Friday, January 30, 2015

Q & A With Kaylia Metcalfe Armstrong

Kaylia Metcalfe lives in Fresno where she splits her time being a Stay At home Mom, freelance writer, and community organizer. She enjoys long walks on cloudy beaches, short walks in crowded malls, and laying on the couch watching TV.  She hates avocados, talking in the third person and answering quizzes/questionnaires. She is also a team player, makes the world’s best lasagna, and has something like seventeen crochet projects gathering dust in a closet.  

How long have you lived in the Central Valley?
4 years and counting….

Married or single?

Something you like about yourself?
My ability to dance like no one is watching… in public.

Something you dislike about yourself?
My lack of will power when it comes to bread. And bread type products. And cookies. And other desserts.

Character trait in others that you most admire?
Generosity of time and energy

Character trait in others that you most dislike?
Willful arrogance

What is your biggest regret?
Not going to Italy to study abroad when I had the chance.

What are you most passionate about?
My daughter. Also, cookies.

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

What aggravates you the most?
When technology fails. Or I run out of cookies and I have to admit that I did, in fact, eat all of them. By myself. 

What makes you the happiest?
When people say thank you or bring me cookies.

What are you, quite frankly, over?
Techno music. Raisins in cookies. (WHY??? Just NO!)

What is your biggest challenge?
To keep going even when it feels like I’m moving backwards

What was your favorite decade so far?
This one!

Who is your favorite person to talk to?

Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you? My mother

Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?
Alice Walker

The most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
“Messy” is a relative term. 

Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?

What superpower would you most like to have?
Photographic memory

Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?
Drew Barrymore

What is the best part of your day?
Reading and singing with my daughter

What is your proudest moment?
Getting through labor without killing anyone.

Who did you overlook in your past?
Peers, my own potential.

What have you overcome?
Near blindness, shyness. 

Where your ideal place to live?
Haven’t found it yet

What words do you live by?

Be Nobody’s Darling / Alice Walker

“Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.

Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.

Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mormons and The Big Condition

The Mormon church is coming around regarding LGBT equality? 

That seems to be what they're saying today, with one big condition...lay off those of faith. At least, those of faith proclaiming their beliefs in the public square... 

"When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser," said Elder Dallin Oaks, a member of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

"Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender." 

These statements from the church, however, do not apply to church doctrine. That remains unchanged and does not allow for LGBT equality. 

Notably, however, Mormon leaders said Tuesday that they would not -- and could not -- alter their opposition to gay marriage, calling such unions, "contrary to the laws of God." 

While we all may agree that within churches, their belief systems are their own, statements from the leaders of the Mormon church easily move outside the walls of the church, in direct conflict with their supportive statements.  

But religious freedom should also extend to Mormon physicians who refuse to perform abortions or artificial insemination for a lesbian couple, or a Catholic pharmacist who declines to carry the "morning after" pill, he added. 

Such statements clearly violate fair and equal treatment and highlight a fatal flaw in their sudden turnaround on LGBT rights. They support rights up to a point, the point in the public square when we get too close to their private beliefs. 

Are these statements a reaction to the upcoming June Supreme Court hearings, when marriage equality will likely be ruled into law across the entire United States? Are some in religion and politics softening their condemnation in the face of a critical, impending ruling for equality?

Read more HERE

Monday, January 26, 2015


Check back soon...

Q & A with Peter Robertson

Q&A is a new feature for Gay Central Valley

featuring questions and answers from members of the community

A three-time graduate of Fresno State, PETER ROBERTSON holds a BA in Art & Design, an MA in Mass Communication and an MBA in Marketing.

As an undergraduate student, he was a founding member of United Student Pride and co-founder and last year’s festival director of Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival. As a first-time graduate student, he was selected a grand marshal for the inaugural Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival; and as a second-time graduate student, he founded the Bulldog Pride Fund – a $355,000 endowed scholarship that was established under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association. By next fall, it have provided 41 scholarships with a total value of $75,000.

How long have you lived in the Central Valley?

I moved to Fresno the day after my 21st birthday, in June of 1984. That’s nearly 31 years ago!

Married or single?

Happily partnered since 1983, legally married since 2008.

When did you come out to the first person in your life?

I was a freshman of junior college, while living in Washington State. I finally admitting to myself that it wasn’t the “acting” that I liked in “The Hardy Boys” starring Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson.

Something you like about yourself?

My sincere smile.

Something you dislike about yourself?

My struggle with being overweight.

Character trait in others that you most admire?

Their sincerity.

Character trait in others that you most dislike?

Their hypocrisy.

