panel discussion


Family Values Rhetoric & the Struggle for LGBTQ Equality in Virginia

TimeFriday, September 17, 2021 from 12:00 PM–1:00 PM
PriceFree, but registration required.

Join us for a series of virtual presentations on Virginia history and culture from scholars across the state. This series offers some of the most compelling sessions that had been proposed for the 2020 Virginia Forum conference, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. The annual event brings together teachers, students, and professionals interested in Virginia history and culture to present, discuss, and reconsider the story of the commonwealth. Free and open to the general public, this collaboration with the Library of Virginia will share the online sessions with a wider audience. Events are scheduled for July 23, August 6, August 20, and September 17, 2021.

On September 17, professors Amy Bertsch, Charles H. Ford, and Jeffrey L. Littlejohn offer a new perspective on contemporary Virginia history as they discuss the family values rhetoric of the 20th century and the way it affected members of the LGBTQ community. Bertsch will explore how newspaper reporters, community members, and legal figures perceived and depicted gender nonconforming African Americans in the years before queer liberation and the civil rights movement. Ford will then examine the infamous Bottoms v. Bottoms case in which a woman sued her own lesbian daughter for custody of her grandchild. And, finally, Littlejohn will analyze the legal campaign for marriage equality in Virginia with a focus on historical arguments that linked the ban on same-sex marriage to Virginia’s history of racial and gender discrimination.

For more information, contact Ashley Ramey at or 804.692.3001.

Register Here
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