LGBTQ+ WAE

LGBTQ+ WAE: The Power of an Inclusive Community

The intention of LGBTQ+ WAE is to bring together a group of people who share similar life experiences and to enjoy the support of that community. The goal: to lessen the isolation and reduce stereotypes and misperceptions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who identify as LGBTQ+. Regularly scheduled online or in-person meetings allow participants to connect with others who deal with similar issues in a more diverse group than they might otherwise encounter.

A Safe Place for the IDD Community

LGBTQ+ WAE is a community focused on social interaction, education, individual expression, and advocacy for people with IDD who self-identify as LGBTQ+. The group supports each individual and their community in expanding knowledge and understanding of day-to-day issues faced by people who identify with the LGBTQ+ community.  In addition, it serves as a resource to caregivers, families, and allies so that they may better understand, support and advocate for the person in their care.

Holistic Approach to Wellness

The community aligns with the WAE Center’s philosophy of “Finding the Spark Within” each individual and supporting their discovery process.

The WAE (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center’s distinctive approach is built around:

  • Dedication to the individual
  • Unconditional acceptance
  • Promoting self-expression
  • Meaningful life engagement / friendship
  • Embracing diversity in all aspects of our community
  • Inclusion/participation in the local communities

Meetings and More…

  • Once per month meetings
  • Meetings are solely online until COVID is over. The online option will continue
    post-COVID so we can reach as many people as possible.
  • Participants will establish an annual group project or volunteer effort.

Monthly meetings will take place online until it is deemed safe to reconvene in person.

LGBTQ+ WAE Coordinator/Facilitator: Oscar Marin

Oscar has been involved with the LGBTQ+ rights movement since the mid-1980s and remains active in civic service for the community where he lives (Bloomfield, NJ). Oscar became involved with the WAE Center in late 2018 and helped to develop the LGBTQ+ WAE program. He leads monthly meetings of the LGBTQ+ WAE group and has established a reputation as a committed and empathic leader.

Oscar enjoys helping people to connect with their larger community. He derives fulfillment from seeing individuals being able to express themselves fully and thrive with this unconditional acceptance and support.

Oscar owns a 130-year old Victorian home in Bloomfield, NJ with his husband. They celebrated their 34th Anniversary in September 2020.

Oscar’s Professional Background

Oscar Marin’s career has been in the Visual Arts and Commercial Entertainment fields. His primary role has been as an administrator or business manager.

Currently, Oscar manages a top painting restoration studio in New York with major clients such as Christies, Sotheby’s, and Heritage as well as other major auction houses, galleries, art dealers and private collectors. Oscar’s previously worked at Viacom/MTV Networks, Showtime Networks, Americans For the Arts and University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Oscar has managed operating budgets up to $4 million; at Viacom he was responsible for over $400 million in annual revenue. He helped to launch new TV channels in the US and India and led national marketing efforts that spanned Internet, TV, Radio, Mobile, Print, Email and Live Events.

Oscar has a B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and an M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University. He was awarded two post-graduate fellowships — one at The National Endowment for the Arts and the other at The Smithsonian Institution.

Have questions about LGBTQ+ WAE?

For more information and to join us, email our facilitator Oscar Marin at omarin@jsddmetrowest.org