Pride Lecture Series & Scholarship Breakfast

The Pride Lecture Series and Pride Scholarship Breakfast share common goals:

  • Recognize the value of LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Ally) students, faculty, and staff.
  • Affirm that LGBTQIA perspectives and experiences benefit and enrich the educational and professional experiences for all on our campuses.
  • Support LGBTQIA community members in harnessing and commanding their power to influence social, political and economic issues in the community, legislature, business and civic organizations and in institutions of higher education, including our own.
  • Raise funds to support students in our LGBTQIA community to use their personal power when faced with loss of financial support from family.

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Learn about additional programs, scholarships, trainings, resources in the Rainbow Lounge, celebrations and more available through UMKC LGBTQIA Programs & Services, founded in 2003 with the support of the Office of Student Involvement.

Check out the UMKC Pride “It Gets Better” video produced in 2010 and national It Gets Better Project.

Pride Lecture Series

Since 2007, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion Pride Lecture Series has brought LGBTQIA thought leaders from across the country and globe.

Shane Bitney Crone Headshot2019: Shane Bitney Crone

Shane Bitney Crone is an LGBT advocate, writer, and speaker. He grew up in rural Montana, which presented a number of challenges as he grew up and struggled with his identity. He dealt with depression, anxiety, and bullying. He moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, but more importantly to live in a more LGBT-friendly environment. Through a mutual friend, Shane met the love of his life, Tom Bridegroom, who was working as an actor and television host. Together they traveled the world, started a successful business, and promised to get married when it would be recognized by the federal government.

After being in love for nearly six years, Tom tragically died after accidentally falling from a four-story apartment building. The pain of losing Tom was compounded when Shane was denied access to Tom in the emergency room (since the two were not legally recognized as a couple) and when he was threatened and forbidden by Tom's parents to attend Tom's funeral.

Shane spent the following year depressed, confused, and frustrated. He decided he wanted to do something not only to honor Tom, but also to educate others about what had happened and how they could prevent similar misfortune in the wake of an unexpected tragedy. On the one year anniversary of Tom's death, Shane uploaded a video to YouTube called "It Could Happen to You." Unexpectedly, the video went viral within a matter of days and has since been viewed over 20 million times on YouTube and other social media platforms. GLAAD named it one of the "Most Inspiring Videos That Helped Push Equality Forward." In
2015, Entertainment Weekly said that the video played a significant role in the push for nationwide marriage equality.

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, an accomplished director/producer/writer who is best known for creating the hit show Designing Women, was inspired by the YouTube video and approached Shane about turning his story into a feature-length documentary. They launched a Kickstarter campaign; the film became the most successful crowd-funding project at the time, surpassing their initial goal with the help of over 6,500 contributors. The film, Bridegroom: A Love Story, Unequaled premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film
Festival where it was introduced by President Bill Clinton.

Bridegroom had a limited theatrical release in October 2013 and made its television premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network, after Oprah herself became inspired by Shane's story. The film received favorable reviews from The New York Times, LA Times, and The Hollywood Reporter. It received audience awards at dozens of film festivals, won GLAAD's Best Documentary award (2014), and was named Best Documentary by The Gay And Lesbian Critics Association (2014). IMDb named it one of the most popular
documentaries of 2014. Bridegroom has been available for streaming on Netflix and has become one of Netflix's most popular and highest-rated programs. Notable supporters of the film include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Demi Lovato, Lily Tomlin, Adam Lambert, and Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Shane works diligently to ensure that LGBT citizens are granted equal rights. He travels all over the world to screen Bridegroom and give talks. As of September 2015, he has spoken at over 50 universities in the United States. He also recently gave a TEDx Talk in Amsterdam and delivered the keynote address at the PFLAG Conference in China.

Personally, Shane has been awarded the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award and was named one of Instinct Magazine's Leading Men, one of Out Magazine's Out 100, and one of Huffington Post's Most Compelling People.

Register for the Lecture Here!
Sally Kohn Headshot2018: Sally Kohn

Sally Kohn is one of the leading progressive voices in America today. The author of THE OPPOSITE OF HATE (April 2018, Algonquin) and host of STATE OF RESISTANCE podcast, Sally is a CNN political commentator and columnist. Before that, she was a Fox News contributor — and before that worked for over 15 years as a community organizer. Sally's writing has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, New York Magazine, More Magazine, RollingStone.com, Elle.com, USA Today, Time, Afar Magazine and many other outlets. She's also a popular keynote speaker and frequently leads media and speaking skills workshops for grassroots activists and corporate leaders.

View Photos of Sally Kohn's lecture here!
staceyann chin2017: Staceyann Chin

A proud Jamaican, Staceyann Chin has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where she spoke candidly about her experiences growing up on the island and the dire consequences of her coming out there. She unapologetically identifies as Caribbean, black, Asian, lesbian, woman and resident of New York City. Widely known as a co-writer and original performer in the Tony Award-winning Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, her poetry has received rousing ovations around the world.

View Photos of Staceyann Chin's lecture here!
janaya khan2016: Janaya Khan

International Ambassador for the #BlackLivesMatter Network

Janaya Khan, known as Future in the Black Lives Matter movement, is a Black, queer, gender-nonconforming activist, staunch Afrofuturist, social-justice educator and boxer based in Toronto. As the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, they are committed to Black liberation, transformational justice and indigenous sovereignty and operate through a Black transfeminist lens.

