Meet Somebody New

Melissa & Summer of Hanford, 
Interviewed by Slade of Visalia

This is the first of a series of interviews where we all get to know someone new within our Community.  To start it off, Slade of Visalia interviewed Mellisa and Summer of Hanford.  So everybody, meet someone new:

1) Recently the Hanford-Sentinel did a story called “Same-Sex couples looking for their place in Kings County”.  What type of reaction have you received since that story was published?
Melissa: Most reactions are online nowadays so the effect is different. I read a lot of religious talk about how homosexuality is a sin and on the other hand, there was a lot of support. I was glad that so many people were talking about it.
Summer: In my personal and professional life I have received wonderful support!! People are still congratulating me on the article.  Online reviews were mixed between religious homophobes and community support.
2) Now that Gay Marriage is on its way to becoming legal, are you planning on getting married and if so, how are you going to introduce your other half? (I ask that because it’s a interesting question. Some say “partner” some say “husband or wife”, some say “spouse”.  Clearly we have a choice in the matter of how we address our other ‘half’)
Melissa: Doesn’t every girl want to be married? lol! Yes we want to get married, a date isn’t set, but I love looking at wedding dresses. She’ll be my wife, my mate, my partner. 
Summer:  Yes the plans are starting and I will happily call her my wife.
3) What would you like to see happen within the LGBT Community in Hanford and surrounding areas? For example, do you want a bar established or a community center or what?? (Include in your answer a way for local LGBT people to email or contact you).
Melissa: I am starting a social club for the LGBTQ community in Kings County. It is in the beginning stages and I am looking for people interested in getting together and meeting new people. I would also like to see LGBTQ events here in Kings County and political support for LGBTQ issues. So if any one is interesting in getting together I can be reached at [email protected].
Summer:  I would love for a LGBT group to form in Hanford and surrounding areas where we can meet up and hang out.  I think its important for us to have support within each other and also come together as a community.
4) Rosie O’Donald does Family Cruises for the LGBT Community with families.  If you could pick a celebrity that sponsored Family Cruises who would you choose?
Melissa: Ellen! She is funny. 
Summer:  I have to agree with Melissa on this one, Ellen is hilarious and seems so fun spirited.  I think it would be a blast to cruise with her.

5) The baby boomer generation is soon if not now, the majority of people in this country.  What would you like to see the next generation accomplish or change in this world?
Melissa: I want to see the homosexual community come together and embrace all its members. We are quite diverse and diversity can be powerful in both professional and personal growth.
Summer:  I would love for the next generation to be free from discrimination and prejudice.  Hate crimes and bigotry have such a broad spectrum and hurt people so much.  People should not be judged based on how they are perceived but instead on whom they are as a person.
6) Who is a role model for you and why?
Melissa: I can’t say that one person is a role model for me. It is the people who do small things for our community that make a difference who I find myself respecting. My personal motto is ‘stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone’ so it makes sense to me to respect the little acts of ordinary people.
Summer:  I think one person I really admire is Oprah Winfrey.  She has such a huge impact on so many people.  She is open minded even through her religious faith, she gives so much, and even through television has touched so many lives in a positive way.
7)  There is a song “Waiting on the World to Change”.  When you both came out in the newspaper as a couple you helped change the world by being honest and open about your lives and relationship.  Do you think more LGBT people should come out publically or remain as ‘closeted’ as they want to be?
Melissa: I did my Master’s research on workplace discrimination among the LGBT subcultures. While conducting the research I studied being out and the affects of being out. There is a lot that goes into that decision. So if some people can’t publically become out I understand because it is a personal choice. I think that the more people come out, the better our chances of a societal acceptance. 
Summer: Every person has their own struggle with coming out, lord knows I had mine but I would like to see more people come out.  It would benefit our cause and really after one does come out they feel better about themselves because there’s no more having to hide.  Surely it takes courage and it’s difficult but the more we come to terms with whot we are, the faster others can start accepting us.


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