Introducing the 2024 Out in STL Pride Issue

Chris Andoe (Photo by Rodney Wilson).

Chris Andoe (Photo by Rodney Wilson).

In the HBO series We’re Here, three drag queens who weren’t even in drag at the time traveled to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where they were not allowed to film indoors anywhere in town. Even in friendly spaces, business owners were too scared they’d be the next target in the culture wars raging in much of red America. After all, in nearby Tulsa, a donut shop was firebombed after hosting a drag event.

Our Time to Shine is the latest issue of Out in STL magazine.

Our Time to Shine is the latest issue of Out in STL magazine.

We can take life in our blue oasis for granted, but as the groundbreaking Gateway to Pride exhibit shows us, our vibrant St. Louis LGBTQ+ community didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen by accident. It happened because of generations of contributions and struggle.

As the nation’s fourth largest city, St. Louis provided the anonymity to be different and offered vibrant underground scenes. As the city emptied out and crumbled with the rise of suburbia, many LGBTQ+ people, drawn by the established community and enchanted by the faded grandeur, moved here and revived the Central West End, Lafayette Square and Soulard, to name a few.

On a mile-long strip of historic, boarded-up buildings, we opened businesses, laying the groundwork for what would become the hottest district in town, the Grove. We built mighty organizations, became politically involved and created a thriving nightlife scene where you can see a variety of drag shows even on a Monday. We cultivated queens so fierce, they even knock wigs back in Jefferson City. This Pride Month, there’s so much going on — from parties to theater to exhibits to festivals to protests — that even the most plugged-in are overwhelmed.

When a longshot politician recently tried to bring the culture wars to Soulard, saying “Don’t be weak and gay” in a video while jogging through the district in a tactical vest, it backfired miserably, generating global headlines referring to Soulard as an LGBTQ+ neighborhood. And last November, the City of St. Louis scored a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for the 12th year in a row.

While the city is the epicenter of our community, we also thrive across our 13-county bistate metropolitan area of nearly three million, as evidenced by our seven regional Pride organizations and the meteoric rise of SIRenity Farm. In this issue, we honor some of the people who are making an impact across this region — people the next generations may see in history exhibits.

For those visiting from far and wide for Pride, thinking you might like to become part of our story, welcome. We’ve been expecting you.

Read the stories from the issue online now:

The 10 Most Influential People in LGBTQ+ St. Louis in 2024

St. Louis’ Tumara Mahorning Is the Last Bitch Standing

A Guide to St. Louis Pride in 2024

Missouri History Museum Illuminates St. Louis’ LGBTQ+ History in Gateway to Pride Exhibit

These Lesbian Influencers Are Revolutionizing Reaching People in Need

Plus, some other recent good reads:

Everyone We Saw at the Pride United Ball and Out in STL Awards

Missouri Drag and Pageant Legend Vickie Valentino Exits the Stage

Laurence Luckinbill Is a Straight Man Who Helped Make Gay History

The Performance Low Down: Joan Lipkin’s Pride Summer Theater Guide

This story has been updated with links to the stories.


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