Feel like flaunting your community pride? Jersey City, one of the latest not-so-undiscovered hot havens for the gay folk, is your destination. Jersey City Lesbian + Gay Outreach, Inc. (JCLGO), a nonprofit, all-volunteer community organization, has put together its 7th Annual LGBT Pride Festival and an appetizing Pride Week for the end of this month.
Close to 10,000 people from across New Jersey and New York City attended last year’s Pride, and the organizers hope to deliver even larger crowds this year. On the menu are exciting performances by the likes of the all-female band Sister Funk, hip-hoppers Miss Angelina and the Jersey Girls, and spoken word artist Dujuana Sharese, who is also the festival’s host. Don’t miss local performers, art exhibits, an LGBT community fair, vendors, arts and crafts and plenty of food.
Jersey City’s other draw is the beautiful waterfront with the New York City skyline in the backdrop. The city is also packed with multi-cultural restaurants, artsy bistros, wine bars and galleries that are sure to add some flavor to your LGBT week. And in case you haven’t heard, Jersey City is only a few minutes from Manhattan on the PATH train.
With the Festival’s popularity growing, JCLGO now hosts a week-long series of events in collaboration with loyal supporters and other LGBT organizations in the area. “People in the business and the art community always compliment us on our events,” comments Special Events Coordinator Beth Achenbach. “We get a lot of enthusiastic and positive feedback because we do what we set out to and we empower others to do the same.”
Pride Week events include rainbow flag-raising ceremonies at Jersey City’s City Hall and the Hudson County Court House, a promising LGBT Art Show, film screenings, an LGBT youth talent show and pride parties. Keep an eye out for the Girl Party, known for its delicious dyke debauchery, progressive, bulging-at-the-seams mixed crowds and ample booty-shaking opportunities—all amidst politicking, of course.
“Live and Let Love [this year’s Pride theme] reflects the spirit of allowing individuals to lead their lives and to love who they choose, and celebrate the recent victories the LGBT community has had with Civil Unions while continuing to push our movement forward towards full Marriage Equality,” says JCLGO Executive Director Catherine Hecht.
If you are impressed and intrigued by the breadth of the Jersey City Pride offerings, you can check out JCLGO’s year-round community and political events. Hecht explains that the organization’s role goes beyond coordinating the Jersey City Pride Week and Annual Festival. “Because of our year-round networking for Pride, we also function as a huge community resource. We get inquiries about LGBT-related issues all the time. Connecting the people who are looking for specific LGBT service with Jersey City non-profits and groups is one of our crucial roles that we fill,” says Hecht.
JCLGO was founded six years ago with the mission of fostering a sense of community among the growing queer population moving into Jersey City.
Jersey City Pride Week runs from August 19th to August 25th, culminating with the 7th Annual Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival on Saturday, August 25th. For more info, check out jclgo.org. n