The online world collectively lost its mind this week over the fact that a little boy was starring in a Barbie commercial for the first time ever.
"SO fierce!" he says to the camera as he hands the doll her tiny designer purse.
Whoa… not so fast!
As the celebration of marriage equality winds down our community appears poised to pivot toward, and bring the primary focus of our formidable influence, to the fight for passage of the newly introduced Equality Act, which would provide more comprehensive protections against anti-LGBT discrimination than its predecessor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). It may seem the obvious course. After all, as the saying goes, a gay or lesbian person can get married in the morning and fired in the afternoon…or refused a hotel room, be barred from senior housing, declined service in a restaurant, denied a joint auto loan, etc. However there is a need more urgent, one literally of life and death–namely homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The time is now that they be not just A priority at long last, but THE top priority moving forward.
Fully 20-40 percent of the approximately 1.5 million homeless youths in America identify as LGBTQ, based on numerous studies. Over the past almost two decades I have been engaged on this issue these dismal statistics have proven stubbornly resistant to change. Studies also show that a youth’s LGBTQ identity is often a major contributing factor to becoming homeless, if not the cause altogether. Once homeless, LGBTQ youth face a myriad of risks, including: suicide, violence, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, prostitution, and substance abuse/dependence.
Greater access to LGBTQ specific and LGBTQ- friendly services, with the necessary competencies and experience, are sorely needed. There are a number of amazing foundations and service organizations around the country, such as Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Foundation, the Ali Forney Center in NYC and Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco attempting to raise awareness and/or directly address the plight of homelessness among our youth. Yet these organizations have been de facto charged with the responsibility for addressing a crisis that in scope and scale is far beyond their resources and capabilities.
I have said this a time or three previously, but it bears repeating: The longer I work with computers and electronics, the more e-mail looks like the old “snail mail” stuff. In other words, the more it seems that e-mail I send out to people (or they send to me) “bounces” for this or that reason or the more it’s delayed “somewhere out there” or never goes or lands anywhere.
The sad part of all of the above is that we (that’s all of us) have this badly mistaken idea that if we use e-mail there is a 100% chance what we send will arrive …and arrive “immediately.” In truth, that’s not always the case and if we go through life believing in the impossibility of e-mail and e-commerce failure then we are going to eventually end up sad (not to mention broke if we are counting upon e-mail to pay a bill or send a job to the boss, etc.) and I got a bridge I wanna sell you, too!
The issue has been driven home with our recent move and sale of the company we owned, necessitating a new domain name and new e-mail addresses at our end. The setting up has been a nightmare and meanwhile those wanting to write us have often called frustrated when e-mails bounced back to them as undeliverable.
Add to that we have, for way too many years, used an e-mail programme called Microsoft Entourage to get our mail. To quote Wikipedia, “Microsoft Entourage was an e-mail client and personal information manager developed by Microsoft for Mac OS 8.5 and higher. Microsoft first released Entourage in October 2000 as part of the Microsoft Office 2001 office suite; Office 98, the previous version of Microsoft Office for Mac OS included Outlook Express 5. The last version was Entourage: Mac 2008, part of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, released on 15 January 2008. Entourage was replaced by Outlook for Macintosh in Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, released on 26th October 2010…”
Las Vegas. Lit in a blaze of neon and fueled by alcohol, the city itself seems to be weighed down with secrets and promise. The polished gloss of its sparkling skyline is a siren song to anyone searching to become someone else – if only for a weekend. Whether it’s the darkness of the kinky sex that permeates the background on CSI or the sunlit drunken amnesia of The Hangover, Las Vegas has been the setting for numerous stories that twist like tangled vines through its history. The truth is, most of the fiction couldn’t hold a candle to the facts.
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but is that really true? The basic premise of this catchy and oft-repeated slogan is that Vegas cultivates the idea that it’s okay to lie, to change who you are and to do things you would never do, because when you leave, you leave it behind. But memories are like fingerprints; everyone has a unique set and they will always be a part of you. Everywhere you go, your experiences are stamped in your brain like initials in sealing wax.
My experience in Vegas is usually a whirlwind of bad behavior, chance encounters, dance beats and hotel sheets- somewhere between Ke$ha’s “Take It Off” and Katy Perry’s “Waking Up In Vegas”- but nothing I wouldn’t do in any other town, including this one. The only difference in this equation is the introduction of a brand new catalyst. Or two. Or three at a time. Maybe it’s because for the very reason that people believe they can be and do whatever they want within the confines of this jewel embedded in the desert, it changes their attitude and their approach to others.
James Pittman faced discrimination because he was gay—that, nobody denies. As an employee at Cook Paper Recycling Corp. in Missouri, Pittman was subject to vile homophobic harassment: Employees called him a “cocksucker,” asked whether he had AIDS, mocked him for being gay and having a boyfriend, and ridiculed him when they broke up. Then Cook Paper fired him.
