where it will be once processing is complete

 

Elena Kagan has been confirmed to the Supreme Court. The vote was 63-37. Kagan will be the fourth woman to serve on the court.

Several times over the course of the last year, I've heard the opposition (and by opposition, I mean those that oppose marriage equality) say that we are trying to "redefine" family and marriage. So, I thought I'd take the time to do a little research into the matter, to see if that's what we are really trying to do.

First of all, let's look at who "defines" words. Are they defined by experience? By a life of study and experimentation? Are they defined by society and its standards? By culture? By religious belief? The fact is, all of these things come into play when defining a word. Since most of our opposition lay claim to a religious affiliation, then in fairness, we shall use the dictionary most commonly associated with the American language. Noah Webster is credited with the creation of the Dictionary of the English Language in 1806. This dictionary was not officially completed until 1952. Mr. Webster was a deacon of the Congregational church, and in 1833, translated a copy of the bible which was readable in the English common to his day. Webster's Bible was not very popular, since many prefer the older King James version, and never reached its claim to fame, though it is available under public domain today. Why is this information important? Well, Mr. Webster was obviously Christian and divinely inspired, and I will be using his definition of family and marriage, to prevent our opponents from saying that I took my definitions from a non-Christian source.

A STAY HAS JUST BEEN ISSUED WHICH WILL PLACE A TEMPORARY HOLD ON SAME SEX MARRIAGES. 

THE STAY WAS GRANTED BY JUDGE WALKER.

PROPOSITION 8 HAS BEEN OVERTURNED!!!!!

THE RULING IS BELOW.

JOIN US TONIGHT AT CITY HALL. DETAILS BELOW.

Prop 8 Ruling

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker will issue a decision Wednesday on the constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage, according to a court announcement today.

Walker's written order will be released electronically Wednesday - no hour was given - and will later be available for public review in federal courthouses in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

Walker presided over a historic trial January and June in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. Two gay couples challenged Proposition 8, which voters approved in November 2008, saying it violated their federal constitutional right to equal protection.

Walker's decision, whatever it may be, is expected to be appealed.

ImageLet's face it. People around the world have basically been given a permission slip to abuse LGBT people. Hey, we don't deserve equal rights, so why should others consider us worthy of respect?

Example #1...Do people who are in public places who are also looking to hook up for sex, deserve to be killed?

DeFarra Gaymon, 48, was shot and killed by an undercover officer in Branch Brook Park in New Jersey after he apparently approached the officer for sex, then apparently lunged at him when he realized he was a cop. According to the officer, there was then a chase, a struggle, and as Gaymon apparently "reached inside his coat", the officer shot him in the abdomen, resulting in Gaymon's death. Gaymon had no weapon. Gaymon was also the CEO of an Atlanta based credit union, who was on his way to his 30th high school reunion when he stopped at the park. He was also married with 4 children.

Another account of the story states that the officer drew his gun and when Gaymon attempted to disarm the officer, he was shot. But why was a gun involved in the first place? Gaymon was unarmed, and even if a struggle happened, why is shooting someone the option the officer took? Aren't police officers supposed to be able to apprehend a suspect without resorting to a gun? Aren't they supposed to be able to think on their feet? And what if the officer struggled with the suspect and then he got away? Let's remember that no actual crime took place. No sex occurred. There's no mention of anyone revealing themselves. Nothing happened outside a verbal suggestion.

The officer has been suspended. Not fired, but suspended. Now, police have suspended the park operation altogether , which they say has also nabbed straights, and are working with gay rights groups. Who knows if the operation will start up again after the fire dies down. The FBI has refused a request to investigate the incident by the family, however the Essex County prosecutor's office is conducting an investigation.

This, put together with some other recent stories, is the result of the absence of equal rights for LGBT citizens. If our government and justice system doesn't believe we warrant equal rights, the result is a free pass for anyone who wants to abuse us. Equal civil rights won't immediately alleviate the verbal and physical abuse that LGBT people go through, but once we are equal, the change will begin. Over time, as we are acknowledged as equal, the abuse will lessen. It will never go away, ask any American of any ethnic group, but it will help.

''Most all of the major airlines, hotels and others in the travel and tourism industry target the LGBT market segment … Amtrak ’s goal is to raise the level of awareness of the benefits of train travel and increase consideration and ridership amongst this segment.'' Darlene Abudakar, described by the Daily Caller as the director of national advertising for Amtrak. The train company announced recently that it would be courting LGBT travelers. (Daily Caller)

 

'''For the first time in the train's history, Amtrak has decided to spend a quarter-million dollars recruiting gay passengers... This is a government-run business, meaning that the $250,000 comes directly out of taxpayers' pockets.... a federal endorsement of homosexuality--one of, if not the, biggest threats to public health in America. And funding that message of perversion on the backs of Americans who disagree is an insult. Now it's obvious why Washington is targeting this tiny population--because it happens to be one of the richest.''

Tony Perkins in a press release from Family Research Council, the very rich and politically active religious organization that regularly denounces all things gay, complaining about Amtrak's planned ad campaign for the LGBT community. (FRC)

Let's be honest: the other side lies. Their claims range from the annoyingly cherry-picked statistics (gays and lesbians are more likely to be depressed or commit suicide) to the fear-inducing predictions (gays and lesbians will molest/recruit your kids) to the what the f*ck?! (did you know that the Nazis were gay?)

After they lie, they take people's fears and make up a slogan to make them feel as though, not only are they in danger, but they need to take a stand for what is right. They need to fight! Someone is here to f*ck things up for their beautiful and safe life and they're not going to take it! This is war, they cry, a war on marriage.

So, they take this to the masses, the sleeping masses, and they wake them up just enough to say, hey, what? My marriage? My way of life? My children? Hell, no! They scare them into thinking that if they don't fight this, that life as they know it will end.

A huge new report has been released which analyzes the Prop 8 campaign.

According to the report...

This report is a data-driven case study and analysis. It offers a wealth of new data about the Proposition 8 campaign in California. The data permit reconsideration of the conventional wisdom about Prop 8, and show that most of it is factually incorrect. This report also puts Prop 8 in context, and notes its remarkable similarity to other same-sex marriage campaigns. Prop 8 illustrates three patterns—two dysfunctional, one functional––that define much of the LGBT struggle with ballot measures since they first cropped up in the 1970s.

There's a lot of important data that a lot of the LGBT community has been wrong about, not the least of which is the actual number of voters who are against us. Those who continually cite the fact that we only lost by 4 percentage points ignore the amount of voters involved in what seems like a small number. Watching the short video will give you an overview of what the report includes.

