The earliest open LGBTQ organizing we can find in Fairfax County is the establishment of the Fairfax Lesbian and Gay Citizen’s Association. A founding light was Jon Hinson, a member of Congress from Mississippi who was convicted of violating anti-LGBT laws, resigned, and stayed in the area.
This article from the Washington Post in 1990 discusses some of the political efforts in the DC suburbs, including FLGCA, and Virginians for Justices, which was the predecessor of Equality Virginia:
Associated with the Fairfax Gay and Lesbian Citizen’s Association (FGLCA) but becoming independent and drawing participants from all over the area, was Gay Fairfax. Gay Fairfax was one of the first and most successful public access television programs focusing on LGBTQ issues, and its participants went on to be involved in many others in the DC area and around the country. The digitized versions of all of the episodes are a gold mine of information on LGBTQ history in the metro area and the nation in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Some of them can be found on the Gay Fairfax Youtube channel.
In the ‘90s in Fairfax several citizens groups fought against exclusion of the Washington Blade (a free community newspaper with an LGBTQ focus) from Fairfax County Libraries.
At the beginning of the new millennium, National Capital Area Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and Metro DC Parents, Families and Friends of LGBTQ people (GLSEN and PFLAG) worked to persuade the Fairfax County School Board to add sexual orientation to its anti-harassment policy (affecting student behavior) and non-discrimination policy (affecting administrator behavior towards both students and staff). The anti-harrassment (anti-bullying) part was added in 2001, but a ruling by then Attorney General Jerry Kilgore led to the nondiscrimination effort being dropped indefinitely in 2002.
Founded in 2007, Equality Fairfax for a number of years was a community organization brought together LGBTQ people in the county for social events, networking, education events, family support and served to educate the broader community. Many LGBTQIA+ parents and parents of LGBTQIA+ students were involved in EF.
Marriage and non-discrimination in FCPS
In October 2014 same-sex marriage was made legal by order of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and a refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, lifting the stay (8 months before it was made legal nationwide). Within a month Fairfax County Public Schools had added Sexual Orientation to its nondiscrimination policy, with the express intent of treating married same-sex couples fairly.
In March 2015 Attorney General Mark Herring overturned Kilgore’s opinion (see above), and gave the official opinion that school boards have the authority to protect LGBTQ people in their districts. The Fairfax County School Board began its usual process of review, and by May 7, 2015 had added Gender Identity to its nondiscrimination policy, with much public expression both of support and opposition.
As a result, “FCPS Pride” was formed in July 2015 as an employees’ group for Fairfax County Public Schools. They found quickly that they were joined by parents and friends of LGBTQ students, so the organization now includes the latter group in its contacts.
In July 2016 the FCPS superintendent’s office released regulation detailing the assistance the system would offer for social transition for transgender students. Almost immediately the school board voted in a closed meeting to suspend those regulations for further study. FCPS Pride and other groups are advocating actively for the School Board to restart the process in 2017.
In the summer of 2017 the School Board office said that LGBTQ History Month in October would be recognized by the school board, to be announced at the October 12 meeting. In June 2020, the school board passed a resolution honoring LGBTQ+ Pride Month for the first time. The intent is for the SB to recognize LGBTQIA+ Pride Month again on June17, 2021.