#NewJersey

New Laws In NJ Make Changing Birth & Death Certificates Much Easier For Trans People

New Jersey took positive steps forward on Tuesday when Gov. Phil Murphy signed new legislation into law providing important rights and protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

The first bill, SB478, allows transgender residents to change birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. According to the new law, people may choose to identify as male, female or undesignated.

Until now, transgender people had to undergo gender confirmation surgery and provide proof from their physician in order to amend their birth certificate.

According to Garden State Equality, the LGBTQ organization which helped draft the bill, New Jersey is the 17th state to enact a law dropping the surgery requirement for amending a birth certificate and only the fourth, after California, Oregon and Washington, to allow for a third gender option on the document. 

Former Gov. Chris Christie had vetoed the bill twice while in office.

The second bill, SB493, allows a death certificate to reflect a person’s changed gender identity. 

The third bill, SB705, provides for the creation of a Transgender Equality Task Force meant to identify barriers for transgender people in areas of housing, health care and criminal justice.

“Allowing vital records to match gender identity is an important step forward that will allow transgender individuals to control the disclosure of their transgender status,” said Gov. Murphy in a statement. “And by creating a Transgender Equality Task Force, New Jersey can ensure that all residents receive the protections they deserve. New Jersey will continue to stand with our LGBTQ residents in the continued pursuit of similar rights nationwide.”

According to a report by the Williams Institute at the University of California, there are approximately 30,100 transgender people living in New Jersey and 1.4 million trans people in the United States.

New Jersey is Seeing Rainbows With Their New Crosswalks!

New Jersey is having the best pride ever! The small town of Maplewood is the first city/town in New Jersey to get a permanent rainbow crosswalk. And it is the first rainbow crosswalk on a county road. Located at the intersection of Oakview and Valley Street, the colorful display of pride is getting attention from locals and others who are visiting just to see the new attraction.

Maplewood joins the ranks of some major cities that have permanent rainbow crosswalks like San Francisco, Philadelphia, and West Hollywood. Check out the list of some others here!

NJ.com reports that Dean Dafis, the first openly gay committee member of the Maplewood Township, lead the initiative that saw its share of multiple approvals from the city council and the county.

Dafis says:

We want to do something that would serve as a permanent marker or symbol of our commitment to inclusion.

I wanted it to be something you can encounter every day. We want our youth in particular -- perhaps those struggling to find their way, those in need of empowerment and affirmation -- to proudly cross or walk over their fear and self-doubt.

While many towns have striped their crosswalks in the colors of the rainbow before for Pride, no town in New Jersey has ever done so on a County Road (Valley) and very few towns in the world have done so in permanent fashion as we are doing. This is a historic achievement and one which once again marks Maplewood as a leader and crusader in diversity, inclusion, and equal treatment. When we commit to something here, we do it BIG!

New Jersey will now be able to celebrate pride all year long!

h/t: NJ.com

Teen Gay Couple Gets Surprise During Post-Prom Boardwalk Stroll

It’s prom season, and like many couples across America, teenagers Theodore Vidal and his boyfriend Colin Beyers were stretching out the end of their prom night.

The two high schoolers, walking in their matching navy blue tuxes and pink bow ties, took a stroll on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

As they walked, they approached a rooftop bar where a rowdy group of quintessential "Jersey Shore bros" had been yelling at every couple who passed by to kiss.

Michael Del Moro, a producer for Good Morning America, happened to be out for ice cream with his boyfriend and family members when they noticed the rowdy “bros” and the cute couple at the same time.

Del Moro was initially worried about what might happen when the gay couple passed the group. 

So was Vidal, apparently. He told the local ABC affiliate that he and Beyers readied themselves for the razzing. "It's South Jersey. Guys pick on us for being gay a lot," said 17-year-old high school junior. "It's an area where you normally would get picked on and discriminated against."

Vidal had come out when he was in 8th grade and knew well the bullying being gay can bring. He told Buzzfeed that he spent much of that year being attacked, bullied, ignored and told to “end his life.”

But, he and Del Moro were surprised when the rooftop crowd cheered, changing their chants of “Kiss her” to “Kiss him!” Vidal and Beyers hesitantly kissed one another, and rather than taunting the couple the rooftop crew went wild screaming their approval.

Vidal told ABC7, “The way it went down was amazing. It was so positive and so reinforcing that I could be myself and not get made fun of and I could be myself with who I love and not get made fun of for that.”

"A lot of people here think gay people aren't strong or we're more girly because we show emotion but we've learned it's better to show what you are feeling and be open and who you are as long as you are pushing forward," Beyers added.

The cute couple is now planning a summer trip to Greece together before Beyers begins his freshman year at the College of New Jersey this fall while Vidal wraps up his senior year of high school.

Del Moro later tweeted he actually knew some of the rooftop bar “bros.” They were apparently celebrating their friends’ bachelor party and loved the whole thing saying, “We are all very happy for those guys.” 

Check out Del Moro’s full Twitter thread below.