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Meet Reginald Bledsoe

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Reginald Bledsoe, Director of the Essex County Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs

Class of 2023 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40

Pronouns: He, Him

Age: 32


Who or what inspires your leadership purpose? And why?

My inspiration for leadership continues to grow by the day. The rampant hate crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community are a constant reminder there is more work to be done for our community. Whether it is the Pulse Nightclub shooting or the recent Colorado Springs tragedy, as a gay Black man and former Newark NJ School Board member, I challenge myself daily on what I can do to help our community. As I reflect on heroes of past times, I think of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin as a beacon of hope for my call to serve. ~Reginald Bledsoe


Reginald Bledsoe is a leading voice in the LGBTQ community of Newark, Essex County, the State of New Jersey and beyond. Reginald is a former at-large representative on the Newark Public Schools Board of Education in New Jersey. He won his first term in the at-large general election on April 25, 2017. Reginald was an important voice as the district rolled out an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum on the heels of a 2019 state law requiring instruction that accurately represents the “political, economic, and social contributions of people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” Reginald provided much-needed oversight and support to students and families advising on community LGBTQ initiatives and programming.

Reginald currently serves as the Director of LGBTQ+ Affairs for Essex County, New Jersey.  The Essex County Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs is one of two offices in the State of New Jersey and a handful across the country. Besides his lived experience, Reginald brings a wealth of knowledge to his work with county stakeholders.

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