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LGBTQ+ Work in Loveland: “We’re ready!”

LETTER TO THE EDITOR


Submitted by Ash Neufeldt 

December 4, 2023

All images provided by Kat McManus


I find that taking Highway 34 West, with Lake Loveland to your right, yields one of the best views of Longs Peak, beautifully framed by the crested lulls along the Front Range. But even more magnificent to me are the rolling hills on the south side of this small city, rounded plateaus that sit at lower elevations than those of the foothills. They remind me of the Flint Hills in Northeast Kansas where I was raised.


I was excited to join Out Boulder County (OBC) as the Community Manager for Northern Colorado because it is easy to see what the LGBTQ+ community in Loveland has known for some time: You want greater inclusion and are committed to fostering an inclusive community.


Participants gather at the Foote Lagoon near City Hall in Loveland to participate in the Pride March on June 10th, 2023.
Participants gather at the Foote Lagoon near City Hall in Loveland to participate in the Pride March on June 10th, 2023.

I spoke with a Loveland community member about how we are expanding our work North, to Larimer County. I mentioned that “the time is ripe” for this work.


Why do I believe that?

I believe it because I am watching the newly formed grassroots group Rainbow Collective, and the strong presence they have created already, as evidenced by the successful and radiant Pride Month March and Celebration in last summer. Political officials and candidates running for office are making strong promises to the LGBTQ+ community, and OBC recently cohosted the successful Thompson School Board Candidate Forum.


The love and commitment the LGBTQ+ folks and allies I have spoken to in Loveland is clear. The time is ripe because people are ready.

Loveland residents Kat McManus and Olivia Lowe direct participants in the Loveland Pride parade down 4th Street.
Loveland residents (L to R) Kat McManus and Olivia Lowe direct participants in the Loveland Pride parade down 4th Street.

Loveland reminds me of Kansas in ways beyond those rolling hills. My time doing community-based work back home shows the grit, commitment, and care we have for the heartland. Loveland Coloradoans and the people of my home state pay attention on their communities, and invest in them. Larimer County is becoming more inclusive, and this is seen in Loveland where its members are deepening their roots and curating a place that more and more people will call home. Loveland is ripe for this work of inclusion, precisely because the residents have said, “We’re ready!” And let me tell you, LGBTQ+ people are so ready, and OBC is here to help.


Loveland residents Lynn Reynolds St. John and George Garklavs greet each other at Backyard Tap in Loveland, CO following the 2023 Pride Parade organized and led by the Rainbow Collective.
Loveland residents (L to R) Lynn Reynolds St. John and George Garklavs greet each other at Backyard Tap in Loveland, CO following the 2023 Pride Parade organized and led by the Rainbow Collective.


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Neufeldt (she/they) is the Northern Colorado Community Manager for Out Boulder County. a nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ people that has expanded beyond Boulder to establish services, programs, and advocacy in Northern Colorado.

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