Lea DeLaria Naked ONE DAY CHANGES EVERYTHING Bowood : a Green Revolution
This issue is dedicated to
‘ n THiS ISSUE
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One Day Changes Everything Something to CROW about Lea DeLaria Naked! LIVE + CREATE: Bowood Farm Date Place: The Fountain on Locust Scene & Styling Non-profit of the month: PROMO
Volume 11, Issue 4 Contributors Index Colin Murphy – Writer Darin Slyman – Publisher/Editor Corey Stulce – Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Nichols – Photography Tess Tulley – Director of Business Affairs Reinhard Zapfe – Photography email@example.com Amanda Wichern – Intern Jeff Kapfer – Design Chris Weiss – Intern firstname.lastname@example.org Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Web Editor email@example.com R. Lee Bond – Associate Editor RLeeBond@gmail.com Drew Baumgartner – Marketing/Vital VISION Dbaumgartner05@gmail.com Karla Robinson – Marketing KarlaRobinson12@yahoo.com CONTACT Vital VOICE Magazine 4579 Laclede Avenue #268 Saint Louis, MO 63108 VitalVOICEmag@gmail.com 314.256.1196
ONLINE thevitalvoice.com facebook.com/VitalVOICE twitter.com/VitalVOICEmag youtube.com/TheVitalVISION ADVERTISING Tesstulley@thevitalvoice.com 314.256.1196 (office) ADVISORY BOARD William A. Donius Thom Halter Colin Murphy Jay Perez Pam Schneider Kellie Trivers Sharon Tucci
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Friends, Vital VOICE is pleased to bring international comedian / cabaret songbird, Lea Delaria to St. Louis this month. You can catch her show on April 16 and 17 at NP, located at 4510 Manchester. For advance tickets log onto BrownPaperTicket.com/event/100925. The Belleville native’s show is sure to shock and awe while tickling your funny bone. I am also excited to announce that Vital VOICE will be this year’s presenting media sponsor for PRIDE FEST St. Louis. What’s more, we will also be producing the official 2010 PRIDE GUIDE. This special edition will be chalk-full of anything and everything PRIDE. It can also serve as an amazing vehicle to market your business to over 80,000 people, all the while showing your support for your LGBT community. Contact our offices for more information: 314.256.1196 or VitalVOICEmag@gmail.com. Last month we launched our new video web-channel, Vital VISION. Each month Executive Producer, Drew Baumgartner and On-Air-Hostess, Dieta Pepsi, will bring you the funniest and most informative webisode covering The Lou’s LGBT community. If you haven’t checked it out, log onto: youtube.com/TheVitalVision and prepare to laugh until it hurts. I would also like to give big congratulations to my Senior Writer/Web Editor, Colin Murphy who on March 12 legally married his long-time-partner, Kurt Ross. Colin and Kurt were among 17 couples that traveled on the Iowa marriage bus organized by Scott Emanuel and Ed Reggi. Vital VOICE wishes much love and happiness to all on your historic nuptials. Cheers,
Darin Slyman Publisher
1 Out of 10 Ain’t Bad!
Written By Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Web Editor Photography By Reinhard Zapfe
To date, Scott Emanuel and Ed Reggi of Show Me No Hate have ferried some 48 same-sex couples on three chartered buses to legally wed in Iowa. What’s more — they’ve helped an additional 50 couples navigate the paperwork and bureaucracy to make the trip and marry on their own. That’s almost 100 St. Louis area gay and lesbian couples who’ve tied the knot in The Hawkeye State over the past year — impressive. The story of Scott and Ed and the Marriage Bus is told in the new documentary short, “Heartland Transport”, which is showing at Gay and Lesbian film festivals across the country and debuted at The Tivoli, March 28 at the third annual Q Fest. In April 2009 the Iowa Supreme court unanimously upheld the ruling holding that there was no governmental interest in denying citizens marriage licenses based on their sexual orientation. Accordingly, Scott and Ed decided to get married in Iowa before the legislature there could pass a yet-to-be-established residency requirement. But when other gay and lesbian couples showed an interest in going as well, the idea of the Marriage Bus was born.
