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It will surprise none of you to learn that I’ve been engaged in LGBTQ+ activism since I was a teenager. At 15, I joined a group of students in forming a Gay-Straight Alliance. I held leadership roles in that organization until I graduated, working in turns with and against my school’s administration and the wider community to provide a vital service to our queer youth - a safe space in which to be.
It felt earth-shakingly important at the time, and my grades suffered due to my single-minded dedication to the cause.
I have a bitter memory of a beloved but ultimately unkind teacher meeting with me about my faltering performance. She concluded an hour of discussion with a statement I’ll never forget: “Kyle, it’s not your job to be gay.”
Four years later, it seems - in the most significant ways - it now is my job to be gay. I take this job very seriously.
On Aug. 30, our lawmakers convened a meeting of the Summer Study Commit¬tee on LGBT Issues. I arrived early with my Freedom Indiana compatriots and the community members we prepared to testify. It felt refreshing to be back at the Statehouse, and I was optimistic that we would leave with an idea of how to move our issue forward.
The committee was generally receptive to our message, and seemed to shrug off the worst caricatures our opposition drew of us. However, what really concerned me was that many of those present, lawmakers and citizens alike, didn’t seem to under-stand any better than my teacher why our side is fighting so hard.
This was apparent to me in the testimony of one woman who insisted that civil rights protections should be withheld from gay and transgender Hoosiers. She said that she was tired of kowtowing to a minority of the population, and opined that our community is insatiable - that once our lawmakers gave us one thing, we would come back and beg for more.
I don’t think we are asking the rest of the world to kowtow to us when we demand the freedom to work and live where everyone else already can. That doesn’t sound like special treatment to me, it sounds like the common sense Hoosiers are supposedly famous for.
Pursuing equal rights is not a game to our community. It’s not something we can compromise on.
We fight very hard, sometimes at great expense, because it’s our job to ensure the next generation of queer folks will not have to. I think that’s worth a few poor grades and early mornings at the State- house. I hope that, someday, people like my old teacher and that oh-so-concerned citizen might agree.
The debate on bathrooms continues in Indiana.
Senate Bill 35 was introduced in 2015 and stated that one could only use the bathroom that matched your birth sex. It was defeated before it came up for a vote, but it’s anticipated that more “bathroom bills” are on their way for 2016.
The ideology of the “bathroom wars” centers on fears that are completely untrue. Here are the top five myths, debunked:
1. I will be raped in the bathroom.
Statistics show that, when transgender individuals use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, there is no increased sexual violence in the loo. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Seventy percent of trans people report
being denied access, verbally harassed, or physically assaulted in public restrooms. Forcing them to use the restroom listed on their original birth certificate puts transgender people in more danger than cis people.
2. My child will be endangered while using the restroom.
Transgender individuals are no more prone to pedophilia than others. There’s no increased risk of this. Also, crimes that occur in the bathroom are still crimes, they are just not statistically
committed by transpeople.
3. We should just have gender neutral bathrooms for transgender people.
Great idea - let’s segregate them completely. Like we used to do with “White Only” water faucets.
4. Transgender people using my bathroom is something new.
I’d be willing to bet that trans people have been washing their hands next to you in restrooms for years, and you haven’t even known it. They didn’t just recently start using the facilities.
5. A transgender person in my restroom is the scariest thing about bathrooms.
Really? Annually, 40,000 people re¬port injuries caused by toilets, and 1,300 people are bitten on the hind quarters by black widow spiders crawling out of the commode. Plus, Elvis died on the toilet.
We don’t worry about any of these terrible happenings when using the restroom. But we worry about a trans person? A transgender person who is statistically more likely to be harmed in a public bathroom than anyone else? The entire debate is illogical.
The bottom line is this: Transgender people are just that - people. People who have to pee. And they deserve to do so in a safe, judgement-free environment.
We’ve spent most of our lives not even thinking about who’s in our rest¬rooms. And suddenly, it’s on our minds, and there’s fear - the same fear trans individuals have had for years. We’re all more alike than we think.
