Happy Holidays to All from the Best Damn Newsletter in New Jersey!
The Newsletter of the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County Serving New Jersey’s GLBTI Communities Since 1972 Volume 42, Issue 10, Winter 2016
What Now? by Mickey Suiter The election is over and there is plenty of hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing going on with many, especially in our community, sure that the end is near. In fact, though, while the results of the presidential, senatorial, and congressional elections are certainly not good for the LGBTQ community, we don’t know just how bad it will get. It’s more than a little ironic that the same supporters who admire Donald Trump for “telling it like it is” are now trying to reassure those who opposed him by saying “Don’t worry, he doesn’t mean what he says.” He ran a campaign of intolerance, pandering to those who don’t like ‘different’ people. He promised to appoint justices who would reverse Obergefell, ending marriage equality. Since the election, though, he has reversed himself on that and many other issues, and said he considers marriage equality ‘settled law.’ Unfortunately, he is still promising to appoint very conservative justices who are opposed to Roe v. Wade chose Mike Pence, the most antiLGBT governor in the country, as his Vice-President.
The Republican Party now controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress. They have been strongly supportive of so-called religious freedom laws, allowing just about anyone to discriminate on the basis of religion. So not only do we stand no chance of increasing our rights by means such as the Equality Act, we have to be on the alert for attempts to roll back the rights we currently have. We have gained much in recent years, by court decisions, legislation, and Presidential orders. Our opponents will probably try to reverse many of those gains so we must be vigilant and ready to fight. We have faced adversity before and some of our community’s finest moments have come in those times. I have no doubt that we will rise to the occasion once again to not only preserve our rights but to expand them when political fortunes change.
A Letter from Kenya Andy Skurna writes: I have been Facebook friends with Ronnie Mugisha for probably a year or longer. He is one of the 50-100 young men who started following me and befriended me as a result of my meeting Bishop Senyonjo over 6 years ago. He sent me a message immediately after the election
Inside Challenge Challenge Information .......................... page 2 GAAMC Events for December/January page 2 Buddies Corner....................................... page 3 Letter from an Ally ................................. page 4 QSpot Files Lawsuit ............................... page 4 Winter Q-munity Calendar .................... page 5 Gleanings ................................................ page 8 Trump, as easy as 1, 2, 3 ........................ page 9 GAAMC Election Slate .......................... page 9 GAAMC Board Minutes ...................... page 10 Bulletin Board ...................................... page 10 GAAMC Information ........................... page 11 So Long, Farewell…? .......................... page 11
when I had several gay friends in the US ready to hang themselves. I asked permission to share his comments with the world through Challenge, and he agreed. Here is the statement he sent. I have edited it for spelling, grammar, and form. Hello, I am Ronnie Mugisha, a Ugandan LGBTI refugee in Kenya. I am so worried and stressed after the US elections. My worry came after Trump's victory because according to his words I feel as an asylum seeker it will affect me due to he doesn't like LGBTI, he seems to be homophobic, and the wife too. I am worried about racism and homophobia due to the fact that I am LGBTIQ and black. I am so down, worried, and stressed; my dream was to be resettled in a country where I can be free with my sexuality.
Volume 42, Number 10 Winter 2016 ISSN 0277-1675 Editor: Allen Neuner Assistant Editor Bill Stella Submissions The deadline for all articles, inserts, and advertisements is the 15th of the previous month. The staff requests that all submissions be provided as electronic files. E-mail all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ad Rates Single issue: Full page, $125.00; Half page, $85.00; Quarter page, $45.00; Business card, $25.00. For multi-issue rates, contact the Editor. GAAMC members may place one free classified ad per month, of no more than 200 characters in length. Challenge is © 2016-2017 by the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation. All rights reserved. All articles reflect the views of the original contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of GAAMC, its officers, or executive board. All copyrights revert to the original contributors upon publication. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the contributor. All articles, contributions, and advertisements are printed at the discretion of the Editor and/or GAAMC Executive Board.