On May 1, 2009, Scott and Ed led 16 same-sex couples, clergy, family, friends and media on the historic first ride to Iowa City. Later that fall, on Oct. 2, the duo took another busload with 14 couples to legally tie the knot. On March 12, 2010, a third bus of 17 couples, supporters and media made the trek with yours truly and my nowhusband, Kurt Ross along for the ride. To borrow the phrase from Scott — “One day changes everything.” Like many of you, Kurt and I have been together for a good, long while (12 years) and considered ourselves “married” despite the law. For when we first got together, not a single state offered Civil Unions — let alone marriage equality — so it’s been a long and moving journey to the altar in Iowa. We boarded the bus at 5 a.m. outside of the MCC Church on Broadway. I couldn’t sleep the night before and hoped to nap on the bus. But our minds raced with excitement as we headed up Highway 61 and sleep could wait. While passing through Bowling Green my mind turned to family. Eight generations are buried there. My fifth great grandfather, Robert Irvine is the oldest and his father fought in the Revolutionary War. These were hearty, independent-minded pioneers, and as we rolled by — a new generation seeking his place at the American table — I was mindful and took them with me. For those who don’t know me, I place a great deal of importance on history. Kurt does, too — hence the good fit. So when we and our fellow travelers picked up our marriage licenses at the Johnson County Iowa Recorders Office and made our way to the church, we did not walk alone. With us were the generations of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals who did not live to see this day. For we stand astride the shoulders of foremothers and forefathers who lived and loved and fought to prepare the ground. We walked down the aisle with future generations in mind — generations who will no doubt marvel that we had to leave family and friends behind and drive to another state to be married. Just before she married us, Rabbi Susan Talve shared with Kurt and me that she’d been performing same-sex unions for 30-years and how it broke her heart that they weren’t legal. It is Susan’s hope that these legal marriages in Iowa are somehow healing the soul of our nation. For injustice is an affront to Democracy’s ideal, and, as our long and imperfect history shows us, America eventually gets it right. Throughout our own ceremony and bearing witness to 16 glorious others; there wasn’t a dry eye in the church that day. While there remains much work to be done — on that day, you could feel the yoke of inequality loosen its grip one state and one marvelous marriage at a time. In the end it was the story of two people and one love. We each took separate journeys spanning two to 32 years, and when we looked into our partners’ eyes, in the presence of our tribe, and with the blessing of the of the great state of Iowa, we said, “I do.” Indeed, one day changes everything. Marriage Bus 4 is scheduled for Friday, May 7. For more information check out showmenohate.com
Something to CROW About Written By Colin Murphy – Senior Writer/Web Editor As Vital VOICE Magazine hits the streets, we will know the result of the April 6 election for which University City Councilman, Terry Crow has been campaigning hard this past year to become University City Mayor. The attorney and business owner has handily outspent his two opponents and, if successful, will become Missouri’s lone openly gay mayor. “I’ve lived in University City now for 16 years, and I guess in some ways it would be important to be an openly gay mayor,” said Crow, who is endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. “But now today, I think, what happens in City Hall is the important part — all of the work we do in the Council Chamber.” Born and raised in the small Northwest Missouri town of Farber, Crow credits his parent’s love and support to his becoming the first member of his family to go to college and later law school. The former president and CEO of Edward Jones Trust Company, CEO of the Guarantee Trust Company of Missouri and lawyer in the Jefferson City firm of Hawkins, Brydon & Swearengen, Crow is presently a partner at Crow Takacs in St. Louis and the owner of several Great Clips hair salons. A lifetime of volunteerism mirrors Crow’s extensive legal and financial background. He recently received the Michael Edlin Award from Doorways, a non-profit which offers supportive housing for people with HIV/AIDS and has also served on Doorways’ board of directors for nearly 10 years, five of which as chair. Crow has served on the local Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign and serves on the executive committee of Planned Parenthood as investment committee chair, treasurer
and chair of the finance committee. He recently completed a 12year term on Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ board of directors where he was chair of the finance and investment committees. Many Vital VOICE readers were first introduced to Crow when we profiled his campaign for 64-District State Representative in 2004. While he did not win his primary, Crow learned a great deal and in 2008 was elected to The University City Council, representing the first ward. “Since I’ve been on Council I have truly enjoyed working with all of my peers and I think I’ve done a very good job of coming up with compromises that have allowed us to move forward on several issues,” offered Crow. “Serving on the City Council has been a great deal of fun,” he continued. “I’ve enjoyed it even more than I expected to. Though I will tell you that with the budget issues that all of our municipalities are facing, we are going to have to continue making tough choices and that is not going to be much fun.” In fact, the economy is the number one issue Crow hears about when talking with voters. University City was at the front edge of the economic downturn and, according to Crow, has had to eliminate 37 positions over the past two years. “That has of course been a challenge in continuing to maintain services but also has helped us weather the storm,” explained Crow. “Going forward, we will continue to have to make 9 decisions about do we make cuts across the board or do we
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make strategic cuts and not provide some services. When you have two thirds of your budget going to police and fire — and we don’t have any plans at all to cut police and fire — then most of the cuts come from other services.” University City is one of our region’s most diverse communities and, according to Crow, its residents take a great deal of pride in that fact. Indeed, the home of the famed Delmar Loop has proven a perfect fit for Crow, his long-time partner, Tom Peters, who serves on the University City School Board, and their children. “We’re so blessed because nobody in our lives really thinks anything of Tom and Terry and two kids. It’s just not been an issue,” stated Crow. Crow embraces the old shoe-leather-style of campaigning, spending weekends door knocking and holding candidate coffees. Crow and Peters’ two children have also gotten in on the act as the first- and third-graders spend evenings helping their dads assemble over 800 “Crow for Mayor” yard signs. “I think my kids are done with the yard signs,” quipped Crow. Crow has been blown away at the excitement over his candidacy, where 20-30 volunteers show up each weekend to canvass neighborhoods. For in the end, Crow’s candidacy is more than just balanced budgets, though important — it’s about people.
