Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reel Pride Film Festival & Concessions

Gay Central Valley is proud to announce we will be handling concessions again this year for the Reel Pride Film Festival. The festival runs from September 16th-20th at the Tower Theater and other venues in the Tower District. A film schedule and more details will be available soon. 

Gay Central Valley will be sharing the concessions booth this year with My LGBT Plus and Trans-e-motion for the Youth and Transgender film selections. 

Mark your calendars for this annual event, now in it's 26th year!

Bakersfield Town Hall Meeting

LGBT Brides & Grooms Wedding Expo & Show

Fig Feast @The Painted Table

Saturday, July 25, 2015

EVENT: Vigil for KC Haggard

This gathering at the Fresno LGBT Community Center on Thursday July 30th at 6PM is in memory of KC Haggard, the local transgender woman who was viciously murdered on July 23rd, as well as all other victims of transgender violence across the country. 

There will be a march through the Tower District and brief speeches from local community members.

If you'd like to help in making signs for the march please contact Zoyer Zyndel zoyerzyndel@yahoo.com or KarenAdell Scot karenadellscot@gmail.com . You can also visit the LGBT Community Center during open hours to make your own signs (we have materials available). 

Phone number for the LGBT Center is 559-325-4429. You can also emailGay Central Valley at info@gaycentralvalley.org or Chris Jarvis at chris@gaycentralvalley.org

Local media will be invited to this event.

The march and speakers will take place outside, but the Center will be open with air conditioning, water, snacks and bathrooms. It's supposed to be a hot day but we'll do everything we can to make it comfortable for all. 

We encourage people to wear red to signify the rates of transgender violence in the U.S. and use the hashtag #TransRemembranceRed

Everyone is invited to this event so please invite your friends.

Friday, July 24, 2015

VIDEO: KC Haggard Candlelight Vigil

SATURDAY NIGHT: bare - A Pop Opera

This event is a fundraiser for the Fresno LGBT Community Center. Gay Central Valley and SJS Theater Company are combining efforts to bring this play to Fresno. We are being hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno. 

Click the ticket link below for tickets. $10 for Students/Seniors and $15 for General Admission.

Bare follows a group of high school seniors at a co-ed Catholic boarding school as they face issues of sexuality, identity, bullying, religion and spirituality. This provocative and moving production is honest and passionate in its exploration of the trials of today’s generation as they navigate important and controversial issues. As they struggle to come to terms with who they are, and who the world thinks they should be, they seek answers from their Church, their friends, and ultimately, from within themselves. Its rich, vibrant score draws on many styles of contemporary music.

Bare reminds us that there is only one today, one tomorrow, and one forever; so join us as we celebrate and examine the consequences of baring our soul or hiding it from those who matter most.

SJS is a theatrical production company that focuses on non conventional storytelling and breaking new grounds in the theater experience. The belief that art can change the world is at the forefront of every project produced. SJS production staff is compiled of many theatre professionals from the entirety of Northern California, who between all have over 60 years of constant theatrical work.

The Leilani Blog - Is “READING” really FUN-da-MENTAL?

THE LEILANI BLOG is a new Gay Central Valley Blog feature from Leilani Price, the current Empress of the Fresno Imperial Dove Court and a fabulous and fierce Fresno drag queen…

What is reading?

No, I am not talking about from a book. I am talking about the shade being thrown on the microphones, social media and backstage to fellow queens and bar patrons.

Does everyone know now?

Lately, I have observed queens and bar goers being just plain salty/mean to one another. SHOCKER, I know. The Queen of Mean herself Leilani Price complaining that people are being salty when I myself have contributed to increasing high blood pressure to most of Fresno for my filthy mouth and offensives insults.

My personal opinion, and it’s just that, is that we as queens have blurred the lines of being mean and reading one another in good FUN. Nowadays we get upset when someone talks about our makeup, costuming, our fried dried and laid to the side wigs or even our performances.

Now, I know that being mean as a guest in another bar is never the BEST option considering that in Fresno we have limited bars to perform in. Ladies, a helpful hint used in bigger cities like San Francisco…. Drum roll please…. SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER and remind yourselves that this is FRESNO and not RuPaul’s Drag Race. This is not a competition and you are not going to win $100,000 and there’s no camera recording you for the masses to watch.

