LGBT

Crawford Barton / Reel in the Closet

Just days after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Kansas City’s Out Here Now LGBT Film Festival screened two documentaries, Against Hate and An Act of Love, focusing on battling hate speech, homophobia and crimes targeting the LGBT community and their families.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The blame game was on full display after last week’s mass shooting in Orlando, and it was on the minds of Kansas City students who attended a “Unity Fest” Saturday. 

The event is the conclusion of the American Friends Service Committee’s Social Change Institute, a summer program where teens learn and practice non-violent social change.

Laura Ziegler KCUR 89-3

As late afternoon sun streamed through the towering church windows of the Village Presbytarian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, Wednesday, more than a hundred people gathered to remember the dead and pray for survivors.

"For those grieving, those clinging to life, and those welcomed into God's hands, let us gather to worship," said Rev. Tom Are, Jr., softly. "We've learned that when life is broken, it's important to be in God's presence as a source of healing."

Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Saturday night's mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, marked the deadliest shooting on U.S. soil in recent history, with 49 dead and 53 more wounded. The LGBT community wasn't the only community that bore the brunt of this attack — the vast majority of the victims were Latino or Latina, and other people of color. How is Kansas City's local Latino community reacting to the news?

A day after 49 people were killed in a  mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, LGBTQ and Islamic leaders reflect on how the tragedy affects their communities. 

Guests:

  • Dustin Cates is the artistic director of the Heartland Men's Chorus.
  • Moben Mirza is the secretary of the Islamic Center of Johnson County. 
Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Horrified. Sad. Distraught.

That’s how Kansas Citians felt Sunday after a weekend shooting at an Orlando gay club left 50 people dead.

But they also weren’t surprised.

“I just feel like mass shooting in this country happens really often,” John Lim said.

The alleged gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, had ties to ISIS, NPR reported. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police after a nearly 3-hour standoff.

Another 53 people were injured.

Paul Mullenex, walking on the Country Club Plaza Sunday afternoon, took a grim view of what happened in Florida.

Cliff Schiappa/HMC

Dustin Cates was a young teenager when he watched Maya Angelou on television reading "On the Pulse of Morning," the poem she’d written for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. It left an impression.

“In high school English class, anytime we would study something she wrote, I was always excited to engage with that,” he says. “The command she has with the spoken word just draws you in — I was drawn into what she was saying and how she was saying it.”

As NPR's first African-American female host, Michele Norris is no stranger to having tough, meaningful conversations. As curator of The Race Card Project, Norris asks people to express their thoughts about race and identity in six words, which turn out to be more powerful than she expected.

The top policy-making body of the United Methodist Church this week narrowly approved a full review of all church law on sexuality. Up to Date host Steve Kraske speaks with two area ministers about this latest move by the Church.

Guests:

  • Rev. Adam Hamilton is the founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
  • Rev. Mark Holland is also the mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.
Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

United Methodist leaders are trying to avoid a church schism over gay rights.

“We have gay and lesbian people who are married,” says Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. “They have children. We welcome them. We’re not going to tell them they should get divorced and divide up the children. We’re going to say, ‘We’re glad you made a lifelong covenant.’”

But Hamilton acknowledges that his congregation, the largest of United Methodists in the United States, has many conservative members who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Critics of a proposed rule change regarding birth certificates criticized the policy at a public hearing Thursday. The proposal would make it virtually impossible for transgender people to have the sex changed on their Kansas birth certificate.

Stephanie Mott, who is transgender, says government documents that don’t match a transgender person’s identity make it more likely they’ll face discrimination and harassment. She says this policy would further stigmatize transgender Kansans.

Jim Hansen
Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Since Wednesday, when Missouri Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Frankford, cast one of the deciding votes against the “religious shield” proposal, he’s been called a hero by some and a traitor by others.

On the whole, though, he said reaction has been positive.

“I had a lot of colleagues come up and congratulate me and say it took real courage,” Hansen told host Brian Ellison Friday on the Statehouse Blend podcast. “Different people have come up, and one told me it’s the most courage he’s seen in the building in the last 20 years. So I felt real good about it.”

KCAVP

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Congress voted in 2013 to require domestic abuse service providers who receive federal funds to offer help to people in same-sex relationships. But many advocates say LGBT people still have far fewer resources available to them than what’s traditionally been available for woman escaping violence from men. To help fill that gap, the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project opened a center earlier this year in Westport to provide support for LGBT people living in the Great Plains region. But the group’s executive director, Justin Shaw, tells KCUR’s Alex Smith that there’s still a lot of unwillingness – both inside and outside the community – to face up to the problem.

The battle over religious freedom and LGBT rights has moved from Arizona and Mississippi to Missouri. Conservatives there are backing an amendment to the state Constitution that would protect certain people — clergy, for instance — who refuse to take part in same-sex marriages.

