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.

EVENT: Ritual - Madera


Queer Black Movie Wins at Oscars.

Yes, there was a moment of confusion... but the fact remains.

Moonlight, a movie focused on a queer black man won the Oscar for Best Picture last night.

Image result for moonlight wins oscar


Congratulations to the film, the cast, and the crew.

Representation matters and this movie is one of only a handful of GBT Best Picture wins (Brokeback Mountain, Milk, and Philadelphia are in that small but distinguished club).




A copy will be available soon at the Fresno LGBT Community Center.

Equality 4 All

If you need assistance with immigration contact the Fresno LGBT Community Center at 559-325-4429 or email us at info@gaycentralvalley.org

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Teen Suicide Attempts Fall due to Marriage Equality



Image result for marriage equality




From USA TODAY Fewer U.S. teens attempted suicide in states where same-sex marriage was legal in the years leading up to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling upholding gay marriage, according to a new study.

Analyzing data from 1999 to 2015, researchers found a 7% reduction in suicide attempts among high school students in the 32 states that legalized same-sex marriage. There was a 14% declined among students categorized as sexual minorities, specifically gays, lesbians and bisexuals, according to the study.

More than 29% of gay, lesbian and bisexual high school students nationwide reported attempting suicide within the past 12 months, according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data, whose long-term data researchers relied on for the study. That's compared with about 6% of heterosexual students.

Laws that have the greatest impact on gay adults may make gay kids feel "more hopeful for the future," lead author Julia Raifman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Associated Press.

The study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, didn't prove the drop in teen suicide attempts was caused by the implementation of same-sex marriage policies but suggested an association between the two factors. Researchers analyzed data from more than 700,000 adolescents across 47 states from 1999 and 2015, of which 231,413 identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. The data didn't track students who identified as queer or transgender.

Researchers acknowledged the study was limited in that they relied on self-reported data from students. They also noted they couldn't account for socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, acceptance of sexual minorities and other factors outside of the legalization of same-sex marriage.

"There is a need for further research to understand the association between sexual minority rights, stigma and sexual minority health," the study stated.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

EVENT: CVIIC


EQUALITY 4 ALL

Contact the Fresno LGBT Community Center if you need assistance or referrals with DACA paperwork or other immigration issues. 

We refer to CVIIC for assistance

You can find their link on the main page of our blog

Transgender Protections Under Attack

Image result for transgender rights

President Trump's administration took a huge step towards limiting the rights of transgender students last week.

In case you missed it, here is the breakdown:

The Obama administration enacted certain guidelines aimed to protect transgender students such as permitting them access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identities saying that under Title IX, students cannot be discriminated against because they are transgender. "No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus," former education secretary John B. King Jr. explained in a letter in May 2016. "This guidance further clarifies what we’ve said repeatedly — that gender identity is protected under Title IX."

Last summer, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued an injunction that blocked those guidelines. According to The New York Times, after O'Connor issued the injunction, the Obama administration submitted an appeal in order to prevent O'Connor's ruling from applying nationwide and thus keeping the guidelines / protections in place.

On Friday, February 9, the Justice Department under Trump withdrew the former administration's appeal meaning that the injunction (blocking the protections) stands and the protections are not enforceable.
Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, explained, "Our concern is that it's a very clear signal that at a minimum the Department of Justice — and possibly more broadly throughout the Trump administration — will not protect transgender students."

What's next? No one knows... but one thing is clear. The LG and Bs need to stand up for the T. 

I reached out to Trans-E-Motion, Fresno's own transgender advocacy group. Stay tunned for more including rally/protest announcements. 


Friday, February 17, 2017

A Better (?) Apology from James Charles



You might have heard the twitter drama involving Covergirl's spokesmodel James Charles 




Of course Twitter called him on this racist stupidity pretty fast... and James responded... with what can only be called a rather insensative brush off.



And then he did apologize:



I am extremely sorry. Regardless of my intentions, words have consequences. I take full responsibility and will learn and do better.


BUT WAIT! Then he returned to Twitter to blast his own apology....






