Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:19:42 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Feeling Prideful Feeling Prideful

Happy last day of Pride Month! We believe that Pride is a time to honor those who came before us and made it possible for us to be where we are today. It is a time to celebrate each other, recognize the value of each other’s worth, and be visible for those who cannot be because of fear of losing their jobs or their families. It is a time to make a commitment to make the world a better place for those who come next.

At PROMO, we celebrate Pride all year round. We honor those before us through our SAGE Program. We are visible for those who cannot be by working to ensure LGBT people cannot be fired just because of who they are or who they love. And we commit to making the world a better place by defeating anti-LGBT bills and making schools safer.

This Pride Month, more than ever before, we saw a swell of support for PROMO from small businesses, and we could not be more grateful! Here is a sample of how you all stepped up in your own circles to support PROMO’s work. If we missed something, let us know, so we can thank you!

  • 4 Hands Brewing Company jazzed up their City Wide cans to showcase a rainbow flag! $1.00 per case sold benefits PROMO, and several locations carrying it like Sasha’s on Shaw, are donating an additional $1 per can sold! Get yoursbefore they are gone! The brewery also has koozies and shirts!

  • Businesses in The Grove kicked off the new City Wide Pride cans with events, and several of the businesses are going above and beyond to support PROMO.

  • Culture Flock (one of my personal favorite small businesses out of Springfield) came out this month through three adorable Pride stickers. You can get them here, here, and here. $1.00 per sticker goes to PROMO!

  • CycleBar Creve Coeur raised $500 for PROMO and the Born This Way Foundation!

  • Katt Kissick Art + Illustration is donating $10 from each sale of this printthey created for St. Louis.

  • Pi Pizzeria partnered with 4 Hands for a kick-off night supporting PROMO AND chose to support PROMO through its upcoming United in Goodness Campaign to kick off its new menu items in July!

  • Pint Size Bakery made these adorable rainbow cookiesto benefit PROMO last week.

We are truly overwhelmed with all of your support and for each of you who purchased these items to support PROMO and these generous businesses.

In case you missed it during all of the month’s celebration, take a moment to look back and hear from our SAGE Program Coordinator Dan Stewart about what the Pride Flag means to him, as well as who we chose to recognize as our 2017 Pride Heroes!

And as we come to a close of the final day of Pride Month, please take a moment today to remember the 49 victims of the Pulse Massacre. #HonorThemWithAction today and every single day.

Whew! Are you all tired from celebrating Pride all month? We aren’t either! Being with all of you all across the state gives us the energy and pride to keep going. We hope you will consider a gift of $20 today to help PROMO continue this work long after Pride Month is over.

]]> (Steph Perkins) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Fri, 30 Jun 2017 12:25:45 -0500
Pride For All the Colors: A Reflection on the Rainbow Flag Pride For All the Colors: A Reflection on the Rainbow Flag

I never cared for the rainbow flag. I saw it as too flashy, gaudy even. Having only seen it mass produced and put on everything from t-shirts to coffee cups, by the time I came to understand that rainbow flag represented the LGBT community I tried my best to avoid it.  Growing up biracial, queer, and a child of an immigrant in the heart of Texas, I attempted my very best to blend in. Rainbows have a tendency to do the opposite of that. 

When I reached middle school I realized something was different about me. Therefore, the rainbow flag felt like a threat. That if I wore or owned anything resembling a rainbow I was in danger of being discovered. That it would indicate to the world that I was all of the things I was trying so desperately not to be. The rainbow flag, known as the pride flag, seemed dangerous to a kid just trying to fall under the radar. 

To be honest I didn’t know much about the history of the flag until I was asked to write this post. I knew it had a deeper meaning than ending up on drink koozies and dog collars, but I wasn't expecting it to be something that would resonate with me.  It wasn’t until I read an interview with creator Gilbert Baker, who passed away in May of this year, speaking about his flag that I began to have a better understanding. 

The pride flag first debuted in 1978 at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade. Commissioned by the pride parade, Baker was asked to create a new symbol for the LGBT community to be used for years to come. Before the rainbow flag, our community really only had the reclaimed pink triangle used by the Nazis, used to identify gay prisoners.  Baker’s vision was that the rainbow flag would serve as a beacon of hope and joy within the community not stemming from tragedy but from life and pride

When asked why the colors of the rainbow, Baker had this to say:

“The rainbow is a beautiful part of nature, all of the colors, and even the one’s you can’t see. So that fit us as a people because we are all of the colors.”

