By Kristi Parker
WICHITA -Last year Positive Directions, a Wichita HIV-service organization, scaled back its services to focus solely on prevention and education. There have been a few changes in staff, an office move and various other things that come with such a change.
The dust seems to have settled around executive director Brett Hogan and now there is a new prevention person, titled Targeted Outreach Coordinator. The intent is to expand the organization’s prevention services and better serve the community.
“We want to be a stronger presence in the community so more manpower was needed,” explained Camille Gaddis, the new coordinator who started this month. “Having a second person allows us to be in multiple places during the day. One person can be in the office to answer phones and do testing while the other can be doing outreach or attend a meeting.”
By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
WICHITA - The 15th annual Tallgrass Film Festival will take place Oct. 18-22 and will screen several LGBTQ films: Alaska Is a Drag, Woman on Fire, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, and The Feels.
Alaska Is a Drag is director Shaz Bennett’s feature debut, and was born from her own dreams while working in a cannery in Salt Lake City. The film stars Martin L. Washington, Jr. as Leo, an aspiring drag superstar, who is stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska. He and his twin sister are trapped in the monotony of fist fights and fish guts. Out of necessity, Leo learned to fight back, which catches the attention of the local boxing coach. When a new boy moves to town and wants to be his sparring partner, Leo has to face the real reason he’s stuck in Alaska.
Matt Dallas, star of the show Kyle XY which aired for several seasons in the mid-2000s, plays the role of Declan, the new kid in town who becomes Leo’s boxing sparring partner. Dallas became involved in the film after a call from his manager.
WICHITA - Grab a carnival mask, put on your party clothes, and join Thrive ICT in a night of music, food, and community for a cabaret to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
Thrive ICT partners with local providers to create a collective of services to serve survivors’ individual needs for trauma management, life management, and community support. Thrive ICT hosts three support groups: Thrive Together, Coffee, Tea, & Recovery from Abuse and Partners in PTSD.
KANSAS CITY — Dustin S. Cates, Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC), announced recently that its 32nd year will commence for the first time in November by adding a fall performance, From the Heart, at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS. A goal of Cates since he began in 2014 has been the expansion to a fourth concert to help raise awareness of the chorus with new audiences in southern Johnson County.
Scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10, at 7:30pm, the performance will feature audience favorites from years past. The concert will also feature Kansas City musician Mark Hayes, an internationally known and award-winning composer, arranger, pianist and conductor. He’s composed more music for HMC than any other composer.
WICHITA - Local Wichita LGBT bar, Club Boomerang, opened its new dinner theatre with two shows in September. Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead and Murder at the Drag Show both debuted last month.
Club owner, Brad Thomison, told the Wichita Eagle in July, that Alex Novotny approached him about starting the theatre. A software developer for Koch Industries, Novotny has an undergraduate degree in theater.
Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings with Sunday matinees at the club, located at the corner of First and Cleveland. All shows are interactive environmental theatrical performances, meaning the characters will be up close and personal with everyone in the audience.
By Grayson Barnes
WICHITA - We bring to art what we are. The artist Diedrick Brackens brought his queer, black body and put it on exhibit at the Ulrich Museum at Wichita State University. Instead of his actual body, though, he’s used textiles in a slow reckoning, to translate his experience as well as that of others.
Brackens’ work is designed to confront the “othering” experienced by queer and racialized bodies in public spaces. Our bodies are subject to scrutiny which is sometimes intrusive and cruel. It might even be violent. Combining textiles with mirrors also challenges the act of looking when one can see oneself reflected in the act.
The beauty of the works is their subversiveness. They creep up on you. They’re not politically-charged photos or paintings full of agenda-laden symbolism. They’re soft and beckoning, just like grandma’s quilt.
The titles are gentle, too, rendered in e.e. cummings-esque lowercase letters. You can’t help but get closer. You notice wrinkles, an unmoored string, and there, behind a straining section of fabric, is a mirror. As you approach and peer beneath the weave, you are confronted by yourself. You’ve been caught examining something too closely.
WICHITA – This summer the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation unveiled a new logo, brand and website. The new website, www.downtownwichita.org, is user-friendly, featuring enhanced functionality and mobile first design.
As part of the rebrand, the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation will be publicly known as “Downtown Wichita.”
The new logo, brand and website was designed by Howerton+White.
“If Downtown Wichita is successful then we are successful. We were ecstatic to lead this project and can’t wait to see the positive impact it has on our downtown,” said Nicole Howerton, Principal and Creative Director at Howerton+White. l
On Oct. 7, hundreds of dogs and their people will converge on Sedgwick County Park for the Kansas Humane Society’s annual fundraiser, Woofstock. This is for them:
When I was 16 my little brother and I went halvsies on a new dog. It was a Pomeranian, who my granddad named Grizzly, because he looked like a little bear. He wasn’t a very well-behaved dog. He chewed on everything in the house, carried stray socks everywhere, ate anything he could reach, and was sooo ornery.
But oh, how I loved that dog.
He was my constant companion who hung with me through college and several moves after. He bounced between my mom’s house and wherever I landed through my 20s. He was my roommate when I struggled to come out.
One night I was getting ready to go to a movie and had just stepped out of the shower when I noticed Grizzly was choking. There was a piece of rawhide he had been chewing stuck in his throat. It was slimy, chewed down to the gooey white stuff that rawhide turns into, and I couldn’t get a grip on it. It seemed like forever before I could dislodge it from his throat and by that time he was limp.
I started CPR. I know what you’re thinking, so let’s just start by saying, I don’t know how in the hell to give a dog CPR. But I had learned in high school gym class how to do CPR on a baby, so that’s what I did.
