LGBTQ Task Force and Resources

Information for people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ).

Page updated on Oct 1, 2021 at 4:07 PM

LGBTQ History Month

In recognition of October as LGBTQ History Month, the LGBTQ Task Force is sharing information about queer history in Alexandria and around Northern Virginia. Did you know that Alexandria was the first locality in Virginia to extend protections to gays and lesbians through its human rights ordinance? Or that the owner of a gay bar in Alexandria successfully sued to overturn a Virginia law that had prohibited bars from selling alcohol to gays and lesbians?

The Office of Historic Alexandria has published several Out of the Attic columns and social media posts on these and other compelling aspects of local LGBTQ history.

Gay Fairfax, a public access cable television program that aired in the early 1990s, sometimes covered news in Alexandria. In 1991, Gay Fairfax covered the opening of the French Quarter bar at 808 King Street. The segment includes interviews with owners and patrons. https://youtu.be/E58Y7v0STBQ?t=115 Photo: In 1991, the Washington Blade published on its front page this photo showing patrons at the French Quarter bar in Old Town celebrating after a federal judge determined Virginia’s ban on serving alcoholic beverages to gays and lesbians was unconstitutional. An owner of the French Quarter, then the only gay bar in Northern Virginia, had initiated the suit shortly after opening the establishment at 808 King Street. Credit: Copyright © by the Washington Blade, photo by Doug Hinckle.

French Quarter Blade Permissions to COA


Gender Nonconforming Entertainers Perform in Alexandria Theater
https://www.facebook.com/HistoricAlexandria/posts/2241338212677933
https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/attic/2021/Attic20210603FemaleImpersonators.pdf
Photo Louis Diggs Courtesy AFRO American newspapers

Louis Diggs Courtesy AFRO American Newspapers

Remarkable Visibility of Hannah Nokes, a Transgender Woman in Jim Crow Virginia
https://www.facebook.com/HistoricAlexandria/posts/1917004001778024
https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/attic/2020/Attic20200625HannahNokes.pdf

Photo: Hannah Nokes in Rural Electrification News, courtesy University of Michigan Library, reproduction by Robert Pfaff.

Hannah Nokes

Northern Virginian Bruce Scott Challenges Federal Government for Disqualifying Gay Civil Service Applicants
https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/attic/2020/Attic20200611BruceScott.pdf

Alexandria Approves Changes to Human Rights Ordinance to Extend Protections to Gays and Lesbians
https://www.facebook.com/HistoricAlexandria/posts/2243637955781292

Women Win Complaint After Being Kicked Out of Old Town Bar for Dancing Together
https://www.facebook.com/HistoricAlexandria/posts/2250880505057037

Gay Bar Opens on King Street, Successfully Challenges ABC Prohibition on Selling Alcohol to Gays and Lesbians
https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/attic/2020/Attic20200702FrenchQuarterCafe.pdf

Virginia drops ban on serving drinks to Gays,” Washington Blade, October 25, 1991
https://mattachinesocietywashingtondc.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/bladevaabc.pdf

Mapping Gay Space in Northern Virginia
https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/attic/2021/Attic20210624GayGuides.pdf

Mapping the Gay Guides: Understanding Queer Spaces in Pre- and Post-Stonewall America
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI82T9SISCc

Alexandria Adds Gender Identity and Transgender Status to City Protections
https://alextimes.com/2019/12/city-council-trans/ 


Pride Month in AlexandriaPride Month 2020

The City offered residents a variety of events and opportunities to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month in June and to recognize LGBTQ+ people and their contributions to Alexandria’s diverse community and the nation. The month kicked off with Celebrate Alexandria Pride workshops, and included the events below. Residents were also encouraged to access and share resources for individuals in the LGBTQ+ community and those who support them, including anti violence, educational and health resources as well as resources for youth, parents and older adults.


Progress Pride Flag CroppedProgress Pride Flag

This year, the Progress Pride Flag will be displayed at Market Square in front of City Hall (301 King St.). A 2018 redesign of the Rainbow Pride Flag, the Progress Pride Flag is designed by Daniel Quasar and highlights black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), transgender and nonbinary communities. The flags will be displayed throughout June to show support for Alexandria’s LGBTQ+ community and the City’s ALL Alexandria commitment to reduce and eliminate disparities and inequities experienced by all residents, especially those in communities of color and other groups who have been historically and systemically marginalized.


