S. Orange, Maplewood LGBTQ Youth Join NY Giants for #YouCanPlay

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The following is from the Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey (HMI:NJ):

Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey (HMI:NJ) is the NJ chapter of the Hetrick Martin Institute, the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth service programming.  HMI is the only agency nationwide providing direct services daily to LGBTQ youth in more than one state.

As part of the New York Giants’ initiative with #YouCanPlay to highlight the fact that players should be judged on their skills and talents, not who they love, the Giants visited the HMI: NJ site on December 8th to speak to LGBTQ youth and learn more about their experiences being ostracized, bullied and techniques that they’ve used to overcome adversity.

NY Giants #YouCanPlay

NY Giants #YouCanPlay

The Giants hosted the youth members of HMI: NJ at their Sunday, December 20, 2015 game against the Carolina Panthers.  The youth participants were on the field at the start of the game in the Giants Gauntlet to welcome the team to the field before kick-off. 3Roughly 20% of the youth who attended were from Maplewood and the Oranges, said a spokeswoman.

HMI: NJ provides direct services to LGBTQ youth daily that are designed to first stabilize young people by providing a safe, nurturing environment, after which our staff work diligently to meet their individual physical and emotional needs.  In fact, HMI: NJ staff members often become the primary support system for our youth, many of whom are disconnected from their family of origin. We pride ourselves on being more than an afterschool program. In addition, we provide comprehensive wraparound services to young people, such as working with guidance counselors to ensure academic success, scheduling and escorting young people to medical/dental appointments, working with parents/guardians to assist them with issues surrounding their children, coordinating corporate internships, and arranging monthly outings to expose young people to a variety of fun and interesting experiences.unnamed

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently undertook a study to explore the public’s beliefs about professional sports teams that support LGBTQ issues, which are often perceived as controversial. Using an online sample of adults, CAP explored several research questions, including:

  • To what degree do people believe that professional sports teams should take public stances on social causes?
  • How do opinions of professional sports teams change if those teams express support for LGBT athletes and fans?
  • How do opinions of professional sports teams change if those teams express support for laws protecting LGBT people?
  • Does the explicit inclusion of LGBT people in diversity statements affect perceptions of professional sports teams?

Results of this study indicate that professional sports teams that make public statements in support of LGBTQ equality for both athletes and everyday people will generally be viewed favorably by the public at large.


Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) believes that all young people regardless of sexual orientation or identity deserve a safe environment in which to achieve their full potential. Sadly, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth face pervasive societal stigma and overwhelming challenges. HMI offers these young people a supportive community that fosters positive youth development with pioneering programs that promote physical health and mental well-being, emotional resilience, academic achievement, job readiness, and artistic/cultural creativity. We do this in ways that embody our profound belief in these young people, deep respect for who they are and confidence in their untapped abilities. Founded in 1979, HMI is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit leader in LGBTQ youth service programming. Today, we serve more than 2,000 at-risk youth each year from over from 350 zip codes in New York and New Jersey, and an additional 12,000 young people through outreach efforts – as well as countless lives changed by our advocacy around the world. For more information please visit www.hmi.org, and follow us on Twitter (@hetrickmartin) and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/hetrickmartin).

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