Our Stories Ourselves

The word “community” gets a lot of attention in our, umm, community. We talk about building it, strengthening it, fostering it, protecting it, celebrating it…

Recently, I have heard a lot of people talking about how they don’t feel they fit into this community or that community. I’ve been told that the spectrum of “too gay” to “not gay enough” leaves people out or feeling marginalized.

Yes, we are a group of diverse people. We each have our own backgrounds, out own priorities… our own stories. We need to celebrate our differences. We need to share our backgrounds and our priorities. We need to tell our stories.

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Avery who wished he had been named April instead…

Once upon a time there was a party where some drunken frat boys painted the word “Fag” on the side of Mr. Peterson’s car…

Once upon a time there was a girl in a rainbow bracelet who was hassled by an old man who called her a “queer lover” and dumped a bottle of water on her lap…

We all have stories. One of the best ways to bond with a new person is to swap a story, to delve into a shared context and find out what you have in common. “You went to that school? Me too. Did you have Mrs. Groph for art?” “Yeah, I loved that movie, I really liked how it felt so real.” “When I was seven I broke my arm too!”

But stories do more than build bridges, they build communities. It is with this in mind that I want to cordially invite you to share your story. Yep, YOUR story.

USP (United Student Pride) is currently accepting submissions of personal stories, essays, or poems of the LGBT experience (either directly or peripherally) for an anthology that will be published later this year. 

They are looking for voices beyond the college, beyond the inner sanctum of activism. They want to hear from you.

The anthology will be available in local public and school libraries as well as the LGBT Community Center here in Fresno. It is important that the community of tomorrow understand the community of today.


• 1,000 word maximum

• Coming out stories and/or GLBT+ issues

• Allies GLBT+ support stories

• Poetry

• Fiction/Non Fiction Prose

• Must pertain to GLBT+ issues • Contributors do not have to identify as GLBT+

• Due by Monday, August 1st

Please visit: This link to download the submission file. For more information, or to inquire about the suitability of a piece, call (559)285-0795 or e-mail Zoyer at zoyer_zandel @ yahoo.com

If you need or want help with writing your story, essay, or poem…. Please feel free to come to the LGBT Community Center this Saturday from Noon – 3pm for a Writer’s Workshop.

At the Writer’s Workshop you can

*Use the Center’s computer to submit your story.

*Get hands on writing advice from experienced writers (Help with anything from grammar to creative diction, to narrative flow!)

*Discuss and workshop ideas.

*Get typing assistance if needed.

*Have a safe place to talk about coming out issues, bullying issues, or anything else that relates to your experience as a member of the LGBT+ community.

Details can be found on the event’s Facebook Page. Again, as we as a community work on making Fresno a safe place to come out, a place where everyone in our community can be visible, vocal, and active… we need to share, to bond, to grow. Telling our stories, even just to ourselves, is an excellent way to do just that.


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