June is just around the corner. Although this year won’t look like past years, we can still celebrate our PRIDE in our community and our accomplishments throughout the millennia.
To kick off PRIDE, I wanted to share our proud history. Roots of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia stretch back 28 years. In 1992, the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club was founded as an outgrowth of an informal group supporting Jim Moran for Congress. Among the co-founders and early Presidents was Adam Ebbin. A decade later (2003), he became the first openly gay member of the Virginia House of Delegates and made history again in 2011 with his election to the Virginia Senate.
The purpose of the Virginia Partisans was twofold: to help elect pro-equality Virginia Democrats to local, state, and Federal office, and to encourage the support, participation and involvement of lesbians and gay men in the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA). Their role expanded over time to include lobbying on issues, vetting and supporting candidates, and providing manpower and financial contributions to campaigns.
In 2009, the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia was formed as a sister group of the Virginia Partisans. On December 4th, 2010, the DPVA formally recognized the LGBT Caucus and gave the organization a seat on the Party’s Steering Committee. This had been a long-term goal of the Virginia Partisans as this Committee sets key agenda and policies for the DPVA.
The Virginia Partisans began acting as the political action committee (PAC) of the Caucus in 2010, and on September 28th, 2013, Virginia Partisans was officially absorbed into the Caucus.
The successor organization to the Caucus, the LGBT+ Democrats of Virginia created new roles and committees to focus on endorsements and campaign support. The new organization established a Vice-Chair of Candidate Endorsement, and the Endorsements and Contributions Committee in its bylaws.
In 2019, we endorsed eighty-six candidates for local and state office. As the 2020 election cycle heats up, the Committee is identifying and supporting pro-equality Democratic candidates. We recently announced our first-round of 2020 endorsements including Senator Mark Warner and Representatives Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton, Bobby Scott, and Don Beyer.
In 2020, our goals are to –
• Present issues and act as an advocate for LGBT+ persons within the DPVA.
• Raise awareness of LGBT+ issues in the Commonwealth and DPVA.
• Encourage the participation of LGBT+ persons in the DPVA and local parties.
• Encourage, educate, and finance LGBT+ persons who aspire to public office.
• Help elect Democratic candidates.
Membership is open to any equality-minded Virginian who is registered to vote in the Commonwealth, and who believes and supports Democratic principles and candidates.
Over our nearly three decades, we’ve contributed more than $200,000 to pro-equality Democratic candidates, knocked tens of thousands of doors, called countless voters, and attended PRIDE and multi-cultural events around the Commonwealth.
But we aren’t done yet! There is still a lot of work to do and we’re already making calls for 2020 candidates.
We hope that you’ll support us in this work and join or renew your membership.
In Virginia, every year is an election year and LGBT+ rights are always on the agenda.