Union County Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs

Out in Union County – Queer Empowerment Hour

The Union County Board of County Commissioners are happy to announce the reintroduction of “OUT in Union County, NJ: Queer Empowerment Hour,” an exciting and informative virtual series hosted by Micayla Mirabella, in partnership with Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

“We are proud to bring this exceptional program to our community, promoting open dialogue, fostering understanding, and celebrating the rich diversity within the LGBTQ+ community,” said Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “This initiative falls in line with my 2023 Chairman theme of “Building a Stronger Union County,” with my “Equity and Inclusion” initiatives, which promote inclusivity and equality in Union County. This unique program aims to empower and educate individuals by providing a platform for engaging conversations with LGBTQ+ advocates, community leaders, and allies. I hope to see many of our residents participate.”

Queer Empowerment Hour, which began in 2020, promises an hour-long virtual dialogue that delves into LGBTQ+ specific topics, offering compelling stories and discussions involving queer individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences. The series is open to all, emphasizing inclusivity and understanding within our community.

“When the County of Union originally launching the Queer Empowerment Hour in September 2020, we were overwhelmed by the positive response it received,” said Commissioner Al Mirabella. “I am very happy to see the program come back into fruition for another year and I encourage everyone interested to join these informative and interactive series.”

Each session begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be live streamed on the County of Union Facebook page. Any questions can be taken via the zoom and within the comments posted on Facebook.  The scheduled dates and topics are as follows:

September 20, 2023
LGBTQ 101
An Introduction to the Queer Community

October 11, 2023
Reclaiming Our Narratives
A Dive into LGBTQ+ History

December 13, 2023
Pronouns Matter
Embracing Acceptance through Inclusive Language

January 17, 2024 January 24, 2027 (date changed)
Proud and Serving
Exploring LGBTQ+ Experiences in the Military

February 21, 2024
Amplifying Black LGBTQ+ Voices
Honoring & Celebrating Heritage, Contributions & Resilience

March 13, 2024
Unveiling Hidden Narratives
Celebrating the Trials & Triumphs of Queer Women in History

April 17, 2024
Healing with Equality
LGBTQ+ Accessible and Affirming Healthcare

May 8, 2024
Passing the Torch
LGBTQ+ Elders Reflect on the Past & Guide the Next Generation

“Now more than ever, it is important to have events/seminars like these,” said Commissioner Rebecca Williams. “While we celebrate progress and inclusivity in our own community, we must also acknowledge the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ movements across the nation. It is important to discuss these topics and I truly hope all of our residents take part in these conversations and show their support and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.”

To participate in these enlightening conversations, individuals are required to register online below.

View archive

Community Partner Events

Welcome

Robert Charkowsky, Coordinator

If you are in a crisis or need someone to talk to, please review our Support Hotline section.

908 527-4897

rcharkowsky@ucnj.org

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

Organizationally under the Department of Economic Development

Contact Form

Support

Content below is from PFLAG New Jersey

The hotlines listed below provide services to callers across the country. If you’re looking for a local support network, also contact one of PFLAG’s more than 400 chapters in the United States.

Crisis Intervention/Suicide Prevention

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386 The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 (online chat available) The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741 Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline: (888) 843-4564 Provides telephone, online private one-to-one chat and email peer-support, as well as factual information and local resources for cities and towns across the United States.

The GLBT National Youth Talkline (youth serving youth through age 25): (800) 246-7743 Provides telephone, online private one-to-one chat and email peer-support, as well as factual information and local resources for cities and towns across the United States.

Youth Information

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929) Provides advice and assistance to runaways, including resources, shelter, transportation, assistance in finding counseling, and transitioning back to home life. NRS frontline staff will also act as advocates and mediators if/as needed.

The True Colors Fund: (212) 461-4401 The True Colors Fund is working to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth, creating a world in which all young people can be their true selves.

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E) Addresses individuals coping with non-suicidal self-injury, including locally-based information, support and therapy referrals.

HIV/AIDS Information

AIDS in Prison Project Hotline: 718-378-7022 (English and Spanish) This hotline provides HIV and AIDS information for prisoners, and accepts collect calls.

