Friday, May 30, 2014

VIDEO: Transgender Story: The Whittington Family

Texas Restaurant Controversy Heats Up

You can watch the origins of this story as we reported it HERE

PITTSBURG, Texas (KRLD) – An East Texas restaurant is receiving unique backlash on social media after a waitress told a gay couple not to return, making a homophobic remark in the process.
Using Yelp and Google reviews, online activists are trying to make Big Earl’s Bait House and Country Store in Pittsburg seem like one of the highest rated and most recommended gay bars in Texas.

One Yelp review reads, “this place is great… you can really let your freak flag fly here.”

Collin Dewberry says he and his partner had just paid their check when their waitress approached them on the way out.

“And that’s when she said to us… ‘to put it plainly, we don’t serve fags here’.”

“I think the restaurant better learn to adapt or they will probably have to close their doors soon,” says Kyle, who identifies himself as a gay man.

He and others in the Dallas LGBT community are planning to make a road trip to Big Earl’s.

And Big Earl’s restaurant says they’re ready for them.

“If there’s any problems, they will be taken care of appropriately,” says Christina Cheney, who is Big Earl’s daughter and the waitress who made the homophobic remark. “We are aware that they are attempting to come out here. We’re ready for them; we have informed the Sheriff’s department and the state.”

Read More HERE

Last State In The Nation Will File Suit

Given the speed that marriage equality is moving across the nation, it's understandable that it might be hard to keep up. Now comes the news that the last state in the country will be filing a lawsuit challenging the constitionality of the ban on same sex marriage. 

North Dakota, the last holdout, is about to join the fray...

“There will be a case filed challenging North Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban,” says Joshua Newville, a Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney who filed a suit Thursday against South Dakota’s ban on behalf of same-sex couples there.

Newville is in talks with advocates and attorneys in North Dakota and confirmed that either he or another attorney will bring a lawsuit against that state’s ban within six to eight weeks.

Until Wednesday, just three of the 33 states that ban same-sex marriage had not been sued over those policies. But same-sex couples sued Montana that day and South Dakota on Thursday, leaving only North Dakota’s unchallenged.

Read More HERE 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

EVENTS: Fresno Center for Nonviolence

Fresno Center for Nonviolence
Dedicated to Peace & Social Justice
1584 N. Van Ness Ave., Fresno , CA 93728
Across From City College * SE Corner Van Ness & McKinley
* Entrance on Van Ness *
559-23PEACE * 559-237-3223
Staffed Open Hours Monday - Friday 11 AM - 3 PM
Organic & Fair Trade Coffee, Tea, Cocoa Chocolate Available

Sunday, June 1 at 3 p.m. at the College Community Congregational Church, 5550 N. Fresno (between Bullard and Barstow. Please join us as we celebrate the 22ndanniversary of the Fresno Center for Nonviolence. Our annual Way of Peace Awards will be given this year to Kyla Mitchell, Gioia Frank, Glenda and David Roberts and Eco Garden Project. There’ll be entertainment too by “Stolen Thunder” (house band of the Unitarian Universalist Church) and also a fundraising silent auction! It’s a potluck so please bring something to share. For more information call the Center at 559-237-3223 Mon-Fri 11-3.

Wednesday, June 4 at 6 p.m. The Fresno Center for Nonviolence will hold its monthly Board meeting. For more information call the Center at 559-237-3223 Mon-Fri 11-3.

Wednesday, June 11 3 – 3:30 p.m.on KFCF 88.1 The Center for Nonviolence monthly radio show will be hosted by Richard Stone. His guest will be Jim Fitz of the Christian Peacemakers Team. Recently back from Columbia , Jim spent the last nine years protecting farmers from paramilitary groups. For more information call 559-237-3223 Mon-Fri 11-3. This is prerecorded, so no call-ins this month.

Wednesday, June 11 at 12 noon and at 7 p.m. (potluck at 6:30), at the Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N. Van Ness Ave (SE Corner McKinley and Van Ness) Our 2ndWednesday video will be A Step Too Far? Contemplation on Forgiveness directed by Paul Moorehead. Most of us at some time in our lives feel that we have been wronged by others in some way. It may be as a result of malicious gossip or maybe a violent act or even worse. How do we react in such situations? Do we lash out at the offender; are we eaten up with the desire for revenge? "A Step Too Far?" investigates an alternative to revenge; the idea of forgiveness. From Northern Ireland to Lancaster County , PA , ordinary people share their real life stories and how they have come to view forgiveness. Leading academics also make a significant contribution to the film. A UK film: 73 minutes long. Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. For more information call the Center 559-237-3223 Mon-Fri 11-3.

