GABLES of Cape May County was organized in 1995 as part of an effort to establish an organization in every NJ County with a similar mission. At present, GABLES is a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) group at the furthest point in South Jersey. We currently have over 200 dues paying members. GABLES is an I.R.S. registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
GABLES publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and maintains a popular website, we also publish a news update via email to interested recipients. GABLES will provide speakers for groups and organizations interested in learning more about GABLES or about the diverse LGBT community.
A Little History...
One publication of which we are quite proud is The Southern Shores Rainbow Directory. Published yearly since 1999. It lists businesses and organizations that support the LGBT community in New Jersey. The 2010 issue was 96 pages in content and 25,000 copies were published and distributed throughout the state and into PA, DE and NY. It is the only publication of its kind in NJ. And, GABLES, after much lobbying, won a slot to address the 2004 NJ Governor’s Conference on Tourism in March 2004 concerning Gay tourism in NJ. During the 2006 & 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism we were awarded the coveted NJ Governor’s Award for Excellence in Tourism, the first Gay group in NJ to be so honored. GABLES is leading the GLBT efforts to promote The Southern Shore of New Jersey as friendly and welcoming.
As of 2012 GABLES donated over $100,000 to Cape May County charitable organizations. Past recipients have been Volunteers in Medicine of Cape May County, SJ AIDS Alliance Wildwood Support Center and Family Promise of Cape May County. All donations are given with the stipulation that they be used within the county. GABLES also supports the Snowflakes on the Beach Scholarship Program supported by The United Way. At holiday time we also have provided support to families infected/affected by HIV/AIDS.
Events for the entire community like our Halloween Costume Party and Mardi Gras Party are becoming ever more popular. We also held an annual Charity Auction. Our most exciting venture is an annual Diversity Weekend. Because we have a great staff of volunteers, costs are held to a minimum, tickets are affordable, quality is high and attendance grows every year. Profits are added to the yearly amount we donate to charitable organizations and also to support our other GABLES projects.
GABLES participated in PrideFest 2001, now called Equality Forum, held yearly in Philadelphia, which attracts members of the LGBT community from around the world. We presented our program Small Town Queers, in which we describe our activities, successes, operating secrets and adventures in and about Cape May County. As a result of hearing our presentation a group of students from the Pennsylvania College of Technology were encouraged to start their own campus group, BGLAD, and invited us to present our program at the college’s first ever LGBT campus wide event in April 2003.
In March 2003, GABLES embarked on another long awaited journey, a youth initiative that educates the community about issues faced by LGBTQ youth. The YouthGate Initiative advisory committee included county teachers, pastors, social workers, school counselors and mental health administrators. During April 2003 we hosted a Town Meeting concerning same-sex marriage in New Jersey in Cape May sponsored by Lambda Legal Defense titled “All Roads to Justice.” Demographically, it had the largest attendance of all of the ten Town Meetings held across the state.
In November 2003 GABLES partnered with the Cape May-NJ State Film Festival to present the NJ state premier of the film JIM IN BOLD. Over 300 people, including students, teachers, counselors and other professionals, attended this public event held in the Ballroom of Congress Hall in Cape May. In 2004 GABLES donated $500 to the CMNJSFF to support the showing of the film, Gay Pioneers. Forbidden Dreams, a Lesbian themed movie was premiered in 2005. The New Jersey premier of The Saint of 9/11 was presented in 2006. We have another fledgling project, Gray Gays, to address problems in our senior LGBT community. This project attracted the interest of Equality Forum 2004, which added a Gray Gay Panel Forum to its program, and our CEO Vince Grimm sat on the discussion panel along with Queer as Folk TV star Bob Gant and author Peg Cruickshank.
GABLES has also participated in several conferences on bullying sponsored by the Cape May County Office of the Prosecutor. We are also members of the School Based Youth Services program for LCM Regional High School and CMC Technical School. We also participate with a booth at the Game of Life project at the technical school. GABLES has also participated in various seminars at Rowan University, Rutgers University and Stockton College.
Meetings are held on the third Monday of every month in the Parish Hall of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Cape May. We invite various speakers to address the group. GABLES is the only LGBT group in the state to have our state senator and assemblymen attend our meetings, sit down to dinner and answer questions concerning state LGBT issues. Members Socials usually celebrate some event or holiday and generally have delicious food and fun. We end each year by having a Holiday Dinner in December.
Members of GABLES and the area LGBT community are involved in every facet of the South Jersey community from teachers, administrators, executives, board members, doctors, lawyers, business owners, artists, laborers, chefs and on and on. The members of GABLES of Cape May County are justly proud of their organization and its spirit of community service. Activities planned for the coming year will again benefit the entire community.