Only a year or two ago, it seemed that nothing was more mainstream than drag. Cabaret audiences always included bridal parties, and you just knew some of those attendees had to be Trump voters. Drag, it seemed, was post-political. It’s also jarring to realize that just a year ago, folx could make their own medical decisions, from gender-affirming care to emergency abortion care.
How the winds have shifted.
Out of necessity, the LGBTQ+ community has always been more migratory than the overall population. Many of us made our way to the blue island of St. Louis from less hospitable environs, and now we’re seeing the migration of our trans folx to the Metro East, across the river in blue state Illinois. Florida, long a favorite destination for our retirees, has abruptly been eclipsed by friendlier Palm Springs and Puerto Vallarta. But we’re not just responding to the changing winds with relocations. We’re moving into the streets and into the halls of power. We’re marching, we’re strategizing and in some cases, we’re winning.
There has long been a schism between those who believed Pride was to celebrate how far we’ve come and those who argued the focus should be on how far we have to go. The current political environment seems to have settled that debate, uniting and galvanizing us like never before. And a new generation has risen to meet the moment.
In this Pride edition, we get an update on the current state of anti-trans legislation, get a rundown on Pride events, visit an underground lesbian speakeasy and profile a few fascinating individuals. For our travel feature, we head down to Oklahoma City’s 39th Street District to see how a 1983 legal victory carved out a vibrant gayborhood in the heart of the Red Plains.
Our bi-state St. Louis region has a dynamic and vibrant queer ecology, from “the Bi-Muda Triangle” of Alton to SIRenity Farms Camping Retreat in Sullivan. We have booming nightlife districts including the Grove and South Broadway, a resurgent vogue ball scene drawing participants from around the nation, massive festivals including PrideFest and Tower Grove Pride, and sports teams including Arch Rival Roller Derby and St. Louis Crusaders. In St. Louis city, we have walkable historic neighborhoods filled with pride flags and community-owned shops, coffeehouses and taverns. And we have an outspoken ally in Mayor Tishaura Jones.
Despite the headwinds we face, I can report that the state of the St. Louis queer community is strong.
Editor in Chief, Out in STL
Read the rest of the June issue of Out in STL :