By Elle Boatman
WICHITA - It’s been 45 years since the Stonewall riots of ‘69, the spontaneous and violent demonstrations that are largely credited as the beginning of the gay-rights movement. In some ways the LGBT community has come a long way from the dark closets and secret lives it has been shamed into; in other ways, it’s readily apparent that it has not.
As state after state comes to acknowledge gay and lesbian rights and as transgender issues begin to take center stage, Pride celebrations still serve as a reminder of just how far the community has come and also how far it still has to go.
Wichita Pride, Inc. will host its 2014 celebration from Sept. 19-28. Themed Color Me Pride, events kick-off with a Cosmic Bowling party and culminate with the rally, parade and festival.
Wichita Pride, Inc. chose Kristi Parker, editor of the Liberty Press, as this year's Grand Marshall of the Pride parade.
Parker graduated from K-State in Finance in 1990 and began a stint as an oil and gas accountant. In 1992 she finished her second degree at Wichita State in Accounting.
Her first involvement in LGBT activism came that year with the start-up of a group called Who’s Next?, which formed days before Bill Tanner was shot in Herman Hill Park - a hate crime that eventually took his life.
From there Parker was involved in the campus recognition fight of the student group 10% at WSU, she served on the KPTS programming board and was present during the Postcards from Buster debate, she was elected as the local Stonewall 25 merchandising chairperson, the treasurer of Kansans for Human Dignity that oversaw The Center, and as an at-large board member and then the Pride committee co-chair of the Wichita Gay & Lesbian Alliance (WGLA) all in the early 90s.
By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
KANSAS CITY - Latino Gay Pride, which will be held for the sixth year Sept. 12-13 in Kansas City, Mo., has always carried a lot of meaning for founder Mario Canedo. The two-day event is not only a place for people to gather and have fun, but it is also an opportunity to become educated about HIV and AIDS.
“I wanted to give my community a space to have fun, to have entertainment, to have our culture at the forefront and to demonstrate what it is to be a gay Latino,” Canedo says. “But, most importantly, HIV/AIDS is affecting the Hispanic community throughout the U.S. and I want them to be informed, to get tested, and to talk about it. I want to provide them a safe environment where discussion can begin, help can be sought out, and education happens in a fun manner.”
Wide variety of speakers, events and activities planned for Sept. 6
TOPEKA - This will be the first Topeka Pride festival in quite some time. In fact, Stephanie Mott, Topeka Pride president and founder/director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (K-STEP), says there hasn’t been a city-wide LGBTQ pride in many years. “Most people don’t remember exactly when the last one was,” she said.
Needless to say, the excitement throughout the community has been high. Mott is hoping for an attendance of approximately 200. There really is no reason not to attend; entry to this year’s pride festival is free, though the organizers suggest bringing canned food items for donation to local food pantries.
By Christy Lyons-Bohrer
WICHITA - While there have been many fundraising efforts for services for people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the Wichita area, the Sweet Emergency Fund raises money for things that might not otherwise be covered. Founded by Dr. Donna Sweet, the Fund has been raising money through its annual fundraiser, the Sweet A’Fair, for 20 years.
On Thursday, Sept. 18 from 5:30pm through dark, the 20th Annual Sweet A’Fair fundraiser will take place in Dr. Sweet’s backyard. Due to issues with street parking, guests are encouraged to park in the big parking lot at 21st Street and Oliver.
By Helen Barnes
WICHITA - This September, Wayne Bryan, Producing Artistic Director for Music Theatre of Wichita, will have the opportunity to work with a smaller cast. Bryan is guest directing Spitfire Grill, one of the fall, 2014 season selections of Wichita State University’s School of Performing Arts.
“I was invited by Linda Starkey and Marie King to do a fall musical. It worked great with my schedule,” commented Bryan, who will be directing another show elsewhere later in the fall. Bryan says he enjoys the chance to work with the WSU students and get to know them. “Spitfire Grill is perfect; it has a smaller cast – seven actors – three men and four women. It’s an intimate story with rich characters and emotions.”
BONNER SPRINGS – With the glorious opening of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, there is much to be thrilled about this year. Festival-goers don’t want to miss out on the happenings of the Festival from the Beer and Bacon Tastings, Throne of Swords, Princess Tea Party, Imagination Station, White Stag Inn and many more new events featured in 2014.
WICHITA - The 20th Annual Mary Jane Teall Theatre Awards will be held Monday, Sept. 22 at Mosley Street Melodrama, 234 N. Mosley St. in Wichita. Doors open at 6:30pm with a cash bar, followed by the ceremony at 7pm. The 2013-14 Wichita-area theatre season will be recognized. Tickets are $10 at the door.
To register to vote for this year’s awards download the registration form at www.maryjaneteall.org and mail it to the address on the form.
WICHITA - This past spring a group of students from Wichita State University’s School of Music made their mark in the 2,200-year-old city of Lucca, Italy, where famous operatic composers once walked the cobbled roads. Canta in Italia is a month-long opportunity for serious students of voice and opera to improve their voice and language skills and get a sense of whether working internationally is really for them.
MANHATTAN - Kansas State University, located in Manhattan, will soon be kicking off its 4th annual LGBT Leadership Conference. From Oct. 10-11, the School of Leadership Studies on campus will be the location of approximately 150 to 200 attendees. Registration is free, due to the generosity of the university alumni and the LGBTQ community. The university’s LGBT Resource Center is sponsoring the event.
