Kansas City, Mackenzie Martin, Stonewall Inn discussed on Here and Now

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53 years ago, police raided a gay bar in New York City called stonewall inn. That raid sparked a series of protests and riots that would later be deemed the start of the LGBTQ rights movement. But gay rights organizing had been going on for years before that. Mackenzie Martin of Casey you are tells us why Kansas City Missouri was a foundational location for rallying. Decades before the stonewall uprising in June 1969, gay rights groups were known as the homophile movement. And in 1966, the groups held their first national meeting. Here, in Kansas City, because, as gay rights activist Frank kemme put it from February 66, in Kansas City because Kansas City was equally inaccessible to all the organizations that then existed. Equally inaccessible, unless your name was drew schaeffer. He started Kansas City's first gay rights organization. The Phoenix society for individual freedom, joining a roster of national groups like the mattachine society and the daughters of belies. I think he was just a very outgoing sort of social guy. Stuart Heinz is the cofounder of the gay and lesbian archive of min America, and a curator of a traveling exhibit about Kansas City's early gay rights history. Between laws banning same sex relations and workplace discrimination, the 1960s was a scary time to be gay. But to put it in perspective, Heinz says, the environment in Kansas City wasn't the same as in, say, New York. Here it wasn't nearly as oppressive. There was a pretty friendly relationship between the bars and the authorities. The Phoenix society's headquarters, AKA drew schaeffer's house, was located in Kansas City's gay bar

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