For about three and a half years, I have been hosting and I’ve been told “You’re a mean B***h Leilani, I’m not going on stage!”. My personal favorite is when I ask for someone to volunteer and I hear crickets when I’m looking at a crowded dance floor. Know that if you are going to a drag show, a few things may happen. You may get offended, you may get picked on for your last season Armani Exchange t shirt or you may be subject to a random booty shaking contest or be harassed about what you posted last night on social media. It’s called SHOW BUSINESS kids! Drag queens are like comedians…well comedians that wear a lot of makeup, large amounts of unnatural hair and typically are hungry.

So when a queen is reading you at her show, take it as a compliment! She’s not being mean to you, she’s trying to entertain you and the audience. There’s no need for you to retaliate and embarrass her on the mic or on social media. Just take the FREE SHOT, smile, laugh and wave because that mean salty queen just gave you 15 seconds of fame that you didn’t have.

So in closing folks, if there’s one piece of advice that I can give you…. It’s don’t be mean or salty, save that for the rim of your margarita fairly priced at your local gay bar.

:: drops mic and walks off stage ::

Leilani Price

Community Comes Together After Tragic Transgender Murder

There was a shocking and tragic murder of a transgender person in Fresno last night. The victim has been misgendered by local authorities and media. We are working with the local transgender community to correct that. A candlelight vigil was held tonight in Fresno at the location of the murder. 

The vigil was organized by KarenAdell Scot and attended by a small group of concerned citizens. 

A second vigil will be held at the Fresno LGBT Community Center next week. We anticipate it to be on Thursday, July 30th at 6pm. 

We will alert everyone as soon as the final details are in place.

This tragedy is a critical reminder that even though civil rights are progressing at an ever more positive rate, that violence and bigotry against the LGBT community continues, and often increases. We must all be aware of this and stand together to fight this battle. 

Transgender Murder In Fresno

KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Monday, July 20, 2015

First Openly Gay Network News Anchor

Courtesy Huffington Post

Thomas Roberts anchored NBC's "Nightly News" on Saturday, a huge milestone for both the 42-year-old journalist's career and gay rights history.

Until the broadcast, an openly gay person had never anchored the nightly news on network TV. Roberts told The Advocate that it was a "huge honor" to fill the role.

During the week, Roberts hosts "MSNBC Live With Thomas Roberts."

There are a few openly gay evening news anchors on cable TV -- MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, CNN's Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon -- but Roberts is the first for one of the big three networks.

VIDEO: LGBT Wellness Roundup

Friday, July 17, 2015

In My Own Words: Journeys in Cognitive Dissonance

"In my own words..." is a platform for our community members to share essays, poetry, art, reviews, commentary, etc. “In My Own Words” is not the opinion of Gay Central Valley, but rather the person who submits the article. If you would like to submit something, please email GCV at info@gaycentralvalley.org

Journeys In Cognitive Dissonance: A Tough Month For Progressive Clergy
Tucker Russell

As many readers will know firsthand, one of the struggles we so often face in the LGBT+ community is the tension between being authentic about our God-given sexuality while also holding on to our spiritual identities in an institution that, all too often, is ignorant and hurtful toward us. LGBT+ people of faith live in the tension of trying to participate in two communities that often deeply mistrust one another. In fact, this sense of tension can be felt not only in identities as LGBT+ persons, but also in a range of issues on social justice and equity. This summer has been a particularly tough season for that dissonance.

Even with a couple weeks of breathing room, it’s hard to wrap my head around the historical impact of national developments this summer. It is safe to say that we will remember these events for many years as huge advancements for equality and justice in our nation. The Supreme Court recognized the right of all Americans to marry the persons they love, and upheld expanded access to healthcare and the Fair Housing Act. Meanwhile, even in the midst of our grief, horror and outrage at the vicious hate crime committed at Mother Emanuel AME, it has been heartening to see the nation respond by taking long overdue steps to remove symbols of white supremacy from public grounds. All told, we are a more just, equal and compassionate nation than we were a month ago.

But progressive people of faith have also had to endure the embarrassment and frustration of seeing so many public figures claiming to represent our faith make statements that are shockingly backward and demonstrably untrue. Sen. Ted Cruz, couched in religious language, referred to the Supreme Court rulings as “some of the darkest 24 hours in American History”. Gov. Mike Huckabee warned that God would “withdraw the hand of protection” he has so far blessed the United States with, and a range of other so-called pastors have warned that God is soon to destroy the United States like Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s quite telling that many even attempted to co-opt the tragedy in Charleston, to spin not as a racially motivated crime but as evidence as their paranoid delusion of a “war” on white evangelicals.

