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August 2012



A Network of Diversity

St. Louis Black Pride Your 2012 Guide

1 Out of 10 Queer & kindred

Complimentary Copy

August, 2012

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August, 2012

DearFriends, Welcome to The FAMILY Issue. I want to take this time to remind our Missouri readers to vote in the August 7 state primary election. Exercising your right to vote is the single most important responsibility of citizenship and to sit it out – whether through apathy or frustration or intentional disengagement only denies your voice and the ground to complain about the outcome. We have an historic opportunity here in Missouri to maintain our LGBT Caucus in Jefferson City at four seats. While we’re losing the recently out Rep. Zach Wyatt (R-03-Kirksville), who is not running for reelection – we can re-elect Mike Colona (D-St. Louis), now running in the new 80th district; send Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D-57-St. Louis) on to the State Senate in the Missouri 3rd and pull the lever for Kansas City’s Sarah Gillooly in the 24th legislative district. Let’s make sure our FAMILY is represented in Jefferson City and send these three out and outstanding individuals on to join Sen. Jolie Justus (D-10-Kansas City) – who reminds us, “If we don’t have a seat at the table, we’re on the menu.” Inside this issue is an array of features celebrating the LGBT family. From photo essays and family planning to New City School and our family of choice – we’re all about the kindred and queer. Stay cool – and enjoy the seasonal burn of our St. Louis summer. In Pride,

Colin Murphy, Executive Editor | 5




Volume 13, Issue 8

On the COVER: Robin Schubert and Staci Stift pose with their son Kenny Heisinger-Stift and Kenny’s biological father Keith Heisinger. Photography by Alex Galindo

The Vital VOICE Team

Darin Slyman Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Colin Murphy Executive Editor/Senior Writer



Matt Jamieson Writer Jeff Kapfer Art Director


Leon Braxton/Dieta Pepsi Executive Assistant /On Air Hostess Jimmy Lesch Director of PR/Communications Janae Johnson Business Assistant


Photography: Alex Galindo, Darin Slyman, Colin Murphy, Zach Walls and New City School Writing: A.J. Bockelman, Alex Galindo, Colin Murphy and Matt Jamieson

Advisory Board

William A. Donius, Thom Halter, Colin Murphy, Jay Perez, Pam Schneider, Kellie Trivers, Sharon Tucci.


Vital VOICE Magazine. 4579 Laclede Ave #268. Saint Louis, MO 63108 314.256.1196


Online 6 |

August, 2012



8. 11. Queer & Kindred. 14. Zach Wahls. 16. Strength in Numbers 18. Political Voice. 20. Family Planning 101. 25. 5 ?’s with Bubbles. 26. The LGBT Family. 39. St. Louis Black Pride 2012. 40. New City School. 43. Cocktail of the Month. 44. Dr. Bruce. 46. Playdates. 48. Scene & Styling. Vital VOICE is printed on recycled newspaper and uses soy ink for a 100% recyclable product.

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Stacey Newman: In the Fight

Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis County) was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2009, serving the 73rd District, representing Clayton, Richmond Heights and parts of Ladue. Newman has made great strides as the leader of the House Progressive Caucus and is a great ally for the LGBT community in the Missouri House. Vital VOICE recently caught up with Rep. Newman to talk about the race, her record in the House and her unwavering support for the LGBT communities of Missouri.

Mike Colona: Experience Matters

First elected in 2008, Missouri House Minority Whip Mike Colona (D-67-St. Louis) finds himself in a heated primary fight with self funded businessman Rio Vitale in the city’s new 80th District. Colona is one of four openly gay members of the Missouri General Assembly which includes term limited state senate candidate Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D-57-St. Louis), Sen. Jolie Justus (D-10-Kansas City) - and newly out Rep. Zach Wyatt (R-03-Kirksville), not seeking reelection. Vital VOICE recently chatted with Colona on the race, his record and the future of LGBT legislation in Missouri.

Oh Yes She Did!

Actor and human rights advocate Brad Pitt’s mother penned an anti-gay editorial that appeared in the Springfield News-Leader on Tuesday, July 3. Vital VOICE was the first news outlet to break the news on Thursday morning – confirming – then re confirming from News-Leader reporters that Pitt’s mother authored the letter, published under “Reader’s Letters.” Jane Pitt wrote in response to a previously published letter to the editor titled “Vote for Mormons Against Beliefs.”

Balloon Brigade Presents Donations to PAWS

The St. Louis Balloon Brigade announced, June 30 their donation of $1,320 to PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a program of St. Louis Effort for AIDS. The money was collected at St. Louis PrideFest and the recent Gateway Men’s Chorus Concert. PAWS stated that the donation will take care of roughly 10% of the pets they currently have on their roster. It takes on average $300 per pet annually to feed and manage their vet bills. PAWS relies 100% on donations to fund this vital service.

