I’m New To Virginia

Virginia has several metropolitan hubs with bustling, diverse communities including Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia where LGBTQ people will find a welcoming place to call home.  Cultural centers like Roanoke, Lexington, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Harrisonburg, and Farmville bring an eclectic cross-section where LGBTQ people can live comfortably through the support of outspoken community leaders and proximity to institutions of higher education.

Several publications across the state cover LGBTQ news and events.

Out At Work

On July 1, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the South to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public spaces, and credit. As an LGBTQ person, you cannot be fired, not hired, not promoted or denied service at a business because of who you are or who you love.  Read more on LGBTQ legal protections in Virginia here.

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. Additionally, many small locally-owned businesses as well as larger Virginia-based companies actively support treating their LGBTQ customers and employees with respect and dignity. To support a local LGBTQ-friendly business, check out our Equality Means Business directory.

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 LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce.

Housing

On July 1, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the South to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public spaces, and credit. As an LGBTQ person, you cannot be steered away from a property, denied housing, or kicked out of your housing because of who you are or who you love.  Read more on LGBTQ legal protections in Virginia here.

Being Transgender

Virginia has made huge strides for transgender equality in recent years, including the recent passage of robust non-discrimination protections. The Commonwealth also has a large network of transgender support groups and organizations that provide direct services to transgender and non-binary people, both in larger metropolitan areas and many large or medium-sized towns. 

Check out our transgender resource page here for more information on legal protections, healthcare access, name and gender marker change processes, and a directory of organizations specifically serving transgender and non-binary Virginians.

Marriage

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!

Read more about marriage in Virginia and what this means for you and your family.

Safety & Youth

As of July 1, 2020, Virginia’s LGBTQ students in public and many private schools are protected from discrimination. By the start of the 2021-2022 school year, all Virginia school boards will need to adopt model policies on how to treat and support transgender and non-binary students. Currently, the Virginia Department of Education is working on creating those model policies. Read more about safe schools here.

 

As of July 1, 2020, LGBTQ Virginians are now included in Virginia’s hate crimes laws. 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.