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LGBT

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.

Michael Sam Just Wants To Play Football

May 13, 2014
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.

scene from the play of oddly costumed actors
Provided by Metro Theatre

Can girls have short hair that isn’t a hairstyle? Can boys try on tutus? In ways both overt and subtle, society often says they can’t, or at least, they shouldn’t.

Wesley Middleton
Provided by Metro Theatre

As Metro Theater’s “Unsorted” debuts for public audiences this weekend, the playwright reflects on the personal difficulties that contributed to her exploration of gender.

When Wesley Middleton was growing up in Macon, Ga., she was shocked to learn that boys and girls had to play by different rules. She chafed under the pink-or-blue scenario.

“I always felt more like a person than a girl,” Middleton told St. Louis Public Radio.

Provided by the couple

While same-sex couples in Missouri ponder the uncertain impact of marrying in Illinois, one St. Louis pair plans to say "I do" across the river as another heads in the opposite direction.

As 29-year-old Kelsi Davis of south St. Louis plans to wed her partner Saturday in Illinois, her favorite romantic movie since the age of 4 is etched in her mind — and on her body: she has a “Princess Bride” tattoo on her hip which includes the film's signature line, "As You Wish."

Sterling Waldman
Provided by Sterling Waldman

For many people, selecting “male” or “female” on their Facebook profile is an easy choice. But for those who identify differently, Facebook now provides 56 gender selections.

Last week, Sterling Waldman of Chesterfield turned 17 and received a perfect birthday present: the option to identify as “genderqueer” on Facebook.

On Friday, Facebook expanded its drop-down menu to offer a “custom” selection of genders that provides more than four dozen options, a cause for celebration for many who identify in a nontraditional way.

“It was very exciting to have that happen,” Waldman told St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

Fifty-six Choices Not Enough?

Born and raised female, Waldman always felt different from friends and schoolmates.

“I didn’t really fit in with the girls and I didn’t fit in with the boys,” Waldman said. “I wanted to be both.”

For years, Waldman struggled with the feelings but lacked the language to describe them.

“I didn’t have the words, but I learned the terminology at the end of my freshman year,” Waldman remembered.

Waldman, who prefers the pronouns “them” and “they” to “him, his, her or hers,” has parental support and a community of like-minded people, outside of school and within Parkway Central High.

“In my grade, there are two others who identify as gender-non-binary,” Waldman said.

Facebook's menu also includes "transgender," "trans," "androgynous" and "cisgender," which is another way of saying you identify as the gender you were assigned at birth.

But are 56 choices enough? When it comes to politics and religion, Facebook users don’t have to pick from a list. They can write in their beliefs using words of their choosing. The profile form looks as though you could write in what you want, but it only accepts one of the 56 terms.

Despite the glee over being able to identify as “genderqueer” on Facebook, Waldman knows that not everyone will find the right term to describe such a personal and integral part of themselves.

"I have some friends whose identities are not on that list," Waldman said.

Our preview of the exhibits opening Friday at CAM includes video of artist Joyce Pensato doing what she loves most: playing with paint, and a look at the work of  Nicole Eisenman.

The title “I Killed Kenny” smacks of death in its reference to the recurring demise of the "South Park" icon. But the exhibit's more about Brooklyn artist Joyce Pensato bringing new life to animated characters ranging from Homer Simpson to Mickey Mouse.

WikiCommons

Same-sex marriage in Illinois was the cherry on top of the cake of advancements for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the St. Louis area in 2013. But for those who oppose the marriage of two men or two women, it was more of a cherry bomb.

Attorneys Ask For Quick Ruling In Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Jul 10, 2013
via Flickr/BluEyedA73

Twenty five same-sex couples want to see a quick verdict in their lawsuits regarding the Illinois gay marriage ban.

Attorneys representing the couples suing over the ban asked a judge Wednesday to rule through summary judgment. 

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a motion Wednesday for a judge to rule quickly in the couples’ favor.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

Gay rights activists view the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage as a victory.

In two 5-4 decisions, the Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and effectively put to rest California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage by ruling that its supporters did not have standing to challenge a lower court’s ruling that the measure was unconstitutional.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

In the rotunda of St. Louis’ City Hall, family and friends erupted in applause during a mass commitment ceremony for same sex couples on Saturday afternoon.

