Earlier this week, I was standing in a packed City Hall, watching the City Council recognize a few of the Mayor's 100 Teens.
These kids are always amazing. Many have faced adversity. Over the years, I've heard stories of kids surviving debilitating health conditions only to become wonderful students and giving members of our community. Many others have been deeply affected by their families' painful challenges, but instead of acting out or feeling sorry for themselves, they've healed by helping others.
All these stories are worth repeating. But there was one story at this Council meeting that stood out to me. A young man from Harrison School District 2 was being recognized not only for his smarts and volunteerism, but for overcoming the challenges of being an openly gay teenager in school. The boy had turned that situation into a chance to reach out to other LGBT kids at his high school.
He stood up there, as the Council recognized him, grinning ear to ear. When the speech was done, the crowd erupted in applause. It was a striking moment.
I have to admit that when I moved here in 2003, I never thought the city government would show itself to be so open and accepting. After all, Colorado Springs, home of Amendment 2, earned Colorado the nickname "the hate state." Even 10 years ago, that attitude didn't seem to be going anywhere.
And yet, I got another encouraging sign in my inbox just today. The Colorado Springs Pride Center is surveying every business in town to gauge their attitudes toward gays and lesbians. They haven't gotten very far down the list so far, but the results are pleasantly surprising thus far. The vast majority of businesses say they are friendly to LGBT people, and would like to get more of their business.
The survey will continue to be updated, so it's worth checking back on. Here's the link.