On Sunday, June 29, Bakersfield Drag Queen sensation Candy Moore will be hosting the 4th annual "Sisters 4 the Cause" benefit dinner/show for Ricky's Retreat and the Bakersfield Aids Project. All proceeds from the event will go to these two fantastic organizations. The event is being held at the Bayou Banquet Hall, 1111 19th Street, in Bakersfield. The show will feature sensational performances from a multitude of amazing Drag Queens, including former Porterville resident Diamond Dior DeLa Strawberry. The show is sure to be fabulous, so head out to Bakersfield this Sunday night for a dinner and a show! Tickets are $20, the event is 16+, and donations are always welcome!
Help the “Care With PRIDE” Program: Donate a Picture, and $1 Will Be Donated On Your Behalf!
Written by Elliot Trueblood
As we scrolled through twitter the other day, something caught our eye. We saw a national LGBTQ program had sent out a link on how to help an anti-bullying program…FOR FREE! All you have to do is submit a picture to this site! PFLAG—A national nonprofit made up of parents, family, friends, and allies of LGBT people with the goal of moving equality forward—has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson to create an anti-bullying program called Care With PRIDE, an ALL-INCLUSIVE PROGRAM that carries an emphasis on offering help to LGBTQ students, their straight peers and allies, as well as anyone being bullied for any reason. They aim to raise awareness of this social issue, and GLAAD points out that, “Bullying among children is connected to a range of problems including a negative impact on academic performance and social and emotional development, with half of all children reportedly experiencing bullying during their school years. THAT NUMBER IS AS HIGH AS 90% IN THE CASE OF LGBT YOUTH.”
They go on to explain the purpose of the program: “[Care With PRIDE] efforts include ‘Cultivating Respect; Safe Schools for All,’ which places trained PFLAG members directly into schools to give them the support, resources, model policies and programs necessary to stop bullying and harassment of youth in its tracks. Last year's campaign was nominated for a GLAAD Amplifier Award, which recognizes groundbreaking images of LGBT people in advertising and public relations.”
Much has been done in the way of countering bullying here in Porterville as of late. Back in May, after our Mayor made some highly controversial comments regarding bullying, we’ve had many wonderful people come forward to shine light on the fact that bullying is an issue in our city.
In the meantime, there is an anti-bullying program out there that is offering $1 donations in the form of PICTURES! Simply submit a picture to their site, and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 on your behalf! It’s as simple as that! The picture can be anything! A selfie, a picture of your pet, a picture of a flower…whatever you’d like! Just submit the picture, and a dollar is donated to “Care With PRIDE.”
Regardless of the oppositions facing anything that would help LGBTQ youth overcome their struggles, We’ve got William VanLandingham of The Trevor Project working tirelessly to provide youth and young adults with helpful resources, help lines, and support for youth and young adults struggling with bullying due to their sexual orientations, or even PERCEIVED sexual orientations. VanLandingham has been putting forth efforts for The Trevor Project for over 5 years now. The Trevor Project is also all-inclusive, and is there for absolutely anyone who needs help. It is a free and local resource.
As Porterville struggles to maintain proper resources for their community, we can at least help other cities in their anti-bullying endeavors. This brings us back to “Care with PRIDE.”
A representative for Johnson & Johnson states that: “In our tradition of caring for families for 128 years, we’ve continued to partner with today’s leading LGBT advocates to make the world a more caring and accepting place for all. This includes taking on issues like bullying, which impacts all families and their children. With our CARE WITH PRIDE initiative, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies seeks to raise awareness about the negative impact of bullying on the overall health and well-being of our youth, with particular emphasis on cultivating respect and equality for all families.”
Alright, get those cameras ready, and help this amazing program garner donations from Johnson & Johnson! Let’s see how much Porterville can raise for their cause!
On Tuesday, June 17, Gay Porterville hosted the rally "We're Still Here" at Centennial Plaza, here in town. The event was absolutely amazing, and we hope it boosted the morale of our LGBTQ/Straight Ally community. We gathered with signs, flags, and unbreakable spirits to send the message of pride to our city, and the city council who often works to oppress our community.
We did have one protestor at the event, preaching hate with a "God Hates Fags" sign while treading his feet on an American flag, but those in attendance dealt with him in a non-violent, peaceful manner. After approximately 10 minutes, he left, and we could not be any more proud of our supporters for being brave enough to stand up to the individual professionally and appropriately. Love conquered hate on Tuesday--it always does.
