Immediate Action Required to Protect our LGBTQ Youth

BVSD Board of Education currently has before it a charter school application from Ascent Classical Academy (ACA). ACA is one of a chain of schools initiated by the Barney Charter School Initiative, a project of Hillsdale College. Hillsdale College is a private college in Michigan that espouses beliefs of intolerance toward any group that is not white, heterosexual, or cisgender. It works to promote the policies of hate being enacted by the current Federal Administration.

The BVSD Board of Education initially rejected the application because the ACA waived BVSD’s anti-discrimination policy and over 50 other items in the application.  ACA appealed to the Colorado Board of Education, and now the State Board is requiring that BVSD’s Board again consider the application.

The BVSD Board of Education will vote on the application Tuesday, Jan. 22. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at 6500 Arapahoe, Boulder, CO.

We know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and youth of color face extreme bullying as compared to other youth. Charter schools that provide no protections for our most vulnerable youth do not belong in our community, nor should they receive any public funding.

We strongly urge you to take one or more of the following actions before Tuesday night’s vote:

  1. Write emails to individual BVSD Board members

  2. Send an email to the entire BVSD Board of Education: bvs.board@bvsd.org

  3. Show up and speak at the Board Meeting Tuesday. Anyone wishing to speak during Public Participation may either sign up via phone at 720 561 5114, or in person between 5:30-5:45 p.m. Tuesday. However, any member of the public who comes to the meeting before the end of Public Participation may sign up to speak.

Ascent Classical Academies is part of a project to stealthily push a religious agenda into public schools. This is not kind of school that BVSD needs. It goes against the spirit of what charter schools are for, and it violates the norms of the school district. BVSD has five diverse charter schools, none of which are backed by a shadowy, non-local agenda. We are concerned that the ACA has an anti-equity, anti-diversity perspective and that it will not serve LGBT or students of color in Boulder County.


Strength from the Margins

Krishna Pattisapu, Ph.D., Board Member

Recently, our nation has seen its people rise up in unparalleled large-scale movements like the Women’s March, protests in airports opposing Islamaphobic travel bans, and the forthcoming “Day Without a Woman” strike set for March 8th. These events, while inspiring testaments to democracy in action, present opportunities for us to consider how the most privileged members of our communities have the power to center their narratives in political struggle. For example, by questioning which women can afford to participate in a strike, we can engage in conversations about the racialization of feminized labor. In other words, women of color tend to occupy lower paying and more physically demanding roles that are associated with women. According to a July 2016 report by the Congressional Joint Economics Committee, women of color constitute more than half of workers earning less than minimum wage.

National strikes and protests undoubtedly send messages to political leadership. But who gets to send those messages? How does our activism systematically silence the most vulnerable among us?

For queer and trans folks who reside at the intersections of marginalized identities -- undocumented queer and trans folks, queer and trans people of color, and working class queer and trans folks, to name just a few -- the need to address terrifying political realities comes as no surprise. As individuals who navigate interlocking systems of oppression like transphobia, racism, Islamaphobia and ableism in addition to heterosexism, we have known for far too long how it feels for laws and policies to dehumanize us and for our own communities to abandon us at the slightest promise of political gain. We know what it means to be excluded from white queer activism, our bodies and our stories always relegated to the margins.

Amidst this exciting time of democratic engagement, the LGBTQ community must take the opportunity to ask ourselves whether or not we are making the same mistakes of yesterday. Is our activism accessible to rural queer and trans people, queer and trans people with disabilities, and our incarcerated queer and trans siblings? And if the answer is no, then is our activism really activism?

In Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde writes, “We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.” In these uncertain times, it is our instinct to focus on how we feel threatened and erased based on our marginalized identities as queer and trans people. We have shown our strength as a community by rallying together to fight back. However, it is more difficult for us to turn inward and examine how the unexamined privileges we have (read: white, able-bodied, documented and middle class) lead us to marginalize and erase others as we advocate for ourselves. For example, how can cisgender queer women dismantle cisnormativity by making sure that we support all of our sisters and not just our cis-ters? How can we push ourselves past our discomfort toward activism that is inclusive of all members of our community?

