Saturday, July 29, 2017

GCV Board Of Directors Announces Cease Of Operations








Gay Central Valley Board Of Directors Announces Cease Of Operations


July 29th, 2017

Gay Central Valley officially formed as a nonprofit in January of 2009. Prior to that, we were a group of Central Valley websites run by volunteers from their homes. Once we were granted official 501c3 status by the IRS, Gay Central Valley forged ahead with a force, opening the first LGBT Community Center in Fresno in 20 years as one of our first projects. The Community Center opened officially in January of 2010 and has been going strong ever since.

Led by Chris Jarvis, a veteran LGBT rights activist, Gay Central Valley has faced an uphill battle from the start. Issues such as funding, staffing, volunteer / leadership changes and our ongoing philosophy of an all-volunteer organization (where no one receives compensation and all money raised is funneled back into the community) presented ongoing challenges.

Keeping a community center open to the public for 5-6 days a week for seven years is a massive accomplishment in itself. But we didn’t stop there; we have done so much more. From countless outreach events, over a hundred support group meetings, and spearheading unique projects like the first ever Central Valley Transgender Clothing Closet and the international awareness program The Rainbow Delegation, Gay Central Valley continued to expand itself to match the ever changing needs of the Fresno LGBT community.

Running a community center with a 24 hour phone line, supporting and mentoring another center in a city an hour away, creating and providing social and political events and actions, participating and partnering with other organizations, publishing and updating websites and blogs, training others in cultural competency, and hosting the most successful one day LGBT fundraiser in Fresno history (NO H8 2012) has been both an honor and a privilege.

We have been successful year after year. Board members and volunteer staffs have come and gone, but through all the changes and the challenges, we’ve persevered. Our primary foundation has been to serve the LGBT community.

Now, we’re announcing a change.

Gay Central Valley will be closing the Fresno LGBT Community Center as of August 1st, 2017. The organization itself will cease operations by the end of the year.


This decision did not come easily. Long time board members have regularly discussed how best to use resources and support the community at large, how to move forward, what the scope is for coming years, etc. Volunteers have come and gone and the board has been rebuilt many times with different goals and focuses.

This trailblazing organization and its Board of Directors are proud of the hurdles we’ve jumped and the lives we’ve saved. After a long and difficult thought process, we find that now is the right time for this change. This is the time for us to pass the baton to the next group or organization that is willing to take up the challenge. We sincerely hope that vital works such as a community center, The Rainbow Delegation, and Cultural Competency Training Outreach will be taken on by other local organizations.

While the organization itself is shutting down, those of us who have worked for Gay Central Valley over the years remain available to provide assistance and support where it is needed, although in a different fashion. Our phone number and websites will remain available for a period of time. While we are stepping away from the organization, we want to assure everyone that we are not stepping away from the community.

Chris Jarvis and Kaylia Metcalfe-Armstrong, the longest running leaders of the organization, want to thank all those that have given their time, energy, passion and dedication to this organization over its run. You served the community and provided access to resources that literally saved lives. We appreciate each and every one of you. This organization could never have had the kind of success it’s had without each one of your voices.

To our volunteers that have staffed the LGBT Community Center for almost eight years, our words fail us. You have been the front lines of this LGBT effort in Fresno and have made a safe place for all those reaching out for help. You have made an incredible difference in people’s lives. We hope that the volunteer opportunities we have provided you have started you on a lifelong path of service to others, as it has us.

And to our local community, which has embraced and supported us for so long, what can we say? Your financial contributions, emotional and social support and your very presence have allowed us the freedom to do the difficult and time consuming day-to-day work to provide access and support for others, to give them a voice and to raise them up to the equality and recognition that they deserve.

We can’t thank you enough.

Our final contribution to the LGBT community as Gay Central Valley will be as follows:

GROUPS

Our facilitated groups will continue to have access to the Center through September 1st.

INVENTORY

We will be donating the inventory of the Fresno LGBT Community Center to those people and organizations who are working to help the community in Fresno and the Central Valley. Our inventory includes, but is not limited to, hardware, appliances, furniture, office supplies, books, media, clothing, event supplies, pride supplies, artwork, holiday supplies.

FINANCIAL

Gay Central Valley will be donating financially to other nonprofits (501c3 designation) in Fresno that support the LGBT Community.. We will consider all those who apply.

REQUESTS

Those who would like to request inventory items or financial donations should email us at info@gaycentralvalley.org . We invite request letters for financial support or inventory until August 15th. We plan to empty out the community center by the end of August and will work with organizations in terms of item pick up.



GAY CENTRAL VALLEY

Gaycentralvalley.org

Facebook.com/gaycentralvalley

559-325-4429 FRESNO LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

EVENT / INTERVIEW w LGBT Musician Lindsay White




INTERVIEW WITH MUSICIAN LINDSAY WHITE,
BY HALEY WHITE


I am a little biased about the music of Lindsay White, being that she is my little sister and I’ve heard most of her songs in their development stages and been to hundreds and hundreds of her live shows and, you know, have a secret sister language with her and all. Although it’s hard for me to contain my excitement over the hype of her new album and the adjoining tour that’s going to bring her to the stage at Full Circle Brewing Company in Fresno on Wednesday night, I’m going to try my best to be an unbiased interviewer. Oh yeah, I’m from Fresno. That part might be important for you to know.


