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Monday, July 15, 2019

Coffee Break Convo- Pride Festival in a Conservative Town.

Look, I'll be direct. Colorado Springs does not have a great reputation regarding LGBTQIA rights.

After all, it was the birthplace of Amendment 2;  a ballot measure that stated that laws couldn't be passed that would allow protected status to anyone based on sexual orientation. Basically, the amendment would make it so that homosexual anti-discrimination laws couldn't be passed. The amendment passed in 1992 with 53% of the vote.

The amendment was clearly one of intolerance and rights restriction; causing Colorado to be dubbed "The Hate State." Ugh. Not our finest hour.

After a hard fought battle that ended up in the Supreme Court, the amendment was struck down as unconstitutional in 1996.

I was in high school when the bill passed, and I remember the political climate at that time. I was a budding liberal and even though I wasn't even of voting age I knew that the law was complete hate-ridden bullshit.

It also didn't help that Focus On The Family, an extremely conservative religious group that gives Mike Pence a boner every time the name is mentioned, moved to Colorado Springs in 1990 and soon joined the advisory board on the amendment.

And even though the amendment was struck down; Focus on the Family is still headquartered in Colorado Springs and continues to spew anti-gay hate speech and fuckery. The Human Rights Campaign has a detailed breakdown of FOTF's shady doings here.

So, yeah; Colorado Springs has a pretty checkered past when it comes to supporting the LGBTQIA community.

Which is why crosswalk made me tear up a bit yesterday.

I'll explain; yesterday I went to Colorado Springs Pridefest and saw the rainbow crosswalk at Colorado Ave and Tejon St.

It got me in the feels, as the kids say.

I remember attending one of the first Colorado Springs Pride Parades in high school and seeing protesters with ignorant hate-filled signs that would give Mike Pence another boner. Oh, and there was a weird guy who dressed up as a grim reaper to symbolize that gay people are going to Hell, I guess??? His message was unclear. Perhaps the costume was on sale. Or maybe he was just a huge Blue Oyster Cult Fan.

Anyway, to see a pride festival to go from protesters and grim reapers to an actual rainbow crosswalk made me feel good.

And yeah- the rainbow crosswalk was temporary and was removed today, but to briefly feel like we were in the Capitol Hill section of Seattle was pretty cool.

And of course, sad old trolls had to weigh in on the crosswalk; bringing out the same tired old "whataboutisms" like "what about a pro-life crosswalk?"

First of all, what? What would that even look like? A bunch of babies on a crosswalk? Creepy.

Second; technically all crosswalks are pro-life crosswalks since it is their job to keep pedestrians from getting hit by cars.

Third; get out of here with that unrelated argument. A first-year debate student can tell you that unrelated arguments don't win you the mock trial. It's like asking why a list of the top 10 cat breeds doesn't include Corgis.

Oh, also; I saw 3 Corgis yesterday AND I got to rub one's belly. It was one of the most transcendent moments of my life.

But I am off-topic. My point is that for a town with such a sordid past regarding equality; the rainbow crosswalk just felt like a giant leap from the days of Grim Reaper yore.

Seriously though, why the Grim Reaper get up? It makes no sense because even if you've been "grim reaped" for being gay, that doesn't mean you are going to Hell. The reaper doesn't get to decide that. I really don't think that religious zealot fully thought out his stupid hate costume.

Anyway, I am the first to acknowledge that Colorado Springs has a LONG way to go when it comes to nurturing the LGBTQIA community, but that small yet beautiful installation was at least a step in the right direction.

And now to the convo part of this- I want to hear your fun and beautiful moments from Pride this year. Any LGBTQIA Pride festival in any city. Share your moments, because they are yours and no stupid grim reaper can take that from you.

Oh, and if anyone comments with some anti-gay fuckery, I will delete your comment. Trolls have no space here.

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