My Take on 2009

The year started off rough as many of us were still reeling from the ginormous loss at the polls. We quickly were able to find some hope as Barack Obama was sworn in as our President. He was supposed to be our shinning light and our -fierce advocate”. Although he has made some progress, I am still waiting on the fierce part. He did say fierce and not farce, right?


Many of us got pumped up at Camp Courage in Fresno. We were ready to hit the ground running and get our rights back with the Courage Campaign. The whole year, camps were held in many cities around the state, telling us we can and WILL do this. They stood behind their members and listened when we said we were ready to go back, heck they even willingly took a quarter of a million dollars from us to do so. Funny, that this is the same organization that just recently pulled out of 2010, letting down a lot of people including myself and other area teams. (insert boo and hiss here)
We all held our breaths waiting on D-Day and the Supreme Court ruling, only to be let down once again. The small ray of sunshine was those married couples who were allowed to remain so.  We gathered our broken spirits and we met in the middle. So many hours and so many people contributed to pull this off. It was a huge success and showed just what LGBT people and our allies can do when we commit and pull together. (Something larger organizations could learn from)

We protested, vigiled, we walked bridges and marched on the mall. We then moved onto the battle of 2010 or 2012. Confusion, tempers and egos ran amok for several months. That’s several months of wasting valuable planning time. This is when I really became disenchanted. Together we are strong and this tug-o-war made us look bad and look really weak to our adversaries. Finally, the 3 largest equality groups in California back out of 2010 and a small grassroots organization steps forward to carry on the fight. As it stands now, they continue gathering signatures to hopefully get marriage equality back on the ballot. Who knows how this will turn out without the backing of the larger groups. In my opinion, shame on everyone for dividing us. Whether you agreed or not, you should have stood in solidarity. How is anyone supposed to vote with us and believe in a campaign when our own community does not?


We also witnessed the formation of the Visalia Pride Lions Club with whom I am so proud of. They were big supporters of our toy drive and I know great things are going to come from them in the new year. Please join this club or at the very least support their community outreach efforts. PFLAG gained a monthly lunch group for visibility and a library. They continue on full steam ahead. 2009 saw the death and resurrection of the RAINBOWlers. It’s uncertain whether this great group will reconvene in 2010 but hopefully so. I think TEDG really took off and continues to add new diners each week. They even made the paper on a few occasions. You can get your grub on with them every Tuesday evening at various restaurants in town. I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention groups and accomplishments but please forgive me. It’s been a crazy year both community wise and personally. If you would like to call me out and let me know what I have missed, by all means, please do so and I will add the update, thanks!


Gay Visalia has done a lot of evolving this year and hopefully will continue to do so. We are now an official non-profit organization as is the whole Gay Central Valley network. I will be starting more fundraising efforts to help cover the costs for more community events, just like our successful Family Fest that was held for the first time this year. We had over 100 people in attendance with 12+ groups represented. 2010 will bring a bigger and better festival, with more activities and vendors planned. The new year will include us hosting monthly social outings, more community outreach/involvement and hopefully much, much more! We are still planning on forming a softball team for the spring league so be sure to get in touch with me if you are interested. Stay tuned for all of the latest news and happenings. Be sure to join our email list and you can sign up for text alerts, too. As always, I welcome community involvement however you are able to contribute. Also, I’m always open to your feedback, good or bad. I’m here as a forum for our community and want to serve you the best that I can. I can always be reached via email ([email protected]) or on the Gay Visalia hotline (559) 697-5GAY.


In closing, I want to thank everyone who shared a part of your year with us; it has been quite a year indeed. A very Happy New Year to all, may your blessings be many and your hardships be few. Please remember, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! The life you endanger is not just your own.



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