40 Years of Pride – part 2

In 1978 an entire week was devoted to celebrating Gay Pride in Kansas City.  Culminating in the picnic described in this Kansas City Times article from June 19, the local Gay Pride Week coincided with similar commemorations across the country.  On Friday the 16th over 250 Kansas Citians marched in a parade through downtown, and a community picnic took place the following Sunday.  Though sponsored by the Christopher Street Association (KC’s local advocacy group at the time) and members of the National Gay Task Force, the picnic, which appears to have been held in Rosedale Park in KCK, was hastily thrown together just five days prior!  Despite that, word spread quickly and over 400 people were in attendance.  Part of the draw may have been the appearance of Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, who had gained notoriety three years earlier appearing on the cover of Time magazine as an out service member fighting his discharge from the service.







Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the newspaper article from the vantage point of hindsight is the final quote from a picnic participant.  Referring to challenges against ordinances that discriminate against gays and lesbians, one young man stated “It may be 100 years before we’re ready for that”.  Little did he know…

40 Years of Pride – Part 1

June is Gay Pride Month, and June 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Pride Celebration in Kansas City.  To honor that milestone, we will be posting Pride-related material from the collections of the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America all month long!  And it seems appropriate that our fist post should feature the flyer from that Pride Celebration so long ago in 1975.  The three-day festival, held at the Gay Community Center at 3825 Virginia, was sponsored by the Gay People’s Union of Kansas City, the Joint Committee on Gay Rights, the Metropolitan Community Church, and the Kansas City Women’s Liberation Union.

Pride Flyer1975- frontPride Flyer1975 - back

The weekend was packed with social, educational, and spiritual activities for all attendees:  everything from skits and plays to a workshop on lobbying to a picnic brunch.  This rare flyer is a remarkable window into a telling moment in the development of the Kansas City gay and lesbian community.