LGBT

Speaking to more than 700 people at the Pride Breakfast on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Thursday morning, Nico Leone, general manager at KCUR, announced the station will be bringing the national storytelling project StoryCorps to Kansas City.

In partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA) at UMKC, KCUR and StoryCorps will capture the stories of the LGBTQ community in the Kansas City metro this June.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists gathered outside the Kansas State Capitol Saturday to protest Gov. Sam Brownback's executive order rescinding sexual orientation and gender expression protections for state employees.

The rally was organized by LGBT activist group Equality Kansas. Executive Director Tom Witt says that, despite being frustrated with Brownback's order, he remains optimistic.

Elle Boatman

Elle Boatman was scrolling through her Facebook news feed Tuesday afternoon during a break from her job at Wichita State.

There she learned that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback had rescinded an earlier executive order by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that offered protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered state workers. Boatman is a transwoman and said she was floored by the news.

“I was really just devastated,” Boatman recalled on Wednesday.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed an executive order rescinding protected class status for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender state workers.  We talk to two local journalists about public reactions to the governor's move and what it means for the LGBT community in Kansas.

Guests:

  • Peggy Lowe is a reporter for Harvest Public Media based at KCUR.
  • Barb Shelly is a columnist for the Kansas City Star.

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has overturned an executive order that protected many state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The order he rescinded was put into place by former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Her order had barred executive branch state agencies from discriminating in hiring and employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Doug Bonney, with the ACLU of Kansas, says the move comes as a surprise.

Courtesy Discovery Life Channel

Kansas City is about to be the setting for a new reality TV show – but it’s not about barbecue, fountains or jazz. The show, called New Girls On the Block, follows a group of transgender women. Shot in 50 locations around town at the end of last year, it debuts on the new Discovery Life Channel on April 2.

Discovery Life says New Girls on the Block is the first reality TV series about a group of friends in the transgender community. It focuses on four couples, all of them from Kansas City.

On Wednesday, NPR released a "Field Recording" of internationally renowned opera star and Kansas City native Joyce DiDonato at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

The riots that took place at the bar in 1969 are widely credited with launching the modern gay rights movement in the U.S. 

Here is DiDonato's video, and below is a link to the full NPR story explaining why she made it.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

Few people heard about the murder of Dionte Greene. The gay, black man was found shot to death in his car on Oct. 31, 2014, and Greene's friends are convinced that it was a hate crime.

Those who knew him were shocked by his murder. They've called this moment a tipping point, one requiring a conversation about race in Kansas City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community, according to reports filed by KCUR's Elle Moxley.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

As the FBI investigates the murder of a young, gay, black man for a possible civil rights violation, friends of the victim are trying to start a broader conversation about race in Kansas City’s gay community.

Dionte Greene, 22, was found shot to death in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th Street and Bellefontaine Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning.

People who knew Greene remember him as a loving son, devoted father and a caring friend. They say he was the last person they expected to be in trouble.

courtesy of Coshelle Greene

The FBI is investigating the murder of a 22-year-old black man who may have been targeted because of his sexual orientation.

Dionte Greene, who identified as gay, was found shot to death in his still-running car near the intersection of 69th and Bellefontaine in Kansas City, Mo., early Halloween morning.

Paul Andrews

Peregrine Honig and Danielle Meister, the co-owners of Birdie's Panties in Kansas City, Mo., plan to open a second store catering specifically to transgender shoppers in 2015.

The store, to be called All Is Fair, will open in the Bauer Building on West 18th Street in the Crossroads Arts District.

Honig announced the plans on KCUR's Central Standard during a conversation about her work and her art.

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

A new report ranking Kansas City-area companies on LGBT equality essentially gave the Missouri side a B — and Kansas a C. 

After months of debate and a second vote, the Roeland Park, Kan., city council approved an anti-discrimination ban, granting equal protection regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In July, council member Beck Fast missed the vote, saying she was in a car accident. The ordinance lost by a 4-3 vote. Fast was present for the vote Monday evening and tied the vote at 4-4. Roeland Park Mayor Joel Marquardt broke the tie and passed the ordinance.

Same-Sex Unions Pose Challenge To Hospitals

Jul 23, 2014

The absence of legal protections for same-sex couples made the news last year when a Kansas City hospital denied a man the right to stay by his male partner’s bedside.

Now many area hospitals are trying to make themselves more accommodating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families.  

Nearly two years ago, Kris Saim received some harrowing news.  He was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. But the diagnosis wasn’t the only thing he was worried about.

