Dorothy Kelley was a beloved member of the Equality Virginia family. She first became involved with EV by volunteering a few hours a week after a member of her own family come out as transgender – she wanted to do everything she could to show her love and support. However, the compassion that filled her heart was not limited to just her family – she cared deeply about the entire LGBTQ community we support and advocate for. She was happy to help with any task around the office, no matter how small, and we were delighted when she agreed to come out of retirement to become a part-time employee with us. Many of you spoke to her on the phone or received one of her hand-written welcome cards over the years.
She brought something incredibly special to Equality Virginia – she made everyone feel seen and valued. Many people may recall having the chance to personally interact with Dorothy at large Equality Virginia events, like the Commonwealth Dinner, the Day of Action, and the Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit (TIES), where she could often be seen at the registration table, greeting everyone with a warm, welcoming smile.
She was also well-known for her unique philosophy on life; in fact, she handwrote this quote on a white board in her office that still remains: “If you have no regrets, you need to get out more!” Needless to say, she had an irresistible joy for life you could feel just being in her presence. Dorothy was especially devoted to her dog, Foster, who lovingly became our office pet and would sit in her lap during staff meetings.
We are grateful to her family for directing donations in her memory to our organization so that we can continue to advocate and support members of the LGBTQ community that she cared for so deeply. We send all our love and condolences to her family. Simply put, she was and will always be remembered as a light that brightened our lives.