Summit addresses state of local LGBT community

More than 200 people met Thursday night for the second annual Lawrence LGBT Summit at Maceli’s, 1031 New Hampshire St., to continue the group’s community participation and to stay informed.

The LGBTQ community of Lawrence organized last year to win a victory with the inclusion of gender identity as a protected class in the city’s nondiscrimination policy. At the summit, they hoped to build off that organization.

Attendees had the opportunity to speak with area politicians including Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm, Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman and others.

They also listened to speakers discuss issues such as education, politics, faith and family.

“In the election we are going into, it’s important to know where people stand,” said Ailee Cassel, a Kansas University junior in attendance.

While the summit may have been meant as educational, politics worked as an undercurrent throughout most of the night’s discussions. Nowhere was this more evident than the discussions of the Lawrence nondiscrimination ordinance.

Schumm said to the crowd he is worried that the state Legislature will attempt to overturn the policy in the coming legislative session.

“I will do everything in my power to fight that,” he said to loud applause. “I will not stand for anyone to discriminate against another human being. It’s not right.”