|MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe today released his bold plan to further protect LGBTQ+ rights and break down the disparities LGBTQ+ communities, particularly communities of color, experience in public safety, health care, education, the economy and the workplace. The plan builds on Terry’s strong record as governor and the work done by Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Democrats to make progress for LGBTQ+ Virginians. As Virginia’s next governor, Terry will improve access to critical health services for LGBTQ+ people, repeal Virginia’s “conscience clause” and end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people wishing to foster or adopt children in need, enact an anti-bullying law to protect students, improve housing stability, and require health care professionals and law enforcement personnel to complete cultural competency training. Terry will also work with President Biden’s Administration to improve data collection efforts to support LGBTQ+ communities and break down racial disparities.
While Virginia has made tremendous progress over the past eight years in combating discrimination against LGBTQ+ Virginians, including the recent success of eliminating the “Gay Panic Defense” that for too long provided a defense against hate commit crimes against LGBTQ+ Virginians, much work remains for Virginia’s next governor. LGBTQ+ youth continue to experience greater risk of suicidal thoughts and mental health disorders. These numbers are even more striking for transgender communities of color, with 59% of Black transgender and nonbinary youth reporting a history of suicidal thoughts or attempts. Black transgender people also face some of the greatest economic disparities nationwide, with 34 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000 per year, and an unemployment rate of 26 percent, four times the rate of the general population.
As Virginia’s next governor, Terry will ensure that LGBTQ+ youth are able to access the inclusive and supportive services they need by increasing funding for the Virginia Mental Health Access Program. He will provide additional funding to develop specialized, culturally appropriate outreach programs and services to support LGBTQ+ youth so that every child can access the care they need. Terry will also work to create a more equitable post-COVID Virginia that lifts up and protects the LGBTQ+ community, particularly Black transgender Virginians. He will enact an anti-bullying law and implement the Virginia Department of Education’s new model policy to protect and affirm transgender students, invest in safe and inclusive housing and shelters, and increase access to culturally competent health and mental health care.
Senator Adam P. Ebbin, the first openly gay member of the General Assembly endorsed Terry’s plan Wednesday saying, “We are at a critical inflection point in this nation’s history and Virginia’s next Governor must be ready on day one to take the unique challenges affecting the LGBTQ+ community head-on. Terry McAuliffe has the record, the vision, and compassion needed to continue the hard work of creating a more inclusive, safe, and equitable Commonwealth for all Virginians. This plan is a bold step toward creating a stronger, more inclusive Virginia.”
“LGBTQ+ Virginians have faced discrimination and inequities for too long because of who they are or who they love. I am proud of the progress Virginia has made in protecting the LGBTQ+ community over the past eight years, but our work is far from over,” said Terry McAuliffe. “As governor, I will fight my heart out to make Virginia the most open, welcoming and inclusive state in the nation, and break down the disparities that LGBTQ+ communities, and particularly communities of color, face in education, health care, the economy and more. Together, we’ll move Virginia forward into a better, brighter future for all.”
During his time as Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry fought tirelessly to combat LGBTQ+ discrimination and make Virginia the most open and welcoming state in the nation. Terry was the first Southern candidate for Governor to run aggressively on a pro-LGBTQ+ marriage equality platform. His first action as governor was signing an executive order to prohibit discrimination against any LGBTQ+ state employee, and he made it clear that he would veto every piece of legislation that discriminated against LGBTQ+ people or undermined their constitutional rights. Terry kept that promise and vetoed every extremist Republican bill attacking LGBTQ+ rights. When same-sex marriage became legally recognized in Virginia, Terry signed an executive order directing state agencies to comply with the court ruling so that there would be no room for misinterpretation. And just five days after the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Virginia, Terry presided over a same-sex wedding, only the third governor ever to do so and the first in the South.
Since launching his campaign in December, Terry has released big, bold plans to strengthen Virginia’s education system and dramatically increase teacher pay, help secure Virginia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, reform our criminal justice system to create a more equitable Virginia, ensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, address the broken, predatory system of prescription drug pricing, boldly confront the gun violence epidemic, make Virginia the best state in the nation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health Care (STEM-H) and computer science education, tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth and invest in Virginia’s workforce to create a more equitable post-COVID economy, ensure Virginians have access to high-quality, affordable health care, tackle climate change and secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035, and lift up Black Virginians as the Commonwealth rebuilds equitably from the COVID-19.