Gay Lawrence: Are we still in Kansas?
Imagine: You are driving through Kansas when suddenly you and your little dog find yourselves in a colorful, gay-friendly little town. Welcome to Lawrence.
Lawrence is an island of unexpected in the vast prairie of Kansas. It is a hilly city surrounded by flat, and a liberal, open-minded oasis surrounded by a socially conservative state. Douglas County, where Lawrence is, always votes Democrat, while the rest of the state is staunchly Republican. Lawrence is the only city in Kansas with an equality ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The city also has a domestic partnership registry that provides same-sex partners (and opposite-sex partners, for that matter) some level of legal recognition.
It helps that Lawrence is a hip college town with a thriving art and music scene. The University of Kansas, or KU, is the social and economic heart of the town. Most of the businesses and drinking establishments cater to the college age, and the campus pride group, Queers and Allies, is an active component of Lawrence's gay community.
Almost everything there is to do in Lawrence is located near Massachusetts Avenue, the town's main drag. This street is home to most of the shops, restaurants and nightlife. The music scene in Lawrence is a huge draw, and Mass Ave is full of music in the evenings. Many of the downtown bars double as live music venues, and many up and coming acts make their way through Lawrence. Pretty much all of the downtown businesses are considered gay-friendly.
Forget what you though about small town Kansas and explore what Lawrence has to offer.
Eccentric queer author William S. Burroughs ("Naked Lunch") found comfort in his days spent Lawrence. Maybe you'll find a nice pair of shoes.