How the transgender activist Stephanie Mott changed Kansas forever

The last time I spoke with Stephanie Mott, it was Equality Day at the Kansas State Capitol. During a late-morning rally in the rotunda, Gov. Laura Kelly stepped to the podium to ceremoniously sign three pieces of paper. Kelly was recreating her first act as governor: an executive order reinstating protections for LGBTQ state employees.… Continue reading How the transgender activist Stephanie Mott changed Kansas forever

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Lights, camera, Kansas, action: ‘No Place Like Home’ the movie

Around here, the Oscars buzz this year is about University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott, who's earned a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writing "BlacKkKlansman" with Spike Lee. Another of Willmott's projects won't ever be nominated for an Oscar, but is creating a whole different kind of buzz in certain Kansas circles: A… Continue reading Lights, camera, Kansas, action: ‘No Place Like Home’ the movie

A year of gratitude from No Place Like Home-land

A year ago today – Kansas Day – my wife and I, along with our dear friend Emily Levine, drove from Kansas City to the Lawrence Public Library for the official release of my book, No Place Like Home. The book is about brave LGBTQ Kansans who spent a decade fighting for equality, so I… Continue reading A year of gratitude from No Place Like Home-land

Meet the small-town Kansas All-American football hero who is now a different kind of star

It’s been a long time since Burt Humburg was homecoming king at Andover High School, just east of Wichita. It’s been a bit less long since he was an All American football player at Southwestern College, the United Methodist-affiliated private school in Winfield. Humburg’s a doctor now, practicing near St. Louis, his tightly buzzed hair… Continue reading Meet the small-town Kansas All-American football hero who is now a different kind of star

Here’s more help understanding America (a book review)

One summer in the mid-'90s, the writer Meghan O’Gieblyn was at a Christian rock festival in Peoria where the headliner was DC Talk, a trio formed at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. The band was riding a wave of mainstream popularity thanks to the grungy, alt-rock sound of its album Jesus Freak (the record would rise… Continue reading Here’s more help understanding America (a book review)

Meet one of the trans people suing the state of Kansas for their birthright

Luc Malik Bensimón was in the news this month. He’s one of the plaintiffs in Lambda Legal’s lawsuit against the state of Kansas over its refusal to change gender markers on transgender peoples’ birth certificates. “My identity as a man has been put on hold… so, short and sweet, I’m here today because I would like… Continue reading Meet one of the trans people suing the state of Kansas for their birthright

Susan Ruiz hopes the ‘rainbow wave’ carries her to a seat in the Kansas Legislature

Susan Ruiz’s decision to run for office parallels the thinking of so many other people after the 2016 presidential election. “I could either complain and bitch about it, as all of us did” — Ruiz was especially angry about how the president spoke of the Latino community — “or be much more involved. We can’t… Continue reading Susan Ruiz hopes the ‘rainbow wave’ carries her to a seat in the Kansas Legislature