Equality Virginia’s Day of Action Get Constituents Close to Legislators (Photos from Reception)
People gathered yesterday at the General Assembly and the Library of Virginia for Equality Virginia’s Day of Action to show support for the LGBT community of Virginia. EV’s Day of Action gave a chance for Virginians to get up close to their elected officials and show them LGBT rights and issues are important to Virginians, all while learning a few things along the way.
“Today is about telling our elected officials that these rights and privileges are important to all Virginians, especially LGBT Virginians,” said Kevin Clay, EV’s communications coordinator.
Clay also discussed the importance of merely showing a presence to humanize and put a face on these issues. “Our elected officials represent the entire state of Virginia and if you’re not in an urban community you don’t necessarily get that opportunity to see your constituency in full force and for some of these delegates and senators this is that opportunity for them to see a gay, a lesbian, a bisexual, and a transgender person face to face… I think when you take any sort of stigma or taboo out of it, you make it a human issue and you make it real.”
The first part of the day was spent touring the General Assembly, where members and supporters of EV got an inside look at where their constituents come together and vote on the rights that are important for LGBT life in Virginia.
The second part of the day took place in the Library of Virginia where various workshops were held as a means to educate. These workshops are an important annual part of the Day of Action – one of the few days a year when EV’s membership can get together to congregate and show the LGBT presence in VA.
“We just wanted to beef up the day where they [members and supporters] could not only speak with their legislator/ delegate but they could also come away with new tools on advocacy or organizing or [just] some researcher tools on how to protect their families or build families [within the LGBT community],” said James Parish, Executive Director of EV.
Linh Hoang, a first time attendee of EV’s Day of Action, was enjoying his time at the workshops. “As we fight for LGBT equality we… need to be informed of how these policies are impacting us.” Hoang stressed, “to be present – to be on the hill in front of the Senators and delegates” is as important as working side by side with our delegates and senators making sure that the bills being passed are inclusive in promoting LGBT equality.
Hoang sat in on a workshop by Colleen Quinn, an attorney with Locke Partin DeBoer & Quinn. This workshop, “Family Formation, Protection and Preservation for LGBT Families in VA,” was about what options exist for adoption or assistance reproductive technology. It also covered estate planning and joint custody orders. “Pretty much giving an overview of how we can create and preserve families in Virginia for same-sex couples and give them as much legal power as possible,” Quin said.
Quinn believes, soon, these issues will be a human issue and not just a LGBT issue. “The more routine we make it [passing equality bills] the more routine, hopefully, it will continue to be.” Said Quinn.
photo from Quinn’s workshop
The workshops are a success in the eyes of attendees as Hoang said, “As we fight for marriage rights, marriage equality, it’s a long road ahead…LGBT families in Virginia, we’re part of the social fabric and we need to organize our families accordingly to make sure we are protecting our loved ones so it is very important for me to get this kind of information.”
The Day of Action ended with a legislative reception in the Library of Virginia’s main hall. It was a last chance to mingle with legislators and other members of the LGBT community. Take a look at some photos from the Legislative reception in the gallery below.
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