Equality Loudoun is a non-profit organization that advocates, educates, defends, and builds community to support LGBTQ+ equality in Loudoun County.
Equality Loudoun envisions an inclusive community where LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized groups are fully embraced by active allies and can live safely and openly.
Advocacy: Through the work of our Equality Allies program, we are creating supporting networks of places, people, and institutions that commit to active allyship, the promotion of individual well-being, and meeting community needs. Advocacy focuses on prevention of discrimination, promoting physical and emotional health, and diversity practices.
Education: The Queer Training Program focuses on using a combination of research, best practices, and first-hand perspective to generate DEIA and LGBTQ+ focused training seminars and research used to empower local businesses, organizations, agencies, schools, families, and individuals to create equitable practices that benefit the LGBTQ+ community, reduce harmful outcomes, and promote equity.
Community: Inclusivity is the greatest methodology for reducing harmful outcomes by creating positive and accepting spaces. We develop relationships with local businesses and partners to host events focuses on individuals, youth, families, and creating community.
Defense: The core facet of Equality Loudoun is achieving what we call 'true equality.' Laws protecting individuals from discrimination, grant programs that support initiatives, and enforcement of policies that are in place to provide support are failing for the LGBTQ+ community. We utilize existing laws, relationships with legislative advocacy partners, local leaders, and legal experts to strengthen protections, seek funding, and enforce existing laws until our queer community is truly equal.
Mental Health: There is no greater issue faced by our community than disparate mental health outcomes- including higher prevalence of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation- caused by discriminatory practices, lack of safe and inclusive places, and stigmatization. Our programs help reduce these outcomes by creating more inclusive and successful communities that support an individual's emotional, physical, and social well-being.
Intersectionality: Our community is comprised of every marginalized and non-marginalized group in the United States- including racial, religious, gender, age, and disability minorities. Especially within marginalized communities, the prevalence of violence, homelessness, discrimination, and sexual assault continue to disproportionately impact the LGBTQ+ community. Our programs aim to support each community and provide education and awareness that reduces stigma and promotes better outcomes.
Partnerships are the cornerstone of our efforts. One organization cannot attempt to address all the needs of a community as broad and diverse as the LGBTQ+ community. With issues facing us like sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, homelessness, discrimination, and more, these partnerships are vital to the work of achieving the true equality that serves all people.
The partnerships listed below are some of our most vital, membership organizations where we work to bring the needs of the queer community into focus and receive the specialization and training necessary to help. We thank all of our community partners for their incredible service.
Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce: The Loudoun Chamber of Commerce is Loudoun County’s premier business advocacy organization, and is dedicated to creating enduring economic prosperity, individual opportunity and community vitality in Loudoun County for every business and every resident of our community. Learn more...
Loudoun County Continuum of Care: The Loudoun County Continuum of Care (CoC) is a community coalition of public, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations that provide a variety of shelter and support services to persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The overarching goal of the group is to ensure that there is a continuum of services to meet the needs of homeless persons in the community. Learn more...
Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia: SCAN of Northern Virginia is the only region-wide organization focused solely on preventing child abuse and neglect across Northern Virginia. For 30 years, we have been committed to developing effective prevention programming for all children and families, no matter what their circumstances. Learn more...
INOVA Medical: Inova is Northern Virginia’s leading nonprofit healthcare provider. Our mission is to provide world-class healthcare – every time, every touch – to each person in every community we have the privilege to serve. Equality Loudoun partners with the INOVA Pride Clinic, the INOVA Medical Juniper Program, and the central health coordinators for INOVA to ensure equal access for LGBTQ+ patients.
NOVA Equality Alliance: The NOVA Equality Alliance is a coalition of LGBTQ+-focused non-profits and advocacy organizations from across the region, including the CasaBrumar Foundation, Safe Space NOVA, PFLAG Loudoun, the NOVA PRISM Center & Library, and more.
Prevention Alliance of Loudoun: The Prevention Alliance of Loudoun (PAL) is a coalition of youth, Loudoun County agencies, faith-based organizations, and other community stakeholders and parents dedicated to mental health awareness and substance misuse prevention efforts. Learn more...
Are you looking for ways to help?
The best way is to be an active ally who speaks out against hate-whenever and whenever- and showing support in the community. Whether that is through the support of individuals who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or person with disabilities, or through support of the principles of diversity, equity, equality, accessibility, and inclusion, or through a life of service focused on government, military, environmental, or other important challenges.
To help support our mission, consider one of the following:
Consider a leadership or volunteer position with Equality Loudoun.
Learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.
Join one of our bias, DEIA, or LGBTQ+ focused training seminars.
Make a tax-deductible contribution to support our mission.
Join the Equality Allies program if you own a business, place of worship, medical provider, non-profit, or other organization.
