Tuesday, July 31, 2012

VIDEO: Gay Marriage Added To Democratic Platform

Judge Rules Against DOMA

The case against DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act - 1996) is building. A federal judge in Connecticut has now ruled that at least part of the law is unconstitutional...

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford ruled Tuesday that the provision in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violates the Fifth Amendment right to equal protection.

The ruling came in the case of six married same-sex couples and a widower who sued after being denied federal benefits. The plaintiffs are from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont.

There could be an appeal in the case, but the courts are continuing on their trend of labeling anti gay laws as unconstitutional. 

Read More HERE...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Investing in Our Community in Tough Economic Times

By Kate Henry, Board Member, Gay Central Valley
And Former Executive Director of the Fresno Nonprofit Advancement Council

Giving to community organizations is so important in any economic climate, but even more critical when money is tight. As we all work harder for our paychecks, and are just grateful for a job at all, we must spend our dollars wisely.  So it is for our donations to charitable organizations. It is so confusing, sorting out which nonprofit should we give those valuable dollars to and concerns about how they will use the money. Beyond the availability of a tax deduction for the donor, is the concern of who will decide how the money is spent.  Tax-exempt nonprofits are governed by a community board of directors and must report activities to the State of California and The IRS.

Gay Central Valley encourages everyone to make charitable contributions to tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations doing good work for our community. In addition to Gay Central Valley, other organizations who are 501 (c) 3 and nonprofit are Community Link, Inc., Trans-E-Motion, United Student Pride (through California State University, Fresno), and several others in the Central Valley.

Not sure if the organization you want to donate to is a tax exempt nonprofit? You can look up the organization by name or by EIN # on the IRS's Exempt Organizations webpage.  (Search tip: put in the name of the organization, then click on search, then click on the triangle next to the name heading to sort the list alphabetically.) Or you can request (from the organization) their IRS letter, which is given to all tax exempt organizations.

Important terms you need to know:

Tax-Exempt- a term used by the IRS for approved charitable organizations that are not required to pay income tax on most of their income or donations. Groups who desire to have this status must apply to the IRS and be approved, follow certain rules, including forming a board and filing income information each year (form 990). Most familiar are the 501 tax code designations, including the 501 (c) 3 designations of most official community benefit organizations.

Nonprofit- A specific type of corporation, in California a nonprofit is required to register and report activities to the State Attorney General and the Secretary of State. The organization is owned by the public and held in trust by the Board of Directors. They may or may not be tax-exempt and donations deductable, depending on if they have applied for and been granted federal tax-exempt status.

For Profit- a specific type of business set up for the purpose of making a profit, sometimes a corporation, and governed by both state and federal law. For profit businesses are required to pay income tax, therefore are not exempt from taxes. They may be owned and decisions made by a single person or by a board, depending on the way the business was set up.

“Not for Profit”- a layman’s term, not a legal status with the federal government or the State of California, sometimes used to refer to an informal group of people or a single person who does work in the community. Because this is not a legal business status, there is no law governing the oversight of income, activities or reporting. Donations are legally viewed as gifts to an individual, and reportable as individual income for tax purposes.

Matrix Director Comes Out As Transgender

Courtesy Huffington Post...

The director of "The Matrix" and the highly-anticipated film "Cloud Atlas" has become the first major Hollywood director to publicly come out as transgender. 

Lana Wachowski has revealed her transition while promoting her new film, the New York Post reported.

Lana, formerly known as Larry, has been transitioning from a man to a woman for years now, the Post also reported. This new clip for "Cloud Atlas," starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, appears to her first public appearance since transitioning.

In the trailer, Lana introduces the film with her brother, Andy Wachowski, and director Tom Tykwer.
"Hi, I'm Lana," she says with her hair styled in pink dreadlocks. 

Lana's personal life has been a source of headline fodder for years now. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012


The New Ensemble Theater Group presents “BAPTIZED TO THE BONE”
Local company produces edgy, little known play about love, sex and religion.

FRESNO- The New Ensemble Theater Group will present “Baptized to the Bone” by Dave Johnson, beginning August 17 at the Broken Leg Stage in Fresno’s Tower District. The production is directed by J. Daniel Herring, professor of theater at Fresno State University. 

The audacious black comedy centers on Ottis (Matthew Schiltz), a bisexual North Carolina hustler with artistic ambitions, who begins an affair with Gladys, the local preacher’s wife (Hayley Galbraith), hoping she’ll finance his trip to New York City.  The plot thickens, however, when Ottis senses a further opportunity in hustling the preacher himself (David Marinovich).  Complications ensue and events take an explosive turn when religion and sex become intertwined. This production highlights the mix of religious and sexual themes through a metaphorical design and the use of gospel songs.  

Baptized to the Bone has had few major productions previous to The New Ensemble’s - one in Dallas at the Water Tower Theater (2004) and another in San Francisco at the New Conservatory Theater Center (2009) making this one of the freshest, newest plays The New Ensemble has yet produced. 

