al The OfďŹ ci 013 2 PrideFest side! Guide in
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15K Issues Printed Monthly 300+ Points of Distribution
Vital VOICE is your premier LGBT publication and reaches a diverse readership from thoughtful leaders and young thinkers to trend setters in culture, entertainment and beyond.
n of the o i t s e u Q Month:
your What is ing th favorite Fest? ride about P
CEO/Publisher Darin Slyman email@example.com
“The atmosphere. Everyone is just having a good time and it’s one of those times we all really come together.”
Executive Editor/Senior Writer Colin Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Publisher Jimmy Lesch email@example.com Art Director Andrea Piamonte firstname.lastname@example.org Business Manager Janae Johnson email@example.com
“My favorite pa rt of Pride is the co ming together of ou r prismatic tribe in all of its quirky an d colorful glory.”
Chief Photographer Tim brenner firstname.lastname@example.org
ege ut in coll I came o ver been ne and had than by more d e d n ne o surrou t a people buy 20 gay to le b a s I am lu d P . te e n a m ti w g I ever everythin inbow on it. with a ra
Staff Photographer Mikey Berner Staff Writer Matt Jamieson email@example.com Contributing Writer colin lovett Staff Writer Hanna botney firstname.lastname@example.org Staff Writer DENNY PATTERSON
The para d the ven e and dors, it’s definite ly a goo d time.
Contributors Photography: Tim Brenner, Mikey Berner, Wilbur Wegener, Scott Lokitz, Colin Murphy, Jeanelle, Davis Hammett and The St. Louis LGBT History Project Writing: Colin Murphy, Matt Jamieson, Colin Lovett, Denny Patterson, Janae Johnson, David Courtney, Hanna Botney, Jimmy No Show, Thiago Martins de Magalhães and Penelope Wigstock
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In this issue June 2013 | Volume 14 | Issue 6
34. feature story:
Meet 12-year-old transgender tween and activist, Jazz
4. advertisers at a glance 30. metro east pridefest Changing 57. equality house: minds & hearts 13. Editor’s letter 38. penelope's pridefest 19. One out of 10: 59. gilbert tips... for a sane tomorrow
Colin Murphy celebrates Bayard Rustin with an interview with his surviving partner, Walter Naegle.
26. Lez be real
Our newest scribe, Hanna Botney, tackles stereotypes in her debut column.
29. Coming soon in stl Stay Connected with us
And the letter of the month is “p”
47. branding pride 48. pridefest headliners
baker: the creator of an icon
62. playd/a/tes 64. scene & Styling
Grab a peek behind the pink curtain as Vital VOICE catches up with PrideFest headliners Andy Bell, Latrice Royale, Jessica Sutta, Taylor Dayne, Shannel, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Julie Goldman Vital VOICE is printed on recycled newspaper and uses soy ink for a 100% recyclable product.
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ST. LOUIS VITAL VOICE MAGAZINE (JUNE)- Single
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It’s your home, at last.
TO GET STARTED, stop by your local U.S. Bank branch, call 888.831.7524, or visit usbank.com/mortgage.
Once you find that perfect place to call home, the next important decision is the financing. So many mortgage options, so little time. We get that. Our goal is to partner with you to help guide you through the loan process and find the best financing to fit your needs. We’ve got the experience and mortgage products that will have you moving into your new home, at last. Call today, and put our knowledge to work for you. U.S. Bank is proud to support Pride Month.
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Welcome to June and LGBT PRIDE month. We are again honored to be publishing this year’s official St. Louis PrideFest Guide along with a host of features to celebrate our prismatic tribe. I love Pride for many reasons, and haven’t missed a St. Louis celebration since 1989. For me, the most moving experience remains the coming together of the many facets of our community. Now, more than ever, it is important to unite and recommit ourselves to each other as we celebrate our victories, remember our struggles and dedicate ourselves to journey the road ahead. LGBT Pride month officially kicks off at Grand Center on Tuesday, June 4 at 6 p.m. at Strauss Park in the shadow of the Fabulous Fox. Join community leaders, organizations, supporters and our area’s Pride organizations for Vital VOICE presents the Community Kickoff to National Pride Month. It’s not to be missed. On Saturday, June 22 Pride festival season gets underway at noon with the 6th Annual Metro East PrideFest on West Main (one block from fountain) in downtown, Belleville, Illinois. Check out the MetroEast Pride Guide in this issue and join the fun across the river for “Diversity and Equality on Main Street USA”. Friday, June 28th marks Bud Light Presents: ULTRA powered by Vital VOICE and ALIVE Magazines. Formerly the “White Party”, this newly re-imagined Pride event will have the town talking. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and goes til 1 a.m. at LUMEN. Finally, Pride month culminates on June 29-30 with the 34th Annual St. Louis PrideFest (with Grand Parade on Sunday). This year’s downtown location is an historic first. Join your tribe as we “Celebrate the Past to Awaken the Future.” In Pride,
Colin Murphy, Executive Editor
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One out of 10
One of 10 ain’t bad! out
A look into LGBT Life- Past & Present
Brother Outsider Written by Colin Murphy – Editor
The mere mention of the 1963 March on Washington immediately summons Dr. Martin Luther King’s soaring “I Have a Dream” speech from our collective American memory. That iconic march and moment on August 28, 1963, in the shadow of Lincoln, demanded history’s notice as a turning point in the civil rights and social justice movements – and its architect was an out gay man. Bayard Rustin remains, quite frustratingly,
an unsung hero in our community. To that end, a special screening and panel discussion of the award-winning Rustin documentary Brother Outsider will take place on Monday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (5700 Lindell Blvd.). The evening will include a Q&A with special guest, Walter Naegle, Rustin’s surviving partner and executor of the Bayard Rustin estate, along with activist, playwright and
Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, Joan Lipkin, event organizer. A special performance of Out from the Shadows, A Tribute to Bayard Taylor Rustin by C2C a Call to Conscience featuring Jerome Davis, Peggy Calvin, Dennis Lebby, Mark Albrecht, and directed by Fannie Lebby will also be performed. “Now I would imagine that he, over the course of his career, probably visited St. Louis a number of times,” explained Naegle
Photo: Rustin and Naegle
“So for him, it was really more about building the community and building the movement than having his own ego stroked or satisfied...” during a recent telephone interview. Naegle had just discovered a 1943 pamphlet from a St. Louis event called “The Race Relations and Non Violence Solutions Institute” at the Central Baptist Church, where Rustin spoke alongside fellow activists, including James Farmer, Lillian Smith and A.J. Muste. “This was pretty early on in his life as an activist and obviously it was before the onset of what most people consider to be the civil rights movement,” said Naegle. “Most people think of it beginning with Montgomery and ending in Dr. King’s assassination, but obviously the work had been going on for a long time before that too.”
Rustin’s influence in the civil rights movement is undeniable. Bringing Gandhi’s protest techniques to an American movement, he proved key in molding Dr. King into a world renowned ambassador of peace and nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. “You know, had he not been gay or even if he had perhaps hidden it he might have had higher visibility, I guess, in the movement that he was part of,” offered Naegle. “But that was not so important to
him. The important thing was getting the work done and being out there and being on the front lines, when possible, and certainly influencing the front lines when it wasn’t possible.” “So for him, it was really more about building the community and building the movement than having his own ego stroked or satisfied,” he continued. “Anybody would be happy not to be discriminated against or not to have obstacles thrown in their paths, but that was the way the world was then and obviously because he was African American, also, and he didn’t let it stop him.”
