OUTstanding Virginians

Statistics show that knowing someone within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community increases support for LGBT rights. This positive correlation makes coming out a critical component of the LGBT movement’s future progress.

In light of the importance of being out to the LGBT movement, each year Equality Virginia recognizes OUTstanding Virginians who have represented the community with distinction.

In 2013, for the first time in its history, Equality Virginia extended this recognition to allies for the contributions made on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.


OUTstanding Virginians


 photo of video for website


Meet 2015's OUTstanding Virginians ►



Meet 2014's OUTstanding Virginians ►

Equality Virginia OUTstanding Virginians 2013


Meet 2013's OUTstanding Virginians ►
Equality Virginia OUTstanding Virginians 2012


Meet 2012's OUTstanding Virginians ►
Equality Virginia 2011 OUTstanding Virginians


Meet 2011's OUTstanding Virginians ►


Meet 2010's OUTstanding Virginians ►
Equality Virginia 2009 OUTstanding Virginians


Meet 2009's OUTstanding Virginians ►
  • Rita Mae Brown – Crozet-based screenwriter and author, most notably of “Rubyfruit Jungle”.
  • Clarence Cain – UVA Law School graduate whose life and death from HIV/AIDS inspired the 1993 film “Philadelphia”.
  • Meg Christian – Women’s music icon and founder of Olivia Records.
  • Marge Connelly – Financial industry executive.
  • Adam Ebbin – First openly gay member of Virginia’s General Assembly and founder of Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club.
  • Jay Fisette – First openly gay elected official in Virginia and Arlington County Board member.
  • Billy Haines – First openly gay Hollywood actor, during the silent movie era.
  • Claus Ihlemann – Norfolk activist and owner of Decorum Furniture.
  • Jon Klein – Founder of Diversity Thrift and Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth (ROSMY).
  • Beth Marschak – Richmond activist, author, and historian.
  • Lucy Randolph Mason – Labor organizer who helped pass 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Diane Schroer – Winner of landmark transgender workplace discrimination case.
  • Tony Segura and Marsh Harris Segura – Tony was the founder of the Mattachine Society and Marsh was a prolific author of gay pulp fiction.
  • L.A. “Shep” Shepherd and Norma Hofheimer – Mid-century lesbian activist couple from Richmond.
  • Wanda Sykes – Emmy-award winning writer and comedian/actress.
  • Tracy Thorne-Begland – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activist and Deputy Commonwealth Attorney of Richmond.
  • Lawrence Webb – First openly gay black elected official in Virginia and Falls Church City Council member.
  • Charles Whitebread – Former UVA law professor and LGBT philanthropist.
  • Mel White and Gary Nixon – Founders of Lynchburg-based Soulforce.
  • Bob Witeck – Northern Virginia business owner and LGBT media consultant.