I was home alone, and wanted to go to the emergency vet clinic, but I thought I couldn’t risk stopping until I got him to breathe.
However, rigor mortis was setting in. Grizzly was bleeding out of his nose, his stomach was swelling/hardening, he had thrown up and he had peed all over. At this point, he had been without oxygen for 20 minutes. And I thought to myself, “Kristi, you are breathing into the mouth and nose of a dead dog, covered in puke and pee. You should probably just let him go. Even if you get him to breathe on his own, he’s going to be brain dead.”
And then the most amazing thing happened. He coughed.
I scooped him up, threw him in the car, and drove 90mph to the emergency vet. He laid limply in the passenger seat beside me, still bleeding out of his nose, but with his eyes open.
I rushed into the vet’s, forgetting that I was still in boxer shorts, with no shoes, no bra, wet hair, and covered in all sorts of dog excrements. I sat in the lobby and bawled. When the doctor came out and said Grizzly was going to be okay, I couldn’t believe it.
He kept him for an hour for observation and when I returned, Grizzly was sitting on the counter shaking. He was completely freaked out. I thanked the vet profusely.
“You’re the one that saved him, not me,” he said.
Grizzly spent the next week with a hoarse bark, never letting me out of his sight.
Fast forward several months. I was going through a particularly rough time. Depression was getting the best of me as I struggled with my sexuality. Unhappy in my job, recently estranged from my dad, broke and broken, I stood in the bathroom with a bottle of pills in my hand.
And there in the doorway stood Grizzly.
By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
MANHATTAN - As students squeeze out the last bit of fun from the summer, the upcoming school year looms large. For many, they are simply looking to survive their course load, have fun, and simply feel safe and included.
Kansas State University (KSU) offers numerous LGBT-focused groups to help educate and promote inclusivity and safety throughout the campus. The university details each LGBT group on the school’s website, which are summarized below. For more information, visit: www.k-state.edu/lgbt/.
LGBT Resource Center
The LGBT Resource Center is dedicated to helping LGBT students, staff, faculty and allied members of the campus and surrounding communities to be more secure, educated, and productive in their personal and professional surroundings. The Center, located in 207 Holton Hall, is open to all and provides information regarding resources available to those of differing sexualities and gender identities. The Center, opened in August 2010, currently has been awarded a five-star Premiere Campus rating based on the Campus Pride Campus Climate Index.
Key details: Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, 785-532-5352. Brandon H. Haddock, PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA)
SAGA is a welcoming and safe student organization for those who identify as LGBTQ or are an ally to the community. Meetings include social activities, educational events, and guest speakers. Some prior events include: LGBT history presentations, game nights, queer movie nights, queer sex education, speakers on topics from mental health to various queer identities, and more.
Key details: Meetings every Thursday, 6:30pm-8:00pm, in the K-State Student Union in Room 206. Adam Carr, President, email@example.com.
LGBTQ Faculty Staff Alliance
The purpose of LGBTQ*FSA is to support and advocate for sexuality and gender-identity-based issues on the KSU campus. The LGBT faculty and staff along with campus allies seek to encourage and support K-State’s efforts in the recruitment, retention, and professional advancement of sexuality and gender-identity minority faculty and staff. This includes mentoring of junior faculty/staff, professional development, opportunities for advancement and promotion, and advocating for dual career issues.
The group also advocates for the university’s efforts in the recruitment and retention of diverse sexuality and gender-identity minority students, by serving as resources and mentors to the students, support of student organizations, and advisement of university recruitment, retention, and graduation efforts.
Key details: Contact the LGBT Resource Center for more information about the LGBTQ* FSA.
Kansas State University Gender Collective
The Gender Collective is an organization designed to provide a venue for individuals who are transgender, cross-gender, intersex, androgynous, gender variant, or otherwise involved in activities, expressions, or presentation that is divergent from their birth-assigned sex. The collective engages in outreach and educational efforts for the KSU faculty, staff, and students and Manhattan community to promote a better understanding and acceptance of gender diversity, expression, and identity issues. Gender Collective was started in the Spring 2016 by Riley Katz, last year’s president. 2016-2017 was the first full year of the club. During the first year, the club hosted two major events. The group organized an on-campus rally about the need for more gender-neutral restrooms on campus, as well as the need for the administration to explicitly voice their support for all students to be able to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Key details: For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
oSTEM – Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
oSTEM is a national society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership for LGBTQA communities in the STEM fields. The mission of oSTEM at K-State is to: 1. Increase the representation of LGBTQ+ persons in STEM fields; 2. Foster a more open and welcoming environment within STEM fields at K-State; 3. Expose the LGBTQ+ community at K-State to professional development and networking opportunities in STEM; and 4. Highlight contributions LGBTQ+ individuals have made in STEM disciplines.
Key details: Meetings are every other Monday at 5pm in the Leadership Studies Building, Room 201. Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ostemksu/
Broad Spectrum student division of the Lesbian & Gay Veterinary Medical Association
Broad Spectrum is a global student organization of LGBT veterinary students and straight allies advocating for a welcoming and inclusive environment within the veterinary profession. The group strives to do the following: 1. Offer all students (LGBTQI and straight advocates) a forum for discussion and an environment where they can feel welcome and open; 2. Coordinate and promote activities that educate the college and Manhattan on issues surrounding the gay and lesbian community within the scope of veterinary medicine and in society as a whole; and 3. Provide a haven for those in need and a resource for people that are interested in educating themselves.
Key details: www.k-state.edu/lgbt/community/vetmedlesbiangay.html
In addition, K-State also hosts a Lavender Graduation, is a member of the Safe Zone program, and has an LGBT Fund set up through the KSU Foundation. l