2016-18 Board Nomination Form Now Available

Interested in serving on the Hampton Roads Pride Board? Know someone that you would like to nominate? Well, now’s your chance! Download the 16-18 Nomination Form right here and get started today. Completed forms and resumes are due by September 9th, 2016. Submittal instructions are included in the PDF.

Click here to Download the Form

Pride Partner: PFLAG

Jack Peirson visited a recent membership meeting for HR Pride and told the story of PFLAG and his personal journey that lead him to the group that has changed him forever.


Jeanne_Manford_marching_with_her_famous_sign_in_a_Pride_Parade_in_1972The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today’s Pride parade. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. The first formal meeting took place on March 26, 1973 at the Metropolitan Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended. It was a mom, defending and supporting her son, and declaring her unconditional love. PFLAG is still performing that mission today. The organization provides peer to peer support to the Parents, Friends, Families of Lesbians, Gays, Allies, Trans, Bi, Questioning or Curious. If you have questions or a story that you want to tell, we at PFLAG Norfolk/South Hampton Roads will help you.

I know a lot of you personally and some of you I have known for a long time. I would not be here this evening speaking to you if it were not for the assistance of my friends and LGBT community. When I came out in ‘91’ there were so many things going badly in my life. A messy divorce, I lost my job, I lost my house, I lost my family, I lost my church, and mostly, I lost my identity.

Things were not all bad. I found things in ’91 – 92’ as well. I found friends that I could count on. I found a community that was stronger than the forces that were confronting me. I found my husband of 22 years, John Mueller. I found that I was a person that was stronger because all that I had gone through. I found I still had compassion and wanted to be the one to reach back and assist the person going through their hard times. The struggle that I went through.

That struggle is still happening today across Hampton Roads, and all across the United States. The PEW research shows that LGBT youth make up roughly 5% of the overall youth population, 5 out of 100 young people are LGBT. But, they are 41% of the homeless youth population. Out of 100 homeless people under the age of 18, 41 are LGBT. That statistic is staggering. These young people are going through one of the most difficult realizations and also facing the worst circumstances. And many times they are doing it alone, with no safety net.

As I have said, our mission at PFLAG is to provide peer to peer counseling, to educate and support. It is to equip our members with the tool kits to meet the challenges that they are facing. It is to not just help them survive, more importantly it is to help them to THRIVE. Before someone can be a real part of pride, they have to FEEL that they are a part of PRIDE. PFLAG helps to build the bridge that goes from finding out who they are – to who they are destined to become.

So, why PFLAG? We have marriage equality, we are getting our rights? It is simple. Carolyn Caywood, local PFLAG President and all-knowing oracle, said this in a meeting the other day. “You can go from the courthouse on Friday getting married, to the person whom you love, to the unemployment line on Monday because your boss does not support your right to get married.” The members of our group are asking these questions and so many more. They have concerns that they need a safe place to meet and talk things out. PFLAG is cultivating the members of Pride for tomorrow. We are changing the conversation one family, one person at a time. We are changing the conversation from, “Why me? Why my child?” to a conversation of “Why Not, You? Why Not, Your Child?” Why can’t you be the next Harvey Milk, Rita Mae Brown, Christine Jorgensen, Jeanne Manford. “Why can’t your child be the next Laurel Quarberg or John Osterhout? Once a person is comfortable in their own skin and can live a life that is open, honest and out, they can live a life with Pride and then the possibilities become limitless.

We meet on the Third Tuesday of every month at the LGBT Center off 24th and Llewellyn in Norfolk. The meetings start at 6:30 and end at 8:30. Find us on Facebook PFLAG Norfolk South Hampton Roads, like us and follow what we are doing to move equality forward, come to a meeting and get involved, there is a lot to be accomplished in 2015.

We are so happy to be a Partner in Pride. I leave you with this. You may not need PFLAG – you may be perfectly happy with who you are, but PFLAG needs you and someone needs to see you as their role model.

