Thursday, April 27, 2017

INTERVIEW Eva Suzanne Fiorello



 

Eva has long had a passion for reaching out and helping others. She’s been working for some time now on feeding the hungry in the Tower District. I reached out to her to talk about her passions, her own struggles and how we can all give back to the community. You can find her group on Facebook… Hungry Hearts

 
Tell us how you originally got involved in feeding those in need in the community. Many of us get involved in very particular ways in the community. Why do you feel so passionately about this specific effort?

I've been involved in trying to help for most of my life in some capacity, but a few years ago a person put out a call for feeding the homeless here in Fresno on the tower page. I had been laid off at my job with the county and thought, yes let's do it. I was working for Kings view housing and recovery, a program to house homeless and the mentally ill, we did not have enough funding so a few of us were let go. I jumped into this with another individual and from there we went three years strong meeting at Ventura and G St. Feeding and clothing the homeless. Bringing dog food, feminine hygiene, toothpaste, deodorant etc.

The group was doing well and we had many people come to help. Unfortunately because I didn't vote for Trump and the other person I started this with did he banned me and my friends from the group...So I started a new one. Hungry Hearts on Facebook. Please join.

Tell us about the cross range of people you see who need help with food? Is it just the very poor or is it just people who can’t make ends meet?

In general the people we see are out on the streets. They are homeless and don't have much. They can get some help with Poverello house and the mission but my feeling is that they can always use a meal. The people that we help are usually very gracious. They bless us and thank us profusely. We do have the mentally ill out there and once in a while somebody gets a little upset about something but never any violence.

What is a particularly touching experience you’ve had in your efforts to feed the hungry?
I have had quite a few touching experiences over my 45 years plus out on the streets, one in particular comes to mind. A young man who looked like a school student, back pack and everything came to our food line. He was clean cut, well-spoken and very shy. I asked him if there was anything else I could help him with and took him to the side. He explained that his mother had been killed by his father and his father was serving life in prison. He was from another state and was having a hard time receiving benefits here but did have enough money saved up to attend Fresno City College. He held a part time job at a fast food restaurant where no one knew his circumstances. He was 19 years old. 


I made some phone calls and gave him some phone numbers and some money. I had a few friends willing to help this young man out. He is still at FCC and he now has a place to live.




 

You’ve focused your efforts on the Tower District. What is it about this area of town that motivates you so much?

I was living in the tower at the time for over 10 years. I saw the homeless day after day wandering the streets and begging for food, for money. I help those who are in need if I can. The tower is a small NYC to me. Very diversified in its people so I felt comfortable being there, among my people so to speak.

Do you find that people tend to only focus on those who are hungry during the holidays when this is obviously a day to day problem?

I find that during the holidays there are many people willing to help. I get most of the donations during that time. In general I feel most people feel kinder during the holidays and want to do something, and they do. We had over 200 people served a Thanksgiving meal and a Christmas meal last year and the years prior it was pretty much the same. I don't think that people don't want to help at other times I just believe that it's hard for people to believe that this is an everyday problem that exists in our community, and in our country. I know people that donate their resources and drop off clothing, food etc. but don't have the heart to come out because they feel like they should be doing more. I applaud these people because they are my friends and I understand just how they feel. I couldn't do this financially on my own.

What are some of the best resources in Fresno for those who need help feeding themselves and their families?

In this community we do have resources for some. We have the Poverello house, the Mission ,and Catholic charities. We have a group on line called blessings from the heart ministries that give away free food and clothing, diapers etc.

When people ask I direct them to Gay Central Valley or Trans-e-motion or Poverello, depending on their needs. I don't only do work with the homeless. I go out to the assisted living homes when I can and bring flowers or socks. I counsel gay and trans people if they need my help. I'm kind of on my own here when it comes to those things and I try to engage others into helping when I can.

Where can people find you online? How do they reach you if they want to help?
Come on out once a month and help, it takes about an hour and if you can't come out just join the group on Facebook and be supportive. These people need us, they need you. My group doesn't ask for money. We just want what you can't use. I will pick up or you can drop off. Anything you are not using our food you can share will help.

I happen to know that you have a long history of helping others and of being involved in the community, going back many years. Can you talk a little about how it all started and progressed for you?

