PFLAG Tulare and Kings Counties is a volunteer group of parents, family and friends of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT). We welcome members of the GLBT community to our meetings and membership. We meet on the third Sunday of each month.
Family HealthCare Network 305 East Center Street (Corner of Bridge Street) Visalia (Use the courtyard entrance on Bridge. Pedestrian gate is in the alley.)
Sunday, September 15, 2013 3 - 5 pm
Reducing Disparities and LGBT-Friendly Providers
Dr. Kathryn Hall will discuss the California Reducing Disparities Project Report "First Do No Harm: Reducing Disparities in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Populations in California" and the local attempt to address these disparities by creating lists of LGBT-friendly providers. Please plan on attending to find out how you can help with project.
We all have apart to play in this important endeavor. Dr. Kathryn Hall is a local pediatrician and a dynamic speaker!
We're proud to announce that our online store is now available! You can pick out any item and have it delivered right to your door! The same great prices you've seen us offer during pride and other events. Please browse our store. You can always find it in the future on our site menu, listed as "Store".
Thank you for supporting Gay Porterville, all funds raised go to helping our all volunteer organization.
Dining out for Equality comes to Porterville today (Sunday) at La Fuente on Main St. 12:45pm.
I hope you'll join us.
More details about the program are found below:
Dining Out for EqualityPFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties hosts a lunch at an area restaurant on the fourth Sunday of most months. This program is called "Dining Out for Equality", and is designed to support PFLAG's mission, vision and goals by promoting awareness that GLBTQ people and their allies live, work and pay taxes in the communities we serve.Most of the restaurants we have visited have allowed us to display our chapter banner. When you join us for lunch, we hope you'll wear a PFLAG T-shirt or other equality-oriented clothing that advances our message.
Details of our upcoming
Dining Out for Equality event are as follows:
Date:7/28/2013 12:45 PM
Address:29 N. Main St, Porterville, CA 93257 559-781-2588
Full videos: Porterville City Council rescinds Gay Pride proclamation
Created on Sunday, 21 July 2013 20:08
Written by Administrator
The full public comments have now been released, including council discussion and vote. Even if you do not live in Porterville, this is an important and shocking problem happening in our own Central Valley. Also, do consider attending and supporting the fund for those arrested at this meeting, here.
This is a response to the "Other View" published July 11 by John P. Owens of Porterville regarding the LGBT Community in his column titled "Pride is illogical, misdirected."
Mr. Owens, I would not classify your article as hateful or you as being a "hate-mongering bigot." I say you were misinformed and not quoting factual information, however. You couch your concerns about the LGBT community's desire for self-pride and recognition on a "biologic" basis and you talk about what is "natural" to you in human kind and refer to "birth defects" that need "surgical interventions." You also discuss in detail the goal of coupling to be procreation of the species and you provide your evaluation of the male and female genitalia and their "complimentary" usefulness.
First, let me say I know something about biology, being a physician for almost 40 years. I also know something about procreation since my medical specialty is obstetrics and gynecology and I've cared for countless women and delivered thousands of children over my years of practice. On a personal note, being married for 42 years and having two sons of my own, I also know something about family dynamics.
Being gay is not a "birth defect." A cleft lip is. Being gay is a variation in the way people are born. Throughout the entirety of the animal kingdom and the human race, homosexual behavior has been demonstrated over and over as a naturally occurring biologic event. It is like brown hair or blonde hair and it is biologically related.
I was never taught anywhere in my medical education that the sole reason for sexuality was procreation. Human beings are unique in that we have those "psychosexual" needs you refer to in your article.
Two of the strongest human forces is something we call "love" and something else called "attraction." We don't date to find the best stock for child production; we don't check a potential partner's teeth and bone structure when we date. We are attracted to another person because we have some innate response to that other "someone" that somehow speaks to our psyche and soul, suggesting, "this could be the one I want to spend my life with." It's a complicated and very intense desire to find closure with another person. When same-sex couples have that same response to one another, it's the same "love and attraction" that my wife and I had when we met 47 years ago.