Eventually he deleted the entire conversation and issued another apology as part of an in depth interview with Affinity Magazine saying:


I have made a lot of mistakes and I have a lot of thinking to do. I’ll have 10 days on this trip to educate myself and learn. I always love to push people to be creative and inspire others and accept others for who they are, but clearly I’m being hypocritical whilst preaching that. I can assure everyone that this will not be leaving my mind for a very long time and my mistake will not be taken lightly.

(Full interview here)


So... what say you? Do you accept his apology? Does this change the way you feel about Covergirl?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Queer in the Bedroom Gallery: Submissions Request

You might have seen Autostraddle's January's Gallery (Queer in the Kitchen) as part of the Queer IRL 2017 Photo Project

Queer IRL, a monthly Autostraddle community photo series that gathers little clips of lesbian, bisexual, queer and otherwise-identified women, trans and non-binary folks, just living our lives in 2017.

Image result for autostraddle


Autostraddle's February’s Gallery Theme is Queer in the Bedroom

And you are invited to participate!

1. Take a high quality picture of you in your bedroom. This is doable with most smartphones, so don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy camera. You know what else works and is super fun? Disposable cameras. Just saying. I am just saying to you. That disposable cameras work. And are fun. Ok.

Photos should be between 1024-3024 pixels wide so they’ll look nice on a full screen. Please don’t send anything smaller than 1024 pixels wide.

2. Send your picture and info to me at laneia@autostraddle.com with the subject QUEER BEDROOM. Please include the following (technically optional but highly desired) details!
Name
Age
Location
Occupation
A sentence or two describing how you feel about your room, the last thing you think of before falling asleep/first thing you think of after waking up, or your favorite item or space in the room.

Deadline: February 20

For more information, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

LGBT Equality Win in FL

Image result for gay rights florida

Persistence, hard work, strategy, and a commitment to sharing the real stories of LGBT Americans – that's what we'll need to win comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination protections nationwide, and last night, that's what helped advocates in Jacksonville, Florida at last claim victory in the fight for LGBT non-discrimination.

For seven years the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality has worked to build unprecedented support for LGBT equality in the city. Because of the tenacity of local advocates, the coalition has grown to include 700+ local businesses, 200+ faith leaders, and thousands of community members calling for one thing: Update the city’s human rights ordinance to include LGBT people.

That’s what happened last night: The Republican-majority City Council in Jacksonville, Florida approved a city-wide LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, and moments later the Republican mayor said he would allow it to become law. This win illustrates that even in a challenging political climate, proactive and positive steps forward for LGBT people are possible – but only if we keep doing the work.

Because of this ordinance, nearly a million people in Jacksonville will be protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations,

Thank you Freedom For All Americans for this news! 

We still have a lot of work to do

LGBT Americans Aren’t Fully Protected From Discrimination in 32 States! Click here to read more and find out how you can help. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Walmart/Sam's Club Class Action Law Suit

Image result for walmart same sex / Image result for Sam's Club

If you were a Walmart or Sam's Club associate and had a same-sex spouse at some point between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2013, then a proposed class action settlement could affect your rights. A federal court has authorized this Notice. If you take no action, you will be bound by the settlement. Your rights will be impacted.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

50 Yr Anniversary of Early Gay Rights Protest in LA

Commemorate a milestone of local LGBT history this weekend at the Black Cat Tavern

Two years before the Stonewall riots in New York City, Silver Lake was the epicenter of a gay rights protest movement of its own. This weekend marks 50 years since demonstrators at the Black Cat Tavern took a stand and pushed back against anti-LGBT forces, and a rally will be held on the site to commemorate the events of 1967 and continue the movement today.

Black Cat Tavern had been open just two months when a party on New Year’s Eve of 1966 was raided by undercover officers who infiltrated the party and, when they saw same-sex couples kissing at midnight, police began a flurry of arrests. Ultimately, 14 patrons of the bar were arrested for “assault and public lewdness” and the police physically beat several of the individuals. A riot broke out and spilled into the street and neighboring bars.

The nascent but growing LGBT community in Los Angeles decided it was time for visible protest. In the weeks that followed the raid, organizers met to begin planning a large demonstration to be held at the Black Cat. The then-new PRIDE organization began publishing a newsletter called The Advocate where they disseminated details of the gathering—the same publication is still in print under that name today.

