Social group for women that are already “living out” debuts at Pride Center

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Co-facilitators Holly Ann Rivera and Carly McClean started a group in September for women who are, as the group name suggests, living out. Women attending meetings of Living Out Women are out of the closet and are interested in a group that is focused on activities. 

One such activity McClean was approached about is a women’s social night on the first Saturday of the month (when the Women’s Coffeehouse used to run years ago). That night could feature a potluck, a movie, a game night, or a night out. McClean noted they are looking for a core group of women who would be responsible for that event. Before the formation of LOW, there was one other women’s group, the Women’s Coming Out Support Group, which focused on coming out issues. Rivera said, “When I came to the Pride Center, I was already out, so that group didn’t fit me.”

Every woman is encouraged to come to the group: gay, bisexual, transgendered or straight. Topics of interest to the group include pansexuality, polyamory and labels. Rivera is working on booking a speaker from the Institute for Personal Growth, a Central Jersey counseling center with expertise on sexual minorities.

McClean and Rivera have a number set up for women to call and it goes to McClean’s cell phone. “I’ve been getting so many phone calls and emails. Women don’t know where to go. They don’t know what to do.”

“Anytime I’m over at IPG, I see at least two women pick up our flyers,” remarked Rivera, who explained that gay women are more prone to mental health problems. “I’m doing my studies to become a social worker, so that’s something that really interests me, because when I came out, it would have helped a hell of a lot if I had other women to. 

Rivera said she would like to see a couples group because lesbian couples have unique challenges. “As a married lesbian, it’s very hard. I don’t know many other lesbian couples. When issues come up, straight couples don’t have the same perspective. I mean sometimes they can kind of get the idea, but you don’t realize how separated you are as a man and a woman. As woman and woman, you’ve got the same friends, you hang out in the same places. I mean, it’s just like twice as intermeshed.”

“I think it’s great that after every meeting, we go out,” Rivera said. “And it shows people that you can hang out and it doesn’t have to be all about ‘gay, gay, gay’ or ‘bi, bi, bi.’ It’s just a group of friends just making friends.”

The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at the Pride Center of New Jersey, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Call 732-392-6967.

 

Co-facilitators Holly Ann Rivera and Carly McClean started a group in September for women who are, as the group name suggests, living out. Women attending meetings of Living Out Women are out of the closet and are interested in a group that is focused on activities.