Tag Archives: Kansas City

Transfiguration Music Festival

From May 31 – June 1 the Transfiguration trans*-focused music festival will run live at Quixotic! The festival will feature a large array of local trans* musicians and musical artists, and you can hear much more information about it by listening to the interview of Mazzy Mann and Zoey Shopmaker on Trans Talk on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio. Quixotic is at 1616 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64108, and the event is advertised on EventBrite as running from 7:00 pm Friday to 4:00 am Sunday.

The event will also feature speeches from local activists Samantha Ruggles, Una Nowling, and Nyla Foster. It looks like a really awesome party, so give it a look!

The Great Kansas City Media Blackout of the KCDTR

The Kansas City Demonstration for Transgender Rights was held from 2:00-3:30 last Saturday, October 27, at the J.C. Nichols fountain in Kansas City, Missouri. It was advertised widely on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and resulted in a tremendous turnout. I attended and spoke, and it was the largest transgender rally I’ve ever seen in 7 years in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

It was difficult to count the number of folks who were there, but three independent counts put the most likely number at between 300-350 persons. The photo above shows the size of the crowd from a distance (I’m using this photo deliberately because many people were afraid of being identified from video and photographs).

The KCMO police were informed and present, and kept a very respectful distance. All major media outlets were contacted. I was told by two impeccable sources that KCUR, Fox4, KCTV5, KMBC9, and The Kansas City Star were not only contacted, but said they would be sending reporters to cover the event. Prior to the event 96.5 The Buzz discussed the event on October 25 on the Mornings with Jordin Silver & Friends program. On the day of the event 90.1 KKFI Kansas City Community Radio not only interviewed Parker Liu, one of the event organizers, but devoted 10 minutes to discussing transgender erasure, and broadcast live music from the local trans punk rock band Evil Pillows, dedicated to those attending the event, on the Trans Talk radio show.

The demonstration was simply incredible. It was a perfect day, the crowd was enthused and respectful, the speakers were motivated and passionate and brought many different perspectives to the crowd, and there was a feeling of love and togetherness. It was the largest and best transgender rally I’ve attended in the four-state area.

But you wouldn’t know it, from the media blackout. By the end of the event, as the hugging and tears and cheers were over and folks walked back to their homes, the only media coverage before, during, and leading up to the event was from 96.5 The Buzz and 90.1 KKFI. The only media in attendance at the event in official capacity were several folks from KKFI, including Una Nowling, the President of KKFI who spoke during the event, and several members of the KKFI News & Public Affairs staff, who also recorded the entire event. We were told that Jordin and Hartzell from 96.5 The Buzz were proudly there showing solidarity and support, but we did not have the pleasure of meeting those great folks.

So why the media blackout? Why, suddenly, despite being informed of the event in advance and having told us they would be there, did the mainstream media of Kansas City abandon us? Scanning the websites of KCUR, FOX4, KCTV5, KMBC9, and The Kansas City Star, and others showed a large amount of local mundanity, some “barking dog” stories: one site had an update on the Salem witch trials (not exactly breaking news…spoiler alert, there were no witches), one talked about concern over a new Wendy’s and Pizza Hut being built (nothing gets page clicks like fast food, right?), and yet another devoted time to tell us why leaves change color (which was presumably news to anyone from a planet devoid of deciduous flora).

Seriously? Seriously?

But not one word about the largest transgender rights rally in the area? Why not, exactly? Some speculate that several reporters were sent out to contact local Jewish organizations to comment on the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that day – but clearly, given the significant amount of local reporting that was done by all organizations that day, there were more than enough reporters to go around.

Many leaders in the local LGBTQIA community have spoken with us, most of them privately, and all expressed significant concern at the silence over the rally. While few were ready to level charges of transphobia or a rise of hard right-wing influence or chilling effect upon the local media, all were baffled and disturbed by the media silence. I think all of us in the local LGBTQIA community should be reaching out to the mainstream media outlets, sending comments and e-mails, and asking why they didn’t show up to cover the event.

More details as they develop.

Male Call – Casting Call in Kansas City for Transmen!

The Unicorn Theatre is producing a new play called HIR by Taylor Mac (a recent MacArthur Genius award recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist). One of the characters in HIR is a young transgender man, and Director of Development Ian Crawford is looking to fight the phenomenon of “transface” by casting a transgender man in the role of a transgender man.

Folks who are interested can reach out to his email at icrawford@unicorntheatre.org Mr. Crawford says that he is happy to e-mail back and forth with anyone interested and answer questions, send them the play to read, or grab coffee to talk it over if they like. In the coming weeks they will set up a time to see people and have them audition (read through some scenes with other actors etc.) He would like to know how much, if any, acting experience they might have, but they understand due to discrimination most folks will not have much or any, and they will work with whoever they cast to make them comfortable and prepared for this. It’s reportedly a pretty large role, and they will be working with some great professional actors in town, so it could be a lot of work and a great learning experience too!

