LGBT and community leaders launch Out Montclair organization

Out Montclair logo 2021
Out Montclair logo 2021

Out Montclair will partner with Trans Affirming Alliance and Garden State Equality on first event

Local LGBTQ activists in Montclair launched a new LGBTQ organization. The organization promised educational, social, and leisure events to support and promote inclusivity and equality for LGBTs. Out Montclair was created to “foster community with and provide support and solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ community of Montclair,” said a press release.

Peter Yacobellis
Peter Yacobellis

Plans include a safe space where the LGBTQ community and allies can come together said advocates. “Montclair has a strong reputation for being a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Peter Yacobellis, President of Out Montclair and a Township Council Member.

“We felt that there should be a community organization that gives people a safe space where we and our allies can come together and celebrate who we are—one that can offer all types of activities and events to support and promote inclusivity and community. Imagine public educational programs, a Montclair Pride Festival, special outings for seniors, youth programming, recreational and other events. There is so much we can and will do and this incredible team and I are very excited to get started.”

Yacobellis said he hopes more people will join the non-profit later in 2021. The organization’s website is available to enable anyone who is interested to “get connected,” he said.

The organizers are looking for financial support toward their efforts. They plan to launch an online merchandise shop and lay the groundwork for a Montclair Pride Festival sometime next year in 2022.

“We need a Pride Festival in Montclair,” Yacobellis said. “The team and I have been discussing everything from a sound stage, to incorporation of the arts to food and beverage to resource booths. We see so much incredible synergy with existing organizations both in town—and even nationally—when you look at some of our Advisory Board members. I really can’t wait to begin those dialogues about how to create an incredible Pride Festival, worthy of this community.”

Out Montclair’s first event will be an April 27, 2021. It is a panel discussion on gender and pronoun terminology, led by Montclair Councilor-At-Large Peter Yacobellis, Garden State Equality’s Jahmila Smith and Celeste Fiore of the Transgender Affirming Alliance.

“Using inclusive language is one important way to show respect for trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people,” said Jahmila Smith, Project Manager and Trainer of Garden State Equality. “We hope this panel can serve as the first step to learning more about the trans community and what else residents, employers, educators, and others can do to promote inclusion in Montclair.”

The current officers and and advisory board of Out Montclair includes:

  • Peter Yacobellis (President), Montclair Councilor-at-Large
  • Reubena Spence (First Vice President), Montclair Civil Rights Commissioner & NJPAC Advisory Council
  • Madeline Gale (Second Vice President), Montclair Civil Rights Commissioner & NJPAC Advisory Council
  • Andrew Garda (Secretary), Journalist and Equality Advocate
  • Peter Holm (Treasurer), Community Advocate || Organizer, Quiet Montclair

Advisory Board:

  • Eileen Birmingham, Community Volunteer
  • Bill Courson, LGBT Senior Community Advocate
  • Maya Deutsch, Transgender and Youth Community Advocate
  • Celeste Fiore, President, Trans Affirming Alliance
  • Jose German, CEO, Northeast Earth Coalition || Montclair Parks and Recreation Committee Member
  • Paul Giordano, President, Upper Montclair Business Association
  • Lori Gladstone, Social Media Leader and Community Volunteer
  • Cathy Renna, Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force || Principal, TargetCue
  • Barbara Simon, Head of News and Campaigns, National Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)