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Broomfield celebrates Pride Month on Saturday

Broomfield’s second annual LGBTQ Pride motorcade and party takes place Saturday in Midway Park.
pride flag AdobeStock_171529275
Broomfield celebrates Pride Month on Saturday  

Rainbow flags and smiling faces will abound during Broomfield’s second annual LGBTQ Pride motorcade and party, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in Midway Park.

The “Party in the Park” kicks off at 11:30 a.m. when Broomfield’s first ever “Pride Motorcade” will cruise down Midway Boulevard before arriving at the main celebration location in Midway Park.

Broomfield Mayor Guyleen Castriotta said the inaugural event in 2021, organized with PFLAG Broomfield, resonated with the larger community as a highpoint during Pride Month.  

Founded in 2019, PFLAG Broomfield is part of a national organization that started in 1973. PFLAG, which has over 400 chapters with roughly 200,000 members nationwide, is the largest family and ally group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals in the U.S.

Castriotta said having the LGBTQ community hold Pride festivals carries added significance for youths struggling with sexual identities.

“Having these open celebrations, it gives kids hope,” she said. “This visibility and having representation matters to a lot of teenagers.”

Coming of age struggles are often enhanced for youths embracing alternative lifestyles. 

“They don’t have support and they’re trying to figure out who they are,” she said

Ultimately, Castriotta said witnessing the community embracing its LGBTQ members communicates an affirmative message to adolescents.  

“You’re perfect just the way you are,” she said.

Prior to serving as mayor, Castriotta, who was elected to City Council in 2017, pushed for Broomfield to proclaim June as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month.

Former Mayor Patrick Quinn initially expressed hesitancy due to political polarization when the idea was proposed in 2018. 

“He did relent and in 2019 and we did a mayoral proclamation,” she said. “Some of the people on council didn’t know what that was and we had to educate them.” 

Pride Month is marked each June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City. On June 28, 1969, gay community members held spontaneous protests in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in  Greenwich Village.

Pride carries personal significance for Castriotta, who relocated to Colorado with her then-girlfriend and now wife, Carolyn Terry. 

“My wife and I waited until 2015 when the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court so that we would be able to keep our marriage equality rights,” she explained.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law. The legislation defined marriage under federal statute as being between a man and woman and permitted states the option to not recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. In 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the act’s provisions were largely unconstitutional.

Despite the progress, Castriotta said recent pushback on societal progress relating to women’s reproductive rights is cause for concern.

“Those are rights we fought hard for,” she said. “I just hope that we don’t go back to the dark ages.”

Castriotta noted conservative critics continue to use buzz words, such as indoctrination and grooming, when referring to LGBTQ people.

“They’ve been saying those things for decades,” she said. “It just shows a lack of understanding that we’re born this way.”

Castriotta is worried that the current political climate, with more than a dozen states mulling anti-LGTBQ laws, seems rife for rolling back societal progress.  

“I’ve been out since I was a senior in high school, but now I see this regression,” she said. “We’re passing laws to try to create equality but there’s so many states that are doing the opposite.”

The political fallout has also put an increasing number of lesbian, gay and transgender individuals at risk of harm.

“It’s important to use our voice to speak out, and to call it out, when you hear transphobic remarks or homophobic remarks,” she said. “I have a zero tolerance policy for that because our trans brothers and sisters are getting murdered at higher rates than anyone and our young queer kids are committing suicide because of bullying.”  

Regardless of counter forces or peer pressure, Castriotta’s message for adolescents coming to grips with their own sexual identity is to thy own self be true.

“I want to be that voice that says it can get better and it will get better,” she said. “School’s not forever.