“I think they [activists] learned a great lesson from Bayard,” Naegle continued. “If you’re a minority in this society and you want to bring about social change you have to create some kind of democratic majority of people who are willing to stand alongside you and be your allies. Because no minority group can do it on their own. So you have to tailor your message to appeal to the broader society and the broader constituency.” Brother Outsider takes a multifaceted approach to the material, reflecting the complexity of Rustin’s story. This featurelength portrait unfolds both chronologically and thematically, using interviews and traditional documentary techniques, as well as experimental approaches. The work of Marlon Riggs and the pastiche quality of his groundbreaking documentaries have inspired the production team. The historical aspects of the piece are based on meticulous primary research in the Rustin papers and other archives, and incorporates elements such as archival footage, stills, posters and broadsheets, government propaganda films, paintings and other cultural artifacts. “I hope that they’re inspired to feel confident about whoever they are, to be themselves,” said Naegle. “I hope it will inspire people to become involved in some of the issues that Bayard cared about because they’re still around – racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and certainly the issue economic inequality, poverty.”
While Rustin was open about his sexual orientation with friends and co-workers, he didn’t specifically become involved in the LGBT rights movement until later in life by speaking to various groups and events and testifying before the New York City Council. Naegle admits Rustin would be pleased with the progress the LGBT community has made. “I think he would be surprised at the pace of change, how things have really picked up certainly in the last 10 years,” he said. “He was struggling in the civil
rights movement from the time he was a teenager. There was progress made along the way, but the real pace of progress didn’t pick up until the late 1950s and early 1960s. I think he attributed that largely to the role of the media and the fact that once Americans got televisions in their living rooms they started to see the kinds of conditions that their fellows were living under and it really became intolerable to kind of live with that or reconcile with that or put up with that. I think that really speeded up the pace of change.”
Naegle was a consultant on the documentary, fact checking, suggesting interviews and providing archival material including his own video footage. Before the filmmakers had come along, he had started to do a video archive of people who knew Rustin: “I was afraid too much time would pass before someone got around to doing a documentary and a lot of those people would be gone, so I started filming some of them.” “Everybody can play a role to the degree that they’re able to,” Naegle concluded. “That’s how movements get built. It’s not about one person, it’s not about one leader and a bunch of followers, it’s about a lot of people contributing their talents and time to get something done.” v
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Lez BE REAL Written by Hanna Botney
Butch. Femme. Top. Bottom. These are some of the categories or boxes we put each other in. We like to take one look at a person and then sum them up with one word. And then this word determines whom they are attracted to, who they are friends with, how they perform in the bedroom and so much more. It is 2013, arenâ€™t we tired of putting ourselves in a box? It starts the moment you come out. People had already determined you are gay before you even came out by the way you dressed, the way you talked, the sports you play. Thus determining â€œwhat kindâ€? of lesbian you are. The box is built for you before you even have the chance to discover yourself. Stereotypically, a lesbian is more masculine, drives a truck, has multiple cats and loves Home Depot. The idea of what it means to be a lesbian has become a caricature. We compile the most masculine of female traits into one woman and that is our universal lesbian. But just like the human race, it is so much more complex and diverse than a set of strict standards to which one must adhere. What I do not understand is why we fight so hard for equality for LGBT individuals yet we put each other in hierarchies and constrain ourselves to specific roles. In essence, all that does is perpetuate
Lez be real
The beauty of being gay is being able to break down all social norms when it comes to relationships and attraction.
heteronormativity and patriarchy. We mimic the gender roles in heterosexual relationships. A femme woman must be with a butch woman. The butch must “wear the pants” or be the man and the femme must be the doting partner. The beauty of being gay is being able to break down all social norms when it comes to relationships and attraction. We should celebrate the diversity within the community rather than stifle it.
As a self-identified femme gay woman who is attracted to other femmes, I never feel like I have a space within the community. As a femme, I am expected to be attracted to someone more butch than myself. I constantly have to prove my gayness. In fact, when I go to gay bars, I am hit on by more straight men than gay women. I am assumed to be straight, even in a gay context. This is because of the preconceived ideas we have about what it means to be gay. And when I am seen with my femme girlfriends, it is assumed that we are best friends or that we are together just to get attention from men. The only time I have been taken seriously is when I dress more androgynous or when I am with a group of more butch women. I have to establish myself within a lesbian setting by conforming to the stereotypes I so desire to break down. In the past, I rejected the label lesbian. I asked others to refer to me as a gay woman. The reasoning being that the stereotypes and standards set with the label lesbian do not apply to me. I wanted to make
sure that people understood that I was not your stereotypical lesbian. But that became problematic. By using a different label, I othered myself rather than establishing my femme identity as a viable lesbian identity. I am currently working to reclaim this label. I am femme who is attracted to femmes and I am a lesbian. The other beauty in the diversity of lesbian identity is that it can change day to day. I identify as a femme but that doesn’t mean you won’t see me with my cat on my lap while I drive my big black Ford F-150 around town. Identity is limitless, shapeless, and ever changing. It can change year to year, week to week, day to day, or even hour to hour. And there is nothing wrong with that. That does not mean I am straying away from my true identity, I am just expressing myself depending on my mood. I would challenge our pre-conceived ideas of what it means to be a lesbian. There is no right answer. There is no formula. There are no rules about what type of lesbian should be with another type of lesbian. If you say you are a lesbian, then you are. The word is simply a way to be able to identify one another. It is not a word to constrain one another. Celebrate diversity. Take pride in who you are and whom you love. I am proud to challenge stereotypes. I am proud to be a femme. I am proud to love a femme. Most importantly, I am proud to be me: a lesbian. v
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Coming Soon in the STL Written by Matt Jamieson
The company has “landed” several spaces, this month’s landings are focused within the Grove. The first is a live music venue coming to Manchester Marketplace at 4191 Manchester. Details are still in the works, but it’s certain to be amazing.
and Elements Partnership, Inc. Cellar Advisors is a wine consulting services to collectors worldwide, with extensive knowledge of the wine market and a superb network to start your collection. Elements Partnership, Inc. is a company that works with non-profit and for-profit organizations dedicated to positive change in communities.
The next landed space is at 4512 Manchester - home to both Cellar Advisors
Lastly, another big name moving into the Grove is the Urban Chestnut Brewing
Company. The brewing company is planning to have a Schlafly Bottleworkslike building in the old Renard Paper Company building, adding more parking spaces and continuing a focus on brewing. Construction is scheduled to begin June 1 and be completed this December. As always, continue to watch this space for the new landed spaces, and happy Pride from your friends at Duffe-Nuernberger Realty! v
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2013 IN THE GROVE
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It’s been another great month for the team at Duffe-Nuernberger Realty.
Metro East PrideFest 2013
Diversity & &Equality
to Main St. Since 2008 Written & Photographed by Colin Murphy - Editor Saturday, June 22, 2013- Belleville, IL metroeastprideswi.com No city does a street festival quite like Belleville, Ill.â€”and to that end, Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois (MEPSI) has married the iconic Americana of the small-town street fest with the modern LGBT Pride celebration. Since 2008, MEPSI has brought Diversity and Equality to Main Street USA featuring community leaders, entertainment, food and vendors from throughout the area. MEPSI is proud to honor those within its community who distinguish themselves through service to the Metro East LGBT Community with the Brenda Grissom and Dixie Ruliffson Community Service Award and the MEPSI Spirit Award. This yearâ€™s honorees are Adam Kaemmerer (Olivia DeMornay) and MEPSI co-founder and former Board member John Kreisel. v
Emcees: Olivia DeMornay
Schedule of Events Noon – 1:00 Welcome & Gateway Men’s Chorus
1:00 – 2:00
CHARIS, the St. Louis Women’s Chorus
POWJr72 (Phillip Womble)
Metro East Pride Community Service Awards
Avery Hill Band
6:00 – 7:30
Drag on Main: Olivia DeMornay, Paris Amor, Melinda Ryder, Dayonna Hilton, ButterScotch, Victoria DeMornay and Reigning King and Queen of Metro East Pride: Matt Simpson and Tiana De La Qua
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Part of Your World Written by Matt Jamieson Photography by Jeanelle
his year’s pride theme encourages us to celebrate the past to awaken the future. We’ve seen so many amazing activists from Phyllis Lyon to Harvey Milk, Vito Russo, and so many others pave the way for a new generation of activists. Today, there are so many amazing stories of so many young people out there fighting for equal rights. But none more incredible and touching than that of a young transgender girl named Jazz. Jazz (who, as she describes herself as having “a girl brain, but a boy body and I’m just like you.”) has known she was a girl since age 2 and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. She has the full support of both her parents, and her three siblings who don’t only love her, they act as her protectors at school, when her parents can’t be there. Jazz’s story was featured recently in a documentary I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition — chronicling her life with her family. Now at the age of 12, Jazz is
a transgender activist - making national headlines for her work. I spoke with Jazz, talking about her successes, role models and her life outside of her activism.