How can you say that the "abrogation" of Proposition 8 is based on bigotry? It is based on the realization that people deserve the right to be who they are, in the daylight and at all times, and have the right to love and be loved. People, by the very nature of being people deserve equality. I would bet, Mr. Owens, that if you were to look deeply inside yourself, you would find that you find the feeling of security and completion important in your paring with a partner, as well (if you are partnered).
What the LGBT community wants is not proclamations or flags or holidays in their honor. They merit full acceptance and the benefits afforded all citizens under the law. The contribution of gay people to our society is as significant as the contributions of any other group. People like Oscar Wilde, Florence Nightingale, Peter Tchaikovsky, Walt Whitman, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Barney Frank, Billie Jean King, Lewis Carroll, Gertrude Stein, Greg Louganis, Harvey Milk, Adam Lambert, Barbara Jordan, Cole Porter, Aaron Copland and so many, many others don't go unnoticed. Why should the group they belong to not feel a sense of pride?
So, Mr. Owens, there is no misguidance on the part of the LGBT community, nor are there are surgically removable birth defects to deal with; nor is there "willful ignorance" that has rendered the LGBT community equal in the eyes of the legal system by the Supreme Court's decision. I believe, Mr. Owens, it's only "natural" and it should be.
Dr. Steven L. Palmer is a Visalia resident and co-founder of the Tulare the Kings counties chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
THE BRAVEST PERSON IN THE ROOM By Jennifer McGuire
I don’t know his name. I don’t know his background. I don’t know his story. I do know he was the bravest person in the room.
The room is the City Council chambers of Porterville, CA on July 16, 2013, standing room only, a feeling of tension that is palpable. He is 17. He is very cute. He is wearing a rainbow bracelet shaped like a bow tie. I want to hug him. He is gay.
I know he is gay because he stood up during oral communications and came out. He came out for the first time in public. He came out to the community in which he lives. He came out, unintentionally, to his family. He stood in front of a room full of people, half of which were expounding hatred and lies; in front of the council, of which 3 members were openly ridiculing his personhood; in front of news cameras and journalists and law enforcement and thankfully, the part of the audience who were his friends and supporters of LGBTQ persons, and he came out.
He shared his fear and frustration and heartbreak of being a gay teen in Porterville, CA. He shared his story of harassment, of being bullied, of being afraid to walk down the street and of a system that wouldn’t (not “couldn’t”) protect him in the places he should feel safest – in school, in church, at home, in his community. He shared his determination to leave, to never return to the place that was supposed to be home.
I share his sentiment. I am hoping this is my last visit to Porterville. I live in Visalia, CA, a mere 30 miles away, and yet, it feels like I enter another country every time I come here. This is my 3rd Porterville City Council meeting in less than 2 months.
My first city council meeting was to be a celebration! For the first time, the mayor of Porterville signed a proclamation that June 2013 would be LGBT Pride Month, just as President Obama had for the nation, Governor Brown had for the state, and even Visalia had for my city along with hundreds of other cities across the country. Many of us were there to congratulate friends and local LGBT community leaders. A public recognition, a statement of acceptance and tolerance, was long overdue. Porterville has a long history of anti-LGBT issues – from being the only city in the state to pass a resolution in support of Proposition 8 to openly ill treatment & harassment of LGBT community members and even public statements by city leaders condemning LGBT persons. We anticipated some opposition, but this seemed to be a moment of triumph. The proclamation was signed, it was a done deal, and finally, there seemed to be an opportunity for inclusiveness and healing in this very torn and divided town. I want to stress this – the city of Porterville was already torn and divided between inclusion and diversity and fanatical religious groups. This was not “new” nor because of the proclamation.
The first & second city council meetings quickly disrupted into mayhem with some fanatical members of the Porterville “Christian” community calling for the deaths of LGBTQ persons, blaming LGBTQ persons for everything from diarrhea to natural disasters to unwanted pregnancies, and residents and council members calling for the recall of the proclamation and the mayor.
