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Kansas City filmmaker Brian Rose spent six years working on his new movie, even after he realized there would be no answers to the problem he was trying to solve.

His feature-length documentary, "When I Last Saw Jesse," details the events surrounding the 2006 disappearance of Belton teenager Jesse Ross and what's happened in the years since. It's among the 174 entries in this week's Kansas City FilmFest International.

A Catholic parish school in Praire Village, Kansas, opted not to enroll a same-sex couple's child in kindergarten. We examine the reasoning behind the decision made by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the split among Catholics on the issue.

Segment 1: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver discusses the president's budget proposal. 

In the House of Representatives, the Democratic Party is back in the majority, and hopes to work with Republicans on smoothing what Congressman Emanual Cleaver describes as, "a great deal of disruption in the goverment." Today, Cleaver explained why he thinks we need a trillion dollar transportation budget, and why he's still concerned about an attempt to secure funding for a border wall. 

Queer Eye In Kansas City

Mar 18, 2019

Last weekend, people across the country binge-watched season three of Queer Eye. But locals had an exceptionally compelling reason to watch: this particular season was filmed entirely in the Kansas City area. In this conversation, we revisit favorite moments and hear from fans to find out what they thought.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

A Kansas activist known for her work on transgender issues has died. Stephanie Mott, 61, was a mental health clinician, LGBTQ advocate and prolific public speaker who traveled the country to share her experiences as a transgender Christian woman. 

Mott served as the vice chair of Equality Kansas, chaired the LGBTQ caucus of the Kansas Democrats and founded the Kansas Statewide Transgender Equality Project.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The Olathe City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution to promote diversity and equality in the city. However, many community members attending the meeting said it did not go far enough.

“A proclamation is nothing but lip service,” Olathe resident Chad Palmer told the city council, expressing that they needed to go further in making a stand against discrimination.

adamhamilton.com

Kansas City-area United Methodist congregations have denounced their church’s vote to prohibit LGBT clergy and same-sex marriages. Clergy and lay leaders voted Tuesday at the United Methodist Church’s General Conference in St. Louis to reaffirm this ban, called the Traditional Plan.

Updated at 9:03 p.m. ET

Leaders of the United Methodist Church have rejected the One Church Plan, a measure that would have eased restrictions on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages, with delegates voting against it at a special session of the church's General Conference.

On Tuesday afternoon, delegates from around the world voted 438 to 384 to pass what was called the Traditional Plan, which maintains the church's rules.

Segment 1: Community newspaper check-in with Camp Magazine.

From a continent-wide softball competition, to a ‘rainbow wave’ in local government — there’s a lot of news in Kansas City’s LGBTQ community. We visit with the editor of Camp Magazine, to take a look at recent headlines. 

Segment 2, beginning at 13:20: A local icon hangs up his cape.

Segment 1: Research shows white-sounding names curry favor in academic settings.

Xian Zhao's name means something to him. It means something to his parents. That's why he won't adopt what he calls an "anglo name." But his own research suggests he might be missing opportunities because of that.

  • Xian Zhao, researcher, University of Toronto

Segment 2 (beginning at 14:45): Why violence against queer-identifying people of color gets swept under the rug.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Despite bitterly cold temperatures, hundreds of people took to the streets of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City Saturday afternoon for the third annual Women’s March, a celebration of and rally for inclusiveness and women's empowerment.

Joining similar rallies across the country, marchers wearing woven pink hats carried signs in support of causes ranging from LGBTQ rights to expansion of Medicare. 

“Love, not hate, will make America great,” the Kansas City marchers shouted.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In the end, the votes weren't close. 

About a week before Christmas, the Prairie Village City Council uanimously approved an ordinance barring discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Two nights later, the Mission City Council approved a similar ordinance 7-1.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Friday to bypass lower courts and rule quickly on its ban of most transgender military members.

Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

Dozens of Oak Park High School students walked out of class Tuesday in protest of the Trump administration’s plans to roll back Title IX protections for transgender people.

Google Street View

Prairie Village City Council members debated the wisdom and scope of an LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance and ultimately voted unanimously Monday night for a broader ordinance than it originally contemplated.

The suburban council took action where state and federal law hasn’t yet reached — barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by the city, landlords and any business offering services to the public.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

More than 1,000 people packed the grand first floor of the Kansas City Public Library's downtown branch Wednesday night to see the cast of Netflix's "Queer Eye."  

