Everyone has the right to live their lives free from discrimination and harassment – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We work in the courts, in the legislature, and in our communities to protect the rights of all LGBTQ+ Virginians.

Since the ACLU of Virginia was established in 1969, we’ve worked with brave, determined partners and clients to secure key rights for LGBTQ+ people in our Commonwealth and beyond:

And we won’t stop. We will keep pushing forward until all LGBTQ+ Virginians have equal rights in our laws and in practice.

In recent years, lawmakers and school boards have used their positions of power to target trans people, especially trans youth. We need your help to stem this hateful tide.

MAKE A DONATION today or VOLUNTEER to join the movement for LGBTQ+ equality.


At the end of his freshman year of high school, Gavin Grimm came out to his parents as transgender. His family and healthcare providers supported him and affirmed his identity. The next school year – armed with letters from his doctors and a new name – he walked into Gloucester High School as his true self. He used the boys’ restroom without incident for seven weeks. Then the school board got involved.

The Gloucester County School Board held a public meeting where Gavin’s personal medical information was openly debated. After that meeting, the school board passed a policy prohibiting students with “gender identity issues” from using the same restrooms as other boys and girls.

So we sued.

Together with Gavin and ACLU National, we filed a lawsuit against the school board that went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court – twice. Again and again, judges affirmed that Gavin and all trans students have the right to use bathroom facilities corresponding to their gender identity.

After six long years of fighting in court, Gavin won his case, long after he graduated high school. Now, he continues to advocate for trans youth as an activist and author.

As a result of Gavin’s courage and determination, judges affirmed that all trans students in the Fourth Circuit – including Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland – have a constitutionally protected right to use bathroom facilities in line with their gender identity.

I want to help protect trans and nonbinary students in Virginia. What can I do?

A.I want to help protect trans and nonbinary students in Virginia. What can I do?


Check out our action hub where you can learn more about the Virginia Department of Education’s policies, how school boards are denying trans and nonbinary kids their rights, and how to get more involved where you live.

Does Virginia still prohibit same-sex couples from getting married?

A.Does Virginia still prohibit same-sex couples from getting married?


Thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015, couples of all genders can marry in any state. The constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that Virginia passed in 2006 doesn’t stop same-sex couples from marrying today, but if the U.S. Supreme Court ruling were repealed, the Virginia ban would go back into effect. However, Virginia would still be required to recognize all marriage licenses issued in other states. Learn more about the state of marriage equality here.

What can I do about book bans in my school district?

A.What can I do about book bans in my school district?


No school board should be able to ban books on the basis of whether they personally find them to be “sexually explicit.” We know purging so-called “sexually explicit” books will disproportionately target books about the experiences of LGBTQ+ people and people of color. 

Students have a right to see themselves reflected in their classrooms and libraries; they also have a right to learn from the perspectives of people who aren’t like them. But school boards across Virginia are currently introducing and passing book ban policies with the sole purpose of removing books from school libraries. These policies are based on a misintepretion of a 2022 law that allows parents to opt their own child out of "sexually explicit" instructional content to prevent all children -- not just their own -- from accessing classic literature. Now is the time to speak out for students’ right to learn. Here are a few actions you can take.