At the end of an unprecedented season of musical and classical theater in the Fresno area, Baptized to the Bone and The New Ensemble round out the theater landscape with a little-known, contemporary piece creating a thoughtful, intimate experience for Fresno audiences at the end of a major theater summer.  The combination of urban storefront space and blazing, cutting-edge plays makes a New Ensemble show a truly unique experience in local theater.

Versatile director Herring is coming off of a string of hits including the Stageworks Fresno musical tour-de-force “Next to Normal”, the Rogue Festival celebrated “The Velocity of Gary”,  and the production of a new play “TIC: Trenchcoat in Common” at CSU Fresno. Herring and his cast are all guest artists with The New Ensemble Theater Group, and TNE is excited to provide them with the opportunity to develop this sizzling, forward-thinking play for Fresno audiences.    

Performances are August 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 31 and September 1, 2012. Thursday through Saturday evening shows begin at 8 pm, Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance (online or phone reservations) and $12 walk in. Tickets are available at www.newensemble.com or reserve via our box office line (559) 457-9613. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating. Rated R for mature themes and language. 

The Broken Leg Stage is located at 1470 North Van Ness, in Fresno’s Tower District between Floradora and Home Avenues, just south of McKinley on the right hand side.  More information can be found at our website, newensemble.com.

Director J. Daniel Herring and cast are available for interviews and appearances in advance of the show.  Contact artistic director Heather Parish at heather@newensemble.com or (559) 303-5070 to arrange a time.  
The New Ensemble Theater Group

AIDS Study Shows Who's At Most Risk

AIDS has been a subject filled with misinformation and the wrong perceptions since it reared its ugly head back in 1981. It was a cancer, a gays only plague, caused by HIV, not caused by HIV,surrounded by the wrong information as to how it spreads.

All that's been cleared up at this point, but there are so many, particularly since the disease has become manageable, that still are unsure how it's passed on, what a diagnosis means and who is vulnerable to HIV. Basically, everyone...

Still, the high risk groups have morphed and changed over the 30 years of the disease. Now, a new study suggests that young, black gay and bisexual men are more likely to be infected with HIV than any other segment of the United States population.

The news comes from the AIDS conference this week...

The report presented at the International AIDS Conference this week in Washington D.C., by the Fenway Institute, shows that in the United States, black men who have sex with men are nearly twice as likely than their white counterparts to get infected; in the same category, those younger than 30 are more than three times as likely to get infected. Each year, the report found, nearly 6 percent of black gay or bisexual youth contract HIV.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

EVENT: Kampout Fresno 2012

Men Cured of HIV

It's early in the game, but it appears that two men may have been cured of HIV infection through bone marrow transplants as cancer treatments. It also appears that the anti-retrovirals the men were taken, even through the transplant, which is not common, have protected the men from further infection.

"We expected HIV to vanish from the patients' plasma, but it is surprising that we can't find any traces of HIV in their cells," one of the researchers, Dr. Timothy Henrich, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, told ABC News. The network reported that the men received the bone marrow transplants while also being treated with anti-retrovirals.
Usually people with HIV are taken off their anti-retrovirals before cancer treatment, NBC News reported.

The finding "suggests that under the cover of anti-retroviral therapy, the cells that repopulated the patient's immune system appear to be protected from becoming re-infected with HIV," Henrich told ABC News.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

VIDEO: Oklahoma Hate Crime Ends in Car Explosion

News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

HBO Documentary - "Vito"

A documentary about the life of Vito Russo is currently airing on HBO. 

Vito Russo (July 11, 1946 – November 7, 1990) was an American LGBT activist, film historian and author who is best remembered as the author of the book The Celluloid Closet (1981, revised edition 1987).[1]

This is must see film chronicling the early days of the modern civil rights movement, with great archival footage. It also heavily details Russo's work in creating The Celluloid Closet, which examines hidden and overt LGBT images in Hollywood films.
Read a recent newspaper article about Vito and the doc HERE

Click on the following link to visit the documentary page at HBO...

VIDEO: Lisa Lampanelli on Good Morning America

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EVENT: Lisa Lampanelli In Fresno

Comedienne Lisa Lampanelli will be performing in Fresno on Friday, September 28th at the William Saroyan Theater. 

Lampanelli is famous for her across the board lambasting of all ethnic and social groups. Let's remember, people, it's comedy, and no one is better at taking all stereotypes to task than Lisa...we love her...

Don't miss her Fresno performance...

Monday, July 23, 2012

VIDEO: Hate Crime In Nebraska

News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

In Honor of Sally Ride and Her Longtime Partner

You might have heard that astronaut (and lesbian heroine) Sally Ride died on Monday. Sally Ride was the first woman in space for those of you who weren't alive in the 80s.

What you might not know is that her partner for over 25 years, Dr. Tam E. O'Shaughnessy, was a fascinating woman in her own right. 

You can read all about Dr. O'Shaughnessy in a new article from the International Business Times. 

A we mourn the loss of this American hero, let us take a second to honor her partner as well… and all those partners out there who stand by their loved ones with undying support.

