Equality Virginia recently engaged the transgender community through their first “I Am Transgender” regional meetings. The goal of the organization’s May meetings were to construct an action plan to include more trainings, build a blueprint for a statewide conference, and educate non-transgender people on transgender issues.
Founded in 1989, Equality Virginia is a non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for LGBT Virginians.
Led by their Program Director, Virginia Lamneck, the upcoming “I Am Transgender” meetings aim to expand on working with transgender advocates and leading public education and advocacy efforts.
“Transgender people are often their own best advocates. The project is a way for transgender people to show who they are, what their lives are like on a daily basis, and how they are ordinary people with families, and jobs, and financial responsibilities,” says Lamneck. “’I am Transgender’ shows the world that transgender people deserve to be treated equally and deserve to have the same rights as all other Virginians and Americans.”
The meetings will encourage participants to share their stories—specifically through video—as a way to guide their communication with potential allies. Other agenda items will include discussing top priorities for transgender Virginians, and formulating workshop and panel ideas for the organization’s upcoming conference.
“Equality Virginia wants to hear from transgender people in Virginia. We want to know what issues and challenges transgender people in Virginia are facing,” says Lamneck.
Looking ahead, Equality Virginia will continue to hold educational forums with increased participation throughout the next two years, which will also include their large statewide transgender conference in October 2014. The organization is also working on expanding their business network through their new Virginia Fairness project to improve the state’s reputation as an inclusive place to live and work.
The “I Am Transgender” July meetings kick off in Roanoke on July 16; Richmond on July 22; Norfolk on July 23; and Fairfax on July 24. The meetings are only open to transgender individuals and parents of transgender youth. For more information on “I Am Transgender” visit www.equalityvirginia.org.