As I think of the flag now as an out and proud queer transgender man, I realize that despite the fear I had of the flag growing up, it was still my flag. That the flag represents “all of the colors…even the ones you can’t see.” I was that unseen color growing up, out of fear and denial I hid and tried to hide in the shadows. It is comforting to know even then, for that scared closeted kid in Texas, the flag was meant for me. 

As we enter the month of June, Pride Month, take time to recognize what this symbol means. That it is more than just cloth and stripes as Baker says but “an action.” Take time to honor the late Gilbert Baker as well each time you look at those colors. As we raise our flags, sport our t-shirts, affix the rainbow bandanna on our dogs, know we do so as an action. An action that says we as members of the LGBT community are here. We are strong. We are present. We are proud. 

]]> (Dan Stewart) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:16:11 -0500
One Year Ago Today One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, we all woke up to the horrific news about the Pulse massacre. That same day was our annual SAGE Summer Celebration. We were all wary about attending an event and all saddened and shocked by the news. But being there gave us an opportunity to mourn alongside our people, our community. We’ll be doing the same thing this year, mourning and honoring the victims and their families alongside our people. 

PROMO commits to join others across the country to turn tragedy into action and #HonorThemWithAction. PROMO commits to spending each day working to end discrimination in the Show-Me State, step by step, day by day. We commit to calling out and stopping bigotry and hate. We commit to ensuring our work is inclusive and honors the lives and experiences of our diverse community. 

Nearly every state has a statewide LGBT organization like PROMO. Florida is fortunate to have Equality Florida, led by their brilliant Executive Director Nadine Smith. In a recent HuffPost piece, Nadine said, We have an obligation to each other – we’re supposed to look out for each other. And that spirit has continued. Part of our message with ‘Honor Them With Action’ is to say, ‘We have to do more than remember the lives taken and damaged by this brutality.’ We have to make it the message and make the world a different place where this kind of horror can’t unfold – isn’t being fed by hatred. And so those are the words that we use in fighting what we do – how are we making the world different?”

I hope you will join us in making the world different. Join us in saying their names today and committing to #HonoringThemWithActionAnd especially today, we hope you are with your people and community to mourn, to heal, and to take action. If you are not, know that we are with you today and everyday. 


]]> (Steph Perkins) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:24:53 -0500
Meeting People at Pride Meeting People at Pride

Surrounded by colors, music, booths, and crowds of diverse people, Pride is one of the most thrilling times of year while also overwhelming. The first time I was ever around more than three LGBT people was at a Pride, and all I can remember was my complete awe that I was not alone. This excitement sparked a desire to meet everyone I could.

Whether it is your first Pride or your tenth Pride, for this year’s #MOPride, I ask you to invoke that same excitement I had, and meet as many people as you can. Our LGBT community in Missouri is vastly diverse and infinitely talented. In our diversity, it’s important to keep in mind our different identities and the importance of pronouns. 

We all use pronouns in our everyday lives. Some of us regularly introduce ourselves with pronouns and other people do not. However, using our pronouns when meeting new people is the best way for us to know and respect each other’s identities. If we have met before, you may know I introduce myself as, “Karis Agnew, and my pronouns are they, them, and theirs.” When meeting people at Pride, it is always best to say your name followed by your preferred pronouns, whether your pronouns are she, he, or they.

By introducing yourself with your pronouns, regardless of your identity, you show the other person that not only do you understand the diversity of our community, but you also wish to respect that person by using their correct pronouns. 

I look forward to meeting you all in Pulaski County, Joplin, and Springfield. Stop by our PROMO booths to say hello, and learn about the amazing work we are doing here is Missouri.

My name is Karis Agnew and my pronouns are they, them, and theirs. 

What are your name and pronouns?

***Check out this guide on pronouns to further assist you.

]]> (Karis Agnew) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Thu, 08 Jun 2017 15:44:46 -0500

Every year during Pride Month, we choose at least one person to honor as our Pride Hero. This year, we are pleased to thank Rep. Greg Razer, Rep. Randy Dunn, and Rep. Tom Hannegan, the only three out gay elected officials in Jefferson City. 

These three gentlemen are, as we all are, more than just their sexual orientation. They are smart and thoughtful, strategic and forward thinking. They represent their districts with compassion and are strong advocates for their constituents. They spend all year working alongside their colleagues on issues like public education, the state budget, economic development, and even the state dog. During Pride Month, we want to take a special moment to recognize how grateful we are to have openly gay representation. 

PROMO spends a great deal of time talking with statewide elected officials inside and outside the Capitol building. Time and time again, we see the impact that personal relationships have on the decisions that are made. When someone has a family member or close friend who is LGBT, they are exponentially more likely to care about issues that affect LGBT Missourians -- regardless of their political party. They are also more likely to understand the long-term effects of anti-LGBT bills and speak out against them. 