EVENT: FREE Film At UU Church "We Were Here"


A Documentary film by David Weissman about the Early Days of the AIDS Epidemic.

Friday, June 13, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, 2670 E. Alluvial Avenue, Fresno 93720

Admission Free. Wheelchair Accessible.

WE WERE HERE documents the arrival in San Francisco of what was then called the "Gay Plague" in the early 1980s. It illuminates the profound personal and community issues raised by the AIDS epidemic, as well as the broad political and social upheavals it unleashed. Early in the epidemic, San Francisco's compassionate, multifaceted, and creative response to AIDS became known as "The San Francisco Model." The city's activist and progressive infrastructure that evolved out of the 1960s helped overcome obstacles in a nation both homophobic and lacking in universal healthcare.

San Francisco mirrors the experience of so many American cities during those years. In its response, The San Francisco Model remains a standard for attaining a healthier, more just, and more humane society. WE WERE HERE extends beyond San Francisco and beyond AIDS itself. The epidemic roiled San Francisco for two decades, and only began to ease its grip with medical advancements in the late 1990s. Though thousands are still living with HIV, and new infections continue at an alarming rate, the relentless suffering of the '80s and '90s has given way to a kind of calm and a certain degree of willful amnesia. What lessons do the early years still offer us?

We Were Here focuses on five individuals. Their lives changed in unimaginable ways when their beloved city changed from a hotbed of sexual freedom and social experimentation into the epicenter of a terrible and largely mysterious plague. From their different vantage points as caregivers, activists, researchers, as friends and lovers of the afflicted, and as people with AIDS themselves, the interviewees share stories that are not only personal, but that also illuminate the much larger themes of that era: the political and sexual complexities, the terrible emotional toll, and the enormous compassion and heroism of the gay community in caring for and fighting for their gay brothers.

For info:

Glenda: 559-291-1590; or Lisa 559-360-0967

All The Dirt on Fresno Pride 2014

Check out our primer for this year's Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival...

National Park Service Will Recognize LGBT Sites

VIA White House Press Release

NEW YORK, NY – On Friday, May 30, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will announce a new National Park Service theme study to identify places and events associated with the civil rights struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans and ensure that the agency is telling a complete story of America’s heritage and history.

The Stonewall Inn is the site of a riot in 1969 that is widely recognized as a catalyst for the modern civil rights movement in the LGBT community. It is currently the only LGBT-associated site that has been designated a national historic landmark by the National Park Service as a property having extraordinary significance in American history.

The theme study is part of a broader initiative under the Obama Administration to ensure that the National Park Service reflects and tells a more complete story of the people and events responsible for building this nation. The National Park Service has ongoing heritage initiatives to commemorate minorities and women who have made significant contributions to our nation’s history and culture, including studies related to Latinos, women’s history, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Sally Jewell
, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Corey Johnson, District 3, New York City Councilman
Tim Gill, Founder, Gill Foundation

Launch of New National Park Service Heritage Initiative regarding the LGBT Community

11am EDT, Friday, May 30, 2014
10:45am EDT – Media check-in

Stonewall Inn
53 Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014 

Media interested in attending the press conference are encouraged to RSVP here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trannyshack Will Rebrand Itself - RuPaul Speaks Out

The controversy over the word tranny is creating some serious changes in the LGBT Community... 

Recently,  building controversy forced the hand of RuPaul to modify the show RuPaul's Drag Race, and eliminate the terms "she-male" and "she-mail". Now, RuPaul, in an interview (link is at the bottom of the page, skip to 1hr16m)   with Marc Maron on his podcast, has spoken out, sharing his opinion about the issue.

No, it is not the transsexual community. These are fringe people who are looking for story lines to strengthen their identity as victims. That is what we’re dealing with. It’s not the trans community, because most people who are trans have been through hell and high water and they know -- they've looked behind the curtain at Oz and went, 'Oh, this is all a f**king joke. But, some people haven't... You know, if your idea of happiness has to do with someone else changing what they say, what they do, you are in for a f**king hard-ass road.

That is just a snippet of what RuPaul said on the matter, please refer to the audio interview. You can download and listen to the clip for free HERE ... The controversy is discussed starting at 1 hour and 16 minutes.

Now, the infamous drag performance group Trannyshack, which performs in San Francisco and around the world (they were here locally at the North Tower Circle last year) has declared, after a protest in Seattle, that they will be rebranding their show and eliminating the word tranny.