View photos from Janaya's Lecture here


Lea DeLaria2015: Lea DeLaria

Presentation: "A Man for All Seasons"

Comedian, actress, and jazz musician, DeLaria was the first openly gay comic in 1993 to enter late-night t.v. with The Arsenio Hall Show. Now she plays Carrie “Big Boo” Black in the Netflix Original “Orange is the New Black” using her talent to entertain and enlighten millions.
Dustin Lance Black2014: Dustin Lance Black

Screenwriter, director, film and television producer, author, LGBTQ activist and winner of the Academy Award and two Writers Guild Awards for MILK, the 2008 film about the late civil rights activist Harvey Milk.
Laverne Cox2013: Laverne Cox

Actress, reality television star, television producer, and LGBT advocate known for her portrayal of Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black.
Ari Shapiro2012: Ari Shapiro

National Public Radio international correspondent, London, recognized for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans, Silver Gavel award winner for his exposure of failing detention systems in Louisiana after Hurrican Katrina, and Daniel Schorr Jouralism Award winner for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission, among others.
Chely Wright2011: Chely Wright

Country Music singer and song writer, LGBT activist, and author of Like Me, also named Top Female Vocalist in 1995 for her debut album and Broadcast Music, Inc. award winner for her song I Can’t Sleep.
Riki Wilchins2010: Riki Wilchins

Transgender author, activist, and provocateur known for founding the protest group Transsexual Menance and the national advocacy organization GenderPac. Author of three books and counting, selected by Time Magazine as one of “100 Civic Innovators for the 21st Century.”
Candice Gingrich2009: Candice Gingrich

LGBT advocate known for her poignant memoir, The Accidental Activist: A Personal and Political Journey that exposes the hypocrisy of anti-gay “family values” in American, particularly those once claimed by her brother, Newt Gingrich.
Keith Boykin2008: Keith Boykin

Broadcaster, author of New York Times best-selling One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America, and TV’s leading commentator on politics, race and sexual orientation.
Kathryn Bond Stockton2007: Kathryn Bond Stockton, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah, where she teaches queer theory, theories of race, the nineteenth-century novel, and twentieth-century literature and film. Author of several books and winner of the Crompton-Noll Prize: Best Essay in Gay Studies by the Modern Language Association.

Pride Scholarship Breakfast

The Pride Scholarship Breakfast began in 2008 as a fundraiser to benefit LGBTQIA students through collaboration between UMKC’s Divisions of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and University Advancement. Funds raised support the LGBTQIA Empowerment Scholarship, which was created to provide Safe Spaces at UMKC. This scholarship offers UMKC students — who are experiencing financial difficulty due to loss of family support — financial aid to harness and command their own extraordinary power.

ComingSoon2016: Greg Louganis

Greg Louganis is widely considered the greatest diver in history. He is the only diver to have won two gold medals in consecutive Olympics (1984 in Los Angeles and 1988 in Seoul). He has won multiple world and national titles. After the 1988 Olympics, he retired from diving and began his acting and speaking career. In 1994, he wrote about his life experiences in his best-selling autobiography, Breaking the Surface, in which he came out as a gay man and publicly revealed his HIV+ status.

You can read more about the event here.
Tony Kushner2015: Tony Kushner

An American playwright and screenwriter, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his perhaps best known play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, a seven-hour epic about the AIDS epidemic in Reagan-era New York.
Carol Hallquist

Buck Wimberley
2014: Carol Hallquist and Buck Wimberly

Hallquist is President of the Hallmark Corporate Foundation and leads Hallmark’s corporate social responsibility efforts including corporate diversity and inclusion. A Creative Brand & Essencing Strategist at Hallmark.





Wimberly, is a leader for HERE, Hallmark’s LGBTQA employee resource group, determined to influence the workplace and product solutions by sharing the human stories behind the LGBTQ experience.
Jim Wanser2013: Jim Wanser

A Roo for over thirty years, Wanser served as Associate Director of the Counseling, Health and Testing Services. He fostered awareness and acceptance on campus and throughout Kansas City. He has served on the Diversity in Action Board, the LGBT Advisory Board, the Women’s Center Advisory Board, the Friends of Justice Board and has worked to facilitate inclusion of international students into our community. He has received the Advisor of the Year award and the Outstanding Administrator of the Year award among other honors.
Cathy Jambrosic2011: Cathy Jambrosic

A dedicated community activist and supporter of Pride Breakfast, Cathy is a native Kansan, who at 57 was moved to come out, about her sexuality and her relationship, for the first time as part of an increasing out culture emerging to confront the anti-gay climate of the mid 2000’s and bring about equality for all.
Joseph Nadeau2010: Joseph Nadeau

Director of the Heartland Men’s Chorus since 1998, Nadeau is a leader in the development and pioneering of the unique musical documentary format that combines visuals, narration and more with excellent choral performance to illuminate timely societal issues, such as gays in the military and the treatment of LBGT members in faith communities.
Jolie Justus2009: Jolie Justus

Elected Missouri Senator in 2006, as the first openly gay member of the Missouri Senate, Justus has been a tireless advocate for children, social justice, working families and economic growth. She has been awarded countless honors by the community, law professionals and academics including the GKC Women’s Political Caucus Share the Torch Award and KC Pride Democratic Club Trailblazer Award. She is a graduate of Missouri State University and UMKC’s School of Law. Since 2003 Jolie has served as the Director of Pro Bono Services for Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
Dan Winter2008: Dan Winter

Winter became Director of American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri as of 2007. Previously he served as Chairman of the Board of People’s Inc., a Colorado-based bank holding company since 1985. He is active as a volunteer with Planned Parenthood, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the ALS Association and numerous other civic groups.