COLORADO SPRINGS — Pride month is celebrated nationwide during the month of June every year. It’s when LGBTQ+ communities come together to celebrate and reflect on the progress made both across the country and in Colorado Springs.
John Wolfe and Josh Franklin co-own Icons, a gay piano bar located in downtown Springs. When asked what Pride Month means to them, Wolfe said, “For me, it represents how far I personally have come in my journey, as well as the queer community as a whole, and it's celebrating the people that fought to get us where we are today, and making sure that that wasn't for nothing.”
The two opened Icons in November 2020, to create a safe space for the growing gay and queer community.
“I think Icons would not have survived five or 10 years ago. I think it was a great time for somebody to be bold, and have a big loud, and we are loud, happy and vibrant space for queer people and our allies,” said Franklin. “In many ways. The queer community of Colorado springs is more diverse than some of the bigger cities that we've lived in.”
On the east side of town is another safe space for the gay and queer community. Club Q opened up 20 years ago.
“Colorado Springs, especially with such the big military population and the time being a different time, ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ was in place. There weren't places that you realistically could go out with your partner and not be fired,” said Jason Jusell, who works there.
“Club Q opened up so that it was intentionally just slightly out of the way so that people wouldn't see you going there, and that way, the gay military men would have a space that they would be able to feel safe and welcome at,” he added.
Jusell, who helps with music and lighting at the club says, since opening, progress has been made in acceptance and inclusion across the city.
“In my experience, I’ve definitely seen growth within our community over the last five to 10 years for sure,” said Jusell.
And while this month celebrates pride inside and out, many in the LGBTQ+ community says more work, still needs to be done.
“I hope that the community shows up and they show out because it's very important now more than ever to show who we are,” said Hysteria Brooks, who also works at Club Q. “But hate crimes are still very prevalent in our communities, even today, and although we have made so much progress in the past, progress still needs to be made.”
There are about a dozen LGBTQ-owned businesses in Colorado Springs, and about ten events, resources, and other organizations that support the gay community.
For a list of the businesses and organizations, click here.