The fight is still not over

Out In Jersey editor Sam Martino
Out In Jersey editor Sam Martino
Editor’s Letter

During President Obama’s administration, we saw hate take a back seat to love, and we saw the end of “don’t ask don’t tell.” We gained marriage equality, the right to see our loved ones when they are in the hospital, and he ensured that we would not be discriminated against when facing life events that caused hospitalization. He was the first president ever to appoint trans people to his administration, and named Stonewall Inn a national monument. He also condemned conversion therapy.

President Obama protected transgender children in schools by allowing them to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity. Giving these children support during a transitional time in their lives legitimized them, and made them safer. These are just a few of the things that President Obama did for our community, and we felt safer than we ever have.

Moving on to the current administration and we see violence become the norm, with a huge increase in hate crimes against the LGBT community, people of color, and Muslims. There are bomb threats on a daily basis to Jewish schools and community centers throughout the country, and in March, Garden State Equality’s Asbury Park office was vandalized and had their front window broken.

In this issue, J.L. Gaynor talks about the struggles transgender people face under the current administration. With the swipe of a pen, Trump has already rolled back protections and bathroom regulations for school age transgender children that were put in place by President Obama.

So what do we do? Where do we start? I say start with what feels right to you. Maybe you have time to call your senator and rant about the current attack on women with the “global gag rule,” also known as the Mexico City Policy, which is a U.S. foreign policy that forces health providers to choose between receiving U.S. global health funds and providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care at the risk of women’s health and lives.

The “global gag rule” was introduced by Reagan in 1984, rescinded by President Clinton in 1993, reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001, and then rescinded again by President Obama in 2009. The current president reinstated the “global gag rule” on his third day in office.

If you don’t know the struggles we faced at the beginning of the gay rights movement, buy a book or watch the miniseries When We Rise, by Dustin Lance Black, who talks about the miniseries in this issue of Out In Jersey, and acquaint yourself with the struggles we faced, and continue to face. This fight is not over, not by a long shot.

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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.