Once again, for further information, contact Ian Crawford at icrawford@unicorntheatre.org

THIS SUNDAY: A Presentation on the Bible and Transgender Identity

Transgender persons are often told that their gender identity and presentation are forbidden by the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Insults are hurled, jobs are lost, and discriminatory laws crafted based upon this belief. But is this really accurate? Does research into the linguistic origins and the historical context of the Bible suggest that rather than being condemned, transgender persons may actually be accepted within the texts?

This lecture is intended for peoples of all faiths or no specific faith as a way to help understand how different interpretations of religious texts can yield significant differences in the meaning of the text – and how to respond to some religious-based arguments against the validity of transgender identity.

Please join Una Nowling, Director of Transgender Studies at the Transgender Institute, hostess of “Trans Talk” on 90.1 FM KKFI, and the founder of Transas City, as she presents her research on a positive relationship between transgender persons and the Bible.


Johnson County Central Library, 9875 W. 87th Street, Overland Park, KS 66212 – Carmack Community Room

Date and Time

3:00 – 4:15 pm, Sunday, July 31st

There is no cost to attend, although donations will be accepted for transgender persons in need in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

A Free Evening of Beauty Event from the Transgender Institute


On July 28, 2016 a free event will be held to provide advice and demonstrations for creating a feminine appearance that fits your style. Called An Evening of Beauty and Transformation for Trans Women in the Midwest, the event will be an opportunity to mingle with complimentary refreshments and live music, while learning from representatives such as:

Wig Design – Robinn Scholfield

Vocal Feminization – Caroline Gibbs

Fashion, Image Consulting, and Skin Care – Anna Mc Connell

Makeup Artistry – Monique Brown

Master Hair Stylist – Alonda Lona

Laser Hair Removal – Mirabile Medcosmetic

I’ve been to these events before, and they are always well-attended and thus provide an opportunity to meet many other transgender folks from the Kansas City Area. I hope to see you there!

Date and Time

6.00 to 8.30 pm, July 28, 2016.


Bravadas Wig Design Boutique, 11004 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS, 66210

The Transgender Experience at Crossroads Church Kansas City

Crossroads Church

Transas City Founder Una Nowling will be speaking on the transgender experience at Crossroads Church Kansas City this coming Sunday. Her presentation will feature a few slides with transgender history and facts, will include her telling her personal story, and will address some of the current transgender events of the day (transgender discrimination, “toilet terror” laws, etc.) The presentation starts at 9:00 am Sunday, May 22, and will last (with questions and answers) until about 10:15 am. Transgender, non-transgender, and all folks in the area are very welcome to come see the lecture, or just drop by say hi.

Crossroads Church Kansas City is located in the Waldo district, at 7917 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64114.

Reminder: Heartland Trans Chorus Interviews This Weekend

Heartland_Trans_ChorusThe Heartland Trans Chorus, a very worthy effort of inclusion and empowerment for transgender persons and their allies, will be holding placement interviews for the Gay Pride Kansas City Performance. I want to remind and encourage anyone who thinks that they would like to try lifting their voice with spirit and pride to try out, or just attend and say hi to some friends and neighbors.

The interviews will be held this coming weekend on Saturday, March 19th and Sunday, March 20th at the Charles Fillmore Chapel at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. Please see the flyer graphic below for further information.

Heartland Trans Chorus Placement Interviews 2016

A Heartland Transgender Chorus May Be Forming, and You Are Invited to Join


This message was given to me by my friend Gillian here in Kansas City, and I’m posting it on her behalf to reach out to my many readers to see if anyone is interested in joining this. I really think this could be a wonderful opportunity for an accepting group activity to build confidence and meet new friends in Kansas City. Her message follows:

A Transgender Chorus in Kansas City

For many of us, becoming who we are entails finding our voice. Voice however is different in different circumstances. Speaking on the phone is different to speaking in public to speaking to a loved one. So often our voices betray us and all too often we don’t feel like we have a voice.

I hope that we can change that in Kansas City.

I recently had the honor of meeting with and hearing the members of Boston’s Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus rehearse. It was a beautiful and moving experience that touched my heart and inspired me to work towards establishing our own chorus right here in Kansas City. I have been working to gather support and information from folks that want to help us establish the chorus. Specifically Heartland Men’s Chorus and folks at GALA. In addition to Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago are also getting choruses going.

The vision is to create a sustainable structure with good governance that over time will evolve into a place for us to sing as one and to claim our space in the world. Singing and especially choral work offers a profound opportunity for growth and discovery and a way to have your true voice heard.

Please share this post with anyone who you think might be interested in joining and participating either as a singer or as a supporter. Once a quorum of people is established on social media, we will arrange a public meeting to establish a steering committee and embark on finding our voice.