My mother was a community health nurse and eventually became a Dr. of nursing and was a professor at Fresno state. I grew up in NYC, my family was middle class as my father worked when he felt like it. When I was 12 my best friend and I took the subway down to Greenwich village on a day we heard there would be riots and protests against gays and transgender people. So I went and I witnessed the most horrible atrocities against people who were just trying to live their lives.

There was a moment when I saw a police officer beat a young man in the head because he was screaming" let us be who we are" he was not being violent he was just angry and voicing how he felt. I decided then that I was raised in a family that accepted others for who they were as human beings, and I would fight any one who would dare to hurt or humiliate anyone who was “different".

I went on in my life moving to California when I was 19. My mom ran a project in NYC called the friendship house. It welcomed the mentally ill and the homeless. I went to work with her every day and realized how mistreated and how stigmatized people were in this position. I learned a lot from those experiences and brought them with me to California.

Around the same time I was noticing some things about myself, terrible mood swings, the ability to stay awake for days and then a terrible crash into oblivion. I had no idea what was happening to me. I continued for many years making terrible life decisions and not realizing that I had a mental illness. I finally was diagnosed in my 30s and after years of craziness got on meds.

The story is long, the story of my life has many curves and pitfalls but I've always been drawn to the damaged souls. The ones who cry out and no one hears them. My wrists display the many times I thought I shouldn't be here. They now display the semi colon because my story isn't over. Those people who are homeless wear a semi colon too. They took a wrong turn, they have no home, they are our brothers and our sisters, our mothers and fathers and sometimes our children.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

INTERVIEW: Jess R. Ohana-Reta



Jess is involved in lot of things…catering, being a DJ, life insurance and most importantly, her relationship with Christy. The two are married and have had a long relationship. When I sat down to do an interview with Jess, Christy was front and center. They work together in life and business, and I set out to find out what drives Jessica and what services she offers.

How did you get into catering?

First and foremost I would not be the woman I am today without the love, support and willingness to help me succeed in my love for all things scratch made by my amazing, strong, kind, passionate for life wife Christy. We have been Us for 17 years now and she continues to threaten me with a good time every day. 

 
My Love for cooking comes from my sister Sandra and Brother in Law Bern. Sandra inspired me to cook with passion and my Brother in Law showed me to respect the ingredients and to make beautiful appetizing food. I began cooking for local and Bay Area nonprofit events over 15 years ago and as the events grew in numbers so did my reputation as a chef.

What was the biggest hurdle you had getting started in catering?

Becoming a "caterer" was a natural and easy progression for me, my love to cook for others was never a hurdle. I suppose because I primarily cooked for non profit events it was always volunteer work until I was asked to cater a private party. Then came the hard part, what do I charge for my labor? I sometimes still find it difficult to quote a price as I believe you don't need a sliver fork to eat good food. 


What is your specialty?

I enjoy preparing and smoking different meats and poultry, Italian dishes are my favorite but I would be remiss if I didn't go back to my roots of being in the kitchen with my sister making sabroso (Delish) Mexican Inspired dishes. 


Do you tailor the food to the client or do you have set menus?

Absolutely, our clients events are sometimes the most important day of their lives. We coordinate and work with our clients on different menu's that compliment their event theme and budget. 


What events can people reach out to you to provide services for?

I also DJ so we have provided food and or music for every occasion.

We have catered Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthday's, Retirement, Office Events, Baby Showers, Quinceanera's, Christmas Parties, New Years Eve, Celebrations of lives

How much lead time do you need?

2 months is ideal but If we are available at least 3 days to prepare.

What are the busy times of the year?

October/November has proven to be popular wedding months here in the Central Valley but every month there is always something to celebrate which is beautiful thing.

What is the biggest misconception people have about having a caterer handle an event for them?

Adding 25 guests for dinner the day of the their event.

What would be your number one suggestion for people when planning an event?

Plan on 25 more guests 


What is your favorite type of event to cater?

Any celebration when food is involved makes me happy; if I had to choose surprise party's are my favorite.

Do you work with nonprofits and/or community fundraising events?

Yes, one of the most fun and rewarding blessings in my life. I love to give back what was once given to me. I am a member of a 12 step program and aside from meetings and sponsorship, events such as the ones I am involved in to date saved my life 27 years ago and continue to do so.


Do you combine your DJ duties with your catering services?

Yes, we do love to throw a party. We are somewhat of a one stop shop.

What is included in your DJ services?

