Jun 222004
 
Authors: Evan Truesdales

The first annual Pride in the Park of Fort Collins, also the

first of its kind in Northern Colorado, drew approximately 500

people to Liberty Park Saturday.

The Lambda Community Center, a Fort Collins group that works

towards equal rights for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender

community, hosted the gathering. Attractions included four musical

acts, poetry reading by Antler, door prizes, and 24 different

vendors.

“It’s actually bigger than I expected; I expected a smaller

turnout,” said Francis Southwick, a Lambda Center Volunteer.

CSU’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Student Services

were present throughout the day.

“We want to encourage the community members to look at us for

education opportunities and look at what we have to offer,” said

Arthur Ben Sintas, an admissions counselor for CSU who was at the

Pride in the Park with GLBTSS.

Yoshi Dember was at the park to promote the group Civil Rights

Now.

“It’s really awesome to see this kind of group here in Fort

Collins, that there is this many here in the GLBT community,”

Dember said.

Among people with booths set up were political parties and

various non-profit organizations with strong ties to the GLBT

community. Other politicians walked among the crowds, shaking hands

and talking about their platforms with festival attendees.

Groups running for all levels of government, including Fort

Collins city commissioner, state house of representatives and state

senate, attended Pride in the Park.

The Human Rights Commission, a board that advises the city on

issues of equality and non-discriminatory practices, was also

present.

Throughout the day, high school-aged students stopped by the

GLBTSS booth as well as other CSU students.

“I’m excited to be here today, and that Colorado State

University supports the GLBT community,” said Rachel Cali, a senior

math major.

The LCC decided to host the event after a resurgence of

interest, said its senior staff members.

“We’ve been a lot more active in the past year,” said Adam

Bowen, board president of the LCC. “We’re going through a

resurgence in the past couple of years; a lot of that is through

the marriage equality issue. We’ve had a lot of people coming back

to the center, people who were involved years ago.”

Bowen said there are people who are “camped out” on the right

and left of the gay marriage issue, but some peoples’ beliefs could

possibly be swayed either way. He said by being more visible and

more “out,” members of the GLBT community could influence their

neighbors and co-workers to change their attitudes.

The gay marriage issue was one of the interests at Pride in the

Park. Non-profit groups such as Civil Rights Now and Equal Rights

Colorado, which called for the marriage and childbearing rights for

the GLBT community, were active at the gathering.

The event began with an en masse march from the LCC, with some

people carrying signs announcing their sexuality or their stance on

political hot-button issues. Todd Simmons, of Matter Magazine, was

at Pride in the Park to promote the magazine and to support the

community.

“I hope to come back here every year…” Simmons said. “Open

minds are great.”

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