Legislative Lunch & Learn Series
It’s been an incredible and historic year for LGBTQ+ equality in Virginia. Over a dozen pro-equality bills passed this year, and we want Virginians to learn more about the legislation that will soon affect our communities. This is also an opportunity for us to come together virtually as a community to celebrate these crucial victories, champion our lawmakers, and spotlight the many advocates who helped us get to this moment!
We are so grateful to everyone who joined us for our Legislative Lunch & Learn series! We are eager to hear your feedback about the series, especially as we continue to plan for more digital events in the future amid the pandemic to serve Virginia’s LGBTQ+ and allied communities. Please take 3 minutes to complete this evaluation form by Friday, June 12. Thank you for taking the time to join our Legislative Lunch & Learn series and filling out the evaluation! Make sure to mark your calendars and join us on Wednesday, June 17 at noon for a deep dive into what the Virginia Values Act is all about. See you then!
Equality Virginia hosted a digital Legislative Lunch & Learn series throughout April and May. Each session was facilitated in a panel format and featured the state lawmakers who sponsored pro-equality legislation, community advocates and organizations who partnered with us to support these bills, as well as other key leaders and content experts. Together, we discussed how these pro-equality bills came about, what they do, how we won, and what comes next! There is of time for Q&A. Read below to learn more about the scheduled sessions and click the links to register. Registration is free and required to participate.
Building Safer Communities: Tuesday, April 7th from 12:00-1:00pm
In Equality Virginia’s 2019 climate survey, hate crimes was listed as one of the top concerns among LGBTQ Virginians, with nearly 1 in 4 respondents reporting discrimination relating to their personal safety, like street harassment and interpersonal violence. Because of the nationwide increase of anti-LGBT hate crimes, it is important that survivors and advocates have more tools in the form of legal protections. Now that the Governor has signed this legislation into law, Virginia is the 21st state to add LGBTQ hate crimes protections. Join us to learn more about these important updates. Speakers will include Delegate Ken Plum, Delegate Rip Sullivan, Attorney General Mark Herring, Ebony Kirkland with the Virginia Anti-Violence Project, and Jonathan Yglesias with the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/safecommunitieszoom
Conversion Therapy Ban: Tuesday, April 14th from 12:00-1:00pm
For over five years, community organizations, conversion therapy survivors, state health boards, and elected officials have worked hard to end the discredited and harmful practice of conversion therapy on minors by licensed professionals in Virginia. Now that the Governor has signed this ban into law, Virginia is now the 20th state in the country and the first state in the South to prohibit this practice on LGBTQ youth. Come learn about the efforts that laid the groundwork for success and why this legislation is so important. Speakers will include Senator Scott Surovell, Delegate Patrick Hope, Casey Pick from The Trevor Project, Adam Trimmer from Born Perfect, and Scott Price with the Alliance for a Progressive Virginia. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/conversiontherapybanzoom
Identity Documents for the Transgender Community: Tuesday, April 28th from 12:00-1:00pm
Transgender and non-binary Virginians have long struggled to obtain accurate state identity documents because of unnecessary burdens and hurdles. Having an inaccurate ID can have big impacts when voting, applying for jobs, buying groceries, traveling, accessing benefits, and so much more. With the passage of recent legislation, Virginia is now the 23rd state to modernize the process for updating a name and gender marker on a birth certificate, and will be the 17th state to offer a third gender marker option on state IDs and driver’s licenses. Speakers will include Senator Scott Surovell, Senator Jennifer Boysko, Delegate Marcus Simon, community advocate Julie Williams, and Harper Jean Tobin from the National Center for Transgender Equality. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/identitydocszoom
Safe Schools: Tuesday, May 5th from 12:00-1:00pm
Transgender youth face unique obstacles to accessing an equal education in our commonwealth’s public schools, from being called the wrong name in class to having their restroom access restricted. After years of grassroots advocacy in school districts by community organizations and local families, Virginia will be the 17th state to have uniform guidelines for how public schools should treat transgender students to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to learn and graduate. Join us to discuss what guidelines we can expect and how we got here! Speakers include Senator Jennifer Boysko, Delegate Marcus Simon, Ted Lewis with Side by Side, Nicolle Campa with Metro DC PFLAG, Shannon McKay with He She Ze and We, and Claire Gastañaga with the ACLU of Virginia. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/safeschoolszoom
Trans-Inclusive Health Insurance: Tuesday, May 12th from 12:00-1:00pm
Since 2016, the federal government has acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination protections in health insurance coverage include gender identity and sexual orientation. This is critically important due to the nearly in 1 in 4 transgender Americans who have faced discrimination in health care. However, as these federal regulations face the threat of getting rolled back, Virginia moved proactively to become the 19th state to enshrine these existing protections into state law to ensure all residents can access the care they need. Join us to hear about how this bill came about and what it means for the community. Speakers include Delegate Danica Roem, Katie Keith who is a Steering Committee Member of OUT2Enroll, Brandon Robinson with the Virginia Association of Health Plans, and Afton Bradley and Melissa-Irene Jackson from the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/transhealthzoom
Non-discrimination Protections: Tuesday, May 19th from 12:00-1:00pm
One of the top concerns for LGBTQ Virginians is the threat of discrimination in workplaces, housing situations, and public spaces. After decades of advocacy, the General Assembly made history by passing the Virginia Values Act, which will make Virginia the first state in the South and the 21st state in the country to have LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, and public spaces. The passage of this truly historic piece of legislation means that civil rights protections will be in place not just for LGBTQ people, but also women, people of color, people with disabilities, and veterans. In addition to the Virginia Values Act, lawmakers also passed a comprehensive update to the Code of Virginia that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to dozens of areas in the code related to nondiscrimination, which further codifies protections for the LGBTQ community. Come learn more about the incredible journey to get here and what these lifesaving protections mean for all Virginians. Speakers include Senator Adam Ebbin, Delegate Mark Sickles, Delegate Mark Levine, and staff from Equality Virginia and the Virginia Values Coalition. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/nondiscriminationzoom.