Courtesy the Seattle Gay Scene...

All Heck(lina) broke out over the weekend after the announcements about San Francisco drag legend HEKLINA bringing her famed TRANNYSHACK drag show to Seattle for multiple events over our Pride Weekend, June 27-29, 2014. Radical Trans* activists apparently speaking on behalf of the entire trans* community attacked Heklina and Seattle producers of the events for promoting the use of their self-designated slur term “tranny” as part of the name of the drag show that Heklina, (Icelandic born performer Stefan Grygelko) created nearly 20 years ago. Inflammatory remarks made on Facebook invite threads escalated with both sides making unfortunate and threatening remarks to anyone who disagreed with their point of view. Heklina, who has faced increased scutiny and criticism from some radical elements in the transgendered community made a spectacular announcement on the main thread for one of the events, the “T-Shack Seattle Pride Edition” the Mama Tits produced event happening on Friday, June 27 at The Unicorn/Narwhal: Tired of the petty quarreling, Heklina will be transitioning (ironic, isn’t it?) the name of Trannyshack over the next few months.

Heklina, founder of Trannyshack made a statement that includes the following...

I am, and will always be, immensely proud of what I have accomplished with Trannyshack. It’s given me so many great experiences, it’s afforded me the great luxury of not having to live in the 9 to 5 world (which would kill me), and I have had the even greater luxury of working with and meeting the most incredible people. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s been my life’s work.
However. Increasingly, and in the past year especially, it’s become clear to me the meaning the word tranny has taken on. I’ve tried to avoid the issue because I’ve spent almost 20 years branding and promoting my club. But more and more, I am asked on the street, in interviews, and online about my thoughts on the word, and the name of my club. I’ve given the answer “Oh, my club is different, it means so much to so many people, it’s this it’s that, etc.”, but it’s been nagging at me. I started to talk to people close to me about the need for a rebrand. What really was the clincher for me was a post I saw on Facebook by a performer at my club . I wasn’t tagged in the post, but came across it anyway. He said how excited he was to be performing at my club but, out of embarrassment, he couldn’t type the name of it, and something along the lines of “you all know where it is”. Ouch, OK. Time for a rebrand.

I am in the business of (hopefully) entertaining people. It’s never been my intention to hurt people. I am not another Shirley Q. Liquor, wanting to offend just for sake of it. Also, on a purely business level, I don’t want to be viewed as archaic, out of step with the times, like an ostrich with my head in the sand.

Read More HERE


INTERVIEW: Jeff Robinson & Fresno Pride!

Information links and contact details are available at the end of this article…

This year marks the 24th year for the Fresno Pride Parade & Festival . The theme this year is “Live & Love Proudly”. Fresno Rainbow Pride, the largest LGBT event of the year, takes place on Saturday, June 7th starting at 10am on Olive Avenue in the Tower District. This is the largest Pride event in the Central Valley and the only one that includes a parade. The event draws approximate 3-5,000 people each year. 

The parade starts at 10am and runs east bound on Olive Avenue from Palm Avenue to Maroa. There are expected to be about 50 parade entries this year. It’s not too late to participate in the parade, simply visit or call 559-486-3464. There is a fee for a parade entry, and it goes up as the date gets closer, so get your request in today.

There are awards for parade entries that include Largest Contingent, Most Festive, Best Float and CEO Award. 

Immediately following the Pride Parade is the Pride Festival, a street festival at Fulton and Alhambra. You enter the festival off of Olive Avenue and the entry fee remains at a low $5. Entry to the festival includes a wide variety of vendors and organizations, everything from nonprofits to retail vendors. As always, this is a very family friendly event. The Fresno County Department of Public Health will also be on hand with free HIV testing. 

Your entry to the festival also includes a wide variety of entertainment including the Unison Dance Tent with various local DJ’s and GoGo dancers. On the main entertainment stage you can see acts from Fresno and around the state. This year the main entertainment stage will have four local hosts…Leilani Price, Patricia DeLeon, Justin Cider and Victoria De La Manana. Live singers, band and drag performers make up the performances this year and include the Raging Grannies, Damon Pardo of Rocky Horror, the Tiny Kites Band and live band Santa Mira. Local drag performers include Charm Alina, Cookie Cutter, Hazzard Strange, Cara Coronado, Emma Berry, Leilani Price, Patricia DeLeon, Giselle O’Ell, A Town, Justin Cider, Andy Rogenous and Alec Alright. 

