How to Support Denver's LGBTQ Community This Pride Month
For Pride Month, and every month.
Pride celebrations are never complete without an acknowledgement of the work still left to be done. This year, it’s a particularly relevant sentiment, though it’s beginning to feel like some semblance of “normal life” is on the horizon, the road to recovery post-pandemic is long. And, even if this summer feels like one big sigh of relief, Pride isn’t simply another party making its return to the party circuit. It’s a celebration rooted in historical, collective resistance, and ought to be remembered as such.
LGBTQ businesses, nonprofits, and communities are beginning to bounce back, but they still have a long way to go. And helping the queer culture of Denver make a full recovery means taking practical steps to ensure its survival—whether that’s with your money, time, audience, or attention. So grab a drink, sign up for a volunteer time slot, visit a queer art exhibit, or chow down on a very gay burger. If there was ever a good time to show your solidarity, it’s now.
Get involved with Denver’s LGBTQ non-profits
Denver is replete with opportunities to both find community and support already existing communities with your time, money, and skills. The Center on Colfax is a long-standing safe space for queer folks in Capitol Hill (and the largest one of its kind in the Rocky Mountain Region); they run events yearround, but especially during Pride. One Colorado is devoted to LGBTQ equality, specifically as it relates to healthcare, in the state; you can sign up to volunteer here. If you’re looking specifically for transgender support groups and services Queer Asterisk, Transgender Youth Education Support of Colorado, and Transgender Center of the Rockies are good places to start (you can also donate to all of these non-profits, too).
And, of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without Denver Pride (produced by The Center of Colfax), the city’s annual gathering at the end of June. 2021’s festivities will be a hybrid model of some virtual and some in-person events (aka Pride hubs), mostly happening over the weekend of June 26 - 27. Find those Pride hubs here, register for the Pride 5K here, and register for the parade here. All donations sent to Denver Pride will go directly to The Center on Colfax. Relatedly, this is also the first year that Denver will celebrate Black Pride, a series of events in June co-hosted by The Center on Colfax, Youth Seen, and the Juneteenth Music Festival.
Support local queer arts and culture
Denver has long been a city where artistic influences from the West, the Southwest, and the Midwest collide. It’s a unique cocktail of style and perspective, and two exhibits this Pride Month exemplify that: “Us”, a group show on view at Bitfactory starting June 18, and “Loving You,” a photography exhibit by MaryV Benoit on view now through July 10 at Union Hall. We recommend paying both a visit this month.
Denver also has its very own queer film festival, called CinemaQ Film Festival (happening August 26-29), and one of the Pride hubs on June 27 will serve as a preview of sorts for the fest (find information about both events here).
Eat and drink your way through Capitol Hill
Did you know that there are only 15 lesbian bars left in the entire country? ICYMI, this is something of a crisis for the community, and it just so happens that Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is home to one of them: Blush & Blu. Pop by for a drink any night of the week, and while you’re on Colfax, check out nearby spots X BAR and Charlie’s Denver (the latter of which is Western-themed). Triangle Denver is also a fairly short walk away, tucked away inside the old historic Triangle Lounge.
If you’re the partying type, you may or may not have heard of Babes Around Denver (BAD), a monthly women’s party at Tracks that purports to be the largest of its kind in the US. Currently, these parties are happening the first Friday of every month, and vaccinated folks are allowed to attend mask-less. Though BAD is technically a women’s party, all are welcome.
Lastly, there’s something to be said for a good old-fashioned burger and fries. If that’s your schtick, don’t spend another minute in Denver before going to Hamburger Mary’s, the gay-themed restaurant and bar just a hop and a skip away from the queer bar scene on Colfax. Obviously, this place is perfectly situated for a late night, post-bar-hopping dinner of fried food. Need we say more?
Emma Banks is a contributor for Thrillist.