National AIDS Hotline 800-342-AIDS / 800-344-7432 (Spanish) / 800-243-7889 (TDD)

Other Hotlines

U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (English and Spanish) 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) They also have an online chat feature available. Operating around the clock, seven days a week, confidential and free of cost, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Highly trained, experienced advocates offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in over 170 languages.

Pride Institute: 800-547-7433 24/7 Chemical dependency/mental health referral and information hotline for the LGBTQ community.

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): 800-656-HOPE / 800-810-7440 (TTY) The nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence, RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

M-Pox

We setup a M-Pox resource website with vaccination links and locations, frequently asked questions and w hat to look out for in terms of symptoms.

Queer Empowerment Hours

The Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs holds virtual live-stream Zooms that started in 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic through 2024. Topics ranged from healthcare, issues affecting our youth and senior communities, family and coming out. View the archive and upcoming dates below.

Upcoming

All are live streamed on our County Facebook page at 7 pm

  • February 21, 2024 – Amplifying Black LGBTQ+ Voices – Honoring & Celebrating Heritage, Contributions & Resilience
  • March 13, 2024 – Unveiling Hidden Narratives – Celebrating the Trials & Triumphs of Queer Women in History
  • April 17, 2024 – Healing with Equality – LGBTQ+ Accessible and Affirming Healthcare
  • May 8, 2024 – Passing the Torch – LGBTQ+ Elders Reflect on the Past & Guide the Next Generation

Previous

LGBTQ Resources

Have an update or addition? Please contact us!

101

What does it mean to be transgender? What’s the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity? What does LGBTQ even stand for? The following resources answer basic questions like these in terms that beginners can understand.

LGBT 101: An Introduction to the Queer Community – This seven-minute informational video serves as a basic introduction to gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

LGBTQ | How You See Me: People have been talking ABOUT the LGBTQ community, so we decided to talk with them to learn from their experiences.

LGBT 101: An Introduction to the Queer Community – This seven-minute informational video serves as a basic introduction to gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

An Ally’s Guide to Terminology – The words we use to discuss LGBT people and issues can have a powerful impact on our conversations. The right words help open people’s hearts and minds, while others can create distance or confusion. This guide serves as a resource for new allies who want to support LGBT Americans but aren’t sure how to begin those conversations.

Gender Pronouns, Get Them Right! | MTV Life – YouTube’s Jake Edwards breaks down the history of pronouns and offers a few solid points on why it’s so important to use a person’s correct pronouns.

Advocacy

Garden State Equality Garden State Equality is the New Jersey’s statewide advocacy and education organization for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. 973-509-5428 E-mail Website

True Colors Fund The True Colors Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves. 212-461-4401 Contact Website

Human Rights Campaign Information coming soon

Arts

Queer-Art QUEER|ART is a non-profit arts organization serving a diverse and vibrant community of LGBTQ artists across generations and disciplines. The mission of Queer-Art is to create a diverse and vibrant community through the support of LGBTQ art and artists across generations and disciplines. E-mail Website

Business Development

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce – NGLCC The NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community, the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people, and the exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses. 202-234-9181 E-mail Website

New Jersey LGBT Chamber 973-869-9567 E-mail Website

Union County Department of Economic Development 908-527-4802 Website

Union County Economic Development Corporation – UCEDC 908-527-1166 E-mail Website

Civil Rights

ACLU New Jersey The ACLU of New Jersey works to defend liberty throughout our state. We are involved in litigation and advocacy on behalf of individuals, and we lobby on scores of bills in the state legislature and local councils. In addition, the ACLU is active in many public education and community organizing projects. The ACLU of New Jersey is located in Newark. We implement legal, legislative, public education programs in conjunction with large numbers of volunteers to advance the ACLU’s goals of liberty and justice for all. 973-642-2084 Website

Lambda Legal (National Headquarters, New York City) Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, 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. 212-809-8585 Contact Website