You can find more details about PFLAG online at Facebook or Instagram.

A Request from Our Friends in Richmond & The Virginia Anti-Violence Project

019The Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP) is partnering with the Richmond Triangle Players and TheatreLAB for a new project entitled NERVE: Stories of Queer Resilience!  This new project will focus on stories of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, bullying, and harassment in Virginia.  We are currently collecting stories from the LGBTQ community about the violence we face and how we survive.  There will be multiple story gathering events throughout Richmond:

You can also complete this online form to share your story.

Sharing our stories can be healing!  So please help share this opportunity.

The stories will be combined to create a script and then the production of NERVE: Stories of Queer Resilience will debut in Richmond in late May.

Equality Virginia Announces the 2015 OUTSTANDING Virginians

EV2011Statistics 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 light of the importance of being out to the LGBT movement, each year Equality Virginia recognizes OUTstanding Virginians who have represented the community with distinction. In 2013, for the first time in its history, Equality Virginia extended this recognition to allies for the contributions made on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The 2015 OUTstanding Virginians:

  • Keri Abrams
  • Claire Guthrie Gastanaga
  • William Hall, Jr.
  • Rodney Lofton
  • Paula Prettyman and Kelly Schlageter
  • Todd Rosenlieb
  • Mothers & Others

Purchase your 2015 Commonwealth Dinner tickets here! 

More details

Governor’s LGBT Tourism Task Force

McAuliffe_1Governor Terry McAuliffe announced this week a new task force geared towards promoting tourist spots for gay and lesbian couples. Since the same-sex marriage ban was lifted in Virginia late last year, the Governor wants to prove that Virginia is for all kinds of lovers. He appointed 21 people from around the Commonwealth for the task force.

Along with promoting tourism among same-sex couples and members of the LGBT community, the task force is also hoping to tackle the conservative mindset that has shadowed Virginia for years.


Governor’s LGBT Tourism Task Force for Virginia

  • Barbara Cage of South Boston, Co-owner & Manager, Bistro1888
  • Kevin Clay of Richmond, Principal, Big Spoon Agency
  • Phil Crosby of Richmond, Managing Director, Richmond Triangle Players
  • The Honorable Adam P. Ebbin of Alexandria, Member, Senate of Virginia
  • Patrick Evans-Hylton of Norfolk, Food Journalist, Virginia Wine Lover Magazine
  • Tammy Freeman of Prince William, Founder, Say I Do! LGBT Wedding Expo.
  • Matt Gaffney of Rehobeth Beach, DE, President & CEO, Capital Region USA, Inc.
  • Peter J. Goldin of Mechanicsville, Associate State Director, AARP
  • Brad Kutner of Richmond, Editor, GayRVA
  • Virginia Lamneck of Richmond, Programs Manager, Equality Virginia
  • Jesse LaVancher of Richmond, Central & Northern Virginia Development Manager, Virginia Opera
  • Jeffrey Marsh of Chicago, IL, Director of LGBT Marketing, Orbitz Worldwide
  • Amy Sarah Marshall of Charlottesville, President, Charlottesville Pride Community Network
  • Bruce Newton of Hampton, Group Sales & Visitor Center Manager, Hampton Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Katherine O’Donnell of Richmond, Vice President of Community Relations, Richmond Regional Tourism
  • Robert G. Roman of Virginia Beach, Vice President & Co-owner, Decorum Furniture
  • Jim Schuyler of Richmond, Executive Director, Virginia Community Action Partnership
  • Stephanie Shaw of Richmond, Account Supervisor, The Martin Agency
  • Michael Sutphin of Blacksburg, Member, Blacksburg Town Council; Board Member, Equality Virginia
  • Michael Thorne-Begland of Richmond, Director, Brand and Trade Channel Integrity; Assistant General Counsel, Altria
  • Bob Witeck of Arlington, President, Witeck Communications, Inc.


