Tuesday, March 31, 2015

EVENT:Community Heart Circle at the Merced LGBT Center



Nature is full of circles: the moon, the sun, the earth, the planetary motions, the back-and-forth of sharing and friendship and loving, even the laws of karma. Honoring the sacred tradition of holding space for heart-centered listening and sharing, we will draw upon the wisdom of the ancients as we call another Heart Circle for everyone on Sunday, April 5th. 

The heart circle is an ancient tool for honest and effective communication in a team or community. We will also bring out the sage, feathers, and a magical talisman that will be our talking stick for the ceremony. Everyone gets an equal chance to share or just listen without judgment or cross-talk.

We'll begin with a potluck, at the center, at 6:30pm (we encourage you to bring a healthy dish to share...after all, this is a ritual of community nourishment--let's feed our spirits & our bodies). The calling of the directions and invocation of the Heart Circle will begin around 7:15pm, and weather permitting, we will move outside for our ceremony.

We will also hold space after the circle for community building or meditations, For more information on the Talking/healing/heart circle, talking sticks, and other details, check out this great article:

http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org/circles.php


Facebook Event Page Here

Fresno Pride Lions Scholarship Program





The Fresno Pride Lions have started a scholarship program. Read all the details below and click on the link for the application...

The Fresno Pride Lions Club College Scholarship is intended to honor area students for their SERVICE TO THE LESBIAN/GAY/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY.

Scholarships must be used for post-secondary education at accredited institutions - colleges, universities, and trade schools. Two $100 scholarships will be awarded based on the criteria listed below.

Candidates must:

1) Be students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, or allies who want to continue their post-secondary education; and

2) Live in Fresno County, CA and are currently enrolled in an accredited high school, be a graduating high school senior or continuing community college, university or trade school student

3) Be planning to enroll at an accredited post-secondary institution with a minimum of 6 units; and

4) Have a minimum 3.0 GPA; and

5) Worked to affect change in the LGBT community and, are actively and substantially involved in community service.

Determination:

The FPLC scholarship committee will award the scholarships based on:

1) Academic credentials

2) An essay (maximum length of 300 words) on their leadership and community service involvement (see attached)

3) Two letters of recommendation from other than family members,

4) Financial need must be addressed in the essay or letter of recommendation

5) Participation in a GSA or College Pride Club is not required, but will be considered


The deadline for submitting the application is May 1. Applications can be emailed to fresnopridelions@gmail.com or sent via regular mail to the following address:

Fresno Pride Lions Club Attn: Scholarship Committee PO Box 43734 Fresno, CA 93744

The recipients will be selected by a committee of club members appointed by the FPLC Board.

The Board will approve the committee’s recommendations.The recipients will be notified by the end of May.

Scholarships will be awarded at the June 26th meeting of the PFLC.

Essay Information:

Applicants should address the following:

-What have you done to effect change for the LGBT community?
-What types of advocacy efforts have you engaged in?
-Describe your involvement in community service activities.
-What future plans do you have to make a difference in the LGBT community?

For the application and more information contact the Lions through their Facebook page

Fresno Pride Lions Fireworks!

Get your fireworks this year from the Fresno Pride Lions and in turn support their LGBT organization!


The Diversity Club at Fresno City College


VIDEO: Chris Cuomo SLAMS Indiana Law

The Atlantic Goes For The Facts



There's a lot being said about Indiana's new religious freedom law. The media is talking and Governor Mike Pence is talking and people all over social media are talking. What the truth of how Indiana's new law compares to other laws in other states and more importantly the federal law that Clinton signed in the 90's?

The Atlantic has taken a hard look at these laws and come to some conclusions based on the facts...


There’s a factual dispute about the new Indiana law. It is called a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” like the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993.* Thus a number of its defenders have claimed it is really the same law. Here, for example, is the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack: “Is there any difference between Indiana's law and the federal law? Nothing significant.” I am not sure what McCormack was thinking; but even my old employer, The Washington Post, seems to believe that if a law has a similar title as another law, they must be identical. “Indiana is actually soon to be just one of 20 states with a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA,” the Post’s Hunter Schwarz wrote, linking to this map created by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

The problem with this statement is that, well, it’s false. That becomes clear when you read and compare those tedious state statutes.  If you do that, you will find that the Indiana statute has two features the federal RFRA—and most state RFRAs—do not. First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs. 

