Monday, August 31, 2015

In My Own Words - Emma Marie Sultan

“In My Own Words” is a platform for our community members to share essays, opinion, poetry, art, 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 us at

The tragic death of Kent (K.C.) Haggard has brought the reality of the complexity of trans issues here in Fresno. Perception within the trans community often times about the person and circumstances is often at odds the community at large. Certainly this is the case with the Haggard case.

Many self-appointed trans activists have insisted that K.C was a trans woman who was brutally murdered because she was trans. Many in the community at large differ. A recent letter in the Fresno Bee by Wayne Martin indicated "The Haggard Family deserves better than a charade fomented by a miniscule, self-serving group using the tragic death to draw attention to itself."

So there is a major problem for the trans community in perception in its visibility and protest here in Fresno and I presume other places as well.

The solution for the trans community I believe that will bring a more appropriate, not knee jerk, reaction to a horrible event is to rationally look at the situation. Each tragic event has its own set of issues and to jump to an immediate conclusion cannot happen.

What was known initially was a person dressed as a woman was stabbed. Identification indicated that the individual was Kenton Haggard. The police gendered the person as a he. The trans community immediately chastised the police for misgendering the person. She is K.C. not Kent. It became a rallying cry for protest as information surfaced from the community that K.C. was known to be trans even though the family knew nothing about it.

But more importantly than the misgendering is the conclusion that Haggard was murdered because she was trans. Wayne Martin again in the letter indicates "the video of the person's death raises far more questions than there have been answers forthcoming besides what is on the driver's license."

Looking at the facts that are evident it is clear that Haggard was out late at night in a known area known for drugs and prostitution. She was apparently hailed and approached the car and then brutally stabbed. There is no clear indication from the video what the motive was. It could be that Haggard was murdered because she was trans or for another reason totally not related to being trans at all. Hopefully if and when the police do their job and catch the murderers then the motive will become more clear.

So what should the appropriate response of the LGBT community be to a tragic event like this? It cannot be a response that is perceived to be self-serving and accusatory. Accusing the police immediately that K.C. was misgendered and showing disdain does not help perception and trying to use the media does not help. The community needs to step back from such a tragic event before it responds. Information needs to be gathered from the tragedy and the community to respond appropriately.

It was not clear initially if K.C. was involved in the trans community until some research was done to show some involvement in a local support group. It is still not clear to many that K.C. was trans but a man who dressed as a woman. To declare she absolutely is trans looks self-serving. She may have been trans but only K.C. could have made that declaration. A public protest then to promote Trans Lives Matter looks self-serving and disingenuous.

I am not sure what the appropriate response to this complex tragedy should have been. But I do know that the immediate response by self-appointed activists did little for K.C. or the trans community.

Emma Marie Sultan (just a transwoman)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In My Own Words: Sighborg Shepherd's Introduction

"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

Hey Fresnans! 

Welcome to the introduction of Fresno’s Feminist Blog! I hope you’ll excuse my lengthy introduction, but I prefer to use my online handle: Sighborg Shepherd. Yes, it’s an alias I created as a sort of shout-out to my fellow forward-looking Fresno City folk. This is a playful pun consisting of one part empathetic “sigh” to acknowledge a certain shared apathy us Fresnans can all relate to if we’re being honest, one part “(cy)borg” myth wherein we imagine ourselves as both “potent fusions and dangerous possibilities” described by Donna Haraway in a “Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century” and, finally, one part “shepherd” in which I offer my knowledge as a queer feminist health-care professional raised in the Valley to provide a little bit of a focus. 

I am so privileged to have been asked to contribute to Gay Central Valley’s online community. Back in December, I started hosting book club meetings at the LGBT center’s new location here in Fresno. I’ve been running this book club for four years now, and I’m always looking for fresh ideas for new literature or different projects to look at. In line with feminist ideology, the club isn’t about trying to have one person dictate the rules of the group. I love dynamic interactions and different viewpoints! One of my favorite memories in the whole world was talking about feminist perspectives in the Women’s Studies Lounge back at my alma mater, San Francisco State. With this group, I am always trying to facilitate an environment a little like that here.

In four years, members have come and gone, but the goal has always been the same. We get together to share personal perspectives on the works of feminist authors, or literature with feminist undertones, themes, characters, or authors whose names have been associated with the movement. Some of the authors we’ve covered include: bell hooks, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Leslie Feinberg, Marge Piercy, Ursula K. Le Guin, Stieg Larsson, and others. Personally, I was educated on how to look at things through an intersectional feminist lens. Intersectionality is a framework that allows us to examine the multiple ways our identities intersect and inform the kinds of oppressions we face as individuals. As feminist writer and poet Audre Lorde once said, “we do not live single-issue lives.” That is precisely the kind of attitude I bring with me in choosing my next book. I want theoretical devices like those used in fictional literature to enrich my understanding of who I am, how I relate to others, and how I can be a force for positive change.

