theSOURCE -- Visalia to See Opening of LGBTQ+ Center
Written by Elliot Trueblood
Huge news for the Central Valley! Visalia is getting its very own LGBTQ+ Center! TheSource LGBTQ+ Center, founded by Brian Poth, is poised to open on May 1st in Downtown Visalia.
Here's a little bit about theSOURCE:
Our MISSION is to provide safe places within our communities for the LGBT+ population to meet, be creative, inspired, educated, cared for, entertained, and mentored. Our VISION is to cultivate new resources through advocacy, partnerships, and fundraising to unite and advance the LGBT+ community in Tulare and Kings Counties. You don't have to be OUT to COME IN! Opening MAY 1 in Downtown Visalia.
Stay tuned for more information, and check out their facebook page for any updates!
Supreme Court rules 5 to 4 same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states
Written by Administrator
In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.
Justice Kennedy said gay and lesbian couples had a fundamental right to marry.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
When marriages begin? Developing...
Read the decision in full Events in the Central Valley: Fresno: https://www.facebook.com/events/498243886989305/ Bakersfield: https://www.facebook.com/events/1456320621349978/ Bakersfield: https://www.facebook.com/events/356195121241091
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Are you looking for a great way to get involved in the community? Looking to enhance a resume? Look no further! Gay Porterville is currently looking for some bright, active individuals to join our team! You would be working at your own pace, and as needed. This is a great way to get your foot in the door to some opportunities in community outreach, leadership development, media management, and event planning. You would be working with other like-minded individuals, volunteering at events, organizing meet-ups, or getting involved in social activism. We can't stress enough how helpful working for Gay Porterville has been for us in the professional realm, and would be glad to welcome some people aboard! For more information, contact Division Leader Elliot Trueblood via email or via our facebook page.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AND OUR ALLIES SHOW UP AND RESPOND WITH PROTEST. WE NEED TO LET IT BE KNOWN THAT TONY PERKINS'--NOR HIS HATE GROUP--WILL BE WELCOMED IN TULARE COUNTY.
TRUE CHRISTIANS PREACH LOVE, NOT HATRED. *************************************************************** On the morning of Monday, May 4, Tony Perkins will be speaking at the Tulare County Prayer Breakfast .
303 E Acequia Ave, Visalia, CA 93291 from 6:30am to 9:30am
But come for as long or as short as you can. We need your support. Please see our Facebook Event for sign ideas and carpools.
If his name rings a bell, it's probably because you've heard his organization's name--Family Research Council--listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of recognized hate groups, along with groups like the National Organization for Marriage, and the Westboro Baptist Church.
The Family Research Council has time and time again fought to keep LGBTQ+ people oppressed through malicious propaganda, often disguised in religious context. They are most well-known for being strong opponents of marriage equality.
"...one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order."
"Gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement."
"Supporters of V. Gene Robinson, the newly consecrated homosexual Episcopal bishop, claim his elevation sends 'a powerful message of love and tolerance.' However, it is not 'tolerant' to brush off opposition to the consecration of a homosexual bishop. Nor is it 'loving' to suppress evidence that homosexual behavior is a 'death-style' that is sending young people to an early grave."
With their history of such radical hate speech, we can't help but wonder why anyone would choose this man to represent a religious, Christian event.
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Stay Loud: A Recap of Gay Porterville’s Protest Against the City Council of Porterville
Written by Elliot Trueblood
On Tuesday, October 7, Gay Porterville, along with many other amazing individuals, protested the city council of Porterville at Centennial Plaza. Our message was clear: we’re sick and tired of discrimination put forth by our elected officials.
In late September, Gay Porterville submitted a proclamation for the council’s consideration. The proclamation was to recognize Saturday, October 11, as National Coming Out Day in the city of Porterville. Our proclamation was snubbed; it was tossed aside, never to even come to a vote. This was the first proclamation in Porterville’s history to go without sponsorship from a councilmember.
Protesters Lined the Streets to Speak Out Against the Porterville City Council
Our mayor, Milt Stowe, stated that the proclamation was not “all-inclusive,” so therefor he would not endorse it. The thing about proclamations is that they are not meant to be “all-inclusive.” Proclamations are meant to celebrate certain individuals, groups, social causes, and communities. Most—if not all—proclamations are not “all-inclusive,” and that’s fine. To single out an LGBTQ+ proclamation on the grounds of exclusivity is ludicrous.