Of course it must be recognized that this has risen largely as a consequence of the Church’s own sin of homophobia. The media portrays people of faith in this way because so many of us have chosen to act in this way. Even so, as a progressive, gay clergy person it is quite irksome to see representatives from SPLC-recognized hate groups treated as if they legitimately represent all Christians and every analysis piece on CNN quick to frame the debate as a contest between “gay rights” and “religious liberty” (in spite of the fact that my own denomination, the United Church of Christ, last year brought a successful lawsuit against the state of South Carolina on the grounds that their ban on same-sex marriage violated our religious liberty by forcing our ministers to treat their congregants unequally). It’s equally embarrassing and frustrating to see those same self-appointed representatives of Christianity show a profound lack of education, empathy, and integrity when addressing things like the Charleston murders or the confederate flag.

So as an act of repentance, I’d like to offer this counter-testimony to the voices of doom and woe that have risen from within the Christian community by examining some of the subtle and insidious ways that homophobia and racism have coalesced into the ugly and hateful worldview we see in so many so-called Christians. The graphic above has been making the rounds on social media because it provides a succinct refutation to the laughable idea that God will destroy the nation because of same-sex marriage. The fundamental point it makes is sound; the doom prophecy promoted by Huckabee and others is outside the pale of reason or civil discourse because it must logically include a belief that same-sex marriage is worse than all of our nation’s other sins put together, which is absurd when you consider our nation’s history with regard to the African slave trade and the genocide of First Nation’s people.

This doom prediction is obviously homophobic in the extreme, something far beyond simply “believing in traditional marriage”. But more than this, it’s also its own subtle form of racism. This argument is premised on the belief, so common in white evangelical American churches, that until now God has offered a special blessing and protection to the United States, shown favor to this particular nation above and beyond God's universal love and grace, on the basis of American Exceptionalism. The argument goes that the reason God has extended the US special favor and blessing is that we were, until recently, a just, holy and righteous nation founded on freedom.

That notion of exceptionalism ignores both the history and the current reality of enslavement, genocide, and systematic oppression. It's an attempt to erase the experiences and testimonies of nonwhite people from the historical record and whitewash our nation's formative years. Worse than that, the theological notion that our current global position of power, privilege, and wealth is the result of divine blessing rather than the fruit of systemic exploitation of nonwhite persons actually attempts to sanctify that injustice. In short, these doom prophecies are rooted in an idealizing of all the seats of privilege that have justified oppression throughout American history- not only straightness but whiteness as well.

With this in mind it becomes clear how the racist and homophobic psyche of the dominant culture can be, in the same month, more distressed over loving and faithful couples winning the right to legal equity than they are by the murder of 9 innocent African-American, and how it can twist both into a narrative about the fictive “war on Christianity”. The truth is “Christianity” is a coded proxy for the privilege of straightness and whiteness.

And so as we move forward and wrestle with these realities, both within our worship settings and faith communities and in the wider society, it is my prayer that progressive people of faith everywhere will have the courage to name this perversion of the truth when we see it, to turn over the tables of the power brokers and self-appointed priests, and to remember that we worship the one who frees slaves and comforts exiles, gathers the oppressed and downtrodden into a community of dignity and equity, and calls us to love our neighbors- all of our neighbors- as we love ourselves.

"Rev. Tucker Russell serves on the ministry staff of First Congregational Church (aka "The Big Red Church") and is proud to be both a member of the LGBT+ community and the progressive faith community. He looks forward to sharing thoughts with the community on the intersection of social, political, and spiritual issues affecting our lives."  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tax Tips for Same Sex Couples

Yesterday we gave you some tips on Social Security, today our subject is TAXES!

now_filing_jointly_600w1. You cannot file as single.

Now you are recognized as a married couple, the single filing status is off the table for both federal and most state returns. Your choices are married filing jointly, married filing separately or, in limited cases, head of household. Filing as a married couple will get you two exemptions (instead of one when filing as single) and a higher standard deduction.

2. You might fall victim to the “marriage penalty.”

Choose between married filing jointly and married filing separately with care. While married filing jointly is typically the most advantageous it may not be the case for you. This is particularly true if you are both high-earners. You may actually see a negative impact on your tax return when you switch from filing as single to married filing jointly.