On February 11, 1967, an estimated 300 to 600 protestors—a very impressive turn-out for a gay rights protest in those days—surrounded the Black Cat in what would be remembered as a tense but ultimately peaceful protest against homophobic laws and police brutality. The event marked a turning point for the local gay rights movement and part of a growing national trend of LGBT resistance.

To celebrate the achievements of the last 50 years, City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has scheduled a rally and party at the bar where it all took place which, since 2012, operates once again under the name Black Cat. After an outdoor rally in the parking lot, head inside for drinks and a fun 1960s-themed dance party surrounded by historic photos from the protest.

#BlackCat67 takes place Saturday, February 11, from 8pm to 2am at the Black Cat, 3909 W Sunset Blvd. Entry is free. FB EVENT PAGE



Friday, February 10, 2017

Kansas' Anti LGBT Laws Stop CA/KU Basketball Series

 vs  


Cal Men's Basketball has ended talks with the Kansas Jayhawks about a potential future home-and-home series because of a California anti-discrimination law.

According to the Lawrence World-Journal, the law, which passed in 2015 and took effect Jan. 1 of this year, does not allow public colleges or universities to visit teams in other states if those statess have laws that allow discrimination against the LGBT community. Kansas has a "religious freedom" law that allows student groups to be discriminatory in their membership practices based on those groups' beliefs... in other words religious groups that ban gay students from joining.

It's not just Kansas, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has pointed out that Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee also have laws that are deemed discriminatory and therefore would be on the list of states that teams from California public universities and colleges would be prohibited from visiting.

The hoped-for series between UC-Berkeley and KU is the only athletics event that has been affected so far, according to KU officials. Larry Keating, special assistant to the KU athletics director, told the Journal-World Friday that there are no major sports games scheduled between KU and any California team, and if any games do come up, he said they would be the result of contracts that were signed before the law took effect.

But the California travel ban could have far-reaching implications for other kinds of travel, including academic conferences, government agency conferences etc..

A leading LGBT rights advocacy group in Kansas that opposed the law in the first place is now calling for its repeal, saying it was clear that the intent of the law was to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The Kansas bill passed by veto-proof margins last year: 30-8 in the Senate and 81-41 in the House. 

In a statement released to news outlets, Gov. Sam Brownback, who signed the bill last year and who might need a refreshed course on "irony" reaffirmed his support for the law, calling religious freedom, "a bedrock American principle and part of the essence of who we are as a people."

Equality Kansas announced this week that it has introduced a bill, Senate Bill 139, to repeal the campus religious freedom law and will be working to repeal other outdated and horrible laws still on the Kansas books such as the state's criminal sodomy statute, which makes sexual relations between people of the same sex a crime. (The U.S. Supreme Court struck down such laws nearly 14 years ago in a case involving a similar Texas statute.)

And the group has proposed bills and a constitutional amendment to repeal statutes and a 2005 constitutional provision that say the state will only recognize marriages between two people of opposite genders, even though the U.S. Supreme Court overturned those laws in 2015.

Thomas Witt, Executive Director of Equality Kansas: "[The laws are] null and void, but they're still used as justification to discriminate against LGBT communities and they need to go, I know people who've been charged with the unconstitutional same-sex sodomy statute,The charges are, of course, dropped. But there are people who think that since that statute is still on the books, law enforcement should still go ahead and arrest people on it, and it does happen occasionally. It's just legalized discrimination and it shouldn't be happening."


Thursday, February 9, 2017

EVENT: IDC My Bloody Valentine


More Info re The PP Counter Protest




Recently GCV promoted a Planned Parenthood Counter-Protest on our blog.

We have received a few questions about the event and several people have sent us the Huffington Post article that talks about protests doing more harm than good, despite the best of intentions by those protesting or rallying in support.

For the record we want to let you, our community, know that we do our best at GCV to not promote an event (or organization) without careful vetting. 

One of our Board of Directors talked to both one of the organizers of the local event and with PP's public relations department. The counter protest is being organized with Planned Parenthood's blessing and the group is abiding by all of PP's suggestions and guidelines. 

