Central Missouri is home to a number of significant landmarks and symbols that represent the LGBTQ community. From the humble brick house in Palisades where one of the country's most influential LGBTQ leaders once lived, to the AIDS monument in North Hyde Park, these sites are a testament to the progress made by the LGBTQ community in Missouri. In the mid-to-late 19th century, Missouri's municipal and state government began to pass laws that criminalized homosexual and gender-nonconforming behavior. This prompted members of the LGBTQ community to organize and fight for their civil rights.
In 1965, protesters gathered at Independence Hall in Philadelphia for the first Reminder Day, drawing public attention to the lack of civil rights for LGBT people. One of the most influential figures in this movement was astronomer Frank Kameny, who lost his federal position in 1957 due to his homosexuality. He devoted his life to fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ people and is remembered today as a pioneer in the fight for equality. In Kansas City, GLAMA (Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America) has several digital resources that document LGBT history in the area, such as a timeline of key events.
Covert references in diaries or letters, police reports, records of social work organizations, and legal documents also provide insight into the experiences of LGBTQ people in the 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the most iconic symbols of LGBTQ pride is Alan Turing's commemorative statue in Manchester's Sackville Park. The statue is part of Manchester's LGBTQ Heritage Route, which includes small rainbow mosaics placed on the sidewalk to mark 18 key historic sites. Kansas City was also chosen to host the National Homophile Organization Planning Conference due to its central location.
After the event, thousands of members of the LGBT community marched through New York to Central Park, marking what is considered to be the first gay pride parade in the United States. Finally, another important landmark for the LGBTQ community in Kansas City is the AIDS monument at Trinity United Methodist Church in North Hyde Park. This monument serves as a reminder of those who have been lost to AIDS and honors those who continue to fight for LGBTQ rights. The LGBTQ community has made tremendous strides over the years, and these landmarks serve as a reminder of their progress.
From Frank Kameny's house in Palisades to Alan Turing's statue in Manchester, these sites are a testament to their resilience and determination. The AIDS monument at Trinity United Methodist Church is a powerful symbol of remembrance and hope for a brighter future. The landmarks throughout Central Missouri are a reminder that we must continue to fight for equality and justice for all members of our society. We must never forget those who have come before us and those who continue to fight for our rights today.