{B/qKC}: Black/queer Kansas City

Kansas City Defender
  • Nasir Anthony Montalvo, Managing Editor, Kansas City Defender

Project Description

Black/queer Kansas City, stylized as {B/qKC}, is a digital archive, historical anthology and moving exhibit that educates audiences on the contributions of local Black LGBTQIA2S+ community members––in turn, liberating their histories from racism and homophobia-fueled erasure.

Composed of numbered volumes, {B/qKC} documents and records various persons, organizations, sectors, and movements within Black queer KC community from the past century. “Volume_1” of the project followed Kansas City’s first well-known Black drag queens, a group of gay men fighting racism in their community, and Kansas City’s public-access LGBT variety show from the 90’s. 

In early 2023, after completing the Volume, Montalvo morphed their research into multi-location, self-service exhibits that have been hosted across the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Through researching these histories–and dually sharing them in the digital and physical realm–Montalvo is building an accessible, living database of Black queer history, and shares a widely unknown plight of Midwesterners living on the ‘fringe.’

The next volume for this project (‘Volume_2’) will follow Kansas City’s former Black gay bars, the AIDS crisis, and closeted Jazz artists, notably, from the 18th & Vine district.

Project News

‘Artist uses pride month to honor black LGBTQ+ icons in Kansas City,’ KMBC, June 22, 2023.

‘KC Black LGBTQ icons, stories part of new coffee shop exhibit,’ KSHB, June 19, 2023.

 ‘Nasir Montalvo wants to place Kansas City’s Black queer history front and center,’ KCUR, February 23, 2023.

Partner Details

  • Nasir Anthony Montalvo

    Managing Editor, Kansas City Defender


    Nasir Anthony Montalvo is the founder and curator of {B/qKC} published through The Kansas City Defender; and also The Defender’s Managing Editor. Montalvo graduated from their alma mater, Stevens Institute of Technology, in May 2021, where they had extensive history as a student organizer–founding their University’s first and only space for marginalized community members, starting a Black writers column in their student newspaper, and leading protest efforts against Gianforte Family Hall (named after racist and anti-trans Governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte).

    Montalvo and their work has featured in The Advocate, GLAAD, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, NPR, HelloGiggles, Flatland KC and various other local and national outlets.