Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Issues National Coming Out Day Proclamation
Proclamation Announced Following Launch of Out RVA, the State Capital’s New
LGBT Tourism Campaign
National Coming Out Day was founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary on October 11, 1988 in celebration of the second gay march in Washington D.C. a year earlier. The purpose of the march and of National Coming Out Day is to promote awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender issues and to celebrate the LGBT community.
The Governor’s Proclamation follows recent news of the state capital “coming out” with Out RVA, a campaign designed to show people Richmond, Virginia’s strong LGBT community and highlight the area as a travel destination for LGBT travelers. The campaign launched Sept. 1 with advertisements in LGBT publications in the form of coming out letters from Richmond.
“We’ve always been close. Like ‘109 miles on I-95’ close. There’s something I need to tell you, though. Something that I’ve known for a while that you might not have picked up on. I know you’ve been busy running the country and everything. So here it is. I’m gay. Love, Richmond” reads one of the ads specifically designed for the Washington, D.C. market.
“For many LGBT people, coming out letters are the way they communicate their identity to friends and loved ones. We thought coming out letters would be a great way for us, as a destination, to share that Richmond is a welcoming place for LGBT travelers,” said Katherine O’Donnell, Vice President of Community Relations for Richmond Region Tourism. “Learning that Richmond is a LGBT-friendly destination might be a surprise. The letters offer a personal and powerful way for the Richmond area to communicate this.”
The campaign started locally with “Out” stickers that were distributed to local restaurants and businesses. The stickers can be seen on storefronts, cars, food trucks and more. The campaign includes RichmondisOut.com, a website where travelers can learn more about the area from “Richmond Insiders,” LGBT Richmonders who have shared what they love about the area. Richmond Insiders are available to contact through the website so visitors can connect directly with a local and ask for recommendations when planning a trip.
RichmondisOut.com also serves an outlet to celebrate Richmond’s LGBT community. Visitors are encouraged to share coming out stories on the site.
“The Richmond Region has so much to offer – arts and culture, history, our nationally acclaimed food and craft beer, outdoor recreation and the James River,” said Kevin Clay, Richmond Region LGBT Advisory Committee member and principal at Big Spoon Agency. “We want travelers to know that Richmond is LGBT-friendly.”
For travel planning, RichmondisOut.com connects visitors to VisitRichmondVa.com, which includes information for LGBT travelers. The section serves as a vehicle to connect them with LGBT-friendly businesses, TAG-certified accommodations, events and entertainment and other resources.
Richmond as a LGBT travel destination
Richmond Region Tourism is one of 24 U.S. destination marketing organizations including those in major destinations such as San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas and Philadelphia certified as a GLCVB through Community Marketing Inc.
Richmond Region Tourism has run annual LGBT marketing campaigns to coincide with VA Pride Fest for the past five years. In 2009, Richmond Region Tourism formed a local LGBT Tourism Advisory Committee to consult on the ongoing effort. Many LGBT travel writers have visited Richmond during previous campaigns and have shared positive stories about the area as a great travel destination.
Richmond was named a Frommer’s Top Destination for 2014 owing to its “growing slate of breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and even white-water river rapid activities cutting right through downtown.” In 2012, Richmond graced the cover of Outside Magazine after being named America’s Best River Town.