3. You need to change your withholdings.

Because of the additional exemption and higher standard deduction you are allowed to claim on a joint tax return, it may be wise to change your state withholding with your employer if you previously had to use a single filing status to reflect these changes.

4. You need to update your information.

Because your return is filed under your Social Security number (SSN), it is important to ensure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been notified of any name changes that take place. The SSA must process the change in the system and relay that information to the IRS before filing your return. You should wait to file your return until after the name change process has been completed to avoid any complications that could arise if the name on the return does not match the SSN on file with the SSA.

5. Your advance premium tax credit may be affected.

If either you or your new spouse has health insurance through a federal or state Marketplace, you should report your marriage if you have not already done so (as well as any associated changes, such as a move to a different state, change in income, or change in family size) to the Marketplace.  This will allow the Marketplace to adjust your advance credit payments if necessary.

6. First comes love, then comes marriage, then (sometimes) comes divorce.

Like heterosexual couples, divorce happens for same-sex couples. And there are serious impacts to your tax return when you separate or divorce. Make sure you get help from a tax professional.

7. You need to revisit past returns.

If you were married in a state that allowed same-sex marriages but lived in a state that did not you may have the opportunity to amend your previous state returns. For example, if you were married in New York in 2013 but lived in Missouri in 2013 and 2014, you may be able to amend your 2013 and 2014 state filings to reflect a married tax status. The ability to amend prior returns, and the manner in which such an amendment would be made, will likely depend on further guidance from each state. When the Supreme Court invalidated the federal prohibition against same-sex marriage in 2013, couples married in locations that allowed same-sex marriage were allowed to amend previous federal returns that used the single status and were filed during their marriage.

Gay Central Valley is hoping to schedule some informational seminars for couples in the coming months. Let us know if you are interested and what sort of financial help or advice you ae looking for. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

VIDEO: Caitlin Jenner Accepts ESPN Courage Award

Ireland Passes Gender Recognition Bill

The Gender Recognition Act has been signed into law.

It means transgender people can be fully recognized in their chosen gender.

They will be able to change the gender on their birth certificate and passport.

It also removes a clause in a previous bill which required a supporting statement from a doctor.

Passage follows a two decade long campaign by Dr Lydia Foy, when she requested an updated birth certificate.

Transgender Equality Network Ireland's Broden Giambrone has said that it is a momentous occasion.

"I think this is one of the most historic moments for our community," said Mr Giambrone.

"To be legally recognized by the State, for the State to see us for who we really are, it means that we exist in the eyes of the State, and I think that cannot be underestimated," he said.

"So many members of our community have been struggling. We face a lot of discrimination, prejudice, I just think legal recognition is so symbolically and practically important.

Social Security For Same Sex Couples

Courtesy Huffington Post

Until the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring states to recognize same-sex marriages, Social Security was a crapshoot for gay couples. The Social Security Act says that in order for a surviving or former spouse to receive benefits from a worker's record, the state that couple lived in needed to recognized their marriage. So if a same-sex married couple were legally married in one state but lived in a state that didn't recognize their marriage, no spousal benefits could be claimed.

But the recent court ruling changed all that. States are now required to allow same-sex marriage and to recognize those marriages when they occur in other states. And that recognition opens the door to Social Security’s spousal and survivor benefits -- considered to be among the most valuable features of the program.

That's the good news. The bad news is that now same-sex couples can be as confused as heterosexual couples are when it comes to tapping into the SSA. Here are five things everyone should know:

1. For all things Social Security, it pays to be married -- literally.
At your full retirement age, your benefit as a spouse can be equal to one-half of your mate's full retirement amount. Claiming Social Security benefits as a married couple (instead of as two single individuals) can increase additional lifetime benefits significantly -- in some cases, to the tune of $100,000 or more.

2. When your spouse dies, you will be provided for.
There are a ton of rules around claiming survivor benefits, but in a nutshell, if you are married and your spouse dies, you can claim Social Security benefits based on their working record instead of your own. So, if your spouse earned way more than you did, you would be eligible to receive their higher earned benefit for the rest of your life -- which, again, wouldn't be possible if you claimed Social Security as two single individuals. If you and your spouse earn about the same, the impact of this benefit will be minimal. But prior to the Supreme Court ruling, not having your marriage recognized meant no money paid to a survivor.

