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Garden State Equality
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  • Featured petition

    URGENT: Department of Education won't protect trans students. Add your name to our letter:

    308 SIGNATURES
    500 signatures

    Dear Secretary DeVos:

    We recently learned that a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Education has gone on record to confirm the Department, under Donald Trump and your leadership, won’t investigate or take action on any claims by transgender students involving access to restrooms and other sex-segregated spaces.

    This is a galling and discriminatory statement from an agency charged with protecting and educating our nation’s youth. It is also deeply misinformed, and on perilous legal footing.

    As you know, the Office of Civil Rights, which investigates cases for the Department of Education, is charged with enforcing and interpreting Title IX consistent with case law and the adjudications of other Federal agencies. Going back several decades, the courts, and multiple federal agencies, have interpreted “sex” discrimination to include “sex stereotyping” and thus discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

    Three years ago, Garden State Equality wrote to the Office of Civil Rights for clarification on how they interpret Title IX as it relates to transgender students. The response was clear: Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination “encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including discrimination because a student is transgender.”

    As Secretary of Department of Education it is your duty to protect ALL of our Nation's children. Please follow the more than 25 years of case law so these vulnerable young people and all our youth have equal educational opportunity.

     

    Sincerely,

    [YOUR NAME]

    Will you sign?

  • Featured post

    Why New Jersey needs a birth certificate bill that works for everyone

    January 16, 2018 Dear New Jersey Legislators, On behalf of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s largest LGBT advocacy organization; the National Center for Transgender Equality, the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization for transgender people; and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the state’s largest defender of individual rights and civil liberties, we write to urge you to support legislation that will allow transgender residents to change the gender marker on their birth certificates to accurately reflect their identities and lived experiences.
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  • ALL REMAINING MEMBERS OF HIV/AIDS PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL FIRED BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

    NEW JERSEY’S LEADING LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS & ALLIES EXPRESS OUTRAGE OVER TRUMP’S CRUEL INDIFFERENCE TO HIV/AIDS ADVOCATES

    Asbury Park – LGBTQ organizations and allies across New Jersey expressed outrage today over President Trump’s firing off the remaining members of the HIV/AIDS advisory council. The members were fired without warning and – and in a move indicative of the cowardice of this president - by way of letters sent through FedEx.

    The ten remaining members of the council received their termination letters on Wednesday, December 27, with no indication of when the Trump administration might begin to make new appointments.

    “This mass firing is yet another example of the Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine LGBT related issues,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “The advisory council was assembled with professionals and persons living with HIV/AIDS that fought for the betterment of those affected by the virus. Given the track record of the Trump administration, we are fearful Trump’s picks to replace these appointees will be wildly unqualified for the roles, if they are even replaced at all.”

    While it is not uncommon to see changes in federal advisory committees, historically presidential administrations had allowed members to serve full terms before appointing replacements. This was often done in an effort to make transition periods as seamless as possible and help keep members focused on committee objectives.

    “President Trump’s firing without explanation of the remainder of the HIV/AIDS Council is yet another slap in the face to our LGBTQ family and friends,” said New Jersey Governor Elect  Phil Murphy. “Real leadership means governing with inclusivity, respect, and dignity.”

    Since the council was founded in 1995, its responsibilities centered around advising the White House on HIV/AIDS policies. Members of the council, known by the acronym PACHA, are unpaid and offer recommendations on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, a five-year plan responding to the epidemic.

    “Hyacinth AIDS Foundation is outraged by President Trump’s unilateral decision to dismiss all members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS,” said Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, the Executive Director Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. “With tremendous strides in treatment and prevention, we are seeing great strides in reducing the numbers of new infections. Dismantling this council now is simply inappropriate. With 1.2 million Americans still living with the virus, we need a unified front from all departments within the U.S. government if we truly want to end this epidemic.”

    The firings followed numerous prior resignations from members of the HIV/AIDS advisory council who felt the Trump administration was taking steps to hinder progress in the fight against the disease. These departures were taking place as early as June of 2017.

