Equality Virginia, an LGBTQ advocacy group, raised $250,000 at its 16th annual Commonwealth Dinner in Richmond on Saturday night.
Del. Danica Roem (D-13), the first openly transgender in the state’s legislature, attended the event, as did U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va) and 28 other lawmakers.
Roem spoke out against President Trump’s transgender military ban and other issues affecting the local LGBTQ community. She even introduced two trans students who had experienced discrimination and highlighted their stories as examples of why coming out is still so difficult and why the work of groups like Equality Virginia is so critical.
The fundraiser comes less than three months after Virginia Republicans, led by Speaker Kirk Cox (R-66), blocked two bills that would have prevented discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Equality Virginia advocated for both bills, which would have prevented discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing and public employment.
Equality Virginia’s Executive Director James Parrish told the Washington Blade that had it not been for Cox and his fellow Republicans, the event also would have celebrated Virginia being the first state in the South to pass LGBTQ proteciton bills.
Equality Virginia is likely to get involved in Virginia’s elections this year, when every seat in the House of Delegates and the Senate are up for grabs. Should control of the General Assembly flip to Democrats, the group will make another push to pass the anti-discrimination bills.
If they do, you can be sure that it’ll be celebrated at next year’s dinner.