Welcome to Kansas City, AWP!

January 8, 2024

Joel Barrett speaking with an AWP BOD member during a tour in Kansas City, Missouri.

Hello and welcome! I’m Joel Barrett, your Kansas City ambassador for #AWP24, and I’m genuinely thrilled to introduce you to our dynamic and historic city. When my husband David and I moved here in 2016, we quickly realized that Kansas City was far from the “cow town” stereotype. Instead, it’s a thriving cosmopolitan hub, brimming with rich and diverse cultural experiences.

In KC, there’s something for everyone. Beyond our pride in the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals, we are also home to the first stadium in the world built exclusively for a women’s sports team. That’s KC Current, our women’s soccer team. For more about sports, head to the Visit KC Sports & Recreation webpage.

Take time to explore KC’s vibrant offerings—from live local music venues, award-winning restaurants, and top-notch coffee roasters to world-class art museums, stunning architecture, live entertainment, nightlife, and of course, the best BBQ in the USA (no bias, of course).

In 2022, I created the KC Rainbow Tour, a self-guided driving tour that narrates Kansas City’s LGBTQIA+ history. Uncover stories from the gay rights movement (many predating the Stonewall riots) at over twenty destinations, including Womontown—the first intentional urban lesbian community—and the iconic Jewel Box Lounge, once nationally known for its captivating female impersonators. And don’t miss the 18th and Vine jazz district, a cornerstone of Kansas City jazz and a cultural hub for the Black community.

Kansas City proudly declared itself an LGBTQ+ sanctuary city in 2023, emphasizing a commitment to being a safe haven for gender-affirming care. With a full-time LGBTQ+ liaison in our police department, we’ve scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, which will hopefully ensure that you feel welcome and at home here.

Explore the city using our free streetcar system and bus system, and visit the historic farmers’ market in the River Market neighborhood for a taste of the local scene. Or spend the day shopping at the renowned Country Club Plaza, first opened in 1923. Dive into Kansas City’s history at the Kansas City Museum, revel in the art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, or catch the iconic skyline views from the National World War I Museum and Memorial. For more recommendations, explore the KC Rainbow Tour travel guide and directory.


Have questions? Send them my way at Joel@joelspeaksout.com. Here in Kansas City, everything we do is from the heart.

I look forward to seeing you in February. You can find me at booth #731 featuring the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the KC Rainbow Tour.


Warm regards,

Joel Barrett

Your Kansas City Ambassador for #AWP24

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A Note from Our Executive Director
December 19, 2023
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January 30, 2024

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