The LGBTQ flag rose and Gov. Jared Polis cut the ribbon on the Equity Center of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder on Friday, signaling the opening of a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in Boulder County and beyond.
“This is a great celebration for the community,” Polis said as he gathered with members of Out Boulder County and other supporters to open the Equity Center, located at 3340 Mitchell Lane. The three-story building will serve the LGBTQ community as a primary location for community activities as well as Out Boulder County’s administrative offices, according to a Out Boulder County news release.
Local activists have searched for 30 years for a central location to house the LGBTQ community and services, said Friday’s organizers. “There just hasn’t been a gathering place for LGBTQ members, especially youth,” Out Boulder County Board Member Teresa Deanni said. “This place will be where youth can get services including mental health support. This is finally the spot for that.”
On hand for Friday’s ceremony were business and community leaders along with elected officials, including Longmont Mayor Pro Tem Aren Rodriguez.
Polis and others pointed out that Boulder County is the exception to a widening campaign of hostility toward LGBTQ members nationwide. At least 238 anti-LGBTA pieces of legislation have been introduced so far in 2022 by state legislators across the county, the news release states.
“LGBTQ people are being targeted in other parts of the country,” Polis told the gathering. The state and Boulder County are countering that trend by opening the Equity Center, he said.
Out Boulder County Board member Kaylin Gray said years of work led up to the christening of the Equity Center, which she termed an “historic moment.”
“Look how lucky we are,” Gray told a crowd of about 100 who gathered for the raising of the multi-colored LGBTQ flag in front of the 9,505-square-foot building. “History is happening right now. We are witnessing it.”
“This flag,” she said, “will fly proudly everyday as a symbol of our resilience. It will fly in the rain and the snow and in good weather. It will fly when we take two steps forward and on days when we have to step back.”
“But,” Gray said, “it will fly.”