Audio comments, City Council meeting May 21 2018 – Speaker lambastes city, LGBT group

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“THAT’S CHILD PORNOGRAPHY!”

Well, no, it’s not. Not even close. Gabriel Jacquez spoke at the public comments section of the May 21, 2018 Visalia City Council meeting, and took the city to task for allowing our event, Pride Visalia, to take place. During his comments, he drew a really strange connection between drag queens dancing and child porn. Listen to the recording above to see if you can follow his…  “logic”. I can’t.

Immediately following his remarks are mine, given a few minutes after his. I had planned on simply giving a short presentation to the Council about Pride Visalia, and then invite them to attend.

That got thrown out the window after I heard his remarks. I tried to address Mr. Jacquez’s remarks as best I could, without turning my three minutes into a complete mish-mash.

I’m glad it worked out the way it did, it would have been unfortunate had I gone first, and then Mr. Jacquez following. In that scenario, I would not have been able to respond.

Sorry for the poor quality of the image. That’s me, at the podium, in the upper right hand corner of the image. It’s a screen capture of a phone video, which was recording a video feed that was playing on yet another phone. A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.

Sorry that the audio quality is not the best, either. It’s also a copy of a copy, especially that last few seconds.

You can hear the (almost) complete audio at the article by the Visalia Times Delta, here. My comments are attached to the video at the top of the article, Mr. Jacquez’s in the video further down the page. At some point in the future, the City of Visalia should have an audio recording of the meeting, with the full comments. (only a few seconds have been cut, however. Mostly us introducing ourselves, and possibly a bit at the end of Mr. Jacquez’s remarks.)

All in all, a most upsetting Council meeting for me.

Rainbow Dragons at Pride Visalia?

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Baby Dragon

Draco, in an early pic, 2011

It never fails. I should never let them look over my shoulder when I’m on the computer.

I’ve written about them before, back when they were first born. (I can’t tell them they’re hatched, for some reason they don’t like that. I think it has something to do with an inferiority complex about competing with birds. I know, it’s weird.)

Since then, I’ve kept them out of my blogs, and off my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. They’re already insufferably vain, and making them the center of attention would be unbearable. (oh, if you met them you’d think they’re charming, well behaved, and as entertaining as hell, but you don’t have to live with them!)

They’re seven years old now, and quite the handful. Over the years we’ve managed to not burn down the house or set the yard on fire. Mostly. There was that one time I had to convince the fire department that it was just the BBQ making all that smoke, while they hid on the roof, trying to look like I have a strange hobby of collecting gargoyles. Fortunately it was after dark, and they weren’t noticed. Crisis averted.

Their voices are still juvenile, though. I’m waiting for dragon puberty to hit, and for those sophisticated British accents to kick in. Still sounds like a lot of London boys sniffing helium going on around here, and sometimes it gets on one’s nerves. Good thing they’re still as cute as can be. (When they’re asleep.)

Today, I messed up, and I’m not sure how to contain the furor now unfolding in my dragon lair.

Did you see this?

rainbow_dragon

Boy, they did. I was on my laptop, scrolling through Facebook, when I landed on this. I hadn’t realized Draco was behind me, snooping. (I try to keep them away from the computer as much as I can. It’s really hard to clean smoke residue off the screen after they’ve been watching Dragonheart and Eragon on endless loop.) He let out a very un-dragonly squeal, demanding to know what that was. “Nothing” wasn’t going to cut it.

Draco called the others over, and they all huddled around the computer, squeaking and squawking about it, demanding to know what it was all about.

I told them some humans love dragons (I glared at them enough to make them wonder whether I was one of them or not) and had made some buttons and other gear for the upcoming Pride Visalia. They were quite pleased. And, of course, they want to go.

How do you tell a bunch of seven year old dragons they can’t go to the festival to see the other dragons? They’ve decided it’s not just buttons and pins, and that there are going to be other dragons there. Rainbow dragons.

I’m not sure how I’m going to contain this.

 

Trump wants a “space force”

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trump_death_star

*sigh*

I wonder if Trump knows what happened to the Emperor?