Jazz, you’ve had a lot happen in a year: your story was featured in your documentary, you had amazing appearances on The Rosie Show, and with Barbara Walters on 20/20. You recently were recognized by GLAAD and were able to speak at both the NYC and L.A. GLAAD awards. What has the last year been like for you? It’s been a real whirlwind — fun and exciting too. I love sharing my story to help other trans youth. It’s very rewarding when someone tells me that I’ve inspired them.
Your story really touched me, and I think what I admire most about you is your confidence. Where does that come from/who are your role models?
Even with everything you’ve been doing for equal rights, I think everyone forgets, you’re still just 12 years old! What do you like to do when you have free time, for fun?
I feel like I was born confident. I’ve always known who I am, and have lived my life as the girl I was born to be. I’m proud of being transgender and don’t have a problem letting others know that I feel this way. It also helps to have love and support from my family — without them I wouldn’t be the kid I am today. My parents are my biggest role models.
I’m a pretty regular kid, my advocacy work only takes up a small portion of my life. There are so many things I like to do. I love playing soccer and lacrosse. I’m also really into sketching and writing, I’m currently working on a screenplay. I also love to sew and create mermaid tails, and go to my acting, singing and dancing class. Oh! And I love to go to theme parks and ride the biggest roller coasters.
You have such an amazing support system in your parents. And unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as you are to have that. What would say to any transgendered kids like you who are not as lucky? I think it’s so wrong that some parents don’t accept their children just because their brains don’t match their bodies. If your kid is transgender it’s your responsibility as a parent to love them unconditionally. I always tell kids to confide in a friend, relative, teacher, coach or anyone that they trust and feel will understand them. Also, many schools have GSA’s (Gay-Straight Alliance) that they can turn to at their schools. The GSA are confidential and won’t tell their parents.
Our PrideFest’s theme this year is “Celebrate the past to awaken the future.” We’re on this journey with you, so what do you want to do in the future? What are your dreams for the future? I want to continue to advocate for trans rights, because there is still so much discrimination. I can’t wait to see a world where everyone is treated equally. Sometimes at school, I don’t like saying the pledge of allegiance because I don’t feel that it’s true. I look forward to the day that I can recite it with pride. v
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Written by Penelope Wigstock
. . . s p i T t s e F e d Pri
PrideFest—an annual rite of summer in the LGBT community—quickly approaches. Before everyone gets wrapped up in the endless partying and festivities of this event, let’s take a few moments to revisit some basic behavior and etiquette that will serve us well this year and in years to come:
Although I’m certain that Walgreen’s did in fact have an “awesome sale” on Stetson cologne last week, hard-core lesbians need to understand that this shit doesn’t smell good on anyone from either gender. Refrain from an assault on our nostrils and stick with Dove (for Men) soap. Drakkar Noir and the crap from Tim McGraw are also out.
for a Sane Tomorrow
Of course your best girlfriend assured you that those new Daisy Dukes and neon orange tank top look fabulous, but is it really necessary to “gay it up” that much at an event that already celebrates diversity ? Alsoand we all know this-unless you’ve been doing stomach crunches non-stop for the past 11 months, when you stop holding your breath and relax, some vicious queen WILL snap a picture of you from an unflattering angle and upload it to Facebook.
listen up. It may seem harmless to start the liquor pig games before your first bowl of Fruity Pebbles on Pride weekend, but we all know how this ends. You reassure friends multiple times that “yes, of course” you will be out in the Grove later tonight. Fast-forward to you passed out and slumped over your lap-top several hours later, the latest Randy Blue video still playing on an endless loop while a narrow trail of vomit runs down the corner of your mouth.
Lesbians— no matter how cute
she is, no matter how awesome her flatbed truck looks, do NOT agree to move in with a woman who you just met in the beer line 10 minutes ago. That scenario usually ends with an unplanned cameo appearance on “Cops” or 2-3 additional leaf-blowers left in your basement that you don’t need and can’t unload on anyone.
If you spot an “ex,” politely smile and say hello. That is all. Do not engage in chit-chat. Do not trash talk. Do not drunkenly profess your still simmering love in a scene that would make the writers of “Days of Our Lives” envy for its melodramatic flair. Be polite and then move on!
metal and leather don’t mix well in 100 degree heat and humidity. Nothing de-butches a hot guy faster than hearing him squeak, “Oh, dear! My leather chaps have chafed my thighs.” Rough trade wear does not equal daywear, “ladies.”
The first queen to whip out a glow-stick in the disco tent gets the hose!
Have fun. Don’t drink and drive. Play safe. Happy Pride, Penelopeeps!!! 39
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And the Letter of the Month is... pride month
Written by David Courtney Photography by Wilbur Wegener & Scott Lokitz Pick any major city in the United States, from Pittsburgh to Pensacola to Portland, and most likely they will host a Pride celebration in June. Most persons will attend them with primitive thoughts and primal instincts, but practical people will probe their minds: WHY are Pride parades purposeful? Looking past the paraphernalia and the rainbow phenomenon, do they primarily 1.) politicize our ideals, or 2.) promise ample opportunities to party? Officially dubbed “Pride: Politics vs. Party”, this provocative debate with a poetic title has become slightly over-done. Depending on the person, Pride can be said to wield great political prowess while pushing groups of people together in social settings. In the end both sides prove to be equally worthwhile, so why propel it any further? In the spirit of alliteration, this pragmatic poet provides FOUR New “P” words to consider, hopefully expanding vocabularies while reminding readers again of the event’s underlying importance.
“Celebrate the Past to Awaken the Future” is the theme of the 2013 St. Louis Pride. LGBT rights have always been an uphill battle, and several individuals worked hard to allow us the ability to have Pride Festivals. Thus, we celebrate their efforts and triumphs while remembering those lost along the way. We should not forget that the original pride parades started to commemorate the Stonewall riots, and how far we have come since then. St. Louis Pride will celebrate its 34th Pride this year; let’s build off the previous 33!
It always goes without saying: WE’RE HERE AND WE’RE QUEER! We have a strong and unique presence in the St. Louis community that greatly enhances and contributes to the city’s identity. Pride is a HUGE opportunity for us to demonstrate our vital voice and to educate others about our identities and struggles. Thus, be LOUD and PROUD. Pride simply presents a springboard to push our political ideals and party hard all night long. We need celebrate being alive and present in our great city. This year Pride will move to Downtown St. Louis, a much different venue from the customary Tower Grove Park. While it can be unsettling to deviate from deeply-rooted traditions, Pride will be a FABULOUS event if everyone shows up to support. With a more high-profile location, St. Louis will definitely know we are here.
Pride always celebrates the past and promotes the present, but the event would be nothing if it did not look to the future. Because Pride helps to promote our current political agenda and our local economy, it creates more possibilities for LGBT people in St. Louis. Numbers of those attending Pride increase every year (another factor in the decision to move downtown), and it is only going to get bigger. As the theme says, we can only hope to party so hard that we awaken the great future that is in store for us!
