The Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA) at the University of Missouri-Kansas Cityannounces formation of a community committee, LGBT-KC. The committee’s mission: to recognize and commemorate Kansas City, Missouri’s role in the early LGBT liberation movement and highlight the history and evolution of Kansas City’s LGBT community.
The famous 1969 “Stonewall Riots” are often cited as the spark igniting modern gay rights movements in the United States. LGBT-KC notes, however, that the first national gathering of homosexual rights activists occurred three years prior in Kansas City, Missouri. Leaders of the then-new North American Conference of Homophile Organizations gathered in February 1966 at the State Hotel, formerly located on the northeast corner of Wyandotte at 12th Street.
That meeting was attended by 40 lesbian and gay rights activists from 15 advocacy groups located in major cities on the East and West coasts and Chicago. Immediately following this first-of-its-kind conference, local Kansas City leaders founded “The Phoenix Society for Individual Freedom.” They opened Phoenix House as an LGBT community center, and began publication of The Phoenix: Homophile Voice of Kansas City, a publication distributed across the nation. Thus the gay rights movement in Kansas City was born.