June is LGBT Pride Month – and boy, is it going to be busy!

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Pride_2017

Governor Jerry Brown has issued a proclamation designating June 2017 as LGBT Pride Month in California. On Tuesday, June 6, Tulare County Supervisors Board member Amy Shuklian will also make a presentation, recognizing the first anniversary of The Source LGBT+ Center, and June as LGBT Pride Month. Notably absent this year is a proclamation from the White House, breaking an eight year tradition.

But the BIG news is happening right here in Visalia!

On Saturday, June 24, The Source LGBT+ Center will host Pride Visalia 2017. Pride Visalia will be a departure from previous Pride events held here. (I bet many of you didn’t know Visalia has held Pride events since the 90’s, right?) From the first Pride picnics in the 90’s, to Queer Visalia’s Pride in the Park events of 2008, 2009, and 2010, and Family Fest at Mooney Grove Park in 2009, 2010, and 2011, the Tulare County LGBT community has a long and varied history of celebrating June Pride.  Why June? Here’s why: The Stonewall Inn.

This year, we start a new tradition. With sponsors such as Equality California, The California Endowment‘s Stayloud project, Wells Fargo Bank, and others, PRIDE VISALIA will be the largest Pride event ever held in Tulare County. Festivities begin at 10 AM and run through 6 PM, at the Old Lumberyard, 300 E. Oak Ave., Visalia. Entry donation is $5 (children under 10 years of age are free). Tickets available online here, or at the door. There will be food and merchandise vendors, live bands, entertainment, Illusions drag queen show, a kid’s zone, and tabling by local non-profits and service organizations.  Work continues on organizing this community event, and I’ll update here as more information becomes available.

Pride Visalia 2017 promises to be a historic event in local LGBT history, and with plans to make this an annual celebration, the kickoff to an even brighter future for the LGBT+ community in Visalia, Tulare County, and the central San Joaquin Valley.

Here’s a quick break-down of events that may be of interest to Tulare County residents:

June 2 – First Friday Art Walk, Visalia. The Source LGBT+ Center will be one of ten venues displaying locally created art. 5 – 8 PM, downtown Visalia.

June 3 – Fresno’s Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival. The parade starts at 10AM, in the Tower District on Olive. The festival is 11AM to 3PM, at Olive and Wishon. Festival entry donation is $5.

June 6 – “Supervisor’s Matters”, Tulare County Board of Supervisors, 7PM, 2800 W. Burrel, Visalia. Supervisor Amy Shuklian will recognize The Source LGBT+ Center for it’s one year anniversary, and June as Pride month.

June 7 – Volunteer training and orientation at The Source LGBT+ Center. Anyone wanting to be a volunteer at the community center must first complete this one-night training program, and undergo a background check. Information at 559-429-4277

June 10-11 – West Hollywood L.A. Pride (always a biggie). The parade is on Sunday, June 11, and begins at 11AM on Santa Monica Blvd, which will be closed between Fairfax and Doheny Dr. The festival is a two-day event, Saturday and Sunday.

June 24-25 – San Francisco Pride. Parade on Market Street Sunday, June 25, at 10:30 AM. Nobody does a Pride Parade like San Francisco!

Check back for updates as we approach the biggest LGBT+ party Tulare County has ever seen!

 

#TheResistance

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resistance

This came across my Facebook feed today, reposted by George Takei.

” I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn’t born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialogue.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I’m being called on to be tolerant.

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Sulu is gay? Could’ve fooled me.

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george-takei

Sulu is gay? Could have fooled me.

I just saw ‘Star Trek Beyond’ last night.  (It’s very cool in 3D) Prior to the release, it was announced by John Cho, who plays Sulu in the JJ Abrams reboot/alternate timeline Star Trek, that Sulu is gay.  There are at least two scenes where Sulu is with his husband and their daughter (Demora, one assumes).  However, based on the scenes in the final theatrical release, you might be excused for not seeing the gay part.

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Damn… I missed it

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VTD-0721-Thunder-from-Down-Under1

The Thunder From Down Under was in my home town last night, and I missed it.

Damn.

I hope the ladies had a good time.  I understand we had a small contingent of gay men there, too. Just to keep things balanced no doubt.

My first paid publication

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Inspire01Inspire02Inspire03

In the Visalia Times Delta’s weekend edition, July 16/17 2016, I have my first paid-for published article.  I’ve had several other items appear in the print edition of the paper, but they’ve all been either letter to the editor submisisons, commentary editorials, or blog posts that were published.  This is the first time I’ve been paid to have something appear in the paper, and it was at their suggestion.

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Summer time, and the living is easy

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jim_source_06242016

“… and all I got was this stupid T-shirt!” is not a phrase I would utter today.  I put in a shift at our LGBT + Center this afternoon, and had a good time.  Had a very interesting, and lengthy, conversation on the phone with a gentleman in need of our services. I hope he comes in to take advantage of all that we offer.  I also had a illuminating conversation with two transwomen, on their lives, their thinking, and trans issues in general.  I learned a lot, just sitting and shooting the breeze with them.

At the end of the day, I got this cool t-shirt.  Not bad.

Here’s our Facebook page.

Here’s our webpage.

 

LGBT center to serve Tulare & Kings Counties

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thesource_r.jpg

Did you see the article in Saturday’s edition of the Visalia Times Delta? If not, go here and check it out. We’ll wait.

Isn’t that just the greatest news? Here’s their webpage, and here’s their Facebook page. Here’s their fundraising page. Go toss them a few bucks. Or more. We’ll wait again.

Back?  Thanks!  The response to this endeavor from the LGBT and allied community has been astounding. From nearly meeting the initial fundraising goal in just a few weeks, to the outpouring of “likes” on Facebook and the buzz on social media, theSOURCE promises to be a resounding success.

Visalia has long had LGBT groups holding activities.  From an over 20 year ongoing monthly potluck dinner group, gay bowling leagues, softball teams (go Skittles!), the Lavender Ball,  Pride in the Park, Family Fest, the second LGBT Pride Lions group in the USA, the Tuesday Evening Dining Group, gay-straight alliances at local high schools, and COS Pride just to mention a few, Visalia has bucked the trend of most other places in the Central Valley.

There have also been dark times.  Suicides of LGBT youth and adults has been an un- or under-reported fact of life here.  Many young gay people leave the area as soon as they can, some never to return.  In 2001 a gay student at Golden West High School sued the Visalia Unified School District over anti-gay harassment he suffered there.  George Loomis won his case, resulting in new policies and training for Visalia Unified.

The times, as they say, are a’ changin’.

theSOURCE will provide a clearinghouse for resources, information, counseling, medical and mental health services, social activities, and more, all geared to supporting the LGBT and allied community.  Access to medically accurate information for the treatment of STDs, as well as HIV/AIDs, and referrals to practitioners familiar and friendly towards the gay community will be provided.  Information on welcoming and affirming religious organizations will be available.

A new page in Visalia’s LGBT history is about to be turned.  From the heart of Visalia’s downtown (208 W. Main, Suite B in the Montgomery Plaza), theSOURCE will serve the entire community, regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, race, religion, physical or mental handicap, age, income level, or any other classification you care to come up with.

At theSOURCE, you don’t have to be out to come in.  You don’t have to be gay, either.

At theSOURCE, you’re welcome.

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