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By Christopher Ott, MD

I moved to Denver 15 years ago over Memorial Day weekend.

I still remember seeing the mountains emerging from the horizon as I drove down I-76. I had some idea what to expect and had friends from college who had already been living here for several years.

I had my residency lined up and a townhouse rented. Slowly over the next year I made a great group of friends who I’d met at places like Diedrich’s (now Dazbog), the Grand, Charlie’s and Tracks.

I went to my first Pride in 1998.

There was still a lot of anger and animosity in Colorado five years after voters approved Amendment 2. Our community was still in the crosshairs of Focus on the Family and many within the conservative movement.

Those were the days that made the Marilyn Musgraves of the world prominent national figures and subsequently made Colorado a battleground state for LGBT advocacy.

We stood up and took the fight right to them. Time and our hard work, as a community, has changed the conversation.

Groups like the Colorado AIDS Project, the Gill Foundation, The GLBT Community Center of Colorado and many other organizations have spurred our community to action and advocacy for our rights.

Fifteen years on and countless fundraisers, dinners, marches and walks later we can say that we live in a state that values our presence and our contributions to society.

We are prominent members of the political and professional class who now get to drive the conversation.

With a continued mission and with the support of our straight allies, we will never go back to the days of Amendment 2.

We are better people for having taken up this fight for our rights. Colorado is a better place because of these changes. And that is why we continue to support the work of our LGBT community organizations. 

Christopher Ott, MD, practices emergency medicine with Apex Emergency Group. He lives with his partner Jeremy Simons in Denver.