The Roeland Park City Council on Monday voted down an ordinance  that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

The anti-discrimination ordinance had been a hotly debated issue in the Johnson County suburb and drew a crowd last night of about 150 people. Some members of the crowd wore blue shirts to show their support for the ordinance.

After hearing nearly 50 public comments, the council voted 4-3 against adding the ordinance. One council member was absent.

City of Roeland Park

After being postponed four times in as many months, a vote has finally been scheduled for the proposed anti-discrimination policy in Roeland Park, Kan. The city council will vote on the measure July 21.

The council has been considering since March a policy that would extend legal protection beyond state and federal baselines, to include sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status. Its passage would make the community of less than 7,000 residents the second city in Kansas – after Lawrence – with such an ordinance.

Jose Antonio Navas / Flickr-CC

What happens if things go sour for a married gay couple? Many Kansas counties would dismiss any divorce cases without hearing them, but not Douglas County.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, we examine how its policy is different and take a look at other new developments affecting the local LGBT community.

wikipedia.org

Different populations have different healthcare needs, and providing optimal care to the estimated 89,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Kansas City is an ongoing challenge for local hospitals and clinics.

Studies have identified the many health disparities faced by the LGBT community, and Kansas City is no exception. A 2012 report by the Missouri Foundation for Health says that LGBT Missourians are more likely to experience poor health outcomes than their heterosexual peers. 

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

As the march toward full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in America advances at varying speeds, there remains a sense that the LGBT community can still be marginalized in the movies. That's what makes film festivals like Out Here Now so relevant to the LGBT communities and their staunch allies.

Andrew Bossi / Flickr -- Creative Commons

  The three-day Gay Pride Festival opens Friday at 6 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo., this year in a new location — the West Bottoms.

Rick Bumgardner, who is the festival’s event co-coordinator, said relocating in the field near Kemper Arena offers ample parking, a trendy and up-and-coming location and a potential home for Pride in the future.

The ruling by the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination Thursday to allow its pastors to officiate same-sex weddings was a major victory for a Kansas City-based organization that has spent years trying to make the church more inclusive.

By a vote of 429 to 175, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to initiate a process to redefine marriage in official texts as being between two people. They also voted with a smaller margin to allow Presbyterian pastors to decide as individuals whether or not to perform same-sex marriages.

Ten years ago, the people of Missouri overwhelmingly voted to change the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Last week, when openly gay football player Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, in Missouri, the outcry condemning Sam's lifestyle stood in stark contrast to an overwhelming outpouring of support.

guidestar.org

                                                                                          

 The nation’s largest education and advocacy group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has recognized Children’s Mercy Hospital for its progressive policies toward LGBT patients, employees, and families.

The Human Rights Campaign will honor Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Mo., with the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Award.

mutigers.com

What does it mean to be an openly-gay athlete? Just ask Michael Sam. The Mizzou football player, who was out to his teammates, made it public on a national scale this weekend.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with some of the organizations that support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes about the issues these athletes face.

We also talk with an athlete who’s dealt with the problems that can come with a public coming-out announcement.

Guests:

It's not easy to come out of the closet, but imagine doing that when you're in the Army.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with an African-American veteran about the challenges he faced and the added difficulties of navigating the now-defunct Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Guest: 

The Human Rights Campaign recently released it’s second Municipal Equality Index. It rates 291 cities across the United States in terms of laws, policies, and services that positively impact the LGBT community. Perhaps the most striking things about the report was that Kansas City,  Mo., scored 100 out of 100, while Kansas City, Kan., scored zero.

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Kansas City has simultaneously achieved the lowest and highest scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index scorecard.

Kansas City, Kan., earned a zero on the scorecard, which ranks city laws, policies, benefits and services that work to positively impact residents in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Lewishamdreamer/Flickr-CC

The experience of being  an openly gay, transgendered or bisexual teen has changed dramatically, just in the past few years. It's especially evident for those young adults who choose to come out to friends and family while they're in high school.

On Monday's Up to Date, psychologist Wes Crenshaw joins us with a few teen guests to talk about their experiences with the rapid change in attitudes.

Guests:

Esther Honig / KCUR

Miss Gay Kansas City is one of the oldest female impersonation pageants in the country, and this year’s competition was the 32nd anniversary of the event.

The pageant was held on a Saturday night last month at Hamburger Mary's restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. Performer Sparkle Iman was Miss Gay Kansas City 2008, and served as head judge for the pageant.

UMKC has recently received some national attention for having a particularly gay-friendly environment.

One of the innovative things the school is doing is offering scholarships for LGBT students. When some college students come out, they face the danger of being cut off financially from their parents.  

That's what happened to recent graduate Courtney Monzyk.  

“I was actually outed, instead of coming out,” Monzyk says. 

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