Pride month highlights equity and inclusion
The Progress Pride Flag flying over KCMO City Hall this month symbolizes the city’s commitment to equity and inclusion for the entire LGBTQ+ community, and it’s just one of several significant steps the City is taking to support equity for residents and employees:
- First Pride Progress flag-raising at City Hall for any government building in the state of Missouri
- Created Chief Equity Officer position
- LGBTQ Commission creation
- Employee resource group launched (KC Proud)
- Gender neutral restroom facilities policy (undergoing final council review)
Including gender reassignment treatments and procedures in our healthcare plans
- First steps towards supporting LGBTQ businesses by creating a formal business registry and support mechanisms (introducing to council this week).
This is the first time a Progress Pride flag was flown on any government building in the state of Missouri. Organized by an informal coalition including the city’s newly formed LGBTQ Commission, Councilmembers Eric Bunch and Andrea Bough, City Manager Brian Platt, the Parks Department and our KC Proud Employee Resource Group, the colors of the Progress Pride Flag add representation of the Trans community (blue/white/pink) and Black and Brown LGBTQ community (black/brown) in Kansas City.
“As we celebrate Pride Month, we not only commemorate events of the past, but we are called to continue the fight for inclusivity, dignity and equality for our LGBTQ community,” Councilwoman Bough said. “During this term, we have taken steps to say we respect you and we will fight for you through the legislation that bans conversion therapy, examine equality in health care for transgender employees and promote the creation of single use and gender-neutral restrooms.”
Councilman Bunch echoed his colleague’s passion for legislative change and pride in being able to ensure all residents are represented at City Hall.
“Establishing the LGBTQ+ Commission and sponsoring legislation for more inclusive spaces demonstrates our dedication to continue leading with meaningful measures that not only signal KC is a place of equity and inclusion, but a place that also walks the walk as well,” Bunch said.
While the flag will wave above City Hall’s 29 floors throughout June, Platt said serious work is being done to ensure inclusion and equity become more obvious parts of life across KCMO.
“We’re working very hard to create safe spaces for all of our residents, particularly those who have been overlooked or marginalized before,” Platt said. “We are receptive to the feedback we’re getting from our community partners as well as our employees and we look forward to establishing Kansas City as an even more desirable place for everyone to live their authentic lives.”
The City Council is considering a proposal to establish gender-neutral bathrooms that will allow employees and visitors of City-owned facilities to use any restroom that corresponds to the gender identity or gender expression of the individual, regardless of the sex assigned to the individual at birth. This resolution has been approved by the LGBTQ Commission and will be discussed in upcoming council committee meetings.
Another initiative gaining momentum would support LGBTQ and veteran-owned businesses. This resolution would direct Platt and the City to identify such businesses, to develop a formal registration and identification process, and to find ways to better support them. Pending LGBTQ Commission support, it’s likely to go to council committee soon for review. If successful, we would become the first city in the Midwest to take this step and one of the first in the country.
"I am proud that in recent years, Kansas City has taken bold steps to ensure our community is accepting and inclusive for all," said Mayor Quinton Lucas. "Since becoming mayor, Kansas City has banned the backward and dangerous practice of conversion therapy, I’ve been proud to appoint the city's first LGBTQ+ Commission, and we’ve raised the progress pride flag at City Hall for the first time in Kansas City history. We will continue working toward more inclusive healthcare policies for our City workforce and encourage all Kansas City businesses to do the same. Our work continues to uplift, serve, and protect all in the LGBTQ+ community who call Kansas City home."
“Pride is a protest,” said community activist Justice Horn. “Pride started specifically against targeted police violence against our community. The movement was started by, amongst others, a Black Trans woman named Marsha P. Johnson. To this day, Black and Trans people still unjustly die and face violence, it’s important that we never forget this.”
The City has also taken other strong measures to ensure equity across all communities, including:
- Dedication of a boulevard to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Formally acknowledging Juneteenth, (observed on Friday, 6/18) as an official city holiday
- Negotiated a new labor agreement with KC Fire Department that emphasizes equity while eliminating discriminatory practices of the past.
- Creating a Quality of Life Investment District (QLID) to improve equity across all facilities in the Kansas City Parks system.