Vice Mayor Cameron Hamilton—the gentleman who made you “Grow a Pair” a household phrase—declined to support the proclamation as well, stating that individuals are not to be recognized for their sexual orientations. He claimed that it would be harmful to us. The problem is that Porterville’s LGBTQ+ does, in fact, want some recognition. We’ve been denied it more times that we can count, and we’re ready. We are hard-working, tax-paying citizens of this community, and we bring plenty to the table. Furthermore, for him to claim that he knows what is and isn’t ‘best’ for our community is offensive to the max.
So we gathered. We brought signs, our voices, and plenty of anger. We noticed at the rally that something is changing. We are getting far more support from passersby than we have in the past. Cars honked as they drove by in support, people cheered and encouraged us, and the positive tone was felt. We hope that this is a good sign for Porterville; we hope that change is on its way.
Straight Allies Vickie Banks and Carol Trueblood Proudly Showing their Support. (Photo by Brock Neeley)
After the protest, we spoke out against our elected officials at the council meeting. The speeches that were delivered were powerful, to say the very least.
Dr. Ann Marie Wagstaff stated, “When we deny equality, justice, and dignity to any individual or group, we violate the constitution.”
In another statement to the city council, Elliot Trueblood had this to say: “You all seem vehemently opposed to accepting the fact that the LGBTQ community in your city so much as even exists. If you can’t even be trusted to do something as simple as represent all of your constituents, or not discriminate, then you are clearly undeserving of your titles, and are absolute disgraces to this city.”
Perhaps the most powerful speech of the night came from a community member by the name of Jesus Garcia. We were moved to tears by his words. “I want you to realize that I am Mexican; I am gay. This city has taken a lot from me and I want something back! I want to be recognized!”
Vice Mayor Cameron Hamilton issued some choice words regarding the issue. “I feel sorry for anybody that needs a proclamation to make themselves feel whole.” We could not be anymore disappointed or appalled by this remark. Not only was this incredibly insulting and hurtful to the LGBTQ+ community that was asking for some form of recognition, but to anyone in this city who has ever received a proclamation. As a matter of fact, that same night, a brave group of women accepted a proclamation recognizing the major social issue of domestic violence. We can’t help but wonder how his words made them feel.
Gay Central Valley's Yesenia Valdez and Gay Porterville's Elliot Trueblood
National Coming Out Day aims to break down the doors that keep us hidden away in closets. It aims to celebrate the obstacles that each of us in the LGBTQ+ community have overcome to get to where we are today. It is meant to inspire those that may be feeling lost or insecure. One thing is for certain—on Tuesday, October 7, we came out. We made our presence known to the city council, and made it known that we were done dealing with their antics. We were loud, and we were proud.
GET LOUD: Why Gay Porterville Will Protest on October 7
Written by Elliot Trueblood
About two weeks ago, Gay Porterville submitted a proclamation that would have recognized Saturday, October 11 as National Coming Out Day in the City of Porterville.
National Coming Out Day aims to break down the walls that keep LGBTQ+ individuals in the closet. It’s a day when we celebrate diversity, and recognize the obstacles we’ve overcome in our coming out processes. It aims to inspire and give hope to those that are still feeling hesitant to come out.
Our goal was to keep this as positive as possible. We wanted to educate—to make our city a more culturally embracing community; we wanted our struggling LGBTQ+ youth to receive the message of affirmation that comes along with National Coming Out Day. With depression, anxiety, and suicide as such high risk factors for LGBTQ+ youth, this proclamation could have been a beautiful feat for the city.
There are new policies that require proclamations to receive a “sponsorship” from a council member to even be so much as considered. Unfortunately, not a single council member sponsored our proclamation. Initially, the proclamation was picked up for consideration by Councilman Monte Reyes. One week later, he withdrew his support, citing that it would just create too much negativity. Ironically, that in itself has created a ton of negativity, as our community has been let down once again.