As we engage in national movements and protests, feeling the warmth and solidarity of our community around us, let us question whose voices we do not hear and whose faces we do not see. And in recognizing those absences, let us remind ourselves that we are truly strong only when we leave no members of our family behind.


New Year, New Groups!

As welcome a new year, we are also celebrating the addition of new groups! Check out our updated schedule below!

Lesbian 55+ Social & Support Group

This social & support group for all lesbians age 55 and up will have its first meeting on January 8, 2019.

Details: 2nd & 4th Tuesdays, 2:30-3:30pm at OBC on Main, 630 Main St, Longmont CO.

Learn more about the Lesbians 55+ Group here!

Queer Codependents Anonymous

Queer CoDA is fellowship of folks whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. First meeting will be on January 7, 2019.

Details: every Monday, 8:15-9:15pm at Boulder Pridehouse, 2132 14th St, Boulder CO.

Learn more about Queer CoDA here!

Knitting Man

Knitting Man is back! All men and all knitting levels welcome.

Details: 1st & 3rd Saturdays, 12-2:30PM at Boulder Pridehouse, 2132 14th St, Boulder CO.

Contact: Robert, knittingman.boulder@gmail.com

Queer & Nerdy Game Night

Its about time we have a game night in Longmont!

Queer & Nerdy Game Night is planning to get started in February. We will share more details as they become available.

Contact: queerandnerdygames@gmail.com

(The LGBTQ Boulder Game Night meets 1st Mondays at Twisted Pine, 6-9pm. contact: rileymancuso@gmail.com)

Other Group Changes

Boulder County Gender Support - Longmont group is meeting on 2nd & 4th Tuesdays only, until we can secure and train new facilitators. Learn more here: https://www.outboulder.org/trans/#gender-support

Dungeons & Dragons is no longer meeting on Fridays, but you can still catch a Sunday game. Every Sunday, 3-6pm at OBC on Main, 630 Main St, Longmont CO. Contact: alisonkluzek@gmail.com

Youth Group Updates

We have some exciting changes to our youth group schedule for 2019 as well!

The Monday group is now for Middle Schoolers and meets every week.
The Tuesday group has moved to Wednesdays and is now for High Schoolers.
No changes to our Thursday group in Longmont.
The Friday group for youth of color is now meeting at our Longmont office.
Check out all the details here: https://www.outboulder.org/out-youth/

Here is the 2019 schedule, we’ll keep you updated with any changes!

OBC_GroupCalendar_2019

Holiday Group Cancellations/Adjustments

Adult Groups

Longmont Gender Support group is cancelled on 12/18 & 12/25.  The group will meet on Jan 1 and starting January 8, the group is going to move to 2nd & 4th Tuesdays until additional facilitators are secured and trained. (January meetings are on Jan 1, 8, and 22.) 

Written Out & the OBC Book Club will not meet in December, taking a holiday break. See you next year!

NA (Narcotics Anonymous) will not meet on Christmas Eve (12/25) or New Years Eve (12/31). Next meeting is Jan 7.



Youth Groups

There will be no youth groups from 12/24/2018-1/4/2019.

We will have an updated schedule with a few changes starting in January. Check out the details here: https://www.outboulder.org/out-youth/

Holiday Office Hours

Both the Boulder & Longmont offices are closed from Monday 12/24- Wednesday 12/26. On Thursday 12/27, both offices are open and staffed with volunteers (not staff).
On Friday 12/28, the Boulder office will be open and staffed with volunteers, but the Longmont office is closed. Staff is out of the office from 12/24-12/28.

Both offices will be closed on New Year’s Day, Tuesday Jan 1.

Longmont Gender Support is seeking new facilitators!

The Boulder County Gender Support Group in Longmont is looking for new facilitators! If your identity is under the trans umbrella and you’ve ever thought of supporting other members of the trans community, this is a great opportunity!The group meets on 2nd & 4th Tuesdays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at OBC on Main (630 Main Street, Longmont)- with the plan to return to monthly meetings once enough facilitators are secured and trained. There is also an obligation to attend our monthly facilitator meeting at the Pride House in Boulder, Thursday from 5:30pm to 6:45pm. We will provide training and guidance on facilitating a peer-led trans support group.Please contact our facilitator coordinator, Jennifer Molde on her cell at (720)633-4830 or jennifer_molde@yahoo.com.