What is your biggest regret?

Not doing some things sooner in life. But, life is a journey and I finally did do most of them.

What are you most passionate about?

Assisting students in fulfilling their educational dreams via the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund at Fresno State. My goal was to make a positive difference in the life of a student. The table's have turned, and now the student's are making a positive difference in my life. I am so blessed!

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

Nap. Nap. Nap. And enjoy a cigar now and then.

What aggravates you the most?

Drivers that don’t use their turn signals.

What makes you the happiest?

Drivers that do use their turn signals.

What are you, quite frankly, over?

James Franco. Justin Bieber. Ryan Seacrest. Guy Fieri. Ty Pennington. Pat Robertson. John Boehner. And, “Duck Dynasty.”

What is your biggest challenge?

Understanding that my passion may not necessarily be anyone else’s.

What was your favorite decade so far?

The current decade, from 2011 to the present. Because of my wisdom, which comes with age.

Who is your favorite person to talk to?

My dear husband is my best friend, Victor Kral. We’ll be 32 years strong in June! And, the Lindo twins -- Jared and Jason -- which have become like nephews to me.

Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you?

Celebrity-wise would have to be Eartha Kitt; we had an amazing 25 year friendship. I admired her outspokenness, convictions and search for truth.

Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?

Harvey Milk. Excerpts from his speech at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day in 1978 are some of my all-time favorites quotes:

“On the Statue of Liberty it says: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…’ In the Declaration of Independence, it is written: ‘All men are created equal and they are endowed with certain inalienable rights…’ And in our National Anthem, it says: ‘Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave over the land of the free.’ For Mr. Briggs and Mrs. Bryant and all the bigots out there: that’s what America is. No matter how hard you try, you cannot erase those words from the Declaration of Independence. No matter how hard you try, you cannot chip those words off the base of the Statue of Liberty and no matter how hard you try, you cannot sing the Star-Spangled Banner without those words. That’s what America is. Love it or leave it.”

The most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Patience is indeed a virtue.

Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?

MeTV. I love watching re-runs of “The Rockford Files” and “Colombo.” Also, “Perry Mason” and “Hawaii 5-0.”

What superpower would you most like to have?

I have no idea. Sorry.

Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?

Julian Perez. He’s a triple-threat. He can act, dance and sing. I can do none of these, so he’d make me look great and sound damn good!

What is the best part of your day?

The alpha and the omega. The beginning (getting up) and the end (falling asleep).

What is your proudest moment?

There are a few. Being publicly recognized for being a part of wonderful projects much, much bigger than myself: Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival honoring me with the title “Festival Director Emeritus.” Being inducted in Fresno State’s Mass Communication & Journalism Hall of Fame. Receiving a Top Dog Alumnus Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association. Hands On California’s Spirit of Caring Award. Being inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. Receiving Fresno State’s Staff Spirit of Service Award. And, serving a grand marshal for Fresno's first Pride Parade -- celebrating its 25th anniversary this June!

What have you overcome?

Sometimes we, ourselves, are our biggest obstacles. For me, I was abandoned as an infant and lived in an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia. At the age of four, I was adopted by Baptist Missionaries. (They, too, later abandoned me during my coming-out journey as a young-adult). By the time I was five, my name was changed from Gustavo Beltran to Peter Robertson, and I had immigrated to the United States and settled in Mount Vernon, Wash. Looking back, these were some of the best things that could happen to me, but at the time the struggles were extremely challenging. I n fact, I still deal with abandonment issues.

Where your ideal place to live?

I really like Fresno. I must, it’s been a 35 year life here, so far. Here’s to the next 35! For those that don’t like it here, I always suggest to being a part of the solution to make Fresno better. Or shut up and leave!

What words do you live by?

BONUS INTRA. MELIOR EXI. It’s Latin and translates: Enter good, Exit better. That’s what an education does for someone. They “enter” college or university “good,” and will, with their degree in hand, “exit better.” It’s also a double-entendre. We want to “enter” the world, or life, which is “good;” but also “exit” or leave it “better” for future generations.

Transgender man has private audience with Pope Francis

Catholic, gay news, Washington Blade

A transgender man from Spain had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.

Hoy, a newspaper in the Extremadura region of Spain, reported that Diego Neria Lejárraga and his fiancée had a private audience with the pontiff that took place at his official residence.

Neria told Francis in a letter that some of his fellow parishioners at the church he attends in the Spanish city of Plasencia rejected him after he underwent sex-reassignment surgery. He said a priest even called him “the devil’s daughter.”

Francis called Neria on Christmas Eve after receiving his letter.

