LGBT

Monica Rea, left, and Pam Grakanoff lean back from a kiss after exchanging rings Saturday, June 27, 2015 at St. Louis City Hall.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:22 Sunday, June 28 with confirmed number of participants.

The St. Louis City Hall Rotunda echoed with laughter and cheers Saturday as same-sex couples were legally married. The ceremony took place just one day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Monica Rea and Pam Graklanoff were one of twelve couples who exchanged wedding vows.

Many children were in the crowd at City Hall Friday night.
Cindy Betz

A joyous throng filled the rotunda of St. Louis’s City Hall Friday night — on the eve of PrideFest — to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

The court ruled Friday that all 50 states must allow these unions. They must also recognize such marriages performed in other states and countries.

Kelly Hamilton, left, and William Copeland
Alex Heuer

What do transgender people have in common with each other? Often, the answer is, not all that much.

On Thursday, two days before PrideFest weekend, “St. Louis on the Air” listeners heard from two local transgender men who have very different stories to tell. The term “transgender man” refers to someone who was labeled female at birth but identifies as male.

St. Louis' LGBT Center had been in negotiations to buy this building, the Grand Oak Hill Community Center, but an anonymous donor backed out of the deal.
Nancy Fowler

St. Louis will not be getting the LGBT Center building its board promised a year ago.

The Center moved out of its building in the Grove area in April 2014 and established an online-only presence. Last June board president Dara Strickland said they were looking to buy a building, thanks to an anonymous donor. That move was to take place in early 2015.

SAGE coordinator Eugene Potchen-Webb (left), volunteer Clarissa Jackson (center) and executive director Sherrill Wayland (right) stand outside SAGE's current offices at 4168 Juniata St. in Tower Grove.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Sherrill Wayland started SAGE eight years ago, in a one-bedroom apartment at the Tower Grove Manor.

Now, the group that helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults find housing, healthcare and other services will start to expand their reach, by coming under the wing of the state’s largest advocacy group for the LGBT community, PROMO Fund.  

Beth Finder and Zakary Finder, now 20, at recent St. Charles County Pride planning event
Beth Finder

When Zakary Finder of Lake St. Louis was in middle school, other students taunted him for three whole years for being "different."

“They would say, like, ‘Hey, faggot,’ ‘What’s up, homo?’” he said. “Or, ‘Get out of here, homo, nobody wants you.’”

Missouri Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Mike Colona is getting his wish. Two months ago, the Democratic representative from St. Louis attended a Senate committee hearing on Senate Bill 237. The bill bars discrimination in Missouri based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But after the hearing, Colona was upset because he hadn’t seen similar action from the House.

Human Rights Campaign / HRC logo

Missouri has a long way to go to achieve equality for LGBT residents, according to a national advocacy organization.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a report today showing Missouri is among 29 states lacking basic equality standards. The organization gives Missouri particularly low marks in two areas:

Steph James
Jess Dugan

Until her late 50s, Steph James of Maryland Heights lived a life that, from all appearances, looked like the American dream.

Jess Dugan, left, and Vanessa Fabbre
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

When the TV show “Transparent” won two Golden Globe Awards a week ago Sunday, many transgender people felt validated, and a little less invisible.

Andre Wilson, an inclusive health advocate and transgender man, will speak at Washington University in St. Louis on Nov. 13 and 14.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

Andre Wilson lived as a woman for the first 43 years of his life. It was excruciating, he said.

“I lived a life of depression, suicidality. I couldn’t even explain to myself, let alone others, what the barriers were,” Wilson said. “One lives a life of never having access to the core self.”

When Wilson began hormone therapy to transition into becoming a man, everything changed.

Lilly Leyh, left, and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license in November 2014 at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

After Wednesday's ruling that Missouri's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, offices in St. Louis and St. Louis County have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

But so far, other counties in Missouri have expressed reluctance at issuing their own.

The Recorders' Association of Missouri, an organization that all recorders of deeds are part of, has advised recorders outside of the city of St. Louis not to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

A group of women hug at the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds office after a judge struck down Missouri's ban on same sex marriage.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A judge in St. Louis has ruled Wednesday that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Almost immediately, several same-sex couples made their way to City Hall to get their marriage licenses.

"The court recognizes that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and liberty deeply rooted in the history of the United States," St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in his ruling Wednesday. He heard arguments in the case on Sept. 29.

Ron Reed was an exuberant Strawberry Shortcake this weekend in the Central West End.
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

At the annual Halloween costume contest in St. Louis’ Central West End, all the Halloween staples are present. There are superheroes, vampires and men in dresses.

One man wearing a little red dress for the night’s festivities was Ron Reed. He dressed as Strawberry Shortcake -- high heels, green and white striped thigh high hose and a wig are all included in the ensemble.

Reed says he likes the attention he gets in the outfit.

Used with permission of Clementines

In 1978, the closet was the only safe place for most gay people in St. Louis. But after Clementines bar opened at 2001 Menard St., local gays found another, less lonely haven.

This week, Clementines announced that it’s closing.

When it opened, there was no such acronym as LGBT. In polite company, gays were referred to as homosexuals, and called much worse in private conversations and during all-too-common street harassment and violence. Sex between two men or two women was illegal in Missouri and many other states.

A box full of LGBT periodicals. These items have been collected as part of the St. Louis LGBT history project.
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly 40 years ago, Brian Hyland’s song "Gypsy Woman" played on a Jukebox and former St. Louis resident Lee Maynard found his name for performing in drag: Gypsy Lee. It was the first song that came on and someone said that was a great name. Maynard agreed.

When Maynard performed as Gypsy Lee around St. Louis in the 1970s, his standby song was Cher’s "Half-Breed." It’s a song that matched his elaborate costume.

Commentary: 9/11, Ferguson And 'The Normal Heart'

Sep 15, 2014
The exterior shell of the World Trade Center south tower
FEMA | Wikipedia

Some moments in life never lose their power. There are two moments, two short hours, that I will always, ALWAYS, remember. And both came together on the  evening of Sept. 11, 2014.

One memory remains as clear as it can be: the hour watching live TV in my kitchen here in St. Louis as two planes flew into the World Trade Center in the where city I was born and raised in. It was Sept. 11, 2001.

Board president Dara Strickland
LGBT Center

Organizers of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center of St. Louis plan to open their doors in a new spot by by Jan. 1.

They're looking to buy their own building. The wish list includes a space four times the size of the approximately 2,000 square-foot location they were renting at 4337 Manchester Ave. in The Grove.

From the movie site

St. Louis’ June 28-29 PrideFest may be weeks away, but more LGBT events and performances are coming up in the next few days.

Beginning Thursday night, Stray Dog Theatre presents “Love! Valour! Compassion!" to be staged every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through June 28 at South City's Tower Grove Abbey.

Jess Jiang / St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Sam, the only openly gay professional football player, was introduced at a news conference at Rams Park Tuesday. 

Sam received unprecedented attention for a 249th pick in the NFL draft. He answered questions for nearly half an hour during the news conference. That's much longer than what even No. 2 draft pick, fellow St. Louis rookie, Greg Robinson, had to endure.

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