    “As the leading and largest LGBTQ Center in New Jersey, we are appalled and angered at Trump's decision to abruptly dismiss the remaining members of the HIV/AIDS Council,” said Michael Billy from the Hudson Pride Connections Center. “The council is an integral part of policies and funding in the national fight to end this epidemic. This latest attack from The White House is another hostile move in silencing, erasing and displacing LGBTQ people, people living with HIV and Black Americans who are affected most.”

    ###

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  • Word Ban at the CDC and How it will Affect Our Community

    Please read the statement below from our Health & Wellness Coordinator, Bianca Mayes:

    I’m writing to inform you about a recent Trump administration order that will ban certain words
    at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as “Transgender”. My name is Bianca
    Mayes and I am the new Health & Wellness Coordinator at Garden State Equality.

    This recent order will ban America’s top public health agency from using seven terms in official
    reports and documents. These seven terms include: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,”
    “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” Censoring these terms will lead to
    further stigma and discrimination of sexual orientation, gender identity, and abortion rights.
    Additionally, this censorship will further exclude federal policies and the collection of
    government information of LGBT Americans.

    It’s important for you to know that Garden State Equality is committed to protecting the needs of
    the LGBT community. Last March, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    abandoned questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in two surveys specifically
    for older adults. Our commitment to the community has inspired us to partner with Green
    Hill: Senior Living and SAGE NJ to administer a statewide LGBT older adults needs
    assessment survey.

    This survey will give older adults the opportunity to identify their sexual orientations and/or
    gender identities as well as identify their needs for Housing, Continuation of Care, Safety,
    Healthcare, and Access to Care.

    Additionally, as the Trump Administration begins to erase our community from national
    surveys, we are committed to passing legislation in NJ mandating the collection of SOGI (sexual
    orientation/gender identity) data. We recently let you know about two bills that have passed the
    Assembly and Senate, requiring SOGI data collection in higher education and certain state
    agencies. In 2018 we will push for the collection of SOGI data on the Behavioral Risk Factor
    Surveillance System, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, and in the homeless youth
    Point-in- Time-Count Surveys.

    Finally, we recognize the significant need to identify LGBT clinically and culturally competent
    health care providers for LGBT people living in New Jersey and are aggressively developing our
    Map and Expand Project.
    Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. We are here to help.

    Best,

    Bianca Mayes
    Health & Wellness Coordinator
    Garden State Equality

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  • Vote for these LGBT-friendly candidates! Garden State Equality's 2017 Endorsements:

    Each election year Garden State Equality’s Action Fund strives to identify candidates that will help to create a more equal New Jersey. There are many factors that go into our decision.  This process is never easy but we are confident that if elected these individuals for State Senate and Assembly will ensure that New Jersey will be on the right track for equality and our arc of justice will bend more quickly.

    2017 Gubernatorial Race

    Ambassador Phil Murphy (D) 


    2017 NJ Senate General Candidates

    District

    Endorsement

    3 Stephen Sweeney (D)
    4 Fred Madden (D)
    5 Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D)
    6 James Beach (D)
    7 Troy Singleton (D)
    11 Vin Gopal (D)
    13 Declan O'Scanlon (R)
    14 Linda Greenstein (D)
    15 Shirley Turner (D)
    18 Patrick Diegnan, Jr. (D)
    19 Joseph Vitale (D)
    20 Joseph Cryan (D)
    22 Nicholas Scutari (D)
    27 Richard Codey (D)
    29 Teresa Ruiz (D)
    31 Sandra Cunningham (D)
    32 Nicholas Sacco (D)
    33 Brian Stack (D)
    34 Nia Gill (D)
    35 Nellie Pou (D)
    36 Paul Sarlo (D)
    37 Loretta Weinberg (D)
    38 Robert Gordon (D)

     