We provide an amazing selection of music from House, Country, Mexican, Pop, R&B, Old School, Rock & Salsa. I DJ with a sound and music mixer, ample speakers, sound sensitive laser lights & fog machine. I also MC through out the evening. 


You also work in the life insurance field. How do people reach out to you for those services?

I am a life/financial advisor and agent for New York Life in the local Fresno office. I provide protection and financial security for individuals, families and businesses by walking them through their life benefit options. New York Life hired me as an open and out person of the LGBTQ community. As an agent it is important to me to help others get their thoughts in line with their intentions. 


Where can people find you online?

oh-red catering on facebook
or
johanoreta@ft.newyorklife.com 


What is your life motto? What words do you live by?

At the end of my life I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say "I used everything you gave me"

Queering Fresno: An LGBT+ Reading

Saturday April 29th / 3pm / Goldstein's Mortuary & Delicatessen


Queering Fresno: An LGBT+ Reading


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History is usually taught in terms of lineage, nation, and ancestry, which often relegates Queer histories to the margins since Queer communities are often generational and not linked through a specific lineage, nation, or ancestry. Each reader, a member of the LGBT+ community, will share work grounded in their own experiences, creating a new kind of history based on archiving our experiences.

RANDA JARRAR's work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon.com, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, Ploughshares, The Sun, and others. Her first book, the Arab-American coming of age novel, A Map of Home, is now on many college syllabi. It was published in half a dozen languages & won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review. Her new book, Him, Me, Muhammad Ali, was named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2016 by The Millions, a Key Collection for Fall 2016 by Library Journal, and one of Electric Literature‘s 25 best collections of the year. She has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, Hedgebrook, and others, and in 2010 was named one of the most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40. She runs RAWI (the Radius of Arab-American Writers) and loves coordinating events and strengthening communities.

ARIELLE JONES earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. While in San Francisco she served as Editor in Chief for the campus’s undergraduate literary magazine. Prior to joining the M.F.A. program at California State University, Fresno, she was grateful to attend the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

AARON POOCHIGIAN earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published by Penguin Classics in 2009 and his thriller in verse, Mr. Either/Or, will be released by Etruscan Press in Fall of 2017. His work has appeared in such journals as The Guardian, POETRY and The Times Literary Supplement.

STEVEN SANCHEZ is a CantoMundo Fellow and Lambda Literary Fellow. His debut full-length poetry collection, Phantom Tongue (Sundress Publications, 2018), won the Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award and was selected by Mark Doty. He is also the author of two chapbooks, To My Body (Glass Poetry, 2016) and Photographs of Our Shadows (Agape Editions, 2017). His poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Nimrod, and Crab Creek Review, among other journals.

Writers/Artists Wanted for Youth Focused Publication

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Calling Artists and Writers!

Join Gay Central Valley is supporting the efforst of Arisbeth Manzo from Ceasar E Chavez Middle School in Planada and her project for the 20% Project.

The 20% project is a project in which students dedicate 20% of thier week to a topic of thier choice. Arisbeth's project is on raising awareness and respect for the LGBTQ+ community in Planadas. She is going to be creating a magazine or newspaper for distrubtion it on Community Day (May 13th).

This is a call for all you creative types out there to contribute!

Arisbeth is looking for stories or short articles (aim for 600 words) about anything LGBTQ+ related. Topics could be about how to be a good ally, your coming out story, advice to younger LGBT people, or a comic featuring a non-straight character.

All submissions should be appropriate for a wide, younger, audience and be all original creations. 

Deadline is: May 5th.

Email submissions to Kaylia at kaylia@gaycentralvalley.org

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

EVENT: Murder Under The Stars

GCV Welcomes Brooke Schmidt




Gay Central Valley is pleased to announce the addition of Brooke Schmidt to its Board of Directors.

Brooke grew up in the Central Valley and moved to the Bay Area where she found a passion for volunteer work. She has volunteered in many different capacities for many different organizations throughout the years including Glide Memorial (which opened their doors to the LGBT community in the 1960s), the Castro Country Club (a non-profit dedicated to the recovery community), the San Francisco LGBT Center (where she helped with their first LGBT youth prom), and Project Open Hand (which provides meals and groceries to those suffering from HIV/AIDS).

Shortly after returning to Fresno, Brooke reached out to the Fresno LGBT Center and began as a Staff Volunteer where she has been an instrumental part of recruiting and training new volunteers. Brooke is currently attending college while caring for her elderly father. She plans to continue her education with a focus in counseling/therapy.

