If you were one of the nearly 1,000 people who attended the 15th Annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 14th presented by Altria Group, thank you for being there to celebrate our victories, learn more about the challenges ahead, and honor our OUTstanding Virginians. EV’s staff and board felt the support of all who gathered with us! The evening would not have been possible without you.

This year’s Dinner served to showcase the vitality of Virginia’s LGBT community. Because of you, Equality Virginia raised almost $300,000 to help us safeguard equality’s momentum in the Commonwealth by standing up for LGBT Virginians at the General Assembly, furthering transgender visibility, and increasing pro-LGBT business participation. We broke records with our text-to-give portion of the evening raising more than $42,000. You can still help us grow that total and add your name to the virtual board. Just text EQVA to 243725 to give!

Keep reading to find out about all the exciting things that happened Saturday night. And check out the incredible photos from the evening on our Facebook photo album.


We celebrated LGBT affirming legislators and groundbreaking out candidates …

Each year at the Commonwealth Dinner it is an honor to welcome elected leaders from across the state who support equality. It was our pleasure this year to see numerous public officials, including US Congressmen Donald McEachin and Bobby Scott, Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring, and Governor Ralph Northam. With protections for LGBT Virginians in striking distance, we are grateful to have the bipartisan support of leaders from all over the Commonwealth. With your advocacy—and these affirming legislators—we will keep moving equality forward.

At the Dinner, Governor Ralph Northam spoke of the need for a welcoming and inclusive Virginia. We’re grateful to have had the support of Governor since his first day in office when he signed Executive Order 1 prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in state government.

2017 saw a record-breaking number of out LGBT candidates on the ballot for Virginia’s House of Delegates. At the Dinner, we took a moment to recognize them including the four out members of the House of Delegates: Dawn Adams, Mark Levine, Danica Roem, and Mark Sickles.

 

 


We recognized our OUTstanding Virginians …

 

Every year Equality Virginia shines a spotlight on those who have dedicated their lives to fighting for equality. The 2018 honorees have been on the front-lines for fairness, improving their communities and striving for a more inclusive Virginia. These individuals and organizations have educated, advocated, and demonstrated what it means to truly be an OUTstanding Virginian. Watch the video below to learn more about these OUTstanding Virginians!

 



We were inspired by a transgender veteran’s story …

Ann Murdoch, a member of our Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau, took the stage to share a journey of self-discovery, complete with a knight, terrible dragons, and triumphant princess. She likened the advocates and supporters of Equality Virginia to the great rainbow army that helped her defeat the dragons of shame and discrimination. We’ve all heard inspiring stories about a transgender person’s journey towards self-acceptance and happiness, but Ann’s unique perspective helped us shine a light on how transgender military bans impact our neighbors, friends, and loved ones right here in Virginia.

 

 


We gave a glimpse into our Day of Action …

Our 2018 Day of Action was on February 5 and gave attendees a chance to address issues important to them directly with their legislators and their staffs. We debuted the Day of Action video at the Commonwealth Dinner so that attendees could see just how vital is it to connect with elected leaders. Click below to watch!

 


We kicked up our heels …



 


 

 

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