#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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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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My first paid publication

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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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LGBT center to serve Tulare & Kings Counties

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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.

History is about to be made in Visalia

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its_coming

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.

Surprise, surprise!

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photo 4

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.

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