Thank you, Guy Kinman

Guy Kinman

Our little corner of the world felt a moment of silence on Monday, September 17, 2018 as Guy Kinman slipped quietly from our midst. A longtime activist who dedicated his life to the battle for equality and justice, Guy Kinman had vision and fortitude that will always benefit us.

While Guy worked tirelessly every day, probably his most well-known project was the billboard campaign that he led several years ago. That was a gigantic step for Richmond, to go so public, to put the word “GAY” in front of hundreds of thousands of travelers, to boldly proclaim that we are here and no longer ashamed.

The accompanying photo was taken of Guy at the Diversity Richmond rebranding celebration a few years ago. The note he penned for us read, “My admiration to all of us! We have gone from being those peculiar people to avoid to those authentic humans - wonderful people worth knowing!!"

Godspeed, good friend.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director

Diversity moments happen often

unity flags

I have often shared that this is one hectic place to work. Staff member juggle enough effort for at least two people. Nonprofit job descriptions are not worth the paper they are written on. You do whatever needs doing. Maintaining an older, big building brings an issue of some sort most every day. Our delivery truck needs repairs, the plumbing is leaking, we just realized that we double-booked two groups using the same conference room. Ugh! It is easy to wonder, at the end of the day, if we have done anything that actually befitted our LGBTQ community.

Then it will happen. A “Diversity moment.” A moment that reminds us what a privilege it is to work here. My most recent was a couple of Sundays ago.

A friend to many of us, Pete Terrell, died July 24th. His brother, Guy, who is also a community member, asked if the memorial service could be held here. We were honored.

As I sat on the back row I looked over the sizable crowd, realizing that the vast majority of people present had never been here before. Folks from Pete’s professional and personal life of 77 years were here. Once again I realized how far reaching the arms of Diversity Richmond can be. People, many of them total strangers to each other, brought together by a common bond, a man who had touched them profoundly, a man who happened to be gay, at a place called Diversity Richmond.

We were there again for someone who needed us. And what a privilege that is. For this, our community should be proud. We have our differences and opposing opinions, but hopefully those things that unite us, the struggles and journeys and commonalities that bind us will sustain us throughout.

I believe they will.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director

Can you help us continue our good work of supporting our community? Please mail your donation to 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220 or online here.

Diversity Richmond gives, gives, gives

The Executive LGBTQ Leadership Committee

And we love doing it

As I sit at my computer typing this letter I am listening to Richmond Triangle Players practice an upcoming musical. Their rehearsal room is right outside my office. A few doors down our Iridian Art Gallery committee is planning their next award-winning exhibition and in the classroom is the board meeting of Monument City Music. Add to that the production of “Butterflies,” in our event hall. The play is a part of Black Pride RVA that is also taking place at Diversity this weekend.

Pictured above: The Executive LGBTQ Leadership Committee
often meets at Diversity

This is just a sampling of what Diversity Richmond does every day. We provide free clothing to clients of organizations such as Health Brigade and Side By Side and for the last years have invested $5,000 annually helping homeless or near-homeless LGBTQ people. We donate books to Richmond City Public Schools libraries; house two transgender and three LGBTQ twelve step programs.

All while doing that, we run one of the city’s top thrift stores, donating profits back to the LGBTQ community.

Plus we spend lots of time on the phone and in person with folks who call upon us for support, just needing someone to talk with.

So when people ask, “Exactly what does Diversity Richmond do?” It’s not easy to explain, but we one thing we know…we do a lot.

Thank you for your continued support that makes all this possible.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director

Can you help us continue our good work of supporting our community? Please mail your donation to 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220 or online here

Diversity Richmond continues to meet community challenges

Diversity Richmond continues to meet community challenges

Over the last few months our board of directors (and staff) has been reexamining our mission and the challenges that we face as Central Virginia’s LGBTQ community center.

Any nonprofit worth its salt must continually look at how community expectations change and new needs that the community may have.

We stay busy. Last year over 8,000 people used our building for free. This included committee and board meetings, play rehearsals, fundraisers, support groups and community of faith services. We donate storage space to eight LGBT groups, saving them thousands of dollars each year.

We donate clothing and shoes to those in need. Last year we spent $5,000 helping local LGBT people who were homeless or almost homeless. Thus far this year we have spent about $3,000 doing the same. Since 1999 we have contributed almost $1Million in support of LGBT and LGBT-friendly nonprofits.
A lesson that we have learned is that we need to do a better job of telling our stories. Nonprofits sharing what they do is an on-going job. We cannot depend on the annual report to get the word out.

