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Much like Santa, we've been busy this time of year. January 1st we'll have some very big changes to reveal. Until then, we would love just 30 seconds of your time to help us choose our new logo. Please click here and select the one you like best. No email, name, long forms, we promise.
Thursday, September 8, 6:30 PM - 8 PM
theSOURCE LGBT + Center, 208 W. Main St, Suite B, downstairs at the Montgomery Square building, Visalia
We ACCEPT, RESPECT, AND EMPOWER our LGBT+ youth and kids. Come see how!
Check out our Facebook event page, here.Add a comment
Join us at theSOURCE for a new kind of Book Club. Instead of everyone reading the same book, the Bring Your Own Book Club is all about variety. Each month we pick a theme and each member reads a book of their choice on their theme to talk about.
This Month’s theme: “Required Reading.” What book did you love from college or hate in high school but have discovered again as an adult? Let's bring life to that old stodgy cannon. If you didn’t love “A Separate Peace” bring a book you think should take its place.
Please RSVP here so we know how many we have coming. :)
Wednesday, September 7, 6pm till 9pm
208 W. Main St. Suite B, Downstairs in the Montgomery Square building, Visalia
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The Obama Administration's Department of Justice, Community Relations Service, has produced this twelve minute video aimed at the law enforcement community, to help them in their interactions with the transgender community.
An excellent video, aimed directly at cops, informs them on what they might encounter when contacting the transgender community, and explains the terms they need to understand. While the video focuses on M to F transgender, the basics of how to interact apply to all members of the transgender community, as well as anyone who is LGB.
Good job, DOJ! And thank you!Add a comment
Well, this is insulting. "Lesbian and transgender hillbillies". Rush Limbaugh has launched the right-wing media circus into a full foaming-at-the-mouth freak-out over the 15th Rural Pride Summit, held last Thursday, August 18, 2016, at Drake University Law School in Iowa.
Really, Rush? You're freaking out about this NOW? We held the first west-coast Rural Pride Summit here in Visalia, the heart of the nation's number one agricultural producing county, last month, but it took Iowa to make you notice? Harrumph!
I think it goes to show you how far the mighty "El Rushbo" (as he calls himself) has fallen. After all, it took until the 15th summit for him to notice, and it was apparently the Drake University Law School's press release that caught his eye (or some staffer's eye, assuming he still has staffers. He's been losing advertisers at almost the same rate that Republicans have been abandoning The Donald lately. Staff salaries have to be taking a hit.).
Tulare County - crickets. Drake University Law School - OMG! They're trying to infiltrate rural America with lesbian and transgender hillbillies!!!!!!!!!!!
I suppose California doesn't evoke rural America like Iowa does. It's only natural, after all. Say "California" and people from anywhere other than the Central Valley will think 'Hollywood' or 'San Francisco'. The idea that the single largest dollar producer of agricultural products is a California county (yes, us. Tulare County) doesn't resonate with much of the country. Probably especially so with the narratives of the Farm Bureaus of the mid-west.
And to think, as I opened my article in the July 16-17 edition of the Visalia Times Delta's Inspire edition, "Lesbian farmer. Gay dairyman. Bisexual equipment dealer. Transgender farm worker." are people who really do exist. That seems to have come as a surprise to Limbaugh and his crowd, and you know how the right hates to be surprised with the truth. It really disrupts their thought processes, and throws their entire world-view into chaos.
While El Rushbo opened his segment with the freak-out about Rural Pride, he continued later in the same broadcast attacking homeless transgender individuals, ranting about attempts to end discriminatory practices at shelters. It doesn't matter to the wingnuts (Limbaugh's primary but shrinking audience) that people are being attacked and killed for being transgender, it's more important to them and him that churches and shelters be able to discriminate. "So here comes the Regime, once again, with a full-fledged assault on religion." Yeah, which religion is it again that has as one of it's tenets to turn away the homeless and the poor? And directing how Federal aid dollars are spent, and Federal law is enforced, is an "assault" on religion. Another harrumph here.