3. To have loved and lost beats never having loved at all.
Put more directly: Divorce beats never marrying. That's because if you are divorced, you can still collect Social Security benefits from the work record of your ex. Doing this won't impact how much his/her present spouse collects. This only works if you are single though. Once you remarry, this money faucet turns off. To get benefits as an ex-spouse, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years.

4. Opposite-sex couples may still get more Social Security money than same-sex couples.
Financial Engines recently estimated that the value of spousal and survivor benefits is even larger for heterosexual couples because there are greater age differences among spouses in opposite-sex marriages. These age differences increase the potential values of marriage benefits, especially survivor benefits. Women outlive men and spend more than 11 years on average as widows, according to the Society of Actuaries, so survivor benefits are enormously important to them.

5. Social Security is like a tree trunk with many branches.
Let's start with a principal earner who is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. A little-known feature of the Social Security system is that in addition to paying retirement benefits for the retired worker, it may provide benefits to the worker's spouse, an ex-spouse if the marriage lasted at least 10 years, and dependent children and grandchildren, depending on the circumstances. Moreover, these benefits can be paid all at the same time.

VIDEO: Freedom To Marry: Celebrating Victory

Bill To Support LGBT Seniors

Every day we hear of and support groups and programs targeted at LGBT youth. What about LGBT adults and more importantly, LGBT seniors? More groups and support are needed for the older population of LGBT Americans, just as it is with other Americans. As you'll see in what this new bill addresses, the need is not currently being met...

Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado has introduced a bill that would assist the ever-growing ranks of LGBT elders.

The bill would make numerous accommodations available for LGBT elders according to a fact sheet emailed to reporters. 

They include:

Include LGBT older adults as a population with "greatest social need." This categorization targets services and programs to those facing barriers caused by non-economic factors, including cultural, social, or geographical isolation that restrict the ability of an individual to perform normal, daily tasks or threaten the capacity of the individual to live independently.

Permanently establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the country’s first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to LGBT adults. Permanently establishing the Center ensures that it will continue to be able to provide critical information and tools to aging service providers, LGBT organizations and LGBT older adults.

Require the Assistant Secretary for Aging to report on the number of LGBT individuals reached through activities carried out under the act and the effectiveness of those activities in reaching LGBT older adults. Require the Assistant Secretary to conduct studies and oversee data collection on the service needs of LGBT older adults. And require data collection and analysis on the effectiveness of the State and AAAs in targeting services at LGBT older adults.

Encourage State and AAAs to enter into new cooperative arrangements with organizations that serve LGBT individuals.

Prioritize research and development grants for organizations working to improve the health, long-term care, and access to culturally responsive services for older individuals with greatest social need.

Require long-term care ombudsmen to collect and analyze data relating to discrimination against LGBT older adults in long-term care settings. And require the Director of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs’ annual report to include the effectiveness of long term care ombudsman services in meeting the needs of LGBT individuals.

Monday, July 13, 2015

MEETING: Fresno Stonewall Democrats

Fresno Stonewall Democrats will have our regular monthly meeting TOMORROW, Tuesday, July 14 at our NEW venue.
This will be our first time to try out the Golden Chinese Restaurant located at 1135 N. Fulton just south of Olive in the Tower District.
Prices are very seasonable. For example: “Half Chicken Dinner with Soup and Fried Rice” is only $5.25.
As usual, the social hour begins at 6 p.m. and the meeting call to order is at 7 p.m.
Our main guest speaker this month is Michael Evans, Chair of the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee who will be bring us up to date on who may be running for which offices in and around the Fresno area in 2016. He will also bring us up to date on what is going on at the Democratic Party Office located on U Street.
Ellie Garabedian, our  local coordinator for the Disclose Act, will also bring us up to date on the progress with that effort.
I hope you can make it.
Plus, be sure to check out our remodeled website and let us know what you think.
Call the club president, Chuck Krugman for more information at (559) 266-9237

Boy Scouts Move Forward With Reversing Gay Ban

In yet another major step forward in recent changes to equality, the Boy Scouts unanimously approved a resolution which will lift the ban on gay adults serving in the organization. There's still one more step, a vote on July 27th, but it looks very promising...

Courtesy The Advocate

The Boy Scouts of America has moved one step closer to ending the group’s ban on gay adults serving as employees or volunteers, with the national executive committee approving a resolution to lift the ban.

