Equality Virginia’s ‘Day of Action’ lets LGBTQ & A’s get face-to-face with legislators on 2/9
For folks like James Milner, Equality Virginia’s Day of Action has become an annual chance to meet legislators and talk to them about the issues that matter to him as a gay man.
“It was a good experience,” said Milner about his first Action Day last year. “The turn out was good and it gave me personally the opportunity to meet with legislators who have been supportive of the LGBT community and say ‘thank you.’”
It’s steps like this – meeting with legislators one-on-one – that have given rise to folks like Kathy Green to want to come out next week for the 2016 Day of Action.
“There’s a lot of legislation this session and I think it’s important for our voices to be heard,” said Green, a registered nurse from Glen Allen who identifies as a straight, cis grandma. Her status as an ally makes Green think she might be able to make a different kind of impact.
“The issues of equality effect all of us and they’re important to all of us,” she said. “It’s not just an LGBT thing, its an equal rights issue.”
Green and Milner will join several dozen other LGBTQ & A Virginia citizens next Tuesday, 2/9, at the Virginia General Assembly as part of the annual event.
Virginia has made a few national headlines for our anti-LGBTQ legislation this year, and the Day of Action is a unique chance for normal folks to rub elbows with the folks doing the voting.
“There have been a lot of discriminatory, harmful bills proposed and we’ve seen that throughout these conversations with legislators and committee members that many do not realize just how harmful and impactful these bills are,” Communications Coordinator for EV, Brandon Day, said. Day and other folks are coordinating the group’s event. “Getting face time with the legislators will really solidify that concept in their minds that these bills are much more impactful and harmful than they realize.”
The harmful bills that EV is specifically concerned with are the transgender centric bills which involve a $50 fine for using the bathroom for gender they identify with as well as keeping them from being able to correct the gender marker on their birth certificate. There’s also the “Kim Davis Bill” which would allow clerks to deny signing marriage licenses for LGBTQ couples.
EV has held this Day of Action for over a decade now, but Day says this is one of the most important years to come out and show support due to the “unprecedented number of LGBTQ centric bills” – positive and negative.
Some of the positive bills EV hopes to push on lobby day are the non-discrimination bills that have to do with equality for the LGBTQ community in the state workplace as well as housing.
“We are trying to convince those who are not already on board why they should be,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for partisan support out of this session and this lobby day can help push that support even further.”
After lobbying, EV will hold workshops at the Library of Virginia on how to spread awareness about these bills to the entire region, and offer ways to become a leader in your community whether you are a member of the LGBTQ community or are an ally.
Following the workshops there will be a legislative reception where you can enjoy refreshments and talk more with General Assembly legislators.
“I think its critically important that people show up and that’s half the battle,” said Milner about folks who might be on the fence about coming out for all or at least some of the event. “We need to show up in numbers to show we care deeply about the issues that effect us both positive and negatively. When we show up and contact our legislators, get our friends and family to do it, that’s what makes these efforts particularly successful.”
EV’s day of action is on Tuesday Feb. 9 beginning at 9AM. You can register to lobby your legislators online here or in person at the Library of Virginia on lobby day at 8:30 AM
If you can’t make it out physically but want to show support you visit here for other ways to be involved with EV’s mission.
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