This is a FREE to attend, family friendly, FUN filled event. There are over 35 local community service agencies and other booths that will be present giving anyone attending information on services and programs being offered to help families * Freebies * Mascots/Characters for children * Fire Truck * Pictures in Police Car * Entertainment * and more. We are partnered with Gay Fresno, My LGBT Plus, PFLAG Fresno, and Fresno City College's LGBTQ Spectrum Club and Sponsored by The Holistic Cultural Education and Wellness Center.
Beautiful. What does that word make you think of? Or, more to the point, what kind of person do you think of?
It seems that the world belongs to the beautiful ones who merely have to smile while the common folk bow at their feet. But just how powerful is beauty? In our culture, beauty is revered above all else, but the science of what attracts us is still mysterious.
The definition of what each of us perceives as beautiful is as varied as the faces that scatter across the globe. Beauty is merely a combination of qualities such as shape, color or form that are pleasing to our eye. If that’s the case, then something should only need the dimension and tone to be beautiful - like a statue or a life-sized doll. But there is no life or personality beneath the eyes of a statue.
Therefore, it takes much more than a sculpted face and form to have true beauty. So why do we focus so much on the external?
From “Cinderella” to “Grease,” we are all familiar with the stories of people who changed their appearance and were suddenly accepted as one of the crowd. Because why would anyone bother to get to know the person inside if there is no initial attraction to the outside?
People seem to believe that if someone is beautiful, they must be boring or stupid, and by default, if someone is less attractive they must be interesting or smart. Because it wouldn’t be fair if someone had it all, right?
What I mean by this is, people who are beautiful are already worshiped and desired. If you look like you just stepped out of a CrossFit box, why even try to be smart or funny - right?
Truth be told, maybe these mortal deities were unattractive earlier in life, so they developed their brains and their sense of humor in order to stand out among the beautiful automatons around them. Then, when their looks caught up with their personality: voila! An immaculate blend of all things that make someone truly beautiful combined with a matching exterior.
We spend our lives changing the outside, but inside, you are still that same kid that loved climbing trees and suffered or ruled in the halls of high school. All people want is a new confidence that translates into sexual attraction; gorgeous wrapping paper to enhance the real gift which is inside.
It’s amazing what a muscular frame and perfect teeth can add to a person’s desirability. But why? It’s the gift people keep, right? The beauty we wear on the outside is die armor that we use to protect and hide the real beauty that dwells within. It’s not your looks, but what you do with your experience that makes you shine.
So where is the line between what others see when they look at us, and how we see ourselves?
Take a moment and look into a mirror. What do you see? Is it beauty? Every single one of us, no matter what we think of who we are or how we look or who we pretend to be, is filled with beauty. It’s the magic of what makes us individuals. The things we feel we need to hide are the secret to unleashing the prize beneath the polished veneer that we uphold in the light of day.
The old saying tells us that true beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take a look at your reflection.
Behold, you are beautiful.
JERRY LEE WARD. Friend. Ally. Founding Parent of Fresno PFLAG in 1990. Grand Marshal, Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival in 2006.
Memorial/Celebration: Sat. Sept. 3, 2016 at 11:00am. United Methodist Church, 1343 E Barstow Ave; Fresno, Calif. 93710.
