(Richmond, Virginia) The Virginia Equality Bar Association (VEBA) came out today on the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a day on which people across America celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or as an ally. The theme this year is “Coming Out Still Matters,” and the Virginia Equality Bar Association showed that it agrees with the theme by choosing to “come out” today.
The Virginia Equality Bar Association is a newly organized, independent, non-partisan, voluntary professional organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) legal professionals and their allies in the legal community that will seek to secure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. More than twenty legal professionals came together over the last few months to discuss the need for an organization like the VEBA that can provide a forum for education and advocacy on LGBT related issues.
“We chose to announce the formation of the VEBA on National Coming Out Day because the founding of this new bar association is an organizational coming out in every sense of the term,” said Timothy Lyons, Associate Attorney at Livingston Law in Charlottesville, one of the initial directors of the VEBA. Lyons added, “Just as coming out often educated our families and friends about the struggles and triumphs of functioning in society with an orientation not considered mainstream, by forming an organization such as this, this ‘out’ bar association will help us educate our colleagues and other members of the legal community on the struggles and triumphs facing LGBT Virginians who have no protections or status under current Virginia law. VEBA will work towards ensuring the legal systems of Virginia function without regard to a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
In articulating why the VEBA was founded, Christina Svoboda, another of the three initial directors of the Association, explained “great work has been done on a national level, and it is our intent to use this momentum to move Virginia forward in the fight for full equality for everyone.”
Cordel Faulk, Director of Admissions at the University of Virginia School of Law, also an initial director of the VEBA, described the overarching ideas of the new Association, “the greatness of the American Experiment stems from the fact that this country has been willing to acknowledge the need to broaden the Founders ideals of freedom and equality. Maybe not always as quickly as some would like–and often with a fight–but the grand sweep of this nation's history is in the right direction. The Virginia Equality Bar Association will help the commonwealth do its part to continue proving all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are created equal.”
Membership inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.