And there are more differences. As these debates continue to rage, it's important for us to know the facts. The rest of the article has a lot more to say...



Read the rest of this article HERE

Monday, March 30, 2015

Those Against Equality Are Finding New Battles

It's pretty clear that as of June, 2015, marriage equality is likely to be the law of the land across the entire United States. 

The Supreme Court hears the case on April 28th and rules some time in June of this year. Almost no one is thinking we will lose this final marriage battle in America. Even our opposition, in fact, ESPECIALLY our opposition, has their eyes open. They know the marriage battle is over. So they're jumping as fast as they can to take the battle against us to other issues. And it's happening at a breakneck pace. Indiana is making all the noise this week, but there's a lot more to think about.

We may have won marriage, but the war is far from over...


Arkansas Wants to Discriminate Too!



After all the recent, hideous news out of Indiana, Arkansas is trying to jump on the discrimination bandwagon...


House Bill 1228, which was blocked by a Senate committee in February, passed out of that committee last week after a member changed his vote, then passed the full Senate Friday. The House, which had OK’d a previous version of the legislation, now needs to approve amendments made by the Senate. The House Judiciary Committee approved those this morning, moving the measure to a vote by the full House, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he will sign the bill into law.

The legislation would forbid the state to “substantially burden” a person’s religious practices unless there is a compelling government interest in doing so. Its definition of person also includes businesses and organizations, meaning it would allow them to turn away customers who somehow offend the proprietor’s religious beliefs — for instance, same-sex couples seeking wedding-related goods or services, or people who practice a different faith. It is similar to laws enacted recently in Indiana and last year in Mississippi.

The Arkansas ACLU has responded and hits the nail on the head...

“They’re running scared because they see equality coming, and that’s what this is all about,” said ACLU of Arkansas legal director Holly Dixon.

Read The Story HERE

"Kill The Gays" Comment Results In Loss of Employment



We are seeing time and time again that public comments matter. An employee of the police department in Buffalo has resigned over comments he posted on Facebook. The comments show how he would use the "Kill the Gays" proposed legislation to shoot his gay neighbors.

Richard “Rick” Pilarski Jr. resigned Saturday as a cell block attendant for the Cheektowaga Police Department after he acknowledged the Facebook exchange with family and friends in which he threatened to shoot gays. The exchange was spurred by a news account about a proposed ballot initiative in California known as the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which calls for imposing the death penalty on gay men and women who are sexually active.

“We brought him in today and he decided to resign from the position,” Assistant Police Chief James J. Speyer said Saturday. “He was remorseful and apologetic. It is one of those situations where he never intended it to be something that would come out.”

Speyer said the department received a complaint late last week and immediately suspended Pilarski without pay while beginning an investigation.
Pilarski, 33, also was placed on administrative leave Friday from his job as full-time state corrections officer at Attica Correctional Facility, as the state investigates the complaint. 

“Wouldn’t this be the greatest thing in the world??? The guys around the corner would be the first 2 faggots in my sights. What you do in your house is one thing but when you fly flags of equal rights and the rainbow flag in a small quiet neighborhood is another,” Pilarski posted Monday on Facebook.

Pilarski acknowledged the Facebook posts were his but explained that he thought he was having a private conversation, Speyer said.
After admitting the Facebook exchanges, Pilarski resigned from his part-time job, Speyer said. He worked five shifts a month in the cell block.

Read the whole story HERE

EVENT: Bare - A Pop Opera



Friday, March 27, 2015

EVENT: Movie Night TONIGHT


FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

NOTE: Dinner will be at 6:00p located at HomeTown Buffet (458 W Shaw Ave, Clovis, CA 93612)

Movie: The Wedding Ringer
Action/Romance ‧ 1h 41m

Socially awkward Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is two weeks from marrying the gal (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) of his dreams, but he has a problem: He doesn't have any groomsmen for the occasion. Desperate and running out of time, Doug calls upon Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), owner and operator of Best Man Inc., a company that provides attendants for friendless grooms. As Doug tries to pull off the con, a bromance unexpectedly blossoms between Jimmy and himself.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3TeI9jPPuA

March Pot of Gold is Coming to a Close!



