Equality Virginia applauds Governor’s Veto of Final Anti-LGBT Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND, Va. (March 30, 2016) – Following up on a promise made three months ago at the beginning of Virginia’s legislative session, Governor Terry McAuliffe has officially vetoed SB 41 (Carrico), an unnecessary bill that would provide broad and undefined exemptions to people and companies “operating in connection with a religious organization” that would discriminate against LGBT couples and families; moreover, the bill ignores that protections for religious leaders and organizations not wanting to solemnize gay and lesbian weddings already exist.

“Equality Virginia applauds Governor McAuliffe for fulfilling his promise to veto this discriminatory and destructive bill,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “Senator Carrico’s bill sought to blatantly and directly discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and families under the guise of religious freedom, and we are thankful to have a governor opposing this and working to make Virginia more open and welcoming for everyone, not less.”

SB 41 was one of nine discriminatory bills filed in Virginia this year targeting gay and transgender individuals, signifying an unprecedented amount of LGBT-centric legislation filed in one legislative session.

“While we are happy that SB 41 will not become law, the General Assembly’s votes against fairness and non-discrimination make it clear that our work is far from over,” said Parrish. “The majority of Virginians believe in fairness and equality, and it is discouraging to see so many of our legislators unwilling to stand with them for what is right by passing discriminatory legislation.”

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Since 1989, Equality Virginia has been the leading statewide advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians. We believe in a truly inclusive Commonwealth where everyone is valued, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Learn more about Equality Virginia online at EqualityVirginia.org, or connect with us on Facebook.com/EqualityVA and Twitter @EqualityVA.

Equality Virginia applauds Attorney General opinion regarding discrimination in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND, Va. (May 10, 2016) – In an official opinion issued today, May 10, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mark Herring, has concluded that:

  1. To the extent that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is recognized by federal courts and agencies as impermissible sex discrimination under federal anti-discrimination laws, such conduct would also violate the Virginia Human Rights Act which explicitly makes any violation of federal anti-discrimination law a concurrent violation of state law.
  2. With respect to other anti-discrimination measures in Virginia law, the same rationale leading federal courts and agencies to increasingly recognize that, in many circumstances, discrimination against LGBT Americans can constitute impermissible sex discrimination would most likely lead a Virginia court to reach the same conclusion.

This opinion was issued in response to inquiries by Delegates Dave LaRock and Ken Plum and Senator Tom Garrett.

Following the release of the opinion, Equality Virginia’s Executive Director James Parrish said in response, “Equality Virginia praises Attorney General Herring’s thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of current state and federal law that confirms that LGBT Virginians are protected from discrimination based on sex – including sexual orientation and gender identity – under the Virginia Human Rights Act.”

James Parrish continued, “Protecting gay and transgender Virginians from discrimination does not require expanding the definition of sex and gender but only that we apply existing federal law to LGBT people. Although these protections are increasingly clear based on federal law and judicial decisions, we will also continue to call on the Virginia legislature to make these protections even more explicit under state law.”

According to a release accompanying the opinion, The Virginia Human Rights Act uniquely makes all violations of federal civil rights law a concurrent violation of state law by stating that “Conduct that violates any Virginia or federal statute or regulation governing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability shall be an ‘unlawful discriminatory practice’ for the purposes of this chapter.”

Therefore, because federal courts and agencies are regularly finding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity to be illegal sex discrimination, any such conduct that violates relevant federal anti-discrimination laws is a concurrent violation of the Virginia Human Rights Act.

Attorney General Herring issued the following statement regarding the opinion:

“The General Assembly has recognized the right of every Virginian to live, learn, and work without fear of discrimination by enacting the Virginia Human Rights Act and other anti-discrimination statutes.

“The law in this area has developed rapidly and the clear trajectory has been towards a more inclusive understanding of sex discrimination that encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This growing body of case law has not required an expansion of the definition of ‘sex’ or ‘gender.’ It has merely required courts to apply well-established prohibitions against sex discrimination and gender stereotyping to LGBT Americans.