Jerry Ward was born on April 20, 1935, on the family farm in Cleveland County, OK, to Eugene V Ward and Dorothy Lee Collier Ward. He passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 16, 2016, with his family at his side. Jerry's family left Oklahoma when he was in the seventh grade settling in Porterville, CA. After attending Porterville Junior College, Jerry joined theUnited States Navy for four years. Before enjoying a long career as a self-employed CPA, he worked for Pacific Finance in California & Arizona, and as a State Farm agent in Exeter, CA. He and his family moved to Fresno, CA, in 1974, so he could attend California State University, Fresno. After graduating, he worked for Roberson, Martin, Rowell & Linger and then began his own practice in 1978. In 1983, he and Jim Jorgenson formed Jorgenson & Ward Accountancy Corp. until 1990, when he went back to being a sole proprietor sharing offices with Mary Ann Stites who eventually purchased his practice when he retired. During his working career, his wife Kathy worked by his side for 28 years. He would often joke he was the boss at work and she was the boss at home. Jerry was an active member at Wesley United Methodist Church where he chaired the Finance Committee, was Treasurer of the Wesley Foundation, and after retirement helped out in the church office. He was a founding parent of the local chapter of PFLAG, Parents Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays. Jerry and Kathy loved traveling the United States and Europe whether by car or cruise ship, but his most loved pastime was his family and grandchildren. He is survived by Kathy, his loving wife of 40 years; his daughter, Nina Sensenbaugh and her partner, Jessie Hudgins; son, Darin Sturgill; and daughter, Amy Born and her husband Tom. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Jessica Dunn and her husband Pat, Marissa Sensenbaugh, Riley Born and Cameron Born. He will also be missed by his West Highland White Terrier, Maggie or "Maggot" as he affectionately called her. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Jerry's Life will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1343 E. Barstow, Fresno, CA on Saturday, September 3, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. Remembrances may be made to the Wesley Foundation or American Cancer Society.
A change in culture and support from national leaders has pushed the issue of transgender equality to the front pages, but states are struggling with how to approach the issue.
For example, in some states, transgender persons are not permitted to change their gender marker on their birth certificate, even though they can change their driver’s license and United States passport. Other states, like North Carolina, have taken specific steps to exclude transgender people from anti-discrimination protections.
Gender identity is complex and often misunderstood. By definition, gender identity is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female or a blend of both – which can be the same or different from the sex assigned at birth. Every person has a gender to which they identify. Transgender is an umbrella term that encompasses people whose gender identity does not match what society believes is appropriate based upon the sex designated on their birth certificates.
One’s gender identity also does not imply any specific sexual orientation, so transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual. Gender dysphoria, which is not diagnosed in every transgender individual, is clinically significant distress caused when a person’s assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify.
Bathroom rights of transgender people have dominated news headlines recently. In April 2016, the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a transgender female-to-male high school student named Gavin after he sued his Virginia school board over a policy that forced transgender students to use separate, gender-neutral restrooms.
Recently, in the wake of the massacre in Orlando, news feeds, blogs, you tube videos and tweets have focused on the 49 young people who were senselessly murdered and the whys and wherefores of how such a thing can happen in this day and age.
Although we are inundated with news about shootings daily, when something of this magnitude takes place, it makes us stop, pause and reflect. Whether the timing of the massacre was serendipitous or not, it did take place during our high holy holiday – Gay Pride – and to add insult to injury, it took place in what some have described as our “safe” space, a gay bar.
Indignation was rampant. After all, we as a community have made great strides with the elimination of DOMA, the extension of spousal benefits to LGBTQI employees of the federal government and the legalization of same-sex marriage. It is a rude awakening to realize even with the symbolic trappings of social progress and assimilation, there are people out there who do not like us and will go to great lengths to attempt to either slow or stop our progress.
While many of us were questioning how we, as an inclusive, diverse force of nature could be targets of such narrow-minded, outdated beliefs and behaviors, some of us were questioning, myself included, when did gay bars become “safe” spaces? An even bigger question for some of us: When did we become inclusive and diverse?
I think I missed that particular accomplishment.
Outgrown your rental? Tired of those dated appliances? And lets not even start on those neighbors partying upstairs at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.
You’re tired of renting and ready to buy your first home. Its scary and exciting. But where do you start?
A home purchase is your biggest investment of your life. Lets talk about where you should start, and steps to do to help take the stress out of home buying and make it one of your greatest experiences.
We know what we want, but can we afford it? This is the first question that needs answered.
First step is to contact a mortgage lender. Whether you know a lender or need a contact for one, you can always contact me for a great trustworthy lender.