New Jersey Division on Civil Rights

DCR is a part of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General /Department of Law and Public Safety and is the agency responsible for investigating discrimination complaints and eradicating illegal discrimination in New Jersey. DCR is comprised of investigators, attorneys, and professional support staff.  We serve as a fair and impartial forum for addressing claims that the LAD or the Family Leave Act has been violated.  Our main focus is to investigate claims of discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation (e.g., schools, stores, parks). Central Regional Office 609-292-4605. Northern Regional Office 973-648-2700. E-mail Website

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. Website

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. Website

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. Website

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. Website

Criminal Justice

Moving Beyond Bias: How To Ensure Access to Justice for LGBT People This curriculum was created by Lambda Legal to provide a model for educating judges, attorneys and other legal professionals about sexual orientation, gender identity and the needs of LGBT people in the legal system. Website

ACLU’s Know Your Rights: Transgender Prisoners Each transgender person’s experience in prison and jail is different, in part because the conditions vary a great deal from one prison to another and change over time. However, the safety and health of every transgender prisoner in the United States is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution no matter where the prisoner is held. This resource explains the rights of transgender people in prison. Website

Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBT People LGBT people are over-represented in the criminal justice system. This series of reports, videos, and info-graphics highlights personal stories of LGBT people impacted by the criminal justice system and spotlights innovative programs, initiatives and organizations from around the country. Website

Lambda Legal (National Headquarters, NYC) Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, 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. 212-809-8585 Contact Website

Education and School

Welcoming Schools (a project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation) HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier professional development program providing training and resources to elementary school educators to welcome diverse families, create LGBTQ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students. Information coming soon

GLSEN (Central New Jersey Chapter) GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”) is a United States-based education organization championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1990. GLSEN’s mission is to create safe and affirming schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Information coming soon

Resource for Educators and School Administrators – NJ Department of Education Transgender Guidance for School Districts State statute (N.J.S.A. 18A:36-41) directs the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education to establish guidelines to provide direction for schools in addressing common issues concerning the needs of transgender students, and to assist schools in establishing policies and procedures that ensure a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment for transgender students. Information coming soon

Employment

Safe Spaces – Out & Equal Workplace Advocates 415-694-6500 E-mail Website

Family, Parenting, Adoption

Family Equality Council 646-880-3005 Website

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Website

Children, Youth and Adults with an LGBT Parent (COLAGE) Website

National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Family Protection Project Information coming soon

Human Rights Campaign: All Children-All Families 202-628-4160 E-mail Website

Health

HIV-AIDS, STD Prevention – Hyacinth The mission of Hyacinth is to help people live with HIV, slow the spread of the epidemic, and serve as a critical voice in the public debate surrounding AIDS in New Jersey. Plainfield 908-755-0021 Hotline 800-433-0254 Regional Office Website

HIV-AIDS – Iris House Iris House saves lives through comprehensive support, prevention and education services for women, families, and under served populations affected by HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in a safe, family-centered environment by passionate, professional and culturally competent staff. Plainfield 908-561-5057 E-mail Website

Mental Health Information coming soon

Substance Abuse Information coming soon

Mental Health / Suicide Prevention – The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386 E-mail Website

Homelessness

Runaway – National Runaway Safeline The National Runaway Safeline is there to listen if you are thinking of running away or already have. The Safeline, available by phone at 1-800-RUNAWAY, text at 66008, or instant message on their website, can help connect you to resources for runaway youth in your area. 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1-800-786-2929 Online Services

Website

Youth Shelter – Community Access Unlimited Union County Shelter and Runaway & Homeless Youth Shelter The Union County Runaway & Homeless Youth Shelter has a vision to halt the cycle of homelessness by offering various programs that will enable youth to move forward to a safer, healthier, and more productive lifestyle within the community. 908-354-3040 Extension 242 Toll Free 908-354-3096 24 Hour Access 908-413-4261 Runaway Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY E-mail Website

Housing – Union County Department of Human Services Continuum of Care/Homeless Unit Union County offers a wide array of housing options and services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, including: emergency shelter, permanent housing and supportive services; street outreach, engagement and case management; and prevention strategies. This resources provides more information on how to access services. 908-527-4874 or 908-527-4861 E-mail Website