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August, 2012

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1 O ut of 10 Ain’t Bad! A LOOK INTO LGBT LIFE - PAST & PRESENT

Queer & Kindred

Written by Colin Murphy - Executive Editor Photography by Alex Galindo

I guess we’re pretty lucky. My husband Kurt and I have truly supportive families. Sure – there were some bumps along the road – but we’ve had little to complain about. My parents and sister have been our greatest champions and early on marched in the Pride Parade with me – Kurt’s siblings have joined in the revelry as well. We’re included in the extended family dynamic as partners in life. It’s just accepted. It’s a fact. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. That said, many LGBTers form chosen families. It’s something greater than a close circle of friends, an inextricable bond of community and common circumstance. We at Vital VOICE are a close knit bunch and I’ve seen the same in the various boards and community organizations I work with. The root of this, I suspect, is our otherness. For who truly “get us” other than those who’ve lived similar circumstances and faced common struggles? I decided to broach the topic on my Facebook feed and got some pretty powerful responses about our family of choice from our St. Louis brothers and sisters. “When we are rejected by our families for a variety of reasons, it’s essential to build community where there is acceptance,” says Robyn Berkley. “That family can be LGBT or that family can be straight allies. I find my church family to be absolutely amazing...acceptance without question, which is sadly more than I get with my family.” | 11

“I love my family of choice... they are there the most for me sometime,” adds Chad Johnson. “For me, chosen family is about understanding,” echoes Claire Louise Swinford. “My family loves me, but I often feel like everything references (by them or myself) to the expectations of the family. My chosen family is who really knows me, and makes no reference to how I fit into the “family structure”, nor do I make any concession to fit into that structure. Simply put, nobody has to be the black sheep in a chosen family of black sheep.” “Gateway Men’s Chorus is my second family,” L.T. Miskel shares. “The camaraderie and close connections of the organization make me feel at home. Of course, my first family accepts me and loves me unconditionally. My husband and my son are the most important things to me in life.” “My blood family was quite accepting, they truly lived by their word,” states Jason Wilson. “However, we were not a close knit clan—tend to spread across the country (survival method, we are never all in one place, where we can all be rounded up.) My “family” of close friends has been the central focus of much of my life. Together both these families have kept me sane.... (or a reasonably close approximation of it.)”

“We have families by choice and by necessity. Those families we choose to share our happiness and sadness, and those families necessary to rally with, to share victories and defeats in our battle against hate.” – Robyn Carolyn Montague.

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Indeed, our prismatic LGBT tribe is our family and peppered with clans of close knit brothers and sisters who’ve formed a familial bond to care for each other. Never was this clearer than during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s. Those of us of a certain age witnessed the beauty of our community coming together. Pockets of community members became caretakers overnight and across the region were comrades in action with lesbians stepping into the breach to help their fallen brothers. It was a terrible time, but one of our community’s finest moments. I’m overjoyed at the light speed in which acceptance of LGBT people seems to be traveling these days. And it’s great that more and more mainstream companies are courting us and offering same sex partner benefits and protections. Still – the struggle continues and we should always look out for one another. Now more than ever we need that support. Again – who truly “gets us” other than each other? We need to look after the least among us – support our local LGBT organizations and businesses and strengthen the greater communal good. I’ve seen our community do great things – and for all of our infighting and petty bickering, I still see a bond greater than most. It’s a chosen family. And it’s a beautiful thing. v | 13

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Zach Wahls: An Advocate of Hope Written by Denny Patterson Photography by Zach Walls Iowa resident Zach Wahls seems like your typical, average young man. Throughout his life Zach played sports, was active in Boy Scouts and participated in extracurricular activities like speech and debate. The only difference about Zach is the fact that he was raised by two moms. Little did he know that once he took the stand in front of the Iowa House of Representatives to defend his family, he would become a YouTube sensation and an advocate for the LGBT community. Zach took the stand on Jan 31, 2011 to address the Iowa House Judiciary Committee on behalf of his lesbian mothers. At the time, Iowa was in limbo of passing House Joint Resolution 6 – a referendum on a constitutional amendment recognizing only marriages between one man and one woman. “I didn’t know there was a video,” says Zach. “I did not find out there was a video until all of my friends were finding out the same thing at the same time. There were news cameras recording all the testimonies, but I didn’t see the flip camera. It was a trip to be at work one afternoon and see this video start to go viral. I had over 300 emails, a dozen missed calls, this was surreal. This was like catching lightning in a bottle, but I wasn’t holding the bottle. And for this video to go viral twice (first in February 2011, second in December 2011), it’s absolutely unbelievable.” Zach claims that there were a lot of factors in play when he decided to address the House.