“The private sector has been saying clearly for years that it will not tolerate discrimination against LGBT employees, and our nation’s courts are increasingly recognizing that discrimination against LGBT Americans is inconsistent with the language and the very purpose of some of our most important civil rights protections.

“We don’t need to look far to see the division, discord, and pain that can happen when a state tries to enshrine discrimination against certain people it fears or does not understand. In recent years, Virginia has rejected this kind of misguided and sometimes mean-spirited approach. As the courts continue to put away the vestiges of discrimination and unequal treatment, I hope we will continue to show that Virginia rejects discrimination and welcomes all who would call our Commonwealth home. ”

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Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians. Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities. More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org. Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.

EV PAC Endorses Pro-LGBT Equality Candidates for Senate and House Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Brandon Day | [email protected] | 804.643.4816

RICHMOND, October 7, 2015 — Equality Virginia’s Political Action Committee (EV PAC) announced today its full round of endorsements for Virginia’s upcoming Senate and House of Delegates elections, taking the candidates’ viability and support for issues of concern to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community into consideration.

EV PAC-endorsed candidates have made public in their candidate questionnaires their support of legislation to protect public employees from discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, as well as their support of legislation to prohibit discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in public accommodations.

The following candidates have been endorsed by EV PAC:

Senate  

 

 

 

House of Delegates 47 Patrick Hope*
1 John Miller* 2 Joshua King 48 Rip Sullivan*
7 Gary McCollum 11 Sam Rasoul* 49 Alfonso Lopez*
9 Donald McEachin* 13 Don Shaw 53 Marcus Simon*
10 Dan Gecker 31 Sara Townsend 63 Lashrecse Aird
13 Jill McCabe 32 Elizabeth Miller 69 Betsy Carr*
16 Rosalyn Dance* 34 Kathleen Murphy* 71 Jennifer McClellan*
19 Mike Hamlar 37 David Bulova* 79 Steve Heretick
29 Jeremy McPike 38 Kaye Kory* 86 Jennifer Boysko
31 Barbara Favola 39 Vivian Watts* 87 John Bell
33 Jennifer Wexton* 41 Eileen Filler-Corn* 93 Monty Mason*
36 Scott Surovell 44 Paul Krizek 94 Shelly Simonds
37 David Marsden* 45 Mark Levine 95 Marcia Price

*Incumbent

 

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Equality Virginia’s Political Action Committee seeks equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians through supporting pro-equality candidates in public office.  Since 1989, EVPAC’s affiliate organization has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities.  More information is online at EVAdvocates.org.  Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.

2015 Elections

The last week of elections, the EV Advocates team spent our days in the field, supporting EV PAC-endorsed candidates in their campaign efforts. The time we spent knocking on doors and making phone calls to rally Virginians all over the state to get out and vote was a worthy effort, and we were glad to have been part of the competitive races across the Commonwealth.

We especially are proud to have worked towards the win for pro-equality Senator-elect Jeremy McPike in the 29th Senate District (Prince William County). You can view the Senator-elect’s EVA Candidate Questionnaire here.

James McPike Governor Tram
Left to right: EV Advocates Director James Parrish, Senator-elect Jeremy McPike, Governor Terry McAuliffe, and New Virginia Majority Executive Director Tram Nguyen.

The Senate remains 19-21 and the power structure unchanged, leaving some people frustrated. However, Equality Virginia has a long history of bipartisan work and we believe these coalitions are the key to success. Our previous bills in the Senate have passed with support from both sides of the aisle, and this legislative session we will continue our work to maintain broad support for our bills.

In the House, we are excited to have earned a net gain of 2 pro-LGBT Delegate-elects. While still a ways to go until reaching a pro-LGBT majority, this election represents a continuation in the trend of more LGBT-friendly delegates joining with each cycle.

While General Assembly elections kept folks busy, the Fairfax County School Board also found its way into the voter spotlight. After an update earlier this year to their non-discrimination policy to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” under listed protections for students and employees, the Board faced intense pressure by the Traditional Values Coalition, a national hate group with a long record of anti-LGBT speech and activism. While EV PAC does not typically endorse candidates for local elections, after the outsider group TVC and a vocal minority began targeting Board members that upheld the non-discrimination policy updates, we knew we had to get involved.

