Mountaineers pack the Capitol for the Fairness For All Day

CHARLESTON, West Virginia — While West Virginia lawmakers continue to push some of the most extreme attacks on LGBTQ people in recent memory, dozens of Mountaineers traveled to the state Capitol on Monday to participate in the inaugural Fairness For All Day.

Throughout the day, LGBTQ West Virginians, their allies and loved ones met with lawmakers to explain the harmful bills moving through the legislature, including a gender-affirming care ban and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“Members of this Legislature want to pretend that LGBTQ West Virginians don’t belong here, that we should go back in the closet or find some place new to call home. That our rights, our health care and our culture don’t have a place in this Mountain State,” said Dr. Donte Newsom, chairman of the Fairness West Virginia Board of Directors. “Well, I hope every single legislator can hear me when I say this: We’re here — always have been, always will be. And we’re not going anywhere.”

Newsom and other community members participated in a rally in the lower rotunda of the Capitol before the House of Delegates and Senate floor sessions began. A recording of the rally can be viewed below.

Dozens of organizations from across the state – and even some from neighboring states – came together to celebrate and offer support to the LGBTQ community and speak out against dangerous bills like HB 2007, which would make it illegal for health providers to offer medically sound care to their transgender patients.

“The real intent of [House Bill 2007] is to erase transgender people from the Mountain State, but we can’t let that happen,” said Isabella Cortez, gender policy manager for Fairness West Virginia. “We’re not going back in the closet. If you thought this would scare us back in, you’re sadly mistaken. We’re  going to continue affirming and supporting transgender teens every single day, because the medical advice is clear. If we want our kids to thrive, we need to love them for who they are, not who we want them to be.”

The care lawmakers are attempting to outlaw is safe and accepted as best practices by every credible medical organization in the United States. When trans youth get this care, they are less likely to attempt or consider suicide, suffer from severe depression and anxiety, and they are less likely to develop substance use disorders.

Special thanks to Perry Bennett, a legislative photographer, for capturing so many great photos from this event. To view the full gallery of his photos, visit this website.

Fairness For All Day

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Please direct questions and interview requests to press@fairnesswv.org