After choosing a lender, you will meet with them and go over your credit, salary, etc. (the lender will let you know everything you need to bring for a preapproval) which will help determine how much you can afford.
Just remember, because you can afford it on paper, doesn’t mean you have to spend that much on a house. Please take into consideration your lifestyle, hobbies and what you like to do with your free time. You don’t want to be house poor.
Your lender will give you a pre-approval letter, which states you are pre-approved for a certain amount to spend on a home.
Some other things to consider are down payment and your spending. When you are in the market to purchase a home, think of it as a time to be frugal with your purchases - that new iPhone that just came out may cost you your pre-approval. Be careful on your spending. Charge card purchases or financing “something you need for the new home” can really impact your credit.
You have your pre-approval in hand, and a realtor (hopefully me) to show you some homes. When shopping for a home, the chances of getting everything on your list just might not happen, but remember the core items you need in a home. If you want a four-bedroom home, don’t setde for a two-bedroom because you love the kitchen!
My advice to you is to shop around, look at all the homes on your list, and remember to exercise patience - the house you want and need may not happen on your first trip out to look at homes. Take your time to find the perfect house, it will happen!
Also something to consider, if there are a few homes that interest you: Take some
time in the evening, or leave a little early for work, drive by and get the feel of the areas you are looking in. Also, remember your work commute, this will be something you do every day.
You’ve found your dream home - offer accepted! I know that you are on cloud nine, it is all you can talk about, and your friends and family are happy for you (but at the same time, tired of hearing about it).
Don’t forget to have an inspection done. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important things in the homebuying process. Let your realtor suggest a top-notch inspector for you. I know cousin Bob is an inspector, but Aunt Mary has already told him how much you have to have this house. Sometimes having a biased opinion could save you thousands.
After you get the inspection report back, sit down and chat with your realtor and go over the report together. In most cases, a seller will not repair everything that needs repaired on an inspection report. A good realtor has been through this multiple times, and can help answer questions you may have, as well as the “needs” of repairs that you should have done to have your home as close to move-in ready as possible.
Now is the time to turn that preapproval letter into a mortgage. Finalizing this step is key, and there are more to-do’s now. Your lender will be able to go over everything you need to close on
your new home.
You will have to pay PMI - Private Mortgage Insurance - monthly with your mortgage if you do not have 20 percent down payment. Also, you will have closing costs, which are fees the lender charges to close your loan. In addition to these fees, most lenders require a full year’s home insurance policy to be purchased up front. So remember to include all these fees in addition to your down payment.
Time to call the movers. It is almost the moving date, but first you have a lot of paperwork to sign.
Your tide company, which will be handled by your realtor, will be holding the closing. The closing is where you “sign your life away,” so to speak, but this is the process of signing the mortgage papers, tide, and - most important - getting the keys to your new home !
You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing, and gone to closing. The home is yours.
Is there any more to the home-buying process?
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, you’ll want to take several more steps. The best start is to contact a realtor. We can go over these steps more thoroughly and make sure that your home purchase goes as smoothly and painless as possible.
As a professional queer activist its part of my job to educate myself and others on difficult social issues. I want to use this months column to tackle one that is near to my heart and has been weighing on my mind heavily lately - the issue of rape culture.
Rape culture is the tendency of our society to tell people not to be sexually assaulted, instead of not to sexually assault.
This concept entered the national discourse recently during many high-profile sexual-assault cases. Of particular note was the Stanford rape case, where the victims’ letter to her attacker made headlines and inspired others to share their own stories. The bravery of these survivors cannot be overstated; they choose to open up about the trauma they were subjected to when assaulted, only to be re-traumatized by the justice system, the media, and our culture itself.
A cultural myth surrounds sexual assault. The word “rape" likely conjures an image of a vulnerable young woman, alone at night. Our mental victim is preyed upon by an attacker who lunges from the shadows. Or, you may think of the same young woman, alone at a party. She drinks too much and wears too little. When she accuses a star athlete or beloved community member of violating her, you know it can’t be true.