One sign you're winning the culture war is when the losing side starts using terms like "third-rate Iowa law school". The Daily Wire's Amanda Prestigiacomo attempts to channel the late Senator William Proxmire and his Golden Fleece Award, focusing on alleged waste of government funds, headlining her post "This Might Be The Dumbest Thing Feds Have EVER Spent Your Tax Dollars On"! Twitter users couldn't help but join in, as well. Search the hashtag RuralPride for some stellar observations.
I feel a bit like someone holding a raffle ticket, where I missed being the grand prize winner by one number.
Image: DonkeyHotey/Flicker H/T NCRM
Originally posted to my Visalia Times Delta Community Blog, Alternating Currents, Aug. 21, 2016.
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On Saturday, July 9, BlackLivesMatter demonstrators began a public protest action at the intersection of Blackstone and Shaw in Fresno. Beginning at 5pm, people met at the intersection, and began blocking traffic at one of Fresno's busiest rush-hour intersections. Marchers then headed towards Freeway 41, apparently intending to block traffic. Officers from the CHP, Fresno Police, and Fresno County Sheriff's Office Deputies prevented the group from entering the busy freeway. Marchers then made their way down various streets in the area, and ended up on Shaw Avenue, close to Fashion Fair Mall. Eventually, after a walk through Fashion Fair mall's parking lot, and after a small contingent walked through the interior of the mall, marchers returned to Shaw Avenue, and headed east. Law enforcement again prevented them from entering Highway 168 at the border with the city of Clovis. Marchers continued to Clovis Avenue, turned north, and made their way, eventually, to Clovis Police headquarters, where a short street sit-in was held. Several speakers addressed the crowd, a minister led the group in a prayer, and then they peacefully dispersed.
In the march were at least two people recognizing black transgender victims of violence. Carrying a red banner that read "Black Trans Lives Matter", one of the marchers was adorned with a rainbow flag, and was briefly interviewed by a news reporter embedded with the marchers. If anyone knows who the marchers are, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll update this post with their names and affiliation (if any).
The march was mostly peaceful, with minor skirmishes with law enforcement when they tried to enter Highway 41, and again when "anti-protesters" became involved in a scuffle with marchers at the border with Clovis. Organizers and police quickly broke up the fight between several white individuals, one holding a sign saying he protested the protest, and some of the marchers. The crowd quickly moved on past the small group of individuals.
The protest, which grew into a 5 hour, 7 mile march, was covered in real time on several Facebook live feeds. Fresno TV stations had reporters and cameramen embedded with the march, using their cellphones to provide as-it-happened video to viewers. Fresno PD was also watching from their command center, and at least two helicopters watched from overhead.
Image ABC30 News screen capture.Add a comment
In case you missed it, the news is out: Sulu is gay.
The next Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond, will include scenes that show Sulu raising a daughter with his (husband?) same sex partner. Commentary from the actor, John Cho, indicates it will not be a major plot point, but rather a passing story item.
Cho says writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung have revealed Sulu's orientation in tribute to George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series and movies. Takei came out publically in 2005, and married his long-time partner, Brad Altman in 2008.
This will be the first gay character in Star Trek canon. Famous for the first inter-racial kiss on American television, Star Trek breaks new ground for the franchise. And to think... it only took 48 years to go from Kirk kissing Uruha, to a gay Sulu.
I'm hoping Sulu's husband is black, just to freak out the few remaining folks who needed their fainting couches when that kiss flashed across their screens in 1968. That would be just too sweet. Bless their hearts.
Star Trek Beyond arrives in theaters July 22.Add a comment
On Thursday, July 21, 2016, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) will host the California LGBT Rural Summit at Visalia's Convention Center. The latest in a series of such summits, "The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights, in collaboration with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and The True Colors Fund, will engage with LGBT rural communities across the country to host the LGBT Rural Summit Series. Each series will offer a unique opportunity for USDA and other federal agencies to share information relating to policies, programs, and services that exist to protect, promote and strengthen LGBT rural communities. Issues ranging from rural housing loans, community facility grants and bullying will be discussed. Each series will also include a strong presence from local nonprofit organizations, sharing USDA's dedication to serving LGBT rural America." (USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights website.)
