- Enrique Limón
The LGBTQ community has come a long way since the days of the Gay Liberation Front. Folks like the ones featured in this week's news story—who in the fledgling days of Utah Pride faced everything from neo-Nazi protesters to an impenetrable church—and then went on to tirelessly fight for recognition and equal rights.
That fight is far from over. Last year was the deadliest in the U.S. for transgender individuals, with 28 recorded deaths due to violence; and locally, LGBTQ-identifying or not, suicide remains the No. 1 cause of death among kids ages 11-17 according to the Utah State Health Department.
We live in a society where it takes a helluva lot of moxie to be your true self. Celebrating that spirit, we've assembled this special issue to exalt those in our community who fearlessly pave the way. People like cover model Jason CoZmo, who from his humble beginnings in Salt Lake County, has always remained true to his inner entertainer and now delivers Broadway-quality shows to the masses on the regular; business owner Michael Sanders, the mastermind behind the area's first-ever Leather Pride; Utah Pride Festival performer Shea Freedom; and SLC Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
This issue is for them and anyone else who, oftentimes against the grain, live their most authentic life. Along with reveling during this week's celebrations, make sure to honor the memory of those who've come before—everyone from activist Marsha P. Johnson to local bar owner Robert B. Goulding. Also take time to applaud the next generation of torch carriers, like trans teen Jay Alfie, who this week was told by his Texas high school they'd be deadnaming him during his graduation ceremony instead f calling out his chosen name.
Say their names. And say them proudly.