“We were a few months into the string of high-profiled suicides and it was very much a time where a lot of our backs were up against a wall,” he explains. “It was a fragile time, and to me personally, when a committee of lawmakers is singling out families like mine, it’s intimidating and frightening. We were in the midst of an unspoken holocaust. Silence was no longer an option.” Zach was born to Terry Wahls on July 15, 1991 by donor insemination. His mother met Jackie Reger in 1995 and the two exchanged commitments in 1996, a time where marriage equality was unheard of. Zach has one younger sister, Zebby, who was also born by donor insemination. Coincidentally, by the same donor as Zach’s. “People always ask me what it was like growing up with two moms,” states Zach. “There was no moment where I realized I was different. It was a bit overwhelming at times, but it was like growing up with a mom and dad, just with very small differences.” Zach states that he was never ashamed of the fact that he has two moms, but ashamed of the fact that he was different. “It’s like if everyone else had gay parents, and I was the only one who had straight parents,” he offers. “There was never like this moment I wished I didn’t have lesbian moms, I just wish I fit in with everybody else. I was told by society that I was different and that was a bad thing. I never had a moment where I felt different, there’s

an important difference. The first time I realized when people thought that having two moms was a bad thing was when I was in fourth grade. I couldn’t meet the expectations of others and I understood the implications for the first time.”

House. Shortly afterwards, he was approached by different literary agents to write a book about his life growing up with lesbian parents. The outcome resulted in, My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family.

Zach has currently dropped out of school to focus on advocacy full time. Zach travels around the country to speak about his own experience growing up with lesbian parents, his challenges and victories, and the future of LGBT issues. An important topic he touches on is bullying.

“At first I thought they [literary agents] were crazy,” he concludes. “What do I have to say that’s worth while? As the video went viral and I received various stories, Facebook messages and letters, I realized there was a story and the time was right. I thought about it deeply with my family and decided to go ahead and write the thing. The book is part autobiography, part political commentary and values I was raised with. Hopefully in the near future, marriage equality will not be an issues and the LGBT community won’t need a spokesperson like me anymore.”

“In late elementary school, I was definitely made fun of for it; more verbally,” Zach admits. “Teachers can notice a black eye, it’s hard to notice emotional trauma. Life was difficult then, but in junior high it all went away; it was like a social rest button.” When Zach had to stop being friends with someone, it was more so due to his friend’s parents not liking the fact that he had gay parents. “My family definitely functions as a normal family filled with laughs, fights and dysfunction,” he says. “Both of my moms have supported me 100 percent in everything I have done. They are definitely involved parents.”

Zach plans to re-enroll in 2013 to study engineering at the University of Iowa. Zach also operates his own peer tutoring company to help students struggling in academics. v

A common misconception is that many people think that having gay parents can influence a child’s sexuality. Zach doesn’t think so. “Both of my parents had straight parents, they’re gay. That’s not how sexuality works.” Zach was 19 years old when he addressed the Iowa | 15

Strength in Numbers:

Meet the LGBT Family Organizations of St. Louis Written by Matt Jamieson Family is all we need, but other times we may need support. St. Louis has several organizations to help strengthen families in support of their LGBT members - and we want to highlight four doing amazing work.


(Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)

The St. Louis chapter of PFLAG (along with St. Charles and Belleville) is one of over 500 nationally of this organization dedicated to helping people support their LGBT family and friends. The organization helps parents and others who attend their meetings go through the process of understanding their loved ones and how society’s stigma has affected them. They also meet parents who are totally comfortable with their LGBT children. Most importantly members show by their actions that they embrace these special people that they love.

Families Like Ours

It may be just over a year old, but Families Like Ours is already making their mark. The organization strives to connect LGBT families in the St. Louis region and in just a year, they are doing that in spades. The group has a calendar of events, always meeting in family-friendly places. The events allow LGBT and allied parents a chance to socialize and their children an opportunity to get to know families like them.

All Families Matter

When you are an LGBT family with children, sometimes it can be overwhelming - all the information couples need to raise kids. All Families Matter serves as the organization for LGBT family planning in St. Louis with education ranging from family planning (LGBT-friendly doctors, adoption issues, surrogacy, etc), to education on LGBT-friendly schools and how to “come out” to your children’s teachers correctly. The group currently meets the third Saturday of every month at the MCC Church of Greater St. Louis.


Sometimes being the kid of an LGBT parent can mean pressures and bullying from peers, and that is what COLAGE is seeking to combat. This national youth led, mentored organization is for kids with one or more LGBT identified parent. The organization seeks to empower their individuals with leadership, education and advocacy designed to create and maintain a just society. The group meets the third Saturday of every month at the MCC Church of Greater St. Louis.

