IIn another universe, the LGBTQ community flocked to the Aurora Reservoir on a warm, sunny afternoon for a day of pride, music, swimming, drinking, and dragging.
Actually, that was just last summer – and before the pandemic – during Aurora Pride. But this year, Aurora’s own Pride festival won’t take over the city this year due to COVID-19.
“If anything, then after the lockdown, people probably just crave connection and be with their people,” said Jerry Cunningham, editor of Outfront magazine, which launched Aurora Pride in 2017. for sure.”
But Cunningham and the organizers still have a few more plans up their sleeves to get the Aurors out and celebrate their identity and Aurora’s strong LGBTQ community.
Front and center is some sort of scavenger hunt to visit Aurora Joints in outrageous outfits. It’s called Out in Aurora, and this is how it works: Throughout the month of September, customers can dive into a list of Aurora stores, grab some food or beer, and grab a discount. The plan also includes tagging the business on social media to get the word out. And there are prizes for the best masks and best outfits rocked on the mini tour of A-Town.
The companies that have participated so far are:
• Third culture bakery
• ZERO market
• Dry Dock Brewing Co.
• Mondo Market in Stanley
• Neighborhood music & theater
• Lady Justice Brewing
Cunningham said the event is more focused on “celebrating how great aurora is” than the LGBT culture in the area this year. It is also a way to continue shopping locally. Aurora’s cornucopia of small businesses struggled during the pandemic-triggered recession.
The new phase of Aurora Pride follows a long list of other events and celebrations taking place this year, including the Denver Pride Festival. Usually crowded and colorful, Denver Pride went virtual in early summer.
But Pride goers should keep their eyes peeled for more Aurora Pride events this fall. Cunningham said the details haven’t been worked out, but the Gaylord Rockies Hotel and downtown Aurora car park could host pool parties and movie nights in October – with social distancing requirements, of course.
Aurora pride and community support has grown along with the community itself over the past few years.
It is difficult to determine how many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people call Aurora home. The city of Aurora and the United States Census do not compile much data on LGBT people in Aurora, and much of the estimates available are dated.
A 2015 Gallup poll of the country’s 50 most populous metropolitan areas found that 4.6 percent of people in the Aurora metropolitan area were LGBT, the same percentage as Los Angeles. San Francisco came out on top at 6.2 percent and the national average was 3.6 percent.
A 2017 Gallup study found that 4.5 percent of Americans were identified as LGBT. The rise was driven by more young people who used the labels.
The Movement Advancement Project is also tracking the LGBT population in Colorado. About 200,000 of the state’s 4.4 million residents are LGBT people, he estimates.
That’s about 4.6 percent. More than 30 percent of these people raise children.
The information? Visit www.aurorapride.com