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“When I first was brought to St. Louis my real estate agent said Terry, I think you would love to live in University City, I think it’s the right place for you,” recalled Crow. “And I have to tell you I think she was right. And my goal and I think Tom’s goal is for us to invest as much as we can back into our community that’s been very good to us and make our city a better place for our kids.” For more information check out terrycrowformayor.com
Naked! Written By Corey Stulce
Perhaps she’ll walk out as Lea Gaga, with transparent, round bubble balloons hot-glued to her frame, or maybe she’ll just strut out bare-ass nekkid and drape herself over a baby grand, her pink parts a’swayin’ as she croons, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” After all, the show is titled “Lea DeLaria is Naked.” Either way, the hometown return of Lady Lea will be ripe with guffaws, she said. “Let’s just say the second I walk onstage the whole place will erupt with laughter,” the Belleville, Ill., native shared, while basking on a Mexican balcony. While the St. Louis area was suffering through a typical winter— smack-in-the-face wind, snow drifts and slushy fun on Highway 40—DeLaria and her musical director/girlfriend, Janette Mason, were enjoying a nine-week run in Puerto Vallarta, treating hammered gays to show tunes and bawdy jokes. Nice work if you can get it. Of course, such has been the life of wine and roses (or tequila and daffodils) for Lea over the last three decades, once she packed up the car with only a few bucks in her pocket and headed for the city by the Bay, San Francisco. Why, if teen Lea back in Belleville in the ’70s could have rubbed the crystal ball, she would have been thinking, score! “I’m getting pussy! I’m getting the girls, baby!” she laughed. “Everybody I know went into performance because they had something to say. I just went into it for the punani!” She’s kidding, of course. Sort of. “Something everyone hated, Lea was always able to get the prettiest, hottest girl in the room, even before she was anybody,” said photographer Deb Sander, Lea’s friend of 36 years. “I watched her once. It’s her confidence, her aura. “I call it her swagger.”
“A lot of people couldn’t take it. After five minutes, ‘Mommy, make it stop,’” Lea laughed. Heck, her favorite dirty joke remains: “Little boy sittin’on a bench. Pretty soon a pedophile sits down next to him. He says, ‘Hey little boy, want a piece of candy?’ And the boy says, ‘I’ll suck your dick for the whole bag.’ I’m gonna get in so much trouble!” she howled. So, to balance the bawdy, Lea sang. Her dad was a jazz singer. She would join him as a youngster, and in high school Lea was always performing, she said, indoctrinated into the International Les … er, Thespian Society. “Lea was the rare bird, popular with all the groups: the jocks, stoners, the theater group … even the cheerleaders liked her. Of course, they didn’t realize then why they liked her,” Deb, who is producing “Lea … is Naked,” recalled. “She was a pretty large personality, but not as large as she’s become.” With every big political movement comes a cultural movement, and the dawn of AIDS brought gay voices to the stage, with playwrights like Harvey Fierstein and comics such as Kate Clinton and singer-comedians like Sandra Bernhard and, of course, Lea. But it was DeLaria who kicked through another door as she became the first out comedian to appear on a late-night talk show, “The Arsenio Hall Show,” in 1993. “All joking aside when I said I wanted to get laid - though that was important. We had things to say, that’s why we went into it. None of us wanted ‘The Tonight Show,’” Lea said. “It didn’t start happening until I did get the late-night talk show. Then it started. Everyone wanted to get on (them) or a sitcom. Somehow, I feel like I ruined it,” she added with a titter. Rather than seek a weekly sitcom – “That Gay Girl?” or “The Flying Bulldagger” perhaps? - Lea channeled her inner Elaine Stritch, and her popular cabaret eased into a mix of comedy and music. She took jazz standards like Peggy Lee’s “Why Don’t You Do Right?” for a welcome spin and turned rock staples from Patti Smith, Soundgarden and Jane’s Addiction into smoky, boozy club classics.