Despite TVC’s opposition and hateful rhetoric, the Fairfax County School Board retained a pro-LGBT majority by a 9-3 margin in the elections, including the addition of School Board Member-elect Dalia Palchik who opposed the incumbent Patty Reed. Whereas Reed voted previously against updating the non-discrimination policy to include gender identity, Palchik openly campaigned on a pro-LGBT platform and promises to uphold the policy updates. This election proves a solid majority that supports the updated non-discrimination policies exists, and this majority understands the importance of protecting gay and transgender teachers, employees and students. Discrimination and hate is never a family value and has no place in our schools.

The election season may be over, but now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and prepare our legislative agenda for the upcoming session. The EV team looks forward to another opportunity to change Virginia’s laws and policies for the better, moving equality forward for our Commonwealth.

John Murphy’s story

john-murphy-and-jerry-carter-x750

Equality Virginia stands by John Murphy, who was fired by the Richmond Catholic Diocese for being gay and married to his partner of 30 years.

We believe no one should be fired for who they love or how they identify. If you agree, help us make sure the Richmond Catholic Diocese understands discrimination like this is unacceptable in Virginia by signing our letter.

Here are the facts:

Like many Virginians, Mr. Murphy contacted us months ago letting us know about his story. He was hired as Executive Director by the lay Board of Directors of the St. Francis Home. The Home is a nonprofit, assisted living facility for persons of limited financial means regardless of race or creed, owned and financially operated by the Richmond Catholic Diocese.

After Mr. Murphy turned in his employee benefit paperwork, Bishop DiLorenzo demanded the board fire him because he has a husband. The board refused because they were already aware that John is gay and found him the best fit for the job. In fact, board members resigned in protest of Bishop DiLorenzo’s decision. Regardless, the next day John was terminated solely because of his marriage to the person he loves.

At the time he spoke to us, we told him what we tell everyone each time we get one of these calls – there is no law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians from being fired. But earlier this summer, the EEOC released a new ruling in Baldwin v. Dep’t of Transportation that reasoned discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation was a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

When Mr. Murphy and his lawyer decided to challenge his firing based upon this new opinion, EV joined his efforts. Hear Mr. Murphy share his story in the video below:

John Murphy’s Press ConferenceWatch John Murphy’s press conference, hearing his explanation on the discrimination he faced from the Richmond Catholic Diocese as he was fired for being gay and married to his partner of 30 years.If you disagree with Bishop DiLorenzo’s decision to fire John because he is gay – sign onto EV’s letter by clicking the link below!http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/bishop-dilorenzo-end

Posted by Equality Virginia on Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

How can you help?

Religious organizations have a protected right to make decisions about hiring and firing people who are ministers, and can teach or spread faith free from government interference. But for positions that do not involve ministerial duties, such as leading the St. Francis Home, our longstanding laws against discrimination apply to both religious and secular organizations.

Add your name to our letter to Bishop DiLorenzo asking for an apology to Mr. Murphy and a pledge to end discrimination against gay employees at its affiliated organizations in Virginia..

Already, over 600 fair-minded people have signed! By signing and sharing the letter, we can show our support for Mr. Murphy and stand for equality.

Media and press:

And as you might have seen, the story has made it around the country! Here’s what the press has to say about it:

Equality Virginia Political Action Committee (EV PAC) Endorses Equality-Supporting Candidates for the Virginia Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Brandon Day | [email protected] | 804.643.4816

 

RICHMOND – September 28, 2015– Equality Virginia Political Action Committee (EV PAC) announced today its endorsements for four key competitive races that will determine the leadership for the Virginia Senate election.  In its decision, the LGBT advocacy organization took into account where each candidate stands on ending workplace and housing discrimination, banning “conversion therapy” practices and creating more inclusive schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians.

“The majority of Virginians support equality for gay and transgender Virginians,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia Advocates.  “The success of these four endorsed candidates will ensure the Virginia Senate is reflective of this support.”

EV PAC endorses Senate candidates: Gary McCollum v. Frank Wagner (SD-7), Dan Gecker (SD-10), Jill McCabe v. Dick Black (SD-13), and Jeremy McPike (SD-29).