With every upcoming book club meeting, I will blog my interpretation of the work and ask questions about the work for fellow readers to consider. This is just to prompt discussion. I am not sure how comments on the blog will work yet, but I will be updating news about the blog on our Facebook site. If you are not familiar with our group, we meet either monthly or every other month on the second Sunday of the month. The time changes occasionally, but all the information about upcoming meetings is featured on the Facebook page (

Thank you for reading up on and participating with Fresno’s Feminist Book Club!

Sighborg Shepherd is a blog contributor for Gay Central Valley. You might find her out on the town enjoying local brews when she’s not educating her patients on feminism, or other health related matters.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

LGBTQ Surveys

It is preferred that you complete these studies on the computers at the Fresno LGBT Community Center at 1067 N Fulton Fresno, CA  93728 559-325-4429

Gift cards are awarded to those completing the surveys


The purpose of this study is to understand the links between religion, family structure, and the occurrence and recurrence of runaway behavior in LGBTQ youth.  You do not have to be religious to participate. Click the link below

The purpose of this study is to examine the parent and peer bond, the ability to cope with
emotions, and its effects on health risk taking behaviors among homeless youth. Click the link below

Michele Alvarez, M.A.
Clinical Psychology PsyD Student
California School of Professional Psychology
at Alliant International University

EVENT: HIV Criminalization Reform

Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform

Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform is a broad coalition of organizations and individuals working to modernize California's HIV criminalization laws. The coalition includes AIDS Project Los Angeles, ACLU of California, Equality California, Free Speech Coalition, Health Officers Association, Lambda Legal, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Positive Women's Network-USA, The Williams Institute, and Transgender Law Center.

Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform is hosting a community forum to discuss the impact of HIV criminalization laws on people living with HIV in California and what YOU can do to help change them.The forum aims to educate community organizations, community leaders, and impacted community members on the importance of modernizing California laws that unfairly target people living with HIV. The forum will provide an overview of California’s HIV-specific criminal laws, present the impact of these laws on people living with and affected by HIV, and end with a discussion about how you can get involved in the coalition.

Hors d’oeuvres & refreshments

Please contact Joey Hernandez with questions
(213) 977-5268 or Have questions about Fresno HIV Criminalization Community Forum? 

Monday, August 24, 2015


Ron Wilson Memorial

May 7, 1946 – June 24, 2015

Ron Wilson was a tireless volunteer and generous benefactor to many local, non-profit organizations including the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund at Fresno State, Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival, Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival, and the Central California Alliance. 

In 2013, he was named a Legacy Donor by the Fresno State Alumni Association for his support of the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund. For his past service to Fresno Reel Pride, he was bestowed the honorary title Director Emeritus by its Board of Directors at the 25th Annual Film Festival the following year.

He was preceded in death by his longtime partner, Dan Jackson. 

A Memorial Service will be held on Sat. Sept. 12th at 11:00 a.m. in the Jensen Library of the Smittcamp Alumni House on the campus of Fresno State. Parking is relaxed.

Memorial donations may be made to either the Bulldog Pride Scholarship Fund at Fresno State, or the Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival Endowment Fund.

EVENT: Back To School Night @Black Oak Casino

Join Us & Team STR8 with a TWIST for Fresno Aids Walk for an evening of fun, food, bowling, games of chance, entertainment, and great company. We will be leaving from the secured parking of Golden Eagle Charter. Bus loads at 4:00pm departs at: 4:15. Bus return time approximately: 2:30am.
We will be receiving $10-e-cash, $5-food (voucher), $5 match play (table games), 25% gift shop discount, & 10% coffeeshop discount...

So, all said and done, the cost is ...ONLY $5....WOW! The lounge entertainment for the evening will be: The Cheesballs, from San Fransisco.

Bring a school supply and receive 2 raffle tickets. Bring 50 pull tabs and receive a raffle ticket (all supplies and pull tabs donated to VPLC).

Join Us For..."the most...w-u-nderful t-i-i-i-me of the ye-e-ear!"