    2017 NJ General Assembly General Candidates

    District

    Endorsement

    3 John Burzichelli (D)
    3 Adam Taliaferro (D)
    4 Paul Moriarty (D)
    4 Gabriela Mosquera (D)
    5 Patricia Egan Jones (D)
    5 Arthur Barclay (D)
    6 Louis Greenwald (D)
    6 Pamela Lampitt (D)
    7 Carol Murphy (D)
    7 Herbert Conaway, Jr. (D)
    11 Eric Houghtaling (D)
    11 Joann Downey (D)
    13 Serena Dimassi (R)
    14 Wayne DeAngelo (D)
    14 Daniel Benson (D)
    15 Reed Gusciora (D)
    15 Elizabeth Maher Muoio (D)
    16 Andrew Zwicker (D)
    18 Nancy Pinkin (D)
    18 Robert Karabinchak (D)
    19 Yvonne Lopez (D)
    19 Craig Coughlin (D)
    20 Annette Quijano (D)
    20 Jamal Holley (D)
    22 Gerald Green (D)
    22 James J. Kennedy (D)
    27 John Mckeon (D)
    27 Mila Jasey (D)
    28 Cleopatra Tucker (D)
    28 Ralph Caputo (D)
    29 Shanique Speight (D)
    29 Eliana Pintor Marin (D)
    31 Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D)
    31 Angela McKnight (D)
    32 Vincent Prieto (D)
    32 Angelica Jimenez (D)
    33 Raj Mukherji (D)
    33 Anette Chaparro (D)
    34 Thomas Giblin (D)
    34 Sheila Oliver (D)
    35 Shavonda Sumter (D)
    35 Benjie Wimberly (D)
    36 Marlene Caride (D)
    36 Gary Schaer (D)
    37 Gordon Johnson (D)
    37 Valerie Vainieri (D)
    38 Timothy Eustace (D)
    38 Joseph Lagana (D)
    39 Holly Schepisi (R)

     

    Local Municipalities 

    Town/City

    Endorsement

    Jersey City Steven Fulop for Mayor (D)
    Neptune City Pamela Renee for City Council (D)
    South River Ruell Calvin Brown for City Council (D)
    Atlantic City Don Guardian for Mayor (R)
    Red Bank Ed Zipprich for City Council (D)
       

     

    The Action Fund also believes that it has a responsibility to share with our members a list of LGBT self-disclosed candidates:

    Name

    Positing Running For

    City

    Ruell Calvin Brown City Council South River
    Michael DeFusco Mayor Hoboken
    Mico Lucide General Assembly, Legislative District 2 NJ
    Pamela Renee City Council Neptune City
    Reed Gusciora General Assembly, Legislative District 15  
    Tim Eustace General Assembly, Legislative District 38  
    Marianna Pontoriero Council Brick
    Vincent Solomeno Hazlet Township Committee Hazlet
    Jake Hudnut Ward E Downtown Council Jersey City
    Gina Genovese Governor NJ
    Don Guardian Mayor of Atlantic City Atlantic City
    Christopher Hillmann City Council Hasbrouck Heights
    Ed zipprich Council Red bank
    Dean dafis Council Maplewood
    Dan ward Council Barnegat
    Vincent Solomeno Council Hazlet
    Beth Asaro Council Lambertville 
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  • Featured post

