Saturday, July 29, 2017

GCV Board Of Directors Announces Cease Of Operations








Gay Central Valley Board Of Directors Announces Cease Of Operations


July 29th, 2017

Gay Central Valley officially formed as a nonprofit in January of 2009. Prior to that, we were a group of Central Valley websites run by volunteers from their homes. Once we were granted official 501c3 status by the IRS, Gay Central Valley forged ahead with a force, opening the first LGBT Community Center in Fresno in 20 years as one of our first projects. The Community Center opened officially in January of 2010 and has been going strong ever since.

Led by Chris Jarvis, a veteran LGBT rights activist, Gay Central Valley has faced an uphill battle from the start. Issues such as funding, staffing, volunteer / leadership changes and our ongoing philosophy of an all-volunteer organization (where no one receives compensation and all money raised is funneled back into the community) presented ongoing challenges.

Keeping a community center open to the public for 5-6 days a week for seven years is a massive accomplishment in itself. But we didn’t stop there; we have done so much more. From countless outreach events, over a hundred support group meetings, and spearheading unique projects like the first ever Central Valley Transgender Clothing Closet and the international awareness program The Rainbow Delegation, Gay Central Valley continued to expand itself to match the ever changing needs of the Fresno LGBT community.

Running a community center with a 24 hour phone line, supporting and mentoring another center in a city an hour away, creating and providing social and political events and actions, participating and partnering with other organizations, publishing and updating websites and blogs, training others in cultural competency, and hosting the most successful one day LGBT fundraiser in Fresno history (NO H8 2012) has been both an honor and a privilege.

We have been successful year after year. Board members and volunteer staffs have come and gone, but through all the changes and the challenges, we’ve persevered. Our primary foundation has been to serve the LGBT community.

Now, we’re announcing a change.

Gay Central Valley will be closing the Fresno LGBT Community Center as of August 1st, 2017. The organization itself will cease operations by the end of the year.


This decision did not come easily. Long time board members have regularly discussed how best to use resources and support the community at large, how to move forward, what the scope is for coming years, etc. Volunteers have come and gone and the board has been rebuilt many times with different goals and focuses.

This trailblazing organization and its Board of Directors are proud of the hurdles we’ve jumped and the lives we’ve saved. After a long and difficult thought process, we find that now is the right time for this change. This is the time for us to pass the baton to the next group or organization that is willing to take up the challenge. We sincerely hope that vital works such as a community center, The Rainbow Delegation, and Cultural Competency Training Outreach will be taken on by other local organizations.

While the organization itself is shutting down, those of us who have worked for Gay Central Valley over the years remain available to provide assistance and support where it is needed, although in a different fashion. Our phone number and websites will remain available for a period of time. While we are stepping away from the organization, we want to assure everyone that we are not stepping away from the community.

Chris Jarvis and Kaylia Metcalfe-Armstrong, the longest running leaders of the organization, want to thank all those that have given their time, energy, passion and dedication to this organization over its run. You served the community and provided access to resources that literally saved lives. We appreciate each and every one of you. This organization could never have had the kind of success it’s had without each one of your voices.

To our volunteers that have staffed the LGBT Community Center for almost eight years, our words fail us. You have been the front lines of this LGBT effort in Fresno and have made a safe place for all those reaching out for help. You have made an incredible difference in people’s lives. We hope that the volunteer opportunities we have provided you have started you on a lifelong path of service to others, as it has us.

And to our local community, which has embraced and supported us for so long, what can we say? Your financial contributions, emotional and social support and your very presence have allowed us the freedom to do the difficult and time consuming day-to-day work to provide access and support for others, to give them a voice and to raise them up to the equality and recognition that they deserve.

We can’t thank you enough.

Our final contribution to the LGBT community as Gay Central Valley will be as follows:

GROUPS

Our facilitated groups will continue to have access to the Center through September 1st.

INVENTORY

We will be donating the inventory of the Fresno LGBT Community Center to those people and organizations who are working to help the community in Fresno and the Central Valley. Our inventory includes, but is not limited to, hardware, appliances, furniture, office supplies, books, media, clothing, event supplies, pride supplies, artwork, holiday supplies.

FINANCIAL

Gay Central Valley will be donating financially to other nonprofits (501c3 designation) in Fresno that support the LGBT Community.. We will consider all those who apply.