Statistically, these scenarios are not characteristic of most assaults. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 6 in 10 sexual assault victims said that they were assaulted by an intimate partner, relative, friend or acquaintance. Further, the small minority of false rape reports should not lead rational people to immediately discredit any accusation.
I’ve been writing this column since 2008 and I’ve never missed an issue. Then, on the cusp of my deadline for last month, 49 people were murdered inside of Pulse in Orlando – and I had written a column called, “The Death Of The Gay Bar.”
Needless to say, the title was glaringly inappropriate and the content – which highlighted how the safe havens for our community were disappearing – seemed unbefitting to the tragedy at hand. But just like the proverbial phoenix, I discovered that there was truth and power rising from the ashes of the words I had written, along with the one thing that will always bind us together: hope.
Let’s start with deconstructing the point I was making on my first attempt, shall we?
Just recently we saw local gay club Talbott Street shutter its doors after nearly 15 years. While many still debate the reasons for the closure – money troubles, too many bachelorette parties, a haunting by the vengeful ghost of a long-dead drag queen – the point is entirely moot. The cold truth is that a once-thriving epicenter of our community has spun its last dance beat and swept up every square of glitter.
Do you like paying just $89 for a luxury hotel? Then Phoenix is perfect for a summer trip.
Try the Sheraton Grande at 340 N. 3rd in downtown Phoenix, complete with rooftop pool and bar. The Arizona Center outdoor shopping mall (complete with restaurants) is across the street. Other nearby downtown Phoenix hotels includes the Hyatt and a Kimpton offering.
Yes, it’s hot during the day but if you get up early or go out late, it is manageable. Plus it is a dry heat.
Like baseball? The Arizona Diamondbacks play at nearby Chase Field.
Take the new light rail from PHX (aka Sky Harbor, the Phoenix airport) for $2 to the downtown hotels ($4 for an all-day pass). You can also ride it to the museums as well as Charlie’s (a country western bar). Details at www.valleymetro.org.
Every year at about this time, our community enjoys the excitement and fellowship of Pride.
Pride celebrations across the country continue throughout the summer. The collective attitude and acceptance raise spirits, and raise awareness of our community’s strengths and, well, our fabulosity.
But do you ever wonder: How can we keep it going?
I do. And that question usually translates to year-round support for our community’s continued progress. Supporting one another. Fighting off ridiculous attacks on our civil rights, often disguised as the “religious liberty” of others.
It’d be journalistic malpractice to ignore the tragic Orlando massacre. But there’s really not a political angle that resonates, so this will be personal.
For two decades, I’ve watched that sometimes-clumsy weekend dance: gay and inquiring men (and some women) go to gay clubs to meet other gay and inquiring folks. There are generational, racial and social cliques within that world, in every large city in America. But nobody ever expected that dynamic to turn ugly, violent and tragic.
We have a history of looking over our shoulders far more often than our straight counterparts – on the political front and on the personal safety front. But this tragic event has a uniquely common touchpoint for our community. Gay clubs are a part of our culture, and this attack strikes at every LGBTQ/Ally heart.
“You have bronchitis.”
This is what my doctor told me a few weeks ago. I responded, jokingly, by telling him to “blame the Clintons.” Why? I had just spent the past few weeks working at the Hillary campaign office in Indianapolis – to bring the message to Hoosiers that Hillary is the best choice for President of the United States.
I am a Democrat-by-birth. I grew up in a union household, and my parents only voted for Democrats. Born in the Bronx, I was not used to living in a state that was predominantly Republican. So I felt I had to work twice as hard to make sure that Hillary becomes our next president. I began by spending nine hours in front of Arlington High School on Election Day, obtaining 200 signatures to get Hillary on the state ballot. Now I was ready for the next step.