Click here for a pdf of the report (it takes some time to load, so don't take off when it doesn't pop up right away)...The Prop 8 Report

ImageGrande Ecole

Director: Robert Salis / Not Rated /

Starring: Gregori Baquet – Jocelyn Quivrin – Arthur Jugnot

Alice Taglioni – Elodie Navarre – Salim Kechiouche

Reviewed By- Leon Velasco

Rating – Two Thumbs up

This is a very erotic drama. Very well written and any one who has had to hide their sexuality and be with the opposite sex will really appreciate the intense emotions the writer. When the person you’re seeing detects and confronts you with their suspicions is a one thing but to challenge you to a game of seduction is when things really get strange, twisted, dramatic, and in turn intriguing and erotic. I have played this game but it was a female friend from high school who suspected her husband was attracted to me and we had set him up for a rendezvous with me to see how far he would go. The out come was they got divorced and I lost my friends forever, although it was her idea. This movie hit the nail right on the button for me and maybe some of the readers as well.

Bill Moyers on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher. It's too bad more Americans don't think like this man. The health care debate currently raging can be taken down to the simplicity of Moyer's statements. Why are we fighting against something we all deserve and that every other advanced Western civilization has already figured out? Shame on those of us who don't accept that we might have to wait a little longer in line so that everyone can have health care and shame on Obama and his administration for making deals with the drug companies.

The biggest threat in America, in my opinion, continues to be American Christians, those driven by fairy tales instead of logic and reason. What's really tragic is that so many Christians (or at least they appear to be) have moved into the LGBT fight for equal rights. How are we using our brains when we have so many people at the forefront of the battle who don't even deal in reality? But that's an entirely different discussion. As for Christians in general, and all people "of faith", these are my two favorite people to discuss it, Bill Maher and Sam Harris.

FORT WORTH, Texas—Texas' liquor board fired two agents and a supervisor, disciplined two other supervisors and changed several policies in the wake of a raid at a gay bar that left a customer seriously injured and led to protests, officials announced Friday.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said agent Christopher Aller and agent trainee Jason Chapman, who participated in the June 28 raid at the Rainbow Lounge, were fired Friday. Their supervisor, Sgt. Terry Parsons, was not at the Fort Worth bar that night but also was fired, effective Sept. 2.

Aller and Chapman failed to report that they used force when arresting the customer or that he was seriously injured, according to a report on the agency's investigation released earlier this month. They also were accused of participating in the raid without their supervisor's approval, disrupting the business during the raid and wearing improper attire, the report states.

Parsons failed to ensure that the agents submitted a report on using force during the arrest, did not take appropriate action after learning they didn't wear proper attire during the raid and did not notify supervisors that multiple arrests had been made that night, the report states.

Read the rest of the story HERE

ImageFresno's REEL PRIDE celebrates September 16th-20th with its 20th ANNUAL GAY & LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL in the Tower District.  "For 20 years, Reel Pride has worked to increase the awareness of the gay and lesbian community through the exhibition of films and videos exploring gay and lesbian themes at an annual festival in Fresno.  Over these years it has grown to become one of the largest gay and lesbian film festivals in the US and a premiere cultural event in Central California."

Films screening this year include the documentary OUTRAGE,  "a blistering investigation into closeted gay politicians who push anti-gay legislation to hide their own sexual impulses", and Prodigal Son, which follows a high school football hero returning home to reveal his new identity, as a woman. Also screening is  Fruit Fly, about a woman searching for her biological parents and getting caught up a world of colorful characters, with an appealing cast performing 14 catchy musical numbers, bringing San Francisco’s vibrant art scene to vivid life. And Then Came Lola, is a fast paced lesbian "rom-com" following Lola, a chronic serial dater who runs, jumps, bikes, hikes, Muni’s and hitches with an array of strangers in order to finally come through for her girlfriend, Casey.

Visit the Reel Pride Website for more details.

Over the  past few years we have seen cuts to HIV/AIDS programs and we have learned to work with less.  We have learned how to get the Prevention message out, take care of those infected and keep working towards the goal of everyone infected getting proper care and stemming new diagnosis.  Every year we wondered  What would happen next year?.  Would next year be the year  services stopped?

Recently the Governor made changes in the budget.  that cut programs that affect children, senior citizens, and programs for people at risk or infected with HIV.  The cut to the budget for HIV services is over $60 million.  The results for Fresno County are astonishing and we are trying to find ways to keep programs going.  Almost all of the funding for Education and Prevention has been cut.

Fresno County Department of Public Health has notified that the mobile van will not be conducting sites until further notice.  The Living Room, A Project of WestCare, has been notified that all Education and Prevention grants are to be terminated.  These are devastating events.

ImageImageImageFollow a recent debate between Maggie Gallagher, of the National Organization for Marriage, and Gavin Newsome, Mayor of San Francisco on PBS. There are questions, answers and rebuttals, and you can vote for who won the debate at the end. Check it out HERE

ImageImageThe infamous National Organization For Marriage has officially launched its Reclaim Iowa Project, which the organization calls a "multi-year campaign to pass a state constitutional amendment reversing last spring's same-sex marriage ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court".

This, along with the current campaign waging in Maine, is a prime example of why our only long term victory has to be legislation on a federal level which prohibits states from allowing civil rights to be put to a vote of the people, just as Vickye Ashton recently wrote about on this very site. Either that, or we're going to have to face going back and forth for years to come over our equal rights as American citizens.

Watch the NOM video below, then watch the latest video from GLAD , which is New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression. Their video presents the American way of thought and progress.


SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A same-sex marriage lawsuit that created a public rift between President Barack Obama and his gay supporters was dismissed Monday on a technicality.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ruled the case - the first of several pending challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act - must be refiled in federal court.

Carter said the suit had been improperly filed in state court before it was transferred to his jurisdiction. As a result, the judge said, he would not entertain arguments on its merits, at least not yet.

"There is no point for us to go down the line of decision-making and waste time," he said during the hearing in Santa Ana.

Read the rest of this story HERE

Image(08-19) 14:10 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge has scheduled a trial for Jan. 11 on the constitutionality of California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage - the first trial on that issue in any U.S. court - and allowed the city of San Francisco to join the case against the ballot measure.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's decision Wednesday to hold a trial on whether Proposition 8 violates gays' and lesbians' rights to equality under the law was a tactical victory for opponents of the November 2008 initiative, who say experts and other witnesses can help them show that Prop. 8 was rooted in anti-gay bias.