EVENT: Rally/Day of Action #BlackTransLivesMatter




This rally and march is to continue to spread awareness for all the injustice against the black and transgender community, including recent murders. It is important to not forget to continue to spread the word that black and transgender lives matter. This a good opportunity for multiple communities to stand together in solidarity. We have the power to reduce the violence with our voices.

Monday, August 17, 2015

17th Trans Murder Reported In Missouri

Courtesy The Advocate

Tamara Dominguez of Kansas City is the latest transgender American murdered in 2015, in a brutal killing that police have not labeled a hate crime.

Dominguez was seen by witnesses stepping out of a black Chevrolet Avalanche SUV on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 3 A.M., according to Kansas City TV station KCTV. Police told the station the male driver then struck her with the vehicle, and ran over her body at least two more times.

Friends and family laid flowers at the scene of the crime, near the parking lot of a church, in her memory.

A friend of Dominguez, Juan Rendon, translated a message of forgiveness from her Spanish-speaking brother, Alberto, who was in tears.

"He just want to say to the person that did that to her, that he would forgive them for what he did to her, and he hopes that he can forget what he did. We are not here to judge nobody, and he hopes that person really feels bad for what her did."

2015 Transgender Murders So Far

Courtesy The Advocate

Transgender advocates have, for years, been calling for an end to what they label the "epidemic" of transphobic violence. And while every November 20, the community and its allies remember those lives lost on the international Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2015 has been a particularly deadly year for transgender women in the United States. In the first seven weeks of the year, seven trans women were killed in the U.S.

At press time, 16 transgender women have been murdered this year alone — with one additional victim whose gender identity has been disputed in press reports and among family members and activists. That exceeds the number of transgender women killed in the U.S. in all of 2014, though neither of these totals account for individuals whose deaths were not reported or investigated, nor for victims who were misgendered or not regarded as trans women in death.

Read on to learn more about the women whose lives were taken due to transphobic bias and violence.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Painted Table WINS Fig Fest People's Choice

Our friends & supporters at
won the People's Choice Award for 
this year's
Fig Fest
in the restaurant category


Saturday, August 15, 2015

IDC Mirror Ball Pageant Winners

Alec Allnight & Hazzard Strange won the first ever 


Visit the IDC Website HERE to SUPPORT this nonprofit organization

Friday, August 14, 2015

Diana Ross Coming To The Fresno Fair


Courtesy the Fresno Fair Website

We at The Big Fresno Fair are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our 2015 Table Mountain Concert Series line-up, the legendary DIANA ROSS! This iconic entertainer and former lead singer of The Supremes will be gracing our local Paul Paul Theater stage on Friday, 10/16 at 7 p.m. She will be performing some her greatest hits for her fans here in Fresno and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome her! Don’t miss your opportunity to see her LIVE in concert!

Pre-sale tickets for her concert will start on Fri, 8/14 at 9 a.m. and go until Wed, 8/19 at 11:59 p.m. and are available only to Big Fair Fan Club Members. Tickets will be opened up to the general public on Thurs, 8/20 at 9 a.m. Not a Big Fair Fan Club Member? Sign Up Now.

Let’s celebrate Way Back Wednesday with Diana Ross and her hit, “I’m Coming Out”!

Check out ALL the Entertainment at the Fresno Fair HERE

Breaking Barriers! Help The Fresno LGBT Center Expand

Click HERE to support our expansion!

The Fresno LGBT Community Center moved into our new space in December of 2014. The space works much better for us than our last, cramped facility. However...we have known since day one that our meeting room facilities did not meet the needs of the community. While our Center was larger and offered so much more diversity, the meeting room was not what we needed to serve the community...

So we need to expand...

Click HERE to support our expansion!
Click HERE to support our expansion!

The good news is that we have the space to do so, and the landlord has approved us breaking down walls to make a better and bigger space for the LGBT community. We have received contractor bids and have now created a fundraising page in order to reach out to the community to help us raise the money necessary to create a meeting space that will benefit the community.

Currently we can fit 8-12 in our meeting room. With the expansion, we'll be able to accommodate 30-40 people. This will allow us to provide vital meeting space to so many groups that are seeking a home. It will also allow us to host more events that will benefit the LGBT Community. The possibilities are exciting.

We provide this space FREE to the community, and it has the possibility to make a real difference to groups and organizations that have no place to meet and gather.

We are asking you to support our expansion, in order to better serve the community...

Click HERE to support our expansion!

From our Fundraiser Page...

Our space needs more space! 

Thankfully our landlord has approved the removal of a wall in our current location in order to dramatically increase our meeting room. This remodel will allow us to facilitate more (and bigger) groups! This is vital in order to accommodate the various groups and organizations who need to use the meeting room for meetings, events, social groups, etc. We never charge anyone for the use of our Community Center so we need your help to make this expansion happen!