This year’s conference theme is “A Global Change: Queering Policy and Perspective,” which focuses on the intersections of daily life and identity across a global scale.
September 22, Judge Edward Rubin of the 15th Judicial District Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in a state legal challenge to an amendment in Louisiana that denies same-sex couples the freedom to marry.
The case, In Re Costanza and Brewer, was filed in 2013 on behalf of Angela Marie Costanza and Chastity Shanelle Brewer, who are raising their 10-year-old son in Lafayette. The case sought respect for Angela and Chastity's marriage license; since Louisiana did not respect their marriage, one mother was not permitted to legally adopt her son.
The ruling today grants the second-parent adoption and affirms that the Louisiana amendment violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
Current FDA blood ban on men who have sex with men prohibits such men from ever donating blood
LOS ANGELES – If the current FDA blood ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) ban were completely lifted, it is estimated that an additional 360,600 men would likely donate 615,300 additional pints of blood each year. According to a new study entitled, “UPDATE: Effects of Lifting Blood Donation Bans on Men Who Have Sex with Men,” authored by the Williams Institute’s Ayako Miyashita, Brian Belt HIV Law and Policy Fellow, and Gary J. Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar, lifting the ban would increase the total annual blood supply in the U.S. by 2 to 4 percent.
“The American Red Cross suggests that each blood donation has the potential to be used in life-saving procedures on three individuals. Our estimates suggest that lifting the blood donation ban among MSM could be used to help save the lives of more than 1.8 million people,” said Miyashita.
New Study Looks at Potential Impact of Strict Voter ID Laws on Transgender People in Ten States
LOS ANGELES – Ten states’ strict voter ID laws may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November. According to a new study entitled, “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” authored by the Williams Institute’s Jody L. Herman, Ph.D., Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow, many transgender people who have transitioned do not have identification that accurately reflects their correct gender.
“Lawmakers should not overlook the consequences of enacting stricter voter ID laws on transgender voters,” said Herman. “Election officials must consider the potential impact of these laws in the upcoming November elections. Voter ID laws create a unique barrier for transgender people who would otherwise be eligible to vote.”
San Francisco, CA, September 8, 2014—Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument in the Idaho marriage equality case, Latta v. Otter, in San Francisco.
The case was brought by four same-sex couples, Sue Latta and Traci Ehlers, Lori and Sharene Watsen, Shelia Robertson and Andrea Altmayer, and Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson.
What a great time to be gay. I am so lucky to have been able to chronicle the rise in the LGBT community over the last 20 years. Thank you.
Whoever thought the Liberty Press would still be here 20 years later? Certainly not me. In October of 1994, when I went to see Pat MacDonald at the health department about advertising, I had my rate sheet with me - it had prices for one month or three months. And Pat says, “What kind of deal can you give me for a year?”
And my first thought was, “Oh, shit.” And my next thought was, “Pat thinks I’m going to be here for a year?!”
You all probably know the story by now, in February 1994, I was a successful oil and gas accountant - you know, high heels, skirts, business suits . . . I’m not kidding. And I was making waaayyy too much money . . . Okay now I’m kidding. I really WAS an oil and gas accountant, a damn good one actually, albeit a miserable one.
So I quit my job, did taxes for a while, found myself unemployed on April 16 and got talked in to becoming a co-chair of Wichita’s Pride committee. I decided I wanted to have a Pride Festival like the bigger cities, but the committee didn’t have very much money. The people on the overseeing board said I could have $1,500, but that barely covered the cost of my tents.
So I decided to produce a Pride Guide to raise more money for my festival. I’m going to call all the national magazines and get them to advertise, I said. And the overseers patted me on the head and said, “Isn’t she cute?”
And you know what? All three of the magazines I called advertised - the Advocate, 10 Percent, Deneuve - as well as 46 other local people and businesses. For the first time ever the Pride Guide made a profit. And I thought to myself, “That was easy. I’m going to do that every month and live off the profit.”
And so it was that the first Liberty Press came out just two short months later. I borrowed $1,000 from my mom, bought a phone line, an office chair and the first printing. The money was gone and we were off.
I say “we” because I had lots and lots of help. My friends writingly, my mom and many supporters financially, Valley Offset Printing producingly, the WSU Sunflower graphically, advertisers trustingly, Vinnie enthusiastically. All of them emotionally and mentally.
Died: William (Bill) D. Elmore aka Mimi Van Horn on July 25, 2014 in Wichita. Van Horn was a former Miss Queen of Hearts and Miss KGRA and runner-up to Miss Liberty. She was very active throughout the community entertaining at various clubs and many, many fundraisers. She had also served as Grand Marshall for Wichita Pride, Inc. and was the promoter of the Miss Newcomer Pageant.
Elmore was a member of First MCC and was very active in fundraising for the church. He was also an active member of the Wichita Bears and the Wichita Prime Timers. He is survived by one brother, two sons, two grandchildren, nieces, nephews, his two dogs Sadie and Savannah, and many friends.
Mimi Van Horn was a gentle soul who gave everything and expected nothing from nobody. She lived most of her life as a member of the LGBT community as well as a well-known drag queen and was well respected.
I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying her company the last four years of her amazing life. What I want to tell you is she had an amazing life, though it was full of bumps and curves she tried to enjoy every minute. We should all remember that it’s not how she lived her life it’s how well she spent living each and every second of it. We shouldn’t dwell on the fact that she is gone, but celebrate her life and the achievements and milestones she made in life.
September 2014 marks the two-year anniversary of the column Audrey Asks.