SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Gary Paul Wright of South Orange is number 10 on the list of 100 most politically influential LGBTQ New Jerseyans. In writing a story acknowledging two Maplewood residents on the InsiderNJ Out 100 Power List, TAPinto SOMA was unaware that a third SOMA resident was on the list.

In a tribute by Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality (as well as a graduate of Columbia High School), Wright is described as “the Godfather (and Godmother) of the LGBTQ community in New Jersey.” Fuscarino said “Gary Paul does the often thankless work of providing vital lifesaving services to young gay and bisexual men of color-reaching deep into the corners of the most marginalized in the LGBTQ community to ensure that noone is overlooked. 

“Gary Paul is unapologetically Black and by proudly leading as his true self, he has inspired future generations of Black Queer and Trans leaders to be their true selves.”

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“I am over the moon about my inclusion on the Insider NJ Out 100 Power List,” Wright told TAPinto SOMA in an email exchange. “And to be up in the Top 10 really blew my mind! I had no idea I was that — well, influential. I’ve been around a very long time, and this is probably one of my greatest achievements. I say this because I have been working in HIV Prevention for over 30 years, and the fact that what I do is still important is not lost to me.”

“Queer and Trans folks in our state are safer because of Gary Paul and his partner, Peter Oates, who is a Nurse Practitioner. These two were married on World AIDS Day — a true power couple giving a lifetime of service to our community,” wrote Fuscarino. This touched Wright, who said Oates treats women and children with HIV.

“The bottom line is that I am deeply honored as well as humbled to be on this list,” Wright said.

The tribute ends with, “We couldn’t be in better hands.”

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