I’m New To Virginia
Politics aside, Virginia has several metropolitan hubs with bustling diverse communities including Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia where LGBT people will find a welcoming place to call home. Cultural hubs like Roanoke, Lexington, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Harrisonburg, and Farmville bring an eclectic cross-section where LGBT people can live comfortably through the support of outspoken community leaders and proximity to institutions of higher education.
Several publications across the state cover LGBT news and events.
Out At Work
In Virginia, there are no protections in state or public employment for sexual orientation or gender identity. As an LGBT person, you can be fired, not hired, not promoted or denied service at a business because of who you are or who you love. Read more on employment discrimination here.
Although the government falls behind in these basic protections, Virginia’s business community takes the lead and most of the state’s top 25 private employers have hiring practices that include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
In recent years, as with the nation, the business community has acknowledged that recognizing the LGBT community and providing equal treatment makes economic sense. Virginia is home to three LGBT Chambers of Commerce.
- Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
- Hampton Roads Business Outreach
- Richmond Business Alliance
There is no protection in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Read more on housing discrimination here.
Virginia has a large network of transgender support led largely in part by a task force of the Virginia Department of Health. While Virginia law does not extend workplace protections based on gender identity or expression, a federal court ruled Title VII bars discrimination against MTF trans people based on sex stereotyping. Read more on being transgender in Virginia here.
As of October 6, 2014, Virginia has gained the freedom to marry. Same-sex couples can now marry the person they love right here at home in Virginia! Read more on our marriage timeline.
Click here to see photographs of Virginian couples and families celebrating marriage!
Safety & Youth
Equality Virginia works to oppose legislation that bans Gay-Straight Alliances in public schools and works to build fully enumerated bullying policies across the state. While Code of Virginia requires all schools to adopt a bullying policy, it is currently up to each school district to protect its LGBT students from harassment. Read more about safe schools here.
Several cities and towns in Virginia file incidents of violence to LGBT people as part of their federal hate crime reporting. The federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act covers crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. There are also several organizations in Virginia dedicated to raising awareness and prevent domestic violence within the LGBT community. Read more about preventing violence here.