Community Education Program

Through our Community Education Program, we are preparing transgender individuals, families, and allies to share their stories to make an impact on nondiscrimination legislation. 

Storytelling Initiative

Many people do not realize that laws protecting Virginians on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation are currently nonexistent. Participants in the Community Education Program (CEP) share their stories of discrimination or support for nondiscrimination protections in housing and public employment. Stories grab people’s attention and make larger issues more personal. Advocates can also use these stories as examples of what to do and what not to do when showing support for their transgender friends, family, and neighbors.

Reports consistently show that the majority of Virginians support non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people. Individual stories take that support one step further and personalize the positive impact these protections would have on their lives.  Not only do these stories educate, but they also help to build community. We want our storytellers feel strengthened and energized by this process. In sharing these stories, we hope that individuals are empowered to continue speaking out and inspire others to do the same.

Through the stories gathered in this program, we can strengthen the case for passing nondiscrimination bills in housing and public employment in Virginia. Nobody should have to live in fear of being fired or denied housing because of their gender identity.

Sharing Your Story

Equality Virginia works with transgender folks, their families, and allies to increase the visibility of personal stories that can make an impact on nondiscrimination policies. The stories shared can help us encourage legislators to create inclusive policies, allow media to tell authentic stories of transgender lives, and help trans people and allies develop connections important to our community.

Participants will work directly with a member of our team to find the best format for each personal story and determine how widely they would like their story to be shared. Some folks may want to speak directly with legislators while others may wish to remain anonymous. We appreciate any and all interest our supporters have in sharing their stories. We also acknowledge that it can take a serious act of courage to share personal truths. Thus, we will never share information without express permission. Our goal is a respectful distribution of the truths within our community.


Many people do not realize that there are currently no laws protecting Virginians on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. All people should be treated fairly and equally, which is why folks across the Commonwealth are publicly voicing their support for passing nondiscrimination bills in housing, employment, and public accommodations.  While over time, support has grown for gay and lesbian issues, many people are still learning about the lives and experiences of transgender people. One story at the time, we are helping build support and understanding for the identities and lives of Virginia’s transgender community.

Click here to read the stories of transgender people and allies in Virginia and how they are affected by the lack of legal protections.