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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 2, 20178min380


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 30, 20174min270

Pat Steadman, the former state senator and public citizen extraordinaire, was honored with a lifetime achievement award last weekend at One Colorado Education Fund’s annual Ally Awards, which honors those who have worked for the rights and good of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families were:

Term limits kept Steadman from running again last year. He’s the CEO of Behavioral Healthcare in Denver, but his resume reads like scroll of achievements on behalf of Coloradans.

An influential member of the General Assembly respected by both parties, Steadman was a member of the Joint Budget Committee. But before he was done, he helped rewrite the state’s liquor laws to eventually allow beer and wine in more grocery stores while helping protect and compensate liquor stores already in business nearby when the laws changed.

In 2013, after two years of trying, Steadman led the charge to pass legislation authorizing civil unions for same-sex couples.

He was honored by President Obama at the White House that year when he was presented the Harvey Milk Champion of Change Award.

He earned his bonafides in public policy more than two decades ago fighting to overturn Colorado’s Amendment 2, the citizen-passed constitutional amendment that banned state and local laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Another One Colorado honoree Saturday night worked alongside Steadman in that fight.

Jean Dubofsky, the first woman to serve on the Colorado Supreme Court in 1979 before returning to private practice, was then lead attorney in the Romer v. Evans case that led the high court to toss out Amendment 2.

The case happened at a pivotal time, she told Sarah Kuta of the Boulder Daily Camera last year.

“All of a sudden people just started understanding that, ‘Oh yeah, this is not a mortal danger, this is not a threat, these are the people who’ve already been around me all the time,'” Dubofsky recalled. “That’s the reason I think all of the change since Romer v. Evans moved so fast. I had no idea that things would move that quickly, but it’s really, to my way of thinking, just been terrific.”

One Colorado also honored Kaiser Permanente for being a health care industry leader in removing insurance plan exclusions for transgender people, as well as improving experiences for LGBTQ patients.

The civil rights law firm Rathod Mohamedbhai was honored for working on the relationship between the Muslim and LGBTQ communities, as well as representing Jessie Hernandez, the lesbian teen shot by Denver police as she fled in a stolen car in 2015.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 27, 20178min24
Told ya. Heavy!#watermelon#copolitics @SenatorCrowder see how we do itBuy some in #Wray at 2 pic.twitter.com/kNv1t1d2Gl — Greg Brophy (@SenatorBrophy) August 26, 2017 Highs in the upper 80s today. @POTUS approval ratings in the low 30s. Likely scattered #tweetstorms thru Monday.#TrumpsAmerica #copolitics — Dave Perry (@EditorDavePerry) August 26, 2017 For the same reasons reality tv shows […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 23, 20175min190

Since Colorado lawmakers passed legislation to address bullying in schools in 2011, programs to combat it have grown from 37 percent of the state’s 178 school districts to more than 80 percent, and gay-straight alliances are now in 196 schools and available to 167,964 students.

The presence of gay-straight alliances cut bullying numbers in half, according to the report released Wednesday by One Colorado, the state’s largest and politically engaged organization for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents and their families.

The report, “Safe Schools for LGBTQ Students: A Look Back at Colorado’s Anti-Bullying Efforts,” is available online.

The report states:

Colorado has come a long way in the past 6 years to make a positive impact in our schools for many students, but there is still work that needs to be done to ensure all students, including LGBTQ students, feel safe, welcome, and empowered to make change. There is a high demand for educator trainings, resources for educators who want to include LGBTQ topics in the classroom, and best practices for engaging young people in activities for LGBTQ and allied students.

One Colorado looked at bullying statistics over the six years since the legislature passed House Bill 1254.

The bill had broad bipartisan supporting, passing the House 47-18 and the Senate 33-2.

One Colorado released a statement with the report Wednesday morning:

We know bullying is still prevalent in our schools, both in urban and rural areas, and LGBTQ young people are still among the most vulnerable to harassment and violence. One of the first ways school districts can tackle this issue is to make sure their policies explicitly enumerate protections for students based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. One Colorado’s report shows that in addition to comprehensive anti-bullying policies, allowing students access to Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), supportive educators, and LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum can create a more supportive environment for young people.

By issuing reports like this, One Colorado hopes schools will make it a priority to ensure all students are successful, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We hope students and parents in places without updated policies will work with their school districts to make sure their anti-bullying efforts are LGBTQ-inclusive. The report also serves as a resource to help school districts identify the greatest needs of LGBTQ young people, and focus the necessary resources required to address them, in ways that are most effective.

One Colorado is dedicated to a future where every young person in our state has a school environment where they feel safe, welcome, and empowered to make change. It is important we continue to work with school districts, administrators, educators, and students to build a climate across our state where LGBTQ students can be out and respected in their schools.

In the session that ended in May legislators added harassment against LGBTQ people and the disabled to the state’s hate crime law.

House Bill 1188 also had bipartisan support, passing the Senate, 23-12, and the House, 48-15.

