Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In My Own Words: Today (Martin Luther King Jr. and Gay Rights)

"In my own words..." is a platform for our community members to share essays, poetry, art, reviews, commentary, etc. If you would like to submit something, please email Kaylia at

In My Own Words: Today
Sheldon Helms

Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago today, at an event organized by AN OPENLY GAY MAN named Bayard Rustin.
BayardRustinAug1963-LibraryOfCongress crop.jpg

If it weren't for Rustin, King's legacy would shine much less brightly...and there's a good chance you wouldn't even know who he was. 

Yet for all his work, for all their closeness, and despite Rustin's repeated efforts, the LGBT struggle continues. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. adamantly refused to include LGBT rights in the Civil Rights Movement. Many gay and lesbian people marched, fought, and stood beside their Black brothers and sisters, and some even got arrested or killed, yet they benefited nothing. 

If MLK were alive today, he'd have been federally protected since 1964 in housing, employment, inheritance, and hundreds of other areas of everyday life. 

If his friend Bayard Rustin were alive, he STILL wouldn't have those protections. 


In 2013.


The following is a 4 minute video that sheds some light, raises some questions, and features some haunting historical footage that is well worth a watch. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

VIDEO: Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival 2013

Campus Pride Releases 2013 'Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Universities And Colleges' Listing

Campus Pride, a nationally-recognized organization dedicated to making colleges and universities safer, more inclusive spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, released its annual list of the "Top 25-LGBT Friendly Colleges And Universities" in the country today.

A few of the picks might surprise you....

VIDEO: Mary Lambert "She Keeps Me Warm"

Mary Lambert, who sings on the Macklemore song "Same Love" has her own video out now, beautifully sharing more love...

VIDEO: Gay Rights @MTV Video Music Awards

How amazing is it to see one of the most popular bands in the country singing a rap song about gay rights on one of the most viewed awards show, reaching a record number of young people? And being so positively received. It wasn't the only gay rights message of the night, but it was certainly the most powerful...The road is turning our way...

Gay Central Valley's Board of Directors

For more information about our Board of Directors (bios and contact info etc), click here!

From left, Leon, Kelly, Kate, Chris, Kayleia, and Kaylia

Friday, August 23, 2013

In My Own Words... Rainbow Security

"In My Own Words...." is community generated essays, prose, poems, articles, reviews, etc written by community members. If you would like to submit something for "In My Own Words..." please email us at

In My Own Words... Rainbow Security
Kayleia Southard.

I recently went under the knife for a relatively simple outpatient procedure. When I was reading through the paperwork it said to bring something that was a security blanket of sorts, that way you wouldn't just be in a new place and with nothing that was familiar when you woke up. 

Once I was in the prep area it was going through the motions. Remove everything and get dressed in an unattractive gown. Thankfully, they were all out of the bright pink hair coverings and I got to have a neon green one. And of course, to top off the ensemble, teal socks with puppy paw grips on the bottom. It was probably one of my better looks. 

They had let me keep on my rainbow delegation wristband as it wasn't metal. It was soon discovered, however, that it was going to be in the way of all of my IVs and it was suggested that I should probably take it off. 

A slight panic set in. This was my security blanket and I hadn't even realized it. 

My mom was reassuring me that it would be safe and I would be able to have it again as soon as I came out of anesthesia but I was still starting to panic. 

"Can I put it on the other wrist?" 

It was a simple request and the nurse excitedly agreed. She explained all the dangers that it might get blood on it. It might have to be cut off if another line had to be put in. But all in all she let me slip it on the other wrist and keep my Rainbow Delegation pride on. 

I got to talk to various nurses when I woke up who asked about the bracelet. They had nieces, sons and grandchildren who were gay and had trouble coming out. I got called strong and brave as well as plenty of promises to check out the website and order one themselves. 

My mom, however, was resigned to calling me stubborn for keeping it on and risking losing it. 

I'm happy with both conclusions.


Rainbow Delegation Bracelets are available for free at the Fresno LGBT Community Center. You can also purchase them online through the Rainbow Delegation website.

Manning: He or She? News-sources Weigh In on the Side of Bigotry.