It didn’t take long for Lea to score—a job anyway. Not long after arriving in California, she was hosting the ground-breaking gay comedy night at the Valencia Rose, and soon was able to quit her day job as a construction worker and make a full-time living as a performer.
It was only fitting that the former thespian would make it to ol’ Broadway.
Lea would sometimes come to the stage with an acoustic guitar – the weapon of choice for open-mic-night lesbians - only to smash it. She was tired of that played-out stereotype, women spilling their guts through sad sack song, she said.
In 1998, DeLaria co-starred in the revival of “On the Town” as Hildy the cab driver. Her onstage amour was Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who now plays Mitchell, one-half of the adorable gay couple on the ABC hit “Modern Family.”
“I wanted to punch them in the nose! Where was their rage? I was rageful,” Lea said. “That’s why gay men love me so much more than women do. Women are scared of me.”
“To see this little portly woman, at the time, with a little dress and high heels singing about how she was gonna rock this man’s world was hilarious to us,” said Deb, who attended opening night. “She stole the show.”
Early live Lea saw her donning a too-big man’s suit, a layered chili bowl haircut and an in-your-face ’tude. She paced the stage, spewing hilarious vulgarities. Had she ever been in it, she woulda smashed through that closet door, turning it to toothpicks with a Louisville Slugger, like, as her first album suggests, a bulldyke in a China shop.
The Great White Way didn’t morph DeLaria into a devilish diva, and she never gave up her smart mouth either, according to former co-star, Daphne Rubin-Vega, another Broadway vet, who13 originated the role of Mimi in “Rent.”
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“The cast was broken after Lea (was made), and that’s a good thing,” she said. “She sings from her toes.” DeLaria and Rubin-Vega were cast in the 2000 production of “The Rocky Horror Show” with Daphne as Magenta and Lea playing the dual role of a fierce Dr. Scott and a mean Eddie.
“Lea was on it. We were onstage when 9/11 happened. It was incredibly odd in a show like ‘Rocky Horror.’ Suddenly, everything had a different tone; there was an apocalyptic meaning,” Rubin-Vega said. Lea thinks that if not for 9/11, she would still be singing “Hot Patootie” in “Rocky.” But then she wouldn’t be performing at Nancy’s Place for two nights this month. “The music for this show, I’m really excited about. It’s gonna be extremely funny,” Lea said. “Let the boys know, there will be show tunes.”
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Bowood : a Green Revolution &
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Written By Amanda Wichern Photography By Richard Nichols
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As spring approaches, The Central West End’s Bowood Farms has bloomed itself into its fourth year of business. And the unique farm/greenhouse/café has grown quite popular for more reasons than the quality of their plants. One thing that tends to slip people’s minds while living in the city is not having the accessibility to gardens, farms or greenhouses. Bowood Farms is centrally located and quite the attraction and hotspot for city folk or out-of-towners. The fourth-generation family owned business started by the McPheeters offers all of the above and then some. With the eco-friendly phenomenon all the rage, Bowood Farms started the theory ahead of the game as a wholesale supplier in 1989 in Clarksville, Missouri. In 2006 the family found the perfect spot to bring a little taste of the country to the Gateway City. Located in an old auto repair building from the 1920s, Bowood Farms’ bright and open, natural-light-exterior is the perfect spot for a specialty greenhouse. Windows bordering the building give the perfect amount of natural sunlight to the plants and allow all natural lighting to take part in the success of the green business. Along with natural lighting, Bowood Farms also incorporates heated floors and fans as the heating and cooling system. Handmade fixtures, shelving and recycled plant carriers are seen throughout the gift shop as the units for the merchandise. Ellen Barredo, horticulture manager for Bowood Farms, said the McPheeters had the revolution long before the green theory became popular. Not only is the greenery side of the business what keeps people coming back for more, but the addition of Café Osage enables customers to enjoy the entire afternoon at Bowood Farms. The menu is unique in itself — offering a variety of choices based on the hot plants, herbs, fruits or vegetables currently in season. “The café has made out-of-towners more willing to come and spend the day here,” Barredo explained. “It has become a destination.” The well-known uniqueness of the restaurant is based on the bison meat that is served and for sale. The meat is from the bison located on the Bowood Farm in Clarkesville and can be bought in frozen
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steaks, ground meat, jerky and snack sticks. Bison meat is low in calories, low in fat and low in cholesterol. The bison raised at Bowood Farms are all grass fed, USDA certified and are not given any kind of steroids, antibiotics or growth hormones. Bowood Farms offers a variety of plants and herbs from citrus trees to basil and a wide range of hard-to-find tropical plants. Along with the gardens and greenhouses, the Bowood Farms building has two rooftop gardens where plants and herbs are also produced. This place is growing from head to toe — literally. Bowood Farms was ahead of the game on the green revolution and continues to offer a breath of fresh air to the metropolitan area. “The family was interested in this part of the city… There weren’t any businesses like this in the area. The city is growing. It’s not dead,” explained Barredo.