GAAMC Events for December 2016/January 2017 Main meetings start at 8:15 unless otherwise stated. Discussion groups and Film Festival movies start at 7:00. December 5: The 2016 campaign was one of the most contentious in modern American history. In the weeks since the election, there have been over 700 instances of harassment, intimidation and bulling across the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Come join us for a discussions of our feelings, concerns and thoughts about the possible changes coming in 2017 and beyond. Open Talk Discussion Group Tonight’s moderator: Gordon December 12: GAAMC Board Elections and Holiday Classic film First, the annual GAAAMC Board election will take place. (The slate of candidates, as of press time, appears on page 9.) When it’s over, the GAAMC Film Festival presents a classic holiday film – our early surprise present for you! December 19: Welcome to GAAMC’s Holiday Social and Open Mic Night! Actually, we’ll be in the Terrace Room so we won’t really need a mic…and if you like a coffeehouse environment and you’d like to give us a poem or a holiday story or a song, contact Program@GAAMC.org to let Sherri know what you’d like to do so she can program the event. This is our holiday for cheer so be sure to be here! 20-Somethings Group meets tonight. Moderator: Nick. Topic: A Year in Review: 20-Somethings Discuss Our 2016 and Look Ahead to 2017. December 26: It’s the night after Christmas, and after all the jollity of yesterday, it’s time to let our hair down and just relax with friends. We’ll be open tonight holding an informal social for all those who want – or need -- a low-key evening. Come join us and kick back. Open Talk Discussion Group Tonight’s moderator: Sherri January 2: It’s the second day of the year, and while your New Year’s hangovers may have subsided, you’re probably in need of a break after the bowl games and the Tournament of Roses parade. That’s what were here for – a low-key evening, an informal social, and a pleasant night with your GAAMC friends. C’mon out and join us. Open Talk Discussion Group Tonight’s moderator: Liz January 9: Fresh Perspectives Retreat Discussion – Welcome to GAAMC 2017! This is the evening when members and guests give the newly seated GAAMC Board their wish list -– hopes and dreams for what the New Year brings! We’ll have plenty to say about how GAAMC can be part of the change we long to see in the world. Be sure to bring ideas and your calendar! Open Talk Discussion Group Tonight’s moderator: Gordon January 16: Stress Relief – What is it, how do I get rid of it? Join Sherri Rase as she presents her latest workshop on stress and creating your own space. Open Talk Discussion Group Tonight’s moderator: Gordon January 23: Welcome to the first Open Talk XXL of 2017! Your favorite faciliators, Gordon and Sherri, will be taking our conversation to a whole new level! Want to suggest a topic? We’re all ears – what’s on your mind in 2017? January 30: GAAMC Film Festival We don’t have information about tonight’s feature, but you know from past GFF offerings that it’ll be a hit! 20-Somethings Group meets tonight. Moderator: Nick. Topic: Welcome to "17...38": 20-Somethings Discuss Our Favorite Music and Gays in Music.
Buddies Corner Biologically Infused Homophobia? by Ray Welsh Homophobia is the range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality or people who are perceived to be homosexual and/or part of LGBTQI communities. Homophobia is expressed through prejudice and/or discrimination either institutionally or informally. Internalized homophobia is when we, LGB people, involuntarily believe what is taught to us by acts of homophobia. It is almost a reaction that in a distorted way protects a sacred part of who we are by degrading it, hiding it, and/or trying to reform it in some way. HIV is a disease that does not discriminate; it affects all people and yet, there is still disparity. “Gay men” is one group that is disproportionally affected by HIV. HIV is a virus that is transmitted in one of the most basic functions of human nature, sexual activity. The virus’ RNA entwines and becomes part of our DNA and engages in a perpetual battle with our body’s immune system. It becomes one’s personal challenge to engage in treatment and lower the viral load for better health and the possibility of protecting our partners. HIV has a stigma all its own and I believe can severely compound the effects of homophobia in one’s life. Since Election Day I have been trying to sort out feelings of who I am in relation to the world I live in. I am a 21+ year survivor/thriver living with HIV. Along with many personal achievements, I have also experienced many gifts of science and medicine, miracles which make life so hopeful! Yet, there have been times when achievement of life’s ordinary goals are thwarted by managing life with HIV. Applying for jobs, meeting/interacting potential partners (romantic, sexual, or otherwise), planning meal schedules, taking medication, going to doctors’ visits, using protection, working out and more are all decisions that have added weight to choice making, sometimes making me feel that life is more difficult and making me repent. I use the word “repent” for two reasons. First, because of its Latin/French derivative which means “to consider or weigh with intense thought”. I also use the word, being a surviving Catholic, as it infers a feeling or expression of sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin. When things get real rough, I regress to a childlike thought that just maybe I am not supposed to be who I am. Maybe I deserve having this disease. Maybe the fight is not
worth it. Maybe my life is supposed to degrade, hide, or try to reform in some way the person I was created to be. I recently saw Moonlight and watched the transformation of a person who was battered by his environment. In his case it was physical as well as verbal and emotional intimidation and attacks. We are all influenced and sometimes transformed by these events in our life. The transformations do not always reflect who we truly are. This election season I saw many hurt and scared people. The seemingly callous rhetoric used about people and our welfare in general is hurtful and confusing. 30+ years of fighting HIV can be thrown away in a vote or two from congress. We now have the tools to stop the spread of HIV and end the progression from HIV to AIDS. It could be spun in a 180 degree direction and without funding and ability to battle stigma. How can I explain to someone the urgency of healthcare for people living with HIV when all one is only thinking that it’s just gays, blacks, and drug users who get it? How do you convince anyone to stand by your side if they think that you are sick because of something you did or who you are? What if people think they do not have to provide medication, services, or PrEP prescriptions anymore if their religion dictates it? These thoughts are internalized homophobia, and that along with HIV stigma is being infused biologically by this virus which becomes part of our makeup. Remembering ACT-UP’s resistance in the 80’s and the fear that the powers that be were trying to control our sexual freedoms, there is a feeling that the disease and the political climate are combining to do the same. Is there a homophobic component to defunding healthcare and programs which prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS? And politically is this another backlash that uses homophobia, along with other phobias, as a weapon of sexism? It is difficult to lay out all of my connections in fewer than 1,000 words. Is homophobia being biologically infused? Ray Welsh, from Buddies of NJ, a premier HIV/AIDS service organization for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS., is an out gay man living with the virus since 1995. He manages fundraising, events, and Harrison House, a home to 7 adults living with HIV. Ray is also a Peer Support Group Coordinator who participates with the NJPG’s Gay Men’s Work Group and the Bergen/PassaicPaterson HIV Services Planning Counsel.