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Political VOICE

Our Families Matter: The Politics of Visibility Written by A.J. Bockelman Photography by Stock Art

There is no getting away from it: We are all members of families. We may love them, we may hate them and we may feel both at same time. For many, family is a source of comfort and strength; for many others, family is source of alienation and anger. Despite all that, we still strive to form families, to live with those we love, to pass on our experience and traditions and hopefully, this time, to do it right Over the last decade we have seen a tremendous growth in the number of gay and lesbian couples with children. This isn’t really a new phenomenon, in that prior generations of same sex couples often brought children from a prior, “traditional” marriage to their lives together. Since the late 1990’s, however, more and more couples have sought to have a child themselves, either through adoption or surrogacy services. While this trend started on the coasts, Missouri has certainly seen its share of growth in this kind of family dynamic. Now what does family have to do with politics? Those two don’t mix, right? Well, in a handful of states over the last few years, gay and lesbian couples with kids have been offered up as the latest wedge issue. The thing is, as we have seen with the overall acceptance of our community into and by the mainstream, more and more people have become accustomed to the idea of gay families. This wedge issue simply has not taken hold. 18 | August, 2012

Back in 2005, it was widely reported that up to 17 different states were on tap to put gay parent adoption bans on the ballot in the 2006 election. That effort fizzled, with only one state, Arkansas, ever fully moving forward, and that ban was declared unconstitutional under their state constitution. You see, it comes down to the basic guiding principle in child-care cases – a court seeks to do what is “in the best interest of the child” – which is often to leave them in the care of birth parents or long-term foster families where they have developed bonds. While general social acceptance is up, we have to remain vigilant and provide protection for our families. Within just the past year we watched a significant case play out in the Missouri Court system where a biological grandmother tried to take custody of her grandchild after the death of her biological daughter by having the original adoption by her daughter’s same sex partner thrown out. Fortunately, the adoption was upheld and the non-biological mother retained custody. As this particular case played out, we learned quite a bit about where our community stands with regards to gay families and where we still have to go. For example, the Williams Institute out of UCLA reported a conservative number of 1,800-plus couples in Missouri raising their ‘own’ children (defined as the child of at least one of the parents, either by birth, marriage or adoption). I don’t know about you, but, given Missouri, I found this to be a startling number.

In general, when many of us think about the broader LGBT community, there has not been a strong ‘family’ identity within the community. However, this provides an example of where things still have a ways to go in order for Saint Louis, in particular, to meet up with national trends. As adoptions and the identity of family have taken off at the national level, there is oftentimes a very quiet discussion that happens at the local level. Adoption and surrogacy in our region frequently start with those quiet questions asked of current parents at social gatherings. Eventually an attorney is engaged, and an under-the-radar process is started. Where Saint Louis has been behind the curve is the quiet way in which our community has gone about building family. Looking elsewhere within our own state we see a stark contrast. We have seen a major growth in the family dynamic for same sex parents in the Kansas City region – so much so that several years ago a group was formed, the Kansas City, Midwest Alternative Family Alliance ( This is a vibrant group with a broad membership base in the area providing support services for young or expecting gay families. What I have noticed is that there is a readily available network of folks out there providing support and social outlets for families. In contrast, Saint Louis only recently established Families Like Ours, which recently hosted a children’s area at PrideFest. (For more information on this group, drop them an email at

That contrast raises a problem. In the past when, as a community, we were clouded in whispers and kept quiet, it created an element of distrust. That same dynamic impacts our families in the St. Louis region. You and I both know that Missouri definitely has quite a ways to go. But in order for us to catch up with the coasts – we must celebrate groups like KCMAFA and Families Like Ours for the work they do to support and uphold a strong infrastructure and putting a proud face on the gay family – and do all we can to make sure that our families find such a welcoming atmosphere everywhere in Missouri. v | 19

Family Planning 101:

A Guide to the Ins ‘n Outs of Adoption, In-Vitro & Surrogacy Written by Matt Jamieson

Families are all around us, and growing all the time. But the road to the joy of mother and fatherhood is a little bit more complicated for us in the LGBT community. That’s why it’s really important to know about each option before making a final decision. We’ve selected three different methods, all with their own different challenges, but all with the same rewards.

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Adoption is one possible avenue to pursue. As it currently stands, the state of Missouri does not have any laws restricting LGBT couples from adopting children. However, there are several safeguards in place to make sure a child is placed with a loving set of parents. Let’s break down the legalese: Any adult who is considered a “fit parent” may adopt a child, but some states have special requirements for adoptive parents. In a few states, adoptive parents must be a certain number of years older than the child. (In Missouri you must be 21 years old, with a stable income and living environment.) In others, adoptive parents must be state residents for a specified length of time before they are allowed to adopt. If you’re adopting through an agency, you may also have to meet additional agency requirements, which are often stricter than state laws.

