How Kansas City's LGBT scene pre-dated Stonewall-era New York

As we honor Pride Month, it is wonderful to take a moment and remember the pioneering LGBT history of Middle America, too. Did you know:

In 1956, The Ladder began publication and became the voice of a lesbian generation. Local Kansas City librarian Barbara Grier contributed to the publication until it ended in 1972.

The Phoenix House, Kansas City's first gay and lesbian community center, opens on the southwest corner of Linwood and the Paseo (now MLK Boulevard).

The Jewel Box Lounge where "femme mimics" or drag queens like Rae Bourbon performed was thriving and placed ads in the Polk City Directory in 1961.

The Phoenix Society for Individual Freedom, a gay rights group, Kansas City's first gay organization, was created in 1966.

Photo: queermusicheritage.com

These are just a few of the pioneering LGBTQ entities that pre-dated the 1969 Stonewall uprising.

Find out more at GLAMA.

The Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA) is made up of collections located in the LaBudde Special Collections Department at the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Photo courtesy of Jose Cuervo

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