NATIONAL PRIDE MONTH

Living as LGBTQ in Colorado Springs

TOP FROM LEFT: Flora Vinson, former president of Springs Equality; Rev. Clare Twomey, Vista Grande Community Church; Rev. Nori Rost, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church; and Jack Wolfe, transgender man.

BOTTOM FROM LEFT: Ronald Eby, activist; Laila Ireland, transgender woman, activist and veteran; and Sophie Thunberg, Outreach Educator and Program Assistant at Inside Out Youth Services.

Colorado Springs was once known as the epicenter of the anti-gay rights movement after the passage of Amendment 2 in 1992. Now, community leaders share their views and reflect on LGBTQ life in Colorado as the nation commerates National Pride Month in June.
“The Bible can be either a book of great hope or a weapon. When it’s weaponized it is deadly and it has been weaponized against LGBTQ folk”

Rev. Dr. Nori Rost, queer minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church and a local activist in Colorado Springs

“Adolescents and gay youth were purposely trying to get AIDS, rather than live as a gay man. They would rather die of AIDS and I couldn’t handle the shame that it brought up in me and the sadness.”

Regina DiPadova, the founder of Inside Out, a support group for LGBTQ adolescents. DiPadova founded the group in 1990

“I feel like there is a stronger community here, but there aren’t a lot of specific spaces that are known for the LGBT community to gather and have a good time and connect.”

Alpha Fisher, a singer and songwriter based in Colorado Springs

“The one thing that I would say people don’t realize about the drag scene in Colorado Springs: there’s a lot of us. There are a good golly lot of us and we’re all different sizes and different shapes and different colors.”

Porsha DeMarco-Douglas, a performer, entertainer, and drag queen at Club Q, based in Colorado Springs

“United Church of Christ is open and affirming and it sort of transcends the notion of just acceptance and tolerance. It expands to inclusion, not just 'hey you’re welcome here,’’ but ‘hey, you’re equal here.”

Rev. Clare Twomey, pastor at Vista Grande Community Church-United Church of Christ in Colorado Springs

"Colorado has opportunities to move boldly forward to ensure equality for everyone. We took a major step forward this year by passing a bill to ban conversion therapy. There is still more work to be done to ensure that Colorado is a place where everyone has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability status, country of origin, or zip code."

Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado's current governor and the country's first openly gay governor

“I was dating a guy and we were just resting on each other at a coffee shop and a dad came up to me at our table. I thought I was going to have a heart attack, (but) he was like, ‘thank you for being visible for boys.’ I thought I was about to get the crap beaten out of me. Maybe the Springs is moving along and I just need to keep being visible.”

Joseph Jones, sitting with Karina Manta. Both are figure skaters for the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team and both identify as queer

"I've seen more gay bashing than probably anybody, any other bartender, that's for sure. It was just that we were not liked at all."

Tina Cassidy, who managed True Colors, a lesbian bar in Colorado Springs, during the early 1990’s

“We aren’t going to move forward as a country, as a society, and as Colorado Springs if people aren’t standing up, but just speaking out and saying this is who I am, you know, and I think we’re seeing that more and more, so I’m happy to be in these shoes.”

Jillian Bearden, a transgender pro-cyclist, who became the first transwoman to race with a pro peloton in the United States in 2017