Lucia Guzman, John Hickenlooper among One Colorado’s Ally Award winners

Author: Ernest Luning - February 17, 2018 - Updated: February 17, 2018

GuzmanColorado Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, D-Denver. Three Democrats are vying to succeed the term-limited Guzman. (Colorado Politics file photo)

Two Capitol Democrats with a history of blazing trails for LGBTQ equality are among the recipients of One Colorado Education Fund’s annual Ally Awards, the advocacy organization announced this week.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is one of three Ally Award winners, and Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, a Denver Democrat, is slated to receive One Colorado’s Lifetime Achievement Award at an Aug. 25 gala in Denver.

Ally Awards are also going to the Summit County government and Denver Health and its LGBT Center of Excellence.

The awards will be presented at the organization’s lavish annual fundraising dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver.

Calling Guzman an icon, Daniel Ramos, executive director of the One Colorado Education Fund, said it was “just a no-brainer” that she would receive the award this year.

“Her long, storied history of public service makes her someone that young people in both the LGBTQ community and the Latino community can look up to,” Ramos said in a statement. “From her work in then-Denver Mayor Hickenlooper’s office on civil rights to becoming the first lesbian Latina to lead a Democratic caucus in the Colorado State Senate, Lucia is a trailblazer in every sense of the word, who truly embodies someone who has accomplished a lifetime of achievement.”

Hickenlooper’s successor — like Guzman, he’s term limited after this year — will have big shoes to fill, Ramos said.

“Whether it was signing legislation to make Colorado the 13th state in the country to specifically protect LGBTQ youth from bullying and harassment, calling for a special session on civil unions, signing civil unions into law, speaking out for Transgender Day of Remembrance or his continuous work in speaking out against efforts to roll back protections for LGBTQ Coloradans, John Hickenlooper has been a true example of being a pro-equality leader in the Governor’s Mansion.”

The group is honoring Summit County for changes it’s made to its employment policies, Ramos said.

“In late 2015, Summit County became only the second county in Colorado to add ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ to its equal-employment-opportunity and anti-harassment policies,” he said. “Summit County also updated (its) healthcare policies to ensure that any transgender Summit County employee would receive full medical benefits. This change in policy, combined with the leadership of Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons, enabled Commander Lesley Mumford of the Sheriff’s Department to transition on the job.”

Mumford said she and her family would have had to move to another community if the county government hadn’t led the way, Ramos noted. “With these policies changes, Summit County sent a clear signal that their employees, including transgender employees, are welcome to openly be themselves,” he added.

Denver Health can serve as an example for its “open, welcoming and affirming” policies toward all Colorado residents, Ramos said.

“Whether it is offering HIV treatment, mental or behavioral health, or resources for transgender Coloradans, Denver Health has set the bar for providing high quality services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and non-conforming Coloradans,” he said.

Last year’s honorees were former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Jean Dubofsky, former state Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, Kaiser Permanente and Rathod Mohamedbhai, a Denver-based law firm.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.