UNION COUNTY OFFICE OF LGBTQ AFFAIRS

Upcoming Events
About
Initiatives
Know Your Rights
LGBTQ Resources
Highlights

Contact

Danni Newbury, Coordinator
Phone: 908 527-4742
Email:  dnewbury@ucnj.org

County of Union Administration Building
Office of LGBTQ Affairs,2nd Floor
Department of Economic Development
10 Elizabethtown Plaza
Elizabeth, NJ 07207

AboutUpcoming EventsInitiativesKnow Your RightsLGBTQ Resources2018 Highlights

About

Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, under the Department of Economic Development, was established by the Freeholder Board in 2018 and is the first county government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey – one of four government offices in the nation to support the LGBTQ community, of which only two are county government offices.

Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs offers a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, and serves as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

Upcoming Events             Submit your events

Union County PRIDE Youth Leadership & Planning Forum
Wednesday, April 3 at 5:30 PM
Elizabeth Public Library
4th FL Auditorium
11. South Broad Street, Elizabeth
Learn more

What Parents Need To Know About Transgender Individuals
Free informational presentation for parents & community members
Tuesday, April 23 6:30 pm
John H. Stamler Police Academy
Union County Vo-Tech Campus
1776 Raritan Road
Scotch Plains
Learn more

Foster Parent and Adoption Recruitment Info Session
Saturday, April 27 5 PM – 7 PM
Light dinner will be provided
Warinanco Sports Center
1 Park Drive
Roselle/Elizabeth
Learn more

Union County LGBTQ PRIDE Flag Raising Ceremony
Monday, June 3 at 1 pm
Union County Courthouse
2 Broad Street, Elizabeth

Union County  PRIDE 2019
Saturday, June 15 at 12 PM– 5 pm
Rahway River Park
Rahway

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Initiatives

 

Coming soon

 

Know Your Rights

Union County – Safe Space for LGBTQ Individuals
On October 11, 2018, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders declared by resolution Union County a safe space for  LGBTQ individuals, further noting that the County of Union has had a longstanding policy against discrimination, and this policy is incorporated into the Administrative Code of Union County insofar as it relates to County employment, contracts, and other activities.

NJ Division of Civil Rights: Know the Law

NJ Law Against Discrimination (LAD)
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-12) (LAD) makes it unlawful to subject people to differential treatment based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, perceived disability, and AIDS and HIV status. The LAD prohibits unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodation, credit and business contracts.

Public Accommodation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD)
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits an owner, manager, or employee of any place that offers goods, services and facilities to the general public, such as a restaurant, hotel, doctor’s office, camp, or theater, from directly or indirectly denying or withholding any accommodation, service, benefit, or privilege to an individual because of that individual’s race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability. Further, individuals accompanied by a guide or service dog are entitled to full and equal access to all places of public accommodation.

NJ Division of Civil Rights Sexual Orientation Fact Sheet
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination based on sexual or affectional orientation. Federal law does not extend protection in this area. This means that it is against the law for you to be treated differently or otherwise denied the rights and privileges extended to others on the basis of sexual orientation. The law also forbids discrimination on the basis of ‘perceived’ sexual orientation, meaning that the Law protects you if you are subjected to discrimination because someone makes an erroneous presumption about your sexual orientation.

Garden State Equality FAQ: Transgender Student Rights in NJ
This resource provides answers to several frequently asked questions about the legal rights of transgender students in our schools.

ACLU Know Your Rights: LGBT High School Students
Under the U.S. Constitution, public schools have to address any harassment against LGBT students the same way they would address harassment against any other student. This resource goes over the Constitutional rights of LGBTQ students and offers suggestions for how to put them into action.

ACLU Know Your Rights: Transgender People and the Law
This resource provides answers to 28 frequently asked questions about the legal rights of transgender Americans.

ACLU Know Your Rights: HIV and Civil Rights in the Workplace
United States law protects anyone with AIDS or HIV from job discrimination. This resource explains the legal rights of HIV-positive people in the workplace.

Human Rights Campaign: State Maps of Laws & Policies
This resource provides an up-to-date national map of state laws and policies that affect the LGBTQ community.