Read the rest of the story HERE

ImageThe LA Times ran an editorial on Monday, August 17th, ruminating on the recent decision by Equality California to work towards a 2012 ballot initiative. The Courage Campaign, which multiple websites have falsely reported are set on a 2010 campaign, are merely collecting funds for more research.  This, despite the fact that the effort faces a deadline of late September to be eligible. Time has run out on the "research" strategy, or for that matter, any debate on which strategy should be taken. Any organization that has not come to a decisive conclusion at this point is most likely doomed, due to time constraints.

This timing debate continues to rage on a number of websites and blogs, often resulting in divisiveness and condemnation rather than progress. The 2010 camp, in comments and user blogs, regularly attacks those in favor of a 2012 strategy, calling them "lazy", "quitters" and worst of all, "apathetic". I've yet to find a comment online which opposes a 2010 campaign which is, at its core, hateful. The comments I've seen which are opposed to a 2010 movement point out the pitfalls of such an effort, often urging those in favor of 2010 to consider the pitfalls, while comments from 2012 supporters to those who question that date, begin and end at biting and dismissive.

Even in Fresno, very recently, the Fresno Bee quoted a well known local activist, who supports a 2010 campaign, as saying they hadn't come across any LGBT Activists who were in favor of 2012. This was completely false, of course, as I've had personal contact with this person and questioned a 2010 move from the start. Or consider the recent Marriage Equality "Get Engaged Tour" held at Fresno State, where many local activists in the room, including myself, raised their hands when asked if they supported a 2012 strategy, and you begin to see that not only are 2010 supporters not listening, they aren't playing fair.

It makes it clear that the effort to secure marriage equality in California has become more about egos and self serving victory than about strategy. Pity, since those in the 2010 camp are, for the most part, those who aggressively stood behind many of the failed strategies of our movement up to this point.

The following is an excerpt from the LA Times Editorial...

People shouldn't have to wait for their rights. They shouldn't have to campaign, raise money, create alliances or strategize to secure the basic recognition that others enjoy without effort. But history tells us that all of this is often necessary to overcome discrimination.

Thus our chagrin over the division in California's gay-rights movement about how best to challenge Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in the state. Federal lawsuit? Initiative to repeal Proposition 8 in 2010? Or 2012?

The most important objective should be a decisive victory, sending a clear message that this state no longer will tolerate separate but not-quite-equal status for families based on sexual orientation. Given the opinion polls, the lack of a coherent campaign strategy and the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, this most likely means an unfortunate wait. A loss at the ballot box or in the nation's high court could set back same-sex marriage for years
.

Read the full piece HERE

ImageDavid Mixner takes on Bill Clinton for his recent explanation of Don't Ask Don't Tell. While I don't entirely agree with him, he has a point. It's interesting though, how he discounts the public and congressional support absent in the process of DADT, but for so many other issues, we're constantly told to call and write our congress people. If Congress is so easily relegated to the background, then why is Congress always the issue when we want something passed?

I'm not happy about Clinton's handling of the situation. Coupled with DOMA, those are the biggest blights on his Presidency, in my opinion. But I have to say this, at least he tried. at least he brought up an issue no one else ever would have. At least he got the debate going. I only wish that more gay activists would be as harsh (or harsher) on Christians as they are on politicians. That's the real enemy, those bunch of mentally challenged fantasy buffs...

From Mixner's blog...

President Bill Clinton still doesn't get 'it'. He never has gotten 'it'.

The 'it' in question is the struggle for LGBT civil rights and full equality. He has always missed the essence of our fight for freedom. Otherwise he never, ever would have said what he said to Lane Hudson in Pittsburgh last week. As I watched his defense of DADT at the public forum, I almost had to ask the nurse for more blood pressure medicine I was so shocked at his response.

Read the rest of this entry by clicking HERE

And Tango Makes Three Image...a children's book about a couple of gay male penguins who create a family

For anyone who winds up in a debate with someone who is against homosexuality because it's not natural...a tool for your debate...from Wikipedia...

Homosexual behavior in animals refers to the documented evidence of homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior in non-human animals. Such behaviors include sex, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting. A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behavior, has been observed in close to 1500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them.[2][3]Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, even within the same species. The motivations for and implications of these behaviors have yet to be fully understood, since most species have yet to be fully studied.[4] According to Bagemihl, "the animal kingdom [does] it with much greater sexual diversity -- including homosexual, bisexual and nonreproductive sex -- than the scientific community and society at large have previously been willing to accept."[5] Current research indicates that various forms of same-sex sexual behavior are found throughout the animal kingdom. [6] A new review made in 2009 of existing research showed that Same-sex behavior is a nearly universal phenomenon in the animal kingdom, common across species.[7]

Read the complete Wikipedia listing HERE

While the Obama administration stands behind their request for a dismissal in the lawsuit against DOMA brought by a California couple, they also filed court papers Monday, August 17th, claiming that the Defense Of Marriage Act is discriminatory. The administration states they have no choice but to defend DOMA in the court case since it's Federal law, but hopes that Congress will overturn it. 

Not watching Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO? You're missing the most honest show on television...

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ImageThe gay rights movement is in the midst of a perfect storm.  Hurricane Prop 8 has thrown our community into disarray.  How we get out of this is the question that is on everybody's mind.  I propose that we start listening to and stop talking past each other as has been the case between the Pro-2010 versus the 2012 camps.  As turbulent as it while in the eye of the storm, we should keep in mind that there's a rainbow after the rain.

Have we bothered to understand other people's struggles without slight in the form of a dismissive arrogance of their point of view and minimizing their plight?  If we can hold empathy, compassion and compromise in our hearts, we can truly engage and support each other in this Herculean task of winning marriage equality back in California. 

At the very least, we must admit that the world does not revolve around the LGBT community, and, specifically, the burden of loss and the pain of having our civil rights stripped away is not the White LGBT community's to bear alone.  One would be hard pressed if one looks at the Pro-2010 contingent with their go it alone at any cost mentality.  The sacrificing of the most vulnerable of our communities, people infected and affected with HIV and the POC LGBT communities, is a blind spot for most Caucasian LGBTs and is a demonstration of selfishness and self-centeredness to the extreme. 

That, I think, is the root of our problems and a besetting weakness!

Article and Photos by: Nigel Medhurst

Equality California (EQCA) celebrated the opening of their Fresno office in their “Win Marriage Back: Make it Real” campaign. The band “The In Flight Nymphs,” DJ Ms. Soul Flower, and Heinz performed, along with an auction of Chelsey Ramirez’ artwork. The event was covered by the press and greeted by different LGBT organizations although the primary audience was the residents of the Central Valley.