We had a guest speaker at the event--Mehmet McMillan! He gave a phenomenal speech, and we at Gay Porterville could not be any more thankful. McMillan was one of the courageous individuals who engaged in civil disobedience at one of last summer's infamous Pride Proclamation city council meetings. When Greg Shelton, Cameron Hamilton, and Brian Ward voted to rescind the city's Pride Proclamation, he and fellow activists voiced their opposition loudly and proudly. McMillan was arrested for his brave actions, along with fellow activists Jennifer Davis and Robin McGehee. Listen to his speech--words cannot express how great it was. To listen/watch, click on the image below.
At one point, we counted about 55 people gathered at Centennial Plaza for the event. Roxane Serna, a dedicated Straight Ally, was there with her two daughters, and she donated cupcakes to event goers! They were absolutely fabulous.Thank you, Roxane. Gay Porterville would like to thank each and every one of you who came out to attend, and those who voiced their support from afar. Porterville's First Annual Pride Rally was beautiful, and we could not have done it without all of you. We're already excited for our 2015 Pride event. We're still here, we're still proud, and we are not going anywhere.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the day that we will rally to show our city that WE’RE STILL HERE! We’re meeting at Centennial Plaza (296 N. Main Street, Porterville) at 6:00pm. Come out and join the fun!
This is an important event. June is recognized nationally as LGBTQ Pride Month, and we intend on celebrating that!
It’s also important to Porterville, as last year our city council voted to rescind our Pride Proclamation. Since the rescinding of the LGBTQ community’s Pride Proclamation, we’ve all felt somewhat deflated; we’ve all felt angry and let down by the public officials who are meant to represent all of their constituents. By rescinding the proclamation, they sent a message to our community that they would not be embracing us—our existence would not be acknowledged.
So tomorrow, we will come together to show them that we will be acknowledged, and we will be proud. Gather up your friends and family, make some signs that express your pride, and come join us!
It's been a fun and busy week for Gay Porterville! On Friday, June 6, our art event "Protect Our Children" went flawlessly, and the very next day we marched alongside Gay Fresno and Gay Visalia in Fresno's Pride Parade. BUT! We've got another event headed your way, and we hope you'll be a part of it.
On Tuesday, June 17, Gay Porterville is hosting a rally at Centennial Plaza here in Porterville. The park is located directly across the street from City Hall. The rally will take place while a city council meeting is in session. What's the reason for the rally? Well, a year ago, three of our councilmen--Greg Shelton, Brian Ward, and Cameron Hamilton--voted to rescind Porterville's LGBTQ Pride Proclamation, sparking national controversy. The councilmen attempted to send a message to us: "You are not deserving of being proud." Well, to that we say, "WATCH THIS!"
Dress however you'd like. Bring whoever you'd like. Bring signs. Bring PRIDE. With this rally, we are going to show Porterville's City Council that we're still here, we're still proud, and we're NOT going anywhere.
EVENT: We're Still Here: A Rally
DATE: Tuesday, June 17th
TIME: 6:00pm - 8:30pm
LOCATION: Centennial Plaza, 296 N. Main Street, Porterville
EVENT: Protect Our Children- (Re)Creating Family Acceptance
LOCATION: The Bridge Restaurant, 178 N. Main St, Porterville
DATE: Friday, June 6
TIME: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Gay Porterville is beyond excited for our upcoming event “Protect Our Children: (Re)Creating Family Acceptance.” LGBTQ artists and activists Ronnie Veliz and Carolina Alcala will be bringing their project to Porterville THIS FRIDAY as part of their statewide tour. The two are based in Southern California, and will be spreading the spirits of acceptance, love, and pride with their exhibit.
Veliz and Alcala describe their project:
“The project features eighteen art pieces of Trans and Queer children through the lens of racial, gender, ethnic, religious, spiritual, and most importantly parental empowerment. All eighteen art pieces are based on real life childhood experiences by eighteen families.”
A sample of Carolina Alcala and Ronnie Veliz's project.
Not only will this be an interesting event, but it will serve as a powerful reminder that first and foremost, acceptance is of the utmost importance to the queer and trans communities. In this sense, Porterville can definitely benefit from the messages that these art pieces will deliver. We hope to see you there!
Get super excited for this one, folks! The Visalia Pride Lions Club is hosting a dance party in June to celebrate Pride Month! Their event is called "Summer Nights." The party is taking place on Friday, June 20 from 7:30pm-Midnight at The Lampliter Inn in Visalia! There will be snacks, great music, a stocked bar, raffles, and tons of other forms of fun and entertainment! Gay Porterville will be there, and we hope you will be too!
