The Ordinance Project

Endorsed by the Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Historians and Histories, the Oral History Association, and the Western History Association

Friday, April 3, 2020, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Type: Film Screening

Tags: Digital History; LGBTQ History and Queer Studies; Public History and Memory


In 1990 the city council of Kansas City, Missouri, introduced a highly contested piece of civil rights legislation—a measure outlawing discrimination based upon HIV status and/or sexual orientation. Supporters and opponents orchestrated massive campaigns, flooding city hall with a record-setting number of phone calls, letters, demonstrations, and public testimony. Documenting one of the only major metropolitan areas to introduce protections based upon sexual orientation and HIV-status in the same piece of legislation, this film details how the issues of homophobia and the fear of AIDS were not only intertwined—they were inseparable.

Session Participants

Chair and Presenter: Austin Randall Williams, University of Missouri–Kansas City
Austin R. Williams is a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri Kansas City whose current work focuses on Kansas City’s response to the AIDS epidemic and its impact upon LGBTQ civil rights. An interdisciplinary scholar in American History and Educational Leadership, Policies, and Foundations, his research interests include the history of education, civil rights, and the politics of gender and sexuality. Specializing in public history, oral history, and documentary filmmaking, his debut film, The Ordinance Project, won the “Courage Award” for best feature-length documentary at the 2018 Kansas City LGBT Film Festival. Williams is in his fourth year as a graduate instructor at UMKC where he teaches courses in American History, LGBTQ History, and Public Urban Education. He is currently contracted with the University Press of Kansas. To learn more about his research, visit

Presenter: Stuart Hinds, University of Missouri–Kansas City
Stuart Hinds currently serves as Curator of the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America at the Miller Nichols Library of the University of Missouri – Kansas City. GLAMA is a collecting initiative he co-founded in 2009 to collect, preserve, and make accessible documents and artifacts that reflect the heritage of Kansas City’s LGBT communities. Hinds presents widely on a variety of topics drawn from GLAMA and co-taught the first-ever course on US gay and lesbian history at UMKC. He is currently under contract with the University Press of Kansas to publish Cowtown Queers: a History of Gay and Lesbian Kansas City.