Monday, September 29, 2014

Gov Brown Signs Law Banning "Panic Defense"

Courtesy The Advocate
In a groundbreaking move, the state takes a stand against defendants being able to use a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity as justification for murder.

California Gov. Jerry Brown 
With the stroke of Governor Jerry Brown's pen, California has become the first state in the U.S. to officially ban the use of "trans panic" and "gay panic" defenses in court.

Last month, the California Assembly passed the bill by a vote of 50-10, sending the bill to Brown's desk for signature. The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, bars the use of "panic" defenses in California criminal courts.

“There is absolutely no justification for the use of ‘panic defenses,’" Bonilla said in a statement last month. "Clearly this tactic has been utilized by defendants, unjustly targeting members of the LGBT community, based on damaging stereotypes. With AB 2501, we are moving forward to ensure equality in our courts and making it very clear that discrimination against the LGBT community is intolerable and unacceptable.”

Read the Story HERE

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Friday, September 26, 2014

EVENT: Let's Talk HIV/AIDS in the Central Valley

Details On Service For Reese Ramirez

Rough outline for the Celebration of Life for Reese Ramirez :
Saturday October 4th at The Big Red Church in Fresno:
2131 N Van Ness Blvd Fresno CA 559-227-8489
Performers' arrival (back door) 4-430pm
Guest arrival 5pm (front entrance)
Celebration /speakers 5:30
Performances 6-7:30
Closure 7:30-?
Entry is free.
Please consider placing a small donation in lieu of flowers. All donations and tips will go to some of Reese 's favorite organizations.
Soda will be sold as a donation, water and punch complimentary. 

T shirts will be available at the soda table for those of you who aren't able to pick them up beforehand. 

There will be sticker name tags for everyone, so we can get to know one another. Reese is bringing all of us together, and if we were special enough to know him, then we are important enough to get too know one another .

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

EVENT: Reese Ramirez Service & Celebration of Life

Services and a Celebration of Life for local transgender activist Reese Ramirez will take place at the Big Red Church on Saturday October 4th. Time is currently set as 5-10PM but set up and tear down time is included. More specific details will be available in the next couple of days, and we'll keep you posted. This is a free event that will also work to raise money for local organizations. There will also be a tribute drag show for Reese. 

The family will be present and is looking forward to meeting the people in the community that Reese touched. 

We'll keep you updated on details as they become available.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Honoring Reese Ramirez At Reel Pride

Zoyer Zyndel of Transemotion and Chris Jarvis of Gay Central Valley took a moment to speak before Transcendent - Trans Shorts today at the Reel Pride Film Festival about Reese Ramirez, who passed away this weekend, apparently from natural causes. 

Our original post about this can be found HERE

They talked about Reese's involvement in the LGBT community in Fresno and his dedication and gentle soul. Reese was a motivated transgender activist in Fresno.

Reese Ramirez was also present, in spirit, during the final day of Reel Pride, with a framed picture of him at the Gay Central Valley concessions stand.

He will be truly missed.

SUNDAY At The Reel Pride Film Festival

Director's Club Brunch

Fresno Reel Pride's 25th Annual Film Festival 
DIRECTORS' CLUB BRUNCH  Must be a 2014 Festival Pass Holder at DIRECTORS' CLUB LEVEL + ABOVE or a 2014 SPONSOR to attend.


1:00pm :: Sunday, September 21
$10.00 - 
Hanro Smitsman
2013; The Netherlands; 81 min.; in Dutch with English subtitles
At their wits’ end, Emma and Ilse don’t know what to do with their rebellious teenage son Dylan. Through a series of circumstances, Emma decides to contact Dylan’s biological father Sjors, who hasn’t seen him in 12 years. Soon Dylan is living with Sjors and his partner Bert (who Sjors hadn’t told he had a son) in their very gay art-filled apartment. Dylan is rocking out, smoking pot in the house, and the two men have no idea how to parent. Some very interesting secrets are revealed in this humorous, engaging film that looks at queer parenting today and the travails of raising a teenager.20


1:00pm :: Sunday, September 21
$10.00 - 
Thomas G. Miller
2014; US; 77 min.
LIMITED PARTNERSHIP is a 40-year love story of one of the first same-sex marriages in the world, still trying to find its “happy ending.” In 1975, Filipino-American Richard Adams married his partner, Australian-born Tony Sullivan, in Boulder, CO. Even their lawsuit, the first ever to seek equal treatment for a same-sex marriage, couldn’t secure a green card for Tony, who has lived his life as an undocumented immigrant for four decades. Their heartbreaking tale has been documented publicly for years in newspaper articles and talk shows, and these pioneers for marriage equality fight to this day to gain Tony his citizenship in light of last year’s historic Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage.


2:30pm :: Sunday, September 21
$10.00 - 
Nancy Kates
2014 | USA | 100 min.
REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG is an intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation. The documentary explores Sontag’s life through evocative experimental images, archival materials, accounts from friends, family, colleagues, and lovers, as well as her own words, read by actress Patricia Clarkson.
From her early infatuation with books and her first experience in a gay bar; from her marriage in adolescence to her last lover, REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG is a fascinating look at a towering cultural critic and writer whose works on photography, war, illness, and terrorism still resonate today. More than any other thinker of her day, Sontag was watched, viewed, photographed and stared at. She was gazed at, and she looked back, very carefully, particularly at language and metaphor and at photography and what she called “the ecology of images.” REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG gives viewers the chance to watch Sontag while she examines the world.
REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG has been made in partnership with HBO Documentary Films and will be broadcast Fall 2014.