One Colorado pushes every year, but it hasn’t been able to pass a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors. While proponents of a ban say it is discredited and dangerous for young people struggling with their sexual identity, Republicans say the bill gets between parents and what they think is best for their child.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 18, 20174min27
A lesbian couple in Los Angeles is suing a Colorado mortgage-banking company for taking away their spousal insurance, before employee Judith Dominguez lost her job, she alleges, in retaliation for pushing back. Dominguez, 59, worked in a branch office for Greenwood Village-based Cherry Creek Mortgage as a loan originator. She and her wife, Patricia Martinez, […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 26, 20177min153
The Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington. President Trump said on Twitter Wednesday the military no longer will accept transgender recruits. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Colorado LGBTQ leaders said they were dismayed and angered that President Trump is proposing a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

“I cannot imagine how our transgender service members, who are serving honorably all over the world, right now to protect our freedoms, feel waking up to their Commander-in-Chief not only demeaning their service, but dehumanizing who they are,” said state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, a member of the legislature’s LGBTQ caucus, told Colorado Politics. “To be told you cannot serve simply because of who you are is just plain wrong.

“Our country is better than this, and we deserve a president who is conscious about valuing what makes America great — not on dividing and dehumanizing us — that is not who we are.”

 

Transgender military service

Another Colorado LGBTQ caucus member, Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, called Trump’s move “a black mark in the history of our country.”

“The civil rights movement for LGBT Americans has been forced backwards,” he said in a text message to Colorado Politics. “This is very sadly just the beginning of decidedly negative steps this administration will take in the next four years whether we have a President Trump or Pence. We need all Americans, regardless of political party, to band together to resist the oppression and discrimination we are now and will experience in the future.”

Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, said Trump is on the wrong side of history.

“Any action to deny any able-bodied person the opportunity to serve our country in the armed forces is anti-American and blatant discrimination,” said Guzman, a pastor and prominent LGBTQ leader in the state. “The president’s tweet is a cowardly attack on the thousands of patriotic transgender Americans who are currently serving in the military across the globe. Our military leaders need to stand with our transgender brothers and sisters, and against this statement that is an affront to the principles that make our country great.”

Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, co-chair of the LGBT Caucus, called the announcement deeply troubling, as well.

“My hometown of Pueblo proudly bears the name ‘The Home of Heroes,’ and we steadfastly support all those who serve our country,” she said in a text. “To exclude members of our military who have served honorably — or who aspire to serve — is simply wrong.”

One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people and their families, said it amounted to an attack on patriotism.

“President Trump just attacked thousands of patriotic transgender Americans who already serve in our military and who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and free,” said Daniel Ramos, One Colorado’s executive director. “The U.S. military is the largest employer of transgender people in the world, employing an estimated 15,000 transgender people today.”

Ramos called it another example of the Trump administration singling out a vulnerable target instead of bringing the country together.

“Transgender people — like all Americans — should be judged for their qualifications, nothing more, nothing less.” he said. “As we learned in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing service members to serve with integrity strengthens our armed forces.

“Our veterans and military deserve better and we will fight against this vicious attack on dignity and equality. Transgender people are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They are veterans who have served with honor, and active duty service members who have sacrificed to protect our freedoms. When it comes to being able to serve their country, earn a living, having a place to live, or being served by a business, transgender people should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include remarks from Guzman and Esgar.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 26, 20178min23

A group of liberal advocacy organizations for the first time released combined legislative scorecards this week, conglomerating assessments of the 100 Colorado lawmakers’ votes last session on key legislation the organizations said they plan to present to voters next year. A Republican who received among the lowest overall scores, however, dismissed the endeavor as a “political stunt” and told Colorado Politics he doubts the predictable rankings — Democrats good, Republicans bad — give voters any meaningful information.



Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 4, 20173min344

This is shaping up to be a pivotal week for LGBTQ Coloradans on discrimination, religious liberty and the state hate crime law.

Tuesday, Democratic members of Congress, including all of Colorado’s members, agreed to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination under civil rights protections.

Thursday, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order expanding religious liberty laws, which could allow what LGBTQ advocates think is blatant discrimination by denying services or restricting restrooms or locker rooms against transgender people.

Insights: Hate crimes, is it too much to ask that the cops get it right?

But Wednesday was a day to savor for One Colorado, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bipartisan House Bill 1188 to add sexual orientation and physical and mental disabilities to the state’s hate-crime law against harassment.

“I feel great about passing this bill,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, a deputy Boulder County prosecutor who first introduced the bill. “Protecting the disability and LGBTQ communities from hate-based harassment is so important and meaningful.”

The new law also upgrades the offense from a class 3 to a class 1 misdemeanor, increasing the maximum penalties from six months in jail and a $750 fine to 18 months and $5,000.

“I’m proud of this bill,” said Senate sponsor Don Coram, R-Montrose, who gave the bill the Republican muscle it needed to pass. “By offering the same protections to these groups that we extend to those already covered, we can encourage more victims to come forward and report the crimes against them.

“More Coloradans will feel secure today.”

House Bill 1188 passed the Senate, 23-12, on April 11, after passing the House, 48-15, on March 15.

The bill was co-sponsored in the Senate by Democrat Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

“We applaud Gov. Hickenlooper for protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Coloradans and people living with disabilities,” Daniel Ramos, the executive director of One Colorado, said.

“The widespread, bipartisan support for House Bill 1188 proves that protecting Colorado’s most vulnerable populations is not a partisan issue. This was a common-sense measure that strengthens protections for our communities and we are excited for it to become law. We thank Rep. Mike Foote, Sen. Dominick Moreno and Sen. Don Coram for their leadership in bringing this bill forward.”