New downtown billboard sparks conversation about transgender people

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COLORADO SPRINGS — A new billboard in downtown Colorado Springs is sparking awareness of transgender people and puts in motion a message of inclusivity. The billboard is located off of Colorado Avenue.

“When I saw it, I was like hey that’s cool,” said DeJae Spears, LGBTQ+ Resource Coordinator at UCCS.

The billboard was put up by a transgender child and their family who belong to PFLAG, an organization focused on bringing inclusivity to communities.

“Trans people exist and we’re here and we’ve always been here,” said Alissa Smith with Inside Out Youth Services.

Inside Out Youth Services is the only non-profit organization in El Paso County that serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning youth

Based on current figures PFLAG said there are 2900 transgender adults living in El Paso County, but many believe that number is a low estimate.

“I think there’s a lot of people who don’t come out and still identify as such,” said DeJae Spears, LGBTQ+ coordinator at UCCS.

Spears said the billboard is an important step, but the fight is far from over.

“In reality, the world isn’t a safe place for transgender people, there’s been a lot of progress,” said Spears.

It comes after the ACLU says more than a dozen states including Colorado introduced anti-discrimination bills last year.

“We are constantly inundated with messages by pundits and politicians that we are less valid and that’s not true,” Smith said.

Unlike many other states, here in the rocky mountains, those bills failed, but a new bill is heading to the governor’s office which would update state discrimination laws to include– gender identity and expression.

“There’s still like 30 some states where you can be refused housing and jobs or fired for your identity,” said Spears.

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