LGBT

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

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

The Advocate has listed St. Louis as its number 15 pick on its list of the "Gayest Cities in America" for 2013.

Ranking criteria included points for the number of LGBT elected officials, roller derby teams and "fabulous shopping," among others.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

It was another year of incremental progress for the LGBT community in St. Louis.

This Week's Politically Speaking Podcast

Nov 29, 2012

St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon's Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about a few political issues.

 

On this week's episode: Nixon taking a stance on Medicaid expansion, Missouri Republican plans to cut taxes and St. Louis County's LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Michelle Smith is transgender.

She came out early Tuesday night and was the first of 92 people who signed up to give public testimony. 

She had a steadfast delivery for the first part of her comments in favor of the ordinance.  Then Smith started thinking about her friends and her voice got a little shaky.

“I know a lot of transgender people who are scared every time they go to their job, I have a transgender friend who was fired,” Smith said.    

(via Missouri Foundation for Health)

A recently released report shows there is a disparity in health care among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Missourians.  The study by the Missouri Foundation for Health shows LGBT individuals have less access to health care and tend to be less healthy than the general population.

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