Fresno GLBT History

LGBT Community of the Central Valley,

ImageMy name is Chris Jarvis and I’m beginning a project which requires the participation of the Central Valley’s LGBT community. "The Project", as I’m currently calling it, involves documenting the history of the LGBT community in Fresno and the Central Valley.  I feel we may lose our history if it’s not recorded. While the scope of the project will be determined by the information I find, I hope to at least focus on the Central Valley from the 1950’s to the present. 

At this early stage, I’m unsure what the result of this effort will be. My hope is to end up with a written history as well as a short film. The written portion of the project may end up in the form of a book, or at the very least, a series of essays or articles. The short film is something I am equally passionate about, and hope to submit to film festivals. I can’t anticipate at this point which parts of my research and interactions will be included in the film portion of my plan. This project is a labor of love and passion on my part, and offers no financial compensation for participation. I’m doing this on my own, at my own expense and labor.


Some background on me…I’m 47 years old and have lived in Fresno most of my life. I was lucky enough to take advantage of legal same sex marriage in California last year, and married James Hensley, who I’ve been with for 13 years. I have extensive writing experience, both as the lead journalist for Gay Fresno for a number of years, and throughout my life in a variety of ways. I’ve had years of education in writing through writing classes, and have a great passion for producing videos and music, which I’ve utilized through my years of experience as a nightclub DJ in Fresno. I currently sit on the board of Gay Central Valley, a not for profit corporation providing LGBT resources to the Central Valley. We operate the websites Gay Fresno, Gay Visalia and Gay Hanford, with more in the planning stages. I have a great passion and am involved in various political actions and demonstrations surrounding the fight for LGBT equality in California.   

Depending on your history in the Central Valley, your participation may include several one on one interviews, focused on your personal experiences and observations. I also hope to gather certain people together at certain times to do group interviews. Interviews will be recorded on audio for later use. My plan is to bring the video camera into the process after completing most of the interviews, so that I’ll know which parts to focus on, although it may come into play earlier. I may ask for some of the interviews to be repeated for video, in order to record vital parts of the story.

While I prefer to keep this as open and out as possible, I’m willing to consider the participation of someone who would prefer to remain anonymous. I’m also seeking out photographs from the past, as well as things such as newspaper clippings, programs, letters, etc., anything relating to the history of the community in the Central Valley. I would scan or photograph items and return the originals to you. I’m also searching for contacts I may not be personally aware of. I encourage everyone to connect me with anyone they think I should be talking to, anyone who has something to say on this topic.

I hope you’ll consider taking this journey with me. If you’d like to participate, please contact me by telephone or email, as listed below, and please fill out the attached form which provides me with some basic knowledge about you. Should you choose to participate, there will also be a release form to sign. I plan to begin the project in July of 2009 and anticipate completing my research by the end of the year.

I look forward to hearing from you…

Chris Jarvis

[email protected]

1213 E Princeton Avenue, Fresno, CA  93704

(559) 225-1008 Home

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