But the measure has run into some unexpected — and unexpectedly stiff — opposition, from a longtime ally of the religious right: the business community.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri legislators are considering a bill that would allow organizations and individuals to deny service to same-sex couples based on  religious beliefs, and that has left some commerce groups in Kansas City worried about the possible economic impact.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

About 20 Kansas City religious leaders gathered Wednesday to denounce a Missouri Senate bill they believe would invite discrimination of the LGBT community.

“It began with ... me saying, ‘Hey, you want to raise some hell in God’s name?’” says Rev. Chase Peeples with the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ, drawing laughter from the assembled interfaith coalition.

Peeples says he’s disappointed supporters of Senate Joint Resolution 39 are touting it as a bill to protect religious liberties.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

When Bruce Winter moved to Kansas City in the late 1970s, he didn’t understand why the gay clubs here didn’t have drag performances.

“The gay clubs kind of shunned it and felt like it was an insult to their masculinity or something, I don’t know,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Bruce Winter brought his Melinda Ryder persona to Kansas City in the 1970s, when all was quiet on the drag-queen front. A 60th-birthday profile of this leader within Kansas City's drag scene, who feels more free in costume. 

Guest:

  • Bruce Winter, AKA Melinda Ryder
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library

The now-infamous Stonewall Riots in 1969 -- when gay people fought back against a police raid on a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York --  is widely viewed as a major turning point in United States gay history, a moment that defined and established the gay and lesbian rights movement as we know it today.

But the real foundational moment may have been a quiet meeting here in Kansas City. It flew under most people's radar at the time, and remains a relatively unknown historical event even today.

In February of 1966, three years before the infamous Stonewall riots, a meeting in Kansas City  brought together the people who would become the leaders of the gay rights movement for the first time ever. A look back, on the 50th anniversary of that event.

Guest:

An encore edition of Central Standard: With Kansas City's transgender community reeling from news of the violent death of Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old woman who was both transgender and Latina, concerns about safety for transgender people of color have risen to the surface.

Courtesy of the family

Parents expect to raise the child born to them. So, when a child takes on a different gender identity, they take on a unique set of challenges.

With heightened public awareness of transgender issues, an increasing number of parents are facing these challenges.

Debi Jackson is one of them. Her daughter transitioned socially (as opposed to medically) to a girl at four years old.

Cody Newill / KCUR

LGBT activists and supporters met at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City Saturday to promote positivity for local transgender residents.

More than 50 people attended the event, which featured poetry, songs and experiences from more than a dozen speakers about the struggles and strengths of Kansas City's transgender communities. The gathering capped off Transgender Awareness Week, a national effort to raise awareness about transgender identity.

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

The Human Rights Campaign, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization, on Wednesday released its annual Corporate Equality Index, which measures policies regarding LGBT inclusion at 851 of the nation's largest companies.

The Western District Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a man's claim of discrimination against his former employer, Cook Paper Recycling Corp., was not covered under Missouri Law.

James Pittman alleged he'd been harassed for years and subsequently fired because he was gay.

In the opinion, Chief Judge James Welch wrote that if the state meant to cover sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination law, it would have said so. 

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A local group is planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a little known but important gathering of gay activists in Kansas City.

The Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America at UMKC wants to memorialize the first meeting of the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations, or NACHO. The group gathered at Kansas City's State Hotel in February 1966, three years before the Stonewall Riots in New York City. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

Several hundred protesters met the Westboro Baptist Church outside Oak Park High School Thursday in support of the school's transgender homecoming queen.

Landon Patterson, a senior at the Northland school, was crowned queen two weeks ago. In response, the noted hate group decided to protest outside a gas station near the school.

They were met by a large counter-protest organized by alumni and supported by groups like the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ and local LGBT activists.

The third annual conference of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (KSTEP) was held recently in Manhattan. Steve Kraske talks with KCUR's CJ Janovy who covered the conference and one of the event's presenters about the challenges and advances of transgender residents of the Sunflower State.

Guest: 

Cody Newill / KCUR

Activists and LGBT community members held a memorial service for Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old transgender, Latina woman who was brutally run over three times in a parking lot Aug. 15. 

Dozens showed up to the service in Westport, which was organized by the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and Una Lucha KC. Many placed red roses, a favorite of Dominguez's, on a pedestal next to an alter covered in candles and pictures.

With Kansas City's transgender community reeling from news of the violent death of Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old woman who was both transgender and latina, concerns about safety for transgender people of color have risen to the surface.

UPDATE: As the show neared its conclusion, a story appeared in The Guardian suggesting another transgender homicide victim in Kansas City this year.

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