PROMO | St. Louis Public Radio


St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar speaks with a St. Louis Public Radio reporter at his office in downtown Clayton on Tuesday. Nov. 5, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Sgt. Keith Wildhaber’s nearly $20 million jury verdict hit St. Louis County government like a lightning bolt. 

The huge award sparked internal and external scrutiny of one of Missouri’s largest law enforcement agencies about how it treats LGBTQ employees. It’s also prompted a debate about whether Missouri should pass more explicit laws to protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

PROMO representatives Steph Perkins (left)  and Katie Stuckenschneider (right)  talk about visability of transgender and non-binary people in the media.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

According to a study by the Williams Institute, more than 1.4 million people in the United States now identify as non-binary and are gender fluid. But quite often, transgender people are misidentified in news stories and police reports.

Mazy Gilleylen (standing in front), a transgender girl from Overland, cemmemorates lives lost with her brother Seth and parents Amber and Donte Gilleylen, on the 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Transgender Memorial Garden.
File photo | Provided | Yuting Jiang

So far this year, at least 25 transgender people have been murdered across the country, two in Missouri, one  of which was in St. Louis.

On Monday, supporters in the St. Louis area will pay tribute to those victims as part of a national effort, the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The annual event is held every Nov. 20.

Missouri's LGBTQ advocacy group names new executive director

Feb 24, 2016
Steph Perkins
Provided by PROMO

PROMO, Missouri's statewide advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, has named Steph Perkins, 31, as its new Executive Director.  

Perkins has been with the organization for seven years. The new Executive Director said he intends to pay attention to issues like discriminatory legislation and health care as well as day-to-day inequalities. 

Outgoing PROMO executive director A.J. Bockelman
Provided by PROMO

The executive director of Missouri’s statewide organization for LGBT equality is leaving his post at the end of October. But it's possible he might later continue his work in a different arena: Jefferson City.

A.J. Bockleman has been executive director of PROMO since 2007. He announced today he’s stepping down after eight years of what often felt like an uphill, non-stop fight for LGBT rights.

Advocacy group for LGBT seniors merges with PROMO

Jun 4, 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.  

The FBI is investigating possible hate crimes in St. Louis after a woman was assaulted last week by three teens near Bevo Mill allegedly because she is Bosnian.

Kurt Nordstrom via Flickr

The average cost of a wedding in Missouri is $22,343. Same-sex marriage is, at least for now, legal in Missouri. So what does that mean, economically?

Last week, a federal judge in Kansas City and a circuit court judge in St. Louis struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Kurt Nordstrom via Flickr

It’s hardly June, but wedding vendors in Missouri are hearing from lots of couples.

Last week both a circuit court judge in St. Louis and federal judge in Kansas City found Missouri’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. As a result the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Pat Rutherford-Pettine, owner of the The Sugaree Baking Co., said she’s done wedding cakes and pies for civil unions for many years. She’s baking her first official wedding cake for a same sex couple in Missouri this week.

Lilly Leyh and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license on Nov. 5, 2014, at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, a federal judge in Kansas City followed a St. Louis judge and struck down Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“As it stands right now, marriage between same-sex couples is legal in Missouri,” A.J. Bockelman, executive director of Promo, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. Promo is a statewide organization that advocates for equality. “We have licenses being issued in St. Louis, St. Louis County and Kansas City.”

File photo

With income tax filings already underway, opponents of same-sex marriage have gone to court to block Missouri same-sex couples from filing joint tax returns as allowed under Gov. Jay Nixon’s executive order.

The opponents, who include former St. Charles County Executive Joe Ortwerth, filed Wednesday in Cole County Circuit Court to obtain a temporary restraining order to block the state from allowing the joint tax filings until the lawsuit is resolved.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has issued an executive order directing the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) to accept jointly filed state income tax returns from same-sex married couples living in the Show-Me State.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 5, 2013 - Gay and lesbian couples in Illinois are celebrating after the General Assembly gave final approval Tuesday to same-sex marriage. But next door in Missouri, a constitutional amendment banning such marriages remains firmly in place.

When O'Fallon, Ill., resident Colin Murphy first got the news that state lawmakers had approved same-sex marriage, he texted his husband: “We’re legally married.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 23, 2013 - PROMO, the St. Louis-based statewide gay rights organization, says it is joining with the regional ACLU to develop a strategy for moving forward in Missouri, despite the state’s constitutional ban against gay marriage.

PROMO executive director A.J. Bockelman has announced that, beginning in September, the two groups are “setting up a series of town hall meetings to share information, give an overview of what federal benefits currently apply to legally married couples, gather stories, and develop strategies for next steps toward marriage in Missouri.”

(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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 4, 2012 - A push is underway to convince the St. Louis County Council and municipalities in the region to pass laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

At a news conference Friday morning at Olivette City Hall, Democratic state representatives, municipal leaders, civil rights advocates and union officials called for ordinances aimed at protecting gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual residents from housing, employment or public accommodation discrimination.

Supporters want more local laws to protect LGBT

May 4, 2012
(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

Supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community Friday called on St. Louis County and individual municipalities to enact anti-discrimination laws.

Five area cities, including the city of St. Louis, have updated their discrimination ordinances to include protections for the LGBT community. Andrew Shaughnessy, with the LGBT advocacy group PROMO, says there are several others considering doing the same thing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 9, 2010 -  State Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal says she feels more under fire now than she felt a month ago during her stint in Iraq.

The legislator has ended this week with a new elective post and potentially a new political enemy.

Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, was sworn in Thursday as a new member of the University City School Board, after winning the post in Tuesday's election. She says she sought the job in an effort to improve the troubled district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 30, 2009 - The focus was on the pluses, not the minuses, as dozens of gay-rights activists from around the country celebrated their political achievements while seated Thursday morning in a giant circle spanning a Clayton ballroom.

But the stories of their new-found success weren't about national headline-grabbing news, such as the fact that six states -- most recently Iowa -- have legalized same-sex marriage.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 27, 2009 - Somewhat encouraged, a bit disappointed and definitely not complacent.

That, in essence, is the mood that local gay-rights leaders are expecting next week when more than 100 activists from around the country gather in Clayton for the summer meeting of the Equality Federation.