40 Years of Pride – Part 6

The Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights that took place in October of 1987 drew 500,000 participants, including a contingent from Kansas City. The energy from that event resonated with attendees long after it was over, leading to a resurgence in political activism and awareness-building across the country. Locally, the March led to the formation of the Pink Triangle Political Coalition in early 1988, and within that organization a committee called Gay and Lesbian Awareness (GALA) was created that would be directly responsible for organizing local Pride events.

PTPC Brochure

Pink Triangle Political Coalition Brochure

When the decision was made to host a Pride event, GALA had only two months of planning time. One of the fundraisers they held was a “Button Nite”, at which Pride buttons were given to people who donated at least $1. Participating bars included The Windjammer, Kon Tiki, Frisco, Jamie’s, The Other Side, Changes, and Twylite Zone.

The Gay and Lesbian Awareness Picnic was held in June of 1988 in Southmoreland Park, just west of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Approximately 150-200 people from Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis were in attendance.

Picnic people

Picnic people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More picnic people

More Picnic people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were entertained by pianist Scott Hegenbart and the musical group Rosie’s Bar and Grill. Local activist and future City Council member Carol Coe gave a powerful speech on the influence of gay people in politics.

Scott

Scott Hegenbart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott performing

Scott performing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community play was encouraged by the presence of volleyball and a water balloon toss.

Volleyball

Volleyball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More volleyball

More volleyball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balloon toss

Balloon toss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't let it break!

Don’t let it break!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though small by today’s standards, the 1988 Gay and Lesbian Awareness Picnic reinvigorated the local community and set the stage for much larger community-based celebrations over the next few years.

1 thought on “40 Years of Pride – Part 6

  1. What a nice surprised to be remembered for my participation in this event. I had lived in Kansas City, but had moved to Chicago prior to this event. I was so glad to have been invited back to participate.

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