LGBTQ History | St. Louis Public Radio

LGBTQ History

Curatorial assistant Ian Darnell carefully removes a trans pride flag from storage. February 21, 2020.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri History Museum’s collection dedicated to St. Louis’ LGBTQ history will debut this summer. Curators hope the first exhibit will encourage people to revisit their own memories and share oral histories, mementos and photographs to contribute to the project.

The museum has been gathering pieces of LGBTQ history for the collecting initiative since 2014, when it partnered with the St. Louis LGBT History Project. In a six-month atrium show scheduled to start in June, the museum will highlight pieces from that Gateway to Pride collection for the first time. 

Corey Hyman at House Democrats press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Democrats in the Missouri House are ramping up their efforts to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, known as MONA, was filed weeks ago but has yet to have a public hearing.

The current Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex and disability in employment, housing and “public accommodation,” which refers to access and service at businesses and facilities. MONA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to that list. 

People carrying a Trinity Episcopal Church banner at the St. Louis Pride Parade in 1991.
Trinity Episcopal Church

Trinity Episcopal Church is receiving national recognition for its contributions to LGBTQ history in St. Louis. 

The Central West End church became the first and only site in Missouri and the Episcopal Church to be named on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the LGBTQ community.

The church became an early supporter of gay rights and LGBTQ parishoners in the 1960s and people living with AIDS in the 1980s. Trinity was ahead of the game, said the Rev. Jon Stratton, the rector at the church.

A KMOV Channel 4 reporter records a news story from the 1984 Pride parade, where marchers carried pink balloons. It wasn't until the 1990s that the rainbow flag became a common symbol in St. Louis and nationwide.
Provided | Scott Lokitz

When Scott Lokitz was a gay teenager, his mother and grandmother took him to march with dozens of other gay and lesbian St. Louisans down Lindell Boulevard in the city’s first Pride parade.

Marching in a Pride parade was a bold move in 1980, a time when state and national laws forbade consensual same-sex relationships. But Lokitz felt right at home at St. Louis’ first Pride celebration, four decades ago. His mother had come out as lesbian and his grandmother was a member of PFLAG, an organization for those with a gay or lesbian family member.

From left, Steven Louis Brawley, Miranda Rectenwald and Paul Thiel joined Friday's talk show.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

In the wee hours of a Saturday morning in the summer of 1969, nine New York City police officers entered Greenwich Village’s small Stonewall Inn. Police raids of gay bars were a frequent occurrence at the time, but this particular instance was different.

This time, people around the Stonewall fought back, and the ensuing several days of confrontation between police and activists greatly accelerated the growth of the gay rights movement.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin led a discussion reflecting on the Stonewall uprising of 50 years ago and what was happening among the local LGBTQ community at that time. Joining the conversation were Steven Louis Brawley, Paul Thiel and Miranda Rectenwald.