In addition, some individuals or couples are likely to have more difficulty adopting than others. A single man or a lesbian couple may have a harder time finding a placement than a married heterosexual couple will, even though technically they should be able to adopt. This happens because all states look to the “best interests of the child” when making a placement determination. Many state courts or agencies will use the “best interests” argument to judge a prospective adoptive parent or couple according to preconceived biases about who makes a good or a fit parent. Sometimes birth parents who are placing their children with an agency for adoption have some of the same biases. Adoption can also take place outside of the United States, but it is important to check the laws of individual countries - some may not allow LGBT couples to adopt. | 21


It seems that more couples are turning towards surrogacy. But be careful - some states have laws that do not clearly define surrogacy, and Missouri is one of them. (See the map provided for a list of states that recognize surrogacy.)


Another method that LGBT couples can use is in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In-vitro fertilization is the process where an egg is fertilized outside the body and later inserted into the uterus. Of all the methods, in-vitro appears to be the one with the most risks. In-vitro is still a new method - and not all attempts end in pregnancy. When looking at in-vitro fertilization, it is important to look at the live birth rate - because that is the rate with which couples have successfully been able to use the in-vitro method. One place to consult would be the Women’s Health Specialists of St. Louis (WHS)- especially for any questions one may have of the process. Another thing of note: in-vitro can be extremely costly, especially if it does not work the first time. Generally, costs run between 10 and 15,000 dollars per cycle. That’s per cycle, and the price may vary depending on the clinic, any additional costs, or if you are using an egg donor. Using an egg donor usually will increase IVF’s price to an estimated 25 to 30,000 dollars per cycle.

“The state of Missouri really doesn’t recognize surrogacy,” Deanna Woodroffe, nurse practitioner at WHS explained. “To them, the rights of the child are that of the surrogate.” Woodroffe recommends getting a lawyer to assist with the surrogacy agreement. There are many different ways to come to the same results with surrogacy. Gay men can use their own sperm, a percentage of the two’s combined (if a couple) or a donor’s. Lesbian couples may opt for a donor egg, or sperm or the both. Be advised - surrogacy will be costly. According to Dr. Teresa Knight of WHS, usually all surrogacies start with a legal agreement. “The surrogate can be a friend of the couple’s, or someone else,” Knight says. “There are companies who can hire women who will give their bodies for surrogacies - who will pay to carry a baby for a couple. Generally, couples will come together on an agreement - both for adoption and for medical expenses.” Typically, the agreed-upon rate, according to Dr. Knight, is around $30,000, but plan on paying more. “You could be spending between 30,000 and 70,000 dollars,” Woodroffe explained. “You could be paying fees for attorneys, the surrogate’s fee, any time off work they may take, health care, maternity clothes and anything

22 | August, 2012

not covered by medical insurance.” Anyone using surrogacy will also be paying for the egg and/or sperm the surrogate will carry, as well as any IVF cycles used. While it may seem like all of these different methods have their challenges, always remember the end result is still the same - a child for you to love. The same drive that we have to fight for our rights is the same any parent will need to get through any of these methods to get the child they want. v | 23



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5?s’ with... Kris Kleindienst

Written by Matt Jamieson Photography by Darin Slyman Left Bank Books has been a St. Louis institution for ages, and one of its best features is co-owner Kris Kleindienst. We sat down with Kris to talk about growing up with an LGBT parent, her thoughts on family, reading and more! What was it like growing up with an LGBT parent? My mom was a lesbian mom in St. Louis in the 1960s. She tried to protect us by not coming out to us. Certainly there was nowhere she could be out publicly. Later, I would come out to her and eventually she drew strength from my activism to be more comfortable. I have always admired her determination to live her life as authentically as possible in the face of nearly impossible hurdles. How important do you think family is? How important is air and sunshine? I think it’s supremely ironic that homophobic organizations attack the LGBT community for threatening to ruin the family. In fact, we have made family a safer, richer experience for all. When we let the word family expand to include the fullness of people’s lives and identities, everyone benefits. The complexity of my own family speaks to this: it includes biological and step family, exlovers, adopted, birthed and acquired children, homo, bi, trans and hetero people, my gender queer life partner and friends as essential as chocolate. Tell me about your duties with Left Bank Books. I’ve been working at Left Bank Books since 1974. I came as an employee, and almost wasn’t hired because the leftist collective that started the store was concerned about hiring a lesbian. But I got hired, started the gay literature section, the lesbian section, the transgender section and invited LGBT authors to read at our store. For many years we were the go-to place if you wanted to find out what was going on in the gay community. Today, as a co-owner, my duties range from welcoming visiting dignitaries to fixing the toilet and everything in between. How important is reading in today’s society? Reading, like air, family and chocolate, is a member of the basic food groups. In the words of the late Ray Bradbury, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” What is your favorite book of all-time? I HATE this question. Some books and authors who have made me who I am today: Eloise by Kay Thompson, Edward the Dyke by Judy Grahn, Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich, Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, and the works of Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Sharon Bridgforth, and Audre Lorde. To reluctantly name but a few. | 25

