Black Pride RVA organizers put much thought into their work

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While organizing LGBTQ events is certainly rewarding, the work involves many hours of planning thoughtful, meaningful activities that will attract a multitude of diverse places people find themselves in their life journeys.

“We could never accomplish this without our wonderful cadre of volunteers,” shared Luise “Cheezi” Farmer, co-founder of Us Giving Richmond Connections, the host of the Black Pride RVA weekend of events. “No one in our organization is paid. It’s strictly a volunteer effort and we work to create fun events, but those that also serve purpose and help build healthy lives.”

Fellow co-founder and weekend planner, the Rev. Dr. Lacette Cross agrees. “Our mission is to foster a sense of community within the Black LGBTQ community through power building and social engagement. Our events are to help fill the gaps between a person’s racial identity and sexual orientation. We, as UGRC and the Weekend of Black Pride fill that gap by saying, this is how we can be both. And this is how we can foster the connections to our blackness and to our queerness that are healthy, that are vibrant and that are fun.”

“The LGBTQ community is diverse and Black LGBTQ people deserve a time to celebrate our voice,” continued Cross.

Photo: The Rev. Dr. Lacette Cross, Luise “Cheezi” Farmer

Drag Bingo is back!

Drag Bingo

Thursday, July 22nd 6PM
Diversity Richmond Event Hall
1407 Sherwood Ave., RVA 23220

Celebrity Caller Grace Wetpants
Performances by Melanin Monroe, Natasha Carrington, and Kelly Branch.

$20 admission gets you 10 games with $50 jackpots plus a $500 jackpot! Over $1,000 in CASH prizes! Cash Only - ATM on premises. Proceeds benefit Diversity Richmond.

No Smoking. All-ages welcome. Bring the whole family!

Shakedown Eats food truck on site offering something for both meat eaters and vegetarian/vegans! You can order ahead here and pick up your dinner on the way in or walk up when you get here. Shakedown accepts cash, credit and venmo.

It's been 17 months since our last Drag BINGO! and we can't wait to see you!

Be a dear and share our facebook event page

drag performers july 2021

Shakedown Eats

Come celebrate the "Opening of the Worlds"

Opening Of The Worlds

Friday, July 2nd 6-9 p.m.

For our karaoke contest, Nard's Professional DJ Services is bringing over 25,000 songs! A huge selection with everything including rock, pop, country, oldies, rap, show tunes and more!

$500 Cash in Karaoke Prizes! Karaoke Contest Rules: Sing a karaoke tune and your name goes in a raffle for one of five $100 drawings. One song per person. Be ready to sing when your name is called or you lose your turn. You do not have to be present for the drawings but must leave a contact number so we can give you the good news. Open to age 16 or older. Drawings held at 7, 7:30, 8, 8:30, 9.

Food will be for sale in the event hall catered by Midnight's Soul Food Catering.

midnights menu

IDs will be checked and wrist bands used to identify age 21 and older for alcoholic beverages.
Ice cold soft drinks and water will be on sale too.

Please share our event with your friends on facebook.

Proceeds benefit the programs of Diversity Richmond.

Sponsored by our good friends at Mongrel and our longtime supporters Capital Ale House. Cupcake Vineyards is the official wine sponsor of Diversity Richmond events.

Capital Alehouse Pride Logo
CUP Logo Icon

Our First Vaccination Clinic A Success

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For several months, Diversity Richmond has partnered with the Virginia Department of Health in conducting numerous COVID testing clinics, with hundreds of people being tested. This week we held our first vaccination clinic, enabling participants to protect themselves against infection.

“We are grateful to Diversity Richmond for their longstanding partnership,” shared Amy Popvich, Nurse Manager at Richmond Henrico Health District. “They have been welcoming to us and the community, offering their support since the beginning of the pandemic.”

While the vaccines are available to everyone, offering the shots in a LGBTQ friendly space has potential to reduce barriers. The LGBTQ community faces health disparities and are statistically less likely to have insurance and many have reported discrimination in healthcare settings.

Participants will return to Diversity for their second shots in a few weeks.

Pictured above is Keith Hurt, R.N. awaiting his first patient.

Virginia COPES Supports COVID Vaccination Clinic


Virginia COPES, which stands for compassionate, optimistic, person-centered, empowerment support, is a resource for Virginians who may be struggling in coping with the effects of COVID 19. Issues such as isolation, fear, grief and anxiety are plaguing many people. For help, call their toll-free warmline at 1-877-349-6429 or visit Staff of the organization attended our vaccination clinic to meet with people needing such services. Pictured are Clayton Wickham, Kristen Tully and Sadie Meadows.

Virginia Copes

More Drive In Drag Fun June 6th!

