by Pam Zubeck
Mayor Steve Bach has denied a request to sign a proclamation declaring the week of July 11 to 17 as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Pride & Diversity Week.
That's no surprise, since Bach said he'd do exactly that during his campaign.
But that doesn't make the news any easier to swallow for people like Charlie Irwin, executive director of the Colorado Springs Pride Center.
"We knew that the mayor had no intentions of signing a GLBT proclamation of any kind," Irwin says. "I think the whole thing with working together to better Colorado Springs, I don't think he has a good understanding of what together means."
The proclamation request was submitted one hour after Back was sworn into office June 7. PrideFest is slated for July 16 and 17.
Here's the letter the Pride Center sent to Bach:
We are excited to inform you and city council that the 21st Annual Colorado Springs PrideFest and Parade “Coming of Age — An Iconic Revival Of The Fierce And Fabulous 50’s” will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 16 & 17, 2011, in downtown Acacia Park.
As one of the largest summer events in Colorado Springs open to the entire community, we’re proud to be celebrating diversity in our area with more than 100 local and out-of-state businesses and nonprofit organizations, including a wide spectrum of community support.
Mayor Bach, the Colorado Springs Pride Center continues to be recognized as a dignified voice that seeks to promote acceptance and understanding of the GLBT community while maintaining our firm commitment to treating those with opposing viewpoints with dignity and respect. Along with the city’s firm commitment to promoting diversity and equality, we once again ask you and the City Council to sign the attached document, proclaiming July 11-July 17, 2011 as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Pride & Diversity Week.
Should you or City Council have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Again, we are committed to continuing open dialogue within Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region so that as a community we can work to foster an atmosphere of tolerance, diversity, equality and respect.
Colorado Springs Pride Center
2508 E. Bijou Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
Bach responded last week with this letter:
June 23, 2011
Mr. Charles B. Irwin
2508 East Bijou Street
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
Dear Mr. Irwin:
Thank you for your letter regarding the Colorado Springs PrideFest and Parade occurring in July
and your request for a proclamation.
My priorities are to transform our city government so that it works for everyone again and lead
the charge to facilitate job creation for our citizens. Therefore, I will not be signing
proclamations such as you requested.
I am committed to working diligently to create an environment that encourages economic
opportunities for everyone in our community.
"During Bach's inauguration he spoke of focusing on downtown, 'making it the heart of the community again, as it should be,'" Irwin says in a release. "It doesn't surprise me that this lack of support comes as the Pride Center begins it's fundraising drive to move our Walk In Center aka The Equality Center to the downtown area. Hopefully just a block from City Hall."
Irwin notes that President Obama has issued a proclamation declaring LGBT Pride Month, and Gov. Jon Hickenlooper has proclaimed a GLBTA Community Awards Day in 2011.
Irwin estimates there are between 20,000 and 40,000 people in the Springs region who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, a substantial increase from a decade ago.