January 15, 2020 at 6:00 am EST | by Philip Van Slooten
New Equality Virginia executive director rallies support for LGBTQ rights bills
Equality Virginia Executive Director Vee Lamneck. (Photo courtesy of Vee Lamneck)

Vee Lamneck, Equality Virginia’s new executive director, on Tuesday morning was busy meeting with LGBTQ activists from across the state marshalling support for two bills: One to ban so-called conversion therapy and the other to help transgender Virginians update their birth certificates. 

Lamneck, who uses singular they pronouns, told the Washington Blade the organization is “working hard to organize folks to be there to testify” in support of the measures.

A subcommittee on Tuesday by a 4-3 vote margin referred state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County)’s Senate Bill 245, which would prohibit any health care provider or counselor from engaging in conversion therapy, to the Senate Education and Health Committee in a bipartisan vote. The same subcommittee in a bipartisan vote also advanced state Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax County)’s Senate Bill 657 that would streamline the process through which trans can update their name and sex on their birth certificates.

Lamneck succeeds James Parrish, who is now director of the Virginia Values Coalition, which supports a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law. Lamneck previously served as Equality Virginia’s program director and had been deputy director since 2016.

Lamneck told the Blade they find bureaucracy a challenge for grassroots organizing.

“We often only know a day or two before when a bill will be heard,” they explained, which makes it hard to gather supporters to the hearings to testify. 

This is why Lamneck posts legislative information to Equality Virginia’s social media and web accounts to keep the community updated. They feel sharing information is important for stakeholders to “stay in touch about ways to get involved” and make their voices heard.

Upcoming Equality Virginia events include their Crowd the Capital Lobby Days for LGBTQ Nondiscrimination scheduled for Jan. 21 and for Feb. 11, 18 and 25. The organization’s annual Day of Action is scheduled to take place on Feb. 4 at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.

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