The funds will be used to tear out the wall, provide structural support once it's gone, patch up the space, fix the floor, repaint, etc. 

Help us break down this wall as we continue to break down the barriers between us!

All donations to Gay Central Valley and the Fresno LGBT Community Center are tax deductible. We are an official 501c3 nonprofit. Our Tax ID# is 26-4218296

Click HERE to support our expansion!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

EVENT: Reel Pride KickOff Party Friday Night

EVENT: IDC Mirror Ball Pagaent


Come out to meet the New Merced LGBTQ Alliance. 

This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. 

Please join us in a meet and greet along with Q&A Session. 

From potential sponsors to individuals looking to dedicate some time everyone is welcome. 

Please share with anyone you feel that would be interested in helping support the Merced LGBT Community Center.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

EVENT: Reel Pride Kick Off Party


Friday, August 14th  5:30-9PM

Held in the amazing venue of our Festival Partner THE PAINTED TABLE
We hope to see all of our members & festival sponsors/donors. 

Pick up your Festival Passes
Enjoy the food stylings of THE PAINTED TABLE STAFF
Have a drink at The Reel Lounge. 

Still want to donate an item for the Silent Auction? 

Need to purchase a Festival pass? 
Contact or 

Fresno Reel Pride starts off their 26th year 
with our annual kick-off party and silent auction.

Come buy/pick up your festival passes while enjoying 
what our Silent Auction sponsors have to offer.

Don't forget about the delicious tastings presented
by our longtime Festival Partner The Painted Table!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Leilani Blog - No B*@t#! I’m Beyonce!

I wake up (flawless, no less) and look in the mirror and say…

“Bitch! You are not Beyonce!”

I laugh and then start my day off by checking Facebook for all the positive community support.

Yes, that was sarcasm!

I see so many people within this community who think that they are KING B herself!

Let me just say this…

This is my opinion. It does not reflect on or represent any organization I am affiliated with. Yeah, I’ve said that a few times…so sue me.

Ladies and Gents let me speak bluntly – YOU ARE NOT BEYONCE!

Even if you were Beyonce, I’m sure Beyonce wouldn’t be so arrogant and ruthless. Okay, maybe you embody (get me bodied) some qualities that she displays but LISTEN LINDA, Beyonce does a lot of good.

It’s called philanthropy. Ohhhhh! A big word!

We have this image of Beyonce being so amazing because she can sing, dance, rap and act. Okay, she can’t really act, but she gets a C- for trying. We forget all the positive things she does for the LGBTQ community worldwide. Yes, children, there is more to Fresno than Woodward Park and $2 Tuesdays at Chukchansi Park.

We idolize people for the wrong reasons! Focus on the good in what the community has to offer or the vision of what that ONE person is trying to bring to Fresno.

Whispers…We need to support our community.

How you may ask? It’s simple!

Come to a local fundraising event. It might be free or it might cost $20. It’s doing a good deed! Not every good deed means that you are physically helping out. It could mean you’re donating the ticket price back to the community or purchasing a t-shirt to support a local organization. It might mean attending any number of club events held all over Fresno that support local organizations.

So grab Kelly and Michelle and head out to your nearest community fundraiser and do some good for Fresno! Remember you can’t be a DIVA unless you CHECK UP ON IT.

It’s not the END OF TIME, it’s a sign that WE can RUN THE WORLD!

That’s all, for now…

Dances off stage wearing a black onesie

…Leilani Price

EVENT: IDC Second Sunday Show TONIGHT!

MEETING: Fresno Stonewall Democrats

Fresno Stonewall Democrats will have our regular monthly meeting this Tuesday, August 11 at the Golden Chinese Restaurant, 1135 N. Fulton, just south of Olive in the Tower District.

The social hour begins at 6 p.m. and the meeting calls to order at 7 p.m.

This month’s guest speaker will be Yezdyar Kaoosji who will be speaking on behalf of the Bernie Sanders for President campaign.

For more information contact the club president, Chuck Krugman, at (559) 266-9237 or e-mail him at

EVENT: Selma & Congressman John Lewis at Warnor Theater

EVENT: #BlackOutMonday


It has been almost one year since the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. and the uprising that followed. Our movement has grown immensely and here in Ferguson and St. Louis, we continue to fight for all those who have been lost. From August 7-10th, we will stand together, united in purpose, as we uphold our commitment to this movement for Black Lives.