As a trans woman, Brooke wanted to join the Board and work on some out-reach initiatives including updating the Center's clothing closet to include professional work clothes and basic toiletries as well as outreach within the sex work / survival sex community providing condoms, HIV/STD Testing information, and an open ear and a helping hand to those involved in sex work or without adequate access to toiletries, housing, and clothes.

"I think we can do more for those that are often overlooked, I want to take to the streets, open our hearts and our hands to those who need it most. It is important for us to be on the ground within our community. I know what it's like to be homeless and feel like no one is rooting for you. I want our homeless and LGBT sex worker community to know we see you, we love you, and we are here to help."



Brooke joins President Chris Jarvis, Treasurer Bobbie Mendez, and Secretary Kaylia Metcalfe-Armstrong on the Gay Central Valley Board of Directors. GCV is a 501c3 organization committed tocontributing to and enriching the cultural life and expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, their families, friends, and supporters through awareness and education of the diversity and history of the LGBT community in California’s Central Valley.



Current Gay Central Valley projects include The Fresno LGBT Community Center, the Transgender Clothing Closet, the Rainbow Delegation, the GCV blog, and ongoing Cultural Competency Seminars. To find out more about GCV and their work, visit www.gaycentralvalley.org

CALL TO ACTION: Propossed Texas Laws Hurt LGBT Community

Legislators in Texas are pushing forward more than fifteen bills that would make it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and today students all over the state are fighting back.

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Visit glaad.org/texas to sign & share GLAAD’s petition against SB6 and more than 10 anti-LGBTQ “license to discriminate” bills
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If these bills became law, they would erase housing, employment, and public accommodation protections for transgender Texans currently in place in large cities in Texas. They’d put children at risk by permitting child welfare agencies to deny services to LGBTQ youth and families. And they’d even allow county clerks to openly discriminate against LGBTQ couples seeking marriage licenses.

Today, students from Austin to Houston are rallying against these terrifying bills, and they need your support. Add your name right now to show these brave students that they’re not alone in this fight!

Together we stand!

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EVENT: Book Talk at Fresno State




Join Dr Melissa Michelson as she discusses her new book "Listen, We Need To Talk"

Wednesay April 26th, 6:00 pm

Room 2206 / Henry Madden Library/ Fresno State University



FB Event Page


American public opinion tends to be sticky. Although the news cycle might temporarily affect the public's mood on contentious issues like abortion, the death penalty, or gun control, public opinion toward these issues has remained remarkably constant over decades. There are notable exceptions, however, particularly with regard to divisive issues that highlight identity politics. For example, over the past three decades, public support for same-sex marriage has risen from scarcely more than a tenth to a majority of the population. Why have people's minds changed so dramatically on this issue, and why so quickly? It wasn't just that older, more conservative people were dying and being replaced in the population by younger, more progressive people; people were changing their minds. Was this due to the influence of elite leaders like President Obama? Or advocacy campaigns by organizations pushing for greater recognition of the equal rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people?

Listen, We Need to Talk tests a new theory, what Brian Harrison and Melissa Michelson call The Theory of Dissonant Identity Priming, about how to change people's attitudes on controversial topics. Harrison and Michelson conducted randomized experiments all over the United States, many in partnership with equality organizations, including Equality Illinois, Georgia Equality, Lambda Legal, Equality Maryland, and Louisiana's Capital City Alliance. They found that people are often willing to change their attitudes about LGBT rights when they find out that others with whom they share an identity (for example, as sports fans or members of a religious group) are also supporters of those rights-particularly when told about support from a leader of the group, and particularly if they find the information somewhat surprising.

Fans of the Green Bay Packers football team were influenced by hearing that a Packers Hall-of-Famer is a supporter of LGBT rights. African Americans were influenced by hearing that the Black president of the United States is a supporter. Religious individuals were influenced by hearing that a religious leader is a supporter. And strong partisans were influenced by hearing that a leader of their party is a supporter. Through a series of engaging experiments and compelling evidence, Listen, We Need to Talk provides a blueprint for thinking about how to bring disparate groups together over contentious political issues.




Monday, April 24, 2017

Art Contest!

Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno 2017 Ramadan Art Contest

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Deadline for Submissions: Monday, June 12, 2017 | Winners announced Friday, June 23, 2017 – The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno’s 2017 Ramadan Art Contest theme has been announced! This year’s theme is: “Celebrating Our Nation’s Immigrants & Refugees.” Prizes for winning submissions range from $500 - $1,500! Winning art will be labeled and displayed at the Center indefinitely!

Monday, April 10, 2017

GLAAD Awaards Vote Now: Comedy Series

The ceremoney isn't until May, but we can agure about our favorites right now!

We already talked about which movie should win 

Next up: Outstanding Comedy Series! 

Sound off in the comments... which show deserves the win?



Brooklyn Nine-Nine




Crazy Ex-Girlfriend




Grace and Frankie




Modern Family




One Mississippi




The Real O'Neals



Steven Universe




Survivor's Remorse



Take My Wife


Scholarship Opportunities for LGBT Students

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The Point Community College Program inspires LGBTQ community college students to fulfill their ambitions of attending a four-year college or university.

Students accepted into the program will receive up to a $3,700 tuition scholarship, admissions counseling, coaching and financial education at the Point Community College Transfer Symposium in Los Angeles, and access to the Point Foundation network of LGBTQ scholars, more than 300 alumni, and many others dedicated to seeing LGBTQ students succeed.


WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY TO THE POINT COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROGRAM?

Point Foundation requires the following for applications to be considered:

Must be enrolled or intending to enroll at an accredited community college in based in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, in the fall of 2017
Must be in the final year of community college and intending to transfer to a four-year college or university for fall 2018 admission
Must be “out” as a person who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community


We consider many factors when evaluating scholarship applicants, including:

Financial need or independence
Personal history
Academic achievement
Community involvement and work experience (The Fresno LGBT Community Center always needs interns and volunteers!)


Friday, April 7, 2017

CALL FOR BI WRITERS

CALL FOR WRITING FOR BI WOMEN QUARTERLY

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Summer 2017: Trauma & Healing
Recent data indicates bi+ women experience significantly higher rates of intimate partner and sexual violence than either straight- or lesbian-identified women. What’s going on? Help us learn more about the impact of intimate partner and sexual violence on bi+ women and how to address it – through opinion pieces, research, personal stories, poetry, fiction, artwork and photography.
Submissions for this issue are due by May 1st.


Fall 2017: Coming Out Stories
“Speaking of bisexuality (which we weren’t), that’s how I identify. Please pass the salt.” Please share – through prose, poetry, artwork or fiction – a coming out story. Funny, poignant, tragic, surprising, or heartwarming stories – all are welcome!
Submissions for this issue are due by August 1st.


Submission guidelines (and current and back issues of BWQ can be found at http://www.biwomenboston.org

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Texas, A "Stolen" Presidency, and Divrsity

Deep in the heart of Texas.... controversy about a student body election.

Here is the breakdown of facts.

Texas A&M student Robert McIntosh won the election by more than 750 votes, but he was disqualified by the school's election commission over accusations that he neglected to include a donation of glow sticks in his campaign finance report.

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The mishap handed the victory to junior Bobby Brooks, who became the school's first openly gay student body president.

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According to his lawyers, McIntosh has filed a petition to investigate the reasons for his disqualification.

Here is why this is national news.

Rick Perry, our country's Energy Secretary, former Texas governor, and Texas A&M alum, took time off from trying to dismantle the EPA and recently wrote a detailed column criticizing the student election.

In his column, Perry said he was initially proud to see an openly gay man elected but later concluded the election was "stolen."

"Brooks' presidency is being treated as a victory for 'diversity.' It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for 'diversity' is the real reason the election outcome was overturned," Perry wrote, going on to ask if the outcome would have been the same had McIntosh "been a minority student instead of a white male."

Why would a US Cabinet member care so much about a student election? Some point to McIntosh's father, Republican fundraiser Alison McIntosh while others just see this as yet another circus of distraction in an already controversal presidental term.

For his part, Brooks was suprised by the attention, "There’s very consistently election-related drama at all universities around this nation," Brooks said. "I’m just very curious as to why Secretary Perry would decide to weigh in for the first time on an election that involved the first openly gay [student body president]."

Brooks has also responded with an open invitation to Perry for a sit down to discuss higher education since he apparently has so much extra time on his hands.

Alsomst 3400 people have signed a letter of support asking perry to meet with Brooks through a petition on GLAAD's website.





