Taking a stand
Jersey City Pride Festival will focus on transgender rights
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Aug 20, 2017 | 3931 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A CLASS ACT – Carmen Carrera will serve as grand marshal at this year’s JC Pride Festival
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After decades of fighting for basic rights and finally obtaining the freedom to marry, the LGBT community is gearing up for yet another battle to retain some of their gains. Faced with a hostile U.S. president, this year’s Jersey City’s Pride Festival will become the focal point of that struggle.

Celebrating 17 years, Pride will take a particular focus on transgender rights in a reaction to the recent announcement by President Donald Trump that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

Gayborhood Jersey City & Humanity Pride Productions will host the 17th Annual Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival on Saturday, Aug. 26 from 1 to 9 p.m. The festival will take place on Newark Avenue between Grove Street and Jersey Avenue in the heart of historic downtown Jersey City.

The festivities will be adjacent to major mass transportation: 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.

Last year the official estimate of attendance at the festival was 9,000 to 10,000 people. The Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival is recognized not only as the premier LGBT event in Hudson County, but also one of the largest festivals in the northern New Jersey region.


“We want to promote peace. But we want to highlight transgender people.” – Eduardo Baez


Colorful and talent grand marshal

“This year’s grand marshal will be Carmen Carrera,” said Eduardo Baez, co-organizer for the festival.

Carrera is a colorful and dynamic mainstay in the Jersey City community. A model, actress, and activist, Carrera, is one of only a handful of high-fashion transgender models in the world. The only transgender model signed to Elite Model Management, Carmen has worked with photographers like David La Chapelle, Mark Seliger, and Steven Meisel to name a few.

The festival will award her the Eileen “Beanie” Gaughan award in recognition of her role as a community activist and educator.

Off-camera, Carmen is an international human rights advocate who has partnered with Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s office for World AIDS Day and worked with organizations like Suenos LGBT to fight bullying and discrimination of transgender women in South America.

In addition, Carmen just participated in the “I Am An Immigrant Campaign” in which over 80 members of the fashion industry united against Trump’s immigration ban.

Festival expands some more this year

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 is now a concern. The recent moves against the transgender community by the White House have Pride organizers refocusing the festival to highlight transgender people.

“We want to promote peace,” he said. “But we want to highlight transgender people.”

At the flag-raising scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 17, the festival will pay tribute to two children transgenders, Baez said.

“We’ll be giving awards and citations at the flagraising, and the city will raise a transgender flag over City Hall,” he said.

The annual festival is part of Pride Week, which celebrates the diversity of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Baez, co-founder of “Gayborhood Jersey City,” said: “We want to highlight how diverse Jersey City is.”

This year, Baez said, the festival will expand again, and will use a larger portion of the Newark Avenue pedestrian plaza.

“We’ve have more vendors looking to take part,” he said.

The festival itself previously took place in the Newark Avenue pedestrian triangle made up of Grove Street, Erie and Bay streets, this year it will likely extend to Jersey Avenue to accommodate the additional vendors.

“We’ve worked a lot with local businesses, so we are very careful to limit the number of food vendors so that people attending will dine at local businesses,” he said.

The festival will likely have three stages for performance that will take place during the day with a main stage for the main acts.

The weeklong event will feature a number of activities, including events at the Liberty Science Center for the first time.

“This year the event will go until Sunday after the festival,” Baez said.

Schedule of events for Pride Week included:

Aug. 10 – LITM at 140 Newark Ave. will host Loud & Proud open mic from 8 to 11 p.m. Aug. 16 – Rainbow Revue! A Burlesque & Drag show for JC Pride, Wednesday from 8:30-10:30 p.m. at Raval, 136 Newark Ave.

Aug. 17 – JC Pride Flag Raising and Award Ceremony, Thursday, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., 280 Grove St.

Aug. 17 – LSC After Dark: Boardwalk, Thursday 6 to 10 p.m. at the Liberty Science Center.

Aug. 17 – Yelp Celebrates JC Pride, Thursday 6 to 9 p.m. at Raval.

Aug 18 – Bethune Center JC Pride Drag Show Celebration, Friday 6:30 to 8 p.m. Bethune Center, 140 MLK Dr.

Aug 18 – Balance Hair Salon Celebrates Pride, Friday, 9 p.m. to midnight, 353 2nd St.

Aug 19 – Saturday, 11a.m. to noon, Word book store 123 Newark Ave.

Aug. 19 – The 3rd Annual Brightside JC Pride Drag Brunch Sat 1 to 4p.m. at The Brightside Tavern, 242 Bright St. in Jersey City

Aug. 19 – The 3rd Annual Jersey City Pride Bar Crawl, Saturday from 6 to10 p.m. at various locations.

Aug. 19 – Slow Ride Saturday! Pride JC Pr Party, Saturday 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

FM, 340 Third St. in Jersey City

Aug 19 – JC Pride Opening Party, on Saturday from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at Club Transmission, 250 Bay St.

Aug. 20 – Iconic Lip-Sync Pride Kick Off, Sunday 5 to 9 p.m. at LITM

Aug. 21 – Roman Nose Celebrates JC Pride, on Monday, 7 p.m. to noon at Roman Nose, 125 Newark St.

Aug. 22 – Hudson County LGBT Pride Flag Raising Tuesday 5:30 to 8:30 p m., William J. Brennan Courthouse, 495 Newark Ave. Aug. 22– Chillfest Screening: “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” on Tuesday 8 to 9:30 p.m. at Miss Wong’s at Talde, 8 Erie St.

Aug. 23 – A Summer Night Under the Stars, Wednesday, 6 to 11 p.m. at Hard Grove Café, 284 First St.

Aug. 24 – OSO at RAVAL, Thursday 7 to 11p.m. Raval Aug 25 – Clutch The Pearls 2 – Keep On Clutchin’ Friday, 7 to 9 p.m. at Club Transmission. Aug. 25 – Night Fever at FM, Friday 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at FM. Aug. 26 – Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival, Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m., Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza. Aug 26 – Official JC Pride Festival After Party, Saturday, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Club Transmission. Aug. 27 –JC After Pride Hangover Brunch, Sunday, 11a.m to 3 p.m. at FM. Aug. 27 – Jersey City Pride Ride to Asbury Park, Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.

For more information go to https://jerseycitypride.com.

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

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