Kansas City Rainbow Tour: The Story
When my husband and I (Joel) moved to Kansas City in 2016 we knew very little about the city. I quickly set about exploring the city, learning our history, and meeting all the people who were shaping our community.
One of the people I met early on was Stuart Hinds of the GLAMA (the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America). Through him, I began learning about the rich LGBT history that Kansas City quietly holds. The more I learned the more excited I became and the more I wanted to share it with others. I’m a storyteller at heart. I believe our history is best shared through stories, but if we don’t keep our stories alive, our history dies with us.
When I learned about the Voicemap App and the audio tours it hosts, I knew there must be a KC Rainbow Tour for our community to experience. Over the course of a year, I created and produced the KC Rainbow Tour which officially launched in June 2023.
Since then hundreds of people have downloaded the tour. I receive so many beautiful comments about how people have visited parts of town they’ve never been to and learned stories they knew nothing about prior to taking the tour.
Joel Barrett, known professionally as Joel Speaks Out, stands as an LGBTQ Author, Speaker, and Gatherer. Recognized for his authentic storytelling as a former Baptist pastor and survivor of conversion therapy, Joel possesses a unique gift for uniting people while inspiring authenticity and transparency.
As the mastermind behind the KC Rainbow Tour, a self-guided driving tour of Kansas City’s rich LGBTQ history, Joel ensures stories and voices from the past and present continue to breathe life into our narrative.
Beyond his compelling role as a Keynote Speaker, coach, and sought-after guest expert, Joel’s impactful journey has graced platforms like StoryCorps, Risk!, The Daily Mail, and many popular podcasts and broadcasts.
An accomplished author, Joel penned several works, including the 2021 memoir “Godly, But Gay.” The local premiere of his debut short play, “Pink Baby. Blue Blanket.,” unfolded within the tapestry of “Alphabet Soup: Stories from Queer Voices.”
Since making Kansas City home in 2016 with his husband David, Joel actively champions the LGBTQ Community, serving as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce.