Tag Archive: Troy Stevenson

Garden State Equality, sick of Van Drew, endorses the Republican LD1 challenger

Are you surprised that Garden State Equality is endorsing a Republican vying to unseat an incumbent Democratic state senator? Don’t be. Democrats have been in the forefront of the fight for gay rights in New Jersey (as in other states), and many are the heroes of our recent win to recognize marriage equality.

But in the heavily contested LD1 District, GSE this morning endorsed Susan Adelizzi, the GOP challenger to Sen. Jeff Van Drew. Why? Because Van Drew failed to disavow a mailer sent not by his campaign but by a group backing his re-election. The group, called N.J. Family First (as though the rest of us put family last) drips with sanctimonious language, speaking of “values” as though the rest of us don’t have any. If this sounds familiar, you’ll be glad to know the group is a spinoff of New Jersey Family Policy Council, so you’ve probably heard its leader Len Deo talk this way.

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The piece, in baby pink, says Van Drew “supports traditional marriage and letting the people vote on the definition of marriage,” while Adelizzi-Schmidt “thinks she can take your vote for granted while cozying up to same-sex marriage proponents who denied your right to vote on marriage.” (Man, is that an awkward sentence).  

What’s Happening Today Fri. 10/04/2013

U.S. Senate contenders Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan debate: It will be streamed today live at 1 pm here. It will air on Sunday at 11 am on WABC-TV (ABC Channel 7 in NYC) and at 9:30 am on WPVI-TV6 (ABC Channel 6 in Philly). Univision will air the debate in Spanish on Friday, October 11th at 11 pm. The two most recent polls have Booker 12 and 13 points ahead, but a far cry from the 35 point advantage he had a month ago. Look for fireworks as Lonegan spewes out his far right ideology and goes for the jugular.

Newark awakens today to its own LGTBQ Community Center: On the tenth anniversary of the infamous and tragic murder of African-American lesbian Sakia Gunn, there now is a safe place with programs and events for the community. This facility has been the dream and aspiration for Newark activists for many years. Outraged local LGBTQ leaders first began meeting at Rutgers University in Newark and formed Newark Pride Alliance as an umbrella organization. The new facility now joins hundreds of other similar centers across the country.

Yesterday evening was the ribbon cutting ceremony with a proclamation from Mayor Cory Booker. In attendance was the Executive Director Reverend Janyce L. Jackson, Board President Julie Schwartzberg, Newark Councilmen and mayoral candidates Ras Baraka and Anibal Ramos, Garden State Equality Executive Director Troy Stevenson and the first elected transgender member of the Democratic National Committee New Jersey’s legendary Babs Siperstein.

As a start-up venture it very much needs volunteers and donors. Contributions can be mailed to its office at 11 Halsey Street, Newark, NJ 07102. For people who want to volunteer it is centrally located downtown, off Broad Street and near Penn Station.

No news is bad news – 4th day of the shutdown: Republicans wanted this. Now they beg Democrats for piecemeal exemptions like yes for cancer patients but no for single women and baby nutrition programs. If Republicans are unhappy with what they created all they have to do is allow a clean continuing resolution. Roll Call reports there are at least 18 Republicans who have publicly stated they would vote for a clean CR, including Frank A. LoBiondo, Leonard Lance and Jon Runyan. “If they all stick together, the bloc could make Boehner’s life difficult.” President Obama remains firm in not negotiating over ACA while Boehner remains bothered and bewildered.

Public Schedules

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 8:30pm, Marriage Equality Celebration, City Hall, 280 Grove St., Jersey City.

U. S. Senate candidate Cory Booker: 8:00pm, Reception at the Penn Written House Building, Philadelphia, PA, for more info go here.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

Video: Weinberg, Lesniak, Sweeney, Gill & Buono join ACLU & GSE in Kean Jr.’s district

Here’s video of a visit marriage equality allies in the NJ Senate – Steve Sweeney, Nia Gill, Barbara Buono, Loretta Weinberg & Ray Lesniak – made with the chiefs of ACLU-NJ and Garden State Equality, Udi Ofer and Troy Stevenson, to the Westfield home of Liz Flanagan and Nancy Wilkinson. Westfield is district home base of Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, too) and the group was there – with Flanagan, Wilkinson, their son and grandkids – to urge Kean to release his caucus to vote their conscience on this.

Kean seemed to take it as lecturing, which is a shame. I hope he takes the suggestion they made that he visit with the family privately – they’re his constituents, after all – and let’s them tell him what this means to them. July 11, they celebrate 30 years together.

NJ Senate Dems sent around this video:

Boy Scout Jokes

I wasn’t planning on writing anything about yesterday’s decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow (finally) (after years of challenge) (making themselves, if it’s possible look even more antiquated than they already did) gay boys into their organization, but bar gay men from leadership.

