Equality Virginia will conclude its “Ask a Trans Person” panel series in Norfolk on Jan. 28 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the New Life Metropolitan Community Church, located at 1000 Sunset Dr. The free event will include local transgender community members sharing their experiences along with a Q&A discussion.
According to national data, only 16% of people say they personally know someone who is transgender. The panel series aims to raise visibility about the transgender community, while highlighting the need for nondiscrimination protections for transgender Virginians.
“Many people are still learning what it means to be transgender and the panels are a safe place to ask questions and engage in respectful dialogue with fellow community members,” said Thalia Hernandez, Equality Virginia’s program director and event moderator. “One of the topics the panel will focus on is the need for nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender individuals. Many people are surprised to learn that there are no statewide laws in Virginia that protect LGBT people from discrimination in their daily lives.”
Under current Virginia law – as in 29 other states in the nation – LGBTQ people are not explicitly protected from discrimination. That means that LGBTQ people can be fired, evicted or denied service in restaurants or stores.
Equality Virginia is currently working with numerous organizations and community leaders to advocate in the 2020 General Assembly for the Virginia Values Act (SB 868 and HB 1663), a bill that would modernize existing Virginia law to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their daily lives and will create new protections for all Virginians in employment and public accommodations like restaurants, shops, and other public spaces.
Registration for the Ask a Trans Person panel is required. Please visit www.equalityvirginia.org/events to sign up.