ME: Let’s sit at the dining table in order to be professional.

LINDSAY: OK.

ME: You have to pretend I’m just a regular journalist and not your sister.

LINDSAY: OK.

ME: I don’t have a real recorder so let’s pretend that this Anker phone charger is a microphone and you can direct your answers into it.

LINDSAY: Ummm… take can I take a picture of you holding that?

ME: That’s a weird thing to a journalist, but alright. 

She takes the picture and continues playing on your phone.


ME: Ahem. Are you ready to begin?

LINDSAY: One sec.

ME:  Why are you playing on your phone during an interview? It’s very rude.

LINDSAY: I’m posting the picture I took on my Patreon group.

ME: What’s a Patreon group?

LINDSAY: My Patreon group is a collective of my super fans. They named themselves “Lindsay’s Corner” because I like to box and they like to support me. Not my boxing. My music. Does that make sense?

ME: Yes, they support your music career, not your boxing career.

LINDSAY: Correct. There are tiered levels, depending on how much you donate, and there are different rewards people can earn for each category and a private Facebook group where I post all my behind the scenes tour stuff.

ME: Speaking of tour, who’s the best tour partner in the word?

LINDSAY: Is every question gonna be about you?

ME: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I didn’t know you would go with me as an answer. That’s just a coincidence. Let’s talk about your album.

LINDSAY: That’s not a question.

ME: Will you tell me about your new album and what it was liking writing and recording it?


LINDSAY: The new album is called “Lights Out” and it sort of naturally morphed around the concept of grief, since that is what I’ve come to know so well in the process of recording it. After losing my grandpa and my mom-

ME: Sorry for your loss-

LINDSAY: And also with you. After losing my grandpa and mom, I started looking at loss differently. The older I get, the more I realize how big a role it can play in the person you become and how you treat other people. So the record reflects that.


ME: Talk to me about the first track on the record.

LINDSAY: The first track is called “Surrogate” and it’s a tribute to my sissy. It was a fun journey from start to finish because it originated as a very personal song written for you-

ME: Be Professional!

LINDSAY: Fine! For MY SISTER. For Haley! But it took on an anthemic quality when we decided the concept for the video would be a series of sister videos submitted by friends and fans.


ME: Well, you sound very lucky to have such a supportive, loving, awesome sister. I have heard that you also had a supportive, loving, awesome grandfather. Word on the streets is his name was Poppa.

LINDSAY: Yes, Poppa Bill. He died a few years ago, and being that we were really close, I wanted to honor him on this album. The song “Rubberband Gun is inspired by his love story with my grandma.”

ME: Excuse me. Don’t you mean your Granny?

LINDSAY: Yes, my Granny. Poppa was one of the best men I’ve ever known. One of the lines in the song captures my feelings about him completely, “He left me a lesson that kindest is best/you can survive a hard life with no enemies”.  That’s the kind of guy he was.

ME: I can’t imagine anyone hating Poppa. I mean. I’m guessing. From what I’ve heard about him from you.

LINDSAY: I don’t think anybody did.

ME: Anyway, on to the gay stuff! You just got married last year to your partner Audrie. I know you talk about marriage a couple times on the album. First let’s talk about “Colder Feet”.

LINDSAY: That’s the oldest song on the album. I wrote it back when I came out and got divorced from my then-husband. It’s basically an apology to him for making such a huge decision that altered his life before I really understood myself fully and the long term repercussions of my actions. I think a lot of people in the LGBTQ community can identify, especially those who came out later in life.

ME: What’s your favorite lyric from that song? Mine favorite visualization is “Two toothbrushes in a coffee cup, there’s just one now”. It paints such a specific, intimate piece of a break up.

LINDSAY: I think the most important part of that song to me is the chorus.

(We sing the following lines together)

“I just want to tell you one last thing/you were my shoulder, my best friend/
I wish I could have saved you from this pain/which my feet were colder back then”

ME: Now tell me a little about the song “Not A Boy”.

LINDSAY: I wrote “Not A Boy” as a letter to Audrie’s parents, who refused to acknowledge our relationship or even meet me. They, along with my mother, did not attend the wedding and I know, Audrie especially, struggled with her parents absence. I respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they want but at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to fathom not wanting to see your child happy. So that’s what the song’s about. There is no metaphor happening, it’s very direct: “You won’t know her joy, hear her vow. I am not a boy, that changes things somehow.”

ME: Yeah, I think that song is going to be really popular. Unfortunately lots of people will probably identify with the lyrics. So…let’s see. Losing your mom kinda sucks, huh?

LINDSAY: Yeah, do you know about that?

ME: A lil’ bit.  So, there are actually a few songs on the new album about Mama White- your mother’s scientific name. They’re heartbreaking. Which one breaks your heart the most?

LINDSAY: At this stage in my grief, “Lights Out” resonates with me most.

ME: That’s funny cause dad- I’m mean YOUR dad- can’t listen to “Deep Dark Down”. What about “Lights Out” hits so hard?

LINDSAY: Whereas “Deep Dark Down” poses a lot of questions leading up to mom’s death, “Lights Out” at least feels more resolved in my heart. The line “Everything’s different with the lights out” has become a sort of mantra for the way I want to live my life moving forward. Our relationship and her death reminds me on a daily basis how short life is, how important love is, and how silly the rest of it is.

