On Saturday, April 24, diners at a restaurant in Smithville had their meal interrupted by a woman making loud, extensive transphobic remarks about another customer. The incident ended with the woman’s husband throwing beer at a number of customers, including a table with a small child at it. Both reportedly work for area school districts—the husband is the vice principal at Neptune Middle School and is currently under investigation.

“While New Jersey has some of the most progressive LGBTQ civil rights laws in the nation, this disturbing incident is a sobering reminder that discrimination still happens here,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “It’s alarming that people who are responsible for children would behave in such an aggressive and hateful way, especially for any trans students at their schools. We encourage Neptune Public Schools to reach out so that we can assist them in ensuring that their LGBTQ students feel safe and affirmed in their district. This kind of behavior has no place in New Jersey.”

“We do not condone discrimination in any of our school districts, especially by educators in or outside of the classroom, as they are supposed to be models for our students,” said Sen. Vin Gopal (D-11). “In any instance, it is never right to resort to violence or throwing objects. Mr. Smurro should apologize for his actions. New Jersey has put laws in place to support gender identity and the LGBTQ+ community. Now more than ever we need education to understand and celebrate our differences rather than fear them. That is why I have sponsored S2781 to ensure students and educators alike learn and grow together.”

It seems so simple: New Jersey should be a place where anyone can enjoy a nice day out without being harassed or attacked. That’s the reality Garden State Equality is working towards.

No matter what these two people might have done, we want to make it clear that trans people are welcome in New Jersey—and we know that people around the state feel the same way.

Sign your name here to show that you’re a New Jerseyan who supports your trans neighbors, and we’ll keep you up to date on how you can take a stand against this type of hate. Together, we’ll make it clear that lived equality is possible for all LGBTQ+ New Jerseyans.

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