In the '90s, Newsweek ran a cover story about Colorado Springs being the hate capital of America, and the state made the national news by voting in an anti-gay amendment to the state constitution. (That later was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.) Have things changed? We went to DJ's Bar and Grill last Sunday, where Mike Jones was signing I Had to Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard's Fall, to ask people their opinions.
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Have you attended a Gay Pride event? Yeah, when I lived in Sydney, Australia, for a number of years. They have one of the world's biggest Mardi Gras/gay events. I'm eager to see what's happening here.
Have attitudes toward gays changed locally? When I lived here with my parents 10 or 11 years ago, it was a lot more closeted. You could lose friends. Now that I'm back, I'm seeing a lot more openness at work and friendship circles more straights coming to gay bars, gays accepted at straight bars.
Which gay person do you most admire? Greg Louganis, the Olympic diver, and Ellen DeGeneres her ups and downs, being canceled and coming back, being a great advocate for human beings who happen to be gay.
Have you ever known someone you presumed was straight who turned out gay? I was friends with this guy I was sure was straight, but he turned out to be gay and interested in me, which was kind of awkward.
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Have you ever attended a Gay Pride event? I've marched with the Pikes Peak Summit Masters in a Gay Pride parade. I'm straight, but I support the gay community.
Have attitudes toward gays changed? People are realizing that gays work hard, pay their bills and want to live nice like everyone else. I've worked with police officers who were gay, male and female. They pulled their own weight like anybody else.
Have you known someone you assumed to be straight, but was gay? Oh, yeah. In fact, I've had fellow officers who assumed I was gay because I was a little "butchy." They were surprised to learn I'm straight.
Have you attended a Gay Pride event? I've participated in a number of Gay Pride events and festivities afterwards.
Has there been a change in attitudes toward gays? It's no longer a big occasion for shock when someone comes out. It's a lot more acceptable now. Is it perfect? No.
Is homosexuality genetic or a personal choice? I knew I was attracted to men by age 5. Being gay is not a choice. How you live your life is.
Who is the most famous gay you know? Ted Haggard.
What other kind of Pride Parade do we need around here? How about an Honesty Parade?