The LIKEME Lighthouse held its annual comedy night on Nov. 13, with comedians Wanda Sykes, Judy Gold, Wendy Liebman and singer Steve Grand. Everyone remarked about how their sides were aching from laughing. It was a terrific evening hosted by Chely Wright and the fabulous Melinda Ryder. I owe a special thanks to the LIKEME Lighthouse for selecting me to be a 2014 Shine a Light honoree along with the owners of the home furnishing store Mitchell and Tim Gold who received the National Shine A Light award.. This very philanthropic gay-owned home design studio has designated LIKEME Lighthouse as a recipient of its fundraising, and they are planning a huge launch party in 2015 when they open their first Kansas City store in the Leawood Town Center mall.
Kansas City gets a score of 100 on Municipal Equality Index
A report on LGBT equality in U.S. cities by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, rated 353 cities across the nation, including six in Missouri. The 2014 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) is the third edition of the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law.
Kansas City made great strides this year to earn a perfect score on the MEI — up from 89 in 2013. Improving benefits for same-sex spouses and appointing an LGBT liaison were among the changes Kansas City implemented to achieve the honor.
Mayor Sly James is happy to hear that Kansas City ranked so high and is proud of his team for making it happen. “I am proud of the progress our city has made to ensure the inclusion and fair representation of the LGBT community. Although we received a perfect score, we know we still have work to do to further embrace this valuable part of our community.”
The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; municipality’s employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage, contracting non-discrimination requirements, and other policies relating to equal treatment of LGBT city employees; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership on matters of equality.
Last year, five cities in Missouri were rated: Columbia (74), Jefferson City (7), Kansas City (89), St. Louis (100), and Springfield (37). This year, Columbia (70), Jefferson City (10), Kansas City (100), St. Louis (100), Springfield (27), and Independence (14) were rated.
A.J. Bockelman, executive director for PROMO, Missouri’s LGBT advocacy organization, believes the timing is just right for this report. “The Municipal Equality Index has become an incredible tool for advocates on the ground. The road map it provides to local officials is a sensible way for supporters to advance basic equality issues and, at the same time, provide education on the impact of these broader issues.”
The full MEI report can be found at HRC MEI report.
LGBT assistance with Affordable Care Act
PROMO, Missouri’s statewide group fighting for equality for the LGBT community, has advised us that when enrolling for health care under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government’s website for LGBT people is called “Out2Enroll,” with information on plans that may be more tailored to your health needs. There is also information on finding assistance in your area with questions on the various plans. Open enrollment, which began Nov. 15, will be available until Feb. 15. For more information specifically directed to the LGBT community, check out Out2Enroll.
Healthy Transitions support group
Healthy Transitions is a Kansas City metropolitan area support group for heterosexually married gay men. A phone call and a brief face-to-face interview will take place before members attend their first meeting. For information, contact Mark McCarthy at 816-931-0011, Ext. 4.
Holidays in our LGBT bars
Missie B’s kicks off the holidays on Thanksgiving after 9 p.m. with the annual Bartenders Revue. It’s a great fundraiser with surprise drag performances by bartenders. Industry Video Bar has a “Hairy XXXMas” Bear Bust at 9 p.m. on Dec. 6. Hamburger Mary’s has a Holiday Benefit Show at the new location of 3700 Broadway, Suite 110, at 8 p.m. on Dec. 13. The bars always have fundraisers and holiday events, including some that provide free buffets on Thanksgiving and Christmas for those with no place to go. As the bars finalize their plans, find out the details on the Facebook pages for all the bars listed in the guide on page 23 of the print edition of Camp.
Nov. 23 Kansas City Anti-Violence Project Brunch-N-Bowl
KCAVP is raising funds for LGBTQ youth outreach services at this annual fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m. at Ward Parkway Lanes, 1523 W. 89th St., Kansas City, Mo. The event is hosted by Moltyn Decadence. Single tickets are $50, and lane tickets (for six players) are $250. For tickets, go to KCAVP or call 816-561-2755.
Dec. 2 PFLAG’s Charity Bingo Night at Hamburger Mary’s
Join PFLAG at the NEW Hamburger Mary’s location from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. There will be plenty of friends, fun, and prizes to be won. Proceeds benefit PFLAG Kansas City.
‘A Very Late Night Christmas’
As you can see from our cover, Late Night Theatre is back with a new show for the holidays, I Will Always Love You! A Very Late Night Christmas!!! Find out more in the story on page 7 of the December print edition of Camp or online at Late Night Theatre.
‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Santaland Diaries’
The Kansas City Rep is bringing us two holiday plays: A Christmas Carol will run Nov. 21-Dec. 26 at the Spencer Theatre (4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.), and The Santaland Diaries will run Dec. 6-24 on the Copaken Stage (13th and Walnut).
A Kansas City holiday tradition, Charles Dickens’ tale A Christmas Carol is back for its 34th season. The classic story of curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge and how he finds redemption is told through great acting, musical numbers, colorful costumes and stagecraft.
In the David Sedaris play directed by Eric Rosen, The Santaland Diaries features Brian Sills, who returns as America’s favorite irreverent elf, Crumpet. The Rep’s website describes the play: “David Sedaris’ hysterical tale of elfin’ woe is a hilarious send-up of his brief, misguided career as a Macy’s elf. The show skewers our sentimental love of all things Christmas—the happy children, the gifts, the spritely elves and the good cheer.”
Tickets for both shows are available at 816-235-2700 or KC Rep.
‘Oy Vey in a Manger’
The fabulous Kinsey Sicks, America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, are returning to Kansas City, with our own Spencer Brown (Daisy Buckë