Starting July 1, it will no longer be legal to fire someone for being gay in the state of Virginia.
It will no longer be legal to deny housing or public accommodations due to a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ+ people will be covered by the protections of the Virginia Human Rights Act.
With the signing of the Virginia Values Act, Governor Northam has helped protect, support, bolster, and legitimize the daily lives of LGBTQ+ Virginians.
But that’s not all. The Virginia legislature and the governor have:
- Allowed localities to enact their own non-discrimination protections against sexual orientation and gender identity
- Added sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s hate crime laws
- Prohibited health care providers from trying to change the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of minors
- Changed the laws from requiring people to have gender-reassignment surgery in order to change their sex on their birth certificate – now, individuals will just need “appropriate clinical treatment” to change sex on a birth certificate
- Allowed for a third gender – X – on driver’s licenses
When it comes to schools, new laws require the Virginia Department of Education to
develop and publish rules regulating the treatment of transgender students in elementary, middle and high schools. The guidelines will span topics including bullying, dress codes, school record-keeping and the use of bathrooms.
The department must finalize and publish its guidance by the end of this year, and school boards throughout the state must adopt the rules by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
So many activists, legislators, leaders, and citizens over the course of decades have worked hard to elect representatives and change hearts and minds so that these critical laws could finally get passed. We’re grateful for every single act of courage it took to get us here, that starts a new day for the LGBTQ+ community in the state.
Thank you to Del. Danica Roem, Senator Adam Ebbin, who have been at the forefront of many of these changes. Thank you, Equality Virginia, for pushing, year after year, to have our voices heard.
And for those both known and unknown, thank you!