Each year, Equality Virginia selects a group of OUTstanding Virginians to honor at their 15th annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 14 in Richmond. OUTstanding Virginians are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals or organizations taking the lead in moving equality forward across the Commonwealth.
In light of the importance of being out to the LGBT movement, each year Equality Virginia recognizes leaders who have represented the community with distinction. Among this year’s honorees from Hampton Roads is Michael Berlucchi, past President of Hampton Roads Pride.
According to Equality Virginia, statistics show that knowing someone within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community increases support for LGBT rights. This positive correlation makes coming out a critical component of the LGBT movement’s future progress.
In addition to Mr. Berlucchi from Virginia Beach, the EV Board of Directors has selected the 2018 honorees from dozens of nominees who will be celebrated as the latest class of OUTstanding Virginians at the 15th Annual Commonwealth Dinner on April 14.
Tickets to this event are still available at time of press and may be purchased HERE.
|Amy Adams is a mother of three whose daughter Morgan came out as transgender at the age of 10. Since then, Amy has worked to mobilize her Stafford County neighbors in opposition to discriminatory school policies and address anti-trans legislation with her representatives at the General Assembly. Amy started a He, She, Ze, and We group in Fredericksburg and runs a Facebook group for Virginia parents of transgender youth. Last year, Amy founded Equality Stafford which has successfully advocated for her county’s school board to form an Equality, Diversity, and Opportunity Committee and is helping the county update its nondiscrimination policies. Amy is currently leading a campaign to make sure all Stafford County schools have GSAs.|
|Michael Berlucchi serves on the Hampton Roads Pride Board of Directors as Immediate Past President and has fulfilled numerous leadership roles within the organization, including president, vice president, chairman of PrideFest, chairman and co-founder of the Pride Block Party, and chairman of the Events and Communications committees. Michael is the Community Engagement Manager at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, where he creates and implements educational programs designed to expand and diversify museum audiences. He is an appointed member of Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission and serves on the Board of Directors of Teens With a Purpose, and the Norfolk Tourism Research Foundation.|
|Rev. Emma Chattin became an ordained minister in MCC (Metropolitan Community Churches) in 2004, a denomination founded by and for the GLBTIQQ communities, and she currently serves as the Pastor for the MCC of Northern Virginia in Fairfax City. Emma is also the Executive Director of the TransGender Education Association of Greater Washington DC (TGEA) whose mission is to support individuals in transition and the communities into which they are transitioning. Rev. Chattin is founding co-facilitator of several support groups for the transgender population, among them, parents of trans-youth, and trans & gender-expansive tweens & teens.|
|Lisa Cumbey has given her marketing and design talents to groups serving the LGBT community since the 1980s. Her mostly pro bono creative work for organizations is estimated at over $1 million and includes work around HIV/AIDS educational materials, Richmond’s very earliest Pride parades on Cary Street, and the area’s first LGBT chamber of commerce—Central Virginia Business and Professional Guild, among others. She was part of the design and rebranding team for Diversity Richmond and was instrumental in creating their Iridian Gallery, the only art gallery in the south with the sole mission of supporting LGBT artists. The gallery recently featured the artwork of her late brother, J. Alan Cumbey, who died of AIDS in 1992. Lisa donated all proceeds from the sale of her brother’s work to Diversity Richmond.|
|Zakia McKensey is the founder of Nationz Foundation, a nonprofit providing HIV prevention and overall wellness education while inspiring the community to take responsibility for their health. Nationz also works to create a more inclusive Central Virginia for LGBTQIA+ individuals. As someone personally affected by HIV/AIDS—through the loss of friends and loved ones—she felt compelled to educate herself and others, and since then has operated in the field of HIV prevention and education. Zakia has also worked for 26 years as a performer, holding a total of 180 titles, including Miss Club Colors, Miss Fieldens, Miss Godfreys, and Miss Peach State International.|
|Jim O’Connor has been a resident of Prince William County since 1971 and has long been active in his community. He is the current president of Equality Prince William (EPW) which seeks to assure fair treatment for every individual in the county. The group successfully urged the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park recognize June as LGBT Pride Month. They also recruited over 40 new PWC businesses to participate in EV’s Equality Means Business program. Jim is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and worked as Senior Director for International Trade Policy at the American Chemistry Council.|
|Richmond Triangle Players exists to change the community’s conversation about diversity and inclusion through the production of LGBTQ-themed works. A nonprofit, professional theatre company organized in 1993, RTP delivers adventurous and entertaining theater as the leading voice in the community’s explorations of equality, identity, affection, and family, across sexual orientation and gender and is the only professional theatre company in the entire Mid-Atlantic region which expressly and regularly serves the LGBTQ community.|