Honor Pride by standing together

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Out In Jersey magazine Editor Sam Martino
Out In Jersey magazine Editor Sam Martino

Editor’s letter

You know that saying, “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”? Nowadays that is the truest statement I have ever heard. Everyone has an opinion and lots of people think they are right. And when you don’t agree with them, they will unfriend you, kick you to the curb, or worse.

I remember a time when we didn’t have to all agree with each other. We didn’t know what each other’s politics were, and we didn’t care. We didn’t care if you were religious or went to church. How much money you made was none of my business. We just cared if you were a good person and treated others with respect.

This year, is there any way that we can get back to those times? I know it sounds old and outdated. But why not try taking the attitude that if you don’t agree with me, that’s ok. As long as you are not hurting anyone or taking away anyone’s rights then I will still respect and care for you as a human being.

I feel that people have forgotten that we are all in this world together, and together when we are kinder, we are stronger.

As LGBTQ hate is on the rise, some of our elders are scared and going back in the closet. That’s not what we fought for. Where are all the young LGBTQ brothers and sisters whose rights we fought for? Are you the ones that are going to fight for us? Remember, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” That was our call. It still is.

This is the time to show that we are all made of love and not hate. I recently had a friend who was called names and assaulted because they are LGBTQ. This is just not ok!

Our elders have fought long and hard for our rights. In what world do people who hate us think that we will go back in the closet because they don’t like us? Have they not seen our rage and anger at marches for equality?

But what if we come from a place of love? What if even though you hate me, I don’t hate you back? That feels right to me. Love feels right. Kindness feels right. And not trying to take another’s rights away feels right — to me.

But if you try to take my rights away, such as same-sex marriage or abortion rights, then we are on another playing field. I can promise the haters that if you come for our community, we will come for you. And we won’t be alone.

Remember, people need your kindness more than they need your opinion. Stay safe, stay aware, and stay vigilant.

Happy Pride to everyone!

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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.