Thursday, January 31, 2019

Colorado’s LGBTQ Laws Rated in Human Rights Campaign’s Annual State Equality Index

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 5th annual State Equality Index (SEI), a comprehensive report detailing statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families, and assessing how well states are protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Colorado falls into the category, “Working Toward Innovative Equality.” Because there are currently no comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTQ people at the federal level, the rights of millions of LGBTQ people and their families depend on which state they live in. In 30 states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are. For this reason, the incoming pro-equality majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has made the Equality Act -- a bill to establish comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people -- a top priority.

As civil rights organizations work toward passage of these critical federal protections, accelerating progress at the state level is critical. This year, the number of states that obtained the SEI’s highest rating, “Working Toward Innovative Equality,” increased from 13 to 17. These states -- including Colorado -- currently have robust LGBTQ non-discrimination laws covering employment, housing and public accommodations, as well as protections in the areas of credit and insurance.

This SEI report comes as more than 46 state legislatures have opened their sessions -- and with New York kicking off the year on a tremendous note by passing both the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and legislation protecting LGBTQ youth in the state from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” The Virginia State Senate has also passed legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And governors in Kansas, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin signed executive orders protecting LGBTQ state employees.

The U.S. House is soon poised to begin considering the Equality Act, a historic bill that would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury service. More than 130 major employers, with operations in all 50 states, have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act, urging Congress to pass these crucial protections.

“The work of the HRC Foundation and programs like the State Equality Index, along with HRC's efforts day in and day out to advance protections for LGBTQ people at the state and federal level are vital to the struggle for LGBTQ civil rights,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.”HRC and our partners on the ground defeated dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills last year, and worked to pass crucial pro-equality measures that ensure LGBTQ Americans are protected wherever they live. Already, we see the promise of even more protections passing in 2019 -- with action taken in New York, Virginia, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.”

Griffin continued, “However, LGBTQ people still face the sobering reality that their rights are determined by which side of a state or city line they call home. As this year’s State Equality Index makes clear, the time has come for us to do away with this patchwork of state laws and to protect all LGBTQ people by passing the federal Equality Act.”

Said Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado: “The State Equality Index highlights protections for LGBTQ Coloradans and identifies the areas where we can improve the quality of life for our community. As a state working toward innovative equality, we are proud to be one of three states to have a third gender option on both drivers licenses and birth certificates. Last year, One Colorado collected over 11,000 petition signatures to ban conversion therapy in Colorado. With our successful efforts to elect pro-equality majorities in both the house and senate, we are confident our bills to ban conversion therapy and to make it easier for transgender people to update their birth certificates will make it to the desk of our first openly gay Governor, Jared Polis.”

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Stop the Transgender Military Ban! Your Signature Is Needed Now!

Help fight the discriminatory transgender military ban!

The Supreme Court has agreed to let Trump’s ban on transgender military service members go into effect, even as the challenges work through the lower courts — forcing transgender people to choose between living openly or continuing their dedicated military service.

But together, we can fight this inhumane and discriminatory ban. It’s quick and easy to make your voice heard.

ALL service members sacrifice and serve with honor and love for country. Congress must ensure that trans people can serve openly!

Are you ready for LGBTQ Lobby Day on February 13th?

By the One Colorado Team
 Our annual LGBTQ Lobby day is just two short weeks away and we wanted to make sure you had everything you need to register and participate this year.
The best way we can shape the future of equality in Colorado is by making sure our elected representatives hear from us, so make sure you mark your calendar and sign up to join us!

When: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 from 8:00am - 2:00pm
Where: First Baptist Church of Denver, 1373 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 (please note the new location this year)
The event is FREE.
Please bring a refillable water bottle to help us reduce waste with plastic water bottles.

If you're traveling from the Western Slope to Lobby Day, contact Heidi with questions, since she will be coordinating travel. Her email is
If you have any questions about lobby day, or would like more details feel free to email Sarah Clark at
P.S-- don't worry if it's your first time at lobby day, we'll train you AND feed you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What the South Made of Three Queer Authors and What They Make of the South

Gale Massey, Kelly J. Ford, and P.J. Vernon, all debut crime novelists, talked to Lambda Literary about how growing up in the South informs their writing.

Met Opera Auditions are Back!

The Metropolitan Opera auditions are the biggest and most intensely competitive singing contests in the world, and the Rocky Mountain Regional auditions are coming to Denver February 24. 

Soaring sopranos like former Met Auditions winner Renee Fleming, magnificent mezzos, passionate tenors and thunderous bass/ baritones go larynx-to-larynx vying to win a chance to sing on the Met stage and get a major career boost. 

They’ll be competing at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall in the Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Denver Campus, Sunday, February 24 at 1:30 pm. 

These auditions feature the very best singers from across North America and around the world, including our finest Colorado-Utah-New Mexico-Wyoming-singers, converging in front of a nationally respected panel of judges for their chance at stardom on the Met stage. 