Whether it be the past, present, or future, Pride has always been about the PEOPLE. It is a celebration of personhood and a reminder of what we are fighting for. Anybody and everybody can take part in Pride, whether gay, straight, lesbian, asexual, transgender, bisexual…etc. etc. We pride ourselves on being an open and accepting community; EVERYONE is a part of the spectrum. Pride does a great job of incorporating every person; it should be a phenomenal event!
Other proposed pieces of Pride: • Power up and plan your attack • Publicize your thoughts and politicize your beliefs • Polish your shoes and pretty yourself up • Party five-six-seven nights in a row • Pick your favorite drink(s) • Practice your dance moves at Honey or Novak’s • Pour glitter all over yourself • Praise Gaga! (Britney, Katy Perry, and/or Madonna) • Pace yourself (You’ve gotta make it the whole weekend) • Poke around the Grove • Partner up with someone • Propose to your loved one • Project your love • Perform with a Pussycat Doll • Play under the arch • Prance down the Market street • Parade around downtown St. Louis • Produce a positive reaction • Promote your community Most importantly: PARTICIPATE in all that you can and PRIDE yourself on all that you can do! v
The Missouri History Museum’s series offers avenues of activism in the St. Louis area. Topics such as community enagagement and active citizenship are examined from different perspectives through a variety of formats.
screening and discussion
OUTSIDER THE LIFE OF BAYARD RUSTIN Monday
JUNE 24 | Free
6pm: Reception with Informational Tables; 7pm: Screening During his 60-year career, Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American civil rights movement, including the March on Washington, the biggest protest America had ever seen. But his open homosexuality forced him to be shunned by the very movement he helped create, marking him again and again as a “brother outsider.” Q&A with Walter Naegle, partner and executor of the Bayard Rustin estate, and St. Louis–area activist Joan Lipkin follows the screening.
Missouri History Museum Forest Park | (314) 746-4599 | mohistory.org
Written by Colin Murphy â€“ Editor Artwork Courtesy of St. Louis LGBT History Project
A logo and branding are powerful tools to represent a company, group or organization and Pride St. Louis is no exception. For the past 34 years Pride has challenged the St. Louis LGBT community to produce a logo to represent its annual theme, festival and parade. Since 1980, the iconic artwork produced showcases the talent of our tribe and celebrates the Pride movement within the Gateway City. v
CELEBRATE the past to AWAKEN the future SAINT LOUIS LGBT PRIDE FEST
2000 2001 2002 2004
Main Stage, 6/29 9 - 9:30 p.m. Written by Colin Murphy – Editor
Andy Bell is the lead singer and one half, along with Vince Clarke, of the danceinfused, synthpop duo Erasure. The pop icon takes the PrideFest stage on Saturday, June 29 at 9 p.m. He also has a solo career, with the albums Non-Stop and Electric Blue making waves on dance floors around the world. Erasure have scored more than twenty Top 10 singles in their native UK including the global pop anthems “Always,” “Chains Of Love” and “A Little Respect.” Andy, who is openly gay and HIV positive, was one of the first pop stars ever to come out and made a point of consciously writing songs and doing videos that could apply to either sex. His flamboyant costumes and spectacular stage show has become as much an Erasure hallmark as Clarke buzzing and beeping analog synths.
We’re excited to have you making your St. Louis PrideFest debut. What do you have in store for audiences? The usual shenanigans—a bit of butch/femme drag, a couple of high class, high falootin’ gender-bending backup dancers and lots of high energy tunes both solo and Erasure.
What was your first Pride festival or gay pride parade experience? Our first Pride was in South Bank London— we had Divine floating on a barge down the middle of the river Thames singing ‘If You Think You’re A Man.’ I baby sat Sinead O’Connor’s little boy Jack whilst she went and had a look around the stalls. It was all very innocent and free.
What does Pride mean to Andy Bell? Pride is really taking stock, being grateful for how far we’ve come, remembering the struggles of all the people that passed before us and helped us on our way and having a jolly good knees up!
I saw my first Erasure concert right 48
out of High School in St. Louis in 1990. It was so empowering to see someone proudly proclaim they were gay and the crowd went wild. How important was it to you to be open and visible as a gay man? Very, very important. I realized as a teenager that I was becoming such a good liar that if I didn’t stop there and then, I would get into a whole heap of trouble. So I decided to tell the truth from then on it is a whole lot easier!
Which was more difficult, coming out as gay or HIV positive? Being positive was much more difficult to cope with – I think my self-esteem had hit rock bottom so there was really nowhere else to go but upwards.
The past 10 years have been incredible in terms of advancement of LGBT rights – you’ve been on the scene since the 1980s – what are
your thoughts on the pace of LGBT equality, particularly here in the states. Sometimes I have to catch my breath. I really do believe that the earth is speeding up and as a species we are evolving at an incredible pace, the gay rights movement, civil rights, women’s rights have all been part of this evolution. We are living in a very exciting time. It makes you kinda feel sorry for the dinosaurs (you know who you are!)
Who were your musical influences and what younger artists are on your radar? Blondie, Soft Cell, Human League, Japan, Siouxsie & the Banshees. Parallox XX & Florence & the Machine
What’s next for Andy Bell? Move house, record a Christmas CD , three gigs in the UK, finish solo record & Regeneration Tour. v
Main Stage, 6/30 4:30-5:05 p.m. Written by DJ Jimmy No Show
the writing process because you connect on a soul level with your music.
done a few on RuPaul’s Drag Race before. What do you think makes for a great drag song?
Can you tell us about some of the other new songs you’ve written for your album?
Well, I have to say RuPaul is the queen of all. I love Drag Queens! I don’t remember this performers name but it was a re-enactment of Mother Dearest. It was brilliant. “No more wire hangers!”
I’ve been writing a lot about my own life experiences…things I’ve never talked about before. It is incredibly healing and I feel so blessed to artistically grow as a writer as well.
What can people expect from your performance at PrideFest this summer? Even after all these years in the international arena, Jessica Sutta still loves the club. If she’s lucky, no one recognizes her. Then the former Pussycat Doll becomes just another dancer on the floor, lost in the beat. Now, Jessica steps out from the shadow of the band that made her famous. If you love to dance, you’ll want to pay attention, Sutta is set to take the PrideFest’s Bud Light Stage on Sunday, June 30th at 4:30 PM. I had a chance to catch up with the former Pussycat Doll turned dance floor filler...
Many people will recognize you from your time in the Pussycat Dolls. What was your favorite Pussycat Dolls song? “Don’t Cha”
Can fans expect a nod to your PCD past at your shows? I definitely throw in a little PCD in my shows.
You’re currently working on your debut album, Sutta Pop. Give me an idea of what fans can expect from that. You will definitely get to know me through Sutta Pop. I’m co-writing on all my music. I feel like it’s so important to be apart of
High-energy goodness! I’m looking forward to also performing new music, too!
There’s A LOT of gay going on at PrideFest. What’s the gayest thing you’ve ever seen? Ass-less chaps! It kinda scarred me for life.
In addition to performing at Pride festivals you’ve also appeared in FCKH8 and NOH8 projects. How did you get involved with the LGBT community? I truly believe it is my benevolent duty to stand for the LGBT community. The majority of my closest friends are gay and have struggled in their life for being “different”. Time to spread awareness and stop the hate. It’s 2013. It’s unacceptable that there aren’t the same rights for every human being.
Where were you the first time you heard one of your songs being played? In my car! What a moment. KISS FM played “Don’t Cha” when Nicole and I were on our way to Wango Tango. It was awesome!
Drag Queens seem to love doing Pussycat Doll tracks. I know they’ve
How did it feel hitting the top of the club charts with “Show Me”? It was a reminder that I am on the right path and to keep pushing. Dreams do come true. I celebrated by working even harder.