In a move that shows just how far our society has to go in terms of Trans Acceptance, several major news organizations are refusing to switch pronouns and name usage for Chelsea Manning.

Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, is the Army Private who was recently sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for leaking classified documents. 

Her request for the change was delivered by her lawyer on the Today Show yesterday and despite her not being the first celebrity or famous person to announce such a change, news outlets are struggling with, or outright refusing, the switch.

The Huffington Post, the London Daily Mail, MSNBC and Slate have all started using the feminine pronoun.

NBC's Today, USA TODAY, The Boston Globe, Politico, CNN, Fox, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Times, NPR and The New York Times are still using the masculine pronoun.

When pressed on why her wishes aren’t being met, a variety of excuses were given… that it would cause confusion for the readers, that she might switch back, that it might be a ploy for attention… but perhaps most disappointing of all was this excuse given by NPR spokesperson Anna Bross. “Until Bradley Manning’s desire to have his gender changed actually physically happens, we will be using male-related pronouns to identify him.”

In other words, Dear Trans Community. You don’t get to use your pronoun of choice until you have undergone gender reassignment surgery. Never mind that in order to have the surgery, you are usually required to live as your desired gender for a significant period of time… and more importantly, never mind that not all trans people can, or want, the surgery.

Let’s say that last bit again shall we as it seems to be the pressing point: Not all trans people want to undergo surgery. Not all trans people are able to (for a variety of reasons) undergo gender reassignment surgery.

But the AP style-book, used by journalists all over the world, won’t honor your chosen gender pronoun until there has been a physical change.

This is beyond offensive to the Trans community and it shows us that we have a long way to go before we can consider even our more progressive new sources as truly supportive.

Of course, GCV, while not a news organization, will honor this change and we encourage our readers to do the same.

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GCV Call for Interns!

Gay Central Valley is looking for bright motivated interns to assist our community center staff and Board of Directors with projects! 

Do you need to do an internship for school?

Do you like working with the public?

Do you want to support your local LGBT Community Center?

Apply today to be a GCV Fall Intern!

Duties / Tasks / Projects might include...-

General Office: answering phones, help walk ins, providing information and support, data entry

Media Work: community member interviews, book/movie reviews, general blog writing

Grant research and development

Community Outreach: tabling at events, flier distribution, raffle and donation solicitations, etc

And much more...

Internships are a great way to get course credit while serving your community! The skills that you learn as an intern can help you find work later on and will give you valuable experience. 

Interested parties are invited to call our office at 559-325-4429 or email us at

Thursday, August 22, 2013

EVENT: The Importance of Being Earnest

OPENING THIS WEEKEND! This classic comedy of manners from Oscar Wilde is given a lively (and slightly naughty!) treatment from Fresno State Theatre Professor J. Daniel Herring.  
Gwendolen loves Ernest, and he loves her. Cecily loves Ernest too, though he’s only just finding that out. But is it a lover’s triangle, or is there room for two happy couples in Oscar Wilde’s madcap romance–and what will fearsome Lady Bracknell have to say about it? 

This quintessential Victorian comedy of manners, by the quintessential bad-boy of his day, includes mistaken identities, secret engagements, baffled suitors, and some of the wittiest wordplay ever volleyed over cucumber sandwiches.

Featuring Fresno favorites Patricia Hoffman and Gordon Moore, as well as Ryan Torres, Jacob Rico, Heather Parish, Tess Mize, Kayla Weber, Mitchell Lam Hau and Benjamin Geddert.  

Performances: August 22- October 13.
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m./ Fridays & Saturdays at 8 p.m./ Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16 General, $15 Student/Senior
Box Office & Reservations: 559-266-0660/ 800-371-4747

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Prison Break Star's Political Coming Out

Wentworth Miller, who you might remember as the hunky star of Prison Break....

... just picked the most awesomely bad ass way to come out.

He was recently invited to a Russian film festival... and his response was short, to the point, and spot on:

""Thank you for your kind invitation. However, as a gay man, I must decline."

He goes on...

"I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly."

Well said. Well said.