The LGBT Family Written and Photographed by Alex Galindo Location: Forest Park and The Saint Louis Zoo Special Thanks: Once Upon a Child, City Sprouts, Staci Stift, Robin Schubert, Keith Keisinger, Matthew Koons, Lawrence Thomas Miskel II and Matthew Ryan Barker


e all have our families. No matter if you want them around or not – it’s what made us who we are today! Fashion is a big part of being a kid. You express yourself and show what you’re all about through the clothes and costumes you wear. If you were lucky, your parents had good fashion sense, and before you could really dress yourself, could still make you look great in cute blazers, patterns and the trends of the season. Others, maybe, were not so lucky - proof is the old school photos in your closet. Those bowl haircuts will haunt you forever! For this shoot Vital VOICE wanted to profile local LGBT families with their children - setting the kids in the forefront and placing them in an environment allowing them to be who they are. We chose not to fully style them, but allowed them to bring their own clothes, so they could express themselves. These youngsters make up a future generation that could change the way people view the LGBT community and our struggle for equality. Families are growing and thriving within the community and our children are strong, independent and have brighter than life personalities!

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Lawrence Thomas Miskel II, Matthew Ryan Barker & their son William

Matthew Koons, his daughter Bailey & two sons Clayton & Parker

ubert, bin Sch o R , t Kenny Stif eir son h Staci t & er Heising Keith | 27

I don’t think America knows what a gay parent looks like: I am the gay parent. – Rosie O’Donnell

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Gay parents tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents. – Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University 

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The family type that is best for children is one that has responsible, committed, stable parenting. – Judith Stacey of New York University | 35

I think it would be really just a mom and a dad. It’s really special how I ha – Cody Jurs-Allen, second-grader, son of lesbian mothers On Kenny: Baby Gap Blazer from Once Upon a Child Levis 510 Super Skinny Pant from Once Upon a Child The Childrens Place Button Up from Once Upon a Child 36 | August, 2012

boring if everybody had

ave a mom and a mama! | 37

Le No as w in g!

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Tower Grove Manor

We have lovely apartments with walk-in closets, full kitchens, and great views of Tower Grove Park and the skyline. Great amenities, activities and only minutes from theatres, the Botanical Garden, and the best healthcare.

Discover Superior Senior Living at affordable rates! Call Sunny today! 2710 S. Grand Blvd., South St. Louis Tel. 314-773-2800 |

38 | August, 2012

St. Louis

Black Pride


“Just The Way You Are” August 17-19, 2012

Written and Photographed by Colin Murphy – Editor St. Louis Black Pride got its start in 1999 when the St. Louis Black Gay and Lesbian Pride Committee was formed following the B-Boy Blues Festival, sponsored by BABAA (Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS). St. Louis Black Pride is a non-profit organization whose mission is to be an informational, educational and outreach resource for area LGBT African Americans.

Friday, August 17

Bayard Rustin Centennial Celebration & Black Pride Opening Reception; Euclid Plaza Building Lobby, 625 North Euclid Blvd, 7pm & 11pm. Admission FREE St. Louis Black Pride, Kick Off Party; Club Big Moe’s 1072 Tower Grove Ave., 11pm – 1:30 am Cover $5.

Saturday, August 18

Our Community, Our Health: “How You Doing?” The State of Minority LGBT Health in St. Louis, A Community Dialogue, 2 – 5pm, Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd.,

Sunday, August 19

St. Louis Black Pride Festival In The Park: Benton Park, 1900 Arsenal Street, 3 – 9pm, vendors, entertainment, music, food, friends and fun. *Additional Events To Be Added. For the latest info check out Stl Black Pride on Facebook | 39

New City School: Built on Diversity Written by Paige Garner Photography by New City School


ew City school, located in the Central West End, was founded to provide opportunities for a diverse group of children to learn together, to be creative and to develop a sense of independence and confidence. According to the head of the New City School, Tom Hoerr, diversity has always been an intricate part of the School’s mission statement and practices. “Diversity is a very important part of our curriculum,” he says. “We treat everyone with dignity and teach the kids to appreciate what everyone brings to the table. They know that difference is a part of life and it’s not something we should frown upon.” Hoerr explains that they have three main goals at the School—exciting and joyful learning, strong academics and an appreciation for human diversity. “Learning about diversity at such an early age allows them not only to accept but appreciate the differences,” adds Hoerr. “The students understand that kids with two moms or two dads are just like them, and that it’s okay. It’s a life-long lesson that make them better people.” Kim Hutton, a parent of a transgender child, can attest to the openness and accepting manner of the New City School. Her son, Tiger, started his transition at the age of 7. After interviewing at the School, Hutton felt that it was the only school equipped to meet her child ‘where he was at’ and the only facility where he could really thrive.