Pittman sued, alleging he was subject to illegal workplace discrimination. The court promptly dismissed his suit, ruling that Pittman’s harassment was perfectly legal. Neither Missouri nor federal law explicitly bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the court reasoned, so Cook Paper’s employees were free to torment, mock, and fire Pittman for being gay. On Tuesday, the Western District Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
The best use of three minutes... Sasheer Zamata explains just how problematic privilege is:
In honor of National Coming Out Day (October 11) and #SpiritDay (October 15), this post examines how some highly-public moments for the LGBT community affected support for this movement and the rate at which people came out on Facebook. Examining aggregated, de-identified information about people in the U.S. on Facebook, we look at the total number of people who came out on each day. We define “coming out” as (1) updating one’s profile to express a same-gender attraction or (2) specifying a custom gender.
YOUR TRUE GENDER CONFERENCE 2015
Your True Gender is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the general public with an educational experience on Transgender awareness and issues. The Your True Gender Conference 2015’s mission is to educate and guide individuals of all ages on their transition journey (whatever that may be for each person) and to educate their significant others, parents, family members, friends and advocates.
Featured Guests: Janet Mock (Author) Isis King (Model) Jillian Weiss, J.D. & Ph.D. Marci Bowers, M.D. Joel Beck, M.D. Jamison Green, Ph.D.
Cal Poly SLO Campus: The Chumash Auditorium in the Julian A. McPhee University Union Building
Special Event: ABC Family ‘Becoming Us’ Reality Star CARLY LEHWALD Q&A Session Open to the Public
Sunday 1:30pm-2:30pm Chumash Hall
Chaz is the author of "The End of Innocence & Transitions: How I Became a Man". The son of Cher and Sonny Bono, he fully transitioned into a transgender man in 2010 named Chaz Bono.
The event, titled "A Conversation with Chaz Bono," will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday October 8th at the Old Administration Building Auditorium. Admission is free. Seating may be limited, we recommend you arrive early.
The dramatic revisiting of the era that gave birth to the Stonewall revolt of 1969 is a poignant reminiscence of the traumatic rites of coming out in an era before Facebook, cell phones, and our growing consensus about equal rights for people of alternative gender choices.
For me, scene after scene was a flashback to my own coming out in 1969 in the LA area. The events dramatized were an accurate portrayal of characters and the raw emotions and yes, the violence and the marginalization of those who could not be contained in the closet of anonymity.
Then as now, the unsettled issues of class and race permeated the nascent discontents that erupted in four days of rage and rebellion on Christopher Street in New York.
Any retelling of the Stonewall Riot can’t be true to its roots without including a prologue that is an artistic replication of the human traits that define us as vulnerable to the social sanctions of the smug, sanctimonious and supercilious.
For those who did not live through the era of Stonewall this re-telling is a must see to be able to empathize with the lives of unsung heroes who in no small measure enabled the benefits of a less onerous path we follow today.
In 1961 KQED produced what is perhaps the first known documentary about homosexuality in the United States called "The Rejected." It's been lost – until now.
The film is hardly a flattering portrayal of the LGBTQ community. It frequently refers to homosexuality as a "problem" and the documentary is peppered with other derogatory words such as "unpleasant" and "terrible." But, does offer a glimpse into life in the early 60's.
Introducing the 2015-16 Bulldog Pride Fund Scholars:
The Bulldog Pride Fund, an endowed scholarship established under the auspices of the Fresno State Alumni Association, has announced its six scholars for the 2015-16 academic year. Sharing $12,000 equally are:
Adjunct professor Beth Gonzales decided she won’t be returning to Fresno Pacific University next semester after a discussion she had with university President Richard Kriegbaum about gay marriage this week.
Disagreeing with school leaders’ vocal opposition to gay marriage, she asked Kriegbaum on Wednesday if she needed to resign.
“I agreed with her that it looked like the logical thing to do to resolve the issue of conscience,” Kriegbaum said.
This is the latest aftershock from an official Fresno Pacific blog post written by Kriegbaum in July titled “Being Christ-like in an Anti-Christian Culture” that helped clarify the university’s position on marriage following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling protecting same-sex marriage.
The post resulted in the resignation of at least two Fresno Pacific adjunct professors from the Christian college and garnered a slew of comments online, including the creation of a Facebook page titled “Response to Richard Kriegbaum, and Fresno Pacific University.”
“I was upset that there seemed to be an assumption that all Christians feel this way (about gay marriage) and I know that is not remotely true,” said Gonzales, who has worked at Fresno Pacific for over 21 years as director of the school’s handbell choir.
* At least two adjunct professors have resigned and another will not return next semester
Gay Fresno is currently seeking a highly motivated independent advertising sales representative. Ideal candidate is a professional who is self-motivated, growth-oriented, and passionate. Compensation will be commission only at a competitive rate (no salary). Also available openings in Tulare, Hanford, Porterville & Visalia.
