Welcoming Diversity? Symbolic Boundaries and the Politics of Normativity in Kansas City’s LGBTQ Communities

Stefan Vogler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Using document analysis and ethnographic field work, this article examines the debate within the LGBTQ community of Kansas City over the decision to hold its Pride festival in the Power and Light District (P&L), a renewed downtown area with a controversial dress code. Despite the developers’ and city’s goals of creating a cosmopolitan urban space that welcomed diverse populations, the P&L acquired a reputation as an anti-Black, anti-queer space due to its dress code and redevelopment history. I argue that the debate surrounding this controversy reveals limits to notions of diversity and diverging approaches to sexual politics within the LGBTQ community that are normally obscured by political actors within the movement but that work to create symbolic boundaries that exclude “non-respectable” members of the LGBTQ population. Recovering queer perspectives allows us to imagine a more capacious definition of diversity and inclusion, both within the LGBTQ movement and in urban space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-192
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Cosmopolitanism
  • diversity
  • dress code
  • gay and lesbian politics
  • queer politics
  • sexuality
  • symbolic boundaries
  • urban renewal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)


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