We are taught as children to throw a coin into a fountain and make a wish. Well there’s a different kind of fountain in town, and it’s the perfect date place come true. Located on the old Automotive Row, The Fountain on Locust offers all necessary aspects for a fun, successful, eventful date. The romantic hand-painted interior takes you back in time to the old Hollywood days with contemporary rectangular lampshades and the classic bar stool saloon setup. What was once a popular trend in the 1970s has found its sweet way-back-in. The Fountain on Locust is sure to bring out the kid in you and your date. All of the food — other than the ice cream — served at The Fountain on Locust is made from scratch with the best ingredients. Hence, there are no corn syrup additives in any of the recipes.
PLACE: Written by Amanda Wichern. Photography by Richard Nichols.
The Fountain On Locust A Fountain Made of Sweets
The ice cream used at The Fountain on Locust is special ordered from a distributor in Wisconsin. Owner Joy Christensen searched the country for that perfect dairy flavor to serve. The ice cream is the only ice cream in the nation that is aged to perfection. Mom always said, “No dessert until you eat your dinner.” But there are no exceptions at The Fountain on Locust. Start the evening out with a little taste of dessert with an ice cream martini like the Orange Dreamsicle for $7.99. Take the chance early on to get a little closer to your date by grabbing two straws and sharing the Champagne Float for $7.59 or an ice cream soda for $3.89. And if it’s a special occasion with that special someone try out the Love Potion #9 martini — you’re sure to go head over heels (for the drink that is). After indulging in a pre-dessert try the house-made Mixed Salad Sandwich accompanied with a side of your choice like the Stutz Salad with spinach, mandarin oranges, walnuts and goat cheese tossed in a house-made mandarin dressing. Not in a sandwich or salad mood? — Try the Pesto Chicken topped with The Fountain on Locust’s popular, all-natural pesto sauce, made-from-scratch for only $8.99. Christensen said she wanted a restaurant with food that people didn’t feel guilty eating. “We want you to feel good when you leave the restaurant,” Christensen explained. There is always that point in every date where you take a bathroom break to let a friend know how it’s going. This is one break you won’t want to skip at The Fountain on Locust, no matter how good the date is going. One bathroom is painted in a soft elegant pink with light airy bubbles on the walls and a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The stall doors are glossy black saloon doors accessorized with shiny accents. After the bathroom break, get on to the good stuff — more ice cream for dessert. The Sweet Annina Twist is a decadent dessert full of mouthwatering flavors. Ask for two spoons and dive in with your date to devour the orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream with housemade hot fudge and raspberry syrup topped off with real whipped cream. The flavors explode in your mouth one-by-one for $6.59. The Fountain on Locust will be a contributor to Dining Out for Life on April 29. So forget what mom said about not eating dessert until you eat your dinner, and grab a date to indulge in the sweet flavors and atmosphere at The Fountain on Locust. For more information visit fountainonlocust.com
Dieta Pepsi Fan Appreciation Party
On March 13th, Vital VOICE was honored to celebrate Dieta Pepsi and her 25-years of female impersonation. Dietaâ€™s stellar contribution to the community was feted at the Complex Nightclub and sponsored by Malibu Rum. Attendees were treated to VIP gift bags, free shots and of course a jaw dropping performance from the lady of the evening. If that wasnâ€™t enough, Shawn N Shawn karaoke were in the house having people give their best Dieta impersonations. Next time you see Dieta, give her a big congratulations on her long-standing commitment to the LGBT community.
