Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gay Central Valley at Sober Stock 2012

Written by Leon Velasco

Soberstock is one of the largest recovery events in the state of California. The day is  filled with live music, a car show, children’s carnival, vendor booths, raffles, testimonials, guest speakers as well as information about substance abuse treatment and prevention.

Sober Stock was very fun. I got there early and met with Brian Bradley of Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health; and to set up, and decorate the booth as rainbow-ish as possible. I must admit that for my first year at Sober Stock I was a little nervous at how participants and attendees would react to a “GAY” booth being at a non-gay event. The only thing that kept me focused on standing my ground is to promote that we share a commonality in any society; the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. 

We were there to meet a goal which was to network with other organizations that may have LGBT clients seeking help but want to be in a “safe” environment that they can find that isn’t just going to judge them on their addiction, but their sexuality. Kayleia Southard arrived in great spirits, she was wonderful in helping tabling the event.

We had many people give us positive feedback, expressed appreciation (in Hugs & hand shakes) for stepping out of our comfort zone (gay events) and reaching out to “straight events”. There was also (for some people) shock and excitement in finding having a booth representing the LGBT community. I am not going to leave out those that raised eyebrows at us and would walk on by after Kayleia and I would say “Hi”.

We did great in promoting our support groups and opened up many networking lines with other organization's NON-LGBT specific that attended. (HOLD YOUR HATS) WE (Kayleia & I) were recorded for radio interview re: being an LGBT Org in a NON LGBT/Christian based setting. What did we expect and what was the outcome. The big question... "Will you return?".... YES!

Kayleia and I got swamped with questions; we passed out MANY Shares Cards, Support & Social Group Rosters, Pink Pages and Rainbow Delegation fliers. and made many referrals to Pflag for those who are just finding out their children are coming out to them and want support groups. Some youth found it easy to find their way secretly to our booth and wanting referrals to groups, friends or family that have an LGBT member and want to refer them to our support groups or ways to be better allies.

In all, I would have to say it was a huge success and would believe to speak for Kayleia as well; that it would have an equally great turn out for next year’s Sober Stock event. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Prop 8 Update

October 1st? June 2013?

The possible end of California Prop 8 is in our sites. Currently, the case is in the hands of the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Sept 25th, the case was not listed as a case the Supreme Court will be hearing, but it was also not listed as a case they won't be hearing. This means we may know as soon as October 1st if the court decides not to hear the case.

Here are more details, and possible outcomes, courtesy (American Foundation for Equal Rights)

Proposition 8 has been ruled unconstitutional twice. The federal District Court and Ninth Circuit both ruled that there is no legitimate reason to deny gay and lesbian couples the fundamental freedom to marry in California. Now AFER’s federal constitutional challenge is in its final stage.

After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to rehear the Perry case, the Prop. 8 Proponents asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review, known as petition for a writ of certiorari, and reverse the Ninth’s Circuit’s decision.
What’s Next
  1. If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear our case for marriage equality, the announcement can come as early as September 25. AFER’s distinguished co-counsel Ted Olson and David Boies will file written briefs and present oral argument in the spring. A final decision would likely be issued by June 2013.
  3. If the Court decides not to hear our case, the announcement could come as early as October 1. The Ninth Circuit decision that ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional will be made permanent, with marriages starting as soon as the Ninth Circuit issues its mandate, likely within several days after the Supreme Court denies review.
To sign up for breaking news updates concerning the Prop 8 case... CLICK HERE

Here's a timeline of the case... 

My Reel Pride Experience

Written by Kayleia Southard

Kayleia is a volunteer at the Fresno LGBT Community Center and visited the Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival as a representative of Gay Central Valley.

This was my first year attending Reel Pride in its entirety. Most of the time I was just passing through for maybe a movie or two but never stayed for the community that envelops it.

Most people involved in the festival probably saw me bouncing around at every event trying to take pictures with my phone as much as trying not to fall flat on my face while in heels. It was an experience that was very different than being just an attendee. I was there working and actively trying to soak up as much as I could about the entire experience.From being at the beautiful Engelmann's Wine Cellar to the late nights in the Legends lounge in the Painted Table I had an absolute blast being apart of the parties and events of Reel Pride this year.

One of the biggest things that has stuck with me about the festival was the sense of community that is around it. You weren’t just walking in to see a movie and trying to rush past people for a seat, there were people to talk to and who smiled back when you smiled at them. It was a sense of warmth that just bundles you up and makes you want to come back day after day just to have another taste of the feeling of being a part of a larger community. In the two shows I made it to, everyone wholeheartedly laughed as a group and if you needed to get some clarification on a joke or a line, someone would lean over and explain it to you. Unlike a normal movie, it was a true experience rather than just a source of entertainment.

While being a new member to the Reel Pride community, I never felt like I was an outsider to be questioned. All I received was open arms and smiles from the people whom were happy to have others around them there for the same cause of supporting the great local film festival for years to come.

HIV / AIDS Awareness Day

HIV AIDS Awareness Day & FREE Testing

Free HIV Testing Offered On National Gay Men’s
HIV / AIDS Awareness Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2009, MSM accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections and MSM with a history of injection drug use (IDU) were an additional 3% of new infections. That same year, young MSM accounted for 69% of new HIV infections among persons aged 13–29 and 44% of infections among all MSM. At the end of 2009, an estimated 441,669 (56%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the US were MSM or MSM-IDU.

Since 2008, The National Association for People with AIDS has recognized September 27 as National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This day provides an opportunity for men nationwide to learn their HIV status and to gain knowledge to take control of their health and their lives.

In observance of National Gay Men’s HIV / AIDS Awareness Day, the Fresno
County Department of Public Health will offer free, confidential rapid HIV testing.
Fresno County Department of Public Health
1221 Fulton Mall, Specialty Clinic Area
Tuesday-Thursday, September 25 - 27, 2012
8:30 am – 11:00 am & 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Fresno LGBT Community Center
1055 North Van Ness, Suite A, south of the Tower District
Friday, September 28, 2012
12:30 pm – 4:30 pm

CONTACT: Jena Adams, HIV Prevention Coordinator at 600-3434.