ME: True dat.

Lindsay smiles, cause that’s one of our mom’s old sayings.

ME: So. “Surrogate”, I’ve heard is your favorite song on the album. I’m partial to it, however I feel like I identify with “My Beast” and “The Lighthouse” on a personal level, like if you weren’t my sister those are definitely songs I feel I understand from an emotional perspective, since I deal with anxiety and depression. Let’s talk about how your mental health plays a role in your writing.

LINDSAY: I’ve always struggled, with anxiety in particular, ever since I was a wee lass. I can’t speak for everyone but my experience with anxiety is one that propels me and paralyzes me at the same time. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to be a high-functioning doer. However, that pressure often morphs into fear which holds me back and results in a lot of self-destructive thinking. “My Beast” speaks to how we’re usually our own worst enemy on any given day. And “The Lighthouse” addresses how creating a facade of stability can actually result in severe depression.

ME: Heavy stuff. Let’s talk about something fun. You’re having your album release party in Fresno on Wednesday night at Full Circle Brewing Company downtown. What are you most looking forward to about performing in Fresno?

LINDSAY: It’s been many years since I performed solo in the Valley and I always look forward to seeing family, old friends and classmates (Lindsay grew up in Corcoran, CA). I keep up with a lot of them on social media but it’s not the same of being able to have actual face-to-face conversations.

ME: Who else is sharing the stage with you that night?

LINDSAY: Patrick Nalty is opening. I love his voice; it’s so smooth and soulful. Then Richfield is closing. They’re this great Americana band, led by Ted Nunes. Everyone’s local. Everyone’s cool. I’m excited to play on a bill with them and also get to see some friendly faces in the crowd.



ME: I’ll see if I’m busy on Wednesday. I might be able to pencil you in.

Lindsay wrinkles her nose.

ME: Thanks for letting me interview you.

LINDSAY: Thanks FOR interviewing me, sissy!



Sunday, July 9, 2017

INTERVIEW: Sara Regan



Written by Rocky Walker


Sara Regan is the founder of the business "All Families Doula Services", a doula service with an adamant belief of inclusivity of all types of families, queer or otherwise. Earlier this week I got to sit her down so I could gain more insight about her and her business...

What in your words is a doula?

A doula is someone who helps and supports families as they start the journey into parenthood. There are different types of doulas, there are birth doulas which help with the process leading up to birth as well as the birth itself, and there are post-partem doulas which help with the process after the birth.

What led you to this career path?

A couple years ago I had this "health thing" which really made me reevaluate my life; I realized how short life was and I just really wanted to do something that made me happy. I've always loved babies, I'm really passionate about newborns and child development; I even majored in child development in school, and when I had my son a few years ago I got really interested in pregnancy so I started researching everything. So when I had that "what am I doing with my life " moment I started thinking to myself, "I need to do something that I love, so what makes me the happiest?," and the first thing that came to mind was babies so I thought " I'm just going to do it".

What is your belief behind the use of doulas, Why is it necessary for birth and the people involved?

Well birth is really medicalized now; in our culture we treat birth like its something to "get through" as if it's an illness and its really not, its one of the most natural things there is. So one, it's nice to have someone there that knows that and understands that we can go through this. Second of all when you go into the hospital to have the baby there are so many different providers and people involved, typically women don’t know the doctor or nurses delivering the baby; so it's nice to have a doula that’s been there the entire time, someone that you know and that knows how to relax and help you.

Are you exclusive to being a birth doula, a post-partem doula, or do you tackle the responsibilities of both?

I tackle the responsibilities of both.

What does being a doula entail altogether?

Well it's a lot *laughs* it really depends on the client and what they want. We really try to support them in a way that fits for them. Its very individualized.

So, you and your wife have a child together, did you guys use the assistance of a doula during that process?

We did not. I didn’t think I'd need a doula, but honestly I wasn’t as educated about doulas as I am now. If I'd known then what I know now I probably would have made different decisions, but I feel like I made the best choices with the information that I had at the time.

What in your opinion, is the most rewarding aspect of being a doula?

There's so much, really it’s the feeling of facilitating something as sacred and beautiful as the beginning of life. It’s when two people are at one of their most vulnerable times in their life, just being there to support someone through that; the love in that moment is very contagious, its unlike anything in the entire world.

When and how did your business, All Families Doula Services, start?

About a year ago, I started it myself. I studied to learn how to be a doula, and went through doula training to become a certified doula, and about a month after that I started my business. I pretty much had no idea(in terms of starting a business) what I was doing so I started with a Facebook page and started getting involved in the doula and birth professional community as to better myself and my business.

Just how long are you usually someone's doula, or does it differ from person to person?

It differs from person to person, I've had people call me a week before their due date because they're panicking, and I've had people who are only 12 or 13 weeks pregnant want to hire me. Typically if it’s a birth client they’ll hire me around 20 to 28 weeks. They see me a couple times and then I'm their for the birth, however long it takes, then I stay after the birth to get them situated, then I follow up about a week later to see how they're doing and help with breastfeeding and issues like that, but then again it differs from client to client; some like a lot of follow up and some are good to go on their own.

How long after the birth do you guys usually maintain close contact?

Again it depends on the client, some clients you just bond with in a way where there's a connection where they want to become your friend, while some clients see it as more of a professional relationship, and only contact you when they need help or assistance.

