Let’s take a look at LGBTQ+ History Month

A+performer+performs+at+the+2022+NoCo+Pride+Festival+in+Civic+Center+Park

Collegian | Lucy Morantz

An artist performs at the 2022 NoCo Pride Festival in Civic Center Park July 16. The festival was created by local nonprofit Northern Colorado Equality to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community of Northern Colorado.

Emmalee Krieg, Staff Reporter

While June is well known for Pride Month with big celebrations and parades, October offers the opportunity to learn even more about the LGBTQ+ community through its history.

October is LGBTQ+ History Month, which means learning as much as we can about activities and important events.

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The Pride Resource Center avidly brings awareness to the month.

“We try to feature voices from our community — particularly folks who are also racially minoritized in our community — to talk about their role history,” said Maggie Hendrickson, interim director at the Pride Resource Center.

They highlighted the event held for Indigenous Peoples’ Day Oct. 10 and the event held from Oct. 17-18 called Salsa Nights! The Black/African American Cultural Center, RamEvents, the Pride Resource Center and El Centro encouraged people to come to join them for salsa dance instruction from the In Lak’ech Dance Academy.

The Pride Resource Center continues to put on events for other notable days in October such as National Coming Out Day, International Pronouns Day and Intersex Awareness Day.

“The fact that we’ve been around for 25 years here on campus is also a really big deal,” Hendrickson said.

The Pride Resource Center was opened in 1998, the same year Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming, was murdered in a hate crime Oct. 12 of that year.

“I think a lot of people learned about it, but the fact that it was a local example in our community I think is important to highlight,” Hendrickson said.

According to National Today, Shepard’s death led to the 2009 creation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“It’s a scary thing but I think an important part of our history because I think that event also encouraged the Pride Center to be open and understand its importance,” Hendrickson said.

While the Pride Resource Center continues to put on events for October, there are other projects in Fort Collins looking deeper into the history.

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Fort Collins Historic Preservation has been working on a rather large project, Civil Rights History in Fort Collins, for the last year and a half. An important branch of the project is about LGBTQ+ history.

The project and tour itself aren’t finished, but it creates the perfect opportunity to get more conversations started about Fort Collins’ history with the LGBTQ+ community.

“The idea is that places are powerful,” said Jim Bertolini, senior historic preservation planner for Fort Collins Historic Preservation.

“This history is all around us and that’s true for any aspect of history but that we have such a diverse history all around us,” Bertolini said.

A lot of stops on the tour are specific to where civic action was taken. For instance, the Freedom to Marry rally in 2004 happened at Old Town Square.

“In terms of kind of community building and kind of modern civic action, that’s kind of a critical year,” Bertolini said. “That’s where we get the marriage equality demonstration in Old Town Square; that’s where we start pride in the park.”

Other stops recognize more social gatherings such as Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St, where the LGBTQ+ community began holding dances in the 1980s, or Choice City Shots, a popular LGBTQ+ bar that closed in 2013.

The Queer Memory Project of Northern Colorado aims to uncover more of LGBTQ+ past. The site itself has a timeline highlighting people, events and dates that go back into the mid-1800s. It is through this project that others are able to follow the history that has shaped Fort Collins today.

“We’re also making history currently,” Hendrickson said. “It’s like trying to connect history, current and future.” 

Reach Emmalee Krieg at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.