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Queer Narratives Festival showcases talent from LGBTQ community

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 04, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This year will mark the fifth year for the Queer Narratives Festival, an event dedicated to showcasing the talents of the LGBTQ community.

In a world where queer rights are threatened, they feel the need for this safe space is greater than ever before.

Oscar Trujillo is one of this year's performers. He's also on the board of No Divide KC, the nonprofit behind the event.

Trujillo is a professional dancer, and will be performing a duet with a friend.

Oscar Trujillo is performing a duet for the festival

"She’s also an out, queer person," he said. "We’re looking at sort of queer family, and the different ways that we create family as queer people."

Creating that family and safe space is the number one priority for Stacy Busch, the founder of No Divide and the festival.

"There’s drag, there’s comedy, there’s music, there’s DJs, there’s all kinds of things, so it's a totally mixed bag," Busch said. "Personally, I know, as a woman and as a queer woman, some of the boundaries that exist for art makers to show in mainstream spaces and high-level spaces, and I just wanted to open that door a bit."

Stacy Busch, founder of No Divide KC and the Queer Narratives Festival

The two day variety show is preceded by weeks of workshops and events that start in June.

As a nonprofit, the event runs on donations and grants.

Last year, No Divide applied for a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. Busch said they were denied the funding.

The council had previously funded other programs by No Divide, like their "Come as You Are" program.

"There was a real kind of censorship approach that was fairly shocking to me," Busch said.

KSHB reached out to the Missouri Arts Council on why the grant was denied.

No Divide KC received funding in both years they applied, Fiscal 2022 and 2024. In 2024 we prioritized support for “Come As You Are,” a program that aligned with our initiative to increase funding for accessibility in the arts. The Missouri Arts Council funds over 400 organizations annually with funding for all kinds of organizations and communities throughout Missouri. The Missouri Arts Council supports the arts that strengthen the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of our state.
Michael Donovan, Executive Director

The festival was able to go on thanks to donations.

But in a world where so many are fighting for queer rights, Busch believes this incident speaks to a larger issue.

"I found to be really concerning not just for us but for the state of arts, and the state of arts funding in the city in general," Busch said.

Trujillo agrees, but his hoping his dance can speak to why events like these are so important.

"Sometimes these performers don’t get invited to show up as themselves with their particular voices, and identities in other places," he said. "You’re contributing to the community and being seen with loving eyes. I mean that’s a really special experience, right."