Source 1 and Source 2

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Barry Manilow: Out at 73.

At the age of 73, Barry Manilow has come out as gay acknowlding his over 40 year relationship with his manager. The wo married in 2014.

Congradulations Barry! Welcome to the Rainbow.





For those of you wondering who Barry is...



Barry Manilow (born Barry Alan Pincus; June 17, 1943) is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, musician, and producer with a career that has spanned over 50 years. He is best known for a long string of hit recordings such as "Mandy", "Can't Smile Without You", and "Copacabana (At the Copa)".

He has recorded and released 47 Top 40 singles, including 12 that hit number one and 27 of which appeared within the top ten, and has released many multi-platinum albums. He is ranked as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time, according to R&R (Radio & Records) and Billboard magazines, and Rolling Stone crowned him "a giant among entertainers… the showman of our generation."[2][3] Manilow has been praised by several well-known entertainers, including Sinatra, who was quoted in the 1970s saying, "He's next." In 1988, Bob Dylan stopped Manilow at a party, hugged him and said, "Don't stop what you're doing, man. We're all inspired by you."[4]

As well as producing and arranging albums for other artists, including Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick, Manilow has written songs for musicals, films, and commercials. From February 2005 to December 2009, he was the headliner at the Las Vegas Hilton, performing hundreds of shows before ending his relationship with the hotel. Since March 2010, he has headlined at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. He has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.[5]



Note: When and IF you come out, always remember your safety is priority number one. GCV is here to help, visit the Fresno LGBT Community Center or give us a call. 

Calling All LGBT Businesses!


Gay Central Valley is proud to be working with the California Department of Insurance, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, and the Insurance Diversity Task Force to support our Fresno/Clovis/Central Valley LGBT owned businesses and business organizations / associations/entities who advocate and support the LGBT community.

Is that you? We want to work with you, add you to our resources, and partner together to provide a growing community of visability and empowerment to the Central Valley LGBT+ community. Please contact us to find out how we can best work together.

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Community Awareness!

SB 488 (authored by Senator Bradord and sponsored by the EQCA, was introduced in February of 2017. It expands existing law to include LGBT-owned and veteran-owned businesses as diverse categories, codifies the governing board diversity survey, and extends the survey to January 1, 2025.

We will continue to update you on laws and that affect you!










would appreciate a letter of support for SB 488 (authored by Senator Bradford and sponsored by EQCA) from your organization and from any Fresno-Clovis Area LGBT owned businesses, Veteran owned businesses, and the business organizations/associations/entities who advocate and support them.

Moving Ahead with LGBT Protections



Breaking News from our friends at Freedom For All Americans

In a major victory for the LGBT non-discrimination movement, last night the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals became the highest court in the nation to ever find that discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal under federal law!

It’s one of the most significant wins for LGBT equality in years – and it’s based on the increasing understanding held nationally that discriminating against someone because of who they love or who they are is wrong.

This case was brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of Kimberly Hively, a brave woman who shared her story and took her employer to court after being fired for kissing her then-girlfriend in the parking lot of where she worked.

Thank You Kimberly

Only twenty states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico have statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discriminationin employment in the public and private sector. Hopefully this ruling will help protect LGBT citizens in the more than half the states that offer no such protections.

To learn more and find out how you can help, visit FFAA here.




GLAAD Awards Vote Now! (Movie)

It's here!

The "Oh I meant to watch that!"  GLAAD Awards nominee list is out and while the winners won't be announced until May, we can definitely celebrate (binge!) now!

See the full list HERE!


Sound off in our comments.. who deserves to win?

First up:

Outstanding Film (wide release)

Star Trek Beyond or Moonlight?





Tuesday, April 4, 2017

INTERVIEW: Aidan Park



Aidan Park is a Comic and Actor originally from San Francisco and now based in Los Angeles.

Aidan performs comedy at some of the most respected comedy clubs in Hollywood including Comedy Store, Hollywood Improv and has a monthly show "COMEDY REALNESS" at the Hollywood Laugh Factory as well as Laugh Factory Long Beach. Aidan tours all over the country headlining for respected comedy clubs, fundraisers, parades.

Aidan is also an actor and proud member of Actor's Equity Association and Screen Actor's Guild. His Tv/Film appearances include Comedy Central, Tosh.0, NBC, TV Guide Channel, and Hulu TV. 