X Gender Marker on Colorado Drivers Licenses

Out Boulder County is celebrating the victory that Colorado driver's licenses now have an X gender marker option.  This is an important step forward in recognizing intersex and gender expansive identities. Below we have additional information as well as a testimonial from our community member, Lior, who just went through the process and now has an updated drivers license with a more appropriate gender designation.

DMV Info

According to the Colorado DMV, folks who want an X gender marker designation need to complete a DR2083 Change of Sex Designation form with a signature from their licensed treating medical or behavioral healthcare provider confirming the individual has received appropriate clinical treatment for their correct sex. This requirement does not require an individual to undergo any specific surgery, treatment, clinical care or behavioral healthcare. This change must be completed in person at a driver license office.   As long as the individual meets all requirements to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver license or identification card, a card with a non-binary sex identifier will be REAL ID-compliant and valid identification to obtain a U.S. passport or other federal identification. 

Lior's experience

When I found out that Colorado had (temporarily) approved an X marker for state ID, I was ecstatic. I thought I would have to move to California or DC in order to have my ID match my identity, and I am so grateful for all of the hard work that let me do that in Colorado, and without the barrier of a physician's appraisal. I originally changed my gender marker on my ID to an M due to safety concerns, but it did not feel right, and so I jumped at the opportunity to change it to something more congruent. As soon as the correct form was posted by the DMV, I emailed it to my therapist, who quickly signed it and sent it back. I then went to the Boulder DMV office and waited in line to be seen; I gave the form to the person who helped me, who was a bit confused but another person in the office reassured them that it was not a typo and I was getting an X. I already have a Colorado ID, so all I had to do was give them the completed form and $28 for a new license, pose for a picture, and wait for my new license in the mail! I am very excited for this new ID with an X and feel that I can be visible in this way due to other privileges I hold, as well as if I am in a medical emergency it may mean more understanding for my physical manifestation than if I stayed with the M. Thank you again for all the amazing work to make this option available!  

Thanks Lior for sharing your experience with us!

Helpful Links:

DR2083 Change of Sex Designation form  

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/change-your-sex  

Holiday Giving 2018

We have some BIG news!


OBC has a $30,000 challenge grant for Colorado Gives Day.  What this means is that if we can raise $30,000 on Colorado Gives Day we will unlock another $30,000.  Your gift will be doubled!


Today you can schedule your gift and your card will not be charged until December 4th.  Go ahead, schedule your gift today. Follow this link and make sure the box is checked that says Colorado Gives Day.


There are additional ways to support Out Boulder County too.  Check out all these opportunities:


Set up an Amazon Smile account and select "Boulder Pride" as the recipient.


Purchase something off of our Amazon Wishlist.


Getting a new car? Donate your old one to us. Call 888.205.3420


Stop by the Pridehouse and select a gift for the youth off of our Giving Tree.


Giving Tuesday is coming up on 11/27! Please use that opportunity to pre-schedule a one-time gift for Colorado Gives Day!


Would you like to donate stock? Email Mardi Moore, Executive Director, to learn how!


Come to the Holiday Party on December 4th (CO Gives Day) and bid on some of our fantastic silent auction items.


Find out all the ways that you can support us by clicking here!


Because of You

thankyoupegasus.jpg


As the year is wrapping up, we are reflecting on the many gifts of our community – your time and participation, your skills and experience, your creativity and style, your smiles and laughter, and even your tears and pain, we share in these together and are so rich for it. Out Boulder County exists because of you. Because of your involvement, we are able to serve over 15,000 people in this area. Because of your donations, we are able to share welcoming spaces in an often harsh world. The many ways that each of you contribute to our diverse, dynamic community are deeply appreciated. 


During this time of thanks and always, we are most grateful for you!


We are grateful to be able to serve our LGBTQ community in Boulder County and beyond. We acknowledge that Boulder County sits upon the traditional territories of the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Ute Nations. We want to recognize the history of this land and express appreciation for those who came before us and who continue the struggle for collective liberation.


