For Holy Week, the Kansas Legislature debates “religious freedom”

It’s time once again for that annual Christian ritual: a “religious freedom” “debate” in the Kansas Legislature. This session it’s been around adoption: whether the state can contract with faith-based agencies even though they refuse to place kids with same-sex parents because it would violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The arguments, which aren't over,… Continue reading For Holy Week, the Kansas Legislature debates “religious freedom”

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LGBTQ kids in Kansas brave weather, and legislators, to make their stand at the Capitol

The Kansas Capitol is an astoundingly beautiful building. From the outside, its standard stateliness does little justice to the grandeur of its polished-marble and gold-leaf-sparkling rotunda, its mesmerizing murals of harsh prairie life by John Steuart Curry and Lumen Martin Winter – you can hear the roar of winter wind, feel the cut of sharp… Continue reading LGBTQ kids in Kansas brave weather, and legislators, to make their stand at the Capitol

From one ink-stained gal to another: Thank you, Kristi Parker

I didn’t know Kristi Parker well. But like thousands of Kansans I did know her – through her invaluable work. Parker edited and published the monthly Liberty Press for more than 25 years, delivering stacks to businesses around Wichita and stuffing copies into manila envelopes to mail around the state (sometimes with a personal note… Continue reading From one ink-stained gal to another: Thank you, Kristi Parker

Activism in Manhattan, Kansas, trained Samuel Brinton for the national spotlight

One measure of a college town’s sense of itself, obviously, is what its graduates go on to accomplish. When folks in Manhattan, Kansas, remember the exhilaration of their first Pride celebration in April 2010, around the same time as they were getting pummeled trying to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance at City Hall, they talk about… Continue reading Activism in Manhattan, Kansas, trained Samuel Brinton for the national spotlight

One important thing about Kansas politics: Not all Republicans are against us

When news broke last weekend that the Kansas Republican Party, whose members were having their annual convention in Wichita, had voted to “oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity,” I wasn’t surprised. LGBTQ activists in Kansas have heard that rhetoric before. The Republican state committee member pushing the resolution said it was “motivated by love”… Continue reading One important thing about Kansas politics: Not all Republicans are against us

Ladies and gentlemen: America’s best drag show is in Manhattan, Kansas

When I first started driving to Hutchinson, Salina and Manhattan on reporting trips for No Place Like Home, I was surprised that drag shows still seemed central to the cultural life of LGBT Kansas. I’d seen my first drag shows in Omaha at a club called the Max back in 1981 and clearly remember how… Continue reading Ladies and gentlemen: America’s best drag show is in Manhattan, Kansas

At the Lawrence Public Library, a new way to celebrate Kansas Day

Growing up in Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, I don't remember any holiday celebrating statehood (or maybe I was just daydreaming during those grade-school history lessons). But as soon as the book launch for No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas was scheduled for January 29, I discovered that Kansans are serious… Continue reading At the Lawrence Public Library, a new way to celebrate Kansas Day