ImageImageImageImage
Scotti Maldonado and Vanessa Lopez, are the EQCA’s Fresno Regional Field Managers. Lopez said the office will serve as a home base for volunteers to phone-bank and canvas. The office will help sustain visibility of the fight to renew the right to same-sex marriages. Fresno played a significant role in the passage of the anti-marriage proposal with 70% voting in favor of it. Nurturing a grass-roots movement in the Central Valley is crucial to the success of legalizing same-sex marriage. “Who better to fight for the right to marry in the Central Valley than the people from the Central Valley,” an EQCA volunteer, Katrina, said.

The office also provides a conference room for other LGBT groups to meet. Zoyer Zyndel, the Chair of the Fresno Transgender organization, commented, “If it wasn't for the gay parade and the LGBT's I wouldn't even have realized I was transgender.” He explained the importance of a meeting place because “finding another transgender person who is comfortable being out is like finding a unicorn.” It wasn't until Zyndel discovered and joined a group at Fresno City College that he became more knowledgeable and was able to gain the strength to address his identity concerns.

Many other first-time visitors were on hand. Lopez said, “ I saw a lot of new faces.” The media was well represented by Fox, Univision, El Sol, Newslink, and McSweeney's. Nick Greene from McSweeneys, a San Francisco based publication, has been writing a story about the canvassing in the Central Valley. He observed about Fresno, “It's pretty conservative and reminds me a lot of back home in Michigan although there is no equality office opening up in Michigan.”

Michigan, like 30 other states, including California, has voted to ban same-sex marriages.

This is what it all comes back to and why the director of EQCA, Marc Solomon, was in Fresno throughout the celebration. “EQCA is making a commitment to the Central Valley by having organizers and opening an office, but we need the help of the Central Valley. This door-to-door campaign will only succeed if people are willing to take it on and do the work. I know we can win, but we need people to roll up their sleeves and get engaged. We're here to make it easy for people to volunteer.”

There are are plans to return to the ballots but a strong grass-roots movement needs to be in place first. Solomon believes same-sex marriage will be legalized in California,“It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.”

If you are interested in phone-banking or canvassing, contact:

Scotti Maldonado 593-6766 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Vanessa Lopez 307-7470 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Watch Fresno's own Scotti Maldonado, Regional Field Manager for Equality California, discuss EQCA's decision to work toward a ballot measure in 2012 instead of 2010.

ImageEquality California (EQCA) has made the decision to focus on a 2012 ballot measure, rather than 2010. You can read and download their report on this by clicking here... Equality California Analysis & Plan

The following is from EQCA Marriage Director Marc Solomon...

People have been asking me for weeks, "What is EQCA’s position on when to go back to the ballot, 2010, 2012 or at a later date when we are confident we will win?"

As I've been saying all along, we've been doing our due diligence, listening to the full breadth and depth of opinions our diverse community has to offer, considering very carefully all sides of the discussion and gingerly crafting our best recommendations. Today we are ready to make our recommendation to the community.

For the first time, we have the opportunity to choose the best time to go back to the ballot, and we strongly think 2012 is the way to go. Here are the top reasons why:

To read the rest of this article click HERE...

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ImageThe other night as my crew and I were closing McDonald's I had an unexpected visit from a truly wonderful person. Although it may sound that this encounter was pure delight, I must add, it began bitter sweet.

Every night our lobby closes at 11pm. When we close our lobby we lock all the doors in our store. All except the side door that enables us to take food out to our parked cars. The other night after closing our lobby we had an unexpected visit from a middle aged man. He made his way into the restaurant through the side door and began to walk towards the front counter. Immediately as a manager I knew to take all precautions, after all; employees are the only people permitted in our lobby after closing by policy. I wasn't sure if this gentleman was just trying to grab a bite to eat or trying to rob the store. I began to examine everything about him.

He was a dark man with semi-long, black hair tied back into a messy ponytail. His jeans were dirty as if he had been working on a car or stealing one. He was a Middle Eastern man that hadn't shaved in a couple of days. He wore a grey shirt that displayed an American flag with the words "proud to be an American" under the flag.

People affected by or with HIV and AIDS, staggered by the news that California is dismantling its system of care and prevention, now have to face the prospect that all federal funding will disappear at the end of September.

Marriage is going to happen, within the next few years. But right now there are other issues, other priorities that should take precedence. The bottom line is: what use is marriage when the person you want to wed is now in danger of dying from AIDS?

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger blue-penciled 80% of the funding for education and prevention and testing programs, leaving only federal dollars available to continue testing efforts. However, the Ryan White Act program ends on September 30th, unless renewed by Congress.

Care and support systems for persons with HIV or AIDS have been gutted by Schwarzenegger. The elimination of these funds includes approximately 50% of the total funding for early intervention (primary medical care and transmission prevention counseling) and home and community based care (medical case management) programs. Again, the state is depending on federal funds to continue some services.

The AIDS Drugs Assistance Program, which many low-income patients rely upon, is only funded until the end of June 2010. After that, it's uncertain whether the program will continue.

California's HIV/AIDS funding was cut by $85 million.

If the Ryan White Act is not renewed by the end of September, there will be no funding in California for any HIV/AIDS services. What people fear would happen with Schwarzenegger's cuts would become a certainty--people will die.

The Bilerico Project Report printed an alert on August 7th. "AIDS Action is prompting the national HIV/AIDS community to take action and call President Obama and Secretary Sebelius to demand that Congress act to extend the Ryan White Care Act before it sunsets on September 30, 2009.

"Unless Congress and the President take action, the Ryan White AIDS Program will be terminated in 8 weeks and the federal government will shut the doors of access to critical care, treatment and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

"As America experiences a national crisis involving healthcare reform, conservative groups are actively disrupting town hall meetings for Members of Congress to listen to the challenges of people falling out of medical care simply because they are not eligible for health care coverage or they just find the system of care impossible to navigate. Call The White House and Secretary Sebelius and tell them to voice their support to Congress for extending the Ryan White Program. For talking points and contact numbers, click on the link for AIDS Action's Action Alert."

While the scope of service reductions due to Schwarzenegger's blue pencil cuts in Fresno County are not yet known, they are expected to be severe. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors was expected to terminate the county's contract for prevention services with The Living Room on August 11th.

ImageThe Bulldog Pride Fund @ Fresno State announces its 2009-10 scholars -- Allison Zulewski, Leonel Barajas and Julia Scott -- each receiving a $2,000! >> DETAILS + 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORT & HONOR ROLL OF DONORSwww.BULLDOGPRIDE.org

Hello everyone, this is Michael Gerald, Health Educator at PPMM, and I wanted to let everyone know that as of July 1st, 2009, PPMM Fulton Clinic in Fresno is now offering Transgender Healthcare Services. We accept most every insurance (including Blue Cross and Medi-Cal) and we are offering Male to Female (MtF) to Female to Male (FtM) hormone therapy (including anti-androgens).

There are three criteria to obtain these services at our clinic: must be 18 or older (we are currently working on a waiver for under 18); be able to give informed consent; and have either a referral from a psychotherapist (3 months of therapy or more) or 3 months of life experience as Transgender.

When clients call, they should tell the scheduler that they would like Transgender Services, this will allow the client to also give a preferred name and pronoun. When a person visits for Trans Services they will need to give a complete medical history, receive a physical exam, and undergo lab testing. All of these services are offered at our clinic, along with continued check ups with a clinician. If you have any questions about these services, please call 877-855-7526. They can also schedule an appointment at this number. Thank you.

Michael Gerald
Health Educator
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
(559)-441-2744
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ImageDog Tags

Not Rated…Don’t ask- Don’t Tell - Written and Directed by Damion Dietz - Starring: Paul Preiss – Bart Fletcher – Amy Lindsay – Candy Clark - Review by: Leon Velasco - Rating of: One Thumb up

It wasn’t one of the greatest movies I’ve seen. It was ok, but if it’s between this and say getting my brows waxed…I’ll go for the waxing. It just seemed to drag, and you’re getting anxious to get to the end after 30-45 minutes. Who knows maybe someone else may like it, but for me, I had to keep replaying because it would put me to sleep.

Emotionally daring and bristling with powerful performances, Dog Tags explores the cost of self-discovery as two unlikely souls connect. Abandoned by his father and raised by his single mother (Candy Clark), handsome and sexually confused Nate (Paul Preiss) obligatorily joins the Marines to support his fiancée. On leave, the detached marine meets Andy (Bart Fletcher), a magnetic and seemingly free-spirited young man haunted by the mysteries of his past. Initially their bond is purely platonic, but the smoldering chemistry they share is undeniable as it sizzles into something sensual and intimate. Together they plunge headfirst into waters of vulnerability and desire, while the identity of Nate’s father finally rises to the surface.

“An effective and affecting drama…it sneaks up on you and hits you upside your heart” –Dallas Voice

“A visually stunning film…powerful performances.” –Courier Post

ImageIn just a few short weeks you can enjoy the crisp, clean air of the sequoias, sit around a campfire in the cool evening air and party with over a hundred other members of the LGBT community, but only if you attend Kamp-Out 2009 and we hope you will.

This year's Kamp-Out is the week-end of September 11 thru 13 at the Texas Flat campground.  This year's theme is "The Movies" and we encourage you to get into the spirit of the week-end by decorating your campsite with the theme of your favorite movie.  There will be prizes awarded for best campsite.

The entire week-end is filled with events you can participate in such as "Kamp Town Races", The Boat Regatta", and "Needle in a Haystack".  Or if you prefer, to just kick back at your campsite and visit with friends, you are more than welcome to do that too.

The cost for the week-end is just $25.00 per person (under 18 not allowed) and you will certainly get your monies worth.  This includes your campsite, a progressive cocktail party and beer bash on Friday night, full breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, dinner on Saturday and another beer bash on Saturday.  You can't eat and drink at home for that price!

The highlight of Saturday is of course the "Kamp Show", and we mean just that!  Bring you most outrageous costume and a CD that has a movies theme and enter the show.  Better yet, get a group together and do a group number.  While this is an adult event, we do ask that costumes and numbers are in good taste.

If you have never been to Kamp-Out and need to know what to bring (or a regular that needs a refresher), please be sure to visit our website (http://www.kampoutfresno.com/) to find out what you need to bring.  This is a very remote site and you pretty much need to bring everything to sustain yourself for the week-end.

In order to keep the cost down for attendees, we do our best to get donations, so we would like to thank in advance Virgil and The Red Lantern, Paul and The Den, James and The North Tower Circle and The Golden State Bears for their generous donations.

So start gathering up your supplies, get your costume and CD together and plan on having a wonderful
time at Kamp-Out 2009!

 

ImageTed Olson is, along with David Boies, bringing a challenge to the Supreme Court concerning the constitutionality of California's Prop 8. Olson has a staunchly Republican past, which makes his teaming up with Boies, a Democrat, more than fascinating, especially considering what they're fighting for. The LA Times recently talked things over with Olson..

From the LA Times Article...

When you've pleaded a case before the United States Supreme Court, your memento, your trophy, is a white quill. Some lawyers get one and treasure it forever. Ted Olson has enough to fletch an eagle, and he hopes to add one more -- legalizing same-sex marriage. During the Republican glory years in Washington, Olson was a GOP pillar: at the first meeting of the Federalist Society, on the board of directors of American Spectator magazine, stalwart of the Reagan administration. It was Olson who argued George W. Bush's case to the Supreme Court in Bush vs. Gore in 2000, securing the presidency. He grew up and was educated in California, elementary school through law school, and lived on the Palos Verdes peninsula before going all Beltway on us. And now he's back at his old law firm and working with an old adversary, David Boies, who argued Al Gore's side of the 2000 election. They've launched a challenge to Proposition 8 that could find them together again before the high court -- but on the same side, arguing that same-sex marriage should be part of mainstream America. Who'da thunk it?

Read the full story HERE

California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, who was the lone dissent against the upholding of Proposition 8, chats with UCI's Henry Weinstein about the logic behind his decision.

This is a short video clip taken from the full video. Watch the full video HERE . (The video clip runs 6:33, while the full video runs 65:12)

ImageSaturdays from August 15th to September 19th, anyone entering the club between 9pm-12:15am will be entered into the $200 cash drawing for that night. Visit the Express Website for all the details. 

More voices are coming forward, decrying the latest shift in the LGBT movement, which allows a small number of self appointed leaders to call the shots in the battle for LGBT Equal Rights in America...

From the Gay & Lesbian Times...

ImageLongtime GLBT activist Robin Tyler called for a more democratic marriage-equality movement at the Activist Town Hall forum at The San Diego LGBT Community Center, on Tuesday, June 23.

“This movement hasn’t become radical enough. This movement pretends to be democratic, but it’s far from,” Tyler said. Tyler, a pioneer within the GLBT civil rights movement and executive director of The Equality Campaign, was the first lesbian to sue the state of California challenging the ban on same-sex marriage.

Tyler put the spotlight on the Courage Campaign, an organizing network that fights for progressive change in California, including marriage equality, saying its structure is undemocratic.

“The Courage Campaign goes around and organizes these things in cities, and you sit around telling each other stories, your personal stories. You cry and share your stuff and then nothing. Nothing happens. It’s not democratic,” she said.

