Special Guest Column
– By Nick Petruncio –
Substance use is a long-standing challenge for the LGBT community. The Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive non-partisan policy institute, estimates that between 20 and 30 percent of LGBT people regularly use alcohol/drugs, compared to 9 percent in the general population. According to CAP, stress that comes from daily battles with discrimination and stigma is a principle driver of these high rates. Judy Linscott, a Neptune-based therapist who works with the LGBT community, says that some in the community are affected by the treatment they receive from families, schools, communities, workplaces and relationships. For many, Linscott says, there is fear and threat of loss, harm or violence and the cloud of STD transmission. “This makes LGBTQ folks part of a more vulnerable population than straight folks who don’t experience the degree of daily stress, prejudice or feelings unique to a marginalized population,” she says.
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And for LGBTQ people faced with this kind of stress, alcohol or other drugs seem like the perfect escape. But, “places like the QSpot can provide information about where to get help and provide education for stress reduction and depression and other issues,” said Linscott. And among the services QSpot offers is an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. The meeting is known as S.O.S., which stands for “Sober on Sunday.” It meets at 12:00 every Sunday at the center. Although the meeting is geared toward LGBT people, any recovering person may attend. In addition to the meeting, QSpot provides information and referrals for substance abuse recovery. If you or anyone you know is in need of help, please call 732-455-3373 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re thrilled to announce that the QSpot LGBT Community Center has moved into a wonderful new facility. Measuring almost 1700 sq ft., our new location is one of NJ’s largest safe spaces for the LGBT community, a unique place, with plenty of free parking, that we’re proud to call home.
Although there was little fanfare or notice, the move was a huge milestone for the agency and we’re celebrating by holding a grand opening party and dedication ceremony on May 17, 1- 6 pm. The ceremony will begin at 3 pm. Food and drinks will be available.
The exact address is 66 S. Main Street, Ocean Grove, NJ. Its on the corner where the City of Asbury Park meets Ocean Grove, so you might even call it Asbury Grove. Look for our big blue sign hanging above the entrance when you drive by on Rt. 71.
Even better, you don’t have to wait until May 17 to visit the New Q (our nickname for the space)! We’re holding events already including Hot Topics on April 14, GLOW 50+ Spring Social on April 18, and our first SWEET SPOT BINGO BENEFIT- hosted by drag performer extraordinaire Sybil Bruncheon, on April 25th.
And beginning May 1, the LIBRARY LOUNGE, a coffee house cafe gathering spot, will be officially open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 12 pm. Stop in for coffee, food, and free wifi.
It’s an exciting time at QSpot and we hope you’ll join us on May 17 for the grand opening. To find out more, visit QSpot.org. See you at the New Q!
April 1, 2015 – Ocean Grove, NJ – The QSpot LGBT Community Center announces the appointment of John Mikytuck, long-standing community advocate and leading voice for LGBT homeless youth, as the agency’s first Executive Director. A QSpot volunteer for three years, Mikytuck first began helping the LGBT community at the American Foundation for AIDS Research more than two decades ago. Most recently, Mikytuck was Interim Executive Director at Garden State Equality, NJ’s largest civil rights organization. QSpot, celebrating its 10 year anniversary, has been operating as an all-volunteer organization under the leadership of Board President Mary Ann Buchanan since 2007. Buchanan recently announced that she will be transitioning to Chair Emeritus in June. A celebration of her accomplishments and the agency’s anniversary will be held at the annual QSpot Jubilee Party on June 6. Read more…
At the end of 2014, one of QSpot’s Youth Facebook fans was invited to write a blog post providing her thoughts on being an LGBT youth. Limited editing was provided.
Life is What You Make It
Hi my name is Samantha I am going to be 16. I first found out I was a lesbian when I was in 6th grade. My parents found out I was dating a girl and they saw I was talking to her every day. I first brought a girl home to meet my parents just before school ended. They were happy for me as long as I am happy.
I think that if you are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender you should not be scared to tell anyone. Parents, friends, and everyone should respect you no matter what. There is nothing wrong with being any of them [any sexual orientation]. As long as you are happy then go for it, be happy and enjoy your life no matter if you are straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or even transgender.
Photo credit: treyguinn / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Life is what you make it not what people make it to be for you. I think that no matter whom you are or what your choice is you are just a normal person to me. People at first will judge you but then they will be like, “It is cool I’m happy for you and wish you the best.”
You never have to rush coming out, take your time. Think of a great time to tell your family and friends but don’t wait to the moment when they find out the hard way. Family is most important because if you want them to meet that special someone, that person would like to be known as your partner not a friend.
Sammybear W. – Youth Blogger