A History of LGBTQ Activism in RVA – Jon Klein, Shirley Lesser, Guy Kinman, and More
Read More: Carl Archacki, Civil Disobedience, Dignity/Integrity, Equality Virginia, HIV/AIDS in Richmond, jerry williams, Jon Klein, Lesbian Women of Color, lgbtq history, ROSMY, Shirley Lesser, Terrie Pendelton, Virginians for Justice, WRIC
The LGBTQ history event held at the Richmond Triangle Players continues to provide an amazing collection of stories about early LGBTQ life in RVA.
The videos below cover a number of powerful stories dealing with activism and the fight for equal rights here in the commonwealth, in DC, and around the country.
First up is Terrie Pendelton who arrived in Richmond in 1983 via the US Army. Terrie was involved with Lesbian Women of Color and was an early Social Worker for AIDS patients.
In 1987, Shirley Lesser was arrested at the Civil Disobedience action at the US Supreme Court. The high courts decision to uphold sodomy laws lead to the massive action, ending in hundreds of arrests. Lesser’s retelling of the mass-arrests is powerful.
Lesser went on to help found Virginians for Justice, now Equality Virginia and she also founded OutRichmond and has chaired several Richmond Pride festivals.
Jon Klein started the Richmond Street Outreach Project (1987) to provide HIV prevention education to street sex workers and intravenous drug users. He went on to create the Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth (ROSMY) in 1991 to provide support services for LGBT youth and to educate professionals who work them.
In 2000, he started Diversity Thrift (and bingo) to raise funds to benefit our community.
Guy Kinman was a Presbyterian minister and served 6 years as an Air Force Chaplain during the Korean War. He moved to Richmond in 1960, where he was married for 10 years before coming out. He’s best known for the billboard project, but has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights in Richmond for many years.
Carl Archacki has been sales marketing executive for WRIC TV8 (the local ABC affiliate) since 1986. He became active in the gay community via Dignity/Integrity, a religious support group for Catholics/Episcopalians. Their annual fund-raising banquets in the 80′s & early 1990′s featured more than 500 attendees. He’s also been active in supporting/promoting Richmond’s pride festivals, including large fundraisers at his Monument Avenue home
Finally, Beth Marshack returns to discuss activism here in RVA, an issue she’s been involved in since the 70′s. This native Richmonder graduated from University of Richmond with a BA in political science. Nationally, she served on the National Women’s Political Caucus for 16 years, was appointed by President Carter to the International Women’s Year Continuing Committee and was the first “out” Virginia delegate to a national presidential convention in 1988.
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