Your Story Matters
It’s no secret that it’s still perfectly legal to discriminate against someone because of who they are or who they love in West Virginia. That’s because our state lacks enumerated protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, and public spaces. We’ve proposed a bipartisan solution to this problem: the Fairness Act. It’s a simple bill that has support on both sides of the aisle.
Unfortunately, not everyone believes that LGBTQ people still face discrimination in the year 2020. That’s why we need your help. As we advocate for the Fairness Act and other laws to improve the climate for LGBTQ people, we need your stories to illustrate why these laws are urgently needed.
Please use the form at the bottom of this page to tell us about the discrimination you’ve faced in West Virginia. It doesn’t have to be large acts of discrimination — your story matters, and any form of discrimination is wrong. Perhaps you’ve been fired from a job because you’re transgender and started your transition, or maybe you’ve been denied an apartment when a landlord found out you’re gay.
The story you submit won’t immediately be made public. After you submit a story, a staff member might be in touch to discuss ways we can use your story to fight for equality. If you prefer to keep your story private, we will respect your privacy. We are looking for people who are willing to share their stories with lawmakers and the general public over the next year. When we contact you, we can discuss how much you’d like to be involved.
You have a powerful voice, and your story matters.
Submit your story now.
How We Use Stories
Over the years, we’ve helped LGBTQ people and their allies become advocates for equality by equipping them with the tools necessary to share their stories. We believe that telling your story is one of the most compelling ways to affect change. Here are a few examples.
Faith Leaders for Fairness
We helped pull together a coalition of more than 100 diverse faith leaders to endorse the Fairness Act. Click here to watch the press conference announcing the coalition.
Ryan Moran grew up in West Virginia — the grandson of a coal miner and the son of a minister. Ryan is a gay man, and he felt he needed to leave West Virginia if he wanted to truly thrive. We helped him get a column in the Charleston Gazette-Mail in November of 2019. Click here to read it.
We’ve partnered with faith leaders across West Virginia to help change the conversation about faith and the LGBTQ community. Pastor Valerie Gittings, of Fairmont, spoke up for LGBTQ equality, and then her church was kicked out of its association. We met her shortly after that and produced a video to tell her story. Watch the video we made with Valerie Gittings by clicking here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens after I submit my story?
A Fairness West Virginia staff member will review your story. We will be in contact with you to discuss ways we can use your story to advocate for LGBTQ equality bills in the legislature.
Who will read my story?
We promise not to share your story with anyone until we’ve spoken with you personally and you give us permission. Until then, only Fairness West Virginia staff will read your story.
What if I don’t want my story to be public?
That’s alright! Your story matters, and even if you don’t want it to be public, it will help fuel our fight for equality.