Meet Brandon Woodard, a ‘common sense moderate’ whose run for the Kansas Legislature is historic

It was January, bleak and freezing, when Brandon Woodard first started walking the neighborhoods of Lenexa and Olathe that make up Kansas House District 30. Last week hit near record-breaking heat for the middle of September, and Woodard was still walking, the back of his green polo dotted with sweat. "I've put in a lot… Continue reading Meet Brandon Woodard, a ‘common sense moderate’ whose run for the Kansas Legislature is historic

A 74-Year-Old Lesbian Activist To Janelle Monáe: The Kansas Through Line

In my happy daydreams, when Janelle Monáe plays her long-awaited homecoming concert in Kansas City in October, Lea Hopkins is her opening act. Hopkins isn’t an entertainer, but she’s a celebrity in her own right, one every Kansas Citian should know. And the two share a connection. Hopkins, who still reads the daily paper old-school,… Continue reading A 74-Year-Old Lesbian Activist To Janelle Monáe: The Kansas Through Line

Where’s the parade, Kansas City? Lessons from a month of Prides in Kansas

I’m old enough to have seen a lot of Pride celebrations. My first was in San Francisco in 1982. I was 19 years old, freshly transplanted to Berkeley from my home in Nebraska. My mind was blown as soon as I stepped onto an East Bay BART train packed with other high-spirited gay people, all… Continue reading Where’s the parade, Kansas City? Lessons from a month of Prides in Kansas

Here’s how Wyandotte Countians just did something historic for LGBTQ Kansas

An equal-rights victory that has historically involved months of bruising battle in other Kansas towns just happened quietly in the state’s third-largest city. On Thursday, one item among many on the agenda for Wyandotte County commissioners was whether to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of groups covered by the county’s non-discrimination… Continue reading Here’s how Wyandotte Countians just did something historic for LGBTQ Kansas

For Jon Reed Sims, a gay Kansan I never knew, who made the world more beautiful

A few hundred LGBTQ concert-band and jazz musicians came to town this past week, so I was expecting a pretty good show on Saturday night. It was the grand finale of the Gay and Lesbian Band Association's annual conference. Given the fact that the national organization's confab was in Kansas City this year, hosted by… Continue reading For Jon Reed Sims, a gay Kansan I never knew, who made the world more beautiful

Meet the Kansas mothers who say having trans children is a blessing

It’s a small but mighty group of allies, one to celebrate on this Mother’s Day: Mothers of trans people. The most famous one in the Kansas City area is Debi Jackson, whose daughter Avery graced the cover of National Geographic last year and who serves as an organizer at the National Center for Transgender Equality. But… Continue reading Meet the Kansas mothers who say having trans children is a blessing

From Gay Teacher Who Left Kansas For Palm Springs, Lessons On Empowerment

Michael Hill did not expect the news of his departure from Kansas to go viral. Hill was an art teacher and theater director at Nemaha Central High School in Seneca, population 2,048, up near the Nebraska border. On April 17, he posted Facebook photos of anonymous letters he’d received and wrote: “I decided I needed… Continue reading From Gay Teacher Who Left Kansas For Palm Springs, Lessons On Empowerment

LGBTQ Kansas to America: Prepare for so much ‘losing forward’

This loss seemed as inevitable as a Kansas tornado in May. In reality, it wasn’t inevitable. LGBTQ activists and their allies skirmished so hard that it took until 2 a.m. on the last day of the legislative session for the religious right to convince enough politicians to discriminate against us. The so-called Adoption Protection Act… Continue reading LGBTQ Kansas to America: Prepare for so much ‘losing forward’

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”

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