The best known person in the movement to bring BSA kicking and screaming into the light is, of course, Middletown, NJ’s James Dale. Nobody could have expressed the implied insult to gay people (and the rest of us) in BSA’s decision better than he just did. He calls it “a bit of a step backward” because the policy continues the ban on “open or avowed” gays, conveying he says to young gay Scouts it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be unwelcome, that being gay is youthful indiscretion, but there’s no future for you.

The Girl Scouts, are much cooler. And girls rule, boys drool.

I am related to a very fine young Eagle Scout (who disagrees with BSA’s policies) and some adorable little Boy Sprouts, as we call them in our family. But I can’t deal with BSA’s national council policy change without mocking. And the best commentary on BSA comes in jokes. So, here:

@LOLGOP suggested the Boy Scouts of America had a little work to do before they earn their humanity badge. And also gives us this:

The Boy Scouts of America will accept openly gay Scouts but not gay adult Scout Leaders. Because who wants kids to grow up to be leaders?

And Blue Jersey Facebook friend Lisa posted this on her page:

Maybe the BSA will create an ex-gay therapy merit badge.

Right? Okay, serious stuff, Garden State Equality’s statement, is after the jump. And also the favorite joke of the late Helen Efthim, just for you.  

Mike Rice Roundup: Dodgeball, Sandusky PR & College Ave. news truck overkill

ESPN inescapable on campus: On ESPN’s Outside the Lines show – where the Mike Rice story broke yesterday with video outtakes of his physical and verbal abuse of players, both Sen. Steve Sweeney and Garden State Equality’s Troy Stevenson were interviewed. I missed most of both – busy day here. But if you saw it, fill us in in comments, and if I can get the video, I’ll post that. Much of ESPN’s reporting today has been about the investigation of Rice’s coaching behavior, who conducted it and who was contacted for it. ESPN was on campus today, and invited Rutgers officials to join them on air, but every invitation was declined, with RU personnel preferring to communicate via written statement.

Buono on campus, too: Here’s Ledger video.

ICYMI; Blue Jersey’s Top 10 Takeaways from the Rice Mess, and Rice’s voice-breaking admission that he’s an embarrassment to his kids.

Have you seen the size of us? Former RU player Austin Johnson says players never felt threatened by Rice: “We’re grown men. We’re 6-8, 250-some odd lbs.”

Au Bon Pain blocked? Twitter’s alive with RU students complaining College Ave. is stuffed with news trucks and getting anywhere is hell. Lots o’ dodgeball jokes on Twitter, too.

Title IX breach? Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi of Univ. of Minnesota, an advocate and researcher of women and girls in sport, wonders if Rutgers will be facing Title IX breach due to harrassment based on gender (via sexist & homphobic language).

Troy Stevenson, Garden State Equality on NJ Today

Garden State Equality’s new Executive Director Troy Stevenson made an appearance on NJTV’s NJ Today program, covering questions on marriage equality, ‘gay conversion’ therapy and bullying:

Watch Garden State Equality Optimistic About Marriage Equality on PBS. See more from NJToday.

I should probably let you know I’m a member of the Garden State Equality Board, and I should probably also tell you I’d be posting this even if I wasn’t.

“I am not broken. I am not confused. I don’t need to be fixed.”

That was the testimony of Jacob Rudolph, a bisexual young man who struggled to come out and eventually did so in a speech to about 300 of his peers.

Today, the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee heard three hours of testimony concerning a bill sponsored by Senators Lesniak, Sweeney, and Weinberg (and co-sponsored by Senator Buono) that would protect minors by prohibiting counseling attempts to change sexual orientation – so-called “gay conversion therapy.”

The panel heard compelling stories from gay individuals who have been traumatized as children when forced to undergo these conversion attempts. Some of these “therapy” sessions included electric shock therapy (with their parents’ permission!) and forced masturbation with images of women.

Of course, the opponents were there, too, claiming that this legislation is unconstitutional. But as was pointed out by one witness, this bill does not prohibit therapy, it just prohibits advocacy therapy.

In the end, the bill passed with the following senators voting yes: Rice, Whelan, Gordon, Buono, Vitale, and Madden – all Democrats; and a yes vote from Republican Senator Allen. Among the other Republicans, Senator Thompson voted no, and Senators Singer and Addiego abstained.

Before the hearings, I spoke with one of the sponsors, Senator Raymond Lesniak, and the Executive Director of Garden State Equality, Troy Stevenson.



Correction: The original version of this article stated that Rudolph underwent conversion therapy. He did not. I regret the error.

EXCLUSIVE: Leadership Change at Garden State Equality

Today, Garden State Equality announced that after 8½ years at the helm, Steven Goldstein will be moving on to another opportunity. Earlier today, I sat down with Steven and his successor, Troy Stevenson, for an exclusive interview to discuss the status of LGBT activities in New Jersey.

Thank you to New Jersey Citizen Action, in whose Highland Park facility this interview was recorded.

Disclosure: I am a member of, and proud contributor to, Garden State Equality





Below the fold: Press Releases from Garden State Equality and Rutgers-Newark