Andrew Shaughnessy is with the LGBT rights advocacy group PROMO and said despite the fact gay marriage isn’t legal in Missouri, that didn’t dampen the mood.

“People are feeling comfortable, they want to live their lives the way they are,” Shaughnessy said. 

The ceremony was part of a weekend loaded with gay pride events in St. Louis that were part of PrideFest  and an alternative event at Tower Grove Park.  

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Novak’s lesbian bar opened in 1996, same-sex sex was illegal, marriage equality was unheard of and I was a suburban stay-at-home mom, married to a man.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Although chances of passage this legislative session remain slim, bills to extend Missouri’s anti-discrimination protections to gays are still attracting a lot of attention in Jefferson City -- because of the number and prominence of their backers.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster this week became the latest of three statewide Democratic officials – including Secretary of State Jason Kander and state Treasurer Clint Zweifel – who are featured in new videos promoting two companion bills (SB96 and HB615) that seek to prevent discrimination in housing, jobs and public accommodations on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

The executive director of the LGBT Center of St. Louis stepped down Monday. Leon Braxton Jr. turned in his resignation after the Board of Directors confronted him about personal uses of the organization's money.

Colin Lovett, the president of the board, declined to specify what the money was used for.

"It wasn't a ton," Lovett, the President of the Board said. "It was less than $5,000. They were personal in nature. And so it's somewhat of a personal in nature, that's all the detail we're able to go into at the moment."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay heads into the final lap of his historic bid for a fourth four-year term, expect to hear a lot more about “sustainability,” his top campaign issue for the general election

But “sustainability’’ – in a different sense – is also an apt word to describe the questions at City Hall, as the mayor, his allies and his political opponents recalibrate their relationships in the wake of his Democratic primary victory last week over Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.

Will Copeland, at left, with his brothers at age 3 and, at right, age 4.
Provided by the Copeland family

The last time transgender teen William Copeland wore a dress was to his aunt’s commitment ceremony. The 5-year-old caved to parental pressure but on his terms: no bow in the back and only for the vows, not the reception.

“Big mistake! Huge mistake!,” his mother Laurie Copeland winces. “Why did he need to wear a dress to a lesbian wedding? They wouldn’t have cared if he’d worn a tux.”

Despite any early missteps, if you could special-order a family for a transgender child, it would be the Copelands of Creve Coeur.

Dieta Pepsi, aka Leon Braxton, leads a conga line up North Grand Boulevard.
2013 File Photo | St. Louis Beacon

If you’re thirsty for a tall serving of sassy drag queen, Dieta Pepsi hits the spot.

For nearly three decades, Dieta’s performed all over St. Louis, raising many thousands of dollars for local causes. Whether Dieta — aka Leon Braxton — is calling out bingo numbers or trivia questions, her unmistakable deep laugh and glamorously attired six-foot-three presence are ubiquitous in the St. Louis LGBT scene.

Kelly Hamilton
2013 File Photo | St. Louis Beacon

When Kelly Hamilton was 5, he stole his little brother’s tighty whities. He hid his bathing suit top, swearing it was lost when it was really stuffed in a drawer.

Once, in their shared bed, he was surprised to hear his older sister say, “You know the doctors can turn you into a boy now.”

Hamilton, a transgender man, doesn’t ever remember telling his sister he wanted to be a boy. Sometimes family just knows. But in 1980s Dallas, Texas, parents weren’t exactly embracing gender variance.

Lindsay Toler
2013 File Photo | St. Louis Beacon

Twenty-six-year-old Lindsay Toler of Tower Grove calls herself queer.

The Mizzou alum and journalist embraces this label even though she’s in a long-term, monogamous relationship with a man, and presents as the proverbial “girl next door.”

“I was a debutante growing up, I was in a sorority in college; I’m really blonde, really white — I’ve got a lot of privilege,” Toler says. “But you don’t have to be ‘other’ to be queer — everybody gets to be queer.”

Wait, what?

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

The gay and lesbian community is pushing to be included in a state law to protect against discrimination. The nonpartisan political action committee Missourians for Equality is kicking off its statewide petition drive in several areas across

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