UNION COUNTY OFFICE OF LGBTQ AFFAIRS
Danni Newbury, Coordinator
Phone: 908 527-4742
County of Union Administration Building
Office of LGBTQ Affairs,2nd Floor
Department of Economic Development
10 Elizabethtown Plaza
Elizabeth, NJ 07207
AboutUpcoming EventsCommunity EventsKnow Your RightsLGBTQ Resources2018 Highlights
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.
Confirmatory Adoption and LGBTQ Family Planning Presentation and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, February 25
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
UCPAC’s Hamilton Stage
360 Hamilton Street, Rahway
The evening presentation will offer an in-depth understanding of New Jersey’s new confirmatory adoption law and changes to the legal process for families seeking parental rights protections where one parent is not able to contribute genetic material – this includes same-gender, different-gender and transgender couples. The presentation will include important life and family planning topics that directly affect the LGBTQ community including building and protecting non-traditional family structures and the portability of parental rights. The evening presentation will include a Q&A opportunity to speak with the panelists, Danni Newbury, Coordinator of Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, Suzanne DiOrio, Special Deputy Surrogate for Union County, Bill Singer, Esq. of Singer & Fedun, Deb Guston, Esq. of Guston & Guston.
Free Admission; Pre-registration required.
Open for Business – Open for Everyone Inclusion and Diversity Symposium
for Business Owners, Managers and Entrepreneurs
New Date TBD
Hamilton Stage (Fazioli Room)
360 Hamilton Street, Rahway
Business owners, managers and entrepreneurs to participate in the first Open for Business – Open for Everyone: Inclusion and Diversity Symposium.
The free full-day symposium will focus on internal policies and practices to create an inclusive working environment for employees, LGBTQ+ 101 cultural competency training, understanding New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD), and best practices for being open for business to serve all people.
The scheduled panelists and speakers represent New Jersey government, corporate sector, small business, and workplace diversity. Guests will have an opportunity to engage in important discussions with experts in their respective fields to foster a diverse, inclusive, accepting, welcoming space for employees and customers.
Please submit your local events using the form above.
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.
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.
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.
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.