Digital Legislative Lunch & Learn Series 2021

Legislative Lunch & Learns

Legislative Lunch & Learn Series

We have had another transformative year for LGBTQ equality in Virginia, with 11 pieces of pro-equality legislation passing in 2021 alone!

For the second year in a row now, EV is hosting a digital Legislative Lunch & Learn series to celebrate this year’s successes, educate our community, and spotlight legislators and advocates who have laid the groundwork for these victories.

The series will have an event every Wednesday (12:00-1:00pm), May 19 – June 16. Each session will feature community advocates and experts on implementation in a panel-style discussion, with plenty of time for Q&A. We will also be joined by legislators who championed pro-equality bills in 2021. Keep reading for more information – registration is free and required for each event: bit.ly/Lunch-Learn-2021

Set your picnic, secure your wifi connection, slather on some sunscreen, and get ready for some educational fun in the sun this spring!

Register for each event! Click "going" on Facebook

Event Information

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

Register now!

Community Co-Sponsors

Thank you to all our incredible community co-sponsors for spreading the word about this series among LGBTQ Virginians and our allies! Please check out these incredible organizations that serve our community:

Metro DC PFLAG

Impacto LGBT

Virginia Anti-Violence Project