The resilience of the LGBTQ community

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

Editor’s Letter

This past June with everything going on in the world, Covid-19, and black/brown people being killed before our very eyes, we as a community were still able to stand together and show our Pride. It was different this time, but we proved to the world once again that we are strong, and when we stand together we are even stronger.

By now, I was hoping we would be moving forward

We watched our community come together and peacefully protest against police brutality, we marched at Black Lives Matter rallies, and we continued to prove to the world that we are a community of changers.

We have suffered the AIDS epidemic, when President Regan wouldn’t even utter the words HIV or AIDS. We demanded to be heard by creating organizations such as Act UP because “Silence = Death.” Now we are standing together again as we watch a president spread lies like a snake oil salesman about COVID-19, discredit science, and allow tens of thousands to die.

By now, I was hoping we would be moving forward. I thought we would be going in a more positive direction. I was thinking of a trip to an island or new city that I never visited, but instead we are in lockdown! We are still at the top of the list for COVID-19 infections, and because of the incompetence of the president, we are stuck here, we can’t escape. The State Department issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory in March that remains in place. If you were planning on going to Europe or Canada this summer, forget about it. It’s not going to happen.

At the time of this writing the President has worn a mask only two times in public. This President has turned health care and wearing a mask into a political statement. We, the citizens of the United States, are still in quarantine, and the president is all set to open schools, with no real plan in place. Teachers will have to choose between risking their lives or ending their career.

With all the bad news we have being dealing with, the Supreme Courts ruling in June that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace protects LGBTQ employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation was welcome news. This ruling is huge for our community, and to have it happen during our Pride month made it that much sweeter.

But moving on, because that’s what we do, we can’t forget about all the civil rights that are being violated on a daily basis, especially for our transgender and black and brown friends and family.

This pandemic is not ending any time soon. We are in it for the long haul. Just remember, my dear readers, stay determined, keep yourself and others safe, listen to the scientists, and WEAR A MASK! Social distancing will not last forever and neither will this administration. Vote!

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 other publications. 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.