The resolution, OK’d unanimously Friday, requires ratification from the national executive board, the BSA’s governing body, which will consider it July 27. But if ratified, it will go into effect immediately, reports Scouts for Equality, an organization that has advocated for an end to the ban.

At the BSA’s national meeting in May, its president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, had said the ban must end “sooner rather than later.” The group lifted its ban on gay and bisexual youth members at the beginning of 2014, but the prohibition on gay and bi adults remained.

A statement released by the BSA mentions “the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels.” The group could face lawsuits in states with gay-inclusive nondiscrimination laws if the policy continues, and Gates has acknowledged that the policy has become increasingly difficult to defend in court, given advances in gay rights laws.

Read More HERE

UPDATE: There is a glitch to this upcoming decision according to a statement by the HRC

The vote by the executive committee to recommend that gay, lesbian and bisexual adults be allowed to work and volunteer for the Boy Scouts is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on one of our nation’s most storied organizations,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “But writing in an exemption for troops organized by religious organizations undermines the potentially historic nature of today’s vote.” “As we have said countless times, half measures are unacceptable and discriminatory exemptions have no place in the Boy Scouts. It’s long overdue that BSA leaders demonstrate true leadership and embrace a full national policy of inclusion that does not discriminate against anyone because of who they are,” Griffin said.

Military to End Transgender Ban

Change continues in America...

Courtesy Huffington Post

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pentagon leaders are finalizing plans aimed at lifting the ban on transgender individuals in the military, with the goal of formally ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service, senior U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

An announcement is expected this week, and the services would have six months to assess the impact of the change and work out the details, the officials said Monday. Military chiefs wanted time to methodically work through the legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease any transition, and senior leaders believed six months would be sufficient.

The officials said Defense Secretary Ash Carter has asked his personnel undersecretary, Brad Carson, to set up a working group of senior military and civilian leaders to take an objective look at the issue. One senior official said that while the goal is to lift the ban, Carter wants the working group to look at the practical effects, including the costs, and determine whether it would affect readiness or create any insurmountable problems that could derail the plan. The group would also develop uniform guidelines.

Read More HERE

New Bulletin Board

Not to get all nostalgia here (or date myself) but I remember bulletin boards.

You know the sort... the ones covered with push pins and a rainbow of colored fliers.

Lost Dog!

Need a Ride to [insert name of music show]

Roommate wanted: must be clean and have a job/

Guitar lessons... CHEAP!

Need a Math Tutor?

I know that on college campuses libraries (and community centers) there are still these physical things that pre-date social media.

But I also know that most of us are on the internet and belong to various Facebook groups like "Help Stop Crime in the Tower" "Lost Pets of the Tower" "Garage Sales of Clovis" "Frugal moms Couppn Share!" etc and that is how we find out about events, deals, possible swim instructors for our kids, gay friendly businesses....

Which is why I am glad that there is now a LGBTQ+ Community Bulletin Board page on Facebook.

Check it out, spread the word... and stay connected!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015-2016 Gay Central Valley Board Of Directors

Meet Gay Central Valley's NEW Board of Directors

Chris Jarvis, PRESIDENT

In 2005, after a long career in Hotel Management, Chris stepped away from the corporate world and decided to devote his energy to LGBT activism in the Central Valley. After writing and working for several local websites, as well as organizing local events, in 2009 he was integral in founding Gay Central Valley, an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit, dedicated to the underserved LGBT Community in the Central Valley of California. In 2011, he envisioned and helped create the first physical LGBT Community Center in Fresno in over 20 years. He works every day to not only run Gay Central Valley and to manage and staff the Fresno LGBT Community Center, but also to diligently promote awareness, education and support of the LGBT Community. Chris is a consistent voice in Gay Central Valley’s Cultural Competency Training.

Contact Chris at chris@gaycentralvalley.org

Kaylia Metcalfe-Armstrong, SECRETARY

Kaylia Metcalfe-Armstrong is an author, a stay at home mother, and an active LGBT activist. She has been working toward equal rights for over fifteen years all over California. As a writer and active volunteer with Gay Central Valley, Kaylia has been involved in multiple panel discussions, event committees, and LGBT related projects, including the written collection, Our Stories: Voices of the LGBT Community Anthology. Currently, her focus is on fund development, the community center, and making Fresno a safe place for the LGBT Community. Kaylia is also a consistent voice in Gay Central Valley’s Cultural Competency Training. She runs a book club, a skeptics group, and is currently working on a series of children’s books.

