In this issue J.L. Gaynor talks about the history of pride in New Jersey. This year will be the 26th Pride Festival in Asbury Park. If you can’t make it to Asbury, there will be other Pride festivals throughout New Jersey, NYC, and Philadelphia. There is also an Equality March on June 11, in Washington D.C.
I recently was invited to a party for a group of teenagers to raise money for their group H.E.R.O.I.C., (Helping Educate Regarding Orientation Identities Club) which is an LGBT organization at a N.J. high school, and helps LGBT teens feel supported, and gives them a place to have the freedom to be who they are without feeling threatened. While at the party, I realized this is why I involve myself in Pride, LGBT events, and Out In Jersey magazine, because if we don’t all continue to fight for our rights, the next generation will be lost.
This editorial is dedicated to the members of H.E.R.O.I.C. who so bravely are living out and proud, and continue to be a strong example for members of their school and community, for starting an LGBT organization where none had been in place, I salute you H.E.R.O. I. C. Great job!
In addition to attending Pride events, there are many youth organizations that could use your support. The Hetrick-Martin Institute in New Jersey provides free year-round programs and services for LGTB youth and allies ages 13-21. Based on the program and service models of Hetrick-Martin Institute in NYC, HMI in New Jersey is the first comprehensive LGBTQ youth out-of-school program in New Jersey dedicated to providing youth who are at-risk of harassment, abuse, neglect, homelessness and disconnection with a safe, supportive environment in which to grow and thrive.
President Obama recently said post-presidency he plans to be a mentor to the next generation of Democratic leaders. There is always someone who needs our support, whether they are Republican, Democrat, Independent, straight, gay, transgender or bi, it really doesn’t matter, what matters is that we help our youth reach higher ground. Now go out there and shout, “we’re here, we’re queer,” until they’re used to it!