COLORADO SPRINGS — For 30 years one local agency has provided a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth who feel rejected and bullied.
Inside out is a non-profit group in Colorado Springs that creates a safe space for young people through prevention work.
"All the work we do is prevention work," said Candace Woods, Youth Services Manager of the agency. "We do sexual violence prevention by training young people about consent, we do substance abuse prevention work to help them develop coping skills, and we do suicide prevention."
Even though the building is empty right now due to COVID-19, Inside Out still hosts drop-in hours online, where young people can come in and play games together. During each session, a therapist is on staff in-case the teens need mental health support. Inside Out is also full of dedicated people who want to help LGBTQ+ young people thrive. Daniel Wedding is one of those workers.
"I joined Inside Out about three years ago. I started learning who I was and as the time grew I wanted to help the community that helped me," Wedding explained. Wedding serves as a Peer Adviser for the agency. "There will be people in this world that you can come out to, and be yourself."
October 11 is National Coming out Day, a day that historically marks the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Members of the LGBTQ+ community mark the occasion by sharing their "Coming Out" stories on social media. Dr. Tim Seelig remembers the exact day his truth came to be.
"I look back on that day in 1987 and it was not pretty. The result was devastating," Seelig explained. "It's really easy to discriminate when you don't know someone who is gay or lesbian. If people would just come out and tell their friends and family, they might say, well I like you so that means I like gay people. That makes a huge difference."
While the rest of the world couldn't accept it at the time, Dr. Seelig somehow found comfort. Turning his pain into power, and his sorrow into song, Dr. Seelig is now the director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, who once upon a time, came to Colorado Springs to support Inside Out and other LGBTQ+ groups here, but not before making a historic stop to pay tribute to our men and women in uniform.
"On our way, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus sang at the Air Force Chapel. We were the first gay men's chorus to sing at the beautiful chapel. Then we sang for a benefit at First Methodist Church for several LGBTQ organizations in town" Seelig explained.
Two stories connecting people and places, where love is love, no matter the heart.
For more information on how to donate to Inside Out, click here.