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The Rainbow Tour takes people on an exploration of Kansas City's rich LGBTQ history

A man inside a radio studio gestures with his right hand while talking at a microphone. He is wearing a T-shirt that reads "KC Rainbow Tour."
Carlos Moreno
Joel Barrett, the creator of The Kansas City Rainbow Tour, talks on KCUR's Up To Date about the self-guided tour through Kansas City's history of the gay rights movement.

Kansas City's history runs deeper than jazz and barbecue. Three years before the Stonewall Riots sparked the gay rights movement, LGBTQ leaders from across the country met in Kansas City to discuss community advocacy and activism. A newly launched self-guided tour highlights important points from the city's LGBTQ history.

A new tour takes drivers on a self-guided trip to more than 20 destinations that are a part of Kansas City's LGBTQ history. Audio interviews during the tour share lived experiences, stories of resiliency, and tales of lesser-known figures in Kansas City's queer community.

"Most people think of what was then called the 'gay rights' or 'gay liberation movement' as starting at Stonewall," said Joel Barrett, the KC Rainbow Tour creator. "I say it was birthed at Stonewall, but it was actually conceived three years earlier here in Kansas City."

Barrett created the KC Rainbow Tour, a self-guided exploration of some of Kansas City's well-known and, more importantly, lesser-known locations that served as welcoming spaces for the LGBTQ community and gay rights activism. The tour serves to both educate and preserve the history of Kansas City activism in the gay rights movement.

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