Gay Newark, Coming Out

A part of Newark’s culture we seldom hear about is getting attention from Mayor Booker, for promoting AIDS prevention and fighting discrimination…From The Star Ledger:

These days, the House of Jourdan and seven other gay “houses” in Newark are finally getting respect. The city’s gay ball subculture — in which men and women compete in rituals of posing and runway walking, sometimes as the opposite gender — is earning a place for itself in civic life, with outreach efforts and charity drives

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And nowhere is that more surprising than in Newark, a city with no openly gay nightlife, where the 4-year-old murder of 15-year-old lesbian Sakia Gunn, killed for rejecting a man’s advances, is still invoked as a symbol of intolerance.
Mayor Cory Booker, along with Newark Councilman Ronald Rice Jr., even took the unusual step of campaigning at Newark balls two years ago.
“I wasn’t just going to lend political support,” he says. “They’re just a lot of fun.”
Popular with transsexuals and cross-dressers, they are normally events a politician would avoid. But Booker calls the balls “an important thing in terms of the spiritual growth of the city.”

Let’s talk about culture in Newark…

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I lived in Newark from 1195-2005; not only did I attend events at Newark Museum, NJPAC, Library etc; I attended concerts, exhibits sponsored by Rutgers, NJIT, Essex County College, and occasionally in smaller restaurant, club venues.
    I find it to be differently cultural than Montclair; more diverse and more affordable.

  2. I absolutely adore the Newark Museum. Years ago I worked on Broad Street and I had the opportunity to hear live jazz in the museum’s garden in the summer on my lunch hour. NJPAC is an amazing place, too. Not to be missed is Mompou Tapas & Wine Bar in the Ironbound. Good food, good wine – worth the trip – https://www.mompoutapas.com

  3. Nice to know this additional bit of cultural diversity in a city of ethnic groups that are often a bit homophobic.
    Mayor Booker does not (to our knowledge) yet have a wife or children, and I wonder if he really understands the importance of establishing a city culture that welcomes all who contribute to its economy and culture in positive ways, but puts families and children at its core. He must make the city a place that supports the working class families in the efforts of decent low-moderate-middle-income parents/guardians to raise children in a nurturing, intellectually and safe environment that sets high standards, inspires and enlightens. I understand that like NJPAC, the Hockey stadium must bring in the bucks from outside Newark. Has Cory had discussions with the folks at the Newark Museum, Phil Thomas, the soon to be retired school superintendent, to figure out how to bring more puppets, children’s plays and concerts (beyond Mama I wanna sing another gospel song or rhyme another rap), leggo, robotics, math/science contests, etc. in formats that appeal, without pandering, to the Newark’s resident population. Bon Jovi and Hannah Montana are fine, but, come on Cory. Is that all you would do for YOUR kids?

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