Thank you for your kindness, compassion, strength, vulnerability, and presence. Out Boulder County is more vibrant because of you!


Sincerely,


Out Boulder County staff


To donate a financial gift, please contribute to our CO Gives Day campaign.

Trans Day of Remembrance

The transgender community continues to face biased violence that has resulted in at least 22 murders in the United States so far this year. This estimate is lower than the actual number due to cases being unreported or victims not being identified as transgender in the media often because the victim’s gender identity is not recognized by authorities and/or family members.

The victims of this violence are disproportionately trans woman of color, Black trans women in particular, which demonstrates the compounding effects of transphobia, racism, & sexism. In 2017, the deadliest year on record for transgender people with 25 reported murders, 84% of deaths were people of color; 80% were women and more than 75% were under the age of 30 according to the Human Rights Campaign and Trans People of Color Coalition report, A Time to Act. Distressingly, 2018 may prove to be another record-breaking year.

The first known trans person killed in 2018 was Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien in Massachusetts, who was a well-known community advocate who organized and produced trans beauty pageants.

In May, Roxsana Hernandez, a trans woman from Honduras seeking asylum in the US, died while in custody of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. LGBTQ migrants, especially transgender individuals, face increased vulnerability to violence.

Even more recently, Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, a 31-year old Black trans woman, was fatally stabbed in Chicago and was the 6th trans woman of color murdered in a five-week period, and the 22nd recorded trans murder in 2018.

Dehumanization leads to violence. Transgender individuals are children, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, friends, partners, and community leaders. Recognizing and protecting the humanity of transgender individuals on a personal, state, and federal level is crucial to ending this violence.

Continued attacks from the current administration contribute to the dehumanization of transgender individuals. These attacks include, to name a few; the Department of Education’s announcement that it will not protect trans students’ rights to use appropriately gendered facilities, the Justice’ Department’s instruction to attorneys to take the legal position that federal law does not protect transgender workers from discrimination, Trump’s attempt to discharge transgender military service members, the Department of Justice’s illegal policy of housing transgender individuals in federal prison facilities that match their sex assigned at birth rather than their actual gender identity, instructing the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to not use a list of words including “transgender” and “diversity”, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s removal of four key resource guides for emergency shelters on best practices for serving transgender people facing homelessness.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), observed November 20 every year, commemorates those lives lost to anti-transgender violence. Day of Remembrance will be observed starting at the Courthouse on Pearl St. at 6pm with featured speakers including District Attorney Michael Dougherty, County Commissioner Deb Gardner, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones, and local trans community members. After opening remarks, the group will silently walk to the First United Methodist Church labyrinth for a names ceremony.

Out Boulder County also hosts a week of activities leading up to TDOR, Trans Awareness Week, Nov 13-20. This year’s events include Sharing Transgender Stories: Q&A Panel with local trans individuals on Nov 14 and a film screening of “A Queer & Pleasant Danger” at the Dairy Arts Center on Nov 13; see the full list of events here: www.outboulder.org/TAW


#WontBeErased

We Won’t Be Erased

Yesterday’s news was another shock to our individual and collective systems.  As we each read yesterday’s New York Times article detailing the intent by the federal administration to redefine Title Nine protections to specifically exclude and erase transgender, non-binary, intersex, and other gender diverse individuals from its protections, our fears rose and our hearts sank.

As a member of the Board and as an out and proud trans masculine individual, I have been in communication with my fellow Board members and our staff, and we stand united and committed to continuing the fight against this administration's repeated attacks on the LGBTQ community. We renew and affirm our pledge of solidarity to the trans community in that:

* The "T" and all genders it represents is firmly imprinted in our organization and nothing this administration does will ever erase that.

* We will continue to educate and advocate for the transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender diverse community with our local government, law enforcement, businesses, and community, always.

* We will continue to do the work, both internally and externally within the community, to continue to center the voices and experiences of our queer and trans people of color community.

*We will continue to acknowledge and lift up those with intersecting identities who are the most vulnerable in our community and act in solidarity together.

In the State of Colorado, trans people have protections. I encourage you to vote by November 6th to ensure a fair and just Colorado.

