Rainbow Richmond Timeline


In the spring, several bars whose clientele were mostly gay and lesbian were closed because they violated the ABC laws prohibiting sales of alcohol to known homosexuals. Several letters were written to the editors of the Richmond Times-Dispatch protesting these laws.


Fan Free Clinic opens, initially focused primarily on Women’s Health and the prevention of transmissible diseases. In the late 1980’s FFC became a primary clinic for HIV/AIDS care and currently is a primary facility in regards to transgender health care.


The Gay Liberation Front formed, an informal group with no structure or bi-laws, it ended in the fall of that year


Gay Alliance of Students forms at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). It asked for space and support from the school and was denied, then filed suit against the school in Gay Alliance of Students v. Matthews, et al (the board of directors of VCU). Initial ruling favored the school. The decision was appealed.

Gay Awareness in Perspectives – gay and lesbian group formed.

  • GAP RAP – LGBT publication from 1974 – 1978
  • GAP members attended New York City PRIDE, with GAP banner listing Richmond VA, attendees from other parts of the state joined with GAP in the PRIDE parade.


February 22 – first Richmond Lesbian Feminist meeting. RLF is still active and the oldest LGBT organization continually meeting in Richmond.

GAP members attend New York City Pride, wearing GAP T-shirts.

Dignity/Integrity group forms in Richmond.

Doe v. Commonwealth’s Attorney of the City of Richmond – Challenged sodomy laws in the state of Virginia which are still on the books, although not enforced after the US Supreme Court deemed these laws unconstitutional in 1993.


Federal Circuit Court rules in favor of Gay Alliance of Students v. Matthews, et al. – this ruling stated that Gay student groups must be allowed the same access to space and funding as other campus groups.

June - Our Own – LGBT publication began in Norfolk, soon extended coverage and availability to Richmond. It was started by the Unitarian Universalist Gay Caucus.


Anita Bryant. Credit ML


June 15 – shooting at the Male Box, bar with a primarily gay male clientele, leaving 1 dead and several injured sends shock waves throughout the community. Speculation is that this was an attempt by Leo Koury to monopolize control of the gay bars in town.

Anita Bryant “Save the Children" campaign galvanizes action across the country.

  • Richmond activists protest Bryant’s appearance in Norfolk.
  • Richmond Citizens for Gay and Lesbian Rights held first organized Gay Rights Rally in Richmond in Monroe Park on October 7 to protest Bryant’s performance at the University of Richmond.
  • Bruce Garnett and Neal Parsons confront Bryant at University of Richmond.

October 27 – Neal Parsons, Bruce Garnett and Tony Segura form the Richmond Gay Rights Association.

The Sexual Minorities Commission of the Richmond Catholic Diocese formed to advise Bishop Walter Sullivan.


February 25 – Virginia Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Rights forms.

April 9 – Labrys Books opens.

Richmond Human Rights Commission approved proposal for nondiscrimination to be added to the Richmond City Code including sexual orientation.


Marchers in DC. Credit ML


City Council considers Richmond Human Rights Commission Proposal, It approved the proposal after deleting sexual orientation from the list of protected classes; sexual orientation still not included as protected class.

June 23 – 1st PRIDE festival in Richmond, commemorates the 10th Anniversary of Stonewall, includes a car parade down a main street from Azalea Gardens to Byrd park, and a picnic at Byrd Park.

Richmond Lesbian Feminists (RLF) sponsors dance following PRIDE event.

Members of Virginia Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Rights, RLF and other individuals rally at the First March on Washington for LGBT Equality.


Beth Marschak is hired by the Virginia Coaliton on Lesbian and Gay Rights as the first lobbyist at the General Assembly on behalf of LGBT rights.

April – the General Assembly considers a bill that would decriminalize heterosexual sodomy and make homosexual sodomy a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Failed – sodomy remains a Class 6 felony.


Bruce Garnett – sponsored by Richmond Gay Rights Association, becomes the first openly gay man to lobby the General Assembly for LGBT rights.

WomensBooks – Women’s book cooperative opens in winter, after closing of Labrys books, offers books and music by and for women, books not generally available.


First mention of new "gay disease" eventually known as AIDS


Second Pride Event in Richmond.

Richmond AIDS Information Network formed in 1983.


Guy Kinman. Credit ML


Richmond Virginia Gay and Lesbian Alliance led by Guy Kinman sponsored billboard project, with several billboards around town “Someone you know is gay, maybe someone you love…”.


The Richmond Pride first published by The Richmond Virginia Gay Alliance to distribute news and information to Richmond gay community.

===1987=== June: Report eases some fears, primary transmission of AIDS through anal intercourse, oral sexual activities do not transmit the virus


Statewide organization “Virginians for Justice” was formed.

OUT! Richmond founded, "direct action" organization

Artists for Life: major artists in Richmond raise about $30,000 for AIDS service organizations.


Richmond AIDS Ministry created, holds first training and opens guest houses for PWAs


Richmond Organization for Sexual Minority Youth formed.

Virginians for Justice underwrites suit challenging anti-gay ABC regulations.

October - ABC regulations declared unconstitutional and unenforcable.

OUT! Richmond stages sit-ins at Cracker Barrel restaurants to protest anti-gay employment policies.


May 19 - Rep. Patrica Schroeder (D-CO)introduces bill to end ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

May 19 - Virginia naval aviator, Tracy Thorne comes out on Nightline.


Lesbian Mom, Sharon Bottoms, loses custody of son Tyler


The Richmond Gay Community Foundation, Inc (RGCF) formed and granted 501(c)3 nonprofit status.



RGCF opened Diversity Thrift to raise money to support LGBTQ organizations in Richmond.


GayRichmond.com debuts as a web site for LGBT news, culture and business.


Virginians for Justice becomes Equality Virginia


Richmond celebrates the US Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas.

Pride festival is nearly canceled after Hurricane Isabell, but Pride goes on amid the fallen trees.


Virginia General Assembly passes the Affirmation of Marriage Act - HB 751. The LGBT community statewide is outraged and rallies on June 30 to protest the law's effective date.


RGCF moved into its own building, a 47,000 square foot facility.

Virginia passed one of the most restrictive constitutional amendments against same sex marriage.



RGCF opens the Gay Community Center of Richmond, featuring meeting space available for community events and the GCCR Art Gallery.

Vigil for Lawrence King held uniting more than a dozen LGBT comunity groups in opposition to anti-LGBT violence.

First-ever LGBT forum for Richmond mayoral candidates held.

Central Virginia Rainbow Partnership formed. It is the first formal ongoing collaborative effort among Virginia LGBT and allied groups.


Richmond rallies against the California Supreme Court decision upholding Proposition 8.


Richmond community protests Westboro Baptist Church appearances at Holocaust Museum and other local locations.

VCU and community organizations protest Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's request to state schools to eliminate nondiscrimination clauses, as well as Governor McDonnell's ommission of sexual orientation from an Executive Order banning employment discrimination.