Aidan will be appearing in Fresno this Friday, April 7th, at the Galleria Building, 2405 Capitol Street, Fresno, CA 93721. 559-470-3306. 


 

What's your favorite subject as a comedian?

Reality television definitely! How can you NOT make fun of reality TV? There is so much fodder as there are lots of people doing ridiculous things!!

Just how much does the current administration help you and your fellow comedians these days and who is your favorite "character" in the White House?

I have to say I TRRRYYYYY to avoid political humor because a lot of comics do it. But I did have to make a bit about the "pussy grabbing" incident! I think my favorite character in the White House is Melania cause she DOES NOT GIVE A DAMN. I'd be mad too if I thought I was marrying into money and all of a sudden I had to be a role model for all Americans... PUH LEEZE

Which comedians do you turn to when you need a good laugh?

I've always looked up to Margaret Cho! We are both from San Francisco, Korean, Queer and I got to do a show with her a few months back! So I would say I listen to her when I need a good laugh.

What's the worse travel experience you've had when you're touring?

Okay so I was in Salem, Oregon... Our motel had HUUGE BEDBUGS I was eaten alive. When I went to complain to the lobby in the middle of the night, I was informed that there were NO OTHER ROOMS available. So then I called corporate HQ (Comfort inn) to see if I can find another hotel to stay... The nearest one was 60 miles away and they told me to drive there and stay for the night... When we checked in the Clerk said.. "umm can you check your stuff to make sure you are not tracking those things in" I COULD HAVE CLOCKED HIM.

Then the next morning, we were kicked out (we were supposed to be there for 2 days) because THAT hotel was full, and also apparently it was the "fancy" brand of hotels... so we were charged for the difference!

So then I decided to use to opportunity to "see the sights of Salem" and it RAINED SO HARD. I was wet all day and had to change in the car.. That was pretty bad.

How does your childhood influence your comedy?


Tons! I was born in Korea, moved into section 8 housing of san francisco, being gay in an inner-city school that was fun...

How have you seen the state of LGBT comedy change?

Lucky for me I started standup comedy in 2012 so I didn't experience a lot of backlash or any kind of discrimination... I am SUPER grateful to those gay comics and lgbt rights activists who have paved the way for people like me to be who I want to be! It is a good time to be gay indeed... Yes the whole Trump admin is a setback but there have always been setbacks and we always come back stronger than ever!!

If you could be invisible and listen in to any conversation in the world, who would you want to share a room with?

You know what? I would like to listen in on when Kim Jong Un of North Korea and find out his food allergies so i can find a way to kill that terrible man. I know... Dark...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

INTERVIEW: Jenny Yang & Disoriented Comedy




I reached out to Jenny Yang for an interview regarding this weekend’s comedy show at the Tower Theater. Disoriented Comedy happens this Saturday, April 1st, at the Tower Theater in the Tower District. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7PM


 What is motivating your comedy right now? I'm motivated to share my story and the stories of those I know and love now more than ever. We can't stop centering our stories while our rights and humanity are under attack from politics. It is our art that will remind others of our humanity. 

Does the new administration demand a cut for all they’re handing over to comedians these days? Honestly, if we had it our way, most comedians would rather there be less drama in politics so we can focus on what matters most - our dating and sex jokes. 


Which comedians make you laugh? Cristela Alonzo, Maria Bamford, Marques Rey, Jim Gaffigan, Ali Wong and of course my fellow compatriots at Disoriented Comedy (disorientedcomedy.com), Atsuko Okatsuka, and D'Lo. 

What’s the best experience you’ve had on stage? Every experience is the best experience. Seriously. It's always an honor to share space with people. 

Any strange run ins with fans? I was recognized by a University of Illinois college student when I was in a small city in China last year. We took a selfie. It freaked both of us out. 

Can we expect some LGBT content this year? We are loving that Kat Evasco is representing the LGBT stories this year. She's a stellar comedian and storyteller from the Bay Area and we are so thrilled to have her in Fresno. 

 

What’s next for you?

I'm writing and producing more of my own comedy content. So much writing. Also doing lots of college and conference speaking and performing. And I'm running our 3rd annual The Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival in Los Angeles at the end of September! It's essentially an Asian American comedy festival it's magnificent (http://comedycomedyfest.com). 