Your new single is called “Again,” which you’ve co-written. Where do you find your inspiration for song writing? I find inspiration for all my music through my own personal experiences. You will feel my heart through “Again. “
When was the last time you look at someone, threw your arms up and said, “Again!?” Ha! Yesterday. I have no patience in the car. [Laughs]
“Again” has been described by seemingly everyone who’s come across it as a floorfiller. What other things are you good at filling? Nothing other than a dance floor. I imagine our readers could have found a more colorful answer to that last question but there you have it: She’s sticking with her strengths both on record and on stage. Still, there’s work to be done and fans to please. With the new single out, life will get a lot more interesting for Jessica. “I definitely want to travel the world with my music and reach fans everywhere,” she says, adding of her passion, “When you’re on the floor, you feel dance music in your feet, in your heart. It does put you in a trance in some ways, and I hope my music will do that.” Check out Sutta on PrideFest’s Bud Light Stage on Sunday, June 30th at 4:30 PM. v
comedian/emcee Second Stage, 6/29 12-6:00 p.m.
places and no one’s putting me on national Written by Thiago Martins de Magalhães television, so... The stand-up comedy scene is She worked in The Big Gay Sketch Show, dominated by male comedians. had appearances in The New Normal, The Is it difficult to be a female and Sopranos and RuPaul’s Drag U, was featured in three TV comedy specials, and is a Fashion lesbian comedian? Were there any Police former writer. Yes, I am talking about challenges? How did you overcome Julie Goldman, our favorite lesbian comedian them? (no offense, Ellen), who is bringing her standup show to St. Louis PrideFest. Here is a chat I had with her about her life, career and current projects.
You started doing stand-up comedy when you were 15. Have you always wanted to be a comedian? How did you start so early? I was taking an improv class in my Temple and then we had a youth group convention and we had two comedians. After the show I asked them how you get up at a comedy club and Tony V, one of the comics, told me to come down to the Comedy Connection and he would give me 5 minutes. So I went and the rest, as they say, “is a terrible mistake.”
You came out when you were 19. Was your family accepting? Did it change your professional life as a comedian? They were very accepting and annoying, all at the same time. My mom is traditional in a family sense so this was very hard for her and a huge adjustment for many family members. My brother and sister however didn’t even blink. And I have a gay uncle. Don’t we all?
When did you start incorporating gay topics into your shows? How did your audience react to it? I started incorporating gay topics pretty much as soon as I came out. The audience reaction has been a roller coaster and really now after doing it for so long I feel like I’m in control for the most part. And I don’t do stand up in super conservative
I find it to be pretty difficult but I imagine that’s how it is in every business to a certain extent. Comedy definitely has its own special misogynistic delight - and certainly gays and lez have traditionally been the brunt of many jokes. But things have change a lot and they’ve also not changed at all.
The Big Gay Sketch Show was a huge success. Were you surprised with its popularity among gay and straight audiences? I was surprised so many non gays enjoyed it. That made me feel great. Of course the community support was awesome and I wish we could have done it a few more seasons.
I read an interview in which you talk about president Obama. What are your thoughts on his presidency regarding LGBT rights? I think he is the best president this country has ever had. He is the most reasonable person I’ve ever seen in my life and if every country had an Obama this world could really be pretty amazing. I was really touched that he changed his views and whether it is true or not for him to put forth that he has changed and grown is an admirable quality in a person and especially a leader.
What other projects are you currently working on?
I’m working with Jonny McGovern on ‘Gay Pimpin’ with Jonny McGovern.’ Brandy Howard and I are still plugging away with INYOURBOXOFFICE.com and were working with Tello films on two new web series as well. My personal project is going to be to play with my look and try to do very light lady drag for future auditions.
Have you been to St. Louis before? How do you like the city? Are we a tough audience? I was in St. Louis many years ago with Jason Stuart and we had a ball. I remember the audience being totally fun.
What can we expect to see from you at PrideFest? You can expect high energy and a long ass day in the sun with a lot of gays. v
main stage, 6/30 3:40-4:10 p.m.
latrice royale of RuPaul’s Drag Race I think something we really loved about you on Drag Race was that you have such a positive outlook on life. Where do you get that from? I really get it from my mother. She influenced a lot of the values that I hold true to me. When I was younger, I didn’t understand it. But as I got older, I understood the power of it and how things would work out, even when we were in our darkest of days. She was always optimistic and held true to her beliefs, and things worked out.
Written by Matt Jamieson “Large and in charge, chunky yet funky, the bold, the beautiful, I am Latrice Royale!” With those words, we welcomed Latrice, one of the most memorable RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants to date into our hearts — winner of season four’s Miss Congeniality award, professor on RuPaul’s Drag U and one half of team Latrila on RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race. I spoke with Latrice about her drag, her friendship with Manila and of course, Pride.
Are you excited to be coming to St. Louis to celebrate Pride with us? Oh my gosh! I’ve been getting so many messages from fans and people over there and I’m really thrilled. It’ll be my first time there. I always like going some place new and there’s a lot of getting ready for St. Louis now, so, yeah I’m really excited.
On season four you and Chad Michaels fell into the role of “den mothers” and set the tone of positivity. Are you proud of what you accomplished since filming? I am thrilled and delighted. I was just always true to me, and I always I would never change who I am and let no situation I’d change who I was. I went in as me. People embraced that and I’m glad everyone got to see it, because it is what it is. I am who I am and that’s that.
One thing I love about you is you tend to do a lot of my favorite R&B artists. Is there any one thing you like to perform all the time? Any of my girls — Aretha, Gladys, Patti, Jennifer, they gotta be in my show somehow. I gotta take ‘em to church somehow. Somehow, someway we goin’ to church, one way or another!
Let’s talk a little about All Stars. Could you tell me about your friendship with Manila - you really
clicked, and you guys were able to work together and release your single “The Chop.” Manila and I had worked together, but really hung out or knew each other very much prior to that. But as we were paired up, this was a friendship that kind of blossomed and developed throughout the show. And we just kept in touch. She called me up and said “We should do something positive for when we get eliminated” and I said “You know what we should.” We collaborated on the idea and concept of the song, she went to work and wrote it and whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop!
Season five is winding down. You’re season four’s Miss Congeniality and I want to know who you’d like to see join your ranks. Ivy Winters was awarded season five’s Miss Congeniality. I was just looking to see who I would pick. I have no clue. I was thinking Honey Mahogany, but she wasn’t there enough to have real good judgment on that. Then I was thinking Ivy Winters, then no. I just don’t know.
Lastly, our Pride’s theme this year is “Celebrate the past to awaken the future.” What do you take away from that? Oh that’s fabulous! You know what it means to me? You really have to know where you’re coming from and know what’s paved the way for you. And you can celebrate right now, celebrating as a group of people that are acknowledged as working, productive people of society. We’re in a day now where the president has acknowledged us and that hasn’t happened before. We need to acknowledge the pioneers that came before us has made that possible. I think that’s a fabulous theme, that’s amazing. v
Shannel of RuPaul’s Drag Race
special guest emcee Second Stage, 6/30 2-6:30 p.m. Written by Colin Lovett Born and raised in southern California, Bryan Watkins has been performing and dazzling audiences as Shannel, a female illusionist and drag queen for the past 18 years. The diva will be a special guest emcee at this year’s PrideFest in addition to taking the stage for a special drag performance at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 30. Shannel is best known for “her” stint on Season 1 of RuPaul’s Drag Race where the temptress entertained audiences with dynamic makeup artistry, colorful costumes, a dynamo body, runway trickery and speaking out to the judges about nominating herself for elimination.
Who is Shannel? I guess I like to think of myself as being a little over-the-top. I’m a character illusionist, I started off with character illusion and then when I moved to Las Vegas I became more of a show girl. I got involved in high end couture – Alexander McQueen, etc. I’m extravagant, I’m larger-than-life and the things I wear I don’t want a lot of other people to have. I like my drag to be art—I’m a very visual person.