REQUESTS

Those who would like to request inventory items or financial donations should email us at info@gaycentralvalley.org . We invite request letters for financial support or inventory until August 15th. We plan to empty out the community center by the end of August and will work with organizations in terms of item pick up.



GAY CENTRAL VALLEY

Gaycentralvalley.org

Facebook.com/gaycentralvalley

559-325-4429 FRESNO LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

EVENT / INTERVIEW w LGBT Musician Lindsay White




INTERVIEW WITH MUSICIAN LINDSAY WHITE,
BY HALEY WHITE


I am a little biased about the music of Lindsay White, being that she is my little sister and I’ve heard most of her songs in their development stages and been to hundreds and hundreds of her live shows and, you know, have a secret sister language with her and all. Although it’s hard for me to contain my excitement over the hype of her new album and the adjoining tour that’s going to bring her to the stage at Full Circle Brewing Company in Fresno on Wednesday night, I’m going to try my best to be an unbiased interviewer. Oh yeah, I’m from Fresno. That part might be important for you to know.


ME: Let’s sit at the dining table in order to be professional.

LINDSAY: OK.

ME: You have to pretend I’m just a regular journalist and not your sister.

LINDSAY: OK.

ME: I don’t have a real recorder so let’s pretend that this Anker phone charger is a microphone and you can direct your answers into it.

LINDSAY: Ummm… take can I take a picture of you holding that?

ME: That’s a weird thing to a journalist, but alright. 

She takes the picture and continues playing on your phone.


ME: Ahem. Are you ready to begin?

LINDSAY: One sec.

ME:  Why are you playing on your phone during an interview? It’s very rude.

LINDSAY: I’m posting the picture I took on my Patreon group.

ME: What’s a Patreon group?

LINDSAY: My Patreon group is a collective of my super fans. They named themselves “Lindsay’s Corner” because I like to box and they like to support me. Not my boxing. My music. Does that make sense?

ME: Yes, they support your music career, not your boxing career.

LINDSAY: Correct. There are tiered levels, depending on how much you donate, and there are different rewards people can earn for each category and a private Facebook group where I post all my behind the scenes tour stuff.

ME: Speaking of tour, who’s the best tour partner in the word?

LINDSAY: Is every question gonna be about you?

ME: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I didn’t know you would go with me as an answer. That’s just a coincidence. Let’s talk about your album.

LINDSAY: That’s not a question.

ME: Will you tell me about your new album and what it was liking writing and recording it?


LINDSAY: The new album is called “Lights Out” and it sort of naturally morphed around the concept of grief, since that is what I’ve come to know so well in the process of recording it. After losing my grandpa and my mom-

ME: Sorry for your loss-

LINDSAY: And also with you. After losing my grandpa and mom, I started looking at loss differently. The older I get, the more I realize how big a role it can play in the person you become and how you treat other people. So the record reflects that.


ME: Talk to me about the first track on the record.

LINDSAY: The first track is called “Surrogate” and it’s a tribute to my sissy. It was a fun journey from start to finish because it originated as a very personal song written for you-

ME: Be Professional!

LINDSAY: Fine! For MY SISTER. For Haley! But it took on an anthemic quality when we decided the concept for the video would be a series of sister videos submitted by friends and fans.


ME: Well, you sound very lucky to have such a supportive, loving, awesome sister. I have heard that you also had a supportive, loving, awesome grandfather. Word on the streets is his name was Poppa.

LINDSAY: Yes, Poppa Bill. He died a few years ago, and being that we were really close, I wanted to honor him on this album. The song “Rubberband Gun is inspired by his love story with my grandma.”

ME: Excuse me. Don’t you mean your Granny?

LINDSAY: Yes, my Granny. Poppa was one of the best men I’ve ever known. One of the lines in the song captures my feelings about him completely, “He left me a lesson that kindest is best/you can survive a hard life with no enemies”.  That’s the kind of guy he was.

ME: I can’t imagine anyone hating Poppa. I mean. I’m guessing. From what I’ve heard about him from you.

LINDSAY: I don’t think anybody did.

ME: Anyway, on to the gay stuff! You just got married last year to your partner Audrie. I know you talk about marriage a couple times on the album. First let’s talk about “Colder Feet”.

LINDSAY: That’s the oldest song on the album. I wrote it back when I came out and got divorced from my then-husband. It’s basically an apology to him for making such a huge decision that altered his life before I really understood myself fully and the long term repercussions of my actions. I think a lot of people in the LGBTQ community can identify, especially those who came out later in life.