This third meeting was a showdown of Oater proportion. Emboldened by the recent SCOTUS rulings and Pride month celebrations all over the state and country, we LGBTQ persons and allies were hopeful that right would prevail, that the city council would finally realize that we are a vital and integral part of the community, of ALL communities. We hoped the council would understand that our “difference,” that diversity, adds to the fabric of the city, to ALL cities. We believed they would see our inclusion as a step towards the future, towards understanding, towards making Porterville the type of place its young people wanted to stay not run away screaming. We were also realistic and understood the political make-up of the city council. As hopeful as we were, we knew the proclamation, a simple statement that LGBT persons exist in Porterville and contribute to the community, would be rescinded.
After over an hour of community input, split almost evenly for & against, the proclamation was rescinded by a 3-2 vote of the council. It was a mean-spirited act, pure and simple. June was already past. The proclamation didn’t hurt anyone. The only reason to take this EXTREME action was to slap the LGBTQ community in the face. And while I believe in “turning the other cheek,” I also believe that an EXTREME action requires an EXTREME reaction.
The moment the votes clicked onto the video monitor, I and three others, supported by cheers from the crowd & littered with insults and obscenities, rushed to the front of the chamber room with signs and chants of outrage. Within seconds we were forcibly removed from the room by police. We were arrested, charged, booked, and finally released the next day. What will be the outcome of this arrest, I do not know, our court dates are in a couple weeks.
I did not want to get arrested. I did not plan to get arrested. I was willing to get arrested, and I was prepared to get arrested. There is a huge difference. When a government entity takes an EXTREME position and votes in favor of institutionalized bigotry, the people need to know about it. Porterville, and all the “Portervilles” in this country, get away with these kinds of actions because they are isolated and insulated, and for all the hard work and reaching out of local people, until “something” happens, nothing happens. As loud as they cry, as often as they ask for help from national organizations or beg for support from larger communities nothing happens until “something” happens. I needed to help make “something” happen.
I am not ashamed of nor apologetic for my arrest. This offense could not go unanswered. For me, it was proof that over 5 years of hard work by local LGBTQ persons and allies working within the system was being shot to hell. These people spent hundreds of hours, countless tears, and I am sure endured horrible consequences that I can only imagine just for trying to be a part of this town, a part of this community and trying to change the “hearts and minds” of its city leaders and the community at large. They were trying to work towards inclusiveness and still, they were being beaten down. For them, I could not remain seated, I could not remain silent.
For the mayor of Porterville, who was bullied by her fellow councilmen, I could not remain seated and, I could not remain silent. For the “Portervilles” all over the country I could not remain seated, I could not remain silent. For the thousands of LGBTQ youth all over the country who think they are alone & that no one will stand up for them, I could not remain seated and I could not remain silent. To do so, for me, would have been acceptance of the hatred, acceptance of the injustice, acceptance of the lies and the bigotry and the bullying.
Realistically I know that in today’s two second headline world that Porterville is already an “old” news story, but it was, and is, a story. Thousands of people all over the country have now heard of Porterville and were outraged by the actions of the city council. And maybe one LGBTQ person in a “Porterville” somewhere else will know that as hard as it is and as painful as it is, there is love and support and acceptance, and many, many people are working and standing and screaming for and with them, and maybe that will help them change their “Porterville.” And maybe, just maybe, one kid in one “Porterville” understands that she/he is not alone, that there are people paying attention and willing to even get arrested for their right to exist, for their dignity, for their rights, and maybe, just maybe, they will not give up. And maybe, we can start seeing real change so being from a “Porterville” is not a bad thing. And for that, I am proud.
The heroes of this story are not those of us who got arrested but the young man who came out, and I hope he knows I am proud to stand with him, and I am proud to stand up for him. The heroes are the local LGBTQ community members who have been waging this fight day in and day out for years. For him, and for them, I could not remain seated, I could not remain silent.
The council voted 3-2 (Mayor Gurrola & councilman McCracken voted against. Ward, Shelton & Hamilton voted in favor) to rescind the June 2013 Pride Month proclamation. Three people were arrested for an act of civil disobedience. More will be posted soon, but here is a video of the arrests:
Want to get married?! Starting Monday, July 1st you can! You'll need to head to Visalia to receive a marriage license.
Tulare County Clerk-Recorder. (marriage licenses are not issued in Porterville) County Civic Center, 221 South Mooney Boulevard, Room 105, Visalia, CA 93291.
