Taking pride
Month of LGBT events will expand countywide
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Aug 12, 2018 | 1827 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PRIDE
HUDSON COUNTY PRIDE – A festival that was previously only in Jersey City is expanding this year to include other towns.
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The 18th Annual Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival will offer a variety of events during the month of August, not just downtown as in the past, but throughout the city as well as Bayonne and Hoboken.

Eddie Baez, organizer of the annual event, said this year the festival has become a countywide celebration, reaching into more remote sections of Jersey City for the first time.

Bayonne, Baez said, is working with a small but growing LGBTQ community to have an open mic event in the near future. And Hoboken is hosting two events, a Hoboken Pride Foam Party at the Sinatra Drive Amphitheater on Aug. 11, and one that took place earlier in the month.

“This [year] will have a strong emphasis on the arts,” Baez said. “We want to show our diversity and arts.”

The month of nearly 30 events began with a Hudson County Pride Flag Raising and Art show on Aug. 1 at the William J. Brennan Courthouse, followed by the First Annual Hudson County Pride Month Kick Off & Community Awards ceremony on Aug. 2 at White Eagle Hall.

Jersey City Hall is hosting an art show related to LGBT history that started on Aug. 3. It’s dedicated to remembrance: last June marked the 49th anniversary of the Stonewall protest in New York which some see as the Boston Tea Party of the LGBTQ movement.

Meanwhile, Jersey City Hall will be lit up for the month with new rainbow lighting.

Events scheduled for earlier in the month included a Night Out Pride at the Bethune Center in Greenville. FM Restaurant Bar & Lounge scheduled its JC Takever Pride Party for Aug. 5.

Small groups in Hoboken and Bayonne are taking part in this year’s celebration for the first time and events are planned for other sections of the city, including Greenville, Bergen-Lafayette, and Journal Square. Events will include a drag queen story hour and a corgi event for the best-dressed pup.

The events will include the ever popular Pride bar crawl.

A list of upcoming events can be found here: https://jerseycitypride.com

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“This will have a strong emphasis on the arts. We want to show our diversity and arts.” -- Eddie Baez

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A larger festival than ever before

The month-long celebration will culminate on Aug. 25 from 1 to 9 p.m. on the Newark Avenue pedestrian mall.

That day will begin with a march along the pedestrian mall from Grove Street to Jersey Avenue, led by the Gotham Cheerleaders and Fogu Azul, an all-women Brazilian drum band.

The festival will again feature a number of stilt-walkers and other performers. But this year, the festival will introduce a new group of acrobats performing over and through the spectators.

Last year the official estimate of attendance at the festival was 14,000-15,000 people. More are expected to attend this year.

The festivities will be adjacent to the PATH Grove Street station (two stops from Manhattan) and bus service. The Jersey City Pride Festival celebrates the diversity of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and allies of Hudson County and the New York City metropolitan area.

Over the last decade and a half, the LGBT community has grown significantly in Hudson County, with Jersey City becoming a center for a number of cultural and other related activities.

Although violence against LGBT people locally has subsided significantly since the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s, threats against their rights under a new administration are now a concern. The recent moves against the transgender community by the White House have Pride organizers refocusing the festival to highlight transgender people.

A LGBT flag was burned recently, a startling reminder of a hateful past.

The festival will have three stages for performances during the day. Each stage will have its own variety of acts, including one stage dedicated to drag performers. All will broadcast DJ music between acts.

Again, for the second year, Liberty Science Center will light up in support.

To include voter registration

One important element will be the emphasis on voter registration with an eye on getting the vote out in November to support political candidates who advocate for LGBTQ rights.

Baez said the Pride events in Hudson County differ from those held in June in New York in that it is more personal here.

“This has a small town feel,” he said, “more like Vancouver or New Hope than New York”

Some events are just being posted so the best way to keep track is to go to https://jerseycitypride.com.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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