So feel free to attend! 

Here are some notes from  Planned Parenthood regarding this Counter-Protest

If you want to exercise your freedom of speech about support for our services and participate in this solidarity event, we want to offer you some suggested guidelines, learned from past experience, to assist you in a peaceful and effective demonstration.

· It’s a good idea to have your participants wear pink to distinguish supporters from protesters.

· For your safety and the safety of others, keep a distance from the opposition – across the street from protestors is the best option if a health center is open.

· It’s best not to interact at all with those opposing PP. Emotions can quickly escalate and lead to physical altercation.

· DO SING, CHANT and promote pro-reproductive rights/pro-woman/ pro-family messages!


A sign making party is being held on Friday night in preparation for Saturday's event which organizers hope, will being hundreds of Fresno people out in a solid show of community and support. 


***

If you attend this event or any other protest / rally and you want to share your experience with our readers, please contact Kaylia Metcalfe kaylia@gaycentralvalley.org 

EVENT: FREE Photo Shoot!

Trans - E - Motion Photo Shoot with Andrew Losh Photography.


Image result for camera photo shoot


Friday Feb 10th, 5 - 8pm / 541 N Fulton St. (follow the signs)

Bring your loved ones: your self, your partner or partners, your furry babies, your human kids, your besties! All are welcome to participate.

Generally, a photo shoot like this starts anywhere from $300 a person! All we are asking is to give what you can. All proceeds will be going towards funding this years Transgender Day of Visibility (coming in April) and everyone will receive a digital proof of their photo via email from he amazing Andrew Losh (photographer of our awesome GCV Calendar)



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

EVENT: Planned Parenthood



On Saturday, February 11, anti-choicers throughout the country plan to protest outside of Planned Parenthood Clinics as part of their crusade to deny ALL federal funding to an organization that provides essential health services to millions of people.

Almost daily, we see anti-choice protesters outside our own Planned Parenthood clinic on Fulton Street in Tower that threaten safe spaces for patients, PP staff, and advocates.

Stand with Planned Parenthood and ALL reproductive healthcare service providers for a counter-protest / rally at the PP Fulton Street Clinic from 11am-1pm on 2/11/17. Bring your own banners / signs to show up for an organization that serves all of us.

PARKING: Please do not take up clinic parking, as the clinic will be open for patients. We ask that you park on Fulton or Van Ness. If you park on Fulton, we encourage you to leave a rally sign on your car to give our movement maximum visibility for passers-by. Please do not leave signs on other vehicals.

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE HERE

Phone Bank From Home for LGBT Equality


From our friends at Freedom For All Americans





President Trump’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court is Judge Neil Gorsuch, whose history of rulings prioritizing religion over all other civil rights raises significant doubts that he will fairly serve LGBT Americans on the nation’s highest court.

We need to mobilize national action against this nominee by helping thousands of Americans easily contact their legislator and express their concerns.

We’re partnering with the National Equality Action Team – and we need you to volunteer. Click here to sign up to make calls from home.


Here’s how it works: You make calls to constituents who support LGBT equality in several key states, explain to them the importance of ensuring Neil Gorsuch is denied confirmation to SCOTUS, and connect them directly with their Senators’ offices.

We’re currently recruiting for shifts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. If you can’t make any of these shifts, tell us you’re interested in volunteering for a future action by clicking here.

Neil Gorsuch is a man best known on the national stage for his commitment to prioritizing personal religious beliefs over all other freedoms, making him a top choice for anti-LGBT activists who want to be able to use religion as an excuse for anti-LGBT discrimination. He doesn't believe LGBT civil rights are worth fighting for in court. He has indicated that he believes the freedom to marry is part of a frivolous “liberal social agenda” rather than a vital protection for families. He has ruled that a transgender woman must remain in an all-male prison, despite recognizing her female gender identity.

This is not the resume of a person who should be confirmed for a lifetime position on the U.S. Supreme Court – we need to block this nomination. Click here to sign up for a remote phone bank with NEAT and help direct action from constituents in key states.

Together, we can make a difference for decades to come.

Amy Mello
Field Director
Freedom for All Americans