ME: What’s your favorite lyric from that song? Mine favorite visualization is “Two toothbrushes in a coffee cup, there’s just one now”. It paints such a specific, intimate piece of a break up.

LINDSAY: I think the most important part of that song to me is the chorus.

(We sing the following lines together)

“I just want to tell you one last thing/you were my shoulder, my best friend/
I wish I could have saved you from this pain/which my feet were colder back then”

ME: Now tell me a little about the song “Not A Boy”.

LINDSAY: I wrote “Not A Boy” as a letter to Audrie’s parents, who refused to acknowledge our relationship or even meet me. They, along with my mother, did not attend the wedding and I know, Audrie especially, struggled with her parents absence. I respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they want but at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to fathom not wanting to see your child happy. So that’s what the song’s about. There is no metaphor happening, it’s very direct: “You won’t know her joy, hear her vow. I am not a boy, that changes things somehow.”

ME: Yeah, I think that song is going to be really popular. Unfortunately lots of people will probably identify with the lyrics. So…let’s see. Losing your mom kinda sucks, huh?

LINDSAY: Yeah, do you know about that?

ME: A lil’ bit.  So, there are actually a few songs on the new album about Mama White- your mother’s scientific name. They’re heartbreaking. Which one breaks your heart the most?

LINDSAY: At this stage in my grief, “Lights Out” resonates with me most.

ME: That’s funny cause dad- I’m mean YOUR dad- can’t listen to “Deep Dark Down”. What about “Lights Out” hits so hard?

LINDSAY: Whereas “Deep Dark Down” poses a lot of questions leading up to mom’s death, “Lights Out” at least feels more resolved in my heart. The line “Everything’s different with the lights out” has become a sort of mantra for the way I want to live my life moving forward. Our relationship and her death reminds me on a daily basis how short life is, how important love is, and how silly the rest of it is.

ME: True dat.

Lindsay smiles, cause that’s one of our mom’s old sayings.

ME: So. “Surrogate”, I’ve heard is your favorite song on the album. I’m partial to it, however I feel like I identify with “My Beast” and “The Lighthouse” on a personal level, like if you weren’t my sister those are definitely songs I feel I understand from an emotional perspective, since I deal with anxiety and depression. Let’s talk about how your mental health plays a role in your writing.

LINDSAY: I’ve always struggled, with anxiety in particular, ever since I was a wee lass. I can’t speak for everyone but my experience with anxiety is one that propels me and paralyzes me at the same time. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to be a high-functioning doer. However, that pressure often morphs into fear which holds me back and results in a lot of self-destructive thinking. “My Beast” speaks to how we’re usually our own worst enemy on any given day. And “The Lighthouse” addresses how creating a facade of stability can actually result in severe depression.

ME: Heavy stuff. Let’s talk about something fun. You’re having your album release party in Fresno on Wednesday night at Full Circle Brewing Company downtown. What are you most looking forward to about performing in Fresno?

LINDSAY: It’s been many years since I performed solo in the Valley and I always look forward to seeing family, old friends and classmates (Lindsay grew up in Corcoran, CA). I keep up with a lot of them on social media but it’s not the same of being able to have actual face-to-face conversations.

ME: Who else is sharing the stage with you that night?

LINDSAY: Patrick Nalty is opening. I love his voice; it’s so smooth and soulful. Then Richfield is closing. They’re this great Americana band, led by Ted Nunes. Everyone’s local. Everyone’s cool. I’m excited to play on a bill with them and also get to see some friendly faces in the crowd.



ME: I’ll see if I’m busy on Wednesday. I might be able to pencil you in.

Lindsay wrinkles her nose.

ME: Thanks for letting me interview you.

LINDSAY: Thanks FOR interviewing me, sissy!



Sunday, July 9, 2017

INTERVIEW: Sara Regan



Written by Rocky Walker


Sara Regan is the founder of the business "All Families Doula Services", a doula service with an adamant belief of inclusivity of all types of families, queer or otherwise. Earlier this week I got to sit her down so I could gain more insight about her and her business...

What in your words is a doula?

A doula is someone who helps and supports families as they start the journey into parenthood. There are different types of doulas, there are birth doulas which help with the process leading up to birth as well as the birth itself, and there are post-partem doulas which help with the process after the birth.

