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The Walker Family

I first learned about Out Boulder County in the spring of 2022 when I needed advice, advocacy, and guidance on how to deal with the bullying my then-sixth grader was experiencing at middle school. He had come out to us that spring, and a few weeks later we learned that another student was physically and emotionally bullying our son because of his sexual orientation. Initially, the school administrators tried to downplay our many valid concerns about the situation. We did not think they were taking the bullying and my son’s safety seriously, so I reached out to LGBTQ+ friends in Boulder for advice. They put me in touch with Mardi Moore, who immediately returned my call.

To say Mardi was helpful fails to express how immensely transformative and supportive she was. In a remarkably efficient process, she learned about our situation; assured me that the bullying my son experienced was egregious, unacceptable, and dangerous; and helped me form an action plan to make the school district take our complaints and concerns seriously. She attended meetings with our family and school administrators and advised on the final safety plan that the school put in place for our son at the beginning of the new school year. I am happy to say that we resolved the bullying in a way that held the bully accountable, made my son feel safe and supported, and has not resulted in any subsequent bullying or retaliation. We also put the school and the district on notice, and I have become more involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy within the school district as a result of our experience.

When Mardi recommended that we start taking our son to the middle school group night, I initially demurred, saying that our close and active family and his many friends already ensured that our son had plenty of support. Her response has stuck with me every day since: “There’s nothing like meeting people who are going through similar things to what you are going through, no matter how supportive a family you come from.”

In this very persuasive, nonjudgmental way, Mardi signaled that it wasn’t important what I thought would be best for our son to explore his identity and develop into his awesome and special self, but what he thought was. So I asked, and he answered unequivocally that he wanted to go to OBC. That was in September 2022, and to this day, his Monday nights at Middle School night are among his favorite times of the week. He even chose to celebrate his birthday there with his OBC friends. 

Not only do I appreciate how much he enjoys his time with OBC, but I also absolutely love our drive home on Monday nights. Very little can replace “windshield time” when it comes to talking with your teenager, and in those short drives from the Equality Center to our house, my son shares snapshots of his day and life with me that I might not otherwise get. I am very grateful for that time.

I am also enamored with the OBC team. My husband and I attended the 2022 GAYLA and were overwhelmed with how friendly everyone was. Each time I interact with OBC staff or supporters, I find people who are original thinkers, open minded, and friendly. I have also found a lot of opportunities to use my strengths—communications and writing—to help advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. To be completely honest, these issues were not on my radar prior to the school crisis that originally led us to OBC. Now, I cannot imagine not being outspoken and articulate about these issues and writing to people in authority demanding answers and, often, change.

To have OBC and all of its free programming is an incredible resource. The hate and homophobia that still exists in the world (yes, even in Boulder County!) is terrifying to the parent of a gay kid. Because of OBC, I feel more empowered to face those headwinds. OBC offers unconditional support, instructive resources, role models for my child, and a community for all of us. I have lived in Boulder since 2004, and I can honestly say that OBC is one of my most favorite aspects of this city. 


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