Lambda Legal
Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

LGBTQ Resouces

 

Coming soon

 

Highlights

In 2018, the County of Union became the first county government in the State of New Jersey to establish an office dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs is one of only four government offices of its kind in the country. Here are some highlights of the work we did in our first year:

We brought together more than 40 professionals who provide services and programs for the LGBTQ community at the first LGBTQ Networking Roundtable.

On Tuesday, February 20, the Office of LGBTQ Services organized and hosted a roundtable with over 20 leading LGBTQ advocacy and ally organizations that serve Union County and New Jersey.

More than 40 participants met to discuss LGBTQ-related programs, services, issues and priorities for 2018. The event encouraged conversations about the many unique challenges of the LGBTQ community including: access to healthcare services; state policy recommendations; safe spaces for LGBTQ individuals and allies; access to resources and information; and achieving safety, permanency and well-being for LGBTQ youth and families. Participants also offered strategic thinking toward building culturally-appropriate programs and partnerships that affirm the dignity and human worth of LGBTQ people and supporters.

We engaged LGBTQ and ally youth to celebrate inclusion through art.

On March 15 and 16, the Office of LGBTQ Services offered an LGBTQ affirming poster making workshop at Union County’s Teen Arts event collecting over 60 poster artwork by Union County teens to support their peers in an project designed to ‘give LGBTQ youth and allies a voice.’ The project will conclude with the creation of a book of affirming artwork submitted anonymously by LGBTQ youth and allies, which will be distributed to public libraries and schools throughout Union County.

We hosted a number of workshops and training sessions to increase awareness, building inclusion and accelerate acceptance.

On Tuesday, April 3, Union County hosted Garden State Equality’s ‘Pledge & Protect’ entry-level workshop “Introductions to the HealthCare Needs of the LGBTQ Population” free for organizations and professionals serving older LGBTQ adults. The session was presented in collaboration with the Union County Office of LGBTQ Services and the Division on Aging and Disability Resource Connection.

On April 11, Union County partnered with the Elizabeth Public Library to host Garden State Equality’s Youth Caucus social justice driven advocacy workshop for youth ages 12 to 19.

On Friday, September 28, Union County hosted GLAAD Media Institute’s Engagement 101 Telling Your Story: Messaging and Media Tools for Today’s Activists LGBTQ accelerating acceptance training course free and open to the public. Participants learned how to get a message of inclusion and acceptance across effectively in the mainstream media narrative about the LGBTQ community.

On Friday, October 19, Union County hosted GLAAD Media Institute’s Engagement 202: Telling Your Story through Social Media accelerating acceptance social media training courses free for anyone who wants to build the core skills and techniques that influence positive cultural change through social media.

We increased community LGBTQ inclusion supporting local family programming.

On August 21, Union County partnered with the Friends of the Rahway Public Library and the City of Rahway to Drag Queen Story Hour, a national children’s program that raises awareness of gender diversity, promotes self-acceptance, and builds empathy through an enjoyable literary experience. The inclusive event was covered by CBS 2 News as well as the Home News Tribute and other local reporters.

We supported LGBTQ business owners and managers seeking to partner with corporations to advance diversity initiatives.

On Wednesday, September 12, Union County collaborated with the NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce on their second annual ‘Out For Business’ Breakfast – a business and networking event designed to connect LGBTQ entrepreneurs with key contacts and decision makers from various businesses and Fortune 500 companies in New Jersey. Guests had the opportunity to meet and discuss strategies that meet the diversity needs of companies such as PSEG and Prudential, as well as educational institutions such as Rutgers, Princeton and University Hospital.

Photos coming soon

We supported Union County’s Colleges first ever LGBTQ+ History Month events.

As the Coordinator of the Office of LGBTQ Services, Danni Newbury played a key role in Union County College’s first LGBTQ+ History Month events including as the Keynote Speaker at the kickoff event at Union County College main campus on October 23.

On November 6, Union County partnered with Union County College to present a special screening of ‘Love Wins’ followed by a discussion with filmmaker Robin Kampf, and co-stars Jan Moore and Emily Sonnessa, whose love story influenced marriage equality in the state of NJ. The screening marks final event of UCC’s 2018 LGBTQ+ History Month celebration – the first in the college’s history.

We became the first county government in the State of New Jersey to proclaim June PRIDE Month during the first ever Union County PRIDE Flag Raising Ceremony.