At the beginning of April, the Hillary campaign opened a field office in Indianapolis. On Opening Night, my husband and I headed over there to join the other Hillary supporters and officially become volunteers. I knew some of the staff but had never met Marcella Jewell, who was in charge of the office. I connected with Marcella immediately – we were on the same page! I began volunteering by making phone calls and entering data. I tried to be at the office as much as I could.
The first exciting event that occurred was when President Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak at the Hillary campaign office. The campaign arranged for me to be on the list to have my photo taken with President Clinton. It was such an exciting moment to stand next to Bill, with his arm around me, having our photo taken!
But that wasn’t the end. That Friday, Chelsea came to the office to speak on behalf of her mother. A beautiful, poised young lady, she spoke without script and answered questions following her talk. I was able to get a photo with her too – another exciting moment.
On Sunday, May 1st, Hillary was scheduled to speak at a rally in Indianapolis. As one of the volunteers, I helped guide people with disabilities to sit in the limited seating area. This would be the third time I would hear Hillary speak – I heard her twice in 2008. After being introduced by Congressman Andre Carson, Hillary gave a wonderful speech, touching on employment, civil rights, U.S. and world security, and the environment.
When she was finished, she walked around the barrier, shaking hands of her admirers. I was able to get to the front so I could not only shake her hand, but get a selfie photo taken of us. As I shook her hand, I told her that I had organized the anti-RFRA and Women’s Rights rallies in Indiana – she said to keep up the good work!
I just received my Hillary Card today. I am more than ready to begin the next phase of volunteering for Hillary! A field office is planned to open again, and I want to be on the front lines. I am convinced that she is the best person to lead our country – she is ready to start the job on Day One.
It was a strange scene; there I was in the Egyptian Room of the Murat Theater surrounded by weeping brothers and sisters, the same brothers and sisters who – not 24 hours ago – were smiling in the sunshine, celebrating another successful Indy Pride Festival.
And now, here we all were, mourning the loss of 50 brothers and sisters in the worst terrorist attack in over a decade. I was weeping myself; I was hurt, angry and confused.
I was angry at the press: As I was going to fill my gas tank before the vigil, I had the radio on and there was a news break where they talked about the terrorist attack and not once did they mention it was an attack on our community. And when I got home, it didn’t change; the major news networks mentioned us only in passing after spending countless minutes speculating about the attacker’s alleged connections to ISIS. It seems we were forgotten, even in death. We were only worth mentioning to stoke this country’s fears of radical Islamic terrorism.
Not even Republicans could take a minute to mention us. Presumptive nominee Donald Trump used the blood of our brothers and sisters to take a “victory lap” and congratulate himself on being “right” on Muslims. Ted Cruz used it to take a swipe at Democrats, saying that if they “really supported the LGBT community” they would support total war against ISIS. Other Republicans merely sent their generic “thoughts and prayers” to our murdered brothers and sisters with no mention of why they were killed.
But the response of the Republicans was nearly kind, compared to the multitude of responses I saw online where there was no mention of the attack itself, let alone why we were targeted. Instead it was a demonization of Islam or the usual rants of, “the government ain’t gonna take my gun!”
Before the last bodies had even been taken from the club, the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters was being used to play political games. All our weeping eyes and hearts didn’t make one damn bit of difference.
I was angry at the culture that allowed this to happen. While we mourn throughout the nation, we still live in a culture that sees us as less than human – whether it was James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who said recently that trans people should be shot for using the “wrong” restroom, or Gov. Bryant of Mississippi, who said he would be crucified before he allowed queer people in Mississippi to have equal rights.
In the world of theater there is a saying: “Dying is easy – comedy is hard.”
Simply put, it means that it is much easier to play a death scene than it is to make people laugh. Comedy is a broad spectrum and what seems funny to one person, may not even be the slightest bit amusing to the next.
Well, I’m going to paraphrase that old saying and state an equally varied comparison: Getting laid is easy – making friends is hard.
We can all go out on any given night and hook up with a random person. But to develop a relationship that transcends not only sexual but romantic feelings is difficult. And just like the scope of comedy, friendship exists and thrives in various planes and we all develop and perceive friendships differently.
