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How did NetworQ get started?

Residents start social group for gays
Lawrence Journal World Newspaper
By Dave Ranney

March 10, 2004

Lawrence gays and lesbians are starting to organize.

“We’re trying to provide social opportunities outside the bar scene,” said Bruce Ney, vice president of NetworQ, an informal group of about 50 homosexual men and women who live in Lawrence.

“And we want to give the older gay and lesbian communities — those who are not (Kansas University) students — a voice in what’s going on around them,” said Ney, 39.

“If you’re a student, there are organizations you can belong to,” he said. “But if you’re not a student, you tend to hang out with your own little group that tends not to interact with other little groups. There isn’t a string that ties them all together. We’d like to be that string.”

KU students will be welcome in NetworQ, Ney said.

“It’s not our intent to be exclusive,” he said.

Ney said gays and lesbians in Lawrence felt especially voiceless after the Dec. 6, 2002, beating of Jeffrey Medis, an openly gay man, outside the Replay Lounge, 946 Mass.

“What happened to Jeff Medis is one of the driving forces behind NetworQ,” Ney said. “A lot of us wanted to reach out and to speak out, but there wasn’t an organization, as such, to make that happen.”

They’re also hoping to make themselves heard in the Legislature’s ongoing debate on gay marriage.

NetworQ has been meeting monthly at members’ homes for the past six months.

The next meeting is April 1st. “We’re looking for a permanent place to get together,” Ney says “The meetings begin with a 7 p.m. discussion of new and old business.
A social hour starts at 8 p.m.
Currently, NetworQ is working on an informational Web site.

Brad Knauss, left, and Bruce Ney are involved in bringing together Lawrence's gay and lesbian community.

Brad Knauss, left, and Bruce Ney are involved in bringing
together Lawrence’s gay and lesbian community.

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