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Sun., June 6th 6 & 8pm

Your favorite queens tear it up with two Sunday evening shows in the Diversity Richmond parking lot! $10 per parking space - feel free to bring lawn chairs! Masks are required where social distancing is not possible, and if you use the restroom. Food truck TBA. Get your tickets here and we will send you a parking assignment. See you there!

EnCircle supports Foster Parents through challenging times

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May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and this is the 2nd article in our series.

By Margaret Nimmo Holland, Vice President of External Relations, enCircle

“It’s all new ground. We’re learning together.” That’s how enCircle Treatment Foster Parents Randall and Lanette Hall describe their journey fostering Taliah, a 13-year-old who identifies as a transgender girl. She was placed in their home by enCircle in March 2020, the day before schools and businesses locked down because of the pandemic.

EnCircle’s Treatment Foster Care (TFC) staff have been with the family every step of the way. The Halls feel grateful for the services wrapped around them, as they have helped Taliah settle into their home and into her own identity. EnCircle TFC staff are available for consultation, 24-hour crisis intervention, referrals to resources, and respite care for all families in the program.

Like other parents, the Halls have helped their child navigate the ups and downs of being in middle school and living through a pandemic. Unlike all parents, they have also leaned on enCircle staff and other supportive organizations to help them navigate the reactions to Taliah coming out as a transgender girl. There is the ongoing sting of making the girls’ track team at school and being allowed to practice, but not being allowed to compete in meets. But there are also achievements to celebrate, like finding success and acceptance through auditioning and being chosen for a local dance team.

Children in TFC have typically been in several homes or placements, are older, or have additional needs. A disproportionate number of teens in foster care identify as LGBTQ, many having been rejected by their families because of their identity. Like all people considering becoming foster parents, the Halls were excited but also had concerns. Would the child placed in their home be a fit? What they have learned, according to Randall, is that “you need to learn to accept whoever the child is.”

Part of being accepting of children in foster care is welcoming a diverse group of qualified foster parents. “We want everyone considering becoming a foster parent in the Richmond area to understand that we are an inclusive organization. Your experience as an LGBTQ adult could provide just the compassion and care that a child in foster care needs,” said Amy Barbour, TFC Program Manager at enCircle.

If you would like to learn more about enCircle or what is involved in becoming a Treatment Foster Parent, please visit You can also reach out directly to Amy at .

Virginia Pride fundraiser at the Crossroads Art Center

art center event

The recent Virginia Pride fundraiser hosted by the Crossroads Art Center was a smashing success. You can probably tell, even while wearing masks, that our volunteer bartenders were happy to be of service. Pictured are left to right, Holden Samuels, Justice Smith and Corey Martin. The Crossroads Art Center is located at 2016 Staples Mill Road.

EnCircle welcomes LGBTQ foster parents and teens

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May is Foster Care Awareness Month

By Margaret Nimmo Holland, Vice President of External Relations, enCircle

EnCircle is a 133-year-old nonprofit organization that is anything but old-fashioned and close-minded. Founded by a Lutheran pastor in 1888 as an orphanage, it has grown exponentially in recent years but often has operated below the radar. “We have been quietly helping children, adults, and families throughout Virginia for over a century, but people needing our help or wanting to support us didn’t always know we were here,” according to CEO Ray Ratke. The organization now supports and educates people with disabilities, provides mental health counseling, helps migrant youth reunite with family in the U.S., and supports foster youth and parents.

As the organization has expanded its footprint, it has also found a louder and clearer voice. In 2020 the organization’s Board of Directors changed its name from Lutheran Family Services of Virginia to EnCircle. “We want to communicate to everyone that our circle is wide, and all are included,” said Ratke. That open circle includes LGBTQ youth in foster care and a diverse group of foster parents.

The Treatment Foster Care program at enCircle has connected children who are in the custody of the Department of Social Services to loving homes for years. These days, the program is usually asked to match teenagers, sibling groups, or children with medical needs with foster parents. While these placements sometimes result in adoption, that is not necessarily the goal of Treatment Foster Care. It is designed to provide stability, support, and healing for children – and lead to permanent family connections, whether that is through adoption or return to the birth family or relatives.

EnCircle is always looking for additional foster parents who are willing to meet kids where they are, with staff supporting foster parents at every step of the journey. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care, meaning there is a critical need for foster parents who are open and understanding. LGBTQ adults bring lived experience navigating issues of identity and orientation, and as foster parents they can be an incredible source of support for a teenager who has experienced rejection and trauma.

If you would like to learn more about enCircle or what is involved in becoming a Treatment Foster Parent, please visit You can also reach out directly to Program Manager Amy Barbour at .

Next time: Learn more about one enCircle Foster Parent’s experience supporting a teenager who is transgender and how that family is supported by enCircle’s staff.