Growing up gay on the Front Range of Colorado
An exclusive interview with Governor Jared Polis
Jared Polis, the 43rd Democratic Governor for Colorado, was born May 12th, 1975, at Boulder Community Hospital. He is a tried and true Coloradoan and has been making history since he first hit the ground running and has in many ways been leading the charge for social change throughout his career.
Polis began his foray into making history in the political world in 2008 when he became the first same-sex parent to be elected to the US Congress.
In 2018, Polis again made cultural history when he became the first openly gay person to be elected a Governor in the nation. He was also the 2nd open member of the LGBTQ community to become Governor, following Governor Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon.
He is also the first Jewish person to be elected as Governor of Colorado.
He has been an outspoken and influential proponent of education, human rights, civil liberties and a vocal opponent of the Patriot Act throughout his career. Of course, he has also been a defender of LGBTQ rights.
As a continuation of our spotlight of LGBTQ members of our Estes Park Community, we thought it would be appropriate to shine a light on our State Leader, who has done much to help our community get through some of the natural disasters we have endured during his tenure in office. We reached out to his office and were granted a short, exclusive interview with Governor Polis.
“we focus on a Colorado for all, that means you be you—and regardless of what your gender is, or who you love, there is a place for you in Colorado.”
We started the interview by asking the Governor about his experiences growing up as a member of the LGBTQ community here in Northern Colorado. Having just published a history of Pride in Colorado, we started by asking about his experiences with the Pride celebrations here in Colorado. Polis spent his Highschool years in California, so his experience with Pride here in Colorado was limited.
“I attended my first Pride events in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but it wasn’t nearly as big of an event as it is now.”
The conversation then turned to some of the struggles that we have overcome as a state in protecting LGBTQ rights.
“We all remember in 1992 when Colorado became the hate state because the voters overruled the civil rights protections that Denver, Boulder, and other cities had. It was a long road back.” Polis continues, “Colorado was one of the earlier states to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in the workplace with fully inclusive protections. It has really been a national discussion, of course, but I think in Colorado, people have really learned to meet their friends and neighbors where they are and accept them for who they are.”
Polis adds that “It is sad that in some states, that in particular, the transgender community is being targeted and in some cases being excluded from being able to participate in sports and being discriminated against. In our state, we focus on a Colorado for all, that means you be you—and regardless of what your gender is, or who you love, there is a place for you in Colorado.”
This article originally appeared in the Estes Park Trail-Gazette.