Over the last year, our movement has made it clear that Ferguson is Everywhere. That’s why we’re using the hashtag #UnitedWeFight — because we lift up and demand justice not just for Michael Brown, Jr., but for Sandra Bland, for Cary Ball, for Yvette Smith, for Kajieme Powell, for Dontre Hamilton, for Taneisha Anderson, for Vonderrit Myers and for far too many more.

We invite you to join us in St. Louis for the Anniversary Weekend. We have a huge variety of events planned including mass meetings, rallies, concerts and protests. If you can’t join us, we ask that you plan solidarity actions in your own communities. We ask that groups honor Michael Brown Jr by participating in a four and a half minute National Moment of Silence on Sunday, August 9th at 11:55AM CST. We also ask groups to join us in a day of mass civil disobedience by planning Moral Monday actions for August 10th. Investigations and reports are not enough. We must demand federal intervention into the systematic terror against people of color by police.

More info at

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Merced LGBT Community Center To Re-Open

It's official...

The Merced LGBT Community Center will re-open!

After a brief closing, Gay Central Valley is pleased to announce that we've come together with the Merced community and financial backers to make this project continue and thrive...

Gay Central Valley has brought a new team, the Merced LGBTQ Alliance, together to organize and operate the Center. Funding has been provided by the California Endowment and the California Rural Legal Foundation.

We can't thank those who have stepped up to save the Merced Center enough. Gay Central Valley has maintained passion and dedication to Merced and we now have a strong team in place and have built stronger alliances with organizations dedicated to supporting our efforts.

More details will be forthcoming as they are available, so stay tuned to our blog as well as the websites and Facebook pages for the Merced LGBTQ Alliance and the Merced LGBT Community Center

We are planning a grand re-opening and will let the community know as soon as plans are finalized.

If you are interested in volunteering, helping out, or just bringing your voice to the table, we are holding a Community Forum in Merced on Saturday, August 15th from 4-6PM at United Way at 658 W Main Street. Click HERE for the Facebook Event Page. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

EVENTS: Gender Justice & Self Love for People of Color



Brown Boi Project returns to the Central Valley with an art-based event to build upon the work from last year to re-imagine what health, healing and gender justice can look like in our communities. Local artists will provoke real conversations about challenging misogyny and sexism and how this is essential to our self-care as people of color using poetry, visual art, spoken word, short video, dance and vocal performances related to transforming masculinity, self-love/self-care and gender justice.

Summer of Brown Boi 2015 will build upon the work from the tour last year to build power and a larger conversation around gender for young people of color. Over the summer, we plan to engage 1 million conversations - in cities across the country and through social media - to bring young people of color into the gender justice movement, build a conversation around self-love & self-care for people of color and identify regional & local policy changes that can support wellness and healing in communities of color all over the country.

*Free event
*Food: Vegan and Gluten free by Chef Rogue Vi
*Featuring live performances and work by local artists.
*Music: DJ ALuv (Ana Pano)

***this is an intentional space for people of color


El Canto del Colibri - Estreno en Bakersfield y Diálogo Comunitario - a Movie Preview & Community Dialogue

El Canto del Colibrí es un nuevo documental que explora las relaciónes entre padres Latinos imigrantes y sus hij@s y familia LGBTQ. Ven a disfrutar comida deliciosa, ver el documental, y platicar sobre temas importantes en nuestras comunidades.

The film El Canto del Colibrí is a new documentary exploring the relationships between Latino immigrant fathers and their LGBTQ family members. Come enjoy delicious food, see the documentary and talk about important topics in our communities.

Copatrocinadores - Co-sponsors: Brown Boi Project and Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield

Gratis! This event is FREE!

Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield
902 18th St
Bakersfield, CA 93301


The Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield is a non-profit organization, 501(c)(3), serving the LGBT community of Greater Bakersfield.



Join us for a Gender Justice workshop where we will participate in multiple activities and conversations that will help us shift the ways our communities talk about gender. We will come together to examine our gender journeys as individuals, and as communities, and explore the connections between the struggles that we all face as people of color.

Summer of Brown Boi 2015 will build upon the work from the tour last year to build power and a larger conversation around gender for young people of color. Over the summer, we plan to engage 1 million conversations - in cities across the country and through social media - to bring young people of color into the gender justice movement, build a conversation around self-love & self-care for people of color and identify regional & local policy changes that can support wellness and healing in communities of color all over the country.

This event is FREE! Food will be provided. For more information, contact Dawn-Marie Luna at or 559-284-1872.