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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.


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.

Landon Vonderschmidt

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Bernard Shondell and Ann Marie Pikus were best friends in high school. After college they were inseparable and decided to get married. They were married for 10 years and had three kids, then 14 years ago Ann Marie died of cancer. It was after her death, during a car ride with his three-year-old niece that Shondell had a profound realization about his sexuality.

“It was Christmas after Ann had passed away,” recalls Shondell. “And as we were driving around Colleen just blurts out, ‘When are you going to get a new mommy for Joey?’ That really kept me up.”

Robyn Anderson / Robyn Lyn Photography

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Living as Sean Power simply wasn't working.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Scott Fieker says he realized at a very young age that he didn’t identify with the gender he was genetically born with.

What is life like for LGBTQ folks in rural Kansas and Missouri? A Kansas City actor/writer and residents from Kearney, Missouri and Hiawatha and Hays, Kansas share their perspectives.

Benjamin Smith Photography

Editor's note: StoryCorps OutLoud visited KCUR in June to collect stories from Kansas City's LGBTQ community in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America.

Raymond Cattaneo and his husband Dustin Cates were together six years before they decided that they wanted to adopt a baby and build their family.

Mktp / Flickr--CC

For a while, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was saying it was going to be pretty difficult to start offering benefits to same-sex couples who worked for the state following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

It took a few days, but the state finally started granting gay and lesbian couples benefits. But local governments have been quietly offering same-sex benefits for some time.

The LGBT community has won a battle on marriage equality but workplace, education and other discrimination problems continue. We find out from a panel of local LGBT leaders what challenges remain.


Elle Moxley / KCUR

The same day the Kansas governor vowed to protect “religious freedom,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order to ensure state agencies are implementing last month’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

Photo courtesy of the Gay & Lesbian Archive of Mid-America / LaBudde Special Collections, University of Missouri-Kansas City

After the U.S. Supreme Court's recent marriage equality ruling, members of Kansas City’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities will begin turning their attention to other issues. Meanwhile, three pioneers of the gay-rights movement provided KCUR with some historical context for LGBT activism in Kansas City.

Three decades of local activism began in the late 1980s, when gay men and women all across the country were responding to the AIDS crisis. One of the organizations was ACT-UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. Jon Barnett founded the local chapter.

Paul Andrews

When Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes came in for her photo shoot for the cover of Camp Magazine, she had no idea that she’d be styled as a 1950s housewife holding a rainbow layer cake.

A New York writer's journey home sheds light on family, keeping secrets, and the state of small-town Missouri. Plus, how one Missouri town might vote itself out of existence.

The culture for gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, and queer teens appears to be changing so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up. We explore this swiftly changing environment and how it affects teens as they explore sexual identity during high school.


  • Dr. Wes Crenshaw is a psychologist board certified in couples and family psychology.
  • Julia Poe is a senior at Shawnee Mission East who identifies as bisexual. She’s Editor-in-Chief of the Shawnee Mission East Harbinger.

"Kansas City is a great place for trans people and [supportive]." So says Luke Harness, a UMKC alumnus and transgender advocate. The new reality show New Girls on the Block follows transgender women in Kansas City--we explore what KC is really like for the transgender community.

What do the different groups assembled within the LGBTQIA umbrella need in order to feel safe in a "safe space," and what are the obstacles to creating an inclusive hub that serves everyone? Plus, an exploration of the role that law and policy play in creating a sense of safety for this community.


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.


  • 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.