How does a doula benefit the partner of the one giving birth?

Well it depends... really on how scared they are. If they're really anxious we can help and calm them down, and if they have it handled we can be there to support their partner, where we focus on the partner and all they have to focus on is loving them. We really enable them to remain calm and enjoy the birth so when they look back on it it’s a beautiful experience they can remember.

I know that your business, All Families Doula Services, is very centered around inclusivity of all styles of families; have you noticed other doulas not really care for domestic partnerships?

Yeah sadly I have, I've noticed some doulas that aren't welcoming to different demographics, but I've also seen other doulas that are just fabulous when it comes to catering to the community. I personally just like to be super loud and actively finding that community, and bring them to me so they know that they're okay.

Over the duration of our interview Sara constantly displayed her passion and love for not only childbirth but also helping other people. She is actually trying to start a nonprofit, at the moment, to help pregnant teens and women of color. If you'd like to contact her for her doula services you can reach her at: http://www.allfamiliesdoula.com/ .

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Patriotic Strawberries! June 30th-July 4th


Reserve your Strawberries for pick up- a dozen or more (or local delivery for 2 dozen or more).

Perfect for BBQ celebrations or just because!

Choose from:
Patriotic Strawberries (white chocolate dipped with blue sugar) for $20/dozen
Or Stars and Stripes Strawberries (white chocolate dipped with red stripes and blue stars) for $25/dozen


FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

CAROLINE'S CREATIONS PAGE HERE 

Friday, June 16, 2017

REVIEW: Fresno Screening of Raising Zoey


Written by Rocky Walker

June 12th was the Fresno screening of the documentary, "Raising Zoey", directed by Dante Alencastre. This documentary displays the harrowing tale of Zoey Luna , a transgender activist, and her families journey through the treacherous landscape of growing up as a transgender individual in a society that isn't as accepting as it should be.

When she was younger, as young as preschool age, her family knew that she didn't fit the mold of the traditional boy; unbeknownst to them at the time that behavior was because she never really was a boy. Sadly, Zoey's father passed away before she was able to unveil her gender to him. When Zoey finally revealed her true self to her family, her mother Ofelia, her older sister Leticia(Letty), and her older brother Javier, her mother and older sister met her with love and support whilst also fearing for her safety; while her brother was hesitant at first he came around and gave her the love and support she needs and deserves. Although her family was supportive not everybody was, at school she was bullied and isolated because she was "different"; she was treated unfairly not only by her peers but also by the faculty, this even went as far as a teacher calling her "disgusting". 

When Ofelia went to the school to talk about this incident they brought up her daughters behavior and, basically said that she can't be open about her gender or she'd be reprimanded in the form of an expulsion. Ofelia gained the assistance of the ACLU to help her combat the transphobia her daughter was met with. In the end they made the decision for Zoey to change schools, for they thought that it would be the best decision at the time. As Zoey grew older she gained friends along with the confidence she needed to be the energetic extrovert she is. Along her journey she's become a trans activist; with participating in L.A pride and other events for the LGBTQ+ community as well as being a part in the documentary "The T Word" alongside Laverne Cox. She truly has become a role model and inspiration for young transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.

In my opinion, the most important part of this movie is watching a family love and accept their daughter with no shame or apprehensions. The support Zoey gets from her mother is incredible and it's evident in her actions, from getting her daughter hormone treatments to going to groups for parents of transgendered individuals to even cutting people out of their lives for not accepting Zoey, I firmly believe that Ofelia would do anything for her daughter so she is happy with who she is. While coming out can be very hard and isolating it can also be a beautiful metamorphosis into ones true self with a support system like the one we've seen from Zoey's family.

After the screening of the film there was a Q&A with the director himself as well as Zoey Luna and her mother Ofelia:

Zoey has your life changed after making the film, and how are things now for you?

Zoey: My life has been pretty good, definitely changed because now I get to come out here, show my film and get to answer questions and I love doing that and it’s a big part of my career right now, so yeah its been a pretty big change.

My question is for Dante, as we know there are a lot of "Zoey's", so what pushed you to tell her story and work with her specifically?

Dante: Well yes we do have a lot of families that support their transgender and gender nonconforming kids now a days but when I saw Zoey and Ofelia in 2013 at the transgender day of remembrance in West Hollywood I was blown away, not just because of their courage but their was something very close to home, as I tell Ofelia, she reminds me of my mom she was very courageous and would do anything for her kid and I could tell Zoey was very grateful for that.

For Zoey, where do you see yourself in the future?

Zoey: Well I'm writing a film universe with different stories and plan on starting my youtube channel in two years when I'm 18.I definitely plan on getting behind the camera, writing and directing...so yeah just wait until I'm 18 and you'll see a whole new side of me.

When you got your first package of hormones what was the effect?

Zoey: I didn’t notice a change immediately except for my mood changed I felt like "yeah I'm a girl and you cant say otherwise".

You talked in the movie about other family members not accepting Zoey has any of that changed since the release of the documentary?

Ofelia: All of the family knew that Zoey was trans but just like most families its "be who you are just don’t show it". So when the transition happened some family members couldn’t deal with it so I got calls where they weren't ready, they could deal with it but not with her presenting herself as who she is . It has gotten better because I got to a point where I didn’t need to explain, be apologetic, or make them comfortable. I didn’t care anymore....this is what its going to be like.so we see them once in a while, and we love all of each other but its on our own terms now.