    GARDEN STATE EQUALITY DECLARES ENDORSEMENT FOR MAYOR STEVEN FULOP IN JERSEY CITY 2017 MAYORAL RACE

    JERSEY CITY - Garden State Equality (GSE), New Jersey’s largest LGBT organization, proudly announces its endorsement for Mayor Steven Fulop in Jersey City’s 2017 mayoral election. GSE’s decision is based off Mayor Fulop’s dedication to creating a sense of acceptance and equality in his community, leading Advocate Magazine to rank Jersey City as the “Queerest City in America” in 2017. "I am incredibly grateful to receive an endorsement from Garden State Equality, who has served as both a leader and partner in our effort to build a more inclusive and welcoming Jersey City," said Fulop. "From providing transgender healthcare to city employees, to providing a dedicated LGBT police liaison, to receiving a perfect score on the equality index for several years, we have committed to enhancing the sense of inclusion that has come to define Jersey City." Fulop has and continues to treat LGBT rights as one of his top priorities. Having supported marriage equality long before it became legal in New Jersey, Fulop held the first legal same-sex marriage during a midnight ceremony upon statewide legalization in 2013. Since then, Fulop persisted in putting the LGBT community at the forefront of his agenda. Because of his advocacy, Jersey City has received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s LGBT Equality Index, which measures a city’s commitment to LGBT equality, for four consecutive years. In 2016, Jersey City was one of only 60 cities nationwide to receive a perfect score in the annual Municipal Equality Index report. “Steven Fulop has created a city that is a model for the rest of New Jersey,” said Christian Fuscarino, Garden State Equality's Executive Director. “Mayor Fulop has done a remarkable job of making LGBTQ needs a priority and establishing Jersey City as home to one of the largest LGBT populations in New Jersey. He is one of our best allies in the state.” GSE’s endorsement is also prompted by Fulop’s noteworthy history of fighting for transgender rights. With Fulop leading the way, Jersey City was the first city in New Jersey to include transgender related healthcare coverage to city employees. Additionally, Fulop has made strides to push back against President Trump by signing an executive order making all bathrooms in municipal buildings gender neutral.   About Garden State Equality Garden State Equality is New Jersey’s statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. GSE, in collaboration with community partners, led efforts to ensure nondiscrimination for transgender and gender nonconforming people in NJ, passed the most comprehensive anti-bullying law in the country, ended sexual orientation and gender identity/expression change efforts in NJ (sometimes called conversion therapy), and brought marriage equality to the Garden State. In this post-marriage environment, GSE's main focuses are youth, transgender people, and seniors, and the organization's work on those issues is informed by racial, economic, and disability justice concerns. GSE is working on campaigns to address safe environments for youth, improvement of health services that meet LGBT community needs, and respectful treatment of seniors. Beyond that, GSE supports NJ’s activist community by bringing an LGBT lens to the shared struggle for justice.   ###  
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  • Featured post

    Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset and Garden State Equality host a LGBT Healthcare Conference

    Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, a member of RWJBarnabas Health, and Garden State Equality will host New Jersey’s first Healthcare Conference for the LGBT Community on Friday, Oct. 6 at Raritan Valley Country Club, 747 State Route 28, Bridgewater. The free conference is supported through a grant from Sanofi.
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  • Featured post

    BREAKING: Christie Signs Health Insurance Bill

    Wow. Today is a great day for equality! We just learned that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed a second piece of important legislation -- this one mandating that health insurance companies must cover transition-related care in most plans sold in the Garden State! It is important for our members to know that this applies to much of the private marketplace, to Medicaid, to the State Health Benefits Plan, to the School Employees Health Benefits Program, and to the University Correctional Health Care plan, which covers inmates with the Department of Corrections. Unfortunately, this will not affect the self-funded marketplace. So there is still work to be done. That said, this is a tremendous victory, and we need to say thank you yet again. So thank you to Governor Christie, to our legislative allies, to our community partners, to our members, and to all of the New Jerseyans who fought hard for this win. What a way to close out the week!
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  • BREAKING: Victory for Transgender Students - Christie Signs Guidance Bill

    Today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a law mandating guidance from the Commissioner of Education on transgender students. New Jersey will now be the 11th state (+ DC) to issue statewide guidance.

    This is a huge victory for equality in New Jersey, and we want to send a big thank you to Governor Christie for standing on the right side of history on this one. As he did with the conversion therapy ban, Governor Christie took a stand for LGBT youth in New Jersey by signing this important legislation, and he deserves our thanks.

    We also want to thank our legislative allies, and the bill’s sponsors Senators Ruiz and Vitale, Assembly Persons Caride, Downey, Eustace, Gusciora, Jasey, Vaineiri Huttle, and Wimberly. We want to give an extra special shout out to Assemblywoman Valerie Vaineiri Huttle, who had the vision to introduce this bill on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of our community -- transgender children -- and who worked with GSE and her fellow legislators to ensure that it passed. From start to finish she has been there for our community, and we owe her a debt of gratitude.

    We also want to thank our community partners, and all of our members who fought hard for this win. We want to thank the parents and children who came down to the statehouse, told their stories, and put a human face on this story. This victory belongs to all of you and to the young people throughout the state of New Jersey who will be able to attend safer, more welcoming schools thanks to your efforts. 

     

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  • Featured post

    New Law for NJ Families!

    Garden State Equality is proud to announce that legislation - sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt - that would expand New Jersey's infertility coverage laws to same sex couples and single women was signed into law yesterday by the governor. This new law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature. Today, New Jersey joins Maryland and California as leaders in protecting the rights of the LGBT community and ensuring equal access to infertility treatment regardless of sexual preference or marital status.
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