Please go to the FaceBook group setup to discuss this project and ask to join if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KCtranschorus/

Olathe School District’s Transgender Restroom Policy Stirs Controversy – Not

The bathrooms inside a Johnson County high school are sparking some controversy, and it all has to do with which restrooms transgender students can use.

Please note that this is an old event, which has been bumped on social media and sent to me by two separate people, so I thought I would at least address the issue.

The original article from KCTV5, which is linked below, has a headline which implies that there is a major protest action, or some sort of mass resistance to the fact that two transgender students in the Olathe School District are being allowed to use the restroom congruent with their true gender. In reading the article, however, we find that the “controversy” consists of:

“KCTV5 News received an email from someone who said they are a concerned Olathe East High School parent outraged the school never told them anything, and now their student will be in a restroom with the opposite sex.”

A single e-mail. From one person, not identified. Wow, does Obama know about this? The article makes a further error, when it prints:

“The school district is in uncharted territory. They are the first metro school to address what the school paper calls the transgender ‘bathroom issue.’ “

Except of course for the entire KCMO School District, as proven by my interview with Lawrence Altman on last month’s Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio.

Honestly, I’m really uncertain at the level of reporting here, especially given that KCTV5 has a rather good record on transgender reporting, as seen in their reporting on the recent murder of Tamara Dominguez.

Source: District’s change over restrooms for transgender students stirs controversy

Family Ties : Trans Spouses


The Vital Voice reached out to the KC SOFFA group that Fiona Nowling leads to ask if people would share their stories with the magazine.

SOFFA is a support group for Significant Others, Family, Friends and Allies of Trans People.  They can be reached via www.facebook.com/SOFFA.KC & they have a private group on Facebook too.

Fiona and another member shared their story – and then Fiona and Una were asked to have a photo shoot done for the article.

The Vital Voice is an LGBT issues magazine which started in St. Louis, but has extended to cover Kansas City.  August’s issue focused on families, and the article is about how the transition of a trans person affects the family and the people that love them and how the family supports and affects them in turn.  It is available online and physically in lots of places in St. Louis and Kansas City, including LikeMe Lighthouse.  The August issue is still available, or you can read the article at the link below.

Family Ties: Trans Spouses



Kansas City Transgender Teen Nominated for Homecoming Queen

First I must apologize for linking to a Fox4KC story, as I know many of my audience do not care very much for the station. And I must apologize for being days behind in posting this. My preparation for my month in Asia has taken a lot of my time.

The story is simple, but also highly important. Landon Patterson, a Senior at Oak Park High School in North Kansas City, came out on YouTube to reveal to the world that she was transgender. Not only wasn’t she expecting the show of support from her friends, who rallied behind her, but she certainly wasn’t expecting to be nominated as homecoming queen for the high school.

She will find out on September 12 if she made the grade, to become the first transgender homecoming queen in the history of Kansas City.

Source: Transgender teen nominated for homecoming queen at metro high school | fox4kc.com

Transgender Kansas City Woman Killed After Being Run Over Multiple Times


A transgender woman is dead tonight after repeatedly being run over behind a Kansas City church parking lot.

This is breaking news, but the basic details are known. Tamara Dominguez, a 36-year-old transgender woman, was killed in a church parking lot at Independence Avenue and Spruce at 3:00am Saturday night. After exiting a black Chevrolet Avalanche, the male driver hit her with his vehicle, then ran over her at least two more times.

Kansas City police say that they do not know if it is a hate crime, but it’s clear that some serious level of hate or rage has to be involved to repeatedly run someone over.

There is a short video at the link below. Her family has set up a GoFundMe site to help pay for her burial expenses.

Source: Transgender woman killed after being run over multiple times

The Lost Autobiography of Tamara Reese – FOUND!


Exclusive to Transas City, I have acquired an incredibly rare copy of the lost autobiography of Tamara Reese, the third American “Atomic Age” transsexual woman. Working with the support of the Mayo Clinic History of Medicine Collection, I am presenting a high-resolution scanned copy of this public domain work for everyone in the world to read, archive, and preserve as a part of our shared transgender history.

You may find the link to the book on my Tamara Rees page.

The work starts out intriguingly with the information that she was born in Kansas City – I confess to getting goosebumps when I read that! – and lived in Wichita for a while. The book tells of a youth filled with gender dysphoria and failure, as well as several attempts to escape into some service or corps (she spent time with both the Navy and the Army), and finally takes her to WWII and her service as a paratrooper in the conflict. From there we learn of her being wounded in action, her stunt-diving and airplane-flying career, her marriage of convenience, and again a directionless life. The details of her actual medical transition, both the procedures and the processes, is very sparse. Her tales of being mobbed by the press and learning how to act and live as a woman in public are somewhat interesting, and some light is finally cast on her suicide attempt (she claims it wasn’t, however) which led to her suddenly being evicted from the Netherlands.

