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Statement on arsons involving Pride flags in Northern Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 20, 2023


Boulder, Colo. — Just two months after Out Boulder County (OBC) announced its expansion into Northern Colorado, a string of arsons in Larimer County, two involving Pride flags, signify that OBC’s work is needed more than ever to ensure LGBTQ+ people and communities can thrive in an inclusive, just and connected world. 


According to multiple media outlets, a Pride flag was burned on Oct. 23 in the TimberVine neighborhood in Fort Collins. Poudre Fire Authority responded to a grass fire later that day in open space near the neighborhood, and were called less than an hour later to the Collins Aire Mobile Home Park, in unincorporated Larimer County, for a vehicle fire. Investigators found a burning trash can nearby.


The following day, Oct. 24, reports were made to authorities about graffiti and a burning American flag, also in the TimberVine neighborhood. Another Pride flag was burned in the TimberVine neighborhood on Nov. 12 in a series of four fires. Because these crimes happened in different jurisdictions, the Fort Collins Police Service and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office are working together to investigate the cases. While a press release from Fort Collins Police Service says law enforcement is still working to determine if these crimes are bias-motivated, we know that hate crime incidents in Colorado have gone up over the last three years, according to data from the U.S. Justice Department.Specifically, the Justice Department reports that in 2022, incidents targeting gay men and lesbians reached their highest totals in the past five years and increased by more than 10% since 2021. A significant increase of nearly 40% was observed in reported anti-transgender incidents compared to 2021.


“In our current world of escalating violence and hate, what at one point in time might have seemed minor, i.e., the burning of flag, actually has much deeper repercussions,” said Mardi Moore, Executive Director of Out Boulder County. “We think of Colorado as one of the safer places to be in the country, yet hate incidents happen in great cities like Fort Collins and Boulder. Our job at OBC is to work to de-escalate and shift culture toward more inclusion.”


In the face of growing violence and hatred, Out Boulder County continues to expand its work outside of Boulder and into underserved communities. After repeated requests and invitations, Boulder County is taking its signature programming and services into Larimer and Weld counties. Programming for LGBTQ+ youth, voter education and engagement for school board races, vaccine equity work, and behavioral health services will be the first offerings officially launched through the expansion. The hope is that this programming will not only serve LGBTQ+ youth and adults, but also combat hate-motivated crimes like these arsons in Larimer County. 

“To see this leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes all trans lives lost to violence, highlights the importance of our work here at OBC and our expansion into Northern Colorado,” says Ash Neufeldt, OBC’s Northern Colorado Community Manager. “It also prods me to remind Coloradoans about our state’s role as a safe haven for LGBTQ+ people, specifically trans folks, in this nation rife with anti-trans legislation.”


About Out Boulder County

Working independently and in collaboration, we facilitate connection, advocacy, education, research and programs to ensure LGBTQ  people and communities thrive in Boulder County and beyond. www.outboulder.org



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