Transgender Terminology

Transgender GlossaryTerminology within the transgender community varies and has changed over time so we recognize the need to be sensitive to usage within particular communities.

Members of the transgender community struggle with issues those outside the community never deal with. While, those outside the community can sympathize, they can’t empathize. A step towards equality in the transgender community is understanding the terminology that is appropriate use it to educate the those around them. Words have power, so let’s use them in a meaning way.

Below is a glossary, specific to transgender issues, provided by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is a broad term and is good for non-transgender people to use. “Trans” is shorthand for “transgender.” (Note: Transgender is correctly used as an adjective, not a noun, thus “transgender people” is appropriate but “transgenders” is often viewed as disrespectful.)

Transgender Man: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a man (see also “FTM”).

Transgender Woman: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a woman (see also “MTF”).

Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.

Gender Expression: How a person represents or expresses one’s gender identity to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics.

Transsexual: An older term for people whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth who seeks to transition from male to female or female to male. Many do not prefer this term because it is thought to sound overly clinical.

Cross-dresser: A term for people who dress in clothing traditionally or stereotypically worn by the other sex, but who generally have no intent to live full-time as the other gender. The older term “transvestite” is considered derogatory by many in the United States.

Queer: A term used to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual and, often also transgender, people. Some use queer as an alternative to “gay” in an effort to be more inclusive. Depending on the user, the term has either a derogatory or an affirming connotation, as many have sought to reclaim the term that was once widely used in a negative way.

Genderqueer: A term used by some individuals who identify as neither entirely male nor entirely female.

Gender Non-conforming: A term for individuals whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender.

Bi-gendered: One who has a significant gender identity that encompasses both genders, male and female Some may feel that one side or the other is stronger, but both sides are there.

Two-Spirit: A contemporary term that refers to the historical and current First Nations people whose individuals spirits were a blend of male and female spirits. This term has been reclaimed by some in Native American LGBT communities in order to honor their heritage and provide an alternative to the Western labels of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

FTM: A person who transitions from “female-to-male,” meaning a person who was assigned female at birth, but identifies and lives as a male. Also known as a “transgender man.”

MTF: A person who transitions from “male-to-female,” meaning a person who was assigned male at birth, but identifies and lives as a female. Also known as a “transgender woman.”

Sex Reassignment Surgery: Surgical procedures that change one’s body to better reflect a person’s gender identity. This may include different procedures, including those sometimes also referred to as “top surgery” (breast augmentation or removal) or “bottom surgery” (altering genitals). Contrary to popular belief, there is not one surgery; in fact there are many different surgeries. These surgeries are medically necessary for some people, however not all people want, need, or can have surgery as part of their transition. “Sex change surgery” is considered a derogatory term by many.

Sexual Orientation: A term describing a person’s attraction to members of the same sex and/or a different sex, usually defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, or asexual.

Transition: The time when a person begins to living as the gender with which they identify rather than the gender they were assigned at birth, which often includes changing one’s first name and dressing and grooming differently. Transitioning may or may not also include medical and legal aspects, including taking hormones, having surgery, or changing identity documents (e.g. driver’s license, Social Security record) to reflect one’s gender identity. Medical and legal steps are often difficult for people to afford.

Intersex: A term used for people who are born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or chromosome pattern that does not seem to fit typical definitions of male or female. Intersex conditions are also known as differences of sex development (DSD). Drag Queen: Used to refer to male performers who dress as women for the purpose of entertaining others at bars, clubs, or other events. It is also sometimes used in a derogatory manner to refer to transgender women.

Drag King: Used to refer to female performers who dress as men for the purposes of entertaining others at bars, clubs, or other events.

The HRP Scholarship: Recognizing Talent, Making History

Hampton Roads Pride has much of which to be proud in regard to its recent scholarship recipients. We decided long ago that visibility and respect for LGBT communities meant much more than day-long festivals, and that we had to help our own communities in broader and more long-range ways than just having fun. Hence, whenever there was money in the organization’s treasury, scholarships were given out from the 1990s onward.