Letter from an Ally
QSpot Files Lawsuit to Halt Eviction
By Shannon Barry O’Grady To my family in the LGBT community, In these uncertain times, please know you have many cisgender, straight, and heteronormative allies. Please know we are worried with you and for you. Please know many of us are donating to charities and volunteering for organizations that support you and LGBT youth. We are publicly pronouncing our pride and solidarity with you. We are wearing our hearts, and rainbows, on our sleeves. We are talking to our children about how differences are beautiful, how some of their friends have two mommies, two daddies, and many other combinations, and why that is great! We are talking about all the wonderful ways people dress, talk, and act, and about gender fluidity and nonconformity. We are letting all our kids and their friends know that they can be and love whoever they want, and that we will always love and accept them. We are proudly displaying safety pins and equality signs. We are here to walk with you, stand up for you, and if you need us to, stand in front of you to shield you from hate. We are out there and all around. Please look for us; in most places you won't have to look far. Please let us know when we can do more. Please don't be afraid to ask allies to talk to insensitive folks on your behalf or educate someone else about their privilege. Some people want so badly to join the fight but feel helpless about how to. Please enlist us in any way you can. We thank you for your strength and are emboldened by it. Shannon Barry O’Grady was a friend to the LGBT community before she even know what LGBT – or community -meant! Her parents ran a theater, employing every type of person imaginable. She was taught to love people based on how they treated her, nothing else. She truly believes that anyone can evolve and learn to love instead of hate; most of the time it just takes time and patience.
QSpot LGBT Community Center filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Jersey Shore Arts Center (JSAC) in Superior Court of New Jersey on November 23. The suit alleges that Herb Herbst, President of JSAC, acted out of bias towards the LGBT community when he chose not to renew QSpot’s lease, which expires on December 31, 2016. According to the lawsuit, Herbst’s actions are a violation of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD), which protects tenants against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. QSpot is asking the court to grant a preliminary injunction to prevent QSpot from being removed from the premises pending further proceedings on its discrimination claim. The suit also seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation, as provided by the LAD. QSpot has asked that the court hear the matter on an expedited basis. QSpot is represented by Michael Long and Steven Rosato of the national law firm Lowenstein Sandler, LLP, with support from the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest. “Over the past six months, QSpot has taken every reasonable step to encourage the Jersey Shore Arts Center to reconsider their decision not to renew our lease,” said John Mikytuck, QSpot Executive Director. “At each point along the way, Herb Herbst and JSAC’s leadership have absolutely refused to seriously discuss it. With no other options, and little more than a month before eviction, QSpot has been forced to file a lawsuit to protect our home and defend our right to be in it.” According to the lawsuit, Herbst’s claim that “QSpot doesn’t provide arts and education programming” is merely a cover to conceal the real motivation for his decision -- bias towards the LGBT community. Moreover, QSpot does in fact provide extensive arts and education programming, including QFest, NJ’s only LGBT film festival; live performances, open mic nights, movie nights, art exhibitions, a film club, a book club, a marching band, and other arts programming. QSpot is also an official field placement site for Monmouth University students completing year-long academic internships for graduate and undergraduate degrees. “The fact that Herb Herbst would prefer to fight a legal battle, rather than keep a tenant that has paid rent every month, taken great care of and improved their unit, and provided vital services and arts and education program(continued on page 10)
Winter 2016 Q-munity Calendar Recurring Contact Information *Hackensack Peer Support Groups: 800-508-7577; email@example.com †Pride Center, Highland Park: 732-846-2232; www.pridecenter.org ‡Hudson Pride Connections Center: 201-963-4779; HudsonPride.org #QSpot LGBT Community Center: 732-455-3373; firstname.lastname@example.org λNewark LGBTQ Center: 973-424-9555; info@NewarkLGBTQCenter.org Monday – Friday 7:30 pm - Men’s HIV support group, Asbury Park; 732-7758:00 am to 4:00 pm - HIV testing, Morristown; 973-889-6802 5084; email@example.com 9:00 am to 1:00 pm - HIV testing, Asbury Park; 800-947-0020 7:30 pm - Positive Yoga, Oradell * 10:00 am to 5:00 pm - HiTOPS Health Center, 8:00 pm – Primary Purpose AA Group, Ocean Grove# Princeton;www.hitops.org; 609-683-5155 x 211 8:45 pm - Bowling, Belleville; 973-256-5936; NJGLB@aol.com Syringe exchange program, Newark; variable hours; 9:00 pm - Bowling, Jersey City; 201-933-6028; njcri.org; 