#HeterosexualPrideDay

straightpride

#HeterosexualPrideDay is trending on Twitter today.  Here’s a reminder of what that means.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

City of Orlando, Florida

I wonder if #gunsgunsguns will trend, as well.

LGBT Center to host Orlando grief process gathering

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theSOURCE LGBT+ Center will host a grief process gathering, Friday, July 1, 2016, at 6pm.  This event will be open to the public and will provide a forum for discussion, sharing, and healing, after the horrendous events in Orlando.

The tremendous turnout at the Sunday candlelight vigil, held in downtown Visalia after only a few hours of organization, demonstrates the need for the local LGBT+ community, as well as their straight allies, to come together to mourn the lives lost.  People are still working through the shock and grief of this tragedy, and this forum will provide further opportunities to manage the emotions that many are experiencing.

Everyone is welcome, whether you want to speak or simply be in communion and community with others.

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center is located at 208 W. Main St., Suite B, downstairs in the Montgomery Square building.

For the Facebook event page for this gathering, check here.

For theSOURCE LGBT+ Center’s Facebook page, check here.

For theSOURCE LGBT+ Center’s webpage, check here.

Regular hours are Tuesday through Friday, 3 pm to 6 pm. Saturday 12 pm to 3pm.  Closed Sunday and Monday.  Other hours by arrangement.

Local PFLAG President on Orlando, hate, and vigils.

k_hallPFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties President Dr. Kathryn Hall sent this message while on vacation:

“This has been an emotional time for the LGBT people of Tulare and Kings Counties and their allies. The results of anti-gay rhetoric and vitriol was brought vividly present to us in the  massacre in Orlando and some of the incredibly inappropriate reactions by homophobes. My husband and I have seen this from a distance, with only intermittent (and very slow) internet access on our cruise of Norway and the United Kingdom. The memory of the young Norwegians shot by a right wing extremist some years ago and the British politician stabbed and shot to death for her position on Brexit remind us that intolerance and violence are not just an American phenomenon, and the vigils for those lost in Orlando held in Visalia, Bakersfield, Fresno, and even Porterville remind us that we are a community and there is strength and comfort in that. TheSource LGBT+ Center is a huge improvement in our ability to connect with each other, and it was wonderful to have so many sign up for the Pride event that it had to be cancelled.

On this Father’s Day we are lucky to have lesbian activist Melissa McMurrey from Sacramento coming to talk at the PFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties meeting at Congregation B’nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth, VIsalia, from 3 to 5 pm. Many of us know Melissa from her activism while she lived in our area, and she can give us her perspective on what activism is needed at this point in our history. I am disappointed that I will not be able to be there as we do not get home until the next day, but I hope you will be there to welcome Melissa and provide support to our community.”

Kathryn Hall

President, PFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties

This Sunday, June 19, PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties will welcome Melisssa McMurrey as our guest speaker.  Melissa now resides in Sacramento, but began her activism in Porterville, as a founding leader of GayPorterville.  She will be speaking on “grassroots activism”.

melissa_pflag

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.

PFLAG Tulare and Kings Counties is a volunteer group of parents, family and friends of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT). We welcome members of the GLBT community to our meetings and membership. We meet on the third Sunday of each month.

PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties Facebook page is here.

Pride+ event too successful, postponed for bigger venue

parkpride

Due to overwhelming RSVPs, PRIDE+ at Plaza Park has been cancelled, and will be rescheduled in the near future.  So many people indicated they would be attending, that the space at Plaza Park would simply not support that many people! Please keep an eye out for updated information, we’ll be posting it as soon as arrangements are made for a larger venue.

The bike ride, from downtown Visalia to Plaza Park is still on.  Details at my previous blog entry.

theSOURCE LGBT+ website at theSOURCE LGBT+ Center

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thesourcelgbt/

Pride Ride, Pride in the Park LGBT celebrations June 18

parkpride

Be a part of history! Join theSOURCE’s first anual PRIDE RIDE from theSOURCE to PRIDE+ in Plaza Park; a day of Family Pride for LGBT+ here in Visalia.

This event is an easy, casual ride from The Source in downtown Visalia to Plaza Park using Visalia’s dedicated bike lanes. We’ll leave from the parking lot behind Montgomery Square, 208 W. Main St. at 9:00 AM. There’s plenty of public parking off of Center St. We’ll join the group for free food, drink, and fun as theSOURCE LGBT+ brings back Pride in the Park!

This family friendly event will be at Arbor 6 at Visalia’s Plaza Park, is open to the public, and is free of charge.  theSOURCE will be setting up the BBQ, and we welcome your picnic baskets and any pot luck additions you might want to bring!  Games, booths, food, and community will be the order of the day, as we celebrate the first month of operations at theSOURCE LGBT+ Center, and the proclamations by Governor Brown and President Obama, recognizing June as LGBT Pride month. This event will also be honoring Visalia’s long history of LGBT firsts (the Lavender Ball galas of the 90’s, Pride in the Park, Family Fest, PFLAG, and the Visalia Pride Lions, to mention just a few!), and looking forward our exciting future.