Tickets cost $16 dollars presale, and $18 at the door. This is an 18+ event. All proceeds will benefit the VPLC Administration Fund.
GOOD NEWS! The Lampliter Inn is offering specials on rooms! You can get your dance on, get your drink on, and stay the night there! The special low-priced rooms are $74 for the night if you reserve them by June 6. You can book your room by calling The Lampliter Inn at 559-732-4511.
MORE GOOD NEWS! Gay Porterville is raffling off two free tickets to the event! Yes, you read that correctly... F R E E ! To enter to win, all you have to do is share the raffle post on our official facebook page. (Just scroll down a bit. You'll find it. We believe in you! You can do it!)
A Quick Crash Course on the "Grow a Pair" Ordeal from Gay Porterville
Written by Elliot Trueblood
As many of you already know, Porterville has faced quite the controversy over the past couple of weeks. On Tuesday, May 6, Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola presented an item to the council—a Safe Zone program to be implemented into the community by local students from the Burton School District. Students would be able to place placards on community buildings, designating them as safe places for students who were being bullied to go to for help. What a crazy concept, right? Allowing an anti-bullying program that was requested by the students to make its way into our city seemed like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, other members of the council—including our mayor—did not see it as so. What happened next can only be described as ridiculous, and a total embarrassment to this city.
After Gurrola presented the item, our oh so lovely mayor, Cameron Hamilton, proceeded to utter his now infamous remarks.
“I mean, I am against bullying, but I am getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything that ills the world when all most people have to do is grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves.”
The emotional damages inflicted upon those that are bullied range from anxiety and depression, and can lead all the way to suicide. Imagine being bullied to your breaking point, reaching out to an adult that you trust for help, and being told, “grow a pair.” It is safe to say that if a student is to reach out to an adult, the bullying has already spun out of their control. They are likely already feeling the fears, intimidations, and feelings of hopelessness that come along with being bullied. The last thing they need to be told is to “grow a pair.” They need intervention, support, and a solution to the issue they are facing. Perhaps, you know, a safe place to go for help. Kind of like a safe zone. Cameron Hamilton’s remarks were a huge slap in the face to anyone who is being bullied, has been bullied, and to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide that was brought on by a bullying situation. He has issued no public apology, and continues to stand by his idiotic statements. This is a true embarrassment to the community.
One question that has been brought up again and again is, “How is this an LGBT+ issue?” This is an LGBT+ issue because the LGBT+ community was used as a tool by the councilmembers to block the Safe Zone item from reaching fruition.
In a painfully obvious inference to the LGBT+ community, Councilman Greg Shelton asked Councilwoman Gurrola if the Safe Zone initiative would cater to one specific group over another:
“Listen…is this thing discriminatory at all? Is it for everybody? It doesn’t favor one over another? […] I just wanna make sure we’re not going down that path.”
If you are even slightly familiar with Porterville’s councilmen, it is simple to understand what he is getting at. Of course there is no anti-bullying program that would only cater to one specific group. Even nonprofit organizations like The Trevor Project are all-inclusive, and would not turn away anyone who needed help. Unless Shelton is truly that ill-informed on how society operates, he knew that as well.
Later, during the oral communications segment of the meeting, townspeople got their chance to speak. This is when individuals came forth and asserted that these safe zones would be indoctrinations into a certain lifestyle. It was said that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. I wonder what they could have possibly meant by that?
To fully understand how and why this was painted as an LGBT+ issue by the council and the community, you can check out the video on Gay Porterville’s YouTube Channel. I cannot express enough the importance of watching this video. It’s a real gem; a perfect introduction to the attitudes and unprofessionalism of our city councilmen.
To sum up, the LGBT+ community and our dedicated allies were once again dragged through the mud by our city councilmen. This is how this whole ordeal got painted as an LGBT+ issue. Are you frustrated with that? Trust me, so are we.
We’ve been dealing with this kind of nonsense for years, and the homophobia is getting real exhausting. So far, under our belt, we’ve got quite the collection of shameful anti-LGBT stances from our city government. In 2008, Porterville was the only city in all of California to openly endorse Proposition 8. In 2013, we were faced with the reprehensible rescinding of Porterville’s Pride Proclamation. As a direct result, Virginia Gurrola was removed from her seat as mayor, seemingly for supporting the LGBT+ community of Porterville. That’s how we ended up with Mayor “Grow a Pair” in office. He’s been a real pleasure, as you can see…Next, in October of 2013, the council voted against recognizing National Coming Out Day, effectively belittling the struggles and hardships associated with coming out of the closet. This brings us to the “Grow a Pair” controversy, in which councilmen and community members employed harmful rhetoric pertaining to “the gays” as a way of opposing the Safe Zone initiative, throwing Porterville’s LGBT+ community under the bus once again.