Community Link operates the Pride Parade and Festival, and is an official 501c3 nonprofit organization. Given that, they are always in need of financial donations before, during and after the event. All fees charged for the parade and festival, as well as program advertising, go toward the cost of the event. You can also donate independently by mailing a donation to Community Link, PO Box 4959, Fresno, CA 93744. 

On the day of the event funds are raised through the Beer & Wine Garden as well as the drink station run by Community Link inside the festival and a dessert booth run by the youth group. During the parade, the youth group will march the big rainbow flag down the street and you can toss in coins and dollars to donate to the cause. Remember that you can also drop a donation off directly at any of the Community Link booths during the festival. This event needs community support to stay strong!

I sat down to talk to Jeff Robinson, who runs Community Link, to talk about this year’s Pride Parade, as well as Pride in general…(above photo of Jeff Robinson and Juan Bustamante courtesy Rene Salas)

Chris Jarvis: Who are the Grand Marshalls this year?

Jeff Robinson: We’re still waiting on some responses so I can’t really talk about that yet.

CJ: I know the Festival is a family friendly event, what can families expect this year?

JR: Wesley Methodist Church is running a carnival for kids, with games and activities. We’ll have the bounce houses as usual. We’ll be giving out goodie bags this year to the first 75 kids, with juice boxes, water, snack and a toy. The entertainment tent is probably not a great place for little kids to hang out, cause you never know what’s going to come out of someone’s mouth.

CJ: What about any involvement from the City Hall or the Mayor regarding Pride this year?

JR: We’re working to get a response from the Mayor’s office. We’ll see what happens. We’ll probably get a letter, but it’ll be watered down, like in the past.

CJ: Does it mention the LGBT community or Pride?

JR: No, it will probably say what it’s said before, which is “we welcome you here on your special day”. No words like lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. No Stonewall, none of that. We’ve put out that our community needs to hear these words, not just that it’s our “special day”.

CJ: You would think, given what’s happened in Porterville, that they’d be a little more sensitive to it.

JR: You would think, but we’ll see. We’ll probably get a proclamation from the City Council. Last year 3-4 of them signed it, but we don’t get one from the entire council. 

CJ: How do people sign up to volunteer?

JR: Go to our website at and click on Rainbow Pride. Our last meeting before Pride will be on the 6th to show people where everything is at, the flagpole, the entertainment, the tables, the trash, etc. We’ll walk them to those areas so they have a better idea of where everything is at. 

CJ: What’s your biggest need as far as volunteers?

JR: Our main need is for people to be at the Parade and be safety monitors. It’s very simple. They’re going to get a t-shirt, free entrance to the festival and a front row seat at the parade. We work with the police department in that we guarantee them a certain amount of volunteers that are going to come and close off the minor residential streets. So there will be caution tape up and then the volunteers get to stand there and watch the parade while telling people to remember to stay on the sidewalk, stay out of the streets and so on. We need a minimum of 23 of those volunteers. We like to double up so we have two people per corner, so if people want to go out and do this with a friend, that’s perfect. The second need is help during the festival, like directing people where they need to go, helping people, working in one of our booths, helping us get the recycling and trash taken care of, etc. 

CJ: I still hear from time to time, “Why do we need a Pride Parade?”. Can you talk about why Pride is important, and why, as we get more and more legal rights around the nation, that it’s still important?

JR: Although we’re getting equality across the nation it doesn’t mean that we aren’t still going to face people that don’t want us to have those rights. So we need to make sure that although it’s on the books, we need to make people see that there are a large amount of people that this effects. It affects us as LGBT folks, as well as our family and friends.  The second important part of Pride is to recharge our collaborative batteries. Every day we go out and we face a wide variety of things. Questions about who we are and our relationships. So although we’re moving ahead, there’s till those things that affect us greatly that sometimes we can’t put our finger on, where we’re still made to feel that we’re not “as good as”. So it’s great to be able to come together with a group of people for a common cause to celebrate all of our momentum and where we’re headed. Recharging ourselves is important to continue that effort and that struggle to get where we need to be. That’s why we need Pride.

CJ: Agreed. I often tell people who say that the goal of LGBT people is to integrate so much into society that we don’t need special places or celebrations, that they obviously aren’t paying attention to other cultures in America. So many of them that not only continue to enshrine those special places and celebrations, but are expanding on them. When I hear gay people say they hope for the day when we don’t need to gather together or have special celebrations, I find that hard to put my head around. Why are we trying to disappear into the mix?

