LGBTQ+ culture includes new (to some) use of pronouns, understanding of acronyms and the significance of community. Learn from our panelists about the acronyms and the respectful use of pronouns, and hear from local voices what inclusivity looks like today.
LGBTQ+ Terminologies and Gender Identity, Gordon Sauer and Sue Henderson
Pronouns, Sherri Rase
Why Pronouns Are Important to My Child, Debbie Russ
The Legal Rights of LGBTQ+ Youth in New Jersey, Chris Zegar and Amy Gallagher
Please respect my pronouns. This is what inclusivity looks like today, Students from Mendham High School GSA
Moderator, Bob DeFillippo
Amy Gallagher is the Director of Special Services for the Roxbury School District. Her preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. Her priority in the Roxbury School District is to ensure that students from all walks of life are fairly represented and are provided with the support that they need to be successful. As a professional in the school setting, Ms. Gallagher works to ensure that the school and larger community are aware of the legal rights of LGBTQ+ youth. As an ally, she promotes understanding, support, and affirmation for all within the LGBTQ+ community.
Sue Henderson (She, Hers), is a retired Health and Physical Education teacher and school counselor. Sue is currently Co-Chair of GLSEN Central NJ -- an organization which promotes safe and inclusive schools by providing resources and staff training as well as an annual GSA forum for students.
The Mendham High School GSA, which stands for Gender-Sexuality Alliance, was formed in February of 2021 by Maddie A. in an attempt to give the LGBTQIA+ community a more prominent voice in the school. Within the first year of its formation, the GSA grew to over 60 members on the Google Classroom page as well as accomplishing many major achievements. The Mendham GSA reinstated the national Day of Silence run by the organization GLSEN. The GSA just held its second annual Day of Silence on Friday, April 8th and had a great “Breaking of the Silence” ceremony where a group of parents and community members stood outside of the school in support due to pushback the GSA faced for hosting the event at our school. We were also able to get Mendham Borough, Township, and Chester Township to officially proclaim June Pride Month. The GSA is a safe space for all people no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation to meet and help support each other with their different points of view as well as be a advocacy group to help raise awareness around the school and community. In the coming years, we hope to become more involved in charity work as well as make Mendham High School a more accepting place for everyone.
Sherri Rase is an award-winning activist who has volunteered with GAAMC since 1994 serving also as a board member and part of the Executive Team. Sherri is also a founding board member and Special Events Director of Jersey Pride, Inc., NJ's statewide Pride organization. She has been training and facilitating groups in the LGBTQIA+ Community and at-large for more than 20 years. Volunteer and professional environments have different needs, but it is possible to discover the aspects common to both for positive outcomes. Taking a moment to breathe and assess a circumstance can make the difference that provides success in bridging different worlds to bring best practices to light.
Debbie Russ is a mother of a transgender daughter and a long time resident of Mt. Olive. She is a Social Worker with an LSW and an advocate for mental health in adolescents. She has done other speaking events at Morristown Memorial Hospital, and multiple private schools throughout the area. She is here as a parent to share her ongoing journey as a parent of a transgender youth.
Gordon Sauer (He, His) is a retired NJ educator with over 40 years of experience, and works with a number of LGBTQ+ organizations including GLSEN (A national organization dedicated to making schools safe for LGBTQ+ students), SAGE (A national organization which supports LGBTQ+ older adults) and GAAMC (NJ’s Oldest LGBT organization). He lives with his husband of 27 years and enjoys music, being outdoors and having fun.
Dr. Christopher Zegar is Assistant Principal of the Lincoln Roosevelt School in the Roxbury School District. His preferred pronouns are he/his/his. He believes that schools should create a culture that makes students feel safe and ready to learn. Mr. Zegar in previous roles in the district has worked to ensure that the district administration is aware of the legal rights of LGBTQ+ youth.
Moderator: Roxbury Town Councilman Bob DeFillippo has more than 40 years of senior leadership experience in corporate communications, journalism, government and public policy. As the Chief Communications Officer for Prudential Financial, Inc., he led the Global Communications Department and oversaw Prudential’s public relations and internal communications around the world. During that time, Bob led communications for the company’s historic transition from a mutual to a public company – one of the largest IPOs in the insurance industry. He also served as executive sponsor to Eagles -- Prudential's LGBTQ+ employee resource group, which introduced the company's first Ally program. Bob currently serves as an adjunct professor at NYU's School of Professional Studies, where he lectures graduate students on Strategic Communications, Crisis Communications, and Critical Business Skills for Communicators.
This program is in partnership with the Gay Activist Alliance of Morris County. GAAMC is a not-for-profit volunteer-run organization that provides social, educational, and outreach programs. GAAMC also offers opportunities for individuals to become politically active on issues related to the GLBTI community. Our intent is to maintain a positive, healthy, respectful and supportive environment in a safe space.
Register online or by calling the library at 973 584-2400.