The Birds & The Bees
Flocks of painted birds and swarms of handmade glass bees surrounded the 200+ revelers and art lovers at PHD Gallery for the Springtime opening of â€œThe Birds & the Bees.â€? Gallery owner Philip Hitchcock hosted the fantasy event (on view until April 24) which featured the lighthearted bird paintings of Jeff Kapfer and the flameworked glass sculpture of Karen Woodward. For more information visit phdstl.com or call 314.664.6644
Vital VOICE dedicates this issue to our Non-profit of the month
PROMO and LGBT Equality in Missouri 2009-2010 The struggle for equality for the LGBT community continued unabated in Missouri in 2009, continuing into 2010. PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT civil rights, lobbying and education organization, was at the forefront of advocating for the LGBT community’s legislative agenda. On Wednesday, March 24, hundreds of LGBT persons and straight allies converged on the State Capitol in Jefferson City to be part of PROMO’s LGBT Lobby Day, an annual event that brings equality-minded Missourians together with their elected officials to discuss advancing the cause of equality in the Show Me State. The main initiatives that PROMO is advancing in Jefferson City are the Missouri Non-discrimination Act (MONA) and the Safe Schools Bill. MONA would add sexual orientation and gender identity as categories protected under the law currently protects Missourians from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and disability. Last year MONA had its first hearing in a Senate committee in eight years. This year MONA was introduced in the House with 53 sponsors and has already had a Senate hearing. It will likely move to the floor of one or both chambers as an amendment to a spending bill and so will be voted on by both the State House and Senate for the first time in years. Safe Schools would mandate that school districts have anti-bullying polices in place that require school officials to inquire of kids who victimize others if the perceived race, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender expression of the victim was a factor in their decision to attack them. This bill was introduced in the House with 60 sponsors and will also likely be voted upon as an amendment to another bill. As this story goes to press, the Safe Schools bill is set to have its first hearing in the Senate since 2006. In both cases the number of sponsors has grown each year, and sponsorship is bi-partisan. Even if the bills do not pass this year as amendments, the fact that they will be considered on the floor of one or both chambers is very important as it will force the opponents of equality for the LGBT community to make their case and the record in ways that their opponents in future elections will be able to use to their advantage. Further, there have been increasing calls for Governor Jay Nixon to issue an Executive Order barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees. This would be more than a symbol for persons who work for the state of Missouri, but it would have enormous significance throughout the state in terms of government an ethical standard that should apply to all our citizens. Outside of the legislative work, PROMO continues to work for LGBT inclusion in other venues around the state. In 2009 Attorney General Chris Koster appointed Joan Gummels as LGBT Liaison within the newly created Civil Rights Enforcement Division. This is the first time a statewide liaison position has been established for the LGBT community. PROMO has been meeting with Gummels on a monthly basis to discuss progress on issues affecting the LGBT community and the AG office.
Also in 2009 the Missouri Housing Development Commission, under the leadership of PROMO PAC endorsed State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, votes to add sexual orientation protections to funding requirements on housing projects. Much of the reason why the LGBT community has been able to make progress on these and other initiatives is that PROMO’s Executive Director, AJ Bockelman, has become a constant presence in Jeff City, both during the legislative session and in the off season. His ability to attend hearings, meet with legislators, and work with officials in the executive branch has gone a long way to advancing the equality agenda. Throughout Missouri PROMO’s work has contributed to advancements for equality on the local level including: • Columbia City Council votes unanimously in favor of a • Domestic Partner Registry. • The Kansas City Police Commissioners reinstate Domestic Partner Benefits. • Saint Louis City passes an ordinance requiring municipal works contracts over $1 million to carry a nondiscrimination clause inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. • Centralia, home of one of the few out transgender elected officials in the country, takes up debate on a nondiscrimination ordinance. While there’s still a long way to go, the LGBT community in Missouri has made great strides toward equality. For more information on PROMO’s work for equality throughout Missouri, go to promoonline.org
May 8 at the Rialto Ballroom Centene Center for the Arts in Grand Center 3547 Olive Street, Grand Center VIP Reception at 7:30pm ($125-$150) Main Event from 9:30pmâ€“1:30am ($35-$50)
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Lea Delaria, Vital VOICE Magazine, St. Louis, MO