Letter: Aspen fosters loving atmosphere for gays

Aspen fosters loving atmosphere for gays

As I begin to celebrate another Aspen Gay Ski Week, my thoughts go immediately to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. I can’t help but feel sad, sad for the gay men and women in Russia and around the world who can not celebrate who they are and feel the acceptance, peace and love that I do being apart of the Aspen community. These people live in fear of their government and judgment of others for who they are and how they love. They fear for their lives and their freedom.

My thoughts then go to Aspen and the people here. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I live in such a great community, a community that for the past 37 years has allowed a safe place for gays and lesbians to come and celebrate who they are, their community and enjoy the Aspen community for a week each winter. My thoughts also go to the organizers of Aspen Gay Ski Week for having the courage 37 years ago to create such an event and continue that today.

My individual thank-yous go the community for making me feel accepted and encouraged to build a life here. To Michael Fox, the employees, members and my clients at the Aspen Club for allowing me to follow my passion as a personal trainer. I’m thankful for being able to develop and focus on a career helping people live a better life without the fear and worry that being gay and who I love could cost me my job, or more. Thank you to my friends for all their love and support. Thank you to my partner Dave for his love, support and standing by my side through some trying times and choosing to build a life with me here and enjoy all Aspen has to offer.

My hope and prayer is that some day soon the gay men and women in Russia and around the world are able to experience the love, support, acceptance that I have in felt in Aspen, and that they too can feel how it is to live truly free, at peace and to be a part of a loving community without fear.

Thank you, Aspen!

Dirk Schultz