History is about to be made in Visalia

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We’ve never had this before. It’s coming in May, and it promises to be a vital new addition to Visalia and Tulare/Kings Counties. Keep an eye out for this weekend’s Visalia Times Delta, and their coverage of something many of us thought would never happen here.

It is happening, it’s long overdue, and it’s going to be the source for a lot of change!

Stay tuned.

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Surprise, surprise!

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So I’m sitting there at the Visalia Pride Lions 5th anniversary luncheon last Saturday, when a friend of mine gets up to make a presentation.  It immediately got surreal when the very first words out of his mouth were “Jim Reeves”. Needless to say, he caught my attention, and I’m wondering “just what is going on?”  It turns out that the entire board and a bunch of the members of the local LGBT Lions group managed to keep me in the dark, and without a clue, that they were planing to honor me with 2015 “Heart of a Lion” award.

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Sandy Waymack and Slade Childers present the award.

Here’s what Slade had to say:

Introduction

Quite a surprise, and completely unexpected! I was and am honored to be chosen for this recognition, and I thank the Visalia Pride Lions profusely.

The fly in the ointment: I have divine dispensation from natural disasters even though I’m gay and the cause of them.

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Photo credit: John Alves Storm activity, Lincoln County, Kansas May 6, 2015

“God is systematically destroying America,”  chaplain John McTernan, the founder of Defend and Proclaim the Faith ministries wrote in a blog post on his website in October of 2012 (apparently now deleted). “Just look at what has happened this year,”  referring to Hurricane Sandy.

Pat Robertson said the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley could be attributed to God’s displeasure with gays and lesbians, pro-choice activists, and “perversity,”

Cindy Jacobs, of Generals International, blamed the 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people in Japan on homosexuality.

God is really pissed at us for “the gay”.

But he seems to really like me.  I’m both gay, and an atheist, so I’m a bit confused by the whole thing.

Why do I say he likes me?  Well, according to so many vociferously anti-gay preachers, God is sending natural disasters to punish us for tolerating and accepting “the gay”.  But when I went to Kansas this month to visit relatives, he missed an easy opportunity to make a point.

The week before I visited, the region around my sister’s home was hit with severe storms, and even had storm chasers out posting live video on the internet, just down the road from her house!  I was watching live, here in California, as a severe storm produced tornadoes in the immediate area.  The four days I was there, however, the weather was sunny, clear, and pleasant!  The day I left, the bad weather started back up, and the area was again hit with tornadoes, like the one seen forming in the picture above, taken from cell phone video shot by my brother-in-law.  Indeed, on my entire trip, I only got rained on a little bit, snowed on for literally seconds, and hardly needed my coat.

The only bad weather that I can see which might be directed at me is the drought here in California.  The trouble is, it’s effect is the most severe in the very region that is so very anti-gay!  This area is bright, bright red, super-conservative, and deeply religious.  Heck, the local Sheriff (my boss!) introduced the keynote speaker at the recent Tulare County Prayer Breakfast, the nationally known anti-gay crusader and hate group leader, Tony Perkins.  This region is not known for supporting the gays.  (Visalia is progressing nicely, but it’s a bright spot on an otherwise dismal map)

Bad weather scares the beejeebies out of new residents in central Kansas.  The Gaytheist comes to visit, and it’s gorgeous. He leaves, and the storm chasers are back out with huge tornadic activity in the area.

For a deity so allegedly worked up about “the gay”, he’s confusing the hell out of me.

I’m suddenly wanting some hot chocolate…

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From the Archives: 2/26/2008 – On Coming Out To Friends: One stays, one goes

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February 2008

Just when you think you have it figured out…

I was sitting at Denny’s recently, trying not to listen to a group at a nearby table gossiping about some of their friends and the trials and tribulations they were going through, when I started thinking about two friends of mine. Each reacted to my coming out differently, and I had thought I knew how things would go when they found out. Boy, was I ever wrong.

Dennis and I met in Mrs. York’s Norcross’* 6th grade class, way back in 1968.  We have been ‘best friends’ ever since, with only a few years of not much contact when Dennis became a born again Christian at about age 18.  Since I had been sure that I was an atheist since about the time we met, I thought this would be the end of our friendship.  While we went several years with only sporadic contact, we eventually became close again.  Over the years, Dennis attended several religious colleges, and graduated from the Fuller Seminary in Pasadena.  My ‘best friend’ was a Southern Baptist minister!  I often tell people that I may be one of the only atheists around with his own minister!

Don and I met in high school.  We became fast friends pretty quickly, and ran around a lot during our school years.

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Sailor punished for accidental sleepover (via Queer Landia)

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The military is making progress, but there are still plenty of bigots and homophobes in the ranks. We can only hope that some higher-up will put a stop to this eventually. It certainly does not reflect well on the Navy.

Sailor punished for accidental sleepover Petty Officer Stephen Jones is being discharged from the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina for "unprofessional conduct". What was this claimed "unprofessional conduct"? Jones and  Petty Officer Bryan McGee accidentally fell asleep on the same bed while watching CW's Vampire Diaries. Jones wakes up when his roommate walks in, then right out again. Then Jones wakes up McGee and they part ways. The very next day Jones's roommate … Read More

via Queer Landia

When I Should Have Known

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That’s me, back in 1969 or so.  Twelve years old.  One important thing in my life happened right about then, and a second important thing didn’t.  I wrote about the first thing in a blog posted to Tulare County Atheists some time ago.  This blog is about the second thing, the one that didn’t happen.  At least not for another 25 years.

I had a “girlfriend” when I was 5 years old.  We attended the same kindergarten class in Tacoma.  I remember calling her my girlfriend, and I think she called me her boyfriend, but I’m not sure either of us really thought much of the designation.  For me, it might have been more something my father suggested.  She and I only interacted in school, since we didn’t live close to each other.  We didn’t really play that much together, and other than the status of “girlfriend”, I really don’t recall much about her.  I think her name was the same as my sister’s, Sherry, but I could be mis-remembering that.  We moved after the end of the school year, and I never saw her again.  I don’t recall being upset about that.  Maybe that was the first clue?

That was it for girlfriends up until my senior year in high school.  Second clue?  Perhaps.

I should have figured out the second thing right about the same time I figured out the first.  But there was a big difference between being OK about being an atheist, and being OK about being gay.

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