Contact Kaylia at kaylia@gaycentralvalley.org

Kayleia Southard, TREASURER

Kayleia formerly served as Treasurer for the Fresno City College Diversity Club and as Secretary for the Fresno Lions Club. A recent college graduate, with a degree in Communication, Kayleia is the youngest Board member. Currently she serves as Fresno LGBT Center Manager and can normally be found trapped in the storeroom.

Contact Kayleia at kayleia@gaycentralvalley.org

Paul Hernandez, BOARD MEMBER

Paul, is also known by his alias Leilani Price, drag queen and Miss Gay Fresno for Life of the Imperial Dove Court de Fresno / Madera. In 2015 Leilani Price was elected Empress of the Imperial Dove Court in Fresno/Madera. Originally from Tulare, CA, Paul decided to get involved with the Fresno LGBT community upon moving to Fresno in 2011. Paul has always served his communities and enjoys helping others. He currently works as a Project Manager for a federally funded non profit health care facility. As Leilani Price, Paul participates in various organizations and events to help promote equality within the community. Aside being a entertainer, Paul enjoys softball, volleyball, sewing and dedicating his extra time to coming up with ways to raise money for local non profits. Paul dreams to one day be a civil rights leader.

Contact Paul at paul@gaycentralvalley.org

Bobbie Mendez, BOARD MEMBER

Bobbie is co founder of NEED THE BUCK$ ENTERPRI$E$, a not for profit organization, which for the last nine years has organized events and raised money for various local and non profit organizations. She co-founded Team STR8 with a TWIST for the Fresno Aids Walk and is the current Captain of that team. Additionally, Bobbie is a three year member and greeter of the Visalia Pride Lions Club (a fraternal organization). Her work history includes; Executive Chef, Detention Facility Supervisor, S.P.A.B. School Bus Driver, Mountain Crew Supervisor (for USFD and USPS), Vocational Training Instructor (food service/automotive specialties), and beer Route/Salesperson. Bobbie is a 2007 graduate and alumni of California State University Fresno, with a BA in Business Administration (Entrepreneurship Option). For leisure she enjoys oil painting, rock concerts, and fine wine.

Contact Bobbie at bobbie@gaycentralvalley.org

Rachel Martinez, BOARD MEMBER

Rachel is a roller derby athlete with the V-Town Derby Dames and is a talk show host on Central Valley Talk Live “The Rage Cage”. Rachel has her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and in 2010 she received her Master’s degree in Public Administration (Leadership, Management, and Communications). Rachel co-founded the Facebook group Derby Dish, and was formerly the Marketing Director/Sponsorships Director with Central California Area Derby (CCAD). She is the newest member of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and planning committee. She is an avid supporter of causes near to her heart, including animal rights, equality and suicide prevention.

Contact Rachel at rachel@gaycentralvalley.org


Bryan Dixon, more commonly known as Bryan Van Haughton and even more commonly by his alias, Rachel Cutrone (Drag Queen extraordinaire) is a Fresno based clothing designer, artist and drag personality. Bryan is an active member of the LGBT community with a passion for performance and a flair for the dramatic. He is new to community organizing but full of ideas and energy.

Contact Bryan at bryan@gaycentralvalley.org

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

EVENT: bare An LGBT Pop Opera In Fresno July 25th

This event is a fundraiser for the Fresno LGBT Community Center. Gay Central Valley and SJS Theater Company are combining efforts to bring this play to Fresno. We are being hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno.

Click the ticket link below for tickets. $10 for Students/Seniors and $15 for General Admission.

Bare follows a group of high school seniors at a co-ed Catholic boarding school as they face issues of sexuality, identity, bullying, religion and spirituality. This provocative and moving production is honest and passionate in its exploration of the trials of today’s generation as they navigate important and controversial issues. As they struggle to come to terms with who they are, and who the world thinks they should be, they seek answers from their Church, their friends, and ultimately, from within themselves. Its rich, vibrant score draws on many styles of contemporary music.

Bare reminds us that there is only one today, one tomorrow, and one forever; so join us as we celebrate and examine the consequences of baring our soul or hiding it from those who matter most.

SJS is a theatrical production company that focuses on non conventional storytelling and breaking new grounds in the theater experience. The belief that art can change the world is at the forefront of every project produced. SJS production staff is compiled of many theatre professionals from the entirety of Northern California, who between all have over 60 years of constant theatrical work.