Our March Pot of Gold Fundraiser is almost over!

All of our little leprechauns have their Pots of Gold due back to the Fresno LGBT Community Center by April 6th!

Now to announce our fabulous Prizes!

Our top Leprechaun will get a $25 gift card to Regal Cinemas!

Our top Business will get a month of Free add space on our Blog!

So hurry, hurry Leprechauns! Get your pot of gold in on or before the 6th of April to have a chance to win!

MEETING: Hanford LGBT Forum TONIGHT


Thursday, March 26, 2015

EVENT: LGBT Night At AT&T Park


Indiana Faces Results of Religious Act

 
Indiana's Governor just signed the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" into law, which protects the free expression of religion. Translated, this means businesses will be able to discriminate against those who "offend" their religious beliefs. This is one of many proposed legislations sweeping the nation in an attempt to thwart court rulings against businesses that are not allowed to discriminate under current law.

It has also taken no time for the backlash to begin. Just this week there are boycotts called for and supported by the head of Salesforce, activist George Takei and the LGBT Athletic Organization. Protest are also arising from the National College Athletic Association. 


Salesforce: Now that Gov. Pence has signed the bill into law, Mike Benioff, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Division, says his company has no choice but to "dramatically reduce" its investment in Indiana. 


George Takei: The out actor is "outraged that Gov. Pence would sign such a divisive measure into law," said Takei in a Facebook post today. "I will join many in demanding that socially responsible companies withdraw their business, conferences and support from his state and that LGBTs and our friends and supporters refuse to visit or do business with Indiana." 




Members of the LGBT Sports Coalition have gone a step farther, calling for all sporting events which can be moved from Indiana to be relocated, according to OutSports

"While we recognize the impossibility of Indiana-based schools and professional sports teams forgoing home games, we believe any sporting events that can be moved outside the state should be moved," said a statement from the association of organizations individuals dedicated to ending anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016. "To host a major sporting event in the state, with legitimate venues available elsewhere, would put LGBT athletes, coaches, and fans in harm's way and lend support to the discrimination of LGBT people."

Read more of this story HERE

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GCV Statement: Zero Tolerance - Threats Matter



Bullying and threats are an important issue in the LGBT community. As a leader in the LGBT community, Gay Central Valley takes public threats and cyber bullying very seriously. 


A couple of our board members were called out on a Facebook thread on Tuesday March 24th on a community member’s page. The community member that started that thread is Michelle Nastasis, a former volunteer with Gay Central Valley. Nastasis has a long history of bullying and harassing a multitude of people through her Facebook page. The post started with the suggestion of physical violence toward others and took a very ugly turn in the comments (some comments have since been changed or removed, but the original thread is posted below). It was suggested by those commenting that one board member be physically hurt and another board member was threatened with gun violence. The gun threat came from an LGBT Community member, a leader with a local transgender support group, a former board member at Gay Central Valley and an active member of the Trevor Project, Leon Velasco. The gun threat was supported by Nastasis. 


Any reason behind the comments are irrelevant. Bullying and particularly direct threats of harm to anyone on a public site are to be denounced and brought to light in order to protect those threatened, as well as others in the community. We are sending a clear message that this behavior cannot be tolerated .


It is especially disturbing when shown in context , with the recent “Sodomite Suppression Act” (the “Kill the Gays” bill) ballot initiative used as a sounding board and a call to action by one of our own. This action shows an alarming disregard for violence against LGBT people, and women in particular, something the transgender community deals with on a daily basis.


A portion of the comment thread is below…



We all disagree from time to time on a wide variety of issues. That is to be expected. But we are also expected to act as responsible adults and never, ever promote physical violence against others in a public forum. Bullying and threats cannot be tolerated and we’ve all seen the tragic outcome of such incidents. Even if the poster of the comments does nothing based on their own words, this kind of public activity has the potential to empower others to use violence as a means to rectify dislikes or disagreements.