973-558-5054 JoeyNJ@aol.com Adult drop-in center, Newark; variable hours;njcri.org 9:15 pm - Bowling, Edison; 732-548-4550;firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday - Saturday Project WOW! youth center, Newark; variable hours; njcri.org; 973-412-7080 Every Sunday Noon - MCC of Christ the Liberator, Hamilton; email@example.com Noon - St. Francis of Assisi Church, Glen Ridge; 973-731-7765; stfrancisnj.org 12:30 pm – SOS AA meeting, Ocean Grove# 1:30 pm – Library Lounge, Ocean Grove# 2:00 pm – Gamblers Anonymous, Ocean Grove# 2:30 pm - Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church, Newark; 973-621-2100 5:30 pm - Central Jersey Rainbows Bowling League, Bradley Beach; CJRBowling@gmail.com Every Monday Noon - Library Lounge, Ocean Grove# 6:30 pm – As Bill Sees It -- Cocaine Anonymous meeting, Ocean Grove# 6:30 pm – Yoga, Newarkλ 7:00 pm - GAAMC, Morris Township (see page 2) 7:00 pm - Bowling, Union; firstname.lastname@example.org 6:30 pm - New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus choir practice, Princeton; 609-396-7774; www.njgmc.org 8:00 pm - Bowling, Green Brook; email@example.com Every Tuesday 10:00 am - Library Lounge, Ocean Grove# 6:00 pm – TransView trans support, Jersey City ‡ 6:00 pm - SAGE, Jersey City ‡ 7:30 pm - Tuesday Night Lesbian Connection, Bound Brook; 908-791-3764 December 2016 01 Thu 7:00 pm – Coffee social, Edison; njlgh.onefireplace.com 7:00 pm – YASS! Young Adult Social Support group, Highland Park † 7:30 pm – NJ Women Coming Out, Highland Park† 02 Fri 7:00 pm – Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 8:00 pm - Karaoke, Highland Park;† 03 Sat 1:00 pm – Women of Pride, Jersey City‡
Every Wednesday 2:30 pm - RU Pride, Newark; 973-353-5716 6:00 pm – Craft/Crochet/Knitting Circle, Newarkλ 6:00 pm – Chill Night, Newarkλ 6:30 pm – Overeaters Anonymous, Ocean Grove# 7:30 pm - Men’s Living Out group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Gay Men’s Coming Out group, Highland Park; firstname.lastname@example.org† 8:30 pm – Just for Today -- Narcotics Anonymous meeting, Ocean Grove# Every Thursday 10:00 am - Library Lounge, Ocean Grove# 6:00 pm - Our Youth weekly support group, Jersey City; www.myspacenj.org 6:30 pm - Double Jeopardy peer support group, Hackensack* 6:30 pm – Men of Hudson Pride, Jersey City ‡ 7:00 pm - Sexual Assault Survivor Support, Princeton; www.hitops.org 7:00 pm – Visions HIV Support Group, Ocean Grove# 7:30 pm - Rainbows on Cleveland Street, Orange; 973-2565936; email@example.com 7:30 pm - Writers group, Highland Park † Every Friday Noon - Library Lounge, Ocean Grove# 6:00 pm - Youth Connect, Jersey City ‡ 6:00 pm – Youth Game Night, Newarkλ Every Saturday 10:00 am – Al-Anon, Ocean Grove# Noon – Library Lounge, Ocean Grove# 2:30 pm – First & Third for GLBTI Youth, Princeton; 609-6835155; www.HiTOPS.org 7:30 pm – AMP!, Highland Park † 04 Sun 2:00 pm – Central Jersey Rope Share, Highland Park† 2:00 pm – Mitzvah Day, Edison; njlgh.onefireplace.com 4:00 pm – Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-8574040; Dignitymetronj@msn.com 6:30 pm – Gay Men’s Opera Club; 732-249-9034; firstname.lastname@example.org
05 Mon 5:30 pm – Hudson County HIV/AIDS Services Planning Council, Jersey City ‡ 6:30 pm – JSTSURF trans support group, Ocean Grove# 7:00 pm -- Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer, New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; slirzero @umdnj.edu 7:30 pm – Raices Latinas LGBT, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Anxiety Support Group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - TrueSelves trans support group, Highland Park † 06 Tue 5:00 pm – Creative Expressions, Ocean Grove# 7:00 pm – Meditation AA Meeting, Ocean Grove# 7:30 pm – LGBT Fellowship, Belleville; 973-751-0616 7:30 pm – Come OUT and Play, Highland Park† 07 Wed 6:30 pm - Positive People peer support group, Hackensack * 7:00 pm – G-Rope, Highland Park† 08 Thu 7:30 pm -- PFLAG of North Jersey, South Orange; 908-7897489; email@example.com 7:30 pm -- Alternate Thursdays, Montclair; Programs@GAAMC.org 09 Fri 7:00 pm – Young Men’s Social Network, Highland Park† 10 Sat 1:00 pm – Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 7:00 pm – Men’s Movie Night, Highland Park;† 7:30 pm – Dignity New Brunswick gay Catholic liturgy; 732968-9263; firstname.lastname@example.org 11 Sun 1:00 pm – Fellowship Potluck and Annual Congregational Meeting, Hamilton; email@example.com 2:00 pm – Male Drawing Session, Highland Park† 6:00 pm – Gay Men’s Classical Song Club, Kingston; firstname.lastname@example.org 12 Mon 6:30 pm – Lesbian Moms support group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – PFLAG of Morris County, Mendham; 973-5437229; email@example.com 7:30 pm – PFLAG, Princeton; 609-663-5155; www.pflagprinceton.org 7:30 pm – Hot Topics 4 Lesbians, Ocean Grove# 7:30 pm – TrueSelves trans support group, Highland Park† 13 Tue 7:00 pm – HIV testing, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Pride Center Board Meeting, Highland Park† 14 Wed 6:00 pm – Networking Mixer, Clinton; njlgbtchamber.org 7:00 pm – QSpot Book Club, Ocean Grove# 7:30 pm – Wednesday Night Women’s Hang Out, Highland Park† 15 Thu 7:00 pm – GAAMC board meeting, Morristown; all GAAMC members are invited to attend.