Organization Overview: Locally operated as a not for profit since 2004, Gay Fresno is a division of Gay Community Network and operates community based websites in multiple Central Valley cities. Funds raised from advertising goto operating costs and towards our fund to become a non profit. See more about us at GayFresno.com
Position Summary: As an Independent Sales Rep, you will be responsible to locate and contact potential business accounts to advertise and market their company on our website(s). This position offers a flexible schedule - part time or full time.
Peter Robertson, Melissa Knight, Matthew Mazzei and Julia Woli Scott
on behalf of the newly established
RAINBOW ALUMNI AND ALLIES CLUB
cordially invite you and a guest to the
Monday, September 28, 2015
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. • A short program begins at 6:30 p.m.
Smittcamp Alumni House • Fresno State
All ages welcome. Complimentary admission. Appetizers provided.
Beer and wine available for purchase. 21+ only. Please drink responsibly.
Parking permit required. $3 per vehicle.
Catering provided by THE PAINTED TABLE and P*DE*Q
Taylor Swift should be ashamed of herself for romanticizing brutal, mid-20th-century European colonialism in Africa with her new video “Wildest Dreams”!
Okay, so I don’t agree with that – at all. But in the Age of Outrage, where the level of supposed outrage tends to translate to clicks and Internet traffic, it’s white noise (no pun intended).
Pop culture’s main Pop Princess, Taylor Swift, recently released the beautiful Out of Africa-meets-1930s/40s-Vogue video for her song “Wildest Dreams.” We see her up against the backdrop of the “wild” African surroundings while donning gorgeous, timeless styles. I’m not a Swiftie, but I obviously liked the video, as did most viewers and critics.
End of story, right? Nope. This is 2015, remember? Outrage…OUTRAGE, I tell you!
Almost immediately, some writers jumped on the video as yet another example of an insensitive, white pop star carelessly hurting the feelings of all people of African ancestry, or something.
“[She] packages our continent as the backdrop for her romantic songs devoid of any African person or storyline,” wrote NPR contributing writer James Kasaga. “[She] sets the video in a time when the people depicted by Swift and her co-stars killed, dehumanized and traumatized millions of Africans. That is beyond problematic.”
Yes, by merely using the styles of Hollywood’s golden age in the wild plains of Africa, Swift is shoving colonialism in the faces of Africans. Huh? Not only is this quite the stretch – it ignores the fact that art is the ultimate subjective expression of human emotion.
For example, if I were to release a music video where I’m dressed as a Spanish missionary in the New World, it doesn’t automatically mean I’m making light of or celebrating the atrocities committed by Spanish colonists and conquistadors. It means I’m using the imagery to communicate a larger point with elaborate costumes.
I’m not in any way defending what European colonizers did to the people and lands of the African continent. I would never do that – colonialism does have a horrible, painful history. But that’s not what the damn song is about. Mid-20th century styles are used as glamorous props and the African landscape as a stunning, artistic expression of her song. Her video becomes the visual representation of her “Wildest Dreams.” She even donated money to the conservation of African wildlife and lands.
She did a lot in the video. She did not romanticize European colonial rule. She. Just. Didn’t.
Not one to miss out in the outrage culture, Mic was on the video for it’s social justice warrior beat. “The image of Africa as a frontier playground is on full display in Swift’s video,” wrote Zak Cheney-Rice. “Not a single black African person is present, let alone one of specified national origin from among the continent’s 54 countries.”
So Swift is acting like a careless, insensitive frontierswoman because she didn’t put any black Africans in her video….and she should be ashamed, or something. The point doesn’t hold up under scrutiny…but at the time of this blog post going up, it helped garner over a million Facebook likes. And that’s the whole point.
Outrage sells and boy does it generate likes, shares and clicks. Swift’s race makes the outrageous package irresistible because it crudely diminishes her art to an example of the rich and powerful white person exploiting the disenfranchised person of color. Again, this post isn’t about disregarding racism or colonialism. It’s about calling out clickbait masquerading as think pieces. Now that’s “problematic.”
Note: For those who don’t understand the title, it’s a lighthearted reference to one of the funniest movies ever made – “Mean Girls.”
More than a month after a transgender woman died after being stabbed on a Fresno street, law enforcement agencies are continuing to seek the person who attacked her.
K.C. Haggard, 66, of Fresno, who's been recalled as a "sweet" person, was seen on the surveillance video from a tattoo shop walking down North Blackstone Avenue early in the morning of July 23.
In the video, an SUV drove toward Haggard and stopped near her. Haggard walked over to the vehicle and appeared to talk for a few moments with someone inside. After someone jabbed at her throat, Haggard walked away and collapsed on the sidewalk.
