KC Cares: Kansas City Center for Inclusion
Over a plate of pancakes, a close friend of mine informed me they used to get HIV testing at a hospital through their primary care doctor. After testing, they were slapped with a bill of $750 just to pay for their exam. I was shocked. At a price-point like that, why would anyone go to get tested?
On a morning walk, I learned another friend was beginning their female-to-male transition. I was excited for him and honored he shared with me. But at the same time, there were tears in his eyes as he told me about all the kids at his school, as well as friends and family that were not open to his transition. It broke my heart into pieces. This beautiful, loving, outgoing human was now becoming more closed-off and afraid of the world, simply by telling the world who he is—and the world not accepting him back.
Seeing friends in my circle struggle led me to begin searching for resources in the metro that could help them, and hopefully others down the line. As I continued to research different community support groups in the area, The Kansas City Center for Inclusion (KCCI) came up every time. I reached out for an interview to learn more about their programs and services and to truly educate myself on how to be a better ally in our community.
Founded in 2017, KCCI provides safe, inclusive LGBTQIA+ community spaces where people can come for education, resources, and activities, as well as support from a more cohesive queer community in the greater Kansas City area. As the city’s only LGTBQIA+ resource center, they work to ensure that our population and its allies have access to the necessary materials and services they need.
KCCI offers a variety of on-site resources including a library and computer lab access. It is a space for folks to congregate in an environment that is affirming and safe, especially for those unable to find that environment in their current home and personal life. Volunteers at the center are available to chat at any time with those that have any questions.
As the world patiently returns to a sense of normalcy from the pandemic that began barely more than one year ago, KCCI continues to innovate with new programs and events in the Kansas City community.
Perfect Stitch is a monthly event that provides free options to members of the LGBTQIA+ community for customized and tailored clothing to fit their personality, style, and image expectations.
Queer Voices Book Group is a monthly book group in partnership with the KC Public Library, hosted by Hunter Hawkins, for folks of all ages and all backgrounds to gather and discuss various novels and short stories.
Inspired Scribes Creative Writing Group is an all-inclusive creative group that gives queer authors and creative writers a chance to develop their writing skills as well as share their artistic works with other queer people.
EQUAL Trans Support Group is a social support group that meets every third Thursday of the month. Anyone under the umbrella of transgender, questioning, or an ally is welcome.
Binder Exchange Program is a monthly program that serves the transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming community to provide gender-affirming chest binders to those in need. In tandem with the Binder Exchange Program, KCCI established the Trans Surgery Fund to provide $1,000 to one transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming individual within the Kansas City Metro area for gender-affirming surgery costs.
KCCI also hosts space for the KC CARE Health Center to provide confidential, rapid-response HIV testing for those in need. Services also include Hepatitis C and Syphilis rapid testing, all completely free.
Donations to KCCI help keep their doors open for all queer people in the community seeking a safe space built for them, by them. Every dollar donated supports their effort to stay open and provide programs that build community and empower the marginalized. To support KCCI’s mission please visit inclusivekc.org/donate or text GIVEKCCI to 44-321.