I have known Tobias Grace for a decade. He is one of the founders of Out In Jersey. He helmed the magazine as editor for 10 years, and then carried on as editor emeritus for another 6 years.
In 2009, I sent Toby samples of my writing; he then invited my wife and me to his house for dinner. On the way to meet him and Peter Frycki, I wondered out loud why they had invited me. Were they going to tell me my writing was hideous, and that I should just give it up, and how dare I think that I could write for their magazine?! My wife said, “Are you crazy? No one would invite you to a dinner to tell you that.” She was right. I was invited to be the news editor. Ten years later, I sit writing a eulogy of sorts about someone whom I have admired, cared for, and loved from the moment we met.
Toby was grace. Just like his name, he carried it well and proud. He was a fierce LGBT advocate, writer, professor, and teacher, and when needed, provided a home to many men who were tossed out on the street by their families simply for being gay.
Once it was announced that Toby had passed, Out In Jersey’s Facebook page lit up with kind, true words about this outspoken, outlandish, fun and uniquely stylish man. I can tell you, he would be pleased.
A dear friend of Toby’s, Out In Jersey columnist Leon Calafiore said, “If he could have, he would have left an apology note.”
From Out In Jersey’s Facebook page:
“So sorry to hear this. Such a great loss for the entire LGBTQ community.”
“Unique, eclectic, comically and eloquently outspoken. A huge loss to the lgbtq community!”
“We are so sorry to hear this. Tobias was always such a positive person with a unique style. A great spokesperson for the gay community.”
”What a wonderful person I had the pleasure of meeting. So sorry”
”A Wonderful Gentleman!!!”
Tobias Grace had a vision 16 years ago and he would agree that we need to keep moving forward. We have very important issues in the LGBT community and we are no stranger to a good fight. We have been down this road before, and chances are, like Toby, you have never stopped the fight for equality.
This year will come quickly and swiftly. We need to be prepared. We are at a place where we can turn these last couple of years around, and retain our rights that we have fought long and hard for, and just like grace, we will continue moving forward.
This issue is dedicated to Tobias Grace, 1945 — 2019