So when bills like the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act come up, legislators can look across the room and see a colleague and friend who would be directly impacted by their vote. When there are out gay colleagues, voting against MONA is the same as agreeing that it’s okay for Reps. Dunn, Hannegan, and Razer to be fired simply for being gay. And when a representative implies that gay people are not human [link to Brattin article], they’re talking about fellow colleagues in that same room, not metaphorical people somewhere out in the world. 

It isn’t always easy to be out and visible in an environment like the Capitol building. Thank you to each of you for being yourselves and for using your own experiences to ensure Missouri is a better place for all of us. For that reason (and many others), you are our 2017 Pride Heroes!

P.S. We also want to say farewell to Rep. Dunn, as he takes on a new adventure in Nebraska!

P.P.S. Want to run for office like these Pride Heroes? Let us know at, and we’ll get you connected with folks who can help you start that journey! 

]]> (Steph Perkins) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Mon, 05 Jun 2017 12:50:26 -0500
Pride Month Is Being Celebrated Across Social Media Pride Month Is Being Celebrated Across Social Media
Various companies, stars, and organizations are celebrating LGBT Pride, check out what they are saying on social media below!





]]> (PROMO) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Fri, 02 Jun 2017 11:25:04 -0500
What Do I Do Now? What Do I Do Now?

I started this blog at least 10 different ways, and none of them felt appropriate. How do you tell people that the Federal government is crafting policy that can impact their daily life, but we don’t know what that looks like or when it will affect life as they know it? At PROMO, we have a job to do. We keep you informed on the most important issues impacting the LGBT community. But, what happens when the professionals are stumped by this trumped up action to discriminate? We stay vigilant. We stay engaged. We stay empowered to resist. Together. All of us.

Yesterday was a heavy day for Americans everywhere. The President signed a very broad religious freedom Executive Order (EO) that has potential to create barriers for LGBT Americans at every intersection of life. The House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This new health care policy threatens to impact millions of Americans ability to access quality affordable health insurance coverage. The potential impact of the AHCA has detrimental effects on people with preexisting conditions, women, and transgender people.

We could put out a bunch of speculation about how 45’s EO will impact your life, your family, or your aging parents, but what good will that do anyone? The truth is that your LGBT movement leaders are working to exhaustion to try and understand the potential threats caused by this EO. We are working with legal organizations like the ACLU to understand the legal and constitutional challenges that could be brought in retribution. However, until the people exercise the freedoms granted by this EO, we do not know the extend of the law in defense or support. We will keep you informed in whatever that capacity that looks like. Sometimes the message will be clear and specific. Sometimes the message will be to just hang in there, and we will let you know something as soon as we have an understanding of the implications.

Everyone must get involved in the process. There is no more time for passive civic engagement. We need every single person working for justice. If your privilege has allowed you to remain disengaged, what are you waiting for? If you are not able to give time, please give treasure. If you have neither, what is your special skill? How can you use what you have to create change and be part of the movement? Everyone is capable of creating change. You just need to decide to participate.

What do you do now? Live your life. Love with your whole self. And, laugh with great joy. We need to work hard and play harder. PROMO is hosting our largest fundraiser of the year on May 13, 2017 at the Grandel Theater. This event is 20% of our operating budget . Please consider joining us to celebrate LGBT equality victories,engage with the work that PROMO does in our state defending anti-LGBT legislation, and dance, eat, and play with new and old friends as we raise necessary funds to ensure that PROMO continues to exist to protect LGBT Missourians now and for years to come.

We have work to do, Missouri. PROMO is ready and will never back down. Who’s with us?


]]> (Elizabeth Fuchs) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Fri, 05 May 2017 12:49:32 -0500
Meet Karis: Southwest Missouri Area Field Organizer Meet Karis: Southwest Missouri Area Field Organizer

Greetings from Springfield!

PROMO is known as Missouri’s statewide organization advocating for our LGBT community. With our office in St. Louis, it is vital to have remote organizers on the ground in areas which need us most. I am thankful to be one of those organizers serving Missouri’s southwest region including Springfield.

Over the past three months, I have been settling into the position of Field Organizer, and I have to say that there is no limit to the work we need to accomplish for LGBT Missourians. It is crucial for us to expand the work we have already achieved in southwest Missouri in order to ensure equality for LGBT folks in this area.

I’ve spent my first months getting to know many of you, but I’ve learned an important lesson: there are equality supporters everywhere. I hope to meet all of you, hear your stories, and listen to your needs.

If we have yet to meet, I extend an invitation to stop by while I am working in the GLO Center, located at 518 East Commercial Street, Fridays between 1 and 6 pm. You can also usually find me at the Hurts Donuts Company at 320 Park Central on Sunday nights after 6 pm. One of my goals as the Field Organizer in Springfield is to be as accessible as possible to members of our community. I am here for you.

In the coming months, I will continue to work with area businesses, health providers, and organizations making sure that staff are trained to work with LGBT folks and have up to date policies, including nondiscrimination policies. I will also be locating and documenting more resources open to LGBT folks in the southwest region. In addition, I am here to educate you about what is happening in the Capitol during legislative session and the best actions we can take to move towards equality. Finally, I strive to be in meetings and spaces representing LGBT voices in our community making sure that we are included in the conversations and actions that affect all of us.

We have made significant strides in southwest Missouri thanks to the hard work of Steph Perkins. I am honored to be your Field Organizer in Springfield to help further the work that need to be done in this area to ensure equality for ALL Missourians.

I invite you to be part of this work and this movement. Stop by and visit me at GLO or Hurts Donuts. Just send me an email at or call (417) 512-4834 letting me know to expect you.
I can’t wait to meet even more equality supporters here in the Ozarks.

]]> (Karis Agnew) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:25:24 -0500
The Newest PROMO Staff Member The Newest PROMO Staff Member

My name is Mandi Kowalski, and I am the new face on the PROMO team that you will be seeing at events and in our community. I am thrilled to be joining a team of such passionate and talented individuals who have also made it their mission to fight for the rights of those disenfranchised in the state of Missouri. 

To me, PROMO isn’t just an organization that represents Missouri’s LGBT community -- it educates and empowers people. I am so excited to be part of an organization that directly impacts lives and works to make sure people know how valuable their participation is in this movement and in the work to secure legal protections across the state.

As I get settled in my new role, I am eager to reach out within St. Louis, as well as to the often overlooked communities beyond the I-270 divide. As we all know, LGBT Missourians face a host of challenges in our everyday lives, but we have made significant progress toward LGBT equality. Our work ensures that more and more people agree that we deserve the same opportunities to succeed and care for ourselves and our families. As part of Team PROMO, I aim to continue to make sure LGBT voices from all areas of Missouri are heard. You matter. 

It is with much gratitude and respect for my LGBT family in Missouri that I join Team PROMO and get to work for (and with) you!

I look forward to seeing you in the community!

]]> (Mandi Kowalski) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:10:20 -0500
What Is Happening At the Capitol This Week What Is Happening At the Capitol This Week

In 2016, we spent the majority of our time in legislative session defeating the anti-LGBT SJR 39. So far this year, we have been successful in stopping all of the legislation that is specifically anti-LGBT, including anti-LGBT religious exemption bills, anti-trans bathroom bills, and bills that would undermine marriage equality. But our work is far from over this session. The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) is scheduled for a hearing, and there are two bills that we see as significant threats to equality in more than ways than one: SB 43 and SB 45.

I’ll be honest, SB 43 and SB 45 are complicated and difficult to explain in a really brief, simple way. Both bills attempt to undermine the entire Missouri Human Rights Act, the state law that ensures nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. 

In short, SB 43 and SB 45 would make it harder to prove an employee faced discrimination in the workplace, seek legal recourse, or hold anyone accountable for the discrimination or harassment. 

LGBT people are not currently protected under the Missouri Human Rights Act, but we strongly believe that civil rights laws like the Missouri Human Rights Act are a critical tool for ensuring fairness for people who have long been targets of discrimination and harassment. In fact, the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA), is scheduled for a hearing today, and we will be there to testify. You can follow along at this link live at 4pm and #MONA17 on Twitter.

While we trust that Missouri will see the importance of including LGBT protections in the near future, it is still critical for Missouri to continue to allow for a fair, able process when an employee faces discrimination, not make it harder for a wronged employee to seek recourse. 

Being able to fairly seek legal recourse when you have faced discrimination is a critical reason for having nondiscrimination and civil rights laws in the first place. Every Missourian should have the opportunity to be themselves and provide for their families. When discrimination takes that away from someone because of their race, religion, national origin – or even unprotected categories like sexual orientation and gender identity – fair, legal recourse should be available, not further restricted.

p.s. Don't forget to join us for Equality Day tomorrow, April 19 at 9am, at the Capitol!


]]> (Steph Perkins) Your Source for News on LGBT Politics and Issues in Missouri. Tue, 18 Apr 2017 10:09:03 -0500