Gender Identity | St. Louis Public Radio

Gender Identity

The census will only ask if respondents are 'male' or 'female.' That leaves out a growing number of people who identify outside of that gender binary.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

Local organizations and governments have worked to avoid an undercount in their communities in the months leading up to the 2020 census. The U.S. Census Bureau started collecting responses to this year's headcount en masse, sending individual letters requesting a response to the headcount homes across on March 12. The survey, which happens once every decade in the U.S., collects the most comprehensive data about the demographic makeup of the country. 

One small but vulnerable population in the U.S. won’t be counted in the survey this time around, however. That’s because of how the question that asks about people’s sex appears on the form. The 2020 headcount only asks if people are “male” or “female.”

Comedian Rhea Butcher will perform at the Ready Room this Sunday evening.
Rhea Butcher

L.A.-based comedian and podcaster Rhea Butcher is well aware that there are some bad things going on in today’s world. But the focus of Butcher’s current “Good Things Comedy Tour” lies elsewhere: with the good stuff.

“To only look at the bad would be to give in to the bad, I feel like, in these times,” the Midwest native told St. Louis Public Radio’s Kae Petrin in a conversation that aired during Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And so to have a good time, or to spend time in goodness and having fun and being kind and being joyous and happy, is not to ignore the bad things. It’s actually a form of self-care and growth and invigoration to take care of each other, I’ve found.”

That’s the kind of vibe that eventgoers of all ages can expect at the Ready Room this Sunday. Butcher will perform at the venue in St. Louis’ Grove neighborhood at 8 p.m. that evening.

Shelley Richmond, a transgender woman, and her wife live in the same house in this Cahokia neighborhood where Richmond grew up.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Eighty-year-old Wisper Lowe, a transgender woman from Belleville, grew up during World War II, a period that demanded patriotism and strict gender roles.

Lowe was assigned male gender at birth. When she was 5, her mother caught her putting on lipstick.

“And her response was to smear the lipstick all over my mouth and then push me onto the front porch where all the neighborhood kids were playing in the street — and lock the door,” Lowe said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 18, 2013 - 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.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 14, 2013 - 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.”

Commentary: When pink toenails raise alarms

Apr 19, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 19, 2011 -By now, you might have heard about the hoopla surrounding a young boy with pink toenails. Perhaps you missed it, but the creative director of J.Crew was photographed playing with her son. It was an adorable, loving moment captured by the lens, but much of the focus has been on the fact that his toenails were painted...... PINK! Jon Stewart offers a comedic summary of the brouhaha.