Above: Diversity Richmond, in partnership with other community organizations,
hosted a vigil for victims of the Orlando shooting in 2016

So as we strategize, please let us hear from you. We are most proud of our accomplishments and we stand on those successes to help us see the future. I look forward to hearing from you.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director

Dr. King and Roseanne Barr

ABC restored my faith by firing Roseanne Barr. Her twitter escapade about Valarie Jarrett, former advisor to President Obama, “Muslim brotherhood and Planet of the Apes had a baby=vj,” was more than offensive. ABC called the comments repugnant and abhorrent.

Longtime Roseanne co-star and lesbian, Sara Gilbert referred to the episode as “incredibly sad.” Roseanne consulting producer, lesbian comedienne and activist, Wanda Sykes, resigned when she heard the news.

While the voices of the famous carry significant weight, so does everyone else’s. The public outcry was loud and did not fall on a network that was not paying attention. As Dr. King said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty of the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”

If the last year has not awakened our moral compasses, there is something wrong with us. We must speak often and louder than ever before. Hate and prejudice has national support as we have never seen in our lifetimes.

Grab every opportunity to speak out. Turn insults into victories. All we have to do is tell the truth and tell it loudly.

Contact ABC and acknowledge that they did the right thing.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director


Family means different things to people. Some grow up in nurturing, loving environments. Others don’t.

Several years ago a woman told me that mothers of gay men were lucky. She viewed the gay men in her life as good sons to their mothers; never forgetting birthdays, anniversaries, much less Mother’s Day. Always thoughtful and considerate, she saw us. I had to laugh as I knew that gay men crossed the gambit, a real mix we are.

Mothers of LGBTQ people also run the gambit. While we are surrounded by moms who adore their LGBTQ children, we are all too frequently reminded of those who do not.

Lesbian mothers have faced more than their share of injustice, discrimination and bias, often from their own children. Angry former husbands have tossed gas on the fires. Emotions run high. Life-long pain is often the result.

And then there are the others of our community. Women who marry women and who have children. Women who remain single, but are mothers to kids.

For generations women have played major roles in the fight for LGBTQ civil rights and often those sacrifices and victories have gone unacknowledged. Giving the world our children is but only one thing they do for us, albeit a life force that can be brought about by no other.

If your own mother, for whatever reason, cannot or will not hear your voice, find one who will. Celebrate life.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director

Richmond LGBT community always rises to the occasion

Give Out Day

Our community never ceases to amaze me. Always present. Always there.

No better example than the recent “Give Out Day.” If you were one of those folks who, by day’s end, felt a bit overwhelmed you received one more email or Facebook post from a local LGBT organization asking you to donate, we know how you felt.

Whether it be supporting youth, providing free healthcare, battling LGBT violence, or entertaining us on stage, you answered the call with your financial support. On behalf of all our wonderful organizations, we say thank you!

Every day at Diversity Richmond, we help members of our community. Through our support groups, free meeting rooms, storage spaces for LGBT nonprofits, helping to fight homelessness in our community or the promotion of LGBT artists, we are ever-present. And we cannot do what we do without you.

The challenges keep coming. Help is needed. And we need you. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director

"I was so glad I found Diversity"

Side By Side

I recently spoke at a monthly church program about the work of Diversity Richmond. It was a very supportive group and we had a great 90 minute conversation that later turned toward religion and politics, two issues strongly facing the LGBT movement.

After the program, a gentleman shared that several years ago he moved to Richmond from New York to attend seminary. While riding down I-95, he spotted a building with a huge rainbow painted on the walls. He investigated and fell in love with the thrift store and our mission.

While in seminary he also had a private counseling service. One of his clients was a young woman struggling with her sexual orientation. He visited Diversity Richmond and located Side By Side (at that time the organization was ROSMY) and referred his client there. Since that time he has led several young people to Side By Side.

Connecting people with resources is something we do often. And how good it is to have such a strong community filled with good people and solid organizations that address our needs.

We can only do the good work we do every day with community support. Can you help us? To make a donation on line go to or mail donations to 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, 23220.

Bill Harrison

What does Diversity Richmond do?

A board member shared with me that when he asked an organization about doing a fundraiser for Diversity Richmond, the response was, “Diversity Thrift supports the organization. They don’t need our help.”

Raising the community’s awareness of what we do has always been an ongoing challenge. Many nonprofits serve a much more narrow population than we do…the elderly, the homeless, the blind, and the homebound. Our services encompass lots of different kinds of people.

We provide free clothing to school kids on public assistance. We host organizations such as Richmond Triangle Players for rehearsals; Side-By-Side, PFLG and Virginia Pride meetings; several twelve-step programs and countless other groups whose missions we endorse. Seldom is this building not filled to capacity after the thrift store closes.