How did issues of race interplay into your coming out process?

Zoey: Definitely in the Hispanic community I've faced backlash because you're rather macho or feminine and there are a lot of gender roles that are deep-rooted into the culture.

Ofelia: Yeah being Hispanic I was raised a certain way and have a lot of different cultural beliefs so you're taught that theirs either black or white but there isn't ...there's so much more. It was definitely hard to abide against some of my beliefs and my families beliefs so it does play a big role in how you come out with your child because you do have to come out with your child.

Did you feel pressure to be very feminine?


Zoey: In a way, In the beginning I had ,in my own head, the belief that I had to be feminine or people wouldn’t see me as the girl I am...but I've always been very feminine anyways so it hasn't been too much of a problem.

Ofelia: I really don’t think that she had any pressure to be very feminine, that this has been her all along and this is who she's always wanted to be. She used to draw a lot and this beautiful person she's become is who she used to draw when she was younger.




EVENT: Hear Our Voices Postcard Campaign


 

Continuing the work started at the Women's March! We have a lot to say!! Be proud that we have already sent over 1,700 postcards to our legislators! Postcards are 10 for $4.00.

We are asking for a $5.00 per person donation for dinner which will be provided by Marsha and Marilyn. BYOB.

Please RSVP to Marsha Conant (559) 709-8016 conantm@aol.com or Patti Van Vleet (559) 288-7322pvanvleet@comcast.net.


Please forward this email to those you feel would be interested.


Facebook Event Page HERE

EVENT: Drag Queen Story Hour @ Common Space

 

Don't miss this truly one of a kind event...

Check out the Fresno Bee Article HERE...

Join us for Drag Queen Story Hour! This is an all ages, family friendly event where our local drag queens will read childrens books in the best way possible. Books being read (and only books now) will range from LGBT+ themed "An Then Came Tango" to classics like "Little Red Riding Hood."

Are you a local drag queen that would like to participate? Please email Dante Bellotta at dante@mylgbtplus.org.

Reading is FUNdamental :)


Common Space Facebook Page HERE

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

EVENT: Pride Visalia



PRIDE Visalia is a celebration of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance, not only for LGBT+ people, but for an entire community. The Source LGBT+ Center is proud to be a hub of resources, education, and support for our LGBT+ population. Our hope is that you can feel the LOVE we have for the city of Visalia and Tulare and Kings County. Food trucks and vendors, exhibits, entertainment, a Kid's Zone, education, outreach, but most of all YOU.

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

EVENT: Stockton LGBT+ Family Day



Join us for a fun day in the park with our LGBT+ families and friends. Free BBQ Lunch, open mic acts, kids activities and a Chili Cook-Off. This entire event is about Diverse Families and Kids! Bring the ones you love the most- the entire queer community is invited!

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

EVENT: Porterville Pride March




This will be the 1st official Pride March in Porterville. We will gather by the helicopter in Veterans Park at 9:30 am then at 10 am we will proceed east and follow the sidewalk around Veterans Park and the ajacent shopping center. We will gather again by the Helicopter to hear some speakers.

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

Monday, June 5, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS To Our Winners!



Thank you to everyone who entered our annual drawing at the Fresno Rainbow Pride Festival this year.

Here are our winners...

IDINA MENZEL TICKETS
Denise Harper
Lynda Wilkinson

PITBULL/ENRIQUE IGLESIAS TICKETS 
Dan Santillano

REEL PRIDE 2017 FILM FESTIVAL PASSES
Jennifer Husband
Dan Waterhouse

SAN FRANCISCO PRIDE BUS
Amber White

FRESNO PACKAGE
Shona Bailey

Thank you everyone, and we'll have more prizes at next year's event!

All proceeds benefit Gay Central Valley and the Fresno LGBT Community Center. 

Gay Central Valley is an official 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Survey for HIV Positive Community Members


Image result for rainbow group

Message from Aaron Samuel Breslow, an HIV activist and researcher at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is recruiting participants for a new community health survey studying the impacts of marginalization and empowerment on the lives of HIV-positive adults in the United States.

It would be great if folks in rural California could be involved in the project and share their stories.

The project is a simple 10-minute online survey capturing experiences of HIV-related marginalization, empowerment, and criminalization. People just have to click the link below and answer questions about their experiences. The aim is to understand how structural issues impact stigma and health, and to improve the lives of people living with HIV.

VISIT the Gay Central Valley Booth

Visit our booth at this Saturday's Fresno Rainbow Pride Festival...Check out our merchandise, take a Drag or Pride photo, and enter to win any one of these prizes...valued from $100-$500...!




Friday, May 26, 2017

Confirmed: Torture of Dozens of Gay Men in Chechnya



Content Note: abuse, torture, murder,

Image result for chechnya gay camps







Dozens of gay men have now been confirmed to have been subjected to horrific torture at the hands of the authoritarian regime of Chechnya’s autocratic leader, Ramzan Kadyrov , according to a new report issued Friday by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization.

"Law enforcement and security agencies under Kadyrov's de facto control have abducted people from homes, work places, and the streets, held them in secret locations, and carried out enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial executions, and collective punishment practices," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

First disclosed in a series of articles by the Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta early last month, gay men from this autonomous Russian Republic in the North Caucasus region have been disclosing to human rights campaigners as well as journalists from international media outlets the extent of their persecution.

