DENVER (CBS4) – Up to 500,000 people expected at Denver Pride events this weekend. The celebration benefits programming at Denver’s LGBTQ community center – The Center on Colfax.
Denver’s first official Gay Pride Parade was held in 1976. The Center on Colfax displays the permit for that first year.
Center CEO Rex Fuller said, “The intention was to be visible, to show people that LGBTQ people were in the community and to show that our lives matter.
It was a time when coming out required extraordinary courage.
“Denver had a very dark history of police harassment of gay men and unnecessary arrests,” Fuller said.
A small group of activists in Denver have worked for years to end discrimination. A young Rex Fuller watched from afar. “I grew up in rural Colorado. Very isolated. I had no support. And so looking at a community like Denver and knowing that there were other people that I could relate to was really important.
Pride events in Denver are now among the largest in the country. People come from all over Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region to help people be true to who they are.
“I’m happy to say we have a lot of support here from law enforcement and the community at large,” Fuller added. “Compared to a lot of other states, Colorado is really in pretty good shape. There has been so much activism over the past 30 years that has really created a lot of meaningful protections for the LGBTQ community.
Attacks on transgender people are on the rise across the country. Equitable health care also remains a goal. So Pride is also vigilance.
The Center on Colfax’s programming includes support for LGBTQ youth and seniors as well as transgender people. Pride events take place throughout the month.
Pride Weekend kicks off with a 5K Run, Walk, Roll, or Sashay at the State Capitol on Saturday, June 25 at 9:30 a.m. There’s a two-day festival at Civic Center Park 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 25 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 26.
The Grand Pride Parade kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on June 26. Guests line 14 blocks of Colfax Avenue starting at Cheesman Park and ending at the Denver Civic Center.