Phone (559) 636-5051. We encourage you to call before stopping in and also to review their website for the application and fee schedule.
Many of you have been asking about what happens if you are in a Registered Domestic Partnership now that marriage is once again restored in California. Thanks to Marriage Equality USA, they have put together some great facts and frequently asked questions. To briefly answer the most common question I keep getting; RDP's will continue to be recognized in California. They actually say both are good in case you travel to other states where marriage is still not recognized.
Hopefully you can find all of the information you need HERE.
On Tuesday, June 18, 2013 more than100 LGBTQ people and allies rallied inside the City Council Chambers once again. This time we were rallying to speak against the rescinding of the LGBTQ proclamation, the resolution (see below) to replace that proclamation, and the possibility of changing the proclamation granting process. All items were on the agenda to be discussed.
(Below is a copy of the proposed resolution penned by Councilman Brian Ward that is supposed to replace the LGBTQ proclamation)
Here are my personal thoughts on the above resolution:
A majority, if not all of us that showed up that night believed we would get an answer on Tuesday if the City Councilmen even had the authority to rescind the proclamation. Secondly, we thought the agenda items would be voted on that same night.
Well, it turns out due to the wording of the previously mentioned agenda items they could not be discussed any further than a mere vote from Council if they wanted to vote on said items. If the Council had discussed or even made action on any of the items this would have been in violation of the Brown Act.
The Brown Act, to my understanding is California Legislature that guarantees the public's right to attend and participate in local government happenings.
Phew.. Okay.. I hope I got that down correctly.
Essentially, they voted to vote on the items in a meeting to follow.
As of right now the LGBTQ proclamation still stands!
However, these agenda items are to be voted on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by City Council.
Ok, so those are the details of what's going on as of right now....Now the fun stuff.
The LGBTQ folks of Porterville and our allies really stepped up to the plate Tuesday night during the oral communications portion of the meeting. We were respectful, articulate, and genuine in our words. I am really proud of the way our community stepped up and how we handled ourselves.
There were 120 rainbow ribbons prepared to wear for Tuesday night and we left with only 12! In addition to that, we provided the City Council with a petition demanding the proclamation stay. The proclamation had over 800 signatures. 320 of those signatures are Porterville residents. The petition is still active and collecting signatures, currently at 1,030. It is linked to the bottom of this article to sign and share if you haven't had the opportunity to do so.
(We had strength in numbers Tuesday night.)
If you have the time to watch the videos from the Council meeting, I encourage it. The videos are little more tame this time around but still just as jaw dropping outrageous from our opponents.
Currently, we have a petition going around addressed to the City Council Members demanding they leave the LGBTQ proclamation in tact. As of right now we have gathered 1,030 signatures with approximately 330 of those being Porterville residents. Please, if you have not signed it yet please do so and share it: Demand the Proclamation Stand!
Please watch for updates here on Gayporterville.com as the date approaches. If you have questions, comments, suggestions please feel free to throw them my way. Melissa@gayporterville.com
Please consider making a donation to support the work we are doing in the community.
City council meeting with an agenda item to rescind the June "Pride Month" proclamation.
- First, a vote was called to add the "Non inclusive" Month of Community Charity and Goodwill to All in Porterville proclamation for the July 16th meeting. Mayor Gurrola voted No. McCracken, Ward, Shelton and Hamilton voted Yes.
- A second vote was called to add a "rescind the pride month proclamation" to the July 16th meeting. All council members voted Yes. It will be added to the July 16th agenda as a "voteable" item.
Tonight at the City Council meeting there was a motion to vote in a last minute agenda item for the next Tuesday’s City Council meeting June 18th.
That agenda item is to rescind the proclamation that we the LGBTQ community received just last Tuesday. Pending the City Attorney’s counsel on whether the City Council has the authority to vote on the recall of the proclamation or not.
Please go to www.gayporterville.com to join our email list on further action being taken and any updates.
I am not entirely sure how to start this article or which direction I want to start from. What I do know is that I hope to instill enough courage and confidence when you finish reading this article.
