Introduction to the Inclusion Awards 

Nov. 3, 1992, was a dark, dark day for Colorado. On that Election Day, the majority of our state's voters backed Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that denied citizens protected status based on sexual orientation.

Immediately, Colorado was deemed "the Hate State." A national boycott began. And even after the amendment was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996, echoes lingered.

Today, those echoes are relatively faint. For one thing, same-sex couples can enter into civil unions in Colorado. But things aren't perfect. They aren't equal.

So in the following pages, in profiles by longtime Independent writer Kirsten Akens and images by Matthew Schniper, we honor 10 local individuals and organizations — the inaugural recipients of the Indy Inclusion Awards — who devote their days, nights, hopes, dreams and resources to advancing LGBT causes and creating a more inclusive and diverse Pikes Peak region. They are tireless advocates in the community, from leaders of small and large nonprofits, to leaders in business and education, to health-care providers and even a Fortune 500 company. They aren't messing around. When there's a stride to be made, an inch to be gained, a win to be had, they are at the forefront.

We extend our greatest gratitude to the winners, for their spirit and tenacity, and for accepting their Inclusion Awards. And we thank you for celebrating these winners and their accomplishments with us. We'll do it again next year, so watch for the nomination period in June 2015, when we'll ask you for help in identifying more progress-making stigma-busters in the Pikes Peak region ... those instrumental in making our community a more open, accepting and understanding place to live, work and play.

— Carrie Simison

General manager/associate publisher


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