7:00 pm – YASS! Young Adult Social Support group, Highland Park † 7:30 pm – NJ Women Coming Out, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Northwest NJ, Sparta; 973-729-9909 16 Fri 7:00 pm – Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 7:30 pm – Dignity New Brunswick social; 732-968-9263; firstname.lastname@example.org 7:30 pm – Movie Night Out, Ocean Grove# 7:45 pm – Out of the Box open mic, Highland Park† 17 Sat 1:00 pm – Women of Pride, Jersey City‡ 2:00 pm – NJ Hypnokink, Highland Park;† 2:30 pm – First & Third for GLBTI Youth, Princeton; 609-6835155; www.HiTOPS.org 4:00 pm – Advent Potluck Dinner, Monroe Twp.; email@example.com 6:00 pm – NJ Rope Bite, Highland Park† 7:00 pm – Rainbow Bowling, Bradley Beach; 732-774-4540 7:00 pm – NJ Gay Film Society & Potluck Dinner Club, Location TBA; firstname.lastname@example.org 18 Sun 2:30 pm – TrueBrother trans male support group, Highland Park† 4:00 pm – Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-8374040; Dignitymetronj@msn.com 4:00 pm – TrueSelves trans support group, Highland Park† 19 Mon 7:00 pm -- Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer, New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; email@example.com 7:30 pm – Young Men’s Social Network, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Raices Latinas LGBT, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Anxiety Support Group, Highland Park† 20 Tue 5:00 pm – Creative Expressions, Ocean Grove# 7:30 pm – Come OUT and Play, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – LGBTQ for Social Justice, Highland Park† 21 Wed 6:30 pm - Positive People peer support group, Hackensack * 7:00 pm – JCLGO monthly meeting, Jersey City; 201-3335725; www.jclgo.org 7:30 pm – United in Grace discussion/support group, Jersey City; 201-946-0650; firstname.lastname@example.org 22 Thu 7:30 pm – Board & Card Game Night, Highland Park† 24 Sat 1:00 pm – Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 7:00 pm – Gay Bowling, Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park; 732776-6160 11:00 pm – Christmas Vigil Worship, Hamilton; email@example.com 25 Sun 1:00 pm – Fellowship Dine-Out, Hamilton; firstname.lastname@example.org
26 Mon 7:30 pm – NJ Rope Bite, Highland Park†
6:00 pm – Gay Men’s Classical Song Club, Kingston; email@example.com
27 Tue 8:30 pm – Men’s Social Night, Highland Park†
09 Mon 7:00 pm – Lesbian Moms support group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – PFLAG of Morris County, Mendham; 973-5437229; firstname.lastname@example.org 7:30 pm – PFLAG, Princeton; 609-663-5155; www.pflagprinceton.org
28 Wed 7:30 pm - United in Grace discussion/support group, Jersey City; 201-946-0650; email@example.com 7:30 pm – Wednesday Night Women’s Hang Out, Highland Park† 31 Sat 1:00 pm – Women of Pride, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm – New Jersey Furs, Highland Park† January 2017 NOTE: Events usually held at QSpot cannot be listed for January due to uncertainty about their occupancy at the center in Ocean Grove. See article, page 4. 01 Sun Noon – New Year’s Brunch & Chanukah Party, Millstone Twp; njlgh.onefireplace.com 2:00 pm – Central Jersey Rope Share, Highland Park† 4:00 pm – Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-8574040; Dignitymetronj@msn.com 6:30 pm – Gay Men’s Opera Club; 732-249-9034; 02 Mon 7:00 pm -- Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer, New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; slirzero @umdnj.edu 7:30 pm – Raices Latinas LGBT, Highland6Park† 7:30 pm – TrueSelves trans support group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Anxiety Support Group, Highland Park† 03 Tue 5:30 pm – Hudson County HIV/AIDS Services Planning Council, Jersey City ‡ 7:30 pm – LGBT Fellowship, Belleville; 973-751-0616 7:30 pm – Come OUT and Play, Highland Park† 04 Wed 6:30 pm - Positive People peer support group, Hackensack * 05 Thu 7:00 pm – YASS! Young Adult Social Support group, Highland Park † 7:30 pm – NJ Women Coming Out, Highland Park† 06 Fri 7:00 pm – Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 8:00 pm - Karaoke, Highland Park;†
10 Tue 7:00 pm – HIV testing, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Pride Center Board Meeting, Highland Park† 11 Wed 7:30 pm – Wednesday Night Women’s Hang Out, Highland Park† 12 Thu 7:30 pm -- PFLAG of North Jersey, South Orange; 908-7897489; firstname.lastname@example.org 7:30 pm -- Alternate Thursdays, Montclair; Programs@GAAMC.org 7:30 pm – Kollege of Kink, Highland Park† 13 Fri 7:00 pm – Young Men’s Social Network, Highland Park† 14 Sat 1:00 pm – Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 1:00 pm – Women of Pride, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm – Men’s Movie Night, Highland Park;† 7:30 pm – Dignity New Brunswick gay Catholic liturgy; 732968-9263; email@example.com 15 Sun 2:30 pm – TrueSelves Male trans support group, Highland Park† 4:00 pm – Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-8374040; Dignitymetronj@msn.com 4:00 pm – TrueSelves trans support group, Highland Park† 16 Mon 7:00 pm -- Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer, New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; firstname.lastname@example.org 7:30 pm – Young Men’s Social Network, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Raices Latinas LGBT, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – Anxiety Support Group, Highland Park† 17 Tue 7:30 pm – Come OUT and Play, Highland Park† 7:30 pm – LGBTQ for Social Justice, Highland Park†