EV PAC supports the challengers in Districts 7 and 13, because the incumbents have historically voted and spoken against gay and transgender rights. In the previous legislative session, incumbents Frank Wagner and Dick Black voted against a bill on second-parent adoption, putting children of gay and lesbian parents at risk, and against a workplace non-discrimination bill to protect LGBT employees.

“The candidates endorsed by EV PAC understand the importance of LGBT equality, especially in comparison to their opponents. Our elected leaders strengthen our business community, schools and the Commonwealth as a whole by valuing the rights of gay and transgender Virginians, said Parrish. “We will do everything we can to ensure these candidates win the vote in November.”

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Equality Virginia’s Political Action Committee seeks equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians through supporting pro-equality candidates in public office.  Since 1989, EVPAC’s affiliate organization has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities.  More information is online at EVAdvocates.org. Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.

Celebrating Julian Bond

Julian Bond 1940 - 2015
Julian Bond
1940 – 2015

Julian Bond, a great champion of civil rights, passed away this past weekend.  In honor of his memory, we would like to share the text of his acceptance speech from the 2005 Equality Virginia Dinner when we presented him with the Commonwealth Award.


 

I am more than honored to receive this award, and want to express my thanks to all responsible for it. I believe it represents a common acknowledgement that denial of rights to anyone is wrong, and that struggles for rights are indivisible.

I represent an organization that has fought for justice for all for nearly 100 years, and while we’ve won many victories, we know – you know – there are other battles yet to be waged and won.

At the NAACP, we were proud to have opposed the federal marriage amendment and its wrong-headed state versions, and we oppose efforts to write bigotry into Virginia’s constitution too.

I always though Virginia was for lovers, not against them. That’s why I am so thankful for the case Loving v. Virginia.  A married couple – Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a black woman – won a 1967 ruling from the United States Supreme Court that Virginia’s miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. That case enabled me to get married in Virginia. That case recognized marriage as one of the inviolable personal rights pursuant to happiness.

That’s why when I am asked, “Are Gay Rights Civil Rights?” my answer is always, “Of course they are.”

“Civil rights” are positive legal prerogatives – the right to equal treatment before the law. These are rights shared by all – there is no one in the United States who does not – or should not – share in these rights.

Gay and lesbian rights are not “special rights” in any way. It isn’t “special” to be free from discrimination – it is an ordinary, universal entitlement of citizenship. The right not to be discriminated against is a common-place claim we all expect to enjoy under our laws and our founding document, the Constitution. That many had to struggle to gain these rights makes them precious – it does not make them special, and it does not reserve them only for me or restrict them from others.

When others gain these rights, my rights are not reduced in any way. Luckily, “civil rights” are a win/win game; the more civil rights are won by others, the stronger the army defending my rights becomes. My rights are not diluted when my neighbor enjoys protection from the law – he or she becomes my ally in defending the rights we all share.

For some, comparisons between the African-American civil rights movement and the movement for gay and lesbian rights seem to diminish the long black historical struggle with all its suffering, sacrifices and endless toil. However, people of color ought to be flattered that our movement has provided so much inspiration for others, that it has been so widely imitated, and that our tactics, methods, heroines and heroes, even our songs, have been appropriated by or served as models for others.

No parallel between movements for rights is exact. African-Americans are the only Americans who were enslaved for more than two centuries, and people of color carry the badge of who we are on our faces. But we are far from the only people suffering discrimination – sadly, so do many others. They deserve the law’s protections and civil rights, too.

Sexual disposition parallels race – I was born black and had no choice. I couldn’t and wouldn’t change it if I could. Like race, our sexuality isn’t a preference – it is immutable, unchangeable, and the Constitution protects us all against prejudices and discrimination based on immutable differences.
Those whose bigotry is Bible-based selectively ignore Biblical injunctions to execute people who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2) and to crack down on those who get haircuts (Leviticus 19:27) or who wear clothes with more than one kind of thread (Leviticus 19:19).

Recently, they’ve even ignored the sanctity of marriage – just ask Michael Schiavo.

