Pride – my favorite season

Out In Jersey magazine Editor-In-Chief Sam Martino
Out In Jersey magazine Editor-In-Chief Sam Martino
Editor’s Letter

I don’t know about you, but Pride is my favorite season. Everyone coming together to celebrate the LGBT community is validating and rewarding. There was a time not that long ago when celebrating LGBT Pride wasn’t on anyone’s radar. A time when most gay bar windows were blacked out, and the bars themselves were hidden down alleys. But thanks to everyone in the LGBT community, our straight allies, and first and foremost those warriors who fought in the Stonewall Riots, those days are long gone.

Believe it or not, many people don’t know the history of how the LGBT community started its movement toward equality. Nor do they know how Pride celebrations came to be in existence. I recently had a talk with a friend of mine who is bisexual.When I mentioned Stonewall, she asked, “What is that?” I was shocked to find out that she had no idea what I was talking about. She had no idea that on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Riots sparked the gay rights movement, and eventually the celebration of Pride.

One year after the Stonewall Riots, on June 28, 1970, over 2,000 LGBT people and allies marched from Greenwich Village to Central Park in New York City. Drag queens marched in all their regalia, butch bull dykes with signs said, “I am your worst fear, I am your best fantasy.” The march was to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, during which drag queens and LGBT people finally had enough of the police raids and fought back.

Hence, June became a time for Pride celebrations everywhere. By celebrating Pride, we show the world that we are proud of who we are, where we are going, what we are doing. The parade lets people know that we will never forget the persecutions that our community had to endure simply for loving someone of the same sex. Gay pride is about being free to love who we want and being able to hold whoever’s hand we want when walking down the street. It’s about not being scared, or closeted. It’s the ultimate transparency.

We are the lucky ones. In some countries, people are still persecuted for being gay; there are even death penalties for being queer. So, we still have to be careful about where we vacation. We have to be sure that the countries that we vacation to care about our safety and well-being.

To find out where you are safe and welcome, read J.L. Gaynors article
“Finding Tolerance in Paradise” in the June-July 2018 issue. Remember, we still have more work to do, and election time will be here before you know it. Be sure that you are registered to vote, and make sure you get out there and rock the vote!

Sam Martino
Maria Sammartino (aka Sam Martino), is a writer and artist for over 15 years. Maria started at Out In Jersey as the news editor in 2009, and shortly thereafter became the Editor-In-Chief. She has been published in the Philadelphia Gay News, The International Journal of MS Care, and others. Maria goes by Sam Martino because she believes that women are never given a fair shot - and doesn’t want her art or her writing to be judged based on her sex, but on the merit of the work.