This year, winners from all four District Finals will be in Denver together. The top winner from our vast region flies to New York to sing at the Met with the Met Opera Orchestra March 31. Past winners have gone on to major international careers.

New Partnerships To Share ‘Care for Colorado Principles’ with Millions of Colorado Travelers

The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics today announced they have joined in an unprecedented partnership with three major state-based tourism organizations to educate travelers about reducing their impacts on Colorado’s natural resources and special places.

Collectively, these three organizations -- the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association (CHLA), Colorado River Outfitters Association (CROA) and Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association – encounter more than 20 million guests every year. Colorado hotels alone reported 24 million overnight stays in 2017, while Colorado river outfitters guide about 600,000 rafters annually and dude ranches welcome about 16,000 guests a year on average.

“This new alliance not only holds enormous potential for influencing the way travelers interact with our state, it’s also sending a powerful message that our state’s tourism industry is recognizing the importance of protecting what makes our state such a special place to live and to visit,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter. “By partnering with Leave No Trace and us, these organizations are stepping up to reinforce a shared message about how travelers can show their love for Colorado in ways that matter.”

Under these new strategic partnerships, all Colorado hotels, rafting outfitters and dude ranches can win recognition and certification as CTO/Leave No Trace “Sustainability Partners” by sharing the Care the Colorado Principles with the visitors they encounter and designating employees to take part in trainings created by Leave No Trace. The recognition includes a wood-burned plaque that can be displayed at service counters to heighten visitor awareness of the business’ commitment to sustainable tourism.

Already, the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association has developed a “Dude Ranch Edition” of the CTO’s “Are You Colo-Ready?” brochure, and organizations throughout the state are sharing the CTO’s award-winning “Leave No Trace - Care for Colorado” animated video, featuring a singing blue moose and a misbehaving traveler. The dude ranch association is collaborating with CTO and Leave No Trace on developing model sustainability practices for members of their organizations. CROA members have a history of implementing these practices and will work with CTO and Leave No Trace to further promote model practices.

“These unique partnerships enable us to reach visitors with pertinent Leave No Trace information so they come well equipped to care for Colorado. This outreach is critical to the long term health of Colorado’s unparalleled trails, parks, open space and water resources,” said Dana Watts, Executive Director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. “We hope to duplicate this model around the country to reach all people who enjoy and cherish our nation’s natural heritage.”

The CTO and Leave No Trace announced their ground-breaking alliance in October 2017 and introduced the jointly created Care for Colorado Principles last May at the start of the summer travel season. In addition to the “Are You Colo-Ready?” brochure and the video, the Principles are being shared in the CTO’s annual vacation guide and seasonal magazines, on and in posters on restroom doors in the 10 Colorado Welcome Centers. Several destinations across Colorado – including Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, Grand Junction, Longmont, Frisco and – are incorporating the Principles into their own guides and brochures.

CTO research shows that a destination’s sustainability practices are gaining importance for travelers, especially for younger travelers. Last summer, about 50 percent of travelers under age 54 said a destination’s sustainability practices were at least somewhat important to them, while about 22 percent of travelers age 55+ counted it as at least somewhat important.

The initial partnership between the CTO and Leave No Trace stemmed from a stewardship initiative outlined in the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, a three- to five-year strategic plan to build the Colorado tourism industry’s competitive advantage.

Do You Want To Reach Denver's Gay Community? Advertise With Denver's Best Gay Blog!

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RPDR All Stars: It's A Family Affair

The All Stars pay tribute to the legend, Judy Garland, as they transform their best friends into members of their own drag family this Friday. With extra special guest judges Frances Bean Cobain and Ellen Pompeo.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Outfest Announces Appointment of Mike Dougherty as 2019 Director of Festival Programming

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen, announced today at the 23rd annual Outfest Queer Brunch that Mike Dougherty has been named the Director of Festival Programming. He will be in charge of programming Outfest Los Angeles and ensuring the highest experience of filmmakers and audiences at all Outfest festivals.

Dougherty has over a decade of experience in the finance, production and distribution aspects of the industry. He joins Outfest after five years as Acquisitions and Distribution Executive at Radiant Films International, and five years prior to that as a Creative Executive at Hyde Park Entertainment. Since 2014, he has been the Director of Programming for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) and is an Associate Programmer for AFI FEST.

In making the announcement, Executive Director Christopher Racster said, “We are excited that Mike brings a keen awareness of the international and US film marketplace. As a programmer, he has an expansive and thoughtful approach. I am confident, given the strength and breadth of Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, that Mike will continue to expand Outfest’s efforts to shine a spotlight on all aspects of the LGBTQ experience and in particular raise up stories and voices of those underrepresented.”

