Garden State Equality director steps down

New Jersey’s statewide LGBT organization has launched a search for its next director.


Andrea Bowen announced last week that she would step down as executive director of Garden State Equality.

Bowen took the helm of the agency in August 2014. She was among the nation’s first transgender individuals to helm a statewide organization.

According to GSE, Bowen resigned amicably to pursue economic-justice policy work at United Neighborhood Houses.

UNH is headquartered in New York City, closer to where Bowen lives in Brooklyn.

“While we are sad to see Andrea go, we very much appreciate her service to GSE and wish her the best in her new position,” said Luanne Peterpaul, chair of Garden State Equality’s Action Fund. “During her time with GSE, Andrea made many contributions to the organization and helped us strengthen our advocacy and education efforts for the LGBT community. We’re intensely proud of what’s been accomplished under Andrea’s tenure.”

Bowen said in a statement that she took pride in her contributions to the organization and its constituents.

“We’ve been able to make headway on ending discrimination against transgender people in health care, while addressing bullying, fair treatment of LGBT older adults and the lack of resources for LGBT homeless youth,” she said. “Our ongoing initiatives are important and are absolutely necessary for ensuring a better life for all in the LGBT community. Garden State Equality’s most exciting work is ahead of it.”

Prompted by Bowen’s resignation, GSE promoted former Bullying Resource Center organizer Aaron Potenza to director of programs.

GSE Education Fund chair John Keating said the organization has already begun the search for Bowen’s successor.

“Our goal is to complete the process quickly, yet thoroughly, and with as little disruption to the organization as possible,” Keating said.