The Ordinance Project: Commemorating Kansas City's LGBTQ Landmark Legislation
Metadata[+] Show full item record
This project documents the efforts of Kansas City activists, organizers, and politicians who successfully fought for the passage of a municipal nondiscrimination ordinance in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The ordinance outlawed discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based upon a person’s sexual orientation or HIV status. Although this highly controversial piece of legislation initially failed to pass, the process of organizing around the possibility of such rights helped to form an engaged electorate within Kansas City’s LGBTQ communities. Many of the key individuals involved in this fight were lost during the AIDS epidemic—a disease which forced issues of LGBTQ discrimination to the forefront of the public’s attention. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passage of this civil rights ordinance, I set out to capture the oral histories of the activists, organizers, and politicians who are still with us. The efforts taken to commemorate this landmark achievement in Kansas City’s history resulted in a large body of original research and several academically rigorous projects designed to inform and engage the public through a wide variety of mediums: an oral history project, a feature-length documentary film, multiple community-based discussion groups, and a multimedia public history installation. I argue that these projects make a significant contribution to our knowledge of LGBTQ history, the history of the Midwest, the American AIDS epidemic, and several other connected subfields, such as the history of political activism and protest movements. While these projects are public facing, they are situated within scholarly debates and make a historiographical contribution to the field. To demonstrate the academic rigor that was considered during the construction and implementation of these projects, an essay is included in this portfolio that will place my research and interpretations into the greater historiographical context of LGBTQ civil rights measures and the American HIV/AIDS epidemic. Furthermore, this paper will detail how I dealt with the unique challenges posed by conducting oral histories, incorporating a wide variety of experiences into a cohesive narrative, and delivering this narrative to the public through multiple forms of media and events intended to convey and elicit emotion without sacrificing critical treatment and analysis of the historical evidence and the implications for current and future social justice issues.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Historiography/Literature review -- Methodology -- Findings/significance -- Public History Projects -- Conclusion
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)