An ambulance and a police car finally arrived several minutes after the attack, and she was pronounced dead at 2:52 a.m.
Fresno police Lieutenant Joe Gomez said in an email Tuesday, September 1 that no arrests have been made.
I remember the days when conservative religious groups loved their witch hunts. They would find people who were either gay or friendly to the LGBTQ community; then they would expose them, out them and ruin their lives. These groups toppled political figures, decimated careers and in some cases were the lead cause of suicide. It is my thought, shared by many others, that sometimes these groups were the reason that we were so slow in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Now that the tide has turned and of course, these groups are crying foul. A news article by the Portland Press Herald exposed seven major donors who tried to defeat marriage equality laws by donating to the National Organization for Marriage. Chris Plante, a director for NOM says that “it is a tactic of same-sex marriage advocates across the country to try to chill the free speech… We find there is a particular effort to attack and force retribution against those who stand in the public square.”
This group and other groups that have spewed hate and contempt for years are now saying that they are being discriminated against.
Other than the irony that makes me giggle – I also feel great about the strides that our society is making in recognizing sexual orientation equality. We are not 100 percent there yet but we are moving in the right direction. This article written even 10 years ago would have been slanted completely different.
Remember back in grade school when the still-damp ditto sheets were passed down the row before a test or quiz? You took a deep whiff of that awesome mimeograph ink and put your Number Two pencil to work. The next day you waited with nervous anticipation – would you receive a coveted gold star? Then, the crushing revelation: a big red C Minus. Letting you know you are average. Or just below it.
From the moment we are old enough to comprehend what it means to be graded, evaluated, praised and ranked, we strive for that big red A, the bright gold star, the shiny blue ribbon or the hypnotic gleam of the first place trophy. We study, we train, and we learn to channel our abilities to be the best. But what about the constant study of relationships? How do we know when we are good at what we do in the bedroom and not the classroom?
We don’t receive a textbook and a syllabus of how to be an amazing partner or a fantastic lover, so where do we glean the knowledge that takes us through our personal lives? We see the romantic gestures that people make in the movies: the anonymous love notes, the grand declarations of love in the pouring rain, even the rushing to the airport to stop the one you love from leaving for Paris. By the way, why are they always jetting off to Paris? Just once I’d like to see someone stop their beloved from flying off to Newport News or Jackson Hole.
These cinematic sequences look great on film and we dissect them and take what we need from their dialogue and hyper-real situations. But in real life, unsigned love letters seem creepy, not everyone looks stunning when they are soaking wet, and there is no way you could make it through the airport in time due to all the constant restrictions. Besides, everyone’s definition of what is and isn’t romantic is different. For me, the most romantic ending to a movie is still Sixteen Candles. Why couldn’t the breathtaking Jake Ryan be waiting for me when everyone was leaving my sister’s wedding?
The only other option is to study those around us: our parents, our friends, even other couples that we don’t even know, just to see how they act and spar within their relationships. The problem with that is, no two couples are ever alike. So how the hell do we know what to do? And how do we know we are doing the right thing?
And the “time” is now here to write about it, as the Apple Watch is out and available at your local Apple Store for purchase. And our household finally owns one of the illustrious new offerings from our favourite and often-talked-about tech giant.
But before you get out your wallet let me be clear after using our watch for a week or three: The Apple Watch is not for everyone. Ours came at a sizable discount, as husband Ivan is a full “time” Apple employee. And I’m sure even if a discount had not been offered we eventually would have found the cash to buy one. I’m told, too, as I write this that there is now a friends and family discount on them so if I decide I want one for myself it won’t hurt my semi-retiree wallet too much.
But on to the meat of my review…. and what is it, or could it be, that makes the Apple Watch so great that I should at least go by my Apple store for a try on?
Nothing and everything.
The Apple Watch — while it is what Apple refers to as a “Hero product” much like the iPhone and the Apple TV — is not a gadget that offers instant gratification.
When ours arrived via FedEx literally overnight from China (We were in awe at watching it track from China to Alaska, to the UPS Air Hub in Louisville and finally to our door all in 24 hours…) the weight of the long brown shipping box and the yet lighter but still substantial glamour box or retail packaging enclosed were both impressive.
From there we continued to open and unwrap each item. The box contains one extra long charging cable (USB on one end and inductive magnetic charging disk on the other), a new power block, and of course, the watch itself. After turning the watch on and waiting several minutes for its first boot up, we were presented with a spiral graphic with a small Apple logo in the centre and a description of the device spelled out around the outside. At this point we were ready to pair it with our phone.
The process is started by holding the watch screen below our iPhone 6’s camera and allowing it to be connected. Once it was paired, the watch display graphic dissolved into dancing pixels of dust flowing around the screen before ending with an Apple logo in the middle and a circular progress line that started at the top and went clockwise around the entire face until it was fully synced with the phone.