I admit I felt like there was so much else which could have been written, so many details which were missing, and so much opportunity lost to preserve more of our early history. However…the work is what it is, and as such it nonetheless provides an enormous amount of information about Rees which was unknown by myself, and I’ll wager by even most transgender researchers. Especially interesting are some notes by the book’s prior owner, Dr. Alvarez, which explain that he knew Reese personally, and that she had married and adopted a daughter – the latter fact being something I never knew. But still, I wanted to know so much more…and the search for more information will continue, as always.

Meeting with Michael Boles of the “Private Birthday Party” Project


This last Saturday I was privileged to meet with Michael Boles, one of the team working on the Private Birthday Party Project here in Kansas City. To summarize the goal of the project, Michael Boles, Robert Chase Heishman, and others have been working to uncover, catalog, preserve, and eventually share and publicize information about the early drag, cabaret, crossdressing, and LGBT community in Kansas City. Their project began with chance discoveries of priceless old slides and photographs from that era, and they have since expanded their project into interviews with the performers and their contemporaries, collections of memorabilia, and much more.

While their project has been somewhat quiet since their introductory showing earlier this year, it’s been for a good reason. They have traveled to California, Las Vegas, and elsewhere to meet with folks from the early days of the Kansas City scene, and have many more plans brewing to increase their local collection – including traveling to view a cache of old Kansas City media and records in Sydney, Australia of all places!

I spent two enjoyable hours handling some of the original relics from this time of early Kansas City community history, viewing the photographs and programmes, and listening to Michael’s categorical knowledge and back story about each photograph. According to Michael their eventual hopes for their project include a book and a documentary, and I think each would be vital for preserving the history of our local community.

Michael sent some recent scans of photographs, which the team has been collecting as they dig deeper into history, and gave me permission to share them. I will keep you updated as they continue their journey back in time!

Douglas Kirk, age 69, was once a stripper and dancer at the Jewel Box in Kansas City, from 1966-1969, when he was known as Criss Noel. He currently lives in Las Vegas, and met with the Private Birthday Party team in person.

This is Douglas as Criss in the 1960’s.

This is Robert Buvard, who used perform with the Jewel Box Revue in the mid 1950’s to the early 1960’s. The Jewel Box Revue started in the late 30’s and was the first traveling group of female impersonators. Robert also worked with G.G. Allen, who is pictured later.

This is Robert as “Robbie Ross” in 1960.

G.G. Allen, in 1959.

This is David Schneider at a Halloween Ball in 1964. David was a local psychic and hairdresser, and had a public access television show called Psychic Voyages, which ran from 1984-1996. The Private Birthday Party team is in touch with his niece and are in the process of getting copies of the show.

This is Skip Arnold, a well-known female impersonator at the Jewel Box Lounge in Kansas City in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with Esther Newton in 1966. Esther wrote a book in the 1960’s called Mother Camp: Female Impersonation in America, which is considered a groundbreaking opus in that community.

And Esther Newton today, now a Term Professor of American Culture and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.

Transgender Panel at Trinity United Methodist Church in Kansas City is Warmly Welcomed

Trinity LutheranPhoto credit: Debi Jackson

This morning myself, Fiona, Madeline, and Debi talked to some of the congregation of Trinity United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, to talk about the transgender experience. We were warmly greeted by the church leaders and organizers of the event, and it was explained to us that Trinity was a reconciling church, in that they wanted to welcome the entire LGBTQIA community with acceptance and respect. And honestly, all that we felt from every person we spoke to was great acceptance and respect. The event was organized by Lindsey Collins, who very earnestly expressed the church’s desire to be a safe home for the transgender community.

Madeline_Trinity_2Madeline speaks of her career and her hopes for the future.

We lectured in the church sanctuary, and I was very happy to see three of our transgender friends in the audience (names not listed for privacy). Madeline spoke first about her life growing up and her later transition, and touched on legal aspects and transitioning as an attorney. I also spoke of my life, and brought some of the science of being transgender into the discussion. Debi spoke of the challenges of being a parent of a transgender child, and while all of our speeches were well-received, Debi’s was the most striking. Fiona assisted with the presentations and spoke to many of the congregation to answer questions one-to-one. Afterwards we broke into several tables to enjoy pizza and salad while continuing to answer questions and chat with the congregation.

DebiTrinityDebi engages the audience with her hopes for her transgender child.

Trinity United Methodist Church is located at 620 E. Armour Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64109. There is parking in the lot (that looks like an apartment building lot) just east of the church. Their Sunday worship service begins at 9:45 am and ends around 11am. They invite anyone and their families to come worship with them to see if the church has the right spirit for them, and they strive to be LGBTQIA-welcoming and enthusiastic.