What led you to this career path?

A couple years ago I had this "health thing" which really made me reevaluate my life; I realized how short life was and I just really wanted to do something that made me happy. I've always loved babies, I'm really passionate about newborns and child development; I even majored in child development in school, and when I had my son a few years ago I got really interested in pregnancy so I started researching everything. So when I had that "what am I doing with my life " moment I started thinking to myself, "I need to do something that I love, so what makes me the happiest?," and the first thing that came to mind was babies so I thought " I'm just going to do it".

What is your belief behind the use of doulas, Why is it necessary for birth and the people involved?

Well birth is really medicalized now; in our culture we treat birth like its something to "get through" as if it's an illness and its really not, its one of the most natural things there is. So one, it's nice to have someone there that knows that and understands that we can go through this. Second of all when you go into the hospital to have the baby there are so many different providers and people involved, typically women don’t know the doctor or nurses delivering the baby; so it's nice to have a doula that’s been there the entire time, someone that you know and that knows how to relax and help you.

Are you exclusive to being a birth doula, a post-partem doula, or do you tackle the responsibilities of both?

I tackle the responsibilities of both.

What does being a doula entail altogether?

Well it's a lot *laughs* it really depends on the client and what they want. We really try to support them in a way that fits for them. Its very individualized.

So, you and your wife have a child together, did you guys use the assistance of a doula during that process?

We did not. I didn’t think I'd need a doula, but honestly I wasn’t as educated about doulas as I am now. If I'd known then what I know now I probably would have made different decisions, but I feel like I made the best choices with the information that I had at the time.

What in your opinion, is the most rewarding aspect of being a doula?

There's so much, really it’s the feeling of facilitating something as sacred and beautiful as the beginning of life. It’s when two people are at one of their most vulnerable times in their life, just being there to support someone through that; the love in that moment is very contagious, its unlike anything in the entire world.

When and how did your business, All Families Doula Services, start?

About a year ago, I started it myself. I studied to learn how to be a doula, and went through doula training to become a certified doula, and about a month after that I started my business. I pretty much had no idea(in terms of starting a business) what I was doing so I started with a Facebook page and started getting involved in the doula and birth professional community as to better myself and my business.

Just how long are you usually someone's doula, or does it differ from person to person?

It differs from person to person, I've had people call me a week before their due date because they're panicking, and I've had people who are only 12 or 13 weeks pregnant want to hire me. Typically if it’s a birth client they’ll hire me around 20 to 28 weeks. They see me a couple times and then I'm their for the birth, however long it takes, then I stay after the birth to get them situated, then I follow up about a week later to see how they're doing and help with breastfeeding and issues like that, but then again it differs from client to client; some like a lot of follow up and some are good to go on their own.

How long after the birth do you guys usually maintain close contact?

Again it depends on the client, some clients you just bond with in a way where there's a connection where they want to become your friend, while some clients see it as more of a professional relationship, and only contact you when they need help or assistance.

How does a doula benefit the partner of the one giving birth?

Well it depends... really on how scared they are. If they're really anxious we can help and calm them down, and if they have it handled we can be there to support their partner, where we focus on the partner and all they have to focus on is loving them. We really enable them to remain calm and enjoy the birth so when they look back on it it’s a beautiful experience they can remember.

I know that your business, All Families Doula Services, is very centered around inclusivity of all styles of families; have you noticed other doulas not really care for domestic partnerships?

Yeah sadly I have, I've noticed some doulas that aren't welcoming to different demographics, but I've also seen other doulas that are just fabulous when it comes to catering to the community. I personally just like to be super loud and actively finding that community, and bring them to me so they know that they're okay.

Over the duration of our interview Sara constantly displayed her passion and love for not only childbirth but also helping other people. She is actually trying to start a nonprofit, at the moment, to help pregnant teens and women of color. If you'd like to contact her for her doula services you can reach her at: http://www.allfamiliesdoula.com/ .

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Patriotic Strawberries! June 30th-July 4th


Reserve your Strawberries for pick up- a dozen or more (or local delivery for 2 dozen or more).

Perfect for BBQ celebrations or just because!

Choose from:
Patriotic Strawberries (white chocolate dipped with blue sugar) for $20/dozen
Or Stars and Stripes Strawberries (white chocolate dipped with red stripes and blue stars) for $25/dozen


FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

CAROLINE'S CREATIONS PAGE HERE