County Launches LGBTQ+ Advisory Board

Posted on June 24, 2020

In honor of Pride Month, and to help support the county’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, plus (LGBTQ+) community, Somerset County Freeholder Director Shanel Y. Robinson announced the formation of a new LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.

“The goal of this advisory board is to continue to recognize, honor, validate, and accept our LGBTQ+ residents with open arms,” said Freeholder Director Robinson. “Our mission is for Somerset County to be safe, supportive and a place where LGBTQ+ residents can thrive.”

The advisory board’s mission is to support diversity in Somerset County, raise public awareness, and to advocate for LGBTQ+ residents by promoting justice and equality, ending oppression and inequities, ensuring that all voices in the community are heard, and fostering mutual respect among residents and its leaders.  The Advisory Board will also conduct ongoing outreach, promote education about LGBTQ+ issues, respond to community needs, and recommend positive changes. These and additional future actions will result in measurable outcomes that are lasting and sustainable.

“The new Advisory Board will provide the freeholders with insight into the issues that the LGBTQ+ community face, which will help improve community relations and residents’ quality of life,” said Freeholder Melonie Marano.  “The team will consult with trusted experts from key sectors such as medical, business, education, law enforcement, and housing for a comprehensive overview of LGBTQ+ residents. I look forward to hearing feedback from the Advisory Board and welcome the new team to the county.”

Members of the Advisory Board

Appointed by the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the LGBTQ+ Advisory Board consists of seven members who will serve one- to three-year terms depending on their role.  Board members will include a student from Raritan Valley Community College, and six public members who will be appointed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Any Somerset County resident interested in applying for membership on the advisory board should submit a letter of interest and a resume at

Commitment to Diversity

Somerset County is committed to embracing diversity by promoting a philosophy of respect and support for the county’s multi-cultural communities and workforce by raising awareness through open communication, education, and diversity-supporting initiatives.

Pride Month

Pride Month began in June 1969 when nine policemen raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, NY, a gathering place where members of the LGBTQ+ community could safely socialize. That night police harassed and arrested Stonewall employees and anyone who was not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing.  The raid incited rioting for five days when people barricaded themselves in the bar, protested in the streets and the Stonewall Inn was burned to the ground. For more information about the Stonewall riots and the Stonewall National Monument, visit

Source: Somerset County Office of Public Information