JR: Exactly. If you’re German American or Polish American and you’re back east, there are huge celebrations and parades for them. Every Sunday is Christian day. Every Easter and every Christmas is Christian day. So I think it’s still important to have those events. It’s important to have Cinco de Mayo events, Juneteenth, Harvey Milk Day, Martin Luther King day…it’s important to have those days to call back to why we’re here. We have things that we need to celebrate and remember. We need to remember people that didn’t have such happy endings. 

CJ: And you and I have talked before about our culture vanishing in so many ways. Talk about that.

JR: I really worry about losing our culture, and that young kids don’t grasp or understand those people that came before them and did the tremendous, hard work. To see an out, gay person in years past was a tremendous act of bravery. Look at history, there was a vibrant gay movement here and in Europe before World War II. These people lost their property and their lives.

CJ: What I hear all the time from young people is “oh, that was before I was born.” Really? I don’t remember hearing that from young people when I was in school. You were expected to know about history. 

JR: That’s why at the end of my youth groups we talk about news and I tell them what’s happened in the community.

CJ: It seems as we gather more legal equality, we’re losing ourselves inside of it. I don’t understand when gay people say that when we get to a certain point, equality wise, we don’t need to such a presence. 

JR: Here’s the deal, we’ve always been much stronger when we face resistance. When Wilson vetoed AB 101  and everybody said, oh just be quiet and act like you’re just like everyone else, we have 2.5 kids and a dog and a white picket fence…BS…we had to take to the streets. The teachers came out of the classrooms and the queers came out of the bars and took over Los Angeles and San Francisco. We said what the hell, you promised us a gay rights bill, even as watered down as it was going to be. In the AIDS epidemic, we got nothing by working within the channels. We had to agitate, making people look, making people address the issues. So that whole “We’re going to get our rights” doesn’t work. So we’ve gotten rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Great. What about all the National Guards? What about all the Guards that aren’t allowing their troops to marry? So we got our rights and we didn’t get our rights. So it’s easy to tear the stuff up over the big things, but we all face a whole bunch of little things day by day, and that gets to you.

CJ: I was talking to my brother once about how much we have to fight for every bit of equality and he said to me, do you really think that once you’ve got equality, that people are automatically going to like you? I said no, of course not. But that’s what he thought, that we’re fighting to be liked. We’re not fighting to be liked, we’re fighting to be equal. That’s why all this can’t go away. We can’t just stop being out and present because someone signs a bill saying we can get married. 

JR: We can get married in a whole bunch of states now, but we can still be fired across the country just because someone thinks we’re gay.

CJ: And what about employment protection ? How was that not passed long before marriage equality?

JR: Exactly. Particularly once they said you can fight and die for your country. It should have been automatic after that. And this whole bit they tried with leaving out our transgender brothers and sisters was garbage. We should all be included. 

Fundraisers have happened around Fresno for the Pride Parade and Festival. Thank you to all the businesses that have helped raise funds, including Tacos Marquitos, The North Tower Circle, Aldos and Club Legends. Community Link also held “Bowling For Pride” in April to raise funds. At press time, the next fundraisers are: HOUSE OF HIT on Saturday, May 24th at 9pm at the North Tower Circle, then a joint Super Sized Mega Mixer between The Fresno Men’s Mixer and POW (Professional OUT Women) which will take place at Vini Vidi Vici on Friday June 6th at 5:30pm. 

Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival


There are no more food vendor licenses available for the festival. Other Festival Applications and payments should be received before 11:59pm on June 1st, 2014. Some applications may be accepted after the deadline, but fees will need to be paid in cash and will depend on available space. Parade entries will be accepted up to the start of the parade (cash only on the day of the event).

Volunteer Information Click HERE

Make a Donation HERE  

Sponsorship Information HERE
Check the website Fresno Rainbow Pride for all other information.
Phone: 559-486-3464 or 559-266-LINK

EVENT: Professional OUT Women's MixHER

Professional OUT Women's May mixHER is set for Friday, 5/23 from 6pm-until at Frankie's 568, located in the old location of Rousseau in the Tower District.

We only have space for 45 people, so reservations for dinner are first come, first serve. If you'd like to be included in the count, please call 559-840-0767

Please, make plans now to enjoy a full evening of drinks, dinner and socializing!

Make sure to copy the FB link and share in your networks! Professional OUT Women (POW) is a community of women that gather at monthly events, happening at rotating locations, for networking and socializing. Our goal is to be inclusive without gender boundaries and accepting of women who self identify on a wide continuum of sexual expression.

If you have any questions, would like to join our email list or would like to be more involved, please email or