Read the rest of this story HERE

So are there still people out there who believe that the denial of legal same sex marriage, let alone the opposition to ALL equal rights for ALL LGBT people, is not upheld at the hand of prejudice and hatred, regardless of how judges and politicians are supposed to act? Then take a look at this story out of Portugal. FYI - Portugal's constitution FORBIDS discrimination based on sexual orientation. Still, they recently upheld a ban on same sex marriage. Let's understand what we're up against here...

ImageLISBON, Portugal — Portugal's Constitutional Court on Friday upheld the country's ban on gay marriage, rejecting a challenge by two lesbians who are seeking to wed.

The court said its five judges ruled 3-2 against an appeal lodged by the women two years ago.

Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, divorced mothers in their 30s who have been together as a couple since 2003, were turned away by a Lisbon registry office when they attempted to marry in 2006 because the law stipulates that marriage is between people of different genders.

Portugal's constitution, however, also forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. The women took the case to a Lisbon court, which rejected their unprecedented challenge.

Read the rest of the story HERE 

In light of the recent decimation of HIV Health Care in California by our Governor, this news is especially disturbing...

WASHINGTON — A new strain of the virus that causes AIDS has been discovered in a woman from the African nation of Cameroon. It differs from the three known strains of human immunodeficiency virus and appears to be closely related to a form of simian virus recently discovered in wild gorillas, researchers report in Monday's edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

The finding "highlights the continuing need to watch closely for the emergence for new HIV variants, particularly in western central Africa," said the researchers, led by Jean-Christophe Plantier of the University of Rouen, France.

Read the rest of this story HERE 

ImageTEL AVIV (Agence France-Presse) — A masked man opened fire on a crowd at a gay community center in Tel Aviv late Saturday, killing three people and wounding at least 10 others, the Israeli emergency services said.

A young man and a young woman were killed on the spot and the third victim died in hospital, the authorities said, and one of those who were wounded was in serious condition.

The gunman, who was dressed in black, unloaded an automatic weapon as he fired on the group of young gay men and lesbians near the entrance of the center, witnesses said, and he then ran away.

No one had been arrested by early Sunday.

Read the rest of the story HERE 

ImageCAMP PENDLETON — A sailor charged with killing and burning a Navy seaman during an arson attack at Camp Pendleton was found dead in the base's brig, according to Navy officials.

Petty Officer Jonathan Campos, 32, of Lancaster, apparently asphyxiated himself by ingesting toilet paper, said Brian O'Rourke, a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest.

Campos was charged with the June 30 shooting death of Seaman August Provost in an attack on the Marine base. Campos was on a suicide watch, and the few items in his cell included toilet paper and a “suicide-proof” blanket.

Brig staff members had checked on Campos about 11:45 a.m. Friday and found him in “satisfactory condition,” O'Rourke said. At 12:21 p.m., however, he was found unresponsive on his cot.

The staff administered CPR and took Campos to a hospital, but he was pronounced dead about an hour later. An autopsy will be performed sometime next week to determine his exact cause of death.

Read the rest of this story HERE 

Mayoral candidate Henry T. Perea speaks on diversity, division and uniting a community:

Image    Perea is young, clean-cut, and Catholic but has a penchant for mild cursing (I've omitted the expletives from the article...sorry). He's a bit of a walking paradox, no question about it.

A proposal aimed at effectively banning gay men and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive parents was cleared Monday to appear on this fall's ballot in Arkansas. To read more of this article on PlanetOut.com click here.

ImageIf you are good at decorating a dinner table, the Imperial Dove Court is looking for you. On Saturday, September 20th the Imperial Dove Court will be hosting "Evening Under The Stars".  This is a very popular event where members of the community are invited to set a dinner table for eight guests.  The person with the best judged table will win $100.00.  The evening starts at 6:00 p.m. and the entry fee is $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door.  A full dinner will be served and guests will be seated at the tables set by those that have entered the event.  There will be entertainment and a full bar.  If you are interested in decorating a table, please contact event coordinator Greg Lucas at (559) 360-0279.

ImageImageThe LGBT community lost a great pioneer, leader and true hero today, when Del Martin, 87, passed away in San Francisco with Phyllis Lyon, her lifelong partner and spouse, by her side. These two women share a rich history of activism in the LGBT community and played a crucial role in our obtaining marriage rights in California. Read about Del Martin here: Del Martin 1921-2008

ImageA couple of enterprising men from Austin, Texas, have created a deck of playing cards featuring hypocritical Republicans “caught in the act”. Cards feature Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley and others. Each one was caught up in a gay scandal and each has made anti gay statements or voted against pro-gay legislation. “These professional grade, poker size playing cards take a peek into the dark corners of the Grand Ole Party. Featuring a plethora of politicians who got caught playing pitcher for the wrong team, allegedly.” Check out their website and buy a set of cards here: Gay Republican Cards

ImageIn a shocking upset, openly gay Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, 20, has won the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 10m platform at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Going into the final round, Mitcham trailed China’s Zhou Luxin by more than 30 points. But Mitcham scored an astonishing 112.10 on his last dive — a back two and a half somersault with two and a half twists — to earn four perfect 10s and win the gold medal, with an overall score of 537.95 to Zhou’s 533.15. Read the story HERE

What is  better than a Gay Fresno Movie Night? ........ A *FREE* Gay Fresno Movie Night!!!! Our first ever Gay Fresno Movie Night was HOT HOT HOT and more HOT. We showed the very vibrant film "But I'm A Cheerleader!" It was all laughs and pom poms all night. If some of you have not seen this movie, Gay Fresno recommends you see it ASAP. It is a completely hilarious film about how to "cure" homosexuality. It is about a serious situation, but is very humorous and light hearted. Which is a great change from what we normally see about the so called "curing" of homosexuality.

ImageCNN & The Associated Press are reporting that Barack Obama has chosen Joseph Biden as his Vice Presidential Candidate. Read the story HERE

ImageImageImageMost states don't recognize gay marriage — but now Hallmark does. The nation's largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards — featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. "Two hearts. One promise," one says. Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. A handful of other states have recognized same-sex civil unions. Read the story HERE

ImageAfter a recent re-design by 365GAY.COM, our live news feed is officially active again, at the top of our homepage. We can't help but point out one of the lead stories, about the CA Supreme Court ruling that doctors are not allowed to base their medical assistance to patients on the basis of their religious beliefs. For months now we've watched doctors and pharmacists refusing to assist those in need whose "morality" intersected their personal opinions. Does a person's religious belief system allow them to choose which job functions they will perform and which they won't? Of course not. But it was happening, with the support of millions of Ameircans. Monday, in a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that doctors cannot withhold care to gays and lesbians based on their religious beliefs. The story involves a lesbian couple's choice of in vitro fertilization. Read the story HERE...