Partner with us to create affirming community events.
Subscribe to receive our emails on important issues.
Equality Loudoun was founded in 2003 as a grassroots organization focused on fighting the largest battles for equality- public perception, marriage equality, and legal anti-discrimination protections. The EQLOCO founders focused on creating a community that provided safe places, friendships, visibility, and active demonstrations of the need for LGBTQ+ equality. They raised hundreds of books for inclusive school books, they marched in Town parades, and organized rallies to support students, community members, and other marginalized groups.
In 2021, a new Board of Directors re-launched the organization as a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization with the mission of building communities of support for LGBTQ+ people; advocating for equal protection in laws and policies; educating our community through trainings in businesses, school staff, and parents; and defending the rights of LGBTQ+ by providing resources and pursuing legal means to enshrine protections under the law. The founding members of this reimagined organization were a teacher, a recently graduated student, and a parent.
This new chapter grew under the lens of growing national campaigns built on anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, including anti-transgender laws prohibiting gender affirming care, dangerous policies that restricted equal participation in schools, and the rash of "Don't Say Gay" laws that have promulgated all the way to Virginia. With the help of other organizations throughout the Commonwealth, we have begun to turn the tide to reflect the true values of Virginians- inclusion, equality, and respect.
PRIDE IN OUR COMMUNITY AWARD
The Pride in Our Community award is designed to recognize a member of the community who has soared above all in their dedication to the tenets of Advocacy, Community, Education, and Defense in support of the LGBTQ+ and all communities in Loudoun County.
Connie Rice (2022): Connie has dedicated over a decade to being a leading voice in both the Loudoun County community and teach industry. As a former Board member for Equality Loudoun, she created a passion for improving her community and set herself apart as a leader in transgender rights advocacy in the region.
Chris Croll (2021): Chris worked tirelessly as an advocate within the community to improve schools both as a member of the Loudoun County School Board and as a community member always focusing on the mental health and wellness of youth. She dedicated herself to the passage of equal protections in the Public School System and works with a suicide prevention organization.
PRIDE IN OUR SCHOOLS AWARD
The Pride in Our Schools award is intended to recognize a member of the educational community who has exemplified dedication to LGBTQ+ equality in education- a fundamental aspect of the advancement towards LGBTQ+ equality for future generations.
Kristin Wells (2022): Frau Wells, as she's widely known by her students, was nominated by numerous students because her classroom was always a safe space for her students where they felt welcome, felt affirmed, and could feel safe to be themselves authentically. She stood out as an outstanding educator in 2022 for being inclusive and compassionate.
PRIDE IN OUR LEGACY AWARD
The Pride in Our Legacy award is reserved for a member of the Equality Loudoun Board of Directors who has inspired action, created change, and left a lasting impression on the LGBTQ+ community of Loudoun County forever.
Catie Cote (2022): Catie was one of the 2021 founders of Equality Loudoun - helping it become an incorporated non-profit that launched nearly a dozen programs within the span of a single year. She focused on launching the first Loudoun scholarships for LGBTQ+ students and a Banned Books Club that focused on equal representation in addition to being an outstanding teacher and parent.
Nicholas Gothard (2022): Nick was one of the 2021 founders of Equality Loudoun - helping it grow into a powerful regional force for change and equality, being responsible for getting the message out and expanding the reach to tens of thousands of Loudouners, and helping to organize the first Loudoun Pride Festival. Thanks to his efforts, hundreds of Loudoun County residents turned out over and over again to support the passage of Policy 8040.
PRIDE IN OUR SERVICE AWARD
The Pride in Our Service award was created to recognize the volunteer spirit that empowers community members to become change makers. These individuals have excelled at efforts to improve LGBTQ+ rights and demonstrated incredible resolve to be a force for good.
Jennifer Parsons (2022): Jenny served as the Deputy Director for the Loudoun Pride Festival in 2022, jumping into the newly created role and tackling every task that made Pride possible. Without her efforts and outstanding leadership, the first annual Loudoun Pride Festival would never have happened. Now, thanks to her, it stands to be an annual celebration that creates inclusivity and acceptance in Loudoun County.
Lindsay Tuck (2022): Lindsay has worked behind the scenes in multiple roles with Equality Loudoun since 2019, setting up numerous events, tabling in grueling conditions, lending her home to the efforts of the organization, managing the inventory and care of Equality Loudoun's equipment, and so much more. In 2022, she served as the Assistant to the Deputy Director for the Loudoun Pride Festival and was instrumental in creating the successful event that has now launched a legacy.
Nominations for the Pride Awards are accepted through May 1 and awards are announced at the Loudoun Pride Festival. To nominate someone, please email their name, email, and your reason for nominating to firstname.lastname@example.org