How Proud Are You?
Happy Pride! Tonight we kick off Pride Fest with an open faith event centered around storytelling, reflection, and song at Community Christian Church from 7pm to 9pm. In my preparation for this weekend's festivities I have learned about the rich history of LGBTQ+ activism and community organizing in KC over the past 53 years.
Did you know?
The first ever nationwide meeting of LGBTQ+ activism groups took place in Kansas City in 1966.
That same year, Kansas City's own gay and lesbian group, The Phoenix Society, was formed and began publishing a newsletter.
The Phoenix House opened at Linwood and Paseo in 1968. The building housed Phoenix Society printing equipment, offices, library, and apartments.
KC's first "Gay Pride" celebration was held in June of 1970, one year after the Stonewall Riots.
By 1975, KC's celebration had turned into a three day "Gay Pride Festival" including skits, workshops, and socializing.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Pride Parade snaked through Midtown, culminating in festivities at Southmoreland Park.
At Pride in 1991, Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, an ordained minister, appeared at the festivities claiming, "The God I serve 'don't make no trash' ". This was a big deal because there were large anti-LGBT groups protesting pride and local equal rights legislation at the time.
In 1993, KC passed legislation prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in housing and employment.
Now, after 49 years of celebrations, Pride Fest KC is a three day long festival at Berkeley Waterfront Park.
As you can see, Kansas City has a rich history of LGBTQ+ celebrations and activism. If you don't have an opportunity to celebrate this weekend, I encourage you to find a time this month to do so! All of June is National Pride Month.