Merced LGBT Center UPDATE

As you might have read recently, the Merced LGBT Community Center was forced to announce its closure.

However, nothing brings a community together more than a shared cause and we are so glad to report that efforts are currently underway to reopen the Merced LGBT Community Center under a new leadership team!

Please be patient as we secure funding, a new board, and get this site back up and running.

Thank you for your continued support!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wizard of Oz on The Big Screen at Warnor's

Do you love The Wizard of Oz? Have you only seen it on the small screen? Now is your chance to see it on the big screen, as it was meant to be seen, here in Fresno...

Warnor's Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, July 16th at 7PM.

Get Tickets HERE

Back by popular demand!

Released in 1939, this whimsical best selling book series turned blockbuster has been enchanting audiences for over 75 years. Our showing last July brought out an astounding 1,200 patrons to see the film on the big screen, many in costume. Even if you came to the showing last year, this year is sure to be even more fun with special kid sized treats at concessions, a pair of ruby slippers on display, and our special guests theValley Animal Center.

The VAC will be out front of the theatre with their mobile adoption unit, showcasing some of their most adoptable pets hoping to find thier fur-ever homes! Come prepared to fall in love and bring home your very own Toto!

The doors to the theatre will open at 6:00pm with a pipe organ concert at 6:30pm. The program begins promptly at 7:00pm. Arrive early to beat the lines!

Ticket Info:
Anyone dressed as a character in for FREE!
*Children 12 and under are FREE
All others are $5 each

And with that...
We'll see you in the theatre!

Facebook Event Page HERE

Merced LGBT Community Center Announcement

It is with regret that Gay Central Valley announces our ceasing operations of the Merced LGBT Community Center. Daily operations will end today, July 1st 2015. We are are seeking someone else to take over the project and keep the Merced LGBT Community Center alive.

The Merced LGBT Center was opened in the fall of 2014. Gay Central Valley entered into an agreement with Merced Full Spectrum, an existing LGBT organization in Merced, to oversee and operate the Community Center.

Gay Central Valley worked with Merced Full Spectrum for over a year before the Merced LGBT Community Center opened. Our goal was to build the foundation of Merced Full Spectrum so that a local group in Merced would be behind the operations of the Center while Gay Central Valley would stand as the nonprofit organization and financial manager of the space. Gay Central Valley’s goal, from the beginning, was to get behind Merced and provide the structural foundation to support the local efforts to open, operate and sustain an LGBT Community Center.

Unfortunately, after opening the LGBT Center in Merced, the team we had in place in Merced began to choose other paths. Many involved in Merced Full Spectrum left to pursue other avenues and the group began to lose its members. Merced Full Spectrum has now closed down it's group completely. This left Gay Central Valley in the unfortunate position of trying to operate the Merced Center from a distance, which was never our intention.

Gay Central Valley has always had the goal of establishing a presence across the Central Valley but only in as much as those in the various communities are the ones to staff and sustain those entities. While Merced has willing and able volunteers staffing the space, daily operations were crippled by a lack of local management.

We are an organization of volunteers. No one who works for Gay Central Valley is paid, including the board of directors. This means that everyone has a “day” job and other obligations. When we are unable to find people that have the ability and the passion to support a daily community center while maintaining other obligations, it becomes difficult to keep the doors open. Additionally, we cannot sign annual leases if we are not supported by financial contributions that can sustain those costs.

That being said, we would like to see the Merced LGBT Community Center survive. We are seeking another organization to take over the space. Our lease ends August 1st and the property management company would like to have another tenant take over the space at that time. Three of the current offices are under sub-leases, which helps with monthly operating expenses. We ask that any other organization that would be willing to step up and take over the funding and daily operations contact us as soon as possible. There may be funding sources still available in Merced should a group step up to take over the project. We can connect you with those sources.

We put our heart and souls into this project and were able to establish the first ever LGBT Community Center in Merced. We are very proud of that. While that may be ending, it also gives us hope. It’s important that we maintain and expand our presence of community centers across the Central Valley of California. Marriage equality is not the end of our battle, it’s just the next step. We need spaces where those rejected and disenfranchised can walk through the door and know they are acknowledged.

We would like to thank all former members of Merced Full Spectrum and all the volunteers who have kept the center up and running for the last year. Remember, stay visible and active in your community. You are making a difference!