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ImageCommunity Link hosted their annual Bowlathon fundraiser at Cedar Lanes on Sunday, August 17th. There was a great turnout in support of the event, with several teams of bowlers both in and out of costume. Donations were made, door prizes were handed out and awards were presented in several categories.

ImageCan you imagine living in a place where birth control is considered an "abortion" and health insurers won't cover it? Where even rape victims are denied emergency contraception?

It seems unbelievable, but the Bush Administration is quietly trying to redefine "abortion" to include birth control. The Houston Chronicle says this could wipe out dozens of state laws that protect women's reproductive freedom and protect rape victims. This "rule change" doesn't need congressional approval.

Can you sign an emergency message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this rule change right now? We'll pass your signature and information to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which will deliver the signatures to Leavitt. They'll be able to follow up with you on this issue. Click HEREto sign the petition...

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ImageSoldier’s Girl They Didn't Know How Dangerous Love Could Be

 

 

Based On A True Story Director: Frank Pierson / Starring: Troy Garity / Lee Pace / Andre Braugher / Shawn Hatosy / Rated: R / Review by: Leon Velasco / Rating: THUMBS UP

I wouldn’t get tired of watching this movie. It was so well written and played out. The viewer needs to open up their mind and disregard the obvious and place their own players into each character. For me it’s easy to see myself as the nightclub performer, (as cross dresser, not transgender). Or I can just place myself in her shoes as a victim of lost love, (if you remember the shooting back at the old location of, The Express, that left one young man dead in the alley across the way thanksgiving eve). I forever think of Mitch each year, and I fall victim to depression and lonesomeness and it borders gratefulness that I wasn’t there like we had planned; all due to me not finding someone to watch over my daughter that night for me to be with Mitch. (Yes, I am a single gay father; my daughter is now 18). They never did find Mitch’s killers; like I knew Fresno Police Department never does in “Gay” cases. This is how relate to this story; and the ending always brings me out of my slump because I envision myself being just as strong willed as the character to keep going.

ImageThe family of slain teenager Larry King is suing the Hueneme School District and the County of Ventura for letting their son wear makeup and feminine clothing, the The Ventura County Star is reporting. Parents Dawn and Gregory King and Larry's younger brother, Rocky, have filed injury claims related to the death of the eighth-grader, alleging that the school's failure to enforce the dress code made Larry King vulnerable to attack. Read the story HERE...

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ImageEllen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi plan to wed this weekend in California. They're planning a small, intimate ceremony with a few close friends and family. Read the story HERE.

Longtime Fresno community photographer and attorney, Howard K. Watkins, is partnering with the Fresno Regional Foundation and the Henry Madden Library at CSU Fresno to establish the Howard K. Watkins Photographic Archive Project. The Project's goal is to make Howard's more than 175,000 photographs publicly accessible as an online historical archive. He was present on June 17th and has provided the following photos in various quality formats at no charge:

Marriage Equality Day at the Fresno County Clerk's Office
Thaiphoon Restaurant Reception

Please support the Howard K. Watkins Photographic Archive Project to help preserve and make publicly available this pictorial archive of history by making a tax-deductible donation to the Fresno Regional Foundation, please Click Here.

Also available: Photos and a short write up by Mike Rhodes of Community Alliance, page 1 and page 2. Also last page of Alliance online.

ImageHillary Rodham Clinton's name will be placed in nomination along with nominee-in-waiting Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, an emblematic move intended to unite the party after a divisive primary. Read the story HERE...

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Image The Fresno Reel Pride 19th Annual International LGBT Film Festival is happening September 17-21, 2008. Reel Pride screens films, as well as hosting parties, events and celebrity guests. This year, during the five day period, the festival is hosting more than 50 films. Reel Pride also recently announced a group cruise to Mexico, with screenings, parties and outings. Check out FRESNO REEL PRIDE for all the latest news, as well as information about membership.

 

 

                            

La Proposición 8 quiere reescribír en nuestra Constitución de California para proporcionar que sólo el casamiento entre un hombre y una mujer sea válido o reconocido en California -- negando asi a las parejas del mismo sexo el respeto, la dignidad y responsabilidad que vienen con el matrimonio.

 

"El Voto NO a la Proposición 8 , Igualdad para Todos" esta campaña le hace un llamado a usted para que se oponga vigorosamente a esta iniciativa votando NO a la Proposición 8 el 4 de Noviembre.

Cómo unirse:

¡Aquí en Fresno, el esfuerzo de los voluntarios ha empezado! ¡Los grupos de voluntarios se reúnen cada fin de semana para solicitar votos en las tiendas alrededor de Fresno, y asi encontrando que partidarios apoyen esta causa, para que ayuden a propagar la noticia para Votar NO en esta Propuesta 8! Si usted esta interesado en unirse con nosotros, o si usted tiene alguna pregunta adicional, por favor llame al 559-862-4559.

 

         This is not your usual show! Anyone can enter. Anyone can win. Show us your talent (even if you shouldn’t)! Can you do something no one else can? Can you sing, dance, recite poetry or do a skit? Bring it on! This is a contest. That means there will be a winner and a prize. It only costs $1.00 to enter.

          You can expect to have a great time on August 29th at The Den, 4538 E. Belmont. There will be a Beer Bust that will begin at and sadly end at . Dinner will be available for a small fee of $5.00 and it will be served at . The show will start at . Want to get even with someone? Pay $5.00 and have them put on stage. They will either have to perform, stand in front of everyone’s taunting for 1 minute, or pay $2.00 to get out of it. Bring your friends.

          Trans-e-motion is sponsoring this FUNDRAISER to help raise money for their primary event: an art show held on November 20th, National Transgender Day of Remembrance. Your generosity at this event will help ensure the success of the art show at which there is never a fee. The November art show is open to all ages and is intended to educate the public about the lives, experiences, feelings and struggles of Transgender people. So come and enjoy! Have a great time and help a great cause.

ImageMargaret Cho will return to television on August 21, when her new series on VH1, "The Cho Show" premiers. You can watch an sneak peek HERE. Check out Margaret's own website HERE. And check out the details of her latest tour HERE

    I'm not a junkie for scandal, but the press today selectively reports on issues and pulls punches in ways that would make Edward R. Murrow turn over in his grave. Political candidates and officials have gotten far too comfortable with evasive answers, "no comment" or denying interviews to anyone who may not support their platform. It's a way of being dishonest without overtly lying to the public. Recently, I experienced this trend first hand while trying to secure an interview with both mayoral candidates regarding Proposition 8 and other LGBT concerns.

