Editor’s Letter: Visibility matters

Sam Martino
Out In Jersey magazine editor Sam Martino

Does it matter where you live? Yes, it does. Because if you live in New Jersey, you are in one of the top five friendliest LGBTQ states. The highest-ranked LGBTQ states by the Movement Advancement Project are New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Colorado.

States named the least LGBTQ-friendly are Arkansas, which was ranked lowest, followed by South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Dakota. If you live in those states, it might be time to start thinking about moving. Or better yet, start an LGBTQ bar or magazine to help those in your community who don’t feel safe, seen, or heard.

We have so many activists to thank in this issue for fighting for our rights. We have Mark Segal, who started Philadelphia Gay News in 1976. Other activists include Toby Grace, editor emeritus, and Peter Frycki, publisher, who both started Out In Jersey magazine 22 years ago. Without them, New Jersey would not have the LGBTQ eye on what’s happening in our state.

We also have all of you to thank for showing up for Pride every year. Yes, sometimes it’s for the party, but mostly it’s for the activism and the camaraderie. Visibility is important for our community. When we are not seen, we are not part of the conversation.

Many Pride events are happening in New Jersey. Go to page 16 of our latest print issue to find a Pride event near you. Get out there and be seen!

Showing up locally at a Pride event is a great way to support our community AND BE SEEN!

So how do we continue our activism? For me, I continue to write and edit for this magazine and encourage other people to do the same. I show up whenever and wherever I can at LGBTQ events. Going to our bars is still a form of activism because so many have become obsolete.

Any time I go to a new city, state, or country, the first thing I do is look up their gay community. Hopefully, wherever I’m going has a website, magazine, or newspaper to help guide me to the places I want to go and be seen.

To be seen in our magazine, send pictures of you and your crew celebrating Pride by contacting me on our About Us page at outinjersey.net.

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.