And just in case you missed Prison Break when it was on... it is streaming on Netflix and here's the trailer for season 1!

EVENT: Reel Pride Kick Off Party TONIGHT

Germany: Soon Accepting 3 Genders on Birth Certificates

From our friends at the Huffington Post...

As of November, Germany will be the first country in Europe to offer a "third gender" distinction on its birth certificates.

A new German law stipulates that children who are born of indeterminate gender no longer have to be categorized as "male" or "female." Instead, parents can choose to leave the space blank on their child's birth certificate, according to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Those individuals can eventually decide whether to identify as male, female or neither.

The German legislature voted this as an amendment to the Civil Status Act on May 7.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Conversion Therapy: Now Banned in 2 States

You might remember that California banned conversion therapy last year.... well now New Jersey has joined our state in banning the practice of trying to convert gay teens into straight teens.

Governor Chris Christie wrote in his statement defending signing the ban: "“The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientations can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”


Well said.

While we celebrate another state taking this step, it is important to note that Chris Christie is rumored to be the front runner of the GOP pack in terms of the 2016 Presidential nominee.

Whether or not taking this sort of stand or telling CNN that he doesn't believe that homosexuality is a sin, will hurt or hinder his chances is something only time will tell.

For now though, bravo!

More here.

Movie Review: Romeos

"In My Own Words...." is an open platform for community members to contribute to the GCV Blog. If you would like to submit a review, essay, or article please email

In My Own Words... A Movie Review of "Romeos" by Mark G.

"Romeos" tells the story of two boys: Lukas, a pre-op transmale struggling to define himself in a world he feels has rejected him, and Fabio, a strong gay male who embodies the person Lukas wants to be. When Fabio finds himself inexplicably drawn to Lukas the resulting story, set in Cologne, Germany, empathetically conveys the social challenges that transgenders face in both the straight and gay communities. Symbolism is used in a somewhat predictable manner that does not diminish its message: that self-acceptance is the first step in any interpersonal relationship. Both characters grow towards the inexorable revelation that all boundaries are self-imposed, in a heart-wrenching way that leaves you sympathizing with neither but wishing the best for both.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

EVENT: Sierra AIDS Walk

The 17th annual Sierra AIDS Walk will take place on Saturday, September 28, 2013 among the Giant Sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

The Sierra AIDS Walk is our most important fundraising event of the year, and is critical to ensure that residents of Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties affected by HIV or AIDS have access to lifesaving treatment and support services.  

Sierra HOPE receives no support from the BIG AIDS Walks and Rides.  This is it - our event - put on by our volunteers without high priced consultants or big-name celebrities.  But only the Sierra AIDS Walk has the beauty and serenity of the Giant Sequoias.  Please join us and support LOCAL HIV/AIDS services right here, in OUR communities.  

The trails at Calaveras Big Trees State Park are dominated by giant sequoias, and have something to offer walkers of different skill and stamina levels. Participants can choose from three popular trails to complete the walk and start anytime between 9am and 11:00am. 

Walkers raise money by collecting sponsorship donations. People often participate as a family or form teams with friends or co-workers to show support for those living with HIV/AIDS or in memory of a loved one who has died of AIDS.

Individuals who raise $100 or more receive a Sierra AIDS Walk T-Shirt. A picnic lunch is provided for everyone who participates.  
Choose your trail. The trails at Big Trees have something to offer walkers of all skill levels.
  • The North Grove trail is a gentle, well-marked loop about 1.5 miles long that is barrier free. 
  • The 5-mile trail in the South Grove passes the park’s two largest trees
  • The 600 ft. long Three Senses Trail is one of the earliest accessible design trails in the State Park system, and allows visitors to experience the feel, smell and sounds of this magnificent forest.. 
Choose your time. Registration is open from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 am, to give all walkers time to enjoy the beauty of Calaveras Big Trees State Park.  A picnic lunch will be provided and individuals who raise $100 or more in pledges will receive a free Sierra AIDS Walk T-Shirt. 

Visit our website at to register using our new online service.  You can also choose to receive a paper pledge form and information packet in the mail by completing the form at or by calling us at 209-736-6792.

Thank you for your support.