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center is located at 208 W. Main St., Suite B (downstairs at Montgomery Square), Visalia.  Our operating hours are Tuesday through Friday, 3pm to 6pm, and Saturdays 12pm to 3pm.  Other hours are available by appointment.  Walk-ins welcome.

Phone:  559-429-4277

Webpage: http://thesourcelgbt.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesourcelgbt/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesourcelgbt/

June is LGBT Pride Month

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June is LGBT Pride Month. On June 28, 1969, the New York City Police Department conducted a raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar. The raid set off three days of riots by patrons protesting the frequent harassment, public shaming, and jailing of customers. The riots are now recognized as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement in the United States. On Tuesday, May 31, President Obama issued a Proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month for 2016.  (It’s been immensely entertaining to see the right-wing noise machine go ballistic that the President “ordered” Americans to celebrate the occasion.)

In the intervening 47 years, we’ve gone from people being arrested for simply being in a gay bar, to marriage equality in all 50 states. Visalia and the surrounding area has had an interesting history, as well. Our newly opened LGBT+ Center, theSOURCE, is working on building a record of the gay community in Visalia and Tulare County. Here are a few of the memorable moments in recent LGBT history.

In the late 90’s, members of the community organized The Lavender Ball, a charity event. Several thousand dollars were raised over the years the gala events were held, at the then-Radisson Hotel in downtown Visalia.

In 2008, 2009, and 2010, QueerVisalia held “Pride in the Park”, a community BBQ and gathering at Plaza Park. In 2009, 2010, and 2011 “Family Fest” brought together a large number of residents and their families for an afternoon of fun and celebration at Mooney Grove Park.

2008 saw the formation of the Tuesday Evening Dining Group. TEDG dines at various establishments in Tulare and Kings counties.  Twice a year the Vintage Press hosts a special menu dinner for the group.

In 2009, Visalia Pride Lions became the second LGBTQ Lions club in the United States.  The first was in the Castro District of San Francisco.  Other clubs have been formed, following Visalia’s example.  In 2015, I was honored to receive the “Heart of a Lion” award, presented by the Visalia Pride Lions.

2012 saw a historic first for the LGBT community. The Visalia City Council issued a Proclamation recognizing June 2012 as LGBT Pride Month. That proclamation was repeated in 2013. Visalia became the first government body in the valley to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month. (After the 2013 proclamation, the city of Visalia changed the rules for proclamations, making it less likely that they would recognize Pride Month in the future. A cynic might suspect the changes were not coincidental, and intended to prevent the proclamation from becoming an annual event.)

In 2013, Porterville became embroiled in controversy when Mayor Virginia Gurrola issued a similar proclamation. Religious zealots immediately responded with anger and hatred directed at the LGBT community and Mayor Gurrola. Councilmen Brian Ward, Cameron Hamilton, and Greg Shelton introduced, voted on, and approved actions that rescinded the Mayor’s proclamation, removed her and the vice-mayor from their ceremonial offices, and changed the rules on issuing proclamations. During public comment times at council meetings, several people repeated Biblical passages that say homosexuals were “worthy of death”. Others stood to make unfounded and ridiculous accusations towards gay men and lesbian women, to the applause of many in the chambers. (Porterville was the only government body in California to vote and pass a resolution urging it’s citizens to vote in favor of Proposition 8.)

In 2014, the Visalia City Council recognized PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties with a proclamation of recognition for it’s work in the community.

For the past several years, gay veterans and their supporters have marched in Porterville’s Veterans Day Parade.  At first frowned upon, the group has become a cheered contingent in the parade.  Local members of PFLAG, Visalia Pride Lions, and members of the Visalia and surrounding LGBT communities walk in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Visalia.

May 2016 saw the opening of theSOURCE LGBT+ Center in Visalia.  Their “mission is to provide spaces within our communities for the LGBT+ population to Learn, Grow, Belong, Transform, Question, and Support. The vision is to cultivate new resources through advocacy, partnerships and fundraising to unite and advance the LGBT+ community in Tulare & Kings Counties”.

Despite the current hand wringing over bathrooms by right wing religious fanatics, the future looks bright for the LGBT community.  It sometimes seemed like Visalia and Tulare County would not take part (the overwhelming votes for Propositions 22 and 8 are an example, along with Porterville’s officially sanctioned disdain towards the LGBT community), but we have come a long way towards equality.  The future looks bright, and with the addition of theSOURCE LGBT+ Center to act as a hub of connection, the area can look forward to many years of community, friendship, and advancement.