We reached out to Transemotion, the Fresno transgender support group that Leon Velasco is a board member of, and Michelle Nastasis has attended, for their comments before we posted this letter. 


Transemotion leaders have been informed and have denounced the actions. They have assured us they are taking immediate and appropriate actions. Any statement and further details we receive from them will be posted.


We at Gay Central Valley felt it was our responsibility to bring this action to light in order to protect our board members and to send a powerful message that this kind of thing cannot be tolerated by anyone at any time. As LGBT Americans, we battle threats of abuse and violence from outside our community on a daily basis. That is hard enough without seeing it coming from members of our own community as well. Gay Central Valley has alerted the police to the threats.


If you are a victim of bullying/threats, it’s vital to contact the police the same day the incident happens. Fresno Police Department : 559-621-7000 (non emergency) – Clovis Police Department  : 559-324-2800

If you are a victim of domestic violence please call the Marjaree Mason Center at 559-233-4357. 


For general assistance in the LGBT community please call the Fresno LGBT Community Center at 559-325-4429



This letter has been approved by the GCV Board of Directors:

Chris Jarvis

Kaylia Metcalfe Armstrong

Kayleia Southard

Paul Hernandez

EQCA Statement on "Sodomite Suppression Act"


Statement from Equality California on the Proposed Anti-LGBT Ballot Initiative

LOS ANGELES - Equality California released the following statement regarding the proposed anti-LGBT ballot initiative, the “Sodomite Suppression Act”, and Attorney General Kamala Harris’ decision to seek judicial authorization to not issue a title and summary.

“We commend Attorney General Kamala Harris for asking the court to allow California to reject this inflammatory and unconstitutional ballot measure,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “As we indicated in our earlier statement, this proposed ballot initiative is grossly out of step with the attitudes and beliefs of the people of California. While we do not believe that this offensive measure will have sufficient support to qualify for the ballot, it points to the need to review and reform the ballot initiative process. As evidenced by Propositions 8, 22, and 187, California’s ballot initiative process has been used in the past to restrict the civil rights of the LGBT community and the diverse communities that we are a part of. We look forward to working with Attorney General Harris, policymakers, and members of the legislature to review the ballot initiative process and implement reforms to assure that public resources are not wasted on measures that clearly violate the law or Californians’ constitutional rights.”
###
Equality California is California's largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization focused on creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org

Fresno Pride 25 - Donate Now!



Fresno Rainbow Pride LGBT Pride Parade & Festival is gearing up for its 25th annual pride celebration on Saturday, June 6, 2015 in Fresno in the heart of the Central San Joaquin Valley of the great state of California.

Our campaign’s goal is to get 100 people to give $25 or more for our quarter century anniversary. Our hope is to raise at least $3,500. If you believe in equality, fairness, and human dignity we encourage you to join with us and make a donation today. For us LGBT folks living in the California Bible Belt our freedoms and some times the lack of those freedoms are very prominent in our daily lives. Help us celebrate the accomplishments we have made as a community and “Make Pride Bright”

Come on everyone “Get your Pride On!”

Fresno Rainbow Pride is a project of Community Link, Inc. a 501 (3) non-profit community service organization. Your donation is a tax deductible contribution and is a statement of Pride.





CLICK HERE TO DONATE!


Thank you for your time, energy and donation.

Jeffery Robinson
Community Link CEO
Fresno Rainbow Pride Coordinator

Beer Bust Fundraising THIS SATURDAY!


EVENT: Katya Smirnoff-Skyy ONE NIGHT ONLY



EVENT: And Then Came Tango FREE Performances



And Then Came Tango tells a story about love, family, perseverance, and standing up for your beliefs. The play is inspired by the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins living at the Central Park Zoo who built a nest, and were so determined to be parents that they incubated a rock. When given an orphaned egg that would have perished otherwise, the pair successfully raised a baby fledgling. The play takes audiences on a journey to the penguin exhibit where Lily, a young visitor to the zoo, learns to understand the consequences of doing what she believes is right when faced with a public outcry about Roy and Silo’s parenting. This original work for young audiences weaves movement, storytelling, and music through a story that celebrates families of all shapes and sizes.