It was the biggest crowd the library has had for an event, spokeswoman Courtney Lewis said of the Fab Five's book launch.

StoryCorps

StoryCorps' MobileBooth came to Kansas City to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.

Samantha Ruggles came out as a transgender woman long after her grandparents and parents had passed away.

"If they were still alive, how would that conversation have gone? Your coming out?" her friend Darin Challacombe asked.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A few days after the election, Kansas' next governor is beginning to spell out what she'll do in office. 

On Thursday, governor-elect Laura Kelly said she'd reinstate an executive order to protect LGBTQ state workers from discrimination. The order was first put in place by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2007, but that was rescinded in 2015 by then-Gov. Sam Brownback.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Worse in Kansas

The foster care load in Kansas is growing faster than the rest of the country. Madeline Fox analyzed fresh national numbers on trends in children put into state custody and found that things are getting worse faster here than elsewhere.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Goodbye, Jeff. Hello, Kris?

I hated that he ran, because I would have loved to have brought him into my administration. In fact, if he loses, I’ll bring him into my administration in two seconds. — President Donald Trump stumping for Kris Kobach last month.

Americans with disabilities is a community anyone can join at any time. It’s a community that demands infrastructural and political changes that ultimately benefit everyone, yet it’s a community that is often ignored, sidelined or patronized.

“For years, there were ugly laws that were in place that kept cripples from being out in public. We were locked away in institutions, we were left at home, we were sight unseen. There was a stigma associated with it,” says artist Kathryne Husk.

Young white woman with long brunette hair and wearing glasses sits in front of a microphone with headphones on in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Voters to decide on increasing funds for public library system and amendments to Jackson County Charter.

Ballots in Jackson County on Nov. 6 will be packed with issues. Today, we discussed eight of the questions before voters, seven of which deal with how county legislators, and the executive and prosecutor operate. First, though, we take up a levy proposal that would increase the budget for the Kansas City Public Library.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The Trump administration may be making a move toward redefining gender. That's according to a recent New York Times report, which explained that the new definition would limit gender to strictly male or female, a "biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth."

This would roll back the Obama administration's efforts to loosen the definition of gender, recognizing it as an individual's choice, not based on the sex assigned at birth. 

Segment 1: A Kansas City musician's self-proclaimed 'nerdy rap.'

Kadesh Flow is a trombonist with The Phantastics. He released "Room Service," a solo hip-hop album, which he recorded in a hotel room during a gamer convention. Hear more of his story, from leaving his job at Cerner to pursue music to being part of the Nerdy People of Color Collective.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Expandable

Few things stand as clearly at stake in this year’s governor’s race as the expansion of Medicaid.

If Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach wins, it’s just not gonna happen.

If Democrat Laura Kelly or independent Greg Orman win, it almost certainly will.

Kansas would join 33 other states and include a large swath of people currently without Medicaid coverage or ineligible for the health insurance subsidies created under Obamacare.

Segment 1: With age comes responsibility, and these 18 year-olds are exercising their right to vote.

We talk with college students who are looking forward to voting for the first time this November. But first, the president of Rock the Vote tells us what it takes to get young people to turn out to the polls.

The five candidates for Kansas governor faced off at a forum Tuesday night in Wichita.

It was a rare opportunity for independent Rick Kloos and Libertarian Jeff Caldwell to share a stage with the three major candidates — Republican Kris Kobach, Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Recent discussions about protecting LGBTQ residents from discrimination in Prairie Village and Mission, Kansas, recall a similar, highly controversial effort a few years ago in Roeland Park — and a quiet development in Wyandotte County earlier this year.

StoryCorps

StoryCorps' MobileBooth is in Kansas City until September to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.

Alex Martinez and Miguel Morales may be more than 20 years apart in age, but their experiences in the United States as Latinx children speak to the unique challenges they have faced here.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Like many people who can’t afford medical care, Larissa Shively-Vitt of Shawnee, Kansas, has been spending a lot of time online lately, trying to tell her story and raise money through crowdfunding.

Medical expenses are the category most often used on GoFundMe, which is the largest crowdfunding platform. And in recent years, campaigns have snowballed for one particular kind of medical care: gender confirmation surgery.

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