Milt Stowe, Porterville’s new mayor, has proven to be just as disappointing. His rationale for keeping the LGBTQ+ community silent was that the proclamation was not “all-inclusive.” There’s that phrase again. This seems to be the go-to argument when council members are too cowardly to admit that they are simply partaking in discrimination. A proclamation recognizing individuals of Filipino heritage was recently issued, and hey, that’s fabulous! However, if we’re going by Stowe’s ideologies, it is not “all-inclusive.” We guess that guise for systemic discrimination only applies to us, though.
Not to be outdone as the reigning king of ignorance, Cameron Hamilton states that, “I think it does more harm than good. What they’re telling the rest of the world is ‘I’m identified by my sexuality’ which is damaging. It’s putting too much emphasis on sexual orientation. It’s over-emphasized.” By all means, Cameron, please continue to tell us what is best for our community! As a heterosexual, white, Christian male, you would know best!
Unfortunately, Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola also opted out of sponsoring the proclamation. Her reasoning is that it should not be her that always has to step up to the plate to do what is right. In some ways, she has a valid point. In 2013, she stood up for the LGBTQ+ community in a major way, issuing our Pride Proclamation. That’s when chaos ensued, the proclamation was rescinded by our bigoted councilmen, subsequently resulting in Gurrola’s removal from her seat as mayor. We do wish, however, that she would have reconsidered her stance after not a single councilman would simply sponsor the proclamation.
To sum up, Porterville’s City Council has once again screwed us over. This is why we are protesting. This is why we are getting loud. If we ever want to see any change in this city, we need to turn up the heat on these politicians, until they start doing their jobs correctly and representing all of their constituents. Enough is enough!
We urge you to join us in protest on Tuesday, October 7, at 5:00pm. We will meet at Centennial Plaza (across from City Hall). At 6:00, we will be speaking at the City Council meeting. Come out. Be seen. Be heard. GET LOUD.
On the morning of Thursday, September 25, we woke up to a Facebook message that really struck us as moving. Ramona Lee Wallis of Visalia, California informed us that her son—Able Baker—is considering moving back to the area after living in Canada for years.
Able is interested in looking for work in the Central Valley, and has backgrounds in all kinds of different areas, specifically working as a Pastor.
What truly stood out about Able is that he told us, via email.
“I am preparing to leave British Columbia, Canada after four years of pastoral work here. My ministry work permit is coming to an end. We will be moving back to the states sometime in November. Visalia is on my radar of potential places to go because I have family and friends there.
I have made a personal decision to not minister professionally in a church that is not open and affirming toward the LGBTQ community, and not egalitarian in its position toward women.”
With that, we were sold!
Able’s stance on equality for all human beings is outstanding, and not something we often see in these parts of California. Should he choose to make Tulare County his home, he would make for a refreshing new face in the religious community, as well as a dedicated straight ally.
That being said, let’s help him out. It’s evident the Central Valley can benefit from a kind spirit like Able, so let’s help him get here by making his job search easier!
Although much of his niche has been found in ministry and pastoral services for churches, he also has ample experience in Crane Truck Operating, Advanced Roadwork, School Bus Driving, Facility Maintenance, Security, and in Construction.
If you or anyone you know is looking to hire, or if you can point Able in the direction of a good job that he may be qualified for, please reach out to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday, September 13, Gay Porterville will be taking part in a volunteer opportunity through an amazing organization in Fresno. The organization is called “M.E.A.L.—Meals Engaging All Lives.” They focus on preparing hot, home cooked meals for the homeless, and delivering the meals to them. They also aim to alleviate some of the stigma associated with homelessness.
“Fresno's Meals Engaging All Lives (M.E.A.L.) is creating an experience with homeless individuals through a home-cooked meal…[We are] Breaking the stigma placed upon homeless individuals.”
Fresno’s M.E.A.L. was founded on November 4, 2013 by Justin Kamimoto. You may recognize the name, as he is also the founder of the website MyLGBTPlus!
On each designated date, volunteers are asked to meet at The Painted Table, a local Fresno restaurant that is a proud partner of M.E.A.L. This is where the food is prepared, the bags are personalized (no two bags look alike!), and the food is packaged and prepared to be delivered straight to those in need.
