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Kansas-based documentary shares the experience of LGBTQ facing regressive legislation

 Camera view is over the shoulder of a woman who is interviewing a white, blonde woman sitting inside a home. A production camera can be seen to the right side of the frame pointed at the woman being interviewed.
Sam Zeff
Liz Hamor, of Wichita, is being interviewed by C.J. Janovy, as part of "No Place Like Home: The Struggle Against Hate in Kansas." Kevin Willmott, Janovy and Sam Zeff talk about their documentary on KCUR's Up To Date.

Lawrence-based, Oscar-winning director Kevin Willmott and KCUR's C.J. Janovy and Sam Zeff discuss the making of the documentary "No Place Like Home: The Struggle Against Hate in Kansas."

In the most recent legislative session, Kansas lawmakers introduced 14 pieces of legislation that would restrict athletic participation, public accommodations and health care for individuals identifying as LGBTQ.

The documentary "No Place Like Home: The Struggle Against Hate in Kansas," a follow-up to the book "No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas" by C.J. Janovy, introduces viewers to people from across the state —from rural western Kansas to the state's largest city, Wichita— who are affected by the rise in vitriol and regressive policies that have been the focus of some conservative legislators in Kansas.

"Trying to get proper health care for trans folks and proper mental health care, even in Kansas City is tough. Think about being in Quinter, Kansas," Sam Zeff, the film's producer said.

National organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom, who the films director Kevin Willmott describes as having infiltrated the Republican party, are behind the recent focus on anti-trans legislation.

"I think [trans people are] an easy target. I think hate always looks for an easy target," Willmott said. "They look for the thing that people don't know the most about. They look for the thing that they can capitalize on people's ignorance of this group of folks."

Author of "No Place Like Home," and associate producer C.J. Janovy said the political action being enacted towards the LGBTQ community isn't new.

"What is new this time, is the real vitriol, I think, and the real physical threat that state legislatures are imposing on an incredibly small minority," Janovy said. "They just want to be able to live their lives."

No Place Like Home: The Struggle Against Hate in Kansas airs May 31 and June 14 on KTWU PBS at 8:00 p.m., and at the Screenland Armour on June 11 and June 13.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
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