07 Sat 1:00 pm – Lesbian Family Life Cycle Event Series, Highland Park † 2:30 pm – First & Third for GLBTI Youth, Princeton; 609-6835155; www.HiTOPS.org
18 Wed 6:30 pm - Positive People peer support group, Hackensack * 7:00 pm – JCLGO monthly meeting, Jersey City; 201-3335725; www.jclgo.org 7:30 pm – United in Grace discussion/support group, Jersey City; 201-946-0650; email@example.com
08 Sun 1:00 pm – Fellowship Potluck, Hamilton; firstname.lastname@example.org 2:00 pm – Male Drawing Session, Highland Park†
19 Thu 7:00 pm – GAAMC board meeting, Morristown; all GAAMC members are invited to attend. 7:00 pm – YASS! Young Adult Social Support group, Highland
Park † 7:30 pm – NJ Women Coming Out, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Northwest NJ, Sparta; 973-729-9909 20 Fri 7:00 pm – Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 7:30 pm – Dignity New Brunswick social; 732-968-9263; email@example.com 21 Sat 2:00 pm – NJ Hypnokink, Highland Park;† 2:30 pm – First & Third for GLBTI Youth, Princeton; 609-6835155; www.HiTOPS.org 6:00 pm – NJ Rope Bite, Highland Park† 7:00 pm – Rainbow Bowling, Bradley Beach; 732-774-4540 7:00 pm – NJ Gay Film Society & Potluck Dinner Club, location TBA; firstname.lastname@example.org 22 Sun 2:00 pm – G-Rope, Highland Park† 23 Mon 7:30 pm – NJ Rope Bite, Highland Park;† 24 Tue 7:30 pm – Lesbian Alliance of Princeton; 609-924-8174; Loisj@msn.com 7:30 pm -- PFLAG of Hunterdon County, Flemington; 908752-1370; email@example.com 8:00 pm -- PFLAG of Bergen County, Paramus; 201-2870318; www.bergenpflag.org 8:00 pm – NJ Women, Secaucus; firstname.lastname@example.org 8:30 pm – Men’s Social Night, Highland Park† 25 Wed 7:30 pm - United in Grace discussion/support group, Jersey City; 201-946-0650; email@example.com 7:30 pm – Wednesday Night Women’s Hang Out, Highland Park† 28 Sat 1:00 pm – Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 1:00 pm – Women of Pride, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm – Gay Bowling, Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park; 732776-6160 29 Sun 1:00 pm – Fellowship Dine-Out, Hamilton; firstname.lastname@example.org
Gleanings Queer News from across the nation and around the world Seven Republican Representatives switched their votes under pressure from House leaders and defeated a measure to protect gay rights. “They literally snatched discrimination from the jaws of equality,” Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) said. The final vote was 213-212 after the chaos on the House floor, enough to defeat an amendment by Maloney aimed at upholding an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors. Maloney’s amendment would have prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to violate President Barack Obama’s executive order barring discrimination. He was trying to include it in a spending bill following passage of a defense policy bill that included a provision Democrats said would overturn the executive order. Republicans said the measure was simply a restatement of religious liberties from the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and they bristled at Democratic criticism. The Republican vote-switchers were: Darrell Issa, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, and Mimi Walters of California; Greg Walden of Oregon; Bruce Poliquin of Maine; and David Young of Iowa. (PBS.org) The United Kingdom will pardon thousands of queer men who were charged and convicted of “gross indecency” because of their sexuality. Homosexuality was illegal in the U.K. until 1967, and some 65,000 gay and bisexual men were convicted under homophobic laws. 15,000 of those men are still alive today. Parliament was inspired to make the pardons by the story of Alan Turing, a World War II codebreaker and the father of modern computing. Turing was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was chemically castrated, and committed suicide. In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II gave him a royal pardon. (Out.com)
The Board of Directors of GAAMC And The Editorial Staff of Challenge Extend you our best wishes for The happiest of holiday seasons And A Joyous New Year
Trump, as easy as 1, 2, 3 by Mark Segal 1. Trump is President-elect. If that angers or frightens you, don’t get upset, get involved. 2. What are the signs we in the LGBT community should be looking for? Trump has already made the statement that marriage equality is already the law of the land (in a recent 60 Minutes interview). But how about the Equality Act so that members of our community are not discriminated against? The reality is that, unless the Republican Congress decides it’s on their list, it will die -- unless that organization I mentioned above begins to concentrate on those Republicans. What about all those executive orders that President Obama signed to give our community what relief he could without the Equality Act? The President-elect had promised during the campaign to undo all of Obama’s EOs on the first day. Does he actually do that, or do he and his staff understand that some of the orders have value? The same holds true for department