Some Final Thoughts on Porterville Before I Leave For College
- Written by Kelsey Norman
- Parent Category: News
- Hits: 7793
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.Add a comment
A special request from a community member
- Written by Georgia Robinson
- Parent Category: News
- Hits: 4614
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.
LGBT community not misguided
- Written by Steven Palmer
- Parent Category: News
- Hits: 4475
This is a response to the "Other View" published July 11 by John P. Owens of Porterville regarding the LGBT Community in his column titled "Pride is illogical, misdirected."
Mr. Owens, I would not classify your article as hateful or you as being a "hate-mongering bigot." I say you were misinformed and not quoting factual information, however. You couch your concerns about the LGBT community's desire for self-pride and recognition on a "biologic" basis and you talk about what is "natural" to you in human kind and refer to "birth defects" that need "surgical interventions." You also discuss in detail the goal of coupling to be procreation of the species and you provide your evaluation of the male and female genitalia and their "complimentary" usefulness.
First, let me say I know something about biology, being a physician for almost 40 years. I also know something about procreation since my medical specialty is obstetrics and gynecology and I've cared for countless women and delivered thousands of children over my years of practice. On a personal note, being married for 42 years and having two sons of my own, I also know something about family dynamics.
Being gay is not a "birth defect." A cleft lip is. Being gay is a variation in the way people are born. Throughout the entirety of the animal kingdom and the human race, homosexual behavior has been demonstrated over and over as a naturally occurring biologic event. It is like brown hair or blonde hair and it is biologically related.
I was never taught anywhere in my medical education that the sole reason for sexuality was procreation. Human beings are unique in that we have those "psychosexual" needs you refer to in your article.
Two of the strongest human forces is something we call "love" and something else called "attraction." We don't date to find the best stock for child production; we don't check a potential partner's teeth and bone structure when we date. We are attracted to another person because we have some innate response to that other "someone" that somehow speaks to our psyche and soul, suggesting, "this could be the one I want to spend my life with." It's a complicated and very intense desire to find closure with another person. When same-sex couples have that same response to one another, it's the same "love and attraction" that my wife and I had when we met 47 years ago.
How can you say that the "abrogation" of Proposition 8 is based on bigotry? It is based on the realization that people deserve the right to be who they are, in the daylight and at all times, and have the right to love and be loved. People, by the very nature of being people deserve equality. I would bet, Mr. Owens, that if you were to look deeply inside yourself, you would find that you find the feeling of security and completion important in your paring with a partner, as well (if you are partnered).
What the LGBT community wants is not proclamations or flags or holidays in their honor. They merit full acceptance and the benefits afforded all citizens under the law. The contribution of gay people to our society is as significant as the contributions of any other group. People like Oscar Wilde, Florence Nightingale, Peter Tchaikovsky, Walt Whitman, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Barney Frank, Billie Jean King, Lewis Carroll, Gertrude Stein, Greg Louganis, Harvey Milk, Adam Lambert, Barbara Jordan, Cole Porter, Aaron Copland and so many, many others don't go unnoticed. Why should the group they belong to not feel a sense of pride?
So, Mr. Owens, there is no misguidance on the part of the LGBT community, nor are there are surgically removable birth defects to deal with; nor is there "willful ignorance" that has rendered the LGBT community equal in the eyes of the legal system by the Supreme Court's decision. I believe, Mr. Owens, it's only "natural" and it should be.
Dr. Steven L. Palmer is a Visalia resident and co-founder of the Tulare the Kings counties chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
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