They live, drink, eat and breathe equality in their daily interactions – Kim Hutton

Not only are the children more open, but the teachers do their best to handle and embrace conversations dealing with diversity and differences amongst the students.

40 | August, 2012

“I wouldn’t trust my son in anyone else’s care,” she adds. v | 41


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OF THE MONTH A Lush’s Guide to the Best Libations in Town. Written by Matt Jamieson Photography by Darin Slyman

Smore Cocktail August is National Camping Month and we wanted to cook something up for the occasion. Luckily our friend Dustin at Subzero Vodka Bar was able to concoct the perfect cocktail for the occasion. This month we’re featuring the Smore cocktail something truly new to bring with you on your next camping trip. We used 2 1/2 ounces of Three Olives Smores vodka, chocolate syrup (about 3 or 4 drops), graham crackers along the rim of the glass and charred mallow. (For that full campfire effect!) The end result is a moderately sweet drink - not TOO sweet, but the graham crackers along the rim definitely give it that campfire feel. So next time you’re camping, make those smores... but bring the vodka along too! Cheers!

Subzero Vodka Bar 308 N. Euclid Ave St. Louis, MO 63108 314.367.1200 | 43



Written by Colin Murphy - Editor Photography by Darin Slyman

For Bruce Karmazin, the rural setting and pastoral views of Nebraska farm life provided a connectedness and bond with animals early on. So much so that by the age of four a career in veterinary medicine was cemented in his mind. “I’m the youngest of seven and grew up on a hog, cattle and sheep farm in rural Nebraska,” he explains. “There were two boys on the end and five girls in the middle – and still there were five years in between me and the closest one – and in a farm town of 600 people I was lonely a lot, so my friends were the animals.” After graduating from the University of Nebraska, he faced a choice between the veterinarian program at Kansas State or the University of Missouri. He chose the latter, graduating in 1991. “At that time, I was still in the closet,” admits Bruce. “That was part of the reason that I chose Mizzou over K State because I thought it was more progressive [to come out].” Known throughout St. Louis as Dr. Bruce, he opened Gateway City Animal Clinic in 1998 (located at 10436 W. Florissant) in Dellwood and has built a diverse practice where many a loyal LGBTer bring their pets for care. “I think for a larger percentage of the LGBT community their pets are their babies and they’ll do anything for them,” says Bruce. “Being in North County – that’s not the heaviest

44 | August, 2012

population for our community, so I know it’s a hard sell sometimes for a lot of people to make the 20 minute drive. But a lot of people do. I’m willing to go the extra mile, give them my cell phone number. I spend more time on Facebook answering questions and I never mind that.” Dr. Bruce fell in love with The Gateway City early on and has made it his home. He admits it’s a great place to have pets. “The city’s pretty pet friendly and you’ve got to love the Mardi Gras pet parade,” he adds. But city living offers special challenges for pet lovers. While cats are generally well suited – he encourages urban dog lovers to do their homework. “There are exceptions to every rule,” Bruce offers. “But I think especially if you live in an apartment or have a small yard, unless you have time to really walk a dog you need to find one that doesn’t require a lot of exercise and one that isn’t packed with energy.” Having worked at two zoos, Bruce admits to having worked “on just about everything.” He’s also a believer that there is a defined sexuality in animals. “I think it exists,” Bruce states. “It’s really hard to define but you see certain people who raise dogs who no matter what will not accept a male and we always joke that those are the “lesbian bitches.” Bruce is also well known around the community as a former Mr. Midwest Leather and one of the celebrated and scantily clad Jager Guys. From Mardi Gras to bar appearances – he admits it’s a heck of a fun gig. “I always felt comfortable around the leather community – I think it’s just a place where you can be yourself,” he admits. “I’m a little edgy. I used to worry about that stuff but I’m me and I think if anything it’s brought in more business.” | 45


Welcome to the Play Dates section of Vital VOICE. Each month the VV team will select a number of signature events to keep on your radar. For a complete list of all vital happening in St. Louis log onto To submit your next event, simply email with event name, date, location and a 20-word description.

