History and Formation

History and Formation of Out Montclair

In August 2020, Peter Yacobellis, Madeline Gale, Reubena Spence, and others began work on forming an organization to support the Montclair LGBTQIA+ community through building social ties, developing safe spaces for self-expression and celebration, educating the public, and advocating for community interests.

Over the next several months, the group expanded, and an official nonprofit organization was created, Out Montclair, in April 2021. Out Montclair’s first Board of Trustees was elected including Yacobellis, Gale, Spence, Eileen Birmingham, Bill Courson, Danielle Earle, Celeste Fiore Argentino, and Peter Holm.

Out Montclair’s first public event, a Zoom workshop on gender terminology, took place on April 27, 2021, with over 100 people attending. June 2021 brought the first Pride flag-raising at the Montclair Municipal Building as well as our first extended in-person event, held at Egan’s with 100+ attendees once again. A core volunteer group began to emerge, including Alexa Caruso, Melanie Grossberg, and Andy Kahnke, as well as Marie Cottrell who signed on as the volunteer event director of the inaugural Montclair Pride, which was held in June 2022.

Our programming quickly expanded, introducing Out Montclair Teens, Out Montclair 50+, Out at Night, and eventually Out Montclair Families, and Out Montclair Trans Programming, joining Public Education and Awareness-Building as core programs. Over the next year, dozens of events attracted hundreds of people from our community and beyond.

In June 2022, Out Montclair held the first-ever Montclair Pride, with more than 14,000 attendees! It was the second largest Pride event in New Jersey in 2022, a top tourism attraction for the state in June and one of the biggest displays of pride, solidarity, and unity that Montclair and neighboring towns had seen, and we were thrilled to have made it possible.

Our work continues with year-round programming, events, education and resources. Our Pride celebration grew to include more than a week of events leading into the second annual Montclair Pride on June 10, 2023, with over 26,800 attendees, making it one of the largest Pride events in New Jersey. We are thrilled to continue to grow with our entire community, broadening our development as a professional nonprofit organization, laser-focused on fulfilling our mission on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ people of Montclair and its surrounding communities.