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Equality Virginia records

Identifier: M 399

Scope and Contents

The Equality Virginia records collection includes materials created and acquired by the organization in the course of carrying out its administrative, outreach, and advocacy activities. Materials include minutes, reports, correspondence, bylaws, clippings, newsletters, pamphlets, electronic records, and audio visual materials. The collection is of value as it includes legislative materials and news clippings pertaining to the Bottoms v. Bottoms case, news clippings documenting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, along with clippings of hate crimes that the Virginia LGBT community faced during the 1980s and 1990s. The legislative materials also include the lawsuit against the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control that overturned legislation allowing liquor licenses to be revoked at establishments employing or catering to homosexuals.

A substantial group of materials pertains to the Virginia Housing Development Authority's “Family Rule” which Equality Virginia led the fight against, defeating legislation that would have kept LGBT families from qualifying for low-income loans. Researchers will find content containing materials for potential research in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, LGBT legal rights from 1987 to 2005, the Bottoms v. Bottoms case, or LGBT hate crimes. The collection also provides insight into the personal beliefs and views held by Virginia General Assembly candidates during the 1990s through candidate questionnaires conducted by Equality Virginia.


  • Creation: 1972-2008


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Biographical/ Historical Information

Equality Virginia was founded in 1989 as Virginians for Justice, which served as a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Virginians. The organizational structure consists of members, advisory councils, board of directors, and the executive committee as well as three task force groups: Hate Crimes Task Force, Development Task Force, and Legislative Task Force.

When the organization was founded, their immediate goal was to pursue the enactment of legislation that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all aspects of life. Specific goals included: to reform the ABC laws discriminating against LGBT establishments, increase penalties for hate crimes, amend the humans rights law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and fight for the rights of victims of the AIDS epidemic. Materials in the collection document strategies employed by Equality Virginia to forward these goals, including the following: uniting LGBT organizations, educating Virginians, communicating to the media, lobbying the members of the State General Assembly and other governmental agencies, and encouraging grassroot response to legislative initiatives.

The organization has had multiple successes in changing Virginia legislation to include equal rights for LGBT Virginians. These successes include fighting the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s “Family Rule” legislation, overturning legislation that allowed the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to revoke liquor licenses for homosexual establishments, along with defeating legislation that would ban gay adoption in Virginia.


5.88 Linear Feet (14 Document Cases)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into four series: Series 1: Administrative records, 1988-2008; Series 2: Outreach materials, 1988-2008; Series 3: Legislative materials, 1972-2008; Series 4: Clippings, 1988-2006.

Efforts have been made to maintain the original file organization. Files are arranged alphabetically in each series and materials within the files are arranged chronologically where applicable.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Equality Virginia in 2015.

Equality Virginia records, 1972-2008
A Collection in Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Collection number M 399
Jonathan Faulconer
2018 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All rights reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the VCU James Branch Cabell Library Repository

Special Collections and Archives 901 Park Avenue
Richmond Virginia 23284 USA US
(804) 828-1108