In the gay community we socialize in divergent areas: clubs and bars, gyms and restaurants, or even on softball fields and basketball courts. There are friends that you make from the structured socialization of work or school, and friends you make through other friends. There are also common interests that breed friendship, like football, comic books or theater. There are even friends you make through happenstance, like that hilarious bartender who always makes your drinks.
You can also take the modern approach and meet people on the Internet, through Facebook and the like. So, how do you meet people online with the sole purpose of friendship? Well, I can tell you what not to do.
On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the ban on open service of transgender troops will be lifted, five years after a similar ban on the open service of gay men and women was formally ended by President Obama.
The end of the ban is effective immediately, Carter said. “Implementation will begin today,” he said, promising a “step by step approach.” “It’s the right thing to do,” said Carter. “And it’s another step in making sure we continue to recruit and retain qualified people.” He cited the military’s changes in policies regarding the service of women and gay troops as proof that the transition could be made smoothly, saying “we do have experience in this kind of thing.” Changes in on-the-ground policies, training and other aspects of implementing the change will take place over the next year.
This 18-minute tribute – directed by Emmy Award-winning Ryan Murphy and Ned Martel, with the support of their colleagues at Ryan Murphy Television – features a diverse cast of 49 actors, directors and other entertainment leaders recounting individual stories of the victims of our nation’s deadliest mass shooting.
The 49 heroes who lost their lives on June 12 were brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives. They were mostly young and mostly Latinx. But above all, they were human beings who were loved, and who had hopes and dreams for long, full lives.
In a groundbreaking statement about homosexuality, Pope Francis says Christians and the Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from gay people and others they have offended or treated poorly in the past.
"I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally," the pope told reporters Sunday aboard the papal plane returning from Armenia to Rome.
In 2013, Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality, saying that homosexual acts were sinful but not homosexual orientation.
Today the beige Stetson hats of the National Parks Service (NPS) will start appearing at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, as the site was declared a national monument on Friday. Designated by President Barack Obama, it’s the first of the United States’ 122 national monuments to commemorate the gay rights movement.
President Obama said in a statement:
I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.
Robert “Bob” Creasy, whose acting, directing and buoyant personality enlivened Fresno theater productions for years, died Friday after a brief illness. He was 36.
Mr. Creasy had a long and stellar history with the central San Joaquin Valley theater scene. He directed and acted in productions at StageWorks Fresno, CenterStage Clovis Community Theatre, Children’s Musical Theaterworks, Good Company Players, California Public Theater, Aithon Theatre and Fresno State.
As an adjunct theater instructor at Fresno City College, he directed the 2014 production of “Boeing Boeing,” a chipper farce. (“Creasy gives the play an ease and a bounce that whips up the laughs,” I wrote in a review. “I was impressed with how the cast moved so fluidly and in tune with the audience, with moments held just long enough to wring out maximum comic impact.”)
Continue reading at The Fresno Bee
June is upon us and that means Pride season is here! The time where we gather the tribes and unfurl the banners to commemorate our foremothers and forefathers who rioted at the Stonewall Inn and ushered in a new era of liberation.
At least I think so.
It’s hard to tell these days, to be honest with you, because a lot of what I see Pride becoming is nothing more than a mass marketing opportunity – our own version of a President’s Day sale, where corporations wrap their wares in a rainbow flag and expect us to pony up the cash to “Show your Pride!” Oh, and we get a parade, too.
So what happened? I think our faults were twofold: We wanted to appeal to Main Street USA, and we got drunk on our victories and we’re dealing with one unholy beast of a hangover.
I have mixed feelings about our attempt to appeal to Main Street USA; in order to get our legal victories and finally receive our rights as citizens (which we’re still fighting for, more on that in a minute), we had to appeal on a certain level to the average Joe and Jane. We had to show them that we weren’t freaks or dangerous or any of that other right-wing propaganda horse crap.