After that, volunteers carpool to two locations to hand deliver the meals to homeless individuals, with no judgment and a smile on their faces. The goal is to make sure to defeat any stigma that is unfairly associated with homeless individuals. Having a proper attitude is of paramount importance in making sure that this can be accomplished. Homeless individuals are often treated poorly. M.E.A.L. is all about changing that.
To date, M.E.A.L. has successfully prepared and delivered 750+ meals to homeless individuals in Fresno. Their goal is to make that number 1,000 by November of this year.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, we will be leaving for Fresno on Saturday, September 13 at 7:30 AM. Volunteering starts at 9:00 AM. Transportation will be provided for up to 4 people, so if you're interested, let us know ASAP. If you ride with us, we will only be volunteering for the first half of the day (Food Prep). If you're riding by yourself, you can register for both portions if you'd like (Food Prep and Delivery).
Some Final Thoughts on Porterville Before I Leave For College
Written by Kelsey Norman
My name is Kelsey Norman. I've been a resident of Porterville for quite some time, but that's about to change. I'm heading to the Bay Area to complete my schooling. As I get ready to move away from the Central Valley, I thought I'd take the time to reflect upon my last few years here as a resident of Porterville. The emotions are mixed. Overall, I can't complain too much about the town in general. It was a nice and cozy place for me to live in while I merged into adulthood.
When it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, it was a little bit of a different story. I didn't see much change in terms of equal treatment for all in this city, for any age group. Porterville made it into mainstream national media twice in one year, both times being for negative reasons, the first being the whole situation with Virginia Gurrola being removed from office after the rescinding of the Pride Proclamation (the entire Pride Proclamation nightmare), and the second being Cameron Hamilton's "grow a pair" comment when referring to bullied youth, followed by anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric from ex-councilman Greg Shelton and ex-mayor Cameron Hamilton himself. Both of these situations were disappointing, and show that Porterville still has much growing to do.
There was quite a bit of positive in the LGBTQ+ community, though. I personally got to be involved in a few volunteer opportunities with Gay Porterville. I got to be a part of the Gay Porterville booth at Fresno Pride this year, which was such an awesome experience. I got to meet a lot of other people from the Central Valley that could relate to the struggle that Porterville has gone through. I marched in the parade, proudly holding the Gay Porterville banner. I also got to be a part of the art exhibit Protect Our Children: (Re)Creating Family Acceptance. Artists/Activists Ronnie Veliz and Carolina Alcala created pieces showcasing the many different relationships between queer or trans individuals and their families. This event was a perfect space to offer knowledge and perspective to the community. With this art show being a part of Porterville's monthly art walk, it was a perfect opportunity for residents to be exposed to the topics of Queer/Trans youth and their stories--the true struggles they have faced and overcome.
In the future, I hope to see more change happening within the city as whole in terms of equal treatment for all of Porterville's residents. It'd be great to come back to a hometown that I could say has made a change for the LGBTQ+ community; it would be great to come back and feel some pride.
Kelsey Norman has been absolutely amazing. She has diligently volunteered for Gay Porterville on many occasions, regardless of hectic school and work schedules. Not only that, she quickly became one of my best friends. We wish you the best in every thing you do, Kelsey, and can't wait to see the amazing things you accomplish in San Jose. You rock.
Want your picture taken for the NoH8 campaign? Of course you do! On Saturday, July 19, Adam Bouska is bringing his phenomenal project to Fresno! Here are some of the details, from The Official NoH8 Website as well as The Offical Event Page for the shoot in Fresno.
"OnNovember 4, 2008Proposition8passed in California, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The defeat provoked a groundswell of initiative within the GLBT community at a grassroots level, with many new political and protest organizations being formed in response.
The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protestcreated by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska(http://www.bouska.net) and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with "NOH8" painted on one cheek in protest.
Five years since its inception, the NOH8 Campaign has grown to nearly 33,000 faces and continues to grow at an exponential rate. The campaign began with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more.
While inspired by the passage of Prop 8, the scope of the NOH8 Campaign has grown to stand against discrimination and bullying of all kinds. The message of 'No Hate' can be interpreted and applied broadly, and speaks to each person in their own way.
The NOH8 Campaign has received overwhelming support from around the world, and has appeared in various local and national news programs and publications. The images are widely used on various social networking sites such asFacebook and Twitter to spread the message of equality."