As a member of the community, to my gender expansive family, I say this: Know that your existence matters. Know that we see you in your authenticity and no words that anyone commits to paper will ever erase the beautiful individual that you are. There are uncertain times yet to come and we will face them together. Our family and this community is based on strength and resilience. No one stands alone. You are not alone. Together we will never be erased, together we will never be eliminated. Trans people have always existed. We will always be here. We #WontBeErased.

On behalf of the Out Boulder County Board of Directors

W. Ravyn Wayne (he-him-his)

Board Treasurer

Helpful Resources

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

Boulder County Gender Support groups welcome all gender-expansive identities and meets weekly in Longmont (Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm) and Boulder (Thursdays 7-9pm) at the Out Boulder County offices.

Relevant upcoming events

To build solidarity in community, and support your own resiliency, we invite you to please participate with our upcoming events:

Boulder County Responds to Hate

5:30-7:30pm, Monday, October 29 at Boulder Jewish Community Center (6007 Oreg Ave)

Throughout the country, there has been an increase in reported hate crimes.  The DA’s Office is launching a Bias & Hate Crimes Initiative to raise community awareness and improve the collective response to these offenses.  Join District Attorney Michael Dougherty, community leaders, law enforcement, and school representatives for important panel discussions on “Fighting Hate in Our Communities” and “Social Media & Bullying.”

If you have experienced a hate crime or incident, or in the event of an emergency, please call 911.  The Boulder County DA’s Bias hotline for non-emergency reporting is 303-441-1595. See more on our website or facebook event.

Trans Awareness Week, Nov 13-20

www.outboulder.org/taw

Tuesday, Nov 13, 7 pm: Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger film screening at the Dairy Arts Center, Boedecker Theater.  For decades, performance artist and writer Kate Bornstein has been exploding binaries and deconstructing gender. And, her own identity. Trans-dyke. Reluctant polyamorist. Sadomasochist. Recovering Scientologist. Pioneering Gender Outlaw. Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger, joins her on her latest tour capturing rollicking public performances and painful personal revelations as it bears witness to Kate as a trailblazing artist theorist activist who inhabits a space between male and female with wit, style, and astonishing candor. By turns meditative and playful, the film invites us on a thought provoking journey through Kate's world to seek answers to some of life's biggest questions. (Same Feder, 2014, USA, 1:12, NR)

Wednesday, Nov 14, 6:30-8:30pm: Sharing Transgender Stories: Q&A Panel at OBC Longmont office. Join us for an evening of story-telling in which you will hear inspiring stories, learn about trans experiences, have an opportunity to have your questions answered, and learn how to be a better ally.

Saturday, Nov 17, 4-7pm: TransGiving at OBC Longmont office. Community meal open to trans, non-binary, and gender expansive individuals only. Our annual TransGiving Dinner is a celebration of our trans community. Join together with other trans identified folk and enjoy a free traditional holiday meal in a safe and welcoming environment. Meet old and new friends and enjoy sharing space with folks who share a trans identity.

This event is for trans-identified individuals only. This event is 18+. Folks ages 16 or 17 may be allowed with guardian permission. Please RSVP to the event via the link below so we may be able to accommodate all attending:

https://tinyurl.com/TransGiving2018

Sunday, Nov 18, 6-8pm: Trans & Friends Social at Under the Sun (627 South Broadway, Boulder)

Join us for an informal gathering of trans folks, friends, families, partners, and allies as we share space, food, drinks, and community.  

Monday, Nov 19, 4:30-6:30pm: Trans Trivia at OBC Longmont office. Celebrate Trans Awareness Week with OBC's youth program! Youth-run trivia game to educate and entertain folks of all ages about trans topics. Pizza & prizes provided.  All ages & identities welcome!

Tuesday, Nov 20, 6pm: Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), Old Courthouse on Pearl St. Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 that honors those lives lost due to anti-transgender violence. We will meet at the Courthouse on Pearl Street in Boulder to begin the ceremony and hear from speakers. Then we will walk silently together to the First United Methodist Church labyrinth for the reading of names. Attendees will have time to walk the labyrinth after the names are read.


Support the ongoing work of Out Boulder County in building community resiliency by donating.