While Virginia remains one of the most anti-LGBT states in the nation in terms of legislation aimed at making LGBT Virginians third class citizens, nonetheless in the Hampton Roads area the LGBT community seems to be flourishing - notwithstanding some fragmentation and personal egos that undermine the various LGBT organizations from working as a fully coordinated unit. Last night's pier party at the Ocean View Pier demonstrated how effective we can be when people cooperate and support other organizations' events. There were over 700 people who attended and it was a great party. Moreover, $1500 was raised for the local SPCA from voluntary contributions at the door.
My hope is that as time goes by local LGBT organizations will make more of an effort to coordinated event dates so that they do not conflict and will increase opportunities for individuals to attend all events without being forced to pick and choose which event they can attend out of several scheduled for the same date. I likewise hope that some of the personalities involved will get the message that we are all on the same team and there is no need for a competition among the LGBT organizations each of which has a role to play in the larger battle for LGBT equality. HRBOR has its niche as Virginia's only LGBT and LGBT friendly chamber of commerce, HROC has its mission for social and educational opportunities, HR Pride provides yet other social and charitable opportunities, while TACT and ACCESS AIDS CARE provide need support for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and supporting those in need. The success of one organization does not in any way detract for the merits of or need for the others.
Admittedly, I am involved in HRBOR as one of its founders and I also serve on the HR Pride board of directors. In addition, the boyfriend and I have supported several ACCESS fundraisers and will be supporting an event next weekend at the home of friends. That in no way indicates that I do not 100% support what other organizations and individuals are doing. We just need to do a better job of working together and not allowing petty jealousies to undermine the larger effort which benefits ALL of us.