Hearne: Worlds of Fun Declares ‘Red Shirt’ Synonym for ‘Gay’

What a difference a regime change makes…

This week’s front-page cover ad on KC Exposures Weekly Magazine – the local bible of gay entertainment, news and views – proudly proclaims, Gay Day at Worlds of Fun.

The deal goes down this Saturday, June 19 and is “presented by The Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Greater Kansas City & the Mid-America Freedom Band.

No biggie, a good time will doubtless be had by all – gay/straight, old/young.

Wasn’t always that way…

When WOF was still owned by deceased former Big Chief Lamar Hunt, Gay Day went for a dirt nap following an apparent outcry by unhappy Rush Limbaugh school of thought campers.

Return with me now to those born again days of 1998 and a column I wrote in the Kansas City Star:

Well, then, how about, ‘We’re Just Happy Day’?

It’s official. This year’s “Gay Day” at Worlds of Fun is, once again, unofficial.

“They still won’t let them call it ‘Gay Day,’ ” says David O’Neal, a past organizer of the June 7 event and editor of Current News, a local gay publication. “This year they let them call it ‘Red Shirt Day.’ I guess that means you’re supposed to wear a red shirt that day if you’re gay.”

No discrimination intended, says Worlds of Fun spokeswoman Leslie Slaughter.

” We just don’t want our park to be a public forum to promote special interests of any type,” she says. “But we welcome all people, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or sexual orientation.”

Still O’Neal doesn’t see what harm could come from using the “G” word. “It’s certainly not hurting them,” he says. “Worlds of Fun doesn’t mind taking our money – they want our money – but they won’t let us say who we are and what we stand for. … If they won’t allow us to call it ‘Gay Day at Worlds of Fun,’ then why should we have it there at all? It’s just shoving us back in the closet.”

This year’s organizer, David Stanturf of A Door to Travel, was out of town and could not be reached.

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3 Responses to Hearne: Worlds of Fun Declares ‘Red Shirt’ Synonym for ‘Gay’

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody really care what they call it?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gives a whole new meaning to redshirt freshman.

  3. Billy says:

    Take it somewhere else
    Kansas City has many waterpark options now. If WoF is ashamed of its patrons, let us go somewhere else. Great Wolf of Schlitterbahns could use the business.

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