"For more than 30 years, Outfest has been the gold standard in sharing creative, unique and diverse stories from the LGBTQ community. To be welcomed into the Outfest family is a dream come true, and to be entrusted with the responsibility of carrying its mission statement forward is an absolute honor. I can't wait to get started," commented Dougherty.

Nice To See StevieB: Birthday

By StevieB

Today’s my Birthday. I turn 225 today. And I don’t feel a day over 175. I feel comfortable in my skin, so I started by dying my grey beard...

After it settles I guess I’ll go get pancakes.

GayTravel’s 2019 International Travel Bucket List

Take a gander at GayTravel's 2019 travel bucket list and discover the hottest destinations and hotels to visit this year!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Are You Gay With Something To Say? Bloggers Wanted For Denver's Best Gay Blog!

Are you a new or experienced writer or blogger? Do you want to be? Or maybe you're just some gay guy with something to say? Well, what better forum for you than MileHighGayGuy?

MileHighGayGuy is looking for regular and guest bloggers to write about local news and events, do music and movie reviews, or write opinion or feature pieces from a gay perspective.

These are unpaid positions but offer the opportunity to be published in Colorado's Best Gay Blog (2010, 2011, 2012 OUTstanding Awards, Denver 2012 #WebAwards), expand your audience and gain valuable experience. There's also swag available in the form of free movie and concert tickets, music, books and other cool stuff.

If interested, shoot an email over to Drew Wilson at And if you've got column or story ideas to pitch, this is the place to do it.

Nice To See StevieB: Spring Heads Towards Me

By StevieB

Apparently I know less about The Monroe Doctrine than I thought.

That’s correct; school has started again. I am taking a advanced class on the detailed history of World War Dos this semester. Along with a “History of the Modern World (which, spoiler alert is all white European centric) Like the modern world only happened in fashionable Europe. The winter break flew by way to fast. It seems I cooked a turkey, bought a tree put lights around by balcony and then hauled the tree to the trash and… well I haven’t taken the lights off of the balcony yet. They’re just tooooo adorable…. I love them. But, seriously. I really need to take the Christmas light down.

So, as the WWII class is on-line; this week was the start of the never-ending cycle. Read several chapters, write a paper, take a quiz. The first week was on the ramifications of Thomas Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Like easy. Everyone knows that stuff. So, I skimmed the weeks assignment and started a Woodrow quiz. Then, I found myself suck in Monroeland. Jerk. Ya, know the United States policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas beginning in 1823 God there was a lot of details. I guess I need to shrug off the Holiday break and crack open a book. Until May.

Also in May, Mike has decided to move back home to Seattle at the end of our lease. This will mark the end of our four year living relationship. Roommates for four years and friends for eight years. All ending at the end of April. I haven’t begun to process what this means. Leaving the home I adore, separating the best living arrangement I hav ever had. I think I’ll just bury myself in the second world war. It’s less stressful.

Openly LGBTQ Mayor Pete Buttigieg Takes Historic First Step in 2020 U.S. Presidential Race

LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ people, cheers South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s decision to form an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential run. If Mayor Buttigieg decides to run, he will become the first openly LGBTQ elected official to run for President of the United States. His decision comes in the wake of an unprecedented “Rainbow Wave” of openly LGBTQ candidates who ran this past election cycle at every level of government, many of whom broke down long-standing political barriers on Election Night.   
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about the formation of the exploratory committee:
“An openly LGBTQ elected official forming a presidential exploratory committee is a historic and powerful moment for the LGBTQ community and the entire country. Exactly fifty years after the Stonewall uprising that gave birth to the modern LGBTQ rights movement, we are finally in a place where an openly LGBTQ presidential candidate can be a serious contender. For the teenager in small-town America who is just coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity, having an openly LGBTQ person running for the most important political office in the world will demonstrate there is no limit to what they can achieve – and that is transformative.
“In such a wide-open presidential race, Mayor Buttigieg would be a welcome contribution to the marketplace of ideas that will determine where our nation is headed in 2020 and beyond. And while he is not running on his sexual orientation, his presence will undoubtedly elevate LGBTQ issues in the Democratic primary. LGBTQ voters are an important part of the primary base, and with Mayor Buttigieg on the campaign trail and on the debate stages, other Democratic presidential candidates will need to be outspoken and well-versed on LGBTQ equality issues.
“Mayor Buttigieg is well-positioned for this political moment. He represents a new generation of presidential contenders and brings a sense of optimism and American solidarity that is entirely absent from the current national dialogue. He brings a unique set of skills and values to the race as a successful two-term executive, a first-generation American and a gay war veteran from a deep red state. Mayor Buttigieg understands that Americans are tired of politics as blood-sport and instead want politicians to address real issues affecting real lives. He sees the similarities between the blue-collar worker in Indiana, the undocumented immigrant in Arizona, and the young lesbian in middle school in rural Virginia – and he believes with strong leadership all their lives can be improved.
“Our country is in crisis and it is essential diverse perspectives are heard in this presidential race.”