When the state's voters decide Proposition 8 this fall, it appears they will check "yes" or "no" next to a ballot title that reads: "Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

A Superior Court judge this morning rejected a suit filed by Prop. 8 proponents against the ballot title proposed by Attorney General Jerry Brown. Judge Timothy M. Frawley said Brown's language was neither false nor misleading, handing a victory to gay rights supporters who want a clear statement of what a constitutional ban would mean for gay couples who have married in California this year. Click HEREto read more...

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ImageThe news website The Huffington Post now has a page dedicated to the issue of Gay Marriage, with the latest news on the issue, regarding politicians, religion and celebrities. Click on the following link to check it out... The Huffington Post - Gay Marriage Page

ImageThe California state senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would declare May 22 “Harvey Milk Day,” in honor of the openly gay San Francisco city supervisor who was assassinated nearly 30 years ago. (Milk was born May 22, 1930.) The 22-13 vote in favor of the designation, which would create a “day of significance” rather than a state holiday, was along party lines. Click HEREfor more of the story...

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 La columna de Consejos de gayfresno.com regresa con otra pregunta y su respuesta. Deseamos contestar tus preguntas tambien. Permaneciendo completamente en anonimato. Bienvenidas las preguntas de hombres y mujeres.

Bueno, has tu pregunta y recibe el mejor consejo honesto que te mereces.

Nuestra segunda pregunta y la respuesta ahora han sido agregadas a la pagina. Leela haciendo clic en READ MORE

 Gayfresno.com comienza una columna de consejos y quiere contestar tus preguntas. Quédando completamente en anónimato. Damos la bienvenida a las preguntas tanto de hombres como de mujeres.

Bueno, has tu pregunta y recibe el mejor consejo honesto que te mereces.

Nuestra primera pregunta y la respuesta ahora han sido agregadas a la pagina. Leela haciendo clic en READ MORE

 

El Gas pacífico y Eléctrico ha donado $250.000 para unirse a la batalla contra la Proposición 8 de California este Noviembre. Lea la historia aquí: PG&E Apoya al Combate en Contra a la Proposición 8 con un Donativo. Has clic en READ MORE para el resto de la historia……………………….

ImagePacific Gas & Electric has donated $250,000 to join the battle against California Proposition 8 this November. Read the story here: PG&E Supports Fight Against Prop 8 With Donation

ImageRecently Congress held hearings on whether the military policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (which allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they don't disclose their sexuality) should be struck down in order to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. It's astounding to witness the tired, ignorant and cliche arguments that are put forth by those endorsing keeping this policy in place, just as it is astounding to watch members of congress challenge this simple minded, prejudiced rhetoric. Click on the following link to watch one video of hearings, and check the menu on the right for "Related Videos" to access more videos of the same topic...  Video - Don't Ask Don't Tell Congressional Hearings

        Fresno native and cable television performer Matthew Fashion was arrested by Fresno police early on August 18th after he got into an argument with a taxi cab driver over a fare.

        Fashion was also a celebrity grand marshal for the 2006 Pride Parade and Festival.

        According to Fresno police lieutenant Dennis Montejano, officers were sent to the DejaVu nightclub on North Blackstone around 1:30 a.m. after the cabbie called the department claiming Fashion (whose real name is Matthew Kalashian) had refused to pay the fare.

Fresno native and Project Runway star Matthew Fashion was arrested early Saturday morning in the parking lot at DejaVu.

Fresno Police said officers were sent to the club, at 708 North Blackstone Avenue, around 1:30 a.m. after a taxi cab driver called the department. Lt. Dennis Montejano said Fashion had refused to pay the fare and the cab driver then called police.

Montejano said the cabbie declined to press charges. However, according to Montejano "officers realized Fashion was very drunk" and arrested him for public intoxication.

"Our officers also cited him for a misdemeanor warrant out of Los Angeles County," Montejano added. "While he was at the jail, he got near a telephone, and he pulled the wiring out of it." Montejano said Fashion was then arrested for vandalism.

Matthew was recently on Lifetime's "Without Prejudice" (online repeat available here, click episode 5)

On Sunday, August 27th the first ever Stride with Pride for Kids walk to benefit Children's Hospital Central California took place at Woodward Park in Fresno, CA. Present were several groups from the LGBTQ community who participated in the event, as well as our LGBTQ community allies. A total of $8,000 + was raised to assist the families of critically ill children hospitalized in the Pediatrice Intensive Care Unit (PICU)!!

Fresno's Third Annual Coming Out Day



Due to lack of interest and funds, we regretfully must cancel this years Fresno Coming Out Day.  If you are interested in organizing and/or fundraising for next year's event, please contact us.


Thank you...


Feel free to take a look back at our 2005 and 2004 events in the meantime.
The recent New York and Washington state court decisions failing to strike down unconstitutional laws banning same-sex couples from marrying serve as a wake up call to our community. Though we have made tremendous strides, we are by no means at the finish line yet. Unfortunately, we can't rely solely on the courts to wave their fairy gavels and bestow justice – we need to get out there and win this fight in heart-to-heart combat. Marriage Equality USA, a national, grassroots volunteer driven organization, seeks your help in this battle to secure liberty, justice, and marriage equality for all.
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The war over domestic partnerships and same-sex marriage in California has entered probably its most bitter stage.

Three initiatives to constitutionally ban domestic partnerships and enshrine marriage between heterosexuals were approved for signature gathering in July. All three require at least 600,000 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot next year.

        Gays in the military????? NO! Many ask the big question "why not?" Why can't an openly gay person suit up and protect our country? Suit up and help spread democracy and liberty to the supposed nations who "need" our military force on their soil?
        Personally, I am against the "struggle" in Iraq. However, the ban of open gays, the "don't ask don't tell" seems ludicrous to me. The military should be open to all American citizens who want to join. Sexual orientation should not be a factor. Why is it? I still
don't understand. Do they believe the stereotypical gay man with his feminine mannerisms is incapable of serving his country? Do they believe the stereotypical lesbian will just implode in the face of danger? Or is it because the heterosexual men and women are so intolerable of gays they could not work hand in hand?
        The desire to protect and serve our country should be good enough for any would be soldier. But no, we are still divided by orientation. What would happen if there were a draft? Instead of fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft, draftees could just claim to be gay and stay home.
        The discrimination in this country needs to be stopped, at all levels. Our country is in crisis and sexual orientation needs to quit dividing our nation no matter what the case.
                                        
                                                        Becki
                                                        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ImageFresno Mayor Alan Autry is joining with the religious right to hold an event for "traditionally married couples" on the front steps of City Hall.

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Upcoming events:
Gay Central Valley Office Open House

GVC Office Seeks Office Donations

See info on these events and more on our calendar.

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