3:00pm :: Sunday, September 21
$10.00 - 
Sophie Hyde
2014; Australia; 109 min.
Every Tuesday afternoon, 16-year-old Billie gets to see her mother, who is transitioning from female to a male named James. Needing space to become himself, James has sent Billie to live with her father. Feeling adrift, Billie begins to keep a video diary with new friends Josh and Jasmine, exploring her own bisexual identity as they play, film, and play some more. Shot over a year, every Tuesday, this beautifully made, nuanced drama won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance and the Crystal Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival. 


4:30pm :: Sunday, September 21
$10.00 - 
Catherine Gund
2014; US; 82 min.
Driven, passionate, and fully engaged, STREB Extreme Action Company founder Elizabeth Streb takes us on a wild ride from her home base in Brooklyn, where she lives with her partner Laura, to her daily work making her dancers “fly.” As one of her devoted company members explains, their performances have “more force, more velocity, more risk.” With strong bodies and a fierce determination to defy age and gender expectations, STREB members, trained in ballet, modern dance, martial arts, acrobatics, and circus skills, perform their art, including “One Extraordinary Day” at the Millennium Bridge, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, and other landmarks during the opening of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Centerpiece Screening: BLACKBIRD

5:00pm :: Sunday, September 21
$10.00 - 
Patrik-Ian Polk
2014; US; 99 min.
Director Patrik-Ian Polk, who has thrilled packed houses at festivals with premieres of NOAH’S ARC and NOAH’S ARC: JUMPING THE BROOM, returns with a heartfelt and hopeful drama that boasts a vibrant soundtrack and a gifted cast, including newcomer Julian Walker and Academy Award–winner Mo’nique. 
Randy (Walker) is a model high school student and a dutiful son who prays, behaves, and sings in the choir. But he’s unable to abate his frequent and increasingly sexy fantasies about other boys. However, he soon realizes he isn’t the only one of his friends struggling against the restrictive norms of their Southern Baptist community. Through various means, he becomes intimately aware of the pressures and challenges they each face around love, sex, and coming of age.
On top of his personal crisis, Randy also deals with a trying family situation that obliges him to take care of his distressed and devout mother (the incomparable Mo’nique) and reconnect with his estranged father (Isaiah Washington). Sparks fly when he meets hunky Marshall, but will this new relationship provide a welcome escape…or make matters worse?
Based on the book by Larry Duplechan and adapted by Polk and Rikki Beadle-Blair (FIT, Reel Pride 2011), BLACKBIRD sings with emotional lows and infectiously joyful highs, creating an exquisite and beautiful cinematic experience.


6:00pm :: Sunday, September 21
$10.00 - 
Living stealth as a person of color, parenting, taking on the legal system, and dealing with Asperger’s syndrome are some of the issues addressed in this collection of films that chronicle the diverse experiences of those in the transgender community.
Curated by Sam Berliner of Seattle Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Reese Ramirez - Local Trans Activist Passes Away

Reese Ramirez touched many in the LGBT community in Fresno and the Central Valley. He was a proud transgender person who reached out and embraced others and did all he could do to help out those in need. If you wanted to talk, you could talk about just about anything with Reese. 

It is with great sadness that we report that Reese has passed away, very unexpectedly, apparently from natural causes. His family posted their own message to his Facebook page, which is flooded with messages from so many in the community. 

Reese has been present at many Gay Central Valley events and was in talks with us to start up a support group for those facing depression, as well as to work more with the Fresno LGBT Community Center. He was a gentle soul who, every day, wanted to make the world a better place. 

Reese had held the title of Mr. Tranz Fresno. He was involved with the Imperial Dove Court and many other organizations and events in the Central Valley. 

Nothing has been made public yet about services for Reese, but we will keep you updated as those details become available.

SATURDAY at the Reel Pride Film Festival

Saturday September 20th 2014 at the Reel Pride Film Festival
Stop by the Concessions Stand operated by Gay Central Valley

THE CIRCLE (Der Kreis)

12:30pm :: Saturday, September 20

$10.00 -

Stefan Haupt

2014; Switzerland; 102 min.; in German with English subtitles

Contains strong language, sexual situations, and nudity.
THE CIRCLE is a fascinating docudrama that interweaves the story of Europe’s first gay rights organization, in 1950s Zurich, with reenactments of the personal lives of the men involved in this pioneering underground movement. Devoted to each other for over 40 years, Ernst Ostertag, at the time a closeted teacher, and Röbi Rapp, an entertainer by night, recount their young love affair, their coming out struggles, and the dangers and excitement of the underground activist circle that became a community of family and friends. Winner of the Teddy Award for Best LGBT Documentary and Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.


12:30pm :: Saturday, September 20
$10.00 -
Funny ha-ha or funny queer? These ladies are both! From a road trip adventure to a hotel bar to a craft show gone wrong to quite a surprise at home, smile, giggle, and maybe even howl with laughter at these short films.