directives issued under the Obama administration. This is where whom he appoints affects all of us. Will there be any LGBT appointments to high-level positions in a Trump administration? Or are we to be invisible again in government? And what about the small things like Pride? Will there be an LGBT Pride reception in June in the White House? That might sound silly, but I must admit as one who has been fighting against our community’s invisibility for almost 50 years now and who has been at a number of those receptions, I almost felt like we were no longer invisible, as we were before our struggle gained momentum after Stonewall. Which brings me to: 3. The other day I went to pick up my lunch from a place I often visit and where I know the staff well. When I arrived, a staffer said to me: “Last week [referring to the Trump election], I felt really sad for myself and my family. That’s nothing compared to what your community must feel.” The words just flowed out of my mouth: “Thank you, but we’ve been here before and we know how to fight back if necessary. We were here and fought back during Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. We’re stronger now and more organized.”
Which led me to understand why I and, I’m guessing, all those in our community over 50 years of age and older look at this a little differently. We remember when we were invisible; we remember feeling helpless. We then organized, and we did it well. Powered with the new openness and visibility and, more importantly, the radicalization brought by Gay Liberation Front, the President no longer had our silence. Most important of these was Reagan, who during the early days of HIV/AIDS felt that sting of ACT UP and the organized pressure of newly formed organizations to sustain that battle. And that is the answer: Get involved. If this shock creates one thing, it might very well end the apathy of our community and the realization that our struggle is not simply having cocktail parties and chatting with office holders. It’s doing what this community did well, but no longer does: Getting in their faces and not allowing them to forget us. That is the lesson of ending invisibility. We are an incredible community. Have trust in each other, and get involved. Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His recently published memoir, And Then I Danced, is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or at your favorite bookseller.
GAAMC Election Slate Announced As of press time, the following members of GAAMC have announced their willingness to run for office at the2016 elections, to be held December 12. For President: Sherri Rase For Vice President of Operations: David Gayle For Treasurer: Andy Skurna For Trustee (3 positions open): Dev Gannon; Nick Santangelo; Liz Slicer The following current Board members will be up for election in 2017: John DeLeeuw; Ron Kennedy; Gordon Sauer; Rich Schaublin; and Mickey Suiter.
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GAAMC Board Minutes October 20, 2016 Members: DeLeeuw, Gannon, Kennedy, Kohn, Rase, Sauer, Schaublin, Skurna, Slicer, Suiter Non-Voting Attendees: Anthony Mendola, Allen Neuner The meeting was called to order at 7:00. The minutes of the September meeting were approved (moved, Kohn; seconded, Gannnon; Sauer abstaining). Old/Current Business: The upcoming election was discussed. A slate is due November 28. The programs section of the new website needs to be updated more frequently. Andy will train people in updating the site. Advertisers would be solicited for the site. A motion was passed to send a supporting letter to ABR concerning proposed Department of Education regulations (moved, Rase; seconded, Kohn). New Business: Plans for the MUF parking lot were discussed. Anthony Mendola discussed and explained provisions in our group insurance policy. Reports Treasurer (Andy Skurna) Challenge/Front Desk (Allen Neuner) Webmaster (Andy Skurna) Programs (Sherri Rase) Socials (John DeLeeuw) Discussion Group Resources (Gordon Sauer) Development (Gordon Sauer) Social Action (Gordon Sauer) GAAMC Pride (Mickey Suiter) Outings (Jay Kohn) Public Relations(Dev Gannon) Ideas and Suggestions: Kohn reported allegations that police were placing “FG” on summonses to indicate LGBT people being ticketed. Schaublin said he would contact Lambda Legal. A motion to adjourn was approved (moved, Kohn; seconded Schaublin). The meeting was adjourned at 8:24.
Bulletin Board Buddies of New Jersey cordially invite you to attend their annual Tom Hayes Memorial Brunch, 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 4th at St. John’s Church/Peter Kramer Hall in Leonia. Along with great food, there will be tricky trays, a raffle for a new TV, a silent auction, and much more! Tickets are $10 per person, or $25 for a family of four. To purchase tickets, go to www.njbuddies.org or call 800-508-7577. QSpot is holding a Holiday Rally to Stand Against Eviction on Sunday, December 11th at 5:00 pm at their center in
Ocean Grove. Your $5 door donation entitles you to an evening of music, food, advocacy, and eggnog – plus a tree lighting cerecemony and QSpot’s second annual Best Original Ornament Contest! For more information, and to learn more about QSpot’s ongoing eviction battle, go to QSpot.org or see the article on page 4 of this issue of Challenge.
