Why Colorado Springs' Vice Mayor Supports PrideFest

July 2009

smallJoan Mitchell will appear in Colorado Springs Saturday to speak to participants of the city's PrideFest before a screening of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," a film about a fictional transsexual punk rocker written and directed by her son, John Cameron Mitchell. This slice of life from the Gazette might not qualify as big news in other cities, but in the Springs such events are contentious, and in recent years PrideFest has gotten a cold shoulder when it comes to proclamations of recognition from the city's Republican government. As The Colorado Independent bluntly writes, "Colorado Springs is not the most gay-friendly town." Regardless, PrideFest will go on this weekend and, as he has for years, Mayor Lionel Rivera is withholding his support. But if Rivera won't back the occasion, Vice Mayor Larry Small, a "very conservative Republican" and Catholic who sees marriage as sacred, says he will (via the Gazette): "These are citizens of the community who are having an event, and they need to be appreciated like any other group. They pay taxes, own businesses, and volunteer their time for community organizations. I'm not going to treat people differently just because other people might like or dislike them. I wasn't elected to judge any of them."