Five things Colorado should contribute to the National LGBT Museum
In the fall of 1998, I took my then four-year old sister to the steps of the State Capitol for a memorial gathering for Matthew Shepard, not long after his death in Wyoming. Nothing makes a vicious hate crime seem more horrific and pointless than trying to explain to a child why someone would want to brutally murder someone else simply because of sexual orientation.
Jim Wills Hey, Nina! Can we loan your amazing headpiece to the LGBT Museum, please?
Sometimes, 1998 feels like it was yesterday -- and sometimes it seems like it was forever ago. (Though the '90s pop-culture revival of the last few years is trying hard, it still looks nothing like it actually did in the '90s.) And it seems even longer ago when I look at how far we've come as a state (and a country) in terms of the rights and visibility of the LGBTQ community. There's even a move under way to create a National LGBT Museum in Washington, D.C. The organizers recently put out a call asking states to contribute artifacts to their growing collection, as they look for a permanent home for the more than 5,000 items already gathered. From my own limited scope and experience as a Colorado ally, I've compiled a short list of things I think would be good additions to this museum.
A piece of Tracks 2000
Before there was Tracks -- the compound of a nightclub that hosts some of Denver's best drag shows, club nights and large-scale entertainment events -- there was Tracks 2000, itself a second coming of the original Tracks that had opened in 1980. Located at 20th and Fox streets in an area of lower-lower downtown that, long before condos, was home to warehouse parties, Tracks 2000 was an all-ages space where everyone was welcome.
A sixteen-year-old me first learned about Pride Fest by eavesdropping on the older, cooler folks who hung out at -- and seemed to own -- the club. Though I was hardly a regular (my parents didn't allow me to hang out at Paris on the Platte or Muddy's because of the parts of town they were in, let alone the even shadier area park Tracks called home), I remember the all-ages LGBTQ-friendly bar feeling truly inviting each time I went there.
I'd love to see a piece of Tracks 200's club's amazing light-up dance floor, or a bar from the elevated dancing cage, or a piece of its signage contributed to the national LGBT museum. Or even just a flier for one of the club's many nights. (More than just handbills, club and rave fliers in the '90s were often super elaborate, neon-colored fold-out thingies.)
P.S.: Check out the Tracks 2000 Thursdays 1997-2001 Facebook page for a true taste of the not-so-distant past.
A yard sign from Amendment 2
Back in 1992, Colorado voters were asked to decide if we as a state should have the ability to repeal anti-discrimination ordinances protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community specifically, and prohibit the passing of such ordinances in future elections. Let me say that again: We were asked to vote on whether or not we should have the power to take away the civil rights of people based on sexual orientation.
Sounds insane, right? Well, Colorado voters voted 54 percent in favor of Amendment 2, and it passed. Fortunately, sane Coloradans sued the state, and the law never took effect. Though a "No on Amendment 2" yard sign would rule, a "Yes on Amendment 2" sign might make more of statement in the Museum -- but I have a feeling that the owners of a pro-discrimination yard sign may not want to show their faces in 2013.