DENVER (KDVR) — It is Pride Month and LGBTQ issues are a political hot topic right now.
Gov. Jared Polis was the first openly gay governor elected in the U.S. As he prepares to wrap up his first term, FOX31 talked with him about his view on the state of gay rights in Colorado and what he wants to see happen next for queer folks in the state.
Polis reflected on what Colorado’s been able to put into law to protect a community that is often marginalized.
“We’ve made so much progress on so many issues in the years past,” Polis said. “In some states, we’re seeing less rights for people just because of who they are or who they love. In Colorado, we have moved forward with things like banning a form of child abuse: forced conversion therapy for minors. We made it easier for people to adopt, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples if they are using a surrogate to carry the baby. Really just addressing real-life issues.”
What’s to be done for LGBTQ rights in Colorado?
Despite the wins, both societal and legislative, Polis acknowledged there is more work to be done.
“It’s still hard for a kid to grow up and be gay in parts of Colorado. Especially if their parents are not accepting and they are worried about how their parents might react, that can still be a very hard reality that person faces. We still have a higher suicide rate, a higher homeless rate, among LGBT youth, and we need to work harder,” Polis said.
The governor highlights making sure LGBTQ history is not covered up in schools, protecting gay marriage and other rights at the state level, and making sure members of the gay community are not unfairly targeted as areas of improvement.
Groups like One Colorado said they are encouraging community members to stay vigilant.
“Paying attention to what’s happening not just at the state level but locally. Pay attention to what’s going on at your city council. What are the conversations that are being had? Reach out to One Colorado — we have our pulse on what’s happening across the state. Really we want folks to be civilly engaged in their communities,” said Nadine Bridges, One Colorado’s executive director.
One Colorado will be serving as a grand marshal at Denver Pride this year. Polis said he is excited for everyone to come out and celebrate love this weekend.