Speakers for each event will be announced once all panelists for the session are confirmed.
Ending Excuses for Anti-LGBTQ Violence: May 19th from 12:00-1:00pm
Violence against the LGBTQ community is widespread and sadly on the rise, especially for Black and Latinx transgender and non-binary people. Too often, legal teams use the LGBTQ “panic” defense in court to excuse this violence as acceptable. This legal defense claims that someone is not culpable because their violent reaction is caused by realizing someone’s LGBTQ identity, which they perceive as threatening. Luckily, Virginia became the first southern state and the 13th state in the US to ban the LGBTQ “panic” defense! Join us to discuss how this defense has harmed LGBTQ people inside and outside of the courtroom, and what this ban means for Virginians moving forward. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/Lunch-Learn-2021
This panel will feature Delegate Danica Roem, community advocate Sara Simone, Wes Bizzell from the LGBTQ+ Bar Association, Ruth Micklem from the VA Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Adam Schultz from Project Horizon, and Tara Casey from the University of Richmond School of Law.
Affirming Diverse Families: May 26th from 12:00-1:00pm
Virginians from all walks of life have been forming diverse families for generations, but only now have our laws caught up! This year Virginia joined the ranks of states that allow “confirmatory” or second-parent adoption. This allows a non-biological parent to be listed as a child’s legal parent even without being married to one of the child’s biological parents. Since many LGBTQ parents may lack the automatic parental rights associated with being a biological parent, this protects their relationship with their child no matter what. It also ensures that a child can enjoy legal benefits from each of their parents. Join us to discuss why this law affirming and protecting diverse family types is so necessary and what this means for families in Virginia. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/Lunch-Learn-2021
Services for LGBTQ Older Adults: June 2nd from 12:00-1:00pm
LGBTQ older adults face unique challenges when it comes to aging, especially in retirement or care communities where they often face discrimination. This is why we must empower LGBTQ adults to be able to age in their own homes and communities. To make this possible, Virginia just updated its Older Americans Act to include LGBTQ older adults as a population with “greatest social need.” This will allow LGBTQ older adults to receive tailored and specialized programs from Virginia’s aging services and agencies that support them so they can safely age in their own homes. Come learn about aging issues in the LGBTQ community and find out how this new law will help LGBTQ older adults thrive! Registration is free and required: bit.ly/Lunch-Learn-2021
Protecting Marriage Equality: June 9th from 12:00-1:00pm
Marriage equality has been the law of the land for over half a decade now since the Supreme Court’s historic decision. However, Virginia’s state constitution still has an outdated and unenforceable amendment from 2006 that bans all forms of same-sex marriages and unions. Despite LGBTQ Virginians’ right to marry who they love, this singles them out and sends a message that the Commonwealth disapproves of their relationships. Additionally, if the previous Supreme Court decision is ever overturned, LGBTQ marriages may be in jeopardy. Luckily, this year, Virginia moved one step closer to overturning this outdated amendment and affirming Virginians’ right to marry in our state constitution – but the fight is far from over! Join us as we discuss how to protect marriage equality in 2021 and beyond! Registration is free and required: bit.ly/Lunch-Learn-2021
Updating Virginia’s HIV Laws: June 16th from 12:00-1:00pm
Since the 1990s, Virginia law allows for people living with HIV who have consensual sex to be charged with the crime of “infected sexual battery,” allows courts to mandate HIV testing for individuals charged with or convicted of a crime, and provides felony charges for those who donate blood, tissues, or organs that test positive for HIV. These laws turn a public health issue into a criminal issue – where Black and Latinx folks are most heavily targeted. This approach discourages people from getting life-saving healthcare and testing.
Thanks to the work of our partners like the ECHO-VA Coalition, the Sero Project, and the Positive Women’s Network – USA, Virginia became the first state in the South to update its HIV laws by repealing the crime on people with HIV donating organ, tissue, and blood, and getting rid of the mandatory testing requirements which targeted sex workers, drug users, and other over-policed communities. Despite these great strides, the law kept the felony penalty for transmitting HIV, which carries a fine of $2,500 and/or imprisonment up to five years. Come learn about the grassroots campaign that made these updates possible and find out how you can get involved to end the criminal punishment of people living with HIV. Registration is free and required: bit.ly/Lunch-Learn-2021