The City of Visalia has now issued a proclamation for their LGBTQ population for two consecutive years honoring the people and their various contributions to the City. President Obama signed a proclamation declaring June LGBT Pride month nationally, and thousands of cities across the country, every year, have similar proclamation. This has inspired a resident of Porterville to push for the same. Earlier this year this resident requested I submit the paperwork but I will admit I dropped the ball given the hustle and bustle of everything else going on. And to be honest, never in my wildest dreams think they City of Porterville would even consider it. Not that this made this a low priority for me it just meant that I had a whole other series or organizing to do assuming we’d have to mobilize a protest. But, I digress.
I received a phone call from the Porterville resident Brock Neeley whom had submitted the paperwork late last week. Brock had called to tell me that the Mayor would be honoring our proclamation. The news was met with sheer joy. Excitement and tears of happiness rang from both sides of the phone line. The proclamation was to be addressed at the next City Council meeting Tuesday June 4, 2013. I want to note that anyone, regardless of their cause is able to request a proclamation honoring whatever subgroup or cause. It is solely at the Mayor’s discretion to sign off on the proclamation and not necessary for the City Council members to sign off on for it to stand. However, it is customary for the City Council members to sign off on the proclamation as well. The sole signature on the proclamation last night was our Mayor Virginia Gurrola. Each Council member refused to sign and then made it a known on public record that they do not approve of this proclamation.
I want to be brief with my personal accounts of last night’s City Council meeting because I would like to encourage you to watch some of the video’s from the event as well as view the articles listed below. I can assure you that the YouTube video’s does no justice of the physical feeling sitting shoulder to shoulder with the people you will watch say those things to our Mayor and to the LGBTQ population as a collective. I want to encourage you to be safe out in our streets but do not be afraid. It has proven an effective method that telling our personal stories have a big impact on those who claim not to know anyone that is gay. I was shocked and appalled sitting in a room with people feeling completely free and justified spewing hate speech just feet from me. I am mad! I want you to feel empowered. I too want you to be angry that this went on last night and at little to no repercussions toward the people stating such hurtful things. When it was my turn to get up and speak I felt pure terror. I am not an expert at public speaking but I am far from a newbie at it. But, last night speaking with my back toward the crowd had me literally shaking. Not because I feared what the foes behind me thought but more so feared that I would be physically attacked. I am not one for exaggeration nor story telling but I cannot stress enough how difficult it was to formulate complete sentences last night but it happened and I still encourage you to be brave for us.
(Trash found outside City Hall after the meeting)
Here is the link to the YouTube page where you can find last night’s issuing of the proclamation followed by oral communications from the public:
This isn't the first time we've been publically berated and it certainlly won't be the last. I'd like to reference a video from 2008. Please note the gentleman speaking about increase in colon cancer amongst gay's is still on City Council.
After reading some of the comments in the section of the initial article released from the Porterville Recorder it was clear the evening would be met with some challenges but it still did not prepare me for what was endured.
Here is the initial article posted by the Porterville Recorder prior to the City Council meeting:
(This is Kenneth Avila whom is being arrested and his predecessor maintaining his stance)
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has even touched on our story. Granted it’s not a full account of everything that went on last night but it is still a great article that celebrates the true achievement of the evening.
I do not want to take away from the historic occasion itself. Having a proclamation is a huge deal for us. The verbiage for the proclamation that was signed solely by the Mayor is as follows:
(You see, something hardly offensive or summoning of the anti-Christ)
I am truly proud of those who came out in support of us last night. I am in awe of the packed house.
Coming out last night took courage! All of you are my personal hero’s!
This is something to be proud of. This is history in the making and Mayor Virginia Gurolla needs to hear from us. Tell Virginia she’s on right side of history! The Mayor needs our support. Please consider sending her a personal thank you note. Tell her who you are. Tell her how her acknowledging us has impacted you. Tell her about your personal coming out story. Tell her about your gay brother or sister. Your gay aunt or uncle. Tell her about how YOU are impacted by her brave actions. Please tell her your story!
A handwritten note is always the strongest message:
City of Porterville Attn: Virginia Gurrola 291 North Main Street Porterville, CA 93257
But, if you're short on time or stamps... a personalized email would be great too: