Before we begin, did you know LGBT History Month was founded by a Missourian?
Rodney Wilson, a Missouri history teacher, started LGBT History Month in 1994. That, in itself, is unforgettable.
These unforgettable moments are in no particular order. Have more to add, comment below.
1. LGBT rights organizations form for the first time in Missouri.
In 1966 Drew Shafer founded Phoenix Society in Kansas City.
In 1969 the Mandrake Society was founded in St. Louis.
2. LGBT people are elected for the first time.
First out transgender Alderwoman in the Country was elected in 2006 right here in Missouri. Jessica Orsini was an Alderwoman for Ward III in Centralia and was reelected twice.
In 1994, Tim Van Zandt became Missouri’s first openly gay state representative.
3. The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) passed out of the Senate for the first time in May of 2013. This legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Missouri Human Rights Act. The House did not consider this legislation in 2013 but held it’s first floor debate on MONA in 2017.
4. In November 2013 Governor Jay Nixon issued an executive order allowing same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions to file Missouri taxes jointly. This was one of several actions supporting and protecting LGBT Missourians by Governor Nixon before the end of his term in 2016.
5. The City of St. Louis defied the Missouri marriage ban in June of 2014 as Mayor Francis Slay performed four marriages in his office at the St. Louis City Hall.
6. On November 5, 2014 a state court ruling led to St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and Jackson County issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
7. 1999-The Missouri Hate Crimes Statute is updated to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
8. Missouri Democrats staged the longest filibuster in Missouri history in 2016 as a first step to defeating sjr 39, a bill that would have added LGBT discrimination into the state constitution by way of public vote. The bill eventually died in committee and never passed, thanks to thousands of calls and letters from Missourians like you.
9. In 2016 Saint Louis City became the third city in the country to raise the transgender flag as part of Pride month.
10. In 1986, the organization PREP (now PROMO) was formed with visions of a more fair Missouri.
11. September 2015: Springfield passes a nondiscrimination ordinance inclusive of LGBT people. This was later repealed at the ballot after an incredible campaign that many of you participated in.
12. August of 2013, Kirksville becomes the smallest city in Missouri (outside of the metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Kansas City) to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance inclusive of LGBT people.
In a time where there is much to feel overwhelmed and defeated by, let’s take a moment to remember how far we have come Missouri and look forward to the progress ahead. Thank you to everyone that made all of these changed in history happen.