The New Jesey Gay Men’s Chorus invites you to join them for “Holidays Among the Stars – A Celestial Celebration” at one of their three holiday performances in December! Their newest star, Artistic Director and Conductor Sarah Michal, leads the Chorus through such holiday favorites as “White Christmas,” “Behold That Star,, and “We Need a Little Christmas.” Come fill your heart with enough joy, hope, and peace to last all season long! This year’s performances will be: Friday, December 16 th, at 8:00 pm at Princeton United Methodist Church; Saturday, December 17th, at 8:00 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church in Asbury Park; and Sunday, December 18 th, at 4:00 pm at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Somerville. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors) in advance, and $25 at the door. To purchase tickets, go to www.njgmc.org/events.
QSpot Files Lawsuit to Halt Eviction (continued from page 4) ming to the local community, makes it pretty clear that LGBT bias is driving JSAC’s decision,” said Mikytuck. “It makes no sense without it.” QSpot has asked the court to consider several other factors when evaluating the matter. First, JSAC never required QSpot provide arts programming as a condition of tenancy over almost four years in the building. Second, other tenants at the JSAC whose primary businesses are not arts focused are not being evicted due to a lack of arts programming. And finally, that JSAC selectively enforced lease provisions and local regulations when demanding that QSpot remove a rainbow flag, a well-known symbol of the LGBT community, hanging at their entrance for less than one week as part of a memorial to the Orlando Pulse nightclub victims, while allowing other, more generic signs to remain hanging on the building for extended periods of time without issue. “As we have said all along, QSpot will use every available resource to protect our home and defend our right to be in it,” said Mikytuck. “It will be a terrible injustice to QSpot, the LGBT community and our allies if JSAC is allowed to evict us on New Year’s Eve.”
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Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County GAAMC Officers President (President@GAAMC.org) .......... Mickey Suiter VP Community Services (Info@GAAMC.org) ..................................................... Gordon Sauer VP Operations (Operations@GAAMC.org) ....................................................John DeLeeuw Secretary (Secretary@GAAMC.org) .......... Ron Kennedy Treasurer (Treasurer@GAAMC.org) ........... Andy Skurna
Trustees Dev Gannon, David Gayle, Jay Kohn, Sherri Rase, Richard Schaublin, Liz Slicer
Committee Chairs & Functional Officers Challenge (Challenge@GAAMC.org) ......... Allen Neuner Development (Discussions@GAAMC.org) .... Gordon Sauer Discussion Group Resources (Discussions@GAAMC.org) ..................................................... Gordon Sauer Information (FreeLibrary@GAAMC.org) ...... Andy Skurna Outings (Outings@GAAMC.org) .................... Jay Kohn Pride Events ..................................... Mickey Suiter Pride Guide (PrideGuide@GAAMC.org) ...... Andy Skurna Programs (Programs@GAAMC.org) .............. Sherri Rase Public Relations (PR@GAAMC.org) ............. Dev Gannon Social Action .................................... Gordon Sauer Socials (Socials@GAAMC.org) ................John DeLeeuw Webmaster (Webmaster@GAAMC.org) ....... Andy Skurna
GAAMC, the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County, has served New Jersey’s gay, lesbian bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed communities since 1972. GAAMC is a notfor-profit volunteer-run organization that provides social, educational, and outreach programs. GAAMC also offers opportunities for individuals to become politically active on issues related to the GLBTI communities. Our intent is to maintain a positive, healthy, respectful, and supportive environment in a safe space. Meetings are held every Monday evening at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd., Morris Township, NJ (near the Morris Museum). Discussion groups usually meet from 7:00 to 8:00. The evening’s program usually starts shortly after 8:00. Refreshments are available. For program information, check our home page (see below). Members and non-members are always welcome. Annual membership dues are: Regular, $40/single, $70/couple; Students/Seniors, $30/single, $60/couple. How to reach GAAMC Mail: PO Box 137, Convent Station, NJ 07961 Telephone: 973-285-1595 E-Mail: email@example.com Home page: http://www.gaamc.org Mail List: http://groups.yahoo.com/subscribe/gaamc
So Long, Farewell…? According to our records, the following members will see their memberships lapse in November, December, or January. If your name is here in error, please contact the Webmaster. November: Darlene Y., Hackettstown; Emanuel M., Morristown; Grant K., Rehoboth Beach, DE; Marcia I., Pompton Plains; Martin D., Rockaway; Martin G., Port Jervis, NY; Robert V., East Hanover; Ronald V., Morristown; Stephen P., Rehoboth Beach, DE December: Andy B., Bernardsville; Robin S., East Brunswick; Ward A., Bernardsville January: Frank L., Westfield; John M., Far Hills; Richard S., Elmwood Park; Timothy T., Morristown You can renew online at GAAMC.org, or at any Monday night meeting of GAAMC.