Like many student organizations at UMKC affected by the recent budget cuts, Queer Alliace has concerns.
The current budget allotted to Queer Alliance (QA) by UMKC won’t provide enough funding to support the only active organization serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals on campus.
In the 2009-2010 school year, QA requested $18,000 to pay for cultural events, guest speakers, advertising and support meetings, along with other uses. They were funded $9,000.
The group managed to raise an additional $1,200 to combat the lack of funds.
Queer Alliance teamed up with the Kansas City Repertory Theater to perform “The Laramie Project,” a play by Moses Kaufman, about the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming.
After raising additional money from the profit of the performance, the student organization managed to host many other events to celebrate sexuality and gender identity at UMKC.
This year, Queer Alliance was told to work with less than half the amount they were funded last year- about $4,600 less than before.
“[Fourty-four hundred dollars] would not have entirely covered the cost of a single one of our larger events last year, Wick Thomas, president of Queer Alliance said. “We are now being asked to be able to cover an entire year of programming on this number.”
The Queer Alliance is an organization under the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Questioning, Queer, Intersex, Ally and Asexual Center (LGBTQIA Center) at UMKC, but the two are not affiliated when it comes to funding.
Queer Alliance is responsible for finding its own funding and is the only student based organization to provide services and support to the LGBT students at UMKC, and one of the only in the state.
Last April deemed “Gaypril,” one of the more major events hosted by the student organization. The month was full of events such as Queer self-defense classes, theatre performances, and the KC AIDS Walk.
The cost of this event for the year is estimated at $8,400, but the entire budget won’t even be able to cover half of the expenses of the event.
Guest speakers from last year, such as Kate Bornstein, cost a pretty penny as well. The total cost for her to speak last semester was close to $4,000.
This year, QA hopes to have TransFusion, a touring performance art group who performs inspirational rallies and shows to bring an increasingly positive morale to the LGBT community. But scheduling issues might not let that happen since the group has been asked to come on the national holiday, Trans Day of Remembrance.
“We try to make this more than just students,” Thomas said. “We want to bring more awareness to these important issues and include the entire community, and make this a presence that doesn’t fizzle out.”
As far as fundraisers for this year, “We are discussing ideas for fundraisers right now.”
The appeal process to have the budget amended has proven to be a daunting one. There are several steps to appeal, such as getting the administration on board.
“I have emailed the people I have been told to, but have not seen a response yet,” Thomas said.
For a student organization initially starting with just over 100 members, QA has grown to more than 400 members.
Acquiring the funds necessary for QA to successfully serve the UMKC students is a long process. The student organization must inform a group appointed UMKC advisor to get approval for spending.
“I just don’t feel like the majority of the administration is behind us,” Thomas said, “And I don’t know how we are going to be effective without the funds.”