Equality Virginia recognizes Virginians leading LGBT equality efforts

equality virginiaEquality Virginia will honor the 2017 class of OUTstanding Virginians – those who represent Virginia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community with distinction and who are committed to moving the LGBT community forward – at its 14th annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 1.

“The contributions made by our OUTstanding Virginians are especially poignant this year, and we are proud of their efforts, which impact LGBT Virginians on the local, regional, and national levels,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia.  “We are grateful to the 2017 class of OUTstanding Virginians for everything they have done to make Virginia a more welcoming and inclusive place to live.”

2017’s OUTstanding Virginians include:

  • Lisa Griffin, Richmond: Dr. Griffin has dramatically changed the landscape for transgender people, and in particular transgender youth in Virginia. Since moving to Richmond in 2012, Dr. Griffin has worked to increase mental health and general healthcare for transgender people throughout the state. She helped to broaden services for transgender people at the Health Brigade, Planned Parenthood, UVA Medical Center, and teaches courses on LGBTQ+ identities at VCU.
  • Gavin Grimm, Gloucester: Gavin is a senior at Gloucester High School in Virginia and is nationally known as the plaintiff in GG v Gloucester County, a leading case on the civil rights of transgender students in public schools that will soon be heard at the United States Supreme Court. Gavin never sought the spotlight for an act as simple as using the restroom, but through his persistence Gavin has shone a light on the needs of transgender students in our schools.
  • Michael Hamar, Norfolk: Michael is an ardent advocate for LGBT rights locally and throughout the state. He writes an internationally read blog on political and LGBT issues, and articles for Veer and Unity magazines, and supports many LGBT and progressive political organizations and leaders. In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast, he worked to find safe housing and support in Virginia for LGBT residents who lost their homes. He also created an endowment in his late parent’s names to help LGBT students attend college.
  • Victoria Kidd, Winchester: Victoria led the charge for marriage equality in the Commonwealth as one of the plaintiffs in the Virginia marriage case. A longtime supporter of EV, she has greatly helped our outreach efforts in Winchester, hosting CookOUTS for Marriage Equality, and advocating at our Day of Action. In the past year she co-founded the Hideaway Café in downtown Winchester which has become the hub of the LGBT community. She serves on the board of the Virginia ACLU.
  • Rep. Donald McEachin, Richmond: A newly elected U.S. Congressman, McEachin was a leader on LGBT issues and a wonderful ally, connecting the faith and African-American communities with LGBT causes during his time as a state senator. While serving in the Virginia General Assembly, he was a tireless advocate for LGBT Virginians, repeatedly introduced the State Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and championed additional legislation that sought to better our community.
  • Robert Rigby, Arlington: In his role as president of the Fairfax County Public School Pride and a veteran Latin teacher at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Robert has been instrumental in getting protections in place for LGBT students in his district. He started a grassroots movement involving Equality Virginia, TGEA, PFLAG, GLSEN, NOVA Pride, and FCPS Pride to support LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty within the FCPS school district.
  • De Sube, Virginia Beach: De has been a longtime trans activist in the Hampton Roads area for over 20 years. In addition to her former role as the LGBT Center Coordinator at ACCESS AIDS Care, she co-founded two groups: Gender Expression Movement, a support group for trans adults in the southeast area, and the Transgender Assistance Project, whose mission is to offer safe emergency and temporary housing for transgender community members throughout Virginia.

Equality Virginia has recognized OUTstanding Virginians at its annual Commonwealth Dinner since 2009.  The Commonwealth Dinner is Virginia’s largest black-tie gathering for the LGBT community and supporters.

Learn more about the 2017 OUTstanding Virginians at equalityvirginia.org/14th-annual-commonwealth-dinner/commonwealth-dinner-2017.

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