Many gays and lesbians worked side by side with me in the ‘60s civil rights movement. Am I to now tell them “thanks” for risking life and limb helping me win my rights – but they are excluded because of a condition of their birth? That they cannot share now in the victories they helped to win? That having accepted and embraced them as partners in a common struggle, I can now turn my back on them and deny them the rights they helped me win, that I enjoy because of them?

Not a chance.

In 1965, those of us who worked in the civil rights movement were buoyed by a radio address given by Lyndon Johnson.

His words speak to us today. He said then:

“It is difficult to fight for freedom. But I also know how difficult it can be to bend long years of habit and custom to grant it. There is no room for injustice anywhere in the American mansion. But there is always room for understanding those who see the old ways crumbling. And to them today I say simply this: It must come. It is right that it should come. And when it has, you will find that a burden has been lifted from your shoulders too. It is not just a question of guilt, although there is that.  It is that men cannot live with a lie and not be stained by it.”

 

The lessons of the civil rights movement of yesterday – and the on-going civil rights movement of today – is that sometimes the simplest of ordinary acts – taking a seat on a bus or a lunch counter, registering to vote, applying for  a marriage license – can have extraordinary ramifications.  It can change our world, change the way we act and think.

Thank you again for this honor. Let us all leave here determined to fight on until all enjoy the blessings of liberty and justice. We can change the world. It will come.

Julian Bond
Richmond, Virginia
April 2, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Julian Bond

Photograph by Eduardo Montes-Bradley

Equality Virginia celebrates the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 26, 2015

Contact: Kirsten Bokenkamp, [email protected]; 804-643-4816

In response to the June 26 Supreme Court ruling that under the Fourteenth Amendment states are required to issue marriage licenses between two people of the same sex, the following statement can be attributed to James Parrish, executive director, Equality Virginia:

“Finally the law of the land reflects the beliefs and values held by the American people. Thousands of dedicated and passionate people fought for decades to ensure that loving lesbian and gay couples have the freedom to marry the person they love, many of whom are no longer here to see the fruits of their labor.  America will celebrate this day for a long time to come – the second anniversary of the United States v. Windsor, the twelfth anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, and now in 2015, the day it was decided that we all have the freedom to marry the person we love in any state we call home.

With this decision, we no longer have two Americas when it comes to relationship recognition.  But, our work is far from over.  I sincerely hope that this historic step toward equality will increase the momentum and support in Virginia and other states for ending discrimination against gay and transgender people in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  We cannot stop until the day comes when nobody faces discrimination and when all people are accepted – and celebrated – for everything they are.

America is finally on the right side of history when it comes to marriage.  Love won.  Let’s use this love to build true and lasting equality for all. “

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Equality Virginia is the leading statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians. Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities.  More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org. Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA

 

Love Can’t Wait and Neither Can Change

By Kyle Poulin

“The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. It follows that the Court also must hold—and it now does hold—that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.”

In the hearts of many lesbian and gay couples, we have long been committed to each other, but now the United States has shown it is finally committed to our love. The nationwide recognition of marriage equality will redefine the present and future LGBT experience in America. Same-sex couples can now constitutionally share their commitment to each other and the world. These couples and families can plan their dream wedding without the bitter sting of legality tarnishing their big day. Children of these families will be brought up with the equal protection they deserve.

With this victory, we not only celebrate marriage equality and everything it means to us, we bolster our case for equality and protection in other parts of the everyday lives of gay and transgender people: ending discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing; making schools safe and inclusive for all students, faculty and staff; and increasing access to healthcare.

As we rejoice with the plaintiff couples, on this day we must  thank Massachusetts for being the first to let love win, lighting the torch for other states to carry. We must also thank the many couples who sought marriage and equality in this country without success. Their bravery in standing up and out for what they wanted and believed in was necessary for getting the country where we are today. Their efforts have done for marriage equality what marriage equality must do for the remaining inequalities against gay and transgender Americans.