Tell us about your cunning, uniqueness, nerve and talent – has that changed since we all first met you on Season 1 of Drag Race? We all end up changing as life goes on. There’s definitely a lot more nerve there – I originally never wanted to compete for anything in my life. I’ve never done a national pageant or anything. Sitting behind my sewing machine – I have a very good visual eye. Talent – I definitely know how to captivate an audience. Uniqueness – I tend to like an older aesthetic – not a teeny bopper Brittney Spears – more Alexis Carrington, older movie stars, like Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo. I tend to like that as more of a look.
Speaking of the show, how do you feel about how it has evolved since Season 1? I never in a million years thought that the show would go on. The way the show has gone on has been amazing. Putting drag queens into Middle America is empowering – for so long drag took a back seat, and you would only see it in film. It’s allowed mainstream America and gay America to understand drag – it truly is an art form and needs to be appreciated. I think the show has helped clear up some of those misunderstandings and gain appreciation. I think it’s made drag a little more typical – I hear now that so many gay guys are doing or wanting to do drag – I think it’s been amazing.
Pride in St. Louis has moved downtown in 2013, which is a much more mainstream location than the LGBT friendly Tower Grove Park, where it has been the last 14 years. How has your experience from RPDR shaped your view on showing our community to the larger audience? I think it’s an amazing thing – for so many years the word gay or homosexuality was something you kept in the closet and were shunned for. As time progressed and we mature, so many people can tap into the mindsets of just because you’re gay or celebrate your life with a same sex partner doesn’t make you an outcast. The art of female impersonation has been the glue that’s bonded our community together. At Stonewall, a drag queen was the first one to throw a brick. Drag has helped bridge the gap – being downtown this year is amazing. Sometimes if you don’t put something in
someone’s face – they don’t understand or get it.
There are so many young Queens who look up to you, many of whom aspire to make it all the way to Drag Race someday – what do you have to say to them? I would say to them that it’s really important for you to stay true to who you are. It’s good to get inspiration from people you admire, but you have to stay true to who you are and what you believe in your mind. I hear from so many queens who ask questions all the time – the reality is that Drag Race is a television show. It’s about personality and who can create a great story line – not as much about the “best of the best.” You have to be really well rounded, you have to believe you have the confidence and be ready to walk into any task and complete it well to the best of your abilities. v
special guest emcee main stage, 6/29 5-9:00 p.m.
Comedy Special, which resulted in her being nominated for a Cable Ace Award. Westenhofer performs over 100 shows a year at theatres, clubs, colleges and practically any other venue that can be thought of.
So, how does it feel being known as the country’s first openly gay comedian? I honestly do not think I’m known as the country’s first openly gay comic, I think people give that title to Ellen. But there were quite a few of us working and being all open and queer before her. I’m just the first to make a fuss and be open (in 1990) in the straight clubs. In front of the straight audiences. And it was FUN. And scary...and I’m glad to have done that. I opened that door.
Written by Denny Patterson
Can you tell me how you fell into the world of comedy?
What’s the hardest part about being a comedian? Travel. It beats you up. I need my own jet!! Haha
You made a career out of telling the truth. What exactly is the truth to you? The truth to me is what is similar to us all. What we all feel – experience.
Is the truth where you get your inspiration for your material? All of my material is my life. What happens to me, my world. I don’t create my jokes...I shape them out of what happens and what I see every day.
Having no filter – does that get you in trouble? My personality can be a lot for some people to get used to. I just say stuff sometimes but I don’t get into trouble so much as to stop the conversation.
Gracing St. Louis Pride with her presence on Saturday, June 29, comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer will be emceeing on the main stage from 5-9 p.m. Known as fearless, bold and unapologetic, Westenhoefer has made a career out of telling the truth – there is no limit. Most of her work is unscripted and unrehearsed, so every night she’s on stage, it’s an unpredictable and original show.
I became a comic because I was dared to try it. It worked out. I never looked back. It was a chance to be an entertainer AND activist. Everything I wanted.
It was not hard ....ever....I have the best job in the world. Were there
What do you look forward to the most about St. Louis PrideFest?
Westenhoefer began her comedy career in the early 90s delivering gay material to straight audiences in mainstream comedy clubs in New York. She soon became the first lesbian comedian to have an HBO
people who didn’t want me to be open or who were mean or ignored me because I was out before it was popular? Yes. No biggie. Still loved doing it.
I, just hoping to be able to get everyone laughing and really enjoying STL pride. It’s their day, it should be special....I want so much to be a part of that. To bring that to everyone who attends pride!!! v
Was it difficult for you in the beginning?
Do you have a pretty big St. Louis fan base? I have no idea how large or small my St. Louis fan base is...I hope that it includes peeps from the entire LGBT community and straighties too!!!
Written by Colin Lovett
Taylor Dayne stands out as one of music’s most dynamic artists of all time and will return to PrideFest on Sunday, June 30 at 7 p.m. Her unique vocal style has earned her numerous best-selling gold and platinum albums, which produced seventeen Top 20 singles, among them number 1 hits such as “Tell It To My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back,” and “Prove Your Love.” During the course of her career, Taylor has sold more than 75 million albums and singles worldwide, garnered three Grammy nominations, and appeared in many film, television, and Broadway stage roles including Elton John’s, Aida. Taylor is also considered an exceptional songwriter; having co-penned Tina Turner’s hit “Whatever You Want.” In 2008, Taylor released her latest album, Satisfied, collaborating with major platinum selling writers Mike Mangini (Baha Men, Digable Planets, O-Town, Bruce Hornsby), Peter Wade (Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Natasha Bedingfield), as well as New Radicals’ Gregg Alexander and Rick Nowels (Stevie Nicks, Madonna, Nelly Furtado, Santana). Satisfied enjoyed great success in the USA, immediately positioning its single “Beautiful” at Billboard’s #1 slot. In 2009, Taylor contributed songs to the hit film Sex And The City 2, to be followed up in 2010 by delivering a breathtaking spectacular in Cologne, Germany where she performed “Facing A Miracle,” the official anthem of the Gay Games VIII, during an opening ceremony that ended in a five-minute standing ovation. A favorite with the fans, Rolling Stone Magazine readers voted Taylor Dayne as the number one choice to replace Paula Abdul on American Idol. In 2011, Taylor released her latest single, “Floor on Fire,” which garnered her 18th top ten Billboard hit. “Floor on Fire” currently sits at #8 on the Billboard Dance Charts. Taylor also won an HMMA award for “Change The World,” which was featured on the trailer for the Academy Award nominated film, The
Help. Taylor wrapped up 2011 with a national and international tour throughout the US and Australia.
We’re all so excited that you’re coming to town – what do you have in store for PrideFest 2013? I love the energy and enthusiasm of Pride shows, so I keep the energy up with my greatest hits…
PrideFest is being held downtown in St. Louis for the first time this year – what importance do you place on visibility in terms of LGBT equality? The event has grown and exemplifies the needs and rights of those involved. The community is expressing its support for LGBT rights.
How did your music reflect your life in the 90’s and how has that changed with your more recent works? I’ve released many singles (2001-2013) for films, The Gay Games, TV, and also worked on a full studio record that was released in 2009 ‘Satisfied’…on it reflected the maturity and growth of my life now – with being a single mom, my kids, and finding and sustaining a loving relationship.
What current projects are you working on? Currently, I’m recording new material for my greatest hits release. I am also touring throughout the spring and summer in Australia as well as the US…In Mid Aug to Mid Sept I will be starring in “Cats” for a limited run for summer theatre in NY as Grizabela the Glamour Cat.
