Missouri State Parks agreed to a small LGBTQ exhibition in the state capitol in Jefferson City but removed it after only four days after an assistant to a GOP Senator kicked up a storm. The exhibit was supposed to stay up until December 26.
The exhibition looked back at the LGBTQ rights movement in Kansas City. You can check out the exhibit online at Making History: Kansas City and the rise of gay rights.
The exhibition consisted mainly of banners and old photographs, detailing the persecution LGBTQ people faced in the past, and local advocacy groups such as the Phoenix Society, formed in the late 1960s.
All quite informative and interesting, you would think… but not in the eyes of some people.
On Wednesday, a legislator assistant to GOP Sen. Mitch Boggs made his views clear on his Facebook. Uriah Stark, posted images of the exhibition and said: “So is there any good reason that our taxpayer funded museum is pushing the LGBT agenda in our state capitol? These are literally in-your-face banners that you can’t walk through the museum without seeing… and they’re scheduled to be there through December.”
He went on to clarify “the Missouri State Museum, which is under the Department of Natural Resources, is responsible for allowing this.”
The traveling exhibit is actually an award-winning student project created in a public history class at University of Missouri-Kansas City [UMKC]. A UMKC spokesperson told Queerty, “It has been touring the state since 2017. It was recently invited to be a temporary exhibit in the Missouri State Museum on the first floor of the state capitol.”
Yesterday, Stark, who uses the #MAGA hashtag on Twitter and seems fond of re-tweeting Marjorie Taylor Greene, posted an update, stating: “Thanks to the efforts of several of our great elected officials, the exhibit has been removed from the Missouri State Museum! To God be the glory!
“Shoutout to Rep. Ann Kelley and Rep. Brian Seitz for taking the bull by the horns! I also spoke with multiple other elected officials who were ready and willing to take action, thank you all for standing for traditional family values!”
State Senator Greg Razer (D) is Missouri’s only openly gay Senator. He was unimpressed by the decision, issuing a statement.
— State Senator Greg Razer (@SenGregRazer) September 2, 2021
“I am extremely disappointed and angry that Missouri State Parks would bend to pressure from those who want to see people like me stripped of our rights and our dignity as American citizens.
“There is nothing controversial about an exhibit that explains how members of the LGBT community fought to end persecution and demand rights as citizens. This is nothing but ‘cancel culture’ coming from those who want the LGBT community to simply disappear in the shadows again.
“Missouri State Parks owe the LGBT community answers as to why they put this exhibit back in the closet.”
That answer came yesterday. Governor Mike Parson’s spokeswoman Kelli Jones said Department for Natural Resources (DNR) had not followed a “statutorily mandated process” in putting up the exhibit.
“The Department of Natural Resources manages the Museum and state statute requires the Department to coordinate activities relating to the Museum with the Board of Public Buildings.”
In other words, it was supposed to seek approval from the Board of Public Buildings.
However, although this technically may be the case, it never actually happens. The Kansas City Star checked minutes for the Board’s meetings going back to 2015. Not once have the board discussed a state museum exhibit.
Razer called this a “convenient excuse”. He told the Kansas City Star he yesterday called DNR director Dru Buntin.
“My guess is, and obviously he would not give me a straight answer on this, is they never go to the board to get permission to put up a temporary exhibit,” Razer said. “There’s always rotating temporary exhibits.”