On June 4, the rainbow flag flew for the first time at the Union County Courthouse in recognition of June as Pride month. Union County’s Flag Raising Ceremony – the first county government entity in New Jersey to host such a ceremony – featured a performance by Elizabeth’s Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy Acapella Chorus, a presentation of a resolution to the MERCK Rainbow Alliance in recognition of their achievement of receiving a 100 Corporate Equality Index rating from the Human Rights Campaign; guest speeches by prominent Union County LGBTQ advocates Danielle King of Hyacinth Aids Foundation, Union County Sheriff Office LGBTQ Liaison Officer Tamiko Brooks, Hannah Lieberman of PFLAG North Jersey, and Maria Z. Carvalho, President of the Elizabeth Board of Education, who presented a resolution on behalf of the Elizabeth BOE proclaiming June as Pride Month, the first time in the school district’s history.

Photos coming soon

Photos coming soon

We hosted the first TEEN PRIDE event to bring together LGBTQ and ally youth from Union County and the surrounding area for a night of dancing and entertainment.

On June 15, in collaboration with the Union County Performing Arts Center, Union County hosted the first TEEN PRIDE event for LGBTQ Youth ages 16 and older. According to Human Rights Campaign, four out of ten LGBTQ youth say they live in a community that doesn’t accept their sexual orientation. With in-kind contributions from throughout the community, the inclusive evening for LGBTQ youth offered an exciting celebration of individuality in a welcoming environment that affirms who they are – regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, how they dress, or any other reason. The event included appetizers and light refreshments, DJ, drag queen emcee, the crowning of the rainbow court, selfie photo booth, candy table and more.

We hosted our second annual Union County PRIDE event celebrating family, equality, diversity and community.

On June 16, Union County hosted the second annual Union County PRIDE event. An inclusive celebration of family, equality, diversity and community, the event featured live music, a variety of arts and crafts (featuring the “LOVE Makes a Family” poster making), lawn games inflatable bounce houses, and much more. More than a dozen New Jersey LGBTQ advocacy and ally organizations offered information, support and networking resources throughout the event. Two highlights of the event include a ‘Trash to Fashion Show” with Drag Queen Harmonica Sunbeam presented by the Elizabeth Public Library, and an Equality Rally with special guest speakers and performances.

Photos coming soon

Photos coming soon

Union County became the first county government in the State of New Jersey to proclaim October LGBTQ History Month and hosted an inaugural event highlighting the LGBTQ and Social Just Activism of renown athlete Billy Jean King

On October 23, Union County hosted the inaugural LGBTQ History Month event, featuring a screening of the 2017 Billie Jean King biographical film ‘Battle of the Sexes’ followed by a discussion about women’s rights and equality in the 70’s and today with NJ equality advocates and civil rights panelists Aggie Roncagleo and Benn Meistrich, Esq. from the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, and LGBTQ Attorney Bill Singer of Singer & Fedun, LLC in Somerset.

This year, we initiated a strategy for fostering inclusion and accelerating acceptance by recognizing specific LGBTQ community awareness and remembrance dates. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders – either through a Freeholder statement or resolution – publicly recognized several LGBTQ awareness days most notably:

  • Proclaimed by resolution June as Pride Month throughout Union County (the first county government in New Jersey to do so);
  • Proclaimed by resolution October as LGBTQ History Month (the first county government in New Jersey to do so);
  • On National Coming Out Day (October, 11, 2018) the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders proclaimed by resolution October 11, 2018 as National Coming Out Day throughout the County of Union and further declared Union County ‘A Safe Space for LGBTQ Individuals’ during the Freeholder Board mobile meeting in Plainfield.  The County observed National Coming Out Day and participated in the one-day campaign that engages communities to take a stand against the discrimination, violence, harassment, and bullying of LGBTQ people by coming out in support of safe spaces for LGBTQ individuals and allies.

In July 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy hosted the first ever PRIDE reception at Drumthwacket, the Governor’s mansion.

During the reception Freeholder Rebecca Williams was honored for her work and contributions to the LGBTQ community. She was joined by LGBTQ office Coordinator Danni Newbury.

Faces of Pride

Office of LGBTQ Services coordinator, Danni Newbury was selected by USA Today to represent New Jersey in their 2018 Faces of Pride feature.

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