As anyone who has been in a long term relationship can tell you, that ongoing support and unconditional love is a huge part of being successful.

Military Uniforms March In SD Pride For the First Time

It’s been a momentous year for San Diego’s LGBT community.
City leaders renamed a street in honor of Harvey Milk. A large rainbow flag is now a permanent fixture flying above Hillcrest. 

This November, voters will have the opportunity to elect the city’s first openly gay mayor. And active-duty members of the military wore their uniforms for the first time in Saturday’s San Diego LGBT Pride Parade with the government’s blessing.

The loudest cheers from the parade crowd of nearly 200,000 were reserved for them.

The U.S. military contingent included about 40 members — some active, some retired -- in their formal uniforms. As they assembled in the staging area, countless spectators took pictures of and with them. Most of the active-duty personnel said they were under orders not to give interviews although photos were fine.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

NOH8 Photo Shoot an Astounding Success

Written by Chris Jarvis...Photos Courtesy Brian Putnam

I first started an open communication with the NOH8 Campaign in March of 2011. Gay Central Valley wanted to get the group to Fresno to do one of their internationally famous photo shoots. Over the next few months we went back and forth, trying to nail down a date to get them here. After months and months of not being able to reach an agreement, in December of 2011 I sent out one last try. 

"We'll go with any date you have available in 2012," I told Chris at NOH8, "we just want to get you guys here."

They came back with the date of July 13th and we grabbed it. The Facebook event page went up shortly afterwards and week by week, month by month the RSVP's grew. The reactions of those on Facebook were an amazing thing to watch. People were unbelievably excited about the event. Having the NOH8 group come to Fresno was a special gift for so many people that wanted to participate but couldn't get to shoots in other cities. By the time July 13th finally came around, our Facebook event page was bursting with almost 800 RSVP's. When I finally got to meet Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, the founders of NOH8, the morning of the event, they asked me how many I expected. I told them about the Facebook numbers and then guessed attendance would be around 500, hoping that would be the case. 

It was an unbelievable day. We arrived at 3PM to set up and shortly afterwards, people were already lining up outside, despite the intense heat and the fact that the shoot didn't start until 5PM. We started letting people in around 4:15PM and the sea of white shirts started flowing through the doors. Soon, we were deluged by people of all walks of life. The air conditioner in the large room at The Big Red Church struggled to keep up with the body count and we had to run out to bring in a couple of industrial fans to compensate. People filled out their release forms, waited in line for a temporary tattoo, then sat down to wait for their number to be called. 

Adam and Jeff set up in a small room connected to the large hall and started taking photos. One by one, people lined up, moved into the smaller room and had duck tape applied over their mouths. After stepping in front of a large white backdrop, Adam would instantly direct them, individuals, couples and groups, into specific poses and attitudes. He was "on" from the minute each and every person stepped in front of him. He'd snap several photos in several poses and then was even gracious enough to walk over and show the images he'd snapped. Adam never took a break over the course of 5 hours. He never lost his smile, his sense of humor and his passion for what he does. It was an amazing thing to see.

Despite the long wait that many had to endure, at no time did I feel anything but a friendly, joyous vibe in the room. This was an event so many had waited so long for, and everyone was sensing the happiness. I spoke to a friend who brought his family, a group of about 12 to take a group photo. Another woman came with a family brigade of 20 who told my husband James how much the day meant to her, that she'd cried when President Obama came out for same sex marriage, then told him how she'd explained the importance of the message to her entire family. Children's eyes were alive as they looked over our Rainbow Flags and Rainbow Delegation bracelets, babies, all dressed up for the occasion, were cradled and soothed by parents. Two female friends who moved away from Fresno drove over from the coast with their one year old. He wasn't a happy camper, so I stood behind Adam while he took their photo and shook toys to get his attention. It was enough to stop his crying so a great picture could be taken. Jeff Robinson brought 29 people to take a group photo toward the end of the day. When I asked him how Adam pulled it off, he laughed and said he was a pro, bringing in chairs and anything else to make it work. The diversity of family in the room was stunning. Individuals came alone and with friends. Drag queens strode through the room fanning themselves against the heat, still looking perfect and manicured. 

Gary with MAC Cosmetics set up a station on the side and touched up faces throughout the day. Ron set up a hair station and touched up coifs for the event. Jose De Loza set up his guitar and microphone in the corner of the room and proceeded to sing and play for the huge crowd. The NOH8 group was beyond gracious. Every request I found myself making to them for one thing or another was accepted and followed through on. Pat, our church coordinator, despite our pushing the envelope on scheduled time, couldn't have been more accommodating in allowing us flexibility. Media teams from all the local news stations were present and were respectful with each other and the crowd. It's rare to be in a room with that many people and to feel so at one with each other. 

In the end, 500 pictures were indeed taken. It's a day that I, and many others, will never forget. And we'll be reminded in about 8 weeks when we get our photos back and Facebook is flooded with new images...

Visit Gay Central Valley's websites and our Facebook page for more photos...