What ever happened to civility?

Sam Martino
Out In Jersey magazine editor Sam Martino

Constant fighting in the world is taking a toll on us all. Last night I went to see Wicked at The Academy of Music. While in line for the bathroom at intermission, there were hundreds waiting. Two little girls were standing behind me with their father. I said to him, “Would you like me to ask people in line if they can go ahead of them?” He said, “Sure.” So I proceed to ask women, “Can these little ones go ahead of you?” Everyone, of course, said yes. Except this woman who caused a scene against me, personally. She took it so far as to push me, in the bathroom, and then take her phone out to photograph me.

This woman has no idea that I was in the hospital the day before, or that I have multiple sclerosis. I know nothing about her except what she showed me. Was she a “Karen in the wild”?

But that’s not the point of this editorial. The point is whatever happened to civility? There are multiple mass shootings daily. People are afraid to wear the colors red, white, and blue because they will be labeled. Our publisher, Peter Frycki, won’t wear a red hat to represent Rutgers until he is at the game for fear of being labeled.

Since we are headed into the holidays, I don’t want to be too much of a downer. I don’t know if I can. I really want to encourage people to do better. Speak with your heart open. Speak with the kindness that you have in you, let people in front of you.

This year instead of worrying about what’s under your tree, worry about what’s under the tree of people less fortunate. Including someone like the lady in the bathroom. I would buy her a gift. A muzzle would be fitting.

Below are organizations you can donate to. If they don’t speak to you, check the back for our business partners you may want to support.

The African American Office of Gay Concerns is a community-based nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Executive Director Gary Paul Wright to ensure that men of color who were gay-identified, bisexual, or men who had sex with other men (MSM) had a voice in the fight against HIV/AIDS. aaogc.org

The Pride Center of New Jersey was founded in 1994. For nearly three decades they have served the needs of the LGBTQ community. pridecenter.org

Garden State Equality lifts up diverse voices of LGBTQ communities through education and advocacy to advance the movement for equality in New Jersey. gardenstateequality.org

At the end of the day, we are all human. Even that lady. Wishing you all the best.

Happy holidays, and Happy New Year.

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.