lgbtq youth programs and scholarships

What is Pride?

Gay Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and its history. It is a time to commemorate the progress that has been made in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and to continue to fight for equality.

The first Gay Pride march was held in New York City on June 28, 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall riots were a series of protests that took place in New York City after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar. The riots are widely considered to be the start of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Gay Pride marches have been held annually in cities around the world ever since. These marches are a way for LGBTQ+ people to come together and celebrate their community, and to demand equality and respect.

Gay Pride is more than just a celebration. It is also a time to remember the struggles that LGBTQ+ people have faced, and to continue to fight for equality. LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination and violence in many parts of the world. Gay Pride is a way to show that LGBTQ+ people will not be silenced, and that they will continue to fight for their rights.

Gay Pride is a time to be proud of who you are, and to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time to remember the progress that has been made, and to continue to fight for equality.

Here are some of the key events in the history of Gay Pride:

  • 1970: The first Gay Pride march is held in New York City.
  • 1973: The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
  • 1977: Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in the United States.
  • 1987: The AIDS epidemic begins to spread in the United States.
  • 1993: The Supreme Court rules that it is unconstitutional to fire someone for being gay or lesbian.
  • 2003: The Supreme Court rules that sodomy laws are unconstitutional.
  • 2010: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is passed by Congress, expanding the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • 2015: The Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

Gay Pride is a time to celebrate the progress that has been made in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and to continue to fight for equality.

lgbtq youth programs and scholarships

What is Aspen Pride?

Aspen Pride could be considered AGSW (Aspen Gay Ski Week)

Forty-seven years ago, what became Aspen Gay Ski Week began in a bar over an argument about dancing and liberal politics in Aspen; who’d have thought?

A group of local guys, Jon Busch, David Hoch, Tom Duesterberg, Russell Anderson, and others, along with groups of gay tourists from various ski clubs (San Diego, Los Angeles, and Chicago), decided to meet more officially every January. Every year each ski club volunteered to host parties on different nights to which all were invited. The local contingent’s contribution was, at first, only a welcoming party to kick things off. But over the years, the all-volunteer “let’s put on a show” effort became the world’s first and, for many years only, gay ski week.

One party became many parties. Hot tub get-togethers became the Saturday night pool party. Spur of the moment “catch as catch can” drag shows became the downhill costume contest. Disco became a house, deep house, electronica, and dance. Well, of course, it began as a way to meet guys and have fun. But at its roots, Aspen Gay Ski Week is also about politics and civil rights.
In 1977 or so, local Jon Busch had gotten in trouble in a local bar over dancing with a man. Aspen has a tradition of liberal thought that began in the 70s, but it had limits, and one of the limits was guys dancing together openly. Being only a few years after Stonewall, gay rights hadn’t made much of an inroad into rural Colorado—even in liberal Aspen. But in 1979, Busch and other local guys pushed for and eventually secured gay rights protections in Aspen—a first in the state. Boulder and Denver followed.
All was well until 1992 when the statewide “Amendment 2” was pushed by right-wing fundamentalist groups and passed by a statewide majority vote. This constitutional amendment revoked and repealed all existing gay rights legislation such as Aspen’s, and prevented any further gay rights legislation from being passed either at the local or state level. It was a blow and not the good kind. There was liberal outrage across Colorado and the United States to this effort to deny gays basic civil rights and liberties.
The response from Hollywood and the national and international gay community was a boycott of Colorado tourism. It was a very effective boycott and had a devastating effect on tourism in general (as many boycotts do—that’s the point), but it also hurt Aspen Gay Ski Week in particular. Gay destination tourism had grown out of the awareness that many gays had a lot of disposable income and that there could be successful models like Aspen Gay Ski Week in other ski resorts. It cost Aspen a lot of business and set the organization back because it allowed additional for-profit ski weeks, modeled on Aspen’s all-volunteer non-profit model, to get a leg up and thrive. As these for-profit ski weeks became more prevalent and destination tourism was better marketed to the gay traveler and skier, visitors began to expect more but participate less in the planning and execution of the experience.
Aspen Gay Ski Week was incorporated as the Aspen Gay and Lesbian Community Fund, a 501c3 non-profit organization, in 1996 to address the growing competition from for-profit ski weeks.
But there were other and more meaningful contributions to gay civil rights as an outcome of Amendment 2 and the international response “Boycott Colorado.” For one, it activated progressive Aspen-ites, Coloradans, and gays across the country to fight these right-wing efforts to block gay rights here and throughout the United States. For another, it brought these efforts to deny these basic rights to gays to straight America. No longer could it be denied that there was a concerted and well-financed effort to deny civil rights and liberties to gay Coloradans and gay Americans in general.
In Colorado, Aspen, Boulder, and Denver banded together and brought a constitutional challenge to Amendment 2—Romer vs. Evans. The Colorado Supreme Court held that Amendment 2 was indeed unconstitutional. The United States Supreme Court upheld this decision in 1996 (with only Justices Scalia and Thomas dissenting, no surprise there.)
What initially began as the efforts of a couple of local Aspen-ites to dance in bars with other men had turned into a landmark civil rights case—the first the court had heard since 1986. This eventually led to the Supreme Court overturning all laws that criminalized homosexual sex with Lawrence vs. Texas in 2006 and set us on the path to full citizenship. Though that goal has yet to be achieved, it is within sight. With a bit of help from the Christian right-wing fundamentalists, Aspen locals helped set the stage for landmark civil rights legislation which would eventually lead to complete civil rights, including marriage. Take that forces of darkness! Don’t mess with the gays!

AspenOUT is respectfully requesting that you dig deep. No amount is too small. Give whatever you can.

Every dollar donated will go to non-profits that might often get overlooked, but do the most work.

About AspenOUT

Established as the Aspen Gay and Lesbian Community Fund (AGLCF), the organization grew with only one staff member and a Board of Directors to help maximize the profit for charity, anchored by Gay Ski Week as a grassroots fundraiser. While the RFGLCF/AspenOUT is best known for producing Aspen Gay Ski Week, we strive to support the development of a strong local Gay, Lesbian, Bi, and Transgender community with programs and initiatives including: The Art Base Partnership, CP Burger Youth Event, Carbondale Pride, Affirming Voices, and more. We invite you to become a part of AspenOUT, whether as a visitor, part-time resident, or full-time local.

Get in Touch. Get Involved.

We are always looking for new volunteers, future board members, and more. Let us know how you’d like to be involved with AspenOUT.

P.O. Box 3143 Aspen,Colorado 81612

Call Us: 970-236-6504