For instance, gay and transgender people can be turned away from a place of business in 28 states – including Virginia.  This must change.  A business that is open to one must be open to all. Discrimination is also something we face in housing.  In research conducted by Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, same-sex couples received differential treatment 31% of the time when seeking rental housing. Nationally, 1 in 5 transgender people have been refused a home or apartment. And, while most Virginians think it is illegal to fire or not hire somebody because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, sadly this is not the case. Virginia does not have protections for gay or transgender employees. Even though a majority of Fortune 500 companies have policies in place to protect their workers on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, this does not protect all LGBT workers in the 31 states without non-discrimination laws.

We also face discrimination in our schools. While marriage is a milestone for many gay and lesbian adults, many of our LGBTQ youth do not feel safe at school. Nearly 70 percent of students in Virginia schools have experienced verbal harassment based on their sexual orientation and 40 percent have based on their gender expression. When a student feels harassed and they report it to a teacher or administrator, the expectation of action and resolution often falls short. Out of the 59 percent of students who report verbal or physical harassment, only 26 percent said their report resulted in effective intervention. We have a responsibility to protect our youth and provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for them.

What about healthcare?  Gay and transgender – especially transgender – individuals in Virginia and throughout the country still face too many challenges in accessing affordable, inclusive, and high quality healthcare.  We must ensure that nobody is denied equal access to healthcare because of who they are.

All of these truths are self-evident to us as members of a community plagued with inequality, which is why we cannot stop now. This is time for celebration.  And, we must use this historic and monumental moment to revitalize our advocacy efforts.  We must all make a vow to rally against these remaining roadblocks on the path to LGBT equality in Virginia for all members of our community. Love won…equality and fairness for all must come next.

Stay involved and help make history!  sign up for EV emails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or donate to help us bring equality to all Virginians!

Proud Out Loud

By Kyle Poulin

Pride month comes with a certain amount of history and gravitas. The trials of violence and adrenaline endured by members and allies of the LGBT community in 1969 during the Stonewall Riots changed the landscape of LGBT equality in America, and gave us a month to be proud of. Just one year later people marched the streets of New York City in the world’s first Pride parade on June 28, 1970.

Equality Virginia supports Pride in Virginia in many forms, from Pride festivals to LGBT positive initiatives and conferences. We believe in harnessing progress and pushing it further, examining the inequalities remaining and defeating them. Learn more about current and upcoming ways we are working to get you equality in Virginia and make you Virginia Proud.


 

Check out Equality Means BusinessEMB VA logo, our multi-state campaign to highlight businesses that support the LGBT community through pledging non-discrimination for employees, customers, and clients. Through Equality Means Business, you can choose to spend your money at businesses that have actively aligned themselves against LGBT discrimination. Ask your favorite business to join! Visit our website and business directory at: http://virginiafairness.org/equality-means-business-2/


Coffee TalkLGBT-affirming faith communities are encouraged to contact us about our Coffee Talk program for bringing communities together to explore transgender journeys through open and candid dialogue. A simple set of guidelines frames each conversational Coffee Talk group. For more information see our website: http://www.equalityvirginia.org/transgender/coffee-talks/

 


FullSizeRenderDo you ever wish you had a platform to talk about an injustice or a slight against you or another? Use Equality VA’s Tell It program to let us know. Equality VA has also partnered with the online idea sharing platform Our Tomorrow as a way for Virginians to be represented in the continuing conversation of hopes and fears for the LGBT community. Our Tomorrow is partnered with over 100 of the United States’ top LGBT and equality organizations and their goal is to create a patchwork narrative for our community. Submit your story to Tell It at http://www.equalityvirginia.org/take-action/tell-it/ or join the ranks of Our Tomorrow at http://bit.ly/ourtomorrow151


 

Registration is now open VA tiesfor our Virginia Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit (TIES) to be held on October 10, 2015. The summit will consist of speakers, panels, and information sessions for many facets of the transgender community. In addition to being informative, the summit creates a valuable networking opportunity for making friends and seeing old ones with last year’s attendance at over 200. For more information and registration, go to: http://www.equalityvirginia.org/transgender/summit/


 

June kicks off the Prides of Virginia that don’t stop until October. Use our Pride 2015 resource so see when and where all of these great events will be taking place so you can come by and see us at each one! We always need volunteers! For more information, please visit: http://equalityvirginia.org/pride

Prides