Previous summits have been held in
As the #1 agricultural producing county in the United States, as well as an area with one of the largest number of gay couples raising children, per capita, the USDA has chosen Visalia as the latest community in which to hold a #RuralPride Summit.
"The centerpiece of the #RuralPride campaign is a series of day-long summits hosted by USDA, NCLR, the True Colors Fund, and a number of local partners based in rural communities across the country. These summits will give us a chance to focus on the unique needs of the rural LGBT community, highlight the important federal policy efforts underway to protect this community, and identify next steps to ensure all rural communities have access to the resources they need to thrive." - NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights)
The USDA serves a wide variety of populations as it carries out it's duties. Whether you are a LGBT farmer, farm worker, ag related vendor or employee, consumer, urban or rural resident, USDA is dedicated to insuring the resources of the Federal government are available to all equally, and transparently. You can't access programs if you don't know they exist. #RuralPride Summits are designed to bring together agencies and the public, to insure access. The summits target the LGBT community, who are often under-served in rural areas.
Contrary to widely held myths that the LGBT community is largely living in affluent metropolitan areas, studies show a very different and more realistic picture of the LGBT community. For a number of reasons, many people in the LGBT community choose to live, work, and raise their families in the rural communities that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proud to serve.
In fact, according to the Williams Institute, "almost 10% of all same-sex couples in the country live in rural America" and these couples are actually more likely to be families of color and raising children. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force also issued a report finding that these couples are more likely to be low-income and are almost twice as likely to receive public assistance. The transgender community is particularly vulnerable.
Transgender people, especially transgender people of color, experience disturbingly high rates of poverty across the country. Additional research conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality shows that they are four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed as non-transgender people. The LGBT community in rural America has a number of particular needs and vulnerabilities that USDA is excited to target and address.
In an effort to elevate the voices of the LGBT community living in rural America, USDA and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is proud to launch the #RuralPride campaign. The centerpiece of this campaign is a series of day-long summits hosted by USDA, NCLR, and a number of local partners based in rural communities across the country.
These summits will give us a chance to focus on the unique needs of the rural LGBT community, highlight the important federal policy efforts underway to protect this community, and identify next steps to ensure all rural communities have access to the resources they need to thrive.
"We applaud the USDA for celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people living in rural communities across the country with this important series of summits," said Cyndi Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund. "LGBT youth comprise up to 40 percent of our nation's homeless youth population. Those in rural communities face incredibly unique challenges and are such an important and often overlooked part of this conversation. The True Colors Fund is proud to partner with the USDA and NCLR to highlight their stories as a part of the many experiences that LGBT people face in rural America." USDA
The Summit will be 9:30 am - 5 pm, and the public is invited. This event is free, and lunch will be provided. Please register at:
Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave, Visalia
For questions contact:
theSOURCE LGBT+ Center will host a grief process gathering, Friday, July 1, 2016, at 6pm. This event will be open to the public and will provide a forum for discussion, sharing, and healing, after the horrendous events in Orlando.
The tremendous turnout at the Sunday candlelight vigil, held in downtown Visalia after only a few hours of organization, demonstrates the need for the local LGBT+ community, as well as their straight allies, to come together to mourn the lives lost. People are still working through the shock and grief of this tragedy, and this forum will provide further opportunities to manage the emotions that many are experiencing.
Everyone is welcome, whether you want to speak or simply be in communion and community with others.
theSOURCE LGBT+ Center is located at 208 W. Main St., Suite B, downstairs in the Montgomery Square building.
For the Facebook event page for this gathering, check here.
For theSOURCE LGBT+ Center's Facebook page, check here.
For theSOURCE LGBT+ Center's webpage, check here.
Regular hours are Tuesday through Friday, 3 pm to 6 pm. Saturday 12 pm to 3pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. Other hours by arrangement.
PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties President Dr. Kathryn Hall sent this message while on vacation:
"This has been an emotional time for the LGBT people of Tulare and Kings Counties and their allies. The results of anti-gay rhetoric and vitriol was brought vividly present to us in the massacre in Orlando and some of the incredibly inappropriate reactions by homophobes. My husband and I have seen this from a distance, with only intermittent (and very slow) internet access on our cruise of Norway and the United Kingdom. The memory of the young Norwegians shot by a right wing extremist some years ago and the British politician stabbed and shot to death for her position on Brexit remind us that intolerance and violence are not just an American phenomenon, and the vigils for those lost in Orlando held in Visalia, Bakersfield, Fresno, and even Porterville remind us that we are a community and there is strength and comfort in that. TheSource LGBT+ Center is a huge improvement in our ability to connect with each other, and it was wonderful to have so many sign up for the Pride event that it had to be cancelled.
On this Father's Day we are lucky to have lesbian activist Melissa McMurrey from Sacramento coming to talk at the PFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties meeting at Congregation B'nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth, VIsalia, from 3 to 5 pm. Many of us know Melissa from her activism while she lived in our area, and she can give us her perspective on what activism is needed at this point in our history. I am disappointed that I will not be able to be there as we do not get home until the next day, but I hope you will be there to welcome Melissa and provide support to our community."
President, PFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties
This Sunday, June 19, PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties will welcome Melisssa McMurrey as our guest speaker. Melissa now resides in Sacramento, but began her activism in Porterville, as a founding leader of GayPorterville. She will be speaking on "grassroots activism".
PFLAG provides a safe and confidential space place to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity, and works to build a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
There is no cost to attend, and membership is optional.
PFLAG Tulare and Kings Counties is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.
PFLAG Tulare and Kings Counties is a volunteer group of parents, family and friends of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT). We welcome members of the GLBT community to our meetings and membership. We meet on the third Sunday of each month.
PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties Facebook page is here.
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With RSVPs rolling in hot and heavy, it quickly became evident that the area at Plaza Park could not hold all those wishing to attend. With this in mind, organizers have cancelled Saturday's event, and will reschedule it as soon as a larger venue can be secured. This action is due only to the overwhelming support the community has evidenced, and it became clear that Plaza Park was simply not capable of supporting the event.
The bike ride, from downtown Visalia to Plaza Park is still on, so those wishing to take part can meet behind theSOURCE LGBT+Center at 9am. See details at our Facebook event page.Add a comment
"We are saddened by this senseless act of terror. We stand in solidarity against violence of any kind, especially those targeted against our LGBT+ community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families." - Brian Poth, Executive Director, theSOURCE LGBT+ Center, Visalia 6/12/2016
Fifty people were killed, and fifty or more were injured, in a domestic terrorism incident in Orlando, Florida Saturday night 6/11/2016. The incident occurred at The Pulse, a gay club.
A candlelight vigil will be held in downtown Visalia at 8pm Sunday. https://www.facebook.com/events/1550644031907980/
Join us at Plaza Park to celebrate theSOURCE's first PRIDE+ A family friendly way for you to show your support and appreciation for all our wonderful LGBT+ community members. BBQ, fun, games, and comaraderie at Visalia's Plaza Park. Come join in the fun.
Be a part of history! Join theSOURCE's first anual PRIDE RIDE from theSOURCE to PRIDE+ in Plaza Park; a day of Family Pride for LGBT+ here in Visalia, CA.
An easy, casual ride from The Source in downtown Visalia to Plaza Park using Visalia's dedicated bike lanes. We'll leave from the parking lot behind Montgomery Square, 208 W. Main St. at 9:00 AM. Plenty of public parking off of Center St. We'll join the group for free food, drink, and fun at Pride in the Park.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A PROCLAMATION
Since our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union. This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth. The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society. They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics. This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.
Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.
LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them. That is why my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans. It is also why we oppose subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and why we are continuing to promote equality and foster safe and supportive learning environments for all students. We remain committed to addressing health disparities in the LGBT community — gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for , and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.
Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are. I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love. And our commitment to combatting discrimination against the LGBT community does not stop at our borders: Advancing the fair treatment of all people has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and we have made defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals a priority in our engagement across the globe. In line with America’s commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.