GOP, NRA complicit in Florida school shooting

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ar15

When you drive the getaway car from the scene of a liquor store robbery where the clerk was killed, you can be charged with homicide even if you never entered the store. If you supply alcohol to someone and they’re involved in a fatal DUI crash later, you can be charged with a crime. If you hide a criminal from the police, you can be arrested.

Give money to a Congressman who votes to allow mentally disturbed individuals easy access to high-power assault rifles, however, you’re off scott-free when one of those people uses that weapon to kill others.  If you lobby to take military style weapons off banned firearms lists, you’re just a patriotic American who supports the Second Amendment. Vote to make these things possible, and you’re only responsible for “thoughts and prayers”.

The United States is sick. I was holding onto the hope that this disease was not terminal, but that diminishes each time we see the news of another mass shooting. Just this year alone, we’ve had 20 fatalities at school shootings, 17 of them in the most recent incident. What have we done about it? Nothing. Well, almost nothing. We elect and re-elect people like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes, and Donald Trump. We let them off with issuing platitudes. Children die, the NRA remains silent and writes checks.

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How did that happen?

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civic_engagement_panel_02122018_resize

If you had told me ten years ago, or even five, that I’d be on a discussion panel up in front of a crowd of strangers, telling a bit of my story, I’d have said “you’re nuts”.  That’s not something I ever thought I’d be able to do, or that anyone would find anything I had to say interesting enough to invite me.

My, have times changed.

On Monday, February 12, 2018, I was one of five panelists for the 210 Connect presentation “Use Your Power: How To Change Your Community through Civic Engagement”. I was honored to appear with Erin Garner Ford of ACT for Women and Girls; Steven Tootle, political science professor at College of the Sequoias; Amy Shuklian, Tulare County Board of Supervisors; and Daniel O’Connell, Executive Director at Central Valley Partnership.  My connection was through my activities with The Source LGBT+ Center, and as a community activist in general.

Honestly, I felt rather out of my depth with the group on the panel.

I thought it went fairly well, though. People seemed interested in what I had to say about becoming an activist in the LGBTQ community, and I was asked a couple of interesting questions about my evolution from closeted introvert, to community activist.

Now I’ll ponder some more about it, and see what, if anything, grows out of this night’s experience. One thing is for sure, I enjoyed it. It was fun!

Mike Pence Secretly Gay?

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Vice President Mike Pence gay??
gay_pence_fake

While it would be a delicious rumor, that’s all it is. (as far as we know!)

pence_brad-patton

Sadly (or not), this image isn’t Mike Pence in his secret gay youth.  Turns out this is Brad Patton, a porn actor.

I never put much stock in the rumor that Mike Pence was secretly gay, but an image that popped up in my Facebook feed had me recalling it all again. It was deliciously ironic, or would have been, if Pence were actually gay and deeply closeted, and in self-loathing hell.

pence_selfie_pita_fake

Yep, that’s Vice-President Mike Pence, and Olympic athlete from Tonga, Pita Taufatofua. Pita has made quite the stir with his shirtless, oiled-body appearances in the Olympics opening ceremonies, twice in a row. Of course, the humor is in the assumption that closeted Pence would get a selfie with the hunky Tongan, after his apparent overtures to gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon fell flat. Sadly, the picture is fake. The number two man in the Trump administration is the victim of fake news. Go figure.

pence_selfie_original_crop

Here’s the original selfie used to make the fake one with Pita. Someone did a decent photo-shopping to create the image (at least on a phone screen. The edit is a bit more noticeable on a computer monitor.)

So “Mother” (what Pence calls his wife. Reagan did the same thing. I always found that a bit creepy) can rest easy. Her hubby doesn’t have a secret hankerin’ for the man meat. That we know about, anyway. He’s certainly acted in the past like a deeply conflicted, self-loathing, closeted queen, however, so one can never be quite certain.

Maybe, as in the X Files… the truth is out there.

Maybe it was something I said…

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Occasionally I re-visit Congressman Devin Nunes’ personal Twitter page, just to see if I’m still blocked.
nunes_blocked_cropped

Yep, still blocked. When I first noticed the block, I thought, being the generous sort that I am, that perhaps he kept his personal Twitter feed limited to just family and friends. Then, after my more cynical side spoke up, I decided to test that theory. I have access to a second Twitter account that I co-manage, so a test was in order.

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