Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell officially declared June as LGBTQ Pride Month last week in a proclamation to the city that recognizes the contributions made by the LGBTQ community. The Mayor acknowledged the expansion of inclusive policies at CSU, the City of Fort Collins and Poudre School District, which emphasize the importance of making Fort Collins a safe city for all.
The announcement came after the Orlando mass shooting on June 12th, in which Pulse Nightclub, a gay bar, was attacked leaving 49 people dead and 53 injured.
“In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Orlando, our Fort Collins community reaches out to the victims, families, loved ones and the entire Orlando community to offer our deepest sympathies and to extend our support to Orlando,” Troxell said.
Elected as Mayor in 2015, Troxell doesn’t have a detailed history of LGBTQ inclusive policy. A life-long member of the Fort Collins community, he served in the Fort Collins City Council since 2007 up until his time as mayor. However, over the past two months, the CSU alumnus made a sincere effort to reach out and learn about the LGBTQ community, said Kimberly Chambers, Northern Colorado Pride founder and director.
“This was my first experience working with Mayor Troxell,” Chambers said. “Since we began communicating, I’ve found nothing but genuine desire to learn more about the community. Currently, the city, including the City Council and Mayor, have been very open to learning about us and how we affect the city of Fort Collins.”
In late May, the City of Fort Collins created a task force of volunteers from city staff from a variety of departments and two community liaisons, including Kimberly Chambers. The task force will work to make certain that the LGBTQ community of Fort Collins is safe and valued. The group will also be dedicated to creating a strategic plan that reflects the city by strengthening diversity and equity. Foremost, it is their job to bring forth policy to the city specific to the LGBTQ community needs.
Clint Andrews, a city employee in the IT department since 2007, is a part of the newly developed task force. As a member of the LGBTQ community, he felt the need to step up and become part of the team.
“Having Pride Month is definitely a good first step,” Andrews said. “As we’re looking at things, (we’re asking) are there things we can do in regard to policy? Is there a space for employees to talk about LGBTQ specific topics? We’re still trying to formulate all those goals. I’m one of those people that asks, ‘How can I help?’ I have a passion for my community and we support our city’s overall diversity mission.”
The current goal is to create a charter that will be more specific about reaching these initiatives and holding events to educate the city about the task force and their mission. The task force is still new and all the details have to be worked out day by day. With that said, Andrews definitely feels optimistic about the group.
“I love working for the City of Fort Collins,” Andrews said. “It’s a great organization and I’m very proud of them for developing this task force.”
CTV Executive Producer and Collegian Reporter Adrian Felix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @afelixmedia.