All of the victims suffered repeated beatings," the HRW report says. "Security officials kicked them with booted feet, beat them with polypropylene pipes and sticks, and made other inmates beat them," mostly on the men’s buttocks and legs.

"They put you face down on the floor and beat you with pipes," one victim said. "They force other prisoners to carry on with the beating. Each man gets some 70 to 80 blows," the report continues. "And you literally turn black and blue from waist to toes."

The report also details use of electrocution devices to torture the victims. One man described a machine with a single knob and metal clips at the ends, which were attached to the victims' fingers, toes, and earlobes.

"They turn the knob, electric current hits you, and you start shaking," he said. "And they keep turning the hellish machine, and the pain is just insane. You scream and scream and you no longer know who you are. […] Finally, you faint, it all goes dark. But when you come to your senses, they start all over again. And once they’re done with you and you get your bearings, you hear other inmates screaming. The sounds of torture are just there all day, and at some point you start losing your mind."

According to the 29-page Human Rights Watch report along with the reporting from Novaya Gazeta, the initial "anti-gay purge" lasted from late February through to at least early April. The arrests and purge began during the last week of February after the arrest of a young gay man and LGBTQ human rights campaigner in the city of Argun, about 11 miles east of the Chechen capital city of Grozny, during the last week of February.

The Chechen authorities searched his mobile phone and after discovering "intimate photographs and messages" which disclosed his sexual orientation, they tortured him forcing him to reveal numerous of his gay friends and contacts.

"The police officials reported their findings to their superior, who apparently raised it with Magomed Daudov," the speaker of Chechnya’s parliament, HRW's report also disclosed.



Thursday, May 25, 2017

PRIDE Around the State.

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June is a BUSY month for us LGBT Californias!

First off... you probably know about our very own FRESNO: Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival June 4, 2016, 
10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Parade: 10 a.m., Festival: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free to attend parade. Festival $5 Fresno, Tower District (Olive & Wishon Avenues)
(559) 486-3464


Here are a few other dates and locations worth note!

SACRAMENTO June 3, 2017, 11 a.m. at Capitol Mall
sacramentopride.org

Sacramento Pride consists of a parade and festival. The parade is free and starts at 11:00am traveling towards the Capital along N Street between 3rd and 10th. The festival costs $10 per person (children five and under are free) and is located on Capitol Mall between 3rd and 7th streets and goes from 11am-5pm.


SANTA CRUZ Pride Parade, Festival June 4, 2017, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Parade at 11 a.m.
diversitycenter.org | santacruzpride.org
Annual Santa Cruz Pride PARADE and FESTIVAL
Parade: kicks off at 11 a.m., starts at Pacific Avenue and Church Street in downtown Santa Cruz. Ends at Cathart & Center
Festival: 11a.m.-4 p.m., Cathart & Cedar - Lincoln

SAN MATEO: Pride San Mateo County Without Borders June 10, 2017, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
facebook.com/PRIDEInitiativeSMCsmchealth.org/pride
Celebrate the annual San Mateo County Pride Festival at San Mateo Central Park with a fun-filled day of live music, family friendly activities, local art and merchandise, entertainment, and local resources. This is a family friendly, free event and everyone is welcome! Last year's theme was Pride without Borders: Embracing Culture and Diversity, which emphasizes the importance of recognizing how culture, race, marginalized sexual orientation, and gender identity overlap and affect our community. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Two-Spirited (LGBTQQI2S) Pride Celebration provides an opportunity for all communities to come together, learn from each other, and share a common experience.

WEST HOLLYWOOD L.A. Pride June 5-11, 2017 Parade Sunday 11 a.m.
lapride.org
Route: Santa Monica Boulevard – West Hollywood, Crescent Heights Blvd. to Robertson Blvd.
Parade: with over 400,000 participants, spectators and marchers, this emotionally charged experience, gathers together a colorful and diverse look at our creative community showcasing all that is great about the TLGB community. Attendees should plan to arrive early. Traffic will be closed on Santa Monica Blvd. between Fairfax Ave. and Doheny Dr. starting at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. Santa Monica Blvd. will re-open immediately at the end of the end of the Parade, which may be as late as 4:00 p.m.
2017 TBA | 2016 info: $45-125, 3 day pass
$25-up single day 

PRIDE VISALIA  June 24th 10-6pm 
300 E Oak Ave
PRIDE Visalia is a celebration of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance, not only for LGBT+ people, but for an entire community. The Source LGBT+ Center is proud to be a hub of resources, education, and support for our LGBT+ population. Our hope is that you can feel the LOVE we have for the city of Visalia and Tulare and Kings County. Food trucks and vendors, exhibits, entertainment, a Kid's Zone, education, outreach, but most of all YOU.
$5 admission 

SAN FRANCISCO Pride June 24-25, 2017
Parade is June 25, 2017, 10: 30 a.m.
sfpride.org
The Parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at Market & Beale and ends at Market & 8th Street in downtown San Francisco

Go to SF Pride with GCV! Our Pride Bus will take you there and back in saftey and comfort! Tickets on sale now!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

EVENT: Screening of "Raising Zoey"




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Fresno Building Healthy Communities is proud to present a special screening of "Raising Zoey" on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at Roosevelt High School, 4250 E. Tulare Avenue. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

"Raising Zoey", directed by Dante Alencastre, is the heartwarming story of a family faced with the insurmountable challenges of a youth’s gender transition.

