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

A young singer convinces me the National Anthem might belong to LGBTQ Americans, too

When I went to Wichita’s annual Pride rally and march in September 2014, I’d only been working in radio for a few months. Over decades as a print reporter, I’d often interviewed sources using a tiny Olympus tape recorder, but for most of my journalism career I’d never known all of the other important ways… Continue reading A young singer convinces me the National Anthem might belong to LGBTQ Americans, too

Scott Graybeal is now a Nebraskan, but we’re happy for him anyway

  “It’s the best time to be gay in Salina,” Scott Graybeal tells me at the end of No Place Like Home’s Chapter 7: Springtime in Salina. Graybeal was among the people who didn’t just come out to fight for a non-discrimination ordinance in this town of about 48,000 people in Central Kansas. (For those… Continue reading Scott Graybeal is now a Nebraskan, but we’re happy for him anyway

Kansas misses Sandra Meade, but California needs her

Spoiler alert: As I write in the Epilogue to No Place Like Home, Sandra Meade, who I profile in “Chapter 10: Kansas City Royalty,” no longer lives in Kansas. (To enjoy a few seconds of her strong, calm, articulate presence, watch her on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where Kansas makes an appearance at about… Continue reading Kansas misses Sandra Meade, but California needs her

Toughened in Topeka, Tiffany Muller takes on Citizens United

For “Trouble in Topeka,” the first chapter of No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas, I spent hours on the phone with Tiffany Muller, spoke with her fellow activists and teachers, and read newspaper stories about her. But I’d never met her in person. Muller left Kansas years before I started reporting… Continue reading Toughened in Topeka, Tiffany Muller takes on Citizens United

Visions of home: 3 must-see maps of Kansas

Like many of you, I love maps. And I knew I'd need a map for No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas. (For those of you who don’t quite know where Kansas is, it's right in the middle. I’ve lived on both coasts, so I know how the states in this part of the… Continue reading Visions of home: 3 must-see maps of Kansas