Since the election, queers across the nation are preparing for the worst under the new administration. While no major punches have been thrown under the Trump administration, Colorado has already seen and blocked a broad religious exemption proposal that would have allowed individuals and businesses to claim their religion gives them permission to ignore laws they don’t want to follow.
Hopefully this is the only attempt to set back the queer community in Colorado. But, if not colorful Colorado has six queers at the State Capitol that are willing to go into battle to combat bills that will directly hurt the state’s queer community. They are also spearheading a few bills that have failed in the past — the ban on conversion therapy and the birth certificate modernization act.
We’d like you all to meet …
Dominick “Dom” Moreno
Hometown: Commerce City, CO
Currently resides in: Commerce City, CO
College/Degree: BA in American Government, Georgetown University
Accomplishments before taking office: Council member/Mayor Pro Tem of Commerce City (2009–2012); State Representative (2012–2016)
Accomplishments while in office: While in office, I helped pass a collective bargaining ordinance for Commerce City workers, passed a law establishing universal breakfast at Colorado’s lowest income schools, passed a law allowing LGBT couples to file joint state tax returns (before marriage equality), sponsored a law to make it easier to change the gender marker on a birth certificate — still trying to pass this.
Aspirations for the incoming years: In light of the new federal administration, I aspire to protect and defend the most vulnerable in our communities whether they’re LGBT, women, minorities, or Muslims. We have to be especially vigilant and hold our elected leaders accountable to make sure we remain a progressive, inclusive society.
What makes you so passionate about LGBT issues in particular? I’m passionate about LGBT issues because our community deserves equal protection under the law guaranteed by the Constitution. Despite the huge gains in LGBT rights and marriage equality, we have more work to do. Too many LGBT people live in areas where it’s still legally acceptable to discriminate in employment and housing. We have to put a stop to this.
Paul “Paulie” Rosenthal
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Currently resides in: Denver, CO
College/Degree: MA in International Management, University of Denver Daniels College of Business // BA in International Relations, San Francisco State University // AA in General Studies, University of Maryland, Munich Germany Campus
Accomplishments before taking office: I was appointed by Mayors Hickenlooper and Hancock to the Denver Community Corrections Board, 2005–present where I am also the vice chair; elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention (2000, 2004); secretary of the Denver Democratic Party; president of the Colorado Stonewall Democrats; accomplished cook; world traveler.
Accomplishments while in office: I’ve served as a member of the Colorado Board of Tourism, co-founded the LGBT Caucus, co-founded the Aerospace and Defense Caucus, sat as vice chair of the Local Government Committee, worked on the annual Colorado Sister City celebration, pioneered the annual Stellar Student program, which awards one outstanding student from each school in my district.
Bill I am most proud of: The bill that requires the governor’s office to work on climate change, appoint a point-person on it, and report progress annually. Also, for the past two years, I’ve passed a bill to ban gay conversion out of the House, and although the Senate keeps killing it, I will continue to offer it.
Aspirations for the incoming years: Continue to work to pass bills that promote and defend LGBT rights, advocate for Colorado global business and cultural appreciation, reform juvenile and adult criminal-justice reform, and continue to serve the people of Denver and Colorado.
What makes you so passionate about LGBT issues in particular? Well, besides being an out gay male myself, we need to ensure we make decisions that will benefit the LGBT community in the future, and it is critical that we line up LGBT leaders to take over when we’re out of office.
Daneya “Representative Pueblo” Esgar
Hometown: Pueblo, CO
Currently resides in: Pueblo, CO
College/Degree: BA in Mass Communications, Colorado State University Pueblo
Accomplishments before taking office: I served as president of the Southern Colorado Equality Alliance for nearly five years. During that time, I started Pueblo’s only LGBTQ youth group, which still meets every week. As a community organizer, before civil unions became legal, I worked in Pueblo to change policy to allow same-gender domestic partner benefits for city workers. In 2012, the Colorado Springs Pride Center awarded me the Community Activist of the Year award. In 2013, I was named as one of OUT FRONT’s power award recipients for my work in southern Colorado. In 2014, I became the first openly gay person to ever run or be elected in Pueblo, Colorado.
Accomplishments while in office: Since being elected in 2014, I have passed fifteen bills into law that have helped make the lives of Coloradans better.
Specifically for the LGBTQ community, I helped pass legislation that fixed the discrepancies in Colorado laws between civil unions and marriage equality, and helped pass legislation that was the first of its kind to decriminalize HIV.
I am honored to serve as the co-chair of the LGBT Caucus this year and was recently elected House Majority Caucus Chair and chair of the Capital Development Committee. I serve as the vice chair of the House Health Insurance and Environment committee, as a member of the House Transportation and Energy Committee, and the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee.
Aspirations for the incoming years: This coming year, we at the state legislature have a lot of work to do to be sure that Coloradans are protected and that we, as a state, continue to flourish in every corner. I’m excited to be the prime sponsor of the so-called Birth Certificate Bill that we’ve tried to pass before. Senator Moreno and I will be introducing this legislation again this year. It’s so important, now more than ever, that we help to protect our transgender community.