Unfortunately for the children of Porterville, the Safe Zones will not even be considered again until July. This was revealed at the May 20 meeting; the same one from which Cameron Hamilton bolted from during oral communications for a news interview (yet another slap in the face to his community). If you screw up royally, and the constituents you represent want to voice their frustrations with you, you grow a pair and you listen to them. You don’t take off in the middle of the meeting to go defend your backward remarks to CNN and Fox News. This action displayed his true colors.
Out of all of this, one thing is for certain. Cameron Hamilton owes every single member of this city a public apology.
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.
Educational and Cultural Center Congregation B'nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth,Visalia, CA 93277
Sunday, May 18, 2014 3 - 5 pm
Melinda Larson of the Lemoore Naval Air Station will discuss military life after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Refreshments will be served
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.
My name is Georgia Robinson, and I'm a sixty-nine years old, disabled widow on a fixed (Social Security) income. I'm not writing this for me, though. I'm trying to come up with enough money to give my exhausted, stressed out care provider (my son) a few days away for his birthday.
I know that this might seem frivilous on the surface, but I'm begging you to please understand how much he needs to get away, and how much he deserves to.
I suffer from post-polio syndrome, as well as several other health problems. I've had over a half dozen cancer scares over the years. As my health has gotten worse and worse over these past twenty years, my son, Amos, has had to sacrifice more and more of his own life to take care of me. He can't work outside the home anymore because of my needs. He has absolutely no social life anymore, much less a romantic life. He never goes out! He's mentioned wanting to go back to school (to take some college classes), but my health and our finances make that impossible. I have someone who comes in through In-Home Supportive Services, but the State only allows about two hours every day, and this is while Amos is asleep. When the IHSS care provider is gone, and I need something, I ring this bell and Amos comes to help me. Some days are better than others, but I don't think he's gotten a full night sleep in years!
Every morning, my son helps me out of bed, and into my wheelchair. sometimes he has to help me onto, and then off the toilet. He Sets up my shower for me, and helps me get in and out of it, too. Sometimes he has to help me get dressed, especially since the arthritis in my hands stop me from being able to fasten buttons, or tie my shoes. Amos cleans the house. He cooks for me. He takes me to the mall to exercise and so that I can socialize (I hate going to the Senior Center here! It's so depressing!). I know he hates the mall, but he sits patiently, waiting until I'm ready to go.
Event: What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality
Written by Melissa McMurrey
Our small, powerhouse congregation will be hosting a seminar open to all interested in seeking justice in our community. The topic of this seminar is based on the book "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" written by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D. Reverend Timothy Tiffany, of San Diego will be hosting this seminar as we explore the handful of verses in the bible that address homosexuality and are typically used as words of prejudice and exclusion in many circles within Christianity. It is our hope that the work of this seminar will empower the LGBT community and their allies to join forces in new and meaningful ways and enlighten the world with equality.
Join us for a Seminar
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality
When: Friday Evening, May 16 and Saturday, May 17, 2014
Where: First Congregational Church, 220 West Tulare Ave., Tulare, CA
To Register: Call (559) 805-9076. Leave your name, address, phone number, and age. A book and seminar details will be mailed to you. Deadline to pre-register is Friday, May 9.
Cost: $5 per participant
A two-day workshop for those who may have been hurt rather than helped by religion, and for those who wish to ground their
support for inclusion firmly in Scripture. The seminar will be presented by Rev. Tim Tiffany, Retired Minister of University
Let us not be so quick to forget this past summer of shenanigans our community endured from our local government. There will be a couple of seats on City Council up for election this coming spring. The seats up for election will be Greg Shelton's and Pete McCracken's. A potential 3rd seat to be vacated will be that of our fearless leader Virgina Gurrola whom is running for a higher seat in local government.
Ms. Gurrola (as well as Shelton) is running for Tulare County's 5th District Supervisor. Please take a moment to "like" the page on Facebook so you can stay up to date on upcoming speaking engagements, fundraisers, and other information regarding Gurrola's run for Supervisor. That page can be found HERE
Please support the woman who supported us so fearlessly and unapologetically. We love her for taking a stand with us...it is time for us to take a stand with her.
The LGBTQ community has made tremendous progress in recent years. The only way we will continue to grow is if we pay close attention to who we are putting in these positions of power. This election cycle will be a big opportunity for us.