There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Image: The White HouseAdd a comment
Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA22) voted no on Thursday, May 19, 2016, on the Maloney amendment to H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. Congressman Maloney put forward his amendment to insure that the attempt to insert wording into the bill allowing Federal contractors to ignore President's Obama's executive order, #11246, could not be used to discriminate against the LGBT community, when based on a "sincerely held religious belief".
Maloney's amendment initially passed a routine two minute vote, but when the GOP leadership realized they had lost the vote, they held the vote open in violation of their own rules, until enough Republican representatives could be convinced to change their already cast aye votes to no. The final tally, after the extended time, was 212 yes, 213 no. This is the point when the floor erupted into shouts of "shame!" that have been reported in various news accounts.
There's no way to tell who changed their votes in the "overtime" the House leadership instituted on this vote. House rules state a member must come to "the well" (the front of the chamber, where the Speaker and administrative staff sit) to change an already cast vote. The House Minority Whip, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), challenged the vote changes, but was rebuffed by the Republican speaker in charge for the day (the position for daily business rotates among members of the House). Mr. Hoyer demanded to know how votes were changed when no Representatives came to "the well" to change their votes. Mr. Hoyer's demands were ignored. We do know that Congressman Nunes' vote will be recorded as "no", but there is no information available regarding whether his vote was initially no or yes. (I'm going out on a limb here, and assume it was "no" from the start.)
The House GOP, with Devin Nunes as one of it's leaders (Chairman of the "Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence"), has voted to allow religious discrimination against LGBT individuals, in violation of the President's executive order. The White House has stated the President will veto the bill if it contains the wording to void the President's executive order, among other concerns.
It's clear that the Republican party is still strongly anti-LGBT, and Devin Nunes cannot be counted on to support the LGBT community in his district, or the rest of the nation.
UPDATE: 5/21/2016 6:25pm Pacific Time:
The New Civil Rights Movement reports the following Republican Representatives changed their votes:
Jeff Denham (Calif.)
Darrell Issa (Calif.)
Bruce Poliquin (Maine)
David Valadao (Calif.)
Greg Walden (Ore.)
Mimi Walters (Calif.)
David Young (Iowa)
Image: United States House of RepresentativesAdd a comment
Left to right: Donald Costa, Amy Benton, Jim Reeves, Reyes Anaya, Amy Shuklian, Nicholas Vargas, Brian Poth, and Beverly Anderson.
Visalia City Councilwoman Amy Shuklian dropped in for a visit during theSOURCE LGBT+ Center's Grand Opening Friday night. As part of the Art Consortium's First Friday event, works by LGBT artists, including Amy's partner Mary Randol, were on display in the Visalia area's first LGBT community center.
Hundreds of people toured the center, viewed locally produced artwork, met staff, and mingled with members of the community. The evening was filled with laughter, handshakes, and hugs as people greeted those they had not seen in a while, or welcomed friends and neighbors to the event. Balloons, cake, and snack trays kept smiles on the faces of many, especially the children who accompanied their parents. It was truly an event welcoming and friendly to all.
To donate (tax deductable), click here.
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The Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield hosted a Cinco de Mayo fundraiser show, to benefit Tulare - Kings Counties new LGBT + Center, opening in Visalia.
Well, of course it was a drag queen show! Miss Gay Bakersfield USofA Newcomer 2016 Nikki Elektra and amazing local queen, Makena Moore- Miss Gay Goddess USofA newcomer 2016.
Illusions Drag Show Queens of Visalia in attendance: Miss Gay Fresno Zoey Sapphire, Pricilla MacNamara, and Bebe Waters.
Before the show.
Some smiling faces before the show, enjoying the last few minutes of no rain, on the patio. Visalia in Bakersfield's house.
Many thanks to the Gay & Lesbian Center Bakersfield for throwing such a fantastic fundraiser for theSOURCE! They stepped up and volunteered their center, staff, DJ, and local drag queens to put on an incredible Cinco de Mayo bash, with proceeds going to the valley's newest LGBT+ Center, in Visalia. Serving Tulare and Kings Counties from downtown Visalia, and with a branch facility in Tulare, theSOURCE has great friends and examples as it begins providing services to the LGBT+ community and their allies.Add a comment