This year’s theme for Pride
main stage, 6/30 7-7:30 p.m. is Celebrate the Past to Awaken the Future. How would you say that your past has impacted your future? Do we ever hear that in your music? LOL everything we do/did past and present effects our future. This year was very rewarding one…I won a HMMA for my song and vocal performance of “Change the World” in the film The Help. Also this last year I was honored and inducted into the NY Hall of Fame, the International DJs Hall of Fame, and also awarded for my contribution to music and my 18 top ten hits, and for 25 years of music since the release of “Tell it to my Heart.”
What of your music do you think appeals most to the LGBT Community and why? Big Voice, Big Hair, Big Lips, Big Hooks….Big Statement… :)
What’s something we don’t know about Taylor Dayne? I love Nature, the mountains and the wilderness…A little hippie girl at heart…true peace. v
Somewhere between Mardi Gras and the Christmas Tr
Let Them Eat Art
whimsical tribute to Bastille Day
Friday, July 12, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Visit www.cityofmaplewood.com/LTEA for more information Stroll through historic downtown Maplewood and you will find:
Live Art Kidsâ€™ Activities
Food and Drink Specials St. Louis favorite
Gumbohead kicks off the evening and warms you up for
The Gene Dobbs Bradford Blues Experience
n o i s is
m d A e e r F
Forest Park (314) 746-4599 mohistory.org Tickets: (314) 361-9017 or mohistory.org
Changing Minds &Hearts Written by Matt Jamieson Photography Courtesy of Davis Hammett We all know about the protest efforts of the Westboro Baptist Church, but in recent years, some amazing counter-protests have sprung up. None more incredible than the Equality House — an entire house painted as one giant rainbow, directly across from Westboro itself in Topeka, Kansas. The idea was the brainchild of Planting Peace, an international relief aid charity, whose founder was inspired by a child, who passed by the Westboro protestors during graduation at Washburn University, with a sign that read ‘God hates no one.’ “The founder of Planting Peace saw the picture and went on Google street view
to find out where they lived,” Davis Hammet, director of operations for Planting Peace said. “He saw a ‘for sale’ sign across the street and thought ‘wow what if we got a house right next to them and painted it rainbow?’ That was the initial idea.” After some discussion, it was decided the house itself could be a symbol, especially with the Supreme Court taking up the DOMA and Prop 8 cases. “We actually launched one week before those cases were heard, so we knew the house itself would be a symbol of things getting better.” Hammet said. From there, once the property was bought
and painted, Equality House took off online. “The night before launch we had the Huffington Post and Gawker here because they knew about the story,” Davis said. “We already had a heads up, we already knew we were going to make some national news. It went a lot bigger than we could ever imagine. I think what was a shock to us was how the local community has loved it. The community has embraced us. We’ve also had an amazing international response. It kind of went everywhere.” As for response from their neighbors next door, Davis has said they’ve been civil 57
you can’t picket on public lands within 50 feet, including the church grounds. They changed the hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night, seven days a week. Virtually no one can picket them, but it also prevents them from picketing others around the church. Equality House is thriving as a symbol and is planning with donations raised to implement a K-12 anti-bullying program that will “end the Silent epidemic.” The project is changing hearts and minds, inspiring a 60-year-old man to come out to his parents and giving a former Westboro member the courage to join Planting Peace in their anti-bullying efforts. about the whole thing. “On the painting day, Shirley Phelps-Roper was walking around taking pictures. I was in the yard and asked her how she liked the colors and she said she loved them, I started blowing her kisses and she walked back in the church,” he said. “They said we’re really good neighbors but they’re
better neighbors because they preach the truth. They’re really civil people in person, except for when the camera gets on them, they start screaming. We’ve only got response online, because of rules they instated themselves, prevent them picketing us. They didn’t want people picketing them, so they made a special rule where when church is in session,
and proclaim God’s love for all people! www.secondchurch.net 58
“Libby Phelps, who left the church four years ago, she stopped by to see the house,” Davis said. “We gave her a paint brush, she took some pictures. We talked about her potentially working with us. She’s going to help us do the antibullying programs. She’s a great symbol of overcoming bigotry and becoming an agent for good.” v
Gilbert Baker The of an Creator Icon 59
hen the symbolic rainbow flag made its first appearance on June 25, 1978 at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, the world knew instantly that the flag was the new declaration of Pride. The LGBT community finally had a symbol to identify with and to show solidarity – presence was claimed. The person to thank is the flag’s creator, Gilbert Baker. An artist and civil rights activist, Baker taught himself how to sew in 1972 after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. He was stationed in San Francisco at the beginning of the LGBT rights movement. As a person who always liked clothes and beautiful things, Baker wasn’t really interested in sewing until he was older. “I wanted to dress myself better,” Baker said. “I couldn’t afford the clothes I liked, so I decided to make them myself.”
After mastering a sewing machine, Baker put his skills to use by creating banners for gay and anti-war protest marches – often at a moment’s notice. It was during this time that he met and became friends with Harvey Milk. “We were both artists,” Baker said. “We both had a vision with our work. Harvey was funny in a very smart way. He had an edge to him, but not everybody got it. He was a hippie – he was wild and had a pony tail, which is why many thought he was a joke. He ran for office several times and was defeated. He then became a lot savvier with the media and the public to gain support. He understood the power of unions and the importance of the gay rights movement – he made a huge difference.” When comes to where the idea of the rainbow first began, Baker said that the rainbow connects with nature and reflects all diversity and genders within the community – it simply fit.
When the first flag was raised, it had eight colors, each with a symbolic meaning: hot pink (sexuality), red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), turquoise (magic/art), blue (serenity/harmony) and violet (spirit). “Those were the 1978 hippie colors,” Baker said. After the first appearance, Baker was being approached instantly by people asking him to make individual flags for them. The flag’s explosion as a commercial product in endless variations began. A couple of months and thousands of flags later, Baker literally ran out of pink fabric. That is when he compromised to the commercial six color version. “When I ran out of pink early, I had to make a compromise to make it more available,” Baker said. “Also, printing in the 1970s was costly. Now everything is digital and limitless, but it was
complicated and expensive back then.” Before the rainbow flag, the dominant symbol used for the LGBT community was the pink triangle. Baker believed that the idea to represent the community needed to be a flag because it’s different from a logo or symbol. “When a flag becomes something, it translates into power,” he said. “The pink triangle has such a horrible and negative origin [used to identity homosexuals during the holocaust]. It has a terrible history of persecution. That’s not exactly the genealogy of the rainbow. It answers the pink triangle in an organic and powerful way.” When Baker moved to New York City in 1994, he created a mile long rainbow flag in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riot‘s 25th anniversary. Measuring 30 x 5280 ft. and carried by 5000 people, it broke the record for the world’s largest flag. This became a worldwide media event.
hated to love and acceptance and gives speeches and lectures about the flag and LGBT history to cities around the world. He is currently writing a memoir about his life as the flag’s creator.
more accepted and a future of modern life. From being considered criminals to citizens. Some places in the world, we’re still fighting and struggling. Our work is not over.
Baker also keeps a close eye on current events. When asked about his opinion on the Supreme Court listening to arguments about DOMA and Proposition 8, he said, “I hope that we win of course. We’ll see. I don’t really know what to think of that. My father was a judge and I love law, but we’ll see what happens.
The topic of bullying is also a topic Baker is concerned about.