Affecting the lives of countless kids, teenagers and even adults, 13 year-old trans activist Zoey Luna wants nothing more than to simply go to school, learn, have fun with her friends in Downey, CA. Unfortunately, ignorance and intolerance have not always made this easy. With the help of her mother Ofelia, her older sister Leticia and the ACLU, Zoey fought school officials for her right to self-identify in school. Even in the face of bullying and endless teasing from both school officials and students, Zoey determinedly continues to live her life as she is and tells her story in the hopes of helping others persevere in living their authentic lives.

Tickets for the special screening are free for the community. Reserve your tickets today! FB Event page HERE 

For more information about the screening, contact Fresno Building Healthy Communities at (559) 256-8722 or info@fresnobhc.org.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Harvey Milk Day

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Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in a major city, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1977-1978. He worked to pass a gay rights ordinance and defeated Proposition 6, commonly known as the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. Milk encouraged Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people to be visible in society and believed coming out was the only way they could achieve true social equality.

Harvey Milk’s legacy as a civil rights leader is still felt today. He was named one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people of the 20th century. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and was the subject of a movie for which Sean Penn won the Academy Award for best actor. Many Institutions and organizations are named for Harvey Milk to commemorate his life and social contributions.

In October of 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill to create a state day of recognition for Harvey Milk, to be observed on Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22. May 22, 2010 marked the first Harvey Milk Day to commemorate the life and legacy of Milk. The civil rights leader would have been 85 this year.

“Harvey Milk gave his life for what he believed in, and with that courage and sacrifice he gave hope to an entire generation of gay and lesbian people whose basic humanity and freedom had been denied and dishonored. – Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) 

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Open Letter to Fresno Unified School District


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On behalf of Gay Central Valley and the cpmmunity we serve, we want to thank you for inviting our feedback into Fresno Unified School District’s current superintendent search.

According to the most recent California Healthy Kids Survey, 23% of our youth do not identify as “straight.” LGBT youth have higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, higher rates of being victims of bullying, of depression, of dropping out of school, and of suicide.

We would encourage FUSD to choose a superintendent candidate who will be willing to do a CCT with us, who is on record of supporting the LGBT+ community, and who is willing to represent the needs of all FUSD students. 

We all know that representation matters, especially to youth. We strongly believe that our youth will be best served by knowing that they have an ally at the top of the food chain and seeing the practical effects of a leader who is accepting and supportive,

We also believe that Fresno Unified School District is uniquely poised to be able to combat the high rates of LGBT youth feeling disconnected and unhappy in their school environments through ongoing Cultural Competency Trainings (Diversity Trainings) offered to teachers, staff, and administrators. 

Fresno's ciriculum should reflect the specific health and safety needs of the LGBT+ community. Promotional materials should showcase a variety of family types. Schools should encorage the creation of GSA clubs and organizations.

Thank you again for meeting with us. We look forward to continuing our community involvement with FUSD and to meeting the next Fresno Unified School district Superintendent.

Gay Central Valley board of Directors. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

GSA Activist Camp!

Every year GSA Network hosts Activist Camp and registration is now open for 2017!




"GSA Activist Camp is a three-day (includes overnight stay), youth-led training camp for trans, queer, and straight ally youth. At Activist Camp, you will learn about power, oppression, and how to build the LGBTQ+ youth movement!

Requirements:
Be a young person between the ages 14-18 attending middle school, high school, or alternative school (i.e. continuation school) during the 2016-2017 school year, or people under 18 who are not in school due to personal circumstances.
Commit to creating local change for LGBTQIA+ youth with a racial justice and gender justice lens."


This year it will be held at UC Merced from July 14th to 16th. The event is free with housing, transportation, and food provided. Participants gain leadership skills, build community, and learn about oppressive systems in our society like capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy.


The deadline to apply is June 1st. If you know anyone that's interested, please share this link with them to register: Nor Cal/Central Valley Registration--

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

INTERVIEW: Marsha Conant



Written by Chris Jarvis


I’ve known Marsha for 25 years and she’s always been a force to reckoned with. While she’s been political her whole life, she recently found the opportunity to throw herself into her passion, and her voice has never been stronger. Last year she was a delegate at the Democratic National Convention during possibly the most chaotic campaign in American history. I asked Marsha what motivates her, where she sees American politics headed, and what drives the divide in this nation.  

What sparked your recent interest in stepping into the political arena?

In 2016 with Hillary Clinton running to be the Democratic nominee for President, I decided I could not let this election go without becoming re-involved. As I looked at the Republican candidates I felt they were ALL a threat to the rights and issues that were vital to me. LGBTQ rights, equality for women, health care, gun control, etc. All the issues that are currently being challenged, defunded and threatened.
Our daughters are both away at college and I felt I had the freedom to follow my passion which is political activism. I have long been a fan of Hillary Clinton and felt she was the candidate who best represented my values. In 1992, as a member of the Majority Council of Emily’s List, a PAC that raises money for pro-choice Democratic Women I was invited to the White House and met Secretary Clinton.

How did you get chosen to be a representative at the Democratic National Convention? What’s the process?