Youth Shelter – Covenant House Covenant House provides trauma-informed, resilience-focused housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness – offering a safe shelter for LGBTQ and trafficked youth. Elizabeth 908-354-4750 Newark Crisis Center 973-621-8705 E-mail Website

TIP Sheet: Working with Homeless LGBTQ+ Youth If you are working with homeless youth, you are almost guaranteed to encounter a client that identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ). This resource explains some of the unique challenges homeless LGBTQ youth face and includes a list of additional resources.Information Coming soon

Youth Shelter – RAIN Foundation (Essex County) The RAIN Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit that provides emergency shelter services to address the emergent need of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals experiencing crisis leading to homelessness. Our programs promote self-sufficiency and independence to enhance our residents’ ability to function within their communities. Our programs aim to help adolescents lead healthy, productive and meaningful lives. 973-675-6780 Website

Monarch Housing Associates 29 Alden Street, Suite 1B Cranford, NJ 07016 908-272-5363

Older Adults

SAGE: Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders National Headquarters in New York City 212-741-2247 Contact Website

SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline 1-888-234-SAGE or 1-888-234-7243 E-mail Website

Union County Division on Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection (ADRC) Information coming soon

People of Color

Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Mental Health: Rest for Resistance QTPOC face a variety of unique challenges when seeking mental healthcare. Rest for Resistance is a blog with articles written for and by QTPOC on a variety of mental health topics. E-mail Website

Intersectional Mental Health Directory: Concerns of LGBTQ & POC Communities This resource is a directory of existing articles that address mental health through the lens of POC, trans, queer and/or disabled trauma-survivors and others living at intersections of oppression. Information coming soon

Resource for Providers of Service – When Health Care Isn’t Caring: LGBT People of Color and People of Color Living with HIV This report examines experiences with refusal of care and barriers to health care access among LGBT People of Color. The report also offers key recommendations for organizations and individual service providers. Information coming soon

Transgender-Specific

A Legal Guide for Trans People and Their Advocates Within this Transgender Rights Toolkit, readers will find answers to many questions that transgender people and their advocates may ask as they navigate through life. This toolkit is meant to be a resource and advocacy tool designed to educate and empower a community often left outside the walls of power. Legal Guide

Why Pronouns Matter For Trans People A person’s gender is always valid. Even if you don’t understand. Remember, when it comes to pronouns it’s about respect. Video

New Jersey ID Document Change Laws and Procedures A link to laws and procedures on how to get a legal name change in New Jersey and update your name/gender on state and federal IDs and records. Procedures

Resource for New Jersey School Districts – Transgender Student Guidance for School Districts This guidance was prepared by the New Jersey Department of Education after a review of policies and guidance from other states and organizations, and in consultation with educators, counselors, school psychologists, advocates, and parents. The intended purpose of this guidance is to help school and district administrators take steps to create an inclusive environment in which transgender and gender nonconforming students feel safe and supported, and to ensure that each school provides equal educational opportunities for all students, in compliance with N.J.A.C. 6A:7-1.1 et seq. Guidance

Resource for New Jersey School Districts – Resources and Professional Development Opportunities for School and District Staff Information coming soon

Youth

HMI: New Jersey – Hetrick-Martin Institute HMI: New Jersey provides free year-round programs and services for LGTBQ youth and allies ages 13-21 … HMI: New Jersey is located in Newark, New Jersey and serves youth from Essex, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties, and is the only LGBT organization contracted with the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency Department. 212-674-2400 Contact Website

Mental Health / Suicide Prevention – The Trevor Project A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. 1-866-488-7386 Contact Website

Safe Spaces Information coming soon

LGBTQ Employment / Workplace – Safe Spaces Information coming soon

Know Your Rights

Have an update or addition? Please contact us!

Union County – Safe Space for LGBTQ Individuals

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 Division of Civil Rights: Know the Law

NJ Law Against Discrimination (LAD)

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.