Virtual Workshops Held for the LGBTQ+ Community, Friends and Loved Ones, and Service Providers 

The Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force and Alexandria Library hosted the Celebrate Alexandria Pride Workshops June 3-5.  Twelve workshops were offered over three days.  Some workshops were creative and some were educational, but they all celebrated the resiliency and beauty of the LGBTQ+ community in Alexandria.  

Presenters and facilitators included members of the Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force and other local and state partners. Thank you to all partners: Alexandria Library, Safe Space NOVA, Center for Black Equity, Heard Program, Virginia Anti-Violence Project, Drag Queen Story Hour, Equality Virginia, Impacto LGBT, Virginia Equality Bar Association, Commission on Aging, Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Office of Human Rights, Department of Health, Department of Community and Human Services, Aging and Adult Services, Sexual Assault Center, Domestic Violence Program, Commission for Women, Visit Alexandria, Alexandria City Public Schools, Alive!, and all the other organizations and community members who helped to spread the word.

WORKSHOPS

PREVENTING VIOLENCE WITHIN AND AGAINST THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITIES
Natasha Smith, Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP)

Info about anti-violence work in Virginia and advocacy from an intersectional, multicultural lens. Resources for LGBTQ+ survivors and loved ones in Virginia.

SUN’S OUT, BUNS OUT! 

Tina Kantiano, Heard Program

A dance break!  If you were  vaccinated and you know it, clap your hands! And stomp your feet! And werk, werk, werk that arm! Shake it from our mask-free faces, to the tips of our safely pedicured toes. We are here, Ms. Summer! And we’re coming to slay.

LIVING AUTHENTICALLY: STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER VIRGINIANS

Sara and Dani

Transgender advocates brought a time for community and learning as they shared their stories as transgender people living in Northern Virginia, followed by dialogue and questions.

TOWARDS RACIAL EQUITY AND SHARED HUMANITY: REFLECTING ON WHITE PRIVILEGE IN LGBTQ COMMUNITIES

Tom Suydam and Ray Biegun,  Alexandria Community Members, and Dr. Gregory Samantha Rosenthal, co-founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project

This workshop stimulated white participants to reflect on their experiences of being both LGBTQ and white and consider the impact of those experiences on their motivation to support the cause of racial justice in America.

THE CHANGING LEGAL LANDSCAPE FOR LGBTQ VIRGINIANS

Alexandra Lydon, Legal Services of Northern Virginia and Virginia Equality Bar Association and Pat Ruble, Alexandria Office of Human Rights

It’s been a big year for LGBTQ Virginians at the state and federal levels. Info was shared about city and state legislation that affects the community. Alexandria City Council members kicked off this session by reading the Alexandria 2021 Pride Proclamation, and Senator Adam Ebbin spoke about his legislative work for the community. 

HISTORY OF BLACK LGBTQ+ ACTIVISM IN THE DMV AND DC BLACK PRIDE 
Kenya Hutton and Earl Fowlkes, Jr., the Center for Black Equity

Beginning in 1991, DC Black Pride began as a way to provide Black LGBTQ+ people an alternative to the largely white mainstream LGBTQ+ movement. Info from those beginnings from one of the founders of the movement and leaders from the Center for Black Equity.

OLDER LGBTQ ADULTS - WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER!

Ray Biegun, Alan Dinsmore, Bob Eiffert, Terri Lynch, Babs Waters - Alexandria Commission on Aging and Aging and Adult Services

What are some of the challenges facing older LGBTQ members of our community? We may not have a partner. We may not have close relatives or children. We may be alone. Do we have a support circle? Join a conversation about how we are part of a supportive, compassionate and understanding community.  This workshop didn't make anyone older, but it made getting older seem less intimidating, knowing we live in a community that cares.

AND THE CATEGORY IS!  SPOKEN WORD WITH C. THOMAS

Heard Program

Using the TV show Pose as a backdrop, participants listened to original poetry (and created their own) and identified the importance and relevance of LGBTQ artists and how their work has inspired others to live their truth.

QUEERING THE MEDIA: LGBTQ REPRESENTATION IN BOOKS, TV, AND FILM

Isaiah West, Librarian and Bookstagrammer: @thequeerbrarian

For those looking for a  good, queer character to fall in love with, Join Isaiah West discussed LGBTQ+ representation in books, television and film.

DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR WITH CITRINE

What do drag queens and children have in common? They love dressing up and all things sparkly and fancy! Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) was just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children ages 3-8 in libraries, schools and bookstores. .

HOW TO SPOT MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS IN LGBTQ+ YOUTH

Safe Space NOVA Executive Director, Jordan L. Costen-Sumpter and Denisha Johnson, LCSW

Mental health concerns plague the LGBTQ+ community at an exceedingly high rate. Even worse, symptoms--the early signs that there are mental health concerns--are overlooked, ignored or misdiagnosed. The purpose of this training was to provide parents and caretakers with signs of mental health concerns so that they are better equipped to identify them in children and provide helpful resources.

HELPFUL HINTS FOR THE COMING OUT PROCESS - GUIDANCE FOR FAMILIES, PARENTS/CAREGIVERS, AND SERVICE PROVIDERS

Safe Space NOVA Executive Director, Jordan L. Costen-Sumpter 

The coming out process of understanding and accepting a sexual orientation and/or gender identity can be difficult with the response of close family members and friends playing a huge role. With this training, parents and caretakers received the information and resources needed to properly navigate the process.


Annual Alexandria Pride Fair

Typically, the Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month by hosting annual Pride Month Fairs; due to the pandemic, the Task Force hosted three days of virtual workshops in 2020 in place of the fair and will do the same this year.Pride Month 2020

Previous Fairs have provided information about LGBTQ-inclusive services in Alexandria, free and confidential HIV testing, LGBTQ Family Storytime, light refreshments and LGBTQ Pride swag. The Fair is sponsored by the Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force, Alexandria Domestic Violence Program, Alexandria Sexual Assault Center and Alexandria Public Libraries. For more information or to register your organization as an exhibitor at a future fair, contact Erika Callaway Kleiner at erika.kleiner@alexandriava.gov.

Since 1970, the month has been celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which precipitated the first major demonstrations for LGBTQ  rights in America. On June 28, 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village, but bar patrons fought back. This resistance is now viewed by many as the beginning of the LGBTQ  rights movement in the United States.


LGBTQ Task Force

The Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force is a space where LGBTQ people and allies gather quarterly to network, share ideas, and plan training and community events. The goal of the Task Force is to create safe and inclusive service provision to LGBTQ people in the City of Alexandria. 
  
The Task Force began in 2007 as the Alexandria LGBTQ Victim Services Advisory Board and has always been supported through the Alexandria Domestic Violence Program and Sexual Assault Center.  The Task Force has partnered with a number of City agencies and community organizations to train thousands of service providers on how to create a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ community members. Service providers include law enforcement, social workers, counselors, advocates, attorneys, teachers, administrators, supervisors, clergy, healthcare professionals, firefighters, and other City employees. What began as a goal within the sexual and domestic violence programs has grown into a City-wide effort.  The overarching aspiration continues to be improving services and access to services for LGBTQ people throughout the City.  The Task Force trains service providers and also organizes local awareness events geared to LGBTQ community members. 
  
For more information or to join the Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force as a community member or service provider, please contact the Division Chief for the Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program, Debra Evans debra.evans@alexandriava.gov. 

Creating Safety 
People who identify as LGBTQ often face additional barriers to accessing services.  For example, research shows that intimate partner violence exists in LGBTQ relationships at the same rate as in heterosexual and gender conforming relationships.  Abusive LGBTQ relationships have similar dynamics of power and control as other abusive relationships; however, abusers can also take advantage of a heterosexist and homophobic society. For instance, some abusers threaten to "out" the survivor to parents, friends or employers, which could have detrimental consequences for the survivor.  In addition, people who identify as LGBTQ are often targeted for sexual violence and hate crimes perpetrated by family members, acquaintances, partners or strangers. Since many service providers have historically not been culturally competent and equipped to serve LGBTQ survivors, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and hate crimes against LGBTQ people have frequently gone undetected and unreported.  The Alexandria LGBTQ Task Force is working to help remove barriers to services and create emotional and physical safety for all people in Alexandria, including LGBTQ people. 

If you or a friend have survived or are surviving sexual or intimate partner violence, please call our trained hotline staff for support.


LGBTQ Resources


Anti-Violence Resources

General Resources

Resources for Youth and Parents

Education Resources

Health Resources

Older Adult Resources

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