To become a delegate to a National Convention you choose the candidate you want to represent and run at a Congressional District meeting. I ran as a Clinton delegate and was elected with four other Clinton Delegates. There was a Sanders Delegate election happening at the same time and 5 Sanders delegates were elected. The district only sends a total of 5 delegates and it reflects the actual vote in the primary. There were three Clinton Delegates and two Sanders delegates from CD22. 




 
What was the most heartening thing you experienced at the Democratic convention and the most disheartening? 
 
It was very heartening that there were so many LGBTQ delegates, around 500, over 10% of the total number of delegates at the convention. Also, around 36 tans-gendered delegates, the first trans keynote speaker, Sarah McBride, who work for HRC.
The belief that we really were going to elect the first woman president of the United States was very emotional and exciting. For some of us, who have been fighting for women’s rights most of our lives it was almost overwhelming. The convention was amazing, inspiring and motivating speakers, encouraging, validating, story after story unfolding demonstrating how we really were #strongertogether, how we could live in a country that was inclusive where everyone was valued and appreciated for who they were.  
Who was the most exciting person you met?

There was an amazing woman, Jerry Emmet, 102 years old from Arizona at the convention. She was so excited and enthusiastic. She believed there would finally be a woman President in her lifetime! She was an inspiration! I also met Gloria Allred, Jessie Jackson, Kathleen Spillmire, Head of the Feminist Majority, Delores Huerta, Amanda Renteria, Ellie Smeal, Gavin Newsome, Barbara Boxer, Jessie Jackson. I decided to collect political signatures on a rainbow flag.


 

 
What tactics do you use when met with flagrant prejudice or ignorance? How hard is it for you to walk away from certain situations?

I try to listen to their comments and opinions and respond calmly, respectfully, and non-emotionally. I shared my opinion or make a statement that expresses my very different truth or reality. Sometimes, people will listen or consider my opinion, often not. Some people just like to argue, I don’t. I also have learned, my opinion is not always right! There have been many times I have changed my position on an issue after hearing other opinions and getting more information. I once had a difference of opinion at a CDC Convention with Harvey Milk. He could be very persuasive, I changed my vote! LOL


Why do you think there is such a disconnect in this country between sides in the political climate?

When President Obama was elected I believe many Americans felt they were losing control of their country. People came out and voted for him, who had never voted before. As more liberal and progressive ideas were adopted legislatively and backed by the courts I believe the sense of lack of control and anger continued to grow. I think they felt as though they were no longer being heard! Once there was a candidate who expressed their outrage and promised to return the country to something they were comfortable with, they latched on! As a candidate his outlandish comments and brutish behavior gave people permission to act the same way. It is shocking the amount of racism, misogyny, xenophobia and prejudice that has been revealed! The divide is deep! People have permission to be bullies! A very sad and tragic situation!
Although. I will always find this kind of hate intolerable I believe we must continue to reach out to these people. We must educate and we must listen. I still believe fundamentally people are good and want to do the right thing. Hate is never the right thing! 


 

What do you think motivates those who want to reverse progress and civil rights?
 

I think misogyny runs very deep, 53% of women voters did not vote for a qualified woman candidate. Churches have a huge influence in elections and are very effective at getting voters out! I guess that leaves LGBT!
 

What are your thoughts on what will happen first…the first female President, the first LGBT President or the first atheist President?

Before that can happen, we must elect LGBT candidates up and down the ticket and in local elections! In order to do that we must become actively involved in local politics. We must work in political campaigns, register voters, give money and our resources to candidates that represent us, find qualified LGBT candidates to run for school boards, appointments to commissions, City Council, Board of Supervisors, and make sure candidates seek our endorsement, because they know we are organized and can impact a local election! 


This is not currently the case in Fresno.
  The LGBT community does not have a large political presence. I am going to continue to work toward changing that. I want to encourage people to join Democratic Clubs and to become involved. 

I am a member of the Kennedy Club, Democratic Women in Action, Stonewall Democratic Club, Fresno County Democratic Women’s Club and the Fresno Chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus! All of those Clubs support LGBT rights and all of them have been very supportive of me. We must get involved to have an impact in our community.  
What’s your take on the media these days?

The news media was unduly harsh on Clinton in the last election and gave Trump entirely too much free publicity! Some newscasters and networks biases tilt the information and story. Sometimes we will watch the BBC news just to get a different perspective on the world. If you only watch FOX or CNN you only are hearing one side. I of course love Rachel Maddow!
 
How do you feel about the rallies and protests happening now? Do you think it’s something people will maintain or will it burn out? And how do we get more people to vote?

I have been participating in the demonstrations and rallies! I think the demonstrations will continue to grow. We participated in the Women’s March in Sacramento and a group of us have been meeting monthly to write postcards to our elected officials expressing our opinions and outrage about the threats to LGBT Rights, the ACA, Immigration, planned parenthood, the environment, Medicare, etc. We have sent over 1,300 postcards!
 
How do you feel about the future, politically?

I think things will move back to a more moderate position. I believe there will be a significant change in 2018. I do not believe the current policies of the administration reflect true American values. I believe we are an inclusive and kind nation. 


You have two daughters with your wife Marilyn. What is the most important value you hope you have instilled in them? 

 
I hope we have taught our daughters to be respectful of all people. To not be afraid to speak up when they see something is wrong and to be kind, loving and brave!