What makes you so passionate about LGBT issues in particular? There is no space in this world for intolerance and hate, especially based off who a person loves or how they identify. We all deserve to pursue happiness and no one should be allowed to stand in our way to achieve it. For far too long our LGBT community was treated unfairly and unjustly. Although we have come a long way, there is still entirely too much discrimination happening to our community, especially our brothers and sisters of color in and outside of the LGBTQ community. Until we are all treated fairly and equally in all aspects of our life the work must continue.
Dr Joann “Doc Jo” Ginal
Hometown: Manchester, NH
Currently resides in: Fort Collins, CO
College/Degree: University of New Hampshire, BS // Iowa State University, MS // Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ph.D
Accomplishments before taking office: I was a college professor for reproductive endocrinology, embryology, parasitology, microbiology.
I was a biologist/biologist guide for ecotourism for three years on three-week excursions on the Amazon River from Iquitos Peru through Columbia to Brazil in 1993. I studied pink dolphins on the Amazon River. I was an African photo safari guide in Kenya and Tanzania and studied elephant behavior in Amboseli National Park in Kenya for three years.
I was employed by international companies for South America and African Studies.
I spent more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry in new product development for cardiology, neurology, and women’s health.
Accomplishments while in office: I’ve served as chairwoman of House Health, Insurance, and Environment committee. I sponsored the Civil Union Bill while having a hand in Telehealth, Veterinarian compounding drug stock, end of life options, Drug Transparency Act of 2016, senior issues, and focused on LGBTQ seniors.
Aspirations for the incoming years: I want to champion healthcare issues for all with special attention to the LGBTQ community, and to continue to focus on our LGBTQ seniors, healthcare issues, environmental issues, education, and workforce issues.
What makes you so passionate about LGBT issues in particular? We have had to work hard and fight for so much since Stonewall, and we need to keep up the work we have done and make sure our community will never be discriminated against. I have lived through times of inequality — never again. But we must teach the younger LGBTQ community — and everyone — the history and discrimination we have experienced in the past.
Leslie Nicole Herod
Hometown: Denver, CO
Currently resides in: Denver, CO
College/Degree: BS with emphasis on Political Science, Media Science, and Ethics Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder.
Accomplishments before taking office: I was co-founder of New Era, a senior policy advisor to Governor Bill Ritter Jr., a program officer with the Gill Foundation; a gubernatorial appointee to the state’s Judicial Performance Commission and mayoral appointee to Denver’s Cultural Affairs Commission, sat on the board of directors for Urban Peak, mentored at Manual High School, was deputy political director of Colorado for President Obama, outreach director for Coloradans for Fairness, founder of the Colorado Women of Influence Leadership Circles, and president of Colorado Black Woman for Political Action.
Accomplishments while in office: I was the first LGBTQ Black representative, where I won 86% of vote — more than any other democratic race.
Aspirations for the upcoming years: I will fight against discrimination and bigotry aimed at our communities every day. My goal this session is to defend Coloradans against the divisive Trump agenda and make sure that none of the protections we have fought for are rolled back. Additionally, I will pass proactive policies to decrease the disproportionate representation of people of color and LGBT individuals in the criminal justice system, ensure access to affordable housing options in Denver, and make sure our young people are safe and supported in our schools.
What makes you so passionate about LGBT issues in particular? I am passionate about LGBT issues as a gay black woman, not only because they directly affect me, they affect those I love, those I represent in my district, and those I identify with as Americans. As the incoming administration has shown, adversity is still knocking at our door. I am passionate, not just about the issues, but for inclusive policy that embraces young people and the LGBT community at large — whether that’s preventative and trans healthcare, non-discrimination policy, or ending LGBT homelessness.
Lucia “Lucy” Guzman
Currently resides in: Denver, CO
College/Degree: BS, Sam Houston State University // MS in Divinity from Iliff School of Theology.
Accomplishments before taking office: I have long been a civil rights activist. In 2002, Hickenlooper appointed me to City’s Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships. I also served on the Denver School Board from 1999 to 2007. I am ordained minister and a former executive director of Colorado Council of Churches.
Accomplishments while in office: I am the first Latina and the first openly lesbian Latina to serve in Senate leadership.
Aspirations for the upcoming years: It is my hope that Colorado joins the long list of states that have repealed the death penalty. Colorado also has to address its funding and financial crisis. I hope to lead a coalition of bipartisan legislators to address some of these issues through legislation.
What makes you so passionate about LGBT issues in particular? As a Latina and a lesbian, I am well aware of the obstacles placed in front of us. We constantly face the barriers of discrimination and oppression. I believe it is the job of both marginalized groups to work together to overcome the adversities. We must face these obstacles together because if not we will find ourselves oppressing each other. It is crucial to work together and understand one another so that we can carry each other into a future where equality is reality.