Nearly every city along the Front Range has festivals, parades, live music and a long list of one-day events to celebrate Pride Month in June.
“It’s one day of the year we all can be together in a somewhat safe space and celebrate and come as we fully are,” said Mardi Moore, executive director of Out Boulder, a nonprofit that supports and advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community in Boulder County and beyond. “Here in Boulder County, there are a variety of Pride events.”
During Pride Month, there are more than a dozen one-day Pride events from Boulder to Cheyenne in June and July. Out Boulder County hosts four key Pride events to celebrate Boulder Pridefest 2023, including the Boulder Pride Festival, the Longmont Pride Festival, Lafayette’s Pride on the Plaza, Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Pride and Queer Contenders (a full list of events is at www.outboulder.org/Pride). The Boulder Pride Festival was June 11 at Boulder Central Park with an array of performers, live music, 150 food and vendor booths, a beer garden, an arts and crafts area, and giveaways all over the park.
The event kicked off with the Boulder Pride Visibility March where LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) identities and allies marched and showed their pride in festive, colorful dress.
“(It’s the) fun, the people, the music and the food and the overall feeling of happiness and joy,” Moore said.
The Lafayette Pride was June 15, QTPOC Pride June 18, and Longmont Pride June 30; they were similar to Boulder Pride with Longmont Pride being family friendly without alcohol.
“We will probably have 8,000 to 10,000 people in Boulder,” Moore said prior to the events. “Longmont will have 6,000, and Lafayette is a smaller, daytime event.”
Out Boulder also has representation at other Pride events, such as those in Broomfield, Lyons and Superior. It hosts several events, too, including fundraisers, a happy hour, a drag competition, a singles social, a dance party, a pride run and walk, and a poetry open mic.
“LGBT is a minority population, no matter the country,” Moore said. “Being a member of the population, different barriers are put up, conscious or unconscious. On the day of Pride and during Pride Month, there is an understanding and celebration to honor the history and struggle of the LGBT movement.”
Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969, a series of spontaneous protests by members of the gay community in response to a police raid. The uprising led to the creation of Pride and the birth of the LGBTQ movement and is celebrated worldwide to honor the achievements the LGBTQ community gained toward equality.
“LGBT people are a very resilient group, and most of us are a lot of fun, and during Pride, this year in particular, we will demonstrate that joy and commitment to moving society forward with us,” Moore said.
The Pride movement has made a lot of progress in 50 years, but there’s more work to be done, Moore said. Pride Month and the various Pride events are a way to celebrate that progress, she said.
“It’s important, this year probably more than ever, that we stand strong in the face of the hateful laws and rhetoric that face us. And it’s also important that our allies, people who are not LGBT, show up also to support the LGBT community. Everybody is welcome at Pride,” Moore said.
One of Larimer County’s Pride events, NoCo Pride in the Park, “Persist with Pride,” will be 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. July 15 at the Civic Center Park in Fort Collins. The event, hosted by Northern Colorado Equality and founded in 2016, will feature local entertainment; beer and food trucks; a kid’s corner with arts and crafts, face painting and balloon animals; and a resource and vendor booth area. There also will be community speakers providing updates about Northern Colorado Equality activities — the organization promotes and celebrates the LGBTQ community and its allies.
“It’s all planned by local community members who support or are part of the LGBTQ community, so it has more of a hometown feel,” said Kimberly Chambers, founder of Northern Colorado Equality and NoCoSafeSpace. “It’s also a diverse space where individuals can feel comfortable attending even if they are not LGBTQ and are an ally.”
NoCoSafeSpace will host a second Pride March at 10 a.m. July 15 in Fort Collins’s Old Town Square following the first one June 1, which had a low attendance being on a Thursday instead of over the weekend. The annual march, launched in 2018, had a turnout of 450, compared with 1,500 the year before.
“We’re going to repeat a similar one in July focusing on the trans and non-binary community,” said Chambers, who is no longer directly involved with Northern Colorado Equality, which she founded in 2015. “We have a lot more we need to say for our trans community — that we are welcoming space for all individuals who are coming to town and will not be backing down to hate that’s happening from outside sources that don’t know anything about our community.”
The second NoCoSafeSpace Pride March will be more protest-oriented than the first march, which was family friendly, Chambers said.
“We really need to speak stronger for the trans community,” Chambers said. “We celebrate a Pride season around here rather than just a month, because there’s so many ways we do things.”
Chambers founded NoCoSafeSpace in 2017 to educate the community about the political and religious climate around LGBTQ, to provide activism opportunities and inclusivity training, and to serve as an event hub. The organization brings together Larimer and Weld county community events into a central source, nocosafe.com/pride-guide, that includes drag shows, cabarets, art shows, hikes, weekly swim nights and an annual Holigay party.
“The first is visibility — as people learn about the LGBTQ identity, they find themselves questioning and see a community space where they belong,” Chambers said. “Second, we honor the history that got us to where we are. We can marry our loved ones, adopt … and walk down the street holding hands without persecution.”
Broomfield held the third annual Broomfield Pride Party in the Park on June 3 at Midway Park. The event, hosted by PFLAG Broomfield, a family and ally organization celebrating diversity, kicked off with a parade, Broomfield Pride Motorcade, where Moore served as the grand marshal.
“Pride Festivals are a vibrant celebration for all of us and our allies, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual and everyone included under the rainbow umbrella of +,” as stated on the website, pflag.org. “Our Pride celebration is an inclusive and welcoming gathering.”