Since Pride has moved to center stage at Town Point Park, the scholarship competition has become routine with every year featuring a winner or two. These winners have gone on to do great things. For example, Connor Norton, the awardee for 2010, has gone on to bring world-class and relevant theater to his Old Dominion University campus, helping to shepherd the production of “8” to the University Theater in October 2012. He was also a founding member of the local Reel It Out LGBT Film Festival, which is in its third year and which is the only programming of its kind in Virginia.

Similarly, the two 2012 recipients have also gone on to bigger and better things. Andre Christian graduated with honors in social work from Norfolk State University this spring, and he is currently in Ghana helping to organize communities in an inclusive manner. The other winner — Matthew French of Old Dominion — just successfully defended his master’s thesis on an LGBT-related topic in communications, and is off to pursue a job in New York.

Finally, Kyle Poulin, last year’s honoree, became a service learning teaching assistant for spring 2014 at Virginia Commonwealth University, contributing to the assessment of ongoing and future projects. Most significantly, via his various leadership positions on campus, Kyle has helped to write a proposal for a Ford Motor Company c3 grant — which stands for college, community, and challenge. This is a grant program for college students to create sustainable community projects and systems. His group’s submission is Green Ride RVA, which is designed to develop a sustainable transportation network in the east end of Richmond for residents to gain access to more fresh food options. Accordingly, as Pride has grown dramatically, its reach has increased tremendously — thanks in part to the emerging talents that it has recognized.

Go to the HRP Scholarship page.

PrideFest is August 23!

Multi-Platinum Recording Artist Deborah Cox to Headline
PrideFest 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Town Point Park • Waterside Drive • Norfolk, Virginia 23510
For more information visit www.HamptonRoadsPride.org
Free and Open to the Public

Hampton Roads Pride (HRP) is pleased to announce PrideFest 2014 will take place on August 23, 2014 from Noon to 7pm in Town Point Park. Presented by Decorum Furniture and Absolut Vodka, this will be the festival’s twenty-sixth year and its fourth year at Town Point Park in Norfolk. PrideFest will be the culmination of a full week of events known as PrideWeek.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Learn. Love. Be.” The theme reflects HRP’s objectives of promoting the education of LGBT issues as well as providing scholarship funds for young LGBT members; showing compassion for others and being free to love who you want to love; and encouraging all individuals to stand up and be proud of who they are, no matter their sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or creed.

In addition to Deborah Cox, PrideFest will feature transgender comedian Ian Harvie, the Nation’s only Pride Boat Parade, DJs and Drag Queen performances, a group Commitment Ceremony and March, Aerial Acrobats towering over the crowd, a kid-friendly family area, games, activities, food vendors and booths by local businesses and non-profit organizations.

Scheduled speakers and presenters include Norfolk’s own Tim Bostic and Tony London, two plaintiffs in the Bostic vs. Virginia case challenging Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, mayors from across Hampton Roads and other community leaders.

“We are so excited about this year’s PrideFest. As LGBT members of the community, we have a lot to be proud of in Hampton Roads and we want to share that pride with our allies, friends and neighbors,” says Laurel Quarberg, President of Hampton Roads Pride. “This is sure to be THE party of the summer and I hope everyone—gay AND straight—comes out to help us celebrate.”

PrideFest is a celebration of Hampton Roads’ LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Community and its allies—and we have a lot to celebrate this year. 2014 has been a pivotal year for LGBT rights across the country, but especially right here in Virginia—with a US District Judge ruling Virginia’s marriage ban unconstitutional and unwavering support from VA Attorney General Mark Herring.

For a complete schedule of events for PrideFest, visit www.HamptonRoadsPride.org. PrideFest is produced by Hampton Roads Pride. Hampton Roads Pride’s mission is To instill pride, celebrate unity and embrace diversity in the Hampton Roads Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community by creating visibility and promoting full human and civil rights through education, celebration, and networking.