ONLY 2 PERFORMANCES -- SATURDAY, APRIL 11
10:00AM & 2:00PM! SEATS ARE AVAILABLE ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS.

Monday, March 23, 2015

EVENT: POW Professional Out Women's mixHER


Professional OUT Women's March mixHER is set for Friday, 3/27 from 6pm-until at Idle Hour Winery located only 30 minutes up the hill in the adorable community of Oakhurst.

We're taking a trip up the hill to where we'll be able to enjoy an evening under the stars at the Idle Hour Winery of Professional Out Women, Anna Marie Dos Remedios and Deb Payne. This event is sponsored by long time community and political leaders, Pat Barr and Janet Sangster. We'll have dinner options from Crab Cakes Restaurant & Yosemite Catering and room packages for those who want to stay the night. We will post details below, after we email them out to the group.

So, please make plans now to enjoy a full evening of drinks, dinner and socializing! If you are not receiving our monthly POW emails, please post your email below and we'll add you to the list.

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

If you have any questions, would like to join our email list or would like to be more involved, please email Robin@GetEQUAL.org or carol.dltrr@gmail.com

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Q & A With Robert Petersen



 



Robert Petersen lives in Bakersfield. He is the Vice President of PFLAG Bakersfield. He's an advocate for making PrEP (HIV prevention with medication) more accessible to all populations. 

How long have you lived in the Central Valley?

I was born here. My family moved overseas when I was 5 and we returned my sophomore year of high school. So, most of my adult life. 

Married/Single/Relationship Status?

Happily SINGLE, but available. 

When did you come out as LGBT, or as a straight ally?

18 to myself, 19 to my siblings and 21 to my parents and extended family. 

Something you like about yourself?

I like the fact that I accept people and circumstances for who and what they are. I may not understand it, but I try to be as accepting as possible. 

Something you dislike about yourself?

I hate being a procrastinator, that's why it's taken me so long to finish this survey. 

Character trait in others that you most admire?

I admire people who are organized.

Character trait in others that you most dislike?

Apathy. 

What is your biggest regret?

Not getting a college degree.

What are you most passionate about?

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Profylaxis) Science has given us, and our government agencies, have authorized a medication (TRUVADA) that prevents HIV and too few people know about it.  We have a medication that prevents one of the world's most deadly virus, and hardly anybody knows about it. And, for some reason there's a huge controversy about it.  

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

Watching Bakersfield Condors hockey.

What aggravates you the most?

LGBT Republicans. They makes as much sense as an African American Klansman. 

What makes you the happiest?

Road trips. Getting away.

What are you, quite frankly, over?

Prop 8. I'm tired of looking back. I'm tired of trying to remember who my enemies are. I'm tired of what it did to families. I'm tired of the pain it caused.

What is your biggest challenge?

Not punching Jehovah Witnesses when they wake me up... 

What was your favorite decade so far?

I don't really have one. 

Who is your favorite person to talk to?

My cousin Carolyn. 

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

My mother. Just because. She was shaped by events of her generation, yet she believed all people deserved equality.  

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

Without a doubt, Harvey Milk. I was 21 years-old (1987) when I first watched “The Times Of Harvey Milk”, and I couldn't believe I had never heard of him. I've consumed everything related to the man since then. 

The most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Resentments are not helpful. 

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

Computer. 

What superpower would you most like to have?

I'd love to be able to fly. 

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

Samuel L. Jackson. Wouldn't that be a kick-a black guy playing a guy who was white in real life. And he could get away with actually saying “f*ck” as much as I'd like to say it. 

What is the best part of your day?

Night. I'm a night owl. 

What is your proudest moment?

Not exactly a moment, but something I very proud of is being a part of PFLAG Bakersfield and helping make it what it is today. 

Who did you overlook in your past?

I hope nobody. 

What have you overcome?

My parents were OLD when I was born. For some reason I was ashamed of that. It wasn't until I was an adult that I appreciated having older parents. I didn't recognize the benefits come with having old parents. 

Where your ideal place to live?

If I didn't have to work and I had an endless bank account, San Diego. Perfect weather ALL year. 

What words do you live by?

If nobody's dying, it's not an emergency.