“Even if we don’t win, in the long term, more and more people believe it’s okay. They are leaving their prejudices and hatred behind. That’s something we made happen individually. We’re becoming
“I was always bullied, I completely get it,” he explained. “I had a horrible childhood. I know that it’s better for people now because there’s more of a chance to reach out. When I grew up, I thought I was the only one. I felt very isolated. It’s different now – bullying links everybody. People who all have individual experiences of coming out to themselves connects everyone. That’s the thread that holds the rainbow.” v
Baker broke his own record in 2003 when he created a rainbow flag that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean in Key West. This was in honor of the flag’s 25th anniversary. Afterwards, Baker didn’t know what to do with the flag, so he allowed people to tear and take pieces of the flag home with them. By the next year, pieces of that flag ended up in more than 100 cities around the world. “To see all the work put into it blow in the wind blew my mind,” Baker said. “The first day it was up in the air was magical. I didn’t know how long it would take, but I knew it would happen. I’m very happy to do the work and make it happen. It’s more than I could dream. To have it taken from a dream to a reality is pretty cool.” Even though Baker has numerous works on his list, he never stops evolving the rainbow flag. It has become a force in the world. “It just happens, it’s not really a planned thing,” he said. “It’s not like I wake up and think this and that. A lot of times I see something I really like and it just happens. It’s all been a process.”
People who all have individual experiences of coming out to themselves connects everyone. That’s the thread that holds the rainbow.
Baker currently lives in New York and his main message is about human rights. He didn’t create the flag for money or recognition, but to change the world from
Written by Janae Johnson
produced by Vital voice & alive magazine Friday- 6/28
ULTRA ULTRA ULTRA The VIP event during Pride weekend
Produced by Vital VOICE & ALIVE Magazine
Lumen Private Event Space 2201 Locust Street http://www.Ultra2013.eventbrite.com It’s your favorite VIP party of Pride Weekend! ULTRA (formerly known as The White Party) is back St. Louis and you don’t have to wear white! ULTRA is excited to announce its new downtown location Lumen. Now, don’t go to hard at Lumen because the official after party is at Just John in The Grove. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will benefit the Human Rights Campaign. So we’ve got a great party, new location and it benefits an amaze organization. Be there!
FRIDAY | JUNE 28, 2013
Lumen Private Event Space | 2201 Locust Street
2nd annual kick off for national pride month, thurs. 6/6 TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT ULTRA2013.EVENTBRITE.COM
Grand Center, FREE event
It’s that time again St. Louis. National PRIDE Month! Last year, Vital VOICE kicked off the month of all that is fabulous and flamboyant at Grand Center! We’re back again this year and we’re doing it bigger and better! DJ Timmy B is back and he will be spinning all night! Pride St. Louis, Metro East Pride and St. Louis Black Pride will all be on hand to celebrate. Pride St. Louis will be honoring their Community Service Award recipients. A Cash Bar and light appetizers will be available courtesy of KOTA Wood Fire Grill. We also have a few surprises in store for you squirrels, so come out of the closet and start Pride month off right with your fellow LGBTers!
6th annual Metro East Pride Festival, Sat. 6/22 http://metroeastprideswi.com/ Hey there, Metro East LGBTers, come out for the 6th Annual PrideFest in historic downtown Belleville. Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois is a social and educational organization committed to the advocacy and empowerment of the LGBT community. The annual festival includes local entertainment, food, community orgs. & vendors from across the region. So cross that bridge in celebration of the entire Metro East community!
Gateway Men’s Chorus presents Celebrate!, Fri. 6/21- Sat. 6/22 Edison Theatre, 6465 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63105 http://www.gmcstl.org/tickets/celebrate Join Gateway Men’s Chorus for a musical journey celebrating self, community and love! Hear classics such as Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive and Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors! The show is a tribute to the men and women who have bravely walked before us and a testament to the youth who are just now coming into their own. Celebrate! Will also feature the Saint Louis debut of a new piece by Steven Schwartz, the acclaimed composer of WICKED and GODSPELL. Get your tickets before they’re gone!
CHARIS Night, tues. 6/25 The Opera, 8 pm- 11 pm http://www.opera-stl.org/CHARIS Great theatre, great music and supporting a great organization! Join Opera Theatre Saint Louis and CHARIS for a special fundraising event at the Opera. The evening starts with a special performance of Champion followed by cocktails with the chorus and a private performance in the tent in the Opera Theatre gardens! 25% of the proceeds from all tickets purchased via the www.experienceopera.org/CHARIS will be donated to CHARIS. It will be a summer night in June you won’t want to miss!
34th annual pride st. louis, 6/29- 6/30 http://pridestl.org/ Downtown St. Louis, watch out! Pride Festival is taking over Soldiers Memorial and it’s time to “Celebrate the Past to Awaken the Future”. This year St. Louis celebrates 34 years of PrideFest. The growth in the attendance of PrideFest has truly been amazing and it’s beautiful to see the community come together and celebrate. Here’s to another one!
New Kids on the Block, sun. 6/30 http://www.scottradecenter.com/events-tickets/2013/nkotb.html Boys boys boys! This sexy tour of testosterone is coming through St. Louis to heat up the Scottrade Center. New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men will make you sing, dance, and sweat the night away. No better way to wrap of Pride month, then with your favorite boys of the 90s!
Dr. Sharon Fitelson & Dr. Gregory Neff 40+ Years of Wellness Experience
ACUPUNCTURE 7800 Clayton Road 1/4mi. E of the Galleria
(314) 644-2081 www.IMHC.com 63
Photography by Mikey Berner
Diana Steveson & Tina Baecht at Rehab
Bruce Miller, Evan Rice, Curtis Blankenship & Ethan Hoffman at Novaks
Destiny Wright, Michelle Koch & Jenna Williams at Rehab
Kevin Castleberry & Matt Harper at Soulard Bastille 64
Dr. Jay Joern & Dr. Patrick Dawson at Hamburger Maryâ€™s
Scene & Styling
Angela Jordan & Casey Calcaterra at Rehab Bar and Grill
P.J. Brewer, Rhea Kuuleialohalani & Deirdre Oliver at Rehab
Rick Bartlett & Mike Camp at Rehab Bar and Grill
Tony Reilly at Schnucks
Kimberly Reuther, Jeff Kapfer & Briana Bobo at Niche STL Richard Darling & Rich at JJâ€™s Clubhouse
AudiUsa.com/Parktown *Based on brightness comparison to the sun and 5,500 K burning temperature. †LED lights are more eﬃcient than standard xenon lights 67 based on light-emitting diodes for all light functions. Full LED headlights are an optional upgrade. “Audi,” “A8,” “Truth in Engineering,” the Audi Singleframe grille design, and the four rings and Audi emblems are registered trademarks of AUDI AG.thevitalVOICE.com ©2011 Audi of America, Inc.
a landmark world premiere event
champion By Five-Time Grammy Award-Winning Composer Terence Blanchard & Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Michael Cristofer
JUNE 15, 19, 21, 25, 27, 30
Fighter, lover, hero – one of America’s first professional athletes to step out of the closet. Based on the true story of 1962’s World Welterweight Champion emile Griffith. Discretion is advised due to adult themes and language.
SUPPORT THESE NONPROFITS AT CHAMPION TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 8PM · TeAM SAinT LouiS · ProMo
· CHAriS, THe ST. LouiS WoMen’S CHoruS
· GATeWAy Men’S CHoruS
· ST. LouiS Pride
Purchase at opera-stl.org/fundraiser and 25% of your full price ticket purchase will be donated back to the organization of your choice.
FREE FILM SCREENING | TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 7PM Watch Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story at the Missouri History Museum and stay after for a Q&A with composer Terrance Blanchard.
A L S O I N T H E w E L L S FA R G O A Dv I S O R S 2 0 1 3 F E S T I vA L S E A S O N
the pirates of penzance
pagliacci & il tabarro
June 6, 9, 12, 14, 22, 26, 29
June 1, 5, 7, 13, 19, 23, 25, 29
June 16, 20, 22, 26, 28
All operas are sung in English and performed with members of the famed St. Louis Symphony.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis gratefully acknowledges 2013 season presenting sponsor
Single Tickets Start at Only $25. Subscriptions Start at Only $75. ExperienceOpera.org
The Annual PRIDE Issue - Vital VOICE Magazine - St. Louis, MO