Where can we see you online? My website is http://jennyyang.tv. I'm always online and ready to chat on Twitter (http://twitter.com/jennyyangtv), Facebook (http://facebook.com/jennyyangtv), and Instagram (http://instagram.com/jennyyangtv).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

EVENT: Senior Scam Stoppers

For our LGBT Seniors and their loved ones...

FREE Senior Scam Stopper Seminar to give seniors the tools to protect themselves from predatory actions and fraud.

Seniors, their families and caregivers are invited to attend to learn fact and tips that help reduce chances of becoming a victim of fraud

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Thursday March 23rd
530-730 pm

Forkner Elementary School (Cafeteria)
7120 North Valentine Avenue

More info at 559-600-2000

This FREE seminar is being held in collaboration with Contractors State License Board, Fresno County Sheriff's Dept, and Fresno / Madera agency on Aging

Saturday, March 11, 2017

EVENT: Disoriented Comedy @Tower Theater

MEETING: Fresno Stonewall Democrats

Monday, March 6, 2017

EVENT Faith In Fresno House Meeting



A lot has happened since the last meeting. Let's get together, eat some food, and talk about the progress we have been able to make!

Topics may include:
The status of creating sanctuary spaces
Rapid Response Team Training
The Recinding of the Title 9 Guidelines
And Much More!

This is an Interfaith Event: We welcome all people of all walks of faith, including those who have none! As with the last meeting, This will be a safe space for folks to talk about their experiences.

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

Thursday, March 2, 2017

FREE MOVIE: Political Animals



The College of Social Sciences Presents

"Political Animals" -- a documentary about four Lesbian representatives who fought for equal rights and authored laws that changed the course of history.

With special guest in attendance: Hon. Carole Migden

Mon. March 6, 2017 • 3:30pm
North Gym 118 • Free admission

Co-presented by:
California Faculty Association • Fresno State's LGBT+ Allies Network

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

Monday, February 27, 2017

INTERVIEW: Eliza Gibson Returns to The Rogue Festival






Bravo 25, a show by Eliza Gibson, will be at The Rogue Festival here in Fresno’s Tower District, at Mia Cuppa CafĂ©, March 3-11th. See the Facebook Event Page HERE. For dates and times check out the Facebook page or visit roguefestival.com  



Tell us about your history with The Rogue Festival in Fresno.

I premiered my last show, And Now, No Flip Flops?! at the Rogue Festival two years ago. People in Fresno are so friendly, great audiences, and the festival is an incredible opportunity to see shows and spend time with other solo performers. As I was getting Bravo 25 on its feet, I knew Fresno would be the place to come back to for its first run. Getting to perform at the historic Tower Theatre for the teaser show is incredible - such a beautiful, huge auditorium. I can't wait to have lunch at the Chicken Pie Shop!

What motivates you to perform? Where does your passion lie? 

The challenge and excitement of being totally present on stage and connected to an audience keeps me coming back for more. Good live theatre is magic - a world we get to inhabit that makes us think, feel and see things differently. And hopefully crack up at the absurdity of being human. I love embodying multiple characters, discovering how they move, how they feel and how they respond to each other. In Bravo 25, the hero is Lil Bit, a high functioning developmentally disabled adult who has recently lost her best friend, Cowboy.

Tell us about your new show, Bravo 25. What can people expect?

The first computer therapist was named Eliza (what a coincidence!). She was developed in the sixties. You can google her now and have a typewritten conversation. She’s not the best therapist. There are better A.I. therapists now. And Bravo 25 stars one of them. Her name is Amber. She’s running a support group for six humans. One of the humans is Cheryll, who is looking for an AA meeting. Cheryll is named after a Budget customer service rep who told me at 7 a.m. one morning, not-so-fresh off a red eye at the Logan Airport: “Now listen, you go out there and have some fun today.” Lil Bit is there, too, for support with her stages of grief. And Jeremy, Marsha, Tony and Victoria, a polyamorous lesbian who cannot wait for Amber to become Superintelligent. Life as we know it will change forever!

What do you hope people walk away from your show thinking about?

I hope people will take a moment to wonder about our relationship to technology. Is Artificial Intelligence helping us or hurting us? Can we forgive someone who is dead? What about someone who isn’t dead? Can we forgive an A.I. avatar?

What's next for you as a performer?

I’ll be performing Bravo 25 later this spring and summer in San Francisco and Hollywood. I intend to wear my orange glasses as much as possible. Orange is for success.