The private audience took place a month later.

Francis last November demoted an American cardinal who is an outspoken critic of marriage rights for same-sex couples and abortion.

LGBT rights advocates earlier this month criticized the pontiff over comments he made during his trip to the Philippines that appeared to suggest same-sex marriage threatens the family.

More via the Washington Blade

Holocucost Memorial Day; Natzis and Gays

2014 marks the 80th anniversary of the creation of a list of homosexuals, ordered by Hitler, who would later find themselves persecuted. In total, during their time in power, the Nazis arrested 100,000 people for homosexuality, imprisoning half of them including up to 15,000 in concentration camps. Many of those imprisoned died, some after sickening experiments by scientists trying to find the ‘cure’ for homosexuality.

PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen reflects on the persecution of gay people by the Nazis as Britain marks Holocaust Memorial Day.

Benjamin Cohen is the publisher of PinkNews

Read it HERE.

Top 100 Gay Movies

From TheBacklot:

Every few years TheBacklot asks readers to name their favorite gay films and we sort through the tens of thousands of submissions to compile an up-to-date list of the Top 100 Greatest Gay Movies. The goals are to see: 1.) which titles have burnished their status as great gay films; 2.) which titles have begun to lose their appeal to modern viewers; and of course 3.) which worthy new gay films have broken through the ranks and are likely to endure– titles like The Normal Heart (2014), Philomena (2014), Kill Your Darlings (2013) and Pride (2014).

In the list to follow we’ve noted how each film was ranked (if at all) in our 2012 Greatest Gay Movies feature. Surprisingly, more than a quarter of the films are making their first appearance on this 2015 list. In most cases, the 26 new listings are films that were released in the last three years, but in a few instances they represent older classics that have risen in your estimation.

There are some surprising inclusions and omissions to be found in this list of favorite gay films, but we’ll leave it to you in the comments to interpret the rankings. Without further ado, your Top 100 Greatest Gay Movies!

Check out the full list here.... and then let us know which ones you want to see at our upcoming Movie Nights at the Fresno LGBT Community Center.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

3 New Anti-Gay Bills introduced in OK

From the New Civil Rights Movement

Infamous anti-gay activist Sally Kern is back, now pushing three anti-gay bills that would make it all but impossible for LGBT people to exist in Oklahoma.

Image result for sally kern

Oklahoma Republican state Rep. Sally Kern has introduced three bills targeting gay people. Were all three to become law it would be nearly impossible for members of the LGBT community to safely exist in the Sooner State.

HB1599, the Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act, would literally defund same-sex marriage.

"No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state,” the bill reads. "No taxes or public funds of this state shall be spent enforcing any court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license," it adds.

Kern, who invokes religion frequently and penned a book titled The Stoning of Sally Kern: The Liberal Attack on Christian Conservatism--and Why We Must Take a Stand, labels the need for her law an "emergency."

"It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval."

Her second bill attacking gay people is the Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act.HB1598 is aimed at ensuring parents are legally enabled to force their children to undergo therapy based on junk science and religion that most major medical organizations have labeled harmful, dangerous, and ineffective.

"The people of this state have the right to seek and obtain counseling or conversion therapy from a mental health provider in order to control or end any unwanted sexual attraction, and no state agency shall infringe upon that right," it reads. "Parents may obtain such counseling or therapy for their children under eighteen (18) years of age without interference by the state."

Ex-gay, reparative, or conversion therapy is known to cause depression and may increase the risk of suicide.

Kern's third bill, HB1597, would allow broad discrimination encoded into the law. A take on the increasingly popular Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that are sweeping the country in the wake of legalized same-sex marriage, Kern's legislation specificaly targets LGBT people for discrimination.

"No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association," it reads.

Under Kern's bill, anyone can discriminate against LGBT people for any reason at all, or for no reason at all.

An LGBT person could literally be shunned by their entire town, unable to purchase food, rent or buy a home, buy a car, gasoline, insurance, clothing, or even electricity. They could find no doctor in their town will provide medical attention. If an LGBT person were to have a heart attack, a private ambulance service or EMT could legally refuse to assist or take him or her to the hospital. That hospital, if private, could legally refuse them service under Kern's law.

Kern has a long history of targeting and attacking the LGBT community. She has characterizedgays as "dangerous," "sinful," and as "an enemy who wants to destroy us," and said gays have hijacked freedom and equality "to destroy the future of America." She has claimed that gays and homosexuality are "more dangerous" than terrorists and labeled same-sex marriage "debauchery." Kern in 2011 was officially rebuked for racist and misogynistic comments she made on the House floor.