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Embattled LGBTQ-centric legislation has better chance in 2019



Though Colorado has more protections in place for LGBTQ people than many other states thanks to our robust anti-discrimination laws, we still have a long way to go toward full equality. Legislators continue to introduce bills to further level the playing field for LGBTQ Coloradans, but in past years such bills have seen limited success.

In 2019, Democrats control both legislative branches and the governor’s office, and thus prospects seem positive for legislation we’ve been watching for years, and new legislation we’re aching to see signed into law. Here are a few bills that are on our radar:

House Bill 1129: This bill, “Prohibit Conversion Therapy for A Minor,” would ban medical and mental health professionals from practicing therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of people younger than 18. This is the fifth time a version of the bill has been introduced. In the past, a Republican-controlled Senate usually killed the bill the moment it left the House.

In a recent interview with the Indy, Gov. Jared Polis said: “Well, there’s been folks who’ve worked on these efforts for years and decades. And they’re survivors of these torturous conversion camps, where they were forced to undergo inhumane treatment and torture. And so ... it’s really, for them, a form of closure to know that that won’t happen to another generation of kids.”

Sponsors: Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Sen. Stephen Fenberg, D-Boulder

Status: Passed Senate, returning amended to House

House Bill 1039: “Identity Documents for Transgender Persons” has also been introduced multiple years in a row. This bill would make it easier for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates — they wouldn’t need to undergo gender confirmation surgery (which is required under the current law). Intersex individuals could also receive gender-neutral markers on their birth certificates. Recently titled “Jude’s Law” by supporters, this bill was named for a young transgender girl who has testified on its behalf each year.

Sponsors: Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City

Status: Passed the House, Senate amended and is considering

House Bill 1032: As we have discussed (Queer & There, Feb. 6 and News, March 20), we’re all paying attention to “Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education.” Many of us who went through sex education in school were shielded from any discussion of the LGBTQ experience. Or we were taught religious doctrine alongside bare-bones discussions of sexuality as means of reproduction only. This bill could change the entire landscape of sexual education in Colorado — for the better.

Sponsors: Reps. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, and Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton, and Sens. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, and Don Coram, R-Montrose

Status: Passed the House, Senate amended and is considering
House Bill 1192: Also in education, “Inclusion Of American Minorities In Teaching Civil Government” (DiverseCity, March 13) would require public schools to include “the history, culture, social contributions of American Indians, Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals within these minority groups…” in civil and government curriculum. This could prove invaluable to children of all minorities, who seldom see themselves reflected positively or at all in history courses.

Sponsors: Reps. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver, and Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo, and Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver

Status: Passed House, under consideration in Senate Education Committee

Senate Bill 135: The “State Procurement Disparity Study,” while not the sexiest title, would mandate a study to see if there is a disparity within the state procurement system between businesses owned by women, people of color, people with disabilities and LGBTQ people, and other businesses. A study could ensure that, when the government makes purchases of goods or services from private companies, minority-owned businesses are well represented.

Sponsors: Sens. Angela Williams, D-Denver, and Robert Rodriguez, D-Denver, and Reps. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, and Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo

Status: Moved to Senate Appropriations Committee

The full passage of any of these bills would be a boon for LGBTQ Coloradans, and we finally have the support in the state Legislature to give them the chance they deserve. Keep your fingers crossed and, of course, call your representatives.

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