We house the only art gallery in the south whose sole mission is to support LGBTQ art and artists. We donate household goods that are not sold in the store to CARITAS, helping people get back on their feet. Last year we invested $5,000 in helping LGBT people fight homelessness, paying rent, car or utility bills.

Since 1999 we have invested almost $1Million back into the community, helping other nonprofits do their good work. Organizations such as Side By Side, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, the Peace Education Center, Health Brigade, Planned Parenthood, Jewish Family Services and the Alzheimer’s Association, to name a few.

So the answer to the question, “Does Diversity Richmond need money?” is yes. Maintaining an aging building is costly. We have big expenses in providing the water, heat and air conditioning that groups use for free. Insurance coverage on the building is increasing every year.

Like any nonprofit worth its salt, much of what we gain, we give away, but we need your support in doing that. If you can make a donation to our causes, that will be much appreciated.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director


or mail a check to 1407 Sherwood Avenue, 23220

Sometime watching the legislative process can make you feel sick

Republicans shoot down LGBT employment and housing protections

Through the leadership of Equality Virginia, lots of us gathered at the Capital last week to encourage the passing of legislation that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment and housing. As difficult as it is to believe, it is legal in Virginia to deny employment, fire someone and also refuse to rent or sell a home to someone if they are even perceived to be LGBT.

We went there with hopes that this year would be different. And actually it was as the Republicans who tabled the bills heard more than they probably expected. After about twenty people and organizations spoke in favor of the bills, the Family Foundation, the Catholic Church and the Baptists did their usual “Chicken Little” dance that if the bills were passed the world would come to an end. These are the exact scare tactics they have used for years and the last time we checked the sun still rises.

After the votes were cast, Delegate Delores McQuinn delivered the most powerful response calling out people by name … white men who have no understanding at all of discrimination. As the legislators filed out they were greeted by chants of, “shame, shame, shame.”

While justice was tabled for another year, that afternoon built community and solidarity. We were there and will continue to be until justice is served.

Bill Harrison

Sadly I must remain in the closet

I have shared before that Diversity Richmond can be one hectic, chaotic, stressful, wonderful place. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and feel “we can’t keep up!” Then something happens to put everything in its proper perspective and reminds us why we are here.

A note along with a cash donation recently came in the mail from someone who shared, “Sorry, but can’t reveal a return address because sadly I must remain in the closet. Wish I could be active in Diversity Richmond. Seems like an outstanding organization.”

While we celebrate marriage equality, election victories and other progress, we must remember that many of our brothers and sisters still remain closeted. The reasons vary. It may be that they are in “heterosexual” marriages, possibly face family rejection or being fired from their jobs. Whatever the reason, we must continue our fight for acceptance for all our community.

Our “sender” shared that they do receive our newsletter. To them and all folks who are struggling with acceptance, please know you are far from forgotten. Thank you for reaching out. You have reminded us that you are there. And please remember we are here with open arms if there is any way we can help bring down those walls.

May we all pledge that this year we will speak louder than ever before.

Bill Harrison

It’s been a busy year – with much thanks to YOU

Diversity Richmond Celebrates 2017

As we close 2017, we look back with pride and gratitude.

We brought the community several outstanding exhibits through Iridian Gallery, the only gallery in the south dedicated to the work of LGBT artists. We now host three LGBT twelve-step programs; a women’s coming out group, three transgender support groups, a gay men’s support group and the only bisexual support group in the area.

We donated thousands of dollars in meeting and storage space to countless LGBT organizations as well as free rooms for fundraisers. We spent over $5,000 helping homeless and near-homeless people in our community. We awarded $15,000 to ten LGBT nonprofits in support of their work.

Diversity Richmond coordinated two buses that traveled to Washington for the LGBTQ March, allowing folks to participate in a history-making event that created lifelong memories. In February we celebrated Black LGBTQ History Month, partnering with the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. We supported the annual Pride Festival, held several special events including “All Americans,” in collaboration with the popular Fourth Fridays crowd. We celebrated “Scary-okey” bringing community together as we did with two editions of Drag Bingo.

A few weeks ago we recognized several history makers and awarded our annual grants. The Governor, the Mayor, the VCU President and many of you were there that night. It was a night to be proud.

If you like what we do, please help us continue the good work. We will make a few big announcements in early 2018 and as our workload grows, so does the need for your support. If you can help, please use this link to make a donation.

We wish you a great holiday and a very successful and happy 2018.

Bill Harrison
President and Executive Director