Historic vote by Porterville City Council

NCOD_Porterville10152019On Tuesday, October 15, 2019, the City Council of Porterville, California, enacted a historic milestone for that community.

By a three to two vote, they approved a proclamation recognizing October 11, 2019, as “National Coming Out Day 2019” in Porterville.

Check out Tulare County Stonewall Democrat’s page, here, for a copy of the proclamation and some details on the students and activists that made it possible.

Brought before the council after the National Coming Out Day of October 11 due to a scheduling snafu, the council spent fifteen minutes discussing the proclamation. You can hear the recording of the conversation here. The proclamation agenda item begins at about the 2 hour, 55 minute mark into the recording.

Council member Milt Stowe said while he “loved” and “respected” and didn’t intend to demean anyone, his religion would not let him vote in favor, even though he has a gay son.

Mayor Martha Flores also voted ‘no’, after making comments including “I have “it” in my family”, a statement that didn’t go over well with the audience, although they maintained a respectful silence while the mayor spoke.

Vice Mayor Monte Reyes spoke on representing the entire community and voted yes.

Council member Virginia Gurrola spoke on the importance of the vote to the community and young people, and voted in favor.

Council member Daniel Peñaloza sponsored the proclamation (a requirement for proclamations now, after the 2013 fiasco. Details here, here, and here.) and voted yes.

On May 21, 2019, the Council also approved a proclamation recognizing May 22 as Harvey Milk Day in Porterville. This was the first gay-friendly act by the Council since the 2008 vote to urge citizens to vote in favor of Proposition 8, to remove marriage rights from gay Californians.

The city has come a long way since 2013, due in no small part to new blood on the council. For a look at what happened that summer, read my blog post, “Hate in a small town.” That blog was printed in the Visalia Times Delta‘s September 21-22, 2013 edition, in their “We The People” section.

Congratulations, Porterville. The LGBT community of Tulare County looks forward to continued growth in your support and understanding.

Image: Mayor Martha Flores, Sky Hunter, Ofiejane Castillo, Rocio Alcantar, and Brock Neeley 

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A new focus

jim_10112019 So there’s a new focus for this site. Up until now, it had been only a place to archive my blog posts at the Visalia Times Delta. Gannett, the owner of the Times Delta, “updated” their platforms sometime in December of 2018, and I’ve been unable to post since then. Despite multiple attempts by the local staff of the Times Delta to get the problem resolved, the site remains broken for me. I’ve decided to just let it go and do my posting here, instead.

Like the paper’s site, I’ll post whatever pops into my head at any given time. That means there’s no real theme here, other than LGBT issues, and things that interest me. As my personal blog, jimmiejoe.com says, when it comes to enjoying this site, “your mileage may vary”.

December 1 is World AIDS Day

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Saturday, December 1, 2018, will mark the 30th anniversary of the observance of World AIDS Day. Started in 1988, WAD is an international observance dedicated to raising the awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease.

It is estimated up to 41.5 million people have died of AIDS worldwide since it was identified. There are estimated to be 36.7 million people living with HIV today.

Once a fatal diagnosis, there are now treatments which do not cure, but halt the progression of AIDS. Infected individuals can, with treatment, live normal, healthy lives. When treatment results in undetectable levels of HIV in an infected person, transmission of the virus to another person is considered not possible. “Undetectable=Untransmittable

Along with safer sex practices, there is now a medical treatment to prevent an uninfected person from becoming infected with HIV. Called PrEP, it is medication that can block infection when taken as directed.

For current information locally, and referral to sources of treatment, prevention, and support, contact The Source LGBT+ Center on the web, or on  Facebook. Office hours at the drop in center are Tuesday through Friday, 3 pm till 6 pm. The center is located at 208 W. Main St, Suite B, Visalia. (downstairs in the Montgomery Square)  559-429-4277

MAGA – with forest rakes

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The President of the United States:

“I was with the president of Finland, and he said: ‘We have a much different [sic]…, we’re a forest nation.’ And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.”  November 17, 2018

The President of Finland:

“I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network.”

Twitter:

“LOL” (paraphrased – and tons of pictures of Finnish residents with rakes in the forest)

The rest of the world:

SMH (also paraphrased)

Vladimir Putin:

“ухмылка”

Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony to be held in Visalia Tuesday

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On Tuesday, November 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance will be recognized in a ceremony held at Visalia’s Garden Street Plaza. Beginning at 6:30 pm, join The Source LGBT+ Center as we honor those lost this year.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In 2017 there were 27 reported cases of homicide where the victim was transgender. Already in 2018 there have been 22 reported murders, with a disproportionate number of victims each year being transgender women of color.

During the week of November 12-19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address the issues trans people face.

For information, support, resources, and referral services for transgender youth and adults (as well as the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities), contact The Source LGBT+ Center at 559-429-4277, or at

The Source LGBT+ Center on the web at https://www.thesourcelgbt.org

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

Our drop in center is located at 208 W. Main St., Suite B, Visalia
(downstairs at the Montgomery Square)
The center is open 3 pm to 6pm, Tuesday through Friday.

Transgender Program Coordinator to speak at PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties

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Dana Galante, Transprogram Coordinator at The Source LGBT+ Center, will be this month’s featured speaker at PFLAG Tulare-Kings Counties. November  12-19 is Transgender Awareness week, and Galante will speak on the current status of the transgender community in Tulare and Kings Counties, the programs and activities at The Source LGBT+ Center, and her experiences as the mother of a transgender son.

When: Sunday, November 18, 2018  3pm to 5pm

Where: The Educational and Cultural Center, Congregation B’nai David, 1039 S. Chinowth, Visalia.

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. Refreshments will be served.

PFLAG Tulare and Kings Counties is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.