August 6-12 The Muny, 1 Theatre Dr., StL, MO, 63112 Shall we dance? The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein love story about Anna and the King of Siam closes the Muny’s 2012 season in grand style. Tickets range from $10 – 70, with a showtime at 8:15 p.m. each night.

St. Louis Black Pride

August 18 Benton Park, 1900 Arsenal St., StL, MO, 63118 Come out and be “just the way you are” with St. Louis Black Pride in Benton Park. There’s plenty of entertainment, food and fun for everyone! Come on out and celebrate!

Run For Your Lives

August 18 13712 West Highway M, Wright City, MO 63390 Zombies are all the rage now. And what’s better than a run for charity...from zombies. The goal is to make it through the 5K obstacle course intact. Fees are $87 for runners, $32 for spectators - and both get you into the Apocalypse Party after the run featuring performances from over 12 live bands!

The Lion King

August 21 The Fox Theatre, 573 N. Grand Blvd, StL, MO, 63103 Make this one a night out for the family. The hit Broadway musical The Lion King, based on the hit Disney film, makes its way to the Fabulous Fox Theatre for a three-week run from August 15 – September 2. But make sure you’re there on August 21 for Kid’s Night on Broadway - if you buy one adult ticket, you get a kid’s ticket free. Performance time is 8 p.m., and tickets range from $28 – $80.

46 | August, 2012


The King & I


12 2



Festival of Nations

August 25-26 Tower Grove Park, StL, MO It’s time to get international as the Festival of Nations returns once again to Tower Grove Park for a two-day celebration. Festivities include performances, games, cultural diversity and of course plenty of international cuisine all for the tasting!

Miss Gay Midwest America Pageant

August 26 Attitudes Nightclub, 4100 Manchester Ave., StL, MO, 63110 Come out and support the finest in female impersonation as they compete in the Miss Gay Midwest America pageant for a chance to shine at Miss Gay America 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. Audiences will be treated to a fierce competition and entertained by a marquee of former title holders. The evening honors MGMW 2011 Diva Coppafeel and the phenomenally talented Miss Gay America 2012 Kirby Kolby – making her Missouri debut at the national symbol of excellence. Showtime is 7 p.m. (doors open at 6) with a $10 admission.

OUT in the City

August 29 Just John’s, 4112 Manchester Ave., StL, MO, 63110 Come join us and ALIVE Magazine for our annual happy hour networking event! Suggested donation is $5. Bring your business cards! Not only will they help networking, they may win you some prizes as well!

in the City

St. Louis Art Fair

August 31 Queeny Park Happy Hour Series for LGBT Professionals Join host Jeff Kapfer at this hot happy hour at Just John. Spend your Labor Day weekend out at Queeny Park for the St. Louis Art Fair. The weekend starts off with a wine tasting $5 donation to PROMO includes 08.29.2012 complimentary Bud Light. on August 31, and the fair itself begins on September 1, Must be 21+ to attend. PLEASE RSVP TO OUTINTHECITY@ALIVEMAG.COM 6-9PM 4112 Manchester Avenue featuring over 130 juried artists from 20 states.




1 2 18 | 47

Photos from Out in the City, May 10, 2012 at SubZero Vodka Bar

48 | August, 2012

Scene Styling

PrideFest 2012

St. Louis’ LGBT and allied community showed its PRIDE, June 23–24 as the Gateway City celebrated the 33 annual PrideFest in Tower Grove Park. Produced by Pride St. Louis, this year’s theme was “Be You” and is going down in the record books as the largest LGBT celebration in St. Louis history. With the biggest parade (over 150 entries), best entertainment lineup and close to 200 vendors - PrideFest St. Louis shattered the 100 thousand attendance barrier. This year’s Vital VOICE Headliners were country legend Shelby Lynne, singer Frenchie Davis, Ru Paul’s Drag Race favorite Pandora Boxx, music artist Kristine W and diva Deborah Cox. In addition, comedienne/actress Margaret Cho made a special appearance prior to her two Saturday performances at Lumière Place Theatre. | 49

Now Open! Free Admission

Missouri History Museum Forest Park | (314) 746-4599 |

50 | August, 2012

in the City

Happy Hour Series for LGBT Professionals Join host Jeff Kapfer at this hot happy hour at Just John.

4112 Manchester Avenue

08.29.2012 6-9PM

$5 donation to PROMO includes complimentary Bud Light. Must be 21+ to attend. PLEASE RSVP TO OUTINTHECITY@ALIVEMAG.COM


August, 2012

Photos from Out in the City, May 10, 2012 at SubZero Vodka Bar

August 2012  

The FAMILY Issue - Vital VOICE Magazine - St. Louis, MO

August 2012  

The FAMILY Issue - Vital VOICE Magazine - St. Louis, MO