*Everything you need to know about Saturday's shoot*
HOLIDAY INN FRESNO - AIRPORT VALLEY CENTER BUILDING 5090 EAST CLINTON WAY FRESNO, CA 93727
2:00PM - 5:00PM
* COME CAMERA READY * * WEAR WHITE * * POSE & MAKE A STATEMENT! *
NOH8 Posing Fees/Costs:
SOLO PHOTOS .......... $40.00 COUPLE & GROUP PHOTOS ......... $25.00 per person
The NOH8 Campaign accepts cash and major credit cards only. Fees cover services & processing for oneretouched digital print only (made available through www.NOH8Campaign.com) and do not include physical prints.
Scheduled to begin at 2:00PM and end at 5:00PM, the open photo shoot will take place in the Valley Center Building at the Holiday Inn Fresno - Airport. A special thanks goes out to the team at Holiday Inn Fresno - Airport for graciously providing us the space to set up!
You do not need to RSVP to attend (though Facebook RSVP's help give us an idea of how many supporters to prepare for); the photos are first come, first served and we move quickly! Anyone taking a photo is asked to wear a plain white shirt to match the look of the signature NOH8 photos.
When you arrive, you will receive a numbered model release to fill out, followed by having your NOH8 tattoo applied. We will call numbers throughout the day, and your corresponding release number will signal your time to line up to have your photo taken.
We always do our best to make sure that everyone in line by the end of the photo shoot (5:00PM) has a chance to pose for their photo - and up to this point, we haven't ever had to turn anyone away!
Celebrity Photographer & NOH8 Co-Founder Adam Bouska will be working around the clock to photograph 5-10 frames for each person that comes through. The final selection he chooses will be retouched and made available to you in approximately 8 weeks through the website (timeline subject to change): www.NOH8Campaign.com
INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING? E-mail email@example.com with your contact information and make sure to note which shoot you'd like to volunteer for!
Funds raised by the NOH8 Campaign will be used to continue promoting and raising awareness for marriage equality and anti-discrimination through NOH8’s interactive media campaign. This includes bringing the campaign to other cities around the country, as well as compiling the images for a large-scale media campaign. Under consideration is the expansion of our campaign to other media, including television and radio broadcast, billboards, and magazines. Contributions are also used to cover the daily operations and maintenance necessary to run this rapidly growing campaign.
The NOH8 Campaign is an approved 501(c)(3), donations will be tax-deductible up to the amount allowable by law.
July's Tulare-Kings Counties PFLAG meeting is coming up this Sunday! It's sure to be a good one, too. Justin Kamimoto, founder of My LGBT Plus, will be present, and will help in previewing a film set to premier at Fresno's REEL Pride Film Fesival!
Here are all the details!
See you Sunday!
Educational and Cultural Center Congregation B'nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth,Visalia, CA 93277
Sunday, July 20, 2014 3 - 5 pm
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.
André Gomez, in partnership with Gay Visalia and Gay Porterville, is bringing The National Gay Blood Drive to Visalia. The National Gay Blood Drive aims to shed light on the FDA’s ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.
“There is a constant need for blood and donors are essential in maintaining an adequate supply. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans gay and bisexual men from donating blood.”
Any man who has had any sexual contact with another man since 1977 is barred and banned from giving blood. This is due to the fear of spreading blood-borne illnesses such as HIV. However, this law is outdated and unnecessary. This also contributes to the fearful and negative stigma surrounding the gay and bisexual community, and those who are HIV +.
On Friday, July 11th, we ask every gay and bisexual man, along with their sponsor (friend, relative, etc.), to join us at the Central California Blood Center at 1515 S. Mooney Blvd in Visalia, CA. While there, we will have our awesome sponsors donate blood in our place. With The National Gay Blood Drive, we hope to show the FDA how much blood they are missing out on.
If you’re a gay or bisexual man, find a sponsor, and meet us there on Friday, July 11.
